STERN OPPORTUNITY THE VOICE OF THE NYU STERN GRADUATE COMMUNITY
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VOLUME 55, ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2018
Midterm Elections 2018: A Tale of Two Chambers in the US
Luxury and Retail Face Evolution with Changing Consumer Tastes
By ANTHONY PUSATERI Contributing Writer On November 6, an estimated 113 million Americans took to the polls to vote in the highly anticipated 2018 midterm elections. This marked the first time in history that over 100 million votes were cast in a midterm election, with the 49 percent voter participation exceeding the 36.4 percent reported in 2014 and the 41 percent in 2010.
By ANTHONY RUSS VP Relations Henri Bendel to Close After 123 Years. This Is the Beginning of the End for Lord & Taylor’s Flagship Store. Sears, KMart to Close More than 100 Additional Stores. To anyone paying attention to the news recently, it would seem that the traditional retail industry is facing an apocalypse. However, the members of NYU Stern’s Luxury and Retail Club feel as if the industry is not facing an apocalypse but is instead simply experiencing growing pains during its evolution. The theme of the 12th Annual NYU Stern Luxury and Retail Conference was “It’s Not an Apocalypse, It’s an Evolution” and the event highlighted how top companies are viewing the future of retail in order to to remain relevant in the competitive global landscape.
Despite the spike in this year’s participation and strong voter enthusiasm, these rates are consistently softer than the 55 to 62 percent generally observed for presidential or general
elections, although those figures are not too impressive in themselves. Though voting is a civic duty and an essential component of a functioning democracy, we often find that registered voters simply do not show up every time or even half the time. In the days leading up to the elections, political pundits and Democratic officials predicted a “blue wave,” an all-out referendum on President Trump’s agenda. Democrats would take control from the Republican-led Congress, winning 40 to 60 seats to overwhelmingly flip the House of Representatives (where 23 additional seats were needed) and the Senate
(where three seats were needed, considering the sitting vice president is the tie-breaking vote). Surely, this year’s voter enthusiasm, anti-Trump sentiments, billions of dollars in donations and high-profile celebrity and media endorsements would be the salvation for Democrats. History also supported these predictions. According to the independent, nonpartisan newsletter Cook Political Report, since the end of the Civil War, the sitting president’s party has lost House seats in 35 out of the 38 midterm elections as well as 19 out of 26 elections since the
Continued on Page 7 ALSO ON POLITICS | PAGE 7-8
It is always important to look at the changes and advancements taking place in luxury and retail from a strategic business perspective, but this year’s conference was even more timely as Stern is investing more and more in curriculum and programming around the luxury and retail space. Moreover, this May the school welcomed the inaugural class of the Fashion
Political Survey at Stern Reveals an Actively Engaged, Diverse Campus Made completely anonymous, the election survey shows what students have to say about being blue, red or purple.
Continued on Page 5 ALSO ON FASHION | PAGE 10
Populism: Back from the Margins of Global Politics
Alumna’s Award-winning Studio 189 Focuses on Fashion Sustainability Set out to fashionalize the industry, a Stern alumna takes the industry by storm, picking up accolades on the way.
Liberalism is tested once again around the world.
At Stern, we’re more than just blue | Analysis by James Prager, Source Stern Politicial Survey
Stern’s Romer Is the Economist of Ideas and Now a Nobel Laureate
Romer speaks at the Fireside Chat to a captivated audience | © NYU Photo Bureau: Goldman
By MEGAN CIPOLLINI VP Managing Editor Not only has Paul Romer created waves in the world of Economics, but he’s also a model for the role of professor and researcher in modern society. During the recent Fireside Chat in honor of Romer’s Nobel win, Donald Marron — founder of the Marron Institute of Urban Management, which Romer now leads — put it succinctly: “He is a man of both thought and action.” Romer recently joined the ranks of six other NYU professors in the last 20 years who were awarded the Nobel Prize. The awardwinning research by our very own professors has focused on everything from the impact of interest rates on the economy to analyzing economic time series with time-varying volatility. Heady stuff. The work for which Romer was awarded the prize, however, centers on pure ideas. Sounds almost too simple, doesn’t it? Indeed, there is
Continued on Page 11
(Before and After) Sternies Run New York: Capturing the Thrill of the NYC Marathon By OPPY STAFF
Worn clothing from the West is shipped in ‘bales’ to Africa | The Guardian
Developing Countries Don’t Want Your Clothes By SU-KYONG PARK Editor-in-Chief The winter holidays are a busy season for charity. What many donors do not know however, is that an overwhelming majority of donated clothing is sent to
developing countries, who are now pushing back on taking throwaway clothes. A global export market valued at $4 billion by UN Comtrade, worn clothing has been traveling mainly from
On November 4, students and alumni across the Stern community joined a sea of more than 53,000 runners in a quest to complete one of the city’s most iconic fall events: the New York City Marathon. The 26.2-mile footrace began in Staten Island and passed through all
five boroughs before ending in Central Park. Watched by more than one million specatators were 52,812 marathon runners who crossed the finish line on a rare and beautiful fall Sunday. The number of finishers is unprecedented and NYC Marathon set a worldwide record. Mary Keitany of Kenya
won for the fourth time this year, finishing the race at about 2 hours and 22 minutes, the secondfastest women’s time in marathon history. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the men’s division, coming through the finish line at about 2 hours and 5 minutes. Previously, he won the Boston Marathon in 2015.
According to REI, marathon training generally requires a total of 12 to 20 committed weeks. The self-discipline and mental vigor of marathon runners instills automatic respect from onlookers. To think that there are so many Stern runners in our community is, indeed, inspiring.
Continued on Page 6
the US to developing countries through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In recent years however, many African nations have vocally stood up to the fastfashion addicted West; last June, Rwanda President Paul Kagame stated a sentiment felt across his neighbors: “We have to grow and establish our [own] industries.” According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the life cycle
The US represents 40 percent of the world’s second-hand clothing troubles | Analysis by Su-Kyong Park, Source UN Comtrade
reach out for inquiries!
Continued on Page 4
UP YOUR SALES GAME
Work with advertisers Secure deals Take a cut
There were more than 52,000 finishers in the marathon this year | Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Cashin
Urban Farms, Rooftop Gardens are Today’s Reality
That One Time Dogs Weren’t Cute
PAGE 3 | Megan Cipollini
PAGE 3 | Lorraine Rubio
MoviePass’s latest fall out with customers warrants a look back at its turbulent year.
Podcast Recaps PAGE 4 | Stern Chats
Sternies on Foreign Waters Capturing Humor at Stern PAGE 8 | Anthony Russ
We catch a couple candid moments with the co-founders in and out of their Stern Ink lives.
PAGE 9 | Ivanka Misilo
Fintech Discoveries PAGE 5 | Evan Eisman
“The venture capital world has discovered fintech.”
Stern Oppy Job Insider PAGE 8, 12 | At NYU and a trading firm
Stern Rugby Is in Season PAGE 12 | Stern Oppy Sports
Answer Your Career Calling Through Woken PAGE 10 | Megan Cipollini
We continue to track the $300K with Rachel Serwetz’s app.
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EDITORIAL STAFF AND CONTRIBUTORS PRESIDENT/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Su-Kyong Park firstname.lastname@example.org VP MANAGING EDITOR Megan Cipollini email@example.com AVP EDITORS Abby Horowitz firstname.lastname@example.org Bryan Scalici email@example.com VP RELATIONS Anthony Russ firstname.lastname@example.org VP FINANCE Erich Grant email@example.com VP ADS Harrison Grubb firstname.lastname@example.org AVP ADS
VP CONTENT STRATEGY Lorraine Rubio email@example.com VP DIGITAL/UX OPEN POSITION
STERN CHATS PRESIDENT Naisham Jamshidi firstname.lastname@example.org Interested in an OPEN POSITION? Get in touch at email@example.com
CONTRIBUTE TO THE STERN OPPY Our editorial team is always looking for fresh perspective and leadership from Stern students
Bring on the busy season
When November comes around, there’s always a sense of surprise, like a tap on the shoulder that makes you jump a little. In the midst of everybody at work trying to squeeze their agenda in before year end and studying for midterms in class, the days have flown right off the calendar. For full-timers, I know it’s also been the busiest of times networking (and then networking some more) in preparation for summer internships and for others, a life after Stern. It’s a little daunting to think that the year 2018 is coming up close to the finish line — before we open Pandora’s box of “what have I achieved this year?” we’re going to strategically pivot to this issue you’re reading. Whatever’s kept you busy, the Stern Oppy’s November issue is granted to get you back up to speed on today’s most important happenings. We cover three main topics, starting with a big round of applause to Stern’s marathon runners from the NYC Marathon on November 4. Specifically, we’ve been following seven runners leading up to the race and have captured their thoughts post-runner’s high. At the Stern Oppy, we’ve been more than curious to know their secret recipe for juggling priorities in addition to being committed to training for a 26.2-mile race. Hopefully, you’ll also find their passion and dedication to be absolutely inspiring.
Secondly, we have a major politics update for you, centered around the November 6 midterm elections. From the informative review by Anthony Pusateri, who puts the election’s “blue wave” into broader context, we bring politics home to Stern. We’ve taken liberty of going a little off-script and being infected by James Prager’s creative juices. Thank you for taking the Stern Political Survey on Election Day, which was distributed via CampusGroups and also to Stern’s full-time and Langone mailing listservs. With your responses, we were able to capture a large and diverse sample of
the Stern community, to draw important inferences about the political climate on campus. Make sure to open to the middle spread to find the results. Of the key findings was a shared sentiment from some about a lack of tolerance in rightwing opinions. This is an issue not only felt at Stern, but more broadly across the country. At Stern, students are proud of being a part of one of the most open, diverse schools around. Yet, when it comes to something so close to the values we stand for, it’s easy for anyone to feel a little defensive, a little sharp around the edges, and it’s natural to feel resistance to another’s starkly different views. Practicing open-mindedness by speaking about politics is a way for us to prove (and improve) our diversity. At the Stern Oppy, we welcome your opinions, stand by your reputation and protect your anonymity if desired. Never feel like your voice can’t be heard. Our last main topic in this issue is on sustainability. What a broad, over-used word, you say? You’ll be impressed to hear what’s new in the industry with our coverage, kicking off with this year’s Annual NYU Stern Luxury and Retail Conference recapped by Anthony Russ. True to sustainability is a Stern alumna’s start-up in Ghana changing fashion as we know it. Tiffaine Stephens was able to catch her between fashion shows for this issue’s Alumni section. Sticking with fashion, we also reveal the global market for used clothing and where donations are being sent this season. Shifting gears, Megan Cipollini enlightens us about how AgTech, or smart technology used in sustainable farming, has brought the future to the present. Thanks to our writers’ diversity of interest, this issue includes so much more than what has already been mentioned. Make us proud and take this issue with you during your holiday travels, then share with us your feedback and comments. In addition to bringing you a student-led curation of industry news and campus topics, we hope to drive engagement in the Stern community, and it starts with your read. Su-Kyong Park President/Editor-in-Chief
From the issue of the Stern Opportunity
Develop key skills. At the newspaper, we collaborate to establish new processes and exercise our creativity. Within various streams like Advertising, Editor and Relations, there’s an open platform to test out ideas from design to implementation.
YES, WE’RE AN AFFINITY CLUB
Join a tight-knitted community of diverse students. This year, we’re completely embracing the fact that we’re a club. We’re planning regular happy hours and more personal one-on-one touchpoints with our writers. We’re also rolling out events, starting with an intimate speaker luncheon. Look out for more to come!
ATTEND FREE CONFERENCES OF YOUR CHOICE
Network! Contributing writers can submit a request to attend a professional conference using the Stern Oppy press pass, which enables them free entry and an opportunity to network with industry influencers.
Make sure to check out our online platform and follow us on social media @sternoppy
anthony pusateri Born and raised on Long Island, Anthony is just an everyday New Yorker who rents an apartment, spends way too much money on taxis and food, and blames routine subway delays on Mayor De Blasio. He is a typical Yankees, Giants, and Rangers fan with a strong dislike of Boston sports teams. Anthony works at Barclays, where he is an Assistant Vice President in Leveraged Finance Credit Risk and is pursuing his MBA in Corporate Finance, Economics, and Business and Law at Stern’s Langone program. He enjoys keeping up with business and politics, which will undoubtedly be the main focuses of his Stern Oppy contributions. In this issue, Anthony provides political coverage of the midterm elections, stepping back to see the results in context of prior elections and of recent political sentiments.
lorraine rubio james prager James is an MBA1 focused on recruiting for consulting. Born and raised in Denver, he somehow ended up in New York City after studying Chemical Engineering and French at the University of Colorado. After working in financial services for 6.5 years, he quit to go back to school and focus on networking full-time at Stern. James enjoys traveling, reading, skiing and exploring the unexpected parts of New York City. He also loves books about history, politics, and language and will not hesitate to drop ridiculous puns into casual conversation. He has always enjoyed writing and has previously published engineering lesson plans for high school students. He is very excited to contribute the Stern Political Survey in this issue to the curiosity of the student community.
Lorraine is an MBA2 and VP Content Strategy for the Stern Oppy. In addition to her role at the newspaper, she’s also: VP Langone for the Art, Culture & Cuisine Club and AVP Alumni Relations for OutClass at Stern. She’s an avid runner and a proud resident of Chinatown in New York City. At Stern, she’s developing her executive skill set to pursue opportunities in marketing and technology. Before Stern, she worked as a cultural journalist and marketer within the arts industry. When not hustling with recruiting, you’ll likely find her raving about noodles or gushing about her rambunctious cavapoo, Marlow. Here more about her story at the upcoming Langone Stern Speaks on November 16 (6pm, Tisch 411-413). As a culture enthusiast, Lorraine has provided a review of MoviePass and its struggle to stay afloat in the competitive industry.
STERN OPPORTUNITY | STERNOPPY.COM
BUSINESS & MARKETS
Dog Days for MoviePass: The Latest with the Subscription Movie App By LORRAINE RUBIO VP Content Strategy MoviePass has gone to the dogs. To be more specific, one dog. In its most recent email to its dwindling and irked subscriber base, the Director of Barketing, wearing a MoviePass scarf, explains “from time to time you may have had a ‘ruff’ experience with us but it turns out that I’m a dog and I can’t talk. What I do know is that I see these humans working like crazy to make MoviePass better and better for you as fast as possible.” In the past, doggy error messages have eased customers’ frustrations for other tech companies. Take for example, Amazon’s 404 Error page featuring pooches of employees, which has been widely received as enhancing its coolness. In MoviePass’s case however, stating that the company is “run by dogs” isn’t exactly what’s needed to assure frustrated customers and shareholders after a tumultuous year of trying and failing to
keep up with huge surges in its subscription base.
answer to the question ‘What Would Martin Scorsese do?’”
With the promise of a movie a day for just $10 per month, MoviePass’s subscribers reportedly neared three million moviegoers at its peak in April this year. If you haven’t kept up with the MoviePass saga this summer during your internship, here’s an abridged version with an update on where it stands today.
July 2018: In late July, MoviePass temporarily went dark because it ran out of money to pay for tickets purchased by customers. It borrowed $6.2 million to get back online.
June 2018: MoviePass executes a one-for-250 reverse stock split of issued and outstanding common stock. MoviePass’s former partner AMC announced its own subscription service, Stubs A-List. For $19.95 a month, AMC customers can watch a maximum of three movies a week, and do not incur extra cost for IMAX at AMC, Dolby Cinema, and RealD 3D theaters. Gotti, starring John Travolta, is released by MoviePass Ventures, its film-financing team, and Vertical Entertainment to widely negative reviews. The mobster film is described by the New York Times as being “the wrong
The outage was then followed by technical glitches, leading its stock to dive below $1 per share on July 30. In an all-staff meeting, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe proposed a price hike to $14.95 per month (from $10 per month) and pulling back on highly popular debuts (including Christopher Robin) from being available through the app. August 2018: On August 15, the price was stubbornly kept at $10 per month, but the company newly announced that it would restrict customers to three movies a month. Previously, it had had an unlimited movie-a-day model which arguably helped reveal a whole new era of moviegoers. After confusingly trying out other temporary tactics,
MoviePass emailed former subscribers letting them know that unless they opted-in they would again be charged for the subscription. The email states: “To be clear, unless you opt out, your unlimited subscription will be restored and you will begin enjoying unlimited movies again... at $9.95 per month, and your credit card on file will be charged on a monthly basis beginning Friday, October 5th, 2018.” Today: In late October, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood began a fraud investigation into MoviePass’s parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics. Underwood is looking specifically for misreported financials and whether the company had withheld key risks to the company from investors. This is coming at a time when MoviePass inevitably needs to raise more funding to continue business. The number of subscribers that MoviePass lost over the summer has not been confirmed. Polls conducted by the National Research Group for the Hollywood Reporter,
MoviePass emails customers on recent firm troubles | MoviePass
however, does reveal drastic dips in customer satisfaction, down from 83 percent “very
satisfied” in April to 48 percent in late August.
With AgTech, the Slow Food Movement Is Gaining Speed By MEGAN CIPOLLINI VP Managing Editor Think “sustainable food” and most likely an image of an overly expensive farm-totable restaurant pops into your mind. Perhaps the $260 multi-course tasting menu at chef Dan Barber’s swanky Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located Upstate and once featured on the Netflix Original “Chef’s Table,” would be the perfect incarnation of this. Or, maybe it’s the intimidating selection of frighteninglynamed, locally brewed beers at that Brooklyn brewpub. Believe it or not, sustainability in the food industry is more than just a trend that increases the presence of hipsters in overalls and farm-style Michelin-starred restaurants. In fact, it’s a growing global movement that has the power to impact not only people on every social strata and in societies worldwide, but also the planet as we know it. Danielle Nierenberg, author of Nourished Planet and
founder of the non-profit Food Tank, sums up the value of sustainable systems in Edible: “[they] are able to efficiently and comprehensively meet the food, fuel and fiber needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet the needs of tomorrow.” For her, though, and many other food activists, sustainability on the environmental side of the equation simply isn’t enough. Nierenberg goes on to say, “Our challenge is to create a food system that is not only environmentally sustainable but also economically, socially and culturally sustainable and that helps ensure that we are nourishing people as well as the planet.” Today, we are putting an enormous strain on our food system. According to research by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, “With population growth coupled with the emergence of a global middle class, demand growth for agricultural goods is accelerating. The UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) projects that demand for food will grow by 70 per cent by 2050, and even more intensive energy, water and fertilizer inputs will be required to sustain yields on a relatively inelastic supply.” Some areas of the world are bearing the brunt of this in their inability to meet that demand. Major innovations in agricultural technology, climate control and distribution will be needed to support the demand. In the US, however, the issue is quite a different one.
subsidy programs that maintain a high production of staple crops like corn, wheat and soybeans. We’re also picky, apparently. In an Instagram economy, it seems, the standards for perfectly formed, unblemished produce have risen, adding extra strain on purveyors of fresh food.
Absurdly, despite the worldwide surge in demand, the US wastes an unfathomable amount of food. A recent article in the Atlantic cited a Guardian report claiming, “roughly 50 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away — some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually, an amount constituting ‘one third of all foodstuffs.’ ”
Massimo Bottura and Dan Barber are just some of the growing wave of celebrity chefs speaking out about food waste and sustainable systems. The Global Citizen reported on how, “In cooperation with Pope Francis, [Bottura] turned an abandoned theatre in a Milan suburb into Refettorio, a soup kitchen that has turned more than 15 tons of excess food into meals for the homeless, working poor and refugees.” Barber’s contribution, among others, is the near closedcircle food system he created at the aforementioned Stone Barns.
We are privileged in the US, comparatively speaking, of course. Food is low cost here. There are many government
The public is catching on, no doubt. According to Food Dive, “Management consulting firm AT Kearney found
78 percent of consumers said they will pay more for local products throughout the store.”
educating, re-branding and applying technology in ways that belie local’s quaint, down-home image.”
This seems to confirm the public perception that local and sustainable options are important to buyers. But how does this increased demand translate to the real world?
Combine the increasing share of the US population living in high density urban areas with the increased consumer demand for hyper-local cuisine, and the answer is a (relatively) simple one: urban farms.
Founder of Agritecture and the sustainability-focused incubator AgTech X, Henry Gordon-Smith, brought up in our recent interview with him, how, “distribution and its negative effect on the quality of produce freshness is a major issue. Consumers are getting more particular and want transparency and freshness. That will require more local farms and improved distribution technologies.” Writer Jeff Wells elaborates on the problem on Food Dive, “As demand increases, everyone from suppliers to distributors and retailers are laboring to innovate a process that, at its core, relies on sourcing a small amount of product from many producers. They’re aggregating, streamlining, investing,
Gordon-Smith highlights the multi-fold purpose of urban farms, stating that, “high tech urban farms reduce food miles and increase freshness. They also produce significant green jobs and can revitalize communities that have been left behind. Community gardens help to manage rain, provide increased food access and often serve as safe spaces. High-end urban vertical farms provide chefs with local produce year-round.” Farm.One is at the forefront of exactly that. With an R&D farm located within the Institute of Culinary Education and a main facility
Continued on Page 4
STERN OPPORTUNITY | STERNOPPY.COM
BUSINESS & MARKETS
With AgTech, the Slow Food Movement Is Gaining Speed Continued from Page 3 underneath the Michelinstarred restaurant Atera in Tribeca, Farm.One has positioned itself as the go-to source for top New York-area chefs looking for local, rare and high quality produce. While Farm.One operates on the upper echelons of cuisine, Aerofarms is the everyman’s. Located across the Hudson in Newark, it’s currently the world’s largest vertical farm and slated to produce two million pounds of produce every year. The tinier the better for companies like Smallhold, which focuses on maximizing space
and efficiency for growing a wide range of edible mushrooms on its minifarms installed throughout the City, whereas for companies like BrightFarms bigger is better. With a series of corporate partnerships, BrightFarms is building and managing greenhouses on roofs, parking garages and empty lots, allowing grocers to grow their own produce directly on site. Let us not forget about the numerous community gardens, in many cases run by volunteers, that are helping not only to localize food production but also to positively impact urban communities. Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint is just one of
them. It hosts a range of volunteer and educational programs in addition to growing the freshest produce on its 9,000 square-foot rooftop.
in need. As its site points out, the company is, “on its way to serve 16 million meals to 100,000 people in the next four years.”
Urban farming is certainly critical to developing a more sustainable food system. However, there are a whole slew of companies that are addressing the issue from different angles. An app called YourLocal, for instance, is fighting food waste by helping consumers locate food that’s about to be thrown out by local sellers, whether they be bakeries, restaurants or supermarkets.
Now that it’s becoming clearer that sustainablyminded consumers are willing to put their dollars where their mouths are, investors’ interests have piqued. Forbes, for example, recently published an article entitled, “How the AgTech Investment Boom Will Create a Wave of Agriculture Unicorns.” Need we say more? The article highlights groups like the Farmers Business Network, Gingko Bioworks, Indigo Ag and Plenty as “redefining the agtech investment landscape”
Replate works on a larger scale, matching corporate food donors to communities
Farm.One uses high-tech systems and smart farming in NYC | The Fern
with “mega funding rounds.” It’s key to have alignment among investors, consumers, farmers and AgTech entrepreneurs for the food industry to not only create high impact, but to be financially feasible.
With enough support, one day we may very well achieve Nierenberg’s lofty goal of a food system that is “environmentally, economically, socially and culturally sustainable.”
Developing Countries Don’t Want Your Clothes Continued from Page 1 of second-hand clothing starts with a consumer donating to charity or recycling at a local drop-off. Of the 25 billion pounds of textiles (including clothing, footwear and bedding) that is produced annually in the US, only 15 percent is donated or recycled. That means that 85 percent of textiles go straight to landfills. For the socially and environmentally conscious who actually donate to charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, 10 to 20 percent of their second-hand clothing are sold by said charities at their thrift stores, generating important revenue for the organizations. The rest are resold to be exported (45 percent), recycled and converted for industrial use (30 percent), recycled into fiber (20 percent) or dumped (5 percent). The majority of clothing, which are exported, are separated, labelled and bound into bales. Flooded by cheap clothing, nascent industries in Africa have struggled to find foothold since market liberalization forced by international
bodies in the 1980s. Since 2015, the six members of the East Africa Community (EAC) have called for action, with a plan to ban worn clothing imports by 2019 in order to boost domestic industries. This year, all of EAC, with the exception of Rwanda, were bullied into rescinding the import ban; the US had pushed back hard on the EAC by threatening to pull back AGOA incentives. According to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), at least 40,000 US jobs and 150,000 not-forprofit jobs would be “negatively impacted” by Africa’s import ban. Not only are jobs involved, but the inability to ship second-hand clothing abroad would put additional pressure on fast fashion companies operating in the US like H&M, who already carries unsold clothing worth $4.3 billion, according to the New York Times earlier this year. Looking back at the past five years, the US has always been the greatest exporter of worn clothing, averaging $662 million in value annually. Over
five years, the US made up 40 percent of the top three exporters of worn clothing. To make up as much export value as the top three, or $8.2 billion, the next ten countries must be summed up. In terms of weight, approximately 4.2 billion kilograms of worn clothing have been moved globally, of which the US contributed the most, at 19 percent. When observing the top three largest exporters by volume, there has been a significant year-over-year increase as of late, at 5 percent growth a year. For EAC members, including Kenya and Tanzania, the AGOA that was signed in 2000 is a crucial trade act that allows 38 African countries to export to the US without facing tariffs. In exchange, US trade, like worn clothing, and investment into AGOA countries face no barriers to entry. Worn clothing in Africa has come to the heavy cost of the domestic textiles industry, which is unable to compete in price. “We used to make [clothes],” a Ugandan retailer of second-hand clothes told Bright Magazine. “But now
there’s this new form of colonialism… they want to bring their products this way, so they cannot allow us [to make our own].” Picking a trade battle with one of the poorest countries in the world, the US has hardly elicited support globally. With US exports to Rwanda last year representing only $66 million out of $1.4 trillion, to pose such a strong backlash to one of the poorest countries where the annual income is $718, hardly seems honorable. Moreover, it’s certainly not the first time that the US is dumping the issue on someone else. Until now, the US has been able to sweep its addiction to fast fashion under the rug by sending its worn clothing to Africa. In plastics, it’s used the same play out of the playbook. Since the early 1990s, about 45 percent of the world’s plastics have been exported to China for recycling. This simple solution came to an end earlier this year when China’s National Sword policy, banning plastic waste from being imported, went into effect.
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To weigh as much as the exports of the top three countries, the next 10 countries must be summed | Analysis by Su-Kyong Park, Source UN Comtrade
The National Recycling Coalition told US News that the US must “fundamentally shift how we speak to the public… [on] how we collect and process” recycles. In reality, a lack of a coordinated national response has meant that recyclables are joining trash in the landfills and the cost of recycling to local communities have been increasing. The plastics issue is one that touches millions of products; not only is it impossible to separate plastic from daily life in the kitchen or the office, plastic microbeads are even found on wash-off products that consumers scrub on their face and then send down the drain to enter waterways. As with many multifaceted issues, consumers have a large role to play. While there is not one actor in the clothing chain who is solely responsible, there is a lot of power with the consumers to make change happen. The clothing cycle starts with the consumer’s demand for fast fashion, where the lifespan of a garment is just seven wears, according to Fashion United UK, a B2B fashion network. With more than half fast fashion products disposed within one year of purchase, according to the Evening Standard, it’s no wonder that H&M, Zara and others have been left to produce, produce and produce. The straight-up ethical answer for consumers is not to buy into fast fashion and invest in clothing that is: meaningfully made, vintage, or made to last. According to Good On You, a shopping app with ethical ratings based a methodology of certifications, international standards compliance and public statements from companies,
Christy Dawn is a brand that is “Great.” Run by a former fashion model in Los Angeles, the brand uses deadstock, or leftover fabrics from other companies destined for the landfills, and transforms them into limited editions of dresses; recently the brand has expanded into sweaters. Another brand that has already thought hard about sustainable fashion is Eileen Fisher, whose Renew program has yet to be as successfully replicated by other brands. In the Renew program, customers bring back their worn clothing and the company either “finds them another home or turns them into one-of-a-kind designs,” using them as “tomorrow’s raw material.” An alternative solution gaining traction is renting clothes. Rent the Runway was among the first online retailers to take on the model, starting in 2009. The market has picked up traction with consumers since then, overriding a social stigma of used or rented items. Who knew that a rental company could hit $100 million in revenue and six million customers? Certainly, this is a sustainable model here to stay. In fact, this year, New York & Co., Ann Taylor and Express became major retailer pioneers to launch a clothing rental service. Raising the issue on the piling market for worn clothing is by no means to berate clothing donors. Rather, it’s to bring to attention the fact that the joy of cheap fashion is a short-sighted purchase decision that lasts decades in landfills in our communities and those abroad.
Blockchain, Academia, and the Class of ‘91
Intrapreneurship, Marketing, and the Voice of the Next Generation
Professor David Yermack joins us in the studio to discuss his career in academia and how his interest in Blockchain began. In a story about staying true to your values, Professor Yermack gives us a glimpse into the worlds of law and business.
Sara Sindelar, Global Experiential Marketing Manager at IBM and Stern alumna, joins us in the studio to discuss her career in marketing and advertising, as well as her path towards becoming an intrapreneur at IBM. In a story about taking initiative and finding your niche, Sara teaches us some key rules for the workplace and the importance of not taking “no” for an answer.
Find the podcasts on iTunes, Soundcloud and at sternoppy.com!
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BUSINESS & MARKETS
Luxury and Retail Face Evolution with Changing Consumer Tastes Continued from Page 1 and Luxury-focused MBA program. With an increasing number of students choosing careers in the luxury and retail industries, the Club’s role — of connecting students, alumni, and industry experts with the goal of achieving education and career advancement — has become increasingly important. The panels and speakers at the conference discussed that while the industry has faced headwinds due in part to e-commerce, major brands throughout the industry have shown how companies can flourish in the new retail environment. The most pressing issue facing retail brands today is the impact of e-commerce on the industry. According to a study by Digital Commerce 360, e-commerce sales have grown from 5.1 percent of total retail sales to 13 percent over the last ten years alone. Moreover, Cowen and Company projects that over 400 malls may close in the next few years, with the majority of the closings being concentrated among Class C and D malls in low-income suburbs. While the all consuming presence of Amazon and other major e-retailers is one reason for the downturn in brick-and-mortar spaces, e-commerce is only one of the factors disrupting traditional retail. In fact, highly curated and bespoke retail experienc-
es, different from traditional retail, are a bigger engine of change in the space. This is true across industries, as brands from Starbucks to Hermès are leveraging their customers’ desire for curation and unique in-store experiences to revolutionize brickand-mortar locations. For instance, Hermès has made clear distinctions amongst their products so only certain items can be bought online. Their famous Birkin Bag, for instance, can still only be bought in stores. Starbucks has taken their traditional storefronts and created three separate offerings for different types of consumers. While the traditional Starbucks Cafe still exists, Reserve stores offer more unique drinks at a higher price point; Reserve Roastery and Tasting Rooms, on the other hand, are geared towards consumers who want a truly unique experience. Even traditional e-commerce brands are moving towards having a physical presence, as brick-and-mortar space occupied by retailers who started online have grown by approximately 1,000 percent since 2012, according to realestate data company CoStar Group. What does this all mean? While traditional department stores such as JC Penny and Lord & Taylor may indeed be facing turbulent times, the demand for brick-and-mortar retail does exist. It has, however, evolved into a desire for
unique, curated experiences. Curated experiences are only one way brands today are disrupting the retail landscape. Bluemercury, a leading luxury beauty retailer whose CEO and co-founder Marla Beck was the keynote speaker at the conference, has become a disrupter by rethinking the way firms classify their employees. Rather than being a part of the traditional, hourly retail workforce, Bluemercury employees are full-time workers with benefits. Beck believes that this has undoubtedly been a strategic advantage for her company, as it has enabled a truly customer-centric mindset to permeate company culture. By having employees be fulltimers, Bluemercury has been able to maximize return on institutional knowledge, as employees remain with the company for longer. This enables employees at each location to build better longterm relationships with their customers, getting to know why they buy the products they buy, and creating a better overall experience for the customers. This then leads to more repeat customers, and better customer outcomes.
Kardashians, emerging brands have been able to quickly and efficiently reach a large number of potential customers. Social media is also a way for brands to highlight their social and sustainable initiatives, which is becoming a more powerful way to differentiate themselves in today’s marketplace. The Retail Industry Leaders Association defines sustainability as “creating financial value while protecting the environment and generating social value, both within operations and along supply chains.” While retailers’ sustainability programs vary widely, the “Social and Sustainable Initiatives” panel during the conference put the spotlight on companies such as The RealReal, Eileen Fisher, and Repeat Roses, who are all leading the way with their sustainable initiatives. The RealReal, for instance, has built their business around a luxury consignment model, where consumers can find 100 percent authentic luxury products that are being resold. This not only opens up the world of luxury goods to new demographics, but also prolongs the lifespan of the luxury attire.
During the “Industry Disruptors” panel, social media was referenced time and time again by panelists as another way for brands to connect with customers.
Eileen Fisher has taken another approach, focusing on reusing otherwise beyond repair fabrics and garments rather than throwing them away.
By partnering with social media influencers such as the
Repeat Roses takes a similar idea and focuses on finding
Left to right: Alison Snyder and Yamila Hernandez (Co-presidents of Luxury and Retail Club), Daniel Paltridge (North America President of Bulgari) and Matthew Burke (External Relations Vice President of Luxury & Retail Club) | Courtesy of Yamila Hernandez
secondary homes for flowers used in weddings and other large-scale events rather than simply throwing them away. These companies, and many others, have found that sustainable practices are not only good for society and the environment but that they offer new and innovative ways to strategically differentiate the brand while turning a profit.
does not signal the industry’s deathknell. As the panelists, speakers, and attendees of the 12th Annual Luxury and Retail Conference showed, it is not an apocalypse but instead, an evolution in the way we think about and manage luxury and retail.
The retail space has undoubtedly undergone a turbulent few years, but that turbulence
Fintech Conference Brings Industry Leaders Together on Blockchain and More By EVAN EISMAN Contributing Writer On October 19, NYU Stern kicked off its third annual Fintech Conference. The conference was co-hosted by Stern’s new Fubon Center for Technology, Business, and Innovation. It was a tremendous success, with 560 people from various industries and geographies in attendance. The emcee was Kathleen DeRose, Director of the Fubon Fintech Initiative and Clinical Associate Professor of Finance at Stern. This year’s theme was “Data Science Disruption in Fintech,” focusing on machine learning, Blockchain implications, data aggregation in financial platforms, and much more. Continuing last year’s tradition, the morning keynote speaker was Matt Harris, Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures. At the beginning of his speech this year, Harris noted: “The venture capital world has discovered fintech.” The industry, once considered nascent and risky, as it
faced an uphill battle to revolutionize deep-rooted banking practices, is now firmly established and growing dramatically. Harris provided a detailed summary of the state of fintech and investment in the space. Following Harris, there was an academic research session entitled “Financial Innovation via Machine Learning and Blockchains.” Stern’s own Professor Hanna Halaburda moderated the session and introduced Bryan Kelly, Professor of Finance at Yale School of Management, who spoke about asset pricing using machine learning algorithms. Next up was Dr. Julapa Jagtiani, Special Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, who gave a presentation on how alternative data and machine learning influence the lending space. Finally, Lin William Cong, Assistant Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, spoke about how Blockchain and smart contracts
are disrupting traditional finance. After the first research session, there was another academic session focused on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto-assets that was moderated by Stern’s resident crypto expert, Professor David Yermack.
School of Business took the stage to speak about trading crypto assets. Just before lunch, speakers from four up-and-coming fintech startups took the stage to give brief demonstrations of their companies’ products. Katya Chupryna, Chief
The industry, once considered nascent and risky, as it faced an uphill battle to revolutionize deep-rooted banking practices, is now firmly established and growing dramatically.
Professor Yermack gave a presentation on his joint research with Professor Sabrina Howell on how ICOs are becoming increasingly popular means of fundraising for entrepreneurs. Stern’s professor Yannis Bakos followed, speaking on how platforms use tokens (or crypto assets) to promote adoption. Lastly, Professor Katya Malinova from McMaster University DeGroote
Strategy Officer at Thinknum, showed how Thinknum’s platform enables investors to get data-driven investment ideas through company websites. Uday Akkaraju, the founder and CEO of Bond.AI, used an Amazon Echo device to demonstrate his platform’s innovative “Empathy Engine” and AI-driven personal financial advice. Following Uday was Laura Kornhauser, President and COO of Stratyfy, who showed
how Stratyfy employs prescriptive analytic solutions to generate more accurate risk assessment for banks and insurance companies. Ending the session was Michael Sanford, Senior Vice President of Dream Forward, who showed how his company’s product can help a massive audience generate greater savings for retirement. During lunch, conference attendees were given the opportunity to mingle with startup founders, investors, and experts in various fintech verticals at 25 “table topics” set up outside the auditorium. The Patron’s Lobby was bustling with discussions on cryptocurrency regulation, Blockchain’s impact on global supply chains and how technology is upending insurance. In the hour following lunch, Bloomberg reporter Julie VerHage moderated a panel focused on the rise of data aggregation and alternative data in fintech. The panelists were Nicholas Wood, Co-founder and Head of Product at Trident (formerly Lead Product Manager at Addepar); Alex Picos, VP of Enterprise Data Services at PayPal; Derlen Chiu, VP of Data Operations at Quovo; and Alisa DiCaprio, Head of Global Trade Strategy and Research at R3. All four panelists came from different areas within the broad fintech ecosystem, but it was obvious that data was a unifying topic that profoundly impacted each of their careers. Stern’s own Professor Foster Provost moderated the next panel titled “Using Alternative Data for Credit Assessment and Payment.” The panelists were Alberto Corvo, CEO at Motive Labs and Senior Founding Partner at Motive Partners; Joseph Breeden, CEO at Prescient Models LLC; and Eric Starr, Partner at CapX Partners. The conference was capped off with a closing keynote from Adrienne Harris, Chief Business Development Officer and General Counsel at States Title and former Special Assistant to President Obama. She spoke about financial health and inclusion. Her speech illuminated how technology can reduce financial stress but also warned of the problems we must consider as we enter into a world where machines are the decision-makers.
Left to right: Moderator Julie VerHage and the panelists Alisa DiCaprio, Nicholas Wood, Derlen Chiu and Alex Picos discuss the rise of data aggregation and alternative data in FinTech | © NYU Photo Bureau: Slezak
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STERNIES RUN NEW YORK
Capturing the Thrill of the New York City Marathon The Stern Oppy caught up with several of Stern’s champions both before and after the race to hear their thoughts on tackling the New York City Marathon and what motivates them to take on the challenge. For those particarly curious like us, find their insider tips on how to stay on top of all the competing priorities while being an MBA candidate.
ALANE TRAFFORD STERN RUNNER Working full time and going to school part-time means that I have a very limited window of time each day to run so, I have to budget it very strictly, and stick to that schedule.
PRE-RACE Setting the goal of running a marathon was part of a greater effort to make a significant change in my life — I quit drinking, started studying for the GMAT and started at Stern,
and trained for a 5K. When I began in 2016, I couldn’t run for more than half a mile without stopping.
POST-RACE The NYC marathon was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I came in under my goal time and crossed the finish line with a smile. My favorite part was seeing friends and family
meaningful to me — a tangible reminder of how far I’ve come, and how far I still have to go (though not literally — I’m never running more than 26.2 miles.)
On November 4, if all goes well, I will finish 26.2! It will be extremely
along the course, but the most memorable moment was when I entered Central Park at Mile 24. I trained there, so that was the moment I knew I would finish the race. Through this
whole training process, I told myself and others that I would never run another marathon, but now I don't know! I'm looking at entering the lottery for Chicago in 2019.
DANIEL HEINRICH STERN RUNNER Everything is about balance. Juggling a part-time MBA while also training for any race is difficult and requires a lot of discipline and sacrifice. The organization and efficiency you learn during school translates into a training program perfectly. And, I really enjoy training and long runs as a time to destress and relax, which can really help with everything going on!
PRE-RACE I’m running the NYC Marathon with one of my best friends. I’m excited to run with him, but also to run [through] all the boroughs and experience the energy of the fans and the whole city.
I run and train for races all around the city, so it’s pretty powerful to actually run one of the world’s largest top six marathons, right here in our backyard.
POST-RACE It was amazing. #itwillmoveyou is real and the energy from the crowds was incredible the entire time. It also gives you a real appreciation for the city, you really see everything! I ran with a friend dressed up as Mario
and Luigi, mustaches and all. We thought this would be cool, but didn't realize how much other runners, fans and even ourselves would get into it. Kids, adults, men, women, everyone cheered for us! Mario
and Luigi are pretty much as universal as it gets, and it brought the energy. It was so much fun interacting with everyone and hearing the cheers along the way.
KELLY WALL STERN RUNNER Being an MBA student while training for the NYC Marathon has made me a better runner by helping me to prioritize my time.
PRE-RACE I’m looking forward to hearing the crowds on 1st and 5th Avenues. I’ve heard they really encourage you to keep moving toward the finish line. I also have friends and family who will be cheering and waiting for me at different parts of the course, so I’m looking forward to seeing them and giving them giant hugs midrace.
POST-RACE It went really well! I spent the entire weekend with my family attending Marathon Breakfasts and Dinners hosted by New York Road Runners and munching on carbs. The race itself was humbling. After four months of training, it was a privilege to be racing on that day
healthy and without injury. I was surprised to see how much the cheers from the crowd encouraged me to keep going. When I was running over the bridges, it was dead silent since fans weren’t allowed on them. Every bridge was a mental battle to keep my legs mov-
ing forward! The highlight of the race was getting to the mile markers where I knew my family and friends would be. Seeing them and giving them large hugs encouraged me to keep going even when I very much wanted to quit.
BEN GOMILLA STERN RUNNER I think running and getting my MBA have both taught me to just push through being tired. Every time I think I need rest, I just work through it and get it done.
PRE-RACE Everything I’ve heard about from friends who have run is that there is so much energy in the air when running. I’m looking forward to being a part of the whole experience. This race is a culmination of almost 2 years of hard work
and early morning workouts. In terms of fitness I kind of let myself go a few years ago and decided to turn it around in January 2017. I never could have imagined I would be running a marathon two years ago and am excited to cross that finish line for the first time.
POST-RACE The last couple of weeks were a bit rough for me. I ran the Staten Island half in October and got a stress reaction in my right tibia. My orthopedist and physical therapist advised me to drop out, but I was very adamant that I had
to run. When I got to the village the energy of race day was everything I had heard about. It was unreal. Waiting for the gun to go off at the Verrazano Bridge, I thought maybe my leg had miraculously healed and I wouldn’t feel anything.
However at Mile 12 it started radiating through my right leg and getting worse. By Mile 17 I was seriously struggling. And Miles 20–26.2 were probably the most pain I have ever felt in my life. But I finished. It wasn’t the time
I was hoping for (4:58) but I finished. I do have a stress fracture now so I can’t run till at least January but it was worth it. Despite the pain, I was in awe of the whole event and happy I got to be a part of it.
CHRISTINA BOHN STERN RUNNER I think the grit you need to train for a marathon is similar to that you need to attend school while working full time — you have to stick to your schedule and plan ahead. Lots of coffee and lack of sleep. I think it is also the skill of being able to push yourself past your comfort zone.
RUNNING EXPERIENCE My relationship with running has had its ups and downs throughout my adult life — I signed up for cross country in high school because I hated running but I wanted to like it. I ran a few 5K’s in college but really became a distance runner postundergrad. The first
week of my full-time job post-grad, I signed up for my first Half Marathon — the Philly Half. A random fact? I once attended a wedding after running 15 miles and somehow managed to keep my heels on the entire time!
PRE-RACE I’m really excited to be out on the marathon course, seeing parts of the city I’ve never been to before, seeing other runners achieve this incredible accomplishment. Last year I was able to stand at the finish line and seeing everyone’s face as they crossed the finish,
[and this is] what really inspired me to sign up. The marathon means a lot to me because I am running with Fred’s Team—an organization dedicated to fundraising for cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center.
A very close family friend received treatment there and my best friend is a nurse there — so I feel really strongly connected to MSK. Also, my mom is a cancer survivor so I am running in her honor with this team!
ERIC TILSON STERN RUNNER Being an MBA student has showed me that I can handle more than I thought possible and that I can manage the unexpected challenges that come with committing to a long-term goal. I bring this mindset to my marathon training every day.
PRE-RACE [I’m most anticipating] the audience of friends, family, and colleagues who promised to come out and cheer me on. I stopped running races for good after an injury on my high school track team. Training for
this race also brings me back to those days of racing. My proudest running accomplishment is my training for the marathon so far. My choice to push to complete the marathon this year was a difficult one.
[My favorite running memory is of] running 20 miles from the Upper west side of Manhattan to Coney Island and celebrating with Fred’s Team teammates.
POST-RACE The marathon went well! I knew my pace for 20-mile training runs and stuck to it for 26.2 thanks to a truly electrifying crowd. I felt that I was a part of the New York City spirit more than on any other day!
ABBY HOROWITZ RANDOM FACT I used to run a bit as a kid. My family would get together every year and do a five-mile run on Memorial Day weekend. But I started running more seriously about 8 years ago.
I am proud of the first (and only) marathon I completed. I ran the Disney Marathon in 2012. It took me almost six hours and it was one of the most painful things I’ve ever done.
I cried when I crossed the finish line. I was basically a non-athlete before I took on that challenge, so accomplishing something I was fairly certain I could never do was really rewarding.
PRE-RACE Everything I hear from everyone I know who’s run [the NYC Marathon] is that the energy is infectious, the crowds cheering are amazing, and that there’s nothing quite like it. I’m excited for it all.
POST-RACE I’m alive! I did it! My friends and family who came out and cheered were amazing. I was apprehensive that I’d wind up walking some of the race, but everyone told me to trust the training,
and somehow or other I pulled it off, plus or minus one possibly sprained foot. The actual details of the run are sort of a blur to be honest, but the Chinese food I ate afterwards was excellent.
Marathons might be a once-adecade type endeavor for me — I think I’d like to stick to getting faster at shorter distances — but I’m so glad I got to [experience] New York’s firsthand.
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Midterm Elections 2018: A Tale of Two Chambers Continued from Page 1 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators) was ratified in 1913. The Democrats were further bolstered by a slew of Republican retirements, which accounted for 23 of the 41 GOP-held seats with no incumbent on the ballot. On the Senate side, even the most heavily contested incumbents in “Trump states” could be defended, while at least a couple of new ones seemed likely to be picked up. So what was the actual result? Certainly not the aforementioned wave of epic proportions. Consistent with midterm history,
the Democrats posted a net gain of 33 seats in the House, enough for a majority. More than half of them were in reliably Democratic states, with some local surprises scattered in Republican ones. In the Senate, however, Republicans posted a net gain of at least two seats (possibly three as of November 13, but the Florida race is undergoing a mandatory recount given the slim <0.5 percent margin), expanding their majority in the chamber. Notably, despite some inaccurate polling that predicted otherwise, Senators Heitkamp (D-ND), McCaskill (D-MO) and Donnelly (D-IN) were unable to outlast their Republican opponents, while Senator Heller (R-NV) was defeated
by his Democrat opponent. Compared to the previous three administrations, the outcome was somewhat predictable and relatively tame. President Obama lost 63 in the House and six in the Senate in 2010. President Bush gained eight seats in the House and two in the Senate in 2002. President Clinton lost 52 in the House and eight in the Senate in 1994. Even the widely popular President Reagan lost 26 House seats in 1982. This election cycle did yield a record number of women elected to the 116th Congress (123 versus the previous 112), including the first female senators from Tennessee (Blackburn, R-TN) and Arizona (Sinema, D-AZ).
There was enhanced diversity across the board; the first openly gay man was elected governor (Polis, D-CO), and an array of Native American, South Korean, Hispanic and Muslim candidates were also elected to office.
Politically, however, we did not learn anything on November 6 that we did not already know. Politically, however, we did not learn anything on November 6 that we did not already know. Significant partisan divides exist in our government and our society, and both the Democrat and Republican sides have simply built upon their existing strengths in the elections. Compromise is a rare commodity in Washington D.C. these days, as displayed in the bickering and partyline votes that often yield a result that half of the country disapproves of. Open and thoughtful dialogue in society and on college campuses is often dismissed in place of targeting, labeling and silencing under the guise of political correctness and an infinite knowledge that “deplorables” could not possibly understand. Technology and interconnectedness, both good friends and formidable foes, exacerbate the divides as we are constantly exposed to information, opinions, and even misinformation and fake news. There is simply no way to avoid politics.
The “blue wave,” while a reflection of American sentiments, was not an extraordinary result in itself | New York Times
With a divided Congress and absent any compromise however, we will
likely not see significant progress on the key issues voters are most concerned about, including healthcare, immigration and the economy. Proposals made in the Democratic House will likely hit roadblocks in the Republican Senate. Democratled House committees threaten to further investigate President Trump and his administration, potentially pursuing impeachment, although such actions would be more distracting than justifiable. Without cooperation from Congress, President Trump will likely seek further Executive Orders, while much of his existing agenda remains intact. Elected officials are already talking about seeking out Trump’s tax returns and protecting the Mueller Special Counsel investigation, even though many of us would undoubtedly prefer cheaper healthcare, a more sound immigration policy, or perhaps an infrastructure bill to fix our inadequate water systems, airports, bridges, roads and subway systems. In New York, our sky-high taxes and increasing transportation fares are paying for less adequate services. That, right there, is a bad deal. While Congress is poised to be gridlocked, unable to meaningfully shake up the status quo, we have a roaring economy and stock market, more competitive corporate tax rate and a stronger stance on foreign policy and our alliances. Mix in some bipartisan accomplishments and greater civil discourse among US citizens and perhaps, someday, all aspects of America will truly become great.
Political Survey at Stern Reveals an Actively Engaged, Diverse Campus By JAMES PRAGER Contributing Writer With the recent November midterm elections, campus has been abuzz with get-outthe-vote campaigns and political energy. NYU President Hamilton’s September email urged students to vote and raise turnout above 2016’s 47.8 percent. At Stern, each block of first-year students worked to drive voter engagement through the Motivote competition. And, of course, pundits in the always-active media speculated themselves into a fervor in the run-up to Election Day. Blast in a couple of beers and a long day of presentations and it’s hard not to stumble into a political discussion. When chatting among friends and classmates, it is easy to assume everyone at NYU is on the same political page. Campus Democrats take it for granted that everyone around them was pushing for a “blue wave” during the recent election. The campus sits in the bluest neighborhood on the bluest island in one of the bluest cities
in the country. This is the campus, after all, that protested Henry Kissinger and successfully blocked several far-right speakers in recent years. Everyone agrees we’re “Stronger Together” here, right? Hold on, a conservative classmate might interject. NYU Stern is an MBA program, an arena of the neo-conservatives. Students of business bedecked in dark suits vie for jobs in traditional careers at the most august banks and consulting firms. Several members of the Trump Administration are ex-Goldman Sachs. Bain co-founder and Republican Senator Mitt Romney proves that MBA + MBB = GOP. Is either group correct about the political makeup of Stern’s student body? As an institution that prides itself on diversity and inclusion, it would be surprising if Stern were a political monolith. To find out if NYU purple is truly a blend of red and blue, the Stern Oppy created a survey and polled the student body about their political beliefs. 279 of our classmates
from the full and part-time MBA classes of 2019 and 2020 answered questions on their political perspectives, their career ambitions and their feelings about the political environment at Stern. THE PARTY LINE(S) Most respondents expected Stern to lean left, and several explicitly described the environment as “super liberal.” One male student from the class of 2020 predicted the survey would be “homogenous, not very diverse.” The results indeed confirm that the student body leans left, with 68 percent of respondents preferring to vote for the Democrats.
that ex-bankers end up in Republican administrations — banking and finance boast the highest percentage of right-wing students, at 35 percent compared to consulting’s 20 percent.
Over 25... students (or nine percent) explicitly stated that they do not feel their views would be accepted by their classmates.
However, the landscape is definitively not homogenous. Over a quarter (26 percent) of the students either prefer the GOP (19 percent) or regularly swing to support them (7 percent). And a non-negligible contingent of our classmates vote for third party candidates (6 percent).
Tech and marketing are both dominated by liberal surveytakers with over 80 percent each. Yet, it’s important to note that no group was completely homogenous. Even among those pursuing a career in the nonprofit space, 10 percent of students prefer a third party to the Democrats.
Additionally, the survey found that political party preferences vary across career ambitions. It is no accident
THE ENVIRONMENT Regardless of political leanings, Sternies feel very engaged in politics — over
two-thirds of the students rated themselves a seven or higher for political engagement on a 10-point scale. Almost all of the survey respondents voted in the midterm elections. But not everyone agrees on Stern’s level of political engagement. One female Langone student commented that the school is “less engaged than expected.” Another woman from the class of 2020 “would love for us to be more vocal about championing causes and specific issues as a community.” Which causes to champion would be up for debate. The top issues and concerns vary widely among the Stern community. Surveyed Democrats were most concerned about immigration while Republicans ranked the economy as their highest priority — but there was a lot of overlap. Arguably the most important issue to surface in the survey was not a policy issue. Many students, especially those on the right, expressed frustration that they could not express their views at Stern. One Republican student said: “I feel like it’s almost unsafe to be an outspoken Republican, even if you aren’t a supporter of Trump (where I fall). I feel like outright Trump supporters are ostracized altogether. I rarely share my politics with people I don’t know well, fearing I’ll be branded as backwards in some way, which is somewhat shocking in an MBA program.” He’s not alone. Over 25 other students (or nine percent) explicitly stated that they do not feel their views would be accepted by their classmates. Although the majority of these students lean right, several liberal students were among them as well.
The sample of 279 Sternies from Election Day depicts a range of political sentiments on campus | Analysis by James Prager, Source Stern Political Survey
On the other hand, it’s worth noting that several students expressed admiration for the diversity of views they encounter at Stern. As one swing voter from the class of 2020 commented, the environment is “left-leaning but most people are open to opinions from all [and] supportive.” In the end though, there’s a clear top priority on student’s minds. As one
respondent put it: “Honestly, we don’t talk about anything other than recruiting.” STERN SPEAKS OUT The survey revealed a lot about Sternies. Although the majority of us lean left, the student body is far from being consistently blue. Stern, indeed is a community consisting of all backgrounds and political leanings. All career tracks attract diverse viewpoints, and no group here is entirely homogeneous. Despite the fact that many people feel uncomfortable expressing their views, it is clear that there are many people here willing to listen. And rightly so. One of the main selling points of Stern is IQ+EQ. A critical part of emotional intelligence is the willingness to listen to views that challenge your own and respond thoughtfully and with compassion. We practice these ideals each day, whether in class discussions, late night study sessions, or alumni networking missions. We’re not red, blue or green when we gather during Stern Speaks to listen to and support our classmates’ stories, free of judgment or political agenda. We are all purple. Methodology: The survey was distributed via email on Election Day to all students in the Stern MBA class of 2019 and 2020 as well as to all current part-time Langone students (total three target groups). These three mailing groups approximately made up a third of survey respondents each. Respondents targeted a wide range of industries with consulting and banking representing 58 percent of the survey takers. Women comprised 38 percent of the respondents, approximately proportionate to the gender breakdown reported by the school. Based on NYU Stern Admissions’ data online, we conjecture that the survey has captured more than 10 percent of all students from the aforementioned groups. We welcome any feedback regarding the survey and how it was distributed. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for any comments.
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POLITICS & ON CAMPUS
Populism: Back from the Margins of Global Politics By SU-KYONG PARK Editor-in-Chief The return of populism to the forefront of global politics isn’t a shift of world order but does mark a turn in modern history. The world has seen a surge of populist activity in recent years, threatening to undermine democracy and liberalism in its best philosophical sense. The world must be reminded, however, that populism sniffs the air for fear and rides the tide against the existing mandate. As Winston Churchill said: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Back from the margins of the political spectrum, populism relies on the same issues and same types of voters from history, and liberalism is tested once again. Since the 2016 presidential elections, the White House has brought populism and nationalism front and center of American politics, dividing the country and raising questions about the future of government as we know it. Equally dramatic is the state of affairs in Europe, where the far-right have increased hold in politics, from the Netherlands to Italy. In fact, there are more than 40 political parties described to be populist in Europe. Populist authoritarians are already very much in power in Hungary, Italy and Poland, and have posed threats elsewhere. In France, for instance, the far-right National Front’s Marine Le Pen had captured a third of the vote against the now-elected President Emmanuel Macron. Even in the Netherlands, the anti-Islam Freedom Party became the second most powerful seat-holder in parliament.
In Latin America, the newly elected Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro is populism’s most recent hallmark. With a comfortable 55.2 percent share of the vote, Bolsonaro beat his center-left opponent using rhetoric such as his slogan: “Brazil above everything, God above everyone.” Not only is Bolsonaro outspokenly anti-LGBT, cares little about women and minorities’ rights, plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and weaken environmental regulations, he also vocally supports the military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985 when political adversaries were tortured and murdered. If Bolsonaro brings someone to mind, know that Bolsonaro became a successful politician by modeling after one person in particular. Steve Bannon has taken the populist model he shaped in President Trump and has been globe-trekking like other celebrities, attending fan meetings, delivering speeches and interviewing with the press. Being fired from the White House and Breitbart last year have given Bannon new life. Bannon’s foundation to unite Europe’s far-right parties called the Movement is ironically based in Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union (EU) and flurry of diplomatic activities. Through the Movement, Bannon hopes to support Euroskeptics and populist groups ahead of the May 2019 parliamentary elections by providing policy and strategy advice, polling, and data analysis. Populists today generally seize upon Islam and migration, two topics that “animate many conservative voters,” according to the New York
The rise of populism in Europe requires a multi-faceted dissection | World Economic Forum
Times. As a result, populist parties have called for more than 30 referendums on issues such as refugee relocation; most effectively disruptive has been the Brexit referendum in the UK. “The EU is based on compromise through diplomacy and [turns] political issues into technical ones,” the World Economic Forum stated. “[…] Referendums do the opposite, by politicalizing technical questions.” So, what is populism? Bannon attempted to answer this during the recent Munk Debate, which brought on the motion “Be it resolved, the future of western politics is populist not liberal…” What Bannon, an expert of circumvention, couldn’t answer, his liberal opponent, David
Frum, said best: “It always begins by subdividing the people… some of the people are not ‘the people,’ they are ‘those people.’ Populism begins by dividing the country between ‘those people’ and ‘us people.’” According to Quartz, several key points that makes Trump text-book populist include the following: “division of society into two camps, ‘the people’ and ‘the elites,’ the rejection of culture and knowledge in favor of instinct, the promotion of polarizing views, [and] a contempt for judiciary, military and political powers.” Often spoken in the same breath with populism is fascism, which simply, is against democracy and is generally in favor of a one-party
dictatorship, or a totalitarian state. Benito Mussolini was one of the first leaders of this political ideology prominent in early 20th century Europe during World War I. Nationalism, on the other hand, in its purest definition is political independence in a country, often associated with patriotism. In its extreme form, it’s anything but that. As President Macron stated on November 11 during the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I: “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism… By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others’, we erase the very thing
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Co-founders Share How Stern Ink Shapes Experiences in and out of Stern By ANTHONY RUSS VP Relations Welcoming the first cartoonist of the Stern Opportunity, we have co-founders Wilson Keng (MBA Class of 2020 and Stern BS ‘13) and Patrick Lee (Stern BS ‘13) sitting with us for an exclusive interview on Stern Ink. Anthony Russ: How did you two meet? Wilson Keng: We met each other during orientation of freshman year. We were actually in the same cohort (Go Midtown!). During a required cohort community service event, we were assigned to paint the same bench in Central Park. I made a side pun about the NYU Dormitory mascot Housey, a purple-house shaped character, saying “I guess this guy will make us feel at home!” Patrick was the only one who laughed. Everyone else walked away.
We knew then that, somehow, we would need to use our humor to make bad puns and generally make our classmates feel uncomfortable. AR: Tell us what gave you the inspiration and whose idea was it? WK: One day during lunch, I was chatting with a student from Tisch who said he had a great idea for a business (who knew Wilson had friends outside of Stern?). Naturally, I was curious, and asked what the business was. The Tisch [student] said, “Sorry, I can’t tell you. We haven’t gone public yet.” The next day, I told a few friends the story and Patrick mentioned it would make a great comic strip. Seeing a potentially profitable venture, I exhibited core Stern leadership values by delegating all of the creative work to Patrick with a reasonable
one-hour deadline. Patrick overdelivered and came up with both the name of the comic and drew the first strip. Thus, Stern Ink was born in under 90 minutes and the first stick figure came to life. Over time, the rest of the team was assembled to draft, distribute, and market the comic strip. Stern Ink was founded because the team believed that life at business school was often unnecessarily serious with recruiting, the infamous Stern Curve, and the general craziness of being a college student. Our goal was to bring humor into the everyday lives of our fellow Sternies by satirizing Stern culture and global current events. AR: How were the comics initially received on campus? WK: Over its two-year run, Stern Ink gained traction
across the university, with nearly 700 students on the email list at its peak. It was featured in the inaugural Stern undergraduate newspaper, the Gould Standard, and the broader university blog, NYU Local. In fact, the Stern Ink team was even interviewed for the NYU television channel. Stern Link took about a month to formalize. We had to decide on a cadence of the comic, build a backlog of ideas, and finalize the different characters (including Stern Guy, College of Arts & Science girl, and our mascot — Bear Stern á la Bear Stearns Investment Bank). AR: How has the Stern Ink experience helped you in and out of school? WK: Stern Ink was sort of a miniature venture that we had the chance to experiment with. I learned of the hundreds of small decisions related to running an orga-
nization that isn’t typically covered in business school. For example, how does one go viral? Do you offer the chance to take submissions and how do you delegate management of a shared email inbox? How do you negotiate whose comic gets featured next? All of these different questions helped me to appreciate the details of setting up a new initiative, particularly the difficulties of having to constantly produce creative content. My personal philosophy is always to be open to new experiences and opportunities. Stern Ink is one example of a fun, lowstakes endeavor that I can look back on with pride, that my team and I created something that made people happy. It has also been a great conversation piece and my go-to for the “one interesting fact about yourself question.” Maybe that was
actually the main reason… PL: Other classmates started to have high expectations on my drawing abilities and students actually approached me to work on other comic projects at NYU. (I like to joke my name is Patrick Lee, not Stan Lee). It was great to see, for the first time, my classmates come up with their own creative ideas. We would chat in class and in the hallways about funny conversations we overheard and how those could be made into comic strips. On a more serious note, I think Stern Ink helped me think differently to develop my improvisational skills to come up with humor on the fly, which has helped me deal with friends, family, and clients at work. AR: Wilson, you’re back at
Continued on Page 10
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Find out more on www.sternoppy.com Become a Trip Leader for the undergraduate International Studies Program (ISP) in Copenhagen, Lima or HONG KONG!
COMPENSATION $3,600 Teaching Fellow for the Spring 2019 semester plus travel stipend TRAVEL March 17-23, 2019 with 200 students and Trip Leaders
POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES • Attend class and get to know the students • Help with course development and administration • Grade exams and assignments • Liaise with companies in-country where students will be making a strategy presentation • Guide students on their strategy projects to prepare for a school-wide competition
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Digital Technology Changes the Game for Emerging Economies By ANTHONY RUSS VP Relations
importers are probably the most vulnerable.” Spence warned that asset managers in particular must be aware of this, as overvalued currencies can be especially dangerous. If certain economies must dip into their reserves to hold up the value of their currency, it would only be a matter of time until the value of the said currency is destroyed by short sellers.
A diverse group of students from diverse backgrounds engaged in a thought provoking Fireside Chat with Nobel Laureate Professor Michael Spence and Professor Thomas Pugel on October 3. During the event, which was hosted by the Emerging Markets Association, Spence shared the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on the dynamics of information flows and market mechanisms. Currently, Spence is a William R. Berkeley Professor of Economics & Business at Stern, while Pugel is a Professor of Economics and Global Business whose research focuses on international industrial competition, with an emphasis on market structure, strategy, and performance, and on government policies toward international trade and industry. After reminiscing about their time together at Harvard as Ph.D. students, Spence shared his views on the current upside trends and challenges facing key emerging markets. While emerging markets weathered the first few years of the financial downturn relatively well, they have begun experiencing trouble in recent years. While some economies, such as India, are still experiencing large growth, many emerging economies today are squarely sitting in the middle. Both professors made sure to caveat that while not all emerging markets are the same, and pressures facing these economies have shifted towards a few major trends. Now more than ever, the transition of global economies is heavily dependent on two main drivers: technology and shifting policies. For emerging markets stuck in the middle of the growth curve, and especially for those without a wealth of natural resources to fall back on, this is advantageous. Both professors believe that over time, we will see more micro-clusters of technology businesses, akin to the Silicon Valley, springing up in these markets. The growth of these microclusters will be driven by increasingly powerful digital technologies what will impact major industries. In particular, innovative technologies focused on addressing our climate crisis by reducing carbon intensity energy consumption could be a major driver of economic growth in emerging markets. This
Not only is digital technology key for economies, it is crucial for developing ones to come up the curve | Unsplash
is despite the fact that, as Spence pointed out, climate change does not weigh heavily on economic indicators of the emerging countries. A potential confounding factor in the growth potential provided by digital technologies are their increasing prevalence in military applications. Digital technology is increasingly becoming a crucial component of offensive military operations rather than solely being used for defensive, cyber security applications. Both professors theorize that this will lead to more regulation, which may limit the growth potential as different nations pursue different modes and levels of control. For example, they stated that China will continue to have much more regulation on digital technology than Europe.
Now more than ever, the transition of global economies is heavily dependent on two main drivers: technology and shifting policies.
Despite its highly regulated tech industry, China is encouraging its digital technology to be the best in the world, with its Made in China 2025 plan. Already, funding within the Chinese technology sector is on par with that in the US and funding for medical innovation in particular has exceeded that of the National Institutes of Health, the largest medical funding body in the world. Chinese investment has also branched out to other emerging markets, where its foreign direct investment
will continue flow as long as global opinion towards China remains strong and policies do not become restrictive. Unsurprisingly, the United States, in particular, wants to fence in China’s growth in the military technology sector. Technology and the potential regulations it faces are not the only drivers of growth for emerging markets, as changing global policies have the potential to make an even greater impact.
This was recently echoed by Bloomberg, which pointed to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes as a driving force behind the shockwaves hitting emerging markets. Furthermore, Hak Bin Chua, senior economist at Maybank Kim Eng in Hong Kong, stated that “emerging markets that are over-leveraged on U.S. dollar debt and large oil
Former US executive director at the IMF and current US chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum Mark Sobel echoed similar sentiments, warning that “emerging-market risks will likely be confined to idiosyncratic cases, but the potential for contagion is there,” according to Bloomberg. Both professors concluded the Fireside Chat with their views on emerging economies that they felt were on the path to success and other crucial factors that would help them achieve success.
Spence, as he felt the government’s policy agenda balanced regulations with a focus on fostering independence in the market. He also felt that certain markets in Latin America were going to be impacted more by the growth of their larger neighbors (Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina in particular) than by any internal actions the government could take. Pugel, on the other hand, was emphatic in his belief that education was the most important factor in an emerging economy’s fight for growth. China and South Africa were the two historical examples he used, as they both were able to surmount the vast education gap amongst their citizens to create impressive growth. On the other hand, Pugel felt that India could do more to bridge the education gap of its citizens, which, in his opinion, would lead to more growth in the future.
Indonesia struck a chord with
Nationalism has emerged as a dominant narrative in a number of countries, best illustrated by the ongoing US trade conflicts with rivals such as China and even with allies like Canada. It is the competition between the US and China, however, that could shape the future of the world’s economic landscape. It remains to be seen how the two economic behemoths will balance cooperation and competition; the outcome has the potential to make or break a number of emerging markets. Pugel reasserted that it was not just the US’ policy on China that is of importance to emerging economies, but its policy regarding rising interest rates. Raising interest rates in the U.S. has multiple subsequent effects outside the country. Countries such as Turkey hold large amounts of debt in foreign currencies, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has offered Argentina a loan package with conditions that will be difficult to meet regardless of an increase in interest rates. Spence added that while contagion effects, or the spread of market changes or disturbances from one regional market to another, have declined over the years, raising interest rates may lead Turkey down a similar path as Argentina.
Sternies Take on the Italian Riviera, Sailing in Fourth to Beat Wharton Flip to the last page for colored photos from the sailing trip overseas By IVANKA MISILO Contributing Writer On a late September afternoon, along the turquoise Italian Riviera, the Stern Sailing team raced to a 4th place victory in the SDA Bocconi MBA’s Conference and Regatta, held between September 27-30.
cultivate personal and professional relationships and gain new perspectives during the three days spent alongside fellow sailors from
How it all broke down: 52 crews from 26 schools participated in the regatta, totaling over 450 MBA students from around the
globe. The race was divided into three unique categories: cruising, offshore and open. First place winners in the three categories were MIT, London Business School and INSEAD. Sailing a J80 competitive class boat, Stern came in 4th place overall in a photo finish victory over Wharton.
26 teams from the world’s top business schools competed in the three-day race held in Santa Margherita Ligure. It was the 15th annual regatta organized by the SDA Bocconi School of Management and Yacht Club Italiano.
Since its recent inception, the Stern Sailing group has faced many challenges, from the wide ranging level of sailing experience of its members to its limited budget and difficulty in organizing team practice. But the team’s strong leadership and unified team dynamic have helped overcome these challenges to successfully compete on foreign waters.
This year, the regatta was focused on sustainable marine economy, in partnership with One Ocean Foundation. In addition to the sailing competition, the conference held on September 29 promoted “The Role of the new Leaders for the Blue Economy: Saving the Ocean for a Smart and Sustainable Growth.” The regatta provided Stern’s sailing team the opportunity to
prestigious international schools like Harvard, INSEAD, London Business School, Wharton, MIT and Dartmouth.
Back on terra firma (for now), Stern’s sailors continue to create an open environment for people of different skill levels who are interested in building a network on waters. View from the sailboat | Courtesy of Ivanka Misilo
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ALUMNI & ON CAMPUS
Alumna’s Award-winning Studio 189 Focuses on Fashion Sustainability By TIFFAINE STEPHENS Contributing Writer
the last time Stern had the chance to speak with you.
Coming hot off of a successful New York Fashion Week (NYFW) production, alumna Abrima Erwiah (Stern BS ‘04) is gleaming with optimism and excitement for the future. Abrima’s startup, Studio One Eighty Nine, was born in the desire to enact change with fashion rooted in deep culture, history and tradition.
AE: We just wrapped up our NYFW show, and got a lot of positive feedback so that was exciting! Things have been moving pretty rapidly. Right now, we’re focused on scaling the business by introducing tech to innovate the value chain process. Earlier this year, we were awarded the CFDA x Lexus Award for our focus on fashion sustainability, and it allowed us to take our ideas to another level. We’re looking forward to more collaborations and special projects in the upcoming year.
Since its beginning in 2013, the fashion start up has received global accolades and support as it creates a movement to fashionalize our society and give new meaning to socioeconomic and political transformation. We had the opportunity to catch up with Erwiah to learn more about the origin of Studio One Eighty Nine and the future. Tiffaine Stephens: Abrima, thanks again for catching up with us. I know it’s been a busy season for you.
TS: Are you following the fashion show trail? AE: Definitely. We have shows scheduled for Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria. We’ll also be receiving the Hank Award in the UK in November and one at the National Museum of History in New York in October.
Abrima Erwiah: Of course.
TS: So tell us how Studio One Eighty Nine started. What was the spark?
TS: So, tell us what’s been going on with Studio One Eighty Nine since
AE: I always had an interest in heritage and craftsmanship, specifically
in the fashion industry. After Stern, I started my career in fashion marketing and continued to grow within
to feel like it wasn’t enough. In 2013, we launched the first collection in honor of One Billion Rising, a movement and call-to-action to end violence against women.
“[Fashion] can be an agent of change... the future needs to be rooted in humans again. I like to call it ‘fashionalizing,’ rising for change.”
TS: How would you define the Studio One Eighty Nine brand and how is it evolving?
- Abrima Erwiah
the field. Before the founding of Studio One Eighty Nine, I oversaw marketing for brands like Bottega Veneta and worked as a marketing mentor for the Afripads/Kering Foundation. This opportunity taught me about social enterprise. I was invited by Rosario Dawson to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to observe micro-economies throughout the country. The point was to listen, watch and learn, and use the platform that already exists to further help people within marginalized communities. It all started as a volunteer project, but I started
AE: We are a fashion for social change brand that provides a farmto-consumer, handmade product. We are continuing to show that fashion is not just “fluffy.” It can be an agent of change because it’s social, economic and political. This is why the show was so successful because the future needs to be rooted in humans again. I like to call it “fashionalizing,” rising for change. TS: Why did you decide to start the business in Ghana? AE: There were a number of reasons we focused on Ghana. For one, my heritage is Ghanaian. At the time of business inception, it was [ranked] seven out of the top 10 fastest growing countries in the world when using GDP as a measurement. It was safe and served as a base for other countries nearby. From a financial standpoint, the technology and
creative industries were growing and contributing to the economic growth of the country. We wanted to contribute to the growth, while changing the way people think of a product coming from a specific country. TS: How did Stern prepare you for this venture? What should other students take advantage of during their time here in business school? AE: Take advantage of the network! People at Stern are innovative, hard working, and clever, and I learned from that. Through cultivated relationships at Stern and afterwards, I was able to contribute more to the business. [For undergraduates,] I would recommend Stern International Volunteers, which encourages future business leaders to go to developing economies to learn about other cultures and to apply their business sense in that area. Stay up to date on Studio One Eighty Nine by following the brand’s Instagram @studiooneeightynine and sign up to be notified on the website relaunch at www.studiooneeightynine.com.
Introducing our very first cartoonist STERN INK Stern Ink’s mission is “to depict life at NYU Stern ranging from business to everyday life in a humorous fashion...” Find more of their creative initiative at wwww.sternink.tumblr.com
Co-founders Share How Stern Ink Shapes Experiences in and out of Stern Continued from Page 8 Stern for your MBA. What specifically drew you back to get an MBA? What are your goals afterwards? WK: I decided to pursue an MBA as sort of an option, to have a degree that could help further my career and at the same time, give me a chance to explore other career opportunities. I was formerly a consultant aligned to M&A and am now looking to go into more general management consulting (but am also open to interesting corporate or technology company roles). Additionally, having some work experience really helped guide me towards classes on areas I wanted to know more about.
AR: Has your first semester given you more creative ideas? WK: The first semester has been very busy between balancing all the different classes, recruiting, clubs, remembering people's names, asking for coffee chats, doing coffee chats, and repeating this list every week. Over time, I'm starting to understand some of the very "MBA" aspects of the culture, which I think would make great comics in the future. For example, the whole coffee chat registration process, networking circles and Amity Hall would all make great Stern MBA jokes. Of course, some aspects are timeless, particularly recruit-
ing and generally living in the Stern buildings (and pizza at all the club meetings! Seriously, Joe's Pizza should just rename themselves “Stern Pizza”). AR: Stern Ink took off in your undergrad years. Since then, how have you been able to balance content creation while working a full-time job and now, while pursuing an MBA? WK: At the end of my undergrad, the team and I tried to recruit new Sternies to take over the comic and continue the strip. Though we were able to find a few guest artists to contribute, it was a struggle to find a team who would be willing to take on the responsibility. Additionally, we tried to create a network of comic
strips at other business schools through their school papers (i.e. distributing to those school papers or finding contributing artists), but it appeared our supply of jokes exceeded demand and that avenue didn't pick up traction. Lastly, we had talked about creating a new post-college comic strip to satirize work life, but ultimately decided against it (our strategic analysis of the market concluded that Dilbert has the market covered pretty well already). At the end, my friends and I decided to end creating official new comics and just share jokes among ourselves. We did, however, decide to keep our social media accounts active for people to visit some of our older work and hopefully
Left to right: Co-founders Patrick Lee and Wilson Keng, and teammates Sahil Aggarwal, Sharik Chowdhury, Andrew Lee and Winston Tan (not pictured, Anthony Beshay) | Courtesy of Wilson Keng
keep people laughing in the years since graduation. At the Stern Opportunity, we admire your commitment to Stern Ink. Building continuity and keeping the passion alive are difficult
when faced with reality — work and the school life! Keep up the great work and we hope to see original content develop through this medium.
Dispatches from the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge: Getting Woken with Serwetz By MEGAN CIPOLLINI VP Managing Editor It’s been a month since our last dispatch, but we’re just revving up now for the real start of the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge. What’s that, you say? Didn’t we cover the
start of the event in October’s issue of the Stern Oppy? Indeed, the deadline for entry was early October, but submissions for the first round of judging were just last week. Soon, the gavel will officially come down, weeding out
the runner-ups from those who are destined to move their way up the ranks. In the weeks since registration, there have been a bounty of bootcamps and coaching sessions, on topics ranging from design research to
developing market opportunities, which provided pre-competition support to the all-tolled 750 applicants from 16 schools across NYU’s global campuses. The W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab, which hosts the event every year, doesn’t want to take any chances on unprepared applicants. After all, there’s $300,000 in cash prizes at stake. So what was the deliverable for the first round? The Opportunity Summary, a mammoth 15,000-character overview with an optional video, gave participants the chance to illustrate their value proposition, target customers and research insight to a judging committee at the Lab. One of the hundreds of hopefuls who just submitted her summary was Rachel Serwetz, founder of the app Woken. Of the three tracks — social, tech and new venture — Serwetz went with the latter. A Human Development major at Binghamton University in New York, Serwetz has a formidable academic and professional background in Human Resources. For her, starting a career app was a no brainer.
Serwetz is pursuing the New Venture Track in this year’s $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge | Courtesy of Rachel Serwetz
Serwetz is no stranger to startup programs, having done a series of them, including Designation, the NYU Steinhardt Edtech Incubator
StartEd, the Leslie eLab sprint and the Tacklebox Accelerator. In these programs, she’s had the chance to begin development on her company Woken, which targets, as she put it in a recent interview with the Stern Oppy, “people who have opportunities and potential but aren’t productive because they’re picking the wrong route.” She’s hoping to find a solution for what she calls the “job-hop epidemic.” Having said that, she’s really in the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge for the later stages of the competition where she can hone in on testing her concept and developing a competitive strategy for her business. She insists that “it’s important to test your assumptions, and there’s only so much you can do by having conversations. . . the goal for Woken right now is to finish the early draft of the MVP so it can be ready to test with people.” She’s looking forward to the high-stakes quarter finals in December, when the live pitch portion of the competition will commence. Be sure to stay tuned to future issues of the Stern Oppy to hear more from the intrepid NYU entrepreneurs hoping to make it big.
STERN OPPORTUNITY | STERNOPPY.COM
Stern’s Romer Is the Economist of Ideas and Now a Nobel Laureate Continued from Page 1 an easy elegance to his thought. Stanford Professor of Economics, Chad Jones, sums it up: “Here is the key insight: ideas — designs or blueprints for doing or making something — are different from nearly every other good in that they are non-rival. Standard goods in classical economics are rivalrous — as more people drive on a highway or require the skills of a particular surgeon or use water for irrigation, there’s less of those goods to go around.” The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, responsible for awarding the Nobel Prize in Economics, emphasizes the impact of Romer’s work: “The theory is both conceptual and practical, as it explains how ideas are different to other goods and require specific conditions to thrive in a market. Romer’s theory has generated vast amounts of new research into the regulations and policies that encourage new ideas and long-term prosperity.” Jones, who also works for the National Bureau of Economic Research, goes on to say that, “[Romer’s] 1990 paper is a watershed. It stands as the most important paper in the growth literature since Solow’s Nobel-recognised work.” But his work does not stop there. Despite his recent recognition for purely academic achievements, Romer is no stranger to the real world. He’s had a meandering career — from researcher to tech entrepreneur, (when he started up and then sold the education app Aplia) to Chief Economist at the World Bank, and now back to academia. These experiences all emboldened Romer to seek even more practical applications for putting his thoughts into action. During the Fireside Chat, Marron went on to point out that Romer, once poached from Stanford to
teach here at Stern, had the distinct advantage of getting to “combine a distinguished research institution with a vibrant city.” In other words, there was no better place to test his theories than at NYU. And, it’s at the Marron Institute, as well as within the Urbanization Project at Stern, which Romer founded, that the economist currently finds his most rewarding outlet. Within these organizations, Romer has pushed forward research and has created real impact on topics and in geographies around the world, including air quality in Mexico City, bus service in Brooklyn, and human rights in infamous high-security prisons. He has a team that regularly goes to locations like Sing Sing to collect data from inmates — not exactly an armchair brand of academia! Romer is a strong believer that cities make us smarter, and he’s made it his mission to pursue paths for the intelligent development of modern cities. In the abstract from his own 2014 paper entitled “Urbanization as Opportunity,” he states, “Urbanization deserves urgent attention from policy makers, academics, entrepreneurs and social reformers of all stripes. Nothing else will create as many opportunities for social and economic progress.” In the aforementioned work, he contrasts differing examples of successes like New York City and Shenzhen, the Chinese city that links Hong Kong to the country’s mainland, as proof for how powerful human intention can be. In examples like these, Romer hones in on what’s generalizable about successful cities and uses his findings to create a blueprint for urban development. Despite Romer’s acknowledgment that the world may never again bear witness to a political environment that would allow for the type of major city re-planning Baron Haussmann undertook in the mid1800s in Paris — which despite its small size, is a model city — he
strongly believes in implementing the maximum feasible amount of city planning. He adds that when cities experience unplanned, disorderly growth, expensive retrofits are often required. In undeveloped areas that are blighted with planning difficulties, he advocates for a “Burning Man-approach.” That is, as he put it in the Fireside Chat, “put stakes in the ground where the next round of development needs to happen -- you can’t camp where there are stakes in the ground.” Research that the Marron Institute is conducting in Colombia, where it’s drafted the “Colombia Atlas of Urban Expansion” in partnership with the country’s National Planning Department, is important in demonstrating this approach in action. As Romer insists, “talking about it in the abstract just doesn’t do it.” During the Fireside Chat, Dean Raghu Sundaram acknowledged the importance of research like this but provoked Romer by saying, “how do we get policy makers to pay attention?” Romer did not skip a beat. “Facts always trump theories,” he insisted. To that point, it will be of increasing importance to not only invest in research that benefits mankind, but to continuously test it out in the real world in order to obtain irrefutable results that aid policy makers in their decisions. As a fitting call to action at the end of the Fireside Chat, another Stern Nobel Prize-winning economist, Robert Engle, pushed Romer on the topic of the importance of investing in innovation. Using a transportation analogy fit for a modern city, Romer underlined: “It is our responsibility to steer innovation rather than just step on the gas.”
Top to bottom: The room stands to applaud Romer on the award; Romer fields questions from a student during the post-talk networking session; Romer stands with his distinguished peers | © NYU Photo Bureau: Goldman
Populism: Back from the Margins of Global Politics Continued from Page 8 that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values.” Populism first appeared in the US during the 1890s when the rural Midwest and South created the Farmers’ Alliance to voice discontent with the existing establishment on crop failures and falling prices. Since then, the term populism has been applied broadly. Academically however, political scientist Cas Mudde’s description of populism as a “thin ideology” is increasingly being accepted. Being
“thin,” populism is “merely… a framework: that of a pure people versus a corrupt elite.”
“Populism is simply a new way to imagine capitalism without [the] harder edges [of globalization]; a capitalism without its socially disruptive effects.” - Slavoj Zizek
Existing cases of populism around the world show that
the same issues attract voters. Earlier this year, Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement received 32 percent of the general election’s vote, doing particularly well in the south where chronic unemployment was rife and voters felt marginalized. Back in the Brazilian example, Bolsonaro was elected during a time in which seven out of ten Brazilians reportedly had no trust in any political party, according to Time. Today’s global political landscape is, needless to say, far different from the stability found during the post-World War II era, during which Western governments were
either center-right or centerleft.
capitalism without its socially disruptive effects.”
major center parties were waning.
What tipped the scale is largely due to globalization; like an unexpected growth spurt, the freedom of movement of people and goods, have brought on economic and social disruptions.
Following President Maron’s statement on Armistice Day, where President Trump was noticeably absent, Chancellor Angela Merkel stated: “Close international cooperation… is the only way to overcome the horrors of the past and pave a new future.” It was a straining plea for politicians to meet in the middle, knowing that as a center-right, she would not be in the same political capacity come 2021.
The resurfacing of populism in the global arena is certainly not temporary. It’s a wake-up call for the political center to “reinvent and reinvigorate… and defend liberal democracy, pluralism, and globalization” as stated by the Conversation.
Displacement of tradition, income inequality and largescale immigration have led to insecurity. To this point, the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, in a recent interview with the Economist, put populism in today’s context quite accurately as: “populism is simply a new way to imagine capitalism without [the] harder edges [of globalization]; a
Two weeks ago, Merkel announced that she would not be seeking re-election, signifying that far-right populists were gaining traction while
Populism, as history has told it, is not a sustainable model. While currently a method of choice for discontent, being “thin” hardly gives it much back support for the longterm.
STERN OPPORTUNITY | STERNOPPY.COM
ON CAMPUS & SPORTS
Sternies Take on the Italian Riviera, Sailing in Fourth to Beat Wharton
The regatta provided... the opportunity to cultivate personal and professional relationships and gain new perspectives... alongside fellow sailors from prestigious international schools. Back on terra firma (for now), Stern’s sailors continue to create an open environment for people of different skill levels who are interested in building a network on waters.
Join the Stern Oppy as we celebrate the November issue and the holidays! Get an alert about the gathering by becoming a member on CampusGroups. In line with our expanded political coverage in this issue, we quote John F. Kennedy: We must find the time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives. And so, we thank you! Happy Thanksgiving.
Your Sports Team Here
The lead went back and forth between Gotham and Stern, but ultimately, Gotham snatched victory in the penultimate play of the game, 22-17.
We may not have been at the game, but we still want to hear about it, the good news and the bad.
The 10/14 match started on a damp morning on Randall’s Island. Though the team sustained several injuries from new players, Megliola, Caldwell and Gordon carried the team forward by winning crucial scores.
Let us pencil it in.
Send our very own sports-maniac VP Finance Erich Grant a note with a tweetlike update at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send us your match dates and we’ll make sure our readers know about it. Have a bigger turnout to support the team, then share the results with the Stern Oppy!