While sage souls reflected on the 20th Century's great minds at Rockefeller University, one of the 21st century's great minds might have been in attendance at the NYU TANG conference MBA@NY last Friday, February 26. Phil Terry, who organized the Harvard Business School Cyberposium last year and this year's impromptu panel with Melissa Grossman (iXL), also organized last year's NYU MBA@NY with @NY. It was co-chaired by Peter Markham and Nicole Jacoby. Incidentally, Phil corrected my skewed numbers. It wasn't 400 people who heard the Saturday morning panel with distinguished speakers like Julie Fenster of Time Inc. New Media and Christopher Hill of AOL, but 1400! Whoops. Guess that's what happens when you're in the front row and haven't had coffee yet at 7:45 AM! (Also, anecdotally, I broke the story on this conference before Wired or any other publication. Yea!)
Phil introduced me to Lisa Kay, who organized this year's conference with the help of a very capable crew. In conjunction with 10 other partner schools and some top Alley firms, this event became something quite viable. The success of this event also grew the TANG department from six people to hundreds. Silicon Alleyer Jodie Kahn of 24/7, old-time WWWAC member Hung-Hsien Chang, Marc Turk of Bates and Johanna Kietzmann, who works in marketing at Chase, were all students in attendance. They all cited the need to stay in the workforce, and to keep up with the fast-paced industry while learning solid business skills. The lauded the strength of the NYU MBA program as a terrific, but said it is difficult at times to balance with their other responsibilities.
Anne Yoakam and Alex Ellsworth, both entrepreneurs in the city, and Mark Strehlow of Razorfish came out to check it out, as did Mark Hurst, who revealed the URL for his original interactive cartoons for his alma mater, MIT's newspaper "Firehose Engine." Check it out at: http://wt.mit.edu/Projects/Firehose/firehose-home.html. Dan Newman, a part-time student in his second year at NYU, commented on the definite dichotomy between entrepreneurs and "corporate" business. His wife, Barbara, a student at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, said she got some really good advice. Even Chan Suh walked the three blocks from his office at Agency.com to speak and meet students. With the growth of the industry and the whizardry of all these MBA's, it looks as if TIME magazine will have to publish the 200 great minds of the century.