Business consulting—a $250 billion industry in 2017—is growing thanks to hot sectors like cybersecurity, healthcare, and information technology. The demand for trained consultants is greater than ever and there are numerous students at the Fox School of Business eager to pursue careers in the rising industry.
The Temple University Management Consulting Program (TUMCP)’s Temple Consulting Club recently partnered with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI)’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Association to host a panel discussion with the theme of “Women in Consulting.” More than 150 people attended the event where four professional women consultants—Liz Bywater, of Bywater Consulting Group; Anwesha Dutta, of PricewaterhouseCoopers; Michele Juliana, of RSM; and Jennifer Morelli, of Grant Thornton—discussed the state and bright future of the profession.
“Consulting has a special glamour to it,” says executive principal of Victrix Global Araceli Guenther, who also works with TUMCP, teaches consulting and International Business courses at the Fox School, and moderated the discussion. “People are attracted to consulting because you’re working on very high-level projects and with very interesting companies and people.”
Some of the big questions students had for the panelists regarded work-life balance and the personal sacrifices required to thrive in the industry. Guenther, a 15-year veteran of the consulting industry who has worked for major clients like GlaxoSmithKline, knows first-hand that the consulting lifestyle can be a grueling one.
“The stress level is high and there’s normally lots of travel,” Guenther says. “You’re usually on a plane Sunday afternoon and you’re back home Friday evening. People glamourize it from the outside, but what they don’t realize is that, even when I was somewhere beautiful like Verona, Italy, we were working from morning to night and it was a year-long project. It’s not a profession for everyone and it’s definitely more of a challenge for women.”
Many students at the Fox School are excited to face the challenges and embrace the opportunities of a career in consulting. For instance, Nhi Nguyen, a sophomore MIS major and international student from Vietnam. Nguyen, who as the vice president of the Temple Consulting Club helped organize the event, has studied abroad in Japan, where she worked for the Japan Market Expansion Competition. She can’t wait to keep traveling and hopes to do so while pursuing a consulting career in the technology industry.
“I love traveling, working with a team, and working on interesting projects,” says Nguyen. “I like unexpected challenges and I like to solve problems. When you work in consulting, you get to work across industries and with different teams. And you get to travel everywhere! The workload is really heavy and you are on the road constantly, but that’s what I want to do.”
Panelist Liz Bywater had a professional background in clinical psychology before launching her own consulting firm, Bywater Consulting Group, in 2003. She has since worked with clients such as Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, and focuses on working with CEOs and top executives. Launching her own company allowed her to avoid some of the work-life pitfalls that worry students, but also to pursue the specific type of work that inspired her the most.
“I’ve always loved being my own boss,” says Bywater. “I love being able to create my own calendar and to take on the type of work that’s most exciting to me and most beneficial to my clients. And I have flexibility and the endless potential to evolve my business.”
With more than a decade of experience in the industry, Bywater has good advice for students considering careers in consulting.
“Students should be thinking about what type of consulting is most interesting to them and what they want their lives to look like from a holistic perspective,” she says. “They can work with a large firm, which means very long hours, travel, and demanding work. Or some may want to carve their own path and create their own firm, where there will be more flexibility, but also more risk. Students should be clear on what their strengths are, and on what they really want to do with their lives and careers in the short and long-term.”
“Also,” she continues, “students shouldn’t allow the focus on skill set to get in the way of what truly makes a successful consultant, which is being able to have positive, value-added relationships, to listen and communicate well, and to be reliable, trustworthy, and creative.”
Based on the success of this event, TUMPC and the Temple Consulting Club are planning a similar event next spring.
Learn more about the Fox School’s Department of Strategic Management.
The media’s buzzing this year about the coming artificial intelligence revolution and how it will impact U.S. jobs. Robots of varying shapes and sizes have graced the covers of nearly every business and technology publication, and experts are weighing in on the threats and opportunities.
But there has been little discussion in popular media about how AI and automation will impact emerging markets. To learn more about the issue, we spoke with Bertrand Guillotin, the Fox School’s International Business program’s academic director and an assistant professor of instruction.
Fox’s International Business program was recently ranked No. 1 in North America and No. 2 in the world for research by the University of Texas, Dallas Business School Research Rankings, and it is one of the Top 15 International Business programs according to U.S. News & World Report. The program’s research is published in the Journal of International Business Studies, and it includes three Academy of International Business (AIB) fellows (Charles Dhanaraj, Masaaki Kotabe, and Ram Mudambi).
Since one of the hot research topics in international business today is the rise of automation and how emerging markets are positioning themselves for it, we asked Guillotin to share some insight.
Is there a particular emerging market you find especially interesting, in that it exemplifies some of the big changes happening with the global economy?
Take China, for example, because there are widespread changes happening there. The economy is trying to get away from an export based model; they are trying to change to a consumption based, more robust national economy. They have to be leaders in all kinds of industries to do that, including green technologies—though they are the number one global polluter—and they have to be strong in all the value-added industries. If you look at Dalian Wanda, which purchased AMC Theaters a few years ago, they are strong in entertainment and real estate; they understand the importance of diversification in our global economy.
There has been a lot of recent talk about how AI and automation will impact the U.S. workforce, but we don’t hear much about how other countries, like China, are responding to this possibility.
China could lose 50% of their manufacturing jobs in the foreseeable future, maybe the next 10 years, due to automation and AI. If you talk to partners at KPMG, who are responsible for forecasting what trends are going to catch traction beyond the hype, they’ll tell you it’s still too expensive to put AI and automation in place on a large scale. It’s happening, yes, but it’s not impacting all the jobs the same way. Low-skill jobs will be automated, and we’ve been doing that for centuries already. We do things on a daily basis that are not value-added, but if those things are automated, we benefit because we can focus our brain power on something else. It is a huge question for China, because if they automate too many jobs, they may destroy their national economy. But I don’t think they’ll do that. The cost-benefit analysis has to be made and they will make it.
Is AI and automation a popular topic for international business students?
Yes, issues like this are what make our International Business program very attractive. We have these discussions and we reconcile the different positions. We explain what they need to know to be successful in a world that’s always changing very quickly. We launched the International Business minor last year and we’re now attracting students from six different colleges at Temple, including liberal arts, science and technology, media and communication, and so on. We’re expecting more than 100 students in the minor this year. It’s an exciting time to study international business and our increased enrollment and rankings show that.
For our students, we need to be very clear that they need to keep working hard to stay on top of the game. Beyond their degrees, and beyond graduation, they need to keep educating themselves and keep acquiring skills that cannot be automated. If you stay on top of your skill requirements and continue to train and grow and learn, even if you are in manufacturing, you can survive. But if you just look at the status quo and think the U.S. has been on top of the global economy for decades and that will never change, that’s not going to work. The U.S. has a good chance to stay competitive, but we have to be serious and work together.
Learn more about the Fox School’s International Business program.
In October, Temple University’s Fox School of Business welcomed more than 200 of the world’s leading academics, consultants, and practitioners for a three-day conference on international business, global cities, and innovation.
The Fox School hosted a joint conference Oct. 27-30 of Academy of International Business-Northeast Region members, as well as iBEGIN scholars. In 2013, Fox School of Business Professor Dr. Ram Mudambi and a team of researchers founded iBEGIN – which stands for International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation – to study the connections between global value chains and the locations of economic activity.
The first conference of its kind, held at Temple’s Alter Hall, explored the ongoing global move toward horizontal specialization.
“The world economy is changing in very fundamental ways, and that’s because of a shift in the role of cities,” said Mudambi, the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategy at the Fox School. “Previously, all activity would take place in the same city – innovation, design, manufacturing, assembly. Today, we’re moving from local systems to global systems, and cities are becoming centers of specialization. For example, the Bay Area is known as a hub for software engineering and Chicago for commodities trading, to name a few. These cities perform different tasks and, in doing so, they aren’t competing with one another. Instead, they are collaborating.”
The AIB/iBEGIN conference welcomed a number of prominent speakers and panelists, including the following deliverers of keynote addresses:
- Dr. Saskia Sassen, the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, from whom the term “global city” originates
- Dr. Keld Laursen, Professor of Innovation and Organizational Economics at the Copenhagen Business School, and President of the Technology and Innovation
- Management Division within the Academy of Management
Dr. Sharon Belenzon, Assistant Professor of Strategy at Duke University
This marked the third iteration of iBEGIN conferences, and the first that bridged with the AIB regional conference. The conference continues to expand its global reach, welcoming guests from four continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.
The conference closed with a dynamic panel discussion on global value chains and industrial clusters; it was chaired by Dr. Ari Van Assche, the Director of the International Business Department at HEC Montreal. Panel participants included Dr. Harald Bathelt, Research Chair in Innovation and Governance at the University of Toronto; Dr. Gary Gereffi, Director of the Center on Globalization, Governance, and Competitiveness at Duke University; and Dr. Timothy Sturgeon, Senior Research Affiliate at the Industrial Performance Center at MIT.
“This powerful panel centered its discussion on clusters of innovation and the concept of cooperation over space, once again calling attention to the modern economy in which we live today,” Mudambi said. “In order for clusters to succeed, they need a particular identity and they need to be the best in the world at what they do.”
The Fox School of Business is at the forefront of international business education and research.
Fox’s International Business Administration program has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top-15 undergraduate programs in each of the last five years. The program receives support from a robust study-abroad program, through Fox and Temple University, as well as from the Institute of Global Management Studies and the Temple Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), both of which are based at Fox. Temple CIBER is one of only 17 such elite centers in the nation to have had its grant-renewal proposal approved for federal funding from the United States Department of Education. Temple is the only university in Pennsylvania to have received federal funding for CIBER.
In 2016, the Fox School’s International Business faculty earned prominent national and global rankings from the University of Texas at Dallas Top 100 Business School Research rankings. Fox’s faculty ranked No. 3 in the United States and No. 6 in the world for research quality and productivity, for publications in the Journal of International Business Studies over a four-year period, from 2012-2015.
Located in Philadelphia, the second-largest city on the East Coast of the United States, Temple’s Fox School of Business is positioned for international business excellence. Philadelphia recently became the first U.S. city to earn designation as a World Heritage city.
Additionally, the Fox School is home to AIB President Dr. Masaaki “Mike” Kotabe, who is serving the second year of his elected three-year term on AIB’s Executive Board, as well as Dr. Bertrand Guillotin, Chair of the AIB Northeast Region.
“The Academy of International Business is the most-prestigious and most-relevant community of scholars and practitioners in the world,” said Guillotin, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Fox, and Academic Director of its International Business Administration programs. “Coordinating a comprehensive conference like this helps to solidify the Fox School’s reputation as one of the nation’s leading international business clusters.”
–Christopher A. Vito
This fall, Temple University further strengthened its commitment to entrepreneurship education across all disciplines with the establishment of the Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy (TUEA).
The Academy is geared toward the incorporation of entrepreneurship education in the coursework delivered by faculty members throughout all of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges, and the creation of seminars and services available to students, faculty, and staff at Temple, and enhanced offerings and participation in entrepreneurial activities.
Alan B. Kerzner joined the faculty at Temple’s Fox School of Business as an Assistant Professor of Practice within the Department of Strategic Management. He also will serve as the Director of TUEA, a role in which he will work with other schools and colleges at Temple to facilitate the spread of entrepreneurial practice across the university.
“Entrepreneurial thinking is not present solely within business schools. It can be found throughout a university, particularly one as dynamic as Temple,” Kerzner said. “Our objective is to work with faculty on the implementation of entrepreneurship education across the university, and with students to foster their enthusiasm for innovation.”
At Temple University, entrepreneurship continues to flourish.
Temple is one of five colleges and universities in the United States to have earned top-10 rankings for both undergraduate- and graduate-level entrepreneurship programs, according to a 2015 publication from The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Temple’s undergraduate Entrepreneurship program received a No. 8 national ranking, and its graduate program earned a No. 10 ranking.
Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) organized its 18th annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl (BYOBB), a university-wide business plan competition held in April 2015 and catering to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. BYOBB makes available nearly $700,000 in cash prizes and related products and professional services, earning it a reputation as one of the nation’s most-lucrative business plan competitions, according to Entrepreneur.
Temple also offers access to the Small Business Development Center, which, for the 2015-16 academic year, consulted with 861 entrepreneurs, resulting in the creation of nearly 450 jobs. The SBDC assisted pre-venture clients in the generation of 46 new businesses in the Philadelphia area, with 60 percent of the clients served originating in Philadelphia.
“There is no better time to begin your entrepreneurial journey than when you are a university student,” said Ellen Weber, IEI’s Executive Director. “Here at Temple, entrepreneurship serves as an inspiration to our students, who can test their ideas in classes or in hands-on workshops. At their fingertips, students have a built-in audience through which to test product and market fit as they prepare to launch, and we provide access to highly experienced mentors who can deliver direction, and funding through BYOBB, our annual Innovative Idea Competition, and the Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures, an independent organization that assists emerging technology-based companies in their effort to build sustainable businesses.”
“There are pockets of entrepreneurial activity throughout Temple,” said Dr. Robert McNamee, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Fox School. “With the Entrepreneurship Academy, we’re working to create a community of practice across the university.”
According to Kerzner, TUEA is poised to immediately deliver a suite of educational seminars, sessions, and competitions geared toward Temple’s entrepreneurs. They will build upon the Academy’s inaugural workshop, “Doing Well While Doing Good,” which was offered in April 2015 and centered on social entrepreneurship.
This fall, TUEA has plans to offer educational sessions on the establishment successful freelance businesses; the development of prototypes; and the demystification of technology, among others, Kerzner said. The Academy also will welcome a series of Tyler School of Art alumni who have found success in careers as independent entrepreneurs, to speak to current art students.
The future plan is to expand TUEA into new space on the first floor of the 1810 building on Liacouras Walk, to make all of the entrepreneurial services more readily available to the university community.
Lastly, Kerzner said, TUEA has plans to create an on-campus retail space in a heavy-traffic area. The space, he said, will allow student entrepreneurs “a place to sell their products, as they explore the developmental stages, and receive customer feedback.”
“For this space, think retail store meets entrepreneurship testing lab,” Kerzner said. “It will be managed and staffed by students, and feature kiosks designed by students from the Tyler School of Art.
“The establishment of TUEA, and our abundant plans for this academic year, will take Temple’s commitment to entrepreneurship to the next level.”
For some, the decision would have created sleepless nights. For Joseph Green, it was a no-brainer.
While studying entrepreneurship at the Fox School of Business, Green had developed two business plans in completely different fields. Whichever one he chose to pursue, Green said, the risk of starting a business and forging into self-employment outweighed the security of a position in corporate America.
“To me it’s the same gamble,” Green said, “only the payoff is more direct and more beneficial to you because you’ve put in that sweat equity.”
The CEO of Affinity Confections, the bakery and confection company he launched in 2012 in Philadelphia, Green visited Fox’s Alter Hall Jan. 27 to participate in a panel discussion on being a young business owner. Joining Green, FOX ’12, on the panel were fellow Fox alums Dylan Baird, FOX ’12, the CEO of farm share Philly Food Works, and Rachel Furman, FOX ’12, the CEO of cosmetic company Mouth2Mouth Beauty.
Temple University’s Young Alumni Association organized the event, as part of its ongoing #TempleMade Entrepreneur Series, “to increase active student engagement and highlight the business successes of our young alumni,” according to TUYA vice president Latisha Brinson, FOX ’08.
The three 20-something CEOs provided snapshots of their careers and companies, lent insights into their respective startup experiences, and detailed how they sidestepped the inherent risks involved with entrepreneurship.
Furman admitted that she “spent more time playing sports than applying makeup” during her high school days. With Mouth2Mouth, she’s creating socially responsible cosmetic products, like eyeliner and lip stains, for the urban market. Her company and her career may not have come together without her experiences at Temple University.
“This was where I found someone other than my family and friends who could connect with my dreams,” she said.
Baird, whose Philly Food Works delivers high-quality food from farm to neighborhood, serves more than 900 people. In its earliest stages, he said he received poignant advice from a fellow entrepreneur, on pouring capital into the resources upon which a company depends – like a flat-bed truck or a cooler – and not on an office chair, for example.
Green launched Affinity Confections in 2014, believing consumers desired sweet treats in smaller portions, made with premium and natural ingredients. Green, who has 16 years of baking experience, credited Temple with motivating him to excel.
“Temple’s job is to listen to your business plan, then poke holes in it, and push you to find a better way to do it,” said Green.
Dwight Carey, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Fox School, closed the event by asking for a show of hands from the nearly 100 alums and current students in attendance, wondering how many wish to one day own a business.
“Why wait? Ask yourself you aren’t doing it already,” Carey said. “You can do it because the desire is within each of you.”
Added Tim Bennett, FOX ’09, the owner of Philadelphia-based Bennett Compost: “It was great to hear from this panel and see what paths other successful entrepreneurs took to achieve what they have. They make me wonder whether I’m putting enough time into marketing, for example, or into accounting, and it’s a way to be reflective on your own business, while also being inspired by others who are doing what you’re doing.”
Temple University’s Fox School of Business welcomes Bernard “Bernie” Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, as its inaugural Warren V. “Pete” Musser Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Addressing Fox School students, Marcus will deliver a presentation, titled, “Do ethical entrepreneurs earn more?” Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. in Alter Hall.
An American businessman and philanthropist, Marcus co-founded The Home Depot after he and coworker Arthur Blank lost their jobs with a California hardware store. Marcus, Blank, and their early investor, Kenneth Langone, took The Home Depot public in 1981, and have since built a billion-dollar, home-improvement empire. Marcus retired in 2001 to focus on philanthropy.
Established in 2015, the Musser Professorship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an endowed term professorship that will be filled by experienced and well-known practitioners who have started successful business ventures and are interested in spending a term at the Fox School to lecture, conduct applied research, and mentor students in the early stages of their ventures.
Entrepreneurship is a pillar at Temple University. In November, Fox’s undergraduate- and graduate-level Entrepreneurship programs earned Nos. 8 and 10 national rankings, respectively, by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, one of only five schools nationally to attain two top-10 rankings.
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), which proactively promotes entrepreneurial spirit throughout all 17 schools and colleges at Temple University, is co-sponsoring Marcus’ visit.
To attend, guests must RSVP through the IEI.
Brandon Study still remembers the oppressive sunshine beating down upon his back last summer. Study had been crouched atop a home in El Salvador as he applied the final bolt to a repaired rooftop.
Handiwork is just one element of Study’s plan.
The junior Entrepreneurship major at Temple University’s Fox School of Business is the co-founder of Into The Nations, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower artisans in developing countries.
During the summer of 2014, Study met Amparo del Carmen Valle Velis, an El Salvadoran hammock weaver. Study, a Littlestown, Pa., native who has worked in El Salvador on a volunteer-basis for four years, credits Amparo with inspiring him to create the business model for Into The Nations.
Study is an amateur photographer with an appreciation for artistry. He admits he was amazed more by Amparo’s life story than with the beauty her hand-woven hammocks.
“She has a second-grade education,” Study said. “El Salvador had a war when she was in grade school, so she was constantly getting pulled out of school. I wanted to create something that would help an individual. I don’t mind if the impact we have doesn’t grow exponentially, but as long as we can help one person in a huge way, that’s really all I care about.”
In The Nations uses a small team of volunteers to identify an artisan. Then the team alleviates the artisan’s pressing needs, like Amparo’s dilapidated roof, before they develop a business model to help the artist sustain his or her work and bring it to the market.
Study will visit El Salvador over an upcoming holiday break from the Fox School to discuss with Amparo his vision for her business model. He said he plans to develop a supply chain by sourcing materials, before setting up necessary distribution channels to sell her work both in the United States and in El Salvador.
“We plan to work with her for about a year, sell her hammocks on our e-commerce site for a year and then, after that, really allow her to take ownership over it,” Study said.
Study’s ability to create a business model, he said, stemmed from his experiences within the Fox School and last year’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl®. In BYOBB, a university-wide business-plan competition for students, faculty, staff, and alumni, one of Study’s ventures advanced to the finals.
“I would really not know where to start if I had not gone through some of the curriculum at Fox, as well as the BYOBB,” Study said.
Study entered the Be Your Own Boss Bowl® with his Fox mentor, senior Entrepreneurship major Tim Mounsey. Their now-dissolved business, Cycle Clothing Co., used non-exploitative production and zero-waste manufacturing through a producer in Cambodia. Mounsey said Study’s passion for social impact was visible as they worked together for the competition.
“Helping people and making sure people’s wellbeing comes first is important for him,” Mounsey said. “I think he’ll carry that through anything he does in his life, especially with Into The Nations.”
Mounsey and Study are working with a team to create an innovation-themed festival for the Spring 2016 semester that would collaborate with several schools and colleges at Temple University.
“I’ve found that when you are willing to learn about people and really invest in what they need and walk alongside them, it is more of an empowerment than an investment,” Study said of Into The Nations. “In business school at Fox and in entrepreneurship work, I’ve started to understand that empowerment can come through creating a business.”
When Philadelphia’s leading female journalists, restaurant owners, consultants, entrepreneurs, and student leaders gathered at Temple University’s Mitten Hall, they hardly expected they’d be blowing bubbles.
Laughing as the bubbles popped, the women embraced the obvious message: Be daring, no matter the setting.
At the 16th annual League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference, held Oct. 20, the Greater Philadelphia region’s top female innovators came together to share stories on their respective paths to success, and honored those who have reached professional pinnacles.
Co-founders of the League for Entrepreneurial Women Dr. Elizabeth H. Barber, Associate Dean of Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management; and Betsy Leebron Tutelman, Temple’s Senior Vice Provost for Strategic Communications; with Ellen Weber, Executive Director of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), hosted the event.
Temple University Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Hai-Lung Dai introduced the event, complimenting the women on setting an example for his daughter as she enters college: “I can see her, a young mind, very eagerly trying to explore knowledge,” he said. “But she needs to build confidence and that’s where I defer to you.”
A packed room of women heard from keynote speaker Lu Ann Cahn, Director for Career Services at Temple’s School of Media and Communication. The face behind the bubbles, Cahn asked the women to think about how blowing bubbles felt. The overwhelming response was empowerment and freedom from judgment. Cahn, who spent 40 years in the broadcast news industry, including 27 with Philadelphia’s NBC10, was familiar with that feeling. After surviving breast cancer, Cahn found herself at odds with her career and challenged herself to try something new each day for a year. Her book, I Dare Me, documents her experiences with rediscovering her spark of individuality and confidence.
“No matter what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve survived, sometimes you forget who you are,” Cahn said. “The hardest first to do is a first that faces a fear.”
Like blowing bubbles, doing something that might be silly or might fail is how success was made, she said.
“I’m here to dare you to go on your own adventure,” Cahn said, as women shared their desire to attempt skydiving or take a day off. “You have to tap into your best self to have the confidence to move forward.”
Cahn welcomed the conference’s panel of female entrepreneurs to share how they dare.
For Brigitte Daniel, executive vice president of Wilco Electronic Systems, her dare was to succeed as one of only a few women in the cable industry. Daniel took over her father’s cable company, Wilco Electronic Systems, after completing law school. As the only cable company serving underprivileged areas, such as public housing, Daniel learned to avoid falling prey to those who sought to diminish her power. Her nonprofit, Mogulettes, promotes that same message to 19-to-24-year-old women entrepreneurs.
“When we’re talking about business, sometimes our voices can be muffled. That’s when we most need to be heard,” Daniel said. “It’s from our stories that we create connections.”
Nicole Marquis and Linda Lightman could relate. Marquis, a Philadelphia native, is the owner of vegan restaurant chain HipCityVeg, and is planning to expand to Washington, D.C. before taking her restaurant across the country. Lightman, founder of Linda’s Stuff, an online luxury consignment boutique, saw her business grew from a few items sold on eBay to a sudden success that allowed her husband to quit his job to join her company.
The League for Entrepreneurial Women’s conference also recognized three Temple alumnae for their pioneering spirit in entrepreneurship. Director of Entrepreneurial Services for Comcast NBCUniversal, Danielle Cohn, SMC ’95; Gearing Up Founder Kristin Gavin, CPA ’09; and Factor3 Consulting Founder, Anne Nelson, FOX ’80 were inducted into the League’s Hall of Fame.
In work settings, Nelson said she often found herself the lonely female voice in an all-male conversation. But, she said, what mattered was that she had spoken up and had expected others to listen.
“Temple taught me two very important things: Think pragmatically and think two steps ahead,” said Nelson, who was inducted by Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business.
Closing the conference, Weber spoke interview-style with Emily Bittenbender, Managing Partner of Bittenbender Construction, who reiterated that being the only woman in a professional field or setting could be daunting. Bittenbender said she was able to extract inspiration from male mentors, which helped her find her place as a woman in the construction industry.
Like an adult blowing bubbles, taking that first daring step requires the most courage.
Innovation in the United States is not lacking. It’s just that patents are being registered in less-likely locales, according to researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
The findings are part of an ongoing research initiative spearheaded by Dr. Ram Mudambi, the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategic Management.
The umbrella project is dubbed iBEGIN, or International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation. A segment of the project explores innovation hubs in the United States, undertaking detailed analyses of more than 900 metropolitan areas in the U.S. In one of the first published outcomes of this research effort, Mudambi and his team examined the evolution of Detroit, a mainstay of the global automotive industry for over a century. While Detroit, a downtrodden city, continues to experience manufacturing decline, it is doing well as an innovation center, he said.
“The beauty of innovation is that it never stops,” Mudambi said. “In 1960, the U.S. was the richest country in the world, and Detroit was its richest city. And while the city has been in a continuous state of decline, we found that Detroit’s innovation numbers are very healthy.”
iBEGIN researchers define innovation through patent output, and they say Detroit’s patent output since 1975 has grown at a rate of almost twice the U.S. average. Detroit’s innovative resilience, Mudambi said, is due to its continuing centrality in global innovation networks in the automotive industry. It has maintained this centrality through connectedness to other worldwide centers of excellence in this industry, such as Germany and Japan. Its innovative links to Germany have been rising steadily over the last three decades, while its association with Japan began more recently, but also shows a steep upward trajectory.
Their research also unearthed a clearer picture of the shifting lines of American innovation. Today, Mudambi said, the Sun Belt features the country’s leading innovation hubs like San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Austin, Texas. Though the more traditional centers of innovation excellence in the Rust Belt cities have generally maintained healthy rates of innovation output, they have seen their shares of national innovative output decline. These include cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago.
“In the 19th century and for most of the 20th century, the innovation hotspots were co-located with centers of manufacturing mass production,” Mudambi said. “These were concentrated in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest. That’s not the case anymore. We’re seeing the lion’s share of patents being registered in regions dominated by high-knowledge industries. These industries create mainly white-collar positions for people with a bachelor’s degree, at minimum.
“However, what Detroit’s innovative success says about economies everywhere is that the roots of innovation are very deep. Policymakers spend a lot of time worrying about manufacturing. But manufacturing can be very ephemeral and firms often relocate manufacturing plants with very little notice. Innovation is more deeply rooted and, once an innovation center roots itself in an area, it’s much more likely to stick.”
Mudambi said the ongoing iBEGIN research initiative is a collaborative effort, with professionals in centers around the world, including: Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School, Italy’s Politecnico di Milano and University of Venice Ca Foscari, the Indian School of Business, and many others.
In addition to studying innovation in American cities, iBEGIN has ongoing research exploring other contexts. These include country contexts like China, India, Brazil, Portugal, Greece and Korea as well as specialized industry contexts like automobiles, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals.
The creators of an online financial marketplace aiming to improve the consumer’s buying power in financial transactions won the grand prize at the 17th annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, a Temple University-wide business plan competition.
RatesForUs.com, co-founded by CEO and Fox School of Business alumnus Ben Stucker, MBA ’13, and CTO Alec Baker, took home more than $60,000 in cash prizes, in addition to products and professional services, at the April 16 final presentations at the Fox School.
“If I could have burst out of my skin, I would have. This was one of the most rewarding and exciting moments of my life,” said Stucker, a longtime mortgage industry professional.
RatesForUs.com, which registered its website domain only two months prior to the final presentations, hopes to become the top online destination for mortgage shoppers, Stucker said. He and Baker first met in February to lay the foundation for their company and “then we wrote our business plan in three weeks,” Stucker said.
What sets apart RatesForUs from others in the marketplace, Stucker said, is that they have worked closely with consumers to understand and support their needs. From increased consumer privacy to allowing consumers to confidently obtain lower interest rates, Stucker said RatesForUs has taken steps to drastically improve the online shopping experience. With RatesForUs, Stucker said, personal information will only be shared when necessary and agreed to by the consumer, eliminating “the bombardment of calls and potential bias based on race, ethnicity or gender,” he said.
The cash and prizes from Be Your Own Boss Bowl® will support the continued development of the marketplace for RatesForUs, Stucker said.
“Our expenses to date have been minimal,” he said. “That’s intentional. We only take a step if we can measure the results for future decision-making purposes. First, we wanted to be sure consumers would value our service, so we talked to them. Then we took our survey results to the lenders that would be supplying the loans and they were interested. We’re going to continue using this lean methodology and complete the development of our marketplace. We are looking forward to continued interaction with those in our marketplace – lenders, consumers, and professionals.”
The annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, the flagship program of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), is one of the most lucrative and comprehensive business plan competitions in the country. This year, 12 business plans representing five of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges were selected as finalists. They competed for more than $160,000 in cash prizes, plus related products, professional services, and incubation space.
The competition features three distinctly different tracks: the Undergraduate Track, open to current Temple undergraduate students; the Upper Track, open to Temple graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff; and the Social Innovation Track.
Winners from each track were:
- Upper Track: RatesForUs.com
- Social Innovation Track: ROAR for Good, LLC, a developer of wearable self-defense tech designed for women. (Yasmine Mustafa, FOX ’06; Anthony Gold; Peter Eisenhower, ENG ‘11; Charlotte Wells, CLA ’15; Hunter Vargas, FOX ’16; and Christina Kazakia)
- Undergraduate Track: Habitat LLC, a platform for students to buy and sell goods within their college communities. (Fox School students Andrew Nakkache, Michael Paskiewicz and Brandon Bahr, and Kathleen Chen)
For the sixth year, the IEI awarded the Chris Pavlides Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a strong passion for entrepreneurship. This year’s recipient was junior entrepreneurship major Vincent Paolizzi.
Temple alumnus Christopher Wink, CLA ’08, received the 2015 Self-Made & Making Others Award. Wink is the co-founder and editor of Technical.ly, a network of local technology news sites and events.
Be Your Own Boss Bowl® participants benefit from coaching, mentoring and networking opportunities with the Philadelphia area’s leading business professionals, including members of GPSEG, the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group. Overall, the competition receives support from 300 executives and entrepreneurs.
–Christopher A. Vito
Be Your Own Boss Bowl® 2015, by the numbers
$200,000 Value of monetary, products, services and mentorship prizes awarded
300 Mentors and preliminary judges
143 Overall participants in BYOBB
64 Senior executive mentors
61 Registered company submissions
32 Participating finalist team members
13 Temple University schools and colleges represented in BYOBB
13 Presentation coaches
12 Finalist teams representing five Temple schools and colleges
6 Finalist judges
At Temple University’s Ritter Hall Annex, the elevator bay is abuzz with students and staff members talking about the building’s newest addition: Rad Dish Co-Op Café. The vegetarian, cash-only eatery has become a hotspot for foodies looking for locally sourced meals.
Keeping an eye on a midday lunch rush, Lauren Troop, Rad Dish co-founder and its head of outreach, said her involvement in the café inspired her transfer into the Fox School of Business.
“Through this project, I was able to see that you can use business to solve problems like these and be a leader in your community,” said Troop, a junior entrepreneurship major.
Troop and fellow Fox School student Trevor Southworth are among the Temple students who are behind the primary operations and day-to-day management of Rad Dish Co-Op Café.
Troop said she’s always been fascinated by eating habits and the sustainability of the slow-food movement, which promotes the use of a local ecosystem to support traditional meals. It wasn’t until Troop opened Rad Dish in January and started her courses at the Fox School in Fall 2014 that she saw how to turn her interests into a business.
“I took a class that explored innovation through different business plans and Rad Dish’s business plan, being a co-op, is so unique,” Troop said.
Utilizing skills gleaned from her Marketing and Human Resource courses, Troop said she began to problem-solve issues of promotion and business management while working to maintain the idea of opening a locally sourced restaurant at Temple.
Rad Dish Café, as a co-op, embraces a purely democratic leadership that allows all students equal voting rights, and invites students and community members to buy into the co-op for $25, which affords them a 10-percent discount on purchases and voting privileges in the co-op.
Among the committee leaders is Trevor Southworth, who not only supports Rad Dish’s cause, but also views the venture as an ideal application for the skills he’s learning in the Fox School.
“I’m in Cost Analysis right now and that’s everything I do for Rad Dish,” said Southworth, a sophomore accounting major at the Fox School.
Rad Dish is primarily funded by seed money provided by Temple University’s Office of Sustainability. Southworth, who heads Rad Dish’s finance committee, focuses on creating a financial plan that allows the restaurant to meet and exceed overhead costs and saving to pay back the seed funding within five years. Southworth and Troop also worked to launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that raised $2,000. The idea came from alumna Rachel Voluck, FOX ’14, the former president of Fox School student professional organization Net Impact, a responsible business coalition.
Prior to its February soft opening, Rad Dish worked with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute’s (IEI) Living Learning Community to plan the grand opening and formulate outreach programs. Troop also said she plans to work with Sustainable Marketing business students to pitch the co-op model, and hopes to resume a series of independent studies available through the Fox School to get students involved.
“This semester we hope to create those relationships and plan out more organized internships,” Troop said. “A big thing for us is collaboration between colleges.”
Troop and Southworth have also reached out to Dylan Baird, FOX ’13. The alumnus, who took second place at the IEI’s 2010 Be Your Own Boss Bowl, a university-wide business plan competition, launched Philly Foodworks, an aggregator for local farms to sell their crops locally. Rad Dish uses Baird’s community-sourced agriculture delivery service as a drop-off/pick-up zone for the café’s food stores. And the café’s breads and pastries are courtesy of Lauren Yaghoobian, FOX ’01, who launched Northeast Philadelphia-based Wildflour Bakery with her husband, Nishan, shortly after graduating.
“We would use Temple alumni over anyone else because they get so excited about it,” Southworth said. “It’s natural networking and I’ve learned a lot.”
Both Troop and Southworth look forward to continuing their business educations and applying their skills to Rad Dish’s everyday operation.
“I want to learn these news skills and have this business succeed,” Troop said. “I’m excited to continue collaboration between a variety of Temple schools and colleges.”
It’s never too early to embrace entrepreneurship.
That’s what nearly 100 Philadelphia high school students learned March 12, in gathering at Temple University’s Fox School of Business for the fourth-annual Youth Entrepreneurship Conference.
The collaboration between Temple University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurs (NFTE) made for a successful event, providing NFTE students the opportunity to meet business educators, leaders and mentors who ignited their entrepreneurial mindset. Participating Philadelphia high schools in the one-day conference included Boys Latin Charter School, Esperanza Charter School, Franklin Learning Center and Lincoln High School.
Private sector leader Jeff Brown, President and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, served as the event’s keynote speaker. Brown, who also operates 11 Philadelphia-area ShopRite supermarkets, shared how he has utilized entrepreneurial thinking to operate supermarkets successfully. Hiring local residents, incorporating healthcare services and offering financial services not previously available, he said, have impacted the surrounding neighborhoods.
Sylvia McKinney, Executive Director of NFTE, and Tyra Ford, IEI Director of Operations and Strategic Marketing Initiatives, opened the conference with welcoming remarks.
“It may not happen in the next 12 months. It might happen five years from now,” McKinney said, “but the entrepreneurial mindset we’re developing with these students is going to go with them for a lifetime.”
Two faculty members from the Fox School – IEI Managing Director Rob McNamee and IEI Executive Director Ellen Weber – led presentation workshops and interactive activities to share their insights on becoming successful entrepreneurs. Additionally, David Kaiser, the Director of Undergraduate Enrollment Management at the Fox School, offered helpful tips on getting into the college of your dreams.
“It was great to see how engaged and energized the students were in learning about the different ways to innovate,” Weber said. “Students learned how to create experiments to test assumptions that are core to their business models, using the hypothetical Onion Goggles Company.”
According to the participating high school students, the takeaways from the event varied.
“Innovation is key,” said Jose Asencio, a student from the Franklin Learning Center. “Innovation helps express creativity and helps build and maintain relationships.”
“If you work hard enough, you can be anything you want in life,” said Shadeed Savage, another student from the Franklin Learning Center. “I learned from the instructors that not everybody started out at the top. Many people have to find their way on their own terms.”
Founded in New York City in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a former entrepreneur turned high school math teacher in South Bronx, N.Y., NFTE began as a program to prevent dropouts and improve academic performance among students who were at risk of failing or quitting school. NFTE inspires young people from low-income communities to stay in school, recognize business opportunities and plan successful futures. Visit www.nfte.com for more information.
The mission of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute is to proactively promote the entrepreneurial spirit throughout all 17 schools and colleges of Temple University. The IEI’s highly skilled staff and faculty provide consulting services to project groups and new ventures while developing and maintaining the IEI’s rich offerings of programs and relationships. The IEI offers many years of experience in new ventures launched and consulting, extensive networks and boundless enthusiasm for experiential learning.
Click here to learn more about IEI.
Anthony Di Benedetto, professor of marketing and supply chain management and Senior Washburn Research Fellow, has been ranked sixth globally among innovation management scholars.
Temple University was also highlighted as one of the top 10 innovation management universities in the world, ranked 10th. Temple and the University of Pennsylvania are the only universities in Greater Philadelphia to be ranked.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Di Benedetto said. “You want to get semi-famous. You’re not going to be American Idol famous, but you are going to get known in your area.”
Researchers Pianpian Yang and Lei Tao, of Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, collected articles published in the two leading innovation management journals, one of which Di Benedetto has edited for nine years — the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM) —and the top five management journals, determining if the published articles pertained to innovation management.
A count of published articles – totaling 1,229 between 1991 and 2010 – was used to determine the ranking. Scholars were ranked according to the amount of articles they published in that set, with the scholar with the most articles being ranked the highest. Di Benedetto published 16 articles.
In addition to JPIM, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management was the other leading innovation management journal. The top five management journals included Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review and Academy of Management Journal.
When Di Benedetto was a junior professor in the early ’80s, he discovered that there was little research on new product innovation. Most of the work was done in fields such as advertising and sales force management, but there were not many studies where researchers gathered hundreds of products, both successful and unsuccessful, and distinguished the differences between them.
“My supervisor at that time said, ‘If you stick with innovation, you could really make a difference and be a leader, because there are few people and a lot of unanswered research questions,’” Di Benedetto said.
Di Benedetto followed that advice and looked for ways to tap into under-researched fields. One of his most recent publications involved researching the timing of launch, which had not been well addressed by academics. The study drew from the supply chain literature, and it found that completing a lean launch was most efficient. A lean launch would allow a company to buy an option of either releasing their product immediately or delaying it until the timing improved.
Di Benedetto has also received the Research Publication Award for 2014 from the International Association for Management of Technology. He was one of the top 50 researchers in management of technology worldwide, based on publications during the last five years. Di Benedetto also received this award in 2009.
“I’ve always felt that they’ve supported my research here,” Di Benedetto said. “So it’s always been a good place to do research in this area. I don’t want to stop contributing. I’ve got a long way to go at Temple.”
The cement and concrete industry – an industry that has not substantially changed its production methods in 80 years – may not be the first place one would expect to find innovation, but innovating seems to come naturally to Juan David Penagos, director of new business for Colombian-based Argos, the fifth-largest cement producer in Latin America and the fourth-largest concrete producer in the United States.
Penagos, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (IME) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, hopes to foster innovation in both the cement company and in his home country, Colombia.
One of two Fulbright Scholars in Fox’s IME program, Penagos has already worked in the banking industry, where he and two partners created the first financial network for low-income individuals in Colombia, and in the technology industry, where he introduced the first outdoor LED screens to Colombia’s five largest cities.
In each case, Penagos was driven by a sense of social responsibility. With the LED screens, for instance, the company Penagos worked for provided screen time to local governments and hosted social events. Penagos’ understanding of the potential of business to turn a profit and also benefit the greater good drove Argos to offer Penagos a job.
Seven years later, that combined desire to enhance business practices and make the world a better place has led Penagos to the Fox School’s IME program. He sees innovation as a way to create new business solutions and jobs, improve quality of life and reduce society’s dependence on local governments.
“For me that’s the most important thing about innovation,” Penagos said. “The potential to not be expecting solutions from the government, to be the ones who create opportunities, to be the ones who create solutions for our daily lives.”
Argos already has innovation systems in place, but Penagos wanted “to be more involved in a deeper way in this concept, which I think is very new for us and I think for humanity as well,” he said. Since he already has an MBA, Penagos was attracted to the Fox School because it offers one of few dedicated innovation master’s degree programs in the United States.
“The courses that they offer, they are actually focused on what is happening in the world right now in innovation,” Penagos said.
“The better innovations in companies always occur in the lowest part of the chain,” he said. “The people who are facing the customers, the people who are facing the logistical problems, all of these people who are facing daily problems, they actually are the ones who have the better innovations.”
“What we have to do is create a path – to listen, to believe in what they’re saying and to give them the tools and the money to create the innovations.”
On April 24th, innovation and disruption expert Michael E. Raynor joined the Fox School to talk about:
- The distinction between Strategy and Innovation
- How to stop disruptors from stealing your lunch
- Why your previous strengths might be your future weaknesses
- How to respond to, and take advantage of, disruption in your market
Michael E. Raynor presented “Strategy and Innovation: Where Differentiation Meets Disruption,” a talk that highlighted the differences between strategy and innovation by providing empirical evidence of how and why business models and enabling technologies can disrupt the market place. His thinking challenges how we view organizational constraints, and offers insights that can help managers make better decisions.
Prior to his visit to Fox School, Raynor shared his insight on the three rules with an intimate crowd gathered for the 8th Annual Frederic Fox Leadership Lecture and Innovation Leadership Speaker Series (ILSS) at the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia.
Over a five-year period, Raynor and co-author Mumtaz Ahmed analyzed 45 years of data on more than 25,000 publicly traded companies. Of those companies, Raynor and Ahmed found only 344 to be “miracle workers” with truly exceptional, long-term performance.The trick for those companies was fundamentally about creating value for customers, Raynor said. The miracles workers all produced better products before cheaper products. To capture value, the companies focused on increasing revenue before cutting costs.
The Three Rules became:
1. Better before cheaper
2. Revenue before costs
3. There are no other rules
Of course rules only work if you follow them. “We all excuse ourselves from rules at one time or another,” Raynor said, but rules can work magic if you use them even when you are pulled in the other direction. This is especially useful when companies are looking to innovate in ways that push beyond today’s frontier of the possible. Where strategy is about making tradeoffs, innovation is about breaking tradeoffs to get more for less, Raynor said.
The three rules apply here and can help companies make the leap of faith that innovation often requires. “Rules allow you to do what’s right even when it doesn’t look or feel right,” Raynor said. He sees a future where chief innovation officers manage innovation the way chief strategy officers manage strategy. “The companies that innovate best are the companies that take it seriously and treat it like a thing to be managed,” he said. Those companies will succeed if they view all decisions through the lens of these hard and fast rules. “If you want to play house odds,” Raynor said, “you should bet on better before cheaper.”
Michael E. Raynor is co-author with Professor Clayton M. Christensen of The Innovator’s Solution, which was on The Wall Street Journal and The New York Timesbestseller lists, and sole author of The Innovator’s Manifesto, released in 2011, when the Financial Times called Raynor “one of the most articulate and interesting” thought leaders in the field. Raynor’s The Strategy Paradox was named by Strategy + Business as one of its top five picks in strategy, and BusinessWeek named it one of the 10 Best Business Books for 2007. Most recently, Raynor co-authored The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think, which was selected by The Globe and Mail as their #1 business book for 2013.
Raynor is a Director at Deloitte Services LP and the Innovation Theme Leader in the firm’s Eminence function. In addition, Raynor is an advisor to senior executives in many of the world’s leading corporations across a wide range of industries.