The Alumni Issue inside Asian Alumni Clubs Set A Great Example. Hollywood Alumni Star in TV, Film Management. PNP Alumni Make A Difference in Education.
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Bostton Univer Bos Universit sity y School of Management Management
Spring2011 Spring 2011 595 COMMONWEALTH
Think Quick. MBAs Win Case Competitions, Future of Private Equity. 3
â€œFacebook Got Me Fired.â€? Professor Kabrina Krebel Chang Discusses Social Media and the Law. 34
Ivey Wins Ericsson Case Competition. 6 ITEC $50K Winner. 7 Pilot Courses Take Flight. 7 The Green Pages: $1.7 Trillion Awaits. 8 The GPS Urban Adventure. 10 The Index: Alumni by the Numbers. 15
Reengineering Sports. Jason Issertell, PEMBA â€˜12, One Gnarly Business Dude. 13
Liri Kovalski, BSBA â€™11. 11 (-ĹŠ (3!'#++Ä”ĹŠ Ä› ĹŠÄŚÄˆÄˆÄ“ĹŠ12 Jason Issertell, PEMBA â€™12. 13 Mudita Dhingra, MSMF â€™12. 14
Vini. Vidi. Wiki. Students Post Content in Wikipedia Pilot. 32
Asian Alumni Wave BU Flag. 16 LA Story: Alumni in Hollywood. 18 Alumni Board Thanks Lou Lataif. 25
The Business of Learning: PNP Alumni Tackle School Issues. 26 Alumni Giver: Lou Volpe, MBA â€™78. 29 Classnotes. 30 Paparazzi. 31 FACULTY
Annual Faculty Research Day. 33 Faculty ProďŹ le: Marshall Van Alstyne. 36 Do ASRs Pay Off? 38 Faculty Accolades. 39 COMMENTARY
Our Ultimate Strength. 40 Builders & Leaders is printed with soy inks on Porcelain Eco paper, made with 30% recycled ďŹ ber and chlorine-free (TCF/ECF) pulp using timber from managed forests (FSC).
Builders & Leaders is published twice a year for alumni, students, and friends by Boston University School of Management. Please address comments or questions to: Builders & Leaders, Boston University School of Management, 595 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215; Phone: 617.353.3582, Fax: 617.353.5581, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.bu.edu/buildersleaders ÂŠ2011 by the Board of Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved.
Matthew Nowosiadly, EMBA â€˜09. Inside Back Cover
BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT DEAN
Kenneth W. Freeman SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEAN
Michael E. Lawson ASSOCIATE DEAN, FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
A CALL TO ALUMNI.
ASSOCIATE DEAN, ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
John Chalykoff ASSISTANT DEAN, DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI RELATIONS
David B. Ford ASSISTANT DEAN, GRADUATE PROGRAMS
Katherine Nolan ASSISTANT DEAN, UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM
Sandra Procopio DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Suzanne Otte BUILDERS & LEADERS EDITOR
John DiCocco ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Alissa Mariello Mallinson CREATIVE
David Linde emergedesigngroup.com CONTRIBUTORS
Adriane Dean Lauren Dezenski Kabrina Krebel Chang Paul Hutchinson Allen Michel Jacob Oded Israel Shaked Tracy Slater
We have the potential to join the ranks of the world’s elite business schools at Boston University School of Management. I believed it upon joining the School almost a year ago, and now with the beneﬁt of on-the-ground experience here, I believe it even more. The research and teaching contributions of our faculty, the classroom and extracurricular contributions of our talented students, the dedication of our staff, and the support of you, our alumni, will determine our success. For the ﬁrst time in the 20-year history of Builders & Leaders, we’ve made high-achieving alumni groups the central theme of the issue. We have an incredible alumni base, more than 40,000 strong around the world. My travels across the United States and Asia bring it to life. The Asian alumni, Los Angeles entertainment and media alumni, and public and nonproﬁt alumni working in education are representative of the incredible ways our graduates make a difference in the world. We simply must ramp up alumni engagement for the School to achieve distinction. We are developing plans to dramatically expand opportunities for you to engage with the School and with fellow alumni as you continue your life-long learning journey, at the School and around the world. This issue also features articles contributed by and about our faculty, and the achievements of several of our current students. We intend to make the School of Management a lifelong “home” for you. You are always welcome here. Please come see us. The more you see, the more you will want to get involved. Sincerely,
PHOTOGRAPHY & ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
BU Photo Services Julie Cordeiro Adriane Dean John DiCocco Paul Hutchinson Catherine Liang Alissa Mariello Mallinson Jennifer Tobin Dan Watkins Zander White iStock.com Cover: Dan Watkins with thanks to Barnes & Noble
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Bloomberg BusinessWeek, recently boosted the Undergraduate Program ranking to 31 in the nation, a jump of six spots.
MBAS WIN NU CASE COMP.
A team of three School of Management MBA students won the 2011 Northeastern University Consulting Club Case Competition. The trio beat out teams from Harvard University, St Gallen, Switzerland, and host Northeastern School of Business. The BU team, pictured above, from left included Ross Bul (JD/MBA â€™11), Sidharth Ramsinghaney (MBA â€™12) and Wishwas Mohan -3s-"! The case was about a joint venture in which a Swiss-based bank wanted to enter the Islamic ďŹ nance world. There were three partners in the venture and there were conďŹ‚icts of interest among them. The competition had three segments: case analysis, issues, and recommendations. â€œOur teamâ€™s solution addressed aligning the interests of the three partners and providing a roadmap for the implementation,â€? said Mohan. â€œWe added ďŹ nancial projections and included a long term vision for the joint venture going forward.â€?
BY LAUREN DEZENSKI
FUTURE OF PRIVATE EQUITY. On March 23, the School of Management and Time Warner hosted an evening at the Time-Life Building in New York City, to explore the state of private equity today and where the industry is poised to go next. Drawing more than 130 alumni, the event was a roundtable discussion featuring panelists followed by a Q&A session. Kenneth W. Freeman, Allen Questrom professor and dean, BU School of Management, and senior advisor, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., moderated a discussion among Robert Knox (CAS â€™74, MBA â€™75) chairman, board of trustees of Boston University and managing director of Cornerstone Equity Investors, LLC; Mark Williams (MBA â€™93), executive-in-residence, master lecturer of the ďŹ nance department; and Dan Primack, senior editor of Fortune.com. In a lively discussion with multiple perspectives, topics ranged from private equityâ€™s history of returns to ethics in the industry to the promises and risks for ďŹ rms going forward. â€œThe private equity industry is an important contributor to the global economy,â€? said Freeman. â€œThe recent economic crisis has changed the game for many ďŹ rms in the ďŹ nancial sector. We came together to explore what the impact has been on private equity, and what lies ahead. Iâ€™m pleased we can offer opportunities like this to engage on current topics of importance and to network with alums sharing common professional or personal interests around the world, in person or through digital technology.â€? Freeman said the School is committed to hosting future events like this, bringing faculty, industry players, and alumni together to explore issues of signiďŹ cance in business. MBAS WIN HULT REGIONAL. Boston University students from the Professional Evening MBA (PEMBA) Program bested 30 other MBA teams to win the Boston regional section of the Hult Global Case Challenge. The Hult case is unusual in that its mission is to tackle the worldâ€™s toughest social challenges through crowdsourcing innovative ideas and solutions from the worldâ€™s best and brightest business school students. The 2011 Challenge aimed to identify solutions to the global clean water crisis, in partnership with Water.org, more speciďŹ cally how to deliver safe water and sanitation to 100 million people within ďŹ ve years. The BU team, made up of Jane Bulnes-Fowles, Matthew Fox, Ravi Kolipaka, Catherine Liang, and Toni Ann Louie (all MBA â€™12) advanced to the April 28 ďŹ nal round presenting against teams from alongside Harvard, the University of Virginia, and Johns Hopkins University. See B&L Online for ďŹ nal results.
Everybody Wins. The annual university-wide Casino Night raised $2,000 which was donated to Terrace Art Project and charity:water.
MBAs on Board. Board. The Public and Nonproﬁt Management Club, in collaboration with the Net Impact Chapter at BU, recently launched an MBA Board Fellows Program that places MBA students from all concentrations on nonproﬁt boards (as non-voting members) for one year. The program will provide hands-on experience in leadership and governance for MBAs while contributing to the critical missions of our nonproﬁt partners.
MCGRAW HILL-IRWIN WINNERS. The CrossFunctional Core is the School’s most demanding and comprehensive undergraduate course. Actually, it’s four courses combined in one full semester, where faculty from marketing, operations management, information systems, and ﬁnance work together to teach juniors how to conceptualize a product, build a prototype, and then develop a business plan. The faculty nominate the best ideas from each calendar year for the annual McGraw-Hill Irwin Challenge. The winning team, chosen from approximately 80 projects, was Swap ‘n’ Skate, above, from left, Nipun Patel, Ashley Rosenkranz, Stephanie Corral, Michael Golen, Mugdha Kalvade, Jesse Hertz, Dipali Patel, Alyssa Callahan, and Mohammad Kamaly. The team developed a skate that a child could quickly reconﬁgure between an ice skate and a street rollerblade. The winning team shared a $1,000 prize and the trophy. The other two ﬁnalists were Simply Exotic (a recipe set that includes the nonperishable ingredients for gourmet meals) and Smart Halt (a pneumatic nail gun that prevents accidental injury). Judges for the ﬁnals included McGraw-Hill Irwin executives Jay Chakrapani and Ron Zwettler, School of Management Lecturer Ian Mashiter and Executive-in-Residence Paul McManus (MBA ’86). DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION. Patient care is moving from hospitals to retail medical clinics, while new algorithms allow primary care physicians to identify the cause of complex medical problems previously diagnosed only by specialists. On March 22, Mark Allan (MBA ’93), lecturer/executive-inresidence, and faculty director of the Boston University Health Sector Management Program, convened a symposium panel to focus on the people, technologies, and organizations that are helping to create measurable value, minimize cost, and improve the overall patient experience. Allan moderated as panelists Joe F. Jabre, MD, founder of TeleEMG LLC, professor of neurology at Boston University and MD/MBA program director at Tufts University, and Andrew J. Sussman, MD, (MBA ’98), president of MinuteClinic and SVP and associate chief medical officer of CVS/Caremark shared their ideas and then took questions from the audience. HEALTH SECTOR RANKING JUMPS. In US News & World Report’s latest ranking, the School’s Health Sector Management (HSM) Program moved up to 11th in the nation, a jump of six spots from the last ranking of such programs in 2007. Peer perception of the HSM program rose signiﬁcantly.
4 Builders & Leaders
“We’re extremely gratiﬁed to be recognized by our fellow educators and US News,” says Mark Allan, faculty director, HSM program. “It reﬂects the efforts of a superb group of teachers/scholars who, over the past ﬁve years, have redesigned our curriculum to reﬂect the broader spectrum of the health sector including biopharma, medical devices, and diagnostics.” In addition, Allan adds that the program has added components of experiential learning, made the program more ﬂexible for students, and “focused not on policies as they exist but on innovations that can move the industry forward. Plus we’ve added a dual-degree MBA/MPH in global health, a ﬁeld seminar examining health care in India, and a reinvigorated alumni group that connects graduates to current students.” OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD. Joshua Wright (BSBA ’12) received the Boston University Undergraduate Outstanding Service Award for a student employee. Wright oversees approximately 100 fellow students in his role as the student manager of the West Campus dining hall. He puts in about 20 hours a week, including the weekly 5am(!) inventory check. He’s also a resident assistant at West Campus. At right, Wright is ﬂanked by his supervisor Allison Finnell, assistant food service director at West Campus, and Dean Ken Freeman. OB, PHILANTHROPY, AND THE EDGE. Few would be quick to combine dance and organizational behavior (OB), but BU’s Edge Dance Company does just that. The group’s embodiment of OB course concepts, according to Edge Faculty Advisor and OB Lecturer Chuck Agan, is due in part to President Amanda Fredrickson’s (BSBA ’11) efforts. A top student in Agan’s previous OB221 class, Fredrickson applies key course concepts of self-direction and producing results to the dance troupe. Founded in 2001, the dance company features technically trained dancers with roots in “studio style” dance and performance/competition experience. The club has become a leading jazz/lyrical group on campus since its inception. In addition to developing its dancers’ skills, the Edge also works for the beneﬁt of the surrounding Boston community. Recently, they made a generous $2,217 donation to the Jimmy Fund, a clinic at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute devoted to helping children and their families cope with cancer. This donation came from the proceeds of the Edge’s various events, including the New England Collegiate Dance Collaboration and Tiny Dancer clinics for young children interested in dance.
BU, Harvard, MIT as Partners. The Charles River Distinguished Speaker Series on Technology and Innovation has been revived after a multi-year hiatus. Associate Professor of Strategy & Innovation Fernando Suarez is coleading the joint effort among three major research universities sitting on the banks of the Charles River: BU, Harvard, and MIT. The Series leverages the concentration of academic institutions and scholars in the Boston area to provide a forum for in-depth discussions on the latest research by high-impact colleagues. The Series meets twice a year and is open to all faculty and doctoral students. The ﬁrst speaker, on May 12 at the School of Management, was Kathy Eisenhardt, the W. Ascherman M.D. Professor at Stanford University and co-director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. She spoke on “Catalyzing Strategies and Efﬁcient Tie Formation.”
Ivey Wins Ericsson. Close Finish at 6th Annual Case Competition. BY JOHN DICOCCO
ake the top 16 tech-savvy MBA programs in the world. Invite a world leader in telecommunications to pose a challenge. Throw them together for a 24-hour competition, and the result is the sixth annual International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition, sponsored by Ericsson and hosted by BU School of Management. Seven international teams, from as far away as India, competed alongside nine US-based schools for $47,500 in cash prizes. The four MBA students from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, won top honors in the event held from March 24-26. The winning team, consisting of Hussein Govani, James Larsen, Paul von Martels, and Daniel Moro, took home $25,000 to share after devising the best strategy for Ericsson to do business in the health care and energy sectors as part of what Ericsson is calling the “Networked Society.” Placing second in the intense, 24-hour, invitation-only event was the team from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, who shared a $15,000 award. The thirdplace ﬁnishers were from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and they shared a $5,000 prize. The students from the IPADE Business School of Universidad Panamericana Mexico placed fourth and won $2,500. According to John Chalykoff, associate dean of the School of Management, “This year’s competition was extremely close and the judges told us that any of the ﬁnalists had a shot at ﬁrst place.” Chalykoff, who directs the event each year, was effusive about Ericsson’s participation. “The company has been the primary sponsor for ﬁve years. The next generation of CEOs will need cuttingedge technology education. This competition focuses on technology strategy; the convergence of telecommunications with the energy and health care sectors offers all kinds of exciting possibilities, which is a perfect ﬁt for this competition. And there is no better industry leader than Ericsson to provide a real-life case.” “There is a unique power in a networked society that drives creativity and transforms people’s lives, businesses, and society,” said Hans Vestberg, president and chief executive officer, Ericsson. “The students in this competition 6 Builders & Leaders
are tomorrow’s leaders in the networked society, and have been able to experience this weekend the beneﬁts that are possible when things, as well as people, are connected intelligently—an impact that is felt across all industries.” In a new development for 2011, the event included a bonus four-hour collaborative competition following the ﬁnalists’ presentations. In this round, students were re-distributed out of their university teams, and mixed internationally along with Ericsson top managers, who were themselves participating in an executive development program at Boston University. Each team was asked to propose applications in either health care or energy. Results ranged from applications dealing with personal health management to holistic dog care. Along with the four teams garnering awards, the 2011 competing schools were Boston University; Eller College of Management at University of Arizona; Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley; Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong ; IESE Business School at University of Navarra, Spain; Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India; London Business School in the UK; Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California; McCombs School of Business at University of Texas, Austin; Queen’s School of Business in Canada; Seoul National University in Korea; and Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania.
The winning team from Ivey, posing with (from left) Dean Ken Freeman, are James Larsen, Paul von Martels, Hussein Govani, and Daniel Moro, and Ericsson’s Georges Antoun, head of product area IP and broadband networks.
ITEC $50K Competition. RayVio LEDs Prevail. BY ALISSA MALLINSON
ave a great idea for a business? Looking for feedback on a business plan, or funding for the commercialization process? The teams competing in the Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship & Commercialization’s (ITEC’s) $50K New Venture Competition this year did just that. The winner was RayVio, headed by Dr. Yitao Liao, a spin-off from a BU research lab. The company has developed UV LEDs that are a low-cost, durable, and energy-efficient substitute for mercury lamps in the water puriﬁcation and disinfection market. Dr. Milan Minsky presented the plan. The team also included Simon den Uijl, Chen-kai Kao, and BU Professor of Engineering Theodore Moustakas. Twister Grips took second place, and will enter the bicycle market by offering an innovative solution to help reduce chronic injuries from cycling while increasing comfort and performance for bicyclists. The team is headed by Fredrik Fjellsaa, a graduate of the Global Diploma in Entrepreneurship Program, with team support from Inese Pumpure. Third place went to ACCEasy, headed by Katsiaryna Akhlopkava (MBA ‘11), “cloud-based” accounting SaaS software for Russian small businesses. The team also included Mikalai Makaranka. According to Beth Goldstein (MBA ’91), director of the $50K Competition, “This event has always attracted high-
Dr. Milan Minsky accepts the ﬁrst place award from Beth Goldstein, senior associate for distance learning and director of the competition, and Peter Russo, director entreprenuership programs.
quality entrants, and this year was no different. The 2011 business concepts are innovative and bold, and the ﬁnalist teams epitomize the entrepreneurial spirit that we seek to cultivate through the ITEC program. This year’s ﬁnalists included graduate as well as undergraduate students from three different schools at the University: Management, Public Health, and Engineering. We look forward to following their continued success.” The $50K is supported by Platinum Sponsor Brown Rudnick; Gold Sponsor Seyfarth Shaw; and Silver Sponsors Cummings Properties, Kodiak Venture Partners, and Paul Horn & Associates.
Pilots Take Flight. New Courses Address the Future. BY LAUREN DEZENSKI
n a management curriculum, if you aren’t moving forward, you are deﬁnitely falling behind. The undergraduate program, anticipating the evolving marketplace, has recently added ﬁve new pilot courses. The ﬁnance department offers two pilot courses: Introduction to Investment Banking, analyzes the overview of economic functions provided by investment banks, and Financing New Ventures will teach students the ﬁner points of innovation valued by investors, along with how founders identify and obtain ﬁnancing. The strategy and innovation department offers Organizing for Design and Innovation and Art of the Start. The former focuses on how leaders create the conditions for innovations on different organizational levels. Art of the Start looks at the challenges of, and teaches effective strategies and skills for entrepreneurs.
The operations & technology management department offers Project Management, a key capability for every ﬁrm, regardless of type or size. Also offered are two Honors seminars for the fall of 2011. Associate Professor Stephanie Watts (MSIS ’91, DBA ‘98) will teach Information Technology and Social Media in a Changing World, and Senior Lecturer David Randall will teach Privacy Law.
Training Clean Energy Leaders. Clean Power: $1.7 Trillion Opportunity. THE BU ENERGY ENERGY CLUB CLUB, which
BY JOHN DICOCCO
always welcomes alumni participation, holds several events throughout the year. One of the more notable this spring was the “SmartLighting Challenge,” a case competition sponsored by Chevron on April 9, hosted at the School of Management. Ten teams competed. Winners were Parker Fox (BSBA ’12), Connor McEwen (ENG ’14), Ahmad Nawasrah (BSBA ’12), and Felipe Spinel (BSBA ’12), who proposed lighting for grocery store cart analytics and communication. The club also supports the Sawyer Seminar Series on Energy and Society. See http://people. bu.edu/buenergy to learn about upcoming events. Also, there is a weekly alumni reunion every Saturday morning at Expresso Royale (736 Commonwealth Avenue) from 10 a.m. to 11a.m.
ccording to the Pew Charitable Trusts, over the next 10 years more than $1.7 trillion will be invested in clean power projects across the globe, if nothing changes in clean energy policies. Under a more aggressive policy scenario, Pew projects global investment of $2.3 trillion in this decade. Pew writes that the emerging clean energy economy is creating well-paying jobs in every state for people of all skill levels and educational backgrounds, and that the sector is poised to expand signiﬁcantly, driven by increasing consumer demand, venture capital infusions, and federal and state policy reforms. The School of Management is helping to prepare leaders for these opportunities. The University’s Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC), based at the School, is partnering with the New England Clean Energy Council, to offer a certiﬁcate program called Leading Clean Energy Ventures. The course dives deep into the technologies and business of clean energy. To address the lack of repeat entrepreneurs and seasoned executives in the sector, the program targets successful individuals who are eager to transition into the ﬁeld. According to Paul McManus (MBA ’86), executive-in-residence and managing director of ITEC, “New England has emerged as an early mover and hotbed of clean energy innovation, and is well positioned to grow into a global leader in this industry. This success is owed in large part to the strength of our universities, which serve as an incubator for tomorrow’s technologies. Our region—and the greater Boston area in particular—is the home for world-leading research institutions and has no shortage of talented, experienced entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. The trick is helping these innovators transition from sectors like IT or biotech into clean energy. That’s the aim of this program.” The ﬁrst cohort completed the three-month program in April. The course will be offered again in spring 2012.
The Green Pages are dedicated to bringing you news of green initiatives on campus and around the world reporting on green trends, and presenting ideas for green business opportunities for the School community and alumni.
8 Builders & Leaders
ECO-D O-DAMAGES AMAGES OUTWEIGH PROFITS. PROFITS. Alex Lamb, vice president for Trucost (a co-producer of Newsweek’s annual Top 500 Green Companies report), laid out a grim picture: “Environmental damage costs are generally higher than the proﬁts they generate and the resources they deplete.” Lamb addressed the problem of corporate resistance to positive action. “Basically we’re generating $6.6 trillion in damages a year internationally, 11 percent of global GDP.” All of this is bad news, of course, but “some of it will come back in lawsuits that could affect up to 50 percent of companies.” To learn more on this, see the story on the Stern Review on page 9. Lamb spoke at the March 25 BU Net Impact Club panel which also featured Mark Buckley, VP of environmental affairs for Staples, and Dennis Carlberg, director of sustainability for BU. Jim Post, John F. Smith, Jr. professor in management of the markets, public policy & law department, was moderator. The panelists discussed how organizations are reducing the environmental impact of their operations and
products, and how the results are measured and communicated. Buckley indicated that not all companies are bad actors, because some industry leaders have moved into a third stage of environmental stance, from basic legal compliance to social responsibility programs, and now sustainability leadership. Carlberg updated the group about BU’s progress on sustainable efforts. The University has a far-reaching program, with serious buy-in from the president’s office to student leadership. “We’ve come a long way,” Carlberg says, “but there’s still a great deal to do at BU.” Visit www.bu.edu/sustainability to see the awardwinning website. STERN REVIEW CITES CLIMATE INACTION COSTS. COSTS. If you’re trying to get a grasp of the ﬁnancial implications of climate change, the 700-page Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change is currently the deﬁnitive text. Commissioned by the British government, it was released in 2006 and is the most thoroughly researched paper of its kind to date on the economic effects of climate change. The essential message is that acting immediately will be considerably cheaper than trying to react later. And that message is now ﬁve years old… To learn more, visit: http://bit.ly/dvzZEe and judge for yourself. GREEN CHAMBER VOWS VOWS CHANGE. The Green Chamber of Commerce, founded in San Francisco in 2007, decided to go national this past summer in light of what it perceived as a failing of the US Chamber of Commerce to represent the views and values of many businesses, as well as the best interests of US citizens. The group took particular umbrage at the chamber’s blatant anti-environmental stance and its ongoing campaign against regulating green house gas emissions. The green group has already established two chapters in Las Vegas and North Carolina, and has added an “ambassador-level program” for those ramping up for full membership. Today 25 percent of the 300 members are in businesses outside of San Francisco. While region-wide applications are welcome, companies may join as individuals. Is the group political? We asked Executive Director Stacie Shepp. “We advocate for positions and actions. While the US Chamber of Commerce uses a political voice, we serve as a signiﬁcant alternative voice. Bill McKibben [author and founder of 350.org] says, ‘The US Chamber of Commerce doesn’t speak for us.’ And apparently companies such as Apple, Exelon, and Paciﬁc Gas & Electric agree—by dropping out of the old chamber.” (Nike resigned in protest from the board, but remains a member.) “Our goal,” says Shepp, “is to be the alternative to the US Chamber, a voice for green businesses and sustainable business practices, for moving forward beyond the staus quo, and advocating for the immense opportunities that green business and alternative energy ﬁrms present to us: jobs, an end to dependence on foreign fuel sources, whole new industries, and a much cleaner world.” Learn more at www.greenchamberofcommerce.net ENERGY JOURNALIST. ENERGY JOURNALIST. As a master’s student in BU’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Ida Kubiszewski (CAS ’05, GRS ’07) worked with CAS professor of geography and environment Cutler Cleveland to cofound the online resource Encyclopedia of Earth. (www.eoearth.org) More recently, she co-founded Solutions, a nonproﬁt journal that covers new technologies, new economics, and social change. “Energy is one of society’s major problems,” says Kubiszewski. “It spans all aspects of society—social, economic, and environmental. I studied energy at BU and it was a great program, but we studied the problem and didn’t really focus on solutions. This journal does.”
OIL BARONESS BARONESS Christine
Adamow (MBA ’85) hopes to become a twenty-ﬁrst century oil baroness. Her organization, Africa Biofuel and Emission Reduction, is planting 8 million acres with croton nut trees. Oil from the croton nut has been used for centuries as lantern fuel. Adamow, an entrepreneur with three software start-ups under her belt, believes the nuts, which are more than 30 percent oil, can power generators in parts of Africa that have relied on expensive and often hard-toﬁnd diesel oil. At full capacity, she calculates that her operation could get the cost of a barrel of croton nut oil down to $16, a fraction of the price of diesel oil and without the noxious qualities of diesel. Photo by Frederic Courbet/Getty Images
SCARLET & WHITE & GREEN.
The Fall 2010 issue of Bostonia, the Boston University alumni magazine, ran a great story by reporter Devin Hahn on ﬁve BU alumni, Christine Adamow (above), involved in green startups. We think it deserves another look. Visit bu.edu/ bostonia/fall10/green for the complete story.
Solving Boston. The GPS Urban Adventure.
“We’ve used the GPS Urban Adventure as a primary team-building exercise in our core undergraduate and MBA courses in organizational behavior for the past several years.”
BY PAUL HUTCHINSON
he roots of experiential adventure education at Boston University run deep. When corporate challenge course trainings were in their infancy in the 1970s, the School of Management was running one called the Executive Challenge program at Sargent Camp. But since 2006, BU has brought the adventure home to the city streets of Boston through GPS-based urban adventure programs. Originally designed by the Sargent Center for Outdoor Education and now housed in MET’s new BU Experiential Education (BUEE) program, these programs have had more than 10,000 participants in nine states and two countries. “We’ve used the GPS Urban Adventure as a primary team-building exercise in our core undergraduate and MBA courses in organizational behavior for the past several years,” says Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior Jack McCarthy (DBA ’02). “Each year about 800 management undergraduates and 200 MBAs participate to learn about themselves and to begin to establish norms of behavior for their semester-long teams. As faculty members, each time we administer and debrief the adventure, we’re thrilled at the ways in which this exercise so clearly demonstrates our key teaching points for team dynamics, especially the value and power of diversity, the necessity to acknowledge and recognize multiple learning styles, and the critical importance of interdependence and mutual accountability.” The basic format gets students racing through the city, guided by GPS, solving puzzles and team-building challenges along the way. Facilitators follow the activities in progress and conclude the program with a ﬁnal debrief. Don’t confuse this with a scavenger hunt. These are intentional team development programs—and, reportedly, a lot of fun. Matt Messer (BSBA ’12), says “It gave us a shared experience to bond over and later analyze with a behavioral lens. Also our team did some goofy stuff, and it gave us something to laugh about from the beginning.” “This is also an intellectual and physical exercise,” McCarthy adds, “where participants must work together and respect the differences that are brought into the adventure. Far more than an ice-breaker, this exercise serves as an intense real-time grounding in the forming stage of team 10 Builders & Leaders
Students prepare team strategy before setting off in Boston on Urban Adventure tasks.
development and provides rich lessons about the power and value of diversity in team settings.” Unlike challenge courses that operate in isolated environments, the urban adventure requires students to solve their tasks while also managing myriad distractions (including Boston drivers!). “And cell phones are deﬁnitely allowed,” says McCarthy. “Having the ability to text messages, use smart phones, and even call a non-team member for help is important to the group’s success. It’s about authentically incorporating technology to further team development.” Beth Norris ĸ ě ũĦĈĈĹĔũ282ũġ ũ1#++8ũ//1#!(3#"ũ the chance to get to know and work with my team while also exploring Boston. The event gave us the opportunity to problem solve together outside of the classroom and set the stage for the challenges we faced throughout the semester.” Beyond the programs offered through the School, BUEE’s urban adventures serve between 1,700 and 1,800 incoming University freshmen through the Common Ground Orientation program, leadership programs in Newport and Salem, and even programs at BU’s campus in Brussels. Learn more at www.bu.edu/buee. Paul Hutchinson is a lecturer in the organizational behavior department and BU’s coordinator of experience-based training.
And God Laughs. Liri Kovalski (BSBA ’11). BY ALISSA MALLINSON
be in Boston, ultimately to study law, and to try her hand at he last question I asked Liri Kovalski (BSBA ’11) during real estate like her father had before her. our interview was about her plans for the future, which “Both of my older brothers went into the family business, include applying to law school and expanding her real estate and it was assumed that I would too,” she says. “But I wanted management business. But then she told me, “There’s a to make it for myself with no connections in Israel, to prove Hebrew saying that I’ll translate into English for you: ‘The man that I could.” makes plans, and God laughs.’ I knew exactly what she meant, Coming from Israel, Liri didn’t enter college with any AP and laughed heartily at the simple truth of it. But the more I credits, but nonetheless she is scheduled to graduate from thought about it, the more I doubted whether she really buys the School of Management this May, a year early. Meanwhile, it. After all, just half an hour earlier, she was explaining to me, she was the teaching assistant for freshman-year business like it was a simple empirical fact of nature, classes SM121 and SM122, and this year is “Both of my older “When I decide something, it happens.” the head teaching assistant for all freshman brothers went into the From what she tells me about herself, business courses. family business, and it that sounds a lot more likely. As if that weren’t enough, Liri is already was assumed that I would Liri began working at age 12 (though following one of her dreams: Last year, she too. But I wanted to make bought a residential property in the South she didn’t have to), because she “never wanted to be dependent on people.” At 17, End, which she manages, in partnership it for myself with no she started as a hostess at local bars in Tel connections in Israel, to with her father. And this year she is looking Aviv, only to quickly transition into a very to make her second real estate investment prove that I could.” proﬁtable event producer/PR manager, much in the Boston area. Her partnership with to the chagrin of the seasoned industry veterans around her. her father, who has been a constant supporter and mentor, “Most of my competitors were 30-plus-year-old men. is 50/50. “I do most of the management work because my Not only was I the only lady in the industry, but I was also the father lives in Israel, but I’m happy to be in partnership with youngest. Most of them had already pursued their degrees. him,” she says. “I cherish his opinion and experience—my At ﬁrst they didn’t take me seriously, but after a few events father did it the same way with his parents.” I threw succeeded, they started contacting me with offers She credits her grandparents and father with her interest to cooperate. I started doing more serious event production, and success in real estate. Having moved to Israel after the including premieres of the Israeli So You Think You Can Dance Holocaust with almost nothing, her grandparents always put and the movie of a famous local actor.” any extra money they had into real estate. Like all Israelis, Liri was drafted into the Israeli Defense “I think that was an inspiration to me,” she says. “I Force for two years when she was 18. But unlike others, that learned from them and my father, who followed in their didn’t mean she was going to quit her job. She convinced her footsteps as I am in his, that real estate is a means of securing superiors to let her continue conducting PR business anyway. yourself ﬁnancially long-term. It enables you to do things that A few years later, having fulﬁlled her duty to the army, you love while being sure that tomorrow you won’t starve, while saving some money on the side, Liri left her home in because only two generations ago, my grandparents were in a Israel to begin a new life on her own. She knew she wanted to situation where they did starve.”
Stroke of Genius. /JOB.JUDIFMM .4t.#" BY ALISSA MALLINSON
ina Mitchell Ä¸ Ä› ĹŠÄŚÄˆÄˆÄšĹŠ62ĹŠÄ‰Ä?ĹŠ8#12ĹŠ.+"ĹŠ6'#-ĹŠ2'#ĹŠ had a stroke. One day she was a carefree young woman, a recent graduate of Harvard University in social studies, the next she couldnâ€™t walk or speak. Nine years later, the doctors still donâ€™t know exactly what caused it, but as I talked with Nina one day this past winter, I didnâ€™t get the feeling she cared much. Witty, with a heaping spoonful of sardonic to boot, Ninaâ€™s much more focused on getting better than on the why-meâ€™s, the how-could-this-happenâ€™s, or even the I-want-the-world-toknow-how-I-feelâ€™s, despite the fact that sheâ€™s the woman behind a popular blog about strokes; that sheâ€™s working with an agent on a book deal about her experience; or that sheâ€™s appeared on several NPR and a couple WBUR shows to talk about strokes. â€œThe community for stroke victims is a quiet one. There are no pink ribbons, no walks. And itâ€™s important to have a community, a voice,â€? Nina tells me. â€œBut Iâ€™m not trying to be the voice of people who have had strokes. Iâ€™ve gotten so much â€˜You must be so braveâ€™ and â€˜Youâ€™re so inspiring.â€™ And those things might be true, but thatâ€™s not what I want to be. My ultimate goal is to get better, stop writing my blog, and get on with my life.â€? .6ĹŠ-ĹŠ Ä› ĹŠ234"#-3ĹŠ3ĹŠ3'#ĹŠ!'..+ĹŠ.$ĹŠ -%#,#-3Ä”ĹŠ Nina can walk and speak againâ€”quite well I might addâ€”though she has little use of her right arm (the subject of several dry posts on her blog). Although many people told her it was as good as it was going to get, Nina insists on continuing her weekly physical and occupational therapy sessions, and found those who were encouraging. This humble, magnanimous woman just will not give up. â€œI want a 100 percent recovery,â€? she says, â€œand I see no reason why I canâ€™t say that. Will it turn out like that? Who knows? But I think itâ€™s really important to have that drive.â€? Perhaps that same drive is the source of her blog Mindpop. With an IT background and the help of Associate Professor Chris Dellarocas, Nina started it last year as part of a directed study in the Schoolâ€™s MBA program. At times dark and biting and always clever and funny, she posts about her ďŹ ght to get better and the things she experiences along the way. She writes, â€œI am a quirky young woman whose mind went pop. This stroke comic book is designed to make you think. Mind pop. Strokes are hell. They have black comedy too.â€? Follow Ninaâ€™s blog at http://mindpop.net
12 Builders & Leaders
â€œThe community for stroke victims is a quiet one. There are no pink ribbons, no walks. And itâ€™s important to have a community, a voice.â€?
Reengineering Sports. Jason Issertell (PEMBA ’12). BY ALISSA MALLINSON
n high school, I was both the jock and the dork,” says Jason Issertell (PEMBA ’12). “Football season ended around Thanksgiving, just in time for FIRST Robotics season.” The FIRST competition is a battle between teams of high school students to see who can build the best robot using sophisticated engineering principles. Jason was the captain of his school’s FIRST team, as well as an all-star football player. “Robotics competitions in high school were like sports for dorks,” he says with a laugh. “The connection between all the things I love is the competition behind them,” he explains. “In sports the competitive aspect is obvious, but even with engineering, we didn’t just build robots; we competed against other schools for the best robot.” Growing up in Merrimack, New Hampshire, Jason spent a lot of time building forts in his backyard. “I really love building things. It’s been a theme for me from the beginning.” After he entered the University of Rhode Island, majoring in mechanical engineering and playing football, he realized that his two loves were both full-time commitments, and academics eventually won out. Jason theorizes that it’s his love for competition that drives him in business too. But he can pinpoint his business interest even more speciﬁcally than that. He tells the story of how he joined General Electric as an aircraft engine design engineer after a stint as a mechanical engineer at General Dynamics. At GE, where he works as a team leader, he joined a project with an unusually large scope for someone in his position, involving considerations like proﬁtability and cost reduction that were new for him. His cross-functional team created a way to use robotic technologies to make parts, saving GE signiﬁcant time and money.
“For the ﬁrst time, I worked on the engineering and the business side of things, which really opened my eyes to all the other aspects of a business I’d been missing. I realized that engineering was directly connected to all of them, and that, taken as a whole, they ultimately fueled business competition in the market. I liked that. “In engineering school, you always stay within the box of engineering. That project sparked my desire to earn an MBA in supply chain management. I wanted to take it to the next level.” Thus he joined the BU MBA program as a parttime student. In his spare time, Jason is an avid East Coast surfer, obsessed from the ﬁrst time he ever touched a board. Yes, you read that right—an East Coast surfer. He surfs all year long in New England waters, keeping warm with high-tech wet suits. “When I ﬁrst started surﬁng, I told myself that I’d stop in October when it starts to get cold. But then I put on some extra layers and kept going. Suddenly it was December and I thought, ‘Well, spring isn’t too far now.’ I just can’t tear myself away.” If Jason’s fantasy career of owning a business that produces high-tech sportswear and equipment becomes a reality, he may not have to tear himself away from anything he loves. Lucky dork.
“For the ﬁrst time, I worked on the engineering and the business side of things, which really opened my eyes.”
“My ideal career is to combine my ﬁnance and leadership skills with my love for numbers in something like risk management or equity research.”
Counting Her Steps. Mudita Dhingra (MSMF ’12).
BY ALISSA MALLINSON
tudents of the School’s Master of Science in Mathematical Finance (MSMF) program are not weak of heart. To take on such a rigorous course of study, you just can’t be. “A lot of people are scared of math,” says ﬁrst-year student Mudita Dhingra (MSMF ’12). “But I’m the opposite. I love solving mathematical problems. For a lot of people they’re just numbers, but I love the idea that when you put them to the right use, you can get so much information from them.” Growing up in New Delhi, India, the daughter of a university professor of Spanish and a World Health Organization (WHO) consultant, Mudita is articulate, driven, and deliberate. She’s goal-oriented and loves to lead. “Leadership experience started early with me, with things like being a class monitor,” she says. “A lot of people might want to run away from those types of responsibilities, but I’ve always enjoyed them.” At Sri Venkateswara College as a math major, Mudita was in heaven. Not only was she able to focus on math (she was valedictorian of her class one of three years, and among the top three the other two years), but she had the chance to lead the college mathematics association as vice president. She liked organizing math events and spearheading the efforts and overall decision-making of the association. After college, Mudita joined Standard Chartered Bank in Mumbai, as part of wholesale banking, and was actively involved with the bank’s Living with HIV initiative. But she wanted to know more than just frontoffice ﬁnance. “Because I love being around people, my friends and
14 Builders & Leaders
family thought I would pursue an MBA. But I’m also very detail-oriented and always want to know what’s going on behind the scenes. When I’m quoting a ﬁgure to a client, I want to know the math that’s going on behind it. I may get my MBA later, but I want to be strong with my quantitative fundamentals ﬁrst. My ideal career is to combine my ﬁnance and leadership skills with my love for numbers in something like risk management or equity research.” With such goal-oriented interests, you might be wondering what, if anything, Mudita does to relax and have a good time. She did a lot of public speaking and debating in school, but the thing that really took hold of her heart was dance, speciﬁcally a classical Indian dance from Tamil Nadu called Bharatanatyam. “Dance isn’t something I would call a hobby,” she explains. “It’s a passion for me. I started learning Bharatanatyam when I was seven years old. It takes a lot of practice, but that’s my way to relax. I looked forward to it more than anything else, and I got to exercise and learn something amazing at the same time.” Bharatanatyam, a “story” dance based on ancient myths about Indian gods, requires intense teaching from a guru for many years. It involves many intricate moves and costumes, and a particular set of instruments and style of music. “I danced for 11 years before my guru, my practiced teacher, felt I had learned it in all its nuances and that I could perform independently and professionally.” Mudita is looking forward to the chance to perform publicly in the United States and, when her busy schedule clears up, she may trade formulas for choreography, at least temporarily.
Air miles logged by Dean Freeman visiting SMG alumni since becoming dean.
Alumni by the Numbers. Alumni with SMG undergraduate degrees: 27,094 Alumni with SMG graduate degrees: 17,187 Alumni with both SMG undergraduate and graduate degrees: 522 Number of living SMG undergraduate and graduate international alumni: 5,100 Number of SMG alumni mentioned in this issue of Builders & Leaders: 62 Number of all living Boston University alumni: 292,254 Current percentage of SMG alumni donors in 2009-2010 to the School and/or University: 7.2% Number of SMG alumni donors in 2009-2010 to the School and/or University: 2,868 Current School of Management faculty and staff who are BU alumni: 89 Current School of Management staff who are also current students (alumni-in-training) in the School: 11 Current staff in the School of Management focused solely on alumni relations: 4 Number of US States where SMG alumni live: 50 Number of countries where SMG alumni live: 134 Number of BU international alumni chapters: 28 Known BU alumni affinity networks (IT, London Creatives, LGBT, Sustainability, etc): 65
Number of living BU School of Management alumni.
COMPILED BY LAUREN DEZENSKI
Asian n Alumni Wave BY JOHN DICOCCO
mpressive and inspiring,” declared Dean Ken Freeman following a winter trip to Asia. “The Korean and Singapore alumni groups have energy, ideas, and a terriﬁc model for alumni involvement. We need to duplicate their enthusiasm everywhere.” The Boston University Alumni Association of Korea (BUAAK) has been active for years, and early on was supported by now-retired Professor of Management Charlie Chang, who wanted his students to build their network of relationships. The club expanded beyond School of Management alumni to include graduates from across all of the University’s schools and colleges. Today, more than 50 percent of the University’s alumni in Korea belong to the club, which sponsors social, cultural, and business networking events. Young Jae Han (MBA ’79), chairman & CEO, DPI Holdings Company, former chairman of BUAAK, describes his attraction to the club. “I always ﬁnd familiar faces that remind me of my days at BU, and I beneﬁt from an expanded network of BU alumni in the region where my business is entering.” His enthusiasm and leadership acumen earned Han a seven-year term as BUAAK chair. Yongmaan Park (MBA ‘82) chairman, Doosan Infracore, is the current chair of BUAAK. On the second leg of his Asian trip, Dean Freeman joined Boston University President Robert Brown in Singapore. The two met with alumni, parents, and students to build closer ties for all. Singapore’s very active club was founded by Chen Ang (BSBA ’87). China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Taipei, and Thailand have active clubs as well. During BUAA China’s inaugural event in 2008, more than 200 attendees from 11 countries heard President Brown introduce the concept of One BU. Also in China, Hugo Shong (COM ’87, MBA ’92) who works for IDG Asia, organized a fundraiser which pledged $1 million in support of Boston University. The success of the BUAAK, plus the growth of other clubs, helped spawn a broader-based regional group, the Boston University Asia Alumni Committee (BUAAC). Several of the Korean club leaders are now on the organizing committee of that group, including ﬁve MBA alumni and two BSBA alumni. No surprise: Y.J Han is now chair of BUAAC. Wayne Cheung (ENG ‘99), founder, Twine International Ltd., and founder and director, Beautiful Enterprises Co. Ltd., is the current vice chair of BUAAC, and president of BUAA Hong Kong. In 2006, the BUAAC’s ﬁrst official activity was the BU Asian Festival in Seoul. That was followed by the BU Asian Alumni Business Forum in Hong Kong in 2007, in Thailand in 2009, and then in Seoul in 2010. The Forum draws approximately 200 people from 8-10 countries across Asia. Singapore and Malaysia will co-host the fourth annual Business Forum this year. “During these big gatherings,” Han says, “we organize not only main events, but also extra activities like sightseeing, seasonal sports, after-parties, and more. We try to make every event welcoming and many people attend with their families. We gather as BU alumni to widen borders of friendship and strengthen our unity. We make a point of forming human relationships. Upon these solid relationships, we can exchange and gather information, as well as ﬁnd appropriate
“I would say that BU Asian alumni clubs are more active than usual alumni associations.”
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Flag. business partners who match particular individual business interests.” In addition, there are more regional domestic events that are more casual. For example, Singapore club members have invited Asian alumni to a domestic gallery opening event in Singapore, and in the summer, Japanese alumni hold a barbecue in Tokyo. These events may be smaller in scale, but they tend to be cozy and welcoming. Henry Woo (CAS ’99), managing director at Baraka Global Advisors, Inc., the activity organizing chair of the BUAAC club, says “I keep in touch with committee members from time to time. We not only have a pleasant conversation but also discussion about new events and business topics. Especially the ‘youngbloods’ among the committee members initiate a great deal of the new ideas.” A quick stroll around the Facebook page of BUAAC reveals the extent of their various activities across Asia. The BUAA of Hong King hosted an interuniversity St. Patrick’s Day celebration with MIT, Boston College, Notre Dame, and Dartmouth alumni. Tokyo held a cherry blossom viewing in April. Steve Bernstein (BSBA ’83) (a music producer featured in the Fall 2008 Builders & Leaders), produced a concert on April 14, at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong to raise money for the victims of the Japan Earthquake. His special guest was 11-year-old guitarist Yuto Miyazawa of Japan. Also in April, The Asia Society organized a panel discussion in Tsinghua University, Beijing, on the “Remaking the Chinese City.” BU Alumnus Christopher Zanardi-Landi (COM ’86), president of Louis Vuitton China was on the panel. Woo says there are no speciﬁc industry groups represented more than others. Some have ties with US business, but most do not. “Mostly, the clubs form the basis for good networking. I found my angel investor via the committee/alumni network,” Woo reports. “Yes, you do ﬁnd that partnerships are formed, not necessarily directly between committee members, but perhaps between members’ circle of friends.” “I would say that BU Asian alumni clubs are more active than usual alumni associations,” says Han. “We learn together, grow together, and help each other like one big family.” To learn more about alumni activity in your area, visit the alumni website at bu.edu/alumni.
The United Nations of BU. Boston University was one of the ﬁrst US colleges to begin recruitment overseas, ﬁrst by cultivating families who had already sent students, and then expanding to business and academic contacts who knew the University. Over time, families would recommend BU to siblings, cousins, friends, and eventually children and grandchildren. Recruiters visited Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. As China opened up, BU was welcoming as well. That’s why today BU is among the top ten in the nation in international diversity, and our reputation keeps growing. In some regions, we’re known as the “University of Boston.” Today, the University has more than 16,000 international alumni, and almost 5,500 international students on campus (about 800 currently among the undergraduate and graduate classes at the School of Management).
“We learn together, grow together, and help each other like one big family.”
STORY BU I BY JOHN DICOCCO
nterns answer phones and deliver messages, photos, and coffee. Overheard conversations center on scheduling stars, studios, directors, set builders, and prop suppliers. At the Sony Screen Gems sound stage office, corkboards are everywhere, covered with head shots of Jennifer Aniston, Katherine Heigl, Anne Hathaway, Kate Beckinsale, and more under the title “female lead.” Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Colin Firth, and like contemporaries are tacked up under “male lead” or “male support,” and the photos repeat across many of the boards as proposed ﬁlms enter the early stage of juggling who may be willing and available to help turn an approved concept into a real project. There are similar lists of directors. And piles of scripts waiting for an educated eye and the right person to give his or her blessing. And that’s just the start. Someone has to ﬁnd locations, music, special effects suppliers, and then money. Imagine being a risk manager in this place. When it comes to making a movie, it’s not an assembly line. It is a unique item each time. It’s project management to the nth power, herding egos, suppliers, weather, budgets—and even after the movie is completed, there’s the distribution battle: how many movie screens across America can we get to make the ﬁrst weekend a blockbuster? Basically, it’s an insane endeavor that requires guts, insights into the market, a huge amount of subjectivity, and very deep pockets. The closer you look, the more you see that moviemaking is a microcosm of all management tasks. What’s unique is that it can involve anywhere from $1 million to $200 million+ and the result is always one single product. Perhaps more amazing is that the process is shared among many collaborators: different entities select the actors, handle the ﬁnancing, ﬁnd locations, shoot the ﬁlm, process the ﬁlm, ﬁnd the distribution channels, create the music, etc, etc. No single company does everything. Nor do you get exactly who you want—this actress is too busy; this director is already committed; the ideal state just changed its tax codes; and on and on. Plus there are funnels of frustration all over Hollywood: thousands of scripts vying for attention; thousands of actors seeking just one role; thousands of support personnel from sound professionals to caterers, just hoping to get the next gig. And once the movie is made, millions of critics, including you and me, help judge whether anyone (or at least the investors) gets paid in the end. Thanks to our large alumni network and the fairly new LA internship, Boston University School of Management alumni play numerous roles in the entertainment industry. We had the privilege to interview several who accomplish different functions in a very complex matrix. We are all familiar with the end product. These conversations give us a look at the management challenges in getting there.
ALUMNI PLAY NUMEROUS AND KEY ROLES IN THE FILM AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY TODAY.
18 Builders & Leaders
JEFF COLVIN, BSBA ’90 Senior Vice President, Manager, Comerica Bank Entertainment Group Jeff Colvin grew up in Los Angeles. He went to BU because he wanted an urban university that had both a ﬁlm school and a business school and wasn’t in LA. He’s been at Comerica since ’93. Please describe what you do. At Comerica, I manage the entertainment group. We provide project ﬁnancing for the production and distribution of ﬁlms, television, and video games as well as providing corporate credit facilities to companies across the entertainment industry. What’s a typical deal look like? For a typical ﬁlm that we would ﬁnance, the budget might be around $25 million. Our clients are producers and sales companies. They go to the various ﬁlm markets, such as the Cannes Film Festival, with a script, a director, cast list, and a budget. At these markets they sell rights before they make the ﬁlm. They then come to us and say, “I need $25 million. I sold rights to distributors in various countries including Spain, Italy, France, Germany, etc.” So it’s a lot like a contract receivable, where the contract would say, “When you complete this ﬁlm, as long as it meets these very objective criteria, such as a running time of between 90 and 120 minutes, starring the identiﬁed cast, with certain technical speciﬁcations, we will pay you $1.6 million for the rights to distribute the ﬁlm in our country.” After the ﬁlm is completed, those buyers pay for the ﬁlm and exploit it in the theatres, video, television in their territories. And hopefully it’s successful. Our loan, though, is repaid upon completion of the ﬁlm. How do you value that? We analyze the credit-worthiness of who they have sold the rights to and value the rights that are left to sell. So, they say, “We haven’t sold the UK or France or the US. We, the client, think those rights are worth another $10 million.” We do our own analysis of what we think the rights are worth and we’ll lend a percentage of that amount, maybe 50 percent of the unsold estimated rights. And just because the business is so difﬁcult, in order to ﬁnance ﬁlms, good producers are shooting in locations that have incentives—Michigan, Louisiana, New York, Canada, Australia, where they’re able to get upwards of 35 to 40 percent of their budgets back from state/country tax rebates. We also analyze the tax credits or rebates and lend against those. Looking at all of our collateral, we’ve come
up with the total number that we think we can lend. And it may be that the full amount of the budget is a little bit short, and they have to put in some equity. So that’s the basics of ﬁlm ﬁnance. Some ﬁlms are made directly for video or digital distribution, right? Yes. There are only so many available slots in the movie theaters, and it costs a signiﬁcant amount to support the marketing of a ﬁlm. So unless it’s a ﬁlm that you are very conﬁdent will be able to attract box ofﬁce, it’s not worth spending all of that marketing money. It is more efﬁcient to go straight to the next mediums where the ﬁlm would be distributed, such as home video, and then video on demand and then cable television. But it’s worth it just for that market? Yes, if you’re producing at the right budget. You couldn’t produce a ﬁlm like Iron Man and expect to do okay doing that. But with smaller ﬁlms ($10 to $15 million budgets), you can sell the foreign rights for 60 to 70 percent of the cost. Certain genres translate better overseas. Is Comerica a specialist? Or are several banks competing for what you do? There’s probably a small handful in the states, then a few overseas. Part of what we also do is put together larger credit facilities and sell pieces to other banks. On a $200 million loan, Comerica might want to hold just $40 million for risk diversiﬁcation. So we’ll sell $160 million to a group of other banks that we work with. What are the rewards and the challenges of your work. The rewards are watching and helping some of our clients grow, through starting smaller production entities to becoming signiﬁcant ﬁlm production distribution companies. The challenge is that business changes so quickly. And so much of the revenues are generated from around the world, so that it’s not just keeping an eye on the business in the United States. We’re affected by changes in the business globally. We try to identify those trends and protect ourselves from downturns. What should a current student do to prepare for a job like this? Learn as much as you can about the entertainment industry. Also, a business degree or a law degree would be very helpful due to the level of ﬁnancial modeling and contract negotiations that are part of the job.
BRETT PAUL, BSBA ’84 Executive Vice President, Warner Brothers Television Brett Paul came to BU from Miami. Following his BSBA, he went on to earn a JD from University of Miami Law School in ’87. What’s your day-to-day like? I am the top business-side executive of Warner Bros. Television, reporting to the president, Peter Roth. I oversee direct reports in physical production, business and legal affairs, ﬁnancial affairs, administration and operations. I’m closely involved in a wide range of business-side activities, the most signiﬁcant of which are the high-level license negotiations for the ﬁrst run of our shows on the network, the high level cast renegotiations and/or budget and forecasting processes. So much of what we teach at the School involves teaming. I assume almost all of your projects involve teamwork. Yes, in this business, there is a lot of consensus building and a great deal of collaboration between internal departments that drives the overall effectiveness of the studio. There is also quite a bit of consensus building between our executives and our producers and, in turn, with our broadcast partners. Paradoxically, our industry is built on an inherent conﬂict in its very name: “show business.” There is the “show,” all the creative elements required to develop and produce entertainment programming, and there is the “business,” the ﬁnancial and operational elements which make it possible to fulﬁll a creator’s intent. Our goal is always to honor, support, and realize the creative vision, keeping in mind that there are the legitimate restrictions that come with being involved in any commercial enterprise. I genuinely believe that the creative process can be shaped in positive ways by the business parameters if everyone is working towards a common goal. You’re creating and producing shows. And then you license those shows to the networks? Correct. So if they buy it, if they pick it up, you’re still going to produce everything? Yes, as long as the business model is sustainable. We work very hard to ensure that it is. We usually know that in advance. As a studio, our creative team is constantly out in the marketplace looking for talent, ideas, and writers. We canvas our buyers (the networks) by looking at their broadcast schedules and identifying opportunities—based on existing need, network demand, or new roads we pitch them to explore—for our programming that ﬁt with their brand or to expand it. The ABC Network, which has its own ABC Studios production unit, wants to buy as much of their own 20 Builders & Leaders
SDXO programming as they can. The same is true for the FOX Network and its 20th Century Fox Television Productions, the CBS Network and CBS Television Studios, and the NBC Network from Universal Media Studios. What makes us compelling at Warner Bros. is that we can be everyone’s number one supplier, after their own in-house group. We align ourselves with the best talent and offer them broad opportunities across the entire television marketplace, not just tied to one network. That’s been a successful strategy for us. When we sell something, we usually develop a pilot idea for a particular network, working in concert with them. Our writers pen the script; we pre-negotiate a lot of the licensing terms; and the network decides whether or not they want to order it to pilot production. If they do, we start the process of casting and stafﬁng the show. If a pilot is ordered, we produce it, usually during the traditional pilot season (January through April). Next, the networks review all the pilots they have purchased and decide which ones to order to series. They announce their fall schedules in May, when we ﬁnd out which of our returning shows are coming back and which of our new pilots are going to be picked up as series. Networks show the pilots to advertisers who then start to place their advertising buys during what is known as the “upfront” process. Most of the commercials you see on television in the fall are bought in May during the “upfront.” Who ﬁnances the pilots? That is done jointly by the studio and network. The networks pay a licensing fee, which usually covers a portion of the total production budget. We put up the rest ourselves. It’s the same on scripted series, where the license fee typically covers only a portion of—but not all of—the full production costs. It’s evolved to that structure over many years. Keep in mind, it’s very different for the reality show
“I GENUINELY BELIEVE THAT THE CREATIVE PROCESS CAN BE SHAPED IN POSITIVE WAYS BY THE BUSINESS PARAMETERS IF EVERYONE IS WORKING TOWARDS A COMMON GOAL.” side. But for scripted programming, we have a certain bundle of rights which enable us to exploit the show at various windows along the way. The most lucrative of those windows, once we’ve amassed a certain number of episodes, is to take those produced episodes and then resell them, domestically, to another broadcaster. This is generally known as “offnetwork” syndication. An example of this is The Big Bang Theory which currently airs new episodes on CBS, while rebroadcasts of prior seasons will begin this fall on TBS and on the Fox-owned television stations. In licensing the show “off-network”, we comply with the original broadcast network’s very speciﬁc exclusivity provisions, which are highly negotiated, and which spell out what times during the day a show can run off-network or at what point in the show’s life cycle we can sell it off-network. You mentioned there may be other new windows. Yes, the hot topic right now, with all the digital options for exploitation, and Netﬂix and iTunes popping up, is how the studios and networks manage who controls those various windows, and whether or not those windows should fall within the networks’ exclusivity requirements. These rights have evolved, often times based on the idea of whether or not the rights grantor is the owner or renter of the programming. Home video is most often controlled by the owner. We’re very conscious of evolving viewing habits, of time-shifting, and various options for watching programs, and we work very closely with our network partners on that. We want the networks to remain very healthy and to be able to deliver quality offerings to their advertisers, the foundation of which is a great-looking, well-acted, well-produced show. And, frankly, we want them to have the money to be able to pay us to do it well. So, we strongly support their efforts in the advertiser-supported model. Warner Horizon Television is the unit that produces scripted programming for cable, and reality programming for both network and cable. So The Bachelor, which is a reality show on ABC, is produced by Warner Horizon. The business units are separated by the probable venue? Not exactly. They are separated because there is a different business model in producing for cable than there is for network. Basic cable outlets don’t typically pay the same license fees as a network, because cable generally provides a more limited universe of viewers, although some of the most popular series—including The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles, both of which we produce—deliver network-style ratings for original episodes. And the off-network market which exists
for cable shows is generally not as robust as the off-network market for network shows. So, we adjust accordingly. There are differences in cable productions to account for the lower costs of production in terms of the number of days you shoot, the number of cast members you have, etc. And because the universe of network and cable is sometimes inhabited by some of the same people, some creators develop series for both broadcast platforms, so it’s important to delineate which shows are going to be cable and which are for broadcast, to eliminate confusion. What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Seeing the end product—the television show—is amazing. It’s so difﬁcult to put all the pieces in place to make that happen. When it ﬁnally does, it’s very gratifying. The creative and business process always offers exciting challenges. This business is personality-driven. You’re dealing with very creative people and no two situations are alike. Unlike so many other businesses where the margin of a successful product can often improved by creating manufacturing or marketing efﬁciencies, that doesn’t necessarily exist in television production. If I had to pick one thing, I’d have to say it’s the people. Working with the talent, both in front and behind the camera…for me, that’s the most rewarding. What advice would you give somebody who’s looking into the ﬁeld, who wants to end up doing what you’re doing? I’ve always said try to be as good as you can be, in whatever it is you are doing. And align yourself with the best mentor you can ﬁnd, with people who are best at doing what it is that you want to try and do. Watch them. Learn from them. I’m going to sound like a book of euphemisms here but they’re based in truth. You can’t always dictate what exactly your path will be. Leave the door open. Sometimes you have to seize those moments rather than waiting for the perfect one to come along. And in life, you continue moving. If you ﬁnd that you’ve made a choice that’s not suiting you, then reevaluate where you are, and make another choice. A good career is a long endeavor. And it’s deﬁnitely not a straight line upward. It has peaks and valleys. You can learn from both. Sometimes even more in the valleys. Make sure that you are doing for your boss what your boss needs of you. Don’t be lazy. That’s the worst. Try to be selﬂess about things. Anticipate. The cream always seems to rise to the top, even though rarely overnight. Point yourself in the general direction of entertainment. Never give up. There is always room for good people.
ROB CARLSON, BSBA ’88 Partner, William Morris Endeavor (WME) Rob Carlson grew up in Metuchen, New Jersey. He chose BU because his father was an alumnus and he was attracted to the curriculum and the work of the School’s professors. Please tell us about your work. I’ve been at William Morris for 22 years. We merged two years ago with Endeavor and became WME. I’m a partner and senior agent in the motion picture department. There are a number of partners worldwide who make strategic decisions about the company and the direction we are going. So tell me what a day is like. To simplify, my main goal is to career-manage clients and to help them ﬁnd ﬁlms or television projects. I give them guidance in terms of choosing jobs and making sure that each one is a building block to their career. We also focus on building their business beyond ﬁlm and television. A lot of my clients are entrepreneurial and want to be involved on the Web, writing books, or maybe theatre and live concerts. We also look beyond traditional entertainment, whether it’s owning a clothing line, or water, or vodka—you name it. Branding on the entertainment side is very important. And a lot of companies outside of the business are looking to be connected to the entertainment business. I worked very closely with General Motors when they were a client and helped put them into the Transformers movies. It was good for GM, Michael Bay (the director), and Paramount. So you work on that side too? Yes, I spent ten years as a television packaging agent and then moved into the ﬁlm business. Because of that background I have a different perspective than an agent who was trained just in ﬁlm. Hasbro is also a client of mine. We put together the entertainment initiative for Hasbro and helped launch their ﬁlm division—which includes Transfomers and G.I. Joe. WME is a large company. We touch every part of the entertainment business—ﬁlm, theatre, television, music, and books. In addition we have ofﬁces in Nashville and New York and London. This depth is very attractive to me as an agent, as well as my clients. What are the rewards and the challenges of your job? The greatest part of the job is when you sign someone new, and then watch them grow and become successful. It’s a great feeling to look back on someone’s career and know that you had a big impact on their life. It’s no different than any relationship or marriage, where you put that time in—you go through the good stuff and the bad stuff together. You
achieve something, and you’ve gained a lot of ground. That’s what I love most about it. How do you break into a place like WME? I understand you started in the mail room. Everyone starts in the mail room, for at least a couple of months. Then you wait for a training desk to open up where you interview and compete with other trainees to become a secretary. You work at that for a couple of years, and then hopefully get promoted to agent. This is the way it has been done for the last hundred years. What’s new in the ﬁeld? What are the new issues that are coming up? There’s deﬁnitely a big guild issue regarding digital rights and how artists are going to get paid for streaming, etc. During the last writers’ strike, that was a touchstone issue, in terms of usage and everything else. I think the biggest thing affecting the business has been the collapse of the home video/DVD market On top of that, companies started going out of business. When I started, there were probably 24 buyers, and now maybe there are seven. United Artists has gone out of business. MGM is emerging from bankruptcy. It’s a really dramatic shift in terms of how many movies are being made compared to ﬁve years ago.
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“EVERYONE STARTS IN THE MAIL ROOM... THIS IS THE WAY IT’S BEEN DONE FOR THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS.” It’s like a game of musical chairs. There are only so many director jobs out there every year, so when the music stops, you better have one of those chairs. I went through it personally. William Morris was around for 112 years. We merged with Endeavor but had to cut an enormous number of people from our overhead. The business can’t support the structure that existed a decade ago. You will probably see more changes as well. We’re dealing with a contracting business and fewer people. But it’s no different than what other businesses are going through, too. So now we’re looking at the next kind of revenue stream that’s going to come about that’s going to invigorate it again. And there always is one.
BERKELEY REINHOLD, BSBA ’90 Head of Music Business Affairs, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment Berkeley Reinhold came to Boston University from New York City. Following a senior year class in business law with School of Management professor Jeff Beatty, she went to Whittier College School of Law in Los Angeles to earn her JD. What brought you to William Morris? When you’re in Los Angeles in law school, you’re exposed to internships in all aspects of entertainment. I interned at Paramount Studios in the Motion Picture Music Soundtrack Division, and that piqued my interest in the movie and music businesses. After I graduated from law school, I was lucky enough to ﬁnd an opening at William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills. You skipped the mailroom part? Yes. I was hired directly into business affairs as a music attorney. So now I run the business affairs of WME Music. How big is the music side? Pretty big. The music department has ofﬁces in Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, Miami, and London. There are lots of different genres of music that we cover, such as contemporary, adult contemporary, country, urban, and electronic among others. Tell us what you do. I wear a lot of hats. I’m a music attorney and an agent. When I started here, the business I handled was primarily contracts for live concerts. Then, the industry began evolving by integrating sponsorships, endorsements, webcasts, digital rights, distribution, and other areas. It’s very different and much more exciting now than it was when I began at WME. What do you see happening now and in the near future? When I started there were models already established for all different kinds of deals. People had been in the business for a long time doing the same types of concert deals, record deals, publishing deals, etc. And now as the music business develops, we are creating our own deals and inventing our own models. This keeps it fun and interesting. You deal more with record labels? Generally for concert touring you’re negotiating with the promoter or someone could put together an idea, like, “I want to have an event in the LA Coliseum. And I want this singer to come.” They would call the artist’s agent at WME, and ask if the artist is available, and then we negotiate the deal. Do you—William Morris—create or produce any events of your own? There are some things that we do own, some events. But
generally, we’re an agent representing the artist. However, the business is evolving so much that there are lots of opportunities to think outside of the box. What have been the rewards of the career, so far? Coming out of a negotiation and really feeling that both sides came to an agreement and are happy with the terms of the deal is a great feeling. You don’t want to be in a negotiation where one side feels like they were taken advantage of because in a sense you’re a team. You all have the same goal: that the deal you’re working on together becomes a success. You do deals with the same people over and over? Absolutely; it’s a small community. Chances are, if you close a deal with somebody now, you’re going to be working with them again in the future. So it’s always best to leave the table where everybody is happy. So the next time, you have a foundation to build on.
“IT’S ALWAYS BEST TO LEAVE THE TABLE WHERE EVERYONE IS HAPPY.” What would you recommend to a student who is thinking about getting into the business? On campus, try to get some experience with the people who book concerts for the school. Try to ﬁnd a project or event where you can work for the school in the capacity of a promoter. That’s the ﬁrst step. Even the little bit of experience that you can get on the ticketing side, or negotiating with an agent, or getting an idea of how it all comes together, is really valuable. Any particular skill sets that would be helpful? I think that anyone who has the passion and the determination and ability to be ﬂexible and learn different things, can deﬁnitely do it. But they have to have patience, because, especially if you want to be an agent, you generally start in the mail room. And you really have to have the patience to wait it out. What’s the job market look like now? It’s very difﬁcult because the ﬁeld is shrinking for the traditional music related jobs at record labels and there are not that many positions available. However, there are other possibilities. For instance, you can become a manager or attorney for the artist, or a business manager, if you’re interested in accounting. There are the record labels and music publishers. You can work for a merchandise company, a digital online music company, or as a promoter. bu.edu/management 23
ERIC PAQUETTE, BSBA ’89 Senior Vice President, Production, Sony Screen Gems Eric Paquette chose BU because he thought he’d like the city of Boston, even though he’d only been here once in his life. Please give us an overview of what you do here. I’m the senior vice-president of production at Screen Gems, a division of Sony Pictures. And that job, here or at virtually any studio, is essentially looking for properties to make movies out of. So we use development scripts to a point where we can get a ﬁlmmaker and actors onboard. And then, our physical production department compiles budgets, supervises production, works with the ﬁlmmaker to address any editing that needs to be done beyond that time, and helps with music. And the creative side, which is what I do, is charged with ﬁnding the stories. They come from producers, agents, every stone that you look under—script or book or comic book or video game.
Any time you can make a ﬁlm that has a built-in awareness, you’re ahead of the game. Plus with the Internet and social networking sites you can really build your brand in a way that doesn’t really cost you any money. What are the rewards of the job? Some of the rewards are being able to work with incredibly smart, creative, and talented people, in front of and behind the camera. And virtually 100 percent of the people that are in the motion picture business love movies. The Social Network, True Grit, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, they’re all compelling stories that move people. And knowing that I get to somehow be involved in a portion of that every day, is really exciting. I can do it 24 hours a day, it doesn’t bother me. What are the challenges? What are the tough parts? Well, any job that you can do 24 hours a day—it’s a double-edged sword because you can literally be working all the time. My family is the most important thing in my life and I’m the most important thing in their life, while balancing demands of a profession that requires you to spend an awful lot of time to be successful. Do you have any BU students here? We’ve had many over the years, absolutely. We’ve employed production assistants, paid PAs on movies. I have worked a lot with COM’s Professor Bill Linsman, who oversees the Los Angeles internship program. Every semester, I hire interns. And, if I’m shooting a movie, they come on the set and meet the director. What would you tell a School of Management student wondering how to get into the ﬁeld? They should minor in English. I think everybody should be able to have broad knowledge and have a concentration in reading and writing. If you have only this singular focus on something based on your very limited knowledge of the world, it’s not going to really beneﬁt you down the road. The more well-rounded you are, the better you’ll be able to overcome post-college challenges. If you’re very, very interested in something, then minor in that. Double minor, even. You shouldn’t necessarily spend your entire time having an absolute tunnel vision on one thing. The most important thing you can do, if you want to get into the movie business or television business, is to just get into it. That’s why this program is invaluable, because there are kids that are here that are doing it. You can’t replace the relationships and the contacts you make working in the business. So I’m a huge fan of Bill’s. And I’m a big fan of the BU LA program.
“THE MORE WELL-ROUNDED YOU ARE, THE BETTER YOU’LL BE ABLE TO OVERCOME POSTCOLLEGE CHALLENGES.” You ﬁnd the talent as well? Yes, at the same time. You have to be aware of the next wave of up and coming writers, ﬁlmmakers, actors. You’re constantly watching movies, reading scripts, meeting with actors, writers, and ﬁlmmakers. And I also meet with a lot of editors and directors of photography. It’s different, because with writers and actors in ﬁlm, you want to know the next wave of people who are going to really have an effect on the business in years to come. But editors and DPs, you want to know who the best are right now. They’re the ones that can have an immediate impact on your ﬁlms today. So, how would you deﬁne Screen Gems? We generally make movies that cost between $10 million and $60 million. They’re usually concept-driven: action, thrillers, sci-ﬁ ﬁlm, and occasional comedy, where the concept is generally the star in the movie. In a bigger ﬁlm, that movie is not getting made without Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt. What trends do you see? Young adult novels are becoming a very, very popular source of ﬁlms. And certainly, the best example of that is Twilight. We have one called Mortal Instruments. And Lionsgate has one called Hunger Games. 24 Builders & Leaders
SMG Alumni Board Honors Lataif. New Alumni Outreach in Planning Stages. BY ALISSA MALLINSON
n May 5, the members of the School of Management Alumni Board hosted a private ceremony to recognize retired Dean Emeritus Lou Lataif (BSBA ’61) through renaming the Alumni Board Scholarship Endowment Fund in his name. This will be the Board’s last meeting. Looking forward, schools and colleges across the University are investigating new ways to engage alumni, with more emphasis on reaching graduates according to their interest, regardless of their BU degree. Some of this will naturally build on the great foundation laid by the SMG Alumni Board. More than 200 alumni served on the board over the years. Their accomplishments include creating the Alumni Scholarship Fund, the vetting of Alumni Award recipients, establishing sendoffs for graduating classes, and the Alumni Networking Committee. Several new University-wide initiatives are already paying off. Last year, more than 38,000 participants attended 700 meetings and events. In addition, social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming increasingly important. At this writing there are approximately 65 alumni networks based on regions, special interests, or business affiliations. Dean Ken Freeman says, “Alumni want direct access to the speciﬁc programs they are interested in. This means ﬂatter organizational structures with less dependence on formal committees. It’s critical that alumni provide advice and counsel to the School on how best to engage fellow alums. We need alumni to help us establish strong networks, based on their interests and needs. We need alumni to be advocates, advisors, recruiters, mentors and employers. And, yes we need many more alumni to support BU philanthropically. “To broaden our reach with alumni we will evaluate our communication and engagement approaches,” Freeman adds. “You will hear much more from us and we welcome your input always.”
Welcome. David Ford Joins Development Team. David Ford has been appointed assistant dean of Development & Alumni Relations for the School of Management, effective May 9. Ford comes to the School with ﬁfteen years of higher education development experience, joining us from the University of Chicago where for the past ﬁve years he has served as Director of the New England Regional Ofﬁce. Prior to Chicago, he worked at Northeastern University in several roles including senior leadership gifts ofﬁcer for the College of Arts & Sciences and director of donor relations and planned giving ofﬁcer. He began his development career with Sea Education Association—a BU afﬁliated program—and continues to serve that institution as a member of the board of overseers.
Alumni Calendar June 16
A Conversation with Dean Freeman 6-8pm, Rare View (on Lexington Ave.) New Y York City
Quarterly Networking Luncheon 12pm, Morton’s, Boston
BU Alumni Weekend & MBA Reunion Multiple festivities for alumni all over the University campus
The Bu Business usiness of Learning. PNP MBAs Tackle School Issues. BY JOHN DICOCCO
Missing the Bus. 70% of American eighth graders can’t read at grade level and most will never catch up. 1.2 million students drop out every year. 44% of dropouts under age 24 are jobless. America’s top math students still rank 25th compared to the top students of 30 nations. From The Broad Foundation’s website.
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he United States faces an education crisis. It’s a national crisis. State and local education associations and professional educators and foundations have been addressing the challenge for years, but there is still a long road ahead, made more daunting by reductions in federal and local funding for education. Kristen McCormack (MBA ’92), executive-in-residence and faculty director of the Public & Nonproﬁt Management MBA Program (PNP), says, “School leaders are asked to do far more today than ever before, in educational organizations that have become more complex. Duties formerly handled by superintendents now fall on the shoulders of principals. Principals have become de facto CEOs, in charge of budgets, hiring and ﬁring, and operations. And while much of that is good in terms of direct accountability, it also makes the principal’s job tougher than ever. It calls for management skills more than ever before.” Hardin Coleman, dean of Boston University School of Education, says, “The environment has changed dramatically in the past few years. Increasing numbers of our students who want to go into educational administration are taking courses in management. And MBA students who want to manage community nonproﬁts are taking courses in our school as well. “A principal needs to supervise,” Coleman continues, “which means watching, spending time with teachers, coaching them. In many schools, he or she gets pulled away because of managing the physical plant, the cafeteria, etc. Business managers usually supervise perhaps 6 to 10 reports. But most principals may have 25 to 30 people to supervise. It calls for a special type of person.” School boards need to address what has changed in schools as the economics have changed, says Coleman, and be open to new ideas. “We need people who will innovate in organizations rather than just enter and serve the existing system. Sometimes you get innovation from people outside schools of education because they’re doing research which leads them to insights about education. “We see it as a good thing that we have more educators learning management skills,” Coleman adds, “and more nonproﬁt management people taking courses with us on topics including school and society, policy issues, school law, and program evaluation.”
PNP Grads In the Field. We talked to a few recent PNP MBA graduates and one current student who found satisfying careers on the front lines of education management. Hopefully the skills and talents they bring to the front lines of the ﬁeld will help to remove obstacles and promote progress in American education. Jagdish ‘Jug’ Chokshi (MBA ’99), joined the Neighborhood House Charter School (NHCS) in Dorchester, Mass., in 2004 as CFO after serving in other positions, including a stint at Citizen Schools [founded by PNP alum and School of Management Lecturer Ned Rimer (MBA ’95)]. Chokshi serves on the strategic planning team, and leads or participates in all ﬁnancial functions, facilities management, real estate development, HR, and management leadership. He also works directly with two related entities—the NHCS Foundation and the Project for School Innovation, an offshoot of the charter school. “We’re always evaluating how our programming affects the kids and families in our programs,” says Chokshi. “We have external measures such as the MCAS [the Massachusetts state-wide student competency exams], but we’re continually evolving and working to make sure we’re focused on the mission all the time.” Funding is always a challenge, he says. “As a semi-public entity, we receive state funding. But not everyone is a fan of charter schools, so we must be aware of our public image. And we also need private money, which puts us in competition with many other causes. “Without my classes in marketing, strategy, and operations, I would never have been able to address the problems we face with the same kind of thought process. What seemed ‘nice to know’ in class became extremely useful when we faced real situations in planning. My professional experiences were excellent. I had good training at PerkinElmer, and some consulting experiences, but my BU education helped in every area.” As a side note, Neighborhood House was founded by Kristen McCormack in 1995 and was the ﬁrst full-service charter school in the state. “Full-service” means it provides education for K-8, plus pre-school and after-school care, as well as medical services, eye care, and even literacy training for family members. Missy Longshore (MBA ’05), is special projects manager at the Broad Center for the management of school systems. The Broad Center provides executive training programs for people who are leaders in another industry to transition into the central offices of public school systems. She applies her analytic and project management skills to various program areas including budget and ﬁnance, operations, evaluation, process improvement. Longshore started out working in nonproﬁts, but as she rose through the ranks, she discovered that both she—and the nonproﬁts—lacked the skills needed to move the organizations forward. “Today, I use my MBA degree almost every day,” says Longshore. “I help manage a $24 million, 24-person operation and spend most of my day involved with spreadsheets. I need good judgment and analytical skills, plus the teaming and organizational parts have been very helpful.” Without her MBA skills, she says, “I can’t imagine doing my job.”
Making the Grade. “We see it as a good thing that we have more educators learning management skills and more nonproﬁt management people taking courses with us on topics such as school and society, policy issues, school law, and program evaluation.”
Longshore notes that MBA graduates may be interested in the Broad Residency, a two-year program to prepare them for leadership in education. Participants are placed in a relevant organization, and attend sessions at the Broad Center four times a year for training. (For example, see Carrie McPherson Douglas, MBA ’07.) Sheilah Kavaney (MBA ’01), COO of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Austin, in Texas, says she “absolutely loved my time in the PNP program.” Several years before, Kavaney co-founded the YES (Youth Engaged in Service) charter school in Houston, but knew she needed more skills to make a meaningful difference.
“I felt I was missing some skills and experience that would be helpful. I wanted exposure to a broad range of business and ﬁnancial challenges that I knew would be helpful here and later in my career. The coursework here at BU, both in hard skills and case analysis, are exactly what I was hoping to ﬁnd.” Carrie McPherson Douglas (MBA ’07), who participated in the Broad Residency, served her two-year residency at Aspire Public Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was then hired as director of human resources at Aspire, and most recently appointed director of talent strategy. In her new role, Douglas leads the College Ready
“With my MBA, I was able to clean up accounting, HR, and beneﬁt systems that were set up by others who did not have those skills.” She discovered a love for change management, and a mentor suggested she pursue an MBA. She was accepted to the BU MBA program, and opted to attend on a part-time basis, while she worked days at the Cambridge-based Breakthrough Collaborative charter school. After graduation, contacts in Houston eventually lured her back to Texas to grow the YES program. That, in turn, led her to KIPP, a public charter school system with 99 schools across the country, where she now oversees KIPP Austin. Kavaney added “With my MBA, I was able to clean up accounting, HR, and beneﬁt systems that were set up by others who didn’t have those skills. Just as important, I had a new vocabulary in ﬁnance, so I could talk to our board of directors in a way that they could better understand our needs.” At KIPP, Kavaney says, “I’ve tackled ﬁnances, budgeting, and operations, and sometimes you ﬁnd small things that make a difference. The biggest obstacles we face are resistance to change, and a lack of people with management skills. Today, when I look for someone on the operational side, I give preference to MBAs.” Mike Wasserman (MBA ’12) is a current PNP student, attending part-time and expecting to graduate in 2012. He is also the director of development at Bottom Line, an organization in Dorchester, Mass., that helps low-income and ﬁrst-generation college students get into college, providing multifaceted support for them once they get there. Mike’s undergrad degree from Brown University is in public policy. In his role at Bottom Line, he’s focused on the long-term sustainability of the organization where he works with the board of directors and major donors, and engages in grant writing and marketing. 28 Builders & Leaders
Promise Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Effectiveness Grant, and talent initiatives including leadership pipeline, recruiting, performance management, and compensation and retention. Prior to her Broad Residency, Douglas worked as a ﬁnancial consultant for a number of public and nonproﬁt organizations in the Boston area, including the Boston Public Schools, EdVestors, Outward Bound, the New Sector Alliance, and the Neighborhood House Charter School. She began her career as a teacher in Portland, Oregon, and then moved to Boston as a volunteer teacher with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, eventually teaching high school science at Cristo Rey High School in Cambridge. Douglas says her MBA experience is invaluable, both to herself and the people with whom she works. “Educators don’t get much exposure to spreadsheets and PowerPoint, so I’ve brought a lot of that to our group. The same goes for complex project management, budgeting, working in teams—all skills I brought with my MBA. “When I ﬁrst came to Aspire, I was in human resources, and all my time was spent with litigation, compensation, and beneﬁts. I wanted to help build our people’s talents, and fortunately was able to create the position of developing our human capital. Today I’m in charge of recruiting, teacher/principal performance management, professional development, and retention strategies.” Whether in public, private, or charter schools, the application of proven management skills to the ﬁeld of education will improve outcomes for students, teachers, and the society that depends on their success.
Fueling Hope For College. Gene Miller (MBA ’84), is chief operating ofﬁcer of the Boston nonproﬁt Families United in Educational Leadership (FUEL), founded in 2010. FUEL educates families in underserved communities about the college process and encourages them to save for college through a matched savings program. It requires participating families to save a ﬁxed amount of money each month, which is then matched by FUEL. Families are also required to attend mandatory ﬁnancial literacy meetings called Savings Circles and participate in after-school educational programs. More than 300 families are now participating in three cities: Lynn, Chelsea, and Boston. The organization has multiple Boston University connections. The Founder and Executive Director of the program, Robert Hildreth, is the chairman of BU’s Board of Overseers. Project manager Yiming Shuang (COM ’09), and Director of Research and Evaluation Joe Doiron (SED ’11) is currently working toward his EdD and is also a Glenn Fellow and adjunct professor at BU.
Lou Volpe, MBA ’78. A Continuous Supporter of Entrepreneurship. BY ALISSA MALLINSON
ou Volpe (MBA ’78) has contributed a great deal to the School of Management over the past 10 years, donating his time, talent, and funds in support of entrepreneurship education at the School. After actively engaging at the executive level with three successful technology startups in the Boston area—ArrowPoint Communications, GeoTel Communications, and Parametric Technology—he wanted to give back by helping other entrepreneurs get started. “It’s important for me to Volpe shared his story share the advantage of my and advice for graduates as the experience with others keynote speaker for the GSM to help both the School commencement this year. A judge for the Institute of and the entrepreneurial Technology Entrepreneurship & community to prosper. Commercialization’s (ITEC’s) annual Boston University does a $50K New Venture Competition great job at that too, so since 2000, Volpe is an important they make it easy.” part of the ITEC mission. He also contributes regularly to the Office of Technology & Development’s Ignition Awards, guiding Boston University faculty members toward commercialization of their products, and gives special lectures and guest appearances at the School as a mentor to those interested in following the entrepreneurship path. “It’s important for me to share the advantage of my experience with others to help both the School and the entrepreneurial community to prosper,” he says. “Boston University does a great job at that too, so they make it easy.” Volpe moved from the entrepreneurial side to the venture capital world in 2000, when he became a managing partner at Kodiak Venture Partners. As an investor looking at new technology ideas every day, Volpe says the most important factors for him in choosing what to fund are the entrepreneurs themselves: their passion, their knowledge, and their understanding of the market. In 2008, Volpe received the Harry Morgan Award for his generous contributions to the School’s ITEC program, and in 2009, he received the SMG Distinguished Alumni Award. “I love the thrill of entrepreneurship,” he says, “and feeling like every morning you can wake up and make an impact on the company you are running.” We are grateful for the impact Volpe has made on Boston University through his continuous support of entrepreneurship. To join him in his support of the School and the communities it serves, contact Kim Purdue at email@example.com or call 617-353-4217.
classnotes GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT David Bradley (BSBA ’77, MBA ’83) has joined CA Technologies as senior vice president of global channels. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Kimberley Correia (BSBA ’98, MBA ’04) married her partner of six years this past August at BU’s Marsh Chapel. Several BU graduates attended the ceremony from around the world. Kimberley currently works in London and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Paul Fleming (MBA ’78) founded ZBlok, a company that markets sunscreen (zbloksun.com). Z Blok solves the problem of stinging eyes. It is the “no more tears” sunscreen. Myron D. Fottler (MBA ’63) recently published four new books on the topic of health care. Two were released in 2010, and two more in 2011. SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT Jarod J. Bloom, CPA, CFP (BSBA ‘95) has been named a partner at the CPA and ﬁnancial planning ﬁrms of Sechrest & Bloom and Sechrest Financial Services, of Acton, Mass. Francis (Bud) McInnis (BSBA ’60) is interested in hearing from any fellow Delta Sigma Pi brothers. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Brendan Cahill (BSBA ’98) has just launched ACE (the Accredited Capital Exchange), based in New York City and viewed as the next evolution in private placements and capital formation. Brendan is the co-founder and COO (www.ACEportal.com). He is engaged to Marybeth Mahoney, originally from San Diego, CA. They reside in Brooklyn, NY. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lindsey Chaney (BSBA ’07) graduated from General Electric’s two-year ﬁnancial management program. She started at the Nielsen Company in February 2010, and recently won the company’s second quarter controllership award.
30 Builders & Leaders
David DiGregorio (BSBA ‘04) married Chandra Murphy (CAS ‘05) this past October at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. BU alums in attendance included Henry Murphy (MBA ‘97); Jane Harries (CAS ’06); Christopher Theriault (BSBA ’07); Kashmir Asvaraksh (CAS ’04); Elizabeth (Holper) Clark (COM ’04); Joon Ying Boon (CAS ’05); Gina Barberio (CAS ‘06); Athas Nikolakakos (BSBA ’04); Aksel Chernitzky (BSBA ’04); Crista Merendino (BSBA ‘04); Brett Muney (BSBA ’04); Meeta Manglani-Shah (BSBA ’04); and Aatish Shah (BSBA ’04). You can contact David at email@example.com. Howard Freed (BSBA ’69) was appointed municipal court judge in Galloway Township, New Jersey. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Steven S. Howitt (BSBA ‘78) was recently elected to the Massachusetts general court as state representative for the 4th Bristol District comprised of Rehoboth, Seekonk, Norton, and Swansea. Lawrence Karp (BSBA ‘87) was recently promoted to managing director at HSBC Bank. Based at HSBC’s Americas headquarters in New York City, Larry is the US head of HSBC’s insurance industry investment banking practice. Additionally, Larry is the BU recruiting captain for HSBC’s summer internship programs. Kelly (Kennedy) Galanek (BSBA ‘02) of New York, NY, and her husband, Ed, announce the birth of their ﬁrst daughter, Ania Maeve, on August 16, 2010. Jennifer Markas (BSBA ‘06) recently received her MA in the history of decorative arts and design from Parsons School of Design in New York City. She currently acts as treasurer for the Board of the Society of Architectural Historians, NY metropolitan chapter, as well as for the Board of the Art Deco Society, New York chapter. She lives in New York City and can be reached at email@example.com. Timothy Moore (BSBA ‘01) proposed to Amanda Read of Austin, Texas, while in London this spring. Their wedding will
be in Chatham, Cape Cod, in May 2012. Tim earned his MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is a portfolio manager of global equities and a CFA charter holder. Tim can be contacted at tmoore2006@ kellogg.northwestern.edu. Anthony Morgante (BSBA ’87) is currently head coach of the Boston Terriers, a club football team comprised of BU student players that competes with other colleges in the New England and New York area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. George Sajonian (BSBA ‘04) recently joined Babson Capital Management as an associate director in the enterprise risk management team. Prior to this new position, George worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the systems & process assurance (SPA) group. He currently holds a Certiﬁed Information Systems Auditor certiﬁcation in Massachusetts. He can be reached at email@example.com. Adam Schwartzstein (BSBA ‘90), of Greenwich, Conn., recently joined the law ﬁrm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith as a partner in the New York office’s litigation group. He has two children, Jake and Julia. You can email Adam at aschwartzstein@ lbbslaw.com. Sheri (Tucker) Risler (BSBA ‘81) has been named the director of the master of accountancy program at the Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is also the professor of practice in the Fox School Department of Accounting. Sheri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gordon T. Walker (BSBA ’76) was appointed president and CEO of EZ Stairs, based in Aliso Viejo, Calif. EZ Stairs is a leader in stair-building innovations. Gordon resides in Laguna Hills, Calif., and can be reached at email@example.com.
paparazzi PLACE YOUR BETS. At the annual Boston University Casino Night, co-sponsored by School of Management Student Government, students get all dressed up to raise cash for charity. CAPITOL IDEA. School of Management undergrads Kiley Shianna (BSBA ’11), left, and Steph Misrky (BSBA ’12) party with their best friends after completing their daily duties at Capitol Records where they enjoyed their spring “semester abroad” in Los Angeles. CLEANING UP THEIR ACT. Alumni, staff, and students volunteered to help clean the banks of the Charles River during the University’s Global Day of Service. BU volunteers around the world took on projects from hospitals to childcare centers to food pantries. MEET THE ORACLE OF OMAHA. MBA students visited Warren Buffet and presented him with a lucky BU Management shirt, thereby certainly enhancing his powers of stock prognostication! THE CASE COMP CROWD. The Atrium was alive with anticipation at the kickoff reception for the 6th Annual Ericsson Tech Strategy Business Case Competition in March.
Vini. Vidi. Wiki. Students Post Content in Wikipedia Pilot. BY JOHN DICOCCO
semester, topics for student discussions ranged from hen Professor David Weil heard the Wikimedia regulating exposures to environmental risks, to setting Foundation wanted college professors and students policies for organ donation, to requiring disclosure by to contribute content to Wikipedia, he jumped on it. automakers of carbon footprints, to nudging people to save The foundation has a grant to fund the Wikimedia Public more for retirement, with topics informed by the tools of Policy Initiative (WPPI); reference (http://bit.ly/WikiPubPol) economics and public policy analysis. as a pilot project during the 2010-2011 academic year. Today The BU student Wikipedia policy projects have Boston University School of Management is one of included energy cogeneration projects in Brazil, only 22 universities involved. reducing educational inequity in a developing Professors at public policy programs are country, increasing incentives for research asking their students to improve articles on and development of tropical disease, the English-language Wikipedia as part of studying the effect of the lack of gun the curricula. The Foundation is providing control on Mexico’s drug cartel, and professors with support in the form of more. In the course of debates (in the lesson plans and in-class and online class and with members of the wider Wikipedia ambassadors, who serve as Wikipedia community), students mentors for ﬁrst-time Wikipedians. (Wiki see their views on a variety of issues has a small amount of HTML-like code that challenged, sharpened, and reexamined. users need to learn, as well as applications “The bottom line of the course,” he and an international chat room that says, “is to think about a wide variety help students prepare their material of difficult public policy questions before posting. Students must also learn using insights on how private choices Wikimedia standards and protocols.) at the individual, ﬁrm, and industry Weil, Everett W. Lord distinguished levels affect the achievement of public “The bottom line of the faculty scholar of the markets, public ends. The aim of our discussions is course is to think about policy & law department, teaches an to build their abilities to weigh the a wide variety of difﬁcult MBA-level public policy course in the different sides of these issues, gain a public policy questions using greater understanding of the nature of public and nonproﬁt management insights on how private program. “The policy course is a perfect debate regarding facts, analysis, and match for Wikipedia. It’s quite a unique choices at the individual, opinion, and ultimately come to their opportunity to learn and apply policy own conclusions about what they say ﬁrm, and industry levels analysis methods and at the same time about appropriate private and public affect the achievement of engage in debates about facts, analysis, policy choices.” public ends.” and implications,” he explains. “This will Weil notes the inherent difficulty allow students to subject their research and analysis to of the task. “The increasingly polarized nature of many a debate involving a real-world audience of thousands public debates leads many to believe that policy analysis of readers.” is inherently subjective, with each side selecting their What the students are posting under Weil’s watchful preferred experts. A critical task is therefore to separate eye are deeply researched papers in the realm of public disagreements over facts and analysis from those about the policies. The requirements of Wikipedia posts are that values underlying chosen objectives and recommendations. they must fulﬁll three criteria: be nonpartisan, heavily Although this is seldom easy to do, it’s an intrinsic and referenced, and factually defendable. For the just ﬁnished essential part of the public policy analysis process.
32 Builders & Leaders
Professor David Weil, Everett W. Lord distinguished faculty scholar of the markets, public policy & law department.
“In these papers, we’re seeking to arrive at a place where all the research, the statistics, the successful and unsuccessful ideas that have come before lead you to a more objective conclusion,” Weil added. Dee Falvo (MBA ’11), researched landﬁll gas clean development mechanism projects in Brazil. She said, “The class has been a great introduction to learning about the beneﬁts of policy reform and action, coupled with an interesting, hands-on project with Wikipedia… It’s also been a crash-course in writing for Wikipedia, a learning curve in and of itself! It’s deﬁnitely improved my opinion of the work that goes into creating an article for the site and the litmus test for determining quality craftsmanship.” Lianna Davies, spokesperson for Wikimedia, cites several areas of student learning in the project: collaborative writing, expository writing, and research skills (more so than for a majority of other papers they will write), participating in a community of practice, technology skills, and learning about wikis. “We’re thrilled that universities are participating in the initiative,” said Davies, “and we hope many will stay engaged long after the class is ﬁnished.” For a medium with millions of entries, the organization only has about 300 employees, many working on the technical side. So the oversight of the content is dependent upon the vigilance of those volunteers who have expertise in a subject area. Adding universities expands that expertise. Wikipedia has a ranking which it bestows on certain people and certain individual posts, ranging from “stub” for a novice entry, to “featured article” for the very top of the heap. Part of the class assignment is to keep improving the article’s rank. Another beneﬁt, Weil notes, is that students’ work may have a life beyond the semester, in that their research can become intrinsic (and in many cases is the original, base article) to a given topic on Wikipedia. For new articles (and most students are writing these), this means it will be a building block for subsequent work. As Andrej Ausing (MBA ’11), whose team worked on policy analysis on the adequacy of veterans’ beneﬁts for soldiers with posttraumatic stress disorders, told the class recently, the Wikimedia initiative allows their research “to directly beneﬁt people with a real need for answers and expands our collective knowledge about socially important topics.”
Faculty Research Day. New Annual Event Celebrates Scholarship.
n June 14, the School will host its ﬁrst annual Faculty Research Day, described by organizer Siobhan O’Mahony, associate professor of strategy & innovation, as “a celebration and a sharing of the scholarly work at the School of Management.” Faculty have been invited to present work that has been published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals in 2010, and current work that is nearing completion toward that same end. The committee expects approximately 25 faculty to present work. The papers will be arranged around themes that will reveal themselves among the submissions. O’Mahony added, “This kind of program builds pride in the School; it enlightens us about what our colleagues are investigating; it informs our curricular planning; and encourages cross-disciplinary dialogue as well. Who knows? Someone in ﬁnance may be inspired to partner with someone in operations to investigate a topic of mutual interest. It will also identify the sometimes-less-than-obvious commonalities and complementarities among various departments and scholars.” Rather than full lectures, the format will be ﬁve to ten-minute “snap-talks,” describing the essence of the research question and the major ﬁndings. Visit the School of Mangement website to see videos of the presentations after the event.
“Facebook Got Me Fired.” Social Media and the Law. Posting about work on the web could potentially wipe out your career.
34 Builders & Leaders
BY KABRINA KREBEL CHANG
shley Johnson was a server at Brixx Pizza in North Carolina. A couple sat at one of her tables for three hours, keeping Johnson at work long after her shift ended. When the couple left just a $5 tip, Johnson vented about them on her Facebook page, calling them cheap and mentioning Brixx by name. A few days later, Johnson was ﬁred. According to Brixx, she violated company policy by disparaging customers and criticizing the restaurant. What used to be discussed in a closed office or over a drink after work is now discussed online, and in many cases that creates a permanent record—a record that an employer can view and one on which employment decisions can depend. Johnson is not the ﬁrst person to be ﬁred for her social networking posts. Kevin Colvin was an intern at Anglo Irish Bank’s North American office when he emailed his supervisor explaining that because of a “family emergency” he would not be at work for the last several days of October. When a Facebook photo surfaced of Colvin in a fairy costume at a Halloween party during his absence, he was ﬁred. Dan Leone, a Philadelphia Eagles parking attendant, was ﬁred after six years with the Eagles organization when he posted on his Facebook proﬁle that he was “devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver …Dam Eagles R Retarted [sic]!!” Are these ﬁrings legal? So far, courts have not overturned ﬁrings based on social networking posts. A more difficult legal question, though, is how employers are gaining access to such posts. In Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, Brian Pietrylo, who worked at Houston’s in New Jersey, created a Myspace group called the “Spec-Tator.” Pietrylo created the group to “vent about any BS we deal with [at] work without any outside eyes spying on us.” Some posts on the Spec-Tator page included sexual remarks about management and customers, jokes about some of the speciﬁcations for customer service and quality, and references to violence and illegal drug use. The group was meant to be private; members joined by invitation only. Pietrylo invited Karen St. Jean, a greeter at Houston’s to join Spec-Tator. While at a manager’s house for dinner, St. Jean showed the manager Pietrylo’s Myspace group. Then another manager asked St. Jean for her password to Spec-Tator. St. Jean said she shared her password, but only because he was her manager. Not surprisingly, Pietrylo was ﬁred because management found the posts to be offensive and contrary to the core values of Houston’s. Pietrylo sued, claiming Houston’s unauthorized access to the Spec-Tator group was an invasion of his privacy and a violation of the Stored Communications Act. The court did not agree that it was an invasion of privacy. However, when Houston’s claimed that, because St. Jean had voluntarily given a manager
Social networking invites a lack of caution. You bear the risk of having your words and actions used against you by your employer. — K. Chang
her password, their repeated access to the group was authorized, the court disagreed. It was clear that St. Jean would not have provided her password to the managers if they had been merely coworkers. Using the password, managers repeatedly accessed the group even though they knew they were not authorized to do so. The court in Pietrylo agreed that businesses have a right to protect employees from harassment and to protect the core values of the company. However, the means by which businesses accomplish this must be legal. Let’s look further at the court’s take on employees who speak badly about their companies online. According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), if employees are talking together about working conditions, prohibiting that conversation could be a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The thinking on this is still evolving. In November 2010 the NLRB ﬁled its ﬁrst suit involving a ﬁring and social media. Dawnmarie Souza worked for the ambulance service American Medical Response of Connecticut (AMR). Souza had to prepare a response to a customer’s complaint about her work, and requested representation from her union. When her request was denied, Souza took to her Facebook page and posted negative comments about her supervisor, calling him, among other vulgarities, a “scumbag.” Some of Souza’s coworkers supported her through their comments to her post: “I’m sorry hon! Chin up!” In December, AMR ﬁred Souza for violating the company’s Internet policy, which prohibits employees from posting anything about the company without permission. AMR also claims that Souza was ﬁred because of “multiple, serious complaints about her behavior.” The NLRB saw it differently. “You are allowed to talk about your supervisor with your coworkers…[t]he only difference in this case is she did it on Facebook and did it on her own time and on her own computer.” Is this concerted activity? Or is this
disloyalty? Concerted activity is protected under the NLRA, while disloyalty is not. The NLRB claims that employees discussing conditions at work, such as in Ms. Souza’s case, are engaging in concerted activity. However, if the comments are defamatory and not supported by facts, the conduct may be considered disloyal. The court did not rule on this case because the parties settled on February 8, 2011. Conclusion Social networking isn’t going away anytime soon. Companies have embraced it as the latest marketing channel, networking vehicle, and job forum. And employers do have a vested interest in what anyone, particularly their employees, say about the companies on social networking sites. If they will pay for “buzz” then they will certainly sue and, when they can, act on disparaging remarks. So social networking can get you ﬁred. But where does that leave employees? Based on the court’s treatment of the few cases they have seen, employers are free to use posts against their employees, provided that access to those posts was authorized. On top of that, social networking invites a lack of caution. You bear the risk of having your words and actions used against you by your employer. Although more than 30 states have laws that restrict what an employer can do with an employee’s legal off-duty conduct, no developed body of case law deals with this issue. As with the development of biotechnology patent law and intellectual property and copyright violation on the Web, employers and employees will only achieve some amount of predictability as courts decide these matters, case by case. And that will take time. Kabrina Krebel Chang, JD, (CAS ’92) is an assistant professor in the markets, public policy & law department.
The Economics of Information. Marshall Van Alstyne. Marshall Van Alstyne, associate professor of information systems and Dean’s research fellow, has been focusing on the ﬁeld of information economics for 14 years. Van Alstyne’s latest research, with co-authors Nathaniel Bulkley and Sinan Aral, is funded by the National Science Foundation, and describes a way to measure the dollar output of individual information workers’ email communication. They also created a patented algorithm for studying email communications, without invading privacy. Van Alstyne has won ﬁve best paper awards, and has been published extensively. He earned a BA in computer science from Yale, and an MS in information systems and a PhD in information system economics, both from MIT.
36 Builders & Leaders
BY ALISSA MALLINSON
What was the main impetus for your recent studies on the relationship between technology use and productivity? Earlier research provided a broad insight about how technology increases information worker productivity. We wanted to discover at a more granular level which practices make some workers more productive than others. Prior studies showed that ﬁrms adopting IT were productive, but we were missing the “how.” The detailed studies we did allowed us to look at emails at an individual word level, and social networking among individuals, and correlate individual behaviors with dollar measures of their output. How were you able to do this? To get good output measures, we studied people from the consulting/ executive recruiting ﬁeld, where it’s clear how much money a single person is making for the ﬁrm and the share-weighted effort of a person’s time on each project. It’s an industry that’s very representative for project-based work. Gaining entry to these ﬁrms took about a year of negotiation. It also forced us to develop new technology that would protect individual privacy but still allow us to analyze the content of digital communications. What did you ﬁnd? We conducted three studies. In one, we looked at the information diversity of emails, down to the word level. The most controversial ﬁnding is that diverse news that you receive in your email inbox—not seen by your peers—is worth $70 per word per year. So we were actually able to analyze information value down to a level that had not been measured previously. Another interesting ﬁnding was that there was a negative correlation between technology use and productivity with regard to the time it takes to complete projects—not a very positive ﬁnding. But after digging deeper, we realized that people who are heavier users of technology are actually much more productive because they do vastly more multitasking. So while one person might be tackling four projects, another is tackling seven. That latter person may take longer to do each project, but accomplishes considerably more overall. The ﬂow rate of completion is higher. Yet another ﬁnding was that if you want to be more productive, you should send shorter, more focused messages to your contacts. If you send long wordy messages, many people respond by parking those messages in order to look at them later. In other cases, if you send a long message where the call to action is hiding in the third paragraph, you won’t get a response at all. When colleagues don’t get back to you, your own productivity decreases.
“If you are someone with whom other people share news often and early, you have the advantage of being able to act quickly on that news and make decisions faster, and earn more revenue for you ﬁrm than others do.”
You also talk about the importance of where workers get new information. Many people believe that the best new information comes from people who are remotely connected, traveling in different pools of information. The idea is that this gives you a higher chance of hearing something you didn’t already know. But we’ve shown both theoretically and empirically that that’s only half right. It’s not just where you ﬁnd novel information but where you get the most novelty over time. Again, there’s a ﬂow rate. In many cases, that comes from strong contacts (high frequency of interaction and/or emotional connection) as opposed to weak, remote ones. Similarly, in the consulting ﬁrm, we found that people who saw news ﬁrst were dramatically more productive than people who were farther down the cascade. If you are someone with whom other people share news often and early, you have the advantage of being able to act quickly on that news and make decisions faster, and earn more revenue for your ﬁrm than others do. How were you able to get such granular information? We invented a machine encryption process technology that allows us to analyze email or other digital communication down to the word level without invading privacy. This was important because it made folks comfortable giving us their private data. Even if the data were subpoenaed in a court of law, you can’t reverseengineer the original message and read what was said.
You talk about a tension in your ﬁndings on social network efficiencies. Can you explain? There’s a wonderful idea from James March on when to explore (gather new information) versus exploit (use what you already know). When you do research and generate a new idea, the more occasions you have to use that idea, and the more valuable it is to explore and generate new ideas. On the other hand, if the environment is completely stable and things aren’t changing, it’s less likely you’ll want to explore and more likely you’ll exploit what you already know and reuse that. This same pattern carries over to social networks. In the recruiting context, we found that junior consultants were more productive when they focused on building their networks, while senior ones were better off exploiting the networks they’d already built. When you’re young in your career, it makes sense to invest in building new social networks you’ll tap for a long time. But when you’re late in your career, it makes more sense to keep up with the network contacts you already know. As a result, senior partners who focused a greater proportion of internal email activity on relationships with consultants performed better, but the opposite wasn’t true. Junior consultants were more productive when their primary communication was with their peers. Considering your ﬁndings, what recommendations would you make to information workers looking to advance in their careers? As an information worker, you want to be a central point in a network, receiving new and diverse information often and early. You want to embrace information from people who are not like you. You should develop the habit of sending short, focused communications, and utilize technology to multitask for a higher overall completion rate.
Do ASRs Pay Off for Investors? Michel, Oded, and Shaked Investigate. term effects were positive (though relatively small compared he practice of companies buying back their own shares to other repurchase methods), the long-term effects is nothing new, but it’s only in the past seven years that were considerably negative, an average -8.57 percent accelerated stock repurchases (ASRs) have emerged—and nine months after the announcement. become quite popular. ASRs occur when a company (usually At ﬁrst, the negative returns puzzled the professors. If a a large one) hires an investment bank to borrow shares from company’s motive for an ASR is to signal an undervaluation, its stockholders, and then eliminates them immediately. as it often is with OMRs, one would expect a return as Over the next several months, the bank buys shares in the least as strong as with an OMR, if not stronger, since it is a open market and returns them to the stockholders. The ﬁrm more credible commitment. They could only conclude that then pays the investment bank the cost of shares. Between undervaluation was not the primary motive for ASRs. Michel et al considered the fact that most 2004 and 2007, ASRs reached a total value of companies announcing ASRs $42 billion, with the average already have OMRs. Seen ASR totaling approximately in that light, an ASR could $570 million. signal a company’s desire Many ﬁnancial to accelerate its buyback professionals wonder if program and quickly companies use ASRs to Professors at the School of Management, increase earnings per signal undervaluation of found a surprising result: Firms announcing share. According to their stock to the market. an ASR perform poorly in the long run. the professors, “ASRs Based on a recent study allow the company to they conducted on the repurchase quickly while topic, Allen Michel, Jacob avoiding the premium required Oded, and Israel Shaked, in a tender offer.” Moreover, it ﬁnance professors at the School is particularly beneﬁcial for the ﬁrm to believe of Management, found a surprising result: Firms shares are overvalued, since it obtains the shares today announcing an ASR perform poorly in the long run. The ﬁnance literature suggests that a company buys and pays for the shares months later, when the investment back its shares when it feels conﬁdent that its stocks are banker purchases the shares in the market at a lower price undervalued. The most common method is the open market on the ﬁrm’s behalf. This suggests that it is when the ﬁrm repurchase (OMR). However, OMRs can take several years wants to obtain the shares quickly but believes the stock will to complete. Often, they’re never completed. As a result, fall in the future that the ASR is most valuable for that ﬁrm. the market assigns them low credibility. Another common In fact, this argument is consistent with the poor stock price buyback method is the self-tender. The tender offer is fastperformance that the professors document in the study. paced, but requires a premium on top of the regular share As a result, Michel, Oded, and Shaked concluded that price. The ASR enables the ﬁrm to obtain shares quickly; unlike other repurchase methods, an ASR is not used to and like an OMR, it does not incur a costly premium over signal that a ﬁrm is undervalued, but instead provides an the share price. But importantly, the ASR is more credible indication that the ﬁrm is overvalued. than an OMR because it requires the ﬁrm to complete the Read the complete study in the Nov/Dec issue of share repurchase. Financial Analysts Journal. For the study, Michel, Oded, and Shaked searched news wires for company ASR announcements during the years of 2004 (when the ﬁrst recorded ASR occurred) and 2007. Their ﬁnal sample consisted of 127 announcements. Next, they calculated the cumulative average returns (CARs) around the time of each ASR announcement to determine the impact on share price. They found that while the shortBY ALISSA MALLINSON
38 Builders & Leaders
Professors Allen Michel, Israel Shaked and Jacob Oded.
Faculty Accolades. Mark Allan (MBA ’93) faculty director of the Health Sector Management MBA Program, has been invited to the Board of Directors of AUPHA and Standards Council of CAHME.
Brand” was in Business Horizons, Special Issue on Web 2.0, Consumer-Generated Content, and Social Media. Fournier was also appointed to the Editorial Review Board of Journal of Marketing.
Lloyd Baird professor and chair, Sandi Deacon, senior lecturer, and Jack McCarthy, associate professor, from the organizational behavior department, received a Boston University (RULE) grant award for Redesigning the Undergrad Learning Experience for their work on OB221, “Dynamics of Leading Organizations.” The School offers 23 sections of OB221 every year.
Jeff Furman, associate professor of strategy & innovation, was recently named a Research Associate (RA) at the National Bureau of Economic Research, after having been a Faculty Research Fellow (FRF). [Ed. Note: Contrary to conventions about the term, RA is a senior designation, while FRF is a junior designation.]
The Journal of Investment Management, accepted an article by co-authors Zvi Bodie, Norman and Adele Barron professor of management, Everett W. Lord distinguished faculty scholar Jerome Detemple, professor, and Marcel Rindisbacher, associate professor, all from the ﬁnance department, entitled “Lifecycle Consumption-Investment Policies and Pension Plans: a Dynamic Analysis.” This fall, Alan Cohen, professor of health policy and management and executive director of the Boston University Health Policy Institute, was a William Evans visiting fellow at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. The fellowship was co-sponsored by Otago’s schools of business and medicine. An article by Y. Bakos and Chris Dellarocas, associate professor of information systems, titled “Reputation Mechanisms as Substitutes and Complements of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Online Markets,” was accepted at Management Science. Also, Dellarocas’s appointment as a senior editor of the journal Information Systems Research was renewed for an additional three years. Susan Fournier, associate professor of marketing and Dean’s research fellow, teamed with Jill Avery on two recent journal articles. “Putting the Relationship Back in CRM,” appeared in Sloan Management Review, and “The Uninvited
Yrjo Koskinen, assistant professor of ﬁnance, was awarded a research award for his paper “Euro and Corporate Valuations” by the Finnish Securities Market Foundation. Krish Menon, professor of accounting and Dean’s research fellow, has been awarded the 2011 Notable Contribution to the Auditing Literature Award by the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association for his 2004 Accounting Review paper about former audit partners and abnormal accruals. According to the American Accounting Association, the award recognizes “research works of exceptional merit that make a direct contribution to auditing or assurance education, practice, or research.” Shuba Srinivasan, associate professor of marketing and Dean’s research fellow, along with Marc Vanheule and Koen Pauwels, won the Syntec Management Consulting Best Academic Paper Award in the Marketing/Decision Sciences Category from Syntec, the French Professional Consultants Association. The Journal of Management Research published “Mindset Metrics in Market Response Models: An Integrative Approach.” In addition, Srinivasan was appointed to the editorial board of Marketing Science and continues to serve on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marketing Research and International Journal of Research in Marketing.
Barry Dym, founder and executive director of the Institute for Nonproﬁt Management & Leadership, along with co-authors Susan Egmont and Laura Watkins, has a new book: Managing Leadership Transitions in Nonproﬁts: Passing the Torch to Sustain Organizational Excellence. (Financial Times Press).
Ashley J. Stevens, lecturer of strategy & innovation, completed his term as president of the Association of University Technology Managers. He also co-authored an article accepted in the New England Journal of Medicine, “The Role of Public-Sector Research in the Discovery of Drugs and Vaccine,” along with Jonathan J. Jensen, Katrine Wyller, Patrick C. Kilgore, Sabarni Chatterjee, and Mark L. Rohrbaugh. Scott Stewart, research associate professor of ﬁnance and faculty director of the MSIM program, won ﬁrst place in the 2010 paper competition of the Financial Education Association with the paper “Do Student Evaluations Match Alumni Expectations?” (Co-author was Carla Guevara.) Stewart was also elected to the board of directors of the Boston Security Analysts Society. A paper by Remi Trudel, assistant professor of marketing, with Theodore Noseworthy, titled “Looks Interesting, But What Does It Do? Evaluation of Incongruent Product Form Depends on Positioning,” has been accepted by the Journal of Marketing Research.
Our Ultimate Strength. BY KEN FREEMAN, ALLEN QUESTROM PROFESSOR AND DEAN
“In the end, the ultimate strength of the School is a 44,000-person team: you, our Alumni.”
40 Builders & Leaders
et’s be candid. The School of Management does not have a strong reputation for alumni engagement. Igniting or reigniting your passion for the School represents our biggest opportunity to build upon the momentum created during Dean Emeritus Lataif’s nineteen years at the helm. We simply must create an environment for broad-based alumni involvement to get to the next level, to enter the ranks of the world’s elite business schools. In the end, the ultimate strength of the School is a 44,000-person team: you, our Alumni. Through your time, talent, and yes, treasure, you will determine the future of our School. During my short time here, I have been inspired by the alumni I have met, your accomplishments, and your desire to reconnect with the University and our School. The many alumni contacts with the School featured in this edition of B&L— including the successes of our alumni groups in Korea and China—show that with the will, there is a way to make an impact on the future success of the School. At the School of Management, team-based learning is a hallmark of our educational process. We engage our students through teams and individually, as they prepare to become global leaders. In short, we equip our students to create value for the world. Similarly, our faculty and staff engage individually and in teams, providing the environment for productive research and teaching that creates value. In a similar way, moving forward we will work hard to engage you, our alumni, as highly valued members of the School of Management Team. What will we do to improve alumni involvement? We will invest. We will invest in you so that you can connect with the School in ways that are meaningful for you. We will ramp up our efforts to engage you in the classroom and over the internet on topics of current business interest with fellow graduates, faculty, and distinguished speakers as you continue the life-long learning journey that was cultivated during your time with us as a student. We will strive to connect you with current students as they contemplate their personal and professional journeys; introduce you to fellow alumni who have common professional interests, from ﬁnance to marketing to entrepreneurship through affinity networks; provide current information about what is going on at your School through multiple media sources; and more. We need you to join the School Team. For those of you who have been away for many years, we are playing catch up ball. Building a reputation for strong alumni involvement will not happen overnight. It will take time and lots of energy. We are eager to get moving. Our current students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, are committed to helping build bridges with our alumni. They want positive change. So do the faculty and staff. We look forward to recruiting you, our Alumni, to join with us. The possibilities for personal growth and satisfaction are limitless. The impact on the School as we begin our second century will be profound.
THE LAST WORD
Matthew Nowosiadly (EMBA ’09). Matthew Nowosiadly is president and founder of Now Business Intelligence, an information technology management consulting ﬁrm based in Boston, Mass. Drawing on Matthew’s more than 15 years of experience in IT consulting, his ﬁrm provides custom software development, COTS software integration, requirements gathering, and business process reengineering services to clients in the aerospace defense and biotech industries, and state and federal governments. In his spare time, he likes to ﬂy helicopters and remote control airplanes. Matthew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The greatest truth in management: It’s all about solid, strong, healthy relationships. My ﬁrst job was: My own landscaping business when I was 13. The last book I read was: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath. I’ll retire when: I stop having fun. No one has inﬂuenced me more than: My father. He allowed me to fail safely. The moment I knew I didn’t know it all was when: During my leadership at an almond company, almonds went from $1.79 per pound to $3.50 per pound. That’s the day I learned what a commodity was. When I was in the School of Management, I wish: I had been more present. The easiest part of my job is: Everything. I just execute fun projects. If a ﬁlm were made of my life, I’d be played by: Harvey Keitel. Ambition is: The desire to never stagnate and bathe conﬁdently in eternal optimism. The most difficult part of management is: Letting your team fail safely. Most people don’t know that: I meditate. Every day I make the time to: Reﬂect and exercise. Running a successful organization takes: Courage, quick thinking, creativity, and, above all, trust. The soundtrack of my life includes: Tool, Vivaldi, Muse, and Bach. Nothing tells more about a person than: The relationships that surround and support them. My guilty pleasure is: Building and ﬂying remote control airplanes. If I could change one thing about the world, it would be: The lack of tolerance. I’m happiest when: I’m learning, creating, or building. What’s changed most in business is: The ability to make a deal on a handshake. The wisest investment I ever made was: Enrolling in the Boston University Executive MBA program.
Boston University School of Management 595 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA 02215
inside Alumni by the Numbers. Page 15 Paparazzi. Page 31 Faculty Accolades. Page 39
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Please help us keep up with your personal and professional accomplishments by updating your contact information on the Alumni Online Community (www.bu.edu/alumni) or by completing and faxing or mailing this page. Fax to (617) 353-5581. Mail to: Alumni Relations, School of Management, Boston University, 595 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215-9779. For more alumni information and updates, please visit Alumni Online Community (www.bu.edu/alumni). New address? o Yes o No Name
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keep in touch Builders & Leaders keeps you informed about whatâ€™s happening at the School of Management. Please take a moment to help us keep up with your progress by completing the form in the back.
Please use the attached card. Fold and seal with tape.
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