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Fintech at the Crossroads

When it comes to innovation, the finance industry usually moves along like the proverbial tortoise: slow and steady. But sophisticated computer algorithms have come along and strapped booster rockets to that plodding reptile, rocketing the industry into the twenty-first century at blinding speed. Recent studies of alternative finance around the world underscore the rapid growth. The Asia-Pacific online alternative finance market, including peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, grew 323 percent in 2015 to $102.8 billion, led by a fourfold increase in China to $101.7 billion, according to the study, “Harnessing Potential: The 2015 Asia-Pacific Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report.” Another study, “Moving Mainstream: The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report,” noted that the European alternative finance market grew 144 percent in 2014 to €2,957 million.<br/>

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Distinguished Alumni Awards 2016

Since 1971 we have celebrated innovative leaders across all industries, from finance to the arts, manufacturing to public service, and beyond. The Distinguished Alumni Awards honor individuals who continue to challenge and change the world we live in, exemplifying the resounding impact of Chicago Booth. Though they represent four distinct disciplines, our winners share a passion for forging new territory. Each has found a way to buck convention and create new opportunities through bold ideas and a clear vision for lasting impact. Susan Axelrod: Founding chair, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE). Susan Axelrod, LAB ’70, MBA ’82, didn’t go looking for her career; it came knocking on her door when her seven-month-old daughter was

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The Jet Set

In order for Todd Musgrove, ’10, to get to the office, he takes a plane, a train, and a car. And he likes it that way. Every two weeks, the Tokyo-based founder of Flight Digital Media, a digital marketing and mobile development firm, hops a nearly five-hour flight to his Metro Manila, Philippines, office. He doesn’t stay at a hotel. Instead, a corporate apartment in the city makes it easier to commute with only a carry-on. In Manila, unlike in Tokyo, life revolves around the business—and he embraces the grueling schedule. “I work crazy hours when I’m there because I try to maximize my time,” said Musgrove, who relocated from Chicago to Tokyo with his wife and two young children five years ago. Musgrove is a supercommuter—a new kind of business traveler who often traverses multiple time zones just to get to the office. The career path is by choice, albeit not one without difficulties. Today’s so-called supercommuter is just as comfortable hopping on a three-hour international flight as his neighbor who may take the highway to work and spend 40 minutes in traffic. For supercommuters, it’s not simply about taking on a temporary assignment elsewhere: they are strategically flying to global hotspots in order to get ahead in their careers without uprooting their lives.

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Power Play

When Andrea Sreshta watched news footage of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she remembers being struck by something former US president Bill Clinton said on CNN. “He pointed out how we take for granted that we can walk around at night and have streetlights,” said Sreshta, a Full-Time student. The former president’s comment got her thinking: Why hadn’t anyone developed an ultraportable light source that’s powered by solar energy? After all, growth in clean-energy industries, like solar, has been on the rise, partially due to the issue of climate change fueling energy innovations. Sreshta saw an opportunity to apply that sort of technology to help out in disaster areas.

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Out of the Box

Full-Time student Julia McInnis was mingling with a crowd of partygoers at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival when she found herself a stone’s throw away from Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix. It would have been daunting enough to introduce herself to Hastings alone, but he was flanked by Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, and the comedian Chelsea Handler, the latest star to join the streaming service’s fast-growing constellation of talent. It was a triumvirate of industry heavy hitters that can make small talk at Sundance an act of daring. “It took me a good 15 minutes to work up the courage to go over there,” McInnis said. Fortunately for McInnis, she didn’t have to pester Hastings with a standard elevator pitch. The documentary she helped produce over the past four years, Unlocking the Cage, had already been snatched up in a distribution deal with HBO. She wanted to speak with Hastings as a curious student of the entertainment industry, and she spied an opportunity just as Handler headed for the bar. “I said to him, ‘Hi, my name is Julia McInnis, and I’m an MBA student at Chicago Booth. We just did a case study on Netflix in my accounting class. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your numbers.’” Hastings laughed, McInnis recalled, and said, “‘Yeah, you probably saw we’ve had some ups and downs over the years.’”

perspective

This is Working For Me: Daniel Morissette

After eight and a half years as CFO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, California, Daniel Morissette is now senior executive vice president and CFO of Dignity Health. The San Francisco–based provider, the biggest in California and fifth largest in the nation, encompasses 42 hospitals and 60,000 employees. A Midwest native, Morissette savors the Bay Area’s 250-plus days of sunshine, often running three-to-five miles per day. When work, travel, and negotiations become stressful, he clears his head through prayer and meditation. “A great mentor of mine said, ‘Let’s close our eyes for a minute.’” As a mission-based health-care organization, we take care of all comers. Previously they were paying nothing. With coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act, we got a little bit of a financial boost. Over time, with preventive care, we hope to see far fewer tragic and painful cases. In a mission-based system, I get to strive for the same successes most businesspeople do and then reapply those earnings to society. If we efficiently charge and collect like any other firm and work on making the product better, both our revenue per patient and our margins go up. With that we can spend more on equipment to diagnose and screen, open additional facilities, provide even more help to the powerless and in impoverished areas, and hire more people. We do good things for people.

In this issue
feature

Distinguished Alumni Awards 2016

Since 1971 we have celebrated innovative leaders across all industries, from finance to the arts, manufacturing to public service, and beyond. The Distinguished Alumni Awards honor individuals who continue to challenge and change the world we live in, exemplifying the resounding impact of Chicago Booth. Though they represent four distinct disciplines, our winners share a passion for forging new territory. Each has found a way to buck convention and create new opportunities through bold ideas and a clear vision for lasting impact. Susan Axelrod: Founding chair, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE). Susan Axelrod, LAB ’70, MBA ’82, didn’t go looking for her career; it came knocking on her door when her seven-month-old daughter was

feature

The Jet Set

In order for Todd Musgrove, ’10, to get to the office, he takes a plane, a train, and a car. And he likes it that way. Every two weeks, the Tokyo-based founder of Flight Digital Media, a digital marketing and mobile development firm, hops a nearly five-hour flight to his Metro Manila, Philippines, office. He doesn’t stay at a hotel. Instead, a corporate apartment in the city makes it easier to commute with only a carry-on. In Manila, unlike in Tokyo, life revolves around the business—and he embraces the grueling schedule. “I work crazy hours when I’m there because I try to maximize my time,” said Musgrove, who relocated from Chicago to Tokyo with his wife and two young children five years ago. Musgrove is a supercommuter—a new kind of business traveler who often traverses multiple time zones just to get to the office. The career path is by choice, albeit not one without difficulties. Today’s so-called supercommuter is just as comfortable hopping on a three-hour international flight as his neighbor who may take the highway to work and spend 40 minutes in traffic. For supercommuters, it’s not simply about taking on a temporary assignment elsewhere: they are strategically flying to global hotspots in order to get ahead in their careers without uprooting their lives.

feature

Power Play

When Andrea Sreshta watched news footage of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she remembers being struck by something former US president Bill Clinton said on CNN. “He pointed out how we take for granted that we can walk around at night and have streetlights,” said Sreshta, a Full-Time student. The former president’s comment got her thinking: Why hadn’t anyone developed an ultraportable light source that’s powered by solar energy? After all, growth in clean-energy industries, like solar, has been on the rise, partially due to the issue of climate change fueling energy innovations. Sreshta saw an opportunity to apply that sort of technology to help out in disaster areas.

perspectives

This is Working For Me: Daniel Morissette

After eight and a half years as CFO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, California, Daniel Morissette is now senior executive vice president and CFO of Dignity Health. The San Francisco–based provider, the biggest in California and fifth largest in the nation, encompasses 42 hospitals and 60,000 employees. A Midwest native, Morissette savors the Bay Area’s 250-plus days of sunshine, often running three-to-five miles per day. When work, travel, and negotiations become stressful, he clears his head through prayer and meditation. “A great mentor of mine said, ‘Let’s close our eyes for a minute.’” As a mission-based health-care organization, we take care of all comers. Previously they were paying nothing. With coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act, we got a little bit of a financial boost. Over time, with preventive care, we hope to see far fewer tragic and painful cases. In a mission-based system, I get to strive for the same successes most businesspeople do and then reapply those earnings to society. If we efficiently charge and collect like any other firm and work on making the product better, both our revenue per patient and our margins go up. With that we can spend more on equipment to diagnose and screen, open additional facilities, provide even more help to the powerless and in impoverished areas, and hire more people. We do good things for people.

perspectives

Socially Conscious Networking

When images of a drowned Syrian toddler on a Turkish beach made global news in September 2015, the Syrian refugee crisis hit home for Megan Morgan, ’06. “As a mom myself,” Morgan said, “my heart ached to see that suffering.” Morgan—the Chicago-based head of equity and index sales for the Americas at the derivatives exchange Eurex—began searching for ways to help Syrian refugees. Seeing news footage of refugee parents carrying their children, Morgan recalled the importance of her stroller when she traveled around Europe with her young son. “It was his space where he could nap if he was tired, and it was a luggage rack for me,” Morgan said. “I thought, ‘Their life could be a little bit easier if only they had a stroller.’” <br/>

perspectives

A Workday With Michael Farb and Avi Stopper

Avi Stopper, ’06, and Michael Farb, ’09, cofounded CaptainU to create an easier way for high school athletes and college coaches to connect and build meaningful relationships. The CaptainU suite of products allows the athletes to promote themselves to recruiters, and the coaches to control the recruiting process from start to finish and improve their teams. The company’s roughly 60 employees span two offices, with CEO Stopper based in Denver and COO Farb settled in San Francisco. In the last eight years, CaptainU has helped more than 1 million students connect to more than 10,000 college coaches and over 2,000 tournament directors.<br/>

conversations

How Do You Help Food Banks Get Exactly the Food They Need?

Feeding America collects truckloads of food from food manufacturers, big-box and grocery stores, and other sources all over the country, and distributes them to 210 regional food banks according to need. In the old system, food banks were ranked based on which needed the most food. One by one, they were told what food they were going to get and how many pounds of it they were going to receive. Even if they had yogurt, for example, they had to take more yogurt or run the risk of those donation sources no longer offering food. That was inefficient and wasteful. Feeding America decided there had to be a better way. The organization came to us: Harry L. Davis [Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management], Robert Hamada [Edward Eagle Brown Distinguished Service Professor of Finance Emeritus], Donald D. Eisenstein [professor of operations management], and me. We proposed a market in which food banks would bid fake money in auctions of all the food that was available. So instead of being handed more potatoes, the Idaho food bank could bid on peanut butter, which is more nutritious and desirable.

conversations

Building Trust with Blockchain

For the fintech industry—for all financial institutions—trust in transactions is essential. To increase trust in online transactions, software technology known as blockchain creates a higher level of accounting transparency than in standard transactions, where all parties aren’t privy to the accounting ledger. There are many forms of blockchain, but they generally operate the same way, by creating digital signatures of each transaction and sharing them among a network of computers. Each computer can use the signatures to continuously verify who owes what to whom. <br/>

conversations

Persuasion and Perspective

Booth’s basic negotiation class, Strategies and Process of Negotiation, is one of the most popular electives in the school. About 75 percent of our MBA students take the class before graduating, and we teach students to negotiate by having them master basic analytic principles and the core strategies and processes involved in negotiation. The Advanced Negotiations class exposes students to more-advanced processes as well as strategies and analytical frameworks, and embeds these negotiations in more realistic, authentic environments. <br/>