Harvard B-school’s Pre-MBA Online Course

Harvard B-school opens the flood gates with online courses #hkuiom #hkuisad #in http://ow.ly/IR8wj

A great alternative for those looking for preparatory skills for business school, or even for those looking to brush up on some basic concepts.

“Unlike many other online business courses, CORe participants are graded in each course based on quizzes, a final exam, and their level of participation. The program is largely taught through case studies of issues and challenges at such organizations as Amazon, PepsiCo, The New York Times, and the American Red Cross. But there also are lessons from managers at small, local companies, including the Bikram Yoga studio near campus. Harvard awards a certificate of completion to each graduate and says it will maintain transcripts of the grades. Top performers receive an Honors or High Honors designation, similar to what Harvard MBAs get when they graduate from the school.

So, what has Harvard learned after sending two cohorts through the program? The second B-to-B cohort had an 80% completion rate and engagement rates off the chart, much like the pioneer cohort. The completion rate fell by five percentage points, largely because the second cohort was comprised entirely of full-time managers and employees who often found it difficult to complete all the work. Learners find that it takes about 10 hours a week over the two-month program to get all the work done. Participants also are prevented from moving forward unless they complete a module within a two-week timeframe, a deadline that makes it hard to catch up when students fall behind.”

Innovation in Retail: Virtual “Brick and Mortar” Stores

Original post by Nikolay Osadchiy on his wonderful blog!

Operations Club 351

Happy New Year! My most popular post so far has been about Tesco bringing grocery shopping to Korean subway. Here is another example of retail innovation (hat tip – Benn Konsynski). Yihaodian a Chinese company using augmented reality to build a 3D virtual store. Their stores exist only on a smartphone screen, but otherwise it’s a fully immersive experience.

Interestingly, customers still need to go to a store, augmented reality works only at specific locations. At first, it seemed odd – why limit consumer experience? Perhaps the company is betting on association with the trendiest locations. Another reason why Yihaodian is doing this might be studying how consumers move about the store and applying it for improving store layout. Given Yihaodian’s effective merger with Walmart, I would not be surprised if the virtual store browsing data is applied for traditional brick and mortar store design.

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3D Printing in Space and in the White House [Video]

And in other 3D printing news, a 3D printer was set up on the International Space Station last month (kinda tl/dw), while President Obama was 3D printed earlier this month #hkuiom

JVWR Special Issue 2nd Update

Part 2 of a special ‘Lantern’ issue on 3D3C Virtual Worlds of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, which I have co-edited, is now available. Part 1 was published in Q1 / 2014 and is available here. Part 2 was published in Q3 / 2014 and is available here.


JVWR Issue 2

The Apple Watch (iWatch) [Video]

The Apple Watch is finally here. This video, which was released four months ago, was pretty much accurate. With the exception of the NFC enabled payment system.



The Apple Watch might get Apple some more customers, and is another goodie for the fanboys to collect. However, it’s not clear if the iWatch has enough features to convince those of us who had forsaken a wristwatch for being a mono-functional device in a multi-functional world, to return to owning a timepiece. More discussions in #hkuiom !

Nymi: Identity through heartbeats [Video]

As discussed in #hkuiom over the past years, Identity Management is a major unsolved problem that limits the ability for seamless computing and digitized service delivery. A problem that can provide much profits to the company that solves it. Nymi, which ships this fall, proposes to use an individual’s unique heartbeat, combined with a registered smartphone, as a basis for authentication.


Best Paper Award at Academy of Management Conference

One of my research papers, co-authored with Mariana G. Andrade Rojas, a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Hong Kong, was recognized at the recent Academy of Management Annual Meeting held in Philadelphia, USA. The Academy of Management is the preeminent professional association of management and organizational scholars and its annual meeting draws more than 10,000 students, academics, scholars, and professionals. The paper, titled “Competitive Brokerage: External Resource Endowment and Information Technology as Antecedents” was conferred the Best Student Paper 1st Runner Up Award by the Organizational Communication & Information Systems Division.

AwardHaving a prominent position in a firm’s competition network is a prerequisite for success in the global and embedded environment of the 21st century. In our study, we assert that IT-enabled information management capability, M&A, and strategic centrality act in differing ways to individually and jointly enable firms to obtain such a position. Specifically, we propose the “competitive brokerage” construct to assess firms’ multi-industry competitive positioning and posit that information management capability acts as a substitute for M&A and strategic centrality to attain competitive brokerage. In other words, we posit that an organization’s information technology, acquisitions of other firms and strategic alliances with other organizations endow it with the ability to bridge multiple markets and successfully compete across them with multiple brands.

Analysis of a longitudinal multi-industry competition network supports our assertions. This work offers a novel set of insights to the evolutionary dynamics of network structures literature and the IT business value literature by arguing and empirically demonstrating that in addition to structural elements, firms’ external resource endowment and IT-enabled capabilities influence network positioning.

An abridged version of this paper was accepted for inclusion in the Best Paper Proceedings of the conference (approximately ten percent of all papers are selected as “Best Papers” and accepted for inclusion).