Category Archives: Research Centers

The Biology of Empathy: Lessons Learned from Lab Rats

I have always been amazed at the different hemispheres of the brain: how the left-brain is more logical and analytical, while the right-brain is more intuitive and thoughtful. Many of my Booth classes, such as Power and Influence, the Study of Behavioral Economics, and Consumer Behavior, have trained me, and encouraged me, to look beyond the superficial into the minds—the biases, tastes, and psyches—of our teammates, managers, clients, and customers.

Lucky for me, the most recent Spark Dinner, “The Biology of Empathy,” fell right into the intersection of my interest in neurobiology and the training from these classes, and provided an amazing new perspective and important takeaways. All based on the empathy of rats.

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Power Lunches Feed Intellectual Curiosity at Booth

One of my favorite things about Booth is that our professors aren’t just teachers and case-writers, but are equal parts researcher, instructor, and mentor. With our long list of distinguished faculty pushing the frontiers of business science outward on a daily basis, I always find myself getting FOMO over all the classes I want to take but can’t find space to cram into my two-year schedule.

Fortunately, Booth’s research and learning centers frequently host talks and events for professors to discuss their research—enabling students like me to glean insights on a wide variety of topics that complement the my formal curriculum.

I recently attended a special talk hosted by James M. Kilts Center for Marketing, where Professor Berkeley Dietvorst discussed his research on why human beings don’t trust algorithms to make decisions.

Here are a few “ah-ha” moments I had during the talk:

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The Gift of the Green Pen from Professor Linda Ginzel

We’re all trying to squeeze out 28 hours of productivity from the 24-hour day. We entered the balancing act of classes, recruiting, and social life in order to learn how to manage and lead in our careers. But with so much to do, how can we be sure we’re extracting real value from our experiences?

Professor Linda Ginzel has given this a lot of thought. She believes the solution is to live the examined life: collect the data of your experience across time, look for patterns and trends to analyze in order to get insight. To this end, she gives all of her students a pen—a green pen—to help them be their own coach. She asks that students prepare for class by writing in a different color, and bring their green pen to class.

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NVC Diaries: Why did you want to do it?

Anyone interested in entrepreneurship, startups or getting involved with new business ventures has likely heard of the Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC).  Run by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation here at Booth, NVC is a top-ranked accelerator program in the nation and has graduated over 160 start-up companies still in operation today, including some recognizable names like Braintree, which acquired Venmo and was then later acquired by PayPal in 2013 for $800 million; Bump Technologies, which was acquired by Google in 2013; and GrubHub, which completed an IPO in April 2014.

NVC is truly an incredible program that helps student teams turn ideas into viable businesses.  But it takes a lot of hard work and commitment on top of the already demanding commitments of being a Booth student.  So I wanted to hear from NVC participants exactly why they wanted to compete in this year’s challenge.

Here’s what they had to say.

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More Than a Finance School

This is the third installment of our “More Than a Finance School” series. In this edition, hear from students who are pursuing fields outside of financial services, such as energy and technology, impact investing and social entrepreneurship, and even the entertainment industry.

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