No idea if next year’s cohort will conduct the same study trips that we did / will, but I can certainly describe what we did and plan to do for the rest of the year. Like the prior year cohort, we participated in a mandatory East Coast Study Trip between Summer and Autumn quarters. The trip started in Washington, DC and ended in New York, NY. We were responsible for our own airfare (to Washington and back to campus from New York), but hotel and transportation for all official functions were covered by the MSx program.
Some people chose to arrive early or stay an extra day to explore on their own – this is allowed, but hotel is not covered for the extended days. Also, if you require your own hotel room, you can pay a surcharge to get a solo room. We visited most of these speakers on site, but a few came to speak at our hotel.
Here’s our itinerary (expect the itinerary to change every year):
Sunday, Sept 15: Arrive in Washington DC – no activities planned
Monday, Sept 16:
- Breakfast briefing
- Pew Research / Alan Murray, President (Stanford SEP 2005)
- AARP / Barry Rand, CEO (Stanford Sloan 1972 / MBA 1983)
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace / Jessica Matthews, President
- Free evening
Tuesday, Sept 17:
- Continental breakfast (at hotel during first speaker)
- UnitedContinental Holdings (United Airlines) / Nancy Van Duyne, VP Government Affairs
- Bus Tour / Group Photo / Free Time @ Smithsonian
- US Treasury Department / Mark Mazur, Asst Secretary of Tax Policy (Stanford PhD 1986, AM 1983)
- Free evening
Wednesday, Sept 18:
- Bus ride to NYC – yes, they really put us on two busses…
- NYSE Euronext / Joe Mecane, EVP US Equities
- NYSE Tour of Trading Floor (great photo opportunities!)
- Bus to hotel (unbelievable long bus ride)
- Free evening
Thursday, Sept 19:
- Ogilvy & Mather / John Seifert, Chairman & CEO North America (PR Firm)
- AIG / Steve Miller, Chairman (Stanford MBA 1968)
- Bonobos / Andy Dunn, Founder & CEO (Stanford MBA 2007)
- BlackRock / Robert Kapito, President
- MSx Group Dinner (business / semi-formal dress code)
Friday, Sept 20:
- Stanford GSB Alumni Mixer & Breakfast – be sure to talk to as many alumni as possible, you never know who will be there!
- Prof. Jennifer Aaker (Stanford PhD 1995)
- Time Warner / Jeff Bewkes, Chairman CEO (Stanford MBA 1977)
As you can see from the itinerary, the list of speakers was quite varied. In retrospect, we should have expected this, but the DC speakers were mostly about government (Beyond Markets) and lobbying. Whereas the NY speakers were all about business. Clearly, you will have your preferences, but try to enjoy both. For those of you not familiar with US politics and lobbying, you will get a pretty good understanding from the Beyond Markets class – this will give you plenty of context for the DC speakers.
My personal favorites were the NYSE Trading Floor visit and the session with Steve Miller. He is simply an incredible leader with deep experience in turn- arounds. He went to AIG at their worst and helped turn them around so they could repay all their federal assistance loans. Jeff Bewkes also gave a very interesting view of the media – a great way to cap a long week.
This trip was a great opportunity to spend time with classmates – both folks that I had already made deep friendships with, as well as other students who I had not really had a chance to get to know yet. Try to get to know as many folks as possible before the end of this trip – your free time will be in short supply once the Autumn quarter begins…