business

T-Bird Goes to Spain for a Chief

Garvin School's tabs Angel Cabrera, now dean of Madrid's Empresas. Plus: Northwestern in Miami; Gay and lesbian MBAs; And more

Thunderbird, as the Garvin School of International Management in Glendale, Ariz., is called, has hired a Spaniard as its next president: Angel Cabrera (no relation to the Argentine golfer), who's the current dean of Madrid's Instituto de Empresas Graduate Business School.

The timing couldn't be better for Cabrera, 36. T-Bird has just cashed a check for $60 million from MBA alumnus Samuel Garvin, founder of Scotsdale (Ariz.)-based Continental Promotions Group, a marketing promotions company. The money will help Cabrera expand the school's executive-education curriculum and its part-time degree programs, and may prompt it to boost what had been a $100 million fund-raising target, Cabrera says.

That might put the school on a firmer footing. T-Bird ranked No. 25 in BusinessWeek's ranking of full-time MBA programs in 1996, but it has since failed to creep beyond the second tier of programs. And teaching international business, the school's hallmark, "is not as different anymore, especially with competition from European schools," the new dean says.

NEW PRIORITIES.

  No doubt, one of his goals will be to improve the quality of the student body. In recent years, T-Bird has accepted nearly 75% of its applicants -- giving it a low bar for admissions compared to other schools. Cabrera says he'll probably further reduce the MBA class size, which dipped 10% to 933 in 2003. With "a smaller MBA class, we can work on our professional degrees and executive education," he says. Indeed, distance and executive MBA programs, where Cabrera expects to see significant growth, and nondegree executive education are among his priorities.

Early on, Cabrera says, he also wants to establish a regional center for the school in Asia, where Thunderbird already has a foothold, then integrate it more tightly with the school's campuses in France and Arizona.

Back in Madrid, Cabrera has been replaced by Santiago Iñiguez, director of external relations for Empresas. Iñigues wants to further internationalize the school, enhance its intellectual contribution to the academic community, and strengthen links with its 28,000 alumni and 1,300 students.

If he's successful with goal No. 3, Iñiguez may have more luck increasing Empresas' endowment. In the past three years, he says, the school has raised just $700,000. Notes Iñiguez: "Trying to become more in line with our competitors with regards to fund-raising is quite a challenge, because in Europe there isn't a culture of fund-raising."

Why Northwestern Is Moving into Miami

In an effort to make its mark in Central and South America and the Caribbean, the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University has decided to start an executive MBA program in Miami.

The move comes as part of a wider international strategy. Already, the school offers joint executive MBA programs with York University's Schulich School of Business in Toronto, with the Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration at Tel Aviv University in Israel, with WHU-Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management in Germany, and with the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.

Miami will be the first stand-alone campus for Kellogg outside its Evanston (Ill.) headquarters, although at first the school will probably rent space rather than buy. The new EMBA program will launch in 2005 and is expected to include a combination of long-weekend sessions and intensive weeks for about 50 students. The total cost isn't definite yet but will likely be about $114,000 per student.

"CREATE A PULL."

  Market research and discussions with corporate partners encouraged Kellogg to expand to Miami, where the University of Miami's Business School already offers an executive MBA and Madrid's Instituto de Empresas offers an International Executive MBA degree that includes classes in Miami. Even so, "we're not moving into the market with the intention of competing directly with any of the existing schools," says Julie Cisek Jones, assistant dean and director of Kellogg's executive master's programs.

Vanderbilt University and the University of Florida collaborated to offer an executive MBA degree and a certificate in Latin American business in Miami in the late 1990s, but they discontinued the program when it couldn't attract enough students. Kellogg opted for Miami because it couldn't find a place in Latin America that would attract as diverse a group of students and at the same time avoid potential economic or political instability. "You're better off having a place where you need to create a pull rather than a push" for students, says Kellogg Dean Dipak Jain.

Kellogg is also trying to boost its brand in Asia and Europe by offering more nondegree programs for executives. The first two programs -- the school plans more -- will be with partner schools in Japan and Belgium.

The new programs abroad don't have specific revenue targets, Jain insists. Instead, he's looking to develop a more comprehensive global strategy. "We want to make sure that we get all the right inputs so that we undertake the right journey," he says. "If we want to make our education really global, then the curriculum that we teach should also be very global."

Toward a Better World

The five-year-old Global Social Venture Competition, which began at the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley, and is now run in conjunction with Columbia Business School, London Business School, and the Goldman Sachs Foundation, wrapped up on Apr. 16 in London.

Judges named four winning teams from among 129 entries in the contest for business plans that would help make the world a better place. The victors, each of which included at least one MBA student, split $100,000 in cash and travel prizes.

The winner in the so-called medium-growth category was an Oakland venture called Schools for Community Empowerment, run by a six-person team of Stanford University and Berkeley students, and a management consultant to nonprofits with a Harvard MBA, among others. The venture aims to create a pilot public high school that incorporates a community center -- including a library, gym, and media center -- in an effort to revitalize the deindustrialized neighborhoods of East Oakland.

TOUGH EXAM.

  With its $25,000 in winnings the team will set up administrative and fund-raising offices, says Eric DeMeulenaere, director of East Oakland Community Center & High School, the School for Community Empowerment's pilot project. The prize, he says, will enable the group to "continue to raise the $1.2 million startup funding that we need over the course of the next eight years."

Each of the four finalists presented and defended its business plan to a panel of seven judges, all experts in the interaction between social and environmental issues and business. The judges pressed the teams about the long-term potential of such ventures as well as their potential financial projections.

The other three winners were from the Rotterdam Schools of Management, which proposed creating a ventured called Eco-Friendly Environmental Products (EFAP) to make organic fertilizer; from Cornell University, which proposed an alternative-fuels project; and from Columbia Business School and the New School University, which proposed a real estate venture to redevelop urban neighborhoods.

The Career Fair Goes Global -- Virtually

Seven top U.S. schools turned to the Net from Apr. 14 to Apr. 16 to show off 791 MBAs who had registered with the MBA7 Global Career Forum to touch base with 28 recruiters in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The companies were seeking candidates for 62 jobs.

Chicago Graduate School of Business, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and The Wharton School pitched in to support the effort to entice companies to check out students who want to work outside the U.S. after graduation.

Companies such as Banco Bilbao, Viscaya Argentaria, Royal Dutch-Shell, World Economic Forum, and L'Oreal each paid 1,000 euros to go online to answer questions from students in chat rooms and to present their job opportunities. To take the next step, companies could interview students on the phone, online, or via videoconference.

JOINT DATABASE.

  The idea was to "give our MBAs access to a group of companies that don't come on campus, in many cases because distance makes it prohibitive for them," says Julie Morton, associate dean for MBA career services at the Chicago Graduate School of Business. To prep her students, Morton held sessions on how a virtual career fair differs from traditional career fairs, including lessons on chat room etiquette.

It will take some time to gauge the fair's success for the students, but some schools hope to hold another one in the future. Jackie Wilbur, director of career management at the Sloan School, says the fair worked in showing the MBAs that the schools are comfortable with "coopetition." Notes Wilbur: "We cooperate, but we compete, too," adding that for the first time the seven schools have created a joint database that allows all their graduates of the schools to see which foreign companies hired students in the past.

Isidro Villarreal, a 28-year-old, second-year Columbia MBA from Mexico, used the fair to make contacts in Latin America and Europe, regions he says aren't well represented when recruiters come to campus. "It's very efficient," he says. "You have the chance to look at many companies and positions in a short period of time." That may not be as good as a face-to-face meeting, he concedes, but "this is a good start."

Gay and Lesbian MBAs Turn Out to Talk...

More than 500 MBAs traveled to Beverly Hills, Calif., for the sixth annual Reaching Out MBA conference for gay and lesbian MBAs on Apr. 2. That was record attendance, according to organizers, who say their conference is the one place where gay and lesbian MBAs have a chance to meet in such numbers to talk about the challenges of working in a traditionally heterosexual business environment.

The conference covered everything from interviewing -- should you "out" yourself when seeking a job? -- to politics. Hilary Rosen, former chairman and chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America, urged attendees to vote in next fall's Presidential election.

During the three-day meeting, "the issue of gay marriage was brought up again and again...as a metaphor for equality in the workplace," says Jonah Brown, a 31-year-old second-year MBA at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, president of Reaching Out MBA, and one of the conference organizers. "If we're fighting for opportunity to work [in Corporate America], it's just as important to fight for equality broadly for all members of our community."

TWO MUST-DOS.

  A second theme was the "importance of not making the assumption that straight colleagues are going to be so shocked or surprised" when they hear that you're gay, says Brown.

More than 50 schools were represented by students who traveled from as far away as INSEAD and London Business School. According to Adam Welch, 28, a second-year MBA at the University of Michigan Business School and co-president of the school's seven-year-old Open for Business club, gay and lesbian MBAs' job hunts include two must-dos that heterosexual MBAs often overlook. Finding partner benefits is a top concern, he says, followed closely by determining whether a company practices nondiscrimination when it comes to sexual orientation.

Both McKinsey and Credit Suisse First Boston offer in-house networks for gay and lesbian workers, for instance. Both were also among the 33 sponsoring companies at the conference that paid at least $2,500 to support it. Others included Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup, Ford Motor, Goldman Sachs, and Sun Microsystems. The conference raised more than $200,000 -- 20% more than in 2003.

"WHO YOU FULLY ARE."

  Brian Rolfes, director of professional development for McKinsey in Canada and a founding member of GLAM -- Gays and Lesbians at McKinsey -- says corporate sponsorship of such events stems from the fact that gay and lesbian MBAs often have different questions than their heterosexual counterparts might pose at a big school recruiting event.

Rolfes advises that "being able to bring who you fully are to the interview process and to your résumé is important.... If someone indicated they were president of a gay and lesbian MBA group at Harvard, we would see this as an example of a leadership quality we look for in the people we hire." He adds that "the level of [a job applicant's] 'outness' has to be a personal choice, dictated by their own comfort level."

The conference will be held again in the spring of 2005, at a place and time yet to be announced.

...And Kellogg Gets a Gay Student Leader

Kellogg Graduate School of Management's student government, the Graduate Management Assn., elected its first openly gay president, first-year MBA Saqib Nadeem, 27, at the end of the winter quarter in late February.

Nadeem says that "in an MBA program...the students typically come from the largely conservative, testosterone-enameled, corporate world, not to mention that the class at the top MBA programs usually includes upwards of 30% international students, the majority of whom come from very conservative countries." One would assume, he adds, that MBA programs are not "the least bit ideal place for gay individuals, out or not."

FIRST EXPOSURE.

  Kellogg is different, he adds. "My election is a testament to the open and accepting" Kellogg culture. The school's administration, he notes, has always supported the school's Gay Lesbian Management Assn. (GLMA), as have students and professors.

"I have met numerous students who had no exposure to a gay individual before. But the most important thing was their unwavering willingness to get out of their comfort zone and get to know me as a person, judge my leadership skills and not my sexual orientation, and question what I had to offer to them and to the school -- and not whether I was making the right decision in selecting my life partner."

Do you have B-school news, events, or other tidbits to report? Send an e-mail with the subject line, "Gossip" to Mica Schneider

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