Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Month: April 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Originally presented at the Center for Digital Transformation at The Paul Merage School of Business at University of California Irvine’s “Road to Reinvention: Leadership in the Digital Age” conference, which was hosted on March 24, 2016.

Don’t miss the Washington Post op-ed from Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti on Bowie’s innovation lessons

Fletcher Social Investment Group Launches “Investing in Impact” Podcast Series

Ask 10 people what impact investing is and you will get 10 different answers. Impact investments can be made domestically or internationally, in debt or in equity, directly to businesses or into funds, at concessionary rates or seeking market returns, and across many sectors and timelines. Similarly, an impact investor may be a foundation, nonprofit, investment bank, government, venture capitalist, or an individual. The Investing in Impact podcast series, now available on iTunes and, aims to bring clarity the impact investing space through interviews with a broad range of its participants.

Presented by the Fletcher Social Investment Group, the first six episodes take the listener through the business models of the following organizations:

  • Root Capital – Smallholder agricultural finance fund
  • Third Sector Capital Partners – Social Impact Bond developer and advisor
  • Rockefeller Foundation Program Related Investment – Foundation-led investments
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation – US Development Finance Agency
  • Empowerment Capital – Risk specialists developing a bank for the underbanked
  • Acumen – Non-profit global venture fund

Future episodes will feature I-DEV International, the Calvert Foundation, Wharton Social Impact Initiative, and Bank of America. Through these interviews, FSIG hopes to grow an understanding of impact investing and provide examples of opportunities to students, professionals, and investors to grow the impact of investment capital on social or environmental outcomes.

The podcast is hosted by Jesse Simmons (MIB 2016). Please reach out to if you are interested in appearing on the podcast.

You can follow FSIG on its newly created Twitter handle, @FSIGorg and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

This CEO banned his first employees from living more than 15 minutes from work
by Matt McFarland

“If you value time away from work or would like to strike a better work-life balance, [a start-up] may not be for you,” said Bhaskar Chakravorti, a dean of international business at Tufts University. “On the other hand, if working intensely and insanely long with a small tight group of like-minded people mobilized around an exciting start-up idea gets you excited — go for a company that tries to get people to live close by.”

Read the full article on Alibaba and Jack Ma, with quotes from Dean Chakravorti, in The Washington Post

Trumping Across the World
Donald Trump is not a uniquely American phenomenon. America is only catching up.

Of course, there can be no comparison. One is a teaseller’s son, the other, heir to a multi-million dollar real-estate fortune. One is a career politician, the other, a bull repeatedly charging the political china shop. One who campaigned with different headgear, from Rajasthani turbans to tribal dumluks, impeccably synchronised to appease different target constituencies, the other, favouring the same immovable bird’s nest of hair as the sole ornamentation for his head, regardless of the customer.

With all that being said, America’s unexpected surge in favour of Donald Trump, who has just won the crucial New York primary, reflects a universal yearning: The ordinary man — and woman — wanting to be led by someone extraordinary, by a leader omnipotent and muscular, who does not dither with endless policy deliberation and consensus-building.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Admiral Jim Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, welcomes Ahmet Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Company, for the annual Dr. Maurice S. Segal Lecture.

For older CEOs, issue is knowing when to bow out
by Marco della Cava and Charisse Jones

The smoothest transition? That’s the one from CEO to chairman, says [Bhaskar] Chakravorti, [senior associate dean of international business and finance at Tufts University’s Fletcher School], citing Bill Gates’ move at Microsoft as an example.

“You step back from executive function, but continue to lend your pattern recognition skills (while serving as) an effective partner to someone younger,” he says, adding that despite being as sharp as ever, [Warren] Buffett should make plans for new leadership at Berkshire Hathaway.

Read the full article with quotes from Dean Chakravorti in USA Today

PayPal, Facebook, Apple, and More: 12 Days at Fletcher

March and April are always a busy time at Fletcher. Mid-terms give way to the semester’s final crescendo, warm spring  weather lifts everyone’s spirits, and, of course, calendars fill with scores of exciting events across campus. This year, the two weeks from March 28th through April 8th brought a seemingly non-stop flow of fascinating speakers and prestigious celebrations, from the IBGC Speaker Series to Tufts University-wide events. Many focused on technology and entrepreneurship, but others brought high-profile visitors to discuss a wealth of other issues.

Learn more about these exciting two weeks at Fletcher:

Legal Seafoods CEO Roger Berkowitz

Monday, March 28: Legal Seafoods CEO Roger Berkowitz spoke about the sustainability and the global supply chain as part of the IBGC Speaker Series. He punctuated his perspective on the fish business by noting, “”At the end of the day, if we’re not conservationists, we’re not going to be in business!” Later that same day, Dan Schulman, President & CEO of PayPal, spoke alongside Hewlett Foundation cyber-security expert Eli Sugerman in a discussion entitled, “21st Century Cybersecurity: Challenges and Opportunities.” Read more about the event here

Tuesday, March 29: Tuesday took a deeper dive into the world of financial technology, as CEME Senior Fellow Arthur Sculley hosted an intimated lunchtime round table discussion on “The Future of FinTech 2.0.”

Wednesday, March 30: The Murrow Center, Hitachi Center, and Cyber Working Group came together to welcome Andrea Glorioso, Counselor for the Digital Economy  from the Delegation of the European Union to the US, for a talk on future prospects for markets and transatlantic relations in a digital context.

Thursday, March 31: The second IBGC Speaker Series event of the week brought the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (better known as DARPA), Dr. Arati Prabhakar to campus for a luncheon lecture to discuss “Technologies to Bend the Arc of the Future.” You can read a write-up of the event here

Monday, April 4: The following week showed no let up in great evemts around Tufts University as Jeff Rothschild, former VP at Facebook, came to campus to discuss his observations on entrepreneurship and technology in his talk titled, “From Punched Cards to Social Media.”

Wednesday, April 6: Presented by the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Fouad Siniora, former Prime Minister of Lebanon, gave a talk on the risks and opportunities presented by “The Emerging Middle East.”

DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar

DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar

Thursday, April, 7: Day 2 of the Tufts Entrepreneurial Showcase featured the finalists for the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition, with two Fletcher-led teams — Blue Water Metrics and Uliza — placing in the Top 3.

Friday, April 8: The busy and exciting 12 days at Fletcher came to a close, wrapping up the week with yet another IBGC Speaker Series event. “The Future of Innovation” was the topic, as former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley spoke to a packed house over lunch, full of inspiration and insight. There was plenty to dig into about the future of technology, but to him, innovation boils down to one thing: “It’s all about having insatiable curiosity.”

These events are just a small sampling of the wonderful happenings at Fletcher ever semester. Be sure to check out the Fletcher Calendar, IBGC Speaker Series, and Fletcher Features, as well as right here on this blog.

The Future of DARPA: New Technologies for New Security Challenges

by Sean Silbert (MALD 2017)
Originally published as part of “Fletcher Features”

Imagine the future: self-driving cars, bionic limbs and commercially viable spaceports. These are all technologies that DARPA, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is working to create, explained its director, Dr. Arati Prabhakar, in a packed Chase Center on March 31 as part of the IBGC Speaker Series.


DARPA Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar at Fletcher

The talk, “Technologies to Bend the Arc of the Future,” showcased some of the new projects that DARPA is currently working on and the challenges that it faces. The world has changed from the days of Sputnik, said Prabhakar, and new technologies are needed to maintain America’s primacy in technology. The national security environment has changed, and evolving threats from terrorism and the rise of great powers is forcing the U.S. to think of fresh ways to deal with new security challenges.

“Over time, [our investments] have created such a mass of new products and companies in various industries,” said Prabhakar. “And through all of this we’ve changed how we fight, of course, but also how we live and work.”

Prabhakar outlined some of the general technologies that are being developed to address the security challenges. While DARPA is known for creating technologies such as self-driving cars, they are now working on a self-driving boat that can go unmanned for months at a time. To replace satellites that can be taken out of orbit, the agency is developing an experimental spacecraft that can launch new satellites within a day.

DARPA is also working on building the groundwork for “a third wave of artificial intelligence,” according to Prabhakar. She demonstrated the utility of machine learning – systems that can take results from huge amounts of data and adapt themselves accordingly — through examples of facial recognition software to programs that can instantly detect and translate foreign transmissions.

Prabhakar has been the director of DARPA since 2012. She began working for the agency in 1986 as a program manager, managing programs in advanced semiconductor technology and flexible manufacturing. In 1993, she was appointed by President Clinton as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Between 1997 and her return to DARPA, she worked in Silicon Valley as a technology officer and later as a venture capitalist.

The Battle Over iPhones in India

Winning over Indian consumers seems to officially have become one of the global tech industry’s Next Big Things. Some estimates indicate that there will be one billion users online in the country by 2030. Although only one-fifth of its 1.3 billion people have online access today, India has already overtaken the U.S., becoming the second largest smartphone market in the world.

Read the full piece by Dean Chakravorti in Harvard Business Review

Student Research: Financial Inclusion & Entrepreneurial Development of Street Vendors in India

by Diwakar Jhurani (MALD 2017)

vendorMy winter research opportunity took me to New Delhi. The task at hand? Analyze the socioeconomic impact of four specific proposals for financial inclusion and entrepreneurial development of street vendors in India:

  1. access to bank credit
  2. leveraging existing general insurance schemes
  3. business literacy for vendors
  4. linkage to digital businesses.

A law passed by the Indian parliament called the Law for Regulation and Livelihood Protection of Street Vendors in 2014, and served as a trigger point for this research. The purpose of my visit was to seek input and obtain data from key stakeholders. I chose New Delhi due to the sheer number of street vendors and agencies associated with their management and advocacy.

My first trip was to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. Before I could successfully study street vending, first I had to become a consumer. The sheer cost effectiveness and convenience that these vendors bring to life makes them outstanding. Interestingly, I spotted as many women as men trying to sell their products. Connaught Place is considered one of the upscale markets in Delhi and to see a mix of neon lights, pubs, and street vendors, all catering to the same section of consumers, was a unique sight.

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