2017 National Meeting

Friday April 2017

On April 21-22, the Adam Smith Society gathered over three-hundred MBA students and alumni from the nation's top business schools, rising professionals, and prominent business and thought leaders to discuss free markets and institutions. Click to learn about the Society's featured speakers and annual awards - the Principled Leadership Award, presented to Kenneth Griffin, the Howard P. Milstein Fellowship and Student Chapter Awards, presented to MBA students. 

A touchstone theme for the 2017 meeting was living in a time of political and economic change, and how the institutions and individuals that drive capitalism forward can best deal with these changes. Successfully coping with a changing business environment was a focus of the Friday evening program. Opening remarks by Marilyn Fedak, Vice Chair Emeritus of AllianceBernstein, and Founder of The Marilyn G. Fedak Capitalism Project, reminded attendees of the challenges faced by capitalism's institutions and its practicioners, as she extolled the attendees to be forceful defenders of the free market system. Next, the Howard P. Milstein Fellowship, honoring Howard P. Milstein, the President and CEO of the New York Private Bank & Trust, was awarded to NYU Stern MBA Gabriel Ng, for his essay on the utility of the frameworks of corporate social responsibility.


Anthony Scaramucci, Founder of SkyBridge Capital, then interviewed Kenneth Griffin, the Founder and CEO of Citadel, after presenting Griffin with the Adam Smith Society's Principled Leadership Award. Griffin discussed his belief in the value of entrepreneurship, how these principles guided him and his firm during the Financial Crisis of 2008, and how he approaches business in the current environment.

On the second day of the National Meeting, discussions of political, technological, and cultural change were front and center. In the morning's first panel, "The Future of the Republic," Henry Olsen, Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, moderated a panel featuring Tom Bevan, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of RealClearPolitics, Charles Kesler, Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute, William KristolEditor-At-Large of the Weekly Standard, and Anthony Scaramucci, Founder of Skybridge Capital. The panelists discussed the factors behind the election of President Donald Trump, his prospects for success, and the larger issues of whether we are seeing a political realignment and a reconfiguration of the two major parties.

The next panel, entitled "The Future of Work," showcased an interview of MIT Research Scientist Andrew McAfee, conducted by the Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal columnist Steven Rosenbush. They discussed how technology is displacing some jobs and creating others, how artificial intellgence is changing management by both supplementing and improving human judgement, and how technology will continue to change both the economy and business.

For the Luncheon Keynote, William Kristol interviewed the Founder and President of Elliott Management, and Chairman of the Manhattan Institute, Paul Singer, who offered observations on the current state of capitalism, as well as advice for young, rising MBAs entering into business.

In the afternoon, the Adam Smith Society welcomed, J.D. Vance, #1 New York Times Best-selling Author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and A Culture in Crisis. Vance shared his background story of growing up (a major focus of his memoir), offered observations on what has caused a culture of crisis to emerge in the Rust Belt and Appalachia, and what he believe the best course of action would be for capitalists, conservatives, and the Republican Party in helping to ameliorate the situations faced in many blue collar communities.    

The National Meeting concluded with a reception and awards ceremony where the Adam Smith Society's Chapter Awards were announced and presented.


National Meeting Highlights