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Investing for Social Impact

What is the purpose of investing? Until recently, the answer to that question was straightforward—to produce the highest possible return with the lowest possible risk for investors and shareholders. Many believe that’s a worthy goal in itself. In fact, superior returns on investment help university endowments underwrite scholarships for needy students and enable state and local pension plans to fund the retirements of teachers, police officers, and firefighters. But over the past several decades, a new way of thinking about investing has emerged in business schools and financial circles. It’s called impact investing. Although many argue it’s been around much longer, and the definition of the term continues to evolve, it largely means what it says. According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), it is investing “with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.” Or, as a mantra commonly associated with the movement puts it: “Doing well by doing good.”

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Alumni Survey by the Numbers

As all alumni know, engaging in dialogue is a fundamental part of Booth’s culture. In that spirit, the business school part of Booth’s culture. In that spirit, the business school recently sent a survey to our alumni to ask about the things you value most—from the alumni community, to lifelong learning, to career support. Nearly 5,000 of you shared your insights, answering questions such as, “How do you participate in lifelong discovery?” and, “How would you rate the value of your investment in an MBA you rate the value of your investment in an MBA education at Booth?” We learned that the alumni community continues to get stronger: the vast of alumni highly rate the overall value of their investment in their MBA education. We discovered some fun facts too. For example, almost 70 percent of you sported some Booth swag at least once in the past year. Were you one of them? Dive into the data to see how you compare to your fellow Boothies:<br/>

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Meet the Women Shaking Up Business

A successful woman walking into a boardroom full of men. A junior employee seeing a male colleague get credit for her ideas. A new hire anxiously negotiating her salary offer that is distinctly below market value. Sadly, these types of situations are not yet scenes from a bygone era. Too often, women in business must walk a tightrope where assertive is characterized as “shrill” and leadership is denigrated to “bossy.” To address these issues, and continue to tackle the larger problem of gender inequality in business, it takes a community. Booth Women Connect Conference began in 2010 as an initiative to build that collaborative network, and to attract more women applicants to Booth. It has evolved into a can’t-miss annual event that brings together nearly four dozen accomplished speakers with alumnae, students, and Chicago business leaders for a day of collaboration, learning, and growth.<br/>

conversation

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.

conversation

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/>

perspective

Booth 101: Exploration

It’s neither the craziest idea ever hatched in a hot tub nor the only one with unintended consequences. When David Collette, ’08, and his uncle Johann Straumfjord Sigurdson shared a bottle of brennivín, Iceland’s national aquavit, while gazing north at 300 miles of Lake Winnipeg, it seemed like an adventure worth taking. Both Canadians, they knew they descended from Icelanders—hence the caraway-flavored liqueur—and sailing from Manitoba up Hudson Bay, and from there to Iceland in search of their ancestors sounded like fun. The trip would take several weeks. They could look for artifacts and talk to people along the way, collecting oral histories and following Viking sagas. Six years later, Collette and Sigurdson are planning their fourth expedition, having formed a foundation, joined two exclusive groups of explorers, and traced their ancestors back to Snorri, the first child born to Europeans in North America and the son of Collette’s 26th great-grandmother. “We know that people from Iceland and Greenland—Vikings—came to Canada around AD 1000,” Collette said.

perspective

Girls Will Be Entrepreneurs

Sharon Burns Choksi, ’98, had always struggled to find clothes she liked for her young daughter. She cringed and her daughter sighed as they walked past an endless number of shirts with only things like “sparkly kittens and dainty butterflies” on the front, she said. Maya, then 4 years old, loved trucks and baseball, but they could never find anything like that in the girls’ section. Instead, they encountered shirts emblazoned with phrases like “cutie pie,” “born to shop,” and “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother does it for me!” <br/>“One day, Maya turned to me and asked, ‘Mom, why do boys get all the cool stuff?’ Right then, I thought, ‘I’ll kick myself if I don’t try and do something about this,’” said Choksi. “If a 4-year-old girl was already absorbing that message, something was terribly wrong. Since the big retailers weren’t showing any signs of changing, I decided I had to try and create more positive options for girls.”

In this issue
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75 Years at the Forefront

The year 1943 dawned upon a world at war. Little more than a year had passed since the United States entered World War II, but American life had already been rocked to its core. All personal car production had ceased, as Detroit’s Big Three factories churned out tanks, equipment, and billions of rounds of ammunition. By the end of the year, two million men would leave the workforce to serve in the military. And American women—many working outside the home for the first time—marched into factories in unprecedented numbers to replace them. It was an era of change, as Americans struggled to meet the challenges of the day. Chicago Booth entered that changing landscape when it launched the world’s first Executive MBA Program in 1943. The school recognized the need for experienced leaders to apply their knowledge and training to urgent tasks and expand the capacity of American industry. For the first time, there existed a course of rigorous business education tailored to the specific needs of mid-career managers. Or, as an early Executive MBA brochure put it, “The task of war is primarily one of co-ordination of men and materials in the work of industrial production; it is a problem of management.”<br/>

feature

Alumni Survey by the Numbers

As all alumni know, engaging in dialogue is a fundamental part of Booth’s culture. In that spirit, the business school part of Booth’s culture. In that spirit, the business school recently sent a survey to our alumni to ask about the things you value most—from the alumni community, to lifelong learning, to career support. Nearly 5,000 of you shared your insights, answering questions such as, “How do you participate in lifelong discovery?” and, “How would you rate the value of your investment in an MBA you rate the value of your investment in an MBA education at Booth?” We learned that the alumni community continues to get stronger: the vast of alumni highly rate the overall value of their investment in their MBA education. We discovered some fun facts too. For example, almost 70 percent of you sported some Booth swag at least once in the past year. Were you one of them? Dive into the data to see how you compare to your fellow Boothies:<br/>

feature

Meet the Women Shaking Up Business

A successful woman walking into a boardroom full of men. A junior employee seeing a male colleague get credit for her ideas. A new hire anxiously negotiating her salary offer that is distinctly below market value. Sadly, these types of situations are not yet scenes from a bygone era. Too often, women in business must walk a tightrope where assertive is characterized as “shrill” and leadership is denigrated to “bossy.” To address these issues, and continue to tackle the larger problem of gender inequality in business, it takes a community. Booth Women Connect Conference began in 2010 as an initiative to build that collaborative network, and to attract more women applicants to Booth. It has evolved into a can’t-miss annual event that brings together nearly four dozen accomplished speakers with alumnae, students, and Chicago business leaders for a day of collaboration, learning, and growth.<br/>

perspectives

Booth 101: Exploration

It’s neither the craziest idea ever hatched in a hot tub nor the only one with unintended consequences. When David Collette, ’08, and his uncle Johann Straumfjord Sigurdson shared a bottle of brennivín, Iceland’s national aquavit, while gazing north at 300 miles of Lake Winnipeg, it seemed like an adventure worth taking. Both Canadians, they knew they descended from Icelanders—hence the caraway-flavored liqueur—and sailing from Manitoba up Hudson Bay, and from there to Iceland in search of their ancestors sounded like fun. The trip would take several weeks. They could look for artifacts and talk to people along the way, collecting oral histories and following Viking sagas. Six years later, Collette and Sigurdson are planning their fourth expedition, having formed a foundation, joined two exclusive groups of explorers, and traced their ancestors back to Snorri, the first child born to Europeans in North America and the son of Collette’s 26th great-grandmother. “We know that people from Iceland and Greenland—Vikings—came to Canada around AD 1000,” Collette said.

perspectives

The Book of Booth: Amy and Richard Wallman

In the fall of 1973, a first-year MBA student was moving her things into the graduate-school dorm at the University of Chicago. Second-year MBA students lingered about, some attempting to sell refrigerators and hot plates left by people who had graduated the year before. One of those second-year students was Richard Wallman, who stopped to help the new resident carry her belongings. The two became friends, and three years later, Amy and Richard married. Over the past 40 years, the Wallmans have enjoyed successful careers in business. Amy began her career at EY, retiring as an audit partner in 2001. Most recently, she was director at Cincinnati-based health-care company Omnicare from 2004 to 2015. Richard began his career at Ford Motor Company and served in senior financial positions at Honeywell International and its predecessor AlliedSignal, as well as at IBM and Chrysler. In October, the two made a $75 million gift to Booth. In recognition of the gift, Booth renamed its academic high honors distinction after the Wallmans. (Learn more about the gift in New Ventures, page 18.) Their generosity builds upon their legacy of supporting students and faculty. <br/>

perspectives

Girls Will Be Entrepreneurs

Sharon Burns Choksi, ’98, had always struggled to find clothes she liked for her young daughter. She cringed and her daughter sighed as they walked past an endless number of shirts with only things like “sparkly kittens and dainty butterflies” on the front, she said. Maya, then 4 years old, loved trucks and baseball, but they could never find anything like that in the girls’ section. Instead, they encountered shirts emblazoned with phrases like “cutie pie,” “born to shop,” and “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother does it for me!” <br/>“One day, Maya turned to me and asked, ‘Mom, why do boys get all the cool stuff?’ Right then, I thought, ‘I’ll kick myself if I don’t try and do something about this,’” said Choksi. “If a 4-year-old girl was already absorbing that message, something was terribly wrong. Since the big retailers weren’t showing any signs of changing, I decided I had to try and create more positive options for girls.”

perspectives

Picking Up the Tempo

Ryan Crane, ’15, stood in his kitchen with a wristwatch in each hand, carefully observing bubbling pots of loose-leaf teas and breathing in spices such as ginger and turmeric. Crane was trying to make a new tea blend that would energize him without the inevitable post-buzz crash. A couple of hours later, he stood with a chilled glass of sparkling tea in his hands. After months of experimentation, stained pots, and pleading conversations with a stubborn SodaStream machine, he had landed on a blend that felt perfect. That was the moment that Tempo became real.

conversations

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.

conversations

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.”

conversations

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/>

conversations

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/>