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MBA News You Need: Alumni Gifts at Chicago Booth and Wharton, Cryptocurrencies at IE Business School, and More.

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Each week we collect all the MBA news that’s fit to print to give you a quick overview of the latest trending topics from top schools around the world.

Here’s your quick MBA News You Need digest for the week of March 29, 2018.

HBS Announces NVC Semifinalists in Student Business Track

Harvard Business School announced the 31 semi-finalist teams from the first round of its New Venture Competition. 84 judges sifted through an initial pool of 140 student-led startup teams. The competition invites entrepreneurial-minded students to pitch their business ideas either on Business or Social Enterprise tracks for a chance to share $315,000 in cash prizes.

The 71 Business Track teams competed in the first round on March 25th, while early March saw a record number of Social Enterprise Track teams (69) compete. The eight finalists for each track will be announced in the coming weeks. To see a list of all the semifinalists, visit the HBS Newsroom.

$10M Gift Support Junior Faculty Fellowships at Chicago Booth

Chicago Booth is known for its incredible faculty, which includes nine Nobel Prize winners among a host of world-class scholars. In recognition of that strength, Chicago Booth alumni Clifford Asness (MBA ’91, PhD ’94) and John Liew (AB ’89, MBA ’94, and PhD ’95) donated $10 million to support junior faculty fellowships. The goal of the donation is to help sustain Booth’s intellectual leadership while also helping the school recruit bright young scholars. The fellowship will offer reduced teaching loads to junior faculty and more time for research. (Chicago Booth Newsroom)

“The renowned faculty at Booth have helped reshape the face of business, markets, and the global economy through their insights and analyses,” said Cliff Asness. “Continuing that legacy of faculty excellence is imperative, and I’m honored to be able to support young Booth faculty at the beginning of their careers.”

Companies Look for ROI Before Hiring MBAs

The coveted MBA has historically been touted as a surefire path for business professionals to improve their value to potential employers. Increasingly the distinction of the MBA has come under siege. But some employers have begun to question the return on investment (ROI) they get from hiring MBA graduates. Do they really get enough extra value from an MBA compared to the cost of paying a higher salary? The key for these companies is to hire MBAs with specialized skills compared to generalist MBA graduates.

The good news is that more and more employers expect to hire business school graduates in 2018, as long as schools and graduates demonstrate their worth. According to Scott DeRue, dean of the Michigan Ross School of Business, the ROI of an MBA hire is typically negative until the third year of employment. “We have to prove their value to recruiters,” DeRue said. Find out what companies are looking for in MBA recruits in the full Financial Times article.

IE Business School Launches #IEToken Pilot Program on Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

What could MBA students do with 10,000 tokens to invest in cryptocurrencies? That’s what the IE Business School wants to find out with its #IEToken Project. It’s a pedagogical experiment that will help students learn to create value based on blockchain. The project is part of the International MBA Startup Lab, which helps students develop business plans and find investors. In all, 2.4 million tokens have been placed in students’ hands.

“We want students to understand what value means and to learn to create it from scratch,” says Asier Arranz, director of IE Business School’s Technology Lab. “It is also a way for business school students to understand and use advanced blockchain tools, a skill which will be very much in demand in coming years.” (IE Business School Blog)

$4 Million Gift from Estée Lauder Chairman Promotes Wharton Leaders 

A $4 million gift from William P. Lauder, the executive chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies, will endow the Wharton Leadership Fellows Program. The 15-month fellowship provides development opportunities for second-year MBA students who mentor, coach, and support first-year MBA students. Fellows play a critical role at Wharton by strengthening team dynamics, providing feedback, coaching growth, and addressing conflict.

“I have always believed that great leaders are also great teachers, coaches, and mentors,” said Lauder in a press release announcing the new gift. “That’s what I expect of leaders at the Estée Lauder Companies, and what I hope to model for MBA students… I’ve been consistently impressed by the ways in which Wharton Leadership Fellows enhance and contribute to the learning culture at Wharton. I am thrilled to support this outstanding program’s continued growth and evolution.”

To learn more about the gift as well as the Wharton Fellows Program, visit Wharton News.

The #MeToo Movement Has Reached Silicon Valley’s Venture Capital Industry—But Will It Last? 

The #MeToo movement has left an indelible mark both inside and outside the venture capital industry. More venture firms are seriously listening to and weighing allegations of sexual harassment than ever before. In addition, many venture firms and startups emphasize diversity in the workforce and management, particularly when it comes to gender discrimination. However, it’s not all good news.

For many Silicon Valley venture firms, there’s a refusal to admit that a problem even exists. While the #MeToo movement has brought the problem to light, some in the industry refuse to acknowledge it and are resistant to making any changes. Still, in the last year or so, there’s been a push for progress. As James Joaquin, one of the co-founders of Obvious Ventures, told Business Insider, “I think we’ve made more progress in the last 12 months than in the last 12 years prior to that.” But will that change persist? Read the article to find out.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.