2017

Stories related to "Conversations".

conversations

Where’s the Optimal Place to Park a Food Truck?

Pursuing a love of food and cooking, I completed the basic pastry certificate at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris the summer before starting the PhD program. So I was thrilled to see a crêpe truck, Paris Ouh La La, serving lunch during the school year. After several good meals at the food trucks on Ellis Avenue, and observing the variation in the trucks parked each day, I started thinking about how the trucks decide where to park. Where you choose to locate a business is a fundamental economic question—one that food trucks must re-answer every day. The classic location choice model was offered by the mathematician and economist Harold Hotelling in 1929. Consider two ice cream vendors who parked their carts on a one-mile stretch of beach. Assuming the venders offer roughly the same treats, beachgoers will naturally choose to walk to the closest cart. The vendor on the left will serve all the beachgoers to its left, and the vendor on the right will serve all the beachgoers to its right.

conversations

Power Sources

The Challenge: In 1999, Ted Brandt cofounded Marathon Capital in Bannockburn, Illinois, a $25 million investment bank focused on renewable energy. The original compensation structure hewed to the industry norm of a steady balance between salary and bonus, based on both individual and company performance. But in the first several years, Marathon was short of capital and the model was unsustainable. How could the company devise a system of incentives while maintaining the necessary cash flow to sustain the business, Brandt wondered. The Strategy: For the next three years, Marathon slashed salaries and paid bankers big bonuses when deals closed. Revenues grew, but that led to new challenges. This “eat-what-you-kill” model, as Brandt calls it, discouraged teamwork and was unfair to younger bankers who had no say in what projects to join. Also, by paying out bonuses before fixed costs, Marathon had few profits. Compensation ran about 90 to 95 percent of revenues. In comparison, similar banks

conversations

Big Marketers on Campus

Is it possible to geotarget advertising messages by street address? How can business-to-business marketers get better data? Why are millennials spending buckets of money on jewelry? These were among the intriguing queries tackled at Kilts Marketing Day, an annual forum sponsored by the Kilts Center for Marketing. The event brought 16 executive-level alumni in marketing to Harper Center in April to share their industry experience and expertise. Each alumnus hosted a table and led a 30-minute discussion on the latest developments in big data, business-tobusiness marketing, and product innovation. The 100 student attendees—aspiring marketers and those interested in learning more about the field—divided among the 16 tables and rotated for the second session. For the students, the opportunity is extraordinary—joining in discussions, and posing questions directly to alumni in senior positions at marketing heavyweights including JPMorgan Chase & Co., McDonald’s Corp., and MasterCard Inc. For alumni, it’s an opportunity to reconnect with Booth and engage with students. The forum showcases the range of career paths and functions available to students with an interest in marketing—not just consumer products but banking and finance, manufacturing, entertainment, retailing, and technology. Lee Ettleman, a Full-Time student, was interested in the analysis of consumer spending offered by

conversations

I'm No Dr. Love

Marketing is often perceived as being about slick advertising campaigns. To me, marketing is about running a business, a profit and loss account. I start the course by asking students, “If you are running a company and your market share drops, what will you do to fix it?” Students give all kinds of answers to my introductory market share question—they’ll cut prices, innovate, run a sales promotion. I wait until someone says, “We need to figure out what happened.” Unless you get at the underlying cause, you can’t find the solution. I teach from the perspective of presenting the strategic aspects of decision making that are intrinsically linked with marketing. This includes setting an objective for a brand, understanding where customer opportunities lie, and positioning yourself to give your target a reason to buy your product. I call that “the right to win.”<br/>The Framework<br/>I give my students a robust tool kit that enables them to look at any business problem and dissect it. I want my students to be the ones people turn to in meetings because they have something of value to

conversations

The Colombia Conversation

Juan Esteban Calle Restrepo, ’94, heads Medellín-based EPM, the largest public multi-utility company in Colombia. Calle recently discussed the economic prospects for Colombia and Latin America with Santiago Umaschi, ’11, managing partner of a Boston-based strategy consulting firm that specializes in international markets. Umaschi works with a nonprofit arm of EPM that helps small and midsize companies in Medellín find export markets. Umaschi reached out to Calle on a visit earlier this year— the two met for the first time over coffee, and talked about the city’s prospects. They continued the conversation in a summer phone call. Umaschi: I commute from Boston to Medellín from Boston twice a month, and I find the geography to be striking. With the Andes all around you, you’re surrounded by a wall of green. At first I was a little claustrophobic, but then the city grows on you. The people are proud of their city. The metro cannot be cleaner. If you call the car service for a 5 a.m. pickup,

conversations

Why Is Productivity Stuck in Neutral?

When we talk about the global economy, we tend to turn to automotive metaphors. A recession brings things to a “screeching halt.” Boom times are said to be “in overdrive,” to have “found a higher gear.” And since the recession, one of the major components of the economy has been stuck in neutral. According to the Conference Board, productivity has barely budged since 2007, was flat in 2014 and 2015, and fell last year. We asked professor Chad Syverson, alumnus Matt Tracey, and Executive MBA student Crystal Lam to tell us why it’s stuck and what might kick it into gear. Chad Syverson, J. Baum Harris Professor of Economics, is the author of “Challenges to Mismeasurement Explanations for the US Productivity Slowdown,” published in the spring 2017 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives: Is productivity stuck in neutral? The short answer is yes. It’s been slow for the last decade—truly slow, not mismeasuredly slow or illusorily slow. The mismeasurement hypothesis says that although productivity has been slow since the mid-2000s, that isn’t real. The hypothesis argues that what’s actually going on is that our ability to measure economic growth has gotten worse. New things that people like and use a lot—Google, Facebook, Snapchat—are all free. We calculate GDP by adding up what people spend money on. Those things don’t show up because they’re free, so it looks like output per worker hour isn’t going up much. In my recent paper I asked, if that’s true, what else would it be true of? The patterns I found were consistent with an actual productivity slowdown rather than with mismeasurement.

conversations

On Exhibit

Besides being three of Chicago’s most iconic museums, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry have something else in common: their CFOs are Chicago Booth alumnae. Joyce Simon, ’75; Marcia Heuser, ’87; and Rose Fealy, ’89, each spent at least part of their careers working at for-profit corporations before assuming their respective roles at the Shedd, the Adler, and the MSI. Chicago Booth Magazine brought the three women together to talk about the complexities of balancing the books at a world-class museum, the rewards of contributing to the mission of each organization, and how more women can join them in the C-suite.

conversations

Judgment Call

In many disciplines—financial accounting, for example—if you try to practice without any sort of formal education, you could very well end up in jail, says Jane L. Risen, professor of behavioral science. But when it comes to decision making, everybody is making personal and professional decisions all of the time without any formal guidance. Risen's class Managerial Decision Making is designed to provide that: a framework to actively recognize when decisions are likely to go wrong so that you can identify what you might be able to do to make them better.

conversations

Allies with Expertise

For Booth students, the annual Alumni Angel Awards are not just a celebration of alumni who go above and beyond in giving back to the school. They’re also an opportunity to strengthen the connections among Booth graduates and current students. “The Alumni Angel Awards reinspire alumni. They’re a way of saying, ‘Hey, here’s what your classmates are doing to help others. You should give it a try,’” said Trevor Gingras. He, along with fellow Full-Time MBA students Lexi Messmer and Jackie Yuh, is part of the Dean’s Student & Alumni Representatives group, which oversees the awards. And this year, there was no shortage of exemplary alumni to choose from.

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A Solution for the Caring Economy

Most nights, Chelsea Sprayregen gets a good six or seven hours of sack time—no small feat for a woman juggling being a student at Booth and the CEO and cofounder of the promising startup Provide. “I don’t do anything else besides work,” Sprayregen said without a hint of regret. But, she said, “I can’t function without sleep.” On May 22, however, nerves would keep her tossing and turning all night. It was the eve of easily her most important professional moment, one that would help turn her dream into a reality: overhauling and simplifying how childcare business owners operate. The next day, along with her fellow Evening MBA students on the Provide team, Sprayregen would present to a room full of business-savvy judges (including several Booth alumni), as well as six other finalist teams competing to win the 2017 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge. <br/>

conversations

The View From Tokyo

No matter your industry, the draw to live in Tokyo is readily apparent: ultramodern transport, a fast-paced yet family-friendly lifestyle, and so many great restaurants that residents can hardly agree on a top-10 list. Add in the active contemporary art scene, buzzing nightlife, and neighborhoods brimming with longstanding cultural traditions, and it’s clear why Tokyo’s population is nearing 14 million, and growing. <br/>More than 500 Booth alumni live in Japan, many of whom call this modern-meets-traditional metropolis home. Almost 20 percent of Booth’s tight-knit alumni here work in the banking industry, with other contingents in general management, consulting, and marketing. Those that work in Tokyo are increasingly focused on connecting with prospective students.

conversations

What Is the Business Potential of Blockchain?

Eric Budish is professor of economics and a director of the Initiative on Global Markets at Chicago Booth, as well as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His recent paper on cryptocurrency, titled “The Economic Limits of Bitcoin and the Blockchain,” was published in June: "I’m skeptical that Bitcoin—or other similar cryptocurrencies—will become what cryptocurrency believers fantasize about. Some fantasize it will become the global currency or a global store of value like gold. Some imagine it will become an important part of the global financial system, another currency alongside dollars and euros that moves around the world in serious quantities. My paper is trying to make an argument that’s quite skeptical of these possibilities. Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous founder of Bitcoin, came up with an ingenious way of creating trust in a database without a centralized, trusted party. I respect it as a computer science innovation, but my research shows it’s a really expensive way to generate trust because it’s only as trustworthy as the cost of attacking it. That cost is within the reach of eccentric billionaires, and certainly within the reach of a nation. Elon Musk could not attack the US Federal Reserve system, but he could attack Bitcoin. <br/>

conversations

The View From Mumbai

Mumbai’s Booth alumni network is as large, diverse, and energetic as the city itself. Through events such as impromptu beer-and-chat sessions and the annual Pan-India Booth Alumni Retreat (PIBAR), Mumbai’s more than 150 Booth graduates stay connected and serve as the first port of call in India for any Boothie looking for help. Although Mumbai is India’s financial center, Booth alumni here work not only in the financial services sector but also in retail, healthcare, technology, and even the Hindi film industry, with one graduate having started a film training school. Many Boothies run family businesses, foundations, consultancies, or startups, and some work in the development sector.

conversations

The Media and Nonmarket Forces

Booth students in growing numbers are interested in taking the entrepreneurial route, setting up their own companies. I did that myself. Eighteen years ago, after being a financial journalist and editor for 12 years, I founded TheMarker, which quickly became the leading financial and economics newspaper in Israel. After five years, Haaretz, which is like the New York Times of Israel, terminated its business section and launched TheMarker as a daily print newspaper. Most of media is going from print to digital, but we started as an online outlet and expanded to also include a daily print newspaper. We were able to buck the trend and grow revenues and circulation through a more innovative approach at a time when established, quality newspapers were suffering greatly all over the world. The second part of my entrepreneurial story is that I spent a great deal of energy and time encouraging ideas and policies having to do with promoting competition in Israel and reforming the capital markets, which suffered from a concentration of a few large holding companies and monopolies. In my teaching I blend my experience in the political economy of regulation and my knowledge of the business model of the news media with the economic literature and frameworks. All these come together in my class, Reputation, Regulation, and Communications—How Media Influences Business.

conversations

Worth the Risk

The Challenge: For most homeowners, buying insurance isn’t a customer-friendly experience. It takes time working with an agent and finding answers to numerous detailed questions. Filing claims can be arduous, and agents might not keep up with clients’ life changes, potentially leaving them underinsured. “They don’t even call you a customer; they call you a policy holder,” said Assaf Wand, cofounder and CEO of insurtech company Hippo. The Solution: Wand wanted to use technology to streamline the customer experience, but first he needed to learn the industry. Starting in 2015, Wand used his Booth training to break down insurance regulations and compliance into their smallest parts in order to understand how to build Hippo’s customer-centric model from scratch. “Basically we locked ourselves in the office for two years to figure this thing out,” he said.

conversations

Changing the Channel

Over the past eight years, Walmart’s Daniel Eckert, ’05 (XP-74), has had a front-row seat to the profound transformations that have been gripping the retail industry. “We have not ever seen the pace of change as fast as we are seeing it today,” said Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart services and digital acceleration. “It’s forcing new ways of thinking, and entire new ways for organizations to work within themselves and with customers.” As the keynote speaker at Chicago Booth’s inaugural Marketing Summit, Eckert shared how he’s developing products at the nexus of digital and physical that help the world’s largest retailer reach customers where, when, and how they want to shop. Sponsored by the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing, the summit gathered executive-level alumni in marketing with renowned faculty members to exchange ideas, dig into the data, and look ahead to what’s next. Read on for some of their top takeaways from the summit:<br/>

conversations

Six Days to Pitch

The History: The Global New Venture Challenge (GNVC) is the Executive MBA track in the New Venture Challenge process, which began 21 years ago. We kick off the GNVC in August when all of the Executive MBA students are in Chicago for their electives. The entrepreneurs put together a feasibility study about their businesses, encourage others to join their teams, and submit an application in October. We choose about six teams from each cohort—Chicago, Hong Kong, and London—to participate in the class. The Preparation: Because the course is so short, it actually starts as soon as we choose the teams. I have a kick-off WebEx call in the fall with the teams, who are located all over the world, to start working on their business models. I then host webinars for all of the teams on business plans and presentations. Finally, I have a second, one-on-one call with each team in the winter. Business plans are due a week before class starts, because I want the teams to have written their story and really gotten it down. The Curriculum: The weeklong class is stressful. It’s intensive, and it doesn’t look like a normal class. On the first day, students present to a group of coaches, judges, and outside mentors, and they get a lot of feedback. We handpick mentors for each team based on industry, business model, and startup experience to get them started working with outside people on their model and story. <br/>

conversations

How Do You Avoid Paralysis by Analysis?

Knowing when to stop looking at data comes up constantly in my Algorithmic Marketing class. In this class, one of the main goals is to be able to develop tools that would help someone make better decisions. Building these tools relies on knowing what exactly the decision is or what the question is. Very often people don’t specify their question in a precise enough form. You need to write down a specific question—it can’t be a vague goal or a vague statement. It’s important to thoroughly articulate your question and your research plan. The more precise your question, the easier time you will have looking for an answer. The question in itself isn’t enough, though. We also need to specify the exact parameters of an acceptable answer. It doesn’t occur to people to write down specs of an answer, but that’s another thing that needs to be done before you get started. You need to give yourself some set of parameters to help you understand when you’re going to stop even before you start. These parameters could be a set of rules you have to satisfy. For example, if I’m looking at how advertising impacts sales, it might be that I am looking for a set of parameters in the context of a particular model. Knowing that helps you look in the right direction. You have to chart out what the ideal answer would be, and you have to chart out what you’re going to be satisfied with in the findings<br/>

conversations

The View From New York

New York has the highest population density of any major city in the United States, with more than 27,000 people per square mile. Yet Booth alumni bump into each other regularly. “You come across them at work, on the street,” said Kate Gusin, ’07. “There are a ton of people from Booth here—everyone who moves here has this premade network of people coming from Booth.” More than 2,200 Booth alumni live and work in the New York metropolitan area. While they work mainly in investment banking and finance, they also delve into other fields, including marketing, sales, and publishing. Booth graduates appreciate the networking possibilities in New York. Jacquie DeSimone, ’97, described meeting a fellow Booth graduate at a happy-hour event and starting a conversation about skiing over a cocktail. By the time the night was over, they were talking business, and it turned into an opportunity for both of them. She isn’t the only one with that type of experience. “I was interviewing for a job and it turned out a Booth friend of mine worked there,” said James Reeves, ’13. “She was able to counsel me on the interview process, and I was also able to shortcut a lot of conversations about my knowledge and the breadth of my skills. The degree from Booth spoke for me.” Anya Gezunterman, ’01, agreed. “People here know Booth.” <br/>

conversations

CAN Do Attitude

Let’s say that you are a smart, driven entrepreneur with a groundbreaking idea to revolutionize food packaging and eliminate all those Styrofoam containers littering the landfill. You’ve got a patent. You’ve got passion. What you don’t have is money. Plus you are in Europe, where early-stage investing tends toward the risk averse. What to do? If you are startup ValueForm and your CFO is Mandar Kulkarni, ’10 (EXP-15), you put your pitch together and take it to CAN, the Chicago Angels Network in London. Founded in 2012 by Shehreyar Hameed, ’05; Jonathan Weiss, ’00, MD ’01; and Rama Veeraragoo, ’12 (EXP-17), the global network of domain experts, mentors, and angel investors gives Booth graduates a chance at early-stage investment opportunities with entrepreneurial startups and extends the school’s commitment to innovation. In early 2012, Hameed had started investing in startups, and developed the idea of CAN to provide access to compelling investment opportunities to the Booth alumni network in London, elsewhere in Europe, and globally. “I wanted to invest and help entrepreneurs harness our strong, global, and diverse network of deep domain expertise to build successful businesses,” said Hameed, a senior financial professional based in London. “Hence the motto, ‘Engage! Mentor! Invest!’ It’s about setting young companies on the right path and opening doors for them. That’s where the real value comes from.”<br/>

conversations

It’s All Relative to this Booth Student Group

A recent addition among Booth student groups, the Private and Family Business Group started back in 2010, under the name Family Enterprise Group. Providing a forum for private and family business issues, the group today has about 25 members, who host discussions on the particular challenges of such entities, particularly in emerging markets. The group hosts small dinners, lunch ’n’ learns, off-campus cocktails, workshops, speakers, and discussions. Not all members are part of a family business; some want to know what it would be like to work for a family-run firm. Chicago Booth Magazine checked in with two of the group’s current leaders, both of whom are international students at turning points in their careers facing a big question: Should they stay in the United States and better their skills in corporate America, or return home to put their Booth education to use growing the family business?<br/>

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Checking In

The Challenge: FibraHotel (FIHO), a Mexican real estate investment trust (REIT), had good partnerships with local operators and wanted to expand its hotel portfolio with international brands. Previous negotiation attempts with international franchises and hotel operators were not successful because they weren’t willing to negotiate beyond the standard international deal terms and US hotel standards that are generally used internationally. The Strategy: Guillermo Bravo Escobosa joined FIHO following the REIT’s successful initial public offering in 2012. FIHO built a reputation as a solid developer and real estate owner, and it had the capital necessary to secure strong growth in hotels in Mexico. At the same time during which FIHO wanted to grow its hotel portfolio in Mexico, it was looking for a new international partner with whom it could reach an agreement similar to those FIHO had previously negotiated with its local partners—a new international partnership that would better align incentives for both parties. FIHO wanted to find an international partner and develop a deal that was based primarily on a variable fee structure, rather than a standard top-line heavy fee structure deal. Additionally, FIHO wanted its international partner to be willing to “tropicalize” its products to the Mexican market and invest in expanding local operations teams. <br/>

conversations

How Do You Manage Millennials?

For the rising ranks of millennials in business, 2015 was a watershed year: they surpassed Gen Xers to become the largest generation present in the US labor force. Yet another milestone is on the horizon—Pew Research predicts the 73 million–strong cohort, born between 1981 and 1996, will overtake baby boomers as the country’s largest living adult generation sometime next year. Though millennials are no more or less a monolith than the generations that came before them, many managers have observed that members of this generation are bringing a markedly different set of values to the office than their predecessors. Millennials may be derided as tech-obsessed, approval-seeking job-hoppers, or praised as creative, adaptable idealists, hungry for personal growth. But one thing’s clear: they’re prompting executives across industries to reevaluate the traditional approach to management. We asked three Booth experts what the future holds. William Osborne, ’01 (XP-70), is senior vice president for global manufacturing and quality at Navistar Inc., a Fortune 500 company based in the Chicago area: Millennial employees take a fundamentally different approach to their professional lives, but they’re not the caricatures people make them out to be. They have a different value system regarding the role of work in their lives—work is one component, and not the centerpiece. They value experiences more than what I would call traditional rewards. For example, I just had an employee, an engineer, recently quit the company and move into a completely different position, in purchasing, with another company. It was a fundamental change, and the main reason he gave was that he lived downtown and the new company was downtown. For him, work was a means to support his lifestyle. <br/>This is not necessarily a bad thing. They’re more creative and more innovative—they look at things differently, and that’s what’s driving change. But they’re less willing to compromise personal growth and development for the sake of the corporation. <br/>

conversations

The View From Seattle

Sean Lobo, ’09, will never forget the warm welcome to Seattle he received from the late Nicholas Waltner, ’90, Alumni Club of Seattle president at the time. “He ran it really well,” said Lobo, who moved from New York to Seattle in 2014 to work at Vulcan Capital. Waltner thoughtfully checked in to make sure that Lobo and his wife had a smooth transition to the Pacific Northwest.<br/><br/>“He was willing to open up his heart and time and energy,” Lobo said. “That left a lasting impression.”<br/><br/>Waltner’s life was tragically cut short in a 2016 traffic accident, but his memory lives on in Seattle’s active alumni club. Lobo, now the club’s president, wanted to continue Waltner’s legacy by welcoming Booth graduates who come to work at companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks as well as the many startups with Seattle offices.<br/><br/>“Our vision was to take what Nick had started and take it to the next level. We were focused on getting people back to events, and we did that with exciting and interesting content,” said Lobo.

conversations

Improving Your Outlook

Randy Bellows, ’88 (XP-57), has been attending Economic Outlook for a decade. Established in 1954 as Business Forecast, Chicago Booth’s annual event provides a forum for professors to evaluate emerging trends and share key insights about where our economy is headed. Having retired after a long career as an ophthalmologist, Bellows is an avid investor, and he considers the event one of his most important resources for information—which was his motivation to attend both the Chicago and New York events last January. “Booth faculty are a step ahead of the ordinary media,” said Bellows. “These people are leaders whom I respect, and when I have the privilege of sitting in front of them and hearing what they have to say, it’s valuable enough that I sit there, take notes, and look at those notes all year long.” At the two sessions, with over 1,300 total attendees, leading Booth economists discussed critical issues facing the global economy. They shared their insights into the outlook for Wall Street and Main Street 10 years after the financial crisis, and discussed whether we might be headed toward another. The events were covered by a number of media outlets, including CNBC, Financial Advisor, and the Chicago Tribune. During the event in New York, John Authers, senior investment commentator for the Financial Times, moderated a discussion between Randall S. Kroszner, Norman R. Bobins Professor of Economics; and Erik Hurst, V. Duane Rath Professor of Economics and John E. Jeuck Faculty Fellow. Both economists said they anticipate strong growth this year, and neither believe there to be a threat of inflation or recession on the immediate horizon.<br/>

conversations

Reaching a New Breed of Consumer

The Approach: Since 2016, professors Pradeep K. Chintagunta and Lil Mohan have been cohelming Digital Marketing for Executives, a three-day Executive Education course offered at Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago. Like other open-enrollment courses at Booth, it offers a chance for executives to take a step back from their day-to-day responsibilities in order to sharpen their skills and keep up with the evolving business landscape.<br/>About three-fourths of those who sign up come from traditional verticals. It’s the remaining fourth, though, that help keep it eclectic. “I had a participant who worked for a large cosmetics company and another who was the CEO of a money-transfer business between here and Mexico,” Chintagunta recalled. For many, the course is their first Booth experience, and they find themselves learning alongside peers with diverse experiences—between two and three each session are over 60 years old, Chintagunta said. Mohan, a renowned entrepreneur, teaches the framework and brings the applied perspective, while Chintagunta delves into the analytical topics. The Preparation: Participants are asked to read a few thought-starter articles beforehand, including Think with Google’s “How Mobile Has Changed How People Get Things Done: New Consumer Behaviour Data” and Harvard Business Review’s “Competing on Customer Journeys.” They also complete a short questionnaire so that Chintagunta and Mohan know what role the participants play in their organization and what they hope to get out of the course. The Curriculum and Case Studies: In the first hour, the executives are assigned a team project to devise a holistic digital marketing strategy that they must complete and present to Chintagunta and Mohan on the final day. “I tell them not to pick a strategy for the whole, giant company,” Mohan said. “Instead, pick a division of the company and put yourself in the position where you can actually make a decision and make it happen within a 60-day window.” Teams generally meet up after hours to design and fine-tune their strategies, as classroom time is devoted to several modules on what’s new and what’s next in the field. Mohan takes the lead on lessons, especially those relating to models and frameworks, content marketing, search marketing, mobile marketing, social-media, and omni-channel marketing. <br/>

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Combining Forces

When Andreas Angelopoulos, ’02 (EXP-7), became executive director of the Private Equity Institute at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, he knew he wanted to capitalize on the combined brainpower of his alma mater and his new employer. With the support of Booth leadership and key faculty members, Angelopoulos has developed a triad of private equity–related programs under the Oxford Chicago banner: the Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge for the students, the Oxford Chicago Valuation Program for executives and alumni, and the Oxford Chicago Discussions for students and alumni. To make the programs successful, Angelopoulos called on graduates such as Nick Alexos, ’88, who cofounded Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC and is now executive vice president and CFO of York, Pennsylvania-based dental products manufacturer Dentsply Sirona Inc. We spoke with Angelopoulos and Alexos about the one-of-a-kind relationship between the two B-school titans.<br/>

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My Culture Collection: Bill Meyer and Sarah Perkins

Bill Meyer, ’18 (XP-87), who graduated in April from Booth’s Executive MBA Program, dreamed up DesignerShare after noticing a huge peer-to-peer gap in fashion-sharing businesses such as Rent the Runway. Knowing he needed someone with fashion expertise to partner with, he asked longtime friend and lifestyle journalist Sarah Perkins to team up. Perkins had frequently loaned her designer items to girlfriends in her college business fraternity and thought the idea of creating an online platform where women could monetize their own closets was “genius.” They joined forces, and DesignerShare launched in spring 2017. We asked the cofounders what keeps them current as they manage their uniquely two-sided marketplace.

perspectives

This is Working for Me: Sandra Stark, ’95

Fifteen years ago, Sandra Stark, ’95, went west to Seattle to Starbucks Coffee Company, where she worked with three others in new ventures, a group that behaved like a VC firm: buying Tazo Tea, introducing the Starbucks Card, and looking for other growth opportunities. She wasn’t managing a huge slice of the company’s total $22.4 billion business, as she does these days as a senior vice president managing the global product organization, but it gave her a first glimpse of the fast-growing company’s equitable culture. It’s this culture, she says, that informs “what we do and how we treat people—farmers, suppliers, partners in stores, customers—along the way. It permeates everything we do, it sets the tone, and it helps answer many, many questions. It’s our true north and it’s why I’ve been here 15 years.” A native of Waukesha, Wisconsin, and mother of three tweens, Stark recharges with her kids: skiing and playing tennis and basketball. “I have everything I could wish for in my life. Every single day I think, ‘I am so lucky to have this job.’” Coffee is the heart and soul of our business. Product is my responsibility: beverages, food, merchandise. It starts with coffee and expands from there. What’s the strategy? What’s the right portfolio? What’s the innovation? How are we staying ahead? Currently new to the mix are our Blonde Espresso, made with lightly roasted beans; nitrogen-infused cold brew, which is less acidic and richer tasting; and Teavana Tea Infusions. With merchandise, we’re thinking, what do our customers need to create the right coffee experience at home?

perspectives

The Book of Booth: Immanuel Thangaraj, AB ’92, MBA ’93

As managing director of Palo Alto–based Essex Woodlands, Immanuel Thangaraj has helped lead one of the world’s largest health-care- dedicated investment firms in raising over $2.4 billion and building more than 100 companies. In 2015, he spun out its early-stage investment activities into Park Lane Ventures, and he remains managing director at both firms. The 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award winner serves as co-chair of the Council on Chicago Booth and is a dedicated volunteer across the university.

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Risk and Reward

After a career progression that took her around the globe, Julie A. McLaughlin, ’13 (XP-82), took a leap of faith when she returned stateside to start a job search that ultimately led her to cofounding Vertex Energía, based in Weymouth, Massachusetts. At the 2015 Booth Women Connect Conference, McLaughlin spoke on a panel about encouraging women to take career risks, along with Alyssa Pei, ’02, who had just made her own international move to Toronto as a partner at consulting firm A. T. Kearney, based in Chicago. Here, McLaughlin and Pei continue their conversation and share what they have learned about risk from their own journeys. McLaughlin: A big risk I took was deciding to leave E.ON in 2013 when I finished my executive MBA. My role was centralized back to headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany, and changed from what I’m the most passionate about, which is negotiating renewable deals on the ground. I had a very difficult time finding an opportunity in the United States. Nobody would take me seriously as a candidate from Europe, so I moved back without a job and then started searching. Pei: Did people take you more seriously once you had a US address? McLaughlin: They did. People asked me how I knew I could do deals in New Jersey, for example, which seemed comical in comparison to many of the difficult countries I had operated in. Well, it stands to reason that if I can figure out how to do it in Indonesia, I can figure it out in New Jersey. However, being able to network locally and easily interview in person made the difference. Pei: I think it’s an interesting reflection of what they saw to be risk, though.

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Back to the Classroom

It’s late October, and students in a packed classroom at Gleacher Center are debating the merits of the Bank of Japan’s implementation of qualitative and quantitative easing. But these are not typical students—they’re already graduates who have returned to the classroom for the first installment of Back to Booth, a new series of two-day courses taught by faculty. The series was born when Sunil Kumar, dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Operations Management, envisioned ways to more deeply connect alumni with the school. Back to Booth comes as an addition to existing opportunities that allow alumni to take up to three complementary quarter-long courses, or attend discounted Executive Education programs that are typically five days long.

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A World of Connections

The United States has just recovered from the deepest and longest recession since the Great Depression. The European economy is still in deep trouble due to the euro crisis and, in particular, the Greek sovereign debt crisis. China’s growth is slowing, and the Chinese stock market just went through a meltdown this past fall. The main objective of my class is to give students the basic analytical tools to understand these types of macroeconomic events. I also want them to be familiar with phenomena such as growth, unemployment, and inflation, as well as with the impact of monetary and fiscal policy. Why do some countries grow faster than others? What determines economic fluctuations? How does being part of a global economic system affect the economy of a country? The challenge is to provide students with a unified framework to answer these questions and to critically assess the pros and cons of a variety of economic policies.

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The View From Houston

A city once known for strip malls and sprawling suburbs has grown into a sophisticated metropolis in recent years. With a serious art scene, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and luxury condominiums going up in the city’s more pedestrian friendly areas, there are suddenly more reasons to leave the office a little earlier and experience some of Houston’s Southern charms. Almost 40 percent of the 655 Booth alumni in the Houston area work in the city’s energy sector. Many visit the city’s historic private clubs and more-casual dining spots for networking. Others use the well-connected airline hub as a springboard for sector-related international work travel.

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Getting Real

The Challenge: In late 2010, Seth Hewitt was a senior vice president of asset management with Chicago-based ST Residential, which managed (and whose investors owned) a $4.5 billion commercial real estate loan and asset portfolio, including the defaulted loan on a high-rise condominium property in Chicago’s South Loop. The property was saddled with cost overruns, unpaid bills, ongoing contractor litigation, and significant water damage in the building from a burst pipe. Upon taking ownership, ST considered selling the building as is for approximately $40 million, which would have been profitable and reduced risk.

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Data and Healthcare Diagnostics

Nearly a year before his spring 2015 course began, professor Dan Adelman queried medical directors at Chicago-area hospitals to put forward their most pressing, most intractable issues—real-world problems for his MBA student teams to solve. These four challenges, from three institutions sharing unprecedented access to their data (normally a top-secret strategic asset), formed the foundation of last year’s Healthcare Analytics Laboratory: University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) wanted to evaluate a brand-new intervention—then in practice for only a few months—designed to reduce heart-failure readmissions within 30 days. Were patients leaving the hospital healthier? Was it saving money? And if it was working, could it be expanded across the hospital? UCM also sought to optimize the case mix in its vascular-surgery practice. What kinds of procedures should be their focus and specializations? How should the doctors grow their practices? What skill sets should they invest in or hire for?

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Fan Favorite

Is it gambling? Is it skill? Or perhaps the bigger question about daily fantasy sports, FBI investigation notwithstanding: Could the NFL actually learn something from the avid at-home data analysts winning big at DFS? Vince Gennaro, ’77, president of the Society for American Baseball Research, thinks so. He credits some of the current DFS boom to the popularity of the fantasy baseball played on a less-than-daily basis in the 1990s. Fans intent on winning their fantasy leagues ushered in a mainstream interest in advanced metrics. This appetite spawned a generation of websites devoted to analytics. And MLB teams actually wound up using data from those sites to support real-world decisions. “If the data is out there and in the public domain,” Gennaro said, “teams will absolutely learn from the fantasy players. But that also depends on the sport.”

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To Your Health

The Challenge: In the early 2000s, a 50 percent failure rate for mental-health-drug trials meant the Food and Drug Administration approved few new treatments for psychiatric diseases, says Amy Fershko Ellis, ’80, who cofounded MedAvante in 2002 to analyze how the pharmaceutical industry tested psychiatric drugs. Her team found the root cause of trial failure was measurement variability and investigator bias in subjective assessments of trial participants. MedAvante created a holistic methodology to improve testing, but the company encountered industry resistance as outsiders looking to change the way clinical trials had long been conducted. The Strategy: Ellis applied universal principles to product development. Because drug trials are conducted in various parts of the country and around the world, companies pay investigators to find, evaluate, and enroll patients. But differences between investigators result in unreliable outcomes. MedAvante, however, proposed a way to control and centralize the evaluation process, using the internet to connect remote clinicians to patients to ask the same questions in the same way and characterize patient responses identically. MedAvante also digitized the process and made it cloud based, so researchers would have instant results. To build credibility, MedAvante enlisted key medical and scientific leaders who believed in their strategy and concept—mostly academics who didn’t have an economic bias. In 2005, MedAvante’s first two trials involved drugs that had previously failed. The new methodology showed significant results demonstrating the drugs worked, and the treatments were approved. Even with those results, industry skepticism of MedAvante’s nontraditional approach meant slow methodology adoption. But by 2009 the psychiatry industry embraced the system, and MedAvante dropped the 50 percent trial failure rate to the low teens. In 2014, MedAvante expanded the platform for use in all medical drug trials, using new technology to enhance data quality for drug developers. New services were quickly adopted beyond psychiatry, especially in studies of Alzheimer’s disease, where the company now holds a leadership position. “We benefited from the halo we had from our success,” Ellis said. The Takeaway: A great strategy can work in all sectors, even if implemented by industry outsiders. If the strategy and results are sound, don’t be discouraged by naysayers.

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The Real World

When Bernie Ocampo, ’05, first arrived at Booth, there was a seeming lack of real estate focus. After some quick research, he discovered plenty of alumni in the real estate arena. They just needed someone to bring them together. “I spent a year digging around in the database, compiling the most accomplished alumni I could find,” Ocampo said. “After a year, I invited these folks to be advocates or sponsors, with the idea of building a community.” In 2006, Ocampo helped found the Real Estate Alumni Group (REAG), a global network of alumni led by Ocampo and multiple regional co-chairs based in Chicago, New York, and California.

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Meet the Founders

For entrepreneurs, tapping into a like-minded community can provide that extra push to keep going. That’s precisely the goal of the Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship, or PF3, at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where nine entrepreneurs are spending the year growing existing ventures. PF3, now in its first official run, serves as a yearlong incubator for Chicago-based entrepreneurs, providing everything from funding to coworking spaces to quarterly check-ins. Graduating University of Chicago students, Booth students, and decelerating Booth students can apply for the program. Here’s a look at the newest fellows:<br/>

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The View From Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a metropolis on the move. Walk down its streets and a population of more than 7 million people surrounds you. Many locals spend their commutes consumed by the technology in their hands. It’s a global city that straddles both Asian and Western worlds. It’s also experienced profound growth. Since 1974, Hong Kong has seen an average of 5.3 percent annual growth in its GDP, and tens of millions of tourists visit each year. More than 7,600 skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, many with contemporary architectural designs, paint the city’s skyline, evidence of both cultural and financial advances. Leading high-end consumer brands have opened storefronts in the city, making it a shopping destination for the wealthy. Some 400 alumni call this former British colony home, and they’ll be the first to tell you: Hong Kong’s wealth extends far beyond its finances. <br/>

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What Will Your Workplace Look Like in 2028?

Jonathan Dingel, assistant professor of economics and James S. Kemper Foundation Faculty Scholar, teaches Managing the Firm in the Global Economy. If I were looking 10 years out, I would say the changing nature of work will particularly reward talent living in some of the world’s biggest cities. The concentration of college-educated workers is already increasing in big cities, including San Francisco and New York. That contributes to an increasing inequality of life between larger cities and less populated areas. As computerization causes routine work to be automated, certain types of nonroutine, cognitively intensive tasks will offer an even bigger reward. It’s becoming more important for us to interact with other highly skilled people to get innovative results.

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Measuring Success to Maximize Impact

Social sector organizations worldwide wrestle with one fundamental issue: How do they know they are having an impact? That’s the sector’s $64 million question, and it was at the center of an insightful and thought-provoking panel discussion. Hosted by Chicago Booth’s London campus, the event marked the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation’s first visit there following the announcement of a $20 million gift from Tandean Rustandy, ’07 (AXP-6). Moderator Robert H. Gertner, John Edwardson Faculty Director of the Rustandy Center and Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy, opened the event by remarking, “Nonprofits must focus on measuring impact in a way that maximizes success and induces governments and funders to make smart decisions.”

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City-Centered Solutions

Urban centers are growing at the fastest rate ever, creating challenges and opportunities for improving the quality of life, societal outcomes, and global sustainability. For example, fresh approaches are needed to address challenges of mobility, housing, energy, food, infrastructure, safety, civic engagement, and the effectiveness and transparency of local government. A few factors are enabling new solutions and more entrepreneurial participation: advances in technology, business models applicable to dense urban environments, design thinking, an emerging ecosystem, and local governments that are more receptive to partnerships and flexible procurement procedures. This is an experiential lab course focused on entrepreneurship in the urban context. How do we develop profitable, scalable business models to solve urban problems? Through crowdsourcing? Alternative financing? Mobile technology? By using design tools, working in teams, going into communities, and learning from guest speakers and mentors, student teams tackle an urban challenge of interest.<br/>

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The View From São Paulo

Fly into São Paulo’s sprawling business hub, and expect a cadre of close-knit Booth alumni to help you get acclimated. Whether they’re wining and dining or simply making time for a last-minute meet-up, the dozens of alumni in the city maintain close ties with fellow graduates, no matter the industry: though Paulistanos with a Booth degree often go into consulting or investment banking, private equity and venture capital roles represent a growing portion of the alumni base. Since arriving in the city five years ago, Leonardo Alves, ’12 (XP-81), has become part of a growing number of alumni attending events—both formal and informal. Recently this meant going to a U2 concert with a handful of alumni; other nights Alves joins former Booth students to experience some of São Paulo’s excellent Japanese cuisine. A Rio de Janeiro–based Booth graduate’s monthly business trip has turned into standing dinner plans. <br/>

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Acquired Taste

The Challenge: Food producer Kellogg wanted to enter the Chinese market, but failed its initial attempts to do so organically or through acquisition. It decided to pursue a joint-venture partner to lower its market-entry risk since Kellogg could leverage the partner’s local expertise and scale the business, saving time and expense. Joint-venture partners also share the required investment to achieve success. While a joint venture might reduce the possible absolute upside of entering a new market, the probability-weighted return is usually higher than with a go-it-alone strategy. Yet finding a solid partner is difficult. Kellogg worked with Dwight McCardwell in 2012 to find the right match.

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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/>

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Student Supercommuters

Every four to six weeks, Robindra “Rob” Chatterjee shuttles more than 4,000 miles from his home in Brisbane, Australia, spending about 21 hours in trains, taxis, and airplanes, to get to his Executive MBA classes on Chicago Booth’s Hong Kong campus. He’s picked up a few travel tricks along the way. For instance, the showers at the Singapore airport are surprisingly nice. It pays to invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. And an eight-hour flight can make for an adequate night’s sleep. “I’m practiced at sleeping upright on an economy-class flight,” said the 37-year-old, who works for his family’s coal sales and minerals exploration business.<br/>

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Something Ventured

Two thousand miles from the Charles M. Harper Center, two Booth-bred entrepreneurs take turns stating their cases. Hands fly up from the crowd, and rapt listeners grill these innovators with questions about their businesses. Poised and prepared, the presenters answer without breaking a sweat. After all, they’ve already weathered the pressure cooker of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s New Venture Challenge finals. The presenting skills forged in that crucible are on display in their confident approach to a new challenge: Polsky Center’s West Coast Demo Day.

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Taking Inventory

The Challenge: Apple’s customers had evolved, and Cheryl Eng’s retail programs needed to keep pace. Customers could participate in small group demos intended to introduce them to Apple, the Mac, and later iPhones and iPads. But as technology became ubiquitous, basic tutorials weren’t cutting it for Apple owners. Customer feedback showed that “we weren’t meeting their needs. They wanted to capture memories from a child’s birthday party, but didn’t know how to do it in the best way,” Eng said. Addressing this need required a new strategy, not only to enhance the customer experience, but to change the mindset of senior leadership.

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Profiting from Giving Back

Throughout a long and successful career that took him to the top of the corporate world, John Edwardson, ’72, held true to a value he learned as a child—the importance of giving back. “All four of my grandparents were active in social service work,” said Edwardson, the retired chairman and CEO of Vernon Hills, Illinois-based CDW, and a University of Chicago trustee. “Two were immigrants and none made it past the eighth grade, but they lived in small towns where people took care of each other. I learned just from being with them.”<br/>

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Getting Personnel

The Challenge: How do you go about creating the first diversity and inclusion strategic plan for the Department of Homeland Security, the third-largest and newest US federal government department? With 240,000 employees, not only is the DHS large, it includes long-established agencies such as the Coast Guard and newer agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration, all with their own policies, priorities, and cultures. When Nimesh Patel joined the DHS in 2011 as executive director for diversity and inclusion, the department had no cohesive strategy or oversight of diversity and inclusion, which sometimes resulted in significant challenges for senior leaders when briefing members of Congress about diversity efforts. “We couldn’t even clearly identify our successes, challenges, or the strategies to address the challenges,” said Patel, who recently left DHS to lead diversity and inclusion at WilmerHale, a large international law firm. The Strategy: Patel relied on his experience consulting with Fortune 200 companies regarding their diversity and inclusion efforts, as well as his relationship building, consensus forming, and negotiating skills, to create the department’s strategic plan. He established a task force including representatives from all of the major agencies to create a collaborative process, enable different perspectives, and gain buy-in from all key stakeholders.

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How Can You Take a Smart Approach to Student Loan Debt?

My initial principal loan balance was about $28,000. I didn’t get any correspondence from my loan provider until I was a senior in college. When I got an email that said I had accrued $3,500 in interest, it felt huge to me. I definitely made more than that through on-campus jobs and paid internships during school, and I could have put that money toward my student loans. If the provider had been sending notices, maybe I would have been sending in money sooner. Many students don’t understand that interest is accruing on your loans from your first day of college. Once the grace period expires, that interest is added to your balance, so then you’re paying interest on the interest.<br/>

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A Welcoming Home

The companionship of scholars and the thrill of continuous learning are two wonderful aspects of a life in science,” Robert W. Fogel wrote in a short autobiography when he won the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. “When one is engaged with students who are both very curious and very bright, it is never quite clear who is teaching whom.” That passion for engaging with students stood at the core of the Fogel Dinner, one of the enduring legacies of the late Nobel laureate and longtime Booth professor, and his wife, Enid M. Fogel, the onetime associate dean of students at Booth. Together, they hosted the first Fogel Dinner in 1982 to welcome minority students at Booth to the school and the Hyde Park community. Each fall for the next three decades, Bob—as he was known to colleagues and students—and Enid opened the doors of their brownstone on University Avenue. After his wife’s death in 2007, Fogel continued the tradition until he passed away in 2013. <br/>

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Fund and Games

Manish Kothari, ’90, is general manager of institutions for Edmodo, a social learning platform, as well as a senior advisor in Cisco’s Entrepreneurs in Residence program. Thanks to a gift Kothari and his wife, Carmen Saura, made to the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Kothari Saura Internship Fund provides participants in the Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP) with a living stipend, so they can focus on entrepreneurial endeavors. Andi Hadisutjipto—a Full-Time student and the founder and CEO of Chicago-based retail technology company Riviter—participated in the EIP in the summer of 2015 and benefited from the Kothari Saura fund. Bound together by their passion for the start-up scene, Kothari and Hadisutjipto joined a conversation with Chicago Booth Magazine to discuss diversity, funding, and the future of entrepreneurship.

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The View from London

It’s a natural fit—graduates of a business school renowned as a finance powerhouse thrive along the banks of the Thames, making their mark in the world’s preeminent financial and banking hub. More than 800 Chicago Booth alumni live and work in the United Kingdom, home to one of the school’s overseas campuses at Woolgate Exchange, in the heart of London’s financial district. It serves as the headquarters of the Executive MBA Program Europe, anchoring the Booth community as a gathering place for students, faculty, and graduates alike.<br/>

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A Head Start

No matter how successful they have been in their paths to Booth, incoming Executive MBA students enter the program with questions, uncertainties, and often even anxiety over the vaunted rigors of the curriculum, the uniform brilliance of their new classmates, and the imposing intellect of the faculty. As a part of the student’s LEAD experience, the Leadership Development team partnered with about 55 distinguished Booth alumni for the inaugural Executive MBA 20/20, where roughly 250 students in these new cohorts listened as the alumni panelists addressed queries, allayed fears, empathized with doubts, and offered guidance on getting the most out of Booth.

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Who Was XP-1?

CBM takes a closer look at the very first Executive MBA cohort. Follow along as pamphlet distributed to these students in 1943 is restored in this issue’s feature “Paper Work.” Whether or not they knew it, the 52 students who made up XP-1 blazed a new trail in business education. Their course of study, now known as Booth’s Executive MBA Program, was the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The program’s creation in 1943 dovetailed with the wartime demand for skilled administrators, according to Taking Stock: A Century of Business Education at the University of Chicago, a 1998 chronicle of Booth’s history up to that point. <br/>

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To Wisconsin in Search of a Soul

1987 was a scary time to be enrolled at the Booth School of Business. Students had left jobs to attend what they considered one of the best, if not the best, business school in the country. They planned to move on to big corporate careers, many of them in finance. Then, on October 19, 1987—what came to be known as Black Monday—the stock market recorded its biggest single-day drop in history, losing 22.6 percent of its value, $500 billion. A few months later, BusinessWeek came out with a survey dropping Booth out of the top 10 among business schools, ranking Booth 11th. The school’s curriculum got a D and its professors got a C.