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Topics - Bipasha Matin

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The University of Bonn and the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) are delighted to announce that thanks to support from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) they will be offering up to eight fully funded scholarships to students from developing countries for the Joint Master of Science (M.Sc.) programme “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security.”

The main purpose of the two-year Master of Science programme is to provide postgraduate students with detailed knowledge, critical understanding, strategies and the tools required to take an interdisciplinary approach towards environmental risks and human security. The Master’s programme content addresses theoretical and methodological debates in geography to better understand the complex emergence of environmental risks and natural hazards and their implications for human-nature relations (vulnerability, resilience, adaptation) and how to deal with them in practice.

The programme’s primary goals are:

    Theoretical and methodological expertise in the field of environmental risks and human security combined with practical experiences
    Strong focus on developing countries/ Global South
    Intercultural and interdisciplinary learning environment
    Possibility to engage in ongoing research projects at both institutions
    Close cooperation with the UN system & international organizations

The Master programme offers great visibility and exposure to international organizations, federal agencies, academic and non-academic research organizations, as well as private companies and corporations involved in disaster risk reduction and preparedness, humanitarian aid, international relations, research on climate change, food security, spatial planning, and policy. Future career options may arise in all of these thematic fields depending on individual preferences and career goals.


​Applicants must possess a first, higher education qualification (Bachelor’s Degree) in Geography or a related / comparable professionally certified study programme. Out of all higher education qualifications earned (Bachelor’s, Master’s, additional academic coursework, etc.) applicants must have accumulated at least 100 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) within courses related to the three following areas:

    Human Geography and Social Sciences with a focus on spatial patterns, society, development;
    Science methodology and empirical research methods;
    Physical Geography, Geosciences and Environmental Sciences with a focus on Earth System Science.

A strong motivation to contribute to the area of Human Security and management of risks related to Environmental Change is a pre-requisite to study in this Master’s Programme. Applicants should be highly motivated to learn in a multicultural and interdisciplinary environment.


​A completed application packet consists of the following documents:

1. Completed and signed  application form   (REQUIRED)

2. A signed Résumé/CV (REQUIRED)

    A current résumé including a chronological listing of employment and other significant activities must be submitted with any application.

3. Official transcripts (REQUIRED)

    Applicants must submit an official transcript from each college or university in which they were enrolled for any period of time, showing all courses, grades and degrees received
    Only transcripts that have been certified by the university where the degree was awarded will be accepted
    In cases where the transcript is written in any other language than English, a certified translation of the transcript into English or German is also required
    Translated versions can be certified either by the originating university or an official national or international institution

4. Letter of motivation (REQUIRED)

    A written statement, one to two pages in length, describing their motivation, area of proposed research, background, past work in the intended field of study, plans for further postgraduate study and any other information they feel is relevant. Applicants who are currently registered in a postgraduate programme at another university should explain why they wish to change programmes.

5. For non-native English speakers or applicants where English is not the official language, an English language proficiency certificate. (REQUIRED).

6. Copy of Bachelor Thesis or academic essay written as part of the fulfillment of the first degree (preferably in English). (REQUIRED).

7. If the candidate wishes to be considered for the Epos funding by the DAAD the candidate should add the DAAD application form, a motivation letter with reference to the current occupation, professional letters of recommendation from your employer (with recent date, stamped and signed), academic letters of recommendation from your university (with recent dates, stamped and signed), as well as a confirmation of employment from the employer in your home country and if possible, a guarantee of re-employment upon your return home.

8. Other relevant documents to support your application (OPTIONAL):

    Further certificates on professional experience and expertise (recommended for Epos applicants)
    Additional Certified Transcripts in cases where additional academic credits were earned outside of Degrees awarded
    Letters of recommendation

All documents must be scanned and sent together as one single PDF file. Only Epos applicants might organize their application in two files. The file size for each file should not exceed 8 Megabytes (MB). Send completed application packet to:


​Eligible candidates should fulfill the following requirements in addition to the general eligibility criteria for the Master’s programme:

    Being a candidate from a “Developing Country” (according to the classification of the DAAD)
    Having at least two years of practical work experience (e.g. with an NGO, GO, or the private sector) in a field related to the study programme.
    Having graduated from the Bachelor no longer than five years ago.
    Having completed no other Master in a similar field of studies.
    Aiming at a career as a practitioner in a field related to the programme of study.


​Fields of study include:

    Geographical approaches to risk, vulnerability and resilience
    New approaches to development geography
    Earth system science.
    Qualitative & Quantitative Methods, as well as GIS & Remote Sensing
    Social-ecological systems, Risk & Technology.
    Risk management and governance, forecast & prediction.
    Disaster management, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and humanitarian response.


Inspiration Stories / আমার মা সব পারে...
« on: December 15, 2016, 12:50:31 PM »
আমার মা সব পারে...
বিপাশা মতিন
মেয়েটি পড়ালেখায় বেশ ভালো ছিল। ক্লাশে অন্য সবার মতো না। একটু অন্যরকম। পড়ালেখায় তার বিস্তর আগ্রহ। ক্লাশের অন্যসব মেয়ে যখন বিভিন্ন ঘরোয়া আড্ডায় মেতে থাকতো, মেয়েটি তখন বই পড়তো। নানারকম সব বই।

পড়তে সে খুব ভালোবাসে। যে কোন বই। আর এজন্যই প্রতিবার ঢাকা থেকে বাড়ি ফিরতে তার মামা তার জন্য অনেক বই নিয়ে আসতেন।

সে কি খুশি, সে কি আনন্দ। 

১৯৮৪ সাল। আর ক’দিন পরই এস,এস,সি পরীক্ষা। খুব পড়াশোনা চলছে। দম ফেলার সময় নেই একেবারে। এমন সময়ই বাসায় একটি বিয়ের প্রস্তাব আসে। বাবা মাও খুব করে চাচ্ছেন বিয়েটা হয়ে যাক। ছেলে ভালো, বংশ ভালো, তাহলে দেরী করে লাভ কি?

‘কিন্তু বাবা, আমার পড়াশোনা?’
বাবা বলেন, “সে ঠিকই হবে, বিয়ে করলেই কি আর পড়াশোনা করা শেষ নাকিরে?”

হুট করেই বিয়েটা হয়ে গেলো।

কোনরকম পরীক্ষাটা দেয়া হয়েছিলো সেবার।

শ্বশুরবাড়ি যাওয়ার সময় বার বার ঘুরে ঘুরে দেখছিল টেবিলে ও তাকে রেখে যাওয়া তার সব বইগুলো।
থাকবে তো সব ওরকমই?

বাবা আশ্বাস দিলেন, ‘সবই থাকবে। তুই ভালো থাকিস মা!’

মেয়েটির মন থেকে শঙ্কা যায়না।

শুরু হয় নতুন জীবন। নতুন সব মানুষ, নতুন সংসার। বেশ মানিয়ে নিচ্ছিলো মেয়েটি। ঐ বাড়ির সবার প্রিয় হয়ে উঠছিল সে।

কিন্তু কোথায় যেন কি হচ্ছেনা, কি যেন নেই।

কেউ তো তার পড়াশোনা নিয়ে কোন কথা বলছেনা? তবে যে বাবা বলল, ‘বিয়ের পরও আমি পড়াশোনা করতে পারবো?”
“আরো ক’টা দিন যাক, সবে তো সংসার শুরু করেছ। কিছুটা সামলে নাও। পড়াশোনা? সে পরে দেখা যাবে”
“হুমম তাইতো, সবেতো সংসার শুরু করলাম। আর কটা দিন যাক। তখন বলবো”- লোকের কথা সে বিশ্বাস করলো।

বছর না ঘুরতেই কোল জুড়ে চলে আসে প্রথম সন্তান। এর মাঝে মেয়েটিও ব্যস্ত হয়ে পড়ে তার সংসার সামলানো নিয়ে। স্বামী তার শিক্ষক তাই বাসায় বইপত্রের কোন অভাব ছিলোনা। সময় সুযোগ পেলেই পড়ে ফেলতো অনেক বই। কখনো গল্পের, কখনো বা সাইন্স ফিকশন, কখনো স্বামীর পড়ানোর বিষয় ‘হিসাবরক্ষণ’। কোন বাধাধরা নিয়মে নয়, মনের ইচ্ছা থেকেই পড়তো সে।

এদিকে দিন যায়, মাস যায়, বছর পেরিয়ে তার কোলে আসে এক এক করে আটটি সন্তান। আট সন্তানের জননী হয়ে ওঠে সেই মেয়েটি। সারাদিন কেটে যায় তাদের সাথে। খুব সুন্দর একটি পরিবার। খুব ভাল যাচ্ছে সবকিছু।

এতোসবের মাঝে বলা হয়ে উঠছেনা তার না বলা সেই কথা।

এক একটি ছেলে-মেয়ে বড় হচ্ছে তার। পড়ালেখার হাতে-খড়িটা হচ্ছে তার হাত দিয়েই।

“অ, অ-তে অজগর, অজগর ঐ আসছে তেড়ে,
আ, আ-তে আম, আমটি আমি খাবো পেড়ে”...

মেয়েটি যখন এক একটি ছেলে-মেয়েকে মানুষ করাতে ব্যস্ত হয়ে পড়েছিলো, তাদের স্বপ্নগুলো পূরনের সর্বাত্মক চেষ্টায় যখন সে ভুলে বসছিলো তার নিজের ও একটি স্বপ্ন ছিলো, তার জমানো শখের সেইসব বইগুলোতে তখন পড়ছিলো ধূলো-বালি। সারাদিনের ক্লান্তি শেষে মাঝে মাঝে ধূলো ঝাড়তো মেয়েটি। কিংবা বিকেলে যখন ছেলে-মেয়েরা বাইরে খেলতে যেতো, অবসরের সেই সময়টুকু মেয়েটি দিতো তার বই পড়াকে।

এইভাবে কেটে যায় আরো কিছু বছর। সবাই ভুলে যায় মেয়েটির সেই স্বপ্নের কথা। মেয়েটিও চুপ থেকে যায়। আট সন্তানের পড়াশোনার খরচ ও ঝামেলা সব মিলিয়ে বলা হয়ে ওঠেনা তার পড়াশোনা করার ইচ্ছের কথা।

থাক না। কি আর হবে পড়াশোনা করে? মেয়েটি সামলে নেয় নিজেকে। মেনে নেয় বাস্তবতা। আবেগ এর দাসত্তের কাছে হার মানে সে।

এদিকে তার এক একটি ছেলে-মেয়ে একেক বছর এনে দিচ্ছিলো তাকে এক একটি সুখবর!

“আম্মু আমি ক্লাশে ফার্স্ট হয়েছি!
আম্মু, আমি এ-প্লাস পেয়েছি!
আম্মু আমি ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে চান্স পেয়েছি!”

মেয়েটি একগালে হাসে, কেনো যেন হাসিটা সারা মুখ জুড়ে থাকতোনা। অন্যমনস্ক হয়ে কি যেন ভাবতো।

কেটে যায় জীবনের আরো কিছু বছর।

২০১১ সাল। মেয়েটি এখন একজন মহিলা। পুরোদস্তুর গৃহিণী। তার সব ছেলেমেয়েগুলো যখন মোটামুটি বড় হয়েছে তখন তারা সবাই মিলে এক গভীর ষড়যন্ত্র করল।

হয়তো, তারা তাদের মায়ের সেই অন্যমনস্ক হওয়ার কারন বুঝতে পেরেছিল।
অথবা, তারা তাদের মায়ের একগালে হাসির মানে বুঝতে পেরেছিল।
কিংবা, তারা মায়ের তাদের মায়ের সেই পূরন না হওয়া স্বপ্নের কথা বুঝতে পেরেছিল।

সে যাই হোক, তারা সবাই মিলে ঠিক করলো, আম্মুকে উন্মুক্ত বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে ভর্তি করিয়ে দিলে কেমন হয়? শুরু করুক আবার পড়ালেখা?

মেয়েটিকে জিজ্ঞেস করতেই, এক বাক্যে বলে ফেলল, আচ্ছা!, বলে নিজেই লজ্জা পেল, শুধরে আবার বলল, ‘তোরা যা ভালো মনে করিস’।

যেই ভাবা সেই কাজ।

বাবাকে গিয়ে বলল তাদের ইচ্ছের কথা, মায়ের স্বপ্নের কথা।
তাদের বাবা একবাক্যে রাজি হয়ে গেলেন। এতোদিনে তিনিও বুঝতে পেরেছিলেন, বিরাট ভুল হয়ে গেছে!

আট ছেলে-মেয়ে নিয়ে রওনা হলেন উন্মুক্ত বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের পথে।

কিন্তু একি! ভর্তির সময় নাকি শেষ। আর কোন ভর্তি চলতি বছরের জন্য গ্রহনযোগ্য হবেনা। তবে কি আরো এক বছর পিছিয়ে যাবে মায়ের স্বপ্ন?

না !

সবাই মিলে রীতিমতো আন্দোলন শুরু করলো, কতৃপক্ষকে নানাভাবে বোঝাতে লাগলো। বিষয়টা অনেক জরুরী, যদি কোনভাবে কিছু করা যায়?

তিনি কি বুঝলেন জানিনা, তবে বললেন, ১০দিনের মধ্যে ব্যবস্থা করতে পারলে তিনি ভর্তি নিবেন।
কিন্তু ১০ দিন? সে তো অনেক কম সময়? এতো কম সময়ে মায়ের সার্টিফিকেট তোলা যাবে কি? কুমিল্লা বোর্ডে গিয়ে দেখা যাক।

সবার যাত্রা এইবার কুমিল্লা, সাথে যোগ দিয়েছে তাদের নানী। মেয়ের ইচ্ছা বলে কথা।

সব ব্যস্ততার মধ্য দিয়ে সকল কাজ সম্পন্ন করে মায়ের ভর্তি নিশ্চিত করেই বাসায় ফেরে ওরা। ক্লান্তি ভর করলেও অবসর পায়না। কারন দীর্ঘ ২৮ বছর পর তাদের মা আবার পড়াশনা শুরু করেছেন, তাকে পড়াতে হবে, নতুন সিলেবাস বোঝাতে হবে। পরীক্ষার ও বেশিদিন বাকি নেই। এতো কম সমইয়ে এতো কিছু কিভাবে হবে তা ভেবে পায়না সেই আট ভাই-বোন।

কেউ মাকে পড়াচ্ছে ‘অংক’, কেউবা আবার ‘ইংরেজি’, তাদের বাবা নিলেন ‘হিসাবরক্ষণ’ পড়ানোর দায়িত্ব। জীবনের হিসাব মিলাতে সহযোহিতা করছিলো তার পুরো পরিবার। কারন মনে মনে নিজেদের দোষী মনে করছিলো কম বেশি সবাইই।

মেয়েটির জীবন মোড় নেয় সম্পূর্ণ অন্য এক পথে।

যে মেয়েটি জীবনের ২৮টি বছর ব্যস্ত ছিলো তার সন্তানদের ভবিষ্যৎ গড়া নিয়ে, সে এখন তার ভবিষ্যৎ গড়ছে; যে মেয়েটি এতোটা বছর কাটল রান্নাঘরের রান্না নিয়ে, সে মেয়েটি আজ দেশের অর্থনীতি নিয়ে পড়ছে;

এতোদিন মেয়েটি তার সন্তানদের ধমক দিয়েছিলো, “পড়তে বস, ভালো নম্বর না পেলে সোজা গ্রামে খেতের কাজ করতে পাঠিয়ে দিবো” আজ তার সন্তানেরা তাকে ধমক দিচ্ছে, “আম্মু, রান্না করতে হবেনা, যাও পড়তে বসো, পাশ না করলে সোজা গার্মেন্টসে কাজ করতে পাঠিয়ে দিবো”
দেখতে দেখতে পরীক্ষার দিন ও ঘনিয়ে আসলো। উন্মুক্ত বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের পরীক্ষাগুলো হয় প্রতি শুক্রবারে। তবে মেয়েটির ভয়ের চেয়ে আত্নবিশ্বাস ছিল বেশি, ছিলো স্বপ্নপূরনের প্রবল ইচ্ছা। প্রতিটি পরীক্ষার পর বাসায় এসে তার ছেলেমেয়েরা তার প্রশ্ন নিয়ে বসতো। কন্টা ভুল হোল, কেন হোল, কি লিখেছে, কিভাবে লিখেছে।

‘এ যেন ঝিয়ের পেটে মায়ের জন্ম’

আট সন্তানের কোলে জন্ম নিলেন এক মা।

২০১২ সাল। মেয়েটির সুনামের সাথে এইচ,এস,সি পাশ করে। আজ তার হাসি একগালে না, সারা মুখে লেগে আছে। আজ মেয়েটির চোখে যে পানি দেখা যাচ্ছে সেটা অতৃপ্তির পানি না। আজ সে সম্পূর্ণা।

গল্পের এই মেয়েটি আর কেউনা, তিনি আমার মা। দীর্ঘ ২৮ বছর সময় সে নিয়েছে তার স্বপ্নের কথা আমাদের বলতে। বিশ্বাস করুন, এরকম আরো অনেক পূরন না হওয়া স্বপ্ন আমাদের চারপাশে আছে। এরকম এক গালে হাসি দেওয়া অনেক মানুষ আমাদের চারপাশে আছে। যারা কিনা সময় ও সুযোগের কারনে তাদের স্বপ্নের কথা কিংবা ইচ্ছের কথা কাউকে বলতে পারছেন না।

আপনি আমি চাইলেই কিন্তু এইসব মানুষের মুখে হাসি ফোটাতে পারি।
তাদের একগালে লেগে থাকা হাসি বিস্তৃত করতে পারি সারা মুখে।
চাইলেই এই মানুষগুলোকে সহযোগিতা করতে পারি তাদের ইচ্ছে পূরনে
চাইলেই সব সম্ভব।

আমার মা পেরেছে।
চাইলে আপনিও পারবেন। নিজের স্বপ্নের কথা বলুন। খুঁজে বের করুন এইসব মানুষগুলোকে। চেষ্টা করুন তার স্বপ্নপূরন করতে।
দেখবেন, পৃথিবীর সবচেয়ে সুখী মানুষ আপনি।

স্বপ্ন দেখুন, স্বপ্ন দেখান।

 This holiday, a few lucky consumers in Italy will have a new way to communicate with their loved ones—with a high-tech message in a Coke bottle.

The sugar water giant, with help from agencies David and Gigigo, will be selling special limited-edition bottles of Coca-Cola, featuring electronic caps that can record a 30-second message, and then play it back when someone twists open the beverage.

Available at two stores in Sicily, the bottles will also be distributed among influencers in Central and Eastern Europe, as a test case for further sale next year.



Sullivan's report includes data on hotel booking trends. Getty Images

As Airbnb continues to disrupt tourism and travelers seek out more unique, localized experiences, hotel marketers need to break out of industry tropes and adapt to guests' changing tastes. "Where They Go. Why They Stay," a new report released today by brand engagement firm Sullivan and qualitative research firm 20|20 Research, provides a look at travelers' decision-making processes and offers tips for attracting more guests.

Here are four key insights from the report.

1. Location is paramount.
When determining where to book lodging, consumers rank location above amenities, price and ratings. Hotel marketers should therefore note their property's proximity to a cultural landmarks or neighborhoods to gain more traction with potential guests.

"They should highlight their connection to the local community," said Lauren Walsh, CMO at Sullivan. "There's a desire to be immersed in experiences that are relevant to a particular area."

2. Reviews and social influencers have a major impact on booking.
Hotel marketers should incentivize more customers to write reviews, or partner with social influencers on marketing initiatives.

3. Hotel websites don't matter much.
Forty-six percent of travelers book via a booking engine, and none of the consumers surveyed for the report visited a hotel's website during the booking process. Hotels should focus on SEO/SEM too, because most hotel searches start with Google.

"Search is the front line on where people are seeking information to stay," Walsh said. "The power of information is shifting from the hotels themselves to third party sources, so the importance of getting in front of people before they start to narrow their search down is incredibly important."

4. Travelers don't care about your brand reputation.
The report found that hotel chains like Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton are still outpacing Airbnb in terms of bookings, but over the next year, consumers are less likely to book a hotel over an Airbnb or other homeshare service. Therefore, hotels should focus on the unique experience that their property has to offer rather than a brand statement.

"The definition of the hotel brand is taking on a lot of different forms. It still needs to be consistent to one thing, but you have the ability to tailor it to different people at different times," Walsh said. "You have to elevate aspects of the local culture, or buy the right search terms for that particular region."


Yahoo airs more bad news with the Verizon purchase looming. Getty Images

Yahoo revealed on Wednesday that more than 1 billion user accounts were breached in August 2013. The hack appears to be separate from the 500 million account breach that Yahoo reported this September, and it follows a history of security problems for the digital company.

Bob Lord, Yahoo's chief information security officer, wrote in statement that the company has "not been able to identify the intrusion associated with this theft."

He also stated: "The stolen user account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers."

Law enforcement alerted Yahoo about the massive hack, and its data has been examined by third-party forensic experts. The data does not appear to include financial details or payment information.

Affected account holders have been notified, said Yahoo, which is in the process of being sold to Verizon. Whether today's news impacts the sale will be worth watching.


BBA Discussion Forum / Consumption Experiences
« on: December 14, 2016, 02:45:47 PM »
Even if the marketing communication has a strong and positive effect on the consumer, the consumption experience still plays a vital role in the image forming of the customer. These two factors should not contradict each other in order for the consumer to have a clear image of the brand since the message which corresponds to the consumption experience would have the greatest effect on the customer (Riezebos, 2003). If the marketing communicated to the consumer differs from the actual consumption experience, the image would not only be changed in the eyes of the consumer, it would be worsened. Therefore, the marketing communication needs to be exchanged in a truthful way in order to minimize a potential gap between the marketing and the actual experience of a consumer.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Brand Image
« on: December 14, 2016, 02:44:58 PM »
The brand image can be explained as how the customers perceive the brand. It is the key of how consumers make their choices after gathering information about the particular brand and the alternatives (Ataman & Ülengin, 2003).

Figure 2.2 describes how brand image is formed through three different inductive processes: marketing communication, consumption experience and social influence. This model is used since it allows the researches to sort the communicated brand identity variables accordingly to the way it reaches the consumer and influences its brand image. They are further explained below individually.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Brand identity
« on: December 14, 2016, 02:44:12 PM »
Brand identity can consist of traits, benefits, values, differentiation, and personality; it can be seen as everything the brand owner wants the consumers’ to associate with the brand (Roy & Banerjee, 2007). According to Melin (1997) brand identity is what the brand stands for, what gives it meaning, and what makes it unique; it is the brand’s fingerprint.
Kapferer (2008) agrees with the previous researchers and also emphasizes that brand identity is to be seen as the foundation for a brand and that it should reflect the brand’s core values. Therefore, brand identity includes factors such as vision, aim, point of differentiation, values and sign of recognition.
Aaker (1996) provides another aspect of brand identity and explains how it can be both the core of the business but also how it can be extended to include value adding perspectives. The brand identity symbolizes the basic characteristics that will be carried with the brand over time. However, he further argues that brand identity should not be considered static, but should be open to change if needed. It should reflect its desired associations, but also its permanent qualities and benefits, prominent or not.

inviting someone to a party only to turn them away at the door is bad manners. Spending money to draw consumers to your website and then sending them somewhere else to transact is bad business.

But that's just the kind of experience many people are having today, according to a new e-commerce report. Brands are spending billions each year to raise awareness, foster trust and engage consumers on their websites and digital properties. But when site visitors are ready to buy, they're redirected to retailers to purchase products.

This is a missed opportunity to give loyal consumers what they want, not to mention make a sale.

BrandShop, which builds digital commerce solutions for some of the world's best-known brands, just surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. for its 2016 Digital Consumer Preferences Survey. It discovered that four out of five shoppers expect to be able to buy products directly from a brand's site and would do so if given the option. More than half said that when it comes to clothing, they actually prefer to buy direct from a brand.


Ben Y. Zhao
Ben Y. Zhao, Professor of Computer Science, UC Santa Barbara.

I would say no, and apply widely to PhD programs next year.

1. While I argue often for students to emphasize individual faculty over departments, that's not the real question here. Here it's an issue of should you skip applying widely to different PhD programs to see your options.  I am ALWAYS in favor of maximizing all your options before making a decision. So I would never advocate shortcutting the process, and not even seeing what programs you can get into.

2. I don't know how often people cite in mathematics, but 1500 in 4 years doesn't sound like that much. My ex student had 1000+ by the time he graduated and started his faculty job.  Of course journal articles take more time than conference pubs which are the primary venue in CS, so I would expect math citations to be worth more. Still...  I expect some of the best academics to be at schools lower in rank, but completely unranked? That's unusual if the faculty member is really good.

3. If this faculty member is actively recruiting, then he/she will be thrilled to have you next year. You're not losing anything by waiting to see all your options.

4. Even if this faculty is amazing, you need good departmental support in logistics and other aspects of your phd. Going to a completely unranked dept might mean much of that support is missing.  Your peers will likely be less active or of a lower caliber, and they can potentially affect you as peers.

Business Administration / Facebook Reveals New Advertiser Number Flaws
« on: December 11, 2016, 12:27:48 PM »
Facebook has found more flaws in its ad stats, and is making changes to give advertisers more accurate numbers.

This time Facebook said it will tweak how it estimates the potential audience size for new campaigns, an area where advertisers have been saying the figures seemed off.

"We are updating how we calculate the numbers that appear in our estimated reach tool -- found when creating an ad," Facebook said in a blog post on Friday.

"We're improving our methodology for sampling and extrapolating potential audience sizes," Facebook said. "This will help to provide a more accurate estimate for a given target audience and to better account for audiences across multiple platforms"

Facebook is also updating how it reports the number of reactions to live videos -- when people click emojis to register their opinions about the content. And it said it found an error in how it counts likes and shares on posts.
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It's the third time since November that Facebook has disclosed reporting errors on metrics that advertisers rely on to plan or measure their campaigns.

Facebook previously found that it had inflated how long people were viewing videos on average and overstated how many people were visiting brands' pages monthly.

The errors dripping out have shaken many people in advertising. They say Facebook has not done anything nefarious, but that the problems erode trust.

"It's freaking everybody out," said one top ad agency exec, speaking anonymously because of a close relationship to Facebook. "It's hard to explain to clients."

Still, Facebook is not alone in presenting numbers to advertisers, and then facing skepticism, a number of marketers said. Other platforms also do their own reporting, and they control what companies get access to their data.

Facebook has been making changes, allowing third-party measurement companies like Moat and Integral Ad Science to double-check some of the numbers. Some have questioned whether those agreements go far enough, however, citing Facebook's continued control over the data the companies receive.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Reaching Gamers By Not Interrupting
« on: December 11, 2016, 12:22:32 PM »
To reach young, male audiences through professional video-gaming, one maxim has emerged: Don't interrupt the game play.

While that could be the new golden rule for all marketing, in this specific case, Turner and WME-IMG's ELeague has found that the best way to integrate sponsors into its series is to use a version of native advertising. A deal this year with Snickers has the candy bar brand sponsoring the pre-game and post-game show. The "You're Not You When You Are Hungry" spots feature bloopers and gaffes that occur during game play.

TBS airs limited commercial breaks during ELeague, avoiding interrupting game play with ads. So while the young, male audience (one that is especially difficult to reach on TV) that is the core of e-sports' fan base typically shun brand marketing, but when done correctly, the community will cheer sponsor content. TBS airs about eight minutes of commercials an hour in ELeague.

Other marketing partners of ELeague include Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Credit Karma and Domino's.

The first season of ELeague averaged about 256,000 total viewers, with more than half of those watching in the all-important 18-to-49 demographic. The championship also received 168,500 concurrent streams on Twitch, the social platform for video gamers.

If you are looking for a partner to help you figure out how to reach gamers, turn to LookBook.

Starbucks aims to add nearly 50% more locations by 2021 and plans to entice people to spend more with new products, store formats and technology as the coffee chain tries to prove that it will keep growing, even without Howard Schultz as CEO.

At an investor meeting Wednesday, Starbucks discussed everything from wheat-free and gluten-free breakfast foods to a partnership with Tencent Holdings Ltd in China that will allow patrons to send Starbucks gifts through the popular WeChat messaging app.

Another tech update is that members of its rewards program will soon be able to speak or message their orders into their mobile phones. And there will be plenty of stores where they can pick up those orders. Starbucks plans to open about 12,000 new stores by 2021, bringing its total to about 37,000. In China, it plans to open more than 5,000 shops, adding to the 2,500 that are currently open. Starbucks is opening stores in China at a rate of more than one store per day.

The coffee giant's ambitious store growth plans come after a year of slower growth at its longstanding locations. Global same-store sales rose 5% in fiscal 2016, with the number of transactions up just 1%. A year earlier, same-store sales were up 7%, with transactions up 3%.

Last week, Mr. Schultz said he would hand the CEO role to Kevin Johnson in April but stay on in an executive chairman role, working on projects such as the company's Roasteries and Reserve stores.

Those higher-end concepts, and adding some Reserve elements to a larger number of traditional Starbucks shops, "create this halo over the Starbucks brand," said Howard Penney, managing director of Hedgeye Risk Management. He noted that higher pricing of the upscale products can also help mitigate slowing growth in other parts of the business.

Mr. Schultz and Mr. Johnson were among the speakers Wednesday, but the company had other executives share plans throughout the day, a not-too-subtle way for Starbucks to show the strength it believes it has in its executive lineup. Global Chief Marketing Officer Sharon Rothstein, for example, discussed some of the chain's food plans.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Netflix is our Marketer of the Year
« on: December 11, 2016, 12:19:16 PM »
Netflix isn't what you would call a quintessential marketer. For one, the streaming video service does little in the way of traditional marketing. And what it does do, it doesn't like to discuss.

Despite accolades for its native advertising, use of data to attract and retain subscribers, and flair for creating social content that goes viral, the company remains decidedly tight-lipped in the area of marketing. But that refusal to use marketing as a force multiplier makes it all the more impressive when Netflix drives audiences to an unknown supernatural thriller as easily as it does to a popular TV revival.

Netflix under co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings has been a case study in how companies can use data to know what their audiences want and deliver the right message to the right viewer.

While the company largely relies on word of mouth, it has become proficient in creating content that gets shared and reshared. In turn, fans generate their own memes, gifs and videos that their friends then see, resulting in a steady buzz for Netflix's original programming.

This is how "Stranger Things," which follows a group of junior high misfits who go searching for their missing friend, became one of the most talked-about new shows of the year. While it received little advance hype, "Stranger Things" generated a cultlike following after its summer release, and fans include horror author Stephen King.

Netflix did some initial marketing around the series, including a four-hour live broadcast on Twitch, the social platform for gamers. It also forayed into virtual reality for the first time with a 360-degree video that places viewers into the creepy universe of the series.

But it was really viewers who got other people, their friends, to watch. "Stranger Things" has spawned plenty of cosplay, with fans dressing up like favorite characters, while a web tool that lets people write in the "Stranger Things" font took over social media this summer.

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