Tuck COVID-19 Information and Campus Updates

Tuck Board Chats Bring Students and Distinguished Alumni Together

A new co-curricular series gives students an opportunity to hear how alumni business leaders are managing during the pandemic.

In a virtual office hours session with Deans Sally Jaeger and Joe Hall a few weeks ago, students expressed an interest in learning from alumni about what it’s like to lead organizations during a pandemic. Last week, that idea became a reality when the first Tuck Board Chat was held remotely, via Zoom.

More than 100 students tuned in to participate in the event, where Dean Matthew Slaughter moderated a discussion with the three heads of the MBA Advisory Council: Mike Koester T’99, partner in merchant banking at Goldman Sachs; Leela Srinivasan T’06, CMO at SurveyMonkey; and Errik Anderson T’07, founder and CEO of Ulysses Diversified Holdings.

In their open and insightful discussion, Slaughter asked the alumni about the biggest challenges their organizations are facing, the most profound changes happening with how they run their businesses and, to end on a hopeful note, what they’re all looking forward to. “They all provided compelling demonstrations of wise, decisive leadership,” Slaughter said, “and articulated a thoughtful vision for our post-pandemic future.”

In an e-mail to students summarizing the event, Slaughter reported some of the stories from the participants: “Leela has been ripping up strategic plans to rally and reprioritize key teams on new mission-critical objectives. Errik pivoted from shuttering a rugby league to fighting COVID-19 through Alloy Therapeutics. And from his living room, Mike has been orchestrating what would be the world’s first $10 billion investment fund raised without a single in-person meeting.”

Being an alumna on the executive team at a public company, this felt like an especially important time to share with the Tuck community. Covid-19 has been the ultimate crash course in communications for leaders everywhere, so we’ve been making up the playbook as we go.

For Srinivasan, the motivation to take some time out of her busy day to speak to students came from her own appreciation of other alumni who had done the same thing for her. “As a Tuck student, I vividly recall how my interactions with alumni provided real-world examples that complemented what I learned in the classroom,” she said. “Being an alumna on the executive team at a public company, this felt like an especially important time to share with the Tuck community. Covid-19 has been the ultimate crash course in communications for leaders everywhere, so we’ve been making up the playbook as we go.”

Vishal Aggarwal T’20 attended the Board Chat because he wanted to hear how Tuck alumni in senior leadership positions are managing their companies in this unprecedented time. After listening to the discussion, he came away with a new appreciation for the all-encompassing role of leadership during crisis. “People in leadership positions have an added responsibility to manage the anxiety of their stakeholders,” he said. “They have to acknowledge the situation and find creative ways to keep employee morale up.” He was especially struck by Srinivasan’s efforts at SurveyMonkey, where her team is creating weekly videos to give shout-outs to employees who are doing great work.

People in leadership positions have an added responsibility to manage the anxiety of their stakeholders. They have to acknowledge the situation and find creative ways to keep employee morale up.

 

The Tuck Board Chats will continue through the end of the term, with the next one happening today with Jim Esposito T’95, global co-head of the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Division. Esposito and Slaughter will discuss the pandemic’s impact on global markets and leadership during volatile times. On May 18, the Tuck Board Chat will feature Kevin Demoff D’99 T’06, Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Rams, and Russell Wolff D’89 T’94 EVP & General Manager of ESPN+ at the Walt Disney Company. They will talk with Slaughter about sports and sports fans in a rapidly changing landscape.



Watch the latest board chat with Dean Matthew J. Slaughter; Mike Koester T’99, partner in merchant banking at Goldman Sachs; Leela Srinivasan T’06, CMO at SurveyMonkey; and Errik Anderson T’07, founder and CEO of Ulysses Diversified Holdings.