Mastercard’s Chief Security Solutions Officer Ajay Bhalla was on campus on Wednesday, March 28, to discuss the ways in which companies need to reimagine the relationship between technology and human understanding to stay relevant.
Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean of International Business & Finance at The Fletcher School and the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Business in the Global Context, introduced Bhalla to the audience of students, faculty, and administrators. Chakravorti and the team at IBGC have been working with Bhalla and Mastercard since 2011 developing the Digital Evolution Index, a measure of digital change and trust across the globe. The issue of trust is a key one for Bhalla, who is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of every payment for the over two billion cardholders using the Mastercard network.
During his talk, Bhalla compared the rapid change in technology throughout the past few decades to a rollercoaster. “Riders are comfortable in one moment and then the rollercoaster flips upside down,” he said. He went on to note that in combining rapid technological innovation with the pace at which human knowledge is expanding globally, changes in technology can be expected to create some uncertainty.
“I sort of came into consulting by accident,” Mariya Rosberg (F04), partner in the Corporate and Institutional Banking practice of Oliver Wyman, told a crowd of students, administrators and faculty from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy earlier this week. And whether it was intentional or just fate, Rosberg’s initial foray into consulting – and her career path since then – has been quite impressive.
The alumna – Rosberg earned a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy in 2004 – returned to her alma mater to discuss her career in financial services and offer her thoughts on the future of her industry as part of the Institute for Business in the Global Context’s speaker series.
Before coming to Fletcher, Rosberg explained, she was unsure of exactly which route to take in her career, so she took the opportunity to become a consultant after hearing it could inspire her career search. “Consulting is a great way to learn a craft and learn about an industry from the inside out,” she told students.
After a few years as a consultant, the events of 9/11 occurred, and Rosberg’s path suddenly shifted. “I was moved to change my career and decided to come to Fletcher,” she said.
Since graduating from Fletcher, Rosberg served eight years as a strategy director in the wholesale divisions of two global banks and currently works as a partner for Oliver Wyman. She’s seen the banking industry through both prosperous times and catastrophic ones, and the experience has given Rosberg some valuable insight into the future of the financial services industry.
The Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) is pleased to bring you relevant global business leaders as part of our Global Speaker Series, which has provided Fletcher students with substantive networking and recruiting opportunities for the past 16 years. Last semester, we hosted the CEO of Oliver Wyman, Partners at Dalberg & Accenture, along with Managing Director at Mathematica, among others.
Interested in working in the private sector or at the confluence of public/private worlds while making connections with potential employers? Then, come and engage with this impressive lineup of executives, entrepreneurs, and academics—including Fletcher alumni! We are constantly adding new speakers, events to the calendar, so stay tuned.
Upcoming Conferences & Special Events IBGC is co-sponsoring
Come, participate, and showcase what make Fletcher the only place where the front page meets the business page!
Wealth management expert Alice Finn (F88) is the prime example of a Fletcher alumna. She pays it forward — Finn founded PowerHouse Assets to help women tackle finances with confidence — and sets high goals and achieves them. Finn recently released her book, Smart Women Love Money: Five Simple, Life-Changing Rules of Investing, to help women get their start in investing.
On Wednesday Nov. 1, Finn returned to The Fletcher School to take part in the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) Speaker Series and in true Fletcher style, she brought along a fellow alumna and PowerHouse Assets colleague, Ralitza Gueorguieva (F05). IBGC Director of Corporate Relations Dorothy Orszulak introduced Finn to an engaged crowd — of both genders. Finn answered every question asked thoughtfully and passionately, sharing her five top tips:
In a Q&A before the event, Finn revealed her motivation for starting her company, shared her best financial tip and explained how her Fletcher experience prepared her for her career.
“Should businesses be involved in politics? Absolutely. We have a responsibility to make our contribution to society,” Oliver Wyman CEO Scott McDonald told Fletcher students last week during a talk hosted by The Institute for Business in the Global Context. McDonald explored business’ ever-evolving role in politics during his presentation and explained how he navigates the changing landscape as head of a leading global management consulting firm.
The debate around whether business should (or shouldn’t) be involved in politics isn’t a new one, McDonald said, but discovering the right way to balance involvement in politics without alienating your employees and consumers often poses a challenge for companies.
Political activities such as lobbying have existed for ages and have always been a natural part of the business world, McDonald explained. During the 1960s and ‘70s, businesses became more involved in politics as the civil and women’s rights movements hit the scene. The next big wave of activity popped up in the ‘90s as consumers began to make their voices heard more clearly. Over the past 10 years or so, companies have started to think strategically about consumers’ voices and have begun to actively align their goals with those of their customers.
As an advisor on agriculture & food security at strategic advisory firm Dalberg Advisors, Angela Hansen works at the forefront of some of the world’s most pressing issues. On September 27, Hansen shared some of her insights on global sustainable development and the practice of “design thinking” with Fletcher students at the first event in this semester’s Institute for Business in the Global Context’s speaker series. In a hands-on event that featured a few participant exercises, Hansen encouraged students to approach her talk with a “beginner’s mind” and keep their curiosity open to the subject at hand.
At Dalberg, Hansen works across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to help clients in emerging and frontier markets enhance performance, meet objectives and develop new partnerships in the field of global sustainable development. Hansen has prepared strategies for multilateral organizations, leading international NGOs and private sector companies all over the world and has lived and worked in Africa for over a decade.
In a brief Q&A, Hansen gave us a look into her typical work day, revealed her best advice for Fletcher students and explained how “design thinking” can impact global sustainable development.
1) What does your typical work day look like?
There is no typical day. Most of this week, I have been in side-events around the UN General Assembly in New York. I’ve engaged with private companies such as Barclays, Eni, Siemens, Mars and Phillip Morris. I’ve met with non-profits including Business Fights Poverty and CARE, and I’ve spoken with multilateral and bilateral development actors, as well as with a few of my favorite thought leaders such as Roger Martin and Malcom Gladwell. It’s great to be back in New York; this past month I have been in South Africa, Italy, Austria and Denmark for a mix of Dalberg and non-Dalberg commitments. Continue reading
“It’s a pretty exciting time for you all to be coming out of Fletcher,” John Gordon told an audience of Fletcher students. After all, the technology field is developing rapidly, and ideas once-considered “crazy” are driving major industry progress. Gordon knows a thing or two about noteworthy technology developments; he’s the Chief Digital Officer of Current, powered by General Electric (GE) — an energy company that integrates GE’s LED, Solar, Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle businesses to deliver cost-effective, efficient energy solutions.
Understanding how technology evolves and the “implications of new technology trends” is of the utmost importance, Gordon told students. He referred to GE as a “big industrial company in transition” and said staying on top of the latest technology is one of the ways it stays current and drives progress.
Case in point? GE is known for building locomotives and engines, but at a certain point the company realized they needed to update the way they approach technology to better understand how their systems actually perform. “We decided that we needed a different type of technology that would allow us to service things better,” he explained. So GE sought out additional data to teach them how various machines, like airplanes, were operating, then started the process of analyzing.
How do the decisions you make over the course of your career influence your ultimate trajectory? HubSpot’s Chief Financial Officer, John Kinzer, posed this question while discussing his impressive career and current role in a presentation for The Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) speaker series on March 27. Kinzer manages HubSpot’s finances and played a key role in the company’s initial public offering.
Kinzer described some of the major career decisions that paved his path to HubSpot. For instance, he said studying at Virginia Tech’s business school helped prepare him for his first major career step: entering the field of public accounting.
After working for Arthur Anderson for several years, Kinzer took an accounting job with MCI rather than attend business school. At MCI, he gained analytical skills and learned the important connection between marketing and business.
While working at MCI, Kinzer got a call from E-centives, an online coupon company, and took a job there. “I’d been at two very big companies and wanted to do something smaller,” he explained.
March and April are always a busy time at Fletcher. Mid-terms give way to the semester’s final crescendo, warm spring weather lifts everyone’s spirits, and, of course, calendars fill with scores of exciting events across campus. This year, the two weeks from March 28th through April 8th brought a seemingly non-stop flow of fascinating speakers and prestigious celebrations, from the IBGC Speaker Series to Tufts University-wide events. Many focused on technology and entrepreneurship, but others brought high-profile visitors to discuss a wealth of other issues.
Learn more about these exciting two weeks at Fletcher:
Monday, March 28: Legal Seafoods CEO Roger Berkowitz spoke about the sustainability and the global supply chain as part of the IBGC Speaker Series. He punctuated his perspective on the fish business by noting, “”At the end of the day, if we’re not conservationists, we’re not going to be in business!” Later that same day, Dan Schulman, President & CEO of PayPal, spoke alongside Hewlett Foundation cyber-security expert Eli Sugerman in a discussion entitled, “21st Century Cybersecurity: Challenges and Opportunities.” Read more about the event here
Tuesday, March 29: Tuesday took a deeper dive into the world of financial technology, as CEME Senior Fellow Arthur Sculley hosted an intimated lunchtime round table discussion on “The Future of FinTech 2.0.”
Wednesday, March 30: The Murrow Center, Hitachi Center, and Cyber Working Group came together to welcome Andrea Glorioso, Counselor for the Digital Economy from the Delegation of the European Union to the US, for a talk on future prospects for markets and transatlantic relations in a digital context.
Thursday, March 31: The second IBGC Speaker Series event of the week brought the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (better known as DARPA), Dr. Arati Prabhakar to campus for a luncheon lecture to discuss “Technologies to Bend the Arc of the Future.” You can read a write-up of the event here
Monday, April 4: The following week showed no let up in great evemts around Tufts University as Jeff Rothschild, former VP at Facebook, came to campus to discuss his observations on entrepreneurship and technology in his talk titled, “From Punched Cards to Social Media.”
Wednesday, April 6: Presented by the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Fouad Siniora, former Prime Minister of Lebanon, gave a talk on the risks and opportunities presented by “The Emerging Middle East.”
Thursday, April, 7: Day 2 of the Tufts Entrepreneurial Showcase featured the finalists for the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition, with two Fletcher-led teams — Blue Water Metrics and Uliza — placing in the Top 3.
Friday, April 8: The busy and exciting 12 days at Fletcher came to a close, wrapping up the week with yet another IBGC Speaker Series event. “The Future of Innovation” was the topic, as former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley spoke to a packed house over lunch, full of inspiration and insight. There was plenty to dig into about the future of technology, but to him, innovation boils down to one thing: “It’s all about having insatiable curiosity.”
These events are just a small sampling of the wonderful happenings at Fletcher ever semester. Be sure to check out the Fletcher Calendar, IBGC Speaker Series, and Fletcher Features, as well as right here on this blog.