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Fox graduate students advance to final round of National Cyber Analyst Challenge

Five Fox graduate students in the Master’s of Science in IT Auditing and Cyber Security program advanced to the final round of the National Cyber Analyst Challenge. They are, from left to right: Ibtissam Bazzine, Jose Gomez, Nick Nguyen, Kerwing Hy, and Jeta Gjana.

Five Fox graduate students in the Master’s of Science in IT Auditing and Cyber Security program advanced to the final round of the National Cyber Analyst Challenge. They are, from left to right: Ibtissam Bazzine, Jose Gomez, Nick Nguyen, Kerwing Hy, and Jeta Gjana.

A team of graduate students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business has advanced to the final round of the National Cyber Analyst Challenge, sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

The students, from Fox’s Master of Science in IT Auditing and Cyber Security (ITACS) program, will compete against teams from eight other colleges and universities for a $25,000 grand prize. By virtue of having advanced beyond the first round, these teams will receive significant awards ranging from $7,500-$15,000 to support student, faculty, and curriculum development.

Fox’s team includes: Jeta Gjana, Jose Gomez, Kerwing Hy, and Nick Nguyen, from the ITACS program’s security track, and Ibtissam Bazzine, of ITACS’ auditing track.

The first phase of the National Cyber Analyst Challenge consisted of an analysis of a complex real-world case created by Lockheed Martin experts. Participating teams received documents pertaining to a fabricated company and files that were meant to replicate a report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

“In short, we were asked to find the source of a cyber hack, then answer why it happened and explain how to prevent it from happening again,” Hy said.

The team from Fox, which is coached by ITACS professors Ed Ferrara and Wade Mackey, pored over 75 gigabytes of data to find the cause of the hack, before submitting a 10-slide summary report within which it explained its solution for preventing future cyber attacks. All entries were reviewed by a panel of judges and scored on technical quality, accuracy, and presentation.

In the process, Gjana said, she and her teammates were tasked with learning the fundamentals of computer programs to help in their case analysis.

“We weren’t limited in which tools we could use, which actually required a good deal of self-training in tools we had never used before,” Gjana said.

For the National Cyber Analyst Challenge’s second phase, the team will complete two extensive training sessions with Lockheed Martin officials via web-conferencing platform WebEx, in advance of the final round, Nov. 5-6 in Washington, D.C.

“Because the last phase will have time constraints placed upon it, our team will take the approach of each member concentrating on becoming an expert in separate tools,” Hy said. “This way, when we arrive in Washington, we’ll be prepared to tackle any challenge, knowing we have someone on our team who is incredibly proficient at any particular tool.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to represent Temple and Fox in a competition of this level.”

The National Cyber Analyst Challenge, in its first year, is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, in conjunction with the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) at Temple University. IBIT provides cutting-edge knowledge and valuable connections to sustain excellence in information technology. IBIT integrates industry perspectives with academic research expertise to create forums for generating and exchanging best practices.

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Fox student accepts challenges of all varieties

Sasha Buddle

Sasha Buddle isn’t willing to place any of her life’s plans on the backburner. She’s accomplished plenty in a short span of time.

Having emigrated to the United States following her high-school graduation, Buddle joined the U.S. Army at age 19 . She served a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2011, and is now in her senior year as a Human Resource Management major at Temple University’s Fox School of Business – and looking for her next great challenge.

“Whenever I’m not feeling motivated, I just say ‘Be self-made.’ I know only I can do this,” said Buddle, 29.

Buddle spent her formative years in Montego Bay, Jamaica, with her grandparents. As one of eight children with dual citizenship, she split time between her hometown and the United States. She remembers her grandmother’s devotion to fostering academic aptitude, compassion, and discipline as a driving influence. And despite her strict upbringing, Buddle recalled her time on the islands as a quieter life.

“In Jamaica, you go to school and you come home. In the States, you go to school, you work, and you move out on your own. It’s totally different,” Buddle said.

With her eyes on moving forward and pursuing a passion, Buddle joined her mother and sisters in the U.S. in 2004. The initial transition was rocky, with so few friends here, lots of new customs to learn, and much-colder temperatures to which to adapt, Buddle found an opportunity by enlisting in the U.S. Army.

From her first moments in basic training, Buddle knew the Army would be a new and difficult experience. She said she learned to enjoy the physical demands of her enlistment in order to grow as a person. She credits her time in the U.S. Army with helping find her voice.

“It’s custom in the Army to salute and verbally address a passing officer,” Buddle said. “One time, I didn’t say anything, and the officer yelled at me in front of my team. In the end, no matter how shy I am, I know it’s important to speak up.”

In 2011, Buddle served a tour in Afghanistan as an Army Specialist. Responsible for $74 million in supplies and gear, Buddle managed the responsibility with just one other person while adapting to life in a combat zone.

“We were bombed two to three times a week. We lost three people,” Buddle said. “But my unit was a family. I wear a bracelet every day to honor them, serve as my memory of them, and to keep them close.”

Having navigated the inner-workings of supply and human resource management for the Army, after having returned stateside, Buddle set her sights on attending business school. Buddle, who is motivated by her desire to help others, is pursuing a degree in Human Resource Management. The organizational aspect excited her, she said, while the math requirements proved more difficult. Plentiful access to professors has helped her, she said, as a non-traditional student.

In her final year of undergraduate studies at Fox, Buddle has taken advantage of the career and professional development resources available to her and all Fox students. She enrolled in Fox’s Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) course in business etiquette and networking. This fall, she participated in the CSPD Fall Connection, a bi-annual networking event that connects student with leading employers.

“The CSPD gives you the ability to stand out as a individual, not just as a Fox student,” Buddle said. “I wish the class would move from one to three credits because it is so essential for students.”

Buddle is currently working for TruMark Financial Credit Union, and interviewing for opportunities in the financial planning and human resources field. She aspires to work in senior management and possibly open her own boutique fashion store.

As she nears graduation, Buddle remembered first setting foot on Temple’s campus, when she knew she’d found a place that made her feel part of something special.

“My first day I asked myself, ‘Why hadn’t I done this all my life?’” she said.

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Fox professor selected to lead elite Academy for Teachers program

Photo of Samuel Hodge

Samuel Hodge

In his course “Law in American Society,” an animation of folk singer Willie Nelson, designed by Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, strums his guitar as he explains the difference between public and private law.

Professor of Legal Studies at the Fox School of Business, Hodge’s use of such animations demonstrates his place as an innovative educator. Hodge recently was chosen by the Academy for Teachers to serve as its 2016 master teacher and will lead a program on innovation in teaching.

The Academy for Teachers is an annual selective conference in New York City that’s intended for teachers. One master professor, as chosen by the Academy, leads a lesson for a number of selected high school teachers on innovative strategies in teaching. Previous master teachers include Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and historian Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Pulitzer Prize in Music winner David Lang; and renowned social and political activist Gloria Steinem.

This year, Hodge will teach 18 high school teachers Jan. 8, 2016, at the one-day conference.

Hodge has taught a variety of undergraduate- and graduate-level classes in law and medicine at Temple University for more than 40 years. He currently leads a law lecture that consists of 400 to 600 students, which is considered one of the largest courses at Temple. To keep students interested in a class of that size, Hodge has had to get creative.

“You have to throw conventional wisdom out the window,” Hodge said.

Hodge developed multimedia presentations for his courses, consisting of self-created animations.

“Everything moves. Everything I say projects behind me on the board,” Hodge said, “but I actually have a cartoon Professor Sam, and he sings and narrates.”

The animations include a long list of celebrities. His latest is actor Jack Nicholson discussing various areas in law. Hodge has an art and music background. Since 1982, he has owned music-publishing company Eastwick Publishing, and he’s also produced illustrations for various medical books he’s written. So it was fitting, he said, that for his educational animations he’d write the songs, record the audio, and then create an animated character to perform them.

The best way to gain the interest of the “MTV generation,” he said, was through an audio-visual format.

“I call it edutainment,” Hodge said. “It is a combination of education and entertainment. People grew up in a visual format, so people want to be taught in that format.”

From a nominated group of 6,000, the Academy for Teachers selected 18 high school teachers that Hodge will educate. The “master class” can be given in any subject matter. The focus is to showcase unusual or innovative teaching techniques. Hodge will teach anatomy to the group of teachers in his area of expertise: AV format.

On the morning of the program, Hodge will teach the fundamentals of anatomy through song at the Museum of Natural History. He also plans to show the dozen-and-a-half teachers video of a heart being dissected. During the second segment of the day, the group will travel to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he will take them into the lab to see a dissection first hand.

Joe Pangaro, a second-year teaching assistant in Hodge’s “Law and American Society” course and “Legal Environment of Business” courses, said Hodge’s passion for teaching is present daily.

“Every year, when a new set of TAs gets to know him and gets exposed to his workload, there is a period of shock when you are just in awe of how much he accomplishes in a day,” said Pangaro, a third-year law student. “When you find out he does not drink coffee, it seems all the more amazing, but then you spend some time with him and you realize it’s because he truly loves everything he is doing.”

Hodge hopes to impart to the high school educators a degree of fearlessness in their use of technology to demonstrate complex topics.

“This was a total surprise,” he said. “I didn’t apply for it, they just called me out of the blue one day. Then I saw the list of people who have been selected before me and I said, ‘Why am I within that elite group?’ But I am, and it’s exciting.”

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Aflac awards national scholarships to two students from Fox School

Fox School of Business students Maria Blaszczyk and Elliot Astor (front) received Elevate 2015 Aflac Intern scholarships from the insurance company. Congratulating them are, back row from left: Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat; Aflac District Coordinator Matthew O’Hanlon; Aflac Market Director Matthew Berger; and Aflac Regional Coordinator Eric MacDougall. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

Fox School of Business students Maria Blaszczyk and Elliot Astor (front) received Elevate 2015 Aflac Intern scholarships from the insurance company. Congratulating them are, back row from left: Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat; Aflac District Coordinator Matthew O’Hanlon; Aflac Market Director Matthew Berger; and Aflac Regional Coordinator Eric MacDougall. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

Two students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business have been awarded merit scholarships by Aflac based upon their stellar performances during summer internships with the insurance company.

Junior Maria Blaszczyk finished No. 2 in the United States among collegiate interns within Aflac’s program. She has earned a $3,000 scholarship and a trip to Aflac’s corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ga., to meet with Aflac executives and to tour the Aflac campus.

Senior Elliot Astor, who finished No. 1 in the Northeast Region, earned a $2,000 scholarship.

The Elevate 2015 Aflac Intern contest, which is in its second year, awards scholarships to college-age interns who place among the best in sales and acquisitions. Other scholarship requirements include top job performance in marketing, team leadership, and dedication to teamwork, as well as displaying a positive attitude every day of their internships.

This year, Aflac awarded scholarships to eight college students from a pool of 365 students who interned for the company during Summer 2015: the overall top-3 interns throughout the company and the top intern at each of Aflac’s five U.S. regions.

“Maria and Elliot have exemplified what it means to be great interns with a Fortune 500 Company,” said Matthew O’Hanlon, District Coordinator of Aflac’s Philadelphia Region. “They possess tremendous leadership qualities, great work ethic, and strong entrepreneurial skills. I am elated that two students from Temple University finished within the top-eight among all collegiate interns with Aflac from across the country. This demonstrates why the Fox School of Business is such an elite business school, and it is with great pleasure that we honor these students. Congratulations to Maria and Elliot, and continued success.”

Blaszczyk, an International Business major, served as a voluntary benefits consultant within Aflac’s Philadelphia/Bucks County Region, in Trevose, Pa. Independently contracted with Aflac and licenses to sell their products and services in Pennsylvania, she met with business owners to explain the company’s voluntary benefits packages.

“In my internship, I was able to see the daily behind-the-scenes decisions that business owners have to make, all of which are critical to a company’s well-being, and I am honored to have received one of Aflac’s scholarships,” Blaszczyk said. “

Astor, a Marketing major, also worked as an associate within Aflac’s Philadelphia/Bucks County Region office. In that capacity, he helped manage interns and recruit new interns. The internship took Astor on the road, as he met with potential Aflac clients and their employees.

“The Aflac internship places you in a real-life business environment and allows you to obtain universal skills that I can employ wherever my career takes me,” Astor said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have been awarded a scholarship from a company that is as successful and prominent in its industry as Aflac is.”

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For Fox School students, Center for Student Professional Development networking event offers a chance to impress

Photo of Karan Patel

Karan Patel

Dressed in a dark suit, Karan Patel walked through Mitten Hall shaking hands and charming recruiters at the sixth-annual Fall Connection, a networking event organized by the Fox School of Business’ Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD). He hardly resembled the student who had arrived to February’s CSPD Spring Connection in shirtsleeves and offered a limp handshake.

A junior Marketing major and Management Information Systems minor, Patel no longer considers himself that type of person.

“I wasn’t prepared,” Patel said of the springtime event. “I didn’t impress recruiters, but I learned from my mistakes. The CSPD helped me with that.”

Fall Connection is one of the CSPD’s biannual networking events, the second of which is held during the spring semester. This year’s four-hour event nearly filled Temple University’s Mitten Hall to capacity, matching 89 employers with more than 800 students from the Fox School.

For Fox Assistant Dean for Student Development Corinne Snell, Fall Connection is the CSPD’s signature event and serves as a great kick-off for October’s corporate recruiting season.

“It’s a time to make a positive impression and for students to put in face-time with the recruiters,” Snell said. “Recruiters contact us directly because of the professionalism and polish our students portray.”

Students from the Fox School of Business engaged employers at the Center for Student Professional Development’s Fall Connection networking event, held Sept. 16 at Temple University’s Mitten Hall. Ryan S. Brandenburg/Temple University Photography

Students from the Fox School of Business engaged employers at the Center for Student Professional Development’s Fall Connection networking event, held Sept. 16 at Temple University’s Mitten Hall. Ryan S. Brandenburg/Temple University Photography

This year, Patel considered himself one of those students.

Since his first showing at CSPD’s Spring Connection, he’s completed two successful summer internships with Business Route and Fastenal, continued to build his personal photography service, and joined customer service at World Republic Bank in Haddonfield, N.J.

“I go to bed at 1 a.m. and wake up at 6. I’m running 14-hour days because that’s what it takes,” Patel explained.

Patel is competing for the attention of top-tier employers such as Deloitte, Pepsi, Comcast Corporation, Target, PNC, JP Morgan Chase, Crayola, Independence Blue Cross, and others. With his eyes set on forging corporate friendships, Patel turned to the CSPD to transform his professional persona.

“I tried figuring stuff out on my own, but I had to ask questions. I’ve realized how beneficial the CSPD is to landing a job,” Patel said.

Located at the Fox School of Business, CSPD hosts one-hour workshops to help students prepare for its large-scale networking events. The workshops introduce students to the resources the CSPD office has to offer, including advice on professional attire, resume writing, and mock interviews. Giving students what they call the “CSPD Difference,” staff members work with students on developing a professional edge in the weeks leading up to their corporate connection events.

Ryan S. Brandenburg/Temple University Photography

Ryan S. Brandenburg/Temple University Photography

“We always hear from employers that we’re setting the bar,” said Megan Panaccio, CSPD Director of Corporate Relations. “The employers look forward to our event.”

The strength of its corporate partnerships and its dedication to student development drew Patel, a transfer student, to the Fox School. With his roots in Gujarat, India, Patel said he admires the work ethic his mother and father have demonstrated while working as a Dunkin’ Donuts manager and a convenience store owner, respectively. He considers his efforts through CSPD and Fall Connection stepping-stones to a promising future.

“My mom wakes at 5 a.m. to make lunches for the family,” he said. “She has had to work very hard. My future success is a way to pay her back as much as I can.”

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Fox School student named finalist for national peace prize

alexis werner 2A sophomore from Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been chosen as a finalist for a national peace prize for her outstanding volunteer service to military veterans.

Entrepreneurship major Alexis Werner is vying for the Peace First Prize, a national award that recognizes youths between the ages of 8 and 22 for their “compassion, courage, and ability to create collaborative change” in their communities. Of the 27 finalists, only five will be chosen as recipients of a $25,000, two-year fellowship that acts as Peace First’s investment in that young person’s future to create change.

The 2015 Peace First Prize winners will be announced in Fall 2015.

Werner’s social justice work began in 2011 with her founding of Seeds of Hope, which provides fresh-grown produce to veterans and their families. Then a student at Shaler Area High School, in Glenshaw, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh, Werner credits her stepfather, Gregory Zottola, as her inspiration. He had returned from active duty in Afghanistan with the United States Army in 2011 suffering with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“He had just married my mom (Nicole), who’s a veteran, too, but she never saw active combat. So it was a different transition,” Werner said. “You see someone in your life struggling to cope and, as a 15-year-old girl, it was difficult dealing with such real-world issues. I felt helpless.”

Fox School of Business student Alexis Werner meets Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker at a 2014 award ceremony, when Werner received the Prudential Financial Spirit of Community Award.

Fox School of Business student Alexis Werner meets Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker at a 2014 award ceremony, when Werner received the Prudential Financial Spirit of Community Award.

Following consultation with a guidance counselor, Werner started planting gardens in her community. Contributions from a local grocery store chain fetched fruits and vegetables to be donated to veterans. A friend’s father, who owns a greenhouse, donated soil and land, and taught Werner and other area high school students how to tend to the produce.

In its first year, Seeds of Hope used its “victory gardens” to generate more than 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables. Since, Seeds of Hope has gardens in eight states, and Werner plans for her organization to support veterans and their families nationwide.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, between 11 and 20 percent of veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom suffer from PTSD, and one in seven veterans is homeless.

The goal of Seeds of Hope is to curb the cycle of mental illness and poverty within the military veteran population. The gardens were the first step, Werner said. She’s also written and published a children’s book, “Beginning Hope,” on the importance of proper nutrition, volunteering, and veteran appreciation. Werner’s documentary, titled “Our Way Home,” will be screened Nov. 12, the day after Veterans Day, in Pittsburgh for more than 1,500 high school and college students, followed by a discussion panel.

“The message is clear: It’s never too late for veterans to get help,” Werner said. “The documentary will be good for people to see, almost acting as a call to action for businesses to hire veterans to help their transition after their service.”

Fox School of Business student Alexis Werner delivers a talk during a 2015 TEDxPittsburgh Youth event.

Fox School of Business student Alexis Werner delivers a talk during a 2015 TEDxPittsburgh Youth event.

“What is inspiring about Alexis is that she has taken a difficult and highly personal situation with her stepfather and his PTSD, and has used that experience to develop a documentary film to help others understand what veterans go through,” said Debbie Campbell, Assistant Dean at the Fox School of Business, and Faculty Advisor to Temple University’s Veteran Association. “She is succeeding in making a real difference through her Seeds of Hope program that was started in high school, and now with this film. She is also excelling academically as a Fox School student, which is amazing considering her class load and everything that she has going on in her life.”

Werner hopes to add the Peace First Prize to an already-decorated resume. In 2014, the Philadelphia’s National Liberty Museum honored her with the Young Hero Award. Werner also has received the 2014 Prudential Financial Spirit of Community Award; the 2013 Princeton Prize in Race Relations; and the 2013 Globechanger Youth Service Award, from New York City’s Robin Hood Foundation. And she recently delivered a talk at the TEDxPittsburgh Youth event.

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Fox welcomes leaders from nation’s top online MBAs

Attendees of the first Online MBA consortium included: Susan E. Cates, University of North Carolina; Kathryn Barraclough, Carnegie Mellon University; Alexander D. Sevilla, University of Florida; Philip T. Powell, Indiana University; Stanley G. Harris, Auburn University; Monica S. Powell, University of Texas at Dallas; Steven G. Allen, North Carolina State University; Darin T. Kapanjie, Temple University; and Christine M. Kiely, Temple University.

Attendees of the first Online MBA consortium included: Susan E. Cates, University of North Carolina; Kathryn Barraclough, Carnegie Mellon University; Alexander D. Sevilla, University of Florida; Philip T. Powell, Indiana University; Stanley G. Harris, Auburn University; Monica S. Powell, University of Texas at Dallas; Steven G. Allen, North Carolina State University; Darin T. Kapanjie, Temple University; and Christine M. Kiely, Temple University.

Leaders from the nation’s top online MBA programs gathered recently at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, forming what is believed to be the first consortium of its kind.

Academic Director of the Fox Online MBA program Dr. Darin Kapanjie invited program directors, deans, and chairpersons from a host of top-ranked online graduate business programs to share ideas and best practices, raise awareness of online education programs, and assemble the foundation of a mission statement for the newly formed group, named the Online MBA Consortium.

Kapanjie said he first appealed to his peers only a few months prior to the proposed gathering, which was held Aug. 5 in Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business.

“The feedback and responses we received were overwhelming,” said Kapanjie, the Managing Director of Fox’s Online & Digital Learning team. “The hope is that what we have developed manifests a need to educate, collaborate, and continue to push quality online education forward. I believe this group can serve as a guiding force for best practices for online MBA programs, both nationally and internationally.”

In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Fox Online MBA program the best in the nation, alongside Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, all of whom shared the No. 1 rank.. While representatives from all of the online MBA programs ranked among the top 10 by U.S. News had accepted Kapanjie’s invitation, representatives from eight of those programs were available to visit Fox and attend the inaugural consortium meeting.

“Though all the programs in attendance were competitively ranked,” Kapanjie said, “there’s always something to learn and improve upon. Every program has its niche – that one area in which it may excel. One program may have perfected the student engagement or faculty credentials components, while another is working diligently to improve in those areas. These programs are going to remain remarkably different, and we’re going to be competitors with one another in the marketplace, but the camaraderie and collegiality was incredibly rewarding.”

The consortium’s members include, in order of respective program rank by U.S. News:

  • Kapanjie, Christine Kiely, Assistant Dean, MBA and MS Programs, and Valerie Henry, Director of MBA and Specialized Master’s Programs, Temple University’s Fox School of Business
  • Philip T. Powell, Chairperson of Kelley Direct, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business
  • Susan E. Cates, President and Associate Dean of Executive Development, University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • Minu Ipe, Faculty Director of Professional MBA Program, Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business (unable to attend)
  • Alexander D. Sevilla, Assistant Dean and Director of MBA Programs, University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration
  • Monica S. Powell, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, University of Texas at Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management
  • Kathryn Barraclough, Head of the MBA Program, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business
  • Brian Cameron, Associate Dean of Professional Master’s Programs, Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business (unable to attend)
  • Steven G. Allen, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Research, North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management
  • Stanley G. Harris, Associate Dean of Graduate and International Programs, Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

“Prospective MBA students deserve easier access to well-designed, high quality, and affordably priced graduate business education,” said Powell, of Indiana University. “New technologies enable this, but the industry is stubbornly slow to expand worthy online options in the marketplace. Through collective work of the member schools, the Online MBA Consortium elevates academic legitimacy of an MBA earned online and insures emphasis on high scholarly standards as more business schools offer distance options. This is good for the market as a whole.”

Next summer, the Online MBA Consortium will be hosted by Dr. Monica Powell at the University of Texas at Dallas. Six months prior to their meeting, the participants will arrange a virtual collaborative session for presentations. It’s critical for the success of the consortium to maintain its annual, in-person component, Kapanjie said.

“A majority of the nation’s top online MBAs incorporate residencies into their programs and, while we feel plenty can be accomplished in a virtual format, we feel it is important for us to have an annual meet-up.”

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Social media branding plays a grand role in commercial strategy, according to Fox researcher

Jay I. SinhaDomino’s Pizza has cultivated 10 million Facebook followers. Target’s page has collected 20 million. And Nabisco’s Oreo cookie page exceeds 40 million Facebook likes.

Such large numbers demonstrate a shift toward social media marketing and the expanding role of commercial branding in today’s online world, according to Dr. Jay I. Sinha, an Associate Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Sinha’s latest research publication, “The Risks and Rewards of Brand Personification Using Social Media,” which appeared in the Boston Globe and MIT Sloan Management Review, digs into social media’s role in rewriting the consumer-producer relationship for today’s top brands. More than 92 percent of marketers responded in 2014 that social media marketing is important for their businesses, and 80 percent indicated these efforts increase traffic to their websites, Sinha noted.

“Social media marketing is the new big thing,” Sinha said. “It allows a company to stay close to its customers, being responsive, engaging them, and evolving with them through time.”

Tweeting its core values or responding to Facebook comments about a new product gives a company a human-like presence, Sinha said. This personification, he added, deepens consumer loyalty and buyer-conversion rates, or the number of consumers making online purchases. So whether it’s an international company like Domino’s Pizza, or a hyper-local grocery store chain, photographs, hashtags, and followers are a part of the new normative advertising pattern.

“In the past, a satisfied customer typically told three other people, while a dissatisfied customer griped to 11 people,” Sinha said. “Nowadays, each has the potential to tell the entire world – by virtue of being on social media.

The globalization of online marketing, to Sinha, emphasizes the need for well-written, interesting and visually appealing content. He indicates Whole Foods’ strategy on Instagram that focuses on striking food photography with the use of no captions, while Target uses #tbt, or ThrowbackThursday, to promote its 1980s-inspired fashion line.

Sinha notes the line between trendy and offensive, however, can be a tipping point.

“Firms should not regard social media as the space where they can emulate private individuals and espouse extreme viewpoints, launch attacks against business rivals, or castigate those who post negative reviews,” he said. “This is off-putting and unprofessional.”

To diminish the chance for error, using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest as primary social media platforms is enough, Sinha indicated, as many users are engaged with just two or three of those sites. He also urged firms to cultivate the smartphone app market with which millennials, or those between the ages of 18 and 35, are engaged. YouTube, he continued, is a way to corner members of the baby-boomer generation who aren’t as engaged on Facebook or Twitter.

Expanding on social media brand personification, Sinha said he is currently researching the “culture-jacking” phenomenon, which refers to a company’s attachment of itself to a trending topic in order to increase followers. Companies’ successes with this tactic, Sinha noted, is not foolproof, as there are several documented missteps.

“All of this shows that companies need to use social media with proper judgment and planning, and steer clear of topics that may be remotely controversial,” Sinha said.

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Forbes lauds job-placement rate for Fox Global MBA alums

The Global MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business boasts a job-placement rate that is “better than the vast majority of schools in the country,” and ranks the program in the top 65 nationally for return on investment, according to Forbes’ 2015 Best Business Schools ranking.

Forbes lauded the 95-percent job-placement rate for Fox MBA graduates as among the best in the country. Fox’s renowned Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) oversees internship and job placement for graduate students.

“At some schools, less than 50 percent of graduates accepted jobs within three months of matriculation,” wrote Kurt Badenhausen, in Forbes’ release announcing the publication’s Best Business Schools ranking.

This marked Fox’s second consecutive appearance in Forbes’ biennial survey, released Sept. 9, and joins the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School as the only business schools in Greater Philadelphia to be ranked.

“We work tirelessly to ensure that the value of a Fox degree continues to appreciate,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “Our ascent in national and international rankings shows that our programs offer very strong returns. We take great pride in providing students with a superb education, incredible services, and strong industry connections so that our graduates find the best match to advance their careers.”

The ranking is based on the return on investment achieved by graduates from the class of 2010. Through a survey of 17,400 alumni from 95 schools, Forbes compared their total earnings in their first five years out of business school, including salary, bonuses, and exercised stock options, to their opportunity cost (two years of foregone compensation, tuition, and required fees) to arrive at a five-year MBA gain.

The five-year MBA gain represents the net cumulative amount typical alumni would have earned after years by getting their MBA versus staying in their pre-MBA career.

“Small class size with many international students, experienced professors, and friendly administrative staff provided an intimate learning experience,” said one survey respondent.

“The international component to our business school has uniquely prepared me for the type of work I do now at a large multinational company,” another survey respondent added.

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Three Fox undergraduate programs again ranked among nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report

Three Fox School of Business undergraduate programs – Risk Management and Insurance, International Business, and Management Information Systems (MIS) – again rank among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 edition of Best Colleges.

The Fox School’s Risk Management and Insurance program ranks No. 5, marking three consecutive years that it has earned a top-5 ranking. International Business is No. 13, and MIS is ranked No. 14 in the country. This marks the third consecutive year in which three Fox undergraduate programs have been respectively ranked among the top-15 in the nation.

“It’s rewarding for the Fox School to once again be recognized among some of the nation’s finest undergraduate business programs, but we are not content,” said Dean M. Moshe Porat. “We are constantly introducing innovations to our programs and services to improve upon the exceptional business education we deliver, and to further enhance the value of a Fox degree.”

The business school rankings in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, released online Sept. 9, are based on peer assessment of deans and senior faculty at each AACSB-accredited undergraduate business program in the U.S. over a two-year period, including a Spring 2015 survey.

The Fox School’s Risk Management and Insurance program is the nation’s oldest, continuously running program of its kind. Among the largest programs in the country, too, Fox’s Risk Management and Insurance program is also home to the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma. The chapter, the international professional fraternity’s largest, has earned the Edison L. Bowers award as best overall chapter in 18 of the last 23 years.

Fox’s International Business program is supported by a robust study-abroad program, through the school and Temple University, as well as from the Institute of Global Management Studies and the Temple Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), which is based at Fox. Temple CIBER is one of only 17 such elite centers in the nation to have had its grant-renewal proposal approved for federal funding from the United States Department of Education. Temple is the only university in the Greater Philadelphia region and in Pennsylvania to have received funding for CIBER.

MIS’ research faculty rank No. 1 in the world in research output for a five-year period, from 2010-2014, according to the My Vision Research ranking and the University of Texas at Dallas Top 100 Business School Research ranking. Members of Fox’s Association for Information Systems (AIS) student chapter, the first ever, have earned first place in four consecutive years at the AIS Student Leadership Conference and IT Competition. Recently, Fox’s AIS was recognized as the 2015 Distinguished Chapter of the Year.

In all, the Fox School offers 15 undergraduate majors, more than 20 Student Professional Organizations, the Fox Honors program, cutting-edge technology and stellar student services, including a Business Communications Center and Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), which has a 94-percent job-placement rate for undergraduates who use its services. The Fox School also offers an Online Bachelor of Business Administration, a degree-completion program in accounting, business management, legal studies or marketing.

Overall, the Fox School’s undergraduate business program is 61st in the nation out of 478 schools in this year’s ranking, placing it among the top-13 percent in the U.S.

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Fox School senior represents New Jersey in Miss USA competition

Vanessa Oriolo

Vanessa Oriolo’s initial foray into beauty pageants came about when she saw a banner advertisement on Facebook. She hardly expected this would lead to being crowned Miss New Jersey USA.

Oriolo, a senior marketing major from the Fox School of Business, represented Temple University and her home state in the nationally televised Miss USA pageant, held July 12 in Baton Rouge, La. While Oriolo did not advance past the initial stage of the competition, she said she learned a valuable lesson that also translates to the business education she’s receiving at the Fox School.

“I participated for two years in the Miss New Jersey Teen USA pageant, and two more years in Miss New Jersey USA, before I won. It took five tries before I found success, and that’s the most-rewarding experience, if you ask me,” Oriolo said.

“In business, or in life, nothing works out exactly the way you hope it will. It’s having the patience and the confidence to try again that matters. I like to roll with the punches and accept things for what they are, because that’s how you arrive at the most-satisfying outcomes in life.”

Oriolo was crowned Miss New Jersey USA in October 2014, following a rigorous three-day competition. She bested a field of 119 young women, aged 18 to 27, to earn the right to represent the Garden State in the Miss USA pageant.

“The moment felt surreal,” Oriolo said. “You work so hard to get there. I think it took a few months to settle in that I had won.”

Though Oriolo did not win the Miss USA competition, her duties as Miss New Jersey are far from complete. She will continue to make public appearances at children’s hospitals, fundraisers, and various galas, promoting charities and good causes along the way.

“The Miss USA organization does not require you to select a specific platform, which I like,” she said. “I don’t have to select one specific cause, but I do consider myself an advocate against dating violence, encouraging women to recognize the warning signs of unhealthy relationships. And I also hold a special place in my heart for any and all foundations that benefit children.”

A Colts Neck, N.J., native, Oriolo said she yearns for a career in the fashion industry working for a luxury designer brand, and even potentially starting her own fashion brand one day. Yet, she has not dismissed other professional paths being that she has so many different passions. She has not ruled out the possibility of a career in modeling or in the entertainment industry. She also said attending law school, another lifelong aspiration, still remains a possibility, as well.

“Literally or figuratively, your education never stops,” said Oriolo, who is slated to graduate in December 2015. “You don’t have to limit yourself to one career choice. I would never turn down an opportunity that I thought was interesting. So for me, I’m keeping my career open-ended.”

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Boris Iglewicz, longtime statistics professor, dies

Boris Iglewicz

Dr. Boris Iglewicz, a renowned researcher and tenured faculty member within Temple University’s Fox School of Business, died Aug. 25. He was 75.

Iglewicz, a professor emeritus, had taught within the Statistics department since 1969, upon his hire as an associate professor by Temple’s School of Business and Management. In 1974, he was promoted to full professor. He acted as the department’s chairperson from 1978-82, chaired Temple’s Graduate Affairs Committee from 1974-75, and served as director of the PhD program in Statistics from 1971-76. Additionally, in 1984-85, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University.

Most recently, he served as Director of Temple’s Biostatistics Research Center, which is housed at the Fox School. Iglewicz organized 17 annual Merck-Temple conferences, joining leading academics with researchers from the pharmaceutical firm.

“Boris was a distinguished member of our faculty at the Fox School, as both an educator and a research innovator whose tenure here covered parts of six decades,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “It was with great regret to learn of Boris’ passing, and my thoughts at this time are with his family, friends, and colleagues.”

“Boris was a pillar of the department in his 45 years, having created our PhD program in 1973 and nurturing its growth since then,” said Dr. Sanat K. Sarkar, Cyrus H. K. Curtis Professor of Statistics and Chair of the Fox School’s Statistics department. “His enthusiasm and passion for the department and the School was infectious. He was a true scholar and a great mentor who deeply cared for the success and well-being of his students and colleagues. We will deeply miss him.”

Iglewicz’s research publications have been referenced in leading advanced texts on clinical trials, distribution theory, multivariate analysis, outlier detection, quality improvement, regression, sequential analysis, survival analysis, and robust methods. He wrote or contributed chapters to four published books, wrote 57 refereed journal articles, and served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Quality Technology and Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research.

At the Fox School, Iglewicz successfully supervised 24 Ph.D. dissertations, with students winning 17 international awards for dissertation research.

For his contributions to the field, he was elected as a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Royal Statistical Society, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and a senior member of the American Society for Quality.

In 2001, Iglewicz received the Musser Excellence in Research Leadership Award, which recognizes a member of the Fox School faculty for outstanding research.

He was the recipient of the American Statistical Association’s 2003 Don Owen Award, which recognizes excellence in research, statistical consultation, and service to the statistical community, and the 2001 W.J. Youden Award, which acknowledges authors who have made outstanding contributions to the design of interlaboratory tests.

Iglewicz earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Wayne State University, in Detroit, and his PhD in statistics from Virginia Tech University.

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Ride-sharing service shown to reduce drunk-driving deaths, according to Fox researchers

Photo of Brad Greenwood

Brad Greenwood

The inspiration for his co-authored research paper, Brad Greenwood said, materialized rather organically.

“I was in the backseat of an UberX vehicle,” Greenwood said, “and I wrote myself a cell phone note: ‘Call Sunil about writing an Uber paper.’”

According to research by Greenwood and Sunil Wattal, professors at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, the introduction of UberX, a low-cost, ride-sharing service, has led to the reduction of alcohol-related vehicular fatalities in California.

Their research findings have been featured widely in mainstream national and international media outlets, including Newsweek, Fox News, Forbes, Canada’s Globe and Mail, Britain’s Daily Mail, Quebec’s La Presse, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Tech Times, and others. Their working paper, titled, “Show Me The Way To Go Home: An Empirical Investigation of Ride Sharing and Alcohol Related Motor Vehicle Homicide,” is under review for publication in an academic journal.

Uber is a mobile-app-based service through which consumers can call for transportation to and from any destination. The system requires credit card registration prior to usage, which means no physical money changes hands in the transaction. Available in more than 50 countries, Uber’s popularity has soared recently, and an August 2015 report from Reuters suggests that Uber’s bookings in 2016 could exceed $26 billion.

Greenwood and Wattal are believed to have written the first academic paper investigating the effects of Uber on reducing alcohol-related vehicular homicides.

“The issue is timely and fresh. Everyone is talking about Uber,” said Wattal, an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS) at Fox.

Photo of a cell phone“There was evidence that Uber could be linked to such decreases in fatalities, but the question as to whether it could be tied together rigorously, and under certain circumstances, wasn’t yet known,” said Greenwood, an Assistant Professor of MIS.

Using publicly available data obtained from the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Report System, for a period between January 2009 and September 2014, Greenwood and Wattal analyzed reports that included the blood-alcohol content of the driver, contributing factors like weather, speed, and environmental factors, and the number of parties involved in the accidents. Greenwood and Wattal said they chose to review California’s data because Uber is headquartered in San Francisco, and the ride-sharing service has been available in that state longer than in any other.

In their research, they found that alcohol-related deaths decreased by an average of 3.6-5.6 percent in cities where UberX service, the least-expensive service offered by Uber, is available. They also found limited evidence of change in conjunction with the use of Uber Black, the most-expensive service, which requires a luxury vehicle.

Other findings from the co-authored research paper include:

  • The effects of UberX on the number of alcohol-related fatalities took hold, on average, from nine to 15 months following Uber’s introduction to a particular city, “after Uber has built up a network of customers and drivers in that marketplace,” Greenwood said.
  • There was little to no effect in periods of likely surge pricing, a system that allows Uber to increase the cost of the services rendered dependent upon the consumer demand.
  • There was no effect between Uber and overall deaths, indicating that the entry of Uber is not making roads more dangerous for sober people.
Photo of Sunil Wattal

Sunil Wattal

For Greenwood, who has previously studied the societal benefits of technologies, and Wattal, who has researched online crowdfunding and peer-to-peer economies, their research interests overlapped, which made this project a natural choice on which they could collaborate. Unsurprisingly, their Uber research, which was independently funded, has generated requests for follow-up studies.

“We could try to replicate this study in the context of other states to see if the data is robust,” Wattal said, “but that could take considerable time, given that Uber is not available everywhere and that data is not as readily available in other states.”

“The options are endless for this type of work,” Greenwood said.

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Fox School student appeals to Pope Francis for blessing of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback’s knees

Pratik Patel

A student from Temple University’s Fox School of Business is hoping that divine intervention will lead his favorite sports team to “the promised land.”

Senior Pratik Patel initiated an online petition in August to have Pope Francis bless the knees of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford during the Pontiff’s visit to the city Sept. 26-27 for the World Meeting of Families.

More than 6,400 supporters have signed Patel’s petition, at, which has received widespread media attention. However, Patel said the digital signatures are inconsequential. He said the online petition is merely the means through which he hopes to spread the word about his intention to facilitate a meeting between Pope Francis and Bradford.

“Pope Francis is a man of high power and great regard, and as a lifelong Eagles fan, I think his blessing on Sam Bradford’s knees would help the Eagles reach the Super Bowl,” said Patel, who will graduate in May 2016 with undergraduate degrees in Accounting and Finance. “I’m Hindu, so this meeting is not expressly about religious beliefs.”

Bradford played in only seven games of the 2013 season and missed the entire 2014 season, then as the quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, with separate injuries to his left knee. The Eagles, who traded for Bradford in the offseason, have gone 54 years between championships.

Patel and his online petition have been featured nationally on a Fox News broadcast and linked to in stories by ESPN and Sports Illustrated. He’s also been interviewed locally by 6ABC, Fox29, and NBC10 in Philadelphia, and he has appeared on a news broadcast on EWTN, a global Catholic television network.

Patel acknowledged it is highly unlikely that Pope Francis, whose Philadelphia travel itinerary is quite thorough, will have the time to meet Bradford. After all, the Eagles will be in East Rutherford, N.J., that weekend for a game against the New York Jets.

“The two will only be 100 miles apart,” Patel said. “While I haven’t heard anything yet, from the Eagles, from (Philadelphia Mayor) Michael Nutter, or from the Pope himself, I’m not giving up hope. That’s what faith is all about, right?”

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William A. Graham selected as recipient of 19th annual Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership

Photo of William A. "Bill" Graham IV

William A. “Bill” Graham IV, recipient of the 2015 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership

Temple University’s Fox School of Business will award William A. “Bill” Graham IV the 2015 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership – the school’s highest honor, for outstanding achievement, leadership, and commitment to the community by a distinguished member of industry.

Graham will be honored at the 19th annual Musser Award reception and dinner Nov. 5, 2015, in Mitten Hall, on Temple University’s Main Campus.

Graham is the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of The Graham Company, a privately held and leading U.S. insurance and surety brokerage and consulting firm considered one of the largest in the nation based on revenue size. The company provides property and casualty products, employee benefits, and surety bonds for an elite client base.

“Bill Graham helped build a family business into a recognized and respected brand. He’s a giant in the insurance and risk management industries,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “For nearly two decades, we have honored distinguished business professionals with the Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, and Bill certainly fits that description.”

Graham has been a member of the Philadelphia business community for more than 50 years.

He joined his father’s insurance agency as a sales representative in 1962, eventually becoming the sole owner in 1972. He served as president from 1970 to 1999, and currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer. He has overseen the growth of The Graham Company, from six employees with revenues of $300,000 in 1972, to more than 160 employees and revenues exceeded $40 million.

Graham is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, and is on the Boards of Directors of Xanitos, Inc.; Adhezion Biomedical, LLC; and Aspire Bariatrics, LLC. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Guest Counts Hospitality.

He is an alumnus of Bucknell University and the William Penn Charter School.

Previous Musser Award winners include Lewis Katz, director of the Katz Foundation; Steven H. Korman, founder of Korman Communities; Joan Carter, co-founder and president of UM Holdings Ltd.; Ralph J. Roberts, founder of Comcast; Stephen A. Cozen and Patrick J. O’Connor, of Cozen-O’Connor; H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, president and CEO of The Lenfest Group; and Dennis Alter, former chairman and CEO of Advanta Corp.

For sponsorship and reservation information, contact Amy Gurreri, Assistant Director of Special Events and Facilities, at 215-204-4889 or