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Temple University’s Fox School of Business to offer American exporting courses as part of Export University

Temple University’s Fox School of Business has partnered with the Philadelphia United States Export Assistance Center, U.S. Commercial Service, to offer a series of courses on American exporting.

This spring, Temple’s Center for International Business, Education, and Research (CIBER) will host Export University, a series of half-day exporting courses designed to help U.S. companies begin or expand an export initiative, and to gain increasing skills to promote international exportation.

The courses – scheduled for March 1 and May 10 – are ideal for companies new to exporting that need tools to begin and avoid costly mistakes, as well as companies currently exporting that need guidance on developing or refining their export plans to further expand sales to foreign countries.

“Assessing export readiness, evaluating export potential, and implementing export strategies are essential elements of international business within today’s global marketplace,” said Dr. Arvind Parkhe, Chair of the Strategic Management department at Temple’s Fox School of Business. “Export University addresses these areas, and so much more, which makes these sessions, made possible through the Fox School’s partnership with Philadelphia United States Export Assistance Center, U.S. Commercial Service, so unique.”

More on Export University:

  • The March 1 session, titled “Export 201: Fine-Tuning Company Operations,” will focus on overseas representation, financing strategies, and export compliance.
  • The May 10 session, “Export 301: Developing Strategic Direction,” will be geared toward product adaptation, website optimization, and advanced topics.

Before attending Export University, executives with CAD Import Inc., a Delaware-based company that also has a private label manufacturing arm called Pharmadel, had drafted and presented an export plan in order to begin their sales outside of the United States.

“Export University helped us realize all of the different aspects and requirements that must be met before your company can even think about exporting,” said Ana Sofia De Leon, operations director of CAD Import Inc. “Temple’s Export University made all of the resources available, which – for a small company like CAD/Pharmadel – is critical.”

Each session has a $45 registration fee for each session. Information regarding a reduced fee is available upon request.  For more information, and to register, contact the Philadelphia U.S. Export Assistance Center at (215) 597-6101 or, or visit Export University’s website.

Fox School News & Releases

Temple’s youngest CEOs encourage students to build up “sweat equity” through start-ups

Attendees listen to the panelists at Temple University¹s Young Alumni Association #TempleMade Entrepreneurship event.

Attendees listen to the panelists at Temple University’s Young Alumni Association #TempleMade Entrepreneurship event.

For some, the decision would have created sleepless nights. For Joseph Green, it was a no-brainer.

While studying entrepreneurship at the Fox School of Business, Green had developed two business plans in completely different fields. Whichever one he chose to pursue, Green said, the risk of starting a business and forging into self-employment outweighed the security of a position in corporate America.

“To me it’s the same gamble,” Green said, “only the payoff is more direct and more beneficial to you because you’ve put in that sweat equity.”

The CEO of Affinity Confections, the bakery and confection company he launched in 2012 in Philadelphia, Green visited Fox’s Alter Hall Jan. 27 to participate in a panel discussion on being a young business owner. Joining Green, FOX ’12, on the panel were fellow Fox alums Dylan Baird, FOX ’12, the CEO of farm share Philly Food Works, and Rachel Furman, FOX ’12, the CEO of cosmetic company Mouth2Mouth Beauty.

Temple University’s Young Alumni Association organized the event, as part of its ongoing #TempleMade Entrepreneur Series, “to increase active student engagement and highlight the business successes of our young alumni,” according to TUYA vice president Latisha Brinson, FOX ’08.

The three 20-something CEOs provided snapshots of their careers and companies, lent insights into their respective startup experiences, and detailed how they sidestepped the inherent risks involved with entrepreneurship.

Furman admitted that she “spent more time playing sports than applying makeup” during her high school days. With Mouth2Mouth, she’s creating socially responsible cosmetic products, like eyeliner and lip stains, for the urban market. Her company and her career may not have come together without her experiences at Temple University.

“This was where I found someone other than my family and friends who could connect with my dreams,” she said.

Baird, whose Philly Food Works delivers high-quality food from farm to neighborhood, serves more than 900 people. In its earliest stages, he said he received poignant advice from a fellow entrepreneur, on pouring capital into the resources upon which a company depends – like a flat-bed truck or a cooler – and not on an office chair, for example.

Latisha Brinson, FOX ¹08, moderates the Temple University¹s Young Alumni Association Entrepreneurship panel, which featured (from left) Dylan Baird, FOX ¹12, Rachel Furman, FOX ¹12, and Joseph Green, FOX ¹12.

Latisha Brinson, FOX 2008, moderates the Temple University’s Young Alumni Association Entrepreneurship panel, which featured (from left) Dylan Baird, FOX 2012, Rachel Furman, FOX 2012, and Joseph Green, FOX 2012.

Green launched Affinity Confections in 2014, believing consumers desired sweet treats in smaller portions, made with premium and natural ingredients. Green, who has 16 years of baking experience, credited Temple with motivating him to excel.

“Temple’s job is to listen to your business plan, then poke holes in it, and push you to find a better way to do it,” said Green.

Dwight Carey, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Fox School, closed the event by asking for a show of hands from the nearly 100 alums and current students in attendance, wondering how many wish to one day own a business.

“Why wait? Ask yourself you aren’t doing it already,” Carey said. “You can do it because the desire is within each of you.”

Added Tim Bennett, FOX ’09, the owner of Philadelphia-based Bennett Compost: “It was great to hear from this panel and see what paths other successful entrepreneurs took to achieve what they have. They make me wonder whether I’m putting enough time into marketing, for example, or into accounting, and it’s a way to be reflective on your own business, while also being inspired by others who are doing what you’re doing.”

Fox School News & Releases

Fox alumnus to pitch SmartPlate on “Shark Tank”

Martin Dell’Arciprete on Shark Tank.

Martin Dell’Arciprete on Shark Tank.

The chance to appear on “Shark Tank” is the realization of a dream come true for Martin Dell’Arciprete.

“Growing up, every kid wanted to be like Mike,” said the Fox School of Business alumnus, referencing Hall of Fame basketball player Michael Jordan. “After I arrived at Fox and Temple University, and got a taste of entrepreneurship, it became, ‘I want to be like Mark (Cuban).’”

Dell’Arciprete will appear on “Shark Tank,” the popular ABC reality show, Friday, Feb. 12, to pitch SmartPlate, the signature product from Philadelphia-based company Fitly.

Believed to be the world’s first intelligent plate, SmartPlate uses load sensors and three digital cameras for image and weight recognition of the food a person is preparing to consume. SmartPlate analyzes the food on its surface, provides nutritional information, and logs calories with 99-percent accuracy.

Dell’Arciprete, Fitly’s former head of marketing, has left the company since representing the product during a September taping of the show. Dell’Arciprete, a Lansdowne, Pa., native who earned his Marketing degree from the Fox School in 2010, said it was “a gut-wrenching experience” to stand before the show’s five sharks.

“Preparing for the show was like studying for a final exam. You may have a general idea of the subject matter, but until you see that test, you just don’t know the direction your professors – or in this case, the sharks – are going to take,” said Dell’Arciprete, a senior account executive for Moroch Partners, a national marketing firm with an office located in Conshohocken, Pa.

“I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have been able to perform at such a high level in front of the sharks if not for the professors, public-speaking training, and diverse platform of opportunities I had at Fox.”

Fox School News & Releases

Founder of The Home Depot to visit the Fox School as a guest professor of entrepreneurship

Bernie Marcus
Temple University’s Fox School of Business welcomes Bernard “Bernie” Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, as its inaugural Warren V. “Pete” Musser Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Addressing Fox School students, Marcus will deliver a presentation, titled, “Do ethical entrepreneurs earn more?” Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. in Alter Hall.

An American businessman and philanthropist, Marcus co-founded The Home Depot after he and coworker Arthur Blank lost their jobs with a California hardware store. Marcus, Blank, and their early investor, Kenneth Langone, took The Home Depot public in 1981, and have since built a billion-dollar, home-improvement empire. Marcus retired in 2001 to focus on philanthropy.

Established in 2015, the Musser Professorship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an endowed term professorship that will be filled by experienced and well-known practitioners who have started successful business ventures and are interested in spending a term at the Fox School to lecture, conduct applied research, and mentor students in the early stages of their ventures.

Entrepreneurship is a pillar at Temple University. In November, Fox’s undergraduate- and graduate-level Entrepreneurship programs earned Nos. 8 and 10 national rankings, respectively, by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, one of only five schools nationally to attain two top-10 rankings.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), which proactively promotes entrepreneurial spirit throughout all 17 schools and colleges at Temple University, is co-sponsoring Marcus’ visit.

To attend, guests must RSVP through the IEI.

Fox School News & Releases

Temple University’s IBIT addresses U.S. cyber talent crisis through partnership with Lockheed Martin

NCAC_group 2015
Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) joined forces with Lockheed Martin in Washington D.C. in November to host the first annual National Cyber Analyst Challenge.

The competition, which welcomed 44 students and nine faculty advisors from nine universities, was designed to enhance students’ skills in combatting cyber-attacks and address a cyber talent crisis in the United States. The three-month, multi-phase competition aimed to inspire today’s technologically literate students to pursue careers in cyber security.

The result: It worked. Nearly 60 percent of the competition’s student-finalists completed online profiles with Lockheed Martin. On a 1-to-5, highest-to-lowest scale, the participants rated the competition highly on the metric of ‘learned a lot’ (1.33) and ‘value’ (1.15). One student remarked, “Hearing everyone tell us how valuable we are was a nice ego boost going into this field.”

“Cyber security analysts represent a critical skill need for most organizations,” said Chris Kearns, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President of Enterprise IT Solutions. “These students showed great promise through their hands-on teamwork to solve real world challenges and progress through the competition.”

According to, in mid-2015, there were 26,980 open cyber-security related positions. The need in these positions is less for operators and more for analysts. As threats multiply and diversify, intelligence analysis and identification is becoming critical, rather than secondary to the ability to configure or code secure servers. Yet, the job seekers in the talent pipeline find it difficult to integrate operational skills with strategic threat and cyber analysis. The goal of the National Cyber Analyst Challenge was to provide students with the opportunity to integrate specific operational skills with strategic threat analysis.

In the first phase of the competition, students pored over 75 gigabytes of data to find the cause of the simulated hack. Then the teams submitted 10-slide summary reports to explain their respective solutions for preventing future cyber-attacks. In the second phase, in which only nine teams competed, the students received training from industry experts. The competition culminated in a real-time practical challenge held at Lockheed Martin’s Global Vision Center in Crystal City, Va., in November.

A panel of industry experts, scoring finalists on technical proficiency, judgment, and communication, awarded the winning team $25,000 in prize money. Runners-up received awards of $7,500-$15,000 to support student, faculty, and curriculum development.

“It was gratifying to work with Lockheed Martin to create such a student- and faculty-centric opportunity,” said Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, IBIT’s Executive Director and the Chair of Management Information Systems at Temple’s Fox School of Business. “We hope to increase the national cyber talent pool across the nation’s top programs in Management Information Systems, Computer Science, and Engineering.”

– Lora Strum and Christopher A. Vito

Fox School News & Releases

Anger can improve unjust conditions in the workplace, says Fox researcher

Deanna GeddesThere’s an unlikely emotion that acts as the moral compass of a workplace. According to a researcher from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, it’s anger.

Dr. Deanna Geddes’ conceptual research delves into moral anger, an emotional expression that is geared toward the improvement of the human condition within the workplace. She and fellow researcher, Dr. Dirk Lindebaum of the University of Liverpool, proposed a new definition for moral anger within their research paper, “The Place and Role of (Moral) Anger in Organizational Behavior Studies,” which was published online December 2015 in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

The Chair of Fox’s Department of Human Resource Management, Geddes said employees potentially place at risk their jobs, careers, and companies for which they work when moral anger motivates actions that expose inappropriate circumstances at work.

Where moral anger varies from expressions of personal anger, she said, is in the identification of the subject who is suffering from workplace injustice and improprieties.

“It’s important to note that, with both moral anger and personal anger, social norms are violated and likely people were treated unfairly,” she said. “But instances of moral anger prompt action when you witness an incident that impacts someone else more than it impacts you. Speaking out on behalf of others is the core differentiator.

“Moral anger isn’t a self-serving type of anger expression. It’s the opposite. It’s someone’s response when another is being treated unfairly or being bullied, for example. Moral anger triggers corresponding action that is not intended to cause further harm, but instead to help repair the situation.”

Often an employee who expresses anger at work is viewed as “an out-of-control and hostile deviant,” Geddes notes. However, unless it’s a common occurrence, Geddes’s research found that those who express anger in the workplace are likely to be a company’s most-committed and most-loyal employees.

That’s because moral anger is a fairness-enhancing emotion, through which employees can act with the wellbeing of others in mind. Geddes said moral anger has the potential to restore equity, protect dignity, improve working conditions, and rectify damaging situations.

She and Lindebaum reviewed literatures on similar anger constructs, including those which pertained to moral outrage and moral conduct, to see how moral anger differentiated. Then, they reviewed literature pertaining to expressions of anger, to arrive at a more-practical “redefinition,” she said.

“Moral anger, by our definition, is not intended to avenge an individual person’s slights,” Geddes said. “It is to demonstrate that the human condition within an organizational environment can be improved. That’s truly the goal and the social function of moral anger – to defend those who are vulnerable.”

Fox School News & Releases

Fox ranks as nation’s largest provider of Risk Management and Insurance education

Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department

Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department

Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been ranked the largest provider of risk management and insurance education in the United States.

The Fox School’s Risk Management and Insurance program enrolls 475 undergraduate and 160 graduate students within 12 courses, earning it the No. 1 national ranking in a 2015 report by Business Insurance.

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

The Risk Management and Insurance program at Fox has earned a top-five national ranking for three consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report in its annual Best Colleges edition.

“It’s always a tremendous accomplishment to earn a No. 1 ranking, and our accolade from Business Insurance is no exception,” said Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, within which the Risk Management and Insurance program resides. “We look forward to enriching our programs and services in order to improve upon the exceptional business education we deliver, both of which have supported our expansion as the largest Risk Management and Insurance program in the nation.”

The 2015 Business Insurance directory of risk management schools lists the nation’s top colleges for those interested in careers in risk management and insurance. It also includes information on programs and courses offered, supplemental programs such as international experiences and internships, and accreditation status.

Business Insurance is a web-based news source that focuses on the risk management industry, providing in-depth analysis, case studies, and trends for professionals of all levels in the field.

Fox School News & Releases

Entrepreneurship fostered at annual idea competition

Innovative Idea CompThe 18th annual Innovative Idea Competition used entrepreneurship to unite students across Temple University.

Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) hosts the yearly competition, which encourages generation of innovative new products, services, and technologies as the foundation of new businesses. The most-recent competition, held Nov. 12 at Alter Hall and the Fox School of Business, welcomed 351 submissions from 12 different schools and colleges, marking a 39-percent increase in participation from 2014.

The competition not only features interdisciplinary submissions, but also encourages faculty, graduate and undergraduate students to compete for nine awards, said Ellen Weber, IEI’s Executive Director.

“This competition inspires students and demonstrates that entrepreneurship is a viable path,” said Ellen Weber, Executive Director of IEI. “It’s their first toe in the water in terms of getting their ideas out there.”
The Anne Nelson Grand Prize of $2,500 went to Stephen Peduto from the College of Engineering for his venture, Quick Stabilizing Carbon. Peduto’s idea, which earned first place in the Undergraduate track, creates a cast for broken bones that would expedite the healing time.

Entrants from the Fox School of Business received both first and second place in the Graduate, Faculty, Staff or Alumni track. Olawunmi Thomas-Quarcoo, a Fox School MBA candidate, took first place and $500 in prize money for Ka Bom Designs, a platform for female African clothing designers to market their creations. (Quarcoo also took first place and an additional $1,000 in the People’s Choice category.) In the same track, Fox MBA candidate Séverine Bandou earned second place and $500 for Myjé, a hair fragrance for people whose hair texture makes regular washing difficult. Originally from Paris, Bandou came up with the idea to remedy a problem she’s experienced personally.

First place in the Undergraduate category went to Fox School senior Tyler Stoltzfus for Seed Dyes. An Entrepreneurship and Innovation major, Stoltzfus created Seed Dyes as a sustainable textile dye. Taking home the $1000 prize, Stoltzfus’ Seed Dyes appeals to the competition’s social impact element.

Other Innovative Idea Competition winners included:

  • Sabrina Zouaghi, from the College of Science and Technology. Her venture, Self-Stabilizing Gloves, would provide a mechanism for stabilizing hand movement in people who suffer from muscle tremors. Zouaghi earned $1,000 for finishing in second place in the Undergraduate track and an additional $500 as the second-place winner in the People’s Choice category.
  • Camille Bell, an alumna from the School of Media and Communication. Her venture, Poundcake, provides a line of cake-inspired lipsticks that come in several shades for women of all different skin colors. Bell received $500, in addition to the competition’s Global Innovation prize.

Many of the ventures presented at the Innovative Idea Competition will go on to compete in the IEI’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl (BYOBB) this spring. The BYOBB encourages students to develop a comprehensive business plan and to test the functionality of their idea.

“It’s one thing to have an idea and another to test it,” Weber said. “The Innovative Idea Competition focuses on opportunity recognition and the generation of new, feasible ideas, while the BYOBB focuses on creating the business plans to execute an idea.”

Fox School News & Releases

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


For the second straight year, the Online MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business is ranked No. 1 in the nation.

The Fox Online MBA earned another perfect score of 100 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 ranking of the country’s best online MBA programs. This year, Fox’s program holds sole possession of the top spot, after having shared the honor in 2015 with the University of North Carolina and Indiana University.

In the same U.S. News ranking report, Fox’s Online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program received a No. 6 national ranking, jumping 25 spots to earn the highest ranking in program history.

U.S. News scored online MBA and BBA programs based upon student engagement; peer reputation; faculty credentials and training; and student services and technology. MBA programs were additionally scored for admissions selectivity.

“The Fox Online MBA and BBA programs connect cutting-edge technology and accredited, high-impact curriculum with an internationally recognized faculty to foster a dynamic learning community,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “It is with great pride that U.S. News & World Report has awarded our Online MBA program a No. 1 ranking for a second consecutive year, and also ranked our Online BBA among the nation’s best. These recognitions speak to the work of our Online and Digital Learning team, which delivers the best advancements in technology to a quality, online-format education.”

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

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

Fox School’s Video Vault, a collection of more than 1,800 academic videos produced by Fox faculty, is a vital resource of the program, said Dr. Darin Kapanjie, the Academic Director of the Fox School Online MBA and BBA programs. The Video Vault features a searchable archive with HD-quality, mobile-friendly, transcribed videos that are engaging for the student.

The same technological support, award-winning faculty, educational prestige, and career development resources are available to students enrolled in Fox’s Online BBA program. Launched in 2012, the program’s No. 6 national ranking by U.S. News – its highest in program history – marks a 25-spot improvement from last year.

“These rankings by U.S. News & World Report would not have been possible without Fox’s commitment to providing exceptional online education within a dynamic and flexible learning environment,” Kapanjie said. “Our support staff, which includes instructional designers, video production specialists, and tech support, deliver invaluable resources to the school that make possible our Fox Video Vault and so much more. The reputation of our online programs at Fox is on the rise, and we couldn’t be more proud.”

Merit scholarships are available, as are scholarship-incentive programs for Temple alumni and for corporate partners that have two or more employees simultaneously enrolled in the Fox Online MBA program. Financial aid counseling, professional development, and career counseling are offered to all students, and the Fox School and Temple University support the Yellow Ribbon Program for military personnel and veterans. In 2015, U.S. News ranked Fox’s Online MBA program the best in the nation for military veterans.

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Fox professor authors book on concussions, head trauma

2010_02_16  Samuel Hodge Fox School of Buisness and Management Faculty

Concussions have forever altered the sports landscape, calling attention to an injury that is difficult to diagnose and spawning a major motion picture.

Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, Jr., professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business has co-authored a book that approaches head trauma and brain injuries, including concussions, from the perspective of the medical, legal, and insurance fields.

The book, titled, “Head Trauma and Brain Injury for Lawyers,” is the latest by Hodge in a series of medical-legal guides he has penned for the American Bar Association (ABA). He’s written others spanning anatomy, the spine, and forensic autopsies.

Hodge book

“We used to assume that boxers were just ‘punch drunk,’ or that a football player ‘got his bell rung,’ but now, obviously, we know better,” said Hodge, Professor of Legal Studies in Business at Fox, who also teaches anatomy at Temple’s Katz School of Medicine.

While the book delves into head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), Hodge said he and co-author Dr. Jack E. Hubbard, Professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, took a broader approach. The 580-page text, which was published in January, explains the neurological system, covers basic anatomy of the brain and its functions, and demonstrates how to understand and interpret diagnostic tests for this area of the body.

“What makes the book so interesting and its breadth so wide is that we have chapters on head injuries sustained in military combat, sports, third-party lawsuits, social-security disability, and workers compensation,” Hodge said. “Our approach, from both a medical and legal perspective, should make this the seminal book on this subject – not only for medical and legal professionals, but also for those in the insurance industry.”

TBIs contribute to roughly 30 percent of all injury deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his research for the book, Hodge found that TBIs were the most-common injury incurred in the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“On the surface, that is surprising,” he said. “But because our military personnel have full body armor, they’re protected from shrapnel in pretty much every other part of their bodies. But road landmines, explosions, and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) made concussions and other types of brain trauma the signature injury of the war.”

Concussion litigation has shaken the National Football League, as former players file federal lawsuits against the league both for failure to acknowledge the lasting effects of brain-related injuries, and to establish guidelines for the recognition and prevention of them. TBIs have been identified as a major cause of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a protein build-up that causes degeneration of the brain. The discovery of CTE, and the NFL’s initial refusal to address it, inspired Concussion, a film released in December 2015.

Dr. Robert C. Cantu, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Boston University, who previously has urged the NFL to embrace medical findings pertaining to concussions and CTE, authored a chapter in Hodge’s book.

“Concussions aren’t simply a timely topic that will go away. People still lack a fundamental understanding of their effect on the brain,” Hodge said. “The contributions of Dr. Cantu, and other leading experts, to this book demonstrate the relevance of TBIs, concussions, and all head injuries today.”

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Tyler School of Art student wins Temple Analytics Challenge for second straight year

Photo of Cassandra Reffner

Cassandra Reffner

For Cassandra Reffner, winning the Temple Analytics Challenge for a second straight year was about honing her visual storytelling skills one data set at a time.

“Graphic design isn’t just about making these things look nice, but also telling a story,” Reffner said.

A senior graphic design student from the Tyler School of Art, Reffner took home the $2,500 grand prize at the third annual Temple Analytics Challenge, held Nov. 16 in the MBA Commons at the Fox School of Business.

Organized by the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), the competition awards prizes totaling $10,000, from corporate members of IBIT and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies at Temmple University. The Temple Analytics Challenge focuses on making sense of big data through visualization — a key component of data analytics cited by experts as a promising path to job opportunities.

This year, the Temple Analytics Challenge awarded 10 prizes totaling $10,000. The competition saw participation increase by 300 percent over the previous year, with 395 entries. Participating teams included 719 students from eight of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges, as well as students from the State University of New York and Cornell University. The finalists came from programs in the Tyler School of Art, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Engineering, the School of Media and Communications, the College of Public Health, and the Fox School of Business.

“The Temple Analytics Challenge emphasizes the Fox School’s commitment to teaching and research in the various fields connected to big data,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business and the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. “But big data and data visualization are academic components in which students across Temple University regularly engage. This truly was a university-wide competition.”

Corporate partners provided competitors with large sets of data that they must analyze and visualize in a way that is both innovative and accessible. This year’s partners included Merck Pharmaceuticals, QVC, and The Pennsylvania Ballet.

Photo of presentation

Cassandra Reffner’s presentation on The Pennsylvania Ballet earned her the grand prize at the Temple Analytics Challenge for a second consecutive year.

Reffner, who won the Temple Analytics Challenge in 2014, chose to work with the data from The Pennsylvania Ballet, saying she could see the visuals presented within the data set. In the Pennsylvania Ballet challenge, students had to conceptualize the best way for the company to attract new audience members.

“With our limited resources, we just don’t have the time or the staff to do this kind of imagining,” said David Gray, executive director of The Pennsylvania Ballet. “Having so many smart and creative people trying to help us address challenges is a godsend.”

To expand on the project’s proposal, Reffner scrolled through various mentions the company received on social media — from Tweets and hashtags to status updates — to see what about the company got people talking. She said was intrigued by the company’s position as a “19th-century product for a 21st-century audience,” and drafted a plan that took this value and social media’s talk-back feature to improve customer interaction. She suggested a redesign of The Pennsylvania Ballet’s website to respond on all devices, including desktops, smartphones, and tablets, so customers could interact with the ballet by any means necessary.

“The main thing I look for (in the Temple Analytics Challenge) is to see if I can solve the problem, to really step into their shoes to see what they want,” Reffner said.

Reffner and 19 other finalists went before a panel of judges comprised of industry leaders, including representatives from Lockheed Martin, Campbell’s Soup Company, Deloitte Consulting and AmerisourceBergen. The judges were impressed with the overall dedication the students brought to the challenge.

Reffner, who received employment interest from two companies based upon her presentation, reflected positively on how the challenge opened up opportunities to students from all majors and schools.

“This competition is not focused toward any specific major,” Reffner said. “It’s people from all over the place that entered the competition. That’s why I love the Temple Analytics Challenge.”

Photo of presentationBeyond The Pennsylvania Ballet challenge, student participants had the choice of two others. The Merck challenge tasked students with synthesizing data to show how a vaccine will best benefit world health. QVC provided data relating to product placement in various markets and asked students to show how this data could predict where it should next focus its attention.

“Data alone is just information. It’s usage to inspire change or action and turning it into competitive intelligence is where the value lies, and the Temple Analytics Challenge did just that,” said Maurice Whetstone, QVC’s Director of Enterprise Data Management.

“Analytics in business, and especially in healthcare, is an amazing lever toward gaining unique insight to improve business performance,” said Bill Stolte, the Executive Director of Merck’s IT Business Performance Analytics. “It is an honor to be actively engaged in the Temple Analytics Challenge, and it is remarkable to watch Temple University students rapidly self-organize and use data and visualizations in innovative ways to solve complex problems.”

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Fox alum has sights set on career in Hollywood

Adam Ray, BBA ’12, starred with Shannon Reynosa in a short film, “Cabo,” that was written and directed by Temple alumnus Alexander C. Fraser.

Adam Ray, BBA ’12, starred with Shannon Reynosa in a short film, “Cabo,” that was written and directed by Temple alumnus Alexander C. Fraser.

For Adam Ray, there’s nothing unsettling about the unknown.

“If anything,” said Ray, “it’s an opportunity to see what you’re made of.”

With minimal formal training, Ray moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. The Fox School of Business alumnus, who appeared in two seasons of the HBO medical comedy series “Getting On,” is looking to continue his path in the Entertainment Capital of the World as an actor and producer.

Ray earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus in Marketing, in 2012. Along the way, the Phoenixville, Pa., native said he “took two theater electives,” stoking a deep-seeded interest. A few months after graduation, Ray put on hold his career plans and moved to Los Angeles.

“I at least had to see and experience the entertainment industry for myself,” he said. “I didn’t come to L.A. with the intention of staying here, but I knew that if I took a 9-to-5 job right after graduating, I’d never pursue acting.”

His early months in Los Angeles were what Ray termed “a testing time.” He had little in his savings account, so his living arrangements were constantly in flux. At times, he spent nights in a hostel. He had no West Coast friends or relatives to lean upon, either.

“It was isolating in a lot of ways,” Ray said, “so it became a matter of asking myself, ‘How badly do I really want this?’ Let’s be honest: You can spend months in L.A. without landing an audition.”

Without marketable experience or an acting-heavy resume, Ray bounced between talent agencies. He relied on his education at the Fox School to objectively view his professional predicament. He had to think clearly about his decision-making processes. He assembled a list of targeted agencies and identified a niche in his career – all skills he developed at Fox.

Fox School of Business alumnus Adam Ray, center, appeared in the HBO medical comedy series, “Getting On.”

Fox School of Business alumnus Adam Ray, center, appeared in the HBO medical comedy series, “Getting On.”

What Ray called “a last-minute opportunity” led to an audition for the writers/producers of “Getting On,” the HBO comedy series that follows the staffers of an extended care unit of a hospital set in Long Beach, Calif. Ray improv’ed with the producers, performing for them and with them during his audition, before landing the part.

Ray shared a first name with his character, Adam, who was an intern in the show’s first season and a resident in the second season. Additionally, his work on “Getting On” led a fellow actor to introduce Ray to her agent, who’s helped “push me into other rooms and secure other auditions that never would have been possible,” he said.

To expand his acting depth, Ray has studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles. Inspired on set by the show’s lead actor Laurie Metcalf, Ray started studying comedy at Lesly Kahn & Company in Hollywood. He also produced and co-produced two short films in 2015. Fellow Temple alumnus Alexander C. Fraser wrote and directed Ray’s first short, “Cabo,” which led to Ray meeting Al Pacino and Broadway director Robert Allan Ackerman.

Ray admits his Hollywood career is a journey and he’s continued learning along the way.

“Acting isn’t something you can study for four years and say, ‘I’ve perfected it,’” Ray said. “From that vantage point, I’m happy I got a business education and studied at Fox. It taught me to be confident, overcome self-consciousness and nervousness, command a room, be assertive, and how to communicate your clear idea to a room of strangers.”

“That last one is extremely helpful in L.A. because, like I said, it can be lonely out here.”

Fox School News & Releases

Q&A with Fox School alumnus Will Cummings

Will Cummings
Will Cummings didn’t earn much playing time in his freshman season with the Temple men’s basketball team. As a sophomore, though he’d have to play behind a number of seniors, Owls coach Fran Dunphy viewed Cummings as a leader in the making.

“The summer before my sophomore year, Coach Dunphy said to me, ‘This is your time to step up,’” said Cummings, who in May graduated from the Fox School of Business. “I remember going home (to Jacksonville), working out three times a day, and watching it come together and make a difference.”

That summer, Cummings modeled a catchphrase around his newfound determination: “Self-Motivated Grind.” A capable web programmer who studied Management Information Systems at Fox, Cummings developed a website to promote his brand and create T-shirts with the slogan.

“I can’t explain why it took off so successfully,” he said. “I just Tweeted it one day and I started hearing from people who said they liked the message that it was sending.”

Cummings, who went on to earn First-Team All-American Athletic Conference honors in his senior year, is demonstrating his mettle on a different level these days. He’s suiting up for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League, the single-affiliate team of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

Will Cummings
As he hones his skills and works toward his dream, Cummings recently shared a few minutes of his time:

Q: You played with the Rockets’ summer-league team and with the team throughout training camp. After graduating from the Fox School, did you have offers to play professionally overseas, as well?
Cummings: “I did. I had plenty of offers overseas, but the goal was to make the NBA. My family, my agent, and I know it’s a process. Houston has shown a full commitment to me, and while there are no promises, I’m just playing hard and working every day, trying make my case to play in the NBA.”

Q: There was one moment from the preseason in which you made the top plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter. That must’ve been a nice surprise, right?
Cummings: “I had a lob pass to K.J. (McDaniels) and it ended up on Temple’s Facebook page. It was great to see the support.”

Q: If you weren’t playing basketball professionally, what career path would you have chosen?
Cummings: “Well, my degree is in MIS. I’m good at programming, so I probably would’ve pursued something in that field. I had an internship my senior year with The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia. It’s a non-profit, and I worked there as an information systems intern working on their website and building it from scratch. I was there six weeks and got a lot of experience. If I ever get injured, and knock on wood that I don’t, I know that’s a career path I’d probably pursue.”

Q: You built a website of your own, too, right?
Cummings: “It’s for my brand, Self-Motivated Grind. I built the site my junior year at Temple as a motivational page to connect with young kids looking for inspiration. I have Google Analytics for the site, and it’s reached 45 countries. I have an Instagram page for it, too. People send me photos of themselves wearing my T-shirts at Temple games. I haven’t put the time in lately, because of basketball, but it’s on the backburner. It’s something my sister (Ashley) and I work on together. She and my brother (Willie) work at Lockheed Martin.”

Q: Is it safe to assume there aren’t many basketball players who have that skill set?
Cummings: “That’s probably true. I’ve heard (Miami Heat forward) Chris Bosh knows how to program, but it’s rare, yes.”

Q: Has there been a major lifestyle adjustment following graduation from Fox?
Cummings: “You don’t realize how much time you have on your hands and how hard you work in college until you graduate. I’ve adapted pretty smoothly to life after college, but without classes, study halls, or anything like that, it can be slow.”

Q: What part of your Fox School education translates to the basketball court?
Cummings: “I would say it’s the critical thinking skills I learned when I was at Fox. There are a lot of classes, including a project management class, that teach you along the way how to think critically and to help you think about a solution to the problem you’re facing. That’s a valuable skill that I can use in everyday life and as it correlates to basketball, thinking about the current moment or one play ahead. I have Fox to thank for that.”

Fox School News & Releases

Fox School student receives scholarship for academic excellence, military service

Photo of Shawn Soto

Shawn Soto

Shawn Soto, a student from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, is the recipient of a national scholarship awarded to U.S. military veterans.

A senior, Soto was one of 30 students nationwide to earn the Harold & Muriel Berkman Charitable Foundation Award

The foundation issued $1,000 scholarships to U.S. military veterans who either hold a combat infantry badge, sustained a serious injury in combat, or served in combat for branches other than the United States Army. Students who demonstrate an enthusiasm for advancing the discipline of marketing through the pursuit of a degree in marketing or business, with an emphasis on marketing-related pursuits, are also eligible.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by the foundation for all of my hard work and prior military service,” said Soto, a security manager and intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army from 2009 to 2014, who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This award will serve to provide further motivation for success in my studies and to continue being an active member of the veteran community.”

Soto, a Management Information Systems major, is slated to graduate in May 2016. He is a member of Temple’s chapter of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) and the Temple Veterans Association, and has made the Dean’s List at the Fox School on multiple occasions.

More than 200 students from AACSB-accredited business schools applied for the Harold & Muriel Berkman Charitable Foundation Award. The foundation, founded by Dr. Harold W. and Muriel Berkman, pursues the couple’s longstanding dedication and commitment to higher education in the United States in preparing future business leaders and promoting the growth of knowledge into effective business and administration.

Dr. Berkman served as Vice Dean and Professor of Management and Marketing at the University of Miami prior to his retirement. He also is a World War II veteran who earned his Combat Infantryman Badge in his service to the U.S. Army.

“This great country has given so much to my and Muriel’s parents who came here with nothing and built a better life for our families, and this is our way of giving back,” Dr. Berkman said in a statement.

Fox School News & Releases

Career as a gymnast helps Fox School alumnus jump into new venture

Fox School of Business alumnus Bill Roth and his wife Christina, with their children, at Crosspoint Gymnastics in Glen Mills, Pa.

Fox School of Business alumnus Bill Roth and his wife Christina, with their children, at Crosspoint Gymnastics in Glen Mills, Pa.

Bill Roth is a high-energy kind of guy. That’s why he doesn’t particularly like sitting behind a desk.

“I’ve always liked entertaining people,” Roth said.

The Fox School of Business alumnus is putting that energy to good use. In September, he and his wife, Christina, opened Roth’s Crosspoint Gymnastics, a 20,000-square foot facility for training gymnasts at all levels of expertise in Glen Mills, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.

Prior to opening his gymnastics center, Roth’s career exploits revolved around his athleticism. Roth, who earned his Bachelor’s degree in Real Estate in 1993, remained at Temple University in order to train for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. A specialist in the high bar, Roth did not qualify for the Olympics, ending his career as a national and international competitor in 1996.

Next, Roth earned a job with the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks as their acrobatic mascot for one season. Around that time, Pat Croce took over as owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and decided to create Hip Hop, the team’s new mascot. Roth played the part of Hip Hop for nearly a decade, completing high-flying dunks and acrobatic jumps off of trampolines. Roth said this inspired him to continue working in the acrobatic and gymnastics worlds.

His mascot days behind him, Roth and his wife became part owners of a gym. “We were there for two years and decided to venture off on our own,” Roth said. A year-long process ensued, allowing the Roths to get their business in order, before they opened Crosspoint. The facility is ideal for youth gymnasts looking to enter the sport recreationally or to participate competitively. The couple also offer cheer-tumbling and work with local dance studios on acrobatics lessons.

Christina, a Temple University alumna who earned a degree in exercise physiology, handles most of the administrative aspects to the business, while Bill works within the gym itself.

“When we were dating at Temple and both on the gymnastics team, we would joke about owning a gym together when we were married because of how much we loved the sport of gymnastics,” Christina said. “I don’t think we ever really thought it would happen.”

The Roths’ vision since the beginning was to create an atmosphere where they could have an impact on the lives of young gymnasts and in the community. Their ultimate goal is to continue to expand the business.

“When we look at what we have now, gymnastics teaches so many life lessons,” said Bill, adding that gymnastics encourages athletes to set goals and overcome failure. “It is about using a sport as a platform to have a positive impact on kids.”

Bill Roth said his experience at the Fox School inspired his work today as a business owner and athletic coach.

“The leadership that I got was wonderful. Even to this day, it not only parlayed into where we are today, but where I was at Temple,” he said. “It helps train young leaders and in order to do what we did. You have to have some sort of step of faith to get out there, which was so much easier after seeing someone do it first.”