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MBA Student Poses Global Economics Question to Gates

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When Georgetown MBA Evening Program student Stephanie Chen got the chance to pose a question to Microsoft founder Bill Gates on live television on May 6, she wanted to know two things.

“What is the greatest global challenge in the next 10 years, and what can this generation of young business leaders to do solve that problem?” she asked him from the McDonough School of Business during Fox Business Network’s live coverage of the Berkshire Hathaway board meeting in Omaha, Neb.

As part of the hourlong special, Fox Business invited business students from Georgetown, and Columbia and Wake Forest universities to each pose one question to the panel. (See video from the Georgetown question.)

Other topics covered during the program ranged from Berkshire Hathaway’s succession plans to cybersecurity, affordable education and creating equality in the workforce for women.

The program featured Gates, business magnate Warren Buffett, chair of Berkshire Hathaway; Charlie Munger, vice chair; and newest board member Meryl Witmer, owner of Eagle Capital.

Gates talked about the importance of identifying the problems and solutions that will have the greatest impact to combat poverty around the world.

“The poorest 2 billion in the world out of the 7 billion have not shared in the riches and innovation that we all take for granted,” he said. “It’s critical, whether it’s getting them new vaccines or better seeds for agriculture that we put more energy into that.”

Gates said creating opportunities to uplift people living in dire circumstances around the world and helping them to become self-sufficient can be done for small amounts of money.

“So that’s now my full time work,” said the philanthropist who founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation nearly a decade ago. “I hope this younger generation starts at an earlier age than I did thinking about these things, whether it’s their full-time work or just part time or volunteer activity. There’s so much that can be done.”

Chen is familiar with the Gates Foundation’s work to improve the world. She works as a policy and communications manager at CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. In fact, her work is funded by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant.

“We work to bring policymakers, corporate sector leaders, celebrities and journalists over to see our work and to bring that story back home to Americans to show why these investments in vaccines, global health and climate change are so important,” Chen said. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to ask him a question, especially since I work in the development field, so it was really neat to see his perspective on the next big challenge.”