Posted on Leave a comment

Chicago Green Festival Summary

The Chicago Green Festival 2007 was held this past weekend. I went mainly to explore but I learned about new things.

Bill Becker from Chicago based Aerotectures, gave a really interesting talk that explained his unique urban wind energy solution. There is a Youtube video that explains the basic highlights of his 45 minute talk:

Chris O’Brien’s talk about the history of local economies and craft brewing of beer was simply fascinating! The festival says the audio will be up on this site. I hope to be able to read his book “Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World” (the search engine community will be surprised to learn that David Naylor is not a co-author of how to drink beer and save the world)!!!

It’s clear that there were some really interesting bloggers in the crowd. It would have been great to meet them, the festival should have a blogging page or wiki at future events so that people who are interested in certain issues can meet up. A focus on concentrating the discussions and interaction on certainly distinct pockets of interest. It’s also clear that the Green Building, solar/wind energy sessions were more popular than they were expecting. It would be interesting to learn if that means these concepts are more popular in the Midwest?

Lastly, I was only there on Saturday. But regardless of your political views, the story of how Dennis Kucinich met his wife is really heartwarming and I became aware of it due to the coverage of his speech.

Posted on Leave a comment

Chicago Transit Authority – CTA Bus Tracker

The Chicago Transit Authority announced that they were going to implement this system wide.The CTA Bus Tracker site is located here. No word on how it will be integrated or word on how it will be optimized for mobile web sites. Why stop at buses, why not do the trains too?

Related CTA issues, why not extend the #20 “Northeast loop” to be 24/7 with all the new residences near the Aon building area?

Posted on 4 Comments

Chicago GSB Named #1 MBA by Business Week – 10 Metrics to Redesign

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (Chicago GSB) was rated the top MBA program in the Business Week bi-annual MBA survey of recruiters and students.

As a proud alumni, I want be clear that I appreciate the quality students, alumni and faculty at Chicago GSB.

However, theses surveys have not changed much since the rating systems were started several decades ago. What’s missing from that survey is alumni and the alumni experience now that MBA programs are a mature and not a growth industry. The metrics and experience here is much more unclear and are overdue for significant redesign.

Some questions I’d like to see in a redesigned survey that should carry a one third weighting alongside current students and alumni:

1. What is the alumni satisfaction rating of the institution from alumni at the 5, 10, 20 year mark?

2. What Internet based networking tools are in use? For example, I’ve asked Ted Snyder for a Simple Machines Message Board for all alumni (privacy set to no outside view) for several years and this has not been made a priority which is sad as it’s simple to implement. I want to be able to post obscure topics and find that needle in the haystack, whether I’m going to Shanghai and need to network, what to find others interested in using blog buzz to help price options or other new topics of interest. In other words, which school has not only the best network, but a culture of lifting all boats and leaving nobody behind?

3. What percentage of the alumni does the institution have accurate contact data for in a shared directory for all alumni to use? What is the strategy to create value so that all alumni are excited about staying in touch with the school and the network?

4. What is the ratio of dollars spent on alumni every year versus new student attraction? If it’s a quality alumni experience, the ratio will be less. This is a simple metric to calculate once the data is transparent.

5. What percentage consider themselves fully employed and utilized?

6. Do salaries really go up from graduation level or are most of these salaries higher due to churn and burn industries with long hours? Stated a different way are the salaries the GMAC publishes for the sole purpose of student attraction misleading? Some suggest that they are. Considering the GMAC publishes these studies during the application season, the business school self-reported salary data is highly suspect.

7. As the baby boomers age and pockets of shortages arise, we need to change the campus recruiting policies to focus on hiring gifted thought leaders based on competencies regardless of year of graduation – there are pockets of underemployed MBA’s form the 2001-2003 era that should be redeployed fully to roles worthy of their skills – the current process doesn’t allow this to occur and it is obsolete – it exists only to encourage student attraction and influence each year’s performance stats – you see it in the Business Week stats – it’s all about salaries (which are inflated because they are mostly not jobs with normal hours) – isn’t there more to life than just salary?

8. What percentage of the alumni are currently giving gifts to the school?

9. What percent of alumni are living in the geographic region of their choice?

10. Does the school have functional and relevant alumni activities both in industry verticals and in geography?

These are just a few of the metrics that I would invite Business Week, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times to explore fully for overhaul. Please feel free to comment and add ideas to this discussion, link to this post or forward it to anyone via e-mail whom could influence this positive and needed metric changes. Thank you for joining the conversation for needed reform.