Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
Three years after its inception, the Eller College's High School Ethics Forum expanded to Phoenix in April. Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and organized by Eller students, the event challenges high school students' moral reasoning, raising their awareness of the importance of corporate social responsibility.
“The High School Ethics Forum provides the students with a terrific opportunity to identify, evaluate, and discuss real-life ethical dilemmas,” says Reed Mittelstaedt, a PricewaterhouseCoopers partner in Phoenix. “PricewaterhouseCoopers has been a proud sponsor of the program in Pima County for the last two years and we are excited to be a part of the Eller College's plans to expand the program to include high school students in Maricopa County this spring.”
The event is coordinated by Eller College undergraduate students from the Eller Board of Honor and Integrity. Paul Melendez, director of the ethics program and public policy lecturer at the Eller College of Management, writes topical case studies for the high school students and provides them with an ethical framework so they can evaluate the case over the course of the day. The student teams develop ethical, responsible, and practical solutions for each case, and then share their conclusions with the entire group.
For this year’s events, the students discussed ethics problems revolving around employers using social networking sites for hiring, students selling class notes against a professor's wishes, and the social harm associated with video games. After discussing with participating undergraduate students from the Eller College of Management, the high school students presented their solutions for each case.
“I thoroughly enjoyed seeing high school students from all different schools being given the opportunity to have intellectual discussions about ethical issues relevant to them,” says Gabrielle Geesey (BSBA Accounting ’10). “With integrity and ethics becoming incrementally essential in business practices, the High School Ethics Forum started the students on a new pathway of thinking and decision-making. This event is an invaluable start towards equipping students with the skills and mindset to be stronger and ethically-minded future leaders.”
Eller marketing students Jeffrey Shaw, Christian Liebner, Stephanie Porter, Salyna Guanajuato, Kevin Akat, and Ana Carrillo placed just behind the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School at the 31st Annual American Marketing Association (AMA) Collegiate Conference in New Orleans, hosted by Eastman Kodak.
The Eller team organized market research for several months in order to develop a business plan for the sponsor’s KodakGallery.com. “We were going up against top schools so we knew we had to bring our A game,” says Porter (BSBA Marketing ’09). “Professor Sue Umashankar [Eller AMA chapter advisor] advised that we tie our entire presentation, most importantly our recommendations, back to the information we found in our primary research.”
The undergraduates were coached by a team of Eller MBAs who leveraged their real-world experiences, presentation skills, and strategic thinking to manage the undergraduate project. First-year MBA Abhilasha Chadha cites the experience as a critical aspect of her MBA career. “My participation on the Kodak case competition team was one of the key components in my transition story that enabled me to attain a marketing internship this summer after a career based in information technology.” Abhilasha will work at Kellogg Company in Delhi, India, this summer.
The Eller students worked through a rigorous judging process, and were ultimately chosen to present their recommendations directly to the Kodak executives. “The true differentiator between the Eller team and the other teams across the world is that we didn't limit ourselves to the basic requirements as outlined in the case,” says Shaw (BSBA Marketing ’09).
“We were happy with the results and were honored to be placed next to such a prestigious school,” says Porter. $25,000 in prize money was awarded to winning teams. In addition to second place in the case competition, the Eller College AMA student chapter also won the Outstanding Professional Development Award, Outstanding Philanthropy Award, and the Outstanding Recruitment Video Award.“Even though we ultimately came home with a sizable cash award, the true benefits from the competition did not have a dollar sign attached. We will see those benefits when we apply the advanced research and analytical concepts we learned through this truly amazing experience,” says Shaw.
In 2006, the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship established a partnership with the James E. Rogers College of Law that resulted in the Business / Law Exchange™, the centerpiece of which is a mock law firm class. The class teams law students with entrepreneurship students; the latter serve as clients to the former during the venture development process.
“Early in the class, the entrepreneurship students are forming into teams and developing executive summaries for their ventures,” says Larry Hecker, principal with Hecker & Muehlbach, who teaches the course. “My students will review the summaries for glaring legal issues. As the semester progresses, they will begin to interact directly with the entrepreneurship students, assisting them with legal issues that arise.”
There are a dozen third-year law students in the class; in teams of two, they each serve as mock counsel to three client teams. “They’re learning how to communicate with non-lawyers on complex legal issues,” Hecker says. “And they’re learning that one of the big challenges with entrepreneurship and law is identifying the particular legal issues inherent in any given venture.”
Like the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, the class is one year long, so the venture teams can benefit from legal insight throughout their processes. “In every way,” Hecker says, “we’ve tried to make it as much like the real world as possible, although there’s no requirement to keep billing sheets or bill a minimum number of mock hours during the semester.”
Eller students may have noticed an increase in the number of tables and chairs around McClelland Hall. “I did a double take. They are nice and modern,” says first-year MBA Jeff Child.
Child is referring to the three brand-new round tables outside the Hoffman E-Commerce Lab. Each table accommodates four chairs and receives ample natural sunlight from the floor-to-ceiling windows. A framed note on the nearby windowsill reads, “Have a seat. Tables and chairs in this area donated by Eller College Student Council, Spring 2009.”
The Eller College Student Council is comprised of 40 members who act as student liaisons between undergraduate students and Eller administration. Each year the council donates a gift to the College that will directly benefit the students.
“The student voice that we were hearing indicated a need for more tables,” says Eller College student council president Ami Doshi (BSBA Business Management ’09).
Along with the idea of giving back through the study space, the council revamped another initiative, the Senior Class Gift, which encourages students to make a one-time $50 donation to the College.
Proceeds from the gift will go towards more areas for groups to work, and any money exceeding the goal will be put into an endowment fund from which differential fee scholarships will be awarded. Also, students who donate will be given the opportunity to place their names on tiles that will be placed in the Broekema Plaza.
“With a $50 donation the senior class can give a sizeable gift, and the tiles allow students to leave their legacy,” says Senior Class Gift Committee Chair Jane Kim (BSBA Business Management ’09).
Previous gifts modified third floor restrooms to include private changing space — enabling students to change into professional attire on interview and presentation days.
Despite trying economic times, the committee has set a goal of $3,750 which, if met, will be matched by the College. “A challenge we face is that seniors want to do donate; but with the economy, it is difficult,” says Kim.
As the class of 2009 approaches graduation, students can’t help but reminisce about their Eller experience. “The Senior Class Gift is our way of motivating the students to say 'Thank you!' to the College,” says Doshi.
Nearly 400 community members turned out for an October 1 roundtable event to hear College experts explain the turmoil in the markets and offered insight into the national economic picture.
“All eyes are on the financial markets these days,” says Eller College dean and Halle Chair in Leadership Paul Portney. “The Eller College aspires not only to educate its students, but also to contribute to the community in which it’s located.”
Finance department head Christopher Lamoureux began the event with an overview of the events leading up to the crisis. Bestselling economist Gerald Swanson continued with insight into the national economic picture.
The event occurred the same evening that the Senate passed a revised version of the $700 billion rescue package. Portney combed through the package just before the talk and offered insight into the ways in which it might be enacted, drawing from his time as chief economist for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
All three fielded questions following the presentation. Community members brought up concerns including how to prevent a similar meltdown in the future, the survival of the banking system, the fate of the assets of failed banks such as Washington Mutual, and the possibility of the market sorting itself out without government intervention. Swanson fielded the latter question, indicating that government intervention is necessary to prevent the long and painful recession that would result from a hands-off approach.
For more information about the Economic Roundtable:
By Serida Fong, BSBA Marketing '09
“It’s a young culture. They are working on things that other people have never done before.”
A year ago, Kristin Thayer never imagined that she would be working for Facebook as an analyst on the developer operations platform team. “There’s no company that I would want to work for now more than Facebook,” says Thayer. “It’s an innovative company that is changing the way people share information.”
Thayer has always been interested in entrepreneurship and in the creation of new ideas. This curiosity prompted her to join the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program in her senior year and to later work as a product marketing intern with a small startup, GroupCard, in Palo Alto, California. GroupCard is an online tool that allows users to send and manage e-cards, signed by multiple people, to a recipient. “I had the greatest experience at GroupCard; it prepared me for what I wanted to do at the time,” says Thayer.
During her time at GroupCard, Thayer became familiar with the Facebook platform, which enables external developers to create applications for Facebook users. As developers continually create new applications, the policies and guidelines must constantly evolve to keep pace with the applications. Thayer and her Facebook team create policies and guidelines for the developers while also working to enhance Facebook’s relationship with them.
“The developers at Facebook are really smart. Developing effective policies can be difficult.” says Thayer.
When Thayer describes her daily routine, one would be led to believe that she has a heavy technical background, yet her Eller degree is not in MIS, but accounting. After graduating, Thayer took a programming class at Stanford and from then on everything seemed to fall into place.
“It’s a pretty technical company,” she says. “I don’t have a technical background, but I’m learning how to write in HTML or ways to automate certain features that I’m not familiar with. That is always a challenge.”
Thayer is the first Facebook employee who is a UA alum. “I work with a lot of graduates from Harvard and Stanford,” she says. “It’s nice to know my education stands up alongside these other great schools.”
On March 31st, the Eller College launched a group blog featuring insight from faculty, staff, and students on the news and activities of the College’s departments and programs. It’s a window into the busy b-school life, and provides a venue for discussion around activities in real time that the College’s Eller Times e-newsletter and Progress magazine schedules don’t allow.
Recent entries have spotlighted a solar-energy focused MBA field project, research into goal-setting, and an undergraduate visit to meet Warren Buffett in Omaha.
The blog is updated two to three times a week, depending on the amount of activity around the College. Upcoming entries will spotlight faculty summer research, student internships, and more.
In This Issue: