B-School Bulletin: Cyberterrorism, Beer & CEO Activism

The Case For Investing More In People

News from Harvard Business School

“’Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything,’ wrote Paul Krugman more than 20 years ago. ‘A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise output per worker.’

“There is a virtuous cycle between productivity and people: Higher levels of productivity allow society to reinvest in human capital (most obviously, though not exclusively, via higher wages), and smart investments result in higher labor productivity.

“Unfortunately, this virtuous cycle appears to be broken. Productivity in most developed economies has been anemic. In the decade between 2005 and 2015, labor productivity in the U.S. as measured by GDP per labor hour was less than 1% for 7 of the 10 years, according to the OECD. And wages are stagnant. U.S. unemployment hit its lowest level in 16 years this past May, yet wage growth has been sluggish compared with similar periods in the past. Of course, low productivity can depress wages, but in recent decades, wages haven’t grown as much as expected even during periods of robust economic productivity growth. ‘For most of the last half-century — 84 percent of the time since 1966 — average wages have grown more slowly than would be predicted based on productivity and inflation growth,’ The New York Times reported. During much of this time, it has been shareholders, not workers, who have reaped the benefits of higher productivity.”

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Gregory Falco: Protecting Urban Infrastructure Against Cyberterrorism

News from MIT Sloan School of Management 

“While working for the global management consulting company Accenture, Gregory Falco discovered just how vulnerable the technologies underlying smart cities and the ‘internet of things’ — everyday devices that are connected to the internet or a network — are to cyberterrorism attacks.

“’What happened was, I was telling sheiks and government officials all around the world about how amazing the internet of things is and how it’s going to solve all their problems and solve sustainability issues and social problems,’ Falco says. ‘And then they asked me, “Is it secure?” I looked at the security guys and they said, “There’s no problem.” And then I looked under the hood myself, and there was nothing going on there.’

“Falco is currently transitioning into the third and final year of his PhD within the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). Currently, his is carrying out his research at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). His focus is on cybersecurity for urban critical infrastructure, and the internet of things, or IoT, is at the center of his work. A washing machine, for example, that is connected to an app on its owner’s smartphone is considered part of the IoT. There are billions of IoT devices that don’t have traditional security software because they’re built with small amounts of memory and low-power processors. This makes these devices susceptible to cyberattacks and may provide a gate for hackers to breach other devices on the same network.”

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Neel Kashkari speaks at the Carlson School on September 5

Kashkari Raises Concerns Over Fed Interest Hikes

News from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management

“The central premise behind the Carlson School of Management’s 1st Tuesday Speaker Series is bringing together members of the Twin Cities business community to hear interesting viewpoints on relevant topics.

“The series’ September guest, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President and CEO Neel Kashkari, certainly delivered for Tuesday’s sellout crowd at the McNamara Alumni Center.

“Kashkari, who has led the Minneapolis Fed since January 1, 2016, shared his dissenting opinion on the Federal Reserve’s decisions to raise interest rates: He cautioned ‘maybe our rate hikes are actually doing real harm to the economy.’”

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Kaye Luenprakansit talks with students at the 2017 HOP Symposium

Paying It Back, Paying It Forward: How One Young Alum Mentors Students

News from Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management 

“Kaye Luenprakansit (MBA ’15) once planned on becoming a college counselor. She loved reviewing resumes and helping her friends put their best foot forward in the application process, and she seriously considered going into the higher education sector.

“However, after ‘a lot of soul searching,’ she decided that she wanted to unite business with her passion for helping people. The decision led her to get her MBA at Owen and, eventually, secure a position in the HR rotational program at HP Inc., where she now works as a Business Partner.

“But Luenprakansit knew that no matter her official job title, she still wanted to still help counsel her peers, and that’s when she started mentoring Owen interns at HP.”

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Beyond The Syllabus: Students Talk Courses At Booth

News from University of Chicago Booth School of Business

“When Booth students talk about their favorite MBA classes, you start to understand why there is so much to be gained from the MBA program with the greatest academic flexibility. In having the freedom to choose a curriculum that will excite just as much as challenge, our students uncover new ways to achieve their professional and personal goals. They are learning from top researchers and practitioners in their fields — faculty who introduce students to the latest findings and evidence-based solutions, in real time.

“That type of elevated engagement creates an essential experience for becoming leaders who think critically and see past conventional direction, not just in the here and now, but throughout the entirety of their careers.”

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Integrative Thinking Revisited

News from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management

“While politics revolves around binary elections — Leave or Remain, Hillary or Donald — in business choices can be a lot more nuanced. The difficulty is that when opposing, either/or, solutions are proposed it becomes difficult for leaders to navigate the decision-making process.

“‘Integrative thinking’, first defined by Roger Martin in his 2007 book The Opposable Mind, offers a way to address this difficulty. The concept was defined by Martin as ‘… the ability to constructively face the tensions of opposing models, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generating a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new model that contains elements of the individual models, but is superior to each.’ So, rather than being forced into making trade-offs when it comes to hard choices, this approach focuses on creating new opportunities.”

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