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Summer 2000
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Unless you've been locked in a bank vault the last three years, it's hardly news that the Internet has utterly transformed the business landscape. And nowhere is that transformation more evident than at Anderson, one of the top entrepreneurial business schools in the nation. Lured by relative freedom and abundant wealth, Anderson graduates are flocking to dot-coms - the seesawing Nasdaq notwithstanding-reversing a trend of logging years in blue chip firms before acquiring executive privileges and perks.

"Since I started, there's a total change in what's going on," says Diane Henry, a June graduate. "Consulting is down, investment banking is down. Now the question is whether you're going to take a stake in companies. There's so many choices now."

"I think a third to a half of the class has changed jobs and gone dot-com," says Elaine Hagan, associate director of the Harold Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies."There are some people from last year's class who are on their third job."

Asked to explain the phenomenon, Al Osborne, director of the Price Center, offers this sweeping view: "Today's students are less comfortable with tradition and hierarchy and the acceptable order in terms of when you can be responsible and accountable. Students today don't just want a job. They want their work to have a far bigger meaning than 8-to-5, a gold wristwatch and a nice pension when they retire. They want economic success today, but they also want a better world today."

The e-commerce trend began surfacing at Anderson about three years ago. "The whole dot-com explosion happened, in the first nine months of my first year," recalls Seth Baum '99, the 28-year-old marketing director of Petstore.com, the Emeryville, CA-based pet portal that doesn't have the sock-puppet mascot. "There were a frenzy of companies springing up and people becoming multimillionaires. Disney was forming Go.com, Ebay had triumphed."

Faculty have been scrambling to keep up with the dot-com phenomenon ever since. This February, for instance, Dean Bruce Willison announced the creation of a new research effort, called the Center for Management in the Information Economy, to deal with the galloping digital-technology sector.

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