Friday News – Vanderbilt Celebrates Social Causes, New Influencer Research at Johns Hopkins, and More

Instagram Influencers

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from this week, including Net Impact Week’s arrival at Vanderbilt, and new Johns Hopkins research on Instagram influencers.

Net Impact Week Celebrates the Intersection of Leadership and Social Causes Vanderbilt News & Events

Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management celebrated Net Impact Week with a series of events and initiatives in collaboration with the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, a student-led organization that seeks to alleviate poverty via market based solutions.

Beginning in late March, the week’s events included volunteer shifts at Tennessee’s Second Harvest Food Bank, pledges for greater sustainability efforts, and lunch and learn sessions. Among the long and short term goals that students stated in their pledges were reduction in water usage, use of sustainable transportation around campus and beyond, and reducing their consumption of meat and other animal products.

The Social Enterprise Consulting Showcase served as one of the lunch and learn events. Two teams, comprised of an ethically produced fashion brand and an urban farming project, presented their plans to an audience of student peers, sustainable business leaders, and faculty members. The week culminated in a presentation from students who had recently traveled to Ethiopia and Guatemala to engage in social impact work with local communities.

Click here for more on Owen’s Net Impact Week.

Internet Experts Who Attract Paid Advertisers Run the Risk of Alienating ‘Followers’Carey Business School News & Views

Itay Fainmesser, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School, recently published research on how online influencers maintain followers within the fiercely competitive world of social media.

Influencers, he observes, must balance their profiles with both original and paid content in order to maintain the loyalty of their followers. “Followers developed loyalty to influencers they considered authentic. Influencers had to find the right balance between paid and organic content, so they could be paid but not lose followers to competing influencers.” Fainmesser further notes that the competition between influencers has tended to create higher quality recommendations for consumers.

Regulatory measures that had, since the 1960s, only applied to TV and radio, have only recently begun to address online platforms. According to the regulations, influencers, like those involved in the Fyre Festival debacle in 2017, must clearly reveal the portions of their content that are sponsored. In order to prevent consumers from simply moving on to a site with more organic content, the sponsored content must be appealing to viewers. Faimesser suggests in his research that improving search technology is the future of improved user experience.

Image result for fyre festival influencers

In the lead up to the disastrous 2017 Fyre Festival, Instagram influencers effectively marketed the event without relaying that their posts were sponsored.

“The solution,” Fainmesser says, “is not to regulate influencers or marketers but to improve search technology to better match followers to influencers, whether they are sponsored or not.”

For more on Fainmesser and for a link to his research, click here.

From the Classroom to the AirwavesTuck School of Business News

Sydney Finkelstein, Professor of Management at Tuck School of Business, and leader of its Executive Program, and best-selling author, has turned his attention to a new podcast.

The Sydcast will feature interviews with influential people—thinkers, entrepreneurs, and even local small business owners—who frequently have a connection to Dartmouth but may be ‘under the radar.’

Best-selling author and Tuck School of Business professor Sydney Finkelstein recently jumped on the podcast wagon, launching The Sydcast.

“I’ve made a living out of asking good questions—in the classroom and in my research,” Finkelstein says, “so why not draw on that experience to create enjoyable content that can also give listeners new insights to business, careers, and how we live day to day?” He hopes to avoid the usual talking points of business leaders, such as management strategies or numbers, in favor of learning about his guests on a more personal and intimate level.

Finkelstein’s approach, he says, is to not rely heavily on research, but to intuitively let the conversations unfold.

“I try to approach it in the same way as you might when you know someone well, when you can really talk.” One of The Sydcast’s first featured guests was Deb Shinnlinger, the owner of Dartmouth’s mainstay coffee shop, Lucky’s. Finkelstein considers President Obama and Michael Jordan among his dream guests.

To subscribe to The Sydcast on iTunes, click here.

Why Aren’t Startups Founded by Women Getting More Funding?Columbia Business School Press Releases

Collaborative research between Columbia Business School and the London Business School reveals that women-led businesses are 63 percent less likely to receive venture capital funding than those led by men.

Assistant Professor of Business at Columbia, Jorge Guzman, and Aleksandra Kacperczyk, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at LBS, examined choices made by entrepreneurs at the founding stages of their efforts, and by investors at the point of funding. The team found that the disparity often originates in the type of businesses founded by women. Guzman says:

“Our study changes the focus of the gender gap in VC financing by showing that most of the gap is [high] up in the pipeline … While efforts to help existing women entrepreneurs are important, two-thirds of the issue is that we do not even see the women become entrepreneurs in the first place or start companies with the right underlying characteristics for attracting VC financing.”

The study focused on data in California and Massachusetts between 1995 and 2018. One of the conclusions Guzman and Kacperczyk drew was that female led businesses were often viewed by funders as ‘non-starters. That is, the ventures were not viewed as profitable to potential investors. Another conclusion was that if women do manage to get funding, their businesses are often as successful as their male peers.

The team also found that multiple interventions must be made to breach the disparity, including better education and training at each end of the spectrum for both entrepreneurs and investors.

For a version of the study that will be published in the journal Research Policy, click here.

Graziadio Business School to Host Spring 2019 CommencementGraziadio Newsroom

Pepperdine Graziadio’s Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremony will take place on April 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Firestone Fieldhouse on the Malibu campus.

Stasia Washington, MBA, ’13, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at financial services firm First Foundation, will receive recognition as a Distinguished Alumnus. Washington has won numerous awards for her accomplishments, including the Outstanding Banker of the Year from the LA Urban Bankers group and the National STEM Top Woman of Color in Finance award. After receiving her MBA from Graziadio, she graduated from UCLA Anderson’s Executive Leadership Institute.

At the First Foundation, Washington assists individuals, endowments, and non-profits with asset and portfolio management.

For more details on the upcoming Commencement events, click here.

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About the Author

Maggie Boccella

Maggie Boccella, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, is a freelance writer, artist and photographer. She has consulted on various film and multimedia projects, and she also serves as a juror for the city's annual LGBTQIA Film Festival.

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