Tag: Undergraduate

Timothy Solberg working on a terminal along with Dean Mark Taylor under the guidance of Bianca Simonetti, Bloomberg

Olin’s Al and Ruth Kopolow Business Library debuted a new finance learning lab equipped with eight Bloomberg terminals and a large screen for the group. The project was three months in the making as workers renovated and rewired a room just inside the library’s entrance and equipped it with new furniture.

Dean Mark Taylor made an appearance to inspect the new lab on January 24 and mused aloud about the massive difference in today’s trading volume—and the size of individual trades—from the time he started as a market professional decades ago.

Madjid Zeggane, database analyst at Kopolow library, spearheaded the logistical work required to create the lab. He said Olin has 12 Bloomberg licenses and consolidated eight of its terminals into the new lab to facilitate collaboration among students and create a better training environment for a tool almost universally embraced by financial managers.

“Companies like to know students are trained on the Bloomberg,” said Timothy Solberg, professor of practice in finance and academic director of the corporate finance and investments platform.

He said the students who won the prestigious Quinnipiac finance competition nearly a year ago could have benefitted from the new lab because they could have easily uploaded the university portfolio they were managing and worked jointly, collaborating on their analysis.

“This is the way professionals do it,” Solberg said. The school conducted its first group training in on the terminals the morning of January 24.

Bloomberg terminals are sophisticated, text-intensive, multi-screen windows into real-time data about financial markets, news, stock quotes and other related information. In addition to the eight terminals in the lab, Olin has two laptops equipped with the Bloomberg software, another desktop terminal in Bauer Hall and another in the main library space.

Pictured above: Timothy Solberg working on a terminal along with Dean Mark Taylor under the guidance of Bianca Simonetti, Bloomberg’s account manager for the St. Louis area.

Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel presenting his keynote address at Olin

Some disagreed on the way to fix rising prescription drug costs. Others differed on the priority non-medical social interventions should receive in the healthcare system. Others didn’t see eye-to-eye on the medical efficacy of expensive proton beam therapy in treating cancer.

But one theme drew universal agreement in Olin Business School’s healthcare symposium, a Calhoun Lecture Series event held on January 23: The US healthcare system is broken, bloated and bound for change.

The morning-long symposium drew a standing-room-only crowd of students, alumni, local industry leaders and faculty that spilled from Emerson Auditorium into Frick Forum to hear two panel discussions, plus a keynote address from industry rock star Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, whose credentials extend from private sector medicine to government policy and into medical academia at the University of Pennsylvania.

Emanuel launched his talk by noting that US spending on healthcare—$3.5 trillion in 2017—was greater than the total GDP of several major global powers, including the United Kingdom. Then he shared the “single most depressing slide about American healthcare,” graphing healthcare spending from numerous developed countries against the life expectancy of their residents.

“We are spending a huge amount of money and not getting any return on it,” Emanuel told the audience, showing how the United States has “fallen off the curve” against countries such as Japan, Switzerland and Australia, who spend considerably less on healthcare, while their residents live much longer.

Still optimistic about change

The problem, Emanuel said, is a chronic case of wasted spending on unnecessary procedures, inefficient care and “pricing failures” that reward providers for the wrong outcomes. Yet through it all, he said, “I’m wildly optimistic about the American healthcare system. And the reason is California wine.”

Mary Jo Gorman, board member Curavi Health, moderated a panel with Mike Kaplan, founder Altos Health; Blake Marggraff, CEO Epharmix; and Michael Kinch, associate vice chancellor at WashU.

Mary Jo Gorman, board member at Curavi Health, moderated a panel with Mike Kaplan, founder of Altos Health; Blake Marggraff, CEO of Epharmix; and Michael Kinch, associate vice chancellor at WashU.

He referred to the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” a first-ever blind taste test in which California vintners shocked the wine world by prevailing over French wines. The lesson: US innovators can do anything they set out to do.

“Every country is looking to the United States for innovation in financing and innovation in care,” Emanuel said. He cited four areas of focus that would move the industry in the right direction.

  • Value-based payment or bundled payments. Rather than the existing “fee-for-service” model, bundled payments would put patients and insurers on the hook for a “unit of care”—e.g., a hip replacement—with the costs integrated and later divvied up among individual providers. The model would incentivize providers to better coordinate care and cut unnecessary costs.
  • Deinstitutionalization and shifting care. Years ago, Emanuel said, the United States saw about 171 hospitalizations for every 1,000 patients. That’s down to about 103 in 2017. “We’ve shifted a lot of our care and we’re going to shift more of it out of the hospital,” he said, and those changes include the trend toward “minute-clinics” in drug stores and the reduced reliance on physicians in favor of nurse practitioners, physician assistants and virtual medicine.
  • Chronic disease management. Eighty-six cents of every dollar spent in healthcare is spent on on chronic disease management. Emanuel cited the example of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, where half the population is afflicted with diabetes. The community has developed specialty clinics and aggressive outreach to the community. “The key to care management is active outreach—not waiting for them to show up sick.”
  • Behavioral health integration. “We have been isolating psychiatry ‘over there.’ Records are different. Billing is different. Bad, bad mistake,” Emanuel said. “You can bring down healthcare costs by treating co-morbid depression and anxiety” that accompanies many physical disorders.

Other interventions

After Emanuel’s talk, the audience heard from two separate panels, the first looking at “disruption in treatment” and the second focusing on “innovation in delivery methods” for healthcare. Below are a selection of moments from the program.

On the social impacts to health. Blake Marggraff, CEO of Epharmix, spoke about an incident involving a review of patients suffering from chronic respiratory disease. “There were some conversations that turned from, ‘Are you breathing OK?’ to ‘Sure, yes, but I’m also having trouble paying my rent this month.'”

Bart Hamilton, Olin's Robert Brookings Smith Distinguished Professor of Economics, Management & Entrepreneurship, moderated a panel with Mike Long, CEO, Lumeris; Steve Miller, CMO, Express Scripts; and Sandra Van Trease, group president, BJC Healthcare.

Bart Hamilton, Olin’s Robert Brookings Smith Distinguished Professor of Economics, Management & Entrepreneurship, moderated a panel with Mike Long, CEO, Lumeris; Steve Miller, CMO, Express Scripts; and Sandra Van Trease, group president, BJC HealthCare.

On technology and the need to better engage with individual patients. Mike Kaplan, founder of Altos Health, spoke of working with a “company that developed software allowing physicians to reach out individually to patients. The patients were engaging in this conversation with the physician and we were able to catch things earlier—lack of return to functional status, pain issues, infections.”

On drug prices. Emanuel said government regulation was the only solution. Steve Miller, chief medical officer at Express Scripts, said it could come to that, but there are intermediate steps that could allow the market to work. “Americans will try everything before they’ll try the right thing,” he said. “I’m a big believer in market-based solutions to drug pricing. The science is spectacular; the question is, is America willing to pay these prices.”

WashU’s Michael Kinch was a bit more blunt: “The pharmaceutical industry is the most efficiently self-immolating industry I’ve ever seen,” said Kinch, associate vice chancellor and director of the Center for Research Innovation in Business at the Institute for Public Health.

On spending: “America doesn’t have a money problem, it has a waste problem,” Miller said. “Healthcare is a tax on every single product in the country. When it’s 18 percent of GDP, everything is being taxed…America wants personalized care at public health prices.”

On access to healthcare: “Only about 50 percent of Americans have a primary care physician with whom they work,” said Sandra Van Trease, group president, BJC HealthCare. “Many receive care via phone—so developing trust happens differently. Being consumer-centric in how we create access is key.”

Mike Long, CEO of Lumeris, threw down the challenge for the next generation of business school students and medical professionals. “We have such a tremendously flawed system,” he said. “I’m hoping young people commit themselves to working in healthcare because they’re mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.”

Pictured above: Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel presenting his keynote address at Olin’s healthcare symposium on January 23. He is vice provost for global initiatives, the Diane S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Clockwise from top left: Anne Marie Knott, Anjan Thakor, Dennis Zhang, Andrew Knight.

Give everyone in your startup organization a voice, but not necessarily a vote. Watch the companies with a high “research and development quotient.” Discover purpose and foster a purpose-driven workforce. Learn how to mitigate racism in the sharing economy.

These snippets of wisdom were among the guidance four Olin Business School faculty members offered at a Century Club event on January 24. The TED talk-styled event drew a standing-room only audience to Emerson Auditorium as the four professors shared ideas about “making business better” drawn from their research. (Missed it? Watch the recorded live stream of the event.)

Olin visitors, alumni and students heard from Andrew Knight, professor of organizational behavior; Anne Marie Knott, Robert and Barbara Frick Professor of Business; Anjan Thakor, John E. Simon Professor of Finance; and Dennis Zhang, assistant professor of operations and manufacturing management. Dean Mark Taylor described the slate of speakers as “an A-team of talent” in the Olin faculty.

Andrew Knight: “Effective Leadership for Startup Teams”

Knight threw the audience a curveball as he described a hard-driving, entrepreneurial, often abrasive, black-turtleneck-wearing, innovative executive. No, he wasn’t talking about Steve Jobs. He was talking about Elizabeth Holmes, now disgraced founder and former CEO of defunct blood-testing firm Theranos.

“This grandiose leadership style is not necessarily an ingredient for building a successful startup company,” Knight noted, citing his and other research in the field. “Your first act of leadership is building a team.”

“Entrepreneurs develop strong feelings of psychological ownership over their companies,” he said. “When we have ownership over something, we’re motivated to invest in it.”

But Knight contrasted psychological ownership over a firm with collective ownership: “If you don’t have a ‘we,’ you can’t have an ‘ours.'” The key, however, is for startup leaders to understand how to balance systematic “help-seeking” with the need to offer explicit and effective guidance on where the contributions from other team members are needed—and where they’re not.

“The most effective leaders are ambidextrous,” he said. “On the one hand, they give people a voice, but a voice is not a vote.”

Anne Marie Knott: “How Innovation Really Works”

Knott offered a startling slide: Let a $1,000 investment in the market ride from the early 1970s until today and the value will have risen to nearly $80,000. But roll that same investment year-over-year into companies with a high “RQ”—a measure of the return on R&D investments—and you’d have returned almost 10 times as much.

Her deep dive into the value firms place on R&D spending came as she looked at Nobel-prize winning research on the primary reasons for growth in the economy—traditionally increases in the labor pool, the quality of labor and the availability of capital.

“When you think of Nobel theories, you think they’re remote, they have nothing to do with me,” Knott told the audience. “I want to convince you that you play a role in this.”

In fact, one of the greatest predictors of corporate growth is RQ, a creation borne of her research and featured last year in a Harvard Business Review cover story.

“Where does growth come from? Historically, economists believe it came from growth in the labor force, growth in the quality of labor and capital. But those three things only account for 37 percent of growth,” she said. “The role of knowledge is to make you more productive with any level of capital and labor. And where does knowledge come from? It comes from R&D.”

Knott tracked GDP growth along with R&D spending and found a corresponding rise in both in the 1950s, while she found a decline in R&D spending in the 1980s that never picked up. The conventional wisdom says R&D has just gotten harder.

“I’ve developed a more optimistic explanation. My explanation is that companies have gotten worse at R&D,” she said. “That may not sound more optimistic, but you want me to be right.”

Anjan Thakor, “Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization”

“The first question I get when I talk about higher purpose is ‘what do you mean?'” Thakor told the audience. One of his best definitions came simply from the story of an employee at The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia.

Short version: A relatively low-level employee took the initiative to drive eight hours on behalf of hotel guests who had left their clothes at home. For the longer story, check out Thakor’s piece on Live Mint.

“When we talk about higher purpose, it’s really a pro-social contribution,” Thakor said, summing up his research and a recent HBR cover story. “It’s the intersection of purpose with your business decisions. It’s deeply connected with your business. It’s about who you are and where you came from, but most importantly, where you’re going.”

Businesses have risen from ruins because of their ability to recognize and capitalize on purpose, Thakor said. They have excelled and grown. But they don’t do it at the expense of making a buck—a point that aligns well with Olin’s brand promise: We create values-based, data-driven leaders who are prepared to change the world, for good.

“Pursuing a higher purpose cannot be a charity,” Thakor said. “It’s key that whatever higher purpose you come up with, it has to be authentic—and it’s discovered. It’s not invented.”

Dennis Zhang, “Discrimination in the Sharing Economy”

Lyft. Uber. AirBnB. They’re market leaders in the sharing economy and almost everyone has heard of them, even if they haven’t used them. And as Zhang pointed out, most everyone has heard that they’ve been plagued by charges of discrimination and racism—charges virtually unheard until around 2016.

Since then, Zhang and his research partners have looked at the reasons and, through their study, found solutions. The basics are derived from earlier research that says discrimination is more likely to happen when we don’t know enough about the individuals we are working with. The more we know, the less we discriminate.

“People discriminate not because they’re inherently racists, but because they do not have enough information about each other,” Zhang said. “They base decisions on group averages. So what’s the solution? To provide more information about individual (AirBnB) guests.”

Indeed, he found in an experiment with AirBnB, using newly created (and fictitious profiles), hosts tended to accept significantly fewer accommodation requests from people with African American-sounding names—28.7 percent versus 47.8 percent for requests from potential guests with “white” names.

However, add a single positive review from another host and the difference virtually vanishes. “When we have a positive review, things change,” he said. “Acceptance rates dramatically increase and stabilize around 58 percent.”

Pictured above: clockwise from top left: Anne Marie Knott, Anjan Thakor, Dennis Zhang, Andrew Knight.

Emily Pitts

“Stop tip-toeing around these difficult topics,” said Emily Pitts, principal of diversity and inclusion at Edward Jones, as she began her Women and Leadership talk.

Pitts has been in the financial industry for 33 years and as an African American woman, it wasn’t difficult for her to recognize that the industry isn’t historically diverse. Pitts’s drive and ability to overcome adversity was striking and admirable. Her passion for the finance space was tangible as she reflected on her time at Edward Jones.

Even still, she sees room for change.

In order to raise the company’s awareness on issues of diversity and inclusion, Pitts first had to open up about her past struggles within the workplace. Pitts shared with her boss the brutal incidents of racism that had affected her at work. Her unbelievable honesty and vulnerability created a launching pad into her diversity role.

Pitts wasn’t satisfied with just sharing her own experience. She wanted to change the face of the company.

She urged the company to discuss difficult topics that people are often “tip-toeing around,” such as how men and women interact in the workplace, how employees can be their authentic self, and the reality of visible and invisible barriers at work. Pitts believes that breaking into these difficult topics is the first step toward change.

However the conversation doesn’t stop there.

Pitts managed to create a cross-cultural development program. Edward Jones noticed that it was attracting diverse talent, but having trouble retaining employees. Pitts had the answer: With this new development program, Pitts gave anyone who may feel out of place a community.

This space created a system of mentoring and support that allows Edward Jones employees to face challenges together and work to improve the company from within. Pitts reminds us that “diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is being able to pick the music.”

Pitts wants to transform Edward Jones into a place of belonging. Emily Pitts displays incredible strength and resilience in her ability to take her personal struggles and translate them into change in workplace diversity and inclusion.

Mimi Wang, MBA ’19, contributed this post on behalf of Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning. Lexi Bainnson, BSBA ’21, edited and formatted this CEL blog post.

In October, a student team representing the Center for Experiential Learning visited Quito, Ecuador. Quito is a city built on mountains and in the valleys with breathtaking views in all directions, no matter your location.

The angel of Quito is a famous statue located on top of one of the tallest mountains and is visible from everywhere in the city.

Left: The angel of Quito sits atop a hill and is visible anywhere in the city. Right: The view from the angel’s vantage point.

There is so much to do in Quito that our sightseeing day was jam-packed. The center of the world, located at latitude 0º0’0”, features a variety of exciting sites. We visited two main attractions during our time in Quito.

Team members Stephanie Feit, MBA ’19),
Brant Tagalo, BSBA ’20, and Mimi Wang, MBA ’19,
line up for a demonstration of some of the
increased gravity effects at the center of the earth.

The first site was built around what was originally considered the center of the world, and includes a large park with museums, restaurants, and monuments. The second was built at the true center of the earth, calculated using a modern, military-grade GPS. At this site, our team took a tour and learned about ancient indigenous cultures and some of the natural phenomena that happen along the equator line.

After a day of sightseeing, we stopped at a chocolate shop and cafe, where we had some tea and coffee. Cacao beans are grown in and around Ecuador, so it has the best chocolate and some of the best coffee in the world.

The view from the coffee shop
is quaint, and the drinks are delicious.

We also dined at Quitu, a restaurant that puts modern experimental cooking twists on classic Ecuadorian food. Quitu is unique in that it sources all of its food locally and organically. Interesting menu items include broccoli rabe cooked in cucumber and rabbit soup, fresh fish in zucchini sauce, deep fried guinea pig (called cuye), and pork tongue in a soy-like sauce. All of the dishes were served on distinctive plates made of driftwood, cross-sections of tree stumps, or rocks. Our meal there was a lively occasion appreciating authentic Ecuadorian cuisine.

We loved having the opportunity to explore and experience Ecuadorian culture outside of our time spent with our client in October. Now that we are home again, we look forward to composing our final deliverables and helping our client going forward.

Brant Tagalo, BSBA ’20, contributed this post on behalf of Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning. Lexi Bainnson, BSBA ’21, edited and formatted this CEL blog post.

In October, the Center for Experiential Learning sent a team of student-consultants to Quito, Ecuador, to advise the innovation and entrepreneurship department of ConQuito: The Agency of Economic Promotion.

The startup or incubation ecosystem is a complex and unpredictable environment that fuels technological progress, the ecosystem in which the seeds of the most innovative and revolutionary technologies are planted and cultivated. The opportunity to step into and examine this environment has been—so far—the highlight of my academic career.

Entering the landmark historical building in which ConQuito operates, the team was welcomed by ConQuito members to their impressive co-working space. Designed with the vision of merging the past with the future—the historical significance of the building and ConQuito’s efforts to engender a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship—the co-working space symbolizes ConQuito’s goal to cultivate the seeds of innovation to pave the way to economical improvement in Ecuador. Our client ConQuito is a pioneer of promoting innovative and entrepreneurial activities that stimulate the economy.

Working with a team of welcoming, collaborative, and dedicated professionals has served to increase the team’s motivation and interest in this project. The team’s objective is to provide the innovation and entrepreneurship department of ConQuito with a recommendation that optimizes the strategy for fostering a culture of innovation, ingenuity and progress.

The CEL practicum is the culmination and application of all the business concepts I have learned in Olin Business School. The experiential value of a real-world consulting project has shaped my future career aspirations. It has given me the assurance that I want to pursue a career in consulting.

Pictured above: Enrique Crespo, director of innovation, ConQuito (the CEL client); David Paquette, MBA ’19; Stephanie Feit, MBA ’19; Brant Tagalo, BSBA ’20; Mimi Wang, MBA ’19; Laini Cassis, MBA ’19.