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Des Moines, Iowa


63rd Annual Indiana University Business Conference

Geoff Wood

Cross posted with the Kelley School of Business "BizBlog"

I had the pleasure of attending the 63rd Annual Indiana University Business Conference put on by our very own Kelley School. This was my second time attending the conference and I was a little concerned that this year's event wouldn't live up to my expectations after last year's great event that featured presentations by the CEO's of FedEx Corporation, Simon Property Management, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Langham Logistics as well as Indiana University President Michael McRobbie and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels - but it did.

At first blush, this year's speakers didn't jump out at me as the same level of "household names" as before. However, that doesn't mean that they (and their companies) weren't impressive or didn't provide equal or greater value to those of us in attendance - they certainly did.

These year's lineup included Susan Dentzer, Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, Bill McKibben, Environmentalist, Amory Lovins, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Michael Evans, Founder and President of AIT Laboratories, Douglas Lattner, Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting and Michael Rippey, President of ArcelorMittal USA.

The moderator and keynote speaker was New York Times Columnist David Brooks (who is a household name, despite what I mentioned earlier) was amusing, informative and insightful in his discussion of political leadership in the midst of this economic crisis. He offered behind-the-scenes stories and personal impressions of both President Obama and the second President Bush that put into perspective how I view those in power.

As good as Mr. Brooks keynote was, my favorite presentation was actually by Mr. Lovins, whose physical appearance matches his title of "Chief Scientist" but his communication skills do not. His presentation was quite understandable for the non-technical 50,000 foot decision makers in the room as well as compelling in its arguments (such as the value in automotive and aviation companies switching from steel to carbon fiber for construction materials).

In a first for me, I attempted to keep a running Twitter account of the goings on throughout the day and was joined in by others hailing from the Bloomington and IU East campuses (click here for the archive at #kelleyconf).

I would strongly recommend that any Kelley student, especially those of us evening MBA candidates who have lost our continuing education budgets in our full time jobs, take full advantage of the no-cost or low-cost opportunities provided for learning of this kind. The next one is coming up quickly - register now for the IU Entrepreneurial Connection event in Bloomington on March 27th.

Click below for posts on Social Media Fanatic about the event: