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Fox’s Center for Student Professional Development gears up for next networking and recruiting event

By: | January 29th, 2015 | leave a comment

Fox School’s Center for Student Professional Development, which hosts the Feb. 11 Spring Connection, expects a similar turnout to what the Fall Connection (pictured) produced in September. (Courtesy: Fox CSPD)

Fox School’s Center for Student Professional Development, which hosts the Feb. 11 Spring Connection, expects a similar turnout to what the Fall Connection (pictured) produced in September. (Courtesy: Fox CSPD)

The Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) at the Fox School of Business is looking to build upon its previous networking successes to make its next event one of the best yet.

The Spring Connection, which is scheduled for Feb. 11th, is set to mirror the CSPD’s Fall Connection. The Spring Connection follows up September’s Fall Connection, and has secured nearly 60 employers from various industries and is expected to add an additional 20 employers. Student registration is steadily rising, and CSPD expects about 600 to 700 students in attendance.

“For the past seven years, on average, our Spring Connections have hosted 65 employers, we’re well ahead of where we’ve been” said Holly Pfeifer, event coordinator and CSPD Assistant Director for Corporate Relations. “We’ve developed strong relationships with the employers.”

To help students prepare for meetings with top-tier employers such as Comcast, Deloitte, Wawa, and Verizon Wireless, the CSPD hosts one-hour workshops and résumé critique sessions. The workshops introduce students to the resources the CSPD office has to offer, as well as helping students to illustrate their achievements by producing the most-effective résumé.  The CSPD career competencies staff also coach the students on professional and polished communication techniques, to help students speak with employers and “build their brand,” in CSPD parlance.

“Our staff does a phenomenal job of preparing the students to put their best foot forward. They know how to research the organizations, they know how to network, and they know how to have impactful conversations,” Pfeifer said.

Successfully garnering student and employer support, Pfeifer notes, takes the careful integration of social media. The CSPD advertises the event on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. At the event, the center organizes a LinkedIn photo booth, which invites students already dressed in their business best to pose in front of a backdrop to capture the perfect Linkedin profile picture. Reaching out via Linkedin also has helped the CSPD attract its record number of employers as professional use continues to grow.

In selecting the employers, Pfeifer and the CSPD not only look for those who are leading in their field, but also the companies whose strategic direction are on par with the programs the Fox School offers and whose talent portfolio aligns with the students the Fox School produces. There hasn’t been a mismatch yet, Pfeifer said, and the record number of employers attending each event year after year is not only evidence of the stellar working relationship between the school and the employers, but also the style of the networking environment in which the event is set.

“It’s more of a synergistic energy,” Pfeifer said of the event’s atmosphere. “We focus on an organization’s trends and how the Fox School students can complement that.”

The Spring Connection helps students attain full-time employment, and also caters to those seeking strong summer internship placement. Since 2012, 100 percent of graduate students have completed summer internships and over 90 percent of undergraduates that utilized the Center attained full-time employment after graduation.

“I’m noticing more and more that employers are looking to develop their pipeline and start making relationships with our students early on,” Pfeifer said.

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Orderliness plays a role in work performance, Fox researcher finds

By: | January 27th, 2015 | leave a comment

Photo of Dr. Boyoun (Grace) Chae

Dr. Boyoun (Grace) Chae

A professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found inspiration for her research in a rather unconventional place.

Inspired by the television show, Hoarders, Dr. Boyoun (Grace) Chae and co-author Dr. Rui (Juliet) Zhu found during a three-year research study that efficiency and persistence suffered among people whose work conditions were untidy.

Harvard Business Review recently featured the findings of their research study, which was originally published by the Journal of Consumer Research in April 2014.

Hoarders, that’s where the idea started from,” said Chae, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School. “It’s a critical issue in society. Think about why people really cannot throw things away. I think it’s a reflection on peoples’ preoccupation with what they have. People buy products and they have control over what they consume, but, ironically, people are overwhelmed with their possessions.”

Chae and Zhu, of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, China, exposed 100 test subjects to one of two work settings – either an organized desk, with papers and folders in order and shelves with properly arranged items, or an unorganized desk, with items strewn about carelessly.

Then, they conducted multiple tests during their research study. Among them was the persistence task, during which test subjects were required “to trace a geometric figure on a piece of paper without retracing any lines and without lifting the pencil from the paper,” they wrote. In their paper, Chae and Zhu describe the test as unsolvable. Subjects in the orderly office were one-and-a-half times more likely to stick with the task before quitting, Chae said. Those in the cleaner room attempted the challenge for an average of 1,117 seconds, while those in a disorganized setting gave up after an average of 669 seconds.

Other tests included: the stroop task, which measured the speed with which subjects could accurately respond to complex visual stimuli on a computer screen; and the willingness-to-pay task, another self-regulation measure which gauged the purchase intention of a subject with various products. Chae said subjects in the cleaner office responded to visual stimuli 10 to 15 percent more quickly than those in a more-chaotic room, “a quite significant finding,” she said.

“Writing a paper for a journal is purely academic, so to have our research appear in Harvard Business Review was a way for our research study and findings to be consumed by a much-wider audience,” Chae said. “We were delighted to take their call.”

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Fox School alums receive $25,000 in seed money from DreamIt Ventures

By: | January 27th, 2015 | leave a comment

Three Temple University alumni, including a pair from the Fox School of Business, have been chosen for inclusion in DreamIt Ventures’ recent round of accelerator programs.

Fox School graduates

Photo of Yasmine Mustafa

Yasmine Mustafa

and Ofo Ezeugwu, and School of Media and Communication alumna Bethany Edwards, comprise Temple’s best showing in a DreamIt Ventures batch. Founded in 2008, the Philadelphia-based idea incubator invests $25,000 in seed money in exchange for a 6-percent equity stake in the entrepreneurs’ business plans. DreamIt Ventures also provides a vast network of industry professionals with whom to network.

Mustafa, a 2006 alumna of the Fox School, founded self-defense technology company Roar for Good, which produces wearables marketed toward women. Mustafa’s devices are designed to alert the authorities, flash lights, send text messages and sound an alarm, among other features, in cases of emergency. Mustafa recently won first place in two categories at the 2014 Innovative Idea Competition, organized by Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute. She also won Temple’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl in 2010 with a separate venture.

Ezeugwu, who graduated from the Fox School in 2013 with a degree in Management Information Systems, is President and Chief Executive Officer of WhoseYourLandlord. The site gives users a platform upon which to rate the people from whom they rent, to “know what they’re getting into before they even sign the lease,” Ezeugwu said. Ezeugwu is a past winner of Temple’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl, having won $20,500 in 2014.

Photo of Ofo Ezeugwu

Ofo Ezeugwu

Edwards, who graduated from SMC in 2006, founded LIA Diagnostics. The company designed a flushable pregnancy test, which won the grand prize at last year’s Innovative Idea Competition.

Mustafa, Ezeugwu and Edwards are among the 12 companies to have been selected into DreamIt Ventures’ accelerator program.

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Fox School’s Online MBA preparing surgeons to lead in an evolving healthcare industry

By: | January 16th, 2015 | leave a comment

Dr. Alexander Vaccaro

Dr. Alexander Vaccaro, a student in the Fox School’s Online MBA program, is the Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Sidney Kimmel Medical Center at Thomas Jefferson University and President of the Rothman Institute. (Photo: Ryan S. Brandenberg)

An orthopedic surgeon and spinal specialist, Alex Vaccaro maintains a tightly organized schedule. He’s the Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Sidney Kimmel Medical Center at Thomas Jefferson University and President of Philadelphia’s Rothman Institute.

He’s also pursuing his Online Master’s of Business Administration through Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

In January, U.S. News & World Report named the Fox Online MBA the No. 1 program in the nation, in its 2015 rankings of the best online graduate business programs. Vaccaro estimates he commits two hours daily to his Fox Online MBA. Often, it’s more.

“I’m being honest when I say this: It’s one of the hardest and one of the most-rewarding things I’ve ever done,” said Vaccaro. “You know what you do for a living. Getting your MBA helps you figure out why you do what you do, and you’re able to do it better.”

Vaccaro is one in a growing number of accomplished medical professionals, with a slew of letters following their surnames, who are supplementing their clinical educations with a business education at the Fox School. As the landscape in American healthcare continues to evolve, medical professionals like Vaccaro are learning that one of the greatest issues in their field is a business-related one.

“Those in medicine who plan to lead need an MBA,” Vaccaro said.

Healthcare spending in the United States reached a record-high $3.7 trillion in 2013, according to a 2012 Deloitte study, titled, “The Hidden Costs of U.S. Healthcare.” And that figure is expected to continue climbing. Physicians equipped to tackle the challenges of operating a medical facility, in relation to both patient treatment and business management, are in high demand. According to a 2009 report in Academic Medicine, trained physicians were running a mere 3 percent of the nation’s more than 6,500 hospitals.

Dr. Maria Chandler, President of the Association of MD/MBA Programs (AMMP), said nearly 70 dual-degree programs exist in the United States. One is housed at the Fox School of Business, through which students pursue the Fox Online MBA. The program, which can be completed in as quickly as 20 months, employs a virtual flipped-classroom model. Students learn content at their leisure through a digital dialogue with peers and professors, before putting into practice what they’ve learned in an integrated, synchronous online classroom.

“Using this format, students come to a virtual class once a week ready to share their professional and personal experiences, and take what they’ve learned to the next level and apply it,” said Dr. Darin Kapanjie, Academic Director of Fox’s Online MBA.

A dual-degree program, according to Chandler, gives students the skills, vocabulary and applicable training to succeed in both arenas following attainment of their degrees.

“I once met a surgeon who was in charge of a $6 billion budget and had absolutely no business training,” she said. “In what other industry would someone be tasked with managing a budget of that size and have no business training? That’s the current state of the healthcare industry.”

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Alumna’s social activism leads her to Amnesty International USA

By: | January 8th, 2015 | leave a comment

Youth advocate and Fox School alumna Jamira Burley speaks at a 2013 Global Education First Initiative event at United Nations Headquarters. Burley recently accepted a position with Amnesty International USA. (Courtesy: UNICEF)

Youth advocate and Fox School alumna Jamira Burley speaks at a 2013 Global Education First Initiative event at United Nations Headquarters. Burley recently accepted a position with Amnesty International USA. (Courtesy: UNICEF)

Jamira Burley’s professional mission involves doing what’s right, and not what’s necessarily popular, which includes her recent move away from her hometown of Philadelphia.

Burley, FOX ’12, recently accepted a position as a Senior Campaigner for Gun Violence and Human Rights with Amnesty International USA, the domestic division of the global human rights organization.

To take her current position, Burley relocated to Washington, D.C. The native Philadelphian had been employed as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Youth Commission, a position she had held since graduating from Temple University’s Fox School of Business with degrees in International Business and Legal Studies.

The 26-year-old Burley said she’s “still working on the same issues” by focusing on reducing gun violence and trying to create opportunities for young people to have platforms upon which their voices can be heard.

“My goal is to eventually come back to Philadelphia because it’s where everything is,” Burley said recently. “It was extremely bittersweet to leave, but I know there are other ways I can contribute to my community, even from another city.”

With Amnesty International USA, Burley hopes to shed light on human rights issues on a much-larger stage than simply in her hometown. She will work with federal agencies and government officials toward the engagement of young people, the reform and affordability of education, and the reduction of the nation’s murder rate and gun violence.

In short, Burley strives to do good. Along the way, she’s doing good work, too – and people have taken notice. In December, USA Today highlighted Burley’s activism and named her one of five American young women who are changing the world.

“Five years ago, I never would’ve expected to be where I am,” Burley said. “I try to remain humble and remember that life isn’t just about the opportunities you have but also how you share them with the world. My opportunities are through doing good work, my relationships, and people giving me a hand up, and I’m very cognizant of that.”

Burley does not hesitate when asked to pinpoint her font of inspiration. In 2005, her 19-year-old brother Andre was shot and killed by a friend. That moment, while devastating, spurred social activism from Burley.

One of 16 children, she was the first in her family to graduate from high school and college. She was a mayoral appointee and chairperson of Philadelphia Youth Commission during her undergraduate career at the Fox School, advising the mayor and Philadelphia City Council on issues, legislation and policies affecting young people in Philadelphia. She spoke at the 2010 Campus Progress National Conference, as one of three students selected to speak to more than 1,500 young people.

“There are things that transform how you see the world, your place within the world and the contribution you can make to it,” Burley said. “My brother is the driving force for the work that I have dedicated my life to. It fuels my mission and my purpose, but though the course of this work, I recognize that its much bigger than my brother; it’s for every young person who wants to be more than their predecessors and is just searching for the tools to do so.”

Accomplishments in social activism are nothing new for Burley, whose resume is dotted with recognitions from the White House, People for the American Way Foundation, BET, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Philadelphia Tribune, among others.

“In life you never stop learning, you never stop growing and there is still so much of the world I want to see,” Burley said. “My long-term goals have always been to help others and just be happy, but what that looks like changes every day.”

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Fox School’s Online MBA ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report

Alter Hall, Home of the Fox School of Business

The Online MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been recognized as the best in the nation.

The Fox School’s Online MBA program was named No. 1 in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 ranking of the country’s top online MBA programs, receiving a perfect score of 100 and climbing eight positions, from No. 9 in the 2014 rankings.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Fox School among its top online MBA programs since the ranking’s inception in 2012. This year, U.S. News & World Report evaluated nearly 230 schools for inclusion, and ranked 147 graduate online business programs. Fox School shares the top spot in the U.S. News & World Report rankings with Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, both of which also achieved perfect scores.

“The Fox Online MBA connects cutting-edge technology and an accredited, high-impact curriculum with an internationally recognized faculty to foster a dynamic learning community,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “I am pleased that U.S. News & World Report has recognized our Online MBA program as the best in the country. Our Online and Digital Learning team continues to deliver the best advancements in technology to a quality, online-format education.”

U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, which were released Jan. 7, score online MBA programs based upon student engagement; admissions selectivity; peer reputation; faculty credentials and training; and student services and technology.

In the Fox Online MBA program, which first launched in Fall 2009, students benefit from a flexible curriculum carousel with multiple entry points. The Fox School’s Online MBA program launches with a weeklong residency at Temple University’s Main Campus in Philadelphia. The residency features a leadership course, networking, team building, professional development and special events. Each subsequent online course is delivered one at a time over four weeks, and the program can be completed in as quickly as 20 months.

The program employs a flipped-classroom approach, a 24/7, on-demand format that allows students to learn content at their leisure and collaborate with their peers and professors through digital dialogue. Then, in an integrated, synchronous online classroom setting, they are able to put what they have learned into practice.

Fox School’s Video Vault, a collection of more than 1,400 academic videos produced by Fox faculty, is a vital resource of the program, according to Dr. Darin Kapanjie, the Academic Director of the Fox School Online MBA program. The Video Vault features a searchable archive with HD-quality, mobile-friendly, transcribed videos that are engaging for the student.

“This ranking by U.S. News & World Report is a testament to the Fox School’s dedication to offering the finest educational experience to those who, for any number of reasons, cannot physically attend traditional classes,” Kapanjie said. “While other online programs may rely on third-party providers for program delivery, Fox’s advantage lies in providing the same academic experience, faculty access and student support as any other program on campus. We have invested in the resources necessary for delivering a top-notch learning environment that fosters collaboration and community with academic excellence at our core.”

Merit scholarships are available, as are scholarship-incentive programs for Temple alumni and for corporate partners that have two or more employees simultaneously enrolled in the Fox Online MBA program. Financial aid counseling is offered to all students, and the Fox School and Temple University support the Yellow Ribbon Program for military personnel and veterans.

Click here for the full rankings list from U.S. News & World Report.

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By: | December 17th, 2014 | leave a comment

Big Data Institute has big ambitions for Year 2

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.41.53 PM

Discussed in this issue:
• Big data, the new face of statistical and computational analysis.
• Big data is the collection of data sets so large that it is difficult to process them with traditional methods.
•  Fox School of Business creates the Big Data Institute




By: | December 17th, 2014 | leave a comment

“Trailblazer” Ira Lubert honored as Musser Award recipient

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Discussed in this issue:
• Temple University’s Fox School of Business recognized Lubert as the recipient of the Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership.
• The Musser Awards dinner and reception gathered Philadelphia’s leading business executives under one roof.
•Temple University President Neil D. Theobald reflected upon Fox School’s prowess.




Fox researchers use brain data to predict real-life success of TV ads

By: | December 11th, 2014 | leave a comment

Researchers at Temple University’s Fox School of Business have identified an area of the brain that can significantly better predict the success of TV advertising.

Photo of Angelika Dimoka

Angelika Dimoka

Professors Angelika Dimoka, Paul A. Pavlou and Vinod Venkatraman led the research study at Temple’s Center for Neural Decision Making at the Fox School of Business. The research team received a $286,000 research grant from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), a non-profit group that provided TV ads from major sponsor companies in the consumer-goods, financial, technology, travel, and pharmaceutical industries.. The study sought to understand whether measures obtained in the lab when a small number of consumers watched these TV ads can predict the success of these ads in terms of increasing sales in the market.

Their research paper recently has been accepted for publication in the Journal for Marketing Research, a top marketing journal. They completed the study in collaboration with researchers from New York University, Duke University and the University of California, Los Angeles, who analyzed available sales and success data from the TV ads.

Fox School’s research team evaluated the responses of more than 300 participants to television advertisements using eight distinct methods: traditional surveys; implicit measures; eye tracking; heart rate; skin conductance; breathing; and brain activity, as measured by fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and EEG (electroencephalography).

Photo of Vinod Venkatraman

Vinod Venkatraman

“This is the first study to relate individual-level measures in the lab to market-level behavior,” said Venkatraman, lead author and Assistant Professor of Marketing. “We show that physiological and brain responses to a 30-second TV advertisement can provide reliable markers for evaluating its actual success in the market.”

“Based on our research and findings, from all seven neurophysiological methods, brain data collected using fMRI, were the most predictive,” added Angelika Dimoka, Director of the Center for Neural Decision Making, and an Associate Professor of Marketing.  Specifically, we are able to show that activation in an area of the brain known as the ventral striatum, the reward center of the brain, can predict a TV ad success. The higher the activation in the ventral striatum, the higher the success of the TV ad. Nobody has ever been able to make such a linkage.”

The findings suggest that a key to a successful TV ad, Venkatraman noted, is the ability to increase the desirability of the product featured in the TV ad – a construct that is difficult to measure through the use of traditional, self-reported measures.

Photo of Paul Pavlou

Paul Pavlou

“A researcher might ask a test participant, more traditionally, ‘Do you like this ad? Are you likely to purchase this product?’” said Pavlou, Fox School’s Associate Dean of Research and Chief Research Officer. “While subjective measures like traditional questionnaires can still predict the success of TV advertising, the use of neurophysiological measures, especially fMRI, can almost double the power of our prediction.”

Dimoka, Pavlou and Venkatraman began their research December 2012, after meeting ARF officials at the second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Decision Neuroscience, sponsored and hosted by the Fox School of Business. They concluded their testing and research six months later.

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Experiential learning the focus in The Co-Op in HRM

By: | December 11th, 2014 | leave a comment

HRM Co-Op in the MBA Commons of Alter Hall.

Industry leaders tour the MBA Commons at Alter Hall, where Human Resource Management students made their final presentations for The Co-Op in HRM.

Dressed in business-professional attire, Fox School of Business students exited Alter Hall’s elevators and streamed into the seventh-floor MBA Commons. With their shoulders straight, the students found their places beside two rows of corkboards, as industry leaders walked aisle to aisle and quizzed them on their respective research findings.

These activities marked the culmination of The Co-Op in HRM.

In the course, an elective offered by the Fox School’s Department of Human Resource Management (HRM), students swap classroom learning for professional experience. Dr. Crystal Harold, Associate Professor of HRM, assigns students a co-op with one of the program’s industry partners, where they report to work 10 hours weekly. The students, who numbered 22 in the Fall 2014 semester, are tasked with tackling a pressing issue in the human resources industry, and producing an evidence-based management paper that presents their research toward pinpointing a solution.

Students communicated their research findings and the best solution to addressing the HR issue they had selected during The Co-Op in HRM’s final presentations, held Dec. 5 at Alter Hall. Professional mentors representing the companies and non-profit organizations to which students were assigned were in attendance, as were industry leaders considering future partnerships with the program. Professionals from both camps submitted index-card notes to the students for on-the-spot input on their respective presentations.

“Internships and co-op assignments like the ones offered by this course, are salient learning opportunities that help make Fox School’s students more  competitive when they enter the job market,” Harold said. “Some of the students who have taken this course in years past are offered employment opportunities with their co-op organization. Others use their co-ops as an opportunity to segue into their next position.”

And for some students, like Jeannine Rudolph, FOX ’12, companies create positions in order to retain them. During her co-op with Cigna, Rudolph, who majored in both HRM and Legal Studies in Business, worked in various areas within human resources and, before the semester had come to a close, her mentor and direct supervisor asked if she’d stay on as an intern in the spring semester. Both opportunities eventually amounted to a full-time position with Cigna, where Rudolph is an HR Consultant.

HRM Co-Op Group Photo

Human Resource Management students enrolled in The Co-Op in HRM pose for a group photograph following their final presentations.

“As a student, I really engaged myself so an opportunity like mine would be a possibility,” she said.

HRM major Erica Smith, one of Harold’s 22 students, spent the semester with the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), an intermediary organization dedicated to connecting systems and leveraging resources to equip young people for academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. Slated to graduate in May 2015, Smith investigated whether merit-based pay would be a viable option for non-profits like PYN.

“She was exposed to every facet of HR, and that task variety is what’s exciting to me,” said Priscilla Tennant, an HR generalist with PYN, who served as Smith’s mentor. “Certainly, compensation was an area of focus and it was important for her to research the benefits and drawbacks of across-the-board pay vs. merit pay and what culture shift is required to make that change. She served as a true thought partner in considering all elements involved in a major change that will impact employee compensation.”

Working with Tennant, who completed her undergraduate coursework at the Fox School in 1997 and later attained her MBA from Fox in 2000, was a boon for Smith, who pointed to professional development as another incentive of the co-op.

“Waking up, getting dressed and preparing yourself for a professional work setting that’s not a classroom was critical,” Smith said. “It was a matter of ‘How can my career benefit from today’s opportunity?’ instead of ‘How can I benefit from this class discussion?’”

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