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Five WSB Faculty Share Their Insights on Innovation [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: Five WSB Faculty Share Their Insights on Innovation
What does innovation mean to you? Maybe you automatically think about history-making events, like putting a man on the moon or the advent of the Apple computer. Or perhaps it’s something as simple, yet personally impactful, as discovering a faster way to shovel the driveway or approaching a difficult conversation with a fresh mindset. But big or small, one thing is certain: Innovation is anything but static. Innovation involves forward movement—it’s about driving change, thinking and doing in a different way to get a different result.

Here, five of WSB’s newest faculty members share their insights on innovation and what it means for their work.

Emaad Manzoor
Assistant Professor, Operations and Information Management

“To me, innovation means continually inventing new and creative ways to improve our lives and create value in a changing world. This innovation is often technological, but can also involve rapid adaptations in our own behavior, as we saw with the switch to virtual interactions during the pandemic. My work builds our analytical capability to handle a future where virtual interactions are even more prevalent and permeate settings such as shopping for a new car or learning how to bake. Traces of human behavior in such settings can take new and complex forms, such as 3D point clouds and dynamic networks, which require innovative tools and techniques to analyze.”

Qinglai He
Assistant Professor, Operations and Information Management

“Innovation is the energy to move our society forward. Innovation happens in business, academia, and any other fields. For me, as a researcher, working on emerging but rarely studied issues and addressing questions from a unique angle makes my work innovative.”

Nicholas Petruzzi
Professor, Operations and Information Management

“[Innovation] means ‘better’—a better thing or a better way. Implicit is the notion of novelty, but I think innovation means more. I think innovation means novelty that somehow, someway represents or reflects improvement. I’m in the idea exchange business. As such, my work (i.e., my teaching and my research), by definition, reflects my aspirant pursuit to produce novel ideas that have the potential to instill or inspire economic, social, and/or environmental improvement.”

Ishita Chakraborty
Assistant Professor, Marketing

“To me, innovation means either finding novel solutions to existing problems or simplifying existing solutions. I also believe true innovation starts at problem discovery, so I seek to identify and formulate new problems.”

Minjeong (MJ) Kim
Assistant Professor, Accounting and Information Systems

“I used to think of innovation as discovering something radically new. Now, I think that tweaking existing knowledge is also a type of critical innovation. My work in a lot of ways is closer to the latter type of innovation. I learn from the great works of others and try to expand our knowledge by identifying a question that has not yet been asked. Although one incremental change may seem small, these incremental expansions could add up and shift how we view the world!”

Read more faculty insights.

The post Five WSB Faculty Share Their Insights on Innovation appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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The Business of Toys: Experts Talk Sustainability, Marketplace, and Lo [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: The Business of Toys: Experts Talk Sustainability, Marketplace, and Love of Play



It is difficult to be successful in the toy industry without a love of play, discovery, and safety. That became apparent during The Business of Toys virtual event hosted by the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) on Wednesday, October 6.

During the event, toy experts with combined decades of experience at big names like Mattel, Hasbro, and American Girl gave insider perspectives on supply chain disruption, sustainability pressure, and how the retail environment has drastically shifted with e-commerce.

Included in the panel were Tom Kalinske (BS ’66), former chief executive officer of Mattel, Matchbox, Sega, LeapFrog, and Knowledge Universe; David Kosnoff (MBA ’06), vice president, quality assurance, Hasbro; and Shawn Dennis, board member, GoldieBlox, and former chief marketing officer and former senior vice president of marketing, American Girl.

The topic also prompted a lively conversation and networking connections among participants in the virtual chat during the event. Watch the full conversation above or on the Wisconsin School of Business YouTube page.

The post The Business of Toys: Experts Talk Sustainability, Marketplace, and Love of Play appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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Taking Risks, Failing Fast, and Making Data-Based Decisions [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: Taking Risks, Failing Fast, and Making Data-Based Decisions


When Jill Timm started working for Kohl’s 20 years ago, the retailer had just 200 stores in the Midwest and no website. As she moved from accountant to director to VP and ultimately to CFO, Kohl’s grew to 1,200 stores nationwide, developed a robust web strategy, and took an omni-channel approach to serving customers.

In the crowded retail space, Kohl’s has outlasted competitors like JCPenney and Sears, and grown a devoted customer base. There have been ups and downs along the way, but even after a year-plus of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is primed for growth and success with Timm on the executive leadership team.

Timm recently shared her leadership insights with Wisconsin MBA students as part of the M. Keith Weikel Speaker Series.

Leading through the pandemic

Taking Risks, Failing Fast, and Making Data-Based Decisions appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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WSB’s Mark Eppli Wins Greater Milwaukee Foundation Civic Leadership Aw [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: WSB’s Mark Eppli Wins Greater Milwaukee Foundation Civic Leadership Award
Mark Eppli (PhD ‘91, MS ‘84, BBA ‘83), director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business, is the recipient of a 2021 Greater Together Award from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF).


WSB’s Mark Eppli

The annual Greater Together Awards recognize individuals who have led significant change to benefit Milwaukee communities. Comprised of four separate awards, Eppli is the winner of the Frank Kirkpatrick Award for his work with the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) Program. Named after influential Milwaukee real estate developer Frank Kirkpatrick, the award honors those who have made significant physical improvement to the city’s communities.

While a professor at Marquette University in 2005, Eppli founded the ACRE program with the aim of increasing diversity and inclusion within the commercial real estate industry. The competitive 24-week program is designed in conjunction with industry leaders, and recruits students and young professionals of color to build experience and expertise in commercial real estate in areas such as development, property management, and construction.

“I am deeply appreciative for [this award], but I alone am not deserving of such recognition,” Eppli says. “When I asked business and community leaders to support the ACRE program, their support was immediate and unwavering. However, the over 300 ACRE program graduates are the deserving heroes. These students poured their heart, minds, and souls into learning the material, and have continued to ply their talents in the commercial real estate field with graduates having the title of alderman, WHEDA executive director, business improvement director, commissioner of city development, developer, lender, and owner.”

Eppli’s leadership and service within the real estate industry is robust. He has been a board member for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago since 2012, and served as president of the nonprofit Real Estate Research Institute. He was named a distinguished fellow by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, NAIOP. Eppli has also received awards from the Greater Washington Urban League and the Urban Land Institute for his efforts to expand diversity and inclusion within the real estate profession.

The post WSB’s Mark Eppli Wins Greater Milwaukee Foundation Civic Leadership Award appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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Alumni Webinar Series: Fundamentals of Successful Negotiations [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: Alumni Webinar Series: Fundamentals of Successful Negotiations



In business, negotiation skills are crucial in both casual and formal settings. Quality negotiations can help build and maintain better relationships, provide lasting solutions to problems, and avoid future conflicts. It’s imperative to not only know how to negotiate well, but to do it in a way that builds trust and partnerships along the way. During this webinar, Charlie Trevor, professor and the Ruth L. Nelson Chair in Business in WSB’s Department of Management and Human Resources, explains what actions to take to find success in negotiations.

Find the zone of agreement

The zone of agreement (ZOA) is the space for a rational deal to happen from both perspectives. It is the overlap between what a buyer will pay and what a seller will accept. To better understand the ZOA, you need to set a reservation price. A reservation price is the minimum acceptable level to say “yes” to a deal.

Understand the best alternative to a negotiated agreement

The best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) is what a buyer turns to if there is no deal—if a buyer and seller walk away from each other. Knowing the BATNA will keep you from accepting a worse outcome than you could find somewhere else. It’s best for the buyer to try to build a better BATNA. The better a BATNA, the stronger the alternative, and the easier it is to walk away with more leverage.  

Think through standards

Standards are the legitimate elements that help define the rules of engagement in negotiation, such as interest rates, comparative prices, and precedent. Always consider what your counterpart might use as preferred standards and frame your arguments within them. You will be more prepared for the conversation. Be careful in attacking others’ standards, but also be able to defend your own.

Consider first offers

Some say to never make the first offer, while others think it’s always the right move. Ultimately, it depends on the situation. First offers can be strategic because people tend to adjust from that starting point. Making a first offer works well if you know how to choose your anchor wisely. If your counterpart doesn’t know the market as well as you do, you can benefit from letting them throw out the first number.

Charlie O. Trevor is a professor and the Ruth L. Nelson Chair in Business in the Department of Management and Human Resources at the Wisconsin School of Business. He is also the academic director of the Strategic Human Resource Management Center.

His research focuses on employee turnover, particularly of the employees that companies can least afford to lose, layoff effects on human capital, and the determinants and consequences of employee compensation. Trevor teaches courses on negotiations, employee compensation, research methods, and HR systems.

He received his PhD in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.

The post Alumni Webinar Series: Fundamentals of Successful Negotiations appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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UW–Madison SBDC Lends A Creative Hand in Statewide Video Series To Ben [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: UW–Madison SBDC Lends A Creative Hand in Statewide Video Series To Benefit Small Businesses

Clouds North Films works with UW–Madison staff and students during one of the SBDC video shoots. Photo courtesy of Clouds North Films.

A new video series funded by Wisconsin’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network is now available as a key resource for the state’s small business owners and entrepreneurs—and the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s SBDC has played an integral role in making that original vision a reality.

Planned, creatively designed, and developed by the UW–Madison SBDC using CARES ACT funding designated for SBDC sites, the SBDC Entrepreneurial How-To Video Series helps small business owners navigate some of the most commonly asked technical business questions—everything from forming an LLC to understanding available loan options—in a short, engaging format. Launched this month, the three-part series is just one part of a larger statewide effort to support small businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SBDC network. One portion of this series—focused on business law—was developed in conjunction with the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

The series is hosted on the Wisconsin SBDC’s website and is available to all other network SBDC sites around the state as well as to the general public.

“We are really excited to be able to offer this series to entrepreneurs in Wisconsin,” says UW–Madison SBDC Director Michelle Somes-Booher. “The series really represents the Wisconsin Idea.”

Entrepreneurial How-To Video Series.

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison provides no- cost consulting and noncredit courses to help businesses from startup through growth. The Small Business Development Centers were established by the Small Business Administration in 1980 with legislation written by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. The mission of the Wisconsin SBDC is to provide education, referrals, sophisticated tools, and resources to help businesses evolve while delivering value to our stakeholders.

For prospective business owners looking to learn the basics of entrepreneurship, the UW–Madison SBDC offers First Steps, a free online course that is available 24/7. This course covers the entrepreneurial mindset, helps aspiring owners think through their business idea and financial readiness, and provides resources for next steps. In addition, the UW–Madison SBDC developed a free COVID response guide and resource page in response to the challenges they were hearing from clients during the early days of the pandemic. The guide provides small businesses with clear business best practices that help to bring structure to an unpredictable and stressful period. In addition to these offerings and on-on-one consulting, the SBDC also offers a full suite of affordable classes on business management and leadership.

The post UW–Madison SBDC Lends A Creative Hand in Statewide Video Series To Benefit Small Businesses appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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Ask an Expert: How Are Current Supply Chain Issues Taught in the Class [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: Ask an Expert: How Are Current Supply Chain Issues Taught in the Classroom?
Q: Supply chain issues have made headlines with increasing prominence over the last two years. What’s an example of a current supply chain issue, and how is it incorporated into classroom learning for WSB students?

A: In a logistics course I teach, we have been following the container traffic jam off the coast of California. At the beginning of a recent class, I displayed a marine traffic GPS image of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. We could see 50 cargo ships anchored just outside the ports and another 18 adrift nearby.


“MarineTraffic Live Map.” www.marinetraffic.com. Accessed 10/8/2021.

Under normal, pre-pandemic conditions few if any container ships would need to anchor in San Pedro Bay unless all berths became full. Seeing one or two ships anchored would not be unusual, or as many as four or five ships during peaks, but nowhere close to what is occurring today.


WSB Senior Lecturer Peter Lukszys

A notable trend is that empty, exported container volume is up 17% at the Port of Los Angeles versus last year. As strange as this sounds, a growing number of containers is being shipped back empty from U.S. ports to manufacturing locations overseas. This is due to a transportation price imbalance. For example, the price of shipping a 40-foot container from China to the U.S. has skyrocketed to about $20,000, while the price of shipping from the U.S. to China is about $3,000. Ocean carriers are not waiting for U.S. cargo to ship overseas but instead turning around once they get empties to pick up more profitable cargo loads overseas. Transportation economics and market forces are driving this behavior.

It is important to point out that the issue cannot simply be solved by ports expanding working hours, which has already occurred. Every link in the supply chain—from U.S. ports to consumers—is stretched thin, including port terminal and warehouse operators, truck and rail carriers, and even shortages of truck-trailer chassis that carry the containers.

A Wisconsin MBA student in the course, Suvesh Singh (BBA ’23), summed up the situation as follows: “The problem isn’t that there is a global container shortage; it’s that the containers are just in the wrong spots.”

Logistics managers at companies are taking more aggressive countermeasures. Big box retailers have begun chartering their own container ships. Others are pivoting from ocean to air transportation and taking a hit on margins to provide better customer service. Although the ports are moving record volumes of cargo, the back-up is unfortunately continuing to grow. Ships continue to be arriving faster than they can be unloaded. Even with all hands on deck, it will be a while until this traffic jam clears.

—Peter Lukszys is a senior lecturer with the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management and the Department of Operations and Information Management at the Wisconsin School of Business.

Listen to Wisconsin Public Radio’s interview with Lukszys, “What’s Up with the Supply Chain Shortage?

The post Ask an Expert: How Are Current Supply Chain Issues Taught in the Classroom? appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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WSB’s Joseph Boucher Receives Wisconsin Technology Council’s ‘Triple E [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: WSB’s Joseph Boucher Receives Wisconsin Technology Council’s ‘Triple E’ Award

WSB’s Joseph Boucher accepts the ‘Triple E’ award from the Wisconsin Technology Council. Submitted photo.

Joseph Boucher (JD ’77, MBA ’78), a senior lecturer at the Wisconsin School of Business, is the recipient of the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education award from the Wisconsin Technology Council (WTC).

Known as the ”Triple E” award, the honor recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to teaching and mentorship within the entrepreneurial field. WTC cited the high caliber of Boucher’s innovative teaching and mentoring methods, his promotion of entrepreneurial education and mentorship, and his achievements in advancing entrepreneurial best practices. Boucher’s award is only the eighth one of its kind to be given out by WTC.

“This award is a wonderful recognition of Joe’s involvement in the entrepreneurship community as a prominent attorney and educator,” says Jon Eckhart, the Pyle Bascom Professor in Business Leadership, associate professor of management and human resources, and the founder of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Entrepreneurship Science Lab. “Joe teaches in our undergraduate and executive education programs and mentors students as a board member in the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship. Our students greatly enjoy his expertise as an educator, and the School of Business is appreciative of the Wisconsin Technology Council for recognizing Joe’s impactful work.”

“As one of the first advisory board members for Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE), Joe has provided incredibly valuable advice and mentoring to students for over 20 years,” says Dan Olszewski, director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship. “His positive impact has been instrumental to the success of many student entrepreneurs.”

Boucher is recognized as an early pioneer in the entrepreneurship communities within the Madison region and at WSB. A certified public accountant and a founding shareholder of the law firm Neider & Boucher, S.C., he has taught business law and other courses at WSB since 1980. In 2017, Boucher was inducted into the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship’s Weinert Center Hall of Fame, the center’s “gold standard” for entrepreneurs. Through his law firm, Boucher is a longtime sponsor of the Distinguished Entrepreneurs Luncheon, a Weinert Center series that connects students with successful entrepreneurs.

Boucher has appeared on the Best Lawyers in America list multiple times since 2010, and currently serves many early stage entrepreneur clients in his law practice. In 2020, he received the Wisconsin Law Foundation’s L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award for his lifetime commitment to the field, which included being a co-drafter of the original Chapter 183 legislation for LLCs in Wisconsin.

Boucher received the prestigious award on November 3 during WTC’s Early Stage Symposium held in Madison.

The post WSB’s Joseph Boucher Receives Wisconsin Technology Council’s ‘Triple E’ Award appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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WSB Undergraduate Students Honored With Humanitarian Logistics Award [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: WSB Undergraduate Students Honored With Humanitarian Logistics Award
Wisconsin School of Business supply chain students Tanishka Jain (BBA ’22) and Sophia Anizor (BBA ’23)  are the recipients of the 2021 Humanitarian Logistics Award from the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN). The award recognizes Jain and Anizor’s brand awareness and supply chain achievements in advancing ALAN’s humanitarian mission.

ALAN is an industry-wide organization that provides supply chain assistance to disaster relief organizations and other nonprofits. ALAN Executive Director Kathy Fulton reached out to Jake Dean, director of WSB’s Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management, about the possibility of supply chain students participating in a project last summer. 

“Students in the supply chain management major consistently show interest in humanitarian efforts and wanting to make a positive impact in the world,” says Danielle Zink, assistant director of the Grainger Center. “When the opportunity to assist ALAN came to the center, I knew we would have interest from our students to help. In collaboration with students from W.P. Carrey School of Business at Arizona State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tanishka and Sophia made an impact on ALAN’s day-to-day operations through enhancing their brand awareness strategy, volunteer retention efforts, and salesforce implementation.”

Each school was given different roles—brand awareness, logistics, and software integration—and the members performed in an all-volunteer, fully online capacity.

Building ALAN’s brand awareness

Jain and Anizor worked on brand awareness, presenting their results to ALAN’s board of directors at the end of the summer.


Tanishka Jain (BBA ’22) Submitted photo

Jain says their process started by meeting with ALAN board members to establish what the current brand image was, as well as doing market research on the organization’s website. They also read through secondary interviews ALAN had done with former volunteers and employees to better understand how the organization was perceived, and used word cloud analyses to see what words first popped into people’s heads when “ALAN” was mentioned (“safety,” “help,” and “relief” were popular). They also created an email campaign and template that would be valuable for reaching groups like volunteers, stakeholders, and fundraisers.

Jain and Anizor gave ALAN members five potential slogans—some new, some modified from the organization’s current website. Jain says they worked through the nuances of the slogan, which needed to underscore how the organization bridges the gap between intention and execution.

Jain and Anizor also drew on expertise gained at WSB, integrating the skills and concepts they had learned in the classroom in areas such as brand image and consumer attitudes. Jain says she applied knowledge from her marketing classes and was influenced by research takeaways on ownership from WSB’s Joann Peck, the Irwin Maier Professor of Business and a professor of marketing.

“The learning opportunities these projects expose students to is indescribable,” Zink says. “Cocurricular projects allow students to gain hands-on experience, collaborate with peers from other universities, and engage with supply chain professionals while making a significant impact.”

‘A lot of passion for this project’

ALAN gave Jain and Anizor complete autonomy with the project, which was daunting at the outset, Jain says, but it was rewarding to see themselves “finding their own way.”

“I think initially the opportunities we had were overwhelming, between realizing our role, and at the same time, feeling the pressure of how much work we were doing to help. It was a very overwhelming feeling, but I think we both had a lot of passion for this project.”

The pair laid out a charter and a detailed action plan, and benefited from their ability to collaborate. “A lot of time in group projects, we have this thing where we’re worried about the other person’s work and whether they are doing it,” Jain says. “Sophia and I doubled up on that trust very fast. We were able to trust each other, work with each other’s strengths, and just ask for help when we needed it.”


Sophia Anizor (BBA ’23) and Tanishka Jain (BBA ’22) present their ALAN project to the Grainger Center’s advisory board members. Submitted photo

That approach was also successful when working with the other school teams, a group of around 30 students at any given time. Since all of the components were interrelated, Jain says they couldn’t complete their part without the other schools performing theirs and vice versa.

“If I were to sum up my experience in a few sentences, it would be about the impact a group of college students could have on an organization like ALAN,” says Anizor. “I was able to see everyone’s growth in their projects during our six weeks.”

Jain said she and Anizor were surprised when they got the news that they had won an award.

“I believe that tomorrow, if we wanted to, we could go back and volunteer for ALAN. At the end of the day, they wanted us to know that we are part of the family,” Jain says. “So I think in the end, the most rewarding part is the community we formed. We realized just how important that is.”

And she credits WSB with opening doors in the first place.

“The Grainger Center has just had such wonderful connections and those connections bring us these amazing opportunities as business students to be able to contribute. I’m really thankful for them to have been able to get these opportunities to us.”

The post WSB Undergraduate Students Honored With Humanitarian Logistics Award appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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WSB’s Sarada Shares Expertise on Innovation and Economic Impact In RED [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: WSB’s Sarada Shares Expertise on Innovation and Economic Impact In RED Talk
Technological advances may move at the speed of light these days, but that doesn’t mean that everyone in society benefits equally—or at all.

Sarada, an assistant professor of management and human resources at the Wisconsin School of Business, addressed this topic during a recent RED Talk titled “Is High-Tech Innovation Raising Economic Disparity?” The RED talk was sponsored by the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences (CDIS) and hosted by Dan Olszewski, director of WSB’s Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship.

In her presentation, Sarada first acknowledged the irrefutable positives of technological advancements before addressing their inherent complexities.

“The downside and the main question that motivated this talk is, are the gains to innovation disproportionately concentrated in certain population segments?” Sarada said. “Innovation is great, technology is great, markets grow, the standard of living goes up, but is everybody benefiting from these technological innovations in the same way or does it exacerbate the inequities?”

Sarada’s research examines the economics of entrepreneurship and innovation, including inventor demographics historically and their potential implications for present and future innovation.

The CDIS lecture series is designed to advance learning at the intersection of technology and humanity, and highlights thought leaders and groundbreaking work from campus and across industry.

Watch Sarada’s RED Talk:



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Re: Madison MBA and Related Blogs [#permalink]
Great info! thanks for all of the uploads guys!
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WSB Increases Investment in Business Analytics with Four New Scholars [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: WSB Increases Investment in Business Analytics with Four New Scholars
For new graduates, success in today’s business world is synonymous with having the ability to manage and analyze data. Employees with analytics skills are more in-demand than ever as firms try to keep pace with the rapidly changing technological and digital landscape.

To respond to this demand, WSB is increasing its investment in analytics curriculum and expertise by hiring some of the best and brightest scholars in the field. As the School grows its intellectual expertise in emerging areas like business analytics, technology, STEM, and digital marketing, its investment in analytics becomes increasingly cross-disciplinary—spanning fields such as operations, marketing, supply chain, risk management, and accounting.

“When we hire in analytics, it’s a cross-school hiring. We’re looking for the best person in that space, regardless of department,” says Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, WSB’s Albert O. Nicholas Dean. “Increasingly we’re looking for that intersection because there’s an overlap between disciplines to solve many of today’s business problems.”

WSB’s new faculty and their diverse areas of research and teaching expertise will prepare students to work at that convergence of disciplines, using data to help navigate uncertainty and manage the inevitable changes that lie ahead.

A cutting edge approach to teaching data technologies

WSB’s analytics curriculum teaches students the data mining tools necessary to read and analyze data and turn that knowledge into actionable insights, offering courses in emerging areas like machine learning, programming, and data visualization. Emaad Manzoor, a new assistant professor of operations and information management, will be teaching a class on data technologies. The course will use systems that are at the cutting edge of data analytics, management, and warehousing to teach students how to “engineer and architect scalable data analyses pipelines,” Manzoor says. This learning will help students build their data analysis and predictive modeling expertise when working with large amounts of structured and unstructured data.


Assistant Professor Emaad Manzoor

Manzoor’s course is part of WSB’s Master of Science-Business Analytics (MSBA), a one-year, STEM-designated program that gives students a cross-functional perspective on business and technology. Launched in the fall of 2019, the MSBA has already doubled in enrollment and is yielding strong career outcomes, with 100% job placement among the most recent graduating class. The program is garnering impressive rankings along the way: WSB’s MSBA is ranked #7 among U.S. business analytics programs in the 2021 QS World University Rankings.

The program’s success stems in part from having scholars like Manzoor in the classroom. Manzoor, who was named a rising star in data science by the University of Chicago, brings important research insights around data, persuasion, and text-based communication (such as text, audio, or video).

“Data generated by human behavior online is voluminous and unstructured,” Manzoor says. “I think one of the next big challenges for information systems is developing methods and analysis frameworks to extract business insights from unstructured data in a statistically principled and computationally scalable manner.”

Manzoor has a background in information systems and computer science and says the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s robust reputation in those fields was a draw. “I was attracted by the opportunity to collaborate with world-leading information systems and computer science faculty towards understanding and shaping a future where humans and machines are increasingly entwined.”

‘New technology, new work, new business models’

Like Manzoor, Qinglai He, assistant professor of operations and information management, will be teaching business analytics courses. She says that in the past, “helping students learn actual skills and land their dream career” has been the most fulfilling part of her teaching experiences. For students graduating with strong business analytics skills, those dream careers could include roles such as business analyst, data engineer, data visualization specialist, and project manager.


Assistant Professor Qinglai He

He’s expertise includes information visualization and visual analysis, and her research explores issues around user-generated content creativity, human-bot collaboration in platform regulation, and platform policy and polarization.

She says two of her most recent studies look at content moderation and political polarization within the online community. “These two aspects are the rising challenge faced by the leading social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. My work is from the angle of human-machine collaboration and policy design in an attempt to address these issues.”

It’s clear to He that the demand for business analytics skills shows no signs of stopping. Looking at the big picture beyond her own research, “new technology, new work, and new business models emerge every day,” she says. “So, it is important for teachers and students to adapt to the fast-changing technological and societal environment. The continuing adaptation and change are exciting and challenging.”

“Analytics is a pervasive notion that doesn’t reside in accounting or marketing or finance or management. It resides everywhere. It’s a business prerogative.”
Dean Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy

Integrating business analytics and accounting

Minjeong (MJ) Kim, an assistant professor of accounting and information systems with a specialty in data analytics, is bridging the gap between the two fields. “There are so many ways that business analytics can be applied to business and my goal is to show students the potential of business analytics and how powerful these tools can be once combined with the domain knowledge of our accounting students,” she says.


Assistant Professor Minjeong “MJ” Kim

In audits, for example, auditors can get a macro and micro view of a firm by examining the full population of data during the audit instead of just a sample, Kim says. “I plan on integrating data analytics into my teaching so that students will learn about handling data and visualizing information using python and/or Tableau,” Kim says. “It’s important to understand data to make the most informed decision, and I hope that my students will be able to utilize the things they learned from my class when making important decisions in both their professional and personal lives.”

A recent real-world application of data analytics is Kim’s work with co-author Fei Du and the University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics at the Gies College of Business. Kim and Du developed a mini case study for educators that harnesses analytics and data visualization to assess employee burnout. The project used research findings from studies on employee safety, fatigue, and injury rates and integrated it with actual data from the field to show how business analytics could be used to provide solutions, such as showing how companies can actually track employee fatigue using data rather than waiting until employee burnout is a significant problem.

“The ‘how’ aspect of business analytics is important, such as learning how to code, but even more important is identifying ‘what’ questions can be answered using business analytics,” Kim says. “As a managerial accounting researcher, I helped create exercises that would introduce students to ‘what’ types of questions can be answered using analytics within business settings while also introducing students to cutting edge findings from research.”

Data as a driver for change, shaping better business leaders

As a self-described “data-driven marketer,” Ishita Chakraborty, the Thomas and Charlene Landsberg Smith Faculty Fellow and an assistant professor of marketing, believes “business leaders can benefit tremendously from learning to structure and analyze complex data.”


Assistant Professor Ishita Chakraborty

An expert in digital marketing, Chakraborty sees great potential in using unstructured data to improve a company’s brand positioning and sales strategy.

“One common theme across my research projects is understanding communication online and offline, what drives firms and consumers to engage in it, and how to extract customer insights from these conversations,” Chakraborty says. “Having the right communication strategy has always been important for brands and in recent times, with an explosion of the online conversations, there is a large corpus of unstructured data that can be used to extract meaningful customer insights.”

Chakraborty is currently studying videos of sales interactions and whether implicit biases may factor in. “I am very excited about the fact that unstructured data like videos can help us quantify many complex constructs, such as rapport building. Being able to control for these factors allows us to tease out the role of implicit bias.”

It’s clear from research like Chakraborty’s and WSB’s other new faculty members that the role of business analytics is broad and far-reaching. It has the potential to help engineer social change and better understand human behavior, across a range of disciplines and career paths.

“Analytics is a pervasive notion that doesn’t reside in accounting or marketing or finance or management,” says Sambamurthy. “It resides everywhere. It’s a business prerogative.”

The post WSB Increases Investment in Business Analytics with Four New Scholars appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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WSB Increases Investment in Business Analytics with New Scholars [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: WSB Increases Investment in Business Analytics with New Scholars
For new graduates, success in today’s business world is synonymous with having the ability to manage and analyze data. Employees with analytics skills are more in-demand than ever as firms try to keep pace with the rapidly changing technological and digital landscape.

To respond to this demand, WSB is increasing its investment in analytics curriculum and expertise by hiring some of the best and brightest scholars in the field. As the School grows its intellectual expertise in emerging areas like business analytics, technology, STEM, and digital marketing, its investment in analytics becomes increasingly cross-disciplinary—spanning fields such as operations, marketing, supply chain, risk management, and accounting.

“When we hire in analytics, it’s a cross-School hiring. We’re looking for the best person in that space, regardless of department,” says Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, WSB’s Albert O. Nicholas Dean. “Increasingly we’re looking for that intersection because there’s an overlap between disciplines to solve many of today’s business problems.”

WSB’s new faculty and their diverse areas of research and teaching expertise prepare students to work at that convergence of disciplines, using data to help navigate uncertainty and manage the inevitable changes that lie ahead.

A cutting-edge approach to teaching data technologies

WSB’s analytics curriculum teaches students the data mining tools necessary to read and analyze data and turn that knowledge into actionable insights, offering courses in emerging areas like machine learning, programming, and data visualization. Emaad Manzoor, a new assistant professor of operations and information management, will be teaching a class on data technologies. The course will use systems that are at the cutting edge of data analytics, management, and warehousing to teach students how to “engineer and architect scalable data analyses pipelines,” Manzoor says. This learning will help students build their data analysis and predictive modeling expertise when working with large amounts of structured and unstructured data.


Assistant Professor Emaad Manzoor

Manzoor’s course is part of WSB’s Master of Science-Business Analytics (MSBA), a one-year, STEM-designated program that gives students a cross-functional perspective on business and technology. Launched in the fall of 2019, the MSBA has already doubled in enrollment and is yielding strong career outcomes, with 100% job placement among the most recent graduating class. The program is garnering impressive rankings along the way: WSB’s MSBA is ranked #7 among U.S. business analytics programs in the 2021 QS World University Rankings.

The program’s success stems in part from having scholars like Manzoor in the classroom. Manzoor, who was named a rising star in data science by the University of Chicago, brings important research insights around data, persuasion, and text-based communication (such as text, audio, or video).

“Data generated by human behavior online is voluminous and unstructured,” Manzoor says. “I think one of the next big challenges for information systems is developing methods and analysis frameworks to extract business insights from unstructured data in a statistically principled and computationally scalable manner.”

Manzoor has a background in information systems and computer science and says the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s robust reputation in those fields was a draw. “I was attracted by the opportunity to collaborate with world-leading information systems and computer science faculty towards understanding and shaping a future where humans and machines are increasingly entwined.”

‘New technology, new work, new business models’

Like Manzoor, Qinglai He, assistant professor of operations and information management, will be teaching business analytics courses. She says that in the past, “helping students learn actual skills and land their dream career” has been the most fulfilling part of her teaching experiences. For students graduating with strong business analytics skills, those dream careers could include roles such as business analyst, data engineer, data visualization specialist, and project manager.


Assistant Professor Qinglai He

He’s expertise includes information visualization and visual analysis, and her research explores issues around user-generated content creativity, human-bot collaboration in platform regulation, and platform policy and polarization.

She says two of her most recent studies look at content moderation and political polarization within the online community. “These two aspects are the rising challenge faced by the leading social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. My work is from the angle of human-machine collaboration and policy design in an attempt to address these issues.”

It’s clear to He that the demand for business analytics skills shows no signs of stopping. Looking at the big picture beyond her own research, “new technology, new work, and new business models emerge every day,” she says. “So, it is important for teachers and students to adapt to the fast-changing technological and societal environment. The continuing adaptation and change are exciting and challenging.”

“Analytics is a pervasive notion that doesn’t reside in accounting or marketing or finance or management. It resides everywhere. It’s a business prerogative.”
Dean Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy

Integrating business analytics and accounting

Minjeong (MJ) Kim, an assistant professor of accounting and information systems with a specialty in data analytics, is bridging the gap between the two fields. “There are so many ways that business analytics can be applied to business and my goal is to show students the potential of business analytics and how powerful these tools can be once combined with the domain knowledge of our accounting students,” she says.


Assistant Professor Minjeong “MJ” Kim

In audits, for example, auditors can get a macro and micro view of a firm by examining the full population of data during the audit instead of just a sample, Kim says. “I plan on integrating data analytics into my teaching so that students will learn about handling data and visualizing information using python and/or Tableau,” Kim says. “It’s important to understand data to make the most informed decision, and I hope that my students will be able to utilize the things they learned from my class when making important decisions in both their professional and personal lives.”

A recent real-world application of data analytics is Kim’s work with co-author Fei Du and the University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics at the Gies College of Business. Kim and Du developed a mini case study for educators that harnesses analytics and data visualization to assess employee burnout. The project used research findings from studies on employee safety, fatigue, and injury rates and integrated it with actual data from the field to show how business analytics could be used to provide solutions, such as showing how companies can actually track employee fatigue using data rather than waiting until employee burnout is a significant problem.

“The ‘how’ aspect of business analytics is important, such as learning how to code, but even more important is identifying ‘what’ questions can be answered using business analytics,” Kim says. “As a managerial accounting researcher, I helped create exercises that would introduce students to ‘what’ types of questions can be answered using analytics within business settings while also introducing students to cutting edge findings from research.”

Data as a driver for change, shaping better business leaders

As a self-described “data-driven marketer,” Ishita Chakraborty, the Thomas and Charlene Landsberg Smith Faculty Fellow and an assistant professor of marketing, believes “business leaders can benefit tremendously from learning to structure and analyze complex data.”


Assistant Professor Ishita Chakraborty

An expert in digital marketing, Chakraborty sees great potential in using unstructured data to improve a company’s brand positioning and sales strategy.

“One common theme across my research projects is understanding communication online and offline, what drives firms and consumers to engage in it, and how to extract customer insights from these conversations,” Chakraborty says. “Having the right communication strategy has always been important for brands and in recent times, with an explosion of the online conversations, there is a large corpus of unstructured data that can be used to extract meaningful customer insights.”

Chakraborty is currently studying videos of sales interactions and whether implicit biases may factor in. “I am very excited about the fact that unstructured data like videos can help us quantify many complex constructs, such as rapport building. Being able to control for these factors allows us to tease out the role of implicit bias.”

It’s clear from research like Chakraborty’s and WSB’s other new faculty members that the role of business analytics is broad and far-reaching. It has the potential to help engineer social change and better understand human behavior, across a range of disciplines and career paths.

“Analytics is a pervasive notion that doesn’t reside in accounting or marketing or finance or management,” says Sambamurthy. “It resides everywhere. It’s a business prerogative.”

The post WSB Increases Investment in Business Analytics with New Scholars appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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Dean Vallabh Sambamurthy Receives Distinguished Alumnus Award From Ind [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: Dean Vallabh Sambamurthy Receives Distinguished Alumnus Award From Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta on November 14, 2021. Photo courtesy of IIM Calcutta

Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta. Sambamurthy accepted the prestigious award on November 14, 2021, at IIM’s Diamond Jubilee Lecture and Distinguished Alumnus Award 2021 Ceremony in Calcutta.

Manish Thakur, professor and dean of new initiatives and external relations at IIM Calcutta, introduced the Distinguished Alumnus Award, which is the highest honor the institute bestows upon alumni.

“This award is our modest way of honoring those alumni who have made significant contributions in corporate leadership, academia, entrepreneurship, public policy, and philanthropy,” said Thakur.

Sambamurthy, who received his MBA from IIM Caluctta in 1983, is one of four alumni who received IIM’s Distinguished Alumnus Award this year.

“As young, bright minds, [these awardees] helped us grow as an institution, just as they grew during the two years that we were together,” added Thakur. “We learned from them as much as they learned from us.”

In the award presentation, Sambamurthy was heralded for his outstanding contributions to the field of academia through excellence in teaching and research. He was recognized for his leadership in transforming WSB’s undergraduate and MBA programs, launching new master’s programs, and enhancing the School’s corporate outreach and engagement. He was also celebrated as a leading expert in corporate strategy, innovation, and transformation in the digital economy.

“I am extremely humbled to join the long pantheon of others who have won this award,” Sambamurthy said in receipt of the award. He shared remarks during the ceremony, reflecting on his career since graduating from IIM.

“In these 40 years, I have had many successes but many failures, too,” said Sambamurthy. “What I have come to learn is that when you stare into the dark abyss of failure, you find your character far more than in the glare of success.”

Sambamurthy encouraged those embarking on their own career journey to remember the power of community, to live a life of integrity, and to have fun along the away.

“The two most important words are ‘integrity’ and ‘fun.’ It is up to us to live a life of integrity and give back,” he said. “At the same time, we need to seize the moment and enjoy the company we have.”

Sambamurthy, who joined WSB in 2019 after serving as Eli Broad Professor and associate dean of the MBA and professional master’s programs at the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, has been recognized through numerous other awards for his contributions to teaching, research, outreach, and mentoring. The Association of Information Systems honored him with the LEO Lifetime Achievement Award. He was selected as distinguished fellow of the Information Systems Society at INFORMS, and he received the William Beal Distinguished Faculty Award—the highest honor accorded by Michigan State University. In November 2021, Sambamurthy was named among Wisconsin’s 34 most influential Asian American leaders by Madison365.

The post Dean Vallabh Sambamurthy Receives Distinguished Alumnus Award From Indian Institute of Management Calcutta appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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Badger Executive Talks: Laura Francis on Forging a Path to Leadership [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: Badger Executive Talks: Laura Francis on Forging a Path to Leadership in Silicon Valley



It’s a tricky path to go from being chief financial officer at a medical device company to its chief executive officer, but Laura Francis (BBA ’88) has never let a challenging route keep her from where she wants to go.

Francis is CEO of SI-BONE, a Silicon Valley-based medical device company that is a pioneer in its field of developing minimally invasive surgery to relieve pain in the lower back’s sacroiliac (SI) joint. The startup was founded in 2008 and Francis succeeded its founder as CEO this year. She joined the company in 2015 as its CFO and became chief operating officer in 2018.

Francis talked about her executive journey during a recent Badger Executive Talk, a virtual speaker series featuring executives from the UW–Madison alumni community. Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business, led the conversation and fielded questions from alumni.

“In my industry, the medical device industry as well as most technology industries, it’s pretty unusual for the chief financial officer to become the chief executive officer,” says Francis, whose degree is in accounting. “Tech companies tend to prioritize functional and industry expertise, and a lot of times they will pigeon-hole financial people as bean-counters who don’t see the big picture.”

But a constant quest for knowledge gave Francis the tools she needed to step into the top role, along with communication skills and humility to seek answers to what she didn’t know.

“It was having this constant focus on learning,” she says about stepping into the CEO role. “I’m going in to cadaver labs to see how our products can be used. I go in to patient cases to understand the patient’s experience, the surgeon’s experience, the sales rep’s experience. I think it’s about having this focus on people, on learning, on growing—and lots of hard work.”

That’s what Francis took away most from her time at WSB. As a first-generation college student, she set a goal to attend UW–Madison after first seeing its campus as a high school sophomore. She got to campus and found out she’d have to take five math classes to get into business school, and an advisor hinted she might have a rough time with that.

Francis took that as motivation. Not only did she get into the business school but graduated with offers from five of what was then the Big Eight accounting firms.

“I had developed a lot of grit from my upbringing and at the UW,” she says. “What I learned very quickly was I could outwork anybody and I still have that attribute today.”

With Dean Sambamurthy, Francis talked about how hard work, setting goals, and a willingness to learn have shaped her career.

Finding perspective. An early mentor to Francis told her that entrepreneurship was like “sliding down the razor’s edge of life.” She interprets that as a line between being excited or being stressed about your work. “I try to walk that fine line myself and when I find myself getting stressed, I try to remember that I am in this extraordinary position to help people and it’s a privilege to be doing what I’m doing,” she says.

Figure out how to stay in the game. Francis has two adult children, and has also had jobs that required her to work long hours or travel worldwide. When her children were small, she knew they were her priority, not her job. “I’m glad I identified opportunities where I could still stay in the game and I wasn’t traveling all the time or working nights and weekends,” she says. “The children grow up so fast. I blinked and they were adults, and the work was still there. My career is more interesting than it’s ever been.”

Diving in as CEO. When she was named CEO, Francis prioritized setting the mission, vision, values, and culture of the business―then the strategic plan. “There were people who thought, ‘Can we just get to the strategic plan?’ But I think we went in the right order because you have to understand what you’re trying to accomplish so when you start making strategic decisions, you can measure your strategic decisions against your mission, vision, and values.”

Small impact, big impact. When Francis became CEO, an employee said she felt the company’s family leave was insufficient. Francis led a change from two weeks for a new mom to eight weeks for any new parent, mother or father, birth or adoption. “I’m incredibly proud of that because I believe we are supporting equality in the home,” she says. “I love thinking about the global impact we can have in health care but sometimes you can make an impact in other ways.”

The Badger Executive Talks series will continue in 2022. WSB’s Alumni Events page features more information about the talks and links to view past conversations.

The post Badger Executive Talks: Laura Francis on Forging a Path to Leadership in Silicon Valley appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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Photo Gallery: WSB’s Homecoming Bash Returns [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: Photo Gallery: WSB’s Homecoming Bash Returns

Bucky steps in for a drum solo as the Sundogs entertain Business Badgers at the Homecoming Bash.

Grainger Hall and its courtyard were a bustle of activity for Homecoming festivities on Oct. 30. Business Badgers and Badgers fans of all ages came together for music, breakfast, conversation, games, face-painting, and other family-friendly activities. A special guest appearance by Bucky Badger was, as ever, a highlight of the event and the perfect chance for alumni to get their photo taken with the big guy. The bash was back after a year away, offering a welcome chance for Business Badgers to connect again.


Bucky Badger joins the Sundogs for some tunes in the Grainger Hall couryard during WSB’s traditional Homecoming Bash.


Jared Bruksch-Meck (MBA ’18) and Kim Bruksch-Meck (MBA ’18) enjoy the Homecoming Bash festivities with their children Niko and Nora.


Marjorie Scott (MBA ’12), left, and her friend Janel Gill grab a little breakfast in the Grainger Hall courtyard while enjoying the Homecoming Bash.


Dean Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy mingles with alumni and guests in Grainger Hall’s Capital Café, including Mike Pum (BBA ’91), his wife, Lisa, and their son, Brock.


Katie Hamus (BBA ’09) holds one of the youngest Badgers in the Homecoming Bash crowd, her 1-year-old daughter Zoey.


Jason Makowski (MBA ’18) and his daughter, Ella, grab a photo with everybody’s favorite mascot, Bucky Badger.


The WSB Alumni Relations crew took a break long enough to get a photo at the Homecoming Bash. From left, Lauren Brischke (BBA ’15), Natalie Singer (BBA ’14), Sadie Schernikau, and Leiah Fundell.


After the Homecoming Bash it was on to Camp Randall Stadium, with the band leading the way on a day that also included a Badgers’ football victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes.
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Holiday Shopping: WSB Faculty Share Tips To Consider This Year [#permalink]
FROM Madison(Wisconsin) Admissions Blog: Holiday Shopping: WSB Faculty Share Tips To Consider This Year
Between the ongoing pandemic, the emptier store shelves, and the ever-present need to stick to a budget, holiday shopping and gift giving might feel especially fraught this season. But there’s still festive fun to be had. We asked Wisconsin School of Business faculty members to share their insights on how shoppers can think outside the gift wrapped box to reduce stress and find just the right present for everyone on their list.

Here are highlights from their responses:

Joann Peck, Irwin Maier Professor of Business, professor of marketing

“Unless you are already sure you want to purchase an item, be careful what you touch when holiday shopping! Merely touching a product increases unplanned purchasing. This is because touching a product increases the feeling of ownership—it feels more like my product, which increases the likelihood of purchase and how much you are willing to pay for it. So, beware of what you touch. You may end up purchasing more than you expected!”

Peter Lukszys, distinguished lecturer in operations and information management

“During the supply chain traffic jam, I’m thinking about giving more digital and service gifts this holiday season—maybe a trainer session, meal kit subscription, e-book, or donation to a choice of charity. I would also consider shopping locally at a small business. Small businesses are at a disadvantage over big-box retailers that not only have deeper pockets to weather logistics price increases, but also have more clout with ocean, rail, and truck carriers leading to their freight getting higher priority. Chartering small ships that bypass the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as one measure big-box retailers are taking, obviously isn’t an option for small businesses.”

Evan Polman, Kuechenmeister-Bascom Professor in Business, associate professor of marketing

“When you’re wondering what present to give someone, try giving something you’d like yourself. Chances are, the other person will like it too! Even better, get them something you’ve already bought for yourself—and this part is key: tell them you got the same thing for yourself. My research shows that people will like a gift more when they know it’s something the giver uses too. This is because people feel closer to givers when they own products they have in common. Thankfully, givers can easily leverage this tendency by giving to others what they buy themselves.”

Read more faculty insights.

The post Holiday Shopping: WSB Faculty Share Tips To Consider This Year appeared first on Wisconsin School of Business.
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Holiday Shopping: WSB Faculty Share Tips To Consider This Year [#permalink]
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