feature

All In for Investors

In the 1990s, as a college student already dabbling in investing, Kunal Kapoor, ’04, came across the Rekenthaler Report. Written by Morningstar analyst John Rekenthaler, ’99, the reports weren’t the typical dull mutual-fund review. Rekenthaler vehemently argued—even ranted—for greater transparency for investors. He criticized fund companies for not disclosing their portfolio managers. When he disagreed with investing fads, he named names. Kapoor was hooked on Rekenthaler’s depth of knowledge and candor. “When you’re in college, I suppose there is always a tendency toward irreverence,” he says now. “When I discovered Morningstar, the thing that struck me was that everyone called it as they saw it. They had a really strong independent streak. I thought, if this guy could say what’s on his mind so freely, then so could I.” Two decades later, Kapoor now carries forward Morningstar’s tradition of independent investment research as its CEO, following the company’s founder and fellow Booth graduate Joe Mansueto, AB ’78, MBA ’80, who became executive chairman in 2017. The company, which is now on the cusp of growing past $1 billion in revenues, is the only place Kapoor has ever worked.<br/>

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Internships for the Startup Set

When Full-Time MBA student Paolo de Vivo walked through the door of his summer internship, it felt nothing like the office where he had spent the last few years. “There were 10 people in a room rather than 400 on a floor, and I basically had to jump in and understand what we were doing,” said de Vivo, who interned at London-based Beekin, a year-old real estate startup that provides risk analytics and is led by Vidur Gupta, ’10. The all-hands-on-deck atmosphere meant he had opportunities to learn from day one: he delved into the company’s machine-learning-driven models, reviewed product strategy, and became integral to the team. “By week two, I was meeting with clients and venture capitalists,” he recalled. De Vivo is one of dozens of interns who participated in Startup Summer, a unique, three-year-old program that places incoming Full-Time MBA students at internships with alumni-founded startups during the summer before they begin their first-year studies at Chicago Booth. Students spend seven weeks working side by side with founders at company offices or coworking spaces. A stipend from Booth covers interns’ living expenses, a boon for young startups seeking talented help. “Our alumni entrepreneurs give so much to Booth, so we wanted to give back to them,” said Stacey Kole, AM ’86, PhD ’92 (Economics), deputy dean for MBA programs.

feature

A New Day in Hong Kong

This past November, the University of Chicago officially opened The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. A regional hub for ambitious research, education, and collaboration, the new location is an important addition to the university’s international presence and engagement, expanding its intellectual contributions and academic collaborations in Hong Kong, China, and Asia while bringing new opportunities for community partnerships and social impact.

conversation

If You Knew How to Build It, They Would Come

There’s something you should know: building an app isn’t as out of reach as it seems. There isn’t a separate species of “tech” people. With an idea, persistence, and a pragmatic introduction, you too can write software. And since software is eating the world, it’s a good idea for managers to experience developing it. When I was an entrepreneur in India, I hired and managed developers to implement my ideas. I didn’t know what problems they faced, I didn’t know the answers to the questions they asked, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I didn’t even know how to find out. Sometimes I got lucky with an effective lead developer, and other times six months would pass with no software being delivered. I decided to return to college—I had previously dropped out to become an entrepreneur—and study computer science. However, I didn’t find computer science applicable to building my ideas; it’s more like the math that governs how computers work. I liken it to how chemistry governs how paint works, but you don’t need to learn chemistry in order to paint.<br/>

conversation

How Can You Make Mentoring More Effective?

The mentorship model has had a long run: with roots stretching back to ancient Greece, it still plays a key role in the instruction of the next generation of leaders. And this is true across many disciplines, from science to education to business. But it’s evolved a lot, especially in recent years. These days, the mentee is often a much more active participant in his or her own learning than ever before, which can be a benefit to both sides—and those around them. <br/>

perspective

Giving the Green Light

Thirteen years, three green card applications, and multiple near-ulcer experiences after entering the United States for college, Maneesha Mukhi, '09, finally gained permanent US resident status. It was an eye-opening experience for Mukhi—the process had included several different visas, many transfers, and the constant looming threat of losing her status. <br/>"I realized that there was a big hole: immigration information online was sparse and often inaccurate. Government sites were hard to decipher-they are not written for the average human, and I couldn't find a reliable way to find an attorney," said Mukhi. So as soon as her green card status was secured, she was determined to help pave the way for others. <br/>The daughter of an Indian diplomat, Mukhi was born in France and moved every three years until she started college. She loved experiencing new cultures everywhere she landed-but from a young age, she planned to make it to the United States.

perspective

A Workday with REI’s Sue Long

A commitment to sustainability is infused throughout the culture and operations at REI, the outdoor-gear retailer headquartered in Kent, Washington. “We believe an outdoor life is a life well lived,” said REI’s sustainability initiative manager Sue Long, ’95. “It’s really fun to work at a place where everyone shares this value.” From promoting green building design to reducing waste in stores, Long implements elegant, thoughtful systems that begin and end with sustainability. She draws from her background as a chemical engineer to reduce waste, streamline efficiencies, and respect the Earth, all while helping REI achieve business goals.<br/>

In this issue
feature

Internships for the Startup Set

When Full-Time MBA student Paolo de Vivo walked through the door of his summer internship, it felt nothing like the office where he had spent the last few years. “There were 10 people in a room rather than 400 on a floor, and I basically had to jump in and understand what we were doing,” said de Vivo, who interned at London-based Beekin, a year-old real estate startup that provides risk analytics and is led by Vidur Gupta, ’10. The all-hands-on-deck atmosphere meant he had opportunities to learn from day one: he delved into the company’s machine-learning-driven models, reviewed product strategy, and became integral to the team. “By week two, I was meeting with clients and venture capitalists,” he recalled. De Vivo is one of dozens of interns who participated in Startup Summer, a unique, three-year-old program that places incoming Full-Time MBA students at internships with alumni-founded startups during the summer before they begin their first-year studies at Chicago Booth. Students spend seven weeks working side by side with founders at company offices or coworking spaces. A stipend from Booth covers interns’ living expenses, a boon for young startups seeking talented help. “Our alumni entrepreneurs give so much to Booth, so we wanted to give back to them,” said Stacey Kole, AM ’86, PhD ’92 (Economics), deputy dean for MBA programs.

feature

Expand the Brand

Effective corporate brand licensing deals should feel so organic, so synergistic, that consumer buy-in is a given. For the brands, the goals are a bit more bottom line: there’s a need to generate top-of-mind awareness, reinforce and enhance brand imagery, increase customer touch points, open new distribution channels, expand into new territories, build brand relevance, and help connect with new consumer segments, among other crucial metrics. Classic examples include Ford SUVs that feature two-tone Eddie Bauer–branded trim, Snuggle demonstrating its soft spot for air fresheners, and Road & Track magazine changing course to lend its name to racing and driving schools through Spring Mountain Motorsports. The common denominator among all three examples: each was the handiwork of Leveraged Marketing Corporation of America (LMCA), the agency founded in 1986 by Chicago native Allan Feldman, ’71. As CEO of LMCA, Feldman—considered by many to be the father of corporate brand licensing—remains an essential part of the agency’s three-decades-plus success. Having partnered with blue-chip multinational brands such as HP, AT&T, Westinghouse, and Arm & Hammer, among many others, LMCA is responsible for $6.9 billion in annual licensed product sales, and boasts more $100 million licensing deals than any other agency in the world.

feature

A New Day in Hong Kong

This past November, the University of Chicago officially opened The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. A regional hub for ambitious research, education, and collaboration, the new location is an important addition to the university’s international presence and engagement, expanding its intellectual contributions and academic collaborations in Hong Kong, China, and Asia while bringing new opportunities for community partnerships and social impact.

perspectives

This Is Working for Me: Martin Nesbitt, ’89

Entrepreneur and civic leader Martin Nesbitt, ’89, is five years into his latest co-venture, Chicago-based Vistria Group, a $1.7 billion private equity firm that invests at the intersection of public and private sectors in healthcare, education, and financial services. Before that, he was CEO and cofounder of the Parking Spot, the first nationally branded airport parking company, which has grown into a business worth more than $1 billion. The public good is always on his plate: he was recently named to the transition team for newly elected Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker; he’s chairman of the Obama Foundation; and he served on the board of the Chicago Housing Authority. Dubbed “the first friend,” Nesbitt raised funds and weathered the campaign trail from the very beginning of former president Barack Obama’s political career. Said Nesbitt: “Going to the White House never got old: it was awe-inspiring every time.” According to Nesbitt: "The one thing I bring to business and civics: 'It’s not about me.' It’s about the capacity to put the interests of others (the institution, the company, and the people) ahead of my own. People empower you with leadership opportunities when they trust that you have their best interest in mind. That’s what leads to success, and it’s one of the fundamentals of Vistria, the firm I started with my partner, Kip Kirkpatrick. We thought to ourselves, 'What if we started a firm that’s not about us? What if it’s about Us—our partners, our investors, our portfolio of companies, and their employees?' We thought there was a value proposition at the intersection of private and public interest, in doing the right thing for the broader community. For example, we bought an online high-school completion program for adults. There’s a skills gap in this country—we have people who are undereducated and undertrained. Our investment serves the students, the corporate community, and our broader society. That company fits squarely into Vistria’s mission."

perspectives

Giving the Green Light

Thirteen years, three green card applications, and multiple near-ulcer experiences after entering the United States for college, Maneesha Mukhi, '09, finally gained permanent US resident status. It was an eye-opening experience for Mukhi—the process had included several different visas, many transfers, and the constant looming threat of losing her status. <br/>"I realized that there was a big hole: immigration information online was sparse and often inaccurate. Government sites were hard to decipher-they are not written for the average human, and I couldn't find a reliable way to find an attorney," said Mukhi. So as soon as her green card status was secured, she was determined to help pave the way for others. <br/>The daughter of an Indian diplomat, Mukhi was born in France and moved every three years until she started college. She loved experiencing new cultures everywhere she landed-but from a young age, she planned to make it to the United States.

perspectives

A Workday with REI’s Sue Long

A commitment to sustainability is infused throughout the culture and operations at REI, the outdoor-gear retailer headquartered in Kent, Washington. “We believe an outdoor life is a life well lived,” said REI’s sustainability initiative manager Sue Long, ’95. “It’s really fun to work at a place where everyone shares this value.” From promoting green building design to reducing waste in stores, Long implements elegant, thoughtful systems that begin and end with sustainability. She draws from her background as a chemical engineer to reduce waste, streamline efficiencies, and respect the Earth, all while helping REI achieve business goals.<br/>

perspectives

Blazing a Trail

When Carol Howarth, ’88, was growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, there was only one industry to speak of. "It was a resource extraction state," she said. "Everything was about Prudhoe Bay and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. We had world-class construction, but it was all related to oil." As a child Howarth felt limited by the jobs she saw around her. "I literally thought I could be a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher," she said.<br/><br/>Decades later, as a founding manager of the 49th Fund, Howarth is doing her part to change that. Her fund invests exclusively in companies doing business in the last frontier. Her hope is to help diversify the economy before the inevitable day when oil will crash. "We have our drug, and our drug is oil revenue. No one will do anything about it until we hit rock bottom," she said. "It's time to stop waiting."

conversations

Leadership Lessons from Satya Nadella

When Satya Nadella, ’97, interviewed for his first job at Microsoft Corp. in the 1990s, he stood at a whiteboard, working through streams of algorithms, one after the other, going through quick sorts and bubble sorts, using minimum data structures and minimum memory, showing off his computer science acuity. It was an arduous interview. “I was thinking, God, I’m done. Isn’t it time to get hired finally?” said Nadella. Not quite. Nadella had one more question to answer before his job interview wrapped up. It was a question that caught him off guard: What if you are standing on a crossroad and you see a baby fall, what will you do? “Now this was 1992. It was before the cell phone era,” said Nadella. “I thought about it for a while. This was a computer science question I had not prepped for. So, I said I’d run to the closest phone booth and call 911.” The interviewer got up, told Nadella the interview was over, and walked him to the door. Nadella was stunned. “I asked him, ‘What happened?’ And he said, ‘You need to develop empathy, because when a child is crying you pick them up and hug them.’ And that’s always stuck with me, that it is an important attribute.”

conversations

If You Knew How to Build It, They Would Come

There’s something you should know: building an app isn’t as out of reach as it seems. There isn’t a separate species of “tech” people. With an idea, persistence, and a pragmatic introduction, you too can write software. And since software is eating the world, it’s a good idea for managers to experience developing it. When I was an entrepreneur in India, I hired and managed developers to implement my ideas. I didn’t know what problems they faced, I didn’t know the answers to the questions they asked, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I didn’t even know how to find out. Sometimes I got lucky with an effective lead developer, and other times six months would pass with no software being delivered. I decided to return to college—I had previously dropped out to become an entrepreneur—and study computer science. However, I didn’t find computer science applicable to building my ideas; it’s more like the math that governs how computers work. I liken it to how chemistry governs how paint works, but you don’t need to learn chemistry in order to paint.<br/>

conversations

The View from Mexico City

Whenever Almudena Ruíz, ’12, returns to Mexico City from a trip stateside, she notices a reduction in speed—and not just due to the traffic, which has been measured as the most congested in the world. “When I come back to Mexico, I notice people don’t move as fast as they do in New York and Chicago. But on the other hand, they’re really friendly,” said the equity strategist at Casa de Bolsa Finamex. “That’s the way Latin American people work.” The nearly 90 Booth alumni in Mexico City like to share the knowledge and experience they’ve gained in the business world—primarily from the areas of finance, top-tier consulting, and the e-commerce and startup worlds from companies such as Uber and Groupon—in a relaxed and social atmosphere. In order to spare members the headache of downtown traffic, and to keep alumni engaged, the club holds a diverse range of events in various neighborhoods of Mexico City.

conversations

How Can You Make Mentoring More Effective?

The mentorship model has had a long run: with roots stretching back to ancient Greece, it still plays a key role in the instruction of the next generation of leaders. And this is true across many disciplines, from science to education to business. But it’s evolved a lot, especially in recent years. These days, the mentee is often a much more active participant in his or her own learning than ever before, which can be a benefit to both sides—and those around them. <br/>