Tag: MasterCard

Musicians without borders at Mastercard event: Greece and Olin.

Musicians without borders at Mastercard event: Greece and Olin.

Musicians connected across hemispheres, from a stage in Greece to Frick Forum at Olin Business School. Students examined the first purchases ever made by refugees in Lesbos—thanks to Mastercard technology.

These scenes and others were part of a heartstring-tugging, space-bending event hosted Oct. 12 throughout Olin’s atrium. During the event, the technology company used its worldwide support of refugee services to demonstrate the power of its technology—and encourage students to give the company a look as they complete their business school education.

Mastercard memorialized the event and WashU’s place in it with a three-minute video that outlined the program and its connection with students, technology, and refugees halfway around the world.

“How can Mastercard compete with tech companies like Google for top tech and engineering students?” the narrator says at the video’s opening. “We decided to play by our own rules and set out to make students not just see, but feel the impact they could make at Mastercard.”

The event opened with a four-minute film about the refugee crisis in Lesbos and how prepaid card technology helped provide resources to refugees. Students could stroll the Olin atrium and view an exhibition entitled “My First Purchase,” showing some of the purchases refugees there had made with the help of Mastercard technology.

Later in the event, students watched a concert live-streamed from Greece, overlaid with performers in Frick Forum accompanying the musicians across the sea.

“I felt like I was almost in Greece on the other side,” said one student.

The event closed with a panel discussion featuring Nina Nieuwoudt, Mastercard’s vice president, product management; Michael Fracarro, Mastercard’s chief human resources officer; Kelly Joscelyne, Mastercard’s chief talent officer (and the program moderator); Todd Milbourn, Olin’s vice dean; and Edgar Aguilar, Mastercard’s executive vice president, information technology and human resources.

“We’re keeping families together even when they’ve been torn away from their home country,” Nieuwoudt said.




ICE Week 2017

For Mike Bynum, MBA ’19, the final celebration of ICE Week on Wednesday afternoon was both exhilarating and bittersweet.

After a grueling, five-day marathon of case descriptions, business research, preparation, and case presentations, he was happy to have a plate of hot food and a drink in his hand, surrounded by his classmates and the three members of his team—his partners for the entire semester.

“But it’s also a little nostalgic,” he said. “I’m realizing that I’m working with the team one last time. We had gotten into a rhythm.”

Bynum and more than 140 other first-year MBA students participated in ICE Week—short for “Integrated Case Experience”—from Friday through Wednesday, a 17-year tradition at Olin. After final exams and before departing for winter break, the students put their heads together, solving real-world problems for real Olin business partners.

The "best of show" winning team from ICE Week.
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Disrupting partner businesses

This year, Monsanto and Amazon paired for one deceptively simple, yet agonizingly complex case: Disrupt Monsanto’s business using Amazon’s natural language processing and artificial intelligence in marketing and customer strategy. Presented on Friday, students worked through the weekend toward their Monday presentations.

Monday afternoon, MasterCard came to the plate with a second challenge: Propose products or services that would effectively increase the demand for digital money and open opportunities for largely cash-based customers to participate in the financial system. With only Tuesday to prepare, students gave their presentations Wednesday morning and early afternoon.

Patrick Moreton, Olin’s senior associate dean for graduate programs, said the five-day competition is a chance for students to step outside the somewhat artificial realm of the cases they’ve seen in the classroom.

“Classroom cases are more retrospective. They’re an effective teaching technique, but they’re not the real world,” Moreton said. “We bring in the outside companies so the stakes are higher. This is a chance for students to work on the kind of problems you might get at work.”

For the students, those “high stakes” include knowing they’re essentially auditioning for some top employers looking to fill summer internships. The partners get to see Olin students in action, gauging their analytical and presentation skills. Moreton urged the more than two dozen judges to consider a simple question as they evaluated the presentations: Could I give it to my boss without changing it? That might be a perfect presentation.

Corporate benefits

For the partners, it doesn’t hurt that they get 30 sets of eyes offering new perspectives and fresh insights on their business. Even if one presentation doesn’t jump out, the aggregated effect of multiple team presentations could uncover new ways of considering their problems.

For Monsanto, student ideas to “disrupt” its business included:

  • A software platform to aggregate farmers’ field data, Monsanto proprietary data, and third-party information to customize recommendations for farmers as they planned their annual seed and supply orders.
  • A user-generated social networking platform for farmers to share best practices using artificial intelligence to integrate ideas with outside data and elevate the most promising suggestions.
  • Another software platform using field and laboratory data to transition Monsanto away from corn and soy products—which largely support crops that provide feed for animals—to a business that moves toward more vegetable-based diets and lower protein diets.

Student suggestions for MasterCard included a plan to test an expansion of point-of-sale devices at retail locations in Mexico to expand the capacity of card-based cashless commerce and a proposal to reduce or eliminate digital payment fees to incentivize merchants to encourage them.

Winners

ICE Week organizers and the corporate partners raved about the high quality proposals they saw from students in both cases. They selected a runner-up and a winning team for both cases and a “best of show” team for the overall competition. Winners get a chance to make their presentations at Monsanto and MasterCard in front of senior leadership, as well as tour the companies and learn more about the business.

Monsanto case winners also got an Amazon Echo.

Monsanto-Amazon Case: Kavon Javaherian, Neha Lankadasu, Kyle Lee, Ana Mihaila (runners-up); Camden Civello, YoonJin Hwang, Takashi Otsuka, Meredith Owen (winners).

MasterCard Case: Camden Civello, YoonJin Hwang, Takashi Otsuka, Meredith Owen (runners-up); Greg Brown, Maitrayee Goswami, Junho Kim, David Paquette, Ariel Washington (winners).

Overall Winners: Greg Brown, Maitrayee Goswami, Junho Kim, David Paquette, Ariel Washington.




Ajay Banga, President and CEO of MasterCard recently joined Olin Business School Dean Mahendra Gupta and students for a wide-ranging discussion on the evolution of credit cards, experimental payment systems, and cashless societies.

Mr. Banga took time to answer students’ questions and encouraged them to pursue their passions. Hear excerpts from the discussion and students’ reactions to the CEO’s frank and illuminating talk about the future of payment transactions.

Prior to joining MasterCard in 2009, Mr. Banga was chief executive officer of Citigroup Asia Pacific responsible for all businesses in the region, including institutional banking, alternative investments, wealth management, consumer banking and credit cards. He joined Citigroup in 1996 and held a variety of senior management roles in the United States, Asia Pacific, and the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. He was also responsible for Citi’s brand marketing and from 2005-2009 oversaw its efforts in microfinance.

Photo credit: NoHoDamon, Flickr