Photos: Course 15 Centennial Colloquium

Published: June 9, 2014

Faculty and alumni meet for a day of research and celebration

On June 7, MIT Sloan celebrated a century of innovation in management education by looking ahead to the future with a centennial colloquium featuring new research and transformative ideas from its faculty.

The event, held during MIT Sloan’s reunion weekend, concluded a year of celebrations around the world marking 100 years since the founding of Course 15, MIT’s program in management.

Visit the Course 15 centennial website for the full lineup of faculty presentations, including descriptions of talks from Erik Brynjolfsson, Yasheng Huang, Deborah Lucas, and Fiona Murray. Search #MITSloan100 on Twitter for pictures and insights from the alumni who attended the event.

The Beer Game is a classic supply chain management simulator taught at MIT Sloan since the 1960s. Professor Nelson Repenning led a session of the game to kick off the day.

Professor Roberto Rigobon discussed the Billion Prices Project, an ambitious big data project that uses pricing information gathered from hundreds of online retailers worldwide to create a real-time inflation gauge.

“The best information about an economic collapse are the images on the TV,” Rigobon said. “I think we can do better.”

Associate Professor Tavneet Suri shared the results of some of her recent research, in which she conducted field experiments using cell phone text messages in an effort to urge the citizens of Kenya to vote. The research is an attempt to “give a voice to the poor in societies that largely don’t have established systems of representative democracy.”

Professor Andrew Lo detailed his idea for a “megafund” to finance development of cancer drugs. Lo believes a structured finance approach could raise the funding needed to support successful drug research and commercialization.

“We are in a situation where a lot of potentially valuable therapies are not being developed because of a lack of resources,” he said.

This one came with homework. Associate Adjunct Professor Zeynep Ton asked attendees to read a case study about Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona. Ton, the author of The Good Jobs Strategy, led a discussion of the case, which revolved around Mercadona’s decision to give employee bonuses during the global financial crisis.

Guests at the colloquium included Clint Jones, Martin Trust, and Arthur Alexander. All are 1958 graduates of MIT Sloan.

The day was an opportunity for alumni to reconnect. It concluded with a presentation from Dean David Schmittlein and a celebratory reception.