It’s not every day that a group of business school freshmen get to spend one hour asking questions of the CFO of the New York Times in the Boardroom.
There we were! Our students had been prepared for weeks, and were tutored by Dr. Dean Gibson and by Julia Wexler, Director of Employer Relations. They knew what to wear, when to arrive, what to say, and perhaps a bit of guidance about questions NOT to ask. The CFO welcomed us into the Boardroom, where he, the CEO and former Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Obama and current President Trump were previously welcomed. He walked in, sat down, and simply said: “What do you want to know?”
Our students had carefully prepared questions ahead of time, after thoroughly researching the firm’s financials, press releases and annual report:
“What as your most challenging day?”
“Where were you on 9/11 and how did you get the papers out?”
“How has your net revenue picture changed with the advent of digital, versus print media?”
“How has advertising revenue effected your bottom line?”
“How do you maintain high ethical journalistic standards in order to charge for news that is often free?”
Next, the CFO asked each student to stand up and tell him a bit about themselves. THEY DELIVERED THEIR ELEVATOR PITCHES!
Here is the feedback we received from the CFO himself after the trek:
It’s always a pleasure to host the students. Every group has been super impressive and this one was no exception. My measure is the quality and thoughtfulness of the questions and they were universally good and some of them exceptionally good.
I’m happy that the knowledge and experience I have to share is generally well received. The students are obviously well prepared before making the visit and you deserve a good part of the credit for that I am sure.
Best of luck to all.
What made this day so special? It didn’t just happen without a huge amount of planning and hard work on the part of our students and our career team. Gina Villazhinay helped prepare students on their elevator pitches, appropriate business attire, how to arrive early enough to go through a lengthy security check, and how to properly engage with a senior leader. Dr. Gibson also met with the students to teach them how to read an annual report. Julia practiced elevator pitches with each student in the lobby just before we went upstairs to be sure all were prepared. Then they were encouraged to practice on each other in the few minutes while waiting to get through security. No one was late; all did their part in preparing, following directions and asking meaningful questions.
This was our third trek, and surely more students will continue to have this wonderful opportunity.