Category: Graduate Students
The team solved an operations problem for Lindt & Sprüngli
They say that victory is sweet, and for five Professional Evening MBA (PEMBA) students at Boston University School of Management, it’s not only sweet—it tastes like milk chocolate. The five—Juliana Beauvais, Bobby Mclaughlin, Ram Meyyappan, Lauren Murphy, and Renata Shypailo, also known as the Glooper Troopers—clinched the School’s inaugural PEMBA Case Competition, held from November 15-16, 2014, in collaboration with Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngi.
Supported by Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman and organized by Professors Erik Molander and Patricia Hambrick, the competition was the first of its kind, specifically engaging the School’s part-time MBA community and offering its students a chance to showcase their abilities in front of top executives.
“It was amazing to be able to present to the CEO of Lindt and VP of operations and have our hard work over the two days acknowledged by them,” Mclaughlin said. “Opportunities like this are seldom available to part-time MBAs at any school, and I was really impressed with the organization of the entire event and how BU dedicates resources to part-time students.”
Together, Mclaughlin and his teammates were the “Glooper Troopers,” which is a nod to Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, according to Meyyappan. He said the team was cohorted together last year and, ironically, Augustus Gloop had been an inside joke from one of the team’s finance classes. “It felt only appropriate to use him again in a chocolate competition.”
The Glooper Troopers went up against five other cleverly named PEMBA teams in the competition: Beyond Compare, Brain Conche, Pythis, Sweet Science, and Seal Team Six (Wonka Warriors).
The 32 students were faced with an operations challenge: As Lindt USA continues to expand (the company acquired Russell Stover in July 2014), the company doesn’t want to lose its entrepreneurial spirit, but seeks to build a platform of shared services so that its management team can focus on exploiting local differences that more traditional firms would miss. The students were then asked what services should be included in this platform, such as HR, finance, logistics, and brand marketing, whether this shared model could speed time to market and flexibility to meet localized market needs, and what the appropriate governance mechanism is to manage the boundary between shared services and localized needs.
Glooper Troopers found that running three distinct, siloed companies in the same sector would not likely be effective for Lindt & Sprüngi USA. Consolidation of some operations seemed to be the obvious solution to the team, and marketing—a strength for Lindt—didn’t seem to be the best area to start regarding shared services, according to Beauvais. What’s more, she noted, given that Lindt has its own “bean-to-bar” production, the team didn’t want to focus on either purchasing or operations.
Knowing that the company has a longstanding decentralized culture, Murphy said the team recognized that a shared services model would be a major shift, and that communication and marketing for internal-change management would be as important as the actual implementation itself. In conducting their research and preparing their pitch for the judges, she said the Glooper Troopers wanted to focus on the “why”—why they felt Lindt would benefit from a shared services model—instead of the “how.”
“The competition gave me the invaluable opportunity to use knowledge from all of the classes I have taken in the PEMBA program and leverage that knowledge in approaching a real-world problem,” Mclaughlin said.
Not to mention, “as chocolate fans, it was interesting to get a crash course on the industry itself,” Shypailo added. “During the holiday season, each of us has a newfound appreciation for chocolate while doing our shopping.”
This weekend, Boston University will host its 141st Commencement, honoring the achievements of the class of 2014, and celebrating their future endeavors. Some 20,000 guests are expected to converge on campus for the ceremonies, culminating in the All-University Commencement at Nickerson Field. The School of Management’s separate convocations for its bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral candidates will be held on Friday, May 16. Whether you’re joining the excitement in person or watching the ceremonies online, stay in the loop with the information below.
School of Management Convocations
The convocation for bachelor’s candidates will be held on Friday, May 16, from 1-3 p.m. at Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave., immediately followed by a reception from 3-4 p.m. in the Fitness & Recreation Center, 100 Ashford St. Students must arrive at Agganis Arena by 12:15 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served, and tickets are not required. The convocation will be live-streamed here.
The convocation for master’s and doctoral candidates will be held on Friday, May 16, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Agganis Arena, immediately followed by a reception from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Fitness & Recreation Center. Students must arrive at Agganis Arena by 4:45 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served, and tickets are not required. The convocation will be live-streamed here.
The All-University Commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 18, from 1-3 p.m. at Nickerson Field, 285 Babcock St., rain or shine. Students must arrive at Harry Agganis Way by 12:15 p.m. The ceremony will be live-streamed here.
Seating is first-come, first-served for SMG’s convocation ceremonies and the All-University Commencement ceremony, and guests do not need tickets to attend. The University’s commencement website provides plenty of information about the weekend’s events, including security, parking, and disability services.
Join the commencement conversation:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four MBA students from Boston University School of Management will compete in the third and final round of the Aspen Institute’s 2014 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition. One of only five finalist teams to advance, Ji Chong (MBA’14), David Cushman (MBA’14), Chris Kluesener (MBA’14), and Jonathan Sobin (MBA’14) head to New York today, Friday, April 4, to present their ideas to a panel of esteemed judges, including senior corporate executives, in the fifth annual global competition.
“Being among the top five teams selected is a great honor for us and speaks to the strength of BU’s MBA program, which has given us the tools needed to compete at this level,” says Cushman. “Competitions are a worthwhile experience as part of an MBA as they allow you to apply what you’ve learned and explore current business challenges faced by real companies.”
The subject of the case, which centers on marketing strategy and social impact, involves a Mexican grain-processing company that hopes to scale its operation in order to raise the standard of living in its rural town, and improve health issues in its native country.
While the judges deliberate on the team’s written submission and PowerPoint presentation, the students will meet corporate, philanthropic, academic, and other friends of the Aspen Institute over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The competition’s prize pool is $35,000, unmatched in the MBA case competition circuit, with the first place team receiving $15,000 as well as $1,000 to donate to a charity of its choice.
“If we won the competition we would likely choose a charity that has a sustainability-focused mission and a history of successfully realizing that mission, such as the Environmental Defense Fund,” says Cushman.
Founded in 2009, the competition was born from a desire to design a best-in-class incentive program that encourages future business leaders to unite corporate profitability with social, environmental, and ethical awareness—three issues at the heart of business growth in the 21st century. The competition focuses on the positive impact a well-managed business can have in society, allowing students from 25 business programs worldwide to reflect on this significant influence.
The School of Management is one of those select programs, demonstrating its fervent mission to become of one of the world’s elite business schools. Celebrating 100 years of educating bold leaders in all management disciplines, SMG continues to foster innovation across the MBA program, launching an enhanced curriculum in fall 2013. The new curriculum offers deeper disciplinary learning opportunities in the transformative forces shaping our rapidly changing global economy.
The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit founded in 1950 and based in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to fostering values-based leadership and providing a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.
Learn more about the the Aspen Institute’s 2014 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition here.
Ideas on big data and bridging gaps in care take top spots in 2014 BU Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health
Asking the big questions is only the start. Joining forces with lead sponsor Merck, Boston University School of Management hosted the second annual Boston University Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health, where teams of MBA students from outstanding business schools around the world started answering one of those big questions: How will information technology influence and transform global healthcare to create value for the world?
The second annual Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health awarded first place to Fudan University School of Management’s mission of bridging the gap between rural and urban populations by providing them equal healthcare opportunities by providing online consulting and education for rural doctors.
“Events such as this provide a real life context for MBA students to work on live problems rather than re-analyze past decisions through cases that they have done in their academic curriculum,” said N. Venkat Venkatraman, David J. McGrath Jr. Professor of Management at SMG and Grand Business Challenge case author and organizer.
“Moreover, unlike standard case competition, this allows students to learn from other students as well as executives from Merck. Given the importance of health sector in the globe and the pervasive availability of digital technology even in remote parts of India and China, digital health is a profoundly important topic. This event allowed us to orchestrate systematic thinking during intense 48 hour period that provided value to the students as well as to Merck.”
Presenting to a panel of Merck executives on specific technological developments, market moves and responses to trends took student’s ideas from a theoretical into a practical arena. Pitching to a specific organization required teams to tailor their advice based to Merck’s business model and offer insights that Merck could realistically implement.
In it’s second year the Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health invited 16 schools to participate. “We are thrilled to welcome such a diverse student population from all over the world,” said David Veira, Assistant Director of Graduate Programs at SMG.
Big ideas with big data
More efficient gathering, analyzing and use of patient data was a common thread in finalist presentations.
Working to reduce the number of medical errors, Medicare costs for unplanned re-hospitalizations and the amount of time and costs for documentation of inpatient nursing care, the MIT Sloan School of Management team took second place with their MerckMe web and app portal providing automated documentation, clinical decision support, and remote monitoring.
Columbia Business School’s idea to provide a digital platform of choice for patients and physicians to store, record and analyze patient data to increase disease diagnosis and patient adherence was awarded 3rd place.
With an initial focus on cardiovascular disease in the U.S., the fourth place team from University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business recommended enabling partnerships to promote the gathering of patient data while encouraging patient engagement and increasing preventative care through wearable devices, mobile apps, and streamed data.
Teams competing in the March 20-22 event included:
- Boston University School of Management
- Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business
- Columbia Business School
- Fudan University School of Management – Shanghai
- IAE Business School – Argentina (Universidad Austral)
- Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta
- IPADE Business School – México (Universidad Panamericana)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management (MIT Sloan)
- The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business
- University of Arizona, Eller College of Management
- University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Anderson School of Management
- University of New York in Prague (UNYP)
- University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School
- University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business
- Washington University in Saint Louis, Olin Business School
The 12 teams not selected to move on to the final presentations had the opportunity to present their ideas to venture capitalists.
Please visit bu.edu/casecomp for more information on the Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health.
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.
Team Wins First Prize in Energy Efficiency Category
By Mark Dwortzan via BU College of Engineering
A College of Engineering and School of Management team took first prize in the energy efficiency category of the annual MIT Clean Energy Prize on May 6, one of six premiere regional clean energy student business plan competitions in the U.S.
A collaboration between students and faculty from ENG and SMG, the team, Aeolus Building Efficiency, won $20,000 for its business plan and presentation for a full-service company that utilizes software to optimize airflow and reduce energy consumption in large office heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems. The technology could be a game-changer for today’s commercial buildings, which account for 18 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions and 36 percent of national electric utility demand.
Consisting of ENG’s senior Ryan Cruz, Associate Professor Michael Gevelber, and former Professor Donald Wroblewski from the Mechanical Engineering Department, and MBA candidates David Cushman, Jonathan Ellermann, and Benjamin Smith from SMG, Aeolus outperformed 15 other teams from nine states, including three semifinalists representing Harvard University, MIT, and the University of Chicago.
Aeolus drew on ENG members’ expertise in building energy efficiency and HVAC systems optimization, and SMG members’ business development, operations, project management and sustainability experience. The team’s presentation impressed a panel of six judges from academia, government and industry who based their assessments on environmental benefit, creativity, execution and financial strategy, market and customer knowledge, and team strength.
Benjamin Smith (MBA’13) relished the opportunity to compete against outstanding teams and technologies from some of the nation’s top academic institutions. “Not only were we able to develop a comprehensive and compelling business plan, but the competition gave us an opportunity to substantiate that plan with cleantech industry leaders,” he observed. “It was an amazing experience.”
Taking part in the competition reinforced Ryan Cruz’s (ME’13) aspiration to pursue a career in the energy efficiency field. “I was able to learn more about the business side of engineering and aspects of building energy efficiency that I would not have normally been exposed to in the classroom,” he said.
“It was a great learning experience for all the team members, and we’re proud to get BU’s name recognized at such a highly competitive event,” said Gevelber (ME, MSE, SE). ”We also had great mentoring from other BU faculty in both schools, and received support from BU’s Office of Technology Development, Institute for Technology, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC) and Sustainable Neighborhood Lab.”
HVAC systems account for a large portion of energy use in mid- to large-sized buildings, and energy use and cost scales strongly with airflow. This is particularly true in older buildings designed when energy was much cheaper and HVAC systems were designed with high air flow rates. Based on concepts developed by Paul Gallagher (ME, MS’13) in his master’s thesis, Aeolus aims to commercialize its software-based service that enables room-by-room measurement and optimization of airflow rates, thereby reducing energy consumption while maintaining thermal comfort and meeting ventilation requirements.
Invented by Gevelber, Wroblewski, and Gallagher and now being patented by BU, the breakthrough technology uses existing, computer-based building automation systems to reduce large building HVAC energy consumption by up to 20 percent without equipment installation, intensive manual labor or long payback periods.
“What’s amazing about our approach is that the system would take the same time to work on a building the size of Sargent College as it would for the Prudential Center,” Gevelber explained.
Formed in 2007 to help develop a new generation of energy entrepreneurs and companies and sponsored by NSTAR and the U.S. Department of Energy, the MIT Clean Energy Prize offers awards in three categories—renewable energy, infrastructure and resources, and energy efficiency. The competition’s $20,000 Energy Efficiency Track Prize is sponsored by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which seeks to accelerate the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in the Commonwealth while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts.
Pictured above is Team Aeolus Building Efficiency: Professor Michael Gevelber (ME, MSE, SE), David Cushman (MBA’14), Jonathan Ellermann (MBA’13), Ryan Cruz (ME’13), and Benjamin Smith (MBA’13) with $20,000 Energy Efficiency Track Prize. (A sixth Aeolus team member, former Professor Donald Wroblewski (ME) was unavailable for the photo.)
BU competition featured eight multidisciplinary teams of undergraduates and graduates; first place team will go on to present ideas to Gillette’s top managers
By Gilberto Millares (IMBA’13) from the BU MBA Student Life blog
Some of Procter & Gamble’s sustainability goals for the future include completely eliminating the waste they currently generate, using only renewable energy in all their facilities, and having environmentally-friendly products and packages. As you might guess, such endeavors present an extremely difficult challenge for a global company, so they are constantly looking for ways to make marginal or disruptive changes in their operations that allow them to be closer to achieving these goals. One of the ways they’re doing this is by sponsoring the P&G Gillette Sustainability Challenge, which brings together multidisciplinary teams from different Boston University schools and colleges and challenges them to come up with ideas that might be applied in P&G operations.
On April 12, eight teams consisting of undergraduate and graduate students from programs including engineering, public policy, biomedical engineering, and management had the opportunity to showcase their findings to a group of managers from P&G Gillette, Veolia, and NSTAR. We presented different ideas that would allow P&G to increase their renewable energy consumption at the South Boston Gillette site by making a business case for each proposed project.
While the format differed a bit from the standard case competition, the results were just as meaningful. Rather than diving into the project for 48 hours, we were given two weeks to find different approaches to help them achieve their goals. And even though it might sound like more than sufficient lead time, we had to fit several seminars into our busy schedules to learn about energy projects throughout the country and the world, research technologies that are being implemented in the industry, and find ways to link business and engineering aspects for each submitted idea—no easy task!
Finally, after all the teams had presented their ideas, we had a small reception as the judges made the final decision. First place was awarded to a team consisting of MBA and IMBA students (pictured above), as well as LEAP, mechanical engineering, and public policy students, who will now have the opportunity to present their pitch to a group of Gillette’s top managers. However, I think the most rewarding aspect of the competition was working with a truly diverse group of people that mimics the diversity and complexities of the business world.
Pictured: The winning team of MBA and IMBA students with the panel of judges from P&G Gillette, Veolia, and NSTAR. Group photo courtesy of the BU MBA Student Life blog.
Homepage image via flickr user Pylon757.
Fifteen teams competed in first-of-its-kind event hosted by SMG
A team of MBA students from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University won first place in the Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health, sponsored by Merck and hosted by Boston University School of Management on March 21-23, 2013. The event was also sponsored by Microsoft and the MS·MBA Association.
Formerly the International Technology Strategy Case Competition, the two-day event challenged teams of MBA students from the world’s leading business schools to offer their ideas on how Merck could leverage information technology to transform global healthcare and create value for the world. Unlike a traditional case competition, the Grand Business Challenge allowed for networking and cross-team collaboration, utilized a live case, and allowed each team to focus on one of four tracks of digital health: individual, interconnected, information, and international.
On the first day of the event, each team presented their ideas on challenges in one of the four tracks of digital health. A panel of industry judges selected a winning team from each track to compete in the final round of the Grand Business Challenge the following day.
The Fuqua School of Business (pictured above) was awarded first place for their MercKIT solution, a mobile, cloud-based health clinic kit equipped for front line diagnosis and the treatment of infectious diseases. The team also won the Audience Choice Prize.
The second place team from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, developed a patient-centered mobile phone platform, customizable by country and culture, to engage patients in their health and bolster growth in emerging economies.
Boston University School of Management placed third for their concept, the Adhero platform. Using existing digestible sensor technology embedded on pills, the platform would collect data on medication adherence, provide rewards or reminders to patients, and send data back to providers. Fourth place team University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business proposed an online portal that would facilitate information and a sense of community between customers, payers, producers, and providers.
Teams also had the opportunity to win grants from Microsoft BizSpark to further develop their ideas on digital health. The Microsoft BizSpark Challenge winners were teams from IPADE Business School – Mexico, Neeley School of Business, Anderson School of Management, Tepper School of Business, and a team with members from Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and Kenan-Flagler Business School.
The fifteen participating teams were:
- Boston University School of Management
- Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business
- Cornell University Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
- Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business
- El Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresa (IPADE Business School – Mexico)
- Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School
- Indian School of Business
- Seoul National University Business School
- Texas Christian University Neeley School of Business
- University of Arizona Eller College of Management
- University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Anderson School of Management
- University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School
- University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
- University of Southern California Marshall School of Business
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.