Winter 2016 Magazine Cover featuring Moon Javaid


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.


Field Position

One morning last fall, before the San Francisco 49ers began their second season in a glitzy new $1.3 billion stadium, Moon Javaid, ’12, manager of business operations for the team, took a hard look at concessions. Sure, this is football. Concession sales were going to be strong. But, he asked, could they be stronger? Javaid, with his background in advanced analytics, turned to hard data for the answer. He scoured sales figures from past seasons. This led him to institute one minor but crucial change to the design of the concession stands: he redirected the queues so that they snake around stanchions, like an airport security line, at 75 points around the stadium. By the midpoint of the season, the move had increased sales by one extra transaction per line per minute since—amounting to an extra $20,000 per game, or $200,000 over the course of each season’s home games, including the preseason. It might sound like loose change—beer money—for a franchise that collected $427 million in revenue in 2014, the first season in Levi’s Stadium, in the heart of the fans and fortunes of Silicon Valley. Javaid, however, understands that the small improvements add up, and his is a top-five revenue-producing team. “In the NFL, it’s not tremendously difficult to make money,” he said. “You can do B+ work by not really doing much, and you can still be profitable. But in order to get to the next level, you need to find those little wins.”<br/><br/>


The Page Turner

When she walks into 57th Street Books, Sara Paretsky, AM ’69, MBA ’77, PhD ’77, is welcomed as an old friend and coconspirator—both of which are true to her legacy in Chicago and in the Hyde Park literary haunt. The best-selling mystery writer, who has just published her 21st book and greets everyone behind the counter by name, is clearly at home here. The city has inspired Paretsky since she arrived by bus at age 19 from Kansas to support the civil rights movement. Since that time—in 1966, what Paretsky calls “the touchstone summer of my life”—Chicago, and largely Hyde Park, has been her second-most-important protagonist. She went on to earn a PhD in history at the university and then an MBA from Booth. All the while she was concocting a unique alchemy of research and storytelling, fact and fiction, analytics and activism, that somehow makes the idea of a mystery writer with a business degree make perfect sense. <br/>


Lab Results

Marcia Kraniak—79 years old, from the South Side of Chicago—went home from the hospital eight weeks ago. She had been admitted to the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCM) with congestive heart failure and spent three days there. Fluid had built up in her body, and her heart was too weak to pump enough blood. She couldn’t move around easily. Two months after leaving the hospital, however, she’s doing well on her new regimen at home. Shortly after Kraniak arrived in the UCM emergency department, hospital staff identified that her medical condition, her home life, and her mental state made it less than likely that she would get well after she went home. A new admissions algorithm predicted she might have to come back to the hospital soon. So the cardiology and nursing teams at UCM applied a special new protocol on her behalf. They gave Kraniak (a patient invented for this article) a detailed plan to take care of herself—including instructions to eat better, lay off the salt, and try to take a short walk every day—and simplified her medications to help her stay on her regimen and get well more quickly. In the past, hospitals didn’t closely monitor whether patients had to be readmitted shortly after an original hospital visit. If patients returned with the same health issues, they got patched up again, the hospital got paid again, and nobody tracked how many patients made this boomerang trajectory.


On the Table

Mark A. Leavitt, ’83, the brand-new chief investment officer of New York–based Union Square Hospitality Group, has had a seat at some most-interesting tables. Those in the esteemed restaurants of his Trinity College classmate Danny Meyer are only the latest, including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and the Modern. (Union Square Hospitality Group also launched Shake Shack in 2004, as a permanent kiosk that grew out of a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park. It is now a separate public company with more than 75 domestic and international locations and a market value of about $1.2 billion.) Before joining USHG, Leavitt for nearly eight years led global technology, media, and telecommunications investment banking at Piper Jaffray. He’s been on the boards of the Harlem Globetrotters, Leap Wireless, TSF Communications, Trinity College, and several radio broadcasters, including Citadel Communications and US Radio. He currently serves as chair of the board of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts, and, since Booth, has been working to grow and partner with companies at varied intersections of entertainment, media, and tech.