Hot Topics

Business moves fast in the 21st century. Smith Brain Trust can help you keep pace with bite-sized business insights on the latest headlines. With expertise in nearly every industry and region, we can point you to the news you need to know and explain why it matters. Check this feed for regular updates, and follow us on Twitter @SmithBrainTrust.

May 17, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Dakota Access PipelineAfter nearly one year of legal and political wrangling, oil starting flowing this week through the Dakota Access Pipeline without much fuss. “There’s nothing to talk about anymore because the pipeline is invisible,” says Smith School professor Charles E. Olson. “It will just run silently underground with much more efficiency than a train does. We won’t see it. We won’t hear it. It will have virtually zero environmental impact. And the pipeline probably is good for 50 years.” Read more...

May 17, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

The risk landscape for banks has changed since last year. For starters, Congress and the Trump Administration have started discussions on a regulatory overhaul. And, meanwhile, interest rates are on the rise, and the Federal Reserve is shifting its focus toward maintaining economic gains made in the past few years. All this should further compel banks to embrace enterprise risk management – a relatively nascent strategy that seeks to to identify, assess and prepare for any potential dangers to an organization's operations and objectives as both a day-to-day routine and long-term strategic planning process, says the Smith School's Clifford Rossi. He discusses six big risks facing banks this year...

May 16, 2017

Something historic happened on New Year’s Eve in Texas. Less than two weeks after lawmakers lifted a 40-year ban on exporting U.S. oil, the first tanker of crude left Corpus Christi headed for Europe. But considering that the United States is a net importer of crude, why export anything at all? Smith School professor Charles Olson, a longtime energy industry executive, explains. Read more...

May 10, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Leave it to a period of calm to inject nervousness into the market, as it did this week when the CBOE's Volatility Index, or VIX as it is known, dropped to a level not seen in about 23 years. The drift lower in the so-called fear index has market watchers worriedly speculating about a calm before a storm. After all, financial markets are full of patterns, and the VIX's downward swing had some market participants recalling its dip in 2007, shortly before the subprime mortgage crisis. But finance professor Steve Heston says he sees little to fear in the so-called fear index. "It might be that VIX is fairly priced for the first time – and that risk is fairly low," says Heston, who developed of one of Wall Street's...

May 10, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Health insurance – not the U.S. tax code – is "crippling our business around the world," Warren Buffett said during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting last weekend. Buffett said business leaders would be smart to shift their focus away from their tax bills and toward healthcare costs, which have been rising at an alarming rate, devouring profits. He blasted the recently passed U.S. House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, and touted the broad benefits of a single-payer or universal type of health coverage for all U.S. citizens. David Kass, clinical professor of Finance and longtime Buffett watcher, shares his views. ...

May 08, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Cuba is experiencing a brain drain, though it's not the kind that forecasters were predicting when the long-closed country began opening its borders. It's internal brain drain. The small island nation's doctors and other highly skilled workers aren't emigrating for more lucrative jobs in Miami and elsewhere. In fact, they aren't emigrating at all. They're staying in Cuba, but fleeing their professions to work in the burgeoning hospitality sector, says the Smith School's Rebecca Bellinger. And it's posing a major new threat to the economy. Read more...

May 04, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Warren BuffettThere's been a lot of chatter this week has been about Apple's whopping quarter-trillion cash stockpile. But Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is also sitting on a whole lot of money. The company, which has a history of making marquis acquisitions, has some $86 billion on hand. And now there are tantalizing rumors that Buffett might be eying Nike or Costco. But Smith School clinical professor and Buffett-watcher David Kass has his doubts. Kass is heading to Omaha this weekend for the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' meeting. Before leaving, he shared his thoughts with Smith Brain Trust. Read more...

May 04, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

President Donald Trump’s proposed plan to reform the tax code, as revealed in a one-page outline last week, would benefit middle and lower-income households in three ways, but to varying degrees, says the Smith School's William Longbrake. The proposal would simplify filing requirements and reduce income taxes for many Americans, and lower significantly the tax rate for corporations and companies like his. Overall, says Longbrake, only “a negligible amount" of the estimated $3 trillion to $7 trillion in reduced taxes over the next 10 years would benefit low-income families. Read more...

May 04, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Like Jay Z, Apple is heavy roll, heavy dough. The tech giant reported this week that its cash stockpile grew to a staggering $256.8 billion at the end of the first quarter, up from $233 billion a year earlier. Apple isn't alone in accumulating wealth abroad. “Companies have been accumulating cash over many years,” Smith School professor David Kass tells The Washington Post this week. Here's what that kind of cash could get Apple. Read more...

May 02, 2017
World Class Faculty & Research

Pyongyang, Arirang (Mass Games)Amid the ramped-up diplomatic and military pressure on North Korea, there is something else at play, says the Smith School's Charles E. Olson. It's an exercise in game theory. The wide-reaching game theory can describe and model how human beings will behave, particularly in response to the actions of other human beings. It's a sort of chess-game thinking. And its basis is essentially this: Your interests depend not just on the decisions you make, but also on the decisions that other people make. In game theory, you choose your moves based on how you expect your competitors to respond to your moves. Olson describes how this game is playing out. Read more...

...

Pages

Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
Van Munching Hall
College Park MD 20742