Cornell University Johnson at Cornell University

Business Roundtable

Entrepreneurship @Cornell

The Green, the Young, and the Seasoned

John Alexander, '74, MBA '76
John Alexander '74
John Alexander '74, MBA '76, did a superb job as moderator for a whopping 15 alumni and student panelists at "The Green, the Young, and the Seasoned," a dialogue sponsored by the Johnson School as part of the Entrepreneurship@Cornell 2007 Celebration on April 19. He began by asking panelists to introduce themselves and to share some of the wisdom they'd gained in starting their own businesses. Here are a few nuggets panelists shared:

Jim McNair, MBA '83, senior managing director of Corinthian Capital Group: "Put your ego on the shelf. When you don't know how to do something, be tremendously exhaustive in asking people how to do it."

Sumit Mittal, MBA '08
Sumit Mittal, MBA '08
Andrew Scirri '88, MBA '04, president, MedHesives: "You have to deal with self- assessment when you go into a startup. Ask: 'What's my life really going to be like? How will I feed myself? How will it affect my marriage?"

Steve Gal '88, chairman and CEO, Skoop Heavy Industries: "Customers tell you everything they want. Listen to them."

At one point, Alexander directed groups of panelists to come up with aphorisms that might guide future businesses. One team's choice

Jessica Crolick Rolph, MBA '04
Jessica Crolick Rolph, MBA '04
– "Just call Zach" – was only half in jest: It referred to Zach Shulman, director of Entrepreneurship at Johnson and lecturer of entrepreneurship and personal enterprise. Jessica Crolick Rolph, MBA '04, founding partner and COO of Happy Baby, testified to the wisdom of this, relating a time when she was stumped: "I thought, 'This is about IPO, I'll never really understand this.' So I called Zach and said, 'I know I should know this, but can you please help me out?' He did."

"Networking with professors at the Johnson School doesn't go away," said Alexander. "I knew only Hal Bierman could explain some things. I knew where to find him, and he doesn't charge, he just gets you to come back and teach a class. Keeping a list of who taught what courses can give you a big edge.

CSGE Dialogue

Mark Milstein, director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, spoke at the CSGE Dialogue, held as part of the Entrepreneurship@Cornell 2007 Celebration on April 19. He and CSGE Professor Stu Hart discussed the direction the CSGE is taking, and Sustainable Global Enterprise Immersion projects. More information about CSGE.

Entrepreneur of the Year

Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Kevin McGovern delivering the keynote address at Entrepreneurship@Cornell April 19
Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Kevin McGovern delivering the keynote address at Entrepreneurship@Cornell April 19
Kevin McGovern, Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2007, delivered an inspired keynote address, filled with anecdotes, at the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration April 19.

McGovern is chairman and CEO of McGovern Capital LLC, based in New York City, a leading private investment firm and global intellectual property rights strategist. Six of the companies of which McGovern Capital is a founder/principal/chief strategist are leaders in their respective industries' product categories, including SoBe (nutraceutical beverages) and KX Industries (water and air filters).

"Channeled passion is the laser to success," said McGovern. "Don't have so many priorities; have a few, and it will be the laser to your success. Play to your strengths, whether in business or in life. The ethical market was our strength.