Sunday, April 30, 2017

NC State MBAs shine in Lulu eGames

Kudos to NC State MBAs London White and Ben Bradley for their success in NC State's premiere entrepreneurship competition.  White was part of the VieMetrics team that won first place in the New Ventures division, taking home $10k.  VieMetrics has developed a device that can help asthma and COPA patients predict when an attack might be coming.  The idea for the device was developed in the product innovation class MBA 555.

Bradley received 2nd place in the Arts Ventures division and was awarded $3k for his Thrive Collective concept, which can enhance efficiency in the nonprofit sector through enhanced collaboration.  Learn more about his concept in this YouTube video.

You can learn more about the eGames and the other winners here and for more details about Poole College of Management winners go here.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

How useful are job interviews?

Not very, according to this NYT piece by Yale School of Management professor Jason Dana.  Dana's research used student experiments to test whether face-to-face interviews aided in decision making.  In one exercise, students were asked to predict GPA of other students based on what courses they were taking, past GPA and an interview.  In a control group another set of students were asked to make GPA predictions based on course schedule and past GPA alone.  Guess which set of predictions was more accurate?  The group that did not conduct interviews and relied solely on numbers and lists.

All too often job interviews are unstructured, free flowing discussions that might be good predictors of interpersonal compatibility between interviewer and interviewee but are poor predictors of job performance.  What should companies do?  Dana suggests the following:
What can be done? One option is to structure interviews so that all candidates receive the same questions, a procedure that has been shown to make interviews more reliable and modestly more predictive of job success. Alternatively, you can use interviews to test job-related skills, rather than idly chatting or asking personal questions.

Friday, April 21, 2017

United Airlines incident: price controls strike again

Airlines make a choice regarding how many tickets they sell on a flight.   Because airline seats are perishable commodities and the cost of servicing an extra passenger is zero, airlines want each plane to fly with a full passenger load.  Theaters face the same challenge.  Yet when you buy theatre tickets, how often do you find someone else in your seat?  

One reason airlines rely on overbooking is that US Department of Transportation regulations encourage it, as pointed out in this HBR online piece.  The regs allow bumped passengers to be paid 200-400% of the price of their ticket (one-way, I might add) with an overall cap of $1350.  So a passenger who bought a heavily discounted ticket might only receive $400-500 in compensation for being bumped, well below what a true volunteer might demand.  

Airlines could manage passenger loads in different ways, such as penalizing no-shows who do not contact the airline in advance and are not on a connecting flight.  If airlines insist on overbooking, then the most efficient (in the economics sense of the word) compensation mechanism would be an auction where passengers bid for the right to be bumped.  In the case of the infamous Chicago to Louisville flight two weeks ago, the bid price for being bumped would rise until there were four true volunteers.  That would no doubt be quite a bit more than United actually spent, but I bet they sure wished in retrospect that they had paid those four passengers enough to get them to exit the plane without assistance.