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Chicago Booth in the News, Winter 2011, Vol. 2

(Covering January 4 to January 31, 2011)

Here are highlights of the latest Chicago Booth news coverage. The digest below represents only a portion of recent coverage.

Section 1: News coverage of Chicago Booth.

  • FINANCIAL TIMES. Chicago Booth ranked first in placement success in the newspaper’s 2011 ranking of full-time MBA programs published January 31. Last year Booth also ranked first in placement success. In this year’s ranking Booth was first in economics, second in finance and fifth in accounting. In the overall ranking, Booth was sixth among U.S. schools, the same as last year. When non-U.S. schools are added, Booth ranked 12th compared with 9th last year. The ranking was based on a survey of graduates from 2007. Read more
  • FORTUNE. Chicago Booth was featured in an article headlined “MBA hiring: Back with a vengeance,” published January 14. On-campus interview slots at Booth this past fall were up 22 percent and job postings for MBAs and alums have risen nearly 30 percent, said Julie Morton, associate dean of career services. “Students feel supported and confident, but not cocky, that things are going to work out for them,” she said. Read more
  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE. “New Booth dean Kumar to employ broad view,” was the headline of an article published January 27. His goal is “to enhance and broaden the impact and reputation of the school. We have a deservedly good reputation for taking rigor seriously … So we want to broaden, but without giving up this fundamental value. There’s no trade-off here.” The story ran on the front page of the business section and included a large photo of Dean Kumar. It was based on his first interview since becoming dean. Read more
  • BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK. A live, online chat about admissions to Chicago Booth was held on January 20 featuring Kurt Ahlm, senior director of admissions, and Lauren Polo, MBA ’11. They fielded questions from prospective students on “strategies for landing a spot in the No. 1-ranked program,” Businessweek wrote. Here is an edited transcript. Read more
  • CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Chicago Booth’s strength in entrepreneurship was featured in an article published January 25. “Now students are coming to Chicago Booth expressly for entrepreneurship,” Professor Steven Kaplan said. The article noted that three recent winners of Booth’s New Venture Challenge raised “significant venture capital.” The companies are Bump Technologies, Watermelon Express and GrubHub.com. “It shows you the cool stuff coming out of Chicago,” Professor Kaplan said. Read more
  • LE MONDE (Paris). Chicago Booth was featured in an article about the benefits of earning an MBA degree from a leading U.S. school. “Specialist degrees offered by some business schools provide content knowledge that is most valuable at the start of one’s career,” Deputy Dean Kole said. “The MBA (offered by Booth) offers that knowledge plus the broader understanding of organizations and how to lead,” she said. The typical Booth graduate in 2010 accepted a job with a median salary of $102,000, the article noted. The story appeared in the newspaper’s January Master’s and MBA guide.
  • FINANCIAL TIMES. Chicago Booth was featured in an article about changes in the admissions process at business schools, including the use of PowerPoint slides, DVDs and other non-traditional formats. Since Booth introduced its “third essay” in 2008, Kurt Ahlm, senior director of admissions, says he’s seen a variety of responses ranging from colorful, finely designed charts and data to one PowerPoint slide with just five bullet points. “The point is: there’s not one approach. When students do this well, they think through what they’re trying to communicate,” he said in the article published January 17. Read more
  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Chicago Booth was featured in an article about U.S. business schools that have international campuses. “With its storied reputation for turning out Nobel Prize winners, it’s no surprise that the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has been offering executive MBA degrees in Europe since 1994,” the article said. “Today, every executive MBA student rotates through all three campuses – London, Singapore and Chicago – as part of their 21-month program.” The intercontinental exchange “gives students an opportunity to work in an academic setting with people from all over the world,” said Patty Keegan, associate dean of the Executive MBA Program in North America. The article was published January 20. Read more

Section 2: News coverage quoting Chicago Booth faculty.

  • FINANCIAL TIMES (London). Professor Anil Kashyap wrote an op-ed headlined “Only tough reforms can save the land of the rising debt,” published January 21. “If Japan does not switch course voluntarily, it may soon find that financial markets will force changes upon it,” he wrote. Read more
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. Professor Richard Thaler wrote the Economic View column January 23 headlined “Adding Clarity to Heath Care Reform.” The column included three suggestions on how to improve the law even as lawsuits swirl around it. “There is an opportunity to improve health care and reduce uncertainty, a Republican mantra,” Professor Thaler wrote. Read more
  • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Professor Anil Kashyap wrote an op-ed titled “A Growth Solution for Japan’s Debt Mess,” published January 26. Fiscal policy is about more than taxes and spending – economy-boosting reform plays a role, too, he wrote. “The main question is whether the political will exists to abandon policies that appease voters in the short run and focus on reforms that restore growth in the long run.” Read more
  • BLOOMBERG TELEVISION. Professor Raghuram Rajan discussed the U.S. and global economy during a joint interview with Kenneth Rogoff, a professor at Harvard, at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “The recovery (in the U.S.) is in place,” Professor Rajan said. “The real question is when do we start removing the stimulus.” The interview took place January 28. Read more
  • THE ECONOMIST. Professor Raghuram Rajan’s argument that increased inequality of income – more precisely, the political response to it – helped to cause the financial crisis was featured in the Economics Focus column January 20. “Mr. Rajan thinks it was no coincidence that America in the early 2000s saw a boom in lending to the poor, including those folks that banks used to sniff at,” the article said. Research by Associate Professor Amir Sufi was also featured in the column. Read more
  • THE ECONOMIST. Professor Raghuram Rajan wrote a response to criticism of his views on income inequality (see item above), published January 26 in the Free Exchange section of the magazine’s website. Read more
  • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Professors John Cochrane and Douglas Diamond were quoted in an article headlined “More Bank Reforms Needed, Economist Say.” New rules in the U.S. aggravate the problems by providing authorities with too much discretion in deciding whether to save big banks that get in trouble, Professor Cochrane said in the January 9 article. “The incentive for the banks is to be as big, as systemically dangerous as possible” so the government will have no choice but to bail them out, he said. Professor Diamond said that while regulators are requiring banks to keep more cash on hand to cover their debts, they have done little to prevent the kind of short-term borrowing that can lead to trouble. Professors Cochrane and Diamond made their comments at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. Read more
  • THE GUARDIAN (London). Professor Raghuram Rajan published an op-ed headlined “The U.S. unemployment challenge,” January 11. “The history of recent recessions suggests that we should not be surprised that the job recovery is taking time,” he writes. “There is, however, an aspect of the problem that is different this time: layoffs in construction. Therein lies an additional explanation for tepid job growth.” Read more
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. Research by Professor Ann McGill and Sara Kim, a Booth Ph.D. student, was featured in an article headlined “Feeling Powerful and Taking Risks,” published January 2. In the study, one group of subjects was asked to recall a time when they felt powerful, and the other a time when they felt powerless. Then the subjects looked at a picture of a slot machine, which had been rigged to look either human or nonhuman, and rated the riskiness of the game and their willingness to play. The people who had been led to feel powerful were attracted by the humanoid machine and thought it lower in risk than the nonhumanoid machine, while the powerless people found the humanoid machine unattractive and risky. Read more
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. Professor John Cochrane was quoted in an article headlined “Fed’s Crisis Investments Are Showing Big Returns,” published January 10. Interest income from the Fed’s investment portfolio has produced record profits for the Fed for two consecutive years, the article said. But over time, when economic conditions improve, the portfolio could become a risk, because the investments could lose value when interest rates eventually rise. “From the taxpayers’ view, I think it is a mistake to make much of this number either way,” Professor Cochrane said. “The Fed is acting like a huge hedge fund on our behalf. It is borrowing at very low short-term rates and investing in long-term government bonds, mortgages and other risky loans. It made a profit on those investments last year, but it is bearing a lot of risk.” Read more
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. Research by Assistant Professor Oleg Urminsky on how we choose when trading off consumption or happiness in the immediate future with more consumption or happiness delayed to the more distant future was published January 1. Part of the research involved offering subjects a $120 gift card in a week or a $240 gift card in a year. Whether it’s a decision about career, health or spending time and money, “maximizing current welfare and maximizing lifetime welfare are often in conflict,” Professor Urminsky wrote. The Times called the research “provocative.” Read more
  • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Research by Assistant Professor Michael Minnis was featured in an article headlined “Audits Add Shine to Firms; Study Finds Certified Financial Statements Help Businesses’ Loan Prospects,” published January 13. “There appears to be a very real cost benefit to getting an audit, beyond the obvious value of having your financial statements in order,” Professor Minnis said. Read more
  • FINANCIAL TIMES. Professor Raghuram Rajan published a short commentary about one of his favorite business books December 29. “One of the books that has influenced my thinking on business is Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926) by R. H. Tawney, the British economic historian and social critic,” Professor Rajan wrote. “In this book, perhaps his most famous, he traces the church’s attitude towards profits, and how that changed over time – how we moved from an environment where even the morality of a small amount of profit was questioned to one where the unbridled pursuit of profits, if legally obtained, is celebrated.” Read more
  • CNBC TELEVISION. Professor Randall Kroszner discussed changes in the make-up of the Federal Open Market Committee and how that might impact U.S. monetary policy during an interview broadcast January 4. “It’s perfectly fine to have some dissent (on the Fed),” he said. “I even think it’s a positive to have some dissent.” Professor Kroszner was a governor of the Federal Reserve System from 2006 to 2009.
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. Professor Anil Kashyap was quoted in an article about the findings issued by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. “The commissioners’ failure to agree on most of the causes and narrow their differences to a handful of issues does the country a great disservice, by perpetuating the idea that reasonable people cannot understand what happened, Professor Kashyap said, adding that most economists are in basic agreement on the factors that caused the crisis. The article was published January 29. Read more
  • BBC NEWS. Professor Raghuram Rajan was featured in a story filed from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he appeared on a panel consisting of “five of the world’s top economists.” He discussed why economic forecasts are so hard to get right. When he was chief economist at the International Monetary Fund “we always failed to predict the (economic) turning point,” Professor Rajan said. “We were always wrong on Africa,” he said. His team would issue a forecast for the continent, then conflict would break out somewhere, making the local economy plummet 20 percent, wrecking the prediction, he said. The story was posted on the BBC’s website January 26. Read more
  • BUSINESS STANDARD (India). Professor Raghuram Rajan told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that India should not follow the U.S. “blindly” on the environment, according to an article published January 28. “Environment protection is important, but the question is whether you can stretch it beyond a point. At this stage of development, India needs factories as well,” Professor Rajan said. Read more
  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Clinical Professor James Schrager was quoted in an article about Sara Lee’s decision to split into two companies. The split looks like “the first step in a plan to make the segments much more marketable to outside investors or other companies,” he said. The restructuring also could be a way for each half of the business to improve its performance as a more focused entity. The article was published January 29. Read more
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. Professor Raghuram Rajan was quoted in an article headlined “Can India Leapfrog China?” published January 26. Despite a 1.1 billion-strong population, India is facing talent shortages – and not just at the very top, the article said. “We’re running out of electricians and plumbers because our education system is not keeping pace,” Professor Rajan told a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Read more
  • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Professor Randall Kroszner was quoted in an article headlined “More Hiring Expected as Gloom Starts to Lift,” published January 24. U.S. companies are optimistic about the economy and plan to hire more workers in coming months, a quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics found. “The economy is potentially at a turning point in job creation,” Professor Kroszner said. Read more
  • XINHUA NEWS (China). A feature article about Professor Luigi Zingales headlined “U.S. professor says U.S.-China cooperation to yield more integration,” was published January 11. “There is a lot of gain from trade between China and the United States,” Professor Zingales said. He urged China to invest in American real assets and companies, rather than to buy government paper. “It will have benefits for both countries. China will get high return on its investment, and for the U.S., it will reduce the cost of capital and force the government to be more disciplined and borrow less.”
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS. Professor Steven Kaplan was quoted in an article headlined “In management shuffle, Google tries to hold off threat – and get back that startup feel,” published January 21. While the free-wheeling attitude shown by Google’s top executives typically works well at small companies, it could cause problems in a company as large as Google, he said. “The risk is that if you take away the process, that in some sense you go back to a kind of chaos.”
  • BLOOMBERG TELEVISION. Professor Randall Kroszner talked about the Federal Reserve Board’s quantitative easing program during a live interview January 4. “What the Fed was doing with QE2 was worrying about the potential for downside risk, in particular the potential for deflation,” he said. “They bought some insurance against that by buying more assets. One of the things that is going to do is to start to boost up inflation expectations a little bit. That’s what they (the Fed) hope.” Read more
  • ABC TELEVISION. Assistant Professor Emily Oster appeared on Good Morning America in a story about the Mega Millions lottery jackpot reaching $330 million. Although the odds of winning the top prize are about 1 in 176 million, “It’s a level of fantasy we all engage in,” Professor Oster said. “Somebody will win, it could be you.” The story was broadcast January 4 and an updated version was posted on the ABC News website. Read more
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. Professor Raghuram Rajan was quoted in an article about the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. One reason for popular suspicion of the ties between policy makers and financiers was the 2008 bank rescue, he said. “How do you explain a bank bailout when you have foreclosures on Main Street,” Professor Rajan said. “When you try to explain the intellectual rationale, you sound like a stooge for the bankers.” The article was published January 14. Read more
  • U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT. Research by Professor Nicholas Epley was featured in an article headlined “Close Relationships Sometimes Mask Poor Communication: People may think loved ones understand them better than they actually do,” published January 24. “Our problem in communicating with friends and spouses is that we have an illusion of insight,” he said. “Getting close to someone appears to create the illusion of understanding more than actual understanding.” Read more
  • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Professor Randall Kroszner was quoted in an article about the 1841 depression in the U.S. when eight states defaulted on debts. Could states default today without causing another 1841, he was asked. It’s a long shot, Professor Kroszner said. “Only if there were a clear legal framework, and a clear way in which people would be treated, and not interminable delays through the courts. States should be very averse to defaulting.” The article was published January 4. Read more
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. Professor Christian Leuz was quoted in an article about how Goldman Sachs’ purchase of Facebook shares looks like a way to circumvent a 1964 law that limits the number of shareholders in a private company. “We’ve lowered the bar for certain types of investors that we felt need less protection,” Professor Leuz said in the January 5 article, referring to hedge fund and private equity investments. “But maybe what we’ve learned in recent years after the financial crisis is that sophisticated doesn’t always mean high-net-worth.” Read more
  • CNBC TELEVISION. Research on Microsoft by Clinical Professor James Schrager was featured in a report broadcast January 27. The company should be broken up because it’s too unfocused, he said. It appears to have no strategy, is trying to do too many different things and failing at most, and it should focus on the things it does best: Office and Windows, according to Professor Schrager. Winners are companies that focus, like McDonald’s, he said. Watch the video
  • REUTERS. Professor Raghuram Rajan was quoted in an article headlined “Economists Foretell of U.S. Decline, China’s Ascension,” published January 10. Even though Asia’s emerging markets will continue to strengthen, he still envisions an ongoing U.S. leadership role in the world. Nothing proceeds in a straight line, he said, and there are many pitfalls along the way even for dynamic Asian economies. “I would say the age of American dominance may be nearing an end. But America as the biggest mover will be in place for a long time.” Read more
  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Clinical Professor James Schrager was quoted in an article about Ford Motor Company’s recent success. CEO Alan Mulally’s plan to save Ford was well done, but it hasn’t been tested yet by an unforeseen event that throws off the strategy, such as a huge gas price increase, Professor Schrager said. “There are a lot of things that happen outside of Ford’s control that determine if they go from boom to bust,” he said. “What I haven’t seen yet is if they know how to deal with these large exogenous changes that will happen to them from time to time.” The article was published January 8. Read more
  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Professor James Schrager was quoted in an article about the recent break up of Fortune Brands, Motorola and ITT, and the potential sale or split up of Sara Lee Corp. Managers must demonstrate an ability to have an “unfair advantage” in their brand categories, Professor Schrager said in the January 12 article. “The managers that can make those brands sing get to keep them,” he said. The ones that can’t eventually have to get rid of them or, in (Sara Lee’s) sad case, die by the sword.” Read more
  • FOX SMALL BUSINESS.COM. Clinical Associate Professor Ira Weiss was quoted in an article offering advice to entrepreneurs seeking capital. “Create an advisory board and use it for contacts,” he said. “Try to get people interested in what you are doing and ask them for guidance. Pitch your idea to industry experts. Favor business models that generate cash sooner. Get external validation for your idea. The best way is through creating a product or service and securing customers that can be references. Finally, bootstrap, bootstrap, bootstrap.” The article was published January 4. Professor Weiss is faculty director of the Hyde Park Angels, an angel investing group. Read more
  • BLOOMBERG NEWS. Professor Steven Kaplan was quoted in an article about Goldman Sachs’ $450 million investment in Facebook Inc., a company that Goldman discouraged its employees from accessing while at work because of its social-networking focus. The bank’s investment in a company whose product it disfavors is “amusing,” though it makes sense, Professor Kaplan said. The article was published January 4. Read more
  • THE TELEGRAPH (London). Research by Professor Nicholas Epley was featured in an article headlined “Couples Sometimes Communicate No Better Than Strangers,” published January 21. “Our problem in communications with friends and spouses is that we have in illusion of insight,” he said. “Getting close to someone appears to create the illusion of understanding more than actual understanding.” Read more
  • DESERET NEWS (Salt Lake City, Utah). The new book by Professor Tobias Moskowitz was featured in an article headlined “New book combines sports, economics in fascinating way,” published January 22. “’Scorecasting’ is a must-read for all aficionados of sports or economics because of the refreshingly unique way it analyzes the former through the lens of the latter,” the article said. Professor Moskowitz co-wrote the book with Sports Illustrated reporter Jon Wertheim. Read more
  • POST-GAZETTE (Pittsburgh). “The most important and fascinating sports book in years has been written by an odd couple: Tobias J. Moskowitz is a professor of finance at the University of Chicago while L. Jon Wertheim, a distinguished tennis writer, is a professor at Princeton University,” a January 21 article said. “’Scorecasting’ is the sports equivalent of ‘Freakonomics,’” the article said.Read more
  • THE NEW YORK TIMES. “What is unique about ‘Scorecasting’ (the new book by Professor Tobias Moskowitz) is that is has the unusual mix of hard-nosed data analysis, unconventional wisdom and breezy storytelling …,” according to post on the Freakonomics blog written by Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics and a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. The item was posted January 25. Read more
  • WGN-TV (Chicago). Professor Tobias Moskowitz discussed his new book “Scorecasting” during a five minute interview broadcast January 24. Read more
  • NPR WEEKEND EDITION. Professor Tobias Moskowitz and “Scorecasting” were featured January 29 during a 7-minute interview. Read more
  • BLOOMBERG NEWS. Professor Steven Kaplan was quoted in an article headlined “Obama Keeps Corps of Corporate Friends Close Amid Criticism From Business.” Even though President Obama’s relationship with U.S. business has been strained at times, he has kept a coterie of business leaders in his orbit, the article said. “You’d rather be at the table than not at the table,” Professor Kaplan said. “You figure this is a way to do something useful for your country.” The article was published January 24. Read more
  • AMERICAN BANKER. Professor Luigi Zingales’ proposal to use credit-default swaps to solve the “too big to fail” problem in the banking industry was featured in an article published January 20. This daily newspaper called the plan “an intriguing idea.” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan “is a big fan of the proposal,” Professor Zingales said. “I’ve met with him and spoken with other Republicans. They want to legislate out ‘too big to fail.’” The article was published January 20. Read more
  • BLOOMBERG RADIO. Professor Randall Kroszner discussed the Federal Reserve Board’s decision to continue buying government bonds to boost the recovery during an interview January 26. “We’re just not seeing a lot of job growth yet,” he said.
  • LA TERCERA (Santiago, Chile). Professor Richard Thaler was featured in a Q&A interview published January 16.
  • CITY JOURNAL. Professor Luigi Zingales wrote an article headlined “How to Improve the Financial-Reform Law; A brief proposal to protect the system – without stifling innovation,” published in the Winter issue of this magazine of the Manhattan Institute Read more

Section 3: Chicago Booth students and alumni in the news.

  • FINANCIAL TIMES. Lauri Joffe Turjeman, MBA’ 11 was quoted in an article headlined “MBA employment crisis eases but anxiety remains,” published January 31. She thought hard about giving up her legal career in Israel but decided to enroll at Booth and move into business, the article said. “I did have concerns. That’s why it was critical for me to go to a highly ranked school because I felt like the economy was going to be rougher on the lower-ranked schools.” She now has three offers in hand after the end of the on-campus recruiting cycle, all of which meet her salary expectations, according to the article. Read more
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS. Charles Plosser, Ph.D. ’76 has become a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve’s main policymaking group, according to an article published January 24. Plosser is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Antoine Farris, MBA ’06 was featured in an article headlined “The Jungle: New Model for Work-Life Balance on Wall Street.” After working for a bulge-bracket bank, Farris now works for Accordion Partners where employees can choose their assignments, and, consequently, set their own work hours, according to the article. Read more
  • BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK. Mary Phillips, MBA ’12 was quoted in an article about the job market for new MBAs. “From what I’ve been hearing, for people who are interested in sales and trading at an investment bank, it’s a pretty tough area right now to get into,” she said. A similar pattern was spotted at Wharton, according to the article. Read more
  • BELLEVILLE (IL) NEWS-DEMOCRAT. Michael Girsch, MBA ’03 was promoted to assistant general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, according to an article published January 7. Previously he was director of baseball operations for the team.
  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE. FeeFighters, a company launched at Booth by Sean Harper ’09 and Joshua Krall ’09, raised $1.6 million in a new round of funding, according to an article published January 12. FeeFighters’ service lowers credit card processing fees by an average of 40 percent for small businesses, Harper said. Read more