Great news for our students: Fletcher’s team in the CFA Institute Research Challenge emerged as champions in last night’s Boston-region competition! Presenting their research on the company Boston Scientific, the Fletcher team topped competitors Babson College, Brandeis University, and Hult International in the final round.
The winning team consisted of JP Craven (first-year MIB), Doris Hernandez (second-year MALD), Ashray Dixit (second-year MIB), and our own Admissions Bloggers Mariya and Adi! Professor Patrick Schena was advisor to the team and Office of Career Services Director Elana Givens added her input and attended the competition, as did Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti.
The next round of the challenge will be the North and South Americas regional competition (coincidentally) in Boston on March, with about 50 teams competing. The winner of the regional competition will go to the global competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April.
Congratulations to Professor Schena and the successful team!
The number of people using the internet around the world is increasing at a rapid pace. With that, there has been steep expansion in global e-commerce. According to Euromonitor, in the US (the world’s biggest consumer market by sales volume), e-commerce accounts for 10% of all retail sales. Further, Euromonitor predicts that share will increase to 16.6% in 2021. All this growth brings immense business opportunities for companies like Amazon and Alibaba. At the same time, the number of people using social platforms on the web is also on the rise. As of 2017, Facebook had 2 billion global monthly users, followed by YouTube’s 1.5 billion, WeChat’s 889 million, and Twitter’s 328 million. Many of these internet companies generate revenue using targeted, personalized ads.
Mark Patel, McKinsey Digital, San Francisco shared his insights on digital trust
The growth of any platform-based business depends fundamentally on digital trust — the trust that the platforms create between sellers and customers which leads customers to buy seller’s products and services. For example: if Amazon’s product listings — the goods sold directly by Amazon and its partner merchants — couldn’t be verified as authentic products, customers wouldn’t buy them and might switch to a competitor. Similarly, a fraudulent phishing attack using customer’s stolen credit card is common in platforms. When this happens, the seller would suffer because, in addition to loss of merchandise, he would have to bear the costs of preparing and shipping the merchandise.
Core to the work of The Fletcher School’s Institute for Business in the Global Context, the “Turn?” Series of conference examine regions of the world at a point of inflection. From Africa to Turkey to Greece in the past few years, these events bring together leaders from business, politics, and academia for timely discussions, exploring implications for the world at large and the region on the cusp of “turning.”
We are beyond thankful for everything that thousands of people did make this the largest giving day in Fletcher and Tufts history.
Thank you for volunteering. Thank you for donating.
And thank you for supporting today’s students and faculty and the tremendous academic and global community that is Fletcher. Together, we’re making a brighter world.
Today is #GivingTuesday! Learn why Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti is giving to Fletcher, and consider joining him with your own gift. If 250 people give to Fletcher today, we unlock a special $50,000 challenge gift!
Prior to travel and while in Rwanda, I identified access to energy, or lack thereof, as a major driver for growth in trade in East Africa. Energy is crucial for building capital-intensive infrastructure, such as roads, railways, bridges, and power plants, and I was curious about the status of this in Rwanda, the most stable and fast-growing country in East Africa. I made a list of important stakeholders in energy in the Rwandan government as well as the private sector, to be contacted and possibly interviewed for their views on energy status in Rwanda and its greater implications across East Africa.
Once in Rwanda, I contacted the Rwanda Development Board to meet their CEO, Clare Akamanzi, as well as their Energy Specialists. Clare was busy due to the elections in Rwanda, but I was able to meet Olivier Ngororabanga, an Industrial Development Analyst in the Investment Promotion Department of the Rwanda Development Board. He was helpful in briefing me about interesting developments surrounding energy in Rwanda.
By 2017/18, the Rwandan government planned to give access to 70% of the population from an earlier 34.5%. This would be achieved by 48% on-grid and 22% off-grid. As a large proportion of Rwanda’s population, almost 10 million people, live in villages, I was interested in what kind of off-grid solutions were being provided – this would be critical to understanding the kind of light industries that could be supported in rural Rwanda and give an understanding of potential income increase for many people. The Rwandan government had set a goal of increasing the per capita income to $900 by 2020 and this would not be possible without providing energy access to the population residing in villages. I observed that the Rwandan government had a tiered system of classification for implementing rural electrification; Tier 4 and Tier 5 would be critical installations needed to support businesses. Continue reading
From time to time we like to feature some of the outstanding work of The Fletcher School’s business faculty. Today we look at a new article from Jette Steen Knudsen, Associate Professor of International Business and The Shelby Cullom Davis Chair in International Business.
A Global Policy special issue on public and private protections of labor and social standards in the global economy explores whether public and private regulations of such standards develop in harmony or tension with one another. Included in this issue was a piece researched and written by Prof. Jette Steen Knudsen titled, “How Do Domestic Regulatory Traditions Shape CSR in Large International US and UK Firms?”
Read the abstract below and follow the link to learn more:
This article examines corporate social responsibility (CSR) pertaining to labor standards in apparel and tax transparency in extractives and explores how domestic regulatory traditions shape CSR in large international US and UK firms. Reflecting their more collaborative business-government traditions, British firms are more willing to join international CSR multi-stakeholder initiatives with business-critical actors such as unions and civil society actors. The US has a more top-down regulatory approach, which promotes hard law international CSR or encourages business-driven voluntary CSR initiatives. This article makes three contributions. First, it argues that while corporations are the key actors in international CSR, their behavior reflects their respective national business systems. Second, focusing on a range of international CSR initiatives, this article finds that UK firms are more interested in adopting international (multi-stakeholder) CSR initiatives than US firms. Finally, the article shows that the US and the UK governments play a key role in driving an international CSR agenda, and in doing this it highlights government agency more so than other research has.
I chose Fletcher for several reasons. When thinking about going back to graduate school, I knew I wanted a business program with an international focus. My research into international business programs showed me there were not many schools that fit the criteria I was looking for, but The Fletcher School more than met my criteria — it passed with flying colors. The program is interdisciplinary, internationally focused in all subject matters, has a diverse faculty, staff and student body and has a broad course offering.
The alumni and student body were also critical to my decision-making process. I couldn’t believe how helpful, engaging and passionate every alum was. I recognized the passion that alumni still held for their school immediately, and by the time I made the decision to attend Fletcher, I already felt that I was a part of the community. I knew if the engagement from the alumni network was this good even before I had chosen Fletcher, it would be an alumni network I could always count on.
Technological solutions for agriculture in the developing world have become fairly widespread during the last decade, but challenges remain related to reaching farmers in rural, less connected areas. Well known applications such as M-Farm in Kenya have provided SMS-based market and price information to farmers, while other applications, including Esoko in Ghana, have offered information on weather patterns and other factors. However, due to lack of digital infrastructure or farmer literacy, reaching those at the base of the pyramid remains a significant challenge.
An eKutir farmer’s irrigated tomato plants
eKutir, a social business based in Bhubaneswar in the Odisha State in eastern India, has developed an ICT-based model that is designed to create value at the base of the pyramid. The eKutir model provides “micro-entrepreneurs” working in farming, food sales, and sanitation with access to technology that helps to improve productivity and streamline value chains. Over time, there is potential for this system to make a substantial impact by increasing returns on investment and reducing transaction costs throughout a wide range of value chains.
With support from the IBGC, I had an opportunity to travel to Bhubaneswar in March 2017 to meet with the eKutir management team as well as some of the farmers and entrepreneurs involved in eKutir’s value chains as part of research for my Fletcher capstone project. During my time in India, I was impressed by the consistent positivity among the various people with whom I spoke.
The massive exodus of the Syrian people has led to a refugee crisis in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have made the long journey across Turkey and then to Greece, putting their lives in danger in the hope of finding a better future in Europe. In 2015, more than a million asylum-seekers took refuge in Europe, with another 500,000 following in the first half of 2016. A deal was struck between the European Union and Turkey in March aimed at limiting the number of migrants and regulating migration by establishing EU-administered camps – the so-called hotspots – on the Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, and Kos, from where the majority of migrants enter Europe.
Refugee boats arriving to the shores of Lesvos (August 2015)
The island of Lesvos found itself under the spotlight of international media as the central entry point to Europe. Some 600,000 refugees and migrants have passed through the island over the past 19 months. After a year of coping with the crisis without aid from international organizations, the impact on Lesvos’ 85,000 permanent residents has been significant. To their credit, the locals have been gracious hosts. Their sense of tolerance and solidarity has been praised by major world figures including Pope Francis, Queen Rania of Jordan, actress Angelina Jolie and former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Their humanitarian efforts have earned them a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“It’s a pretty exciting time for you all to be coming out of Fletcher,” John Gordon told an audience of Fletcher students. After all, the technology field is developing rapidly, and ideas once-considered “crazy” are driving major industry progress. Gordon knows a thing or two about noteworthy technology developments; he’s the Chief Digital Officer of Current, powered by General Electric (GE) — an energy company that integrates GE’s LED, Solar, Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle businesses to deliver cost-effective, efficient energy solutions.
Understanding how technology evolves and the “implications of new technology trends” is of the utmost importance, Gordon told students. He referred to GE as a “big industrial company in transition” and said staying on top of the latest technology is one of the ways it stays current and drives progress.
John Gordon, Chief Digital Officer at GE, speaks as part of the IBGC Speaker Series (Photo Credit: Anthony Schultz)
Case in point? GE is known for building locomotives and engines, but at a certain point the company realized they needed to update the way they approach technology to better understand how their systems actually perform. “We decided that we needed a different type of technology that would allow us to service things better,” he explained. So GE sought out additional data to teach them how various machines, like airplanes, were operating, then started the process of analyzing.