Global Entrepreneurs Coming to HBS

This Saturday, December 1, is Harvard Business School’s 18th annual Entrepreneurship Conference “Build to Lead.” This conference, which is hosted by the Entrepreneurship Club, attracts venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and industry experts.

One reason why hundreds of students will attend the event is because of the line-up of distinguished speakers and panelists. There are three keynote speakers &- Jay Walker, founder of, David Neeleman, founder and CEO of Jet Blue Airlines, and Stelios Hajji-Ioannou, founder of easyGroup which includes easyJet, easyEverything, Stelmar Tankers,, and All of these entrepreneurs will be discussing their own insights on entrepreneurship and their experiences in starting successful businesses.

The day will be structured around a series of panels ranging in topic from real estate to funding choices to guidance on how to find a hot startup idea. Several of these panels are co-sponsored by other campus organizations such as the Latin American Club, European Club, WSA and Social Enterprise Club.

In addition to being informational, the conference will also provide many networking opportunities. Attendees are invited to attend small group lunches with the speakers and featured guests. In addition, the day will close with a reception that enables students to mingle with business leaders and gain insight into a variety of industries.

For those that already have an idea for a business &- there will be venture capital feedback sessions where students can pitch their plans to VCs in a low-risk environment. This is an excellent opportunity for students thinking about starting their own business to present a high-level 10-minute overview &- and get some feedback after a Q&A session. No elaborate business plan is required. The idea can be anywhere from concept stage to pre-funding stage. All attendees are invited to participate in the feedback sessions as either a presenter or an audience member to provide feedback.

It is hardly surprising that there has been such a buzz surrounding this conference. Entrepreneurship has been central part of the HBS culture for many years. In fact it is the HBS MBA that has started the careers of many well-known entrepreneurs. Some prominent HBS alumni are Thomas G. Stemberg (MBA ’73), founder of Staples, Inc., William G. McGowan (MBA ’54), who transformed MCI into a leading telecommunications provider, and Scott Cook (MBA ’76) founder of Intuit.

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