Rory Phalon
Rory Phalon

Entrepreneurship, a pillar at Temple University, continues to flourish campus-wide.

Adding to that robust culture, a recently forged student professional organization is helping to strengthen Temple’s ties to entrepreneurship. The Temple University Venture Club (TUVC) is the latest extension of entrepreneurial support offered to students, and offers students opportunities to learn about entrepreneurial finance and venture investing.

In starting the entrepreneurship-focused organization, Fox School of Business senior Rourke Phalon set out to create a space that is for fellow business-minded individuals, whether or not they are business majors.

“The most rewarding part about guiding student entrepreneurs is helping them tap into opportunities that no one had made available to me as an underclassman,” said Phalon, an International Business major from Watertown, Conn. “I had been an active member of student professional organizations dedicated to institutional finance and entrepreneurship, but there was this interesting world which blended both that needed more attention brought to it. I helped form the club to fill that gap.”

While entrepreneurial thinking is mainly associated within the Fox School, TUVC hopes to foster growth and innovation among all Temple students. According to Zachary Scheffer, the Venture Club’s vice president, the organization seeks to help students who may not know where to begin when launching a business or venture.

“We encourage all backgrounds to join our organization because if you have an entrepreneur’s mindset, you may need information regarding funding one day,” said Scheffer. “We currently have a few members from outside of Fox that find great value in the opportunities and information TUVC provides.”

For Phalon, serving as president of a new organization with more than 20 members is no easy feat. But, he said, seeing students grow and take advantage of new opportunities through other startups has made the journey worth it.

“The overall mission of the Venture Club is to create a culture around entrepreneurial finance at Temple,” he said. “We accomplish that goal by hosting an entrepreneurship speaker series, and by making students aware of networking, volunteer, and work opportunities in the entrepreneurship space.”

Venture Club is the latest edition to Temple’s entrepreneurship-rich landscape. Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy (TUEA), launched in Fall 2016, already has begun expanding the university’s widespread entrepreneurial culture by incorporating entrepreneurship education into coursework delivered by faculty members throughout all of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges.

TUEA is an extension of Temple’s renowned Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, which uses applied, hands-on learning and access to entrepreneurs and mentors to proactively promote entrepreneurial spirit for students from all disciplines.

While the Temple Venture Club is still young, the organization’s corporate relations officer Courtney Mangano envisions a bright future for TUVC.

“I hope the Venture Club continues to act as a platform for anyone looking to gain experience on how to successfully become involved in the startup and venture capital community, get an internship, and network with our influential guest speakers,” said Mangano.

Photo of Cristo Rey eventAt Temple University’s Fox School of Business, students know that networking is crucial to professional success. That’s why they are helping local high school students perfect their personal elevator pitches.

Students from Temple’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (Temple AMA) are collaborating this semester with Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, a private high school located in North Philadelphia, to work with its students on professional development.

In January, the Fox School hosted juniors and seniors from Cristo Rey to share tips on personal and professional presentation skills and communication skills in a formal environment. Temple AMA members plan on visiting Cristo Rey’s North Philadelphia campus in May 2017, when its members plan to speak to the student body at large.

The initial activity was part of “Project: Career,” a networking initiative between the Fox School and Cristo Rey. Cristo Rey combines academic curriculum with professional work experience. Each student, in grades 9 through 12, works a real job for real wages five days each month. This affords Cristo Rey’s students the professional development opportunities they will need at the next level, and substantially reduces their tuition at the school.

Cristo Rey’s ideals align well with those of Temple AMA, said Mina Kwong, the student organization’s Director of Social Impact.

“Our mission is to transform students’ lives,” said Kwong, 20. “We provide students with opportunities to enhance their marketing skills, knowledge and personal networks. We want to do that through community service and social impact.”

At the Project: Career event, Cristo Rey’s students received mentorship from Fox School marketing majors on their college experiences, and their academic careers within the program.

“Our students really enjoyed the event,” said Joanna Wusinich, Director of the Work-Study Program at Cristo Rey. “They saw it as an opportunity to get their feet wet and get comfortable networking. All of our students have four years worth of internship experience under their belts, so I think they took a lot of pride in being able to talk about their work history.”

Photo of Cristo Rey eventWusinich said she first learned about Temple AMA two years ago, and the two groups have been working together ever since. The goal for each, she said, is to foster growth through collaboration.

“We wanted to bring Cristo Rey’s students to our business setting and open up their eyes,” Kwong said. “That’s something that is valuable for them, in learning about us. It’s a learning opportunity for us, as well. It’s so eye-opening to see that their students have lots of internship experience. It’s really inspiring.”

Cristo Rey’s graduating seniors in the class of 2016 achieved a 100-percent college acceptance rate, which according to Wusinich demonstrates the school’s biggest impact in the determination of its students.

“The confidence of our seniors—I know that is directly related to the willingness of Temple’s students to coach them and prep them for the event,” said Wusinich. “The Temple American Marketing Association has really stood out for its professionalism and level of maturity, and serves as a strong example and as role models for our students.”

Temple AMA only recently established the Social Impact Committee headed by Kwong. She said its involvement with Cristo Rey is just the beginning of what could be achieved by the organization and in its future collaborations. The group is actively looking for more opportunities through which it can have a positive impact in Philadelphia.

“We’re very grateful for the partnership with Temple AMA,” said Wusinich. “It’s been a pleasure working with them and we’re looking forward to growing and building this relationship with them.”

OWLympiad_1The Fox School of Business will welcome nearly 250 juniors from Philadelphia-area high schools to Temple University for the 7th annual OWLympiad math competition, to be held May 9 at the Howard Gittis Student Center.

Free to attend, OWLympiad offers cash prizes for 11th-graders who are exploring career possibilities in the actuarial science field. Actuaries leverage high-level numerical skills to assume positions in insurance, consulting, investment banking, government organizations, and more.

“This event creates awareness that actuarial science is an appealing career path for someone who loves math, and it’s a great way for local math-minded students to connect with one another,” said OWLympiad coordinator Dr. Krupa Viswanathan, an Associate Professor and Director of the Fox School’s Actuarial Science program.

OWLympiad will challenge teams of four students to demonstrate their knowledge in a range of math-related subjects, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The competition, which begins at 9 a.m., will consist of a multiple-choice exam, a “24” math cardgame competition, and a Quizzo-style lightning round. The team that accrues the most points will be awarded $400. All participating students will receive a customized T-shirt, lunch, and other items provided by the event’s sponsors.

OWLympiad_2The Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, as well as the Sigma Chapter of international professional fraternity Gamma Iota Sigma, will host the competition. Travelers Insurance Company and the Casualty Actuarial Society are the event’s sponsors.

Temple University offers one of the most-distinguished Actuarial Science programs in North America, and has been recognized by the Society of Actuaries as a Center of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) – one of only 30 institutions to receive this honor. The Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department has offered engagement opportunities for local high school students for the past 15 years, including OWLympiad.

Email Timothy Ellis (timothy.ellis@temple.edu) or Viswanathan (krupa@temple.edu) for more information about OWLympiad.

Alexander Brannan, Lily Tran, Abbey Harris, Rachel BakerHow sweet it is.

Marketing majors from Temple University’s student chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) won the parent organization’s annual Collegiate Case Competition by delivering a marketing strategy for a product from event sponsor The Hershey Company.

The Temple AMA team took top honors ahead of the University of Pennsylvania, Texas State University, and Ferris State University, among other tough competitors. The team of marketing students from the Fox School of Business assembled a thorough, research-driven marketing plan for Hershey’s Ice Breakers Cool Blast Chews, emerging from a field of 91 college chapters to claim first place in the prestigious competition for the first time. The $3,000 top prize will be allotted toward defraying costs related to next year’s case competition, the team said.

“This puts our chapter on the map,” said junior Lily Tran. “Now, other chapters across the country and internationally will look to us as a prime example of what it takes to win.”

The Temple AMA all-junior presentation team comprised Tran, Abbey Harris, Rachel Baker, and Alexander Brannan. The written case team included seniors Taylor Sauder, Rachel Zydyk, and Jennifer McGill. Temple AMA was one of 10 national finalists invited to deliver a presentation at the AMA International Collegiate Conference, held March 17-20 in New Orleans.

The final presentation culminated more than seven months of original research, situation analysis, conducting focus groups and surveys, and marketing recommendations by the Temple AMA team. The group had submitted its written case to AMA in December and, one month later, learned that it had been selected as one of the 10 finalists. From there, they delivered a number of “dry-run presentations,” said Dr. Craig Atwater, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Temple’s Fox School of Business, and one of Temple AMA’s three faculty advisors.

Photo of the American Marketing Association (AMA) Collegiate Case Competition award.“Our team took tips from the faculty members and PhD students to whom they made their practice presentations and fine-tuned the presentation until it was perfectly polished,” Atwater said. “Their focus groups and taste tests also helped our students determine that the product’s positioning was ambiguous. It’s not a gum, as it dissolves within 15 seconds, and yet it’s not a mint. It’s instead classified within a subcategory, as a power-mint. Our students found that for millennials, who enjoy trying new things, this product is cool and fun, but they found that it also required an explanation.”

Those elements proved critical to the Temple AMA team’s presentation, which the group delivered before a trio of high-ranking executives from Hershey. Then, the marketing students waited until all other names had been announced before celebrating their victory.

“While awaiting the results, I remember counting the spots and losing count because my heart started to pound,” said Harris. “TU-AMA is improving in reputation thanks to our incredible faculty advisors – Dr. Craig Atwater, Professor Jim Thompson, and Dr. Drew Allmond – our talented Fox School professors, and the support of the Marketing department.”

Added Baker: “I believe our success is a direct tribute to Temple University’s dedicated faculty, who over the past three years have consistently encouraged innovation in team settings, fostered perseverance, taught us how to think strategically, and have pushed us to reach our potential.”

AIS October 2015

The Association for Information Systems (AIS) has recognized its affiliated student chapter at Temple University’s Fox School of Business with the Distinguished Chapter Award, naming it one of the top-four student chapters in the country.

In addition to the recognition, Temple AIS will receive $250 to further its aspirations as a student organization. AIS will recognize Temple’s chapter at the 2015 International Conference on Information Systems Dec. 13-16, in Fort Worth, Texas, and again at the AIS Student Chapter Leadership Conference April 1-3, 2016, in Bloomington, Ill.

Temple AIS has repeatedly received distinction as an elite national chapter in each year of its existence. In 2013, it was designated as AIS Chapter of the Year.

“Temple AIS is not only excelling within the Temple University community, but also on a national level,” said Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Chair of the Fox School’s Management Information Systems department. “Earning recognition as a Distinguished Chapter demonstrates the sterling reputation of Temple AIS, and I could not be more proud of their achievements, both past and present.”

The Distinguished Chapter Award highlights a chapter’s excellence in the areas of emphasis: professional development, membership, careers in information systems, community service, fundraising, and communications.

“This recognition is a testament to our national reputation, and a result of the hard work from previous officer teams,” said Temple AIS President Eric Koeck, a senior studying Management Information Systems at the Fox School. “We look forward to continuing this tradition as we work toward earning the Chapter of the Year award.”

The award recognizes the “best of the best” from 70 different chapters across the country. Temple’s chapter joins those from the University of Alabama and the University of Montana as chapters that are improving the professional networks of students engaged in the Information Systems degree program, the association said in a statement.

“AIS takes immense pride in recognizing the distinguished scholars who make up our community, and ultimately, contribute to the success of the field,” said AIS Vice President of Student Chapters James Parrish.

Founded in 1994 as a professional organization, AIS first launched student chapters in 2008. Each year, the association awards one chapter the honor of Chapter of the Year, and three others as Distinguished Chapters.

Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management Michael McCloskey speaks to area high school students on the significance of financial literacy.
Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management Michael McCloskey speaks to area high school students on the significance of financial literacy.

It’s not what you make. It’s what you save.

That’s what Michael McCloskey said, as he asked for a student volunteer to share details of his personal finances.

At that moment, a hand shot into the air. The area high school student divulged to McCloskey how much money he earns each month by working his part-time job, and also how much he spends. Then McCloskey asked the student if he owns a car. The student replied yes, but added that his parents manage its related expenses.

“Well, that’s going to change one day,” said McCloskey, Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management at the Fox School of Business, “and it’s important that everyone in this room is prepared for that day.

The Fox School hosted more than 70 high school students from the Philadelphia region April 29 for a first annual Financial Literacy seminar, offering a variety of guest speakers on topics ranging from early investing, credit, and financial aid for college.

Fox School’s Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a risk and insurance fraternity, organized the four-hour event, to demonstrate the importance of managing one’s personal finances to prevent common financial pitfalls and to encourage better decision-making in regard to money. Reducing student debt is one of six commitments made by Temple University President Neil Theobald, who recently implemented the Fly In 4 program.

The event opened with McCloskey’s discussion on investing for the future. McCloskey, who teaches a general education course on the subject, explained the difference between good credit and bad credit, introduced the students to terms like insolvency and net worth, and encouraged them to jot down their monthly expenditures as a way of tracking their spending.

The students also learned about college admissions and financial aid application procedures from David Kaiser, Director of Undergraduate Enrollment at the Fox School, and Celeste D. Roberts, Temple’s Assistant Bursar of Financial Literacy. Following a lunch break, the students met with Fox senior Francesca Waddington, Sigma’s Vice President of Community Affairs, for a discussion focusing on the college experience.

“Four years ago, I was extremely confused with applying for financial aid and student loans, and had little understanding of what impact this would have on me when I graduated,” said Waddington, who organized the event with the help of Vice Dean Debbie Campbell, Director of Undergraduate Enrollment David Kaiser and Sigma Director of Community Affairs Sean Johnson.

“I think it’s crucial to educate students who plan to attend college on exactly what the financial burden is and, more importantly, how to lessen this burden. I think understanding how to become financially literate is vital to success, which was our inspiration for starting an event like this.”

The Financial Literacy seminar served as just one of many initiatives organized by the Sigma Chapter. In April, Sigma presented a check for $11,200 to its charity of choice, Brave Hearts for Strong Minds. The organization, based in the Philadelphia area, collects educations funds for children who have lost an income-earning parent.

For more information on the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, visit its website.

SPO Madness 1

The pizza boxes stacked onto a waist-high countertop stood taller than Pauline DeAndrade, President of Temple University’s chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).

One by one, as fellow members trickled in to NABA’s April 22 assembly meeting, the mound of pizzas shrunk in size.

A catered assembly meeting was NABA’s reward for winning the inaugural Fox SPO Madness. A Twitter-based bracket competition, Fox SPO Madness pitted 16 student-professional organizations (SPOs) at Temple’s Fox School of Business against one another, with the winner earning a pizza party for its members, sponsored by Vanguard, a parter of the Fox School’s Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD).

NABA defeated Temple’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (TU-AMA) in the final round.

“When we surpassed 200 votes in the championship round, I think that was when I started thinking we might win,” said DeAndrade, a graduating senior and a summer intern with Deloitte’s auditing practice in Philadelphia. “Our support system showed during the duration of the contest, which made it a lot of fun.”

SPO Madness 2

For a two-week span, from late March to early April, Fox SPO Madness galvanized SPOs into action. The contest ran simultaneously to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, ending April 6, the same day as the basketball tournament’s championship game.

Of Fox School’s 24 SPOs, 16 maintain Twitter accounts. Each SPO was chosen randomly to populate spots in a 16-entry bracket. Once daily at 9 a.m., beginning March 17, the Fox School’s Twitter account (@foxschool) unveiled that day’s matchup to be voted upon. In each matchup, the retweet and favorite functions served as votes for respective SPOs and, at 3 p.m., a winner was declared.

To ensure the largest number of votes each time, NABA employed social media platforms, emails to its listserv members, and regular appeals to coworkers, family and friends.

“We tapped into our alumni, too, and we do so regularly,” said senior Harold Rosemund, NABA’s Social Media Coordinator. “For example, if one of our members knows they can do better in a particular course, we reach out to our alums and say, ‘Is anyone available to mentor a student, or consult with them on a project?’ Beyond the scope of the contest, our alumni base is always so supportive.”

“And I think this (contest) shows just how strong the SPOs are at Fox.”

Not to mention how hungry they are.