Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
Rankings announcements from U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, and Mexico’s Expansión magazine place the Eller College high in undergraduate and graduate rankings.
According to the latest collegiate rankings from U.S. News and World Report, the Eller College is now #10 among public business schools and #18 overall. The rankings represent the results of surveys collected from business school deans. “We are well aware that our strengths are paying big dividends for our students, but there is an exclamation mark when peer institutions recognize it,” says Undergraduate Programs associate dean Pam Perry.
The rankings also recognized strength in the Eller College’s academic specialties, including Management Information Systems (MIS), which at #4 has retained top 5 status every year since the inception of its category in 1989. The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship moved up to #3 among public institutions (#7 overall), and the Marketing and Accounting Departments ranked in the top 25, at #21 and #23, respectively.
The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship ranked #1 among undergraduate programs and #6 among graduate programs in a survey of 700 schools conducted by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. “This program is focused around a curricular model that we call the Idea Path to help students move business ideas to reality in any environment,” says program director Sherry Hoskinson. “This is now the gold standard in entrepreneurship education.”
The Eller MBA program ranked #45 internationally in the first global survey of MBA programs for Mexican students, according to results published in the August issue of Mexico’s Expansión magazine. Mexican executives cited the United States and England as top-recommended countries in which to earn an MBA. Eller’s MBA program also ranked #33 in The Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of regional MBA recruiters.
Leave romance at the door: the Eller College’s Management Information Systems Association (MISA) Career Speed Dating event was matchmaking of a different sort.
On September 19, MISA hosted a recruiting event at the Student Union to connect students with potential employers including IBM, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Texas Instruments.
Applying the speed dating model — a rotating series of 10-minute interviews — to the recruiting process drew great reviews from participating companies.
“I think the format was an excellent way to meet and talk with a lot of students in a short period of time,” says Bryan Kissinger of Price Waterhouse Coopers. “In my experience, 10 minutes is usually enough time to decide if an individual is going to be a good ‘fit’ for our firm and our industry.”
“I really enjoyed this event,” says Ed Mullins of Texas Instruments. “In contrast to working the booth earlier in the day, the speed dating provided an unexpected benefit — because we had a predetermined amount of time for the date, my ‘date’ and I stayed focused on the discussion and not on how to extend or tactfully end the conversation. As a result, the conversations at the speed dating turned out to be much more enriching than conversations at the booth earlier in the day.”
“You will find that many recruiters wear down over the course of the recruiting season because many traditional events require participation over several hours or even an entire day,” says Kissinger. “This format allowed for very focused recruiting efforts and afforded us the opportunity to meet with the maximum amount of interested candidates in a very short period of time.”
Students also found value in the event. “I've been to other traditional recruiting events and definitely this was an out of the box idea,” says master’s in MIS candidate Harry Xenophontos. “It worked really well and helped a lot of students network with business professionals.” He adds that the time slots made time management essential. “You had to act quick and say everything you wanted before the next person’s slot came up,” he says.
For students in Lisa Lovallo’s persuasion class, making the grade also means making the game. This semester, the students are working to increase attendance at UA Women’s Basketball games by creating a new sales strategy.
“I believe the best way to solidify classroom learning is to apply the techniques in the marketplace and let the students see how the methodology works in a real-life application,” says Lovallo. “The Women’s Basketball project gives students the opportunity to affect the bottom line of the program, increase the awareness of Women’s Basketball on campus, and see the impact they can make if they develop the right strategy and focus on using the persuasive selling model.”
Coach Joan Bonvicini, guard Joy Hollingsworth, and center Beatrice Bofia visited the class at the start of the semester to offer an overview of the upcoming season and their perspective on attendance. Considering the past success of the team and the fast pace of their play — which is likened to men’s basketball — as well as some newsworthy additions to the team in the form of two sets of twins, Bonvicini hopes to see an uptick in attendance this season. She believes the key is to attract a student audience, and the persuasion class is in a unique position to do just that.
“Before the students put their selling strategies together, they are going to have an overview on ‘Closing the Deal’ from Pulte Homes and Northwest Mutual Life, and visit McKale Center for a presentation on the Arizona Athletics marketing strategy for 2006-2007,” says Lovallo.
Ultimately, she says, in addition to increasing attendance at Women’s Basketball games, she has three goals for the class. “First, each student should become comfortable using the persuasive selling model. Second, students will understand how important planning is to their success. Third, I want the students to be more confident individuals. I want them to feel comfortable discussing their ideas and knowing how to express their positions in an effective and organized manner,” she explains.
The Eller Times will check in with the class to gauge its progress over the semester.
On September 27, the former editor of The Economist — the world's leading weekly magazine on current affairs and business — delivered the Eller College’s annual Fathauer Lecture in Political Economy to a packed crowd at McClelland Hall’s Berger Auditorium.
Bill Emmott — editor of The Economist from 1993 to 2006 — addressed the crowd of community members and students on the topic of globalization, which the magazine has championed since its founding 163 years ago.
“The economic and political impact of the liberalization of domestic and international markets for goods, services, technology, and capital — globalization, in short — is only just beginning,” he said.
Beach, Fleischman and Co. has partnered with the Eller College’s Friends of the Faculty program to support the teaching and research of Dr. Mark Trombley, professor of accounting.
“We were very excited about the opportunity to support the accounting department and faculty in the Eller College,” says Beach, Fleischman and Co. managing shareholder Bruce Beach. “For many years we have dedicated resources to ensuring that our employees, who are primarily UA alums, have the most up-to-date information available in the industry through continuing education and by providing the most current tools and technology needed to perform their best work.”
Trombley, whose research interests include financial accounting and financial statement analysis, is a member of the American Accounting Association and a winner of Eller’s Dean’s Course Innovation Award and the Arizona State CPA Society Innovation in Accounting Education Award.
“The faculty must be adequately compensated and must also have the tools and technology to do their best work in preparing the students to enter our industry,” Beach continued. “It is a privilege for us to support the accounting faculty and we look forward to enhancing our partnership with the Eller College through further collaboration with Dr. Trombley.”
Eleven Eller Honors Fellows have stepped up to guide top undergraduate students through the rigors of the Eller Honors Academy.
Paul Melendez, director of the Undergraduate Programs Ethics & Honors Programs, says that the Eller Honors Fellows will mentor Honors students, potentially serving as an honors thesis “broker” who can guide students to a faculty member with expertise in the student’s chosen topic. The Eller Honors Fellows will also help Undergraduate Programs identify top students for scholarship recognition.
“The Eller Honors Program really excels at creating a customized experience for students, who are encouraged to seek out field projects and thesis topics that tie in to their career goals and interests,” says Eller Honors Fellow Kathleen Kahle, Associate Professor of Finance. “They also receive dedicated support from a faculty member and from the tight-knit Honors community.”
The Eller Honors Fellows are:
More often than not, a transaction at Starbuck’s runs like a well-oiled machine: order a grande Mocha Frappaccino, give name, submit payment, wait by the pick-up counter, pick up beverage. But try to order the same thing from the university coffee cart, and suddenly things get complicated.
For one thing, the coffee cart doesn’t have a grande size, they call it medium. And they don’t serve Mocha Frappaccinos, they serve blended iced coffees with chocolate syrup. As a result, coffee cart employees must learn to translate the Starbuck’s brand names in order to meet consumer expectations.
It’s called brand code switching, and it’s one type of script subversion explored in a paper published in the Journal of Retailing by Eller College assistant professor of marketing Hope Jensen Schau and her co-authors Stephanie Dellande of Chapman University and Mary C. Gilly of the University of California, Irvine.
Script subversion occurs when a customer deviates from the standard “script” in a service retail transaction. “What scripting does is establish rhetoric for encounters,” says Schau. “It educates consumers on efficient communication practices and manages service encounter expectations.”
Many service retailers rely on scripts to ensure speedy, standardized transactions that keep employees and customers on track, but deviations from the script are inevitable. Schau and her co-authors analyzed data from more than 2,000 service encounters in the quick service restaurant and coffee industries and found evidence for three types of code switching: language, dialect, and brand. They also found evidence that in some cases, script subversion can have positive outcomes for both the retailer and consumer.
For example, in language code switching, a consumer may switch from American English to another language, such as Spanish. A bilingual employee can help the customer navigate the menu, and the research demonstrates that these encounters are similar to on-script encounters — but they result in the highest observed incidence of positive comments and gestures.
On the flip side, dialect code switching — changing from standard American English to a recognizable dialect such as Southern drawl or urban contemporary youth — typically has negative results, despite both customer and employee generally enjoying the transaction.
“While the perception of the ordering customer may be more positive in a dialect code switching encounter, the length of order and even the order accuracy suffer from the script departure,” Schau explains. “Also, it has a negative impact on the subsequent interactions. Not only is the queue wait time elongated, but we’re finding now in a follow-up study that proximal customers to the dialect code switching exchange feel ‘left out’ of these dialect discussions.”
The third type of script subversion explored in the paper, brand code switching, was more prevalent in small firms, as opposed to market leaders such as Starbuck’s and McDonald’s, whose particular brand codes have become shorthand for customers. For example, customers may ask for Chicken McNuggets or a Big Mac at Checkers, a growing chain also known as Rally’s. These transactions were observed to be longer, with fewer instances of positive comments and gestures than in language or dialect code switching.
“Brand codes reinforce the rhetoric by having tight language to communicate rather complex product offerings,” says Schau. “For example, Mocha Frappaccino is much more efficient than saying ‘blended iced coffee with chocolate syrup.’ So, there is a significant advantage to dominant industry firms.”
But, she adds, it offers an opportunity for smaller businesses to distinguish themselves by providing a personalized feel. Unfortunately, brand code switching offers the biggest challenge to chains like Checkers, which is neither the dominant firm nor a mom-and-pop shop that can use personalization as a competitive advantage. “For them, the dominant brand code is a huge inefficiency as their employees must continually translate the menu items,” says Schau.
In contrast, the translation issue is less problematic for independent coffee houses since it is offset by demand. “In essence, Starbuck’s drives people to consume more and fancier coffees,” says Schau. “The translation is a small price to pay for booming demand.”
Building on Success
Jay D. Stein, Scottsdale Division president of Sandor Development Company
“I’ve always been intrigued by real estate — the building process and creating things, the longevity of it,” says Jay Stein, Scottsdale division president of Sandor Development Company.
Stein grew up around the business of commercial real estate: his uncle, Sidney Eskenazi, founded Sandor Development Company in 1963. When Stein joined Sandor, it was a family-run operation with four employees. Today, the company owns and operates 6.7 million square feet of shopping centers in almost 25 states. Eskenazi, his son David, and Stein run the company, making all major decisions and managing over 50 employees.
In 2004, the company opened a Scottsdale office. “So much of the challenge is how to grow our business at the rate that we want,” Stein says. Sandor is now in the top 15 privately owned shopping center holders in the U.S., and with 25 projects — new or expansions — opening this year, it’s been Sandor’s most active year to date.
“I enjoy starting and finishing projects,” Stein continues. “Developing a shopping center can take anywhere from six months to three years of building to complete.”
The satisfaction of seeing a project finish construction spills over into more personal areas of his life as well: Stein and his wife, Jill, recently donated funds to build a mikvah at Congregation Beth Israel in Scottsdale. A mikvah is a ritual bath used during transformative periods in life, for example, before marriage, or before converting to Judaism, as Jill recently did.
“There wasn’t a mikvah in Phoenix that the entire community could use, so we had to fly to L.A. for the day when Jill was planning to convert,” Stein explains. Congregation Beth Israel is currently getting permits and preparing to start construction on the mikvah, which will be open to the entire Jewish community.
The couple also recently celebrated the arrival of their first child, a daughter, Sadie. Stein says he hopes she’ll be a future Wildcat, noting that he values the 6½ years he spent at the UA and actively hires UA graduates.
|Nikki Floyd, BSPA Criminal Justice '02, with her fiance Chris.|
Nikki Floyd develops emergency response plans for federal clients — which is not quite the future she envisioned for herself as a criminal justice and criminology major.
“I fell into this by accident,” she says. “I never would have chosen this path 5-10 years ago.”
After Floyd earned her Eller degree in criminal justice, she entered the graduate program in criminology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Following her first year in the program, she began searching for a job and found a position with consulting firm SRA International.
It turned out to be a great fit.
At SRA International, Floyd works with federal clients including the U.S. Capitol Police, General Services Administration, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Homeland Security on a diverse assortment of projects that have given her experience in everything from cyber security to technical writing.
“Something new comes along every time a contract ends,” she says. And the projects she works on often make a significant impact on public safety, and so, she adds with a laugh, “It’s like being a fed without being a fed.”
But the job does come with its challenges: after Hurricane Katrina, Floyd worked with FEMA to train and deploy staffers to the Gulf region. “It was the most emotionally and physically draining work I have ever done,” she says. Floyd grew up in Texas and spent a lot of time in the Gulf Coast, so the disaster seemed close to home. But more harrowing, she says, was knowing that there were lives and futures hanging in the balance.
“One of the things I did was work with FEMA’s transitional housing unit,” she says. Hurricane survivors would call in looking for hotels. “You could find them hotels, but you couldn’t give them more,” she says. “I would leave in tears.”
The insights she gained as an undergraduate at Eller have helped shape her approach to disaster planning. “Studying social issues and policy conditions you to think of the world not in terms of quantifiable costs, but in terms of immeasurable human costs,” she explains. “Losing a home filled with worldly possessions is a loss that cannot be summed up in a balance sheet. I think in order to effectively assist people with preparation and recovery, you have to be willing to accept that there are no simple answers or formulas when it comes to human loss.”
As a contractor, Floyd felt somewhat insulated from the public outcry against the federal response to Katrina, but she says, “As hard as we work, we are still disappointed that we couldn’t do more.” If any good can come from the experience, she hopes that it will impress upon individuals and families the need to take a greater role in preparing for disaster.
Floyd is currently developing federal response plans for the anticipated avian influenza pandemic. “It’s a different league of planning,” she says. If a building blows up, another building can be found in which people can work. But a biological disaster presents other challenges including absenteeism, and the fact that employees bring the illness home to their families.
“Right now,” says Floyd, “the federal government’s tendency is to over-prepare. Hurricane Katrina showed the consequences of what happens when you’re not ready.”
“The focus of national security has undergone a long-needed shift,” she continues, and that shift means that Floyd is kept busy in the public safety sector. But she hasn’t forgotten her criminal justice education, and keeps current through the same journals she followed as a grad student. “I think it’s part and parcel with staying marketable in an economy that is always changing,” she says. “I see this as one of many careers I will have.”
Brett Farmiloe, Daniel Weber, and Tamir Greenberg on their RV "Maggie."
For Brett Farmiloe, the interview process during his senior year at the Eller College produced more than a position at a public accounting firm: it became the source of an idea that transformed his approach to life and work.
“I noticed that many students did not know what they wanted to do after graduation,” he explains. Farmiloe was in the same boat. As he began down the expected path for an accounting graduate, he wondered what else was out there, and how successful people who love their jobs found their passion.
He decided to find out. Farmiloe and two friends, UA students Daniel Weber and Tamir Greenberg, planned a summer road trip that they dubbed “Pursue the Passion” in order to interview leaders who love what they do across the country.
The trio piled into an RV and in just a few months’ time, conducted 75 on-site interviews with people who spend their days working for The New York Times, Nike, Microsoft Corporation, and the San Diego Padres, to name a few. Family and friends tracked their progress via a website the crew developed featuring the interviews, along with photos from the trip and a map highlighting upcoming interview locations.
Now that the trip is over, says Farmiloe, he has incorporated the best advice from 75 different points of view into his own life. Though he found each interview equally valuable, he notes that the most memorable interview was also the first – a 45-minute meeting with Lute Olson.
“We were really nervous – we all gathered on the couch in his office,” he says. But Olson quickly put them at ease and Farmiloe says that the success of the experience set the tone for the whole trip.
Farmiloe is currently working on a book documenting the experience, and along with Weber and Greenberg, is planning a second trip for 2007. For the next journey, they hope to interview 200 people, including many UA alumni, and document the interviews on film as well. “The overall message is simple: to motivate people to make a change and pursue their passion,” says Farmiloe.
If you are interested in sharing how you turned your passion into your career, contact Brett Farmiloe (firstname.lastname@example.org) about the 2007 Pursue Your Passion tour.