An innovative format helped make the 2005 HBS Atlanta Trek a great success. The trek focused on connecting small groups of students with a broad variety of the most interesting Atlanta based companies led by HBS alumni. Instead of shuttling a large group of students around to PowerPoint presentations, the Atlanta Trek set up informal networking sessions between 5-6 students and a few company employees to learn about the company. EC trek co-leaders, Sahil Patel (OH) and Errol Williams (OH), along with RC industry sector captains Andrew Stinson (NI), Winn Everhart (NH), Kris Chikelue (OA), Mark Morris (NF), and Bobby McIntyre (NF) attracted companies from the real estate, private equity, venture capital, investment management, retail, consumer products, and consulting industries.
The group kicked off the trek with a Wednesday night dinner at Magana’s, a popular Buckhead restaurant. The dinner featured keynote speaker Rosita Smith from the Greater Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. She discussed recent and expected trends in the Atlanta business community. Additionally, several HBS alumni attended the dinner: Tycho Howle, Chairman of nuBridges (HBS ’78), Colleen Craig, CFO of ApolloMD (HBS ’96), Patrick Taylor, CEO of Oversight Systems (‘HBS 90), and Luis Fernandez, executive at IBM (HBS ’87). Highlights from the next two days of company meetings included Noro-Moseley, the leading venture capital company in the southeast, Brighthouse, one of world’s first ideation firms, and Dewberry Capital, an entrepreneurial real estate firm that has a large hand in the development of metro Atlanta. Of course, the Trek also hit the usual suspects – Bain, Booz Allen, McKinsey, and BCG – as well.
The unique format with several small groups meeting with different companies during a given time slot allowed the HBS students to meet with eighteen companies over the two day period. The trek participants (Kris Chikelue, Terry Comer, Xavier Eichelberger, Winn Everhart, Joe Kichler, Marc Lau, Bobby McIntyre, Eric Morgan, Sahil Patel, Robert Roberts, Brad Soper, Andrew Stinson, Micajah Sturdivant, and Errol Williams) returned to campus with very personal contacts with some of the Atlanta area’s most prominent business men and women.