Winter weather—and its associated travel woes—are nothing new to the Northeast or the Midwest. But the early storm (Hercules) of 2014 saw a nearly unprecedented level of cancellations and chaos days after the actual storm.
Those most impacted were passengers of JetBlue. Several days after the initial storm, JetBlue halted all operations at Boston’s Logan International Airport and all three New York-area airports. According to CNN.com, “JetBlue said it cancelled 435 flights, affecting 49,000 passengers.” The airline blamed both the weather and new FAA rules that extended the hours of rest crews needed between flights.
Not only has this incident exposed some core airline operations issues—not planning for the extension in required rest hours and not having the flexibility to move aircraft—but it has also exposed some holes in JetBlue’s digital customer service.
What makes regions more or less successful when it comes to entrepreneurship? What about Kendall Square has made the area such a powerful entrepreneurial hotspot? These questions and others like them are considered during the new MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), currently offered as a joint program between MIT Sloan Executive Education and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.
Created in part to address the concerns of organizations that want to emulate the entrepreneurial spirit encompassed by MIT and the surrounding area, REAP is a multi-year program designed to help regions promote economic development and job creation by teaching participants how to implement a more robust, innovation-based entrepreneurial ecosystem. For example, during the REAP 2012–2013 pilot program, cross-functional teams from Hangzhou (China), Finland, New Zealand, Veracruz (Mexico), Scotland, Andalucia (Spain), and Turkey conducted an action project focused on assessing the current state of entrepreneurship in their regions.
As part of our commitment to advancing the field of executive education, MIT Sloan has been involved in the Global Industry Association for University-based Executive Education (UNICON) since we participated in its founding, over 40 years ago. We are pleased to announce that Rochelle Weichman, our Associate Dean of Executive Education, has been elected as Chair of this global association of business–school–based executive education organizations.
UNICON’s community of members is engaged in accelerating the development of business leaders and managers by designing and delivering non-degree executive education courses and programs for individuals and organizations. UNICON exists to share experience, promote best practices, and support the development of its member organizations and their professional staff. There are currently 110 academic institution members from all over the world.
In early November, the Justice Department settled its suit blocking the merger of American Airlines and US Airways and, this month, the merger was completed. The original suit claimed “airline consolidation had gone too far and the proposed merger would lead to higher fares for consumers.” In the end, having the two airlines concede to surrendering some take off and landing spots at certain airports would “foster competition and lead to low prices.” So the merger continues.
Airline mergers are nothing new in the industry; as noted in an MIT Sloan Management Review (SMR) interview with Tom Kochan, Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan, “Airline companies may be the business everyone fantasizes the most about trying to fix.” As experts quoted in the recent article in The New York Times, “Concession in Airline Merger is Criticized,” airline mergers create “unprecedented pricing power” and are designed to cut operational costs. But, as the story notes, “merged airlines have had varied levels of success in meshing their operations and achieving the ‘synergies’ they sought.”
As MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman told MIT Technology Review, “there’s no actual beer in the Beer Game.” Instead, it’s an exercise for MIT Sloan students that simulates the supply chain of the beer industry. The roles include retailer, wholesaler, distributor, and brewer; the goal is to make operating costs as low as possible.
The Beer Game demonstrates the fluctuations of inventories and backlogs and how they impact the bottom line. In the real world of the “beer game”—that of the craft beer industry—the stakes are very high. And, one wonders if they’d benefit from mapping their own risk by playing MIT’s Beer Game.