Press & Media
Fox School of Business Strategic Management Professor Ram Mudambi’s day-to-day routine may seem to include teaching and conducting research on international business, but that’s not all Mudambi does. He works to cultivate the people of Zon.
Mudambi’s first fantasy novel, The Empire of Zon, imagines a society in which two megatrends shape the way of life: female emancipation and environmental degradation.
“I felt very strongly about our current society,” Mudambi said. “I felt that it’s always interesting and fun to imagine what would happen if you extend things to extremes, and basically, that’s what I tried to do.”
Mudambi studied the history of patriarchy and the roles men and women have served based on gender. He based his world, the New Eartha, on the evolution of female emancipation from the right to vote, to more college degrees being obtained by women, to the emphasis of “female” qualities of cooperation in the workplace rather than “male” qualities of competition.
He also observed current trends in weather and climate, as well as failed and successful attempts to promote sustainability.
The Empire of Zon follows the life of what is known as the “Zon Sisterhood” — a society where men are deemed unnecessary. The novel follows this society’s quest for a new home planet — New Eartha — due to the collapse of the Earth’s biosphere. On their new home planet, the Sisterhood conquers the native people who are patriarchal and technologically backward, establishing the Empire of Zon.
Creating a new world with a new set of rules wasn’t easy for Mudambi. He waited until he was on sabbatical in Sydney to write the novel.
“I always wanted to write,” Mudambi said. “I wrote sort of haphazardly for a long time but never got around to it. I kept putting it off. It’s one of those things when you have an idea and you keep saying, ‘I’ll do it next year. I’ll do it next year.’ And eventually, I got to this point.”
The process took Mudambi about 16 months from start to finish. He spent a year writing the first draft and another four to five months editing it.
Mudambi is in the process of writing the second installment in what is to be a trilogy, but he has noticed that the process is not as fast as it was when writing the first.
“I’m having a harder time with writing it because I’m not on sabbatical,” Mudambi said. “I have so many other things going on, so I’m going much slower.”
Through the Zon Sisterhood’s new life on New Eartha, Mudambi attempts to illustrate that a perfect society is impossible.
“We often think that if we could just do something this way, it would fix everything. And I guess what I’m trying to demonstrate is that, if you do that, you get rid of one set of problems, but then you get another set of problems that arise.”
Although the HBO series Boardwalk Empire is a work of historical fiction, Fox School alumnus Edward McGinty, BBA ’89, the show’s research advisor, helps ensure that the writers’ words are backed up with historical facts. Here, he talks about how growing up in Atlantic City helped land him a job on the acclaimed series.
How did you connect with Terence Winter, the show’s creator?
After graduating from Temple, I went to film school at Columbia University, where I met Terence Winter at a Q-and-A screening with the cast of The Sopranos. A few years later, Terry mentioned that he was writing a project about Prohibition in Atlantic City to a friend of mine from film school. My friend said, “You’ve got to meet my friend Eddie, he grew up in Atlantic City and knows everything there is to know about the town.”
What was that first meeting like?
I brought as much research material as I could carry to the meeting. My grandfather and my father, Ed Sr., ENG ’56, had worked at the Ritz Carlton, where the real Nucky lived. At the end of the meeting, I showed a photo of my grandfather wearing his bellman’s uniform, standing on the boardwalk in front of the Ritz. Terry looked at it and said, “You’re hired!” I think I may have been the first person on the payroll.
So growing up in Atlantic City gave you an edge?
Absolutely. I brought a lot of first-hand knowledge to the table. I was always fascinated by the history of the city I grew up in. I had always heard stories from my Dad about growing up in Atlantic City, so there was a lot of family history I could refer to. And [Temple History Professor] Bryant Simon’s book, Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America, sat next to Nelson Johnson’s Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City [on which the HBO series is based] on my bookshelf for years. Those are two of my personal favorite books about the history of Atlantic City.
What does your father say about your work on the show?
The high point of my life was taking my Dad to see the Boardwalk set in Brooklyn. When he saw it for the first time, he stopped in his tracks. He climbed the stairs to the boardwalk they had built and leaned on the railing and said, “You guys really nailed it.”
What does being a researcher for the show entail?
The writing staff comes up with the storylines, and I support them with as much historical research as I can about the time period. If they have any questions along the way, I find the answer by searching the Internet, going to libraries, calling on experts, etc. Anything I need to do to find answers as quickly as possible. When the script comes out, I go back through it and fact-check, making sure that everything is on the mark. Everyone on the show does their best to make sure the historical elements are as authentic as possible.
You appeared on screen during the first few seasons as Ward Boss Boyd. How did that happen?
One day I was sitting in the writer’s room, and Terry looked across the table and said, “You kind of look like a character from back then. You should audition.” I brushed it off, but he persisted. I had trained as an actor at the American Conservatory Theater, but I hadn’t auditioned in a few years, so I was extremely nervous. But I got the part. The fun thing is that my character was named after a real ward boss, who was my grandfather’s fishing buddy. So much of this show for me has been due to good luck and great fortune. The best part of it all has been having a mentor like Terence Winter to learn from.
Did you draw on your experience in Philadelphia while researching the storyline for Willie Thompson, who was a student at Temple this season?
Terry had the initial idea to have Willie go to Temple, and it made a lot of sense. When I went to Temple as an undergrad, there was a big contingent of Atlantic City kids there. So I was able to add a lot of first-hand knowledge to my research. On top of that, the Temple Library staff was very helpful. They pointed me to a number of digitized documents and yearbooks from the era. Also, [Professor Emeritus] Jim Hilty’s book, Temple University: 125 Years of Service to Philadelphia, the Nation, and the World, was an invaluable resource. Every Temple student and alumnus should have a copy of that book on their shelf.
Analytics has rapidly integrated into the sport industry to optimize scheduling, assist with resource allocation, and examine the legal environment within sports organizations.
A new report from the Temple University Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), based at the Fox School of Business, examines the history and current state of analytics and Big Data in sports.
The report focuses on two main areas. The first is analysis of competition, which includes player evaluation and strategy and game management. The second is analytics that aid management of business and financial issues — this can include marketing, but that is simply a narrow part of the whole.
The paper is co-authored by Associate Professors Joris Drayer and Joel Maxcy, both faculty in Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. The report begins with the history of sports analytics and the founding of Sabermetrics, pioneered by Bill James. Sabermetrics produced cutting-edge statistical evaluations of sports players’ performance, starting with baseball.
Today, Major League Baseball (MLB) employs the most analytics professionals, with 97 percent of teams employing these professionals. Eighty percent of National Basketball Association (NBA) teams employ analytics professionals, as 56 percent of the National Football League (NFL) and 23 percent of the National Hockey League (NHL) do.
The report also includes two case studies. One explores the dynamic pricing of sports tickets, and the second discusses a system for combining GPS technology with highly sophisticated analytics to monitor athletes under game and practice conditions.
According to the report, the San Francisco Giants, along with technology partner Qcue, introduced dynamic ticket pricing (DTP) in 2009. The Giants were alone in their venture as recently as 2010, but now most MLB teams use some form of DTP. NBA and NHL teams are also rapidly implementing these strategies.
Determinants of ticket price are related to variables including: season ticket price, secondary market price, seat location, team performance, individual players’ performance, time and day of game, and game broadcasting.
The use of dynamic pricing has also spread to restaurants, movie theaters and the performing arts.
Catapult, based in Australia, developed the GPS system and data analysis algorithms in 2006. As of 2013, their client list includes more than 300 sports organizations globally.
“The system’s primary function is to monitor players’ movements and effort to ensure each player is optimally fit and trained without being overworked,” the report states.
A system such Catapult derives its analysis from three categories: performance analysis, injury analysis and tactical analysis. It works by attaching a small monitoring device to the back of a player’s jersey. Then the performance parameters are wirelessly uploaded to mobile computing devices or cloud-based software.
“The neat thing about this topic is that it’s of interest to any sports fan,” Drayer said. “Fantasy sports fans, for instance, are into numbers, and the rise of analytics gives fans access to more information.”
Though the report is of interest of sports fans and admirers, the basic premise of the applications mentioned is relevant to the general business community.
The full report is available at http://ibit.temple.edu/blog/2014/04/13/sports-analytics-advancing-decision-making-through-technology-and-data-2/
It started as an April Fools’ Day joke: Members of Gamma Iota Sigma-Sigma Chapter – the academic fraternity for students in risk management, insurance and actuarial science – were going to have their heads shaved to raise money and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer.
Just nine days later, that joke got serious. Thirteen Sigma Chapter members and officers, including chapter President Liz Mattox, served as shavees for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation during the Insurance Society of Philadelphia’s Philly I-Day, April 9 in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Head-shaving events are the signature component of St. Baldrick’s efforts to raise funds for childhood-cancer research. According to the foundation, 1,200 head-shaving events and more than 50,000 shavees this year alone have raised more than $27.3 million. From 2005 to 2013, the organization raised more than $125 million.
Though the Sigma Chapter had little more than a week to fundraise, members collected at least $5,700 in donations. Mattox said she’s confident that the Sigma Chapter, one of the largest student organizations at Temple, will include St. Baldrick’s in its already robust community-affairs efforts.
The oldest of nine children, Mattox said she has “an annoying habit of leading by example.”
“If I made it an initiative of the Sigma Chapter, I didn’t want it to be half-done,” she said.
So there she was – on stage at Philly I-Day in the final group of four shavees, including Mary Grace Sear, another female Sigma Chapter officer. When the clippers started buzzing, all the nervousness “floated away,” Mattox said.
“It was a very moving and proud moment that we could be involved and that we could do that for St. Baldrick’s,” she said.
Mattox will sport her new look at a number of prominent events during the coming weeks. The Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management at the Fox School of Business hosts its annual Awards for Excellence Dinner in Center City April 22, and the Sigma Chapter holds its Gamma Gala April 25.
She also will graduate with her degree in risk management and insurance May 15 and begins as a data analyst at Trion, an employee-benefits consulting company in Conshohocken, Pa., June 2.
“Everyone I’d want to be supportive – my family, my job, my peers – have been rallying around me,” she said.
“It was very surprising, but I feel great,” she said. “Everyone’s been saying it fits me well.”
Online pledges for the Sigma Chapter team are still being accepted via http://www.stbaldricks.org/teams/mypage/94098/2014
Upon completion of the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) Jeffrey Simonton, BBA ’13, was able to finish his undergraduate degree in legal studies at the Fox School of Business and earn the rank of second lieutenant. As homage of his hard work and time devoted to finishing his degree, he held his Officer Commissioning Ceremony at Alter Hall.
“I felt there was no other place to celebrate the culmination of three years of hard work except where it all took place,” Simonton said of the Dec 2013 ceremony.
About 35 members of his family and friends witnessed Simonton accept service into the Marine Corps and pledge an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business is honoring three top technology leaders at its 14th annual Information Technology Awards on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, on Temple University’s Main Campus. The nationally ranked Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) and the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) organize this premier event for Greater Philadelphia’s technology community.
Awardees include Linda Descano, Managing Director and Head of Content and Social at Citi; Matthew Gillin, CEO and co-founder of Relay; and John T. Marcante, Chief Information Officer of Vanguard and Managing Director of Vanguard’s Information Technology Division.
“Linda, Matt and John represent a remarkable level of excellence and commitment to leveraging IT in innovative ways to improve business and lives,” Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat said. “They also join a distinguished and deserving list of Fox IT Award honorees, who all serve as models for our students.”
Descano will receive the Fox Information Technology Award for Distinguished Alumni for her work in the IT field and her contributions to the community, to industry and to Temple University. In addition to her responsibilities for content and social at Citi, she also is President and CEO of Women & Co., a Citi-incubated and owned financial lifestyle resource for women.
Descano is a LinkedIn Influencer whose commentary on topics such as personal finance, career and leadership, and content marketing has appeared in countless publications including The Huffington Post, Reuters, Fox Business, U.S. News, MORE Magazine, American Banker and MSN Money, among others. Descano also serves on the board of directors of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., is president-elect of New York Women in Communications and is an executive member of Advertising Women of New York (AWNY).
Gillin will receive the Fox Information Technology Innovator Award. Gillin, who previously co-founded and served as the CEO for Ecount Inc., which was acquired by Citi in 2007, has won a number of awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Walter M. Aikman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. As CEO of Relay, Gillin oversees the strategy and day-to-day operations of a company that connects trusted brands with people through direct mobile communication so they can effortlessly get stuff done.
Marcante will receive the Fox Information Technology Leader Award for his leadership in the use and development of IT in business. Marcante is CIO and managing director of Vanguard’s Information Technology Division. With more than 26 years of experience in the business and technology fields, he has been with Vanguard since 1993. Prior to becoming CIO in 2012, Marcante held a number of leadership roles within the company, including rotations leading Global Technology Operations, overseeing Vanguard’s internal Six Sigma organization, and managing Vanguard’s High Net Worth business.
“In a world increasingly dominated by digital business models, the 2014 Fox School IT Award recipients are true role models for MIS students, who are learning digital business innovation and how to lead revenue growth in a digital economy,” said Munir Mandviwalla, founding chair of the MIS Department.
The Fox School’s MIS Department, ranked in the Top 15 nationally for its undergraduate program, seeks to be a worldwide leader in transformative research and teaching in the design, use, and effects of information technology. The Institute for Business and Information Technology integrates industry perspectives with academic research expertise to create forums for generating and exchanging best practices.
For more information on the annual Fox IT Awards, visit http://ibit.temple.edu
Michael E. Porter discusses regional, global competitiveness in Innovation Leadership Speaker Series
In a recent day-long visit to the Fox School of Business, legendary business strategist Michael E. Porter addressed two different audiences – Fox MBAs and Philadelphia executives – on two different topics: creating shared value through business and addressing the looming challenges of U.S. competitiveness.
While his presentations differed in substance, they were unified in a single call to action: Make business, and thereby the world, better.
“Making a profit is the most fundamental, powerful thing on this earth for making life better,” Porter told Fox graduate students in an afternoon presentation March 11, adding later, “If we can get businesses in the business of solving societal problems – as businesses – we truly have something exciting.”
Porter, the Harvard professor most renowned for his Five Forces analysis – a pillar of business strategy globally and taught to nearly every business student – visited Fox as part of the school’s ongoing Innovation Leadership Speaker Series (ILSS).
Mercedes Delgado, assistant professor of strategic management at the Fox School, facilitated Porter’s visit. Delgado, whom Porter called a “stunning young scholar,” is a partner on Porter’s research on innovation clusters and competitiveness as a senior associate of his Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.
In his presentation to Fox MBAs, Porter discussed the role of business in society as creating shared value (CSV), which he described as the next step to corporate philanthropy and social responsibility in that CSV offers more impact because it addresses significant societal needs through scalable business models.
For example, Porter said CSR would see fair trade as paying a higher price to farmers and certifying the goods as such. This, Porter said, is redistribution of wealth. CSV, meanwhile, would transform procurement and provide more collaboration with farmers, therefore improving quality and yield. Farmers could charge higher prices for higher-quality goods, and higher yield would increase quantity, improving the supply chain.
“These companies aren’t being good guys. They aren’t giving a donation,” Porter said of the CSV approach. “What are they doing? Capitalism.”
And that was his underlying message to the MBAs: Social needs represent the largest underserved market opportunity, and businesses can’t approach profit and societal impact as tradeoffs. They’re one in the same.
“Take the discipline of creating economic value but apply it to a larger aperture – that’s real purpose,” he said.
At an evening event at the Union League of Philadelphia with approximately 200 business leaders, Porter discussed the looming challenges of U.S. competitiveness. A fundamental threat: Living conditions for average Americans aren’t improving. “It’s not the recession,” Porter said. “It’s not temporary. It’s structural.”
America’s weaknesses, Porter said, include its tax code, K-12 education and its divisive political system. The country’s decisive strengths are the protection of property rights, innovation and entrepreneurship, universities, and innovation clusters, such as Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley.
“I’m deeply optimistic, because the hard stuff, we’re good at,” Porter said. “But we’ve let the basics be taken over by politics and false divisiveness.”
And that divisiveness is contributing to America losing its competitive edge.
The Fox School’s Department of Strategic Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, and Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives organized Porter’s visit. The Fox Innovation Leadership Speaker Series seeks to transform organizations into innovation-driven industry leaders by turning innovation research into practice. Speakers are internationally acclaimed experts who share their insights in applying proven and effective management tools for firms, large and small.
The next ILSS event, on April 24, will feature Michael E. Raynor discussing Strategy vs. Innovation: A Scientific Approach. For details, visit www.fox.temple.edu/innovation
The Fox School of Business full-time Global MBA program ascended 10 places, to No. 48 nationally, in the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
The designation is part of U.S. News’ 2015 Best Graduate Schools rankings, released March 11. Among full-time MBA programs nationwide, the Fox School, at No. 48, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School are the only business schools in Philadelphia to be ranked. In addition, the Fox School jumped from No. 23 to No. 15 nationally among the top business schools for internationally focused MBA programs.
Fox’s Part-time Professional MBA also ranked among the best in the U.S., at No. 53 out of the 310 part-time programs nationwide.
“The Fox School’s continued ascent in national and international rankings is affirmation by the marketplace of our high-quality programs, but we will not rest on our laurels,” Dean M. Moshe Porat said. “As always, we want to keep Fox on the forefront of management training and are accomplishing this by focusing on competency-based education that emphasizes crossing boundaries – in terms of disciplines, cultures and much more.”
This fall, the Fox School is launching a redesigned curriculum for its Global MBA, a two-year program that combines experiential learning, paid internships, and deep immersion in the global business environment. Fox MBAs travel to, and participate in, emerging hotspots of social, economic, technological, and organizational innovation and entrepreneurship. The program features two required international experiences.
In addition to international immersions in emerging economies, students provide professional-grade strategic solutions to paying clients through the capstone Fox Management Consulting (Fox-MC) Practice and have the option of pursuing a dual degree in a specialized masters program.
All Fox students have access to the school’s renowned Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), a comprehensive resource focused on preparing students for entry into the professional business environment. CSPD oversees internship and job placement for both undergraduate and graduate students at the Fox School. In the past three years, placement rates for full-time Fox MBAs have been between 93 percent and 98 percent, and internship placement has remained at 100 percent.
To learn more about the graduate programs at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, visit www.fox.temple.edu/grad. The 2015 edition of Best Graduate Schools is available at www.usnews.com/grad.