Chicago Booth Magazine Spring 2016 Cover

Features

Personalities, characters, visionaries, trends, emerging ideas, industry insight, history, evolution and more… Features explore the topics that matter most to the Chicago Booth community with memorable storytelling and insightful reporting.

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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.’”