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Temple Student Government’s top officers credit Fox for their success

By: | September 22nd, 2014 | leave a comment

Temple Student Government OfficersRay Smeriglio was elected by his peers because of a platform built upon trust. So when Smeriglio was asked about his experiences in the Fox School of Business, the Student Body President of Temple Student Government (TSG) was genuine in his reply.

“Fox makes you real-world ready,” Smeriglio said.

A senior marketing major, Smeriglio credits Fox School for his leadership abilities. Blair Alston, TSG’s Vice President of Services and senior legal studies major, also credits Fox on the way he confidently executes duties in his position.

“Fox plays no games,” said Alston. “It taught me how to use my resources. You are taught very early about networking, getting to know people and to be engaged and active within your classes. This relates to the same thing in TSG. We must make sure to stay active and transparent on campus with our team and making sure that we keep their (students) best interests in mind as advocates for the student body.”

“I know for myself and Blair, too, Fox really taught us how to run an organization and how to inspire other people to want to get involved professionally and how to teach others how to be professional,” said Smeriglio.

That same inspiration has led Smeriglio and Alston to develop activities and volunteer opportunities intended to increase student-body activism around campus and throughout the city of Philadelphia.

This year, TSG’s Senior Leadership Team is spearheading an academic leaders program.  Alston explained that the Fox School has many tools at students’ disposal, such as offering professional organizations to join and professional events to attend. TSG wants to assist in branching out that concept, so students at Temple’s other schools and colleges could have the same opportunities to gain real-world experiences, like Smeriglio had mentioned.

“This program serves as a way for our students to give feedback on how things are going in their specific school or college as well as interact with the Deans in their college so they understand what the students want to get out of their programs while also giving students a chance to be more active and network with each other,” Alston said.

Since the beginning of the academic year, TSG has booked an impressive list of speakers. Temple President Neil Theobald has attended a TSG general assembly meeting, at which he discussed his long-term goals for the university and also provided summer updates. A representative from the athletics department visited to share ways students can stay physically active on campus. And Charles Leone, Director of Campus Safety, offered updates on safety changes and procedures around campus at a late-September general assembly meeting.

“Our schedule this year is jam-packed and we are really looking forward to our planned guest speakers and we hope the students will be, too,” said Smeriglio.

Another initiative Smeriglio and Alston support is social responsibility. University officials have proposed an idea to make Temple the first university in the Philadelphia region to use composting bins within its dining halls.

“What we are trying to do is get volunteers that will show students what composting is and what items are compostable,” Alston said, “and if it works out at the Student Center it will get taken over to Morgan Hall. We are really pushing it on our social media and communication pages that this could be something really great for the Temple community.”

After graduation, Smeriglio’s ultimate goal is to find a job in higher-education marketing, either at Temple or another school that excels in higher-educational leadership. Alston is planning to apply to law school in order to attain a job in the legal field in Philadelphia. Both Smeriglio and Alston are confident the education they have received from Fox has prepared them to accomplish their goals in the workforce.

“Temple runs Philadelphia, and the Fox School of Business has a strong presence across the country and the city,” Alston said. “The various courses we take at Fox relate to everyday-life situations. So even though I am a legal studies major, I study things in economics or business communications. Fox does a great job of pulling everything together to give us a great business degree.”

“Being in Fox immerses you in the academic excellence of Temple University, but (also) the grit of the City of Philadelphia all in one,” said Smeriglio. “You really walk away with a real-world experience and you know how to work in a diverse population with people of all shapes and sizes, colors, genders, whatever it may be, to achieve some real greatness.”

TSG holds general assembly meetings every Monday at 4 p.m. in Room 200C in the Howard Gittis Student Center. For more information, follow TSG on Twitter, @templetsg.

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Entrepreneur, Princeton Review name Fox School best in the nation for graduate-student entrepreneurial mentorship

By: | September 17th, 2014 | leave a comment

Entrepreneur magazine ranked the graduate programs at Temple University’s Fox School of Business No. 1 in the nation for entrepreneurial mentorship.

The report, published Sept. 15 in conjunction with The Princeton Review, identified Temple as offering the highest number of mentorship programs for graduate entrepreneurship students.

“This is a remarkable honor and sterling achievement,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “By emphasizing innovation, promoting small-business development, and preparing our students to think of themselves as entrepreneurs, we continue to drive economic growth and job creation in the Philadelphia region and beyond. We are proud to be recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as the nation’s top institution for entrepreneurial mentorship.”

Through the IEI, which is based at the Fox School, the university conducts annual Idea and Be Your Own Boss Bowl® business plan competitions for all students, faculty, staff and alumni. With prizes exceeding $200,000, the Be Your Own Boss Bowl® is considered one of the most-lucrative and comprehensive business plan competitions in the nation.

IEI also operates Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures (MADV), the region’s largest entrepreneurship advisory and year-round venture forum program. Since 2003, MADV has worked with 328 innovation-based emerging firms in the region to raise more than $250 million in Series A funding.

The Fox School and IEI provide internship opportunities, business-planning workshops, seminars, mentoring and coaching, in addition to annual conferences in social, global, women’s and industry-specific entrepreneurship. IEI Executive Director Ellen Weber and Academic Director Robert McNamee lead the entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

The ranking praises IEI for its one-on-one meetings between students and entrepreneurs, senior executives and investors from the region, and calls attention to IEI’s Distinguished Leaders in Residence consultation program.

Over the last three years the IEI has expanded its offerings to include: a Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship; graduate certificates in both Innovation Strategy and Innovation & Technology Commercialization; MBA concentrations in both Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management; a General Education course in Creativity & Organizational Innovation; and an Entrepreneurial Living Learning Community.

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Princeton Review, Entrepreneur rank entrepreneurship programs at Fox among nation’s best

By: | September 16th, 2014 | leave a comment


Top25Entrepreneurship_Seal-smallThe Fox School of Business at Temple University continues to climb The Princeton Review’s list of the nation’s top entrepreneurial colleges and universities.

The Fox School ranks No. 11 nationwide for undergraduate entrepreneurship, up two spots from the previous year’s report, and ranks No. 16 among graduate programs, a three-spot improvement from 2014.

The latest rankings are based upon surveys sent to school administrators at more than 2,000 institutions, from April to June 2014. The lists recognize 50 programs in all – 25 undergraduate and 25 graduate – for excellence in entrepreneurship education.

In the rankings, published Sept. 16, the Fox School is the only business school in Greater Philadelphia to have been ranked. Fox has been ranked each year since The Princeton Review began its rankings in 2006, in partnership with Entrepreneur Media, Inc., the publisher of Entrepreneur magazine.

In a related ranking,” to read, “Entrepreneur and The Princeton Review also ranked Fox’s graduate programs first in the nation in entrepreneurial mentorship.

“By emphasizing innovation, promoting small-business development, and preparing our students to think of themselves as entrepreneurs, we continue to drive economic growth and job creation in the Philadelphia region and beyond,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “We are proud to once again be recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the country’s premier institutions for teaching and practicing entrepreneurship, and we look forward to further enhancing our programs in order to strengthen entrepreneurship not only at the Fox School, but also university-wide.”

Through Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), which is based at the Fox School, the university conducts annual Idea and Be Your Own Boss Bowl® business plan competitions for all students, faculty, staff and alumni. With prizes exceeding $200,000, the Be Your Own Boss Bowl® is considered one of the most-lucrative and comprehensive business plan competitions in the nation.

IEI also operates Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures (MADV), the region’s largest entrepreneurship advisory and year-round venture forum program. Since 2003, MADV has worked with 328 innovation-based emerging firms in the region to raise more than $250 million in Series A funding.

The Fox School and IEI provide internship opportunities, business-planning workshops, seminars, mentoring and coaching, in addition to annual conferences in social, global, women’s and industry-specific entrepreneurship. IEI Executive Director Ellen Weber and Academic Director Robert McNamee lead the entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

“The top entrepreneurial ranking awarded by The Princeton Review is a result of the Fox School’s experiential learning format,” McNamee said. “Students are prepared for the growing global economy and graduate prepared to drive innovation within existing organizations or to continue business ventures launched while earning their degree here at Temple.”

Over the last three years the IEI has expanded its offerings to include: a Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship; graduate certificates in both Innovation Strategy and Innovation & Technology Commercialization; MBA concentrations in both Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management; a General Education course in Creativity & Organizational Innovation; and an Entrepreneurial Living Learning Community.

The IEI, in partnership with the College of Engineering, launched a Master of Science in Engineering Management, and supported the creation of a Master of Science in BioInnovation in the College of Science & Technology as multiple ancillary supporting programs.

In addition, the IEI has dramatically transformed the undergraduate major, minor, and certificate programs in Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship to offer a broader range of options for the diverse student body across Temple University, while transforming these programs to focus on experiential learning and the launching new ventures.

“We commend Temple and all of the other institutions on our list this year, not only for their superb faculties and wide range of courses in entrepreneurship, but also for their out-of-class offerings,” said Robert Franek, Senior Vice President and Publisher of The Princeton Review. “Their students have extraordinary opportunities to network with established entrepreneurs, interact on teams that turn promising ideas into possible start-ups and develop skills to launch their own successful businesses.”

The Princeton Review chooses schools based on a wide range of institutional data it evaluates. Schools are asked about the levels of their commitment to entrepreneurship inside and outside the classroom, the percentage of their faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors, the number of their mentorship programs, and their funding for scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies and projects.

“Formal instruction and mentorship from great minds in business can help leaders prepare for the challenges that come with entrepreneurship,” said Amy Cosper, Vice President and Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine. “The schools in our annual list have ranked high for creating some of the best environments to nurture the pursuit of building a business from the ground up.”

For the full rankings, visit princetonreview.com/entrepreneuer.

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Fox professor wins highly coveted best-paper award at AIB conference

By: | September 15th, 2014 | leave a comment

Dr. Amir Shoham

Dr. Amir Shoham (Courtesy Temple University)

The Academy of International Business (AIB) held its annual global business conference in Vancouver, British Columbia from June 23-26, and a professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business did not leave empty handed.

Dr. Amir Shoham, Associate Professor of Finance at the Fox School of Business, received the SSE/WAIB Award for Increased Gender Awareness in International Business Research in recognition of his research paper entitled, “Do Female/Male Distinctions in Language Influence Microfinance Outreach to Women?” The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and the Women in AIB (WAIB) sponsored the award.

Shoham set out to find a different solution for cultural dimensions than the commonly used survey-based measures. He studied the structure of languages in general and gender marking, particularly in grammar.

“Today’s research that is conducted is mostly survey-based and it’s extremely problematic,” said Shoham. “I wanted to find an alternate way and did so based on language that focused on culture and gender.”

Shoham also collected data based off financial records released from Microfinance Organizations (MFOs) in various countries around the world. MFOs provide financial services to individuals or small businesses in low-income areas, where traditional banking is a scarce resource.

In conjunction with his three co-authors – Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, of France’s ESSEC Business School; Isreal Drori, of the College of Management and Academic Studies in Israel; and Ronny Manos, of Cranfield University in the United Kingdom – Shoham discovered that language influences hybrid organizations’ management of its dual missions.

“The empirical evidence from MFOs’ outreach strategy toward females helped to analyze whether language’s influence depends on MFOs’ profit orientation and the consequences this has for whether there is a tradeoff between outreach and sustainability or whether they are compatible,” said Shoham. “The main finding is that the sustainability and outreach tradeoffs depend on how organizations treat societal attributes when defining their outreach strategy.”

Nonprofit MFOs define a universal mission of outreach that does not selectively interact with social attributes, Shoham said. For-profit MFOs build outreach strategies that target female borrowers. This occurs more frequently, he said, in countries where gender roles are unfavorable toward women.

The SSE/WAIB award is extremely selective, so much so that the award was not bestowed upon anyone in 2013. When their names were announced, Shoham and his co-authors were proud to know that their hard work had paid off.

“When your work is recognized,” he said, “it’s a great feeling.”

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Ira Lubert Selected as 18th Annual Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership Recipient

By: | September 11th, 2014 | leave a comment

Temple University’s Fox School of Business will award Ira Lubert with the 2014 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership – the school’s highest honor for outstanding achievement, leadership and commitment to the community by a distinguished member of industry.

Ira Lubert

Lubert will be honored at the 18th annual Musser Award reception and dinner Nov. 5, 2014, on Temple University’s Main Campus.

Lubert is Chairman and Co-founder of Lubert-Adler Real Estate, which, together with LLR Partners, Inc., Quaker Partners, LEM Capital, LBC Credit Partners, and Patriot Financial Partners, L.P., constitute Independence Capital Partners, a family of private equity and real estate funds, all of which he co-founded.

Lubert invites support in the establishment of the Warren (Pete) Musser Professorship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Fox School.

“Ira Lubert has come to define entrepreneurialism throughout his career and business endeavors, and his mission to establish a term professorship at the Fox School in Pete Musser’s honor is no different,” Dean M. Moshe Porat said.

Lubert has more than 40 years of experience in the real estate and private equity sectors. Prior to forming Lubert-Adler, he was the principal and founder of TL Ventures, within the family of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE: SFE), an early-stage venture fund. He also founded Radnor Venture Partners, L.P., the first venture fund managed by Safeguard Scientifics.

He is a 1973 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development, majoring in Hotel Management and, in 2006, was the recipient of The Distinguished Alumni Award. This award is the highest honor presented by Penn State to an outstanding alumna or alumnus.

The Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership was established in honor of the achievements and entrepreneurial spirit of Warren V. “Pete” Musser. As founder of Safeguard Scientifics, and as its leader for nearly four decades, Musser formed numerous technology-oriented companies that helped create Greater Philadelphia’s reputation for technological innovation.

In addition to honoring a leading member of the region’s business community, the Musser Awards also recognize achievement among faculty, staff and students. The rest of the 2014 honorees will be unveiled at a later date.

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

Visit the official Musser Award page for information on the award reception, the Warren “Pete” Musser Professorship, and more.

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Temple Analytics Challenge Provides Opportunity To Develop Data Visualization Skills – And $10,000 Prize Pool

By: | September 11th, 2014 | leave a comment

Yolandra Brown presents her entry at the 2013 Temple Analytics Challenge. Brown, a Management Information Systems major at the Fox School of Business, was the first-place winner of the competition, which is entering its second year. (Courtesy: Temple University)

Data visualizations and infographics are creative illustrations. They can help tell a story, convey a point – and even land Temple University students up to $2,500 in prize money.

The 2nd Annual Temple Analytics Challenge: Making Sense of Big Data opens Oct. 1. The student competition is geared toward understanding data through visualization, a component that experts have cited as the path to attaining a hot job in big data analytics.

The Temple Analytics Challenge is open to Temple University students across all schools and disciplines. Working in teams or individually, students are tasked with creating an original visualization that provides clear and meaningful insight into current issues facing industry.

Corporate leaders developed specific problems and data sets that student teams will use to create their visualizations. They are:
The NBCUniversal Challenge: Where will politicians spend their midterm advertising dollars?
The Lockheed Martin Challenge: Which employee behaviors predict security threats?
The Merck Challenge: What is the impact of a new corporate site?

“Last year the competition was an amazing success, with 183 entries from 400 students across seven schools and colleges,” said challenge organizer David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School of Business. “The competition gives students the opportunity to work on real-world problems and data, while developing critical visual communication skills.”

The winning team will earn a $2,500 grand prize. Two second-place prizes ($1,500 each), two third-place prizes ($1,000 each) and five honorable mention prizes ($500) will also be awarded. The prizes are sponsored by the corporate members of the Institute for Business and Information Technology at the Fox School of Business and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

Contest entries are due Oct. 30. Twenty finalists will present their work Nov. 17 before a live judging panel of industry leaders from Merck, Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, RJMetrics, NBCUniversal and the Campbell Soup Company.

Students can use any tools or software of their choosing to create their entries. Workshops and mentoring are available throughout October to further assist students.

For details, visit analyticschallenge.temple.edu. If you are a Temple professor looking to get your students involved, contact David Schuff (david.schuff@temple.edu) to request more information.

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Three Undergraduate Programs at Fox Rank Among Nation’s Best Yet Again

By: | September 10th, 2014 | leave a comment


Three undergraduate programs at Temple University’s Fox School of Business – Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management; Management Information Systems; and International Business Administration – rank among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 edition of Best Colleges.

The Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management program ranks No. 4, earning a top-five spot for the second consecutive year; Management Information Systems (MIS) ranks No. 13, placing it in the fifth percentile nationally among AACSB-accredited schools; and International Business ranks No. 13, as well, putting it in the seventh percentile among similar programs at AACSB schools.

Overall, the Fox School’s undergraduate business program is rated 62nd in the nation out of 429 schools in this year’s ranking, placing it among the top-15 percent in the country.

“The Fox School is proud to once again be recognized for providing some of the finest undergraduate business programs in the country, but we are not content,” said Dean M. Moshe Porat. “We look forward to enriching our programs and services in order to improve upon the exceptional business education we deliver, and to further enhance the value of a Fox degree.”

The business school rankings in the 2015 edition of Best Colleges, released online Sept. 9, are based upon a Spring 2014 peer assessment of deans and senior faculty at each AACSB-accredited undergraduate business program in the nation.

The Fox School’s Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management program is the nation’s oldest, continuously running program of its kind. Among the largest program’s in the country, too, Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management is also home to the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma. The chapter, the international professional fraternity’s largest, has earned the Edison L. Bowers award as best overall chapter in 18 of the last 22 years.

The research faculty at Fox’s MIS department are ranked No. 1 in the world according to articles published in the field’s top two academic journals, MIS Quarterly and Information Systems Research. The department has close industry connections through the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT). And the School’s Association for Information Systems (AIS) student chapter – the first ever – has received Chapter of the Year honors and has excelled in various categories of the annual AIS international student-chapter competition.

Fox’s International Business program is supported by a robust study-abroad program through the School and Temple University, as well as from the Institute of Global Management Studies and the Temple Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), which is based at the Fox School.

In all, the Fox School of Business offers 13 undergraduate majors, more than 20 Student Professional Organizations, the Fox Honors program, cutting-edge technology and stellar student services, including a Business Communications Center and Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), which has a 94 percent job-placement rate for undergraduates who use its services. The Fox School also offers an Online Bachelor of Business Administration, a degree-completion program in accounting, business management, legal studies or marketing.

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The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute Announces New Assistant Professor and Executive Director

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) is Temple University’s gateway to the entrepreneurial world.  After a regional search and selection process, Fox School of Business announced the appointment of Ellen Weber as Assistant Professor and Executive Director of The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.

Ellen’s resume includes over 25 years of experience creating strong teams and building leaders for emerging companies and Fortune 500 clients.  She is passionate about innovation and helping to build great companies in Philadelphia. For 15 years, Ellen has served as Executive Director at Robin Hood Ventures, a group of angel investors, focused on early-stage, high-growth companies in the Greater Philadelphia region. She also served as angel-in-residence at Temple University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute and is active with Philly Startup Leaders, Philly Tech Meetup, and the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs. Until recently, she was the COO and co-founder of VisionMine, which provides a specialized Open Innovation portal to large corporations. VisionMine is a subscription service that allows corporate clients collaborative access to early start-up innovations, new technologies, and entrepreneurs that solve business problems. Ellen has also served as Managing Director of Antiphony, consulting firm focused on helping clients achieve sustainable innovation.

With her impressive practical background in strategic planning, pitching projects, project management, and advising startups, she is ideally suited to teach these skills to our undergraduate and graduate students in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship area. “We are pleased Ellen Weber will be joining the Strategic Management Department as a faculty member and also leading our IEI/Innovation/Entrepreneurship team to build on its solid foundation.  We believe Ellen’s extensive practical experience will be helpful in teaching our undergraduate and graduate students and also positioning the IEI program for continued success in the future,” stated Arvind Parkhe, Strategic Management Department Chair, Temple University, Fox School of Business.

About her role as Executive Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, Ellen stated, “I am excited about the opportunity to leverage Temple’s multi-disciplinary resources to help students, entrepreneurs, alumni and faculty launch businesses and to further build the connection between Temple and the city’s entrepreneurial community.

Fox School of Business, Temple University was established in 1918 and has a distinguished tradition of preparing business leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs for successful careers. Today, it is the largest, most comprehensive business school in the greater Philadelphia region, and among the largest in the world with nearly 6,500 students, 180 full-time faculty and more than 59,000 alumni. Its programs continue to be ranked internationally and nationally by leading business publications and organizations, such as U.S.News & World Report and The Princeton Review/Entrepreneur magazine.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) promotes entrepreneurial spirit throughout all 17 schools and colleges of Temple University.  The IEI emphasizes integrated, applied, hands-on learning, bringing together students, entrepreneurs, mentors, alumni, faculty, and business advisors from diverse backgrounds to work on real-time projects. Services offered include: workshops, mentorship, competitions, and academic courses.  The entrepreneurship masters, certificate and general courses are highly ranked nationally by The Princeton Review/Entrepreneur Magazine.

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Anger has a vital place in society and the workplace, Fox researcher posits

By: | August 26th, 2014 | leave a comment

Dr. Deanna Geddes

Dr. Deanna Geddes

A misunderstood emotion, anger plays a vital role in society, including the workplace, according to research by a professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Dr. Deanna Geddes’ research, which explores both the negative and positive aspects of emotions in the workplace, shows anger expression increasingly equated with verbal abuse or non-physical assault, rather than recognized for its social function of initiating necessary change by identifying improprieties and injustices.

Geddes’ workplace anger research was featured recently in the Financial Times. Along with her co-author Dr. Dirk Lindebaum, of the Management School at the University of Liverpool, Geddes co-chaired a showcase symposium titled, “In Defense of Anger: The Significance of an Under-Appreciated Moral Emotion” at the 74th Annual meetings of the Academy of Management which took place in Philadelphia.

Chair of Fox’s Human Resource Management department, Geddes in previous papers has proposed what she terms “a dual-threshold model” that clarifies when expression and suppression of the emotion is likely to produce positive or negative results.

For her latest research, she tapped into surveys conducted from 2003 to 2010 by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS). Following incidents it deemed aggressive and violent, the NHS – Europe’s top employer and the fifth-largest in the world – initiated policies to quell such activity, coinciding with the launch of an advertisement campaign to caution against perpetration of verbal or physical abuse with possible litigation or intervention by authorities.

Geddes said unfortunately the NHS’ designation of verbal abuse is so “loosely defined” that any undesirable anger expression, including raising one’s voice at a caregiver could qualify as verbal abuse or non-physical assault. Calling expressed anger abuse and assault, according to her, was simply inaccurate.

“Anger expression has no inherent intention to harm,” Geddes said. “In fact, it reflects the belief that the angry individual was harmed.”

Given the results of NHS’ survey, Geddes said some response to protect NHS workers from actual assault is completely justified, but NHS went overboard.

“The No. 1 reason given for a patient’s purported verbal abuse of an NHS employee was their mental health condition, closely followed by the length of time they had waited to see a health professional, or a problem understanding instructions, or even dissatisfaction with the service they were receiving,” Geddes said. “How can a health organization threaten to arrest someone because of a mental health condition, or because of their concern over the health condition of either themselves or another?”

Geddes defended anger expression that is not simply self-serving and reasoned that its functionality should remain dependent upon a particular situation, with those in positions of power doing all they can to assist and exercise forbearance toward the angry, distressed individual.Geddes said unintended consequences that carry a societal impact arise if consumers are not permitted to express even intense emotion and dissatisfaction with service providers.

“We’re seeing more instances of this in the airline industry where complaints toward flight attendants can be reclassified as terroristic threats and passengers are themselves threatened with police involvement once off a plane,” Geddes said. “It’s a fine line, I understand, because safety issues are always going to be important and we’re not saying people should yell at a service provider. But this is intriguing and scary, that zero tolerance policies are creating a homogenous, suppressive environment for human emotion.”

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Fox alum’s website aims to take guesswork out of renting process

By: | August 26th, 2014 | leave a comment

Ofo Ezeugwu

Ofo Ezeugwu

What began as a modest proposal has since developed into what one Fox School of Business alumnus hopes is a sustainable business.

Ofo Ezeugwu is President and Chief Executive Officer of WhoseYourLandlord.com, which allows users – in this case, college-age and 20-something property tenants – the chance to rate the people from whom they rent.

The website, which launched its first mobile application Aug. 28, has made tremendous strides since Ezeugwu, graduated from Fox with an MIS degree, in May 2013.

“You look at sites like Yelp and Angie’s List and Amazon, and what they’ve done is taken a product and added an interpersonal aspect to it to make something powerful,” said Ezeugwu, 22. “You not only look at your product, but you also look at peer ratings of the seller, and when that’s the case, the consumer can make a more-educated decision on what it is they’re purchasing.”

Ezeugwu said he hatched the idea for WhoseYourLandlord while sitting in a late-night planning meeting with fellow representatives of Temple Student Government (TSG), as they developed their platform. His role, as Vice President of External Affairs, covered off-campus goings-on.

“So I thought, ‘What if students could rate their landlords so that the students who follow them know what they’re getting into before they even sign the lease?’” Ezeugwu said.

Ofo Ezeugwu

Ofo Ezeugwu

That meeting was in February 2012, only seven months prior to WhoseYourLandlord.com going live. From there, Ezeugwu’s day-planner quickly filled up.

In January 2014, WhoseYourLandlord took first place at Fordham University’s 3-Day Startup competition. Three months later, Ezeugwu’s idea netted $20,500 by taking the top prize in the Graduate Student/Alumni/Faculty/Staff track of Temple University’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl.

In May, following his graduation, Ezeugwu and his team were among six chosen from a field of 120 by the National Minority Angel Network to pitch their idea to a room of investors in California’s Silicon Valley.

And recently, Rose Tech Venture’s real estate tech accelerator accepted WhoseYourLandlord, giving Ezeugwu $10,000 and making David S. Rose, the founder of prominent investment group New York Angels, one of his personal business contacts.
“It’s been a fun ride,” said Ezeugwu, who moved his site’s operations to New York City.

WhoseYourLandlord’s six-person team is Temple-heavy. Co-founder Nick Korablin, who developed its first website, is an alumnus. Kacper Rams, the Chief Financial Officer, is a graduate of Fox’s Finance program and a current Master’s student in MIS’ Information Technology Auditing and Cyber-Security program. And Phillip Meyer, WhoseYourLandlord’s Creative Director, is an undergraduate student in Fox’s Legal Studies department.

“Temple and the Fox School are well-represented around here,” Ezeugwu said.
For those who question WhoseYourLandlord’s grammatical integrity, Ezeugwu said he chose the possessive form of the word ‘who’ because “we want the tenant to know that the power in the decision-making process is being returned to them.”

For those who question the monetization capability of a site that requires no money for user registration, Ezeugwu is not fazed. He said advertising and potentially an internal publication to trumpet WhoseYourLandlord’s services will attract a wide audience.

“I look at what we’re doing as big-impact data, and this information isn’t out there,” he said. “You can find out if the structure has incurred water damage or fire damage, or you can see if the doors creak, but there’s nowhere to go to find out about the person servicing your property and returning your security deposit. There’s a natural need for us in the marketplace.”

Soon, Ezeugwu envisions WhoseYourLandlord incorporating a landlord-run component. The reason? Using Philadelphia as the site’s first test market last spring, he and his team found that the landlords who scored poorly “were more adamant about having a presence on the site, noting that while it may be rough for them in the beginning, that the site would help them address changes.”

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