B-School Bulletin: Rethinking Capitalism

Anat Admati: “I want big-picture thinking to infiltrate everything we do.” Nancy Rothstein photo

News from Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Anat Admati often shares a particular New Yorker cartoon when she talks to people about the Corporations and Society Initiative that she recently launched at Stanford Graduate School of Business. In the cartoon, a man and three children are sitting around a campfire. The man’s business suit is tattered, and in the distance behind them a smoking city lies in ruin.

“’Yes, the planet got destroyed,’ the man says to the kids, ‘but for a beautiful moment in time we created a lot of value for shareholders.’

“’That cartoon just about covers it,’ says Admati, the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics. She has spent much of the past two years trying to persuade faculty and students at Stanford GSB to examine how their work affects not just the business world but also society at large.”

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How Superstition Changes The Way We Make Decisions

News from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management 

“Have you ever worn your ‘lucky’ shoes to a job interview, or knocked on wood after saying something hopeful? These types of superstitious actions aren’t rational, but many of us do them anyways.

“Take Serena Williams, who is known to wear the same socks — unwashed — when she’s on a winning streak, as well as to bounce her tennis ball exactly five times before her first serve.

“These observations helped spur a new research study from two Kellogg professors, who became curious about such actions. If even one of the world’s greatest tennis players is susceptible to superstition, they thought, none of us is fully immune.”

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Study Shows How Companies Can Help Safeguard Intellectual Property When Expanding Into Risky Countries

News from Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business

“In 2015, Pfizer pharmaceutical company invested $14 million in Chile to launch the Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine, focusing on developing new genome-based diagnostic technologies for cancer.

“This is just one example of a firm’s geographic entry into a country that does not have strong intellectual property rights protection. The country may provide important necessary resources, but the investing firm may suffer intellectual property leakage and imitation by competitors.”

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Once You Have It All, What’s Next?

News from INSEAD

“Derek had always been a poster child for executive success. An excellent student in high school, he moved effortlessly to an Ivy League school. During his studies, he met his future wife and married soon after graduation. Having worked a few years at a premier consulting firm, Derek decided to do an MBA in a top business school. He then joined a major investment bank on Wall Street, where he became a partner in record time. While climbing the corporate ladder, he also became the proud father of three daughters.

“Derek always seemed to be very focused, both at work and at home. Although he did not clearly articulate it, being an excellent provider was his main purpose in life. Things changed, however, when his youngest daughter left for college. He became troubled by feelings of emptiness and a sense of aimlessness. He wondered what had happened to his past confidence and sense of purpose. Deep down, he felt that he had very little to live for. Looking back, he realized that he had not fully savored the time with his children as work had been too time-consuming. He also found himself disconnected from his wife. In short, having fulfilled his biological destiny, Derek found himself adrift.”

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That Costs HOW Much?

News from Harvard Business School

“Price is important to consumers not just because it determines whether they can afford to purchase that purse or patio set. The cost of an item sets the buyer’s expectations as to how the product or service will perform and what kind of prestige will be conveyed. As Warren Buffett says, ‘Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.’

“For makers of that product, the price will help determine the target audience, help define marketing strategy, and, ultimately, decide whether the company makes money.

“In other words, pricing is a vitally important skill, but it remains something of a hidden art, more touch and feel than calculation and science. Maybe that’s why it has been a favorite area of study for many researchers at Harvard Business School over the years. Here is a sampling of their insights and findings.”

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