Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
The Eller College community came together on October 27 to welcome first-year MBAs at the third annual Eller MBA Networking Event. Over 200 people gathered in McClelland Hall's Estes Atrium, as new MBAs took the opportunity to network with fellow students, corporate partners, alumni, faculty and staff, following an etiquette workshop presented by Jill Bremer.
Bremer is a certified image professional who has been in consulting for 22 years. Her workshop provided MBA students with the tools to project a positive and professional image and hone networking skills. She attributes her poise and well-mannered behavior to her mother; but in the last five years she has noticed that students entering the working world sometimes “don’t quite have the social graces.” First impressions, she stresses, are often lasting impressions.
After the workshop, students were given the opportunity to put what they learned into practice and many praised the presentation. “It’s the finer points that people don’t always consider,” said first-year MBA student Steve Morrison.
First-year MBA Jennifer Provolt also thought that the workshop and networking event were valuable: “The workshop was really informative. It included things that you think about, but Ms. Bremer took it one step further; the networking event gives you the chance to practice in a non-intimidating setting.”
The workshop was especially relevant to MBA students of other cultures who might be unfamiliar with American business etiquette. First-year MBA/MS MIS student Sangeeta Kuchimanchi noticed differences between American and Indian etiquette customs.
“It’s all about how you present yourself here,” said Kuchimanchi. She enjoyed the event and appreciates the effort that Eller is making towards her education. “It was very good for us as international students to get exposure to American etiquette,” says Kuchimanchi.
For the first time ever, the event was sponsored by two corporations, Edward Jones and Sunquest. “We want to partner on more projects with Eller and continue to leverage students for information, talent, and opportunities,” says Sunquest recruiter Teresa Gran.
The Eller MBA Networking Event is one of seven professional development workshops that help build soft skills they need to succeed.
“The event was a great opportunity to meet the extended Eller network and a fun excuse to get dressed in our professional business attire,” says first-year MBA Forrest Branch.
Twenty-two universities and schools competed in the sixth annual Eller Ethics Case Competition, hosted by Paul Melendez, ethics program director and lecturer for the School of Public Administration and Policy. The competition introduces a thought-provoking business case and challenges students to consider ethical issues from different stakeholders’ perspectives, something they will do throughout their professional careers.
This year’s case, authored by Melendez, asked the students to consider the merits of reopening a copper mine in a rural community. Teams of two students each were assigned to identify the financial, legal, and philosophical stakeholders in the case. The teams then assumed the role of representing a fictitious task force comprised of concerned citizens, organizations, and industries from within the state.
Meaghen Annett and Sandy Poiré from Concordia University's John Molson School of Business were declared the winners while Adam West and Jared Marchiando from the University of Illinois placed second, Alexandre Minssieux and Naama Liberboim of the University of Texas at Austin placed third, and Jon Kozesky and Neel Agarwal of Case Western Reserve University finished in fourth. Melendez explains, “The students from Concordia were not averse to the mine, but wanted to slow the timeline to assure community buy-in and, ultimately, a sustainable mine. Their depth of analysis, persuasiveness, creativity, delivery, and ethical high ground won them first place.”
Each student team submitted a one-page executive summary, along with an optional essay as a part of the new Bright Line Award competition, honoring competition sponsor David Childers, president of EthicsPoint Inc.
This year’s Bright Line Award was given to Rachel Kane and John Sollee from the University of Florida. “They demonstrated superior understanding and application of diverse ethical theories to the case,” says Melendez.
The 2008 Eller Ethics Competition was sponsored by Walgreens, Ernst & Young, EthicsPoint Inc., the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, KB Home, Target Corporation, Cintas, the Tucson Chapter of the Better Business Bureau, and Hewlett Packard.
More than 80 students participated in the Department of Marketing's Career Roundtable Networking event on October 7. The event was part of Marketing Career Awareness Week, organized by co-sponsor American Marketing Association (AMA). Eller students interacted with 25 marketing professionals to better their use of marketing knowledge, skills, and abilities across a broad range of industries — and position themselves for job searches.
Kitty Lang, marketing senior and president of the AMA Student Association, says, “It was a lot more intimate than the typical career fair setting, and provided students with a different way to get to know marketing professionals.”
The students sat down with marketing professionals for fifteen minutes, and then rotated to a new table of professionals for another round of counseling. The students went through three rounds of tables until the event was over.
Marketing senior Giselle Tato says that she received a piece of advice at the event that she took to heart. “I have focused a big portion of my college career solely on getting a high GPA,” she explains. Now, thanks to the guidance of Michael Shanks, founder of Shanks Design Management Group and member of the Marketing Department Board of Visitors, she plans to get more involved in challenging, hands-on projects.
Marketing senior Kate Daniels says, “I got a good feel for what type of person these companies are looking for and how to go about working for them.”
Lang says the students enjoyed talking to the professionals so much that next year they would like to extend the time spent at each table.
Graduates from the Eller College weekend MBA class — now the evening MBA — held a ten-year reunion on September 27 at Tucson's El Corral restaurant. Kevin Oxnam (MBA ’98), a Six Sigma expert with Raytheon, organized the event along with classmates Dale Iverson, Ray Green, Mike Wearly, and Beth Davis. “We had a social hour, dinner, and a ‘quiz’ at the end,” explains Oxnam.
When the graduates were still in school, their class was sponsored by their employer, Hughes Aircraft Company, now Raytheon Missile Systems. Amazingly, 28 of the 31 graduates still work for Raytheon.
Students in the weekend MBA completed their degrees in two years while working full time. “The toughest part in school was the time pressure. There was so much work to do in so little time,” says Oxnam.
He and his classmates are overwhelmingly positive about the benefits of the program, with most citing it as one of the best things that they have done for their careers. “Even though the weekend MBA program was challenging and difficult, the benefits are clear ten years later, and counting,” Oxnam says.
This year, the annual IdeaFunding workshop tackled one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face: generating new ideas for start-up ventures.
Individual entrepreneurs, early stage companies, and economic development officials all gathered at the Manning House in Tucson to investigate topics such as identifying where ideas come from, making the market your beacon, exploring the role of intellectual property, building a successful team, and funding an idea.
UA president Robert Shelton delivered the keynote address to the lunchtime crowd. Shelton told the attendees that, even during a local and national economic downturn, the UA remains an essential contributor to a knowledge-based economy.
"The UA's commitment to community and industry partnerships means that we are prepared not only to meet with industry at likely and predictable insertion points, but also to be engaged in an ongoing and intimate manner — one that reflects the continual overlap of the knowledge-based economy and the source of knowledge creation and transfer," Shelton said.
IdeaFunding 2008 concluded with an address by and reception for angel investor John May, managing partner of New Vantage Group, and the UA 2008 Anheuser-Busch Angel-in-Residence.
Users of Facebook, the social networking site, send each other virtual gifts — such as virtual flowers or a virtual drink — all the time. Last year a team of Eller students thought of a way to turn virtual drinks into the real deal.
Their venture, BarTab, lets Facebook users send real drinks to of-age friends for $1. The friend can redeem the drink at a partner bar using a photo ID and a code sent to his or her cell phone. The company officially launched with 100 Arizona partner bars on November 13.
Nick Stewart and Matt Smith developed BarTab in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. “We have seen a great deal of activity in virtual drink gifting on Facebook since its introduction,” explains Stewart, a managing partner at BarTab. “With BarTab, we have simply put the mechanisms in place to turn virtual drink gifting a reality.”
The launch of the new application follows a recent endorsement from Facebook, in which BarTab was selected from 600 competing companies to receive a $25,000 grant.
The dynamos behind Green Giants Consulting — Eller alums Justin Cummins, Andrew Nicholas, and Martin Reed — have branched just out with a second venture, EvaluateIP. “The idea came about when we were working with the UA Office of Technology Transfer [OTT],” says Reed.
OTT hired Green Giants Consulting to conduct research on intellectual property, and the team saw value in expanding their offerings in that area. As EvaluateIP, the team offers comprehensive, independent assessments of intellectual property — analyzing issues such as market landscape, technology, patent licensee companies, and potential further application of the intellectual property in question through a complete commercialization feasibility study.
“Our goal is to help universities expedite the process of getting their research out into the marketplace where it can benefit the community,” explains Reed.
Students, alumni, and corporate partners joined the Eller College of Management and the College of Engineering in Phoenix on October 10 for the tenth annual University of Arizona Technology and Management Awards Luncheon.
The awards recognize the competitive advantage resulting from collaboration between engineering and business. The event honors individuals who have made significant contributions in business and technology, and who are the vanguard of this critical collaboration.
Eller College alumnus Jay Geldmacher, who heads Emerson Network Power’s Embedded Computing and Power Group, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Roberto Guerrieri and Alicia Coleman accepted the Shaping the Future Award for their innovative start-up company, Incentive Logic. The College of Engineering recognized Douglas Silver, founder of International Royalty Company, and Chris Lewicki, manager of the Phoenix Mars Mission for Jet Propulsion Laboratories.
Stanford University professor and president emeritus Donald Kennedy, former editor-in-chief of Science, delivered the keynote address. Kennedy also met with students prior to the talk, in which he discussed new, promising, and political advances in science.
In honor of Kennedy’s career focus on environmental concerns, the event had a "green" theme. Table centerpieces were comprised of native trees and plants, which were collected after the event by James Cooperider of Boy Scout Troop 007 and planted at Tucson's Brandi Fenton Memorial Park.
Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist Steven Pearlstein of The Washington Post concluded the Eller College’s fall Distinguished Speakers Series just two days after the presidential election.
Pearlstein addressed an audience of students and community members about the factors that contributed to the economic meltdown, particularly the shadow banking system. His talk was sponsored by Harris Private Bank.
In October, Dial CEO Brad Casper shared his insights into career development and Jon Krosnick of Stanford University delivered the Fathauer Lecture in Political Economy. Krosnick is an expert in political polling, and shared details about new techniques for measuring voters' racial biases and estimating their impact at the ballet box.
Students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered at the Eller College tent for a pre-game celebration:
In October, charitable IRA legislation was extended by the federal government — so individuals can make charitable contributions directly from an IRA, free of income tax.
The option is available to those:
This donation option excludes gifts made to charitable trusts, donor-advised funds, and supporting organizations.
In most cases, the transfer counts toward the minimum required distributions and the distributions may be in addition to or fulfill any charitable giving already planned. The gift generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so even those who do not itemize their tax returns receive the benefits.
Consult tax professionals and your IRA administrator if you are considering a gift under this law, or contact Debra Rodriguez for information about how you can designate your IRA contribution to the Eller College.
Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, a business growth program, selected Kim Orlando (BSBA Finance ’88) of TravelingMom.com as one of the four recipients of the Micro to Millions award. The event recognized female entrepreneurs from Connecticut who competed for business development packages that include money, marketing, mentoring, and assistance to help their businesses grow into million-dollar enterprises.
Congratulations to marketing alum Molly Busch, who will debut her film Between the Water and the Wood on November 20 at The Loft Cinema in Tucson. The film delves into the lives of members of the UA swim team, which is coached by Busch’s father Frank.
Congratulations also to Dennis Boykin (BSBA Personnel Management ’83), who has been promoted to senior vice president of STG, Inc., a provider of information technology, technical security, engineering, and scientific services.
Mark Bohn (Executive MBA ’07) has been promoted to run an international division of Abbott Nutrition in New Orleans. Congratulations!
Poor people in developing countries have limited access to credit and insurance. Coupled with their limited scope for savings, this means that shocks such as the illness of the main breadwinner may cause substantial drops in consumption.
“This can be very costly, in some cases lethal, if a household's consumption is close to subsistence level,” says economics assistant professor Manuela Angelucci, who has studied these issues using data gathered in rural Mexico.
Barred access to formal credit and insurance institutions, the poor establish informal networks of people to assist in troubled times. But these informal networks face issues such as how to insure fairness and reciprocity. “People may refuse to contribute when it's their time to give or pretend they don't have enough money or resources to share,” Angelucci says. “People who receive assistance, on the other hand, may not work hard to prevent future negative events from occurring.”
Angelucci's research asks whether belonging to an extended family may partly solve these problems. Besides caring for one another, extended family members know each other well and have repeated interactions, so the potential to walk out of an informal agreement or lie about one's means is limited.
Her analysis demonstrates that extended families play an important role in sharing resources between members. “When one household receives financial assistance from the government, the quantity and quality of food consumption increases for them and for their extended family,” she says. “However, it does not change for other villagers who do not belong to the extended family. This is consistent with the family being a provider of informal insurance.”
The beneficial effect of the extended family is not limited to consumption, but extends to investment. When families are hit by a negative shock - for example when the household head falls ill — households without a close group of relatives may be forced to take their children out of school to work or to sell their livestock. This contributes to a perpetual state of poverty: the children remain unskilled and the family's small-scale business activity never takes off. Households with an extended family are less likely to need to make such costly activities.
The extended family benefits investment in good times as well. When households earn good incomes, members of the extended family increase their children's secondary school enrollment — a major education hurdle in rural Mexico — while households without an extended family do not.
“This is because secondary education is relatively expensive for the poor,” Angelucci explains. “Their children have to travel to attend classes, and they cannot work as much if they are going to school.” While a single family could not afford to send their kids to secondary school, a group of related families could pool resources to educate some of its young members.
"Economists believe education is fundamental to making a country grow," Angelucci says. "Empirical data suggests that the extended family in rural Mexico is valuable for kids' education. This may help families escape poverty and promote long-term economic growth."
Robert Clarke came to the Eller MBA program for its reputation in entrepreneurship; but along the way he found himself moving in a slightly different direction. “One thing I did know was that I was looking for a career that blended business analysis with an aspect of science,” he says.
Thanks to his father, a marine engineer, Clarke was drawn to science and understanding how things worked. He earned his undergraduate degree in geology from Texas A&M, then joined a small growth firm in Houston as a field geologist. “I found I was as interested in the P&L statements as I was in the sediment I studied,” he says. Grad school was the natural next step. “An MBA is a door-opening degree,” he explains.
He began at Eller and worked through the entrepreneurship program. “I started down one path, but half way down, I realized it wasn’t going to work out and changed directions,” he says. Clarke and his entrepreneurship team were exploring a venture idea that involved funding fitness programs for senior citizens. “It turned out that it wasn’t feasible for us,” he says. “But one of the strengths of the Eller program is the ability to make lateral moves.”
Clarke changed his focus to financial and analytical coursework. As graduation approached, he used a job board to find a position in Houston with energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. “I got great mentoring from Don Piper [who worked in the MBA office at that time],” Clarke says. “He was an excellent resource and helped me focus on my strengths.”
He joined Wood Mackenzie as an oil and gas analyst directly out of school in 2005. His interest in entrepreneurship has since found outlets on the job. “I helped develop upstream research for the Gulf Coast region,” he explains. “That experience provided me with the chance to develop my career alongside the company's expansion. As lead analyst for the Gulf Coast region, I am now responsible for the commerciality of the product I helped develop.”
“I really enjoyed the entrepreneurial experience at Eller,” he continues. “Though I’m not self-employed, I haven’t lost that drive, and whether or not I go there, the program helped me think about business broadly and get away from an insular view.”
It’s been over a year since recent graduate Jenny Huynh last set foot in Eller. After graduating with a BSBA in business management, she joined Procter and Gamble as an account manager.
Instead of attending classes, Huynh now spends her days communicating with her team, customers, and other retailers. She is part of a team of about 100 managers who represent Procter and Gamble product categories. “It’s great working with so many different people,” Huynh says.
Huynh started with Procter and Gamble in Southern California, but accepted a promotion and relocated to Minneapolis to manage fabric care and related products, such as Tide detergent and Bounty paper towels. “The transfer was pretty hard because I took on a new city, new customers, and a category,” she explains. Though the adjustment was difficult, she says she was ready for the challenge.
One of Huynh’s biggest accomplishments at Procter and Gamble so far is closing a big sale in California. She was able to convince a distributor to commit and attributes this to the fact that she can “build relationships quickly and connect with people.”
Now that she is working for the company full time — she interned with Procter and Gamble for three summers in college — Huynh has discovered a few things about herself. “I’ve learned that I’m a lot more flexible than I would have thought,” she says, “And I’ve also learned that if you push yourself you’re able to do a lot more than you think.”
Despite all the new knowledge and experiences Huynh has gained, she still attributes her preparation to Eller. In her transition into the working world, one class in particular stood out in her mind: “Business communications helped me write better memos and create better presentations,” she says.
Huynh truly enjoys her job and as she looks to the future, she hopes to continue to learn and grow. “It has been hard to accept the fact that I don’t know everything yet, but I know I’m going to learn as I go,” she says.
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