Posts by Jillian Markowitz

Dec 13, 2017 by

Alumni Spotlight: Daryl Morey and Swapping Intuition for Analytics

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

In 2006, when Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander announced that MIT Sloan School of Management MBA, analytics expert, and relative NBA unknown Daryl Morey would eventually serve as general manager of the team, the basketball community was surprised, to say the least. A Hoopsworld headline, at the time, read, “Daryl Morey? Are You Serious?”

Though using quantifiable data to make business and strategic decisions across the majority of professional sports has become the norm, in 2006, it was far from standard practice, especially in the world of basketball. At the time, Michael Lewis’s book, Moneyball, was just three years old, and it only highlighted the use of analytics in baseball; perhaps the most straightforward team sport to quantify.

Now, 11 years into his career as a general manager, Morey’s use of analytics to guide NBA decisions ranging from draft picks, to whether a player should go for a three-point shot or a mid-range jumper (hint: take the three point shot) has made him a sports statistics pioneer.

Early Life and Career

While growing up in Medina, Ohio, Morey developed a love of sports. But, according to a profile in Slate, after reading articles written by alleged authorities making predictions for sports teams’ successes that proved way off base, Morey began to question the effectiveness of these experts. Shortly after this realization, Morey happened upon a book by the original sports statistics advocate, Bill James, author of the seminal 1977 book The Bill James Baseball Abstract. James’s data-based philosophy immediately resonated with Morey as the way to mold winning sports teams.

Though he knew early on that he wanted to devote his life to sports, Morey was uncertain of how to gain access to the exclusive business side of the industry. During his time at Northwestern University, Morey sent scads of letters to pro teams, begging for a shot at even the most low-ranking jobs. Each of these letters went unanswered. “So I decided at that point that I had to be rich. If I was rich I could just buy a team and run it,” Morey said.

It was this line of thinking that led the young midwesterner to apply to MIT’s Sloan School of Management. After earning his MBA from MIT in 2000, Morey pursued a career in consulting. Eventually this led to a job working for the Boston Celtics. It was during this time that Morey began applying a statistical model he had developed to size up amateur players to the actual draft. Just a couple of years later, Morey was approached about a managing position for the Houston Rockets, where he has now served as general manager for eleven seasons and has just signed on for an additional four years.

Philosophy and Contributions

At just 21-years old, Morey adapted Bill James’s Pythagorean Expectation, a formula used to predict how many games a team would win, to basketball. “I would have never guessed that you could adapt the Pythagorean to basketball,” James said.

In basketball, Morey is partially credited with normalizing the use of analytics in player acquisitions, as well as approach to the actual game. Under his leadership, the Rockets acquired franchise cornerstone James Harden in what is, in hindsight, already considered one of the more lopsided trades in basketball history. Morey was also instrumental in starting the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, a forum wherein students and professionals can exchange views on the role of analytics in the sports industry.

When asked about his thought processes in Northwestern Magazine, Morey said, “You don’t fool yourself, you take a lot of chances, you cut your losses quickly. That’s all you can do.”

Like the slow-crawl of acceptance sabermetrics toiled through in Major League Baseball, Morey’s analytical imprint on the NBA has routinely drawn the ire of some of the game’s most notable figures, including Hall of Famer, “golfer,” and Inside The NBA host Charles Barkley. In 2015, Barkley routinely chided `the Rockets’ paltry defensive efforts, noting Morey’s tactics of bringing in players seemed fairly basic.

Just two years later, however, and the Rockets are currently riding a 10-game win streak and sit atop of the vaunted Western Conference, with Harden earning potential MVP praise and point guard Chris Paul commanding one of the league’s best offenses. And Morey’s analytical emphasis on three point shooting and pick and roll sets, dubbed “Moreyball,” has never been more prominent. The Rockets lead the league—by far—in three-point attempts per contest, launching a blistering 43.2 per game. For context, the team with the second most three-point attempts per game, the Brooklyn Nets, take 33.8 per game—nearly 22 percent less than Houston.

Stats via Post

The Rockets’ analytical trend may seem extreme, but the rest of the league is still taking notice. The average three point attempts taken per game, nearly a quarter of the way into the 2017-18 season, is the highest ever at 28.7 attempts per game per team; and those figures have gone up every year since 2012. If Moreyball remains a staple of the NBA offense, expect that figure to be broken again in 2019.

Other Pursuits

Morey has a love of musicals, and even proposed to his now-wife Ellen before a production of Grease. It makes sense then that the man the New York Times called a “wizard in the field of quantitative analysis,” has chosen to devote his time to producing a musical. The show, “Small Ball,” is slated to debut in 2018.

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Dec 5, 2017 by

To Fume Or Not to Fume: Wharton Studies Cite Benefits of Anger in Negotiation

Wharton Negotiation Study

A recent article on effective negotiation and competition tactics in the Wall Street Journal utilized the results of four studies from The Wharton School. Specifically, the article discussed the benefits of getting angry in these situations.

The article cites four Wharton studies that explored the effects of anger on motivation and outcome in negotiation and competition settings. In the negotiation studies, subjects were informed that they would participate in a meeting with another person. Half of the subjects were told the meeting would be a negotiation, and the other half were told they would just be having a conversation. In the competition study, researchers told half of the participants they would be playing a computer game with a teammate, and told the other half that they would be playing a video game against a rival player. Participants in both studies were given the option to watch either a clip of standup comedy or an upsetting harassment scene from the 1985 film Witness.

Subjects who believed they were entering into a competition or negotiation were far more likely to watch the harassment scene, whereas those who were told they were having a conversation or playing a game as a team gravitated toward watching standup. Participants who watched the upsetting video before going into a negotiation or competition (and expected their anger to be a useful tool) performed more effectively.

Multiple studies have shown that negative feelings can be an asset in negotiations—or at least that positive feelings an be an impediment. In her book Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence, psychologist Thalma Lobel suggested making people as physically comfortable as possible before proposing a business deal. An act as simple as serving someone a warm cup of coffee proved to increase their positive feelings toward the other person, and consequently made them a more lax negotiator.

Though it seems anger can be an effective tool, the article cautioned readers that it can also impede the creative process by narrowing thinking. Additionally, getting mad can negatively impact coordination. But ultimately, anger, when harnessed carefully and expertly, can improve chances of victory in competitive settings.

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Dec 4, 2017 by

Supply Chain Management MBAs: The Best New York Programs

NYC Supply Chain Management MBA

Product outsourcing is a hot topic today. Consequently, the supply chain management field is richer, more complex, and more necessary than ever. Optimizing the process of turning a concept into a product and getting that product to the shelf is integral to the success any retailer. No matter where a product is made, the progression from conception to end user is a collaborative effort. An MBA in supply chain management can help you learn who to contact and how to strategize in order to best serve both retailers and consumers.

New York City is among the retail capitals of the world. Schools in the New York metro have easy access to hundreds of CEO speakers, as well as a deluge of internship and job opportunities. Below, we’ve outlined some of our favorites.

The Best NYC Supply Chain Management MBA Programs

Columbia Business School

Though Columbia Business School does not offer concentrations, it would be remiss not to mention this academic powerhouse when considering programs with resources in supply chain management education. Columbia’s supply chain management courses are taught by extraordinarily well-regarded professors, who may serve as resources for students throughout their time at the school. Medini R. Singh, for example, is a sought-after professor. In addition to his 25+ years of teaching experience and numerous teaching awards, Singh serves on the advisory board for the W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness. According to his bio, Singh’s research focuses on “service and supply chain design, at both the tactical and strategic level.” Singh has also consulted for multiple Fortune 500 companies. Columbia students MBAs will also have access to Awi Federgruen, the Charles E. Exley Professor of Management and Chair of the Decision, Risk and Operations Division of Columbia Business School. Federgruen has published over 120 pieces on the financial services industry, and often consults on supply chain management issues for large corporations.

Rutgers Business School, Newark and New Brunswick

Rutgers Business School offers a Supply Chain Management MBA, the mission of which, according to the website, is to “prepare students to meet and exceed the expectations of the employees experiencing a growing demand for supply chain management and logistics experts.” In fact, the school’s Supply Chain Management program was ranked eleventh on U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 list of best graduate schools for business. This ranking seems apt, considering a whopping 100 percent of the supply chain management MBA students from the class of 2016 were employed within 90 days of graduation. Students of this program have gone on to work various supply chain management jobs at companies like Este Lauder, Colgate, and Johnson & Johnson.

CHECK THIS OUT: Looking At New York City’s Best MBA Return on Investment (Pt. I)

Stern School of Business—New York University

The renowned New York University Stern School of Business provides students with the option of choosing a Supply Chain Management and Global Sourcing Concentration to equip MBAs to navigate supply chain issues in a global economy. Students who pursue this concentration can take classes like Global Sourcing and Open Innovation, Pricing Strategies, and Building and Managing Customer Relationships. Stern gears the specialization toward students aiming to pursue careers in management consulting, managing information systems, product management, and supply chain management. Students in this program can choose two of three core supply chain management courses, and then must take six of the 24 related elective courses.

Gabelli School of Business—Fordham University

The Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University offers many classes that specialize in supply chain management, including Operations Management. Under chair Sarah Jinhui Wu, the Gabelli Operations Management courses “equip students with a solid understanding of core operations concepts and decisions, rigorous analytical thinking and skills, and a creative mindset so they can deal with all of the complex issues of a supply chain.”

Many of the other concentrations offered in the Gabelli School of Business MBA program also offer courses revolving around supply chain management, including Global Sustainability.

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Nov 30, 2017 by

MBA and Innovation: Our 4 Favorite Denver Schools for Entrepreneurs

Colorado’s population and economy have been rapidly expanding in recent years. The Denver Post estimates that, by 2050, Colorado’s population could increase to 8.5 million people: a 64 percent increase from the current population of 5.5. The economic and population boom make Denver an ideal place to launch a business. Denver is also less than an hour from Boulder, a city Inc. Magazine refers to as “America’s Startup Capital.” All in all, Denver metro is starting to look like a no-brainer for budding entrepreneurs.

But turning an idea into a company involves making infinite difficult decisions about business issues and strategy. According to Forbes, 90 percent of start ups eventually fail. Earning an MBA means gaining access to business networks, knowledge, and resources, and it can be an excellent way to gain the edge you need in order to help your idea thrive. Below, we’ve laid out four of our favorite Denver MBA programs for entrepreneurs.

University of Denver – Daniels College of Business

Students who want to start a business would be remiss not to consider the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, which was recently listed among Inc. Magazine’s “15 Most Innovative MBA Programs.” Forbes also ranked University of Denver in the “Top 50 for Startups” as recently as 2014. Daniels grads have gone on to start their own companies, and to find creative ways to meet the needs of their community. Leo Osahor (MBA 2007, MSM 2007) developed FlightSpeak, the largest and most detailed airport app to date. The app allows travelers to view security wait times, shopping options and coupon offers, and WIFI info for 315 airports around the world. The school also helps sponsor an annual Pitch Competition that fosters entrepreneurship by allowing graduate and undergraduate students to present their company or product ideas to a panel of local business owners. Winners receive a $1,000 cash prize that lets them take steps toward bringing their ideas to fruition.

The Daniels College of Business/Photo via

Colorado State University College of Business

The Colorado State University College of Business has an entire institute devoted to entrepreneurship. The Institute for Entrepreneurship offers several programs outside of the classroom that help budding entrepreneurs gain the insight and resources they need to embark on their business ventures. According to the school, the institute hosts annual events such as Women Entrepreneurs’ Leadership Summit, Venture Adventure Challenge, and the Distinguished Entrepreneur speaker series.

University of Colorado – Denver Business School

The University of Colorado’s Denver Business School MBA program provides the option of pursuing an entrepreneurship specialization. This specialization allows students to explore a breadth of topics including web development, personal branding, and social entrepreneurship. MBAs with this specialization devote 12 of their 15 elective credits to entrepreneurship-related courses. University of Colorado’s Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship supplies students aiming to start their own business with additional resources, such as career coaching, networking, job recruitment, and internship opportunities.

University of Colorado, Boulder – Leeds School of Business

Students at the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Leeds School of Business will have no trouble accruing the knowledge and skills necessary to start their own business. Leeds students can pursue an MBA with an entrepreneurship focus. In fact, the school offers so many entrepreneurship electives, there are six sub-categories students can use to tailor their educational trajectory to their specific goals. Entrepreneurship MBAs can focus on New Venture Finance, Entrepreneurial Marketing, Entrepreneurial Practice, Sustainable and Social Entrepreneurship, Corporate Entrepreneurship, or New Venture Creation. Leeds School of Business has inspired innovators such as Brent Handler, the destination club pioneer who co-founded Exclusive Resorts.

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Nov 30, 2017 by

Delaware Professor Warns Consumers About Store Promotional Credit

Delaware professor store credit

Despite the proliferation and ease-of-access eCommerce presents, many consumers still opt to wait in lines for hours, navigate packed parking lots, and push through herds of consumers to get Black Friday discounts. Thanks to research from Adnong Cheng, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, bargain-hunters may be able to change their thinking and save more money—or rather, save any money at all.

In a paper in the Journal of Marketing Research titled, “Double Mental Discounting: When a Single Price Promotion Feels Twice as Nice,” Cheng warned consumers of the flawed thinking that can result from store credit.

“Let’s say you went to Ann Taylor Loft, you bought a sweater for $50 and received $10 of Loft credit to spend in the future. This purchase feels like it’s only $40 instead of $50. And then later, you spend the $10 on another shirt and feel like the shirt is free, because you’ve only been spending that merchandise credit instead of more money out of your pocket,” Cheng explains.

The consumer’s thinking in this situation is flawed, as they are factoring the single store credit into the cost of two separate items. Additionally, many people do not fully utilize their store credit, but operate under the mind set that they will.

In one of the studies, Cheng and co-author Cynthia Cryder, an Assistant Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School, cited an ice cream store gave certain customers a $3 discount, and other’s a $3 promotional credit. Consumers with the promotional credit bought more ice cream than those who received a discount, as they felt the night to come back to the store to utilize their credit. This is a phenomenon Cheng and Cryder referred to as “double mental discounting.” Consumers fallaciously applied their discount to two purchases.

Cheng advised consumers: “When you receive promotional credit, don’t think of the initial purchase as cheaper. Only take the money gained into account once you’re actually able to use the promotional credit.”

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Nov 22, 2017 by

How Philadelphia MBA Programs Help Lower-Income Applicants

Philadelphia MBA Programs Help Low Income Applicants

Compared to Philly’s east coast metropolitan peers, its cost of living is laughably low. Additionally, Philly has all of the advantages of being located smack dab between DC and NYC. Although Wall Street has long since displaced Philly as the American center for banking, much of that infrastructure and tradition remain, which helps Philly maintain its status as a major economic powerhouse in the 21st century.

Since, according to Philly Mag, Philadelphia has one of the fastest growing millennial populations in the country, the city has creativity and energy that permeates every sector. All of these factors make Philly the perfect place to launch a career.

For low-income students looking to pursue an MBA in Philly, we’ve compiled a list of what some of Philly metro’s top schools are doing to help students fund their higher education.

Fox School of Business — Temple University

The Fox School of Business at Temple University has a variety of options for students looking to finance their MBA. In fact, according to the school’s website, 60 percent of first-year Temple students receive need-based aid each year. On average, first year students receiving need-based aid are awarded $15,000 toward tuition. Fox carefully assesses the applications of all incoming students, and the school distributes merit-based scholarships for those who demonstrate particular promise. There are also specific financial perks for Temple alumni coming into the MBA program. These students are not required to pay an application fee and receive a five percent tuition scholarship.

JUST FOR YOU: Fox Temple EMBA Jumps in New Financial Times Ranking

Lehigh University College of Business and Economics

The Lehigh University College of Business and Economics provides a some merit-based scholarships to helps students fund their education. Awards are determined by the Committee on Financial aid. The committee considers an applicant’s undergraduate record, test scores, and work experience. Scholarships include the Dean’s Scholar, which offers extremely promising students a full ride plus a $10,000 living stipend.

Lehigh also has a number of Director’s Scholars, who may receive awards anywhere from $5,00 to full tuition. Lehigh offers many other scholarships in addition to need-based financial aid specific that varies depending on the MBA track.

LeBow College of Business — Drexel University

When considering Philly Metro MBA programs that provide resources for low-income applicants, it would be remiss not to mention Drexel’s LeBow College of Business. At LeBow, an impressive 82 percent of full-time MBAs get aid that amounts to 62 percent of tuition. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of full-time students benefit from grants that covered about one fifth their tuition. Drexel also offers merit-based scholarships. Additionally, the school offers the URM Scholarship, which offers supplemental fiscal gifts to underrepresented minority students.

Smeal College of Business — Penn State University

Penn State’s Smeal College of Business has a large number of MBA alumni-funded scholarships that are awarded based on academic achievement, work history, and how well students fit into the Smeal program. Around 20 percent of incoming students receive $5-10,000 awards. There are fellowships for specific groups of students, including the Powerful Women Paving the Way Fellowship which is awarded to promising women, and the Maimuna Mijindadi Anyone Memorial Fellowship, for students of Nigerian descent.

The Wharton School — University of Pennsylvania

Students who apply to Wharton are automatically considered for fellowships that offer some level of financial support. Students also have the option of applying to any of over 700 external fellowship programs. Wharton students can also apply for private or federal loans.

The Ivy League business school offers a litany of scholarship opportunities for incoming and current students, from the American Association of University Women, to the Instituto Ling Scholarship Program for international applicants, among others.

Additionally, Wharton hosts a positively booming array of fellowship opportunities, including some of MetroMBA’s favorites, like the Forte Fellowships program and the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship.

For more information on Wharton’s many financial assistance opportunities, click here.

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