Wednesday, May 13, 2015
International Business Insights Flowed
From Eight Meetings in London
14 Huntsman Students Learned from a Ten-Day Trip There
A trip to London with 14 business students yielded a number of insights about international business. Led by Senior Lecturer Christine Arrington and Program Director Liz Allred, the group took a one-credit course Bus. 2000, Foundations of International Business.
First, it was astounding the degree to which businesspeople in London have embraced design thinking and the lean startup process. The students spent half a day at True Start, part of Google’s innovation campus in east London, where they presented business startup ideas they had prepared and then were guided through the lean startup process. The setting was an open-space office, with no cubicles, and with large tables, white boards, and lots of sticky notes everywhere--exactly like such spaces in Silicon Valley.
Later, the group spent half a day at a somewhat similar venue, the Barclays Bank London Escalator, in which Barclay’s funds hundreds of startup projects in return for a share of equity in any businesses that successfully get launched from there.
A third visit, to Government Digital Services, showcased another lean startup, in which all relevant government services information for consumers is posted on www.Gov.UK. The site was created through rapid prototyping and constant iteration. A comparison with online government services information in the U.S. confirmed for the students that Americans don't have anything nearly as efficient for accessing information as do citizens in the United Kingdom.
A second insight came from a case study of the incredibly intense level of analysis required to place a giant bet on a commodity price. At Apollo Global Management, the students learned about that private equity firm’s massive bet that oil prices would fall significantly. An executive there, Rob Ruberton, described the analysis process, the quantitative requirements, and the political components. He pointed out that the entire bet was hedged, and he explained how that was done. Then he offered that the final political factor in favor of the bet was the level of antagonism that Iraqis feel for Iran and that Middle East oil operators feel for U.S. frackers; those big suppliers were judged not likely to lower their pumping in order to slow dropping oil prices. Rather, they would let the price fall and enjoy watching it drive some competitors out of the business.
The third insight, about business culture in London, came from meeting with a digital analyst at the Financial Times. McKinley Hyden grew up in the U.S., attended St. Andrew's University, and then the London School of Economics. She explained how differently the business culture operates in London than in the U.S. The usual U.S. approach for a young, smart employee is to be a somewhat brash, outspoken underling, full of ideas and always eager to share them; that approach doesn't work well in London, she explained. More decorum and respect for authority is expected in all exchanges between employees and their supervisors.
Additional visits were insightful, as well--at Deloitte, Goldman-Sachs, and Kantar Media.
Finally, the students visited Cambridge University, where they were hosted by two students there, Zach and Joe Levin; they are sons of Christine's Stanford classmate David Levin, new CEO of the $2 billion revenue McGraw-Hill Education in New York. Zach and Joe showed the group around the whole campus and shared the lore. They even pointed out the college that Isaac Newton attended, and the tree which legend has it was the one under which the famous apple fell on his head, stimulating his "gravity" aha moment.
Monday, May 11, 2015
The dictionary defines a “stringer” as one of the following:
- A person or thing that strings.
- A long horizontal timber connecting upright posts.
- Architecture. A long horizontal beam that is used for structural purposes.
- Architecture. Another name for stringboard.
- Civil Engineering. A longitudinal bridge girder for supporting part of a deck or railroad track between bents or piers.
- A longitudinal reinforcement in the fuselage or wing of an airplane.
- Also called string correspondent. Journalism. A part-time newspaper correspondent covering a local area for a paper published elsewhere.
- A stout string, rope, etc., strung through the gills and mouth of newly caught fish, so that they may be carried or put back in the water to keep them alive or fresh.
I learned something new a few weeks ago. There is another definition of stringer that is not included in the dictionary. It is related to the architectural and civil engineering definitions, but still different. Stringer also refers to the supports for stairs in a staircase that is “strung” between two different vertical supports.
I learned this because last week, we started installing the stringers for our grand staircase. See the attached picture. After installing the stringers, the contractor will then install the steps on the top of the stringers.
Thought you’d like to know…_________________________________
Monday, April 27, 2015
Last week, the big fan that drives the air flow through the building was delivered (see attached picture). If you remember when we were doing the work on the foundation about two years ago, there were large (about 6’) underground tubes. This fan is placed at the mouth of the tubes to drive the air.
The big fan isn’t needed so much to drive hot air. We have a lot of radiant heat built into the floors of Huntsman Hall. The radiant heat is connected to the steam plant that services the entire Logan campus. But the big fan is needed to drive the air conditioning when needed.
Not much else to say – except it’s a big fan!
Friday, April 24, 2015
The team that will compete in Milwaukee in International Impact: Jacob Fryer, Derek Droesbeke, and Josh Richards
Utah State University's Delta Omega chapter of Beta Alpha Psi is famous for being the longest concurrently running "Superior" chapter in the entire organization. They are also famous for being ambitious and competitive; this year they have kept that tradition alive by taking both a first place and third place award in the Deloitte sponsored Best Practices Regional competition in Denver, Colorado April 9 and 10.
The winning presentation was in the category International Impact and featured the award winning VITA Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that benefits approximately 700 students by preparing and e-filing their tax returns. For this competition, the BAP chapter decided to focus on supporting the inbound side of Global experience by supporting and assisting the hundreds of international students who attend USU and are required to comply with United States tax laws that are foreign and complex to them. The judges particularly liked that the chapter was innovative in their approach to develop new procedures that would keep students from waiting hours in the hallways for their turn to get a tax return prepared, reviewed and ready to file. The presentation team included Jacob Fryer, Josh Richards and Derek Droesbeke.
The third place finish was in the category of Financial Literacy and was presented by Alyssa Kohler, Stephen Brown and Eric Graves. Trevor Frank and Jeff Fielding also presented in the Effective Operations division and while they did not place, they shared ideas about how the Delta Omega chapter has refined their success to be more inclusive and leadership oriented rather than an elite organization with benefits only for a few students at the top of their class.
The Rocky Mountain Region has chapters from 17 different schools in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and New Mexico and includes some powerhouse accounting programs like University of Denver, University of Utah and BYU. Teams that place first in the region are invited to compete at the annual meeting in August which this year will be held in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
|The entire team from left to right: Stephen Brown, Jon Medrano, Alyssa Kohler, Jeff Fielding, Eric Graves, Trevor Frank, Josh Richards, Derek Droesbeke, Bonnie Villarreal (advisor), and Jacob Fryer|
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The progress of the building has spurred a lot of interest in seeing the building. With the end of the school and the various celebrations related to the end of the year, we have a lot of people coming to campus. As these supporters come to visit the school, many of them ask to see the building. So I’ve been doing a lot of tours lately. This week alone, I plan to do six different tours.
Many of these visitors are long-time supporters of the school. They are the people who have helped us pay for the building. They also help us and our students in many more ways besides money. We are very, very, grateful to these people. It’s a great honor to host these distinguished guests.
Still… I’m training some other people so they can do some of the tours.