By Guest Blogger Michael Nurick, MBA 14
What would happen if you brought the best MBA students from around the world together in one place to exchange ideas and forge lasting relationships? That was the question Thomas Fuchs, Yannick Reiss, and the rest of the team at Frankfurt-based networking company Quarterly Crossing (QX) sought to answer with the First Annual MBA World Summit in Hong Kong.
QX designed a rigorous application process consisting of essays, resume reviews, and invitation-only interviews. Out of more than 2,000 applications, QX selected 60 MBA students from around the globe to attend the summit fully sponsored by the summit’s corporate partners: Henkel, BASF, among others. Three months after beginning the process myself, I learned that I was one of those lucky 60 and would be the sole representative from Haas. I was thrilled, but with no precedence for such an event, I had no idea what to expect!
The summit began with a welcome reception at the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon, which boasts stunning views of the striking Hong Kong skyline. I was nothing short of impressed by the other MBA students in attendance. Everyone had his or her unique stories to tell and ambitious goals to achieve. But reminiscent of the Haas culture, everyone exhibited a sense of humility and honor to have been lucky enough to be a part of this event. The excitement in the air was palpable, and we couldn’t wait for the official events to begin.
The first full day of the summit was dedicated to the goal of sharing ideas. Eighteen of the 60 student attendees were invited to host Summit Leadership Sessions, hour-long seminars on a topic of the student’s choosing. The goal of my session, titled “What Rockstars Can Teach Us About Leadership,” was to convey key leadership lessons I had learned during my years as a performing musician, using vivid storytelling to translate those lessons to a management context.
One such story touched on a topic that Haas’ own Lecturer Cort Worthington has designed classes around: authenticity. As a musician, maintaining authenticity is a constant struggle between staying true to your artistic expression and tailoring your music for market success. I’ve witnessed this struggle firsthand during my seven years as the guitarist of Nine Leaves, an innovative band of hip-hop artists. Despite a loyal fan base and strong reviews, we were often told that our music wasn’t mainstream enough, but we weren’t willing to change. Our music was best when it came from our hearts, and our fans could tell the difference.
I also shared stories about famous artists such as ?uestlove and Sara Bareilles who struggled with maintaining authenticity but came to the same conclusion: Authenticity enabled them to best connect with their audience. In a management context, that same connection can both motivate and inspire a team.
The second day of the summit was dedicated to forging relationships, while enjoying all Hong Kong had to offer. Through excursions to the big Buddha, a junk boat cruise around Hong Kong harbor, and a long night out in Hong Kong’s famous Lan Kwai Fong, the 60 of us grew closer together through a shared and remarkable experience.
Before I knew it, the experience was over, but I was left with incredible memories and a renewed vigor to continue pursuing my ultimate goal of using my skills developed at Haas to support the careers of fellow musicians through innovative music businesses. More than that, I can now say that I have a friend in every major city across the globe thanks to my MBA counterparts. As MBA World Summit alumni, we’ll have the opportunity to reunite every year when QX admits a new batch of top global MBA talent into the network. And I plan to be there, promoting Haas and supporting the future success of this great global MBA experiment.