Last updated: January 19, 2012 11:46 am

Web chat: Liz Harrison

Liz Harrison

Welcome to the Financial Times live web chat with Liz Harrison who features in our Ten Questions Q&A.

Liz Harrison, MBA student at Columbia Business School in the US will answer your questions on Thursday 19th January, between 11.00-12.00 GMT.

Post your questions to ask@ft.com and they will be answered on the day on this page.

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Why did you choose to study at Columbia Business School?

Liz: Before Columbia, I worked as a management consultant in Australia for three years where I engaged in a wide variety of projects across multiple sectors and quickly discovered a passion for generating innovative solutions to complex business problems. Moreover, I found that I particularly enjoyed engaging with fast-paced, global companies and dynamic and bold individuals - attributes I knew I would experience at a top business school in New York City.

While this was my original impetus for applying to Columbia, I have now come to experience the beautiful community and family that is created amongst my fellow classmates, faculty and the amazing administrative staff. In fact, I believe Columbia provides the perfect mix of world class education, access to global business leaders, and a supportive community.

What do you think is the future of social technologies within corporations?

Liz: There is immense potential for corporations to utilise social technologies to improve employee engagement, enact change management initiatives, fast-track professional development and improve customer outcomes. In fact, enterprise social networks such as Jive, Yammer, and Chatter, as well as proprietary company technologies, have already been implemented with significant positive impact (e.g. Walmart used an enterprise social network to roll out a significant employee benefit change).

However, successful implication is not as simple as deploying this technology; corporations require strategic insight to identify key stakeholders to engage and the incentive structure that must be set up in order to improve uptake and engagement with powerful enterprise social software.

What gave you the idea for the Q&A initiative at Columbia? What have you found the most interesting so far?

Liz: The Q&A initiative at Columbia is known as CBS Matters and involves student volunteers presenting on the topic of “what matters to them and why” in front of their peers, followed by a short Q&A. The initial idea was sparked by a fellow student who introduced the concept in his cluster (groups of 70 students) last January. When I heard about it, I knew it should be rolled out school-wide because it enables students to connect on a much deeper level and really get to know the passions of their peers (as opposed to shallow conversations at happy hours or mixers).

As the chair of the peer advising programme at Columbia, I am responsible for guiding the orientation process for the 700 new students who start each year and via this role we have introduced CBS Matters to all of the new members of the class of 2013. Over the past few months of implementation, I have been overjoyed with the high levels of participation and the visible positive impact that it has had on the Columbia Business School community.

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