April 30, 2012

Yale Education Leadership Conference 2012

Post by:
Sheri Cheng
PEMBA, 2012

 With the help of the BU Student Activities Organization and the Public & Nonprofit Management Club, I have been able to attend a number of conferences in the area this semester, most recently the Yale School of Management’s Education Leadership Conference on March 24th, in New Haven, CT.   The theme of this year’s Yale ELC was “Vision 2032:  Shaping the Future of Education”, and looked to connect perspectives between key stakeholders in education reform.

Regarding conferences, these are a few of my favorite things (in no particular order): networking, swag, panelist perspectives, career exploration, food, and tweeting.

So before I get too far into my story, I’m going to confess:  I’m a Twitter n00b, so please excuse me if I am stating the obvious, but it’s official – I LOVE tweeting at conferences.  Not just tweeting my own thoughts during a panel, or capturing the gems of others in 140 characters, but mostly by following, nay, STALKING the conference hashtag. 

One of the problems with conferences is that there are often multiple panels that you wish you can sit in at one session, but you can’t split yourself into three, and don’t feel like leaving the session that you’re in.  Hashtag stalking brings you the quotable thoughts from other panels, and also connects you to people who you may want to follow up with (not to mention the immense gratification when one of your own tweets is retweeted by the conference organizers.  Instant conference endorphins!) 

Here are some highlights of the sessions I attended:
  •         “How Does Technology Change Outcomes for Students?” – looking at technology in the K-12 classroom beyond the simplistic model of having one laptop in the hands of every child.  Alex Hernandez, partner at the Charter School Growth Fund, made the analogy of blended learning technologies to successful schools as being like the first digital camera to photographers.  The current state of the tool may not be the perfect solution right now, but without looking to the future, a school could find itself in the same situation as one-time photographic icon, the Eastman Kodak Company.
  •         “Doing Better With Less” – discussing ways to better allocate resources in school districts.  Mentioned in this panel was Education Resource Strategies’ “School Budget Hold’Em” activity, an online trade-off game that asks districts to look thoughtfully at the funding decisions that they are faced with.
  •         “From the Classroom to the Neighborhood:  Talking about Race in Schools” –confronting a number of race issues that many educators and leaders are struggling with by using difficult and uncomfortable language to talk about where progress needs to be made.  Aimée Eubanks Davis, Executive VP of People, Community, and Diversity at Teach for America, emphasized that in order for education reform leadership to “look” like the demographic of the people it is serving in 10 or 20 years, we need to get comfortable and uncomfortable talking about race as a factor in our schools.
Despite only being able to attend 3 sessions, tweets from other users gave me a taste of:
  •        A heavy conversation between districts, charter schools, and Randi Weingarten, president of the largest teacher’s union in the US, the American Federation of Teachers. 
  •         Educator and leadership concerns about implementation of Common Core standards for all students.
  •         Teacher feedback about what elements of a teacher dashboard are particularly important to them – key field research for my SI752 Starting New Ventures class project! 

Me and PNP students Nancy Rosas, Pammi Bhullar, and Dana Connolly awaiting the start of the Opening Keynote

I did have a “starstruck” moment at Yale ELC.  Dr. John B. King, Jr., Commissioner of Education for the State of New York was one of the panelists for the opening keynote for the conference. – “The ‘State’ of Education, Now to 2032”.  Having worked for Dr. King as one of the early teachers at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, it was very surreal to see him onstage – a far cry from the days when I sat in his office in tears, him giving me tissues and classroom advice.  That day, along with the commissioners from Tennessee and Rhode Island, he would address difficult questions about accountability and the data-driven state of education, and remain one of my personal heroes in my career.

Dr. John B. King (left panelist), speaking in the Opening Keynote
Conferences are a great way to get re-energized through networking and listening to people who share your passions and not necessarily your viewpoint.  It is also a great way to meet companies working in your fields of interest – my fine-tuned resume managed to score me a few interviews with companies working directly with data-driven education practices, a passion which connects the threads of my MBA studies.  Most of all, a conference is a perfect way to enhance your Twitter “voice” by promoting the ideas that define you.

Sheri Cheng is a former science teacher and tech director at an urban charter school in Boston with a penchant for 7th grade humor. An MBA student concentrating in Entrepreneurship and Leadership & Organizational Transformation, Sheri expects to finish her coursework in December 2012. Follow her on Twitter @sheriann13.

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April 26, 2012

The Emory Global Health Case Competition

Post By:
Ivan Busulwa
MBA/MPH, 2012

From Monday, March 26th through Saturday April 1st, six graduate students from Boston University thought about Sri Lanka, Canadian foreign aid, and Tamils, more than they ever had before. Meg Meyer (MBA/MPH’12), Catherine Shih (MBA/MPH’13), Sunil Nair (MD/MBA’13), Daniel Silva (MED’15), Darash Desai (ENG’14), and myself formed a team that represented BU in the annual Global Health Business Case Competition at Emory. And the team’s hard work certainly paid off! We placed second and also won the “Audience Choice Award”. This was the first year that BU sent a team and we are excited that BU will continue the tradition in upcoming years. 

Daniel, myself and Sunil hard at work

We even worked through a fire drill that forced us to leave the building

  We received the case on Monday March 26th at 7pm and only had four days to prepare for the competition as it was going to be held on the morning of Saturday March 31st. The question was to “Develop a strategy for CanAID (similar to the Canadian International Development Agency or CIDA) to help Sri Lanka deal with health and resettlement issues of the marginalized Tamil population; keeping in mind resistance from the Sinhalese government due to prior accusations of war crimes and persecution." We also had to acknowledge the presence of a great many Tamil refugees currently residing in Canada and who had the potential to influence the funding decisions of CanAID. 

After we received the case, we met twice to flesh out the salient issues and choose which ones we were going to address. Coordinating with six people from four different schools in different locations was quite a challenge. For example we could only all meet as a team from 9pm to 11pm. We left for Atlanta on Thursday evening and then worked on the case up until the wee hours of Saturday morning. 

We did get a chance to take a break and check out the CDC which is right down the street from Emory

During our final presentation

At the Awards Reception

All my teammates from different disciplines had a lot of different perspectives they brought to the case analysis. In addition, Emory provided use with a mentor from their school who was able to meet with us for an hour and provide feedback on what we had prepared up to that point. This was useful since our mentor helped point out some key issues that we needed to deal with in addressing the current tension between Sri Lanka, Canada, and the international community. It also certainly helped that we had a Canadian (Catherine Shih) on our team! 

The presentation skills and case study experience that we gained from the MBA program was priceless in our preparations and really gave us the competitive edge. We did not expect such success in BU’s first appearance at Emory’s Global Health Case Competition. We were really proud of our final product and we look forward to seeing BU in first place next year!

Ivan Busulwa is an MBA/MPH student at Boston University with a concentration in Global Health Management.  He graduated from Makerere University in Uganda with a BSc. in Mathematics.  Prior to joining BU, Ivan worked in Uganda with USAID funded projects that promoted public-private partnerships between the Ministry of Health, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. 

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April 23, 2012

Honoring Kristen McCormack: A Defining Moment

Post by:
Anya Thomas
MBA, 2012

Business school is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, successes and failures, new experiences and drudgery, but amidst all of the hard work and excitement, I have experienced a few defining moments that make the wild extremes worth it. On Monday April 2nd I experienced one of those moments.


Around 6:45pm a hush fell over a room of 120 students, alumni, and faculty as they listened to Kristen McCormack speak. Everyone had gathered to honor Kristen McCormack’s 10-year tenure as the Faculty Director of the Public and Nonprofit Management Program (PNP). Gerry Leader described recruiting Kristen 10 years ago because the Boston University faculty desired to revitalize the PNP program. Looking around the room it was clear to see that Kristen had far exceeded their expectations. Kristen used her entrepreneurial spirit, devotion to experiential learning, connections throughout Boston and her love for people to help the PNP program thrive.

While Kristen took a few minutes to thank her mentors, peers, and students, I surveyed the faces in the room. It was so inspiring to see all the faces filled with adoration and respect, and to know that my face and heart reflected that same sentiment. I knew that there was such a high level of loyalty and devotion in the room because Kristen had modeled the way by spending countless hours recruiting, mentoring, challenging, and encouraging us.


Once the formal part of the program ended, guests stayed for another two hours, networking, chatting and enjoying a reunion of like-hearted people. As I left I reflected on Kristen’s strengths. She is definitely a strong and visionary leader, but perhaps her biggest strength is empowering others to dream big, try new things, and to never give up on making a difference.

Anya Thomas is a second year MBA in the Public Nonprofit management program with a concentration in Leadership and Organizational Transformation.  She loves traveling, salsa dancing, and networking in Boston.

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April 19, 2012

The New Sport and Social Club

Post By:
Adam Miller
MBA, 2013

When I was applying to schools, I looked at the clubs each offered.  Every school had social clubs, Wine Clubs, Soccer Clubs, etc.  This was important to me, as I felt formalized ways to meet new people would help ease my transition as I moved halfway across the country.

I arrived at Boston University last year to a school that has many interesting clubs, from the Bio-Business Organization to the BU Partners Club, but I saw an opportunity to start a social club.  BU has the Cohort Cup, which does a nice job of putting on trivia nights and karaoke events to bring the whole school together.  However, I aspired to start a club uniting people with similar social interests, like wine, soccer, or something else.  Several of my classmates and I decided this was a gap we wanted to fill.  In the first year, you very quickly get split up into cohorts and often find a smaller group of friends within that cohort.  Amidst all the school work,  it is important to get to know all the wonderful people you go to school with, especially because they will be our network as we move forward in life. 

My goal in starting the SMG Sport and Social Club was to bring people together more frequently and in smaller, more intimate groups where they can bond over shared passions.  Whereas the Cohort Cup takes care of macro events, we look at socializing on a micro level.  If six people want to get together every month and go climbing at the rock wall in the gym or ten people want to try different places to eat around the city every Friday night, they can use the club to find others to go with.  The group serves as a hub of information, a facilitator of paperwork that comes along with throwing an event, and a way to mingle beyond your initial friend group. 

The IM Broomball Team

Even though we are a new club, we held several events already this year.  For example, we created an Intramural Broomball team and went candlepin bowling.  The leadership team has also been working on understanding how this club can fit into the BU community.  It operates differently from many of the other clubs, so learning how to run it and getting people to understand who we are have taken some time.  We are getting closer on the first part, but still have a ways to go on establishing our brand going into next year.  Thankfully we’re up for these management challenges! 

First year Adam Taylor during a candlepin bowling event

We believe very strongly that this club will strengthen our community at the School of Management.  We appreciate being a part of a school that is open to new ideas, encourages the students try different things, and enables them to start new clubs.  We will do our best not to disappoint.  If anything written here has resonated with you, please look us up next year.  We would love to have you on board.    

Adam Miller is a first year Health Sector Management student.  Prior to coming to Boston University, Adam worked in Chicago in the advertising business.  Adam enjoys traveling, playing broomball, hanging out with his girlfriend and friends, and watching sports. 


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April 12, 2012

Attending an Open House

Post By:
Neil Yajnik
MS-MBA, 2013

Current and admitted students at the Thursday night reception

One of the first things a BU MBA is taught in Organizational Behavior is that one must continuously reflect on events that have taken place. Whether it is in school, at work, or in our personal lives, evaluation of our past choices is vital to our growth as both professionals and people.

Amidst the present chaos of team meetings, projects, and papers, I can’t help but stop and think back on where I was exactly a year ago. Instead of fretting over finals and internships, I was faced with choosing the right school for my MBA, and it wasn’t until I attended BU’s Admitted Student Open House that the choice became clear.

The Open House is a great way to get an authentic feel for life at the School of Management. Over the course of twenty-four hours, prospective students have the chance to attend an information sessions about housing, moving to Boston, internship and job searches, concentrations, clubs, the transition back to student life, as well as participate in a mock class.

Admitted students interacting over lunch

The most valuable part of the Open House is the time spent interacting with current students. When I attended, I remember finding everyone to be very friendly, honest, and forthcoming. Having never lived on the East Coast and coming from California, I had a ton of questions about moving to Boston. Nearly everyone I spoke to offered me tips and tricks on how to make an easy transition. I also received key advice regarding financial aid, classes, and the many extracurricular opportunities. Lastly, I met many of the people who are now in my cohort, project teams, and who I count as some of my closest friends.

Prospective students are also invited to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly happy hour hosted by an on-campus club, to meet more of the student body and see real BU MBAs in the wild. Most of the activities and organizations I’m involved in now, I came to know about through the Open House. In fact, it was at Thirsty Thursday that I learned more about the MS-MBA program, which I eventually decided to switch into.

Thursday night admitted student reception at The Hawthorne

The Admitted Student Open House is really what cemented my decision to come to BU, and I haven’t looked back since. I highly encourage all who are considering BU to attend an Open House, schedule a coffee chat, or even visit on your own, and experience the unique culture and camaraderie that exists here.

Neil Yajnik is a first year MS-MBA. Prior to coming to BU, he worked at Cisco Systems as a hardware design engineer. Neil has served on the International Tech Strategy Case Competition Organizing Committee and is the MS-MBA Representative on the Graduate Student Council for 2012-2013.  Outside of school, Neil enjoys travel, basketball, golf, movies, and music.

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April 9, 2012

Connecting with Industry Leaders - Tech Strategy Business Case Competition

Post by:
Sidharth Ramsinghaney
MBA, 2012 

At Boston University School of Management, graduate students are expected to do a lot more than sit back and take notes. Every day they challenge their professors and classmates, discover global perspectives, and gain hands-on experience in the market. But most importantly, they connect with industry leaders thanks to opportunities such as case competitions.

Recently the 7th Annual International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition, held on March 29-31, 2012, brought together graduate students from 16 of the most prestigious graduate business programs around the globe. The event was sponsored by Ericsson, an industry leader in mobile broadband Internet communications whose mission is to “innovate to empower people, business and society.”

16 teams from the most prestigious graduate schools around the globe along with the Boston University Tech Strategy Student Organizing Committee. Photo by Julie Cordeiro

The 24-hour, invitation-only competition asked students to solve a market challenge focused on technology in business strategy and operations. With industry leaders as judges, four finalists were chosen to compete for the top prize of $25,000. 

First Place - Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The team from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill was awarded the top prize of $25,000. Pictured, from left to right: Todd Valentine, Case Competition Committee Chair; Maciej Dudek, Rohan Vaidyanathan, Christophe Renaud, and Jae Lee, the winning students from Kenan-Flagler; Boston University School of Management Dean Kenneth Freeman; and Helena Norrman, Senior Vice President and Head of Communications, Ericsson.  Photo by Eric Zhang

The teams were challenged to illustrate how Ericsson can leverage the power of mobility broadband and cloud technologies in the education sector to create a Networked Society by 2015; and to recommend strategic partnerships or alliances that Ericsson should explore. 

With little sleep and a lot of coffee, the teams spent 24-hours producing their presentations for a panel of Ericsson judges. Each team of six produced a short iPad video, many scrambling to become multi-media and education experts literally overnight. The background presented for the case briefed them on how previous technological innovations in education, such as iTunes U or interactive white boards, were changing the landscape of learning.

“The most challenging and interesting part of this experience was seeing how Ericsson – one of the most cutting-edge communications companies in the industry – could bring innovation to a sector that has changed very little in the last 100 years,” one team member said. 

Many of the teams flew thousands of miles for a chance to work one-on-one with Ericsson executives at the event, a unique networking opportunity. Despite the long flights, sleepless nights and intense workloads, they are hoping be back next year for another rigorous competition. 

With case competitions like this, it’s clear to see why Boston University’s graduate MBA program is a highly ranked program and why graduates of the School of Management’s MBA program are among the top recruited graduates in the Boston area. 

Sidharth Ramsinghaney is a 2nd year MBA with a dual concentration in Strategy and Operations. His professional background has been in Business Development and Consulting. Sid has led the BU team and won a number of national level business case competitions and is on the leadership board of the BU MBA Consulting Association, Asian Business Club and the Tech Strategy Business Case Comp Organizing Committee. Outside of school life, Sid- loves to meet people, is passionate about Corporate Strategy, and enjoys traveling and playing Squash.

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April 5, 2012

Global MBAid Group Did Some Great

Post by:
Tori Phung
International MBA, 2012

Part of the MBAid 2012 crew at Primeros Pasos

“Ok guys, let’s do some good,” said a Global MBAid member as he headed towards the clinic.
“Good?” echoed someone.
“No! Let’s do some great!”

It was this same can-do attitude and belief in bettering the lives of others that led 28 BU MBA students and friends to join the Global MBAid 2012 Alternative Spring Break trip to Guatemala. Global MBAid is a student-led group that was started by Rob Segan (BU MBA’10) in 2008 with the intent of traveling to under-served communities in Guatemala to work with the non-profit organization, Primeros Pasos. Primeros Pasos is committed to providing holistic healthcare solutions to women and children through education and clinical services in the rural Quezaltenango region of Guatemala.

Valentine's Day Candygram Fundraiser

Comprised of members from multiple countries, nationalities and industry backgrounds, including both years and all four Cohorts, our 2012 group organized fundraising events to raise money as well as awareness for Primeros Pasos throughout the Fall and Spring.  Our efforts culminated to Spring Break 2012, when put away our suits, packed our suitcases and traveled down to Guatemala. 

In sunglasses and sneakers, we painted walls, built desks and bookshelves and laid pipes for running water—the projects that we completed were almost as diverse as our group itself. Of course, we were only able to get so much done in so little time because we let nothing get in our way.

Members of the MBAid team working to get out of a tricky situation

The MBAid team left Guatemala having not only explored a new country and culture, but with a world view of management in health. Perhaps it is so often said that working for the common good provides a deeper sense of self in leadership, because it is  true. In the words of fellow BU alum, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power, without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

MBAid 2012 full group

Tori Phung is an International MBA candidate concentrating in Marketing.  Tori’s experience is in marketing and advertising analytics; her most recent role was a Senior Analyst at an ad agency. When she’s not busy organizing events for the many groups she’s involved with, she can be found blogging at www.toriphung.com or checking out the local restaurant scene.

Tori co-led the MBAid 2012 trip with Adam Wallick (MBA’13), Maya Tatsuno (MBA-MPH’13) and Naziha Bagui (MBA’12).

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April 2, 2012

The Four Horsemen of the Health Sector Management Program

Post By:
Matthew Scott, MS-MBA, 2013
Anshuman Mirani, MBA, 2013
Timothy Chanoux, MBA, 2013
Michael Barrett, MBA, 2013 

In the year 2012, on the 25th day of the second month, three relatively inconsequential things happened – the World Beard and Moustache Championship field was announced, an angry mob gathered in front of Columbia Studios to demand refunds for Ghost Rider 2…and outlined against a clear, blue February sky four unassuming BU students journeyed to the Cambridge shores of the Charles River to compete in MIT Sloan’s 2012 Healthcare Case Competition.  In dramatic lore, their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine.  But those are aliases – their real names are Matthew Scott, Anshuman Mirani, Timothy Chanoux, and Mike Barrett.

Sponsored by AVEO pharmaceuticals, the case competition focused on developing a marketing strategy for the launch of a kidney cancer drug, which had just passed Phase III clinical trials. Given the relatively limited resources of AVEO, the challenge revolved around leveraging digital media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – to accumulate support of key constituents within the healthcare marketplace. Competition was fierce and included 18 teams representing M.I.T., Harvard, Babson, Cornell, and Boston College.

Let’s meet the BU team:

Matthew Scott (MS·MBA; Health Sector Management 2013)
Among his peers at BU, Matt is best known for his “hobo chic” attire.  As a recently retired sports fan, he now spends his free time reading Good Housekeeping and filing patent claims for a 27th letter of the alphabet. Currently, Matt is being sued for falsely claiming to have run a 2:51 marathon.

Anshuman Mirani (MBA; Health Sector Management 2013)
Growing up in the ghettos of East Delhi, Anshu’s childhood in many ways mirrored that of Eminem. His skill set is both varied and robust – he has achieved grandmaster status with the yoyo, can hold his breath for over 4 minutes, and recently shot a 74 at Robert Lynch Municipal Golf Course…with an 8 iron. The developers at Microsoft seem to think Anshu’s name should be spelt “antihuman”.

Timothy Chanoux (MBA; Health Sector Management 2013)
A Michael Porter apologist, Tim takes pleasure in ripping apart proven economic strategies and frequently makes outrageous claims like “John Maynard Keynes was probably a jerk.” Tim believes in three things: mothers, environmentally sustainable architecture, and the Sham Wow. He has recently become an avid butterfly enthusiast.

Michael Barrett (MBA; Health Sector Management 2013)
Mike is a native of Waterloo, Belgium.  He has partially webbed feet passed down from his mother, and contrary to common belief this does not help his swimming ability. In fact, he is the only member of Fisher Hall to have failed the mandatory Notre Dame Freshman swim test. Say what you will, but the man looks outstanding in floaties.

As part of their winning approach, the team from BU developed a “pull” strategy in which they garnered the support of key opinion leaders within the oncology market and began dialogue with the CGP4* – company, government, providers, payers, patients, and patient support groups – through an array of digital media channels.  The finals came down to some key differences between the guys from BU and one of the teams representing M.I.T. The Horsemen’s approach took greater risks by encouraging AVEO to actively engage patients who are suffering from kidney cancer, rather than the traditional unbranded methodology commonly used by big pharma.  The FDA regulates company interactions, but it was determined that the benefits of providing support for this community would outweigh the inherent risks. The six industry judges appreciated this leap of faith, agreed with the analysis of the trade off, and praised the strong responses during the open Q&A sessions.  Consequently, the BU team set themselves apart from the rest of the field, and ultimately brought home the title.
*(Patent Pending)

The Money Shot - Tim, Matt, Anshu, and Mike

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