The senior economist for think tank RAND Corporation began guest instruction in macroeconomics and public policy this Monday in an interdisciplinary course taught by Chief Financial Officer Rob Levin.
Richard Neu, who has also served as CFO for several businesses and has, according to Levin, “worked at the highest levels of national government,” is the second guest instructor Levin has arranged for Business and Life: Concepts and Connections, one of the new interdisciplinary electives begun this year. School Vice President John Amato suggested Neu as a guest speaker, Levin said
Adam Berger (Adrian ’15, Mollie ’16), previous Boston Consulting Group employee and CEO of Digital Room Inc., which controls multiple printing companies, inaugurated the guest instruction last week when he taught the Business and Life students the fundamentals of strategy and marketing.
He covered topics like Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis, which evaluates the factors in a business venture, and which Berger thinks has “universal applicability not only to business but also to life.”
“We did what is basically a 32-week business school class in five days,” Berger said
Berger first became interested in Levin’s class when he heard about it from Levin because of their mutual involvement on the middle school golf team. He asked what he could do to be helpful, and it turned out that Berger’s specialty, strategy and marketing, was “the single mediocre grade” Levin said he had received at business school.
What began as a casual agreement went further as Levin realized that not only were there many subjects in his course that could be enhanced by guest speakers, but that these speakers could be found within the school’s alumni and parent bodies.
Although Levin knew his class spanned many subjects that he could easily teach, there were others, like entrepreneurship, for which he considered himself ill-prepared.
“I don’t know exactly what you’d want to do teaching a course on entrepreneurship, but I had a pretty good idea that what you don’t want to do is take somebody who has been safe and secure on a salary for 28 years and have that person telling you about the attitudes you need to start a business,” Levin said.
The guest instructor for entrepreneurship, Nate Snyder ’94, has started many businesses and currently runs a networking group for fellow entrepreneurial alumni.
Other future guest instructors and speakers planned for the next few weeks include lawyer Mary Beth Kors (Annie ’14, Matthew ’17), who will teach business law, Mike Ladge (Alexis ’15), who works in the sports industry and administration members like Amato and school president Thomas C. Hudnut.
“It’s just been this bandwagon that more and more people have gotten onto,” Levin said.
Levin’s students are also eager to learn from the guest instructors.
“[Berger] was insightful and he taught us things that really forced us to think outside the box,” Business and Life student Austin Chan ’13 said. “If he is any indication of how guest speakers will go, I’m very excited.”