NEW YORK–This was one cocktail hour where the fake ID wasn’t the most important card to undergraduate Yalies.
Booze took a back seat to networking at the Yale Club Wednesday night, with an exchange of business cards dominating the Yale Entrepreneurial Society’s second annual New York networking event.
Five business movers and shakers discussed global business to a mostly male crowd of about 100 Yale students, alumni and other guests.
Attendees schmoozed for an hour before the panel began while Yale Club waiters served cocktails and finger foods. The conversations were dominated by discussions of Y50K contest project proposals.
The Y50K is a contest awarding $50,000 in start-up money for the winning business plan.
Undergraduates also garnered career advice from eager venture capitalists, analysts and investment bankers. Alumni and non-affiliates of Yale also joined the networking.
After the cocktail hour, a panel consisting of Ernst and Young’s CEO Richard Bobrow, Clear Markets Board CEO Graham Duncan ’96, Alibaba.com founder Jack Ma and HQ Global Workplaces CEO David Rupert SOM ’80 was moderated by Andrew Sorkin, chief mergers and acquisitions reporter for the New York Times.
The panel discussed global business and much of the discussion centered on China.
“[China] is definitely going to be a huge player on the global scene,” said Bobrow, emphasizing China’s population growth.
Ma, the founder of China’s first Internet-based company, told the story of his business and provided inspiration for Yale entrepreneurs who might have been frightened by the current recession.
“When the economy is bad, good companies can happen,” Ma said.
YES publicity chair Amy Jain ’04 said she was surprised by how many friends of alumni heard about the event from forwarded e-mails.
YES president Julian Revie ’02 said he hoped the event would unify the Yale and New York entrepeneur community.
“We want to bring together the New York entrepeneur community and make people aware about what is happening at Yale,” Revie said.
Undergraduate Yalies in attendance cited the New York location as the event’s major draw.
Edward Smith ’03 was in the city for an internship interview and came to the event because he was interested in hearing Ma speak.
“Other than that I just wanted to go to New York and get away from Yale for a while,” Smith said.
Christopher Wheeler ’04 said the opportunity to meet interesting business leaders drew him to the event.
“Anyone with real world experience is worth listening to,” Wheeler said.
Yale entrepreneurs also used the event as an opportunity to gain financial support for their start-ups.
“People have been really helpful and willing with their services,” said Salima Remtulla ’04, who works with a non-profit company that won a YES competition last year.