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Everything is Illuminated

Apologies to Jonathan Safran Foer for lifting the title of his book for my post, but its been the theme of my day today. My favorite thing about the academic experience at business school so far has been that the problems and questions we have are real. There are real dates and times. Real people and places. The cases are from a variety of industries and often, written by our professors. I always wondered what it would be like to meet the people that we had spent hours reading/thinking about. That question was answered twice today. We just left a fantastic talk by Gary Loveman, CEO of Harrah's, on what makes Harrah's tick and what their strategy is from an HR, operations and customer service perspective - which was particularly relevant as we had just done a case on Harrah's yesterday for Employee. Earlier this morning, we met with Jason Shefrin, Director of Global Sourcing at American Greetings, and the subject of our case in Operations Engine today. Its amazing that these two business leaders took time out to come and meet with us for candid conversation - especially considering that it has been snowing non stop in New Haven today - and really speaks to the personal contact that the faculty have with business leaders. While listening to business leaders is always fun, it was incredible this time around because we had all the context of their organizations. How closely SOM is plugged into the latest trends and developments in the real world is something that never ceases to astound me. Now if we could only do a case on The Daily Show. I wouldnt be upset if I got to see Jon Stewart in person.