2016

Stories related to "Students".

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The Next Generation of Enterprise

On the day of the NVC finals in May, David Rabie, ’15, and his team stood in front of a panel of judges in a Booth classroom and passed out samples of Thai chicken curry, quinoa, and ginger soy broccoli. The meals had been cooked in a futuristic countertop device—similar to a crockpot—called Maestro. Rabie’s vision of simple, healthy meals calls for customers to pop pods of raw vacuum-sealed vegetables, grains, and proteins into the machine and scan the QR-coded cooking instructions on the package. In a half hour, a well-rounded meal is ready to go. The judges tossed out plenty of questions: How did Rabie plan to grow the company? Who would develop the recipes? Rabie had answers, which is why the judges awarded Maestro first place in the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), Booth’s signature startup program. With a cash prize of $70,000, business services, and enviable industry connections, Maestro has a good start in life. Four months later, the start up is fine-tuning the product, building a

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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.

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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

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Are You Convinced?

Picture a salesman. I won’t take it personally if you’ve conjured an image of a slick talker hawking a used car or an overly enthusiastic promoter of super-absorbent towels. As a middle-market lender here in Chicago, I sell, or more accurately, rent money. It may not be the stereotypical form of sales, but make no mistake: I am a salesman. When I started at Booth in 2014, I was an experienced banker who had just transitioned into a sales role. Several current and former students highly recommended professor Craig Wortmann’s Entrepreneurial Selling class. During the first session, Wortmann asked, “What word comes to mind when you hear the term salesman?” I’m cognizant of public perception of sales, so I expected some degree of negativity. Even so, I was surprised by the results. The most common response was “pushy.” Others included “manipulative,” “sleazy,” “aggressive,” “slimy,” and “annoying.” There were a few suggestions of “persistent” and “confident,” but those were by far the minority.

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Meet the Dean

Incoming dean Madhav V. Rajan shares his personal story and lays out his vision for Chicago Booth’s future—including the critical role that Booth’s global alumni network plays in building on the school’s successes. Chicago Booth Magazine: You’ve called yourself a “lifelong learner.” Can you take us back and share an anecdote about a moment in your childhood or school years that sparked your interest in business and/or academia? How can Booth instill a similar love for learning in future generations? Dean Rajan: Steve Jobs famously noted that you can only connect the dots looking backward, and that is certainly true in my case. I did not think through or plan out my career. My decision to study business for my undergraduate degree was based purely on the fact that my older brothers were engineers and I wanted to learn something different. I then moved to pursue a master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University, for the simple reason that my father worked in Pittsburgh. I did well in my first-year courses and was approached by a faculty member, who asked whether I had considered doing a PhD. I had not, but he persuaded me by noting that I would get paid to study, which seemed an amazing concept! This particular professor was in accounting, and that’s how I ended up in that field. However, Carnegie was unique in not having an economics department separate from the business school. Every student in accounting, economics, and finance did virtually the same coursework. Looking back, I have benefited immensely from the breadth of study and interdisciplinary training I received at Carnegie. Even then I wasn’t sure I would become an academic. Many of my PhD friends ended up in consulting, and I always thought the same would happen to me. But I liked academic research and teaching and was successful at it, so when I got a job offer from Wharton, it was an opportunity to keep going. Coming to Booth, I am firmly of the view that the school should support lifelong learning for its alumni. Two years ago, the school launched Back to Booth, which are short, nondegree classes for alumni. These courses provide opportunities to relive the Booth classroom experience with fellow alumni, and to learn about the latest ideas from faculty across the school. I cannot imagine a better way for alumni to keep connected with the school and to continue to learn from our great instructors and the latest ideas they are working on.

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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.

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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/>

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Med Students without Borders

Like any successful entrepreneur, AMOpportunities cofounder and CEO Kyle Swinsky has developed a business that fills a need in an untapped market. In his case, it’s connecting international medical students to rotations in the United States. Swinsky’s Chicago-based startup is the 2017 winner of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge. Run by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the New Venture Challenge is one of the top accelerator programs in the country, and the competition this year was stiff. But Swinsky’s business model, which presented an original and profitable solution to a unique demand, pushed Evening MBA student Swinsky and AMOpportunities to the front of the competition.

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Experimenting with Failure

When students take Booth’s Strategy Lab, an experiential learning course, they are sure to encounter failure. That’s because reconciling setbacks is one of the goals, according to professor Harry L. Davis. Davis teaches the MBA course in partnership with consulting firm A. T. Kearney, and he also presents the curriculum as a semester-long exercise in Executive Education leadership courses. “Most people overestimate the downsides of failure,” said Davis. Students participating in the course use a 20-cell board with experiential commands that allow them to practice basic skills, such as seeking input from a stranger, practicing active listening, and playing devil’s advocate when they’re part of a consulting team. Students take turns rolling dice to determine which approach to experiment with that week. Results are written down and used to track progress—or setbacks. Often, only a small portion of the experiments turns out well; other portions get chalked up as learning experiences. This kind of personal experimentation is critical when building the soft skills required for leaders, added Davis.<br/>

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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.

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Game On!

Sergey Yun, MBA ’18, MS ’18, was one of the first to participate in a new joint-degree program that allows Booth MBA students to simultaneously earn a master’s degree in computer science through the University of Chicago. Yun graduated earlier this year, and shares his experience in the program here: Technology and computers have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I disassembled a cartridge for my video-game console. I was really interested in how this little microchip could produce my experience of playing a game. This is how I became a geek. I never got a chance to learn computer science formally. I always saw it as more of a hobby and not a serious career trajectory. I studied economics and financial management and worked in consulting. Initially when I came to Booth, I thought I might pursue investment banking or another career in finance. But I soon realized I wanted to pursue something I felt more passionate about, and I began to consider a career in technology. So when we got an email announcing a new joint-degree program with the computer science department, it came at exactly the right moment in my life. I knew it would be a perfect fit for me given my interests and my new direction.

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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/>

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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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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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A Toast to Data-Driven Marketing

We had just 48 hours. None of us got much sleep. It was 2015, and I was part of a team of Booth students tasked with digging into Kraft consumer data to come up with an actionable solution to a real marketing problem—revitalizing its beloved Capri Sun juice drink. It was a crash course in real-life brand management. Participating in that Kilts Center Marketing Analytics Case Competition emerged as a standout experience for me at Booth. I found this experience so valuable that I wanted to pay it forward after I graduated. When I heard Kilts was looking for new case competition sponsors, I rallied my fellow brand managers at MillerCoors to participate. People were at first a little wary and were unsure about what we would get out of it. Though the investment in terms of cost was minimal, this would require time from our CMO, our vice president of innovation, and other team members. But I knew how to sell this—especially because I had been a participant myself. Even though I had never organized anything like this before, I was confident the partnership would be equally valuable to Booth students and MillerCoors. Students would get a crack at exploring real data-driven marketing. For MillerCoors, it would be a recruiting opportunity as well as a way to bring fresh ideas to a difficult marketing problem. It turns out we had a pretty big one: we had to figure out how to market a new beer brand to an audience that’s trending toward wine and spirits.

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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.

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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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A Long Journey Made Short

My journey to Booth has been a very long one, yet somehow also short. It is just as my business professors emphasize: in the globalized landscape, time seems to move faster, and distances between places feel closer. So yes, it seems very far away, my childhood village in northern India, the slant-roof hut I shared among a dozen family members. During heavy rains all of us huddled together under the same dry strip to avoid the leaks. But small steps have brought me far. At the age of 13 I moved out of town with my younger brother, who was just 10, to attend primary school. We stayed in a lodge where we cooked and took care of ourselves. This would be our only hope to eventually get into college. Engineering was all anyone was talking about at the time, and my strength was math. But even the cheapest university engineering program would have cost about $2,000 a year, which my family could not spare. Today, just over a decade later and at Booth, I’m specializing in marketing strategy. The way I think about the subject is this: do not worry about figuring out how to sell things to people. Figure out what people need. That is where the demand is.

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Building a Global Network

“Building a global network” is one of the most often cited objectives I hear from my fellow students since we started our exciting journey in the Executive MBA Program Europe in 2014. It is not surprising that top ranked business schools nowadays are promoting the size of their alumni networks as one of their biggest selling points. However, the picture is far more complex. The pure size of an alumni network is not the only relevant factor to distinguish it from other institutions when promoting its global reach.<br/>

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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.

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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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This is Not a Spectator Sport

When the late Howard Haas became CEO of Sealy in 1967, he had been with the mattress maker for 11 years, seven of them in leadership positions. Over the next 19 years, he grew the company by an astonishing 17 percent a year, from $32 million in revenues to $550 million, without making an acquisition. He turned 34 different licenses into a unified brand and made Posturepedic a household name. Under his leadership, the company had the best return on capital in the bedding industry, and its in-store displays foresaw the stand-alone sleep store. Haas learned to lead on the job, there being no graduate programs in leadership at the time. When he joined the faculty of Chicago Booth in 1988, two years after retiring from Sealy, the only leadership course taught at the school was professor emeritus Marvin Zonis’s Theories of Leadership. Haas spent hours in the Regenstein Library but could find nothing that spoke to his experience leading Sealy. He began to fill the giant “knowing-doing gap” with a new course called Leadership in Practice. Haas said he felt “like someone in the desert carrying a canteen of water to the very thirsty.”

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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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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.