It’s no wonder that Enrique Mu, PhD, MBA, MS, teaches a course on innovation and change. He thrives on them.
“You need to look for interesting opportunities,” he says. “Meetpeople you might never have met. See a movie that you might nottypically go to. Do things you wouldn’t usually do. Otherwise,nothing new will ever happen.”
Enrique Mu PhD, MBA, MS is Co-Director and Associate Professor of Carlow University’s MBA Program
Opportunities are at the intersection of what you know and whatis new to you, he adds. Originally from Lima, Peru, Mu is adept atrecognizing new opportunities—and seizing the moment.
Before arriving in Pittsburgh to get his MBA and subsequentlywork for Black Box Corporation,Mu ventured around the globe as vice president for a multinationalfirm and was responsible for several multimillion-dollar onlinebanking automation projects in Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, andChile. He went on to become director of the MBA-MIS program at theUniversity of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business.
Today, Mu is co-chair of Carlow’s MBA program. He is alsofounder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy Process and U.S. directorfor the Latin American Society for Strategy, and he was recentlyselected as conference chairman for the upcoming 2014 InternationalSymposium on the Analytic Hierarchy Process in Washington, D.C.
Mu’s expertise in Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), aprioritization and selection methodology, is at the heart of abrand new study that has caught the eye of the international lawenforcement community.
“About two years ago,” explains Mu, “I was asked to teach acourse in scientific inquiry in Carlow’s Master of Fraud and Forensics program.”
This field was new territory for Mu, and as he reviewed thefraud and forensics course literature, he uncovered an alarmingfact: eyewitness police lineup identifications have only a 55percent ratio of success—and a misidentification rate of about25-35 percent.
He soon learned that lineup misidentification is the most commoncause of wrongful convictions of innocent people in the UnitedStates-a trend Mu suspected he could reverse. As he taught, hisexposure to the forensic field led to an opportunity to apply hisAHP expertise to the eyewitness identification problem.
Partnering with former Carlow professor Rachel Chung,and with seed money from Carlow’s Grace Ann Geibel Institute for Justice and Social Responsibility, Mu took anew AHP approach to eyewitness identification: examining pairs ofsuspects instead of the traditional sequential lineup. Pairwisecomparison is at the core of the AHP decision methodology in whichMu is an expert.
What they discovered, says Mu, may become “a game-changer ineyewitness identification.” The new approach increased thesuccessful identification rate to 88 percent and decreased thefalse identification rate to 17 percent.
After receiving high praise from reviewers at HarvardUniversity, Columbia Teachers University, and the University ofPittsburgh, Mu and Chung applied for and received supplementalGeibel Institute funding. They are currently polishing theirresults and aim to present them to the law enforcement communityand The Innocence Project, anational litigation and public policy organization dedicated toexonerating wrongfully convicted individuals.
In the meantime, Mu’s work continues to be well-received aroundthe globe-the new approach to eyewitness identification earned a”best paper” award at the 2013 International Symposium of theAnalytic Hierarchy Process in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Such success is due, in large part, to Mu’s ability to seek andseize those serendipitous connections.
Like the fact that Mu loves to dance merengue-which is how methis wife, Milagros Pereya-Rojas, the executive director of theLatin American Studies Association at Pitt. You just never know.
A few years back, Mu surprised the Carlow community by dancingmerengue with the Student Government Association during halftime ata Carlow Celtics basketball game. Who knew?
“My students, they think of me just as a professor,” he laughs.”When I show them my dancing video clips, they are shocked.”
Professor Mu projects videos of salsa—and moves to the music—during one of his MBA classes to demonstrate serendipitous connections in innovation
Mu’s disarming sense of humor keeps his MBA students fullyengaged—even during late-night classes after a long day of work. Heoften plays Latin music and pulls out his dancing or soccer videoclips when he’s lecturing about innovation and change.
You see, he tells his students, you need to seek out newexperiences, which in turn will lead to unexpected opportunities.Don’t underestimate the potential of surprise and novelty—afterall, you never know what might turn out to be a realgame-changer.