Fox School News & Releases

TD Ameritrade awards $25,000 grant to Fox’s new Financial Planning program

Photo of Fox School of Business and TD Ameritrade representatives on Wall Street.

Director of Development Don Kirkwood (fourth from left) and Financial Planning program director Cindy Axelrod (fifth from left) represent the Fox School of Business July 22 on Wall Street, with a group from TD Ameritrade Institutional, which award Fox’s new Financial Planning major a $25,000 grant. (Courtesy TD Ameritrade Institutional)

TD Ameritrade Institutional has awarded a $25,000 grant to Temple University’s Fox School of Business to foster development of a new financial planning degree program, as part its third-annual Next Gen Financial Planning Grants.

Through its Next Gen Financial Planning Grants, TD Ameritrade Institutional hopes to help the registered investment advisor industry remain vibrant for years to come by encouraging more colleges and universities to expand and enhance their financial planning degree programs, increasing the number of graduates produced each year. According to U.S. Department of Education data, roughly 700 students completed bachelor’s degree programs in financial planning in 2013, while only 90 U.S. colleges and universities offered degrees dedicated to financial planning.

“Independent financial planning is one the fastest-growing areas of the financial services business and may offer some of the brightest career prospects in the marketplace, but advisors need more than financial expertise. They need a strong desire to help people and a talent for building strong ties with clients,” Tom Nally, President of TD Ameritrade Institutional, said in a statement. “Schools like … Temple are helping educate and train a new generation of advisors so they can enter the workplace well-prepared for solving real world challenges.”

As part of a broader effort to encourage more undergraduates to pursue financial planning careers, and avert a talent shortage when thousands of baby boomer-era advisors leave the business, TD Ameritrade Institutional also awarded a grant to the University of North Texas, in Denton, Texas, to expand its existing financial planning degree program.

Temple University’s Fox School of Business will launch its Financial Planning undergraduate program this fall. Grant funds will help fund scholarships to attract top-tier students, underwrite a weekly “seminar series” that brings the workplace to campus, engaging financial planning practitioners in the Philadelphia area to speak with students providing insights into the profession’s challenges, trends and potential opportunities.

The Financial Planning major will prepare students for careers in the growing field bearing the same name, which takes a holistic approach to working with clients in order to enable them to identify and attain lifestyle and retirement goals. Students who complete the Financial Planning curriculum are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination upon graduation – a unique feature of the program.

“We are incredibly proud to have been selected by TD Ameritrade Institutional as the recipient of this grant,” said Cynthia Axelrod, Program Director of Fox’s Financial Planning major and Assistant Professor of Finance. “Professionals in this field are in high demand, and this grant will bolster Fox’s efforts to provide highly qualified students that will excel as Financial Planners. “

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Temple University’s Institute For Business And Information Technology And Lockheed Martin To Host National Cyber Analyst Challenge

Organizers of Temple University's National Cyber Analyst Challenge include (from left) Laurel Miller, Director of Temple University's Institute for Business and Information Technology; John McGroary, Lockheed Martin's Project Engineer Principal, Engineering & Technical Capabilities, Information Systems & Global Solutions; Michael Bradshaw, Lockheed Martin's Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Mission Systems and Training; Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Executive Director of Temple University's Institute for Business and Information Technology, Chair and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems department; and James P. Connelly, Lockheed Martin's Vice President of Corporate Information Security & Chief Information Security Officer.

Organizers of Temple University’s National Cyber Analyst Challenge include (from left) Laurel Miller, Director of Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology; John McGroary, Lockheed Martin’s Project Engineer Principal, Engineering & Technical Capabilities, Information Systems & Global Solutions; Michael Bradshaw, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Mission Systems and Training; Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Executive Director of Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology, Chair and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems department; and James P. Connelly, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President of Corporate Information Security & Chief Information Security Officer.

Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) are joining forces to help solve the cyber talent crisis that faces the country. This fall they will host a National Cyber Analyst Challenge designed to encourage and support the best students currently pursuing cyber related degrees in the top cyber programs in the nation.

Between seven and 10 schools with appropriate programs will select and field a team of top students (undergraduate or master’s studying information systems, computer science or engineering) to participate in the three-phase competition. First, each team will analyze and propose solutions to a cyber case. The second phase is a full day of virtual training. The finals, a real-time practical challenge, will be held in Washington, D.C. in October.

Each school that joins the contest will receive $15,000 to support students, faculty and travel. The winning team will be awarded up to $25,000.

The Cyber Analyst Challenge was created to respond to strong needs in the industry.

According to SimplyHired.com, in April 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.

“Our programs and our customers have a significant need for students to enter the workforce with not only the technical cyber skills but the analysis mindset that a competition like this will foster,” explained Chris Kearns, Lockheed Martin vice president of Enterprise IT Solutions. “We are thrilled to partner with our nation’s top universities to invest in the future workforce.”

The competition will not only enhance the skills of the future workforce and inspire students to pursue careers in cyber-security. Students will receive fast-paced, real world practical experience, scholarships, recognition and the opportunity to engage with others who share their interests, nationwide.

“This competition is unique because it focuses on student development from the start and will serve as a role model for how to develop talent by engaging with industry in systematic and sustained manner,” said Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Associate Professor and Chair of the Fox School of Business’ Management Information Systems department, and IBIT Executive Director.

Fox School’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), at Temple University, provides cutting-edge knowledge and valuable connections to sustain excellence in information technology. IBIT integrates industry perspectives with academic research expertise to create forums for generating and exchanging best practices.

IBIT is affiliated with the Fox School’s nationally ranked Department of Management Information Systems. IBIT draws participating faculty and students from MIS as well as the expertise of the entire Fox and Temple University community.

For more information please visit http://cyberanalystchallenge.org

About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.

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Apps & Maps students make pitch to Samsung executive

Dr. Karl A. Morris, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Temple University’s College of Science and Technology, demonstrates Samsung Self, an application developed by Philadelphia high school students in Temple’s Urban Apps & Maps Studio.

Dr. Karl A. Morris, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Temple University’s College of Science and Technology, demonstrates Samsung Self, an application developed by Philadelphia high school students in Temple’s Urban Apps & Maps Studio.

Two Philadelphia high school students temporarily put their summer plans on hold for a unique afternoon activity: The students, from Temple University’s Urban Apps & Maps Studios, delivered a technology prototype presentation to a leading executive from Samsung.

Sharing conference-room space with Young-jun Kim, Senior Vice President of Design of Samsung Electronics and President of Samsung’s Art and Design Institute, the students unveiled Samsung Self, a platform they developed to incentivize youth to have an active lifestyle and reduce the health risks associated with obesity. Using an avatar that reflects the user’s current condition and activity level, a user’s every movement is tracked, including staircase climbing, walking, watching movies in front of a TV and listening to music. Self connects various aspects of a busy youth’s life that can affect their health through digital rewards that could be applied to music downloads, for example.

The students’ mission was to create a digital platform that would appeal to fitness junkies and novice exercisers, alike.

“A student’s life is very well-structured, and doesn’t leave much time for activities like exercise,” said Dr. Youngjin Yoo, the Harry A. Cochran Professor of Management Information Systems and the founder of Temple’s Apps & Maps Studio. “Self was designed with the student in mind. It’s a fully synchronous application that would cater to their busy schedules in order to maintain healthy lifestyles.”

Samsung, a project sponsor, had supplied Urban Apps & Maps students with the company’s smart phones and existing fitness wearables, so that they might provide research findings and feedback from one of the world’s most-coveted marketing demographics – teenagers. What the students found, in a thorough five-tiered research methodology, was that while high-school-age students were prone to using wearables, these devices had the most impact “on people who didn’t need them,” said Sylvia Lin, a senior at Philadelphia’s Central High School.

The group’s research rendered startling statistics, as well. More than 61 percent of the students they polled do not consider portion size, and fewer than 42 percent packed their lunches each school day. According to the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, released in 2013, more than 14 million American high school students are classified as obese.

That’s how the student group arrived at Self. Lin and Jeff Cook, a senior at George Washington Carver High School for Engineering & Science, detailed its features, primarily SSENERGY, which issues points for users’ healthy eating and exercise habits. SSENERGY points act as a currency in the system, for online purchases or downloads.

“We propose that motivation for fitness and exercise can be achieved through unorthodox methods,” Lin said during the presentation. “Teenagers are already using their phones to complete so many functions. An interface like Self is one way technology can curb the trend of teenage obesity.”

“Samsung is a global company and our products are available everywhere,” Kim said. “However, our products and services must reflect local culture and context. Working with high school students through Temple University gives us great insights that we cannot buy even if we hire the top design agencies”.

Added Yoo: “We see our area’s high school students as cultural researchers who are experts in tomorrow’s high tech culture.”

Lin and Cook developed Samsung Self with the assistance of a half-dozen high-school-age peers, as well as student and professor mentors from Temple, including: Yoo; Dr. Karl Morris, Professor of Computer Science at the College of Science and Technology; Tyler School of Art graduate Bill Pierce; Fox School of Business MBA student Vivienne Dobbs; and more.

Urban Apps & Maps Studio is Temple’s university-wide, interdisciplinary program geared toward the encouragement, development, and founding of start-ups to transform urban challenges into products and services.

Apps & Maps, which receives funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, offers hundreds of high school students from Philadelphia access to a six-week program, through which they learn digital design and business skills from Temple student and professor mentors. From that larger group, a few are handpicked to remain as year-round fellows.

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Undergraduate Real Estate program earns top-20 ranking

Forrest HuffmanThe undergraduate Real Estate program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been ranked among the best in the nation.

Fox’s Real Estate program is ranked No. 19 nationally by RentApplication.com, which published in June its first-annual list of the top-30 undergraduate real estate programs in the United States. The ranking lauds the program’s “lean toward the financial sector.” The Real Estate program is housed within Fox’s Finance department.

“We are delighted to learn that Fox’s Real Estate program has been ranked among such elite company,” said Dr. Forrest Huffman, Professor of Finance and Director of Fox’s Real Estate program. “Fox’s real estate students are consistently recognized by the prestigious student honorary organization, Alpha Sigma Gamma, for their academic achievements. Our students hone a variety of skills that will enable them to become leaders in all aspects of the real estate industry. Inclusion in this rankings report demonstrates the caliber of our program and students on a national level.”

The Real Estate program at Fox prepares students for careers in a variety of sectors, like real estate valuation, mortgage lending, residential and commercial brokerage, corporate real estate analysis, and beyond.

Fox is also home to the Temple Real Estate Organization (TREO), one of more than two-dozen student-professional organizations. TREO bridges the gap between the academic and business professional communities in real estate, finance, development, architecture, urban planning, law, and land economics, while also fostering scholarship in those fields.

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Fox alum applying IT skills in new position at TIAA-CREF

Rahul Merchant

Rahul Merchant moved to the United States in 1979, carrying whatever belongings he could squeeze into two suitcases. His flight from India had landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and, not long after, he managed to lose one of his suitcases.

Merchant sat curbside in a blue wool suit, the only suit he owned, with the late-August sun bearing down. A taxi driver picked up Merchant, and took him to his destination without asking for a fare.

“The driver said to me, ‘When you make money, you can pay somebody else,’” Merchant said. “That was the fundamental principle I learned in this country, and I’ve been touched by that moment ever since. That was a great experience for me, and I feel that in the corridors of TIAA-CREF.”

Merchant, who earned his MBA from the Fox School of Business, applies the same principles to his new position with TIAA-CREF. As Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President, Merchant is tasked with overseeing the existing information technology and implementing new IT initiatives for the nearly 100-year-old financial services firm.

In his role with TIAA-CREF, Merchant leads teams responsible for core infrastructure, enterprise architecture, data and information security systems, and application delivery for core enterprise functions. These are tasks, Merchant said, didn’t exist when he broke into his industry nearly three decades ago.

“Traders and sales folks had conducted business on the trading floor by telephone back in those days,” Merchant said. “Today, 90 percent of business is closed over the wires and without even hitting the trading tickets. It’s all electronic. What does that mean? The systems are more technologically driven and efficient, but the other side of the IT coin is that business is done openly and transparently.

“Our task is to ensure that we are setting up a financial environment in which our clients can conduct this efficient business in a safe and secure setting, where their personal information is protected.”

Merchant’s career began in the technology field. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees at Memphis State University (now known as the University of Memphis), he moved to Philadelphia to be near relatives. His employer at the time “encouraged employees to further their educations in the evening,” spurring Merchant to consider Fox’s MBA program. He complete coursework at Temple University’s Ambler Campus, graduating in 1989 with his MBA in Finance.

He’s been working in the financial markets arena ever since. He’s acted as Operating Partner at Exigen Capital; Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Operations Officer at Fannie Mae; and Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Merrill Lynch. He’s also served on the boards of public and private companies such as Sun Microsystems, Level 3 Communication, and Fair Isaac Corp.

In 2012, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked Merchant to join his cabinet as the city’s first Chief Information and Innovation Officer. Merchant reported to Bloomberg directly, working closely with the mayor on New York’s IT initiatives. Merchant identified this position as a defining moment in his career.

“We treated all 8.2 million people who lived, worked and were educated in our city as customers,” Merchant said. “Michael’s vision was to transform New York City into a data-driven city with one of the most-advanced digitally enabled infrastructures, and to give everyone in New York a top-class digital experience. We enabled WiFi in Harlem, Times Square, and Central Park without spending taxpayer money. We did all of it through corporate partnerships. It was in this position that I matured as an executive.”

The New York-based executive said he travels to Philadelphia periodically, and hopes to become more involved at his alma mater. He’s been a guest at a previous meeting of the IT Advisory Board, a function of the Fox School’s Institute for Business and Information Technology.

“Whenever I’m in the city,” Merchant said, “I’m committed to spending time at Temple and making a difference where I can.”

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Fox alumna shares personal story of perseverance as featured speaker at TEDx Philadelphia

Photo of Yasmine Mustafa

Yasmine Mustafa

An image of a lottery machine and its bouncing Ping-Pong balls appeared on the projection screen behind Yasmine Mustafa, as she spoke from the stage at Temple University’s Performing Arts Center, at TEDxPhiladelphia.

“Everyone gets a birth lottery ticket, and I was given the unique chance to transform mine,” Mustafa said, describing to the near-capacity gathering the concept of being born into a set of traits and circumstances that shape life’s opportunities and challenges. “Because while the birth lottery shapes who we become, it doesn’t define who we must be.”

Mustafa, a 2006 alumna of the Fox School of Business, was chosen as one of 14 featured speakers for TEDxPhiladelphia, an independent and not-for-profit one-day conference. TEDx brings together engaging speakers from various professions and community roles to build dialogue on topics of scientific, social awareness, and cultural significance. Among the invited speakers were Philadelphia Chief of Police Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky, and children’s rights lawyer Marsha Levick.

The theme of Mustafa’s talk – and those of her peers’ – was “…and justice for all,” the last four words of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Born in Kuwait, Mustafa witnessed the Gulf War during her formative childhood years. She opened her talk, roughly 15 minutes in length, with vivid descriptions of bombs being detonated near her family’s home. The randomness of her life’s starting point, she said, could be credited to the birth lottery, and how much of one’s life can be determined by outside factors.

Mustafa said it’s a concept she often ponders.

Had her mother not accompanied her father on a business trip to Philadelphia, Mustafa’s younger brother never would have been born in the United States. Had her brother not been born in Philadelphia, two men from the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait never would have rescued her family of eight from the Gulf War and promised them safe haven in America. Had they never emigrated to the U.S., Mustafa might have been forced to forgo her dreams of college and business ownership, for an arranged marriage and family.

“The birth lottery does not have to define who you are,” she said. “I’m living proof.”

Upon her arrival, Mustafa said, nothing was guaranteed. She eventually needed to work two under-the-table jobs, each paying an hourly wage of $5, to support her education. It took seven and a half years to complete her college education, earning an Associate’s degree at Montgomery County Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship from the Fox School.

“And I haven’t stopped hustling,” Mustafa said.

A two-time winner of the Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, a Temple University-wide business plan competition. In 2010, she earned first place in the Upper Track, for alumni, graduate students and faculty, for her tech company, 123LinkIt. This past April, she won first place in the Social Track for ROAR for Good, LLC, a developer of wearable self-defense tech designed for women.

In September, Mustafa will celebrate the 25-year anniversary of her and her family’s emigration to the United States. She became a naturalized citizen in 2012.

“I threw a party to celebrate,” Mustafa said of earning her citizenship. “You don’t realize the privilege you have until you’ve either gained it, or you’ve lost it.”

“The opportunity to speak at TEDx was incredibly exciting because you’re surrounded by some of the greatest thinkers in the area, all with different perspectives and experiences and opinions. I was honored to have been nominated, and then chosen as one of the 14 speakers.”

Mustafa’s speech is available via TEDx’s website. Click here and scroll to the 1:13:00 mark.

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Ralph J. Roberts, cable TV pioneer and past Musser recipient, dies at 95

Photo of Ralph J. Roberts

Ralph J. Roberts

Ralph J. Roberts, a past recipient of the Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership from the Fox School of Business, died June 18 in Philadelphia. He was 95.

He was a businessman and cable pioneer who co-founded the Comcast Corporation, serving as its chairman and chief executive.

In 1963, Mr. Roberts purchased a 1,200-subscriber cable provider in Mississippi and turned his investment into the Philadelphia-based Comcast Corporation, the largest cable company and Internet provider in the U.S. The company now serves more than 27 million customers and generated nearly $70 billion in revenue in 2014.

Brian L. Roberts succeeded his father as president of Comcast in 1990. In retirement, Mr. Roberts served as Chairman Emeritus of Comcast’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Roberts received the 2005 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, the highest honor conferred by Temple University’s Fox School of Business, recognizing outstanding achievement, leadership and commitment to the community by a distinguished member of industry.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of Ralph’s passing,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School. “Ralph was an entrepreneur in the truest sense, looking for business opportunities everywhere he could. Ultimately, he built a company that forever changed the way we view television. Ralph was a great man, an industry trailblazer and a philanthropist who will be greatly missed. His family and friends are in my thoughts.”

“Ralph was a remarkable man who touched the lives of so many people. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and, perhaps most importantly, a kind and humble human being,” the Roberts family said in a statement. “He will always be remembered for his generosity, integrity, honesty, kindness and respect for everyone around him. He was an inspiration to us all, and we will miss him greatly.”

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IT could reduce state-government spending, Fox researcher found

Min Seok Pang

A researcher from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that investments in information technology (IT) can reduce overall spending by state governments.

According to Dr. Min-Seok Pang, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems, American state governments could stand to save $3.49 from their budgets for every $1 that’s invested in IT.

Pang’s paper, titled, “Do CIO IT budgets explain bigger or smaller governments? Theory and evidence from U.S. state governments,” was co-authored by Dr. Ali Tafti, of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Dr. M.S. Krishnan, of the University of Michigan. Their paper has been accepted for publication in top academic journal, Management Science. A related study by Pang has been published by MIS Quarterly.

Pang and his fellow researchers analyzed the IT budgets of chief information officers from each of the 50 states, during a five-year period from 2001 to 2005. Pang said he and his team chose to analyze the spending patterns of state governments, as opposed to those of federal governments, because state governments spend on similar services, like education, police, recreation, finance, human resources, and facility management.

“One could argue that because government has no comparative motive, meaning state governments are not competing with one another, there’s no imperative need for survival and, therefore, no value in making IT investments,” Pang said. “But my research shows that is not the case. In fact, IT has demonstrated that it can generate value.”

IT has the potential to make a state government’s processes more efficient and transparent, thus leading to a reduction in spending, Pang said. The digitizing of traditionally paper-based processes, for example, could help a state government trim its manpower and waste production, he theorized. A state government also could elect to disseminate data or publish its annual budget through digital mediums, he said, creating a level of transparency that would prevent a government from spending too much.

Overall, Pang said, the implementation of IT by a state government would free up additional resources that can be best applied to areas like police, education, human resource and more.

“In the government sector, the use of IT would lead to improved transparency and, in the long run, would help governments refrain from wasteful spending,” Pang said.

Pang’s research study is believed to be one of the first of its kind, in examining the benefits of IT spending by state governments.

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Innovation on the rise in less-traditional locations, Fox researchers find

Ram Mudambi

Innovation in the United States is not lacking. It’s just that patents are being registered in less-likely locales, according to researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

The findings are part of an ongoing research initiative spearheaded by Dr. Ram Mudambi, the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategic Management.

The umbrella project is dubbed iBEGIN, or International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation. A segment of the project explores innovation hubs in the United States, undertaking detailed analyses of more than 900 metropolitan areas in the U.S. In one of the first published outcomes of this research effort, Mudambi and his team examined the evolution of Detroit, a mainstay of the global automotive industry for over a century. While Detroit, a downtrodden city, continues to experience manufacturing decline, it is doing well as an innovation center, he said.

“The beauty of innovation is that it never stops,” Mudambi said. “In 1960, the U.S. was the richest country in the world, and Detroit was its richest city. And while the city has been in a continuous state of decline, we found that Detroit’s innovation numbers are very healthy.”

iBEGIN researchers define innovation through patent output, and they say Detroit’s patent output since 1975 has grown at a rate of almost twice the U.S. average. Detroit’s innovative resilience, Mudambi said, is due to its continuing centrality in global innovation networks in the automotive industry. It has maintained this centrality through connectedness to other worldwide centers of excellence in this industry, such as Germany and Japan. Its innovative links to Germany have been rising steadily over the last three decades, while its association with Japan began more recently, but also shows a steep upward trajectory.

Their research also unearthed a clearer picture of the shifting lines of American innovation. Today, Mudambi said, the Sun Belt features the country’s leading innovation hubs like San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Austin, Texas. Though the more traditional centers of innovation excellence in the Rust Belt cities have generally maintained healthy rates of innovation output, they have seen their shares of national innovative output decline. These include cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit and Chicago.

“In the 19th century and for most of the 20th century, the innovation hotspots were co-located with centers of manufacturing mass production,” Mudambi said. “These were concentrated in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest. That’s not the case anymore. We’re seeing the lion’s share of patents being registered in regions dominated by high-knowledge industries. These industries create mainly white-collar positions for people with a bachelor’s degree, at minimum.

“However, what Detroit’s innovative success says about economies everywhere is that the roots of innovation are very deep. Policymakers spend a lot of time worrying about manufacturing. But manufacturing can be very ephemeral and firms often relocate manufacturing plants with very little notice. Innovation is more deeply rooted and, once an innovation center roots itself in an area, it’s much more likely to stick.”

Mudambi said the ongoing iBEGIN research initiative is a collaborative effort, with professionals in centers around the world, including: Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School, Italy’s Politecnico di Milano and University of Venice Ca Foscari, the Indian School of Business, and many others.

In addition to studying innovation in American cities, iBEGIN has ongoing research exploring other contexts. These include country contexts like China, India, Brazil, Portugal, Greece and Korea as well as specialized industry contexts like automobiles, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals.

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Access to technology leads to happiness, Fox researchers find

shutterstock_146356064While money can’t buy happiness, access to technology is capable of producing that very result, researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found.

The team of Fox School researchers examined the role played by information and communication technology (ICT), uncovering a link between it and personal well-being. Their research paper, titled, “Does information and communication technology lead to the well-being of nations? A country-level empirical investigation,” has been accepted for upcoming publication by top academic journal, MIS Quarterly.

Kartik Ganju, Fox School PhD candidate; Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Management Information Systems; and Dr. Rajiv D. Banker, Merves Chair in Accounting and Information Technology comprised the Fox research team.

The team argued that the adoption of ICT by countries leads to an increase in levels of well-being of its citizens, and that doing so helps citizens develop social capital and achieve social equality.

The Fox research team grouped 110 countries into three categories (low ICT, medium ICT and high ICT). The researchers found that countries with low levels of ICT could increase the happiness levels of their citizens by giving them access to mobile telephone lines. Hence, countries with low levels of ICT may not have to invest in expensive fixed line networks to increase the level of their citizens’ happiness, but could “leap-frog” the adoption of these systems in favor of mobile telephones, to increase happiness.

Using the results of a Gallup World Poll survey, which measured the global well-being of individual nations, Fox researchers found that the adoption of ICT led to an increase in the well-being of its citizens. Moreover, they found that access to ICT gave individuals a voice, “and an opportunity to communicate with others like themselves,” Ganju said. ICT also impacted the health of a nation’s people, with newfound access to proper healthcare practices, the team said. The researchers also cited access to education and real-time information that ICT affords as additional benefits.

“Most people assume that by giving an individual a certain amount of money that you can make him or her happier, and we found that this is not the case,” Ganju said. “We found that it is not just the income of GDP of a country that renders happiness. Access to information and communication technology allows people to feel an interconnected bond with each other than cannot obtain with money.”

“Suddenly, people were being exposed to different markets and rates. This allowed them to better bargain and achieve more-favorable pricing scenarios,” said Pavlou, Fox School’s Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs and Strategic Initiatives. “Regardless of a particular nation’s gross-domestic product, access to technology can amplify that country’s productivity and the well-being of its people,” Pavlou added. “ICT works to even the playing field between the wealthiest and poorest of nations.”

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Fox’s Online MBA rated No. 1 nationally for military veterans

Photo of Temple University Main Campus Military TributeThe Online MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been named best in the nation for military veterans.

U.S. News & World Report unveiled its rankings of the country’s top online undergraduate and graduate programs for military veterans May 19. The publication ranked the Fox School’s Online MBA program No. 1 nationally for its range of benefits for veterans.

The Fox School and Temple University support the Yellow Ribbon Program for military personnel and veterans. This provision allows colleges and universities in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with Veterans Affairs to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate.

Additionally, Temple University is routinely designated by GI Jobs Magazine as one of the nation’s top military-friendly colleges and universities.

“The Fox School’s commitment to providing Yellow Ribbon Program match scholarships to eligible applicants is a key component of our ongoing and strong relationship with military veterans,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “These scholarships help offset tuition costs for students who reside out of the state of Pennsylvania and for those who are not completely funded by their benefits.”

This is the latest in a series of accolades for Fox’s Online MBA program. In January, U.S. News ranked the program No. 1 in the nation. And earlier this month, The Princeton Review rated Fox’s Online MBA No. 5 in the world.

In the Fox Online MBA program, which launched in Fall 2009, students benefit from a flexible curriculum carousel with multiple entry points. The Fox School’s Online MBA program begins 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 pace 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 1,500 academic videos produced by Fox faculty, acts as a vital resource of the program. The Video Vault features a searchable archive with HD-quality, mobile-friendly, transcribed videos that are engaging for the student.

The full rankings of U.S. News’ top online MBA programs for veterans can be found here.

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Fox School welcomes prestigious guests, speakers for NSF-funded big data workshop

Photo of  Attendees listen to Google Chief Economist Hal Varian, one of many premier panelists at the Fox School’s Privacy in an Era of Big Data Workshop.

Attendees listen to Google Chief Economist Hal Varian, one of many premier panelists at the Fox School’s Privacy in an Era of Big Data Workshop.

Google “big data,” and the first search result returns the word, “dangerous.”

The irony of using a big data factory to discover the risks of its own data was not lost on researchers and experts attending the Privacy in an Era of Big Data workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and hosted by the Fox School of Business and Temple University’s Big Data Institute.

“Big data” is loosely defined as the collection and analysis of large data sets of complex information. As the scope of collected data increases, there is a significant need for advanced analytic techniques and the development of new methods of investigation. Temple’s Big Data Institute was established to harness the full potential of big data and enable further research on the subject with an interdisciplinary approach by bringing together seven related research centers across the university and the Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Co-founder of the Institute Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Chief Research Officer and Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives, along with Dr. Sunil Wattal, Director of the Center on Web and Social Media Analytics and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, were awarded a grant from the NSF to further their investigation into unexplored links between big data and privacy.

“This is a topic that’s on everyone’s minds, and we’re here to get some useful insight on it,” Wattal said.

The workshop, held April 22-23, was a part of a weeklong event to encourage big data research from industry, government, and academia on the future of big data and privacy. The goal of the workshop, Pavlou said, was “to create a forward-looking research agenda into the future of big data.”

A priority for attendees was establishing the balance of big data with privacy rights, in order to improve national security and further develop consumer marketing. Dr. Thomas Page, Technical Director for Core Infrastructure & Cloud Repositories at the National Security Agency, represented the government perspective on big data, with a keynote presentation.

“There’s a moral responsibility in this space. We’re doing this on behalf of the American people,” Page said.

Page called for a new focus when discussing big data. “Big Smart Data,” he said, avoids unnecessary or intrusive information from reaching analysts, and allows new public policy to be enacted that balances personal privacy and national security concerns.

Page’s keynote address raised concerns of a “zero sum game,” wherein consumers trade privacy for national security. Christina Peters, Chief Privacy Officer at IBM, noted that she believes the two are not equivalent. Citing instances of security breaches at Target and Home Depot, she indicated how a history of misuse or neglect has risked consumer information.

Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google, discussed the trust contract held between consumers and big data collectors. He argued that big data factories have the most to lose. “Search engines have a lot more to lose than a human. When computers screw up they screw up big,” Varian said.

Google’s top search results for “how do I know” are: “if I’m pregnant,” “if I’m gay,” and “if I have AIDS,” all of which, Varian said, demonstrate Google’s desire to not only share a vast amount of information, but to also take seriously its responsibility as an online confidante.

“Search engines are the biggest privacy enhancers in the world. People won’t ask these questions to their lawyer, doctor, parents, or priest. This is the first time you can get this type of answer from a non-human,” said Varian, who also served as the featured keynote speaker at the Frederic Fox Lecture Series April 23, another event during Big Data Week.

Varian explained that the intended use of big data is to educate consumers on the difference between privacy and security. Since privacy is the restricted use of personal information, a responsibility of big data should be to protect the security of the data and manage the risks associated with personal data analytics.

A closing comment from the first day of the workshop was the idea that “big data is the new bacon,” as presented by Lael Bellamy, Chief Privacy Officer at The Weather Channel. Her support of improved data collection and consumer intelligence reinforced the notion that although big data is trending, it’s been around for a long time.

“It’s possible everyone can benefit from the Big Data revolution,” said Carnegie Mellon University professor Dr. Rahul Telang.

Fox School News & Releases

Fox School of Business to offer new undergraduate majors in Supply Chain Management, Financial Planning

Interior Image of Alter HallThe Fox School of Business at Temple University will introduce two new undergraduate majors for the 2015-16 academic year: Supply Chain Management and Financial Planning.

In all, the Fox School offers students a choice of 15 undergraduate majors.

“The additions of Supply Chain Management and Financial Planning as majors further bolster the Fox School’s reputation as not only the most comprehensive business school in the Philadelphia region, but one of the most comprehensive in the nation,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “Employers and industry partners agree that these concentrations are regarded as emerging fields wherein professionals are in great demand, and Fox has the renowned faculty to support such programs.”

The new majors are available to all students. Students entering their junior and senior years can declare for either of the majors and still remain on four-year academic plans. Interested juniors and seniors are encouraged to meet with a Fox School advisor to discuss their academic options.

The Supply Chain Management major will prepare students to operate and lead major aspects of the supply system in both established and start-up firms. Fox’s Marketing and Supply Chain Management department will oversee the program, which will ready students for careers in the interconnected chain of suppliers, manufacturers, warehouses and distribution centers, transportation-providers, retailers.

“Businesses today operate on a global scale,” said Dr. Neha Mittal, Assistant Professor and Academic Director of the undergraduate Supply Chain Management program. “For example, it’s very common for a company to have its sourcing in South America, manufacturing in China, and sales of its products to markets in Europe or North America. We’re talking about huge, complex supply chains here, which have fueled the need for supply chain management professionals to manage the flows between the different parties.”

The Financial Planning major will prepare students for careers in the growing field bearing the same name, which takes a holistic approach to working with clients in order to enable them to identify and attain lifestyle and retirement goals. Students who complete the Financial Planning curriculum are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination upon graduation – a unique feature of the program.

Fox’s Finance department will oversee the program, and will draw upon the expertise of faculty in Fox’s Legal Studies and Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management departments, as well, said Cynthia Axelrod, Assistant Professor and Financial Planning Program Director.

“Within the next 20 years, 10,000 baby boomers will retire every day. This will produce a tremendous intergenerational wealth transfer, for which there won’t be nearly enough advisors to take on the burgeoning growth of clients and client assets,” Axelrod said.

“Further, retirement planning now resides with employees, not employers.  Individuals need help with retirement planning and investments. A financial planner brings objectivity to the process, and helps their client to develop a successful roadmap to attain their financial goals. A career in financial planning is very rewarding, allowing an individual to combine their investment skills and people skills, with excellent economic potential. All of this will lead to strong prospects for our students majoring in Financial Planning.”

Fox School News & Releases

Five years later, students in Fox School course still leading the way in social entrepreneurship

10-10-10

It started in January 2010 with a $10 bill.

In the five years since its inaugural spring semester, the 10-10-10 Foundation – launched out of Dr. Jean Wilcox’s Entrepreneurial Marketing course at the Fox School of Business – has seen more than 1,000 students raise in excess of $200,000 and help innumerable people and foundations in the Philadelphia area.

Each semester, Wilcox presents student teams in her course with $10 from her own pocket. Grouped into 10 teams, the students are tasked with multiplying this seed money by a factor of 10, to be donated to various charities, non-profits, foundations, and community organizations dedicated to anything from social works to education.

“Many of the students have incredibly powerful personal stories to tell and align their projects with organizations that they feel a connection to. That’s what makes this work,” said Wilcox, an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.

Dr. Jean Wilcox

Among the organizations helped, Fox Students have worked with Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, in eight of 10 semesters since 10-10-10 began. Others have aligned with Philabundance food bank, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

For senior Marketing majors Jake Kawulicz and Nicole Borgia, Red Paw Relief Team was a natural fit. One of their team members was saved from a house fire by his pet. In pitching to the idea of raising funds for Red Paw, a non-profit organization that helps pets displaced by fire or disaster, the group decided it was an appropriate gesture to repay his dog’s act of kindness. The team organized a fundraising effort at Whole Foods, which contributed a five-cent donation each time customers used reusable bags to carry out their groceries, and in addition to a half-price promotion at the Draught Horse Pub and Grill, near Temple University’s campus.

“There’s a personal connection for us. It’s about giving back to something I love,” Borgia said.

Fundraising efforts are one part of students’ responsibilities toward building sustainable business plans for their chosen organizations. Others include maintaining careful financial records while engaging with the community on social media to promote their efforts.

The use of social-media platforms has allowed students who are working with Project Home to raise awareness for the 25-year-old organization, which empowers the homeless. With a comprehensive social-media marketing campaign, the group recruited volunteers whose hours equated to a $20 fundraising effort. The group also aimed to foster an intern exchange program with the Fox School.

“We wanted something local to Philadelphia that would allow us to have a lasting impact, as opposed to just giving money,” said Leigh McKenzie, a junior Management Information Systems major who worked with Project Home.

The Entrepreneurial Marketing course attracts a diverse student set, including senior Architecture major and Business minor Jenna Wandishin, and sophomore Marketing and Art History double major Laura Harris. Dual-enrolled in the Fox School and the Tyler School of Art, and inspired by this dichotomy, the students dedicated their group to inspiring inner-city artists through the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, an anti-graffiti program that supports public art.

“We wanted something with a cultural impact. The Mural Arts Program is unique to Philadelphia and enhances the city,” Wandishin said of Philadelphia, which boasts more murals than any other American city.

Wilcox has watched 10 semesters of students turn her $10 handouts into thousands of dollars. She said she appreciates the social impact the students have made. In particular, one group worked with Catalyst Foundation to fight sex trafficking in Vietnam by connecting with Asian-American organizations on Temple’s campus. Another team committed its efforts toward assisting wounded veterans upon their returns from Afghanistan.

“The best comment I ever got came from one of my colleagues, who said, ‘Business school is so much about analytics and numbers, and what you’re doing is giving these students heart,’” Wilcox said. “That’s most important to me in the long run.”

Fox School News & Releases

The Economist ranks Fox’s Executive MBA No. 1 in Philadelphia region

The Economist Which MBA? logoThe Executive MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business retained its No. 1 ranking in the Philadelphia region, according to the most-recent rankings released by The Economist.

The Economist ranked Fox’s Executive MBA program No. 28 among U.S. colleges and universities in its “Which MBA?” rankings report, published May 14. The Fox Executive MBA has been ranked No. 1 in the Philadelphia region by The Economist since 2013, when the London-based publication last released its worldwide, executive MBA rankings.

Globally, the Fox Executive MBA is ranked No. 45.

“The Fox Executive MBA has a strong history of sustained excellence, and we are proud to retain our designation as the best in the Philadelphia region,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “The program leverages critical elements of the Fox School of Business: influential research by elite faculty, a diverse and exceptional student body, and a robust global network of alumni who hold high-ranking positions in various facets of industry.”

The Economist’s “Whose MBA?” rankings, which equally weigh personal and professional development measures, consider: quality of students; quality of program; career and salary progression; and helpfulness of alumni, among other criteria.

Fox’s Executive MBA program, which can be completed in only 16 months, is built on face-to-face classroom time delivered one weekend per month and supplemented by interaction with classmates and faculty via WebEx, the premier web-conferencing platform. Online collaboration reduces travel and minimizes the time students, who average 12 to 14 years of industry experience, will spend away from home and office.

Courses for the program are held at The HUB, a vibrant business center located in Center City Philadelphia. The HUB features comprehensive communication services and state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment.

Fox recently consulted with 300 corporate leaders in order to gain deeper insight into needed skills and competencies supporting program and curricular relevancy. The Executive MBA program has recently expanded its corporate partnerships and alumni relationships, to further develop and improve its student services and offerings, according to Dr. Michael Rivera, Academic Director of Fox’s Executive MBA.

“The Fox Executive MBA was designed to fit the needs of mid-level professionals looking to become senior or c-level executives,” Rivera said. “Our program not only expands students’ business toolkits with breadth and depth, but also focuses on developing them as transformational leaders, providing numerous opportunities for global experience and immersion, and also supporting their professional development through executive mentoring and coaching.”

“With our mantra, ‘Learn over the weekend, apply on Monday,’ students notice the powerful impact on their careers almost immediately.”

Click here to view The Economist’s complete “Which MBA?” rankings report.