Entrepreneurs piled into Alter Hall clinging more than posterboards and presentation materials. They also brought dreams of success and self-employment.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business hosted casting associates from the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” which features self-made millionaires who award mentorship and financial support to budding entrepreneurs in exchange for equity stake in their businesses. More than 170 Temple students, alumni, faculty, and staff applied in the hope that their June 11 pitches would result in selection to appear on a future episode of the show.
“I walked in the room to make my presentation, and I immediately felt so nervous,” said Fox Part-Time MBA student Vinti Singh, who pitched a standing CT scanner for horses that wouldn’t require anesthetization. “I can only wonder what it’s like to deliver a pitch in front of the actual sharks.”
If accepted by “Shark Tank,” Temple entrepreneurs were told they would receive a call from one of the show’s casting associates within two to three weeks.
Casting associates listened to 60-second presentations inside the Steven H. Korman Conference Room, with two Temple entrepreneurs having to deliver their pitches simultaneously and side by side. The associates asked entrepreneurs to reveal both the monetary value they would ask of the Sharks, and to name the Shark with whom they most strongly identified.
Caren Sachs, an associate for the show, told applicants prior to their casting calls that “personality is just as important as your pitch.” She emphasized that “Shark Tank” seeks entrepreneurs who can speak energetically about their businesses, products, and concepts.
Alter Hall’s Undergraduate Commons served as the waiting room for Temple entrepreneurs before their number had been called. Applicants paced the room, rehearsing their talking points and working through their demonstrations.
College of Education alumnus Rich McFillin hoped to sell the casting associates on his Garage Bow Company, which manufactures and sells magnetic red bows that make garage doors decoratively resemble wrapped presents during the holiday season.
“They didn’t throw me any curveballs,” McFillin said of the casting officials. “They asked me questions I knew I had the answers to, and I could tell they were excited, which made me excited, too.”
Joseph Green’s pitch lasted more than five minutes, seemingly attracting the attention of a “Shark Tank” official. The Fox School alumnus is the owner of Affinity Confections, which offers sweet dessert treats in smaller portions. Recently, Green has begun packaging and selling the various sauces and coulees he manufactures using premium ingredients.
“I guess they liked what I had to say,” Green said of his pitch. “I’m looking to expand my products some more, and use any initial investment I would receive for packaging and to continue making a name for ourselves.”
Brandon Study, a Fox School senior majoring in Entrepreneurship, said he felt confident while making his pitch. Temple University “prepares you for moments like this,” he said. “That training is what helps you thrive in crunch-time situations.”
Two days prior to the casting call, Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) and Blackstone Launchpad offered a pitch-coaching session open to all entrepreneurs hoping to polish their pitches. Jesse DiLaura, a senior Entrepreneurship major at Fox, arrived at the coaching session to prepare for his pitch. Instead, he worked with fellow Temple entrepreneurs to improve theirs.
“I had rehearsed what I was going to say thousands of times,” he said, “and I thought, ‘If I can help out a fellow entrepreneur who had a question about his or her pitch, why not do what I can?’ I wasn’t planning on being a coach, but I had to speak up and try to get at least one person from Temple on the show.
“People need to know that great things are happening with entrepreneurship at Temple.”
“The IEI was delighted to welcome casting associates from ‘Shark Tank’ to Temple University,” said Ellen Weber, Executive Director of Temple’s IEI. “Choosing Temple as a host for an on-campus casting call validates the IEI’s mission, to provide students, faculty, staff, and alumni entrepreneurs with programs and opportunities to succeed.”
Study: Smart technology – and not body cameras – more likely to reduce use of lethal force by police
When it comes to reducing instances of lethal force exhibited by police, a recent study suggests that wearable video cameras might not be the solution.
Researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that the use of analytics and smartphones to access intelligence, like criminal history reports, reduced instances of lethal force by police, while wearable video cameras were linked to increases in shooting deaths of civilians by police.
Dr. Min-Seok Pang and Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, from the Fox School of Business, utilized data from a comprehensive report by the Washington Post, to investigate how technology affects police performance and practice. The newspaper’s 2015 database compiled information from the 986 deadly shootings of civilians by police nationwide in 2015, from published news reports, public records, Internet databases, and original reporting.
Their study, titled “Armed with Technology: The Effects on Fatal Shootings of Civilians by the Police,” found that the use of body cameras by police led to a 3.64-percent increase in shooting deaths of civilians by police. Notably, body cameras produced a 3.75-percent increase in the shooting deaths of African Americans and Hispanics, but only a 0.67-percent increase in the deaths of Caucasians and Asians.
Meanwhile, instances of fatal shootings dropped by 2.5 percent when police departments conducted statistical analyses of digitized crime data or had real-time access to data via smartphones and information about a person of interest, the researchers found.
“Our findings suggest that body cameras generate less reluctance for police officers to use lethal force, because the wearable body cameras provide evidence that may justify the shooting and exonerate an officer from prosecution,” said Pavlou, the Fox School’s Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy. “Instead, the use of data analytics and smartphones can reduce the use of lethal force by police.”
“There is a rush among police departments across the country to incorporate the use of body cameras by their officers, with millions of dollars being spent by federal and local governments,” said Pang, an assistant professor. “Instead, the decisions should be driven by evidence-based policy, and after careful consideration of scientific evidence.”
Click here to read more on their study.
Study: Job placement, salaries for Information Systems majors exceed national averages for college grads
Students who earned degrees in Information Systems (IS) earned higher starting salaries than their fellow business-school counterparts. And they benefited from one of the fastest national placement averages.
These statistics are just some of the findings from the latest edition of the Information Systems Job Index, produced by researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, in partnership with the Association for Information Systems (AIS).
Published and released in June 2016, the second installment of the IS Job Index culls the responses of nearly 1,700 IS graduates of the Class of 2015, from 30 universities nationwide. Findings from the IS Job Index include:
- IS undergraduates earned higher starting salaries than the next-closest business-school graduates, with averages of $57,817 for undergraduates, and $67,632 for graduate students.
- IS students achieved an 80-percent graduation rate; compared to the national average of 40 percent.
- Of IS graduates, more than 35 percent are minorities, making the field more ethnically diverse than the U.S. college-graduate population. Yet there is still evidence of a glass ceiling, as female IS graduate students made less ($63,206) than their male peers ($72,001).
“The Information Systems Job Index demonstrates the strength of the IS field, in regard to jobs, salaries, demographics, and industry growth,” said co-author Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Chair of the Management Information Systems (MIS) department at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. “This data is critical for parents of college-age children, current and prospective students seeking an accurate job outlook, employers, and policymakers – and it cannot be found anywhere else.”
“The IS Job Index represents a major effort to capture the pulse of the Information Systems job market,” said Jason Thatcher, President of AIS. “The results confirm that the hot IS job market continues to strengthen, with growing demand for technically apt, socially skilled college graduates.”
Mandviwalla conducted research for the IS Job Index and co-authored it along with Dr. Crystal Harold, Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at Temple’s Fox School, and David Yastremsky, a senior MIS major in the Fox School Honor’s program.
The AIS-Temple Fox School Job Index is the only systematic assessment of the IS job market. It is a joint project to produce reliable national-level data on placement, job type, satisfaction, and related factors like career services, knowledge level, preparedness, and search strategies.
More: To read the Information Systems Job Index, visit isjobindex.com.
Fox alums, College of Public Health students collaborate for interdisciplinary presentation on healthcare
A trio of Fox School of Business graduates recently visited Temple University’s Center City campus to lead a discussion on meeting the challenges of today’s healthcare climate.
Representatives from Tandigm Health spoke to students from Temple’s College of Public Health May 16 in an interdisciplinary crossover course that covered leadership, strategy, and problem solving within the healthcare field. More than 25 students from the Doctor of Occupational Therapy and Master of Science in Health Information Management programs attended the presentation.
“It’s not a single person winning a race in healthcare. In fact, it’s a team effort, with a goal of better provider and consumer experience” said Dr. Amy Lynch, Professor of Occupational Therapy, who invited Tandigm’s leadership team to Temple. “They offered an incredibly dynamic lecture that highlighted much of what they learned at Fox – challenging students to be thoughtful in evaluating healthcare challenges, while also covering the spirited nature of leadership embedded in innovative and collaborative thinking.”
Tandigm Health joined the Philadelphia healthcare landscape in 2014 in partnership with Independence Blue Cross, the region’s largest insurer, and HealthCare Partners, which provides physician-office management services. Tandigm compensates physicians for keeping their patients healthy and free from hospitalization, as opposed to paying them for services rendered.
Tandigm president and CEO Dr. Anthony V. Colleta, MBA ’06, director of informatics Antonio Tedesco, MBA ’04, and vice president of operations Brett Huberman, MBA ’00, received postgraduate degrees from the Fox School.
“In our value-based health care model, we partner with primary care physicians by engaging them with meaningful incentives to deliver high-quality care, enabling them with relevant technologies and data, and empowering them with resources and programs that deliver necessary care where and when patients need it,” Huberman said.
A 2015 study published in Health Affairs identified the nation’s top-50 hospitals for cost vs. marked-up charge, and six of them were located in the Philadelphia region. Huberman called Philadelphia “the highest medical-cost city in the country, one that’s home to 40,000 providers and 34,000 specialists.”
“We imparted to the students the value of data information in forming solutions,” Huberman said. “It was inspiring to speak to Temple students about our model. Education is a two-way street, and this provided us with an opportunity to give back to our Temple roots.”
Healthcare policies and regulations have a direct impact on the careers of occupational therapists like Caroline Welch, a Temple OTD candidate.
“There is a strong push and need for improved quality of career and patient outcomes, both at a lower cost,” Welch said. “As a full-time clinician, my knowledge and understanding of the business side of healthcare is limited. That is one of the main reasons why I found Tandigm’s presentation to be such an interesting and beneficial learning opportunity.”
The Fox School offers an undergraduate program in Healthcare Risk Management and a minor in Healthcare Systems Management. At the graduate level, Fox offers an MBA in Health Sector Management and a Master of Health Administration degree program.
Hillel of Greater Philadelphia recognized Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, for his campus leadership and advocacy for Israel.
The Jewish organization honored Porat at its annual Vision and Values Celebration, held June 2. Attended by more than 200 community leaders and friends of Hillel, the event generated nearly $200,000 to fund programs and services for Jewish college students in the Philadelphia region.
Porat was not the only awardee from Temple University. Two undergraduate students, Ari Abramson and Arielle Manstein, received recognition as Student Exemplars of Excellence. Abramson, a sophomore, majors in Management Information Systems at Fox, while Manstein recently received her degree from Temple’s Kornberg School of Dentistry.
Porat lived in Israel for half of his life, moving there at a young age from Poland with his parents. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tel Aviv University, before traveling stateside and completing his doctoral degree program at Temple University.
As Fox School’s Dean, he helped redesign the school’s flagship MBA program to incorporate into the curriculum international immersion trips, including those to Israel, to foster the exploration of the country’s innovation, entrepreneurship, and tech ecosystems. He also led a push to include Israel-based companies within the Fox Management Consulting capstone course, in which students provide professional-grade strategic solutions to paying clients. Porat also serves as an active member of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
“This recognition from Hillel was a point of great personal pride,” Porat said. “I believe strongly in the values and purpose of Hillel, and have always made an effort in my career to demonstrate the strengths and competencies of Israel, while encouraging students to visit the country and learn its innovation and entrepreneurship history. For these reasons, it was quite fulfilling to receive this honor.”
The event, held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, buzzed with more than 200 attendees, including Porat’s wife, Rachel, and their sons, Manny and Sam, and daughter, Galia. Hooter, the mascot for Temple Athletics, also made an appearance.
“Moshe not only is a product of another culture and another country, but he’s very active around the world,” said Dr. Neil Theobald, President of Temple University. “He brings a global perspective to the deanship and to our administrative councils that is hugely important. … The value of Hillel and the values of Temple University, what they have in common, Moshe is such a great representative and archetype of those values.”
Dr. Mitrabarun “MB” Sarkar, a renowned educator and researcher at Temple University’s Fox School of Business whose pedagogical work garnered national, international, and university awards, died June 7, 2016. He was 54 years of age.
Sarkar, who joined the Fox School faculty in 2008, was the H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the Strategic Management department at Fox. He also had served as a visiting professor of strategy at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
“MB was an innovator at every stage of his career,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “His passion for teaching and empowering students, and his thirst for knowledge were tremendous. MB’s passing brings great sadness to our Temple and Fox communities. My thoughts and prayers at this time are with his wife, their two daughters, and his family and close friends.”
In 2013, Sarkar received Temple University’s Great Teacher Award, the highest honor conferred by the university on faculty. On seven occasions, he was named Outstanding Professor of the Year in Fox’s Global, Executive, Online, and Part-Time MBA programs. Sarkar also was a five-time recipient of Fox’s Crystal Teaching Award. Last November, he received the Musser Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes a Fox School faculty member who challenges students to think imaginatively and creatively.
Sarkar was the founding Academic Director of Fox’s Global Immersion Program in Emerging Markets, and led the initiative of building partnerships and experiential programs for Fox MBA students in several countries, such as Chile, China, Colombia, Ghana, India, Israel, Morocco, South Africa, and Turkey.
His internationally recognized research on innovation, industry emergence, and technology entrepreneurship was published in several premier scientific journals. He served on the editorial review boards of several leading journals in the field of strategic management, and as associate editor at the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. In 2004, he received the Best Paper Award from the Academy of Management Journal, in addition to research-related awards from the Academy of Marketing Sciences and the American Marketing Association.
Sarkar earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi, India; an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, in Ahmedabad, India; and a PhD from Michigan State University.
He is survived by his wife, Tanu, and their daughters, Mohenna, who lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Aeshna, who attends Tulane University.
The Fox School has established a new faculty award in Dr. Sarkar’s memory. Gifts to the MB Sarkar Award for Teaching Excellence can be given here.
Shark Tank, the critically acclaimed, business-themed show is continuing the search for the best entrepreneurs with the best businesses and products that America has to offer. The Emmy-winning show features The Sharks – tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons who give budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their American dreams come true; potentially securing deals that could make them millionaires.
If you’ve got a great product or business and need an investment to propel you forward, Temple University is providing you the opportunity to meet the casting team of Shark Tank.
Note: Pitches will not be filmed. They are preliminary auditions, in which participants will pitch one-on-one to casting managers.
This casting call is open to Temple University students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Come by the Fox School of Business on Saturday, June 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to pitch the casting team!
Fox School of Business
Alter Hall – Undergraduate Commons, 1st Floor
1801 Liacouras Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Need help preparing for your pitch? The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute and Blackstone Launchpad are offering an open pitch coaching session:
Thursday, June 9 | 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute Lab
Alter Hall, 5th Floor, Room 503D
If you have questions, please contact the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the Fox School Dean’s Council, student body, and faculty participated in this momentous occasion, held this past April in Alter Hall and kicking off one of the most-significant initiatives in the school’s history.
Cherry- and white-colored balloons decorated the Undergraduate Commons, as Dean M. Moshe Porat announced more events and engagement opportunities in the months ahead, all of which will be geared toward sharing in the Fox School’s renowned history.
“Tradition, distinction, and innovation are at the heart of what we do, and are as much a part of our rich legacy as our promising future,” Porat said.
Porat continued, addressing members of the Fox School’s faculty and student body who were in attendance: “There are not too many opportunities in one’s lifetime to celebrate a 100th anniversary of anything, and you are the reason we have so much to celebrate. I want you to share in this experience, which is a major historical event for our school.”From its roots in 1918, when it was founded as Temple University’s School of Commerce, to today, the Fox School of Business has remained true to the vision of Temple founder Dr. Russell Conwell, Porat said, hiring influential researchers and inspirational faculty, enrolling diverse and accomplished students, and producing exceptional alumni.
“Throughout our growth, we have maintained a reputation of outperformance,” Porat said. “We have much to be proud of, and we look forward to many upcoming celebrations.”
Also in attendance were Temple University alumni Dennis Alter and Larry Magid, Fox alumnus and co-founder of Philadelphia’s Electric Factory Concerts, to discuss the intersection of business and the arts.
Alter, EDU ‘66, is the benefactor of Alter Hall, the home of the Fox School of Business, who was responsible for the art collection that adorns the building’s walls. Alter is an elected trustee of the Philadelphia Art Museum and a supporter of the arts, including the Barnes Foundation and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
“You don’t have to be an inventor to be a success in the business world,” said Alter, a member of Temple University’s Board of Trustees. “Some of the most successful artists in the world thrived because they were persistent, they empowered onlookers globally, they were entrepreneurs at heart, and they embodied originality at their core.”Magid is responsible for having lured top musical talents to Philadelphia for the last half-century. Magid has promoted thousands of performances and concerts, including those featuring The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead, among others. He also helped organize Live Aid in 1985 and Live 8 in 2005, two global music-driven fundraising initiatives.
Magid got his start in the music industry by selling $2 tickets to shows he had booked at Temple’s Mitten Hall.
“It didn’t take much imagination to know what was happening with my career and that I could make a living by taking this path,” Magid said. “It all starts with a dream, and how you go about realizing that dream.”
At an event geared toward Fox’s 100th birthday, Magid poked fun at his age.
“I’ve been working in this field for 54 years, which is exactly seven years longer than I’ve been around,” Magid said, deadpanning. “It goes without saying that the Fox School of Business has achieved much more than I have, and it’s exciting to see what is around the corner for this great school.”
The gala, held April 13, helped pay tribute to the department’s current successes, as well as its rich tradition and rising national rank.
Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, honored a team of Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) and Actuarial Science students who, a weekend prior, had taken first place in the prestigious Spencer-RIMS national Risk Management Challenge, a three-month case study of a risk portfolio, for which the students were tasked with developing proposed solutions.
The night also centered on growth in the program. Not only is the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma the nation’s largest chapter, but the Fox School also serves as the largest provider of Risk Management & Insurance education in the United States, according to a recent survey.
Top industry executives have taken notice of our programs and that is a testament to the quality of our students,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “I think you will all agree that we have succeeded on all accounts – more students, more speakers, better rankings, and more success.”
Porat helped found the department’s annual awards reception 28 years ago, when he served as the department’s chair. It began, Porat said, as a small luncheon held at Temple’s Mitten Hall.
And today, because of the many successes of our Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management students, smaller venues are not feasible for such an occasion,” Porat said.Richard Rosenbaum, senior Actuarial Science major and President of the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, lauded Drennan for facilitating the department’s growth and continually improving its reputation nationally and internationally. For the third consecutive year, Fox’s RMI program ranked among the nation’s top-5 such programs in the United States.
He not only has shown us the vast opportunities available in risk management, but also has helped us with navigating difficult educational and professional decisions in our first years at Temple,” Rosenbaum said of Drennan, who presides over the longest-running continuous program of its kind in the U.S.The event’s keynote speaker, Thomas F. Motamed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for CNA Financial Corporation, discussed his foray into the RMI industry, its future, and the role Fox School of Business students can play in it. Motamed addressed the ever-increasing need for talent in the RMI profession as one of the most significant challenges facing the industry today. Due to retiring professionals, he said the industry needs to fill 400,000 positions by 2020 in order to remain fully staffed.
So if you are a student of risk management at Temple, you must be aware that you are truly coveted,” Motamed said. “You are the human capital of the future.”
The developers of a mobile application that culls continuous, competency-based feedback won the grand prize at the 18th annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl, a Temple University-wide business plan competition.
DevelapMe — developed by the Leadership Analytics Group, LLC — took home more than $60,000 in cash and prizes, including the Bernard Spain, FOX ’56, and Murray Spain, FOX ’65, Grand Prize.
The flagship program of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), the Be Your Own Boss Bowl is one of the nation’s most-lucrative business plan competitions, according to Entrepreneur magazine. This year, 12 finalists representing five of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges delivered business plan presentations. They competed more than $500,000 in related products and professional services, and $160,000 in cash prizes – including $120,000 from The Wolfington Family.
Created by Dr. Tony Petrucci, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management; Dr. Michael Rivera, Associate Professor of Strategic Management; and Cliff Tironi, Performance Analytics Manager for the Fox MBA and MS Programs, among others external to Fox, DevelapMe modernizes the performance review process by providing individuals with a platform for continuous feedback exchange, while simultaneously enabling employers with the ability to aggregate and analyze data that gets at the heart of workforce development. It stands to replace what Petrucci called “pulse surveys,” which are typically sent via email within a company to take the pulse of an organization.
“Instead of traditional surveys, employees have access to real-time feedback that is ongoing,” Tironi said. “Users can review their competency scores and comments, and develop action plans with unprecedented ease.”
In the last year, the creators of DevelapMe conducted “significant user testing,” Rivera said, and changed its gradation from a thumbs-up/thumbs-down model to one in which users can be scored on a 1-to-5 sliding scale. Using DevelapMe, professionals across all industries can quickly and easily congratulate a coworker on a job well-done, for example, or give a team member a piece of constructive advice, even anonymously if they choose.
“DevelapMe brings the topic of feedback to the forefront,” Petrucci said. “When a strong feedback culture is already in place, anonymity should not be needed, but it is often needed as companies are building that culture.”
Clients must partner with DevelapMe, which is available through the iTunes App Store and Google Play, before it is available for rollout within an organization. Rivera said the company already has achieved a number of sales, and has more within its pipeline.
The Be Your Own Boss Bowl features three distinct tracks: the Undergraduate Track, open to current Temple undergraduate students; the Upper Track, open to Temple graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff; and the Social Impact Track. Winners from each track were:
- Upper Track: DevelapMe
- Social Impact Track: Green Matters Apparel Company, which makes T-shirts from plant materials grown locally (Tyler Stoltzfus, FOX ’16)
- Undergraduate Track: Parking Bee, an online marketplace for finding and renting available parking spaces (Richard Armitage, CST ’16)
For the seventh year, the IEI awarded the Chris Pavlides Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a strong passion for entrepreneurship. This year’s recipient was sophomore Entrepreneurship major Benjamin Thomas. Glen Gaddy, an angel investor and professional in the real estate and consumer product development sectors, received the 2016 Self-Made & Making Others Award.
Be Your Own Boss Bowl 2016, by the numbers
$700,000 — Value of monetary, products, services and mentorship prizes awarded
$120,000 — Value of cash prizes sponsored by the Wolfington Family
$40,000 — Value of the Bernard and Murray Spain Grand Prize, plus an additional $10,000 toward the IEI Summer Studio accelerator
236 — Preliminary judges
223 — Overall participants in BYOBB, representing 13 of Temple University’s 17 schools and colleges
94 — Senior executive mentors
97 — Registered company submissions
34 — Participating finalist team members
12 — Sponsors
12 — Presentation coaches
12 — Finalist teams representing five Temple schools and colleges
6 — Finalist judges
The Department of Statistics at Temple University’s Fox School of Business welcomed more than 100 students from Philadelphia area high schools for a statistics and data-analytics challenge.
A team of students from Methacton High School, in Eagleville, Pa., won the Statistics Data Challenge, which pitted 25 teams of four students each in the completion of a written examination that tested their acuity in the areas of statistics and data analytics.
“These skills are the cornerstones of a new undergraduate major we will offer this fall, when we introduce a Bachelor of Science degree program in Statistical Science and Data Analytics,” Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat said to the student participants. “The demand for undergraduate degrees in statistics is at an all-time high, and is increasing nationally, and we hope you choose Fox to continue your academic careers.”
In addition to the written component, the Statistics Data Challenge also featured a walking tour of Temple’s campus during a lunch-break respite, as well as a few brief presentations from faculty, PhD students, and graduates of the Fox School’s Department of Statistics on the important role of statistics and data analytics in business and industry.
Organized by Dr. Alexandra D. Carides, Assistant Professor of Statistics, in conjunction with the Fox School’s Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives, the competition’s plans for next year are already in motion.
“This was a great day of intellectual challenge and stimulation, and we look forward to offering an even-higher caliber contest that challenges the region’s brightest high school students – and potentially future Temple students – in statistics next year,” said Carides, who serves as Director of Fox’s newly formed Statistical Science and Data Analytics undergraduate program.
The father and son were seated beside one another May 6 at the Liacouras Center, and had their names and degrees announced simultaneously during the Fox School’s commencement ceremony.
Walter, who in 2009 opened a tax-preparation service, received a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Keith, 23, earned his Bachelor’s in Finance.
Walter, 50, balanced academic, professional, and familial responsibilities as “the most non-traditional student you’ll ever find,” he said. Walter has spent more than 30 years driving tractor-trailers, making nightly runs to Connecticut and returning to the family’s home in Schwenksville, Pa., in the mid-morning hours. At points of his undergraduate career, Walter would finish his day’s work and head directly to Main Campus. More recently, he would log a few hours of sleep before attending a late-afternoon class.
“There were times when I’d have two courses per semester,” Walter said, “but mostly, I would tell myself, ‘Let’s just take it one course at a time.’”
Walter began his pursuit of a college degree in 2001, first earning his associate’s degree at a community college before transferring to Temple. He’s been completing coursework ever since, except for an 18-month sabbatical while he received chemotherapy to treat Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Keith, 23, completed 18 credits of coursework in the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters in order to ensure he would walk with his father at commencement.
“When I looked at my schedule (last year), I thought, ‘I have to push myself. I owe that much to my father.’ He’s the hardest-working man I’ve ever known,” Keith said. “That was my motivation to get through it. I kept thinking, ‘This man has been through everything. I don’t have any excuses.’”
Walter plans to retire from tractor-trailer driving in May 2017, and focus fully on a career as an enrolled agent. Keith has accepted a full-time position as a financial advisor at Philadelphia’s McAdam Financial Group
The Douglass family, which includes mother Karen, and the couple’s two youngest children – Matthew, 21, and Lauren, 19 – was on hand to see Walter and Keith graduate. Fox School Dean Dr. M. Moshe Porat even commended the Douglasses during his commencement address.
“When (Walter) began taking college courses, Keith was only eight years old,” Karen said. “What are the odds they would both end up at Temple and the Fox School, and all these years later graduating on the same day, walking on stage together?”
“It’s a blessing,” Walter said. “It truly is.”
A team of students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business put together the pieces to win a national case competition.
The students won the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge, a three-month case study from a major company – iconic toymaker, LEGO. The competition culminated with eight teams delivering presentations during the RIMS 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition, held April 10-14 in San Diego, Calif.
The win marked the third in five years for students from the Fox School’s nationally ranked Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department. Senior Actuarial Science majors Carolyn Murset and Zilong Zhao, and Risk Management and Insurance majors Andrew Donchez and Sean Preis, a senior and a junior, respectively, comprised the winning team, which received $4,000 in prize earnings.
The Fox School students bested Florida State University and Butler University, which placed second and third, respectively.
The Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge tasks undergraduates from around the country with developing a comprehensive, written risk analysis that will be judged by a panel of experts at the annual risk management society’s conference.
“Temple’s Risk Management and Insurance program has helped us to hone our analytical and critical-thinking skills, and adequately prepared us to identify the main risks facing LEGO,” Donchez said. “Meeting LEGO’s strategic risk manager and picking his brain taught us that risk management is a real-world issue that demands passionate, curious and persistent practitioners.”
“This competition reinforces that the risk management profession’s future is bright,” said RIMS CEO Mary Roth. “The Rising Risk Professional demographic of RIMS members continues to grow and their contributions and professional needs have directly influenced the resources and opportunities the Society delivers. We are so proud to be able to introduce these students to the energy and excitement of a RIMS Annual Conference and congratulate all of them for participating in the challenge.”
In November, the Fox School team had learned that it had advanced in the competition. From there, the students spent months poring over research material to craft the perfect plan for reducing risk for a company that, despite its storied history and global appeal, came close in recent years to filing for bankruptcy. Judges gauged how well Fox’s students analyzed LEGO’s risks, and presented their research findings.
“Winning the competition is an extraordinary closing on the last chapter of my Temple journey,” Zhao said. “It signifies the high caliber of future business leaders Fox School has nurtured.”
The RIMS 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition provides students opportunities to engage with sponsors and industry leaders, network with their peers, sit in on guest lectures, tour San Diego’s best attractions, and perform community service.
“Traveling to the RIMS Conference is an amazing experience for any student in RMI,” said Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of the Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department. “The number of industry professionals our students met is overwhelming. I believe they received a very good idea of the field in which they are entering.
“Further, I couldn’t have been more proud of their achievements and extending Fox’s rich tradition in winning the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge.”
The bottom line isn’t always an entrepreneur’s end game. For some, it’s the balance of doing well while doing good.
The work of social entrepreneurs served as the focus of an interactive workshop that kicked off a new collaboration between Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) and the College of Public Health (CPH). Social entrepreneurs are creative problem-solvers driven to create solutions that have a positive impact on their communities and the world.
The workshop, and a Fall 2016 semester course in Social Entrepreneurship offered by CPH, are fueled by the Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy, a new program created by Temple President Dr. Neil D. Theobald as the embodiment of his commitment to foster innovation and entrepreneurship university-wide. The Entrepreneurship Academy is geared toward the incorporation of entrepreneurship education into the coursework of faculty members throughout all of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges.
Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Fox School of Business, led the April 8 workshop at Temple’s Science Education and Research Center, with support from Dr. David B. Sarwer, CPH’s Associate Dean of Research, and Dr. Robert McNamee, IEI’s Managing Director and Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Fox.
The workshop, titled, “Doing Well While Doing Good: Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in Public Health,” engaged students, faculty, and staff from around the university to consider the business structures of social entrepreneurial ventures.
As an example, Hill turned to Go Baby Go, an initiative that modifies standard toy electric cars for use by children who suffer from physical disabilities. He also made mention of Lucky Iron Fish, a social enterprise dedicated to eradicating anemia around the world, through the use of a cast-iron fish which can be added to a pot in which food is cooking.
Social entrepreneurs need to research problems and target users, appreciate multiple funding streams, and think about user adoption and behavioral change, which “can be a huge undertaking, and require just as much ambition,” Hill said. Following further discussion on social impact and social entrepreneurship, Hill asked workshop attendees to assemble smaller groups, in order to develop examples of social venture business models.
“Social entrepreneurship is the attempt to draw upon entrepreneurial and business approaches to find scalable solutions to social problems,” said Hill, the Academic Director of the Fox Global MBA program.
Hill has been responsible for creating the Fox Management Consulting Practice (Fox MC), in which the MBA candidates provide professional-grade strategic solutions to clients including non-profits and social-impact ventures. In addition, Hill has created the Fox Board Fellows program in which MBA students sit on the board of directors of a non-profit for a year. These programs have led to the creation of a number of thought-leading approaches to social entrepreneurship.
The plan for the 2016-17 academic year, said McNamee and Sarwer, is to build on this inaugural event through a series of workshops and courses in the College of Public Health that will focus on social entrepreneurship and healthcare innovation.
“Most individuals who work in the area of public health receive little to no training in the area of entrepreneurship,” Sarwer said. “This workshop, and the course being taught this fall, is a great opportunity for students to learn how to be forward-thinking about their work and develop impactful strategies to address public health issues. I wish I had the opportunity to take a course like this when I was a student.”
For Olawunmi Thomas-Quarcoo, pursuing an MBA was the first step in fulfilling her dream of becoming a social entrepreneur.
Thomas-Quarcoo, a first-year MBA candidate at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, is the co-founder of Ka Bom Designs, a fashion retail venture integrating African designs into the western market with a focus on empowering African artisans.
“While growing up, we had difficulty identifying with one specific culture, as both our American and African influences played a role in our self-definition,” said Thomas-Quarcoo, of the upbringings of she and her business partner Hannah Obeng. “We wanted to bring the two communities together.”
Thomas-Quarcoo, 30, and Obeng, 28, met in 2011 as social workers for Philadelphia Fight, a community health services organization and HIV/AIDS advocate. Through their background in helping others, they knew their entrepreneurial venture had to be rooted in uplifting their community.
“We love western styles, but they don’t always represent us,” said Obeng, a licensed therapist.
Thomas-Quarcoo, a native of Nigeria, and Obeng, whose origins are in Ghana, said stigmas about African poverty and underdevelopment had led the fashion industry to ostracize their cultures. To remedy this problem, Thomas-Quarcoo and Obeng launched Ka Bom Designs in 2014 as both a platform for African artisans to share their creations and a way to build a coalition of female entrepreneurs.
“I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Thomas-Quarcoo said. “With Ka Bom Designs, I was connecting to my roots while also giving back.”
Thomas-Quarcoo found inspiration in her Strategy, Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship course at the Fox School, which helped her understand the importance of competitor analysis, barriers to entering the market, market sizing, and sustainability. Applying that knowledge to Ka Bom Designs provided the foundation for the company’s business model and strategy.
In 2015, the business partners took their venture to the Blackstone Launchpad, a campus-based entrepreneurship program providing students with mentorship services. Aided by the additional support, Thomas-Quarcoo and Obeng refined their idea and reached out to the 25- to 40-year-old demographic to harness a younger generation’s desire to fuse tradition with modernity.
Ka Bom Designs won first place in the People’s Choice and Graduate Student categories at November’s Innovative Idea Competition, an annual event organized by Temple University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.
Bolstered by this success, Thomas-Quarcoo and Obeng have shopped around their idea. By giving female entrepreneurs an entrance into the fashion industry, Ka Bom hopes to alter the the conversation surrounding not only women, but Africa and its global value, Thomas-Quarcoo said. Far from its media representation as an area of starvation and strife, she continued, Africa could be seen as an emerging market and source of innovation.
“Fashion is the vehicle, but I see us making a dent in the global view of Africa,” Thomas-Quarcoo said. “The possibilities are endless.”