This past Saturday I attended an event hosted by the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs Office titled Business and Politics in the Age of Obama. I was really intrigued by the title and who the speakers would be, because this is such a rich and complex topic. I must admit that I usually tend to shy away from anything pertaining to politics, yet I know how important politics and policy is, since the business world sits atop a delicate balance of a combination of these decisions. I decided to attend to broaden my knowledge on the topic. The speakers, Megan McArdle, ’01, and Michael Konczal, each had a unique background and experience that helped shed light on the relations between the business world and the political world in the Obama age. Megan is a journalist who writes articles relating to finance, economics and politics, while Mike is a prominent financial blogger and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.
Megan and Michael began by discussing the relationship between government and the financial sector. Michael did a fabulous job explaining why Obamacare was created and the thought process of the people who worked on it. Megan was not afraid to sacrifice being “politically correct” by sharing her personal views on these matters (which I appreciated). Michael and Megan had a great camaraderie despite not necessarily having the same political views. Their conversations were very easy going and fun and they did a good job of finding humor in this otherwise very serious topic. I enjoyed learning about Megan’s and Michael’s views of the Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate and each party’s view on economic policy. Megan stressed how neither party is faking its dislike for the other's policy just to provoke its respective vote banks, a common misconception.
I am really glad I broke out of my “event comfort zone” and attended this event. For someone who doesn't follow politics as closely as others or as I probably should, I learned so much from Megan and Michael. Both speakers shared their valuable experiences in their respective fields with us. This talk gave me insight into the political sphere and how much of an impact politics can make in the business field. Most of us have our own unique backgrounds, but getting the opportunity to hear successful individuals from completely different areas or industries adds intangible value to the entire Booth experience. Most of us Boothies plan to stay in the realm of business, yet exposing ourselves to different sectors within business may open up doors to uncharted territory in which we can make a difference. I am looking forward to the next event the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs Office offers, because you never know what kind of insight and implications a simple conversation can have!
Seema Nilakhe | Evening MBA student