Ahmad Ashkar, founder and CEO of the Hult Prize, spoke to Hult’s new students about this annual competition, which is a partnership with Bill Clinton.
Six hundred students left San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts feeling excited and motivated following Hult’s first-ever Kick-Off on September 20. The San Francisco campus debuted what Hult hopes to make an annual year-opening event, which correlates with orientation. Kick-Off combined speeches, activities, a beautiful venue and, in true San Francisco tradition, a drum circle, all of which put the entire Hult community in high spirits, ready to take on the coming year.
Executive Director Lisa Tenorio and Dean Larry Louie opened the event by announcing the latest Time magazine article, in which President Bill Clinton speaks highly of his partnerships with the school and its Hult Prize competition (formerly known as the Hult Global Case Challenge). This announcement set an inspirational tone for the rest of the day that was enhanced by alumni accounts, advice, and speeches by faculty and staff preparing students for the fun and challenging year ahead. Hult Prize founder and Hult alum Ahmad Ashkar was on-hand to share details of the annual global case competition, which awards the winning team a $1 million start-up capital grant.
Dev Patnaik, author, professor and CEO of Jump Associates, focused on hybrid thinking as the featured Kick-Off speaker.
Featured speaker Dev Patnaik, founder of Jump Associates , introduced the crowd to “hybrid thinking,” encouraging students to mesh ideas, backgrounds and ways of thinking – a method, he says, is ideal for Bay Area professionals. Patnaik said Hult students exude “energy and enthusiasm” and said the innovative school and its philosophy are “part of what it will take to fix the global economy.”
The day continued with an interactive group leadership project led by leadership consultant Charlie Sheppard, who will be teaching at Hult San Francisco this year. During the activity, which was centered around the Hult theme of co-creation, students spread out across the scenic grounds of the iconic Palace of Fine Arts. The event concluded with a spirited drum circle, where all 600 students gathered in a semi-circle on the floor and represented their home countries – 97 in all – by standing and cheering as Dean Louie announced them one by one.