Johnson students selected for OneEnergy Scholars program
Growing Africa’s roots
January 15, 2015
Johnson at Cornell University and Queen’s School of Business Announce a Rebrand
Program rebrand to include name change and strategic and curricular initiatives
January 14, 2015
Johnson Tackles the Challenges of Family-Owned Businesses
Smith Family Business Initiative Director Daniel Van Der Vliet presents "Family Business on the Front Lines: Entrepreneurs, Enterprises, and Extremophiles" at Johnson Club of the Finger Lakes Predictions Dinner. While the public perception of a family business may be the small mom-and-pop store, statistics present a much different picture: The 5.5 million family-owned firms in the U.S. account for 57 percent of the U.S. GDP and employ 63 percent of the workforce, according to the most recent economic data from Family Enterprise USA, a nonprofit organization. The significant impact family businesses have on the economy has led universities to establish academic programs and research projects that address their unique needs. Last January, Cornell became a national leader in this field when Johnson created the Smith Family Business Initiative, funded by a $10 million gift from John Smith, MBA ’74, and his wife, Dyan, who own CRST International of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, one of the ten largest U.S. freight trucking companies and also a family-owned business. Family business studies are now at the stage where entrepreneurship programs were 30 years ago, according to Daniel Van Der Vliet, who was appointed executive director of the Smith Family Business Initiative last September. In 1985, about 250 college courses were taught on entrepreneurship, and today nearly 400,000 college students take such courses every year, Van Der Vliet said when he spoke Jan. 6 at the Johnson Club of the Finger Lakes Predictions Dinner, one of many annual Johnson alumni club events held throughout the U.S. and around the world. By contrast, about 100 courses in family business studies are now offered at between 70 and 75 colleges and universities that have formal programs in the field. "The takeaway is starting a business is very sexy, but sustaining a business is not so sexy," Van Der Vliet said. "I think that's where the opportunity lies, especially for the Smith Family Business Initiative: to understand the connection that it's equally important to sustain a business as it is to start a business." One challenge for family firms is maintaining a succession of leadership. About 30 percent of family businesses survive into the second generation, 14 percent make it to the third generation, and 3 to 4 percent continue beyond the fourth generation, Van Der Vliet said. Despite those odds, Van Der Vliet said many family businesses are considered "extremophiles" because they can adapt their internal systems and external activities to the emergence of an extreme environment, such as a recession or political unrest around the world. "Why do family businesses make natural extremophiles? They have a high tolerance to risk, they have a longer view as to what the business can be and will be, and strong ties to city, county, and region," Van Der Vliet said. "They have robust social networks and they are just connected to the community. And finally, necessity is the mother of invention." —Sherrie Negrea
January 14, 2015
January 07, 2015
January 05, 2015
December 31, 2014
The Next Johnson Start-Up
Produce Pay – the brainchild of Borquez – is a new web-based financing solution for farmers who supply the United States with fresh fruits and vegetables.
December 26, 2014
Johnson team takes home D-Prize for ‘Eduquer’
Sid Kannan, MBA ’15, and Murali Kumar, MBA’15, have been awarded the D-Prize for their social venture, Eduquer. The prize includes a grant of $12,000 and a mentorship. Tapping into their passion for education, Kannan and Kumar entered the D-Prize competition with a social venture plan based on idea that a family benefits most if the daughters are educated. Their challenge: ‘Fewer than 50 percent of young women in developing countries will finish high school because they cannot afford fees. A $250 scholarship can quickly change a girl's life. Create a fundraising website and raise money from industrialized nation donors. Their venture, Eduquer, plans to raise funds from developed countries to provide scholarships to girls attending schools in less privileged nations. The venture initially plans to focus on high school education to girls in poor, urban regions of countries like India. Eventually, the base will be spread across genders, age and nations. Their prize money will mainly be used towards marketing and brand building. While Eduquer raises money here, Kannan and Kumar hope to collaborate with NGOs and government organizations at the grassroots level in developing or under-developed countries that are already involved in education – to insure quick delivery of funds. They also have a pilot in Kenya, Africa with the NGO “Watch Me Go,” which was started by a D-Prize winner Katie Wood last year. “We want to partner with organizations which already have a system for identifying girls,” Kumar said. Eduquer is essentially a crowd-sourced funding platform with a twist. The team’s first step is to make Johnson the fund raising epicenter. The nucleus of Eduquer starts with student ambassadors and is based on the notion that students are already enthusiastic about education. “Starting with Johnson at Cornell, student ambassadors will use social interaction to influence students around the world to contribute a nominal amount of say $20. These students will in turn influence other students to contribute and so on. Once these students graduate and have higher disposable income, they are likely to donate larger sums of money. The fact that they have donated previously will significantly increase the likelihood of larger donations,” they said. Harnessing social media is at the heart of this venture. What would start with student ambassadors spreading the word among their peers and network will in due course form a large network of students and professionals. “We want Eduquer to function beyond us,” said Kumar. Eduquer aims to open chapters in various schools and universities across the United States and recruit ambassadors. The goal is to spread such chapters across other developed country universities. The target of Eduquer is to be a self-functioning organization, which with time, grows bigger organically – through ambassadors. “We wanted to start a social movement, rather than a social venture,” said Kannan. About D-Prize D-Prize is dedicated toward expanding access to poverty-alleviation solutions in the developing world. Many solutions to poverty already exist; the challenge is distributing these solutions to the people who need it most. D-Prize tackles this by challenging social entrepreneurs to develop better ways to distribute proven life-enhancing technologies, and funding early-stage startups that deliver the best results. For more information about the competition and previous winners, please visit: http://www.d-prize.org/ - Pallavi Rao EOM
December 24, 2014
Marketing Executive One-on-One Coaching: An MBA Student’s Perspective
The two-day coaching program inspired Sydney Chernish, MBA ’16, to surround herself with smart, like-minded people who will push her to excellence
December 22, 2014
Pushing the Boundaries of TV in Pakistan
Park Leadership Fellow Faizan Syed achieves recognition for Pakistan’s Health TV, a channel focused on bringing health education to the people of Pakistan.
December 22, 2014
Get the Boss to Buy In: Prof. Jim Detert in Harvard Business Reivew
Expert research-based advice from Professor Jim Detert on selling your ideas to managers at the top
December 19, 2014
Grumpy Cat and Winner-Take-All Economics
Professor Robert Frank explains how "winner-take-all" economics made millions for an Arizona cat
December 15, 2014
Four Tips for Building a Professional Network
Women should take a slightly different approach than men, when developing professional networks
December 04, 2014
Startup Studio at Cornell Tech Lands Star Entrepreneur David Tisch
Tisch to guide MBAs and other graduate students working on startup businesses, while studying at Cornell Tech
December 03, 2014
Professor Casanova named one of 50 Most Influential Intellectuals in Iberoamerica
Professor Lourdes Casanova, Senior Lecturer and Academic Director of the Emerging Markets Institute at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, was recently named one of the 50 Most Influential Intellectuals in Iberoamerica. IberoAmerica comprises the countries in the Americas that are former colonies of Spain and Portugal. The digital magazine on international relations esglobal said the list, which also includes the former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias is intended “to highlight the enormous talent and variety of points of view generated in Spanish and Portuguese as languages able to offer alternatives to the dominance of English in the world today.” “My award recognizes the growing importance of Latin American economies and businesses,” said Professor Casanova. “It is a privilege to share the recognition with such an important group of leaders who I admire.” Born in Spain and educated in the United States and Spain, Professor Casanova specializes in international business with a focus on Latin America and multinationals from emerging markets. She is co-author of: ‘The Political Economy of an Emerging Global Power: In Search of the Brazil Dream,’ 2014, coauthor of ‘Innovalatino, Fostering Innovation in Latin America,’ 2011 and author of ‘Global Latinas: Latin America’s emerging multinationals,’ 2009. The list was prepared for esglobal by the Madrid-based think tank FRIDE, the Foundation for International Relations and Foreign Dialogue; with the assistance of FLACSO, the Latin American Social Sciences Institute. Those selected are experts in the fields of economics, history, literature, journalism, art, activism and sociology, from countries including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela. The list includes another Cornell scholar, writer Jose Edmundo Paz-Soldan, professor of Spanish literature and director of graduate studies in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University.
December 03, 2014
Positive Thinking Boosts Performance
Corning, Inc., executive shares the power of affirmation in her talk, “You are Amazing!”
December 03, 2014
Johnson Women in Business—A Day For and About Women
Prospective and current students, alumni, faculty, and staff took time to share experiences, network, and learn
December 01, 2014
Expanding the Scope of Diversity in the Workplace
Fred Keeton, chief diversity officer and vice president of external affairs for Caesars Entertainment delivered keynote speech at Johnson’s 2014 Diversity Symposium by Sherrie Negrea Diversity once focused on bringing underrepresented groups into the workplace, but today it has evolved into a strategy that embraces different types of cognitive abilities among employees to drive better business outcomes. Fred Keeton, chief diversity officer and vice president of external affairs for Caesars Entertainment, urged a group of Johnson students, prospective students, and faculty to broaden their definition of diversity at Johnson's 2014 Diversity Symposium. "Stop just attaching it to protected class issues and think about it in terms of business issues," Keeton said in a keynote speech at Sage Hall on Oct. 24. When companies include employees with different cognitive abilities on teams, for example, it can lead to better business outcomes, Keeton said. But companies that have nontraditional biases and judge employees based on their cognitive skills, such as having a predisposition to being action-oriented, become locked into following orthodoxies, which prevents innovative thinking and decision-making. This pattern can result in employees feeling overconfident and lead to poor business decisions, Keeton said. But by including diverse employees on teams, companies can avoid creating a "fixed capacity mindset" that doesn't empower employees from giving honest feedback. One solution that can move decision-making forward is to encourage employees to ask questions across functional roles and geographic locations. In addition, employees need to talk "across silos" and formalize this process, which may also yield more diverse viewpoints, Keeton said. "What we're talking about is using diversity to make sure you make the best decisions as we go along, rather than waiting until the end," Keeton said. The goal in creating effective teams is to "get outside your group" and bring in diverse employees who collectively can solve complex business problems, Keeton said. "The farther you go out to bring different people in and put them on your teams and look at issues, the more likely you are to get to a breakthrough," he said. Caesars Entertainment, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in 2013, has formalized this approach toward diversity and inclusion by creating Diverse-by-Design teams to work on specific projects. This allows the company, which has 68,000 people worldwide, to create what Keeton called "a solid-line connection between diversity and business outcomes." Keeton, who grew up in Mississippi as the youngest of 11 children, said that when he has spoken about the need to recognize cognitive diversity at the National Press Club, Boeing, and Kaiser Permanente, he has drawn criticism for his approach. "What I'm saying to you is not that you throw the baby out with the bathwater," Keeton said. But after ensuring that members of protected classes are reaching the top levels of management, he said, companies need to move to the next step. "Are we just going to say we are culturally competent and sound and have a nice organization or are we then going to use that to drive the outcomes? That's what this is all about, and that's the challenge."
November 28, 2014
Bringing Diversity to Teams
Panelists General George W. Casey Jr., Bain & Co. Managing Partner Hernan Saenz, and Mercer CFO Helen Shan discuss Leading Diverse Teams: How to Leverage Diversity in Your Career by Sherrie Negrea When Ann E. Dunwoody became the first woman to attain four-star rank in the U.S. military in 2008, the change at her first meeting with the Army's other top commanders was immediately apparent. "The first time she opened her mouth, the impact was instantaneous," said General George W. Casey Jr., a distinguished senior lecturer of leadership at Johnson. "She had a different view, and we all said, 'I wish I had thought of that.' ” Casey, who led the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2011, was one of three panelists who spoke about leading diverse teams in organizations at Johnson's 2014 Diversity Symposium at Sage Hall on Oct. 24. One of the ways to create diverse teams, Casey said, is to identify competent personnel and mentor them through the promotion process. Dunwoody, for example, was viewed as having the qualifications to become a four-star general, and top military commanders managed her for about seven years until she was promoted to the top rank. "We knew she had the capabilities, we gave her the experience, and when she got there she was qualified to do the job," Casey said. "And it wasn't enough to put the four stars on her. She had to be successful, and she was." Another panelist, Hernan Saenz, MBA ’98, MILR ’98, a managing partner with Bain & Co., recalled that when he became a consultant 20 years ago, the major challenge was "getting people in the door." Although that problem has been resolved, companies still need to focus on creating a "leadership supply chain" so that there are qualified candidates who can be promoted. "You can't just make generals in one day," Saenz said. Helen Shan, MBA ’93, the chief financial officer of Mercer, said it is more effective to advocate for diversity programs in organizations by using a "pull" — rather than a "push"— strategy. The reason companies should embrace diversity, she said, is because incorporating people with different views and backgrounds on teams creates the best business outcomes. "If you can show that by having diversity you'll have better products, that's far more powerful," she said. The three panelists attributed their success to a combination of luck and the ability to work for mentors whom they could emulate. When Shan worked for JP Morgan Securities, her supervisor was a woman a generation older who carved out a path for her. While their personalities were in stark contrast, Shan said, "There were things about what she did that I could do: listen, be empathetic, and learn what the client wants." Although companies and organizations such as the military have embraced diversity, they still need to continually prioritize it as a key management goal. Casey recalled that when he returned to Washington after leading the Coalition Forces in Iraq in 2007, he had to reenergize the Army's diversity program, because it was languishing. "There are a lot of folks who say we're done with diversity, that it's over, that we've succeeded," Casey said. "Most of those are white people. But it's the responsibility of the leaders of the organization to keep focused on it and not let it drop off, because we're not done."
November 28, 2014
When Business Must Go Beyond
Fred Keller, Founder and Chairman of Cascade Engineering: “Why Business, Why Now: Solving the World’s Toughest Problems” When Fred Keller, founder and chairman of Cascade Engineering, came to campus Nov. 13 as a guest speaker in David J. BenDaniel’s course on business ethics, he made the case for businesses to get engaged in solving the world’s toughest problems. A pioneer of sustainability in manufacturing as well as visiting senior lecturer of management at Johnson, Keller addressed a room filled to capacity with Johnson students and students from other Cornell University schools. How long can we sustain the world’s growing population, already an unprecedented seven billion people, given the planet’s finite resources? Keller asked. He pointed out that our current narrative still hinges on Milton Friedman’s doctrine of maximizing shareholder value; however, that is no longer enough. It is time to move from corporate social responsibility (CSR) to corporate social opportunity (CSO). Earlier, at a student round-table, Keller had made an interesting point about aligning emotion and duty: Doing something good and feeling good about it, vs. not doing something good and feeling bad. Cascade Engineering has a history of doing good because that has been Keller’s intent from the outset. When Keller founded Cascade Engineering, he knew he wanted to make a positive impact on society and the environment along with achieving financial success — to create a business that would faithfully implement the triple bottom line. Cascade has a number of programs that support these goals. The most notable one is its welfare-to-career program, which employs people on welfare, giving them a chance to work, earn, and gain a respectable livelihood. While this program initially faced resistance within the company, it has resulted in many instances of people who have achieved success by becoming independent, self-supporting individuals. Cascade also encourages its own employees to come up with initiatives that support the company’s triple bottom line goals. One employee’s initiative resulted in the “pink cart” program for breast cancer awareness, whereby the company makes and sells pink garbage carts and donates $5 to the cause for every cart purchased. On the environmental end, Cascade focuses on renewables, recycling, and zero landfill policies. ”Lazy thinking” as Keller calls it, is the downfall of business. “[Businesses] just do the math to make more money,” he said citing the BP disaster and the GM ignition system failures as results. Other companies, such as Herman Miller and Patagonia, are leaders in sustainable thinking. He also cited the $100 million Closed Loop Fund as a prime initiative of sustainable thinking involving mega-consumer goods conglomerates like Unilever, PepsiCo, P&G, Walmart, and several others that aim to provide zero percent interest loans to municipalities and below-market interest loans to private companies to develop local and recycling infrastructure. Keller is a member of the advisory group at the fund. Keller urges businesses to work with B-Corp, Shared Value Initiative, and the Center for Higher Ambition. Today, business is at a tipping point, said Keller, noting: “We can take it from here towards the good or the bad.” At Johnson, Keller teaches the course “Sustainability as a Driver for Innovation.” He is a former member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council, advising Secretaries of Commerce 2004-2011, and serving two years as chairman. Keller serves as chairman of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation board of trustees and has served as a director of Fifth Third Bank and Meijer, Inc. He also chairs Talent 2025 in Michigan, a CEO-led organization that aims to improve the quality and quantity of the regional talent pool. A Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Keller earned a BS in materials science and engineering from Cornell University and an MS in business management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. — Pallavi Rao
November 26, 2014
Corning CEO Wendell Weeks Outlines Strategy for Companies to Thrive
Corning’s commitment to innovation and ability to constantly reinvent itself have allowed the company to thrive for 163 years in an environment where it is increasingly difficult for businesses to remain relevant long term. Wendell P. Weeks, Chairman and CEO of Corning, shared one recent innovation at Cornell’s 27th annual Lewis B. Durland Memorial Lecture— a flexible glass that could be used in high-end, rollable displays such as those featured in the company’s viral video, “A Day Made of Glass.” “This is a piece of glass that will form the basis of the first flexible displays that are commercially viable,” Weeks said as he slowly bent a small sheet of glass before an audience of about 140 people in Gates Hall Auditorium at Cornell University. The flexible glass represents the direction the 163-year-old company has followed to achieve its success — investing in research and development while collaborating with customers to create products that solve technology challenges. In a speech sponsored by the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management on Nov. 17, Weeks outlined four strategies that allow companies to thrive in what he called “a world of creative destruction”: understanding why your institution is here, organizing staff to deliver that core message, collaborating with others who share your vision, and having a clear framework for guidance. This approach helped Corning develop one of its key products — Gorilla® Glass, a durable material used to shield a variety of mobile devices. Corning began experimenting with chemically strengthened glass in the 1960s but was unable to find a viable commercial application. In 2005, Weeks explained the material to Steve Jobs, and the late Apple co-founder and CEO said he wanted to use it for the first iPhone. Corning modified the glass composition, developed a new engineering process, and Gorilla Glass was born. Less than a decade later, the glass is featured on more than 3 billion mobile devices and being incorporated into a broad range of other applications from automobiles to architecture. Discussing Corning’s customer collaborations, Weeks said, “Most great things that are done are done in groups, teams, institutions, companies, cultures, great universities. We celebrate the individual, but that’s actually never the true story.” Corning’s ability to respond to market needs has enabled the company to grow after weathering economic declines that have occasionally reduced demand for some of its products. Today, the company employs more than 30,000 people worldwide and had $8 billion in revenue in 2013. Soumitra Dutta, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean at Johnson, said he hopes the relationship between Corning and Cornell will be strengthened in the future. Corning now employs 150 Cornell alumni, said Christy Pambianchi ’90, Corning’s senior vice president of human resources.
November 26, 2014
The Parker Center: Leading in Portfolio Management Education
Hear MBA students and investment professionals talk about the powerful education, networking, and career development opportunities at the Parker Center for Investment Research
November 25, 2014
Cornell MBA's Share Why They Chose Johnson at Cornell
"You come across so many people with so many different backgrounds. Everybody has a different story." Abhishek Chattopadhyay and fellow Cornell MBA '15 students share why Johnson at Cornell University is the right fit for them.
November 25, 2014
We Can All Grow as Leaders, with General George Casey
General George Casey (U.S. Army Ret.), distinguished senior lecturer of leadership, writes on keys to continuously improving leadership skills.
November 13, 2014