Monday, November 8

Cornell MBA Program

I spent Thursday and Friday last week at The Johnson School at Cornell University -- one of the top MBA programs in the country. I did my undergrad at Cornell, although I got my MBA at Columbia -- either way my heart belongs to Cornell.

The fabulous Warren Ellish organized a Executive Coaching program where a bunch of us "seasoned" (so nice to say it that way) marketers come back to campus to coach the students who are just starting their careers. We had a cocktail reception, some 1:1 interviews, and then a student activity. From my vantage point, it was very productive.

The activity was called "Battle of the Brands" where the first year marketing students competed to present their marketing plan for a well known consumer package good. Each team presented how they would position, target, and market the product to The Johnson School. They even had to sell product at a social event and calculate a pro forma P&L. The products included were:
- Colgate Wisp
- Listerine Breath Strips
- Axe Detailer
- Lipton To Go
- Johnson's Wipes
- Irish Spring Body Wash

It was a fun competition and clearly everyone had put a lot of effort into it. All of the Executive Coaches voted to determine the winner, which was the team who marketed the Axe Detailer (male body wash device). I loved their idea of a tie-in with Livestrong and the tagline: "Screen 'em while you clean 'em." --- I'm sure you can figure that one out! The team even donated their prize ($1,000) to Livestrong. Brilliant.

It was a wonderful two day get away. Not only to be back up on "the hill" as Cornellians say, but also to give a little back. The students were wonderful to talk to and their energy was completely contagious. I found being around them to be very revitalizing. I hope that I can continue to help them.

And it was wonderful to meet the other Executive Coaches, many of whom have been doing this for a few years now. It was great to meet thought leaders in the industry and to hear about their career progression.

I certainly plan to repeat again next year!

What's your experience? Jim.

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