Category: Academic Programs
Group of MBA students traveling to Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Rio De Janeiro
As part of the annual Brazil Field Seminar trip, a group of MBA students, led by Kristen McCormack, executive-in-residence, senior lecturer, and director of the Public & Nonprofit Management Program, is traveling around the country for two weeks this January to learn firsthand about issues of sustainability, social impact, and entrepreneurship. The group is also blogging daily from Brazil about their experience.
Thus far, the 2013 trip has included several unique company visits, including Cargill’s Food Innovation Center in Sao Paulo (Cargill is the largest privately held company in Brazil) and Estre, the largest and fastest growing waste management company in Brazil. The group also had an inspiring meeting with three microcredit clients, and spoke with former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Of the meeting with the former President, student Ben writes:
On Brazil’s current leadership, President Cardoso offered his opinion on current President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor President Lula De Silva, both of whom are members of the opposition party, the more liberal workers party. President Cardoso is a supporter of business and believes that the current leadership is intervening too much. He described the popular Lula as a “pragmatic leader, who is flexible in his principles.” When asked what makes a great leader, President Cardoso said that what the world needs for great change are giants, and what makes a giant is not someone who imposes his will on the people but rather someone who can persuade others to agree.
We asked if he was pleased with his own accomplishments and with the future potential of Brazil. He said “We are making progress…my son and daughter will live better than myself.” He explained that Brazil truly can be a super power, with relatively strong growth, high exports, and huge economic potential, but the focus now needs to change from that quantity to quality: “Look at Denmark, it has a low GDP but a high quality of life.”
His final piece of advice, and my personal favorite quote of the meeting was: ”Be flexible in your behavior and be consistent in your principles.”
Pictured above is the 2013 Brazil Field Seminar group with Cargill staff at Cargill’s Food Innovation Center in Sao Paulo. Photo via the Brazil Field Seminar blog.
Management students learn and lead grant-making process
A team of seven Boston University graduate students awarded a $10,000 grant from the Highland Street Foundation to Housing Families Inc. on December 6 to improve the shelter’s technology infrastructure. “As part of the Strategic Fundraising and Corporate Philanthropy class,” said David Stolow, Faculty Director of the Public and Nonprofit MBA program, “the student team operated as a small foundation. They set priorities, designed an application and review process, and conducted in-depth site visits.”
The student team received initial applications from 21 shelter providers, and selected ten to submit full proposals, before choosing Health Families to receive the grant. The student team was composed of full-time and part-time MBA students, and a student from the BU School of Social Work. “The Public and Nonprofit MBA program emphasizes authentic projects. We challenge students to apply their rigorous management skills to address urgent and complex social issues,” said Stolow. “The philanthropy project exemplifies our approach and we’re grateful to the Highland Street Foundation and its Youth Philanthropy Initiative for its generous support of this project.”
In photo: Boston University students and Highland Street Foundation members present a check to Housing Families Inc, a local shelter.
On October 20, 2012, Executive MBA alumni, students, staff, and faculty reunited for the 25th anniversary celebration of the program. Nearly 150 attendees from 23 of the 25 past EMBA classes were present.
The evening kicked off with a joint case presentation by Professors Fernando Suarez and Nalin Kulatilaka on the merger of two Latin American airlines. The case was developed as an iBook, and provided alumni an opportunity to witness how the School of Management has integrated technology into the EMBA program.
Attendees then enjoyed a gala reception and dinner, where EMBAs reunited with classmates and heard from Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman, Executive MBA Director Janice Dolnick, and Associate Dean Mike Lawson. The evening also included a slideshow, featuring members from all 25 Executive MBA classes.
Photos by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography
The 2012 Financial Times ranking of executive MBA programs around the world has placed Boston University School of Management 1st in New England, and 22nd among US-based EMBA programs.
Globally, BU’s Executive MBA program was ranked 66th. In addition, the School placed 6th among US-based programs in the category of alumni career progress.
Data from alumni questionnaires (including areas such as “salary today” and “aims achieved”) account for 55 percent of the ranking’s weight. These criteria include data collated by Financial Times over the past three years, where available. Data supplied by the school accounts for 35 percent, and faculty research published in particular leading journals account for the final ten percent.
“This ranking is reflective of the high levels of student satisfaction with the the quality and career impact expressed by our alumni,” said Janice Dolnick, EMBA program director. “We are continually evolving our curriculum to keep up with changing business environments. This ensures that our students are receiving the most current and effective management training to date.”
See the full 2012 Financial Times Executive MBA ranking here.
Boston University School of Management welcomes Dr. Ahmad Namini. Dr. Namini joins the School as Executive Director of the Mathematical Finance (MSMF) Program, effective July 16, 2012.
In this role, Dr. Namini will play a critical role in refining the Program, with a special focus on expanding industry connections, creating student internships, and fostering successful job placements. He will also work with Finance faculty to develop and implement strategies that will have a major impact on the future success of the Program.
Dr. Namini comes to the School with a wealth of experience in the financial services industry. He has worked with Deutsche Bank, the Fortress Investment Group and, most recently, with the Citigroup Global Markets in Hong Kong, where he was Head of the Quantitative Analytics and IT teams in the Emerging Markets Credit Trading unit. He is also a graduate of the Boston University Mathematical Finance Program, and has a PhD in Computational Mechanics from the University of Maryland. Previously, Dr. Namini has taught in the School’s Math Finance Program and advised students on corporate-world applications of mathematical finance.
“We want the students to get to know each other, hear new ideas, explore the city, and prepare for what lies ahead.” Those were the goals Assistant Dean Kathie Nolan of the Graduate Programs Office (GPO) set for the School’s full-time MBAs in Pre-Term, the two-week period before the full fall semester begins. From the looks of the student evaluations, the program was a sound success.
The full-time MBA class of 2014 and the International MBA class of 2013 arrived on campus Monday, August 13 and have been busy ever since. (In twelve weeks this summer, the IMBA students completed half of their core courses and will now be able to complete their MBA in just two more semesters.)
“It was probably our best-run program ever,” said Gail Justino-Miller, director of the GPO. “We put a lot of effort into it because it’s more than an orientation; it sets a tone for their whole two years. Emily Libby, assistant director of the GPO, led the effort and did a tremendous job.”
Team building was the first assignment of the program. Following lunch on their first full day, the faculty divided students into approximately 25 teams of six or seven students each for the GPS Urban Adventure. Each team was given an older generation GPS with several prefixed coordinates, a few pages of notes (with cryptic hints), and then assigned to go find locations in Boston and be back at 4 p.m. GPS Urban Adventure coordinator Paul Hutchinson, lecturer of organizational behavior, said, “The aim of the event is to help students begin recognizing the broad range of different strengths individuals can bring to a team. Along the way, when they get to each site, they also have to complete a small exercise. They start off as introductory assignments but build to become more reflective.”
Hutchinson emphasized that it wasn’t a scavenger hunt. It was about students observing each other in a non-competitive but goal-driven task. The team members were designed by faculty to maximize diversity. On Team B2 for example, were Ziad Abdelhafez of Egypt, Naid Alsedais of Saudi Arabia, Jonah Heilman of Israel, Jayanthi Selvaraj of India, and Americans Beth Haber, Cory Peterson, and Chris Tolles (all MBA’14). When the teams reported back in, the students and faculty discussed who took what roles and shared insights about what worked and what didn’t. “Who would hurry to volunteer to hold the GPS—to be in control?” said Hutchinson. “Who displayed better spatial abilities? Who was good at solving the language puzzles? This knowledge will come in handy later when they have team assignments in actual classes.”
The day ended with a cookout on BU Beach, where students shared origins, longer-term goals, Boston tips, and why they chose the BU MBA. Selvaraj was impressed with the MS•MBA dual-degree option. “The School has such a good reputation—I was accepted at several schools, but the MS•MBA plus Boston’s position as a high-tech business center made this the right choice for me.” Diego De La Mora (MBA’14) of Mexico chose BU partly because of Boston. He had visited the city before and loved it. “My wife and I wanted to attend an MBA program in the same city but different schools. I chose BU for its strong program; she chose Babson. We’re living in Chestnut Hill to split the travel difference.” He’s considering a concentration in operations management.
Pre-Term also includes an introductory event for spouses, partners, and significant others.
During the two weeks of Pre-Term, students learn about the curriculum, set up their IT requirements, meet advisors and financial aid personnel, and experience several team-building exercises. They also have a full briefing on the Academic Conduct Code, and meetings with Feld Career Center staff concerning interviews, elevator pitches, joining a career community, and more. During 16 hours of the second week, students take their first class, Ethics, Values, and Social Responsibility.
“Ethics does not equal morality,” says Rachel Spooner, lawyer and lecturer in the markets, public policy & law department, addressing the first-year MBA students in the first class. “An individual or organization can be ethical if it makes his or its decisions in alignment with his or its values.”
That may be a new definition for many, who feel no moral person can make an unethical decision, or that an immoral decision might simultaneously be an ethical one. Working through several case studies, the students wrestle with ethical dilemmas. “The point of the course,” says Spooner, “is to teach the skill of determining when decisions are ethical.”
Spooner began developing the course in December with Associate Professor Jack McCarthy of the organizational behavior department, who added, “What we wanted was to start everyone off with a certain mindset. It’s the first course for a reason: to help students lay a foundation for the rest of their lives.”
Nina Desai (MBA’14, HSM) of UCLA (neuroscience undergrad from Santa Monica, Calif.) says, “This material is really important—and necessary—to address. There are multiple aspects to address in many ethical situations. This gave us a way to ask if we are consciously acting in an unethical manner. Of course, as we discussed cases, we were not as definitive as you might think.”
One event was a discussion on cross-cultural relations, led by consultant and SMG lecturer Beth Rogers of Point Taken. Students from the International MBA cohort helped lead discussion sections, having already gone through a similar experience themselves. In 90 percent of the student evaluations, students wished there were more time spent on the topic, so it will likely be expanded next year.
Organizational Behavior Lecturer Jim French, who taught one of the Ethics sections, commented, “These students are very bright, and issues such as ethics and cultural sensitivity are top of mind for them, perhaps more so than in years past. I felt there was a sincere desire to be different in their career, to make better choices than the corrupt and criminal examples we discussed in some of the ethics cases.”
All the incoming full-time students participated in the community service project, spread over a dozen venues in the city. Students volunteered at Boston Food Bank, Cradles to Crayons, and Learning Ally, helped clean up the Charles River shoreline, and more.
The two-week program concluded with a day at the Warren Conference Center in Ashland, Massachusetts, where students engaged in a friendly competition and team-building experience in an outdoor setting. At the Warren Center, students were paired with others from different cohorts, to further expand acquaintances.
Marwan Kanafani (MBA/MPH’14) said, “The Grad Programs Office did a great job first getting us comfortable with each other, and then organizing events, which allowed us to build relationships before we dive into the intensive group projects coming this semester.” He added that the day at the Warren Conference Center perfectly capped off the experience. “After two weeks of cerebral work, they knew we must have been physically restless. So that day we were able to illustrate behaviors we learned in classrooms. And we let it all out.”
Other student-written evaluations of the day included comments such as, “It was a challenge, but it was appropriate.” And perhaps more tellingly, “I’m tired! Looking forward to regular classes.”
Justino-Miller described the events at the Warren Center as “fantastic.” She said, “It was possibly our best trip there in years in terms of student enthusiasm and satisfaction. The level of camaraderie and community building was just great.” Assistant Director of Academic Advising Betsy Dick added, “I loved that they took it upon themselves to synchronize just jumping off the dock together like little kids. At the end of an intense week, they were just so comfortable with each other. That’s what you hope for.”
As Professor Tim Hall, Morton H. and Charlotte Friedman Professor in Management, said, “It takes a lot of work to make something look effortless. Kathie Nolan and Emily Libby (and their committee) deserve a huge amount of credit for the success of the Pre-Term.” Diane Reamer of the Feld Career Center, Hall, Patti Cudney, assistant dean of Graduate Admissions, Spooner, and second-year MBA student Lili Emad (MBA’13) were all essential to the program’s success.
Following Pre-Term, during the week of August 27-30, the students completed a summer intensive in organizational behavior. Hall teaches one of the sections of the OB Intensive, and said the previous week’s introduction to ethics was evident in his class. “In areas where I used to point out to students (such as organizational values) that there was an ethical area, now students are bringing it up first. This is a new phenomenon. This will make it easier for faculty to keep these themes prominent in classes going forward.”
The full schedule began September 4.
BU helps EMBA student in India via Skype
Excerpts from BU Today:
It could have meant the end of his BU education.
Just a few months short of graduation, Abhijit Mhetre had traveled home to India with classmates for a nine-day trip to Mumbai and New Delhi when he got some bad news. Immigration officials told him he would not be allowed to return to the United States because of complications with his visa. At the time, Mhetre feared having to resign from the Graduate School of Management’s Executive MBA program (EMBA).
“Staying in India wasn’t my choice,” says Mhetre (GSM’12). “It was forced upon me, and it could have been disastrous if I had not been able to complete the program.”
He knew that to successfully finish the program’s requirements, he’d have to be able to actively participate in classes and group projects, so he started brainstorming. He came up with an unorthodox idea: what if he could participate in classes from India via the free videoconferencing program Skype? Using Skype would mean that Mhetre could view classes and even ask questions.
“I interviewed Abhijit when he first applied to our program, and it was clear how excited he was about the program,” says EMBA director Janice Dolnick, who was one of the first people Mhetre went to with his idea. “It was a very big deal to him, so we were committed to helping him graduate. He’s a great ambassador for the program.”
But the idea would work only with the help and coordination of Mhetre’s classmates and GSM professors and staff.
“The Executive MBA program is small and we work as a team, so we know all of the students on a personal level,” says Peter Russo, an SMG executive-in-residence and director of entrepreneurship programs for the Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship & Commercialization (ITEC). “We all understand what needed to happen, and how to get through it to allow Abhijit to graduate. But this was the first time anything like this has happened.”
Read the full story on BU Today.
Story by Amy Laskowski. Photo courtesy of Abhijit Mhetre via BU Today.
Custom App Eases Access to Multiple Materials
The Boston University Executive MBA Program (EMBA) has released its first custom iPad application to provide current and prospective students with enhanced access to information and tools. The EMBA Program has continued to evolve its digital strategy first by including all course material on the iPad (beginning two years ago), then offered access to e-textbooks as well as tools for editing and note-taking, and more recently to support the curriculum in the classroom. All students are provided an iPad as part of their tuition when they begin the program.
Students who travel frequently have found the iPad to be a major step forward in simplifying convenient access to information. “My iPad gives me access to everything I need to complete my assignments wherever I am: books, assignments, email, WebEx,” says Peter Spiess (EMBA’12). “Given the workload of the EMBA program, it’s important to use every spare minute effectively and having an iPad allows me to do just that.”
The BU EMBA app contains information that prospective students will find helpful including easy access to faculty profiles, information session registration dates and sign up forms, alumni videos, current blogs, and social media sites. Existing students will be able to directly link to a student portal and access a variety of digital tools provided to enhance the EMBA student experience.
Specifically, the application brings together all the EMBA resources in one place.
Features for prospects:
- Access to faculty and staff profiles & contact info
- Ability to watch all the EMBA videos
- Direct to the contact/registration form on the EMBA microsite to request info, register for sessions, download brochure
- Link to EMBA LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blog
Features for both prospects and current students:
- Easy access to the School of management calendar and university calendar
- List of recommended iPad apps helpful to the EMBA experience
Features specific for students:
- Student Portal featuring the class schedule, links to SMG Tools, Sharepoint, WebEx (used for team meetings) and the current EMBA eNews letter
The application is available in the iTunes App Store by searching “BU EMBA.”
For more information on the Boston University EMBA iPad application, please contact Janice Dolnick at 617 353-7087 or email@example.com.
Kathy Lucas, 2008 graduate from the Executive MBA program at Boston University, discusses how the program’s international component has helped her career.
Rick Welch, EMBA alumnus, speaks about why he decided to pursue an Executive MBA at Boston University School of Management and how it changed his career.