Category: Academic Programs
What are the factors that are responsible for a purchase being returned? How do we uncover different paths the customers take to a purchase? These are some of the questions we are seeking to answer in this project using large customer activity datasets. The insights and methods developed in this research could allow a retailer to better plan reverse logistics, improve targeted advertising, and intervene at the best time during a customer’s path-to-purchase. Learn more.
By: Nachiketa Sahoo
For much of its existence, humanity operated with a shared economy model. The lack of resources and the daily fight for survival required that early hunter gathers and agricultural communities pool resources in a manner that reduced waste and extracted the maximum value from a limited pool of resources. With the industrial revolution and the rise of the consumer society consumption became much more individualized.
Along with the immense increase in individual wealth arose a socio-economic system in which most of our personal resources became less efficiently utilized, while at the same time, the efficiency of manufacturing and commercial resources rose. The last two decades has brought to the fore various factors that have put this socio-economic system under strain: the growing threat of climate change, limitations on the use of energy-based resources, geo-economic imbalances that have brought into the system billions of emerging market consumers. One reaction to these changes has been a shift in values and a felt pressure to be more individually efficient in the use of resources via what is now termed “the sharing economy”.
The sharing economy encompasses a host of activities, technologies and organizations and is a modern advance on the early ideas of Felson and Spaeth (1978) around “collaborative consumption”. While still nascent, the sharing economy has some clear iconic success stories – AirBnB, Zipcar, RentTheRunway—and is estimated by Forbes to amount to approximately $3.5B with growth in excess of 25% per annum. Despite the growing importance of the sharing economy, little structured academic research has examined the shared economy, from basic motivations of consumers to be involved or not involved in accessing rather than owning goods to the essential differences in meaning and experience that sharing versus owning creates. This collaborative research project with Royal Holloway University of London seeks to understand the cultural underpinnings of an understanding of what the sharing economy is and how it is and can be enacted in people’s everyday lives.
By: Susan Fournier
What Does Reputation Buy in the Options Market? The Effect of Reporting Consistency on Ex Ante Uncertainty.
We show that firms, which deliver continuous strings of meeting or beating earnings expectations, experience reduced uncertainty in the marketplace. This suggests that managerial reputation for repeatedly hitting such earnings targets is priced by the options markets. This paper is targeted for publication in a top accounting research journal by clarifying our understanding of both the role of managerial reporting reputation in the pricing of equity shares, as well as the drivers of volatility in the marketplace.
By: Thaddeus Neururer, George Papadakis, Eddie Riedel
We show that boards of directors use their discretion to minimize compensation given to senior executives for unrealized gains – that is, gains reported by the firm but not yet realized in cash. This is important, as boards wish to avoid paying executives for gains that fail to materialize, and then having to engage in costly actions to recoup this compensation. This paper is targeted for publication in a top accounting research journal by adding to the extensive literature on senior executive compensation, a high profile topic of public interest.
By:Ana Albuquerque; Bingyi Chen; Flora Dong; Eddie Riedl
This research stream examines the rising development of platform firms and business ecosystems such as Android, Airbnb, Kickstarter, and Pinterest. How is innovation different in this context? Should crowds displace experts? Can we measure the health of an ecosystem and determine where to intervene? Should governments adopt platform strategies to grow their economies? How can new firms launch and overcome critical mass problems. Can we change the structure of an entire industry by placing strategic bets? This research will involve both econometric analysis of big data and analytic theory development.
Contact – Marshall Van Alstyne
In a Remix economy, how should we allocate credit and $$ to the people who create a composite good? How can we rethink intellectual property to permit more “permissionless innovation” and allow more great software, music, art, and writing to be produced? This project explores several analytic models of credit attribution and also visualization for reused works. We will also run live experiments on remix projects in an effort to develop broad policy implications.
Contact – Marshall Van Alstyne
We are focused on leveraging recent advances in Machine Learning to improve both the administration and delivery of healthcare. Examples of ongoing projects include:
- The inference of physician social networks from administrative data, and its use in understanding the impact of insurance structure and coverage restrictions
- The prediction of patient re-admissions from administrative, demographic, and chart-level data as well as potential interventions to prevent such readmission
- The analysis of the raw data in new HIV blood-testing machines which will be deployed to the developing world, attempting to make them as accurate as contemporary western machines without the need for grid power, refrigerated chemicals, or highly trained technicians.
Through the development and refinement of machine learning methods, there are many significant gains to be made in these and related areas.
Contact – Ben Lubin
Trip to Watson Research Center demonstrates blossoming partnership between SMG and IBM
By Tom Vellner (COM’13)
It’s 6 a.m. on a Friday morning and Associate Professor of Information Systems Paul Carlile is handing out brown bags to a group of MBA students on a coach bus. Inside each is a bottle of orange juice, a granola bar, and a tangerine. As the business-casual group digs into these homemade breakfast kits, the scene resembles an elementary school field trip gone professional. The students are headed to the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center to meet Watson, the Jeopardy!-winning supercomputer, and present their big ideas to IBM executives.
The 20 MBA students traveling to the Watson Research Center, located in Yorktown Heights, NY, weren’t selected at random. On March 6, they and their fellow first-year MBAs competed in the IBM Business Challenge at Boston University School of Management as part of the Module 3 portion of the newly launched MBA curriculum. The challenge called on student teams to present solutions to issues that IBM faces in a variety of areas, such as life science, big data, and social business, in front of a panel of IBM executives. After firing questions at the students, the panel analyzed all nine presentations and announced the top three.
Much like the golden ticket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the three winning teams received an IBM-blue ticket to meet Watson and dine with IBM CIO and SMG alumna Jeanette Horan (GSM’93). One month later, on April 4, the teams found themselves wide-eyed and inspired during a tour of the research facilities, where there are no chocolate streams or Oompa Loompas, but equally enthralling technology that’s on track to change the world.
Inside the secret lair-like research center, which sits on a grassy hill surrounded by acres of woods, is a room buzzing with the sound of a cluster of 90 IBM Power 750 servers. The cluster’s name is Watson, and it glows a mesmerizing indigo. IBM scientists began developing this cognitive technology in 2007, which processes information more like a human than a computer. Watson reads and understands natural language, producing hypotheses from disparate data.
Generating 15 trillion bytes of data (roughly the size of the material in the Library of Congress), as well as fascination from the MBA visitors, the supercomputer not only won Jeopardy! in 2011 against the beloved game show’s two greatest champions, but also, by analyzing large amounts of unstructured text and developing hypotheses grounded in that analysis, helps fight cancer with evidence-based diagnoses and treatment. And it’s only getting smarter. Through repeated use, Watson is constantly presented with new information and learns from prior interactions, both successes and failures. What makes Watson special, and critical for the future, is its ability to analyze the inordinate amount of growing and unstructured data today.
“After learning about IBM’s business and current projects, it was amazing to see the actual research in process,” says Liz Nerad (MBA’15). “The multitude of projects that IBM is doing is really a testament to the evolving landscape of information technology, where there are constantly new applications for IBM’s innovative thinking.”
The MBA students hear about Watson’s potential to revolutionize healthcare, and even online shopping, during their tour, which concludes with an opportunity to meet and eat with Horan. The CIO speaks about her path from SMG student to IBM leader, addressing students that may one day fill her shoes. After all, the collaboration between SMG and IBM, introduced into the curriculum for the first time this year, was designed to do just that: arm MBA students with skills that extend far beyond the classroom, skills that prepare them to tackle complex issues that companies are facing as technology rapidly transforms.
“IBM can gain value from this relationship in a number of ways,” says Carol Sormilic, IBM vice president and executive liaison to SMG during the spring semester. “There is the obvious goal of the program, which is giving students that real-world experience they can take with them and use in any new position, but there’s also the ability for us to look at what we do from the fresh perspective that the students bring. Seeing our challenges through their eyes has been one of my favorite parts of the process.”
Displaying their skills, the three winning teams present their solutions once again to a new panel of IBM judges that includes Horan. The first, focused on life science, offers a solution for mitigating the risk of a “patent cliff” for biopharmaceutical companies; the second lays out a strategy to combat homelessness in Boston by utilizing big data and the cloud; and the third illustrates a new model for IBM’s social business platform. Horan notes the depth and detail of each presentation, stating how impressed she is with the students’ work—but not before asking tough questions that the teams handle with poise. Whether their solutions will be implemented at IBM is unclear, but, judging by the panel’s intrigued expressions and questions, it’s obvious that a seed has been planted.
“Presenting to the IBM executives was a great experience to get feedback outside of the academic setting,” says Nerad. “The best part was that the IBM executives interjected with questions or comments along the way, which probably more accurately reflects how real-world proposals go. The instant feedback forced us to be quick on our feet to answer accordingly in that exact moment.”
The benefit of integrating the world’s top technology provider into the MBA curriculum is twofold. The students are given the chance to interact with leading executives and demonstrate their ability to produce thorough research, think critically, and solve real industry issues—what one might consider the ultimate job interview.
“The concepts from the classroom are reinforced this way,” says Carlile. “The students know they have to take a concept, grow it, and bring it to life in front of executives. It’s an immediate relevancy.”
On the flip side, by prompting them with actual situations that arise in the company, IBM has the chance to tap into the viewpoints of rising MBA students, and possibly meet their next employees.
“By bringing in a live business partner, we can shrink the gap between knowledge and application even faster,” says Carlile. “We’re creating a new engagement model of business education between companies, faculty, and students. It’s challenging to do, but this kind of engagement creates more value for everyone involved.”
After smiles, sighs of relief, and photos with Horan, the students board the bus and return to Boston with more than gift shop souvenirs. They now have a direct connection to IBM, as well as an understanding of what’s needed to thrive in a workforce that’s quickly evolving—important, considering their future coworker could be a computer that processes 500 gigabytes, the equivalent of a million books, per second.
Tom Vellner can be reached at email@example.com.
It started in a McDonald’s. After registering for the annual CME Group Trading Challenge, a team of four students in the Mathematical Finance program—a team that would ultimately place first nationally and second globally in the challenge—sat down to lunch at the fast food restaurant in Kenmore Square. They noticed a scratch on their table that closely resembled a lighthouse and, at that moment, Team Lighthouse was born. It was the first of many real-life observations that would direct them through an intense competition and perhaps the easiest consensus of the four-week challenge.
“We liked the symbol of a lighthouse,” said Lingchen Guo (MSMF’15), an analyst on the team, “and thought that it sounded like the name of an actual futures company.”
With their team name chosen, Lingchen (Frank) Guo (MSMF’15), Sarah Hochstatter (MSMF’15), Duyong Lee (MSMF’15), and Anastasios (Tassos) Mallis (MSMF’15) began their path to victory in the CME Group Trading Challenge, a worldwide online competition where teams of undergraduate and graduate students trade a variety of CME Group products from multiple asset classes in a simulated trading environment.
Occurring on a real-time professional trading platform provided by CQG, CME Group’s Trading Challenge, hosts a growing number of teams and countries each year. In 2014, nearly 400 teams from 31 countries participated, including four other BU teams.
The diversity of the competition can be seen in Team Lighthouse itself, whose four members come from the US, China, Korea, and Greece. Their range of backgrounds worked to their advantage, giving them knowledge of foreign exchange, one of the six asset classes in the challenge.
The Trading Challenge lasts four weeks and includes a practice round, a preliminary round, and a championship round. Over the course of the competition, the team’s analysts, Guo and Hochstatter, carefully watched market news, anticipating fluctuations, spikes, and drops. The pair reported their findings to Lee and Mallis, who traded based on these market reactions—and their own gut reactions.
Nerves of steel
Mallis took the night shift, trading from midnight to 7 a.m., and though he lost a lot of sleep, he didn’t lose much money, making responsible but substantial trades in the early market hours. It was Lee who took chances during his 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift. As Mallis puts it, he made the small trades that laid the foundation for Lee, who built higher and higher upon it.
“You need to lay ground so you can begin to construct buildings,” Mallis said. “Duyong constructed tall buildings. He has nerves of steel.”
The traders made educated orders and trusted in the strategy that Guo and Hochstatter devised. With adjustments made from the preliminary round to the championship, their strategy earned them a spot in the winner’s circle. Team Lighthouse placed second in the world and first in the US.
“It was about having the stomach to believe in your strategy,” Mallis said.
Learning from everything
From meeting deadlines to delegating functions to communicating properly—whether that meant providing helpful market information or simply texting the group in a timely fashion—the team learned a number of lessons about succeeding in the marketplace.
“The competition combined fundamental and quantitative knowledge,” Mallis said, “and we learned a lot from our Program’s courses.”
Led by Executive Director Dr. Ahmad Namini, who emailed students encouraging them to join the CME Group Trading Challenge, the MS in Mathematical Finance (MSMF) program is a 17-month program including a summer internship that focuses on the three disciplines of finance, applied mathematics, and computer science. The results create candidates with core competencies in creating effective investment strategies, quantitative analysis, and risk management. Each January the graduates start their careers in investment banks, commercial banks, trading firms, and even financial technology and insurance companies. The Program is one of the pioneering programs, which brings hard-to-find talent to the financial industry.
Team Lighthouse’s journey will end a long way from the scratched McDonald’s table they started at. Placing in the top four they collect a cash prize and an invitation to visit Chicago for CME Group’s Day of Market Education. The invitational conference provides students with an exclusive look into CME Group and the financial industry. Business experts will deliver presentations relevant to the global marketplace, and attendees will view live open outcry trading, learn about CME Group’s electronic trading platform, CME Globex, and join industry leaders for a networking reception and dinner.
Boston University School of Management’s full-time MBA program placed 45th on US News & World Report‘s list of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” The part-time program ranked 34th on the list of the “Best Part-Time MBA Programs.”
US News & World Report republished its Healthcare Management rankings, where the School’s Health Sector MBA remained 11th overall. Additionally, the School’s recruiter assessment score improved, showing increased employer satisfaction.
The full-time ranking is based on peer school and recruiter surveys, placement success, and incoming student profiles. The part-time ranking is based on peer school surveys, average GMAT score and average GRE quantitative and verbal scores of entering part-time MBA students, work experience, the percentage of the school’s MBA enrollment that is part-time, and their average undergraduate GPA.
As the School celebrates its centennial, it continues to foster innovation across the MBA program, launching an enhanced curriculum in fall 2013. The new curriculum both prepares students for a rapidly changing global economy and offers deeper disciplinary learning opportunities.