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Most college-bound students opt to spend their summer months coasting into the next stage of their lives. Coasting doesn’t suit Ryan Rist. Coasters, on the other hand…
An incoming freshman student at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, Rist turned his senior capstone project at Brookfield High School in Brookfield, Conn., into an exercise in entrepreneurialism.
And along the way, he has earned recognition from national TV and print media.
The 18-year-old is the founder of Rist Custom Coasters, a drink coaster with a rubberized circular bottom and a felt insert. The inserts, which can be personalized to the customer’s liking using logos or family pictures, for example, absorb run-off and keep moisture from collecting on the surface of a coffee table.
Brookfield High School encourages its graduating seniors to engage in a capstone project for the final three weeks of their high school careers, during which students can accept an internship, perform an independent study or complete community service.
Rist, who will study Finance at Fox School, said he had kicked around his coaster creation for six months prior to the capstone, and decided he would use his three-week capstone to finalize the design of his prototype.
“That’s when my dad (Ken) and I used a lathe in our basement and made the design out of acrylic,” Rist said. “Then we poured liquid rubber onto that, and we were left with the mold.”
Seeking additional funding, Rist turned to Kickstarter, an online funding platform. He set the fundraising bar at $500, for a product design to which he committed $1,200 in personal funds. In the first two hours, Rist cleared $500. He’s since garnered 167 backers who pledged more than $3,500.
“I had known about Kickstarter for a while,” he said, “and I was wanting to put a product of my own on there. When I had my idea for improved drink coasters, I knew it was a product that I could actually develop, yet still be worthy to put on Kickstarter.”
Showing a shade more of his ingenuity, Rist said he conducted most of his promotional work through Twitter, establishing a way that new followers to his account would receive a direct message encouraging them to visit his coaster page at Kickstarter.
Rist has developed a fanbase – internationally, domestically and in his hometown. He said he has filled orders originating from 35 states and 15 foreign countries. He also drawn praise from Sue Troupe, Brookfield High School’s school-to-career coordinator.
“He is an amazing high school student,” Troupe said, in an interview with The Danbury (Conn.) News Times. “In my 23 years at Brookfield High School, I have seen many students come up with fantastic ideas, but not take the next difficult steps.”
Fox News CT has covered Rist’s entrepreneurial exploits. So has the Fox Business Network, which included his coasters in the “American Success” feature in the July 16 broadcast of Making Money with Charles Payne.
“I didn’t know what to expect or how many people would buy a set,” Rist said. “I was hoping to at least make my money back, maybe make $1,000 or $2,000. Making $3,500 (through Kickstarter) was a pleasant surprise.”
For those interested in committing to Rist’s venture, his Kickstarter project has been closed, as he works to produce coasters to fulfill existing orders. Rist said he has plans to launch a website to offer the coasters.
When he arrives at Temple in August, Rist said he has aspirations of founding an entrepreneurial club, wherein members would take an idea and turn to Kickstarter in attempt to sustain a business model.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
“A little,” Rist said, “except this time, I’d be operating it with the help of a group of people.”
Fortunately for Rist, programs like this are available at Temple.
In Creativity and Organizational Innovation, a general-education course, students produce mock Kickstarter pitches as a final project. Robert McNamee, associate professor of Strategic Management, worked with members of the Entrepreneurial Student Association (ESA) and Innovate & Create Living Learning Community (LLC) to prototype a for-students, by-students Crowdfunding support program in 2013-14. ESA, which is open to all Temple students, serves as a springboard toward learning, networking and launching start-ups. CLL offers freshmen a chance to live in a residence hall with like-minded students, with a focus on entrepreneurship.
“Early entrepreneurship is getting over fears and putting your idea out there,” said McNamee, who also serves as managing director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple. “It’s fantastic to see somebody in high school, like Ryan, putting their idea out there and testing the waters to see what happens. This is the epitome of the Lean Startup approach—launch a minimum viable product, gather evidence and feedback, pivot, and scale up.”
Floor-to-ceiling windows at The HUB at Commerce Square accentuate the views of Market Street from one of its many breakout rooms. Even on a soggy night, the sight was something to behold.
“Just amazing,” one current Executive MBA student was overheard saying to himself.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business welcomed more than 100 guests to The HUB for a July 15 reception, celebrating the Executive MBA’s relocation and the Executive DBA program’s launch. Both programs will be housed at the innovative executive meeting facility, located at 20th and Market streets.
This marks the first time in nearly three decades that Fox School’s EMBA has been offered within the city limits, moving the program from the suburbs to Center City.
Current and prospective students, faculty and alumni took in The HUB’s lush facilities and modern amenities on ushered tours of its second-floor suites. In close proximity to major interstate highways, AMTRAK, SEPTA Regional Rail and the Philadelphia International Airport, The HUB will foster an expanded market reach for Fox School’s EMBA program, which earned a top-20 ranking nationally by Financial Times.
The new location also will cater to Fox School’s vision for a greater global reach, with an MBA program opening in early 2015 in Seoul, South Korea, and another following soon thereafter in Beijing, China. Global MBA students have the option to enroll in courses at any other locations offered by Fox, and The HUB will make Philadelphia a more-attractive option for international students, said Howard Weiss, the academic director of Fox School’s EMBA program.
“It’s much better to have the program in the city and it will prove to be much easier, especially for when we have events at The HUB and (Main Campus),” Weiss said. “We look forward to building a strong partnership here at The HUB for many years to come.”
A vibrant business center located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia, The HUB features comprehensive communication services and state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment.
Primary classroom spaces are fitted with moveable, whiteboard walls, which give way to expansive breakout areas. Equipped with free, high-speed wireless Internet access throughout, The HUB also is in partnership with Stephen Starr Events to provide a top-tier, on-site dining experience. Tours of The HUB concluded at its deluxe 120-seat auditorium.
The HUB will house the 16-month EMBA and the three-year, part-time EDBA programs, the latter of which will start its first cohort in September.
Sharon Guess, a resident of Chestnut Hill, couldn’t help but consider how differently her time in the program – which she refers to as “a life-changing experience” – would have been, had The HUB’s prime location been available to her.
“This is an amazing environment … and it makes everything that much easier,” said Guess, a 2010 Fox EMBA alumna and a senior project manager with the School District of Philadelphia. “This is a good move.”
A recent graduate of the PhD program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has received international acclaim for her research paper.
Dr. Dan Zhang, a 2012 PhD alumna of the Fox School, recently was recognized as the runner-up for the Christer Karlsson Best Paper Award for her paper titled, “Affect, Attitude, and Meaning: Assessing the Universality of Aesthetic Design in a Transnational Marketing Context.”
Dr. Zhang, who co-authored the paper with Fox School marketing professors Dr. Anthony Di Benedetto and Dr. Eric Eisenstein, was honored at the 21st International Product Development Management Conference, which ran June 15-17 in Limerick, Ireland.
“I am so grateful for all the support I received from the school, the professors, the staff, the study participants, and my dearest family, as I was working on this project,” Dr. Zhang said. “I am especially thankful to my dissertation committee, who supported and helped me unconditionally.”
“I am also very thankful to my colleagues, who provided valuable comments and encouragement when I was presenting the early stage results of this project at the Design Conference organized by the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary. Without the support and help from so many people, I would not have been where I am today.”
The award recognizes the best papers submitted to the IPDMC. Dr. Zhang’s paper stemmed in part from her dissertation at the Fox School of Business, focusing on the universality of design.
Her research investigated the prevalence of the affect, attitude and meaning of designs in a product context. Zhang compared the responses of Chinese and American consumers to product designs produced by Chinese and U.S.-based designers. She found the affect toward a design tended to be consistent regardless of culture, but attitude – and especially meaning – of a design were difficult to translate across cultural lines and national borders.
“It is important for firms selling into the global market to understand if there are cultural differences in response to product design, or whether a single design will elicit similar responses across cultures,” Dr. Zhang said. “The results are important to global companies making decisions about product design outsourcing and about which designers to include on the product team.”
The paper has not yet been published. Dr. Zhang said she plans to soon submit the paper for review, to a quality marketing academic journal.
Ask people to describe the quintessential leader and it’s unlikely you will hear the word “passive.”
One reason that passivity and leadership are not equated is that a passive manager can cause a host of problems. According to researchers at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, one such problem is the increase of workplace incivility, with docile managers at the root of these occurrences.
In their paper, “The Effects of Passive Leadership on Workplace Incivility,” Assistant Professor and Cigna Research Fellow Crystal Harold and Assistant Professor Brian Holtz write that passive managers both directly and indirectly influence the amount of workplace incivility employees will experience.
“We were interested in studying workplace incivility and, more specifically, factors that might promote the occurrence of incivility,” Harold said, “because, let’s face it – just about everyone has either been treated rudely at work, treated someone else rudely at work, or both. There are people out there who likely think that these sorts of behaviors are fairly innocuous, but available data would suggest otherwise.”
Harold and Holtz’s research has broad implications. A recent poll, conducted by Georgetown University researchers Christine Porath and Christine Pearson in a 2013 article, “The Price of Incivility,” suggests that 98 percent of North American employees have experienced incivility in the workplace. Incivility covers behaviors ranging from eye-rolling to checking emails during a meeting, and while these behaviors may seem innocuous, incivility in the workplace takes a toll.
Prior incivility research, upon which Harold and Holtz drew for their paper, which is in press at the Journal of Organizational Behavior, indicates that those who experience incivility have intentionally decreased their work effort and the quality of their work. Incivility has been shown to have a negative impact on job satisfaction, physical and mental well-being and turnover.
It is not only employees who are impacted by incivility. Managers of Fortune 1000 companies report spending 13 percent of their time addressing the consequences of instances of incivility, according to the paper by Porath and Pearson.
“Because incivility has negative psychological and physical effects on victims and is costly for organizations, it is important that we begin to understand why incivility occurs in the first place. What conditions foster an uncivil work environment?” Holtz said. “It made sense to us that leadership would be an important and significant variable to consider.”
Harold and Holtz conducted two studies in which they surveyed employees, as well as their co-workers and supervisors, to determine the role played by passive management in workplace incivility. The studies found a positive relationship between passive leadership and experienced incivility. In addition, the results indicate that employees who experience incivility are more likely to behave indecently themselves.
“We found that the experience of being treated with incivility coupled with working for a passive manager significantly increased the likelihood that an employee would both behave with incivility, as well as engage in withdrawal behaviors such as showing up to work late, or even calling out when not actually sick,” Holtz said. “The bottom line is that in the process of doing nothing, these types of managers are actually doing a lot of damage.”
Since those who experience incivility in the workplace display increased levels of behavioral incivility, Harold and Holtz found that passive managers may indirectly foster a workplace culture where employees feel that it is okay to behave rudely toward co-workers. In light of their findings, the research paper’s co-authors offered advice to organizations that wish to diminish instances of workplace incivility.
“First, you have to educate your employees and management that these seemingly harmless behaviors are anything but,” Harold said. “Training employees, and importantly managers, to recognize what incivility is, is an important first step.”
Added Holtz: “Make clear which behaviors constitute incivility, clarify the consequences for engaging in these behaviors, and adopt a zero-tolerance policy. This is where managerial training comes into play. Managers must learn to intervene when employees are behaving badly toward one another and quickly take punitive action against offenders.”
The responsibility rests with the manager to set a good example, according to Harold. Employees frequently take behavioral cues from supervisors and therefore, a manager’s actions can have unintended consequences.
“A company’s efforts to curb rudeness will be for naught if the manager is the one instigating the incivility,” Harold concluded.
A regarded news source in the life and health insurance industry lists Temple University’s Fox School of Business as a premier destination for undergraduate students in pursuit of a degree in the field of risk management and insurance.
According to a study published last month by LifeHealthPro.com, the BBA program at Fox School and its related coursework in Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management was ranked among the top five in the nation.
Fox’s Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management program is the oldest, continuously running program in the country, dating to 1914. Additionally, it’s the country’s largest-such program, touting 450 RMI students, said R.B. Drennan, the program’s chairman.
“To be ranked like this, it speaks to the quality of our faculty and students, to the rigor of our program, and to the readiness of our students to enter the risk management and insurance field,” Drennan said.
While LifeHealthPro’s research centered on the strength of undergraduate programs at qualifying colleges and universities, the report praised Fox School as the first in its region to offer an MBA program in Healthcare Management.
Continuously accredited since 1970 by the Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Management Education, Fox’s Health Management program holds a top-25 ranking by U.S. News and World Report, and a top-five ranking by the same publication among programs located within business schools. What’s more, its graduate program holds a top-16 ranking.
LifeHealthPro also lauded Fox for its ties to the Sigma chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a professional international fraternity for Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management majors. The Sigma chapter, the international organization’s largest, has an award-winning reputation. In 18 of the last 22 years, the Sigma chapter has claimed the Edison L. Bowers Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a Gamma Iota Sigma chapter, which annually goes to the organization’s most-outstanding chapter.
According to LifeHealthPro, at least one American college or university in 34 of the 50 states offers life and health insurance undergraduate programs. Its study highlighted the nation’s top-six undergraduate insurance programs.
LifeHealthPro, which bills itself as “the only complete destination for life and health insurance advisors, provides news coverage and analysis of the insurance industry. To read LifeHealthPro’s complete list of the nation’s top undergraduate insurance programs, click here.
The 4th Annual Interdisciplinary Symposium on Decision Neuroscience (ISDN) was held at Stanford University in California June 6-7, marking the conference’s first West Coast appearance. Temple University and the Fox School of Business, home to the first three ISDN conferences, was once again the key sponsor for the event.
The conference organizing committee included Drs. Angelika Dimoka and Vinod Venkatraman from Temple University, Dr. Uma Karmarkar from Harvard University, Dr. Baba Shiv from Stanford University, and Dr. Carolyn Yoon from University of Michigan.
A conference specifically catered to researchers and academics interested in decision neuroscience had not existed prior to 2009. That’s when Dr. Dimoka worked with contacts from similar research backgrounds to host the first Interdisciplinary Symposium on Decision Neuroscience.
With a well-attended and successful inaugural conference, organizers decided to host the event annually. Attendees of the ISDN conference included practitioners, researchers and academics across the neuroscience spectrum. The conference offered an opportunity to discuss study results and the best practices in their research work, as well as how to apply their results to clients and practitioners.
The ISDN is unique and aimed at a niche audience. The conference differs from a typical academic conference, at which faculty members simply present their research and receive feedback from other members.
“We invite practitioners to attend, because they are the people who translate the academic findings into solutions for real-world problems and business clients,” said Dr. Venkatraman, assistant professor of Marketing at the Fox School of Business, and co-organizer of the ISDN conferences. “We want practitioners and academic researchers to interact and network at the event, opening up opportunities for fruitful collaborations. The ISDN symposium is also a perfect opportunity for researchers and students interested in the decision neuroscience field to present their recent research findings and receive valuable feedback, as well as to network and form new research partnerships.”
Khoi Vo, a senior research associate at the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University, networked with practitioners during the ISDN conference, and discussed potential collaborative research work. Vo presented a paper during the conference on a research project that involved measuring the success of Super Bowl advertisements based on the activity of a consumer’s brain, using results found through fMRI studies.
“Part of my effort at the Center is to foster collaborative efforts with practitioners who are also interested in studying consumer decision making,” Vo said. “From our collaborations with industry, we have generated rich data sets that can provide valuable insights in this field. Though, it will be a challenge to integrate sensitive trade knowledge from industry with our data sets in peer-reviewed publications. Currently, we are in discussions to write up the results for the Super Bowl study.”
Vo also discussed the unique atmosphere of the conference.
“It was fascinating to see the potential research opportunities between academics and practitioners with respect to the research presented at the Symposium,” he said. “For the Super Bowl study that I co-presented with our industry collaborator, we received useful feedback from both academics and practitioners alike. More importantly, both groups were intrigued by our results and impressed that we did not make overstatements with these results. Overall, hearing positive feedback from leading academics and practitioners about our research was a great validation of not only our capabilities and efforts, but also of future collaborations.”
SangSuk Yoon, a Fox School of Business PhD student who works as a research assistant in the Center for Neural Decision Making, has attended the ISDN conference the past two years. Yoon presented a study he had completed with Dr. Venkatraman and Vo, in which they investigated the influences of aging on risky choices and its impact on decision-making.
“We received feedback from researchers in a variety of fields such as psychology, economics, business, and so on, which we’re taking into consideration to continue to develop our study further,” Yoon said.
Yoon, who recently attended an annual psychology conference of a larger scale, said the intimate size of the ISDN allowed for greater discussion.
“The psychology conference is relatively large, and although it allowed me to see studies from diverse fields, I barely had a chance to talk to any of the presenters,” he said. “At the ISDN conference I was able to discuss and share ideas with world-renowned presenters throughout the two days.”
International exchanges are a common occurrence for Global Executive MBA (EMBA) students. For the first time, however, the Fox School has taken travel out of the equation and brought students from its Philadelphia campus together with those from its international campuses for a two-hour Global EMBA integration workshop using WebEx™ conference technology.
While distance learning and remote conferencing have both existed for years, very few EMBA programs have used these tools to unite students from around the globe into a live learning experience.
“We had already begun efforts to create more collaboration among our Global EMBA students through social media groups, expanded opportunities to study abroad and international immersion trips,” says Rebecca Beeman Geffner, director, International and Executive Programs, IGMS/CIBER, Fox School of Business. “There was still a desire, however, to simultaneously connect these students across time zones in a meaningful way. Based upon our success using WebEx™ for our Online MBA students we decided that this was the best tool for us to achieve our goal of an international, integrated experience for busy executives.”
The workshop – titled, “Frugal Innovations: Doing Well by Doing Good” – took place in late April and focused on how the power of business can be scaled to alleviate poverty and promote environmental sustainability.
“When I was asked to design and deliver the inaugural Global EMBA integration workshop I knew that I wanted to choose a subject that was new, universally important and appealing to EMBA students around the world,” explains MB Sarkar, PhD, the HF ‘Gerry’ Lenfest Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Academic Director of the Fox Global Immersions Program. “It was a challenging assignment but also very fulfilling and I think that the team and I succeed in pioneering an initiative that fits into Dean Moshe Porat’s vision of a Global EMBA program that mirrors the interconnected world.”
According to Dr. Sarkar, the preponderance of ‘wicked’ societal problems – poverty, access to healthcare, food and water shortages, and environmental challenges to name a few – is forcing a new compact between business and society.
“There is increasing emphasis on inclusive business, shared value and the triple bottom line,” he says. “More and more, innovations that are driving this approach are being seeded in emerging markets, which are extremely resource-constrained and house the majority of the world’s poor and under-served population. Interestingly, through a reversal of the traditional directionality of innovation, such ‘frugal innovations’ are increasingly finding application in the developed countries. To sensitize students to this shifting strategic paradigm, I decided to design the workshop around a frugal innovation-related challenge.”
In the weeks leading up to the workshop, WebEx™ test sessions were conducted with all participants to help avoid technical issues. Readings and specially recorded lecture videos by Dr. Sarkar were uploaded on a Blackboard site created specifically for this workshop. An Edmodo discussion board was also launched to generate excitement and start a dialogue about frugal innovation among students.
“Edmodo is like the academic version of Facebook,” says Geffner. “Using this, our students were able to share information and comments relative to the subject. There was strong participation on this forum both before and after the workshop.”
On the day of the event, 70 students and EMBA faculty members representing all five of the Fox School’s cohorts (U.S., Colombia, Singapore, Japan and France) logged into the workshop. The event was organized in the Fox School’s in-house studio and was successfully executed by the online team consisting of Darin Kapanjie, PhD, Dan Lantz, Chris Miano, Carly Haines and Kevin Donahue.
“Since we were working with three different time zones we had to choose a time and day – in this case Saturday – that worked for everyone,” says Geffner. “Students in the U.S. and Colombia were signing on in the morning while our cohorts in France and Asia were joining us in the afternoon and late evening.”
In addition to the lecture, which was presented by Dr. Sarkar in Philadelphia, the workshop included virtual breakout sessions.
“We used the registration list to separate students into 10 diverse groups in advance,” explains Geffner. “When it was time, we used WebEx™ to ‘move’ the members of each group into their own room where they could interact and share one another’s desktops.”
According to Geffner, the event was a resounding success with emails, text messages and posts on Facebook and LinkedIn circulating for weeks afterward. She gives much of the credit to the Fox School’s global partners for helping to market the course and shares that plans are already underway for additional workshops.
“It was not only the students who learned from this workshop,” she says. “While international travel will always be an integral component of the Global EMBA program and for global business in general, this experience certainly opened our eyes to other impactful ways in which we can successfully foster global exchange and dialogue among our executive students.”
Dr. Paul A Pavlou, the Chief Research Officer and Associate Dean of Research at the Fox School of Business, recently earned recognition as a world leader in scientific research.
Pavlou was named one of the World’s Most-Influential Scientific Minds for 2014 by the Intellectual Property and Science business branch of Thomson Reuters, which published its list of honorees in June.
The Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy at the Fox School, Pavlou joined more than 3,000 fellow scholars across 21 fields of study for being among the world’s most-highly cited researchers in his or her specialty. Pavlou’s papers registered more than 12,000 citations over the last decade, as he became one of 95 researchers honored by Thomson Reuters in the field of Economics & Business.
“I do research for my own personal motivation, because I like to discover new things,” Pavlou said, “but it is a great recognition that others rely on your work and cite your work.”
This is not the first such recognition of Pavlou’s research. In 2011, he was rated as the world’s most-productive researcher by top management information systems journals MIS Quarterly and Information Systems Research, according to an analysis by the Association of Information Systems for the period 2010-2012.
Pavlou said he anticipates that his latest personal accolade, from Thomson Reuters, will render a double-edged impact at the Fox School. One of Pavlou’s goals, he said, is to continue to build Fox’s sterling reputation through highly cited, published papers from its students.
“I like to push the mentality that it’s not only (important) to get published, but to get published in well-read, well-respected journals,” he said. “Getting published by itself is not easy. Some may say, ‘It got published. I don’t care if nobody cites it. It’s there.’ But if you can take it to the next level and say, ‘This is something people will read, publish, cite,’ that’s what I’m trying to do.”
The Executive MBA program at the Fox School of Business has called the Philadelphia suburbs home for nearly 30 years, but in that time Center City Philadelphia and executive education have each undergone a renaissance. In keeping with the evolution of both, the Fox School Executive MBA program is moving to a downtown location – The HUB at Commerce Square, an innovative executive meeting facility at 20th and Market streets.
In addition to relocating the EMBA, the Fox School is launching an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (EDBA) program at the same location in September. This innovative program will join the ranks of a handful of AACSB accredited executive doctoral programs, fill an increasingly important niche within business administration education, and round out a life-cycle approach by providing an advanced, practice-driven research degree to those who already hold MBAs and are in advanced stages of their careers.
Offering both the EMBA and EDBA at The HUB will allow the programs to take advantage of the innovative executive meeting facility and to expand their market reach. For students and executives in Philadelphia, bringing the EMBA to Commerce Square and launching the EDBA will help strengthen the Fox School’s Center City presence.
“We strongly believe that moving to Center City is going to expand our market, particularly into New Jersey and Delaware, and make us more marketable within the Washington, D.C.-to-Boston Amtrak corridor,” said William Aaronson, associate dean for graduate programs at the Fox School.
The one-weekend-per-month format of both programs, coupled with easy access to Philadelphia International Airport, makes the programs attractive to international as well as domestic students. Already, the EDBA has attracted two students from Mauritania – a small country in northern Africa.
The EMBA Program, ranked highest in the Philadelphia region, next to only Wharton, is specially designed to foster such international connections. The 16-month, one-weekend-per-month format, with courses beginning in January, makes it easy for students in any of the Fox School’s four Global EMBA programs to take courses in Philadelphia or for students based in Philadelphia to take courses in Cali, Colombia; Paris, France; Singapore or Tokyo, Japan. Each of the programs is strengthened by a dynamic curriculum and expert faculty with real world experience.
“The Temple brand is synonymous with Philadelphia,” said Tom Kegelman, director of graduate marketing for the Fox School. “It only makes sense for our flagship program to be delivered in a modern facility, conveniently located for virtually any prospective student.”
Like the EMBA program, the EDBA will have a hybrid format, in which students will complete course material online and attend three weekend sessions at The HUB each semester. The EDBA program is about creating new knowledge, and one of the distinguishing factors to the Fox School’s program is its singular focus on using the tools of academic research to solve practical business problems. The EDBA is primarily looking to help seasoned professionals solve the kinds of problems they encounter in their daily experiences with better tools to break those problems apart, come up with solutions and measure the results.
“We want executives to be able to take what they learn back to the industry and solve complex business problems,” said David Schuff, academic director of the EDBA. “It’s really about increasing their understanding of the world, but it is all motivated by what the students are interested in studying.”
The HUB at Commerce Square
Perhaps as significant as the EMBA’s move is the facility it will call home.
The HUB at Commerce Square is one of three The HUB facilities in downtown Philadelphia, where businesses can rent high-end, cutting-edge and fully serviced executive meeting spaces for short or long term use.
“The HUB has the distinguished aura of a facility designed for today’s leading executive,” Aaronson said. “Everything from the way the space is designed to be bright and flowing, to the modern art and sleek furniture – everything tells you, “This is designed for today’s business leaders.”
The magic of The HUB is in the details.
“We’ve understood from the beginning that people gather in a learning environment or business setting to be productive, but humans do not respond as well to drab environments with maroon drapes and no window lines, no aesthetic appeal, no energy – so we built our facility with that in mind,” said John New, The HUB CEO and founding partner. “It’s very vibrant. It has character and energy that you see as soon as you walk in. That just sets the tone.”
Nearly all of The HUB meeting rooms at Commerce Square have floor-to-ceiling windows, and many overlook a lush Center City plaza complete with restaurants, fountains and a large, LED screen. Bright colors and natural elements, like water features and birch trees, keep the interior from palling in comparison. Breakout areas with lounge-style seating ensure students can step away to digest the course material or just get a change in scenery.
All of these details help foster “state-of-the-art” instruction.
The HUB’s “flat classrooms,” for instance, allow students to gather around flexible pods on a level plane, rather than in fixed seats in a tiered amphitheater.
“In a flat classroom, the focus shifts away from the faculty being the ‘sage on the stage,’ to the faculty being the coach on the sideline,” Aaronson said.
The learning becomes less about faculty-to-student knowledge transfers and more about student-to-student problem solving.
The HUB also takes care of important logistical details. “We take care of all the headaches,” New said. “We sell productivity on a daily basis, and executive program students demand that we use their time as efficiently and best as possible and that the environment and tools kind of fit into that equation.”
According to Aaronson: “Executives who have traveled the world, and participated in global conferences and international business meetings, will certainly be at ease in this facility – where they know that everything they need in order to learn best is at their fingertips. ”
John Castellani, President and CEO of PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), an organization representing America’s leading research-based biopharmaceutical companies, visited the Temple University campus on April 16. Castellani’s visit brought out a wide mixture of administrators and faculty interested and involved in pharmaceutical research and related issues. The almost 2-hour engagement with administrators and faculty included Provost Hai-Lung Dai, Dean M. Moshe Porat of the Fox School, Dean Peter Doukas of the School of Pharmacy, and faculty from the Schools of Business, Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology, and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Castellani also spoke to a diverse group of Temple senior undergraduate and graduate students from various schools across Temple and outside invited guests to hear him speak.
“He’s not just on the pulse of what’s going on in this industry. He’s in the vortex of policy changes being discussed that can alter the course for the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare in this country,” said George Chressanthis, the professor of healthcare management and marketing who arranged Castellani’s visit. Chressanthis, who serves as Director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Management at the Fox School, also has a secondary appointment in the Temple School of Medicine Department of Clinical Sciences. “People walked away with a new-found appreciation and insights about the challenges, opportunities, and uncertainties facing this critical industry that is so vital to our national well-being” noted Chressanthis upon hearing feedback from faculty and students on Castellani’s visit.
Castellani leads PhRMA’s efforts to preserve and strengthen a healthcare and economic environment that fosters medical innovation, new drug discovery and access to life-saving medicines. Before his discussions with faculty and students, Castellani sat for an interview about his organization and priorities.
What’s the most enjoyable aspect of being President and CEO of PhRMA?
JC: What really gets my blood flowing is the promise of what medicine can do for patients. That’s really the heart of what gets me in the office every day. We have never been in a time when the promise of medicine has been more exciting. Globally, there are 5,400 medicines in or awaiting clinical trials right now, and 70 percent of those are first in class; there’s nothing else like them out there. There is some outstanding potential out there. More than anything, that’s what gets me up.
Research and development can be incredibly costly. What are some of the opportunities and challenges associated with the industry’s R&D timeline?
JC: If you step back and look at all medicines and at what they cost and how long they take, over the past several years, medicines by nature cost about $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion to bring to a patient and takes about 12-15 years. For every 10,000 compounds you start with at the laboratory, you get one to a patient, and for every hundred that go into clinical trials you get 25. For those related to neurology, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, you get about four out of 100, so it is a very expensive and time-consuming process.
When you think about it in the context of business, being a CEO of a biopharmaceutical company, the investment decisions you’re making now in R&D will probably be realized in your successor or even further down the line, and if you were defensive about protecting the shareholder assets you would have a better track record if you said no to everyone than if you said yes. Yet, despite that, unlike any other industry in the world, we put 20 percent of our revenue into R&D every year. No one else comes close.
So what’s incumbent on us (the industry) is that we have to bring down that cost of discovery because what we’re developing are more and more medicines that are aimed at a genetically homogenous population, so it’s fewer people. If you have fewer people over which you can spread that cost of development you have to do two things: you have to bring down the cost of R&D by being smarter, better and faster, and secondly you’re going to have to better demonstrate the value, not the cost, of that medicine before you start researching. It’s an enormous challenge – and it’s exciting.
To bring down the cost of R&D, how do those conversations typically go with lawmakers? What challenges do you face?
JC: What’s amazing after 24 years of trying, if you were a type-2 diabetic, which about 34 million Americans are, if you do not manage your disease, you get to an end state where you require dialysis. Dialysis is about an $80,000 a year regime. A management regime, like insulin or other diabetic drugs, typically averages $1,200 a year. The way we’ve hand-structured accounting for cost in the healthcare system was we look at the $1,200 a year and not the $80,000.
Last year for the first time the federal budget finally recognized, based on very good research, something that is very interesting: The first time you brought a prescription drug benefit into the Medicare system in 2006, scientists looked at those patients who for the first time had access to prescription drugs, and they found out that they were saving $1,300 a patient to Medicare. Why? Because they were avoiding acute care and long-term care. They ultimately saved $13 billion on the first year alone.
Why are you interested in an opportunity to speak with Temple students and faculty?
Because I always learn something when I come to universities, and I particularly learn it from the students because they are skeptical and they are fresh and not entrenched. But another reason why I’m here is if you look at the future of biopharmaceutical development, really what you see here at Temple are all the elements that are going to be necessary.
In an integrated way, if you’re going to be successful, you have to be smart from a science standpoint, you have to have the good basic research, which you have here, you have your clinical trial capability here, you have the School of Pharmacy with its capability, and you have to be able to convince people they should invest in you. You really have all aspects of the R&D and commercialization process for the industry for its future. There’s not a lot of places you can go in the country where you find them all in one place.