Category: Sectors

Student Parker Oks Featured in “New York Times”

November 13th, 2012 in Health Sector, News, Sectors, Students, Undergraduate Students

On Monday, October 15, 2012, School of Management freshman Parker Oks (BSBA’16) and his website were featured in a New York Times article about healthcare innovations helping patients, “The Doctor Can See You Now.”

Excerpts from the New York Times:

Often the worst part of a visit to the doctor isn’t the awkward hospital gown, needle sticks, or embarrassing physical exams — it’s the drawn-out wait, camped out in the reception room in the company of sick patients and old magazines.

During a particularly long wait to see his dermatologist, Parker Oks, 18, thought there had to be a better way.

“They know approximately how long an appointment will take,” said Mr. Oks, a freshman at Boston University. “But the problem is that they don’t know how long it will actually take.”

That realization led Mr. Oks to create Appointment Status, a Web site devoted to improving appointment efficiency and providing patients with information to avoid long waits. Working with three teenagers from Staten Island Technical High School, where he had gone, Mr. Oks aims to make it easier for patients to schedule appointments — and to find out how far behind the doctor may be before settling into a waiting room chair.

Appointment Status is designed to assist patients before they even take a seat in a waiting room — a sore point for many patients, as doctors well know. In a survey conducted by the doctor-review Web site Vitals, patients reported an average wait time of 21 minutes to see a doctor. Mississippi had the longest reported wait time, at just over 25 minutes.

Read the full article on Oks and other innovators helping patients today on the New York Times.

Management, Engineering, and Arts & Sciences Collaboration Leads to New Minor in Sustainable Energy

November 8th, 2012 in Energy & Environment Sector, News, School

Includes business, economics, policy, and engineering courses on energy-related issues

Faculty members from Boston University School of Management, College of Engineering, and College of Arts & Sciences have developed a new Minor in Sustainable Energy. Designed to reveal the interdisciplinary nature of energy study, the minor consists of six courses taught by faculty across the three schools.  This is the first program at the University that offers an interdisciplinary practicum to this degree.

The minor, an outgrowth of Boston University’s Clean Energy and Environmental Sustainability Initiative, includes perspectives from business, economics, policy, and engineering to provide students a holistic view of the sustainable energy field. The minor concludes with a hands-on, real-world capstone project, in which students act as consultants to a sponsoring company and apply their learning in engineering, science, and business issues to analyze a problem.

The new minor comes after the School of Management recently evolved its graduate and undergraduate curricula to integrate the three most vital and rapidly growing sectors of the world economy: energy and the environment, digital technology, and health.

“Consistent with SMG’s mission of creating value for the world, students completing this minor will graduate with an understanding of how businesses can proactively and profitably shape the future of energy across the world,” said Paul McManus, Executive-in-Residence and Lecturer in the School of Management’s Strategy & Innovation department, and one of the principal creators of the new minor.

The Minor in Sustainable Energy is open to all students enrolled in a four-year undergraduate program in any School or College at Boston University.

Read more about the curriculum of the minor in Sustainable Energy.

BU Creates Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation

November 6th, 2012 in Digital Technology Sector, Faculty, Information Systems, News, Operations & Technology Management

SMG Professors Dellarocas and Heineke named as members

On October 12, 2012, Boston University President Robert A. Brown and Provost Jean Morrison announced the establishment of the Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation (CETLI), a University-wide group charged with discussing “the potential role of educational technology both in our on-campus, residential programs and as a means for reaching new learning communities.”

The University is already considered a leader in online education among major private research universities. Last year, 4,400 online students registered in the graduate and professional programs offered through Metropolitan College, the College of Fine Arts, Sargent College, and the School of Social Work, which employed innovative web-based formats coupled with community-building tools, according to President Brown. The School of Management is also on the forefront of the high-tech learning revolution with an array of educational classroom technologies, including the recently-launched Digital Learning Studio.

The Council is co- chaired by Professor Elizabeth Loizeaux, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, and Professor Azer Bestavros, Director of the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, and its members include the School of Management’s Professor and Chair of Information Systems Chris Dellarocas and Professor and Chair of Operations and Technology Management Janelle Heineke. Heineke also serves as the Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching.

Excerpts from BU Today:

What if millions of people around the world with internet access could join BU students and take University classes—online, for free, without getting the academic credit BU students pay to receive?

Such “massive open online courses,” known by the inelegant acronym MOOCs, conceivably could benefit enrolled on-campus students, says Elizabeth Loizeaux, associate provost for undergraduate affairs, “by allowing them to get credit for BU courses that are offered as MOOCs, with implications on overall tuition costs and schedule flexibility.”

The innovation is just one of many that Loizeaux, a College of Arts & Sciences English professor, will spend this academic year studying with colleagues on President Robert A. Brown’s recently appointed Council on Educational Technology and Innovative Learning.

Other innovations the council will explore include linking students studying abroad in different countries online; developing online courses solely for students in other countries; creating classes in which students create some of the material to be studied and discussed; and modifying existing large lecture courses to spend more time in small discussion groups, linked by laptops.

“This is a time of real transformation in higher education, when we are rethinking the models and strategies for education on a global scale,” says Loizeaux. “The ability of technology to expand the variety of ways of learning and teaching, and when and where they happen, can make education more flexible and potentially reduce time to degree completion and improve retention and graduation rates for students.”

Read the full story on BU Today.

Banner photo via BU Today

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Z.J Ren on Why U.S. Companies Fail, and How they Can Succeed, in China’s E-Commerce Arena

October 24th, 2012 in Digital Technology Sector, Emerging Research, Faculty, Global Work, News, Operations & Technology Management

Ren’s “How to Compete in China’s E-Commerce Market” Appears in Sloan Management Review, Fall 2012

Z. Justin Ren

Z. Justin Ren

In the most recent edition of Sloan Management Review (SMR), Xin Wang and Z. Justin Ren explore the world’s largest e-commerce market—and the failure of America’s most successful companies to crack it successfully.

Ren is an associate professor of operations and technology management and Dean’s Research Fellow at Boston University School of Management, as well as a research affiliate at MIT Sloan School of Management. Wang is an assistant professor of marketing at Brandeis University International Business School.

On the history of corporations reproducing their domestic successes abroad, Ren comments, “Big e-commerce companies often focus on scalability upon entering foreign countries and tend to undervalue or neglect local specifics that often clash with their business models at home.  It is a fine balance they have to strike.”

Ren and Wang address this challenge in their SMR article “How to Compete in China’s E-Commerce Market.” “With more than half a billion Internet users,” the authors write, “China boasts the greatest number of Internet users in the world. Its online shopping market hit 766.6 billion yuan in 2011,” while by 2012, its e-commerce market is expected to be worth 2 trillion yuan, the approximate equivalent today of $320 billion.

“Big e-commerce companies often focus on scalability upon entering foreign countries and tend to undervalue or neglect local specifics that often clash with their business models at home. It is a fine balance they have to strike.” – Z. Justin Ren

So why, they ask, have companies such as Yahoo!, Groupon, and eBay failed to create the same successes in China as they have at home, or in other international markets? “After years of effort and millions of dollars spent, armed with the most sophisticated technology and premium brand names,” the authors write, “these Internet giants have all failed to claim a leadership role in China’s e-commerce.”

Wang and Ren address this market mystery by combining industry analysis, case studies, and insight from leaders in China’s e-commerce industry, with an examination of high-profile entry players in the Chinese e-commerce arena. “We identified four key ways,” they write, “in which U.S. e-commerce companies proverbially hit the Great Wall when they tried to enter the Chinese market.”

These fatal blunders include:

  1. a failure to modify the business model for Chinese customers,
  2. insistence on a standard global technology platform,
  3. a habit of overlooking the competition, and
  4. an inability to address challenges from Chinese authorities.

Tapping lessons from their research, the authors then offer practical advice to counter these errors and build success in the Chinese e-commerce market.

Read more at Sloan Management Review online.

Banner image courtesy of flickr user

Designing a More Self-Sufficient Solar Panel

September 5th, 2012 in Energy & Environment Sector, Faculty, News, Operations & Technology Management

As companies and homeowners alike look for greener ways to power their homes and businesses, solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular option.

Unfortunately, how much energy a solar panel generates is dependent on how clean the equipment is and it’s not always easy–or cheap–to keep the panels spotless. Both dust and dirt can block sunlight and reduce the amount of energy yielded.

Boston University professors, Malay Mazumder (ECE), Mark Horenstein (ECE), and Nitin Joglekar (SMG), are hoping to solve this problem by designing a more self-sufficient panel that includes a cleaning component that would rely on electrodynamic removal of dust.

“Because cleaning solar collectors with water is expensive in desert conditions, solar plants often operate with dusty panels until water is absolutely necessary,” said Mazumder. “Electrodynamic dust removal would not require water and could be operated as frequently as needed at a miniscule cost.”

The BU professors are now one step closer toward achieving their goal after the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE EERE) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) awarded them grants for their research. The DOE will provide $955,340 for solar mirrors for photothermal energy conversion while MassCEC will give another $40k that will be used toward developing self-cleaning photovoltaic solar panels.

“The solar energy industry is growing at a rate of 33% or better in the U.S., and the renewable energy industry has shown strong growth since 2011,” said Mazumder. “It is very timely that the DOE and Mass CEC would want to invest in this project so that the solar plants can operate at their highest efficiency.”

Mazumder, Horenstein, and Joglekar are engaged in making prototypes that use electric fields to lift and move dust particles across the solar collector and ultimately remove them entirely.

As part of this project, Boston University will partner with Abengoa Solar, who will assist them in developing and testing out the prototype devices in the field. Abengoa is currently installing the world’s largest solar plant in Arizona and is a leader in solar energy technology development. Sandia National Laboratories will also help evaluate the new solar collectors.

Mazumder, the principal investigator on the grant, has been working toward developing an electrodynamic screen for solar panels for nearly 12 years. NASA funded his initial project, which centered around developing self-cleaning panels that could be used in missions to Mars and the moon. He has been working with Abengoa for the last two years and Sandia for one year.

Story by Rachel Harrington via BU Electrical & Computer Engineering.

Faculty in the News: July 12, 2012

July 17th, 2012 in Faculty, Faculty in the News, Health Sector, News

BU experts on CEOs, Affordable Care Act, and banks

SMG_newsBoston University Public Relations’ Professor Voices blog features a sampling of quotes by experts from BU’s School of Management on recent issues impacting the business world:

“CEOs are not hired to take blame. The board wants a CEO who is going to proclaim victory, or better, achieve it.” (P&G to Philip Morris Blame Currency for Forecast CutsBloomberg)
James Post

“The new CEO needs to be separated from the bonus culture that is a cancer on the industry. A fixed salary with some long-term performance shares makes good sense for now.” (Diamond Antithesis Seen As Key Step To Repairing BarclaysBloomberg)
James Post

“In the wake of the Supreme Court decision establishing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, many Republicans are focusing their opposition on states’ rights.” (No Letup in the Health-Law DebateNew York Times)
Stephen Davidson

“Banks can only be as strong or weak as the economy.” (As Economy Steadies, Bank Closings Become RarerAssociated Press)
Mark Williams

See more commentary from faculty on the Public Relations blog:

Explore our website to learn more about faculty news & honors.

Stephen Davidson in New York Times on Health Care, State Rights, and Divergent Costs

July 10th, 2012 in Faculty, Health Sector, Markets, Public Policy & Law, News

Stephen M. DavidsonWidely-cited health care expert Stephen M. Davidson, a professor in Boston University School of Management’s Markets, Public Policy & Law Department, has written in a letter to the New York Times about the debate over state rights and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Davidson is a frequent blogger on health care for the Huffington Post and author of the recent book Still Broken: Understanding the U.S. Health Care System. His New York Times letter reads,

No Letup in the Health-Law Debate

To the Editor:

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision establishing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, many Republicans are focusing their opposition on states’ rights. They argue that rather than a “one size fits all” national plan, each state should be able to choose a policy that suits its own conditions. Mitt Romney defends his having championed a similar law in Massachusetts when he was governor in similar terms.

“Some citizens would be denied coverage that similar residents of other states would have—simply because of where they happened to live.”

Let’s not forget an important reality: many states, even if their governors wanted to enact health care reform to provide insurance to 98 percent of the population, as Massachusetts did, cannot afford to do so. And not just because of the recent recession. Some states are much poorer than others. Moreover, those states also tend to have larger numbers of people without insurance and would need to spend more to provide coverage for them.

One result of a state-based health care reform plan, therefore, would be that some citizens would be denied coverage that similar residents of other states would have — simply because of where they happened to live.

Boston, July 2, 2012

See this letter at the New York Times online.

Faculty in the News: July 5, 2012

July 9th, 2012 in Faculty, Faculty in the News, Finance, Health Sector, News, Operations & Technology Management

BU experts on Obamacare, too-big-to fail banks, Airbus, and gold prices

SMG_newsBoston University Public Relations’ Professor Voices blog features a sampling of quotes by experts from BU’s School of Management on recent issues impacting the business world:

“It may be good politics in the short run in some states, but it is lousy public policy no matter how you slice it.” (GOP governors a backstop against Obamacare?PoliticoArena)
By Stephen Davidson

“They are an exercise while things are fine, prepared by lawyers and not representative of what might happen. It’s false hope, unfortunately.” (‘Living Wills’ for Too-Big-to-Fail Banks Are ReleasedNew York Times)
Mark Williams

“They’d like to build in Alabama for a number of reasons. They’d like to win more U.S. business; in particular, getting defense deals. They lost a big defense contract about a year and a half ago for the U.S. Air Force for tankers. Defense is a big business for any airline producer.” (Airbus to build assembly plant in AlabamaNECN)
Allen Michel

“The salad days of gold investing are gone. Gold is an asset bubble that has begun to burst. It costs approximately $500 an ounce to mine gold, but currently this metal sells for over three times that cost. Historically, the mining-to-market cost has been closer to 1.5 times.” (A Golden AgeFinancial Advisor Magazine)
Mark Williams

“The pressure will certainly come from the Democrats, and also from patient-advocacy groups and from the health and medical community, because it is taking money out of the pockets of health professionals, physicians, and health centers. Some, for ideological reasons, will not cooperate. But the real question is whether they can sustain that with the political backlash that will occur.” (States may opt out of Medicaid expansionBoston Globe)
Joseph Restuccia

See more commentary from faculty on the Public Relations blog:

Explore our website to learn more about faculty news & honors.

Net Impact Undergraduate Club Earns Gold Standing

June 29th, 2012 in Energy & Environment Sector, News, School, Student Activities, Students, Undergraduate Students

One of Just Nine Lauded Chapters Across the Nation

Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography

Net Impact held 22 events throughout the year, including an initiative to get students to pledge to reduce their usage of paper cups. The pledges are shown above hanging in the School's atrium. Photo by Cydney Scott via BU Today.

The national headquarters of Net Impact (whose mission is “to mobilize a new generation of students to use their careers to drive transformational change in their workplaces and the world”) announced that the undergraduate chapter at Boston University has achieved Gold Chapter standing, a designation awarded to only nine of 67 undergraduate chapters.

According to Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact, “This is a tremendous achievement. Gold chapters are the most outstanding in the Net Impact network, which includes over 300 chapters around the world. They play an integral role in helping us to provide support, connections, and practical advice to help people in all sectors and job functions create a more just and sustainable future.”

To earn gold, a chapter has to have a higher than normal level of events, they have to send a representative to the national conference, and they need to provide at least one “impact program.” The achievement also reflects strong support from the University and the faculty advisors, she added. Assistant Professor Kira Fabrizio and Executive in Residence and Lecturer Paul McManus (both of strategy & innovation) advise the club.

The Boston University undergraduate chapter, led by president Joe Nangle (BSBA’12), held 22 events to benefit the student body and surrounding community throughout the year. Teaming with Sustainabilty@BU, SMG Student Government, business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and the Starbucks location at SMG, the club got students to pledge to reduce their usage of paper cups, and distributed almost 500 reusable mugs to replace them. They also ran panel discussions on “The Art of Social Entrepreneurship,” and another on “Finance for Good.” The club also ran Sustainability Sundays, informal gatherings where anyone on campus was invited to gather and discuss important events in the sustainability realm.

Dean Freeman’s Plans for Future of SMG Featured in Poets & Quants, Fortune

June 22nd, 2012 in Dean Freeman, Faculty, News, School, Sectors

Dean Freeman Classroom

Today, the website Poets & Quants and Fortune magazine online feature Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman‘s very big plans for the School of Management’s future: to “ultimately convince people that there are really three elite business schools in Boston.”

Below are excerpts from the article on Poets & Quants:

The school has identified the three sectors of the economy where it believes, in [Dean Freeman's] words, “there will be more job creation, more financial market creation, and more value creation for societies, communities and countries over the next five, ten and 20 years.” With faculty approval gained earlier this year, Freeman is now aligning the school’s professors, research, and curriculum around the three growth areas.

The three are health care and life sciences, digital technology, and alternative energy and sustainability. In academia where loyalty is to a discipline rather than an industry or economic sector, Freeman, 62, is attempting a revolutionary change in both mindset and behavior. Whether the Harvard MBA can pull it off is anyone’s guess, but the odds are certainly not in his favor.

The three [sectors] are health care and life sciences, digital technology, and alternative energy and sustainability. In academia where loyalty is to a discipline rather than an industry or economic sector, Freeman…is attempting a revolutionary change in both mindset and behavior.

To make those sectors an integral part of Boston’s culture and approach, Freeman plans to recruit new faculty, create academic centers in each field, launch global case competitions in each area, and infuse much of the coursework with case studies and experiential projects in each of the three industries. “We’re recruiting for specific disciplines but we are also doing it with a twist by focusing on specialization in digital technology, the health sector or energy,” he says. “We want to create leading global institutes in each of these sectors to engage faculty here and with other institutions. For us to be distinguished, we have to have cutting-edge research in these fields.”

For incoming students, the focus on those three areas starts immediately. “When students arrive we provide them with a brief overview of those sectors and then they move through the traditional management discipline training,” adds Freeman. “We are transforming case content to reflect these sectors much more so than the traditional sectors of the past. And the classroom discussions will be supplemented by lectures from today’s executives in these fields.”

To read the full articles, visit Poets & Quants and Fortune.

Articles by John A. Byrne