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 Appearing Now: Premier Business Speakers

When Darlene Smith became Merrick‘s dean last year, one of her goals was to host a top-notch speaker series for our students and the Baltimore business community. She imagined the series as a forum to address current business trends and to create new tools for a changing climate for capitalism. In her view, it would help bring attention to the school and its academic programs.

The speaker series was officially launched in the spring of 2009 with Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who appeared at the Meyerhoff Symphony Center before a large and enthusiastic crowd. The series continues this fall with a similarly impressive lineup of speakers. 

Already this semester, the school has hosted Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard business professor and author of SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth and Social Good. She was the first of the scheduled three speakers to appear on campus for the fall 2009 iteration of the series. 

“Rosabeth Kanter has built such a distinguished career that her work is often compared to the great business scholar Peter Drucker,” said Smith. “When our management team first discussed a school sponsored speaker series, we all agreed that it had to incorporate forward thinking business leaders—Kanter certainly fits in that category.”

Kanter’s lecture focused on the synergy between a company’s financial performance and its attention to community and social needs. The capacity crowd listened as she revealed how she and her research team spent three years interviewing 350 people in 20 countries to get the necessary data for the book. The hard work has paid off—some are now calling her book a manifesto for leadership for sustainable enterprises.  

Kanter’s lecture was especially relevant now, since the School of Business has been developing curriculum changes to address topics of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, including the addition of a sustainability management specialization in the M.B.A. program.

“Having a correlation with an academic program is imperative,” Smith said. “We see the October speaker, David Wessel, economics editor of the Wall Street Journal, as an important link to the growth of our programs focused on the financial service industry. I am reading his book, In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic, right now. I expect that he will reveal how unprepared our politicians and regulators were for the economic collapse of 2008. His lecture should be a riveting one, with a strong message and a lot of lessons that the audience can apply to their own situations.”

The night of Wessel’s lecture, the School will celebrate its newly revamped M.S. in Business-Finance program. Merrick has built a program portfolio dedicated to the financial services industry. Accounting and business advisory services, business-finance, and taxation programs are targeted to the business community’s intense need to respond to the rapidly changing business environment.

The fall semester’s last speaker is Erik van Ommeren, co-author of Collaboration in the Cloud: How Cross-Boundary Collaboration is Transforming Business. He will appear on Nov. 10, his lecture will delve into ways that business managers can survive in today’s hyper-connected world. With instability and unpredictability becoming every day aspects of the business world, more organizations are envisioning a “bottom-up” culture in which innovation and collaboration spring from interpersonal relationships within the organization and beyond.  While much of Van Ommeren’s discussion has an information systems focus, anyone interested in the concepts of Value 2.0 will enjoy this lecture.

To learn more about the Dean’s Speaker Series click here.

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