Talk about that pivot.
In its more than 20 years of existence, a group of entrepreneurship scholars would meet in Chicago, usually at a hotel near the airport, to discuss the state of entrepreneurship education, trends and new programs.
By all accounts, the accommodations were not too fancy. “The room was kind of bunker-like, to tell the truth,” said Linda Darragh, the Larry Levy Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. But it was centrally located, and so year after year the group would hold its annual meeting there. In March. In Chicago. Next to O’Hare.
“The new facilities at the Greif Center are remarkable. Such amazing views, comfortable meeting space and fantastic food.”--Deb Whitman, director of entrepreneurial studies at Stanford Graduate School of Business
Last year, one of the attendees asked whether the group should meet at a university instead of the airport. David Belasco answered first. “We’ll host it at USC,” he said.
Belasco, executive director of USC Marshall’s Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, has attended the meeting for years and was eager to show his colleagues what USC had to offer. The cold weather schools quickly seconded the motion.
And so it was that the annual Entrepreneurial Studies (ES) Leader’s Meeting convened this year in the sun-filled fifth-floor offices of the Greif Center in Fertitta Hall, March 1-2.
The Marshall Difference
Fourteen participants, scholars and directors of entrepreneurial centers from business schools including Berkeley Haas, Chicago Booth, Harvard, Stanford, Michigan Ross, Northwestern Kellogg and Virginia Darden, enjoyed sweeping views of campus and downtown Los Angeles from the Center's balcony.
Their agenda included roundtable discussions on academic and curricular issues, emerging student interests and trends in entrepreneurship pedagogy. They later examined the other side of the coin: incubators, accelerators, maker spaces and venture capital.
But after business-as-usual adjourned for the day, participants jumped into golf carts and toured the University Park Campus. They met with USC head football coach Clay Helton at The McKay Center and took their photo with Tommy Trojan. Then they had dinner downtown. On the second day, they attended a discussion with Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix. "Some of the schools don't have access to Hollywood and digital media," said Belasco. "So we arranged for the group to attend the discussion."
Everyone agreed that March in Los Angeles is better than March in Chicago.
“It was so much nicer meeting at USC than at the Hilton Airport,” said Deb Whitman, director of entrepreneurial studies at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “The new facilities at the Greif Center are remarkable. Such amazing views, comfortable meeting space and fantastic food.”
They also agreed that meeting at group members’ home campuses lends a personable touch that benefits the group.
“Every year we get together to talk about what’s working, what’s not, in the world of academics and entrepreneurship,” said David Touve, the director of i.Lab at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. “We’ve each got different audiences, and we don’t really compete with each other. This is a much more personable way to convene our group each year.”
Following USC’s lead, Cornell offered to host next year’s summit. But the date was moved to May to account for warmer weather in Ithaca.