MBA Ideas at Work

Columbia’s Professor Nachum Sicherman noticed that dancers often gather outside to smoke after performances. As he put it: “the contradiction of seeing a person smoke who you would assume puts a high premium on staying healthy [was puzzling].” He posited that smoking in this context indicated a present-oriented time preference, supported by the fact that dancers have relatively short careers with little prospect of future income. Specifically, Sicherman wondered whether smoking among dancers reflected a preference for present benefits over future benefits (smoking may be gratifying now but is injurious in the long-run). After studying the problem, he concluded that “smokers, presumably because they are more present-oriented, are more likely to self-select into jobs that have lower wage growth and invest less in their own human capital.” (see article)

Pique your curiosity? This and more is available on the Columbia Ideas at Work site, which purports to serve as a bridge between business research and practice. Check it out. Staying in tune with cutting edge research is a good way to stimulate creative business thinking, learn more about current trends in business, and stay up to date on the work being done by faculty at your school (or the school you are applying to!).

For comparable sites at other schools, visit:

HBS Research Publications

Stanford GSB Knowledgebase


MIT Sloan Faculty Research Spotlight

Kellogg Insight


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