Category: Graduate Students
Anya Thomas (MBA 2012, Public and Nonprofit Management)
Summer 2011 Vestergaard Frandsen (VF) Intern
“Your goal is to change Ghana’s water policy.” When my Boston University teammates and I secured an internship with Vestergaard Frandsen (VF), we had no idea that we would get to work on a presentation that has the potential to impact the lives of millions of Ghanaians. Even though VF is not a non-profit, it is a social enterprise focused on “humanitarian entrepreneurship.” This small company invents technologies that promote health through out the developing world. Its most famous product is a bed net that protects people from mosquitoes that carry malaria. Now VF has started to tackle the international water crisis with an extremely effective membrane water filter.
” This internship allowed my teammates and I to participate in a fascinating public-private partnership.”
This internship allowed my teammates and I to participate in a fascinating public-private partnership. As VF interns we got to meet with Ghanaian officials in the water sector, multilaterals such as the World Bank and UNICEF, as well as local NGOs. Together these public and private organizations are trying to save millions of lives. As our research is came to a close, we became more convinced than ever that filters and other types of household water treatment are crucial components of a comprehensive water and sanitation strategy for any developing country.
Our presentation is being used by VF to help the Ghanaian government and various development partners realize that household water treatment is the interim solution they need. This experience has opened my eyes to so many new areas. Now I understand the huge affect water quality has on health and economics, and I am inspired by how a small innovative company can affect policy change and promote the health of a whole nation.
Steph Bloch (MBA Dec 2011, Public and Nonprofit Management)
Summer 2011 Rappaport Fellow, Rappaport Institute and Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy
As a Rappaport Fellow for the summer of 2011, I was placed in Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Office. I was charged with educating entrepreneurs about the permitting process for start-up small businesses through a website launch, the initiation of a collateral series, and a TV segment. My goal was to help create a comprehensive package for new business owners to access the information they need from all city departments, in order to navigate the permitting process.
My internship gave me the chance to interact with many of Boston’s top policymakers and learn from them about how they keep the city running. One of the best experiences was riding on a police boat to visit a summer camp on one of Boston’s Harbor Islands for Boston’s underprivileged youths. But day in and day out, working at the Mayor’s Office has made for an excellent summer. Everyone is here because they want to do good for the city. Being surrounded by intelligent people who want to do right by the public is invigorating.
” Maybe the most important thing I learned from the experience was to think about the short term in balance with the long term.”
Maybe the most important thing I learned from the experience was to think about the short term in balance with the long term. If left to my own devices, as a business student, I would have done research, written proposals, made plans, and nothing tangible would have come to fruition. Being here, I realize that since everything is about the people of Boston, you have to give the people signs that you care about them by going for some shorter term solutions they can relate to and feel good about. The thing is that you’re always working for the long-term greater good, but sometimes you have to help people be proud of their city now.
Deedar Samant, a 2011 alumnus of the Health Sector Management program at the School of Management, shares his experience attending the India Field Seminar as a second-year MBA student.
Earlier this year, 20 students from Boston University School of Management, accompanied by two faculty members, visited three of India’s biggest and most rapidly developing cities: Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Our journey began in the wintry, cold-gripped capital city of Delhi. For four days we absorbed information and sights in this city rich with historic significance and landmarks, from the Mughals to India’s independence struggle with the British Raj.
Our visit to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was particularly interesting. Enjoying the good fortune of being located in the nation’s capital, AIIMS is backed by a surprisingly huge budget for a government hospital, which enables it to provide the populous with state-of-the-art services ranging from preventive to the best diagnostic and surgical services offered anywhere in the world. It was fascinating to observe the workings of the emergency department, which looked extremely busy even though the administrator accompanying us assured us that it was a relatively “light” day.
“India is a fascinating country with marked differences in languages, cultural practices, health care needs, and provisions and access to these services.”
Next, our encounters with two individuals on the opposite side of the battle, developing over drug patent protection rights, introduced us to the world of generic medicines and the economic and cultural issues linked with the struggle.
Next on our travel map was the city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), undoubtedly the economic, fashion, entertainment, and street-food capital of India. To describe Mumbai in a single sentence, it is the perfect blend of New York and Los Angeles with an abundant cultural diversity. Our meeting with the head of the preventive medicine department of one of the largest government hospitals in Mumbai, and subsequent visit to the Dharavi urban health center, were wonderful experiences. The center (part of the government hospital system) provides absolute free preventive and medical services to the slum of Dharavi, with a population of more than a million.
“A visit to generic drug manufacturing firms strengthened our understanding of the market strategies applied by these companies in battling the multinational corporations in the highly lucrative Indian pharmaceutical market.”
A visit to the generic drug manufacturing firms of Glenmark and Cipla strengthened our understanding of the market strategies applied by these firms in battling the multinational corporations in the highly lucrative Indian pharmaceutical market.
Our last stop on the seminar brought us to the technology capital of India, Bangalore. A visit to Narayana Hrudayalaya (a cardiac care center) and an encounter with its founder, Dr Devi Shetty, was very rewarding. Our conversation with Dr Shetty made us realize the clarity and dedication of his vision in bringing quality medical services to the low income population at a fraction of the cost incurred by providers in the western world. The level of operating efficiency and progress achieved through simple, effective, evidence-based medical practices, prompted some of our team members to ask Dr Shetty for internships at his institute to discover more details on the organizations operating strategies and expansion initiatives.
“Indians have definitely broken the first set of codes unlocking the doors into the world of quality health care to the masses at highly affordable prices and will be a great resource of lessons-learned for the health care institutions in the US. “
India is a fascinating country with marked differences in languages, cultural practices, health care needs, and provisions and access to these services. The pace of development and ideation is tremendous but the infrastructure needed to sustain these processes is not keeping pace. There is a sincere effort on part of the government, and national as well as international private parties, to develop the infrastructure to ensure rapid and organized progress of the health care system. However, one fact prominently stands out: Indians have definitely broken the first set of codes unlocking the doors into the world of quality health care to the masses at highly affordable prices and will be a great resource of lessons-learned for the health care institutions here in the United States.
A team of Boston University School of Management first-year MBA students will advance to the final round of the NAAMBA Global Case Competition after placing in the top four during last week’s qualifying round. Finalists were announced on July 31, 2011.
Members of the BU team, including Roman Sverdlov (team leader), Sabrina Grijalva Wells, and Sidharth Ramsinghaney presented a case study suggesting ways in which companies operating in Asia can compete for and attract the best talent from around the world.
The BU team, along with teams from Perdue, Syracuse University, and the University of Northern California, will be provided with a stipend and full registration to attend the Third Annual Leadership Conference and Exposition in New York on September 9, 2011, where they will present the final topic to the judging panel. The winning team will receive a trip to Singapore to more closely examine the rise of Asia and the dynamics of doing business there.
The National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA), a leading non-profit professional organization dedicated to cultivating global Asian leaders, hosts the competition. According to Jino Ahn, founder and president of NAAMBA, “The Global MBA Case Competition is an opportunity for NAAMBA members to exhibit and refine their business skills under pressure, which will help them tremendously as they pursue career opportunities.”
Tze Min Lim, Area Director at Contact Singapore, added, “Asia has become a hub for business and finance, and Singapore is at the epicenter with more than 7,000 multinational companies. As businesses continue to expand into Asia, experience and knowledge of this region is invaluable. The Global MBA Case Competition gives students the chance to examine how they can best position themselves to seize career and business opportunities in Asia.”
Power of Ten Math Finance Anniversary Celebration: Saturday, October 1, 2011!
A Day of Reunion, Networking, Merriment, and More
Please save the date for our 10 Year Anniversary Alumni Event, which has been changed to Saturday, October 1st, 2011, at Boston University School of Management. Program alumni, faculty, and staff will gather for an all-day event to celebrate the program, reconnect with old friends, and network with new ones.
A mailed invitation with more details is forthcoming to all MF Program alumni. If we do not have your mailing address on file, please send it to email@example.com. Emailed invitations will also be sent.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Application Number Rise by Almost 35%
Application numbers for the Masters in Mathematical Finance Program have once more been on the rise, up almost 35% this year. For the Fall 2010 semester, the program received applications from 773 candidates; for Fall 2011, the number jumped to 1,041.
Slideshow & Event Recap from the MF Program’s Spring 2011 Semester
Click to see the full slideshow, as well as details about our Spring 2011 alumni and student events, including a party at Scoozi, Boston Harbor boat cruise, Karaoke night, and more.
On March 5, 2011, five Boston University MBA students swept the regional portion of the 2nd Annual Hult Global Case Challenge, beating out teams from MIT, Harvard, Tufts, Cornell, Columbia, and other schools.
Similar regional competitions took place on the same day in San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai. The winners of these competitions joined the Boston University team to compete in the Global Final of the challenge on April 28, when a group from Cambridge University walked away with the $1 million prize.
The Boston University team, all members of the Part-Time MBA Program (PEMBA) who expect to graduate in 2012, included the following students from diverse locations and professional backgrounds, spanning bio/pharma, public health research, software development, nonprofit, and retail energy supply:
- Matthew K. Fox (Edwards, New York)
- Ravi Kolipaka (Hyderabad, India)
- Catherine Liang (Monroeville, Pennsylvania)
- Toni Ann Louie (New York, New York)
- Jane Bulnes-Fowles (Palo Alto, California)
As Hult explained in a press release, this year’s challenge gathered “students from the world’s top schools to focus on developing solutions to accelerate clean water access and sanitation around the world….Global judges included Gary White, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Water.org; George Fisher, Former CEO of Kodak and current senior advisor of private equity powerhouse KKR; Bruce Mosler, Co-Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield; Peter Thum, Co-Founder of Ethos Water and a Vice President at Starbucks; Gary Hattem, President of the Deutsche Bank Foundation; and Premal Shah, a leading social entrepreneur and president of Kiva.org.”
“Boston University School of Management provided us with one main attribute that helped our success in the Boston regional: diversity of perspective.”
–BU MBA student Ravi Kolipaka
Says Boston University team leader Matthew K. Fox, “We selected our team so that it consisted of people who could view the case from different angles. Our backgrounds are highly diverse, so, as a team, we continually allowed each other to think in unusual ways, to brainstorm solutions freely, and to be respectful of all the ideas brought to the table.”
Reflecting on how the BU MBA experience helped prepare their team for such a strong showing, Ravi Kolipaka explains, “Boston University School of Management provided us with one main attribute that helped our success in the Boston regional: diversity of perspective.”
“We were a strong team because we leaned on each other to inspire one another. We saw similarities in not only the three other teams in the final but throughout the competition.”
–BU MBA student Jane Bulnes-Fowles
Adds fellow BU competitor Catherine Liang, “The diverse student body at the School of Management, combined with the case-based learning approach and team projects, has really taught us to think through problems in a multi-disciplinary way.”
“We also gained a great respect for the power of strong teams,” says Jane Bulnes-Fowles. “We were a strong team because we leaned on each other to inspire one another. We saw similarities in not only the three other teams in the final but throughout the competition. They were able to approach the complex problem with thought-provoking and innovative ideas and solutions.”
Adds team member Toni Ann Louie, “Specific courses such as Global Sustainability, IT Strategies, and the Non-Profit Accounting class in the Public & Nonprofit MBA program, were also especially helpful in the development of our idea. These courses introduced us to new and innovative business models and helped us analyze social trends happening now throughout the established and developing world.”
Congratulations to the MBA student team from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada: Winners of the Boston University and Ericsson 6th Annual Tech Strategy Business Case Competition.
16 teams. 7 countries. $47.5K in Prizes: 6th Global Tech Strategy Competition
The School of Management has announced the winners of the School’s internal 6th Annual International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition. Four current full-time Boston University MBA students will go on to represent the School at the final round of the competition on March 24-26, where sixteen teams from top business schools around the world will vie for $47,500 in prizes.
Congratulations to Kevin Schlabach, Tarun Theogaraj, Neel Madhvani, and Anish Menon!
These students beat out seven other internal teams in their presentation of the case “Seeking a Viable Go-to-Market Strategy for Apple TV in 2011,” written by Boston University School of Management Professor N. Venkatraman, one of the most cited business scholars across the world.
About the Boston University International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition:
This event is an invitation-only 24-hour case competition to solve a market challenge focused on technology in business strategy and operations. Hosted in collaboration with market-leader Ericsson, the annual competition draws teams of full-time students from the world’s leading MBA programs as well as judges from leading IT firms.
It is devoted to recognizing the top up-and-coming MBA strategists who understand the transformative power of IT in business and to enabling student teams to showcase their talents to top players in the technology and telecomm fields.
Health Sector Management Program (HSM) is designed to prepare students for the rigorous and often challenging world of consulting. As the world shifts toward a more translational and accountable environment, new companies will require fundamental market analysis and advice. Even the larger, currently existing organizations need to evolve or risk being left behind. This holds true for both pharmaceutical organizations and hospitals.
Bio-pharma, academic medical centers, clinical diagnostics companies, and local as well as national companies are all represented in the diversity of the projects that the students pursue.
This course was developed by and is taught by Professor Bobbi Clarke, drawing on her deep knowledge of the field. Keith Aspinall has recently joined the Health Sector Management Program to provide a second version of the course to expand student opportunities.
A Truly Out-Of-Class Experience
Bio-pharma, academic medical centers, clinical diagnostics companies, and local as well as national companies are all represented in the diversity of the projects that the students pursue. This type of learning experience draws on the breadth of classroom education but extends beyond traditional course work to apply and further develop skills in a real-world setting.
The Health Sector Consulting course is a truly out-of-class experience. Students meet as a class only four times throughout the semester. The rest of the time is spent working on a live consulting project. Individual team meetings with the professor provide the groups with guidance along the way:
- The first meeting is the kick-off to discuss the consulting rules of thumb and organize into teams.
- At the second meeting, students receive background materials on their companies and projects. They are charged to define the primary objectives. How can they help this company?
- The third meeting, midway through the projects, brings all of the participants back together to have a group learning session. They discuss the challenges each team faced and also share their best practices.
- At the fourth meeting, the students will fulfill their final class deliverable, giving a presentation of their findings and recommendations to the companies.
Combining Core MBA Principles with Learning from HSM Classes
The projects challenge the students to take an ambiguous scenario and apply analytical and interpersonal skills alike to obtain information and get results in the face of adversity. They tackle questions about the marketing, financial, and operational sides of the organization.
The projects challenge the students to take an ambiguous scenario and apply analytical and interpersonal skills alike to obtain information and get results in the face of adversity.
Some groups focus on external factors of an organization through competitive analysis to determine threats to the business. Others look inward to restructure or enhance the operations. They apply not only their core MBA principles but the background gained from their other HSM classes.
Having completed a full consulting engagement from this course, the students have the confidence to proceed into the world with personal knowledge of the steps necessary to gather information, synthesize data, and present findings.
First Stop: Guatemala, in Support of the Primeros Pasos Medical Clinic
In Spring 2010, a group of first-year Boston University School of Management MBA Students launched the organization MBAid.
MBAid’s mission: To improve health care access to underserved communities through a partnership with the Primeros Pasos Medical Clinic in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, while giving School of Management students the opportunity to put their skills to work and learn from other cultures.
“I knew we would provide Primeros Pasos with resources they don’t have access to, while they could give us the chance to make a significant contribution to improving health care access.”
– Rob Segan, Trip Co-organizer (MPH/MBA 2011)
Their first initiative: Bringing supplies, money, and their own muscle to the Primeros Pasos Clinic. From May 9-15, 31 students from Cohort D of the first-year MBA class, along with four significant others, traveled to the clinic, where one of the trip organizers, student Rob Segan (MPH/MBA 2011), had worked from 2005-2006.
Primeros Pasos, formed in 2002, serves 7,500 patients per year. Working with 14 area schools and 12 daycare centers, they bring groups of students to the clinic to test for parasites, receive doctor and dentist consultations, and participate in health education classes. Staff then follows up by traveling to these local schools a few days later, providing talks on topics such as hygeine and nutrition, and delivering any necessary medication to students.
Of the trip’s inception, co-organizer Ajay Mehta (MBA 2011) explains, “Our goal was to create a trip that was enjoyable, accessible to a large number of students, and would have a real impact. Adds Segan, “We got along really well as a cohort, and we thought it would be fun to do something as a group after the semester was over.“
“Primeros Pasos is an example of the high value, low cost health services being developed in low resource settings. BU students are learning about the realities of this kind of innovation while providing important assistance to the organization.”
– Mark Allan, Faculty Director, Health Sector Management Program; Director of Health Systems Development, Family Medicine, School of Medicine
“The Primeros Pasos Clinic is an amazing organization,“ Segan says. “They are incredibly cost effective: there is no overhead and all paid staff are Guatemalans receiving a local salary. They operate on a budget of $50,000, which is amazing when you consider how much they do with that money. I knew we would could provide them with resources they do not have access to, while they could give us the chance to make a significant contribution to improving health care access.”
The takeaways so far: Through fundraisers hosted by Neel Madhvani (MBA 2011), Mike Guigli (MBA 2011), and Sheehan Perera (MBA 2011), the MBAid team brought US$2,000 in donations to the clinic—enough to cover doctor and dental consultations, health education classes, and medications for 400 children—as well as 500 toothbrushes, a microscope donated by group member Meredith Childs, and 50 health education books obtained by Nadja Godschalk (MBA 2011) through a donation from the organization 4imprint.
While in Guatemala, the MBAid team provided a well-needed paint job to the outside of the clinic and built white boards and bookshelves for donation to schools involved with Primeros Pasos. They also weighed and measured children visiting the clinic, and co-organizer Borja Gomez-Rojo (MBA 2011) assisted clinic staff by teaching a health education class at a local elementary school.
“This was chance for our cohort to strengthen our bonds while helping Primeros Pasos. In addition to volunteering, we climbed an active volcano, ziplined through the rainforest, took salsa lessons, kayaked in Panajachel.”
– Kim Vo, Trip Co-organizer (MS·MBA, Health Sector Management, 2011)
The extracurricular activities: Comments co-organizer Rob Segan, “Guatemala is an incredible place, from its culture to the amount you are able to see and do in a few days. It was great to take travel there alongside people with whom you have so much in common, but often have only had the chance to know in the context of a classroom. We saw this not only as a chance to help out the clinic, but also to have an adventure together as a cohort.”
Adds co-organizer Kim Vo (MS·MBA, Health Sector Management, 2011), “This was a unique opportunity for our cohort to get to know each other outside the classroom and strengthen our bonds while helping Primeros Pasos. In addition to volunteering, we climbed an active volcano, ziplined through the rainforest, took salsa lessons, soaked in hot springs, and kayaked in lake Panajachel, all while taking in Guatemalan culture. This is an experience I’ll never forget.”
The video: Watch the BU Global Service group in action in Guatemala here:
(Video by JB Buensuceso)
Providing critical support to local nonprofits for the 10th year in a row
- Provide resource strapped nonprofits with the human and intellectual capital necessary to overcome organizational hurdles that have hindered each nonprofit’s essential mission from making maximum impact;
- Provide an opportunity for future business leaders to be exposed to the work and mission of the nonprofit community;
- Create an enduring spirit of partnership.
–Link Day 2010 Nonprofit Participant
On February 20, 2010, 60 Boston University MBA students gathered for a one-day consulting event that partnered local nonprofits with MBA student teams to collectively overcome significant organizational challenges.
Nine first-year MBA students organized this annual event in conjunction with BU’s Public and Nonprofit Management Club. The student teams participating were a conglomeration of first and second years, as well as full and part-time students with varied backgrounds in finance, marketing, strategy, technology, and public and nonprofit management.
In 2010, fifteen nonprofits participated in Link Day, yielding almost $50,000 in consulting services. The size, scope, and mission of the organizations varied greatly, ranging from local chapters of national organizations to exclusively local nonprofits. The full roster of organizations that participated and benefited from this year’s Link Day were:
- America SCORES
- Boston Alliance for Early Education
- Child Care Resource Center
- Concord Children’s Center
- Educational Development Group
- Elizabeth Peabody House
- Girl Scouts of Eastern Mass.
- Greater Boston Center for Healthy Communities
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell
- Home for Families
- LGBT Aging Project
- Marblehead Arts Association
- Mustard Seed Communities
- The Food Project
- Year Up
Before the event, each team visits its partner organization and works with the staff to identify and develop a project of appropriate scope. Then the teams design a viable, customized solution for the identified issue. On the day of the event, they work with the nonprofit representatives to create a strategy for its implementation. Capping off the day, each team presents its recommendations to the assembled participants and guests (students, alumni, and local business leaders).
Following the event, members of the planning committee follow up with the participating organizations to see how implementation of the business solutions are progressing, and to solicit feedback on the effectiveness of the program.
Link Day has a lasting and significant impact on both the nonprofit and student community. One nonprofit representative said, “Student team and advisor were excellent, patient, really listened to us and helped us unscramble our thoughts. They challenged us with good, tough questions, helped us think as a group and out of our comfort zone.”
Another nonprofit representative raved, “Link Day 2010 exceeded my expectations. The students are obviously intelligent and committed to improving our organization by participating. The group work sessions were very much a collaboration.”
–Molly Brown, Link Day 2010 Student Organizer, MBA Class of 2011
For many students, Link Day is their first encounter with the nonprofit community, helping them realize both the need that exists and the impact they can make through volunteering. One hundred percent of students who participated in Link Day reported that it was a valuable experience for them. One student attendee said, “It was great getting to work with an enthusiastic organization and a diverse group of students. It was also great to get real-world consulting experience.”
Another student shared, “It was very gratifying to see the enthusiastic responses our nonprofit had to our suggestions and to see a cohesive plan take shape.” When asked what he liked best about Link Day 2010, another student said, “The opportunity to spend all day focusing on a problem and provide a nonprofit with a different perspective, linking nonprofit with profit-thinking.”
Link Day, an important annual event at the School of Management, is the result of public and private partnerships, with underwriting for the 2010 activities provided by Citizens Bank, Liberty Mutual, State Street Corporation, The Perkins Foundation, and Boston University’s MBA Council. This support combined with facility and faculty support from Boston University led to 960 volunteer hours.
Watch a Link Day 2010 team in action