When a couple of people get together to talk about how to make our world a better place, they can be called agitators or outliers. When a half a dozen people start talking about key issues, some eyebrows get raised. But when nearly 50 people get together in a number of groups over an entire week . . .well, my friend, I call that a movement.
And that’s what we had last week-The UNstudy Group Movement.
UNstudy groups are a new forum for HBS students to meet with each other (and occasionally professors or special guests) and address some of the most important business issues of our time. Issues that are all-too-often NOT raised in our classrooms. UNstudy-ers meet over lunch and have informal conversations to share knowledge and push each other to draw conclusions.
UNstudy I brought together a handful of students and professors in what was, by all accounts, a very stimulating and successful conversation about managerial responsibility for financial oversight in the post-Enron environment.
But, man, last week just blew UNstudy I out of the water. My inbox was overflowing with people who wanted to attend, and original plans for 2-3 groups quickly blossomed to 6.
Participants ranged from former pharmaceutical company employees to African aid workers to students who were simply interested in learning more about the scourge of AIDS and how the business community is related. Key points included whether companies are morally obligated to heal disease, whether low cost drugs would erode intellectual property conventions, or whether complicated drug regimes can even work in the world’s poorest communities.
While we didn’t solve the issue, I’m confident that there are now about 50 HBS students who are more informed and more motivated to do something about AIDS in Africa. Perhaps most importantly, UNstudy group participants began to build a totally different kind of network, one that doesn’t revolve solely around job goal or section dynamics.
I’m not sure what issue UNstudy should tackle next. If you have any ideas, let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNstudy. Remember, now it’s a movement.