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Ohio State’s Fisher, General Electric partner for middle market growth

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

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Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business and General Electric announced a partnership Wednesday to create a center for middle-market growth.

GE gave more details about the collaboration on Thursday in a press release. GE, partnered with IDEO and salesforce.com, to create a private social network exclusively for middle-market companies.

The social network called GE Edge, is a result of research with Fisher finding that the middle market is “the largest source of sustainable economic growth and job creation,” according to the press release.

Jeff Immelt, CEO for GE, came to OSU Wednesday to speak to a group of MBA students and other VIPs and to cut the ribbon for the partnership with Fisher.

Immelt defined middle-market companies as companies valued between $10 million and $1 billion. He said the development of these companies is crucial to economic growth.

“This is an opportunity to really support the growth companies in the United States,” Immelt said to a crowd of about 200 people, “to be able to give them the financing and the capital that they need.”

Immelt said the biggest factor in growth through a recession was investing resources in research and development.

“This is really one of the fastest growing parts of the country,” Immelt said. “We hope to have a great association with Ohio State and Fisher.”

Dean of the Fisher College of Business, Christine Poon, announced the partnership on Wednesday.

“It is a pleasure for me to announce the long-term partnership between the university and GE,” Poon said.

This partnership will advance these middle-market companies, Immelt said.

“This (partnership) is the first step of many, that is going to be quite exciting,” Immelt said.

Before cutting the ribbon for this partnership, Immelt spoke to a class of about 100 MBA students at Fisher.

Immelt offered four points of advice to MBA students at Fisher: think global, be solutions oriented, have courage and compete.

“At the heart of almost every issue we have as a country, and at the heart of every issue that companies have is competitiveness,” Immelt said.

Immelt talked about the success of GE and linked it to his experiences in globalization.

“We have to pick our way into the growth markets in the future,” Immelt said.

Matt Knapke, a first-year MBA student at Fisher, said it was great to get insight from one of the best CEO’s in the country.

“He was very insightful,” Knapke said. “His thoughts on globalization and the importance of embracing a global strategy are very important.”

The business students listened to advice from both Immelt and Michael Neal, vice chairman of GE, for nearly an hour before presenting the two

with gifts.

Because of his passion for reading, the students presented Immelt with a biography of the namesake for the business school, Max Fisher.

And because of Neal’s love for football, the students presented him with a decorative football signed by two-time Heisman trophy winner, Archie Griffin.

Immelt told the students that Neal was a graduate of Georgia Tech University.

“I think (Georgia Tech) could probably beat your team this year,” Immelt joked.

Immelt told these business students to not worry about the world.

“Things have a way of working out just fine,” Immelt said. “Business is fun.”

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