Haasies Head to Ross for the Net Impact 2010 Conference

The following post is authored by Patrick Schneider (FTMBA 2012), the incoming co-president of Net Impact.

Last weekend was a great one for the Haas Net Impact Chapter, as we all bundled up for the annual Net Impact Conference at the Ross School of Business in Michigan (it’s colder there!) We had a contingent of about 25 students, which I was really impressed with, considering the distance that we had to travel and our small class size of 240 per class! Everyone flew out at different times, and I think my group had one of the toughest itineraries. Our flight left at 5:30 . . . . am! Which meant that we woke up (if we went to sleep at all!) around 2:30am in order to make it to the airport on time. Of course, the flight went quickly because we were all asleep. This got us into Ann Arbor in time for the kick-off, which was great, and then we spent a relaxing evening hanging out with each other, meeting some alums who had come to the conference as members of professional chapters, and then getting some rest for the days ahead!

The next couple of days were a blur of enlightening sessions, networking with students from other schools and professionals, and some social time with all of these people who had come from around the world to celebrate the fact that never before has the gap between doing good and doing well been so small (thank you for that gem, Dean Lyons!) Several sessions really had an impact, but my favorite was a panel with the Executive Directors of First Book and KaBOOM! on how to scale nonprofits to maximize social good. Really had some insightful things to say, and got me interested in their organizations!

We had drinks Friday evening with the Net Impact chapter from MIT, and it was great to get to know these individuals from across the country! Obviously the social impact sector (in light of the larger business world) is a bit smaller, so I think it’s really important for everyone in this field to pull together, share ideas, and work with each other to maximize the impact we’re having in the world. I’m excited about continuing these connections beyond the conference! Also at this event, Patrick Schneider (that’s me!) and Dana Ledyard were announced as the Net Impact Co-Presidents for next year, and we’re so excited about continuing the great work that’s been done with Net Impact at Haas.

Unfortunately, it was time to return on Sunday, and we were all sad to leave, partly because of the great connections we’d made, but also because of the piles of Finance and Accounting homework waiting for us at home (and on the plane!) But it was a great experience, and we can’t wait to renew those ties at the 2011 Net Impact conference in Portland, OR!

—Eve A.

Leeds Net Impact Case Competition: February 22-23

The Leeds Net Impact Case Competition finals held at the University of Colorado at Boulder focused on issues of eco-responsibility facing the technology sector. In particular, the case prompt was to develop a strategy for Sun Microsystems to increase revenue from its eco-conscious products and services by $1 billion over a three year period. Our team’s proposal constituted a three pronged approach. The first step was to develop the technology services competencies of Sun through a strategic investment in a company operating in the area of datacenter design and construction. Concomitant was to introduce two business model innovations: datacenters-as-a-service inspired by the Salesforce model and project financing for datacenters inspired by the innovative structures used for solar and wind energy installations. While we did not advance to be among the five teams to present to Sun, we did receive favorable feedback, and we feel our effort and work product reflected Haas’s aspiration to lead through innovation.

And we got in a sweet day on the slopes of Vail!

-Ben Biddle ’09, Morgan Clements ’09, Jeff Denby ’08, Elizabeth Singleton ’08

Case Competitions: They Only Come Out At Night – By Luke Filose ’09

“In a world of normal people who go to sleep at eleven o’clock, one crack team of analysts is working through the night…”

If this were a film trailer, the sentence would probably continue…“to decipher a long-lost Babylonian tablet containing the answer to an ancient secret of apocalyptic proportions.” In the world of business school, however, you’d probably be talking about a case competition. My first competition – the Leeds/Net Impact Case Competition at the University of Colorado, Boulder – focused on a leading internet infrastructure firm moving into “green business.” While we had plenty of background reading over the preceding weeks, our actual assignment (drive significant incremental revenue by 2011 through a new line of energy-efficient products) was given to us at 8 pm on Friday. Our deadline: 8 am Saturday morning. Cruelty, as it turns out, still exists in this world.

Despite the lousy hours, I felt good going in since my team consisted of a former management consultant and two former employees of major technology firms (Jon Burns ’09, Megan Ryskamp ’09, and Naveen Sikka ’09). Given this fountain of expertise, I focused on my core competencies: cracking jokes and procuring snacks to keep us going through the night. Here’s a summary of the Safeway receipt I just dug out of my trash bin:

· Six pack of Coke
· Six pack of Mountain Dew
· 12 pack of Corona (in case things got really desperate)
· Bananas and apples (they look good on a table)
· Sweet & Salty Nut granola bars
· Chips and salsa
· Spicy nuts
· Roasted and salted pistachios

At 8 am, delirious but full of snacky goodness, we submitted our presentation, slept for two hours, and then presented our strategy to a panel of obscenely well-rested judges, including members of the company.

Did we win? Well, let’s just say that none of the three Haas teams that qualified for the top 20 semifinalists advanced to the final round. Haas was recently ranked #1 and #2 in CSR, so my guess is that our ideas were just too advanced for the judges to understand.Like a good film, this experience had a happy ending, but not the one you expected. Due to the knowledge of the firm gained through the competition, I got an interview for a summer internship. If they ask me to name two weaknesses, I’ll probably say spicy nuts and granola bars.

—Charlene Chen

Networking for Impact

Well, we’re back. All 62 of us. A good-lookin‘ crew, huh?…A mere fraction of the total Haas representation in Nashville!

I’ll give some context in case you didn’t see my post last week. Haas sent a large contingent to this year’s national Net Impact Conference, Nov. 1-4, hosted by Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management in the heart of country music…umm, country.

The Conference was an amazing opportunity to not only meet experienced practitioners and academics in fields we’re interested in, but also a chance to network with socially-minded MBAs from schools all around the country–while getting to know our Haas brethren much better (sometimes it takes getting away from school to really do that). Panel topics ranged from CSR and triple bottom line to social venture and nonprofit management to supply chain greening…and everything in between. One of our Career Services Advisors, Rich Wong, even made the trip out to support us. What a guy.

All in all, the weekend was intellectually engaging, viscerally energizing, and socially satisfying. And we topped it all off with a little line dancing on Saturday night!

Many of us are now fighting colds from the long flight and lack of sleep, but it was well worth it. I, for one, am already looking forward to next year (Wharton is hosting)…