This Week in Thought Leaders: How Sandy Changed Everything, The Eye-Opening MBA Pay, Plus More

November 2, 2012

When Superstorm Sandy made landfall Monday, it devastated a region and quickly changed the lives of millions. Yet its effects extend far beyond the East Coast.

This week, LinkedIn’s influencers analyzed how the catastrophic storm changed the nation. Arianna Huffington focused on politics, describing Sandy's impact on both the narrative of the election – “what had been a Category 5 story was suddenly a mere Topical Disturbance” – and on the campaigns themselves.

Newark mayor Cory Booker, who let Sandy victims crash at his house, called attention to the region’s resiliency. He shared the story of one local non-profit that is draining its budget, and opening emergency shelters, to house more than 1,000 homeless youth affected by the storm.

Restaurant consultant and author Clark Wolf examined food, and how our tastes tend to change after each disaster. Following the stock market crash of 1987, he said, people longed for comfort foods: roast chicken and mashed potatoes. In the wake of Sept. 11 and the dot-com bust, consumers gravitated towards sushi, something that would make them strong – “lean and mean.” Sandy’s defining meal? It's too early to tell, but it could very well be ice cream, a treat that had to be eaten quickly after residents lost power and needed to clear their freezers.

Beyond food, the storm raised other questions. The two-day closure of the New York Stock Exchange – the longest weather-related shutdown since 1888 – led Dan Sanker to ask: Is Wall Street prepared to operate in a cloud-based world? Consumers, meanwhile, wondered: How can you tell whether a hurricane photo is real or fake? The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal weighed in with an authoritative guide.

And as officials worked on cleanup plans, Sallie Krawcheck offered some leadership tips. Drawing on lessons learned during the financial crisis, Krawcheck outlined nine points every manager must know when leading during turmoil. No. 1: “Be heroically available.”

Finally, to put the storm in perspective, executive editor Dan Roth took readers to hard-hit Hoboken, N.J., where LinkedIn’s Joe Fernandez shared his account of evacuating his apartment – and being told he was standing in raw sewage.

Take a look at those posts, and six others that are worth reading:

John A. Byrne: What MBA Grads Made This Year Memo to anyone looking for a raise: Get an MBA. Byrne explains why the degree, despite its widespread availability, remains one of the best ways for professionals to boost their income. Some examples: The median pay for MBA grads at Harvard and Stanford is now $125,000, without taking into account signing bonuses or other compensation. Even a degree from a lower-tier school can result in a sizable raise, Byrne says.

Lucy Marcus: Square Peg, Round Hole: A Look at Corporate Reshuffles Apple made big news this week after it fired the head of its retail operations and mobile division. So how do such decisions get made? Marcus provides background on the right way to do a corporate shake-up, and explains why Apple’s move makes sense.

Steve Rubel: Every Company Can be a Media Company It’s the problem of the digital age: too much content, and too little time to consume it. Rubel sits down with the founder of Laughing Squid and points out how companies can make money -- and save people time -- by wading into the world of curation.

Aaron Levie: Uncompromising Promises Every company vows to provide unparalleled service. But how many actually follow through? Levie, the CEO of Box, compares two airlines – United and Virgin America. Both make similar pledges to customers, but have vastly different reputations. The lesson: All companies, whether startups or established players, need to be able to define the exact experience customers will receive. Call it the “uncompromising promise."

Nancy Kruse: Understanding Y: Part II  Is the Coolhaus ice-cream chain, popular along the coasts, becoming Millennials' answer to Ben & Jerry's? Kruse reveals how contemporary architecture, a connection to Coachella, and wild flavors like Peking Duck and Fried Chicken and Waffles have made this company a surprise hit.

Hunter Walk: The DNA of Product Management At big tech companies, product managers play the ultimate hybrid role. They’re CEOs, technical wizards, and train conductors all in one. So what’s the secret to being an effective manager? Walk, Google’s director of product management, explains why collaboration – not consensus – is key, and why being overwhelmed isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Editor’s Note: This blog post is syndicated from LinkedIn Editor Chip Cutter. Follow him on LinkedIn for more.

Photo credits: Tim Larsen/New Jersey Governor's Office (top); Joe Fernandez/LinkedIn (center).