By Vibhuti Giltrap
Markets, Public Policy and Law
Authors: Michael Salinger and Miguel Ampudia
The Lerner relationship linking the profit-maximizing price to marginal cost and the elasticity of demand generalizes to the price-setting newsvendor and the result resolves the puzzle over the different effects of additive and multiplicative uncertainty on the solution. Multiplicative uncertainty increases the optimal price because it increases the marginal cost of a unit sold and does not affect the mark-up factor. Additive uncertainty has no effect on the marginal cost of a unit sold and lowers the mark-up factor because it increases the elasticity of the average quantity sold with respect to price.
You could, just maybe, say that Max Alexander is well-rounded.
Max currently holds the title of consultant analyst on the Information Technology Services (ITS) team at SMG, where he is the principle designer and developer for the School’s official Intranet website (SMGWorld), as well as creator of an advanced software tutorial suite for faculty, students, and staff. At the same time, he’s starting a business focused on high-end 3D and 2D design and animation whose original product Zink Pulse Minarai, he explains, is “3D motion capture software in OpenGL for polymorphic engine deployment.”
He’s also a musician who has performed at Carnegie Hall and was named First Place Medalist for the Drum Corps International Partners Academic Award Contest. Oh, and he’s fluent in French and Mandarin Chinese (plus proficient in Japanese and Kazakh).
So in his downtime, what’s a guy like Max to do but try to be productive? This has led him to his latest role as project programmer, web designer and developer, and marketing designer for the new startup Kamuu, founded by SMG Information Systems professors Stephanie Watts and George Wyner.
When Professors Watts and Wyner met Max in the SMG classroom, they were impressed with his energy, intelligence, and entrepreneurial spirit. So when the SMG junior learned of their new technology initiative and wanted to get involved, they figured there was a good chance he could bring some value to the table. Kamuu’s first product, in whose development Max is playing an integral role, is the Kamuu iPhone app.
“Kamuu’s new app is a barcode-scanning mobile application that allows you to use your power as a consumer to change the way companies spend their money,” Alexander explains. “Scanning a product with Kamuu gives you clear and concise information about the company that produced it, allowing you to make real, informed choices while you shop.
“Let’s say you disagree with how much a company is spending on advertising when it could be creating jobs,” Alexander continues. “Then let Kamuu be your megaphone, and allow your purchasing power to finally begin making a positive difference.”
Given Max’s proven track record of success across multiple fields and roles, we’re guessing he may be onto something.
Branding Article Cited for Impact and Longevity
Associate Professor of Marketing and Dean’s Research Fellow Susan Fournier received one of the world’s most prestigious marketing awards in October at the annual meeting of the Association for Consumer Research (ACR) Conference in St Louis.
Fournier received ACR’s Long-Term Contribution to Consumer Research Award, granted for her 1998 article, “Consumers and their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research,” Journal of Consumer Research, 24 (March), 343-373.
The rare award honors the long-term contribution of an article—papers must be ten years old or older—that appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research, the field’s premier research journal.
The president-elect of the association convenes a five-person task force including him/herself and four past presidents to determine the article with the greatest contribution to the field from the eligibility pool. (This year, there were 1139 eligible articles published between the Journal’s founding, in 1974, and 2001.) After discussion, review of pertinent data, and debate, the task force may decide that no award will be given.
“Professor Fournier’s article has had an enormous impact on the field of consumer research.
–Jeff Inman, Chair, 2011 Selection Committee, Long-Term Contribution to Consumer Research Award
Fournier is only the fourth person so honored.
Her particular achievement is distinct in several ways. She is the first female to receive the award. She is the first recipient to receive the award for work based on a dissertation. And her paper is the “youngest” of all recipient articles, awarded the distinction in its 13th year while the others had been in circulation 21, 17, and 20 years, respectively
The selection committee noted that her article also enjoys the greatest velocity (speed and rate of pickup in citations) of any article ever published in JCR and consistently ranks at the top of the list of most-downloaded papers from the Journal website since they began tracking.
“With more than 1800 Google cites and more than 500 Web of Science citations, Professor Fournier’s article has had an enormous impact on the field of consumer research,” said Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Jeff Inman, of the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, who chaired the 2011 selection committee. “She opened the door to a new stream of research in the area of consumer relationship theory.”
“She opened the door to a new stream of research in the area of consumer relationship theory.”
–Jeff Inman, Chair, 2011 Selection Committee, Long-Term Contribution to Consumer Research Award
Fournier’s article has previously received four other awards: In published form, the Journal of Consumer Research Best Article award in 2001 and Honorable Mention for the Ferber Award for Best Published Dissertation in 1999; and, in thesis or thesis proposal form, the Marketing Science Institute Dissertation Award in 1994, and Honorable Mention, American Marketing Association Dissertation Competition in 1994.
Abstract for “Consumers and their Brands”
Although the relationship metaphor dominates contemporary marketing thought and practice, surprisingly little empirical work has been conducted on relational phenomena in the consumer products domain, particularly at the level of the brand. In this article, the author:
- argues for the validity of the relationship proposition in the consumer-brand context, providing theoretical evidence for the legitimacy of the brand as an active relationship partner as well as empirical support for the phenomenological significance of consumer-brand bonds;
- provides a framework for characterizing and better understanding the types of relationships consumers form with brands; and
- inducts from the data the concept of brand relationship quality, a diagnostic tool for conceptualizing and evaluating relationship strength.
Three in-depth case studies inform this agenda, their interpretation guided by an integrative review of the literature on person-to-person relationships. Insights offered through application of inducted concepts to two relevant research domains—brand loyalty and brand personality—are advanced in closing.
See more or download a copy of “Consumers and their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research” from JSTOR.
Only One Across Entire Region To Be Named “Chapter of Excellence”
Boston University’s Delta Sigma Pi Gamma has once again been designated a “Chapter of Excellence” by the organization’s national office. In achieving this status for the second year in a row, it becomes the only chapter in all of New England, and one of only 32 out of 213 across the entire US, to be so honored.
Delta Sigma Pi is a nationwide business fraternity, comprised of men and women who aim to “foster the study of business in universities; to encourage scholarship, social activity and the association of students for their mutual advancement by research and practice; to promote closer affiliation between the commercial world and students of commerce; and to further a higher standard of commercial ethics and culture and the civic and commercial welfare of the community.”
“Of all the chapters in New England, [BU's] is the only one to achieve ‘excellence’….and only one of two chapters in the province (out of 50) to reach this mark two years in a row….The BU chapter is still the talk of the town.”– Bryon Goguen, District Director, Delta Sigma Pi
A History of Leading the Curve
The Boston University chapter is known as Delta Sigma Pi Gamma because of its status as the third chapter in the entire nation to be inaugurated after the fraternity was founded in 1907—relfected by Gamma being the third letter of the Greek alphabet.
Although the BU chapter became dormant in the early 1990s, it was recently resurrected by student Jennifer Waxberg (BSBA ’08), and in fall 2009, it initiated 44 founding “brothers” from students pursuing degrees in business administration at the University’s School of Management, as well as in economics at the College of Arts and Sciences. This recent renewal of activity renders its accelerated achievement as a “Chapter of Excellence” even more impressive.
“When other chapters are struggling, their district directors seek advice from me as to how Gamma has been able to do so well .”– Bryon Goguen, District Director, Delta Sigma Pi
High Standards, Consistent Achievement, and a Reputation for Excellence
Of Boston University’s Gamma “Chapter of Excellence” status, Delta Sigma Pi District Director Bryon Goguen says, “This designation signifies that the chapter achieved approval in every area required and also completed and attained approval on more than the minimum recommended optional reports, events, and submissions available to them.
“Of all the chapters in the New England region, Gamma is the only one to achieve ‘excellence’….As a chapter they started the past school year with the goal of achieving the ‘excellence’ level, and they have accomplished their goal.
“I’m incredibly proud of them but not surprised at their commitment or ability to achieve this honor. I am always amazed at the high standard that they hold themselves to and the level of competitiveness they can sustain.”– Bryon Goguen, District Director, Delta Sigma Pi
“I’m incredibly proud of them but am not surprised at their commitment or ability to achieve this honor. I am always amazed at the high standard that they hold themselves to and the level of competitiveness that they can sustain. But what I was happy to see most is that they were able to work together to achieve their goal. They…have garnered a lot of attention from the central office of our fraternity; they are well respected and with this distinction will continue to be looked upon as a leader in our region and province.
“The students do such great work and have such a reputation that when other chapters are struggling, their district directors seek advice from me as to how Gamma has been able to do so well. It’s a great feeling for me to be associated with them and to take part in their success. I love to see how gifted they are and how much they grow from one year to the next. It’s really what keeps me so involved as an alumni.”
PhD Studies Citizen Actions on Issue Resolutions.
Growing up in a big factory town in central China, Ricky Guo, PhD candidate 2012, saw businesses cope with mass layoffs even as they tried to innovate with new technologies to survive.
From those early beginnings in Wuhan, Guo, now 32, became fascinated with how change happens.
“Wu Han was like Pittsburgh with heavy industry trying to be high tech but still struggling with that transition,” said Guo.
For much of his life, Guo has been at home in overlapping disciplines and their real life applications. And his search for answers has taken him far from his home. Guo headed off to New Zealand for his Master’s and still has a slight Kiwi accent from seven years in Auckland. Fortunately his parents encouraged his adventurous nature.
“My parents think you go out there and find your own life; it’s a coward who stays at home.”
After finishing his schooling, Guo remained in Auckland to work as a consultant in Auckland. He said he was struck by the way that people with varying interests and backgrounds overcame conflicts to complete projects. “That’s what was exciting about consulting, pulling people from very diverse backgrounds together,” he said.
It was an experience that resonated for him because during his Master’s studies a professor in New Zealand had suggested he contact BU School of Management (SMG) Associate Professor of Information Systems Paul Carlile because of Carlile’s focus on innovation from a social relations perspective.
“Carlile is curious about how people from diverse backgrounds can come together under one roof and create something totally new,” said Guo. Carlile responded to Guo and soon they struck up a brisk correspondence between New Zealand and Boston. It was a critical exchange, one that led Guo to his academic future.
“I realized that the challenge in the workplace issue was a research question,” and that research was where his future lay.
“I realized that the challenge in the workplace issue was a research question,” and that research was where his future lay.
That prompted him to apply to doctoral programs –focusing on a lifelong dream of earning a PhD in the U.S. and adding to his dream the chance to study with Carlile.
In 2008, Guo started working on his PhD at SMG. His relationship with Carlile has grown, he says, to more of a “discipleship,” and Guo’s interests have evolved from studying information systems to a focus on strategy.
Now he has a cutting edge dissertation proposal that he will defend in September on how the actions of various stakeholders have influenced the outcome during the 10-year permitting and approval process for Cape Wind, America’s first offshore wind farm planned off Cape Cod. Views of the project changed over time in the public and in various agencies and government offices, he said.
“I want to look at what happened and what actions people took to induce what outcome,” Guo said. As a project in a bold new industry, Cape Wind blazed a trail in an area that lacked much regulatory structure. “I looked at the impacts on views of how issues were raised, studied and evaluated over time from 2001 to now” for everyone from the Army Corps of Engineers to the opposition group the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.
Guo’s research, which is still preliminary, has focused on why the actions of some stakeholders are more effective than others. For instance, he is comparing the impact of a group that invests in scientific studies to make their point with ones that stage protests or post signs advocating for or against the project.
The research, he said, is more about the process than the wind farm per se. It could be based on any significant public project. “The question is which strategy have people taken and how those strategies have produced different results.”
The dissertation would break new ground, he said, because prior research has not linked people’s actions with outcomes.
Guo said that a year from now he plans to be writing his dissertation and looking for a job in academia.
Already, he said, he has learned a lot by living on campus and keeping company not only with his own cohort but also with graduate students outside SMG. He said he loves to engage the mathematicians, biologists, and law students on his research.
“If I don’t make sense to a law student then I reflect on how it is that I can make my proposal meaningful to others,” he said. “If we stay in the business school we take too many things for granted.”
A Mayor in the Making?
Listening to him talk a mile a minute and watching the excitement build on his face, it’s easy to see how junior Evan Gross (BSBA ’12) convinced the City Council of his hometown, Scarsdale, N.Y., to choose him over other candidates as the councilman for Youth Affairs.
“When I spoke with the village trustees about why they should choose me, I explained that I could offer the most unique perspective. I had just graduated from the high school and could give insight into youth affairs that most adults couldn’t possibly dream of. And I thought it would freshen up not only the board itself but the way it’s perceived by others as well.”
City Council isn’t the only thing Evan’s talked his way into. Being a huge baseball fan (and a proud Yankees supporter) and having umpired local baseball games since the eighth grade, Evan also co-manages the Little League of Scarsdale with his best friend Matt Ursillo, who attends Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.—all the way from Boston. “We put together a formal pitch for the board of directors that oversees the League,” he says. “Since we go to different universities about 300 miles from home, they asked us how we would do it. We came up with a comprehensive outline for spring break training and effectively scheduling games.”
That was two years ago, and they’re still running the program from afar, with great success, Evan adds. They manage more than 50 people involved in the league and have recently been asked to take over the management of a Fall Ball program. Sometimes they have to drop everything they’re doing in their respective cities to deal with umpires canceling an hour before a scheduled game, but in the two years since they’ve taken over the league, not a single game has gone uncovered.
“It’s a lot of fun and gives us a chance to work with parents, help kids in the community, and stay involved with baseball and my hometown. It’s one of the most fun things I do. It’s a junior version of what I hope to do someday in management. It’s definitely taught me how to deal with different types of personalities and adapt to different kinds of people.”
Evan was fueled to do volunteer work because he wanted to make a difference in his community. “It was the idea that things are great, but…” he said, “I could definitely see a couple things going in a better direction.” As an example, he tells the story of the senior internship required at his high school and how he was able to effect change. “The guidelines and rules they designed for the internship were so horrendous that I had to let the school administration know they had a problem. When I graduated, they asked me to come back and become an advisor. So I was happy that other students could benefit from my feedback.”
Evan is particularly happy to help the youth in his community. “Schools are the most important thing in a community. If you can shape them, you can shape the way your town evolves.”
He feels so strongly about this that he’s considering running for mayor of Scarsdale in the next election. “Local politics are more interesting because you know the people and the issues, and you can really relate and effect change.
“When you come across issues that impact your daily life, or the daily lives of those around you, you have to stand up,” he says. “And from my experience, I’ve found that when you find the right person to talk to you and offer your opinion in a respectful and intelligent way, you’d be surprised how easily you can change things.”
It’s clear that when Evan puts his mind to something, he doesn’t stop until he achieves it. Last year, when he and seven other male students got together for the College of General Studies’ Capstone project, a 50-page research paper, he was told that an 8-man team would never win. Evan, the team leader, wanted to prove the naysayers wrong. He gave his team a motto—”If you’re not first, you’re last”—and flung himself into the project. The group wrote a comprehensive new outline on global warming and devised a mathematical formula to determine who was emitting what and in what capacity. Out of 17 teams, Evan’s group won the Capstone Award, which they received during Parents Weekend this past fall.
If he doesn’t win mayoralty in Scarsdale, Evan would like to go into accounting after graduation, following in the footsteps of his father. “Accounting just makes sense to me,” he says. “Money helps determine everything.”
If all else fails, he’d be perfectly happy as the commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Right At Home – Where Passion and Academics Meet.
Severine Cukierman (BSBA ’12) is a very busy woman. “As soon as I visited SMG, I knew it was where I wanted to be. I felt right at home.” While it seems like a common sentiment, for Severine Cukierman (BSBA ’12), home has always been a fluid concept. Raised in Miami, Florida, Cukierman has had roots in a diverse collection of locales. “My mother is Dominican and my father is French,” she explains, “so I was brought up speaking English, Spanish, and French in my household, as well as traveling to Paris and to the Dominican Republic throughout my childhood.”
Cukierman’s cultural background contributed heavily to her academic pursuits. The majority of her classes in middle school were conducted in French, and she now speaks five languages, including Italian, which she learned here at BU. Her scholastic strengths don’t end there. Prior to SMG, Cukierman attended the Maritime and Science Technology Academy, a magnet high school for math and science in Miami. She continues to excel in her coursework at SMG, and was recently awarded the Arnold L. Beatrice Linter Scholarship for her academic distinction.
She credits her parents with giving her the tools to accomplish her goals. “I watched them struggle to raise me and give me the essentials; they always put me first and supported me,” she shares, “I’m the first in my family to attend college and eventually plan to go to law school. I’m extremely driven to be successful.”
“Dancing is my getaway.”
Outside of class, Cukierman’s energy and focus are often dedicated to dancing. An avid dancer since the age of five, she has worked as an instructor at In Motion Dance Center in her hometown of Miami, and is currently a member of Vibes, an all-female hip hop group here at BU. “Dancing is my getaway,” she reveals, “it’s something I do for myself.” However, the future could hold an opportunity to combine her academic and athletic passions, as she plans to pursue a career in entertainment law, with an eventual focus on the management side of the music industry. She has also worked as an intern for Gamble Sports Management, an independent basketball agency, and is an active member of the SMG community, serving as a Dean’s Host and working with incoming freshmen as a student advisor during summer orientation.
Cukierman plans to graduate in the spring, a year earlier than the traditional four-year college experience, and from there, intends to add to the list of diverse places she has lived. “I’d like to take a year or two off to go abroad, learn another language, and work in a field that’s out of my comfort zone,” she states. Though her destination is not yet definite, with her powerful determination and impressive set of skill and talents, Cukierman should easily fit right in and make herself at home.
Senior Vikas Pisipati’s very first volunteer experience as a junior in high school was prompted by an interest in the medical field. So he raised some money himself, left his Wexford, Penn., home for the summer, and made his way to Guatemala City, where he worked as a volunteer at an orphanage for mentally and physically challenged children.
“There were about 25 kids at the orphanage,” Vik says, “and only three nuns to take care of all of them, so they relied heavily on volunteers for help. I hadn’t had much prior experience working with children at the time, especially those with such challenges. Many of them weren’t able to speak or walk. It felt really great to know that I had helped to make their lives a little happier.”
Thus, an interest in medicine evolved into a passion for volunteering.
When he got back to the states, Vik threw himself into fundraising for nonprofits. He started a club at his high school and constantly brainstormed new entrepreneurial ways to fundraise, just waiting for his next chance to go abroad and help in person.
He finally got it his sophomore year at the School of Management, where he majors in operations and technology management.
“I had read an article that said that the state of India where my family is originally from has the highest number of HIV and AIDS cases,” says Vik. “That really intrigued me, and I wanted to find out why.”
So he did what any 19-year-old would do. He connected with a group called the Center for World Solidarity and traveled to India to help educate the community about HIV. He visited several villages with a high number of HIV cases, teaching them about the risks. He also developed pamphlets on AIDS specifically targeted toward the high-risk demographic of 12-20-year-olds, a group that previously had little to no access to prevention information.
This sparked another idea. Vik thought that if he could write literature to educate people about HIV prevention, why couldn’t he do the same thing for a topic like accounting?
So when he returned from India, Vik started writing pamphlets about accounting with three friends and personally translating them into Spanish. The group had hoped to distribute them to poor regions in Latin American countries that could benefit from access to this type of information, and had even made connections with organizations that could distribute them. But unfortunately, it stopped there.
“It really became a question of resources and time,” says Vik. “We didn’t want to make promises to organizations that we couldn’t keep, because that would be worse than never offering our help in the first place. But all the materials are written, and hopefully someday I’ll be able to put them to good use.”
For the short-term, Vik is focused on a career in international business, ideally in supply chains. He hopes to travel more (he’s already been to 22 countries) and learn about new places and people.
“The exposure I’ve gotten to other cultures through volunteer work has really helped to prepare me for my future work in business. It’s helped me to understand how to deal with all types of people and has set me up to create better business relationships around the world. I hope to gain some practical experience, then eventually start my own nonprofit and really make an impact.”
Tess Waresmith (SMG ’10) has stood at the edge more times than she can count.
The edge of a diving board, that is.
Growing up in Dover, Mass., she started diving at the age of 11. With considerable talent and a lot of practice, by the age of 15, Tess had a promising future as a diver.
Things don’t always go as planned, though, and an ankle injury cut her diving career short.
After transferring in 2007 to Boston University School of Management from the University of Miami, she had all but given up on her dream. But with the encouragement of BU’s diving Head Coach Agnes Miller, Tess found herself once again on the edge of a diving board. In fact, by 2008, she was the captain of her team as well as the first Boston University diver in 20 years to make it to the women’s NCAA championship—and with a past injury no less.
“Injuring my ankle was really awful, but everything happens for a reason. “I came back to the Northeast, which isn’t known for its diving, but was happier, and more successful,” says Tess. “I was enjoying school a lot more and training just the right amount.”
Divers have to achieve a certain score during the regular season just to qualify for the NCAA’s zone meet, where they then compete to qualify for the NCAAs. Coming from the Northeast zone, Tess had to place in the top three to make it into the championship. Not only did she place in the top three, but she went on to finish 23 out of 42 in the NCAAs themselves.
“After my ankle injury, I had to reevaluate my goals. The Olympics weren’t going to happen, but it felt really good to make it to the NCAA championships,” she says.
Now, having exhausted her NCAA eligibility, Waresmith is leading the Boston University women’s diving team as the assistant coach. Her collegiate diving career may be over, but she hopes that the sport remains in her life in one form or another. As she moves forward with her business career, she knows that the lessons she learned will come in handy: One, the importance of precision. Two, the willingness to change and be flexible. Three, risk management. And four, plain determination and guts.
“A lot of times you’ve been doing something one way for so long that when someone tells you to do it differently, it can be scary. But you have to be willing to make the change and realize that at first it might not be as good. A lot of times when you make changes in diving, you take three steps back. But then, eventually, you take five steps forward. I think this is an important lesson in business too.”
Jesse Talarico has been interested in business ever since he was a young boy, when, at a garage sale, his stepfather told him he would buy a collar for his dog if Jesse could negotiate 50 percent off.
“That’s when my business savvy really started,” says Jesse, a self-starter from Duluth, Minn. “Getting that collar for half price was easier that I thought. It all just seemed to fall into place after that. Later, I negotiated the price of a few vehicles before I was even driving age.”
Now he’s a senior at the Boston University School of Management majoring in finance and graduating in May. But that isn’t even the half of it.
In between, he bought and sold cars and antiques (“My motto was buy low, sell high”); ran an eBay consignment business; learned Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese to various levels of proficiency; studied abroad in Madrid, Spain; passed the Chartered Financial Analysis (CFA) Level 1 exam (quite an accomplishment for an undergraduate); and developed an interest in Islamic finance and microfinance, pioneered in Bangladesh by Muhammad Yunus, in addition to traditional finance.
“I have always liked business because I feel strongly that you can change a lot about people’s behavior, or fix problems you see in the world, by influencing the flow of money. In that way, as a business leader, you can really create some kind of real change.
“I hold more respect for Muhammad Yunus as a businessman than even Warren Buffet,” Jesse says. “I think Yunus’ idea of loaning small amounts of money to impoverished people without requiring collateral or charging interest is one of the answers to society’s problems.”
Jesse has already effected positive change of his own around the School of Management. Recognizing a gap in the curriculum, he recently conceptualized and developed advanced workshops for Excel and Mathematica, then began teaching some of the undergrads and MBAs at the School.
“I didn’t have much IT savvy when I first came to college. But when I started looking at job descriptions for financial positions at places like hedge funds and trading firms, I was surprised to see the criteria for them. They aren’t looking for people with just business or financial backgrounds, but rather those with IT backgrounds—programmers and math majors. I realized I needed to learn Excel on a whole different level.”
So he picked up book after book and taught himself what he needed to know.
“Jesse conceptualized the idea of peer-to-peer workshops, then developed the curriculum as well,” says Greg DeFronzo, Information Technology Services (ITS) director at the School. “His content and delivery style were so polished that he was invited to develop an Excel overview workshop for incoming Executive MBA (EMBA) students. This workshop has now become a part of EMBA’s standard orientation program. In less than a year, Jesse has had a major and lasting impact on our ITS services.”
With so many accomplishments already under his belt, what does Jesse plan to do next?
“I want to be in a position to support startups and people who have great ideas, either financially or as a mentor. Capital is often the biggest obstacle to good ideas.”
This summer Jesse will start working for a small venture capital firm in New York. “I feel blessed to have such an opportunity, especially this early in my career.”