On the podcast Why CBS, host Fahad Ahmed '17BUS talks to students, faculty, and alumni about their experiences before, during, and after Columbia Business School. Launched in the fall of 2017, it is the new and official podcast of the Business School.
The idea for the podcast came to Ahmed during his time as a Columbia student. Previously a healthcare compliance officer, Ahmed decided he needed a change, so began the executive program at the Business School in 2015. Every year, Business School students participate in a program called, CBS Matters, for which they each give a summary, "about who they are with the goal of having the students becoming more connected." Ahmed was elected to run CBS Matters for his class, and came up with the idea to have their class give their summaries via podcast in order to accommodate the student's various schedules.
Once Ahmed graduated, he decided to formalize the podcast and make it into something audiences could tune into on a regular basis.
"I loved the campus, the diversity, the community," he told The Low Down, adding he saw a permanent Business School podcast as an enormous opportunity to make a difference. "I really believe in this community and this network and their potential to make an impact."
Why CBS gives Ahmed a platform to combine his love for the Business School and storytelling. During each episode, guests "tell the story about what makes them who they are in an effort to help create a more connected CBS community." The 5-episode season kicked off with an interview with Dean R. Glenn Hubbard, followed by an alumni episode, two student episodes, and a faculty episode featuring Sheena Iyengar, the S. T. Lee Professor of Business at the School.
Season two will roll out in March; plans for new episodes include interviews with Hitendra Wadhwa, professor of professional practice in marketing, April Tam-Smith '10BUS, co-founder of PS Kitchen and the 2018 CBS Tamer Center Social Enterprise Leadership Award winner, Stephanie Palmeri '11BUS, partner at Uncork Capital, and Ethan Brown '08BUS, president & CEO of Beyond Meat.
Ahmed is also planning a student episode, focusing on graduation and the feelings of excitement students have around that time.
"There's that special type of feeling there and we want to capture that," he told The Low Down. "Current students can get excited about their graduation and students who are further away can look forward to their graduation."
All episodes will focus on the themes, "innovate, lead, and connect."
"We'll also ask them [for] their best business advice," Ahmed said. "My creative partner did not go to business school but thought it would be great to get tips from business graduates."
Ahmed believes Why CBS has appeal for all alumni, not just graduates of the Business School.
"Our mission statement is to create a more connected community; the hope is that people within the entire community are going to listen to these stories," he said. "People might not want to run a business, but they might have ideas for how to make meaningful change, impact the lives of others, and live out their dreams. The hope is that they may listen and decide they want to reach out to this person, who has similar goals and dreams."
Ahmed considers this a University-wide project, and theWhy CBS team plans to reach out to other Schools to see if their alumni, professors, or students are interested in recording an episode.
"If people have thoughts, if people have questions we’re always open to make this better," he said.
The Why CBS staff contact information is available at the end of each episode, and the team hopes to be able to give the e-mails of guests as well, so the audience can, "reach out and find ways to support each other in finding that dream job."
Ahmed hopes everyone in the community will want to listen to Why CBS.
"I'm positive this will create opportunities for people from other CU Schools to connect and do big things," he said. "The lesson(s) each person learned from their respective School will help create a dynamic pairing/team."
For example, the third episode includes an interview with Carolyn Disbrow '06JRN, '18BUS who discusses how she learned to write and tell a story at Columbia Journalism School.
"This lesson has helped her so much at CBS because what she's realized is that so much of business is storytelling," Ahmed said. "With her CJS education and network, she feels one step ahead in her business pursuits as it relates to creating her business narratives while at school and then possibly beyond."
Listen to the Why CBS podcast on SoundCloud and on the Columbia Business School website.