Alumni WeekendAcademic Session Videos
Alumni Weekend 2011 featured the popular Back to the Classroom sessions, which connect alumni with MIT Sloan faculty for an update on the latest exciting work at the School. This year also featured a selection of workshops led by alumni who are leaders in their field.
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Featuring Dean David Schmittlein and Admiral Thad Allen, SF ’89
There are two things one can always expect in a national crisis: media and politics.
Neither can be ignored, and to think otherwise is a losing move, said Admiral Thad Allen, the retired U.S. Coast Guard commandant who led the response to last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Allen graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management’s one-year Sloan Fellows program with an SM degree in 1989.
Allen, in a frank conversation with David Schmittlein, John C. Head III Dean, at Alumni Weekend in May, gave MIT Sloan alumni an inside look at the challenge of leading a coordinated response to an unprecedented set of problems.
High Impact, High Performance
Engaging with Sustainability Innovation Projects at MIT
Featuring Carrie Hunter, SF ’84
MIT students are developing exciting and innovative solutions to a wide array of global sustainability challenges. This workshop discussed these initiatives and explored the opportunities for alumni to participate in ongoing projects or to develop and execute projects for their own organizations.
Linked Data Ventures
Featuring K Waterman, SF ’06
This workshop explored the latest Web technology, which promises greater market penetration through data sharing and smart discovery. Waterman explained why top companies have started acquiring or building the technology. Participants also viewed prototypes that MIT Sloan and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science students have built together in a new collaborative course.
RATs and CATs
A Strategic Framework for Internationalization
Featuring Professor Donald R. Lessard
Companies should internationalize because the company is good at something that travels or because the industry is global in scope. And when those companies internationalize, MIT Sloan Professor Donald Lessard provides a framework for exploiting and enhancing that can lead to a successful internationalization: RATs and CATs.
RATs refers to what competencies the company has that it is seeking to exploit internationally.
- R: Are they Relevant in other countries?
- A: Are they Appropriable—can the company create value in another place?
- T: And are they Transferable—can the company capture that value in that other country?
CATs refers to that competencies the company might be able to tap and develop in a particular country.
- C: Are they Complementary?
- A: Are they Appropriable?
- T: And are they Transferable?
“This is a corporate strategy framework,” Lessard said. “How do you think about corporate strategy in terms of exploiting and enhancing capability?”
The Billion Prices Project
Featuring Professor Roberto Rigobon
Professor of Applied Economics Roberto Rigobon, co-creator of the Billion Prices Project at MIT, asserts that countries with higher inflation are recovering more slowly from the global financial crisis. During a talk at MIT Sloan’s Alumni Weekend, he predicted there will be another financial crisis and that governments will again overreact in an attempt to address it.
“Whenever we have a financial crisis, regulation always overshoots,” Rigobon said, adding that neither rising commodity prices nor monetary expansion explains rising inflation rates. He pointed out that the traditional measures that governments use to track the prices of goods are inefficient or suspect.
Rigobon and MIT Sloan colleague Alberto Cavallo are collaborating on the Billion Prices Project, which now tracks online prices of commodities in 70 countries, providing real-time information on major inflation trends. As a result, even after the earthquake hit Japan earlier this year, the Billion Prices Project was still able to monitor prices in that country and track Japan’s inflation rate.
Some Mortality Risks
Featuring Professor Arnold Barnett
The risk of being killed in an air crash and the risk of being killed as the victim of urban crime both declined dramatically in recent years. And yet, while one is still much more likely to happen than the other, we disproportionately focus and worry about the least likely—of the two—way we could die, concludes MIT Sloan Professor Arnold Barnett.
With an expertise in applied mathematical modeling, focused on health and safety, Professor Barnett presented “Mortality Risks” in a workshop for the School’s alumni during Alumni Weekend 2011.
In the United States from 1994 to 1996 the death risk was 1 in 3.6 million. During that time, The Federal Aviation Administration set a goal of reducing that risk by 80 percent. In 2007, the risk of death was 1 in 32 million, an 89 percent reduction.
Barnett compared that statistic to the likelihood of growing up to be president of the United States. Figuring that on average a new president has been elected every 5.3 years since George Washington was first elected, and that there are 22 million births every 5.3 years in the U.S., a child’s chance of growing up to be elected president is about 1 in 22 million.
“An American kid is more likely to grow up to be president than to perish on the next flight,” Barnett says. “That’s one measure of how extraordinary a job has been done” in improving air travel safety.
MIT Sloan’s Faculty and Students Improving Healthcare Delivery in the U.S.
Featuring Professor Retsef Levi
Pointing out that 16 cents of every dollar of the gross domestic product in the U.S. goes to health care, Associate Professor of Operations Management Retsef Levi said the United States spends more on health care than any other developed nation. Yet long patient wait times are a problem that continues to plague the system.
By approaching health care delivery as a management problem, Levi is collaborating with a major Boston hospital to reduce patient wait times by improving patient information and resource flow through the perioperative care process. By getting rid of paper transactions, moving to a team-based model, and changing the process for assigning surgeries and doctors to operating rooms, the hospital was able to halve the average patient wait time from 88 minutes to 43 minutes.
During an Alumni Weekend presentation, Levi advocated for a research center at MIT Sloan that would bring together academics and all the participants in the health care system to address these types of systemic challenges within the U.S. health care system.
Celebrating 50 Years of the MIT Sloan PhD Program
Faculty, staff, and alumni discuss MIT Sloan’s PhD program, including its role and future at the school.
What is MIT VMS?
Featuring Roman Lubynsky, MOT ’89
The Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), a free and confidential service exclusively for the MIT community, harnesses the knowledge and experience of volunteer alumni and other business leaders to help prospective entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market. Attendees learned about how VMS complements and cooperates with the many MIT centers and programs promoting innovations and entrepreneurship.
Building a FIRST Robotics Program
Featuring Christopher Jenkins, SM ’86
The FIRST Tech Challenge for high school students, founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen, has enjoyed a long working partnership with MIT and relies heavily on MIT alumni as sponsors and advisers. This practical workshop followed the formation and development of the winning HaleStorm Team 4319 from startup through the Massachusetts State Championship. Members of Team 4319 discussed what they learned and demonstrated their robot.