More than 500 prominent attendees were introduced to the University of Bridgeport’s top MBA students at the Economic Club of New York (ECNY) dinner held recently on Park Avenue in New York City. The table of UB students – hailing each from a different country (Mongolia, Russia, Vietnam, Jamaica, Guatamela, Serbia, and the United States) – were asked to stand during opening remarks of ECNY chair Terry Lundgren, Chairman & CEO of Macy’s, Inc. Seated alongside President Salonen and Dean Lloyd Gibson, the UB students were acknowledged in front of an audience of many captains of industry, including senior officials in government, education, and financial and professional services (accounting, law, and insurance).
The Economic Club of New York, founded in 1907, was gathered for an off-the-record, post-election conversation with the 108th Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg. As the evening unfolded, UB students began to look at politics differently, and to understand that change in the business world was a prerequisite for growth.
For Evelin Perez Maldonado ’17, the most impactful message Mr. Bloomberg delivered was that successful business leadership is about far more than making millionaire profits — it’s about caring for others’ well-being. She was pleased to learn his point of view about education as well as his deep concern about the broad-stroke use of technology in large companies. “Mr. Bloomberg doesn’t believe in just replacing people with robots without creating job opportunities,” Maldonado said. “Just with this thought alone, I felt his humanity and understood how his long-term vision is about fostering prosperity in society as a whole.”
The ECNY dinner came by invite via alum Howard Abner ’59, chairman of Abner, Herrman & Brock Asset Management, who sponsored the UB table on November 28, 2016.
To prepare for the event, all Ernest C. Trefz School of Business students attending were required to research questions related to Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, as well as participate in two discussion group meetings with Dean Gibson. Each student was assigned one of the following questions in an effort to educate all during group discussions:
- Provide us with an overview of Michael R. Bloomberg from a personal standpoint, i.e. where was he born and raised, where did he go to school, what was his family like as he grew up, what is his current family like, etc.
- Provide us with information on Bloomberg Philanthropies. What does it do and who operates it? What causes does it support?
- Provide us with a background of Bloomberg LP and the industry in which it competes. Who are its main competitors? What is its strategy?
- Provide us with information about Michael Bloomberg’s campaigns for Mayor of NYC and the highlights of his time in office.
- Provide us with a comparison of the Money.Net and Bloomberg products. Why would someone select one over the other?
- What are Michael Bloomberg’s view on business and politics? What is his political party affiliation? What are his views on Donald Trump?
- Tell us what you think were Bloomberg’s main accomplishments when he was Mayor of NYC. Why do you think they are major accomplishments? Do you think he did a good job as Mayor? Why or why not?
Thoroughly prepared to make the most of the evening after thoughtful research and discussion, Dean Gibson and students traveled together to the event via the Metro North and an Uber cab. Shared Gibson, “We arrived in Manhattan 45 minutes early so responded enthusiastically to the President’s text to meet up at Starbucks where he treated everyone to a hot beverage of their choice. This added to the students’ enjoyment and excitement of the evening.”
In addition to the University of Bridgeport MBA students receiving special recognition at the event, one student, Zoljargal (Zola) Tsengel who is graduating this semester, was treated to a ticket to the VIP reception for club members before the program began. There she met and shook hands personally with Mr. Bloomberg.
The students expressed their gratitude for attending through thoughtful gifts to Mr. Abner as well as a cheerful chorus of remarks as they headed home to Connecticut for the evening:
“I learned sooo much!”
“I am thankful to have had this opportunity. I will always remember it.”
“I learned more in one night than I could have learned in a whole textbook!”
The following day, Abner sent a follow-up email thanking Dean Gibson for acting on his offer to host the Trefz School of Business MBA table. Between the multicultural diversity of the UB students and their professionalism inside and out, it was no stretch for Mr. Abner to comment to Lloyd that, “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting your students. They are an impressive group who will make UB proud going forward.”