Business forecast

Ben Atwater

The first Delphi Panel at the University of New Haven was held last Thurs, March 26. Hosted by the Economics Department, the panel was comprised of five business leaders from the Southern Connecticut area.

The Delphi panel was hosted by the economics department, where decision making is stressed as part of their core curriculum (Photo by Nick McDermott/Charger Bulletin Photo)
The Delphi panel was hosted by the economics department, where decision making is stressed as part of their core curriculum (Photo by Nick McDermott/Charger Bulletin Photo)

A Delphi Panel is a method of forecasting used in business. The Delphi method stresses collective decision making, going with the notion that a group’s decision is more accurate than the individuals.

The panel on Thursday was comprised of John Rosen, Marcelo Nacht, Murat Akgun, Carolyne Cebrian and David Sacco. All five have been involved with various corporations that deal with finance and marketing, including Mattel Toys, MCA Works and the local consultant firm New Tech Haven.

The idea for bringing a Delphi Panel to UNH was conceived by Doctor Armando Rodriguez, chair of the Economics Department.

“In the economics department, we stress decision making as part of our core curriculum,” said Rodriguez. “The economics department has taken huge leaps in the past few years, with the formation of our online collective where students and faculty post content pertaining to everything economics. This panel will serve as valuable data for future students to use in their senior theses.”
Rodriguez was very thrilled with the full house. The panel was moderated by marketing major Benjamin Atwater, who is currently taking Rodriguez’s Microeconomics class, and senior Ashley LeBlanc helped out with polling the crowd and keeping track of panelist’s answers to questions.

“I just got back from NCAA finals in South Dakota, so couldn’t help out as much as I wanted to. Luckily Ben stepped in as moderator and did a great job,” LeBlanc said, who is set to graduate in May with an Economics degree.

“I loved the panel. It was very interesting and fun to be a part of it. I really wanted to contribute after all Professor Rodriguez has helped me with along the years.”

The panel was given five questions:

1. What will be the end result of net neutrality following Tom Wheeler’s comments?
2. How will the Supreme Court rule in King v. Burwell?
3. Will Greece secede from the EU by 2025?
4. Who will be the Republican candidate for President?
5. Who will win the NCAA tournament for both men and women?

Before each panelist gave their opinion, one panelist would explain the issue for the audience, using their business expertise and worldly knowledge.

After that, each panelist was given two minutes to give their answer to the question and their reasoning as to why. After each panelist gave their answer, the crowd was polled.

Then, panelists would be given an additional minute each to challenge their colleagues or change the answer based off what other panelists said. At the end of round two, the majority answer was recorded as the group’s decision. The method allowed for a richer decision made up of multiple viewpoints. The decisions are listed below.

1. Prices will rise for the consumer of internet services.
2. Burwell will win, ensuring the continuation of Obamacare.
3. Greece will no longer be in the European Union, though they will be booted out, not secede by choice.
4. Jedd Bush will be the Republican candidate.
5. Kentucky will take the men’s trophy, while UConn will take the women’s.

Typically, the crowd agreed with the panelists. There were disagreements between panelists, though the disagreements led to insightful discussions between panelists. Occasionally, audience members started to chime in, in which case the moderator was responsible for redirecting focus to the panelists. The session ran for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Afterwards, a reception sponsored by the Economics department allowed students to meet panel members while they enjoyed cookies, coffee, and fruit.
Rosen, who has been associated with UNH for years as a past professor, had a great time on the panel.

“In my field, I am always analyzing Delphi Panel results. It was great to be on the other side of one finally,” Rosen said. “We really came for Armando. What he has done for the students here in creating an experiential experience has created the type of students we look for going into the professional business world.”

Rosen founded New Tech Haven, partnering with many of the other panelists.

Cebrian also had a wonderful time. “A teacher myself, I love supporting student learning,” she said. Cebrian is the chair of the business department at Lincoln College.

“The panel went spectacularly. Ben did a great job moderating this, and the panelists brought everything I thought they would to the dynamic,” said Rodriguez.

According to him, this event was a great success and further cements the Economics department as a prominent part of this University.