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OBS Applied Business Research Class Incubates Startup Ideas

MBA students at Olivet Business School started the Summer quarter with a meaningful project in their Applied Business Research class. The class requires students to brainstorm a real startup idea in groups, conduct in-depth research and analysis, then pitch it to the entire class at the end of the course.

One area that students are specifically interested in is the disintermediation of the service industry. It is now affecting finance, real estate, technology, media, and healthcare as a broad trend. This trend creates the opportunity to identify new business models that would automate intermediary services in legacy businesses. Students are divided into four groups to brainstorm and do an initial review of diverse startup ideas.

Students are very engaged and excited by the potential of developing a promising new venture, going beyond learning a methodology to evaluate ideas.

Prof. Albert Lee commented, “…with a few inspirational observations of new trends, students are motivated and sufficiently capable of developing attractive business ventures. The hope is at least one group will have something substantive at the end of the course and a seed of a great venture will continue to grow.”  

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Spotlight

New Finance Faculty Member Joins Olivet Business School

Olivet Business School (OBS) welcomes new faculty member Dr. Albert Lee for the Fall Quarter. Lee graduated from Harvard University and previously served as an assistant professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management. He is scheduled to teach Finance and related subjects at the business school.

“Understanding finance as a strategic and economic foundation of any business management beyond accounting is critical. Finance II aims to teach students the ability to abstract all business propositions as a form of cash flow generation process,” said Lee.

“The course also aims to train students to critically evaluate net present value of various propositions, and eventually impart the wisdom that ‘all things must add up’ in a competitive market,” Lee added.

Lee received his A.M. and Ph.D in Business Economics jointly from Harvard Business School and Harvard Department of Economics; and A.B. in Applied Mathematics and Economics, with highest honors in each, from University of California, Berkeley.

Lee served as a staff economist in innovation and entrepreneurship policy at the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House during the Obama Administration’s first term of office. He began his teaching career in China, where he was the assistant dean of International Affairs at Tsinghua University Office of Technology Transfer from 2013 to 2017. During his years at Tsinghua, Dr. Lee was also an assistant professor of Finance at the School of Economics and Management. His research areas included investment management, corporate finance, and VC/PE. He is a two-time recipient of Young Scholars Research Fund from the National Natural Science Foundation of China in 2014 and 2017.

Dr. Lee’s experience in the finance industry is extensive. He was the head of quantitative investments at China Merchants Bank in Hong Kong, one of the five largest bank in China; managing director at TusPark Ventures of Tsinghua Holdings, the endowment of Tsinghua University; and head of economics, finance and operations research in R&D Americas at l’Air Liquide SA, a global industrial gas corporation listed on the EURONEXT100, based in Paris, France. Olivet Business School is pleased to welcome him as its newest faculty member.