Entrepreneurs piled into Alter Hall clinging more than posterboards and presentation materials. They also brought dreams of success and self-employment.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business hosted casting associates from the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” which features self-made millionaires who award mentorship and financial support to budding entrepreneurs in exchange for equity stake in their businesses. More than 170 Temple students, alumni, faculty, and staff applied in the hope that their June 11 pitches would result in selection to appear on a future episode of the show.
“I walked in the room to make my presentation, and I immediately felt so nervous,” said Fox Part-Time MBA student Vinti Singh, who pitched a standing CT scanner for horses that wouldn’t require anesthetization. “I can only wonder what it’s like to deliver a pitch in front of the actual sharks.”
If accepted by “Shark Tank,” Temple entrepreneurs were told they would receive a call from one of the show’s casting associates within two to three weeks.
Casting associates listened to 60-second presentations inside the Steven H. Korman Conference Room, with two Temple entrepreneurs having to deliver their pitches simultaneously and side by side. The associates asked entrepreneurs to reveal both the monetary value they would ask of the Sharks, and to name the Shark with whom they most strongly identified.
Caren Sachs, an associate for the show, told applicants prior to their casting calls that “personality is just as important as your pitch.” She emphasized that “Shark Tank” seeks entrepreneurs who can speak energetically about their businesses, products, and concepts.
Alter Hall’s Undergraduate Commons served as the waiting room for Temple entrepreneurs before their number had been called. Applicants paced the room, rehearsing their talking points and working through their demonstrations.
College of Education alumnus Rich McFillin hoped to sell the casting associates on his Garage Bow Company, which manufactures and sells magnetic red bows that make garage doors decoratively resemble wrapped presents during the holiday season.
“They didn’t throw me any curveballs,” McFillin said of the casting officials. “They asked me questions I knew I had the answers to, and I could tell they were excited, which made me excited, too.”
Joseph Green’s pitch lasted more than five minutes, seemingly attracting the attention of a “Shark Tank” official. The Fox School alumnus is the owner of Affinity Confections, which offers sweet dessert treats in smaller portions. Recently, Green has begun packaging and selling the various sauces and coulees he manufactures using premium ingredients.
“I guess they liked what I had to say,” Green said of his pitch. “I’m looking to expand my products some more, and use any initial investment I would receive for packaging and to continue making a name for ourselves.”
Brandon Study, a Fox School senior majoring in Entrepreneurship, said he felt confident while making his pitch. Temple University “prepares you for moments like this,” he said. “That training is what helps you thrive in crunch-time situations.”
Two days prior to the casting call, Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) and Blackstone Launchpad offered a pitch-coaching session open to all entrepreneurs hoping to polish their pitches. Jesse DiLaura, a senior Entrepreneurship major at Fox, arrived at the coaching session to prepare for his pitch. Instead, he worked with fellow Temple entrepreneurs to improve theirs.
“I had rehearsed what I was going to say thousands of times,” he said, “and I thought, ‘If I can help out a fellow entrepreneur who had a question about his or her pitch, why not do what I can?’ I wasn’t planning on being a coach, but I had to speak up and try to get at least one person from Temple on the show.
“People need to know that great things are happening with entrepreneurship at Temple.”
“The IEI was delighted to welcome casting associates from ‘Shark Tank’ to Temple University,” said Ellen Weber, Executive Director of Temple’s IEI. “Choosing Temple as a host for an on-campus casting call validates the IEI’s mission, to provide students, faculty, staff, and alumni entrepreneurs with programs and opportunities to succeed.”
Hillel of Greater Philadelphia recognized Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, for his campus leadership and advocacy for Israel.
The Jewish organization honored Porat at its annual Vision and Values Celebration, held June 2. Attended by more than 200 community leaders and friends of Hillel, the event generated nearly $200,000 to fund programs and services for Jewish college students in the Philadelphia region.
Porat was not the only awardee from Temple University. Two undergraduate students, Ari Abramson and Arielle Manstein, received recognition as Student Exemplars of Excellence. Abramson, a sophomore, majors in Management Information Systems at Fox, while Manstein recently received her degree from Temple’s Kornberg School of Dentistry.
Porat lived in Israel for half of his life, moving there at a young age from Poland with his parents. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tel Aviv University, before traveling stateside and completing his doctoral degree program at Temple University.
As Fox School’s Dean, he helped redesign the school’s flagship MBA program to incorporate into the curriculum international immersion trips, including those to Israel, to foster the exploration of the country’s innovation, entrepreneurship, and tech ecosystems. He also led a push to include Israel-based companies within the Fox Management Consulting capstone course, in which students provide professional-grade strategic solutions to paying clients. Porat also serves as an active member of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
“This recognition from Hillel was a point of great personal pride,” Porat said. “I believe strongly in the values and purpose of Hillel, and have always made an effort in my career to demonstrate the strengths and competencies of Israel, while encouraging students to visit the country and learn its innovation and entrepreneurship history. For these reasons, it was quite fulfilling to receive this honor.”
The event, held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, buzzed with more than 200 attendees, including Porat’s wife, Rachel, and their sons, Manny and Sam, and daughter, Galia. Hooter, the mascot for Temple Athletics, also made an appearance.
“Moshe not only is a product of another culture and another country, but he’s very active around the world,” said Dr. Neil Theobald, President of Temple University. “He brings a global perspective to the deanship and to our administrative councils that is hugely important. … The value of Hillel and the values of Temple University, what they have in common, Moshe is such a great representative and archetype of those values.”
Dr. Mitrabarun “MB” Sarkar, a renowned educator and researcher at Temple University’s Fox School of Business whose pedagogical work garnered national, international, and university awards, died June 7, 2016. He was 54 years of age.
Sarkar, who joined the Fox School faculty in 2008, was the H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the Strategic Management department at Fox. He also had served as a visiting professor of strategy at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
“MB was an innovator at every stage of his career,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “His passion for teaching and empowering students, and his thirst for knowledge were tremendous. MB’s passing brings great sadness to our Temple and Fox communities. My thoughts and prayers at this time are with his wife, their two daughters, and his family and close friends.”
In 2013, Sarkar received Temple University’s Great Teacher Award, the highest honor conferred by the university on faculty. On seven occasions, he was named Outstanding Professor of the Year in Fox’s Global, Executive, Online, and Part-Time MBA programs. Sarkar also was a five-time recipient of Fox’s Crystal Teaching Award. Last November, he received the Musser Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes a Fox School faculty member who challenges students to think imaginatively and creatively.
Sarkar was the founding Academic Director of Fox’s Global Immersion Program in Emerging Markets, and led the initiative of building partnerships and experiential programs for Fox MBA students in several countries, such as Chile, China, Colombia, Ghana, India, Israel, Morocco, South Africa, and Turkey.
His internationally recognized research on innovation, industry emergence, and technology entrepreneurship was published in several premier scientific journals. He served on the editorial review boards of several leading journals in the field of strategic management, and as associate editor at the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. In 2004, he received the Best Paper Award from the Academy of Management Journal, in addition to research-related awards from the Academy of Marketing Sciences and the American Marketing Association.
Sarkar earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi, India; an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, in Ahmedabad, India; and a PhD from Michigan State University.
He is survived by his wife, Tanu, and their daughters, Mohenna, who lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Aeshna, who attends Tulane University.
The Fox School has established a new faculty award in Dr. Sarkar’s memory. Gifts to the MB Sarkar Award for Teaching Excellence can be given here.
Fox entrepreneurship programs earn top-10 rankings nationally
Discussed in this issue:
• $700,000 in cash/prizes and 223 participants at Temple’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl competition
• Fox entrepreneurs win top cash prizes at College Pitch Philly
• Fulbright Scholar takes entrepreneurship lessons home to Pakistan
Shark Tank, the critically acclaimed, business-themed show is continuing the search for the best entrepreneurs with the best businesses and products that America has to offer. The Emmy-winning show features The Sharks – tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons who give budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their American dreams come true; potentially securing deals that could make them millionaires.
If you’ve got a great product or business and need an investment to propel you forward, Temple University is providing you the opportunity to meet the casting team of Shark Tank.
Note: Pitches will not be filmed. They are preliminary auditions, in which participants will pitch one-on-one to casting managers.
This casting call is open to Temple University students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Come by the Fox School of Business on Saturday, June 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to pitch the casting team!
Fox School of Business
Alter Hall – Undergraduate Commons, 1st Floor
1801 Liacouras Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Need help preparing for your pitch? The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute and Blackstone Launchpad are offering an open pitch coaching session:
Thursday, June 9 | 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute Lab
Alter Hall, 5th Floor, Room 503D
If you have questions, please contact the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the Fox School Dean’s Council, student body, and faculty participated in this momentous occasion, held this past April in Alter Hall and kicking off one of the most-significant initiatives in the school’s history.
Cherry- and white-colored balloons decorated the Undergraduate Commons, as Dean M. Moshe Porat announced more events and engagement opportunities in the months ahead, all of which will be geared toward sharing in the Fox School’s renowned history.
“Tradition, distinction, and innovation are at the heart of what we do, and are as much a part of our rich legacy as our promising future,” Porat said.
Porat continued, addressing members of the Fox School’s faculty and student body who were in attendance: “There are not too many opportunities in one’s lifetime to celebrate a 100th anniversary of anything, and you are the reason we have so much to celebrate. I want you to share in this experience, which is a major historical event for our school.”From its roots in 1918, when it was founded as Temple University’s School of Commerce, to today, the Fox School of Business has remained true to the vision of Temple founder Dr. Russell Conwell, Porat said, hiring influential researchers and inspirational faculty, enrolling diverse and accomplished students, and producing exceptional alumni.
“Throughout our growth, we have maintained a reputation of outperformance,” Porat said. “We have much to be proud of, and we look forward to many upcoming celebrations.”
Also in attendance were Temple University alumni Dennis Alter and Larry Magid, Fox alumnus and co-founder of Philadelphia’s Electric Factory Concerts, to discuss the intersection of business and the arts.
Alter, EDU ‘66, is the benefactor of Alter Hall, the home of the Fox School of Business, who was responsible for the art collection that adorns the building’s walls. Alter is an elected trustee of the Philadelphia Art Museum and a supporter of the arts, including the Barnes Foundation and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
“You don’t have to be an inventor to be a success in the business world,” said Alter, a member of Temple University’s Board of Trustees. “Some of the most successful artists in the world thrived because they were persistent, they empowered onlookers globally, they were entrepreneurs at heart, and they embodied originality at their core.”Magid is responsible for having lured top musical talents to Philadelphia for the last half-century. Magid has promoted thousands of performances and concerts, including those featuring The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead, among others. He also helped organize Live Aid in 1985 and Live 8 in 2005, two global music-driven fundraising initiatives.
Magid got his start in the music industry by selling $2 tickets to shows he had booked at Temple’s Mitten Hall.
“It didn’t take much imagination to know what was happening with my career and that I could make a living by taking this path,” Magid said. “It all starts with a dream, and how you go about realizing that dream.”
At an event geared toward Fox’s 100th birthday, Magid poked fun at his age.
“I’ve been working in this field for 54 years, which is exactly seven years longer than I’ve been around,” Magid said, deadpanning. “It goes without saying that the Fox School of Business has achieved much more than I have, and it’s exciting to see what is around the corner for this great school.”
The gala, held April 13, helped pay tribute to the department’s current successes, as well as its rich tradition and rising national rank.
Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, honored a team of Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) and Actuarial Science students who, a weekend prior, had taken first place in the prestigious Spencer-RIMS national Risk Management Challenge, a three-month case study of a risk portfolio, for which the students were tasked with developing proposed solutions.
The night also centered on growth in the program. Not only is the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma the nation’s largest chapter, but the Fox School also serves as the largest provider of Risk Management & Insurance education in the United States, according to a recent survey.
Top industry executives have taken notice of our programs and that is a testament to the quality of our students,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “I think you will all agree that we have succeeded on all accounts – more students, more speakers, better rankings, and more success.”
Porat helped found the department’s annual awards reception 28 years ago, when he served as the department’s chair. It began, Porat said, as a small luncheon held at Temple’s Mitten Hall.
And today, because of the many successes of our Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management students, smaller venues are not feasible for such an occasion,” Porat said.Richard Rosenbaum, senior Actuarial Science major and President of the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, lauded Drennan for facilitating the department’s growth and continually improving its reputation nationally and internationally. For the third consecutive year, Fox’s RMI program ranked among the nation’s top-5 such programs in the United States.
He not only has shown us the vast opportunities available in risk management, but also has helped us with navigating difficult educational and professional decisions in our first years at Temple,” Rosenbaum said of Drennan, who presides over the longest-running continuous program of its kind in the U.S.The event’s keynote speaker, Thomas F. Motamed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for CNA Financial Corporation, discussed his foray into the RMI industry, its future, and the role Fox School of Business students can play in it. Motamed addressed the ever-increasing need for talent in the RMI profession as one of the most significant challenges facing the industry today. Due to retiring professionals, he said the industry needs to fill 400,000 positions by 2020 in order to remain fully staffed.
So if you are a student of risk management at Temple, you must be aware that you are truly coveted,” Motamed said. “You are the human capital of the future.”