Eleven alumni leaders share insights on how technology is shaking up today’s major industries and constantly reshaping business possibility.
You can’t open a magazine, a newspaper, or Twitter now without encountering a story about the rise of artificial intelligence and how this will impact businesses and economies around the world. Will the robots displace workers, leaving behind a massive trail of catastrophic unemployment? Or will the relationship be more harmonious as robots optimize productivity and maximize efficiency boosting both the bottom line and free time for us humans? Nobody knows. But one thing is for certain: Technology has brought and will continue to bring radical changes and thrilling opportunities for business innovation industry-wide. To get a firmer grasp on how some of the major industries and fields of business are positioning themselves for the future, we asked 11 Fox School of Business alumni leaders—representing a variety of industries from finance and professional sports, to transportation and healthcare—to examine what’s on the horizon and to share their insights.
James Poyser, BBA ’92
Grammy Award-winning musician, The Roots
“Advances in technology have totally changed how music is made, performed, taught, marketed, and sold. Hit records are not only made in studios anymore, but in bedrooms, basements, and even on smartphones. Traditional instruments are being replaced with digital ones (check out a Stro Elliot video on YouTube). Artists are foregoing the traditional route of signing to record labels, and putting their music out online or finding other ways to collect payment. And more changes are coming, too. The rules keep changing and evolving. What new advances are in the future? I know they’re coming. How will we create music in the future? How will we listen to music in the future? How will we purchase music? Actually, will music even be purchased anymore? (This is when it gets scary: Do I matter anymore? Is there any value left in music?) Whatever changes take place, I believe those that adapt to the changes, keep their heads on a swivel, or have the mindset to change, will be positively affected.”
Eric Salfi, BBA ’91
CPA, Partner, Cwienkala & Salfi
“Many CPAs didn’t know how to deal with QuickBooks when it was first released and it put them out of business—the advances in technology and the way accounting is done now has changed even more dramatically since. We’re moving toward strictly cloud-based activities where there’s more interaction and my clients send documents and information through a portal. The accountant’s role has evolved, too. It used to be about bookkeeping—handling bank statements, creating financial reports, and so on. QuickBooks, and now cloud software, eliminated all the people sitting in a room somewhere compiling this information, but it still requires an expert to manage the software. The accountant has evolved and, for me, it’s more of a business consultant role now. Clients don’t just need me to prepare a tax return; I now have deeper relationships with my clients and I act as a personal advisor, helping them value new businesses or solve cash flow problems. One of the big issues, as information’s moved to the cloud, is cybersecurity. There’s more data accessible now, so creating a safe, encrypted portal that allows clients to interact with us is essential. You need to adjust and adapt with technology or you’ll be left behind. I look forward to embracing whatever changes come next.”
Adam Lyons, BBA ’09
Founder & Chairman, The Zebra
“Technology has changed and is changing insurance, though no one would hesitate to admit the industry was painfully slow to welcome the insurtech revolution. At the Zebra, we’re a technology company in the insurance space, and we believe the right technology, applied by people who truly understand the profound complexities of the insurance industry, can create efficiencies which simplify everything from assessing risk to distribution to claims management and beyond. We’ve seen incredible developments in the property and casualty insurance industry, like peer-to-peer insurance and pay-per-mile models, and we’re creating an insurance search engine where consumers can access, understand, and use all of these innovations. We’re creating essential technology which informs and educates consumers so they can understand their options and make the right decisions for their unique needs. Environmental factors are critical as well, but they’re unpredictable. Still, we’ve seen trends showing an increase in devastating storms, most recently Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, for example, which just reaffirms the need for people to have the resources to find the right coverage for their circumstances to protect themselves.”
Bob Rosenthal, BBA ’85
Partner, Envision Land Use
“Real estate, like everything, is in the middle of the internet revolution. Philadelphia was dead 20 years ago, back when I went to Temple. There was a void between City Hall and the suburbs—then the millennials came. The parts that have grown, like Fishtown, used to be manufacturing areas, and the buildings have now been repurposed. Everyone talks about the retail change and how people now buy online, but the same has happened in everything from healthcare to office space. What once was a retail center is no longer a retail center; this battle’s been going on for years in the city and is now hitting the suburbs. I’m 57 and right now I’m working from my car on an iPhone. People don’t need office space the way they did—with a lobby, a huge campus, and a front desk—especially younger people without ties to old ways of doing business. And when the millennials come back to the suburbs—which they’re already starting to do—they want lifestyle options just as they do in the city. They want to be able to easily Uber or walk to a bar or a restaurant. So even in new developments in the suburbs, we’re aiming to make these changes. With more businesses moving online and changing needs, land uses change so quickly that governing authorities can’t keep up and many aren’t willing to change. People are always frightened of change, but we must keep moving forward and adapting.”
Heather Qader, MBA ’16
Manager of Business Development, City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce
“Technology is slowly changing local government for the better. Philadelphia, like other cities, is realizing that to compete at a global and national scale, it must adapt its infrastructure. These adaptations look like the digitization of SEPTA’s ticketing system, installation of Indego Bike Share citywide, parking kiosks that allow the use of cards instead of change, and an overhaul of the City of Philadelphia website to create a more user-friendly interface and allowing for more public engagement and user ease. With every new administration, personnel changes occur and there is a transitional period required to get new personnel up to speed. One initiative that has survived the Michael Nutter administration and is currently embraced by the Jim Kenney administration is StartupPHL, a platform that funds worthy initiatives and connects startups to resources in the Philadelphia tech ecosystem. The most recent StartupPHL call for ideas round funded five organizations with $100,000 to train instructors, supply equipment, and teach children the technology skills that they need to be globally competitive. We are keeping up—not as fast as many of the lean startups here in Philadelphia—but progress is being made.”
Salvatore DeTrane, BBA ’93
Managing Director, Empactful Capital LLC
“Most innovation in healthcare technologies in recent decades has been in medical devices, drug therapies, and medical diagnostics. These have led to people living longer, more productive lives. The downside is these advancements have resulted in a financially unsustainable cost trend. The next frontier is entrepreneurs disrupting healthcare with innovative information technology solutions. There have been massive investments in the last 15 years in electronic health records, claims systems, genomics, social determinant data, and big data software. Some of the innovation opportunities include practical applications of machine learning, natural language processing, intelligent workflow advancements, and advanced analytics that offer actionable insights. Proactive interventions will enable healthcare providers and payers to better manage care, reduce healthcare costs, improve quality, and assess risk of managing populations and encourage business model evolution. With the expected increase of today’s industry expenditures in the U.S. from $3.5 to $5.5 trillion by 2025, this transformation will prevent a financial crisis. All payers—whether health plans, employers, or consumers—are demanding more efficient and effective healthcare and transparency. The industry now stands at a pivotal moment. It must transform into a system that leverages these data/IT investments to support better, more informed decisions by each major constituent. And I think Temple, given Fox’s programs and its health system and medical school, is positioned to support the innovation required to transform our healthcare system.”
Joe Heller, BS ’05
Vice President of Marketing, Philadelphia Flyers
“Broadcast coverage of live sports events continues to evolve and advance at a rapid rate. Viewers are getting more access to their favorite teams and players through virtual and augmented reality, cable cams, and GoPro cameras. In the future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see dedicated channels allowing viewers to experience the duration of a live game straight from a players helmet through a virtual reality headset. This could be similar to the way motorsports has cameras mounted on cars, or the NHL on referees and players at the All-Star Game. Stadiums and arenas will be continually challenged on new ways to adopt VR/AR into their venues, improve WiFi, provide charging stations in the seats, show live video helmet feeds on the big screens, and alike, to bring the comforts and expectations of home viewing to the game. From an NHL team perspective, the Flyers recognize we’re becoming our own media company by placing a greater emphasis on content about the team, connecting players and fans through mobile platforms, providing behind the scenes access, and much more. As tech advancements are made, pro sports will continue to look for new ways to be early adopters and integrate them into event coverage, for home viewers and in arenas and stadiums.”
Marco Herbas, MBA ’15
Whole Securitization Funding, Ford Motor Company
“Self-driving cars are an inevitable reality that will disrupt and transform the industry for its incumbents as it opens new doors for non-traditional, automotive value-chain players able to purvey hardware and software that enable interconnected and autonomous vehicles (AVs). AVs, along with mobility and continuous development of electrified powertrains, are creating a paradigm shift in the lengthy, bureaucratic processes engrained in traditional automakers’ decision-making, essentially forcing them to become more agile in their product and systems development lifecycles to emulate these potential tech entrants. The notion of AVs is not only disrupting the auto industry, but the transportation ecosystem as a whole. Some examples may include public transportation, where cities may have to partner with automobile purveyors to deploy fleets of self-driving vehicles, as well as insurance providers where AVs create a safer commuter environment, meanwhile curtailing risk and impacting insurers’ revenue streams. Ford has communicated it intends to pursue automotive and high-growth mobility businesses. In 2016, senior leadership announced the company would commence mass production of level-4 autonomous vehicles by 2021 available for ride-sharing/ride-hailing services. Key underpinnings include the launch of the next generation Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Development Vehicle, the creation of its mobility division, as well as its acquisition of Chariot, an app-based, on-demand shuttle service. And Ford is investing $1 billion in start-up Argo AI to further its advancement in AV development by leveraging the startup’s robotics technology.”
Andrew Bertolazzi, EMBA ’97
Vice President, Ronin Security Solutions LLC
“Seaborne shipping accounts for approximately two-thirds of global trade, with over $4 trillion worth of goods transported annually. One of the major challenges the industry faces—increased global competitiveness, new regulations, reliance on automation, etc.—is security. This includes compliance with layers of domestic and global requirements, physical security, and protection of the supply chain. But the most insidious risk with the potentially greatest impact is cybersecurity. The industry, both afloat and on land, is increasing the level of automation across the value chain to improve efficiencies, reduce cycle times, enhance safety, and drive down cost. The greater use of technology leads to the need for increased knowledge and specialized tools, as well as the risk of breaches and compromises. A recent example of cybercrime’s impact on global shipping is the Petya ransomware attack, whose disruptions cost over $300M to one of the world’s major shipping companies. The federal government and industry associations are working to raise awareness and offer assistance to organizations across the supply chain through focused outreach, education, and grants. And the private sector is improving cybersecurity through assessments, training, and adding specialized security tools, processes, people, and consulting support. Each organization must evaluate the amount of resources of time, people, and funding needed to appropriately address the threats. The level to which they’re able to do so will determine the impacts and stimulate innovations in technology, business processes, and approaches to security.”
Ron Iller, BBA ’93, MBA ’95
Director at Large, Fox Alumni Association
Director, Product Management-Analytics and Data Discovery, Change Healthcare
“The move to value-based care and risk-based contracting within the healthcare market has changed the game. It’s about providers and payers applying data and analytics to effectively provide better care at the lowest cost. Overall, it will be a very positive change in terms of working to improve outcomes. The focus will be on the individual and patient populations, and how their level of health impacts the cost of the system. Organizations will focus more on keeping people healthy as opposed to getting them healthy by utilizing care management programs and other forms of outreach. Change Healthcare will inspire a better healthcare system and deliver wide-range financial, operational, and clinical solutions to payers, providers, and consumers. I’m focused on helping hospitals and health systems move from fee-for-service to a value- or risk-based payment model. This involves taking a broader view of the patient or population, either in terms of payment, health status, or access to care, not only within the walls of the hospital, but extending to the broader community. We do this by providing a data platform for health systems to acquire and aggregate massive amounts of data at scale and then applying analytics in the transition to value-based care. The data we gather and what we can do with it will continue to improve with new technology, and ultimately allow us to improve the quality of care we provide even more.”
James Sanders, EMBA ’12
President-elect, Fox Alumni Association
Vice President, Commercial Lending, Customers Bank
“Fintech is providing access to capital, especially to small businesses, at a right-now rate. People are getting loans on mobile devices and it happens quick. Mobile and cloud technology, whether people use it to bid on contracts or communicate with employees, is helping small businesses evolve faster. It used to be more difficult to start a small business; now there are infinite online resources people can tap into. You can watch a YouTube video that will tell you how to do it (but, keep in mind, that won’t help you when it comes to actually executing a successful business). Small business owners are getting younger, too. There’s a lot of buzz around millennials and how they have a fresh way of thinking and handling business. With platforms like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and Instagram, there are many ways to make money. My son started a tech company; he designed the app and everything. I’m very optimistic about the future of small and medium sized businesses—they’re the backbone of America. Their names aren’t plastered on the highways when you’re driving downtown and you may not see them on TV or the internet. But they’re everywhere and they’re creating and driving new industries and opportunities.”
Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? If not, you better hurry, because time is running out to find the perfect gift for the people on your list.
To help make your final holiday giving decision, here are a few gift options from companies founded by alumni entrepreneurs from the Fox School of Business. From tasty food to wearable tech fashion, and greeting cards to apparel for a good cause, these alumni businesses have you covered.
Honeygrow, the fast-casual restaurant founded by CEO Justin Rosenberg, MBA ’09, now has more than 20 locations in nine states. There must be someone you know who lives near one who would love a honeygrow gift card so they can chow down on a salad or stir-fry bowl.
Everyone loves elephants. And you can find all kinds of cool elephant-inspired gear (T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and more) at Ivory Ella, the apparel company co-founded by Richard Henne, BBA ’15. Ivory Ella donates 10-percent of its profits to Save the Elephants and other charitable organizations, so you’ll be supporting a good cause, too.
ROAR for Good Athena
ROAR for Good, the company co-founded by CEO Yasmine Mustafa, BBA ’06, makes wearable smart technology devices that aim to reduce violence against women and make users safer. Athena is a fashion-forward wearable that features a built-in alarm, notifies contacts in an emergency situation, and allows users to share their location with friends and family. “This piece of tech jewelry,” wrote Brit + Co, “might save your life someday.”
Do you love donuts? Of course you do—everybody loves donuts. Well, David Restituto, BBA ’96, opened Factory Donuts this year in Northeast Philadelphia and the people in your life would surely love it if you showed up to a holiday party with a dozen donuts, especially Factory’s maple bacon explosion option.
A card is both a great gift and a great gift supplement. And Groundswell Greetings, created by Ali King, MBA ’16, has unique, fun, cool cards designed by Philadelphia artists for nearly every occasion, including the upcoming holiday season. For instance, the Philly-inspired “Home for the holidays” card (above) created in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, which receives a portion of the proceeds. Good cause, great card.
Any more suggestions for gifts made by Fox School alumni? Please contact us!
The Fox School of Business at Temple University has created a media kit to help connect reporters with business school faculty in a variety of areas of expertise.
The Fox School is home to more than 210 world-renowned faculty and research leaders in their respective fields. They lead innovative undergraduate and graduate programs, conduct cutting-edge research, and can provide insightful, engaging commentary on timely business topics.
The Faculty Expertise Guide provides a user-friendly listing of faculty from all nine academic departments at the Fox School available for media interviews upon request.
For more information and to schedule an interview, contact Christopher A. Vito, Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations, at email@example.com or (215) 204-4115.
Temple University served as Brett Kratchman’s entrée into the food-and-beverage industry. Now the food distribution professional has committed to supporting future educational opportunities at his alma mater.
The founder and chief executive officer of BK Specialty Foods, Kratchman has pledged $50,000 to Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM).
His gift, and STHM’s vow to match it, has helped create the BK Specialty Foods/Judith L. Kratchman Endowed Scholarship Fund. Once fully funded, the scholarship will be available annually to a STHM student of financial need who graduated from a Philadelphia- or South Jersey-area high school.
“My mother and my father met at Temple University. They married and began a family before she could finish her education,” said Brett Kratchman of his mother, Judie, who passed in 2016. “She was smart, savvy, and always willing to give someone a second chance. This scholarship is a lasting tribute in her memory.”
“Mr. Kratchman’s success and professional goals align with the interests of many of our students, and gifts like his will support our students as they pursue their college education and launch their professional careers,” said Dr. Jeremy Jordan, associate dean of STHM.
Kratchman was introduced to the food-and-beverage field while simultaneously earning his Bachelor of Business Administration in business and law from Temple’s Fox School of Business. He worked for his father, Sheldon, who founded Delaware Valley Fish Company—an exporter of live fish, eel, and carp to the European markets.
After graduation, and while taking graduate-level courses at STHM, Kratchman branched out and teamed with a classmate to sell frozen novelties out of an ice cream cart in Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood.
From there, Kratchman founded BK Specialty Foods in 1986 with just one product line—fruit pops on a stick that he sold for a dollar apiece.
“In one weekend, we did $60,000 in sales and that started this path for me,” Kratchman said. “I hired sales people, bought a truck, bought a warehouse, then two warehouses. Today, we employ more than 100 people, distribute products in six states, and sell more than 6,000 local, regional, and imported individual products.”
Kratchman said his company is truly a family enterprise. His mother spent more than 30 years as BK Specialty Foods’ office manager. His sister, Karen, and brother, David, are also involved with the business. His brother, Barry, is in the industry, too. He serves as president of the fish-exporting company founded by their father, and owner of Classic Cake Bakery.
He also credits his success to the support of his wife, Robyn, and their three daughters—Rayna, a 2013 graduate of Temple’s College of Public Health; Madison, who is pursuing a graduate degree in psychology at Temple’s College of Liberal Arts; and Mia Rose, described by her father as “a future Owl.”
“From the academic side to athletics, we’re supporters of Temple through and through,” Kratchman said. “Supporting STHM’s students and honoring my mother in this way just seemed like the perfect fit.”
What do jazz musicians Billie Holiday, Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Grover Washington Jr. have in common?
Holiday’s resonant tones were just babbling when she moved to Philadelphia as a toddler. Tyner’s strong left hand, distinctive in his low piano bass lines, could barely depress a piano key when he was born here in 1938. Brown, Gillespie, and Coltrane each made Philly their home during formative years of their adult lives. Washington even called Temple University home, receiving his doctorate in music composition from the School of Music.
These musicians also shared the struggle of being African American in a world that condoned segregation. Barred from Local 77, Philadelphia’s largest musician’s union, African American musicians banded together to form Union 274 in 1935 with distinguished members like Gillespie, Coltrane, and Nina Simone. In 1966, the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts opened as the Union’s social hub, becoming a regular destination for jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Max Roach. The Clef Club was the first facility ever designed specifically for jazz, and today continues to preserve Philadelphia’s incredible jazz legacy.Fox graduate Meco Sparks became very familiar with the Philadelphia Clef Club in the spring of 2016 while participating in her MBA capstone project. Through Fox Management Consulting, multi-disciplinary MBA teams are paired with experienced professional advisors to complete strategy consulting engagements for businesses, non-profits, and start-ups. (To complete a project with Fox Management Consulting reach out to us today.)
Sparks looked for team members with diverse strengths and compatible working styles. “My team worked really well together,” she recalls. “Everyone carried their workload, and our meetings always involved lots of laughter.” The team applied to work with the Clef Club because they recognized the project would be rewarding. “We knew right from the beginning that our team would have a big impact.”
The Clef Club engaged Fox MC to design a five-year strategic plan. Sparks quickly discovered a staff that was deeply engaged in the organization’s mission.“They were passionate about music, jazz, and kids,” she recalls. They were looking for help translating that passion into a sustainable business plan. “No one on their staff had a business background,” says Sparks. The Fox MC team provided that background, drawing on career experience in finance, marketing, and management, in addition to their MBA coursework.
Sparks and her team worked to measure each of the Clef Club’s five programs against its mission and revenue needs. Their recommendations included increased opportunities for partnership and funding, guidelines for developing a sustainable organizational structure, and growth plans for crucial programming central to their mission. “The project really pulled in all of my MBA experience,” says Sparks. “We worked with the board, executive leadership team; we got to step back and analyze the problem from a high level.”
Fox MC has completed over a hundred projects in the non-profit sector, but this one remains special. “The thing that was so elating to me,” says Clef Club artistic director Lovett Hines, “was that the students were so interested in what we were doing. It has been a tremendous marriage.”
The partnership with the Clef Club continues. This fall, Fox MC completes their third project with the organization to implement the recommendations made by Sparks’ team. Sparks herself enjoyed the project so much she joined their advisory board at the start of 2017. “We spent a lot of time organizing and visiting. They were very open to us,” she says. “It inspired me to stay involved.”
Fox MC has generated more than $42 million in new donations and grants for the non-profits we’ve worked with. Put our strategy consulting teams to work for your non-profit today.
The national workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is becoming more diverse than ever. This shift will impact employers, who must prepare and plan for this changing landscape. “Appreciating the many different backgrounds and perspectives people have and can bring to the workplace will make companies better for their shareholders and clients,” says Lynda Risser, chief talent and inclusion officer at Vanguard, the investment management company and Fox School corporate partner that currently employs over 550 alumni. We spoke with Risser to learn more about the future of workplace diversity.
What are some best practices HR managers use to ensure workplace diversity?
“For employers that are global, multinational organizations with customers from different parts of the country and different parts of the world, it’s necessary to make sure your workforce’s perspectives are as diverse as those of your customers and shareholders in order to serve them effectively. You need to expand your horizons so you have the ability as an employer to get the best possible talent that comes with different thinking and styles of interacting with customers. This will ultimately produce better outcomes for your customers and shareholders.”
How is this practiced during the hiring process?
“To ensure diversity in hiring, you have to strategically ask yourself questions such as: Do your advertisements and recruiting strategies feel too narrow towards any certain audience type? Do they appear slanted towards a certain gender? When a candidate comes in for an interview, do you have a good representation of leaders that can understand the unique talents of this person? We’re constantly asking ourselves these questions.”
How is the intersectionality of diversity impacting HR practices?
“Employment practices regarding employee identity in the workplace need to change as we look at the different intersections where people might see themselves as broader than a gender or broader than an ethnicity type. We need to respect and honor how they bring that identity into the workplace and how we as an employer can amplify all of the experiences and ideas they can bring as part of that identity.”
Does speed matter in e-commerce? How can you eliminate the harmful effects of smoking on society? How can you predict which movies will be a hit or a bust? These were the questions posed this year by the annual Temple University QVC Analytics Challenge and its sponsors QVC, Pfizer, and NBCUniversal.
Now in its fifth year, 582 students from 10 different schools and colleges across the university participated in the competition, organized by the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), where participants solve important industry-specific problems using data. This year’s 245 entries were judged in two categories—analytics and graphics—and winners took home $12,000 in cash prizes from the event, held Nov. 13, 2017 at Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business.
The winner of the graphics category was a team consisting of Charles Attisano and Luke Harding, two seniors studying graphic and interactive design at the Tyler School of Art. They worked on the NBCUniversal challenge about movie box office forecasting and produced a short video exploring the topic, which you can watch here.
“We concluded that, on average, the highest performing movies in the box office tend to be adventure films with production budgets between $100-250 million, and release dates in May, June, or December,” said Attisano and Harding. “Providing a formula for success, on average, may help a producer choose a genre, budget, and release date. One of the most important things we learned in the process is that storytelling is an integral part of the analyzing process, and that you must communicate your analysis in a clear manner.”
The winner in the analytics category was a team of four Fox School students majoring in management information systems: Ngoc Pham, Chi Pham, Run Zhu, and Jiawei Huang. They focused on QVC’s e-commerce problem, and showed how the shopping network can ship the right products at the right time to its customers. (See the winning infographic here.)
“Working with raw data is like playing a video game,” the team explained. “You have the same goal to fulfill certain tasks, and there are tons of approaches that can be used to accomplish this goal. We provided our recommendations for highly underutilized distribution centers in terms of product categories based on their sales. By implementing our recommendations, QVC could increase its sales volume in California, Texas, and Florida within three months.”
One of the most thrilling aspects of the Analytics Challenge is that participants represent many different schools and colleges across the university. This means teams approach data, analysis, and visualization in diverse ways, and they bring unique, multi-disciplinary insights to each problem.
“It was exciting this year to see how well so many students from so many different majors instinctively understood the importance of the science of data,” said Laurel Miller, assistant professor of management information systems, IBIT director, and the co-founder of the Analytics Challenge. “It was hard to pick the winners, and all the students should feel proud of how well they did.”
Learn more about the Temple University Analytics Challenge.
For some, outsourcing is a dirty word. But does it have to be?
According to Forbes, approximately 300,000 jobs are outsourced by the United States yearly. “Offshore” outsourcing, in particular, has become a widely used method in relocating office jobs to countries where labor costs are significantly lower. For example, Carrier, an Indianapolis-based HVAC company, made headlines for laying off 600 workers, sending those jobs to Mexico instead.
However, new research from the Fox School shows that choosing to outsource in a foreign country goes beyond a pros and cons list or a review of your bottom line—it is a strategic business decision.
J. Jay Choi, professor of finance, and Masaaki “Mike” Kotabe, professor of international business and marketing, embarked on a collaborative project in order to understand what motivates firms to seek options such as offshore outsourcing, in a way previous research has not.
Their paper, “Flexibility as Firm Value Drivers: Evidence from Offshore Outsourcing,” which was accepted for publication in the Global Strategy Journal, blends the researchers’ backgrounds strategy and finance to analyze outsourcing as an approach rather than a choice.
Choi and Kotabe found that firms chose to outsource in a foreign country in order to have flexibility in the face of uncertainty. An uncertain market can mean an upsurge in prices, a decline in demand, unforeseen competition, or an economic recession. Companies have to be flexible in order to adapt to these changes—which offshore outsourcing can offer.
“Our work fills an important gap demonstrating that flexibility adds value in more uncertain conditions, more so internationally than domestically,” said Kotabe. “Outsourcing provides firms the ability to adjust and evaluate their options in order to gain quality resources with limited costs.”
When firms are able to move their operations offshore, they essentially gain more freedom. Lower costs, more suppliers, and the ability to expand in more financially driven areas become widely available.
This level of flexibility is not as easily achievable when it comes to domestic operations.
However, Choi and Kotabe explain this approach may come with set-backs. “Offshoring allows firms to perform better financially, however, this relationship may be somewhat weakened by potential loss of domestic innovation and talent while dealing with foreign suppliers.”
Choi and Kotabe merged their respective disciplines in order to gain a unique perspective of outsourcing. “The key is to conduct business research as realistically as possible, so that we can provide relevant research findings to the business community,” said Choi.
The taboos that surround outsourcing may still exist, but with this new research, businesses and consumers alike can better understand when outsourcing will provide the best results.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
It’s great to dream. It is also very exciting to think up ways you can move the needle for your organization. But you must build a team that can bring your strategy to fruition, which is no small feat. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), an estimated 67% of well-formulated strategies failed due to poor execution last year.
At the Fox School of Business, we often hear how employees’ skill gaps are a key reason these kinds of failures occur. The good news is that this is a simple problem that can be overcome. Execution doesn’t have to kill your company… or your dreams.
Take a minute to consider how your company can be more successful in deploying its strategy.
Strengthen Pertinent Skills
As an executive, you must deliver opportunities to fill your employees’ skill gaps so that they are prepared to carry out the right course of action (RE: your strategy). Skills to focus on depend on your organization’s needs and goals. They could include negotiation, communication, finance, leadership, or others. Spending on workshops in these areas will decrease the likelihood that you’ll fall down when executing. Your competition already knows this. That’s why, according to HBR, budget allocated toward corporate professional development increased by over 310% in a three-year period.
Know Your Market
Teams often fail when they’re too internally focused. They must understand market dynamics, the competition, and how the firm’s strategy can grow the bottom line and make the organization a market leader. When it comes to shaping strategy, and delivering an action plan, it is also crucial that your team understands your customers, even if they aren’t working in a marketing function. Doing so will help them tune into the business environment, anticipate market dynamics, and understand the role they play in successfully executing a strategy.
Put Data into Practice
Educate and empower your executives to use data effectively and beneficially for your organization—and then put this to work during the execution phase of your business strategy. To begin with, you must collect meaningful employee performance metrics and provide information in an appropriate way to your employees—this is the growing field of human capital analytics. This approach will not only help you analyze and leverage metrics to drive your bottom-line, it will also help your employees understand their personal contributions.
These skills are the building blocks to ensure that your organization can execute on its strategy.
While there are many roads to launching a successful essay, article, or research paper, many of those roads have bumps, tolls, and avoidable potholes. Luckily, the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives at the Fox School is here to help doctoral students and faculty avoid some of the most common writing mistakes.
Matt MacNaughton, a professional copy editor, shares his six recommendations for writers who want to get the most out of their papers.
1. Know Your Audience
Take a moment to ask, “Who am I writing this for?” If you are planning to submit your work to a journal or present it at a conference, look for submission guidelines that can help you tailor your entry for those readers. If your paper has the wrong format or layout, or uses a non-preferred citation style, your readers may decide that this isn’t the publication for you.
Be sure to introduce language with which your readers may not be familiar. If your audience is in your field, then perhaps you can assume a rudimentary knowledge of technical terms. If you are writing for general purpose, like a newspaper or magazine, define any jargon. If it’s redundant, an editor will remove it anyway.
2. Utilize Clear, Concise Language
In writing as in life, our diction requires our utmost attention. While we sometimes think that certain concepts require vivaciously paced sentences that deliberately pontificate their topic with the multisyllabic majesty of a character from Twelfth Night, most of the time it is truly unnecessary.
Did you understand that paragraph? Probably not as well or as quickly as you could have, if I had simply said, “Long sentences with big words are not usually better than shorter sentences with simpler words that convey the same meaning.” In fact, the latter contains more information in a shorter sentence. Keep it simple!
3. Quick Grammar Tips are Great…
Spelling mistakes and grammar missteps happen all the time, whether intentionally or by accident, but it does not have to be this way! There are a number of tools online that can help with easy questions concerning unfamiliar grammar rules. For example, does the comma go inside quotations, or outside? How about a semicolon or colon? I could tell you that most places in America will tell you unequivocally to put the comma inside and the colon outside, however –
4. …But Not Always Perfect
–in the U.K., sometimes those grammar rules are flipped!
Be very careful with these rules, because even if I comes before E except after C, the science can be very flawed! While knowing the difference between They’re, There, and Their will never come back to bite you (there are, in fact, no exceptions to this rule), style guides vary widely over things as silly as the Oxford comma. While quick grammar rules and tips can be helpful, don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to search for an answer in a style guide or the internet. A recommended style guide is the Associated Press, but, again, it depends on the requirements of the publication or conference.
5. Read Your Paper Out Loud
This is something that a number of people have heard about but very few practice. When you read your work out loud, you become acutely aware of each and every choice you made while writing, and can tease out the minute problems in pacing and language that otherwise your eyes would have glossed over .
You may not realize it, but you can hear grammar mistakes that your brain doesn’t recognize in print. You may even find yourself confused out loud when you were positive it made sense in print.
6. Get a Second Pair of Eyes
So you’ve gone through your paper to make sure you weren’t being verbose, that you were aligned with your submission guidelines, and that all your questions of grammar were addressed. Then, for good measure, you read it out loud and found a few more areas that could be edited for clarity. But sometimes reading and re-reading a paper can make you essay-blind. You need a second pair of eyes (and, maybe, a vacation).
That’s why the Office of Research at the Fox School has set you up to succeed with a copy editor who is available to read your manuscripts and provide feedback tailored to your needs. Doctoral students and faculty can send a request for copy editing services through our website. Once received, most submissions are returned with feedback within a week. Happy writing!
Learn more about Fox School Research.
Bloomberg claimed that in 2016, $255 million is spent each month on social media influencer marketing. The influencer trend has continued to increase since then, as brands pay celebrities both big and small (or, as they’re now called, micro-influencers and nano-influencers) to share photos, stories, GIFS, selfies, and reviews through their own social media accounts about how much they love their products.
Social media analytics, including the impact and evolution of influencer marketing, is one of the main research areas of Dr. Subodha Kumar, a professor of marketing and supply chain management who came to the Fox School of Business this year after previous teaching engagements at the University of Washington and Texas A&M.
Kumar, the deputy editor of the Production and Operations Management Journal, is also spearheading a new PhD concentration in supply chain management and is the director of the Fox School’s new Center for Data Analytics. His other research interests include healthcare analytics, cybersecurity, web and mobile advertising, and supply chain analytics.
Given the current buzz around influencer marketing, we spoke to Kumar about where he sees the trend heading in the future. Here’s what we learned.
Social media influencers are still a relatively new phenomenon, but what have been some of the big changes over the last year?
Until last year, somebody might tweet, “I really like Pepsi,” and it wasn’t clear if they were just giving their opinion or if it was an ad. Now there’s a federal rule that it has to be tagged as an ad; if you’re taking money it has to be clear. Companies, like Coke and Pepsi, are finding big people to tweet about their product, so when we think of big influencers, we think of Michael Jordan or someone similar, but it’s not always someone that big. You can also find people who have a lot of followers, and who may impact views, but those influencers who are relatively unknown outside of a specific community might be very relevant to the target consumer. Companies choose influencers based on many factors, like how many people follow them, how much their opinions are valued, and who follows them. The overall goal of influencer marketing is transferring the influence into dollar values.
Do you think it was a good move to make it a rule that paid influencer shares be tagged as ads?
In my opinion, it’s a must. I think it’s important, otherwise you get into problems like those faced by Amazon, which gives products for review to customers who have high reviewer followings. The rules keep changing, but they’re trying to make the role and connection of the influencer to the product more obvious. People value opinions of influencers, so it has to be made clear. We collect a lot of data from Twitter to study how this all works. I’m now trying to get data to determine how people’s perceptions of campaigns have changed since it has been required to state that an influencer tweet is an ad.
Where do you think the influencer model will go next?
One thing that will eventually change is that companies will have to decide and determine more influencer factors. Right now, it’s pretty straightforward: The company locates an influencer and pays the influencer to share X number of tweets. But soon, more attention will have to be paid to sequence and frequency. Which ad you see first is very important. If you go to a company website, for instance, the order in which you experience an ad is planned to have the best outcome. That’s not happening now with Twitter influencers, but we’ll see more of it.
Also, more attention will be paid to identifying combinations of influencers. Now, influencers are normally hired as individuals. But there will be more synergy over time, so if there are three influencers sharing, what’s the best sequence for them to share in? Some influencers will have common followers, so the tweet needs to be timed to come from the influencer the people value more, first. We’re looking into this now, but it’s a complicated situation. The influencer model is still in its infancy, but it’s becoming more refined. It will keep going in new, more interesting directions, and we’ll continue developing more sophisticated ways to research it.
Learn more about the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.
On Friday, October 27, 2017, Temple University American Marketing Association (TU-AMA) hosted the 5th Annual Regional Marketing Conference, where the theme was “Adapting Content to the Future.” The sold-out event was attended by over 170 people, including collegiate members of AMA from the College of New Jersey, West Chester University, Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Tech, and Lehigh University. Also in attendance were industry professionals from Burlington, Merck, SideCar, Horizon Media, Publicis Groupe, Kantar Health, AmerisourceBergen, Mangoes, and Ipsos, many of whom were Temple alumni.
Fara Warner, vice president of custom content at The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), was the keynote speaker. Her presentation addressed the changing demands of media toward millennials and how content needs to be delivered to adapt to evolving preferences.
WSJ also collaborated with TU-AMA to offer a case competition. Seventeen teams submitted a written case memo, and the top eight teams were selected to present to WSJ professionals. A TU-AMA team of sophomore Anastasia Postolati, freshman Emily Allocco, and freshman Anjali Sachdeva won the case competition with their recommendation to implement a student blogging page, “The Wall,” designed for college students to interact on WSJ through publishing stories and commenting on news articles with other millennials. The team also recommended the adoption of “Street Team,” a WSJ student ambassador program on college campuses. The winning team will travel to New York City to work for a day with WSJ professionals to create the ideas presented in their case.
Speakers from Vox Media, the Brownstein Group, and Chatterblast Media also presented, focusing on the ever-changing growth and demand of digital marketing and provided guidance for millennials to adapt to these changes to succeed in the field. A brief Q&A followed each presentation to engage attendees eager to discuss these ideas.
The conference provides a unique opportunity each year for students to network with professionals, students from other AMA chapters, and Fox alumni. The Fox School’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management and TU-AMA will host the 6th annual conference again next October.
Students were enthusiastic and pleased with this year’s conference. Here are some of their comments:
“It was awesome to hear from a wide array of professionals from different fields and stages in their career. Zach Khan, from Vox Media, talked about his ‘go-get-em’ mentality and it was inspiring to hear as an upperclassman who is looking for future careers.” – Elliot Barbell (Junior, Marketing major, Digital Marketing minor)
“I liked the variety topics talked about by the speakers. Matthew Ray [from Chatterblast] was hilarious yet informative and relatable at the same time. It was fun to watch him throw an entertaining twist to marketing.” – Amna Mahmood (sophomore, kinesiology major)
“From a film perspective, the conference helped out with networking and allowed a great atmosphere for learning from very experienced professionals.” – Steven Aronow (sophomore, marketing/media and production major)
“It was interesting to hear from professionals in the industry about the new ways they’re marketing to different demographics. Specifically, how The Wall Street Journal is attempting to target the younger demographic.” – Patrick Lavelle (junior, marketing major)
TU-AMA graciously thanks their conference sponsors for their support: DVIRC, Harmelin Media, Mikey Robbins, Pita Chip, Saxbys, Temple Book Store, Under Armour, WaWa, WSI, The Wall Street Journal, and of course, the Marketing and Supply Chain Management Department.
Learn more about the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.
Dr. Daniel Funk has made a significant mark on the field of sport management.
Funk, the Washburn Senior Research Fellow in the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management (STHM) and the director of the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University, recently received the Earle F. Zeigler Award from the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), one of the highest honors given to individuals in the field of sport research.
The award celebrates Dr. Funk as a key contributor to NASSM’s premier Journal of Sport Management and one of the most often-cited authors in the history of the sport management discipline.
Throughout his career, Funk has studied sport and recreation consumer experiences in order to help organizations understand customer acquisition, retention, and expenditure. He investigates the cognitive, physical, and organizational factors that shape our preferences and behavior to develop an effective mixture of marketing and management strategies that have become renown in the world of sport research.
Funk’s contributions have ranged from studies of an individual’s psychological connection to sports, to the relationship between sports team allegiance and customer loyalty. For example, Funk, along with Dr. Jeremy Jordan, associate dean at STHM, contributed to a paper by PhD student Bradley Baker about why runners keep running marathons.
The study investigated the relationship between runners’ satisfaction with and repeat participation in long-distance running events. Many studies have reviewed consumer satisfaction, but not much research has been conducted on experiential products, such as marathons.
After growing dramatically since 1960, road running peaked in 2013 and has been slowly declining each year. Between 2014 and 2016, two million less people crossed a finish line, but there were 2,000 more races from which to choose.
“Like any other business, running has a finite amount of customers,” Funk said. “If there is a decline in the demand for races and an oversupply in the amount of races offered, then there is an issue.”
While the researchers found a linear correlation between satisfaction and repeated participation in marathons—the more satisfied a customer is, the more likely they are to run the race again—satisfaction from an experience, like a marathon, is different than traditional customer satisfaction.
For instance, runners who have a “bucket list” may not come back to that race, regardless of how satisfied they are. Factors indicating a higher likelihood to return included previous running experience and geography—meaning that experienced runners and local runners were more likely to come back, despite that fact that first-time runners reported higher satisfaction levels with the race.
The article, “Run Again Another Day: The Role of Satisfaction on Repeat Marathon Participation,” was the winner in the NASSM’s national student research competition in 2016 and was recently published by the Journal of Sport Management.
Rear Admiral Mark Fung, MBA ’11, knows what it takes to be a leader.
He joined the United States Navy in 1988 and he was deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm and the Global War on Terrorism. Among his earned decorations are the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal; his current positions with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command are deputy chief of civil engineers and deputy commander. In his civilian life, Fung is a project manager with AmerisourceBergen. As a student, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Villanova University.
That’s not all: Fung also completed his MBA at the Fox School of Business in 2011.
There’s a thriving community of veterans at the Fox School and Temple University, which has been called one of the “Best Colleges for Veterans” by U.S. News & World Report. Between 2013 and 2017, 249 veterans earned degrees from the Fox School, and there are currently 442 veterans and veterans’ dependents enrolled at the school.
During a recent visit to the Fox School for Military Appreciation Month, Fung met with several Fox alumni veterans and deans, as well as the Temple University Veteran Association president. We had an opportunity to talk to him about how earning his MBA impacted his work as a Navy Officer and shapes his leadership strategies and practices. Here’s what he said.
In what new ways did earning an MBA challenge you?
I have a normal civilian job and I have my military responsibilities. As I’ve climbed the ranks, my military work gets more and more demanding. Balancing that and earning an MBA was a big challenge, but absolutely worth it. It required a whole different thought process. It was great being surrounded by people with such different backgrounds, representing different industries, and bringing different ways of solving problems to the table. It really broadened my horizon.
What was the most important thing you learned?
The ability to think on the fly. Fox taught me the basics of business, of course, but some of the courses I had really pushed my ability to react properly to the unplanned. As a military officer at this level, we face a lot of challenges that are unwritten—there’s no instruction manual on how to handle certain things. Whether working with allies, partner nations, or different governmental agencies, much of the work we do is work you’re not going to learn how to do from a book. The MBA taught me how to think outside the box; it taught me how to be open to new ideas and to diverse ways of thinking.
How has your personal leadership style been shaped by your work, military, and MBA experiences?
My MBA experience strengthened my ability to act as a team leader and as a coach. There’s this thought within the military that we’re very regimented, and that if you tell someone to do something, they do it. But that’s more of the Hollywood version. We want people to do the right thing all the time, even when their leader is not there. You do that through coaching and mentoring, and these are all traits and experiences I acquired from working on my MBA. It taught me how to motivate people to bring out their personal best.
Can you talk more about the importance of improvisation in your business and military roles?
In 2004 and 2005, my unit was mobilized and we went to Iraq. My part of the Navy does a lot of construction and civil engineering. We were in Fallujah rebuilding the city. There is no manual to tell you how to do that. Everything had to be done very nimbly, on the fly, with changing conditions. We had to learn how to work with people who didn’t speak the same language as us, people with different cultural backgrounds, and in collaboration with foreign government and non-governmental agencies, all who were trying to do good work.
What two books do you recommend to every freshman business student to prepare them for the future?
The first is Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. You have to read the entire book. It’s not a big book, but a lot of times people will just Google the main points and not understand the meaning behind them. Read it, and it will tell you about business operation, decision, and conduct. The second is Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, by Robert Kaplan. It’s a geopolitical book, but you have to understand that the majority of trade in the United States comes across the water. Our economy is deeply tied to Asia so understanding the importance of the South China Sea and trade is essential to our economy and future.
If you were starting college today, what would you study?
I’d be more involved with information technology and information dominance. It’s a huge part of global commerce and the military now. The career opportunities currently in that field, and the growth opportunities in the next five or twenty years, are incredible.
You’ve achieved so much. What keeps you focused and ambitious?
I love what I do. Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy. I enjoyed my time at Temple, and at Fox, and I enjoy my work with the Navy. That’s the secret. And I like to achieve and I like to win. What drives me, especially at this level of the Navy, where the stakes are high, is that there’s no room for second place. Even in the business world, you make decisions that affect the outcome of those who work for you and with you. It’s this responsibility to my team that makes me strive to perform at a higher level.
Learn more about Fox School MBA programs.
Nick Delmonico drafted his company’s business plan in an MBA capstone course. He retooled it. He discussed it with mentors. He finalized it. Months later, he tested its viability—and he won more than $60,000 in cash and prizes at a university-wide business plan competition.
“The product’s development, the access to mentors, all of it came together as a result of Temple University and the Fox School of Business,” Delmonico said.
For a third consecutive year, The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine have awarded top-10 national rankings to the undergraduate- and graduate-level entrepreneurship programs at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. Temple is in exclusive company, as one of five universities nationally to receive Top-10 rankings for two entrepreneurship programs. Its graduate program is ranked No. 8, and its undergraduate program earned a No. 10 ranking.
“These rankings reflect what we have known for a while: There’s no better place than a college campus for entrepreneurs,” said Ellen Weber, executive director of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI). “Hands-on classes allow our students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, workshop their ideas, and lean upon our professors’ expertise. We’ve also built strong relationships with industry that grant our students unparalleled access to the business community.”
Published by The Princeton Review Nov. 14 and to be included in the December edition of Entrepreneur magazine, the 2018 rankings recognize 25 undergraduate- and 25 graduate-level programs for excellence in entrepreneurship education. The rankings are based upon a large variety of quantitative and qualitative criteria, including the number of: entrepreneurship-specific courses offered; faculty who are also entrepreneurs and/or serve on the boards of new ventures; businesses started and funds raised by alumni; and entrepreneurship-focused activities, competitions, programs, clubs, and centers.
“Entrepreneurship education across all disciplines remains a pillar at Temple University, and we at the Fox School take great pride in leading this effort,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School. “Career paths are not linear. That’s why we strive to prepare our students to think and act like entrepreneurs.”
Delmonico is an example. His company Strados Labs has developed a wearable device that, in conjunction with a mobile app, will help asthma sufferers better manage the condition. Strados Labs won first place at the 2017 Be Your Own Boss Bowl® (BYOBB), a Temple University-wide business plan competition. Soon, Delmonico will launch a demonstration of the product and is slotted to conduct pilot testing with a large health system.
“Our BYOBB mentor gave us specific experience in the space in which our company and technology is trying to commercialize, and one of my finance professors guided us as we developed our 3- to 5-year financial projections,” said Delmonico, who earned his MBA in 2017. “Our successes would not have been possible without Temple, Fox, and these great resources.”
Click here for more information about the rankings published by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.