Brad Pitt is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when MBA students tackle their coursework, especially for the MBA course Research. Certainly not the most glamorous thing by most people’s standards.
However, when challenged to connect Brad Pitt’s latest movie MoneyBall to the Research course, Carlow’s MBA student Amy Timo, Project Specialist for the Bureau of Autism Services, had no problem at all connecting the dots. Amy reflected that “MoneyBall was an excellent example of evidence-based research utilized in a nontraditional setting. There are many times in the movie that I was able to relate class concepts, to ideas happening to the Oakland A’s.
All research projects include questions that need answered. In the case of the Oakland A’s, this was “how does a baseball club that is not financially well off remain competitive in the MLB”? In class, we learned that scientific methodology is the systematic approach toward understanding the world. Manager Billy Beane was trying to do just that with his baseball team. While there was not exactly an example of a literature review, there was the pivotal point in the movie where Billy met Peter Brand, and heard of his statistical book idea. The book of statistics in sports used by Jonah Hill’s character was the same backbone to the statistical methodology that researchers use.
The hypothesis of the movie was as long as you had ball players that could score runs, regardless of their perceived talent by everyone else, your team would be a winning team. Billy Beane and Peter Brand used the sabmetric approach to calculating which ball players would be best on their team. This was a statistical analysis of each player’s skill set, and is similar to what we did with SPSS and our survey results. Lastly, they put their experiment in motion, with successful results.
Their hypothesis was prove to be right, as they had a substantial winning streak during their season. While they did not win the ultimate championship, they showed that using research outside of the traditional setting could be a huge advantage in any avenue.”
The movie also made us wonder if evidence-based management would have been a lot easier to implement if all researchers were as hot as Brad!