Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
Happy new year from the surprisingly snowy desert southwest!
The results of the Financial Times 2007 global survey are in, and the Eller College of Management’s MBA program ranked #34 among full-time programs worldwide and #20 among full-time U.S. programs. The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship ranked in the top 10 internationally.
“I’m happy to see our quality program recognized on a global scale,” said Brent Chrite, associate dean and Eller MBA director. “We remain committed to providing our students with the tools, insights, strategies, and experiences that allow them to succeed in the market.”
The Financial Times rankings are an international index of business schools that assess criteria including alumni satisfaction, career advancement, placement success within three months of graduation, and return on students’ investment after three years.
“The Eller MBA paves the way to alumni success by providing an action-oriented educational experience aimed at meeting the individual goals of our students,” says Chrite. “This survey affirms the satisfaction and success of our alumni.”
Joseph P. Kalt
Joseph P. Kalt, an expert in the economics of industrial organization, competition, and regulation, joins the Eller College this semester as a teaching visiting professor. Kalt will teach courses in the economics of regulated industries at Eller each spring semester; he will continue to teach at Harvard University during the fall.
Teaching at the Eller College is just one facet of Kalt’s involvement with The University of Arizona: in 1987, he co-founded the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development with Stephen Cornell, currently the director of UA’s Udall Center.
Kalt is also the faculty chair of Nation Building Programs at The University of Arizona’s Native Nations Institute. The Nation Building Programs provide continuing education in public administration for tribal leaders. “It was established in 1999 in response to demand from American Indian leaders for executive education opportunities,” says Kalt.
His current research is focused around tribal constitutions and the formation of independent court systems, but his forthcoming book State of the Native Nations examines economic development on American Indian reservations.
“We discovered that the economies of tribes that have gambling casinos are growing three times faster than the U.S. economy,” says Kalt. “But those tribes without casinos are growing at the same rate.”
Kalt and the Harvard Project discovered that tribes without casinos are experiencing an economic boom due to a rise in entrepreneurship — the development of businesses providing basic retail services to reservation residents. “Much of this growth is flying under the radar since it is occurring in rural areas,” he explains.
In 2005, Kalt received the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s First American Leadership Award for his contributions to research in public policy affecting Native peoples. He will continue his work with the Harvard Project and the Udall Center in addition to teaching at Eller.
Paul W. Rhode
Paul W. Rhode joined the Eller faculty this semester as professor of economics. He comes to Tucson from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
His research centers on American economic history, and he is currently studying the role of biological learning in American agriculture before the advent of hybrid corn and synthetic fertilizers in the 1930s. “Most current thinking sees the pre-1930 period solely as a time of labor-saving mechanical innovations,” says Rhode. “We find instead that American farmers had to devote substantial efforts to ‘invent’ the plants and animals that would work in their new environments and then to refine and adjust their practices to counteract new pest and disease threats that continually emerged.”
The topic is the subject of a forthcoming book, Biological Innovation and American Agricultural Development 1700-1960, co-authored with Alan Olmstead.
“One outgrowth of this book is new research on antebellum slave plantations where we use extensive archival records to document rising labor productivity in the key cotton sector, due it seems to improved cotton varieties imported from Mexico,” he says.
“I am pleased to return to the West and to reconnect with the region that has been the subject of much of my earlier research and, I hope, of my future studies,” Rhode adds.
Fledgling enterprises in Tucson and Southern Arizona have a new resource to turn to: IdeaXChange, a consortium of community experts from the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, the UA Office of Technology Transfer, the Small Business Development Center at Pima Community College, Hecker and Muelhbach law firm, Tucson Regional Economic Development, the Arizona Center for Innovation, The Desert Angels, and others.
“Individually, these organizations routinely receive inquiries from new and growing businesses seeking resources, information, referrals, and other business development topics,” says McGuire Center director Sherry Hoskinson.
“Now we plan to keep a record of the inquiries we receive, bring them in, and assess them regularly,” she explains. “This provides businesses with an entry point to the considerable collective knowledge of these professionals.”
For example, she says, she may receive a call at the McGuire Center from someone who needs to build a prototype of a product. “I can tell them to go to a specific engineering company, but IdeaXChange will offer insights that would not be available outside an interactive discussion environment, such as suggestions on collaborators, affiliated research, and potential investors.”
The IdeaXchange group will be equipped with the best data sets from around the region to reinforce recommendations. These professionals are committed to the realization of economic growth goals through the development and advancement of innovative industries in Tucson.
IdeaXChange is an outcome of IdeaFunding, a regional organization designed to stimulate entrepreneurial capacity and opportunity through networking, business integration, and knowledge-sharing events. Questions and ideas may be submitted directly to any of the participating organizations, and an inquiry form is in development and will be available online at www.ideafunding.org.
Susan Schmidt Bies, member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, addressed an overflowing crowd of 250+ students and community members at McClelland Hall on January 18.
Bies directed her comments on the economic outlook in mortgage markets to a largely consumer audience, urging students — and future homebuyers — to shop and compare mortgages, be aware of the obligations associated with the mortgage, and the costs and risks of adjustable rate mortgages.
Bies also fielded questions from the audience. When asked how much control the Federal Reserve exerts in setting the direction of the economy, Bies responded that the answer is very little, that the Federal Reserve only controls short-term interest rates.
On January 16, Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University delivered a talk titled "The Challenge of Building and Sustaining Effective Social Capital: Why Collaboration is Important” at the North Ballroom in UA’s Student Union. Ostrom is co-director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Political Analysis and the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change.
Professor Ostrom founded the burgeoning field of common pool resource studies and her 1990 book Governing the Commons has won multiple awards, including the Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award from the American Political Science Association. In 2001, she was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She is past president of the American Political Science Association and the Public Choice Society. She is the author or editor of more than twenty books, and more than 175 journal articles and book chapters, many dealing with institutions, ecosystems, and sustainability.
Ostrom’s talk was sponsored by the Eller College School of Public Administration and Policy and the UA Department of Political Science, with funding provided by the Research Fund of the Providence Service Corporation Chair in Public Management.
Susan Butler is committed to helping women advance in their careers, through The Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders, and also through her philanthropic efforts.
Butler earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Purdue University, and was hired by Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1965 — the company’s first professional female employee. Just 14 years later, she was named the first female partner of the company’s consulting organization, now known as Accenture.
“I have been in Arizona since the early 1990s with a second residence,” Butler says. “My sister is a graduate of the UA business school [now the Eller College], so I’ve always had that connection.” When she relocated to Tucson on a full-time basis, a colleague from Accenture suggested that she take his place on the Eller College National Board of Advisors, and Butler has been active in the Eller community ever since.
Last year, she made the decision to support Eller through the Friends of the Faculty program. The program awards professors with funding over and above salary to advance personal scholarship through research, travel, and study.
“I have always believed that we have to do everything we can to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty,” Butler says, “and the finance area is near and dear to my heart.”
The Susan Bulkeley Butler Faculty Fellowship was awarded to associate professor of finance Kathleen Kahle. Kahle has been with Eller since 2003; her research into corporate cash holdings with assistant professor of finance Thomas Bates was recently featured in The New York Times. The paper examines why cash holdings of U.S. firms have increased 129% since 1980, citing precautionary measures among other reasons.
“A good part of my summer was spent working on the cash holdings paper,” says Kahle. “The funding supported me for the summer and enabled me to focus on my research.”
“Finance is clearly an area that has historically been dominated by men,” Kahle explains. “As a result, I think it is important to have female faculty to serve as role models to the female students and demonstrate that women can be successful in a traditionally male discipline.”
Dr. Amar Gupta was honored with the IBM Faculty Award in December 2006 — becoming the only UA professor to earn the distinction this year. Gupta is the Thomas R. Brown Chair in Management and Technology and a professor of Management Information Systems and Entrepreneurship at the Eller College.
“He was an obvious candidate for this award,” said Terri Mitchell, vice president of storage systems development at IBM, who presented the award. “It recognizes research, the strength of our relationship with the university, and the synergy of the program. Amar’s innovative ideas, global vision, and energy are extraordinary.”
The award specifically cited Gupta’s work in achieving global efficiency in product development through application of 24-Hour Knowledge Factory principles.
The 24-Hour Knowledge Factory is a production model designed to facilitate intellectual property (IP) development worldwide — since the advanced economies of the world are now moving from the production of tangible goods to the development of intangible IP.
In the 24-Hour Knowledge Factory, each member of the team works the normal workday hours that pertain to his or her time zone. At the end of the workday, another team member in a different time zone continues the same task. With three sets of individuals performing work over a 24-hour period, the time needed to develop information systems is dramatically reduced. The paradigm will apply to a broad spectrum of business functions ranging from medical services to logistics planning, and from financial analysis to product design.
“I am fortunate to have had such an enduring relationship throughout my career with this fine company,” says Gupta of IBM. He began his career with IBM in Bombay as an intern earning $8 per month. “Little did I realize then that I would one day receive such an honor,” he says.
The IBM Faculty Award program is designed to foster collaboration between researchers at leading universities worldwide and those in IBM research, development, and services organizations. It also promotes coursework and curriculum innovation to stimulate growth in disciplines and geographies that are strategic to IBM. The company looks worldwide to find deserving recipients.
In order to increase capacity to serve the state with research and information about Arizona’s economy, Eller’s Economic and Business Research (EBR) Center has added a trio of specialists to its team of researchers.
“This addition allows us to respond to ever-increasing requests for information that’s needed by the business community and public sector to make informed decisions,” says EBR director Marshall J. Vest. “We’ve strengthened our ability to provide applied research in the areas of economic development, workforce development, environmental impact, energy, demographic analysis, trade, immigration, and other border issues. This builds on EBR’s existing competencies in economic forecasting, fiscal policy analysis, industry studies, survey research, economic impact assessment, and program evaluation.”
Lora Mwaniki-Lyman joined the EBR team from the UA Office of Economic and Policy Analysis, where she managed the design, development, and implementation of the State of Arizona Border Infrastructure Project (azbip.org), a strategic initiative of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. She has contributed to various research studies such as the Eighty-Sixth Arizona Town Hall Background Report and worked with senior research scientist Vera Pavlakovich-Kochi (see below) on The University of Arizona Economic Impact Study and cross-border economic indicators for the Arizona-Sonora Region. She is currently working with senior research economist Pat Patton (see below) on an economic impact study for a proposed power plant in Bowie, Ariz.
Mwaniki-Lyman has a particular interest in economic development of border regions. She says that she feels like she’s helping these often depressed areas through her research, which arms public policymakers with decision-making tools. Mwaniki-Lyman grew up on a fresh flower farm in Kenya, and worked for Dutch and Israeli import companies before coming to the U.S. to earn her master’s degrees in agricultural economics and finance.
Pat Patton, Ph.D.
Pat Patton comes to EBR with 30 years of private sector experience, most recently as chief economist for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. Prior to that, Patton was director of economic forecasting for Tucson Electric Power Company, where he was responsible for the company’s customer, sales, and economic forecasts.
He is currently working on an economic analysis for a proposed power plant in southeastern Arizona, and is preparing for an analysis of a proposed sports complex. He is also an active speaker, with planned presentations on the high-tech industry and the Tucson real estate market in the coming weeks.
Patton holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Texas Tech University, an MBA in international management from Thunderbird, and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University.
Vera Pavlakovich-Kochi, Ph.D.
Vera Pavlakovich-Kochi is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Geography and Regional Development at The University of Arizona. She came to EBR after serving as director of regional development in the UA Office of Economic and Policy Analysis.
She is educated as a geographer, and holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Zagreb in Croatia and a Ph.D. from Kent State University.
Her research interests include regional economic development with an emphasis on the U.S.-Mexico border. Other research interests include the impact assessment of various agents on local and regional economy such as the fresh produce industry and Mexican visitors. Her current projects include two economic impact studies, one examining astronomy, space, and planetary sciences, and a second examining the effect of Mexican visitors on Arizona’s economy, both with senior research economist Alberta Charney.
Steven Gebing was a diehard Wildcats basketball fan — and the fact that the Eller College's Management Information Systems program is ranked in the top five in the nation clinched his decision to come to The University of Arizona.
While he was working toward his degree, he also began work for IBM executing an account management program for the storage division. He stayed with the company after graduation, and his original position evolved into a leading role, in which he headed a worldwide cross-functional team that developed business continuance and disaster recovery plans for clients in the wake of 9/11.
"It was a preventative approach to dealing with unpredictable disasters, aimed at helping clients not only assess and improve the recoverability of their technological infrastructure, but also protect critical business processes," he says.
The team's work generated millions of dollars in revenue, and became a focal point for the division — earning Gebing several promotions and eventual relocation to IBM's New York headquarters. In his new role as worldwide marketing manager for IBM's emerging storage virtualization software, Gebing held responsibility for identifying new market opportunities, coordinating go-to-market activities, as well as developing, communicating, and strengthening the portfolio's value proposition.
Simultaneously, Gebing served on a storage strategy task force where he was elected to formulate the storage group's emerging country strategy, aimed at capturing new markets in China, India, Brazil, and Russia.
"My experience at IBM was unbelievable," he says, but he was on the road a lot and had a newborn son. "The opportunities I had there were unmatchable - but it was time to make a change."
Gebing partnered with a colleague he met in the master's program at the University of Texas at Austin. "We thought of a similar concept and began to pursue it," he says. The concept became a new high-tech venture – Innography - and Gebing made the decision to leave IBM.
"I'm not risk-averse," he says. "And it never occurred to me that failure was an option."
And it hasn't been. Innography is a software solution that streamlines the research and analysis process so that businesses can make better intellectual property (IP) decisions on demand.
"For IP professionals frustrated with labor-intensive research and analysis, Innography software augments the conventional search process with business intelligence, unifying results in the context of industries, markets, locations, people, and businesses," Gebing explains.
In addition to unifying vast sources of information, Innography maps the results through visual landscape analysis, tracks trends through competitive and market intelligence, and performs automated patent research so that clients can make better legal, marketing, research, and strategy related decisions.
"It's all aimed at making better, more informed decisions," says Gebing. "Innography's search intelligence platform provides a disruptive advantage by delivering five times more accurate search results with ten times faster answers at 1/10th the delivery cost of alternatives."
For Susanna Reith, the career path that would lead to the perfect job was actually more of a circle.
After earning her B.A. in communications with a minor in art history from the University of California San Diego, she thought she might like to work in programming television time slots. Instead, she moved to Tucson for a position as a reservations manager at the Westin La Paloma Resort. It was a good start, but Reith was looking for more opportunities and decided to earn her MBA at the Eller College.
At the beginning of the Eller MBA program, she planned to transition her career into marketing for a large consumer goods company, but associate MBA program director Trina Callie suggested that Reith consider Hallmark. Callie had done her own MBA internship with the company.
"It made perfect sense for me," says Reith. "It brought together the artistic side with helping people communicate. It was something I could feel good about marketing."
She applied for and landed an internship working on Mother's Day cards. Upon graduation, Reith was accepted into Hallmark's Career Development rotation program for high-potential managers and spent a year working in different areas.
"I ended up in seasonal cards, which is where I had my internship," says Reith. As an associate product manager for Valentine's Day cards, she interacted with a variety of functions, from creative to advertising to retailers.
Then, a year later, she was approached to create a new job position. "It was becoming evident that working with data to explain consumer behavior was what I really enjoyed," she says. In her new position, she determined the mix of product that Hallmark would produce for all season cards produced by Hallmark — determining a need for ten options for a wife that are funny for Valentine’s Day, for example.
She spent two years in that position before joining a group that worked closely with retailers on optimizing product mix and department layouts. "Things would come along that would just be a good fit for me," Reith says.
Six months ago, she was promoted to season category manager, where she manages the placement of over $200 million in season cards to all Wal-Mart stores. "It's not a pure marketing job, but it's still fun," Reith explains. "I still get to work with the marketing group, but it's is a great mix for me since it includes the data — the science end of it — as well."
Looking back, she says, "It never occurred to me that working with numbers would be an area of interest." But she always had a facility for numbers, and found herself in jobs where that facility really shined.
Now, she says, "That's what’s so great about working for a big company like Hallmark — you have that ability to fine-tune what you're doing. I've been working five years to land in this perfect job."