WASHINGTON – Northwestern Mutual Chairman and CEO John Schlifske, and Steve Forbes, chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Media, visited Howard University on Oct. 5 as part of a nationwide tour titled, “Econo-ME: Redefining the Rules of Financial Security.”
The visit began with a roundtable with Schlifske, Forbes and 25 students from the School of Business. Students asked several questions including the executives’ opinions on Generation Y’s place in the business world and each of the companies’ philosophies on diversity.
Schlifske maintained today’s technology Generation Y had a skill set that was very valuable to the business world.
“People and companies get so wrapped up in having diversity that they forget about inclusion, and that’s what matters,” he said.
The roundtable was just the beginning of the learning and sharing. The Business school auditorium was at capacity for the executive lecture with the two CEOs, Mike Woods moderated the discussion that covered topics including the current state of the economy and personal financial growth.
“When it comes to your money, emotions are your enemy,” said Forbes, encouraging audience members to operate outside of their comfort zones.
Students also received career advice from the seasoned executives.
“Master the job you have. Always be in a position of learning. Find ways to work with other people,” Schlifske told the room of future business leaders.
Audience members were encouraged by Woods to ask the executives “hardball questions” and they did. Students lined up to inquire about a number of subjects and both executives were happy to offer opinions and guidance. In addition to giving advice about saving and investing, Schlifske offered words about the collegiate experience. “Have fun in college, find things that make it meaningful outside of the classroom.”
Northwestern Mutual sponsors one of the School of Business’ 21 Century Advantage Program teams. The team’s leader, William Adams, felt the experience was truly valuable.
“This was a great opportunity for students to gain knowledge and learn from high-level executives,” Adams said. “Not only were they accessible, but they were willing to be open and honest about their perspectives about the current economy. We learned about more than investments, we learned about navigating through life.”