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December 2006

Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.

All of us at the Eller College wish you and your family all the best during this holiday season!


In the News.

Public Administration Students Partner with Nonprofit Organizations for Grant Writing Project

Michael Sechrest, students, and United Way rep.
  Business communication instructor Mike Sechrest, top right, and public administration students (left to right) Brad Benites, Kyle Gomes, Ryan Ball, Vanessa Sterba, and Tara Bale meet with Dan Duncan of the United Way, top center.

Six teams of junior and senior public administration undergraduates connected with local nonprofit organizations this semester for grant writing projects as part of a business communications course with instructor Michael Sechrest.

“The model for this class is similar to the MBA field projects,” says Sechrest. “But we take a different tack. The student teams have to identify a nonprofit organization and establish a relationship with someone in that organization. They meet with them and persuade them to participate in the project.”

The students thoroughly investigate the organization to understand its mission and goals, then identify funding opportunities and write targeted grants, about half of which are actually submitted by the organizations.

Tara Bale (senior, criminal justice) and her team wrote and submitted a $499,919 sustainable growth initiative to the Bank of America Foundation on behalf of United Way.

“When we first met with United Way, we were overwhelmed by the wealth of information that they offered us,” says Bale. The project for which her team wrote the grant was extremely complex, and Bale says Dan Duncan, community vice president of United Way, devoted significant time to help them understand the details.

“Our entire group was present at the presentation to Bank of America,” says Bale. The team met with the foundation’s market president and vice president for Southern Arizona. “They were both very friendly and made the presentation comfortable for us. In fact, it was more of an interactive conversation than a presentation.” The team is waiting to hear if the grant will be funded.

Cara Youngblood (junior, public management and policy) and her team collaborated with the Ronald McDonald House to write a grant for a proposed $57,500 sports court and playground for the organization’s new house in Tucson on the University Medical Center campus.

“Working with the Ronald McDonald House was a really positive experience for our group,” says Youngblood. “From the beginning they were excited to work with us and remained involved throughout the entire process.”

Youngblood says the team met with the organization’s development director, Erin McCintire, weekly for two months. She says McCintire will likely submit the grant proposal in January.

“I learned just how important grant writing skills can be to an individual and how valuable they are to a nonprofit organization,” says Youngblood. “I never fully understood what was involved in the grant writing process, and while it was not as complicated as I had originally thought, it was a very different way of writing than any other kind I had done before. There is definitely an art to grant writing.”

“The projects were so successful this semester that I plan to have six more teams out in the community next semester looking for a nonprofit to support,” says Sechrest.

Eller Team Out-Invests the Pros at Junior Achievement Fundraiser Competition

Stock Market Challenge.

Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge in action.


Two Eller College teams scored first- and third-place honors at an Arizona Junior Achievement fundraiser in which 39 corporate and university teams faced off in a 90-minute computer-simulated stock market trading event on November 16.

The teams were tasked with creating securities portfolios based on 26 fictitious companies and a virtual investment of $500,000. Jonathan Havens (senior, economics and entrepreneurship) and his team of students from the Stocks and Securities Investment Club consulted with UA alum Peter Chen of New York Life Insurance Company to devise their winning strategy.

“Our strategy involved a lot of risk. I’m not sure I would approach securities trading the same way if I was investing real dollars,” said Havens. The team identified a couple of undervalued stocks and invested the entire amount in those stocks.

The strategy paid off: Havens and his team increased the portfolio by 1,300%, accumulating a total net worth of $6.8 million.

“We were in first place for all but about 5-7 minutes of the competition,” says Havens. “Outmaneuvering the pros was a kick, and when they started coming over to our table for help, it really catapulted our confidence.”

TD Ameritrade came in second, with a total net worth of $4.5 million. In total, the event raised $80,000 for Arizona Junior Achievement.

Student Teams Present Results of Semester-Long Consulting Projects

Dillar's undergraduate team: Laruen Baldi, Kelly McComb, and Ariana Petkevicius.
  Field project undergraduate team: Ariana Petkevicius, Lauren Baldi, and Kelly McComb.

On December 1, two MBA teams and one undergraduate team delivered final presentations on their semester-long field projects.

The undergraduate team — Lauren Baldi, Kelly McComb, and Ariana Petkevicius — are all seniors in marketing and worked with Dillard’s department stores to develop a marketing strategy designed to attract college students to the company’s Tucson stores. In addition to recommending a targeted advertising campaign in the Arizona Daily Wildcat (the UA student newspaper), the team collaborated with Dillard’s on a proposed catalog which would feature business clothing, such as interview-appropriate suits and examples of acceptable casual Friday outfits, to distribute on campus.

“Dillard's is planning to move forward with the catalog and we can expect to see it sometime in the spring semester,” says McComb.

“The most beneficial aspect of the project was the networking,” she continues. “I plan to enter a career in retail buying upon graduation and this project not only gave me a glimpse of the corporation from the inside, but also put me in touch with key contacts for advancing my career path.”

Second-year MBAs Brett Berry, Mikel Chertudi, and Teresa Liu completed a project for Seven Cups/Green Dragon Enterprises, an importer and distributor of fine organic Chinese teas. The team worked closely with the company’s founder, Austin Hodge, to refine a financial and marketing plan designed to manage the company’s growth going forward.

Second-year MBAs Alex Nomberto Cerna, Bipin Karunakaran, and Ben Sample collaborated with master’s of engineering student Wei Wu to complete a market analysis project for Emerson-owned Astec Power.

Astec Power engaged the team to critically analyze a potential market opportunity for technology acquired as part of a recent acquisition/merger. After researching the market and the technology, the team recommended pursuing other opportunities for the technology.

“It was hard to tell Astec that this exciting technology didn't fit the market, but ultimately it was information Astec needed to hear,” says Sample.

All three teams presented to an audience of undergraduates and first-year MBAs who are preparing to complete a record 26 field projects during the spring semester.

Undergrad Marketing Class Builds Awareness of U.S. Navy Career Opportunities

Marketing 452 students.

Marketing 452 students.


In a continuing partnership with EdVenture Partners, which pairs real corporate assignments with collegiate teams, students in Ed Ackerley’s Marketing 452 class developed an integrated promotional campaign to generate awareness of careers in the U.S. Navy on the Pima Community College West Campus.

“This invaluable process allows students the unique hands-on practice of producing a peer marketing program using real dollars, real ideas, and real customers,” says Ackerley.

The students — 33 marketing seniors — formed an agency called AdVentions and divided into departments to develop the campaign and maximize their budget.

They developed an on-campus event featuring an inflatable rock wall built around the slogan “It’s your world…ROCKit,” and measured their success in generating awareness based on surveys of Pima students before and after the event.

Before the event, 2.9 percent of 200 survey respondents reported that they were very likely to consider a career in the U.S. Navy. After the event, the percentage rose to 3.5.

“Working on the Navy marketing and recruitment internship in Marketing 452 has been one of the most valuable experiences in my college career,” says AdVentions Agency student coordinator and marketing senior Sarah Ingegneri. “Not only did the program augment our classroom learning, but it gave us the chance to apply our knowledge and test our skills in a real-world setting.”

McGuire Center Partners with Middle School for Pilot Program to Spark Youth Entrepreneurship

Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship Website :
  Get more information on the Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship Award at, or on EntrepreneurshipWeek at

As part of EntrepreneurshipWeek USA (Feb. 24 – March 3, 2007), organized by the Kauffman Foundation, Inc. magazine, and The New York Times, the Eller College and the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship are reaching out to a new generation of entrepreneurs.

In addition to the Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship Award, which will recognize six high school students for their innovative business ideas, the McGuire Center has inaugurated a pilot program designed to teach middle school students to think entrepreneurially.

McGuire Center director Sherry Hoskinson has partnered with teachers at Tucson’s Pistor Middle School Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program to help students understand the similarities in the steps between science fair project exploration and assessing and validating business ideas.

The 49 GATE students will work individually or in small teams. The new ideas will be assessed by McGuire Entrepreneurship students during EntrepreneurshipWeek USA, with feedback given back to the idea owners. All GATE students will visit the UA campus later in the spring, with a few selected to present their business ideas on the same day as the McGuire Entrepreneurship Business Plans Competition, along with the high school finalists of the Youth Entrepreneurship Award program.

“This will be a terrific way to expose the entrepreneurial potential of a new generation at one time,” says Sherry Hoskinson, director of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. “Arizona students representing middle school, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students will all showcase the impact of entrepreneurial thought and application.”

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Eller Presents.

Eller Economists Predict Slow Growth for Arizona in 2007

Marshall Vest.

Marshall J. Vest, top, and Gerald J. Swanson, bottom.

Gerry Swanson.

Despite the apparent resilience of Arizona’s economy at the end of 2006, Eller economists are predicting that growth will slow in 2007 due to factors including the downturn in the real estate market.

Marshall J. Vest, Director of the Economic and Business Research Center, and Gerald J. Swanson, Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics Education, presented their forecast at the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon on December 8.

Vest reports that over the past 35 years, downturns in the real estate market have been followed by slower growth. Job creation in Arizona, historically, has slowed to near zero during national recessionary periods but doesn’t decline. The housing correction, Vest and Swanson predict, will bring slower growth throughout 2007, and suggest that business leaders exercise caution going forward.

UA Men’s Basketball Coach Lute Olson Inspires Eller Students at November Talk

At an address to Eller College students on November 20, The University of Arizona Men’s Basketball coach Lute Olson talked about his determination to succeed in the face of adversity.

Coach Lute Olson.
  UA men's basketball coach Lute Olson talks with Eller students.

Olson grew up on a farm in North Dakota, and even after the tragic loss of his father and his brother, never lost the passion to pursue a career in what he loved — collegiate sports. A three-sport athlete in college, Olson began coaching at the high school level, eventually leading the Long Beach State and Iowa teams to winning seasons before coming to Arizona in 1983.

Olson spoke about the importance of teamwork and leading by example, and that when you find something you love to do and work hard at it, it doesn’t feel like work.

Olson also signed copies of his new book, Lute! The Seasons of My Life.

Save the Date

Executive Education
The Eller College is taking reservations for the following upcoming course in Phoenix:

  • Financial and Accounting Skills and Decision Making for the Non-Financial Executive
    February 26-28, 2007

Eller College Distinguished Speaker Series
Join us from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., with a reception following, in McClelland Hall's Berger Auditorium (unless otherwise noted) for the Distinguished Speaker Series:

  • Susan Bies, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System
    January 18, 2007
  • Robert E. Grady, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group
    February 15, 2007
  • Gwen Ifill, Moderator and Managing Editor, Washington Week, and Senior Correspondent, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
    March 5, 2007 in Crowder Hall on the UA Campus
  • Jane Hutterly, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Corporate and Environmental Affairs, SC Johnson and Son, Inc.
    April 12, 2007

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Ensuring the Future.

Scholarship Gifts Drive Improvement in Full-Time MBA Program

Lee Ann Christensen.
Burgess and Patricia Winter Scholarship recipient Lee Ann Christensen, MBA '08.  

Scholarship gifts for Eller’s full-time MBA students directly contribute to the college’s competitive advantage. Scholarships provide strong financial incentives to attract the best and brightest of tomorrow’s business leaders.

“When I decided to attend business school, I was working at a successful Internet company in Seattle, Washington,” says Lee Ann Christensen (MBA ’08). “Taking a break from my career in order to obtain an MBA was a major decision for me; not only was I giving up a steady salary, but I was leaving a company I’d worked with for five years in order in jump into the unknown.”

Christensen received a Burgess and Patricia Winter Scholarship to fund her education at Eller. “I cannot express how important my merit scholarship was to my decision-making process on which MBA program to attend,” she says. “I was accepted to all five schools to which I applied, but Eller was the only school that offered me such a generous scholarship. It convinced me of the school’s commitment to secure me as a student.”

The full-time MBA program has undergone major restructuring to enhance both the scope and the level of integration within the core curriculum. In addition, by strengthening the experiential learning opportunities for students, the academic experience is now market-centered and more academically rigorous. As a result, Eller MBA students graduate well-equipped to compete and succeed in a market that is increasingly dynamic, competitive, and global.

“Intensive research of target companies, field projects, internships, and international experience constitute some of the hands-on experience incorporated into the program’s core curriculum,” says MBA director and associate dean Brent Chrite. “Moreover, our small size allows us to customize the Eller experience to meet the needs of individual students’ career goals through a highly integrated approach to graduate management education.”

“I have long been a supporter of the Eller MBA program,” says Jay Geldmacher, president of Astec Power. “There are many ways to take active roles with Eller, in my case, I continually hire MBA interns every summer as well as hire full-time Eller grads when they graduate. I do this to support the Eller program, but my experience with the quality of the Eller students has made it easy for me to push the hiring of the students through the divisions I run for Emerson.”

If you are interested in more information about contributing to MBA scholarship funds, call 520.621.9954.

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Eller's Finest.

American Marketing Association Recognizes Associate Professor Shankar Ganesan for Outstanding Article

Shankar Ganesan.
  Associate professor of marketing Shankar Ganesan.

In February, the American Marketing Association will present the Louis W. Stern Award to Eller associate professor of marketing Shankar Ganesan for his paper “Control Mechanisms and the Relationship Lifecycle: Implications for Safeguarding Specific Investments and Developing Commitment.”

Approximately 200 papers were eligible for the award, which recognizes an outstanding contribution in the area of marketing channels and distribution three to eight years after publication. Ganesan’s article originally appeared in the Journal of Marketing Research in 2000, and is currently listed among the top-10 most cited articles on the journal’s research website.

“The committee was impressed by the originality of the article and its influence on the discipline,” says Joe Cannon of Colorado State University, who sat on the judging panel. “It was one of the first empirical studies to take a more dynamic view of relationships.”

Ganesan says the paper shows how a retailer could better protect its transaction-specific investments by the use of different control mechanisms. A major finding is that the best choice of the control mechanism is dependent on the stage of the relationship lifecycle between the retailer and supplier.

For example, if a department store wanted to carry a particular brand, and the supplier agreed only after the store invested in brand-specific investments such as displays, the store could face significant loss if the supplier backed out. Ganesan’s paper explores three mechanisms that the department store might employ to protect its investment — explicit contracts, reciprocal supplier investments, and relational norms. One surprising finding is that reciprocal supplier investments offer a stronger protection to the retailer than explicit contracts, especially in the early stages of the relationship. Ganesan explains this by indicating that explicit contracts, similar to prenuptial agreements in interpersonal relationships, may signal distrust and lack of flexibility leading to reduced commitment and performance.

Dr. Hsinchun Chen Named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow

Dr. Hsinchun Chen.

Professor of MIS Hsinchun Chen.


Dr. Hsinchun Chen, McClelland Endowed Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS) and director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, is one of seven University of Arizona scientists named as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

American Association for the Advancement of Science is the largest science organization in the world and the publisher of the journal Science. Fewer than 8 percent of its 138,000 members receive the honorary title of fellow.



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Research Report.

Improving Drug Safety: Developing a Prototype to Monitor Adverse Effects

Dr. Amar Gupta

Eller College senior director of business and development and professor of MIS and entrepreneurship Amar Gupta.

Studies show that over two million adverse prescription drug reactions occur each year, resulting in 100,000 deaths.

With scandals like Merck’s 2004 withdrawal of Vioxx still in litigation, and patient quality of life an ongoing issue, Eller senior director of business and development and professor of management information systems and entrepreneurship Amar Gupta and a team of Ph.D. and MBA students have developed a new monitoring prototype in their paper “The Drug Effectiveness Reporting and Monitoring System.”

Between 1997 and 2005, the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch system helped identify 15 prescription drugs with toxic side effects sold on the market. Timely information about drugs with adverse side effects not only saves lives, it also reduces healthcare costs, but the FDA’s MedWatch system is typically slow to identify new drugs with adverse side effects – on average, it takes 5.9 years for such a drug to be identified and removed from the market.

“We propose a system that could help reduce this time by a significant amount,” says Gupta. “The proposed approach involves a simple online surveying system coupled with continuous monitoring by participating pharmacists.”

Although the FDA has existing partnerships with hundreds of organizations to rapidly disseminate information about new drugs, its post-approval monitoring through the MedWatch system is limited by the detection speed and by limitations in identifying effects after long-term use, such as the case of Vioxx.

In their paper, Gupta and his team outline a system design for a Community Pharmacy Safety Network. The system features a per-drug customizable baseline and follow-up survey interface, with elimination of duplicate reports, and continuous monitoring of patients — a more comprehensive solution than MedWatch currently provides.

“This work is a great example in which an objective, management-oriented analysis of a serious problem - drug safety - has yielded an amazingly straightforward solution to a vexing public health problem,” says Dr. Raymond Woosley, president and CEO of The Critical Path Institute, which funded the research. “Based upon this analysis, a recently completed pilot study concludes that the approach designed by the Eller scholars is eminently feasible.”

International Round Table Helps Organizational Justice Academics Hone Future Research Topics

Dr. Stephen Gilliland.
Management and organizations professor and department head Stephen Gilliland.  

In November, the Department of Management and Organizations hosted an international roundtable on organizational justice for researchers in the field to informally present proposed research topics and receive feedback on the most promising angles to pursue.

“It’s an opportunity for researchers to bake their half-baked ideas,” says roundtable chair and Management and Organizations department head Stephen Gilliland. “Outlets such as journals are looking for finished, polished ideas. The roundtable gives researchers the ability to refine ideas that have just started to percolate and aren’t ready for publication.”

Twenty-five researchers and doctoral students participated in the three-day event, which revolved around the theme Justice, Ethics, and Social Responsibility. The event was sponsored by APS.

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Alumni Spotlight.

A Lasting Legacy
Prabhudev Konana, MBA '91, Ph.D. '95
Distinguished Teaching Professor and Associate Professor of Information Management, The University of Texas at Austin

In the back of his mind, Prabhudev Konana knew he wanted to teach. He just wasn’t sure what.

Prabhudev Konana.
Prabhudev Konana, MBA '91, Ph.D. '95  

After he earned his undergraduate degree from Karnataka Regional Engineering College in India, Konana spent six years in industry, then moved to the U.S. to earn his MBA. Originally, he studied operations research, but one of his advisors recommended that he go into MIS. “It was good advice,” he says.

Throughout his time in the MBA and Ph.D. programs, Konana says that Eller faculty members were very helpful, citing David Pingry, Sudha Ram, Pam Slaten, and Suzanne Weisband. “It’s the human touch these professors bring — that’s what makes you remember them,” he says.

Management professor Lee Beach — now professor emeritus — also made a profound impression on him. “I took Lee Beach’s strategy class,” says Konana. “My wife was pregnant at the time and having lots of problems.” Konana says she became dehydrated and they went to the emergency room, and so he was not able to complete an assignment. “I emailed him to explain and called me at home to say ‘Don’t worry, take care of your wife,’” says Konana. “He helped me a lot.”

Now Konana is an associate professor of information management at the University of Texas at Austin. His research is in several areas, and two projects are funded by the National Science Foundation. In a recent paper on offshoring, Konana demonstrates that companies tend to offshore or outsource their least-mature and most problematic processes. “They’re just transferring the problem,” he says. “60-65% of offshoring or outsourcing deals are failures or don’t meet expectations as a result.”

In his research into virtual communities, Konana explored Yahoo Finance to determine whether there is useful information on message boards, and how rumors are processed by users. It turns out that there is useful information that can be used to profit in the stock market. He and his co-authors also developed a methodology to track individual forum posters’ effectiveness over the long term and extract useful information.

He is also active in a group called Pragathi — Sanskrit for “progress” — which works on projects to empower women and improve primary education in India. Last year, the group funded a halfway house which educates and rehabilitates teen girls who are pushed into prostitution against their will. The organization is currently working on a project to renovate primary schools.

“The majority of kids in India don’t have access to schools for different reasons,” says Konana. “Often, the building is in such poor condition that it doesn’t even have a bathroom.” The first school was renovated in the spring with funds raised through the Austin rotary club and the local Indian community. Pragathi is currently working to renovate five more.

Konana says it’s rewarding work. “If you do great work for society, you will be remembered,” he explains. “How many people know who their great-grandfather was? The good you do for your family is an obligation, but the good you do for the community is lasting.”

Guiding High School Students to College
Jennifer Abel, BSBA Marketing '04
President and CEO, College Coordinator

Jennifer Abel.

Jennifer Abel, BSBA Marketing '04


Jennifer Abel started out as a major in management information systems, but an entrepreneurial upbringing trained her to seize a new opportunity when she discovered it.

Abel began her college career at Temple University, then transferred to Eller after completing her core courses.

“My brother and my cousin were getting ready to apply for college,” she says, “And I was helping them both through the admissions process.”

One day in her consumer marketing class, it clicked: they needed a single, inclusive guide to collegiate admissions. Over the course of the semester, she wrote a business plan for the distribution of a comprehensive resource that she would create for college-bound high school students and their parents.

The resulting company, College Coordinator, LLC, is based in Scottsdale, and partners with high schools across the nation to provide collegiate admissions guidebooks to students.

“The first guide was 32 pages,” says Abel, “but now it’s up to 104.” Initially, the guide focused on admissions details including financial aid, and how to write an essay — basics that students need to know going into the process. But Abel expanded the guide to include considerations when choosing a college and the value of a college education.

“It’s a field that appeals to me because I’m able to give back and help people understand the college process,” she says. The company generates sales from its website,, and is coordinating corporate partnerships to underwrite guidebook donations to under-funded and low income-area schools.

Abel is also working to adapt the guide to meet the needs of partner universities that want to distribute resources to incoming freshmen. “It’s a way to contribute to the community that gave me such a great experience,” she says.


In the News.
Eller Presents.
Ensuring the Future.
  Eller's Finest.  
Research Report.
  Alumni Spotlight.  



EntrepreneurshipWeek USA

The Arizona Youth Entrepreneurship Award is part of EntrepreneurshipWeek USA, a national effort to engage and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs. The Eller College and the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship are two of the hundreds of partner organizations nationwide which are sponsoring events, activities, celebrations, and contests to ignite the nation’s consciousness about the importance of being entrepreneurial.

What's your big idea? Take it on! EntrepreneurshipWeek USA. Feb. 24 - March 3, 2007.



Bridge the Gap

As the calendar year winds to a close and you weigh your charitable giving priorities, please consider that student tuition covers just 17% of the cost of an Eller education — and you can help bridge the gap.

Whether you are the parent of a current student, or an alumnus who wants to give back to the learning community that helped shape your career, your gift will benefit the next generation of business leaders.

Consider giving directly to students though scholarship funds, or indirectly by supporting Eller’s faculty of leading researchers and teachers through Friends of the Faculty.

For more information, please call 520.621.2301, email us or pledge now online.



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