By Kirk Kardashian
Published Sep 04, 2013
The speaker series, sponsored by Bernt Killingstad T’86, brings senior executives and global leaders to Tuck to foster dialogue on the intersection of business and government.
On September 30, the Center for Global Business and Government will launch a new season of the popular Global Insights speaker series it introduced last year, which featured the likes of former Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll and Jose Fernandez D’77, the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, among others.
This year brings another slate of business and government leaders, along with one important change: a new name. Thanks to the generous support of Bernt Killingstad T’86, the program is now called the Killingstad Global Insights series. Killingstad, the Managing Director of AIG Lincoln Europe, will kick off the series with the story of how he built a real estate company in Europe just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and how students today should prepare for a business career that spans national boundaries.
“What the Center for Global Business and Government is doing—connecting business to the governmental contexts in which it operates—is something that I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with,” Killingstad said. “The coursework in global economics and policy issues is important, and it’s something I wish I had while at Tuck.”
Killingstad’s path to the top spot at a major real estate company began with one small real estate deal in Berlin in 1990. From there, he saw that much of the continent was changing fast and would need housing and commercial real estate. He then partnered with AIG to form AIG Lincoln Europe and began building properties in nine countries across central and eastern Europe. “I had the entrepreneurial skills from Tuck to analyze a problem, see an opportunity, and act on it,” he recalled. “In my case, it just happened to lead into an international setting.”
Students need to be more prepared today to function in a global business environment, Killingstad noted. “Sitting in the U.S., people are woefully unaware of all the regulatory issues in various countries,” he said. “And that can be a real pitfall.” That belief led to his support of the center and its speaker series.
“Bernt is keenly aware that business and government are closely intertwined,” said Matthew Slaughter, the faculty director of the center and the Signal Companies’ Professor of Management. “We’re very pleased he’s supporting our efforts to bring top executives and government officials to Tuck to further prepare our students to be leaders in the business world.”