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MBA News You Need: HBS Talks Brexit, Stanford Researches Poverty, IU Kelley Announces LGBTQ+ Scholarship, and More

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

Here’s your quick MBA News You Need digest for the week of January 15, 2019.

HBS Professor on Surviving Brexit

With Brexit in limbo, Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter offered some insights into what the United Kingdom (UK) can do to survive and remain competitive if some version of the referendum passes.

Some proponents argue that leaving the European Union (EU) will help Britain with better trade deals, fewer regulations, and curtailed immigration. Porter explains that as a competitive strategy, these solutions are not real. “Our worry is that the UK remains mired in wishful thinking about Brexit,” says Porter.

To address the challenges related to competition that the UK will soon face, Porter believes that steps to raise productivity and growth are vital. The UK needs a bold approach that defines a new value proposition for the country as a hotspot for doing business outside the EU, like building up low- and middle-skilled workers.

Porter also believes that highlighting the UK as a leading academic research center in Europe is key to attracting new business. (HBS Working Knowledge)

Stanford Research Harnesses Computer Learning to Solve Poverty

More than 13 percent of the U.S. population lives below the poverty level despite $1 trillion in federal spending. Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Geoffrey Lawrence Cohen has teamed up with a multidisciplinary team to develop a novel search for solutions to poverty. They plan to employ machine learning to sift through data and outline the variables that lead to, perpetuate, and prevent poverty.

The Stanford researchers argue that poverty is a multi-pronged problem that requires specific conditions to address each case. Using the new data sets, the team will set out to find the root causes of poverty and its consequences. They will then apply their data analytics to create models and carry out randomized controlled trials to test small interventions on poverty-related outcomes.

“The hope is not to find a one-size-fits-all solution to poverty, but to demonstrate how we might tailor policies and interventions to the idiosyncratic vulnerabilities and opportunities of the people we’re trying to reach,” says Cohen (Insights by Stanford Business)

IU Kelley Introduces LGBTQ+ Scholarship

Indiana University Kelley School of Business will now offer a new scholarship program for LGBTQ+ students thanks to a $2.2 million gift from alumnus Doug Hamilton and his partner, Don Vossburg.

The Out in Information Technology Scholarship is an annual fund that will provide financial support to a student who is actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community. Preference is given to students studying operations, business analytics, or decision technologies, but is open to all IU Kelley students.

The idea for the scholarship came about after the couple read an IU Alumni Magazine article about a student who lost funding after coming out to their family. The goal is to support LGBTQ+ students in the information technology field.

Aaron Malone, an MBA candidate, is the first recipient. Malone is a ’13 IU graduate with a BS in human biology and an active volunteer with the Indiana Youth Group, an LGBTQ+ youth organization in Indianapolis. He is also the vice president of Kelley’s Healthcare Club and a member of Out@Kelley. (News at IU Bloomington)

Research from MIT Sloan Tells Established Businesses to Act Like Startups

If you want to survive and thrive in the era of digital transformation, research from MIT / Sloan suggests that established businesses need to embrace the mantra, “Act like a startup.”

To “act like a startup,” businesses need to learn as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. The idea is to facilitate learning in four ways by:

  1. Creating the structure of a small, independent organization.
  2. Developing a mission-driven design.
  3. Embracing frequent pivots.
  4. Accepting delayed profitability.

The truth is that digital business is daunting, even for established companies embarking on digital transformation is uncharted waters. If you want your business to thrive in the new world, you need to move forward just as a startup would. (MIT Sloan Management Review)

Can Finance Be a Force for Good? INSEAD Discusses

Sustainable finance can benefit investors, businesses, and society. The good news is that sustainable investing is growing. More than a quarter of managed assets now consider environmental, social, and governance principles–even mainstream financial institutions have begun to focus on sustainability.

This new normal of sustainable investing was one of the main topics discussed at INSEAD’s The Force for Good Conference held in October 2018.

There are many different aspects to sustainable investing, but three strategies stood out, according to Dutch pension fund asset manager PGGM:

  1. Not investing in certain companies, such as those that participate in child labor, conventional weapons, or tobacco.
  2. Integrating ESG principles into investment processes.
  3. Finding ways to ensure more money funds sustainable projects.

There are also industry-wide sustainability accounting standards to which many businesses adhere. Banks like BNP Paribas have found ways to incorporate sustainable practices throughout their business, from asset management to corporate banking and choosing which companies to work with. (INSEAD Knowledge)

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.