What business topics or issues are most challenging to you right now?

Ethics - Still worth teaching?

Over the last five years, CEOs and senior executives across the business landscape (many with MBAs from top schools)have shown an almost total disregard for ethics and integrity in their business behavior. Is teaching ethics at B-School a waste of time and should we acknowledge that ethical values have already been shaped by the time people go to business school?

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What do you most need to learn to be an even more effective leader?

Got Mentor? Will Succeed!

Either in a corporate structure or in entrepreneurship, mentoring can be an essential tool for which many have not had the benefit of its gifts. Career or new business advice, sourcing help, investment opportunities, counselor or just a soundboard. How does one seek, build and retain a business mentorship today? How can the Wharton alumni network foster these important relationships?

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The New Business Plan? Real Ideas Into Opportunities

One of the most important lessons learned in my undergraduate entrepreneurship studies at Wharton was: "Not every idea is an opportunity, but every opportunity started as a great idea." Times and business models have changed. What are some of the new ways to farm ideas and cultivate opportunities for new businesses? Is there a new way to present a business plan? How do we identify ideas that can be real opportunities reflective of today's economy and times?

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Skills for a Lifetime

No matter what obstacles, new responsibilities, events etc. come your way, what are the most important skills/traits you've learned and/or cultivated that have been consistently useful? In other words, looking back over your career, what is it that you found most important and meaningful to you when dealing with these nuances? What is it that makes you proud about how you handled your situations?

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Investing in Europe - lost cause or major opportunity?

With Eurozone undergoing a major crisis and European companies struggling to find competitive niches vs Asian competitors, should a smart investor look elsewhere or keep faith that Europe will find its way? This discussion should include both public and private equity investors, but also debt providers.

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What do you most need to learn to be an even more effective leader?

Being an Emotionally Intellegent Leader

How to manage people and emotions effectively

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What do you most need to learn to be an even more effective leader?

knowledge presented in formats which allow immediate action

To this end we need concise and structured texts. Simple graphics can facilitate comprehension.

I use checklists and means-ends diagrams but can easily imagine digital guides, etc.

Checklists and means-ends diagrams are effective (they lead to the desired result) and efficient (the desired result is approached on a direct way, step by step).

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What societal challenges could be improved by the Wharton alumni network?

Food in the World

Sustainability goes hand in hand with food and energy.

Many if not all multinational companies have their own think-tank or foundation to “discuss” the issue of sustainability. Especially with food or energy, many efforts are made, at least they are communicated. A lot of it has to do with marketing, but it is admirable that attention is being paid. But what are the effects? For example, after all food is a regional, very local, matter: Can we find out the result and effectiveness of these initiatives for the company and for society? And for which society, I mean, where?

What should a company really do to contribute and to increase its value?

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Parallel Industries

Background:

- when recruiting people, many companies try to select from within the Industry or look for similar experiences

- whenever strategic decisions need to be made, people try to drive inspiration and knowledge from every possible source

- even during the MBA studies, there is – rightfully so – a tendency to link what is being learnt to the contingent working experience.

- Engineers used fluid analogies to describe the electric “current”…

- We are looking for life on other planets…

The question then arises: are there industries or markets that present surprising similarities between each other?

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know if there is another industry that, mutatis mutandis, has faced a very similar situation?

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Digital Divide

No matter what each Alumnus think, he or she is at serious risk of “Digital Obsolescence”. As time goes by, the networked society changes, and so are habits, work habits, markets, clients etc.

Even Wharton has concentrated on this theme, and is constantly adapting programs and offering to keep the pace.

It is therefore not enough to have an account on facebook or to have a smartphone: your company, or maybe your entire industry might be missing the point or going digital the wrong way.

Can Wharton look at some industries, show the evolution, draw a trend line and indicate the digital “reading key” to have the existing CEOs and Key Managers understand the world their companies is in?

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Share your Doubt

A Wharton Alumnus can learn or study “technical” skills (like finance, statistics, languages, products, advertising, etc) but very often that’s not what he needs to learn to solve critical problems or take fundamental decisions. At a certain point in the career, one needs other skills that go beyond problem solving and that have a lot to do with experience and knowledge.

Wharton owns a wealth of experience and knowledge through Faculty, Alumni and Students.

The idea then would be to use this distributed experience and knowledge to focus on a specific “Doubt”: a critical problem or a fundamental decision.

Once a problem or decision is identified:

- The proponent could frame the Doubt and the context as necessary pre-work,

- Wharton could help in the choice of the team members (based on industry experience, similarities, background, volunteers, etc),

- The team members accept to prepare and participate to this unique “Board Meeting” (a “Sounding board Meeting”…), with the aim to contribute and candidly express their opinions and questions

- A working session (Sounding Board Meeting) takes place, with presentation, debate, conclusions and possibly short term follow-up.

- Once the main objective is accomplished, the working session can also broaden the discussion to other related themes or… Doubts

- The Faculty can of course decide to use the case in the courses

- The Faculty can also define the Frame or general Theme, within which proponents can add their Doubt

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Putting the H Back into HR

Helping businesses to thrive by encouraging HR executives to focus more on talent searches. Shift emphasis away from resume gaps and minutiae-mania and instead focus on the bigger picture of: seek, find and recruit individuals who demonstrate the building blocks of business growth: creativity, resourcefulness, intelligence and enthusiasm.

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