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Getting to Know Ginni

ginni_rometty_2013

If you haven’t heard of Virginia “Ginni” Rometty yet, there’s no better time. The current Chair[woman] and CEO of IBM, Rometty has been listed in TIME’s Top 10 Women in Technology, as well as Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. After graduating with high honors from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in 1979, Rometty worked for General Motors briefly before beginning her long career at IBM [1].

In an interview at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit in 2011, Rometty told the audience about one of the mistakes she made early in her career when she was offered a powerful position: “I right away said, ‘You know what? I’m not ready for this job. I need more time, I need more experience, and then I could really do it well.’” She told the person who offered her the job that she would need to think about it. Later that evening, she discussed the situation with her husband, who asked her, “Do you think a man would have ever answered that question that way?” Reflecting on the experience, Rometty said, “What it taught me was you have to be very confident even though you’re so self-critical inside about what it is you may or may not know….” She encouraged the audience members to quiet their own self-critics in order to take risks on a deeper level. “Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coëxist, and I think that’s a really good thing to remember,” she added.

As for her business philosophy, Rometty does not “believe in the inevitable,” which is to say that she does not believe that things have to turn out a particular way. Rometty says, “What I have learned from this idea is that whatever business you’re in, it doesn’t matter; it’s going to commoditize over time, it’s going to devalue. You’ve got to keep moving it to a higher value… in whatever it is that you do. Force yourself and force your organization [to do it], and always do it ahead of time” [2].

Rometty is known for “combin[ing] performance and charisma,” [3] as well as leading “from both her head and her heart” [4]. Only time will tell what great things she will continue to do as one of the foremost female leaders in technology and business. For Rometty, success might just be inevitable.

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Article written by Emily Grandjean

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Sources:

[1] Ginni Rometty, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginni_Rometty

[2] IBM’s Ginni Rometty on taking risks, YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du_a0CCJkWE

[3] IBM Names Virginia Rometty as New Chief Executive, The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/technology/ibm-names-a-new-chief.html?pagewanted=all

[4] IBM’s Ginni Rometty Looks Ahead, Fortune. http://management.fortune.cnn.com/tag/virginia-rometty/ 

PandaSundae Collegiate Marketing Challenge

PandaSundae is a start-up that offers a curated selection of fashion apparel and gadgets that are trendy world-wide.  PandaSundae presented at eight campuses on the East Coast this past week, including Wellesley! The biggest part of its presentation was information about the upcoming PandaSundae Collegiate Marketing Challenge. The student teams who choose to compete are tasked with making a rough plan for how PandaSundae could spend up to $300 in two weeks to achieve maximal marketing impact. The first draft of the marketing plan is due by April 11th. If selected, students will be paired up with mentors from top companies including McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Barclays to further their business endeavors with PandaSundae. They will also receive formal internship opportunities as assistant marketing strategist, assistant merchandising analyst, and social media editor. Wellesley Women In Business strongly encourages students to get involved! Whether it is “getting your feet wet” in the business world, or gaining precious mentorship with professionals, this is not an opportunity to pass by. Here are a few tips from PandaSundae regarding how to make your initial draft of the marketing plan:

a.     Do not think too much about what a formal marketing plan should look like (you are not judged on form), but rather, be creative about how you can achieve PandaSundae’s goals by getting more Facebook likes and increasing sales!

b.      PandaSundae will help you formalize your marketing plan later down the road, but here is an article that will help you think through some of the important assumptions and questions http://bit.ly/10DzqLr

c. Internship Opportunities: PandaSundae is excited to work with you, so let us know if you have any additional questions or suggestions for new positions!

If you have any questions, please direct them to Ms. Jessica Lam at info@pandasundae.com .

Professor Cho Emits Financial Wisdom to Kitty, and to You, Interview Part 2

By Becky Huang and Angela Mao

[Wellesley Women in Business (WWIB) sat down with Professor Cho for a light and fun discussion of his work at Wellesley.]

2012-11-27 22.41.22   cat2   cat1

WWIB: You mentioned in your bio that your teaching objective is “to give students the necessary tools not only to think analytically about economic issues, but also to use these principles in their everyday lives.” Could you tell us your favorite economic principle that can be used in our everyday lives?

Professor Cho: I’d say the supply and demand model. It’s so beautiful because it takes five minutes to learn the model, and it works in many different markets. For example, with reference to the WSJ article on Italy, Berlusconi is gaining influence in the Italian government. He is considered destabilizing to the euros zone and the financial markets. Now that Italian bonds are more questionable, the price of bonds drops because demand drops, and interest rate goes up. Higher interest rate entails higher interest cost as the bonds are now riskier. The supply and demand model can be applied in so many different contexts.

WWIB: I understand you used to be in consulting. Could you tell us about your work experience in that field?

Professor Cho: I did Economic consulting, which I think from the point of view a recent Wellesley grad, would be a good job among many others. You will be in an environment with bright people and using economic/econometrics to address real-world questions.

I learned a lot in the year I spent consulting; but ultimately wanted to teach as I always enjoyed it as a graduate student. Besides grading p-sets and tests, teaching is by far the best job for me (Editor’s note: he gave two thumbs up for this one!).

WWIB: Could we get a personal finance tip from you?

Professor Cho: I don’t give financial advice, since I think it’s pretty difficult to pick stocks that outperform the market average. Moreover, I don’t spend time looking at corporate financial statements. Many economists subscribe to this view, and it is one implication of the efficient market hypothesis. I wouldn’t give you a stock pick. If I was to get any piece of advice, I would suggest that if you had any extra funds in the near future, you might think about putting that money in some interest-bearing asset so that you can earn a rate of return. The key is to start early, and it’s OK to start small. The earlier you start, the more compound interest is on your side. Instead of being in a checking and saving accounts, you could try something different. Personally, I did that as an undergraduate with the extra income I had from my student loans and thought of it as a learning experience.

WWIB: So, there’s no way to get any stock pick from you?

Professor Cho: Only from my cat, Munchy. (I call her this because if you look at her face, she has a munchy face!) Anyway, my cat picked a stock, PRGO, for the Financial Markets class. I don’t even know what PRGO, but it is doing very well, maybe 3rd place in the class (Editor’s note: everyone picked a stock to follow in Professor Cho’s Financial Markets class).

WWIB: Can you tell us a finance joke or two?

Professor Cho: How many financial economists does it take to change a change light bulb? One, because the earth revolves around him or her. What about this: If it ain’t broker, don’t fix it!

Professor Cho Demystifies Finance for Wellesley, Interview Part 1

By Becky Huang and Angela Mao

[Wellesley Women in Business (WWIB) sat down with Professor Cho for a light and fun discussion of his work at Wellesley.]

WWIB: You are teaching ECON 210 Financial Markets and ECON 324 Money and Banking this semester. How do they represent your research and teaching interests?

Professor Cho: These classes represent my teaching interests. The ECON 210 Financial Markets course introduces you to the core economic principles in finance. In addition, the class helps you become aware of the potential investments that are available to you. The class is different from its equivalent at MIT which does more pure theory. My goal is to get across the basic intuition of financial market, e.g. why firms issue bonds and stocks, how banks deleverage, and how this affects the economy. These are simple ideas; but involve a lot of complex terms that often confuse people. For example, the terms fixed income, debt markets, bond markets, and credit markets are all basically referring to markets in which firms can borrow. It becomes accessible once you know the terms and ideas. The class is designed to help students understand this financial world.

The Econ 321 Money and Banking course that I also teach is essentially about monetary policy. It addresses what I think is becoming much more important in the everyday lives of people; but also one of the least understood topics more generally. For example, officials at the Federal Reserve are continuing to deploy policy to address the aftermath of the financial crisis. Current events like the currency wars between countries are becoming important issues.

WWIB: An article in WSJ titled, “Italy Vote Revives Euro-Crisis Worries,” suggests dramatic effects of the Italian political situation on financial markets. Can we get your thoughts on this ongoing crisis?

Professor Cho: There are many factors that are contributing to the overall Euro crisis and a lot of different countries and entities involved. As just one example, bailouts were politically much more difficult to approve in the early part of the Euro crisis as they were financed by bilateral loans. It used to be that Greek officials would say, “Yo Germany, we need a loan!” Then Germany would have to go to their elected officials and say, “Yo, let’s vote on this!” Now there are centralized institutions like the European Stability Mechanism or ESM.

WWIB: What is your view on the current financial market? Any worries?

Professor Cho: Yo, diggity! They are definitely working better than in ‘08 and ‘09. If firms wanna borrow money, they can.

WWIB: Yo diggity.

Investing With a Conscience

                                                                              Investing With a Conscience

If Wall Street’s reputation sours your taste for finance, you should consider a career in sustainable investment. Socially responsible investment (SRI) firms seek to support companies that contribute to the well-being of society and the environment [1]. The existence of SRI firms may be news to you, but some have been around for decades. What’s more, their portfolios are competitive with the portfolios of traditional investment firms.

Boston-based Honeybee Capital (HC) is one such firm devoted to sustainable investment. After almost two decades working for Fidelity, a traditional equity management firm, HC Founder and CEO Katherine Collins ’90 realized that her work was no longer aligned with her values. She resigned from her job, traveled the world, earned her Master of Theological Studies degree at Harvard Divinity School, and founded HC [2]. Why did she name her firm Honeybee Capital? “Bees are able to make optimal decisions partly because they have strong common value systems. We believe that by investing with a strong and consistent value system we, too, can generate optimal decisions over time” [3].

Another exemplary SRI firm in the Boston area is Trillium Asset Management. According to their website, Trillium is “the oldest independent advisor devoted exclusively to sustainable and responsible investing” [4]. Trillium was founded in 1982 by Joan Bavara, who some consider to be the “Founding Mother” of socially responsible investing [5]. Although Bavara passed away in 2008, the firm is committed to the same socially-responsible principles upon which it was established.

For those who are concerned about balancing their conscience with their passion for finance, this field presents a possible career area. For more information about local firms, visit the website of the Boston Area Sustainable Investment Consortium at http://www.bostonsri.org/. For a broader range of information about sustainable investment firms, visit: http://www.sustainableinvesting.net/.

[1] “Strategic sustainable investing,” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socially_responsible_investing
[2] Honeybee Capital, Katherine Collins’ Bio. http://www.honeybeecapital.com/inc/kc_bio.html
[3] Ibid., About. http://www.honeybeecapital.com/about.php
[4] Trillium Asset Management, About. http://www.trilliuminvest.com/socially-responsible-investment-company/
[5] Ibid., History. http://www.trilliuminvest.com/socially-responsible-investment-company/history-joan-bavaria/

Image source: http://www.csgfinancial.net/images/bladeofgrass_coins.jpg

Article written by Emily Grandjean

Notes on the Changing Landscape of Mobile Communication

By Becky Huang

[Wellesley Women in Business recently invited Ambassador Terry Kramer to Wellesley to give a presentation called The Changing Landscape of Mobile Communication. Below, you will find summaries of the main topics he covered during his presentation.] 

Current state of the mobile communications industry
Since everyone wants to be the leader in the fast-growing mobile communications industry, recent years have seen the emergence of winners (e.g. Apple and Samsung) and losers (e.g. Nokia and Blackberry). Strategies are changing as well. Since the fixed landline service is less popular than it once was, companies often bundle together fixed landline and mobile services instead of offering it separately. In addition, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model of matching different phones with companies’ services is becoming ubiquitous. Since mobile businesses cannot always predict their friends or foes in the near future, seeking partnership in the present is key to potential future growth. Another key success factor in the mobile industry is having a whole “ecosystem”. Think of the iPhone model: it was not “whiz-bang” technology that made it so popular, but rather the ease of use. The iPhone box comes not only with the device itself (one with a highly-intuitive user interface), but also the end service of iTunes. Finally, mobile is the wallet of the future. Nowadays, Starbucks offers a payment option through Square, an app that stores payment information on the mobile phone. Imagine every business offering a mobile payment option in the future; then cell phones would replace wallets, too!

Global political considerations
Ambassador Kramer recently partook in an international treaty negotiation, where non-democratic nations sought government control over the Internet and wished to use new payment models to charge for Internet traffic delivery. The U.S opposed the treaty, believing that a free telecommunications market allows entrepreneurial activities to flourish and creates economic opportunities. The U.S.’s stance was that multi-stakeholders should manage the market issue, instead of the government. Otherwise, there would be a risk of government censorship. Iran and Cuba pushed an addendum that human rights should be accrued only to nations, not individuals. Taking this extreme position backfired to bring 54 out of 88 nations to stand with the U.S. to oppose the treaty.

Reflections on leadership
Leadership necessitates having great awareness of what is happening around you. On this subject, Ambassador Kramer drew two conclusions. First, when you are starting a new job, do not be quick to pass judgment. Instead, take the time to absorb new information and learn about the environment around you. This is because you have not yet earned the right to impose knowledge on others as a newcomer to the office. Second, when working in a global context, remember that business models differ by country. For example, Americans are known to generally prefer “clunkier” styles of phones, while European and Asian customers generally prefer their devices to be small and sleek. In addition, business etiquette varies by culture. American managers might praise an employee in the midst of others to applaud him or her as an example for others to follow. However, in Europe or Asia, this would actually be an embarrassing moment for that person due to the lack of individualistic corporate culture.

Follow the @Leader

By Emily Grandjean

Below is a small selection of follow-worthy female entrepreneurs and business professionals with one foot in the business world and the other in the Twittersphere. Turn your news feed into a business education by following these amazing women!

@DLCMSavvy Ashoka Fellow and Co-Founder & Executive Director of World Savvy, Dana Mortenson tweets about current events regarding education around the world, as well as the recent developments of her social enterprise.
@AriannaHuff
President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, Arianna Huffington typically shares either links to interesting HuffPost articles or inspirational quotes from famous thinkers.
@LeadStrategy
Cynthia Montgomery, the Timken Professor of Business Administration at HBS, is all about business strategy. Follow her for links to articles about everything you’d ever need to know about the subject.
@SmallBizTrends
Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, tweets relevant articles (e.g. How to Give Your Clients Exactly What They Want and Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid) as well as occasional personal insights and product recommendations.
@Caterina
Caterina Fake, the Founder of Findery and Co-Founder of Flickr and Hunch, tweets about everything from articles explaining why poets make great managers to updates about the progress of her companies to thoughtful observations about life.
@MarissaMayer
The President and CEO of Yahoo! is a Twitter regular, sharing both personal updates (photos of her baby boy!) as well as company news. Look out for adorable re-tweets of her husband’s tweets.
@RosabethKanter
This socially-conscious HBS Professor of Business Administration provides followers with personal reflections about leadership, social change, and doing business. She also shares advice for increasing innovation and attaining success.

Senior Panel Summary

By Emily Grandjean

[At the Senior Panel hosted by Wellesley Women in Business, a large group of Wellesley seniors candidly shared their experiences and insights into many different industries. The group included Anisha Vishwanath, Anne Williams, Elicia Chen, Farheen Rahimtoola, Irene Pang, Ivy Wang, Kristian Tran, Marjorie Cantine, Taili Feng, Tasha Beg, and Una Graonic. Below, you will find some of the key points of discussion raised over the course of the evening.]

HOURS & TRAVEL Some of the seniors mentioned the long hours sometimes expected of young professionals, which could stretch from 6:30 AM until 9:00 PM and include weekends. Others pointed out that some jobs, especially consulting, require constant travel in order to meet with clients. One person noted that although jetting around the country may sound glamorous, that was not the reality. The seniors stressed that it is important to be flexible because one’s schedule could be erratic.

SEXISM In the male-dominated industries, such as finance, one must cope with being around people who exhibit strong sexist beliefs. One senior told a story about working with a man who told her outright that she was not qualified for her job because he believed women were too emotional to be in banking. Another described the double standard often expected of women, which is that they retain their physical femininity while maintaining their stoicism. Off-color jokes are another aspect of life in the working world. To work and succeed in hostile environments, the senior panelists urged the audience members to find female mentors or role models and build their networks.

WELLESLEY RESOURCES The consensus among the seniors was that the Wellesley Network is a powerful resource. Many alums are more than happy to forward along your resumé, discuss their experiences, and refer you to people who can help you get what you need.

KNOW THYSELF Before attending an interview, it is important to know your motivations, values, and strengths. The seniors urged audience members to craft a “personal brand” or have a coherent story with which to illustrate why you’re the perfect candidate for a particular position. You should ask yourself, “What questions do I have that this internship would answer?” Furthermore, you should be sure to give the impression that the organization and position for which you’re interviewing is special and important to you.

ENGAGE The seniors advised the audience to be engaged in a number of ways: attend conferences for inspiration and networking, take classes at MIT, Babson, and Olin, browse the career websites of other colleges, get involved in research at Wellesley, and work on independent projects to demonstrate your passion and develop valuable skills. In addition, one senior mentioned that Boston’s start-ups are a great place to begin one’s career because, in general, there is a low barrier to entry.

BE CONFIDENT One senior described what she called “The Wellesley Problem,” or the astonishing efficiency with which Wellesley students complete assigned tasks. In her experience, it was often the case that her Wellesley education had more than prepared her to take on the challenges she faced in the workplace. Many Wellesley students are smarter than they realize and have talents they take for granted. The seniors reminded the audience members to be confident in themselves and show that they are eager to learn and work hard.

Spotlight on a Former UBS Intern

by Emily Grandjean (@eg41)

[This writer interviewed Wellesley sophomore Meredith Nakayama about her experience as an intern for UBS Investment Bank last summer. Nakayama is currently undeclared, but expects to major in both History and Political Science.]

What were your primary responsibilities as an intern for UBS?
I had a large number of responsibilities as a UBS intern. My internship was a little unique; most of the interns hired by that office were marketing interns and ended up cold calling. I had the privilege of getting more into the finance portion of wealth management. I worked on projects including business development, portfolio modeling, client service operations, account operations, investment, and market research.

What personal attributes helped you succeed most in your internship?
I found that the Wellesley education had helped to prepare me for my internship. The tremendous workloads you are given as a student teach you hard work, efficiency, and how to learn on the job. All three of these attributes were crucial to my success in working at UBS.

What new skills did you acquire during your internship?
Technical writing and communication skills. I was also trained in (UBS-specific) financial goal identification and Morningstar.

What was the most enjoyable part of the experience?
How much I learned. Not only about the industry, but also what it is like to work in an office space. It was refreshing for me to be a student, but not the type that has to sit behind a desk to learn.

What surprised you, if anything, about your experience?
I was surprised as to what the financial industry is really like. The biggest thing was that to work in finance you have to have a really thick skin. You are constantly losing and gaining clients, and you have to get used to the idea that you will be fired sometimes. You also have to network constantly to keep your opportunities open. This internship really opened my eyes to my possibilities.

Do you have any new insights into the industry, and if so, what are they?
I found after this internship I was questioning if finance was a good career choice for me. I would strongly recommend anyone who plans to go into finance to first try to intern and see if that is the type of work they would like to do.

What advice would you give to people seeking to work for UBS?
Be confident. If you don’t believe that you deserve the job, they definitely won’t.

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