Do you feel like you’re always thinking in 140 characters?

Microblogging platforms have skyrocketed in popularity in the last decade. As of August 2018, Twitter had over 335 million active monthly users, while Weibo, the Chinese social media giant, had over 431 million users. What makes these platforms so enticing to billions of people?

Xue Bai, associate professor with dual appointments in the Departments of Marketing and Supply Chain Management and Management Information Systems, investigated why these short-form social media platforms can be so addictive, together with researchers from Renmin University and Tsinghua University, in her recently published paper.

Bai and her colleagues analyzed the habits, uses and desires of 520 microblogging users. They found that users often used the platform for three distinction purposes: communication, information gathering and entertainment. Then, the researchers took the study deeper by distinguishing the levels of gratification, or the reasons why users feel satisfied when using the platform. Bai classified gratification into three categories: when people are satisfied due to the content they consume or share, the process of using the platform and the social needs they look to fulfill.

“Before, the commonly accepted understanding was that use leads to addiction,” says Bai. “But it turns out in our study, it is how you use it and how you feel from the use of it that leads to addiction.” For example, Person A might use Twitter more than Person B, but if Person B feels more satisfied when using it due to her particular purpose, she may be more likely to become addicted, regardless of time spent on the platform.

The theory behind the study, called “uses and gratifications,” is a common approach to analyzing mass media. However, by distinguishing between the “uses” and “gratifications,” Bai and her colleagues extended the theory to study the causal relations between use, gratification and addiction, opening up new possibilities for media research.

The researchers hypothesized that users with higher gratification levels have a great possibility of becoming addicted. “This constant feeling [of satisfaction] leads to psychological reinforcement and then eventually to dependence,” says Bai. The researchers then linked gratification to four dimensions of addiction—diminished impulse control, loneliness or depression, social comfort and distraction—to determine the path from use to gratification to addiction tendency.

The study found that the different types of purposes led to varying levels of gratification. “For example, if a user is using the microblogging platform mostly for information, information leads to content gratification and social gratification,” says Bai. Using microblogging for entertainment purposes led to satisfaction with social interactions and their experience of the process. The purpose for social communication, surprisingly, yields the least satisfaction among the three types of use.

“Social gratification, however, was the most impactful to addiction,” says Bai. Users who were satisfied from the social aspects of the platforms were more susceptible to loneliness, diminished impulse control and distraction, and were the most likely to be addicted. “Users who felt satisfied with content were the least likely to become addicted,” said Bai.

With the pervasiveness of microblogging tools, these insights are practically important to both consumers and platform designers. Bai hopes her research will help address the issue of social media addiction by understanding more about how these tendencies are formed. “We hope this will guide platform designers to better construct microblogging platforms to enhance the positive effects and avoid the negative impacts,” says Bai. “The research can inform the design of a platform to satisfy users’ needs at an optimal level, not to the point of being addicted.” For example, companies could use this research to emphasize content gratification, which has the least impact on addiction tendency.

Certainly, microblogging will not be going away, says Bai. “It is changing the way people, especially teenagers, communicate with each other and socially interact with the rest of the world.”

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3 Fox School alumnae shaking up their industries

There’s a new ultimate compliment in business today–Fox alumnae are go-getters, and they are shaking up the status quo in their elds and starting revolutions across the business world. Find out how these three alumnae are changing the rules of the game. See who they are and how they’re disrupting their industries in the best possible way:

1. Yasmine Mustafa, Fox ’06

Born in Kuwait, Yasmine Mustafa emigrated to the United States with her family as a child. She has chosen to make a difference using what she learned as an entrepreneur at the Fox School. It took Mustafa over seven years of part-time classes— first at community college, then at Fox, while working two jobs, to dream up her best idea yet.

“After traveling alone for six months, everywhere I went I encountered women who had been assaulted in different ways,” she said.

Mustafa decided to do something about it and started ROAR for Good.

“Just a week after I returned to Philadelphia, a woman was raped a block from my apartment when she went out to feed her meter,” she said. “I was enraged and inspired to create something to make women safer.”

As president and CEO of ROAR for Good, Mustafa has led the development of ‘Athena,’ a safety wearable device that helps to keep people safe. As a smart tech device, Athena shares user locations when activated.

“In reality, our goal is to have a world where technology like ROAR’s doesn’t need to exist,” she said. “In the meantime, why not create something that improves the situation?”

Not one for the sidelines, Mustafa and ROAR have been proactive about taking a role in the cultural paradigm surrounding sexual assault prevention and #MeToo. The ROAR Back program exists in tandem with the Athena device. ROAR Back has been designed as a series of nonprofit partnerships—with the goal of educating men about violence prevention and empathy training. In addition, an app provides educational tools on safety and situational awareness.

Awards and attention have been rolling in for Mustafa, who was selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2016, Philadelphia Magazine’s Top 20 Best Philadelphians, Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2016 Tech Disruptors, Innovator of the Year by Rad Girls, and many more. We can’t wait to see what’s next for this dynamic, young maker.

“I see a long-term vision of changing the world and ROAR having a profound impact,” she said.

2. Lori Bush, MBA ’85

Scientist to CEO isn’t the normal career trajectory for a pre-med major, but Lori Bush learned early on to defy expectations.

Driven to push the boundaries, Bush went beyond her work as a research scientist and eventually led production, innovation, marketing, and business development for Johnson & Johnson. Once established in the eld, Bush became an expert in beauty products.

During her 25 years in the consumer and healthcare products industry, Bush led product innovation for several global brands. She has also held leadership positions as the worldwide executive director of Skin Care Ventures and vice president of professional marketing at Neutrogena.

In 2006, Bush was approached by Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, who solicited her insight when they were in the startup phase of their premium skincare line. A year later, Bush accepted the role of president and CEO at Rodan + Fields. Her leadership helped the company to reach $600 million in revenue by 2015.

While Bush’s story is motivational, she’s providing financial inspiration to the next generation of female entrepreneurs—people like Camille Bell. Bell, a twenty-something Temple graduate, won $10,000 for a pitch she did in 2016 for her company, Pound Cake, an inclusive cosmetics company. Assistance for projects like Bell’s is possible partially through a lump sum donated by Bush to Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI).

“I think of myself as an enabler, moving obstacles for people and empowering them to do what they can do,” said Bush.

That’s not to say things have always been easy for Bush. She had a habit of tackling difficult projects that no one else wanted to touch, which didn’t fit in with the typical corporate resume progression.

“In the mid-1990s, I was very frustrated,” she said. “I was watching my peers being promoted to higher titles because they seemed to t the corporate prototype.”

Today she recognizes that not fitting in was the best thing that could have happened. “Ironically,” she says, “what I thought I wanted would have trained the courage out of me, to take on the crazy initiatives.”

3. Rakia Reynolds, BBA ’01

For Rakia Reynolds, a CEO, tastemaker, and influencer, re-defining what it means to work for herself has been a learning experience. As a wife and mother of three, Reynolds’ time is always in demand as the founder and president of Skai Blue Media, a public relations agency based in Philadelphia. She has worked with brands like Comcast NBCUniversal, Dell, the Home Shopping Network (HSN), United By Blue, Ted Baker, and others including Serena Williams’ clothing brand.

“The most successful people are the ones who find the secret sauce where work doesn’t feel like work,” said Reynolds in a 2017 interview with Marie Claire. “You wake up before your alarm goes off. You know the elevator pitch of your company without having to practice. You know what your career path is if you nd yourself thinking about it at night.”

Her touch seems to be on all things Philadelphia lately—she was Visit Philadelphia’s ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ and also helped to lead the charge for Philly’s Amazon H2 bid.

“You have these defining moments where you have that window and you say, ‘It is my time’” she said in a 2017 interview with Philly.com.

Doling out advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is something Reynolds does on the regular, and she encourages people to establish a “friendtor” board, a combination of friend and mentor. She credits the word to her friend and colleague Almaz Crowe, now the chief of staff at Skai Blue. Reynolds relies on her own diverse group of friendtors for real talk, feedback, and opinions. She also believes in quality over quantity when it comes to social media, something she knows a bit about as the face of small business for Dell.

“Influence goes back to the basics—understand your audience and deliver value,” she said in an interview with FastCompany.com.

Tis the gift giving season. Whether your loved ones are Temple alumni, Philadelphia residents or simply love food and fashion with a touch of philanthropy, we can help you find the perfect gift.

The Fox School of Business has a network of alumni and students who are passionate about using the power of business to give back to their communities. Check out products and services founded by entrepreneurs and make a purchase you can feel good about.

Sparrow and Hawk Apothecary

Temple accounting alumnus Nicholas Adelizzi, BBA ‘09, and his husband Jovan opened Sparrow and Hawk Apothecary with the goal of providing customers with a diverse range of natural bath, body and beauty products. The brand is focused on customer feedback and encourages open and continuous dialog. As Sparrow and Hawk Apothecary grows, they will give back to the community and help customers calm and soothe their mind, body and soul.

Fruitstrology

Sisters and Temple alumnae Rachel Stanton, BBA ’14, and Sarah Stanton, BBA ’14, co-founded Fruitstrology. The company combines produce-themed clothing and philanthropy through a sustainable partnership with Philabundance’s KidsBites program and the Life Do Grow Farm in North Philadelphia. When you purchase a product from Fruitstrology, you help to ensure children in Philadelphia have access to fruit and education about healthy eating.

Wild Mantle

When Avi Loren Fox, ENST ’10, could not find the perfect hooded scarf for the cold weather months, she decided to make one herself. Beyond creating a new clothing category, the goal of Wild Mantle is to move the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction. Give your friends and family a gift that feels like a warm hug this holiday season!

Simply Good Jars

After carb-loading this Thanksgiving, cookie exchanges and more, your loved ones
might be looking for healthier meal options. Gift them Simply Good Jars! Each convenient plastic jar includes a healthy meal made with local ingredients. Jared Cannon,
MS ’16, has made it his mission to increase access to nutrient-rich food, while creating zero waste to the communities that his company serves.

Understand Your Brand

Is someone on your list looking for modern, comfortable and ethically-made clothing
basics? Founded by
Brandon Study, BBA ’17, Understand Your Brand is an apparel company that uses all-natural dyes. The clothing is made in a zero-waste Cambodian factory that pays employees above the living wage.

Amalgam Comics & Coffee

Pick up something for the bookworm in your life and support a Temple alumna at the same time. Ariell Johnson, BBA ’05, opened the doors of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse in 2016. She has molded the shop into an inclusive environment for “geeks” of all types to drink coffee, read, play games and chat.

Know of any other businesses owned and operated by Fox School alumni that deserve to be highlighted? Contact us!

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Remember the last time you donated warm clothes to a homeless shelter and felt good about yourself? Or that time your friends helped you get through a difficult life problem after which you couldn’t help but feel extreme gratitude towards them?

A lot of traditional research has been done on why people help and how they feel after helping. You Jin Kim, assistant professor of Human Resource Management at the Fox School, goes beyond just that by exploring the role of the recipient of the help. Her research emphasizes how demonstrating gratitude, as well as the helper’s feelings of pride, interact to encourage repeated helping.

In her paper, “A Dyadic Model of Motives, Pride, Gratitude, and Helping,” which was accepted for publication by the Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Kim demonstrates that the motives of the helper interact to predict pride via initial helping whereas recipient attributions of helper motives predict recipient gratitude in response to being helped. This interaction of emotions (i.e., pride and gratitude) influences any subsequent helping by the helper, making them both active members of the social exchange.

Kim points out that the helper’s motives drive their initial actions. She highlights two positive motives: “autonomous motives,” where individuals help because they value doing so, and “other-oriented motives,” where individuals help because of their concern for others. These motives often lead to voluntary helping that is intended to benefit others.

These motives affect the perception of the recipient and the level of appreciation they feel. “Recipients seek information about helpers and helping contexts because they seek to understand why others help them,” Kim reasons. For example, an employee might choose to cover a shift for a sick worker because he or she truly cares about the coworker’s welfare, leading to the recipient attribute this action to the helper’s selfless (what Kim classifies as autonomous or other-oriented) motives. In such interactions, the recipient feels more gratitude toward the helper.

Kim also considers that the motives may not always be altruistic. She elaborates, “They could be doing it because of impression management, career enhancement motives, and not truly directed towards benefitting others.” For example, a helper could choose to teach a peer a new skill with the goal of transferring an undesirable task to this peer. Such interactions fail to evoke the feeling of pride or gratitude in either party.

Kim highlights cases where, although the helping motive was genuine and the helpers experienced authentic pride, they did not engage in repeated helping unless recipients expressed their gratitude. “Unlike economic exchanges, social exchange returns are not specified in advance, and so reciprocity is not guaranteed,” says Kim. “A simple ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference.” Thus expressing gratitude is very crucial in encouraging the helper to continue helping others in the future, making the recipient an important influencer of the interaction.

The results of these studies have practical implication for managers. “Managers need to understand why helping is being provided and create a work environment where employees do not feel pressured to help and that helping is voluntary,” says Kim. “It should not be related to any type of organizational decision, such as a promotion or vacation days.”

Importantly, gratitude also has positive implications for recipients. Kim says, “Managers also need to emphasize the benefits of showing gratitude and encourage recipients to communicate their gratitude when receiving help has been positive.” Such reciprocative interactions create a positive environment at a workplace, subsequently improving the efficiency and lowering the turnover intentions of all employees.

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Governor Edward G. Rendell receives the 2018 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership.
Governor Edward G. Rendell receives the 2018 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership. (Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University Photography)

Temple University’s Fox School of Business celebrated Governor Edward G. Rendell with the 2018 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, the highest honor conferred by the School, during a Nov. 14 dinner and reception at Mitten Hall. This year’s event marked the 22ndanniversary of the award ceremony, which has honored a number of leading businesspeople in Philadelphia since its launch in 1997.

Fox School of Business faculty, staff and alumni recipients of the 2018 Musser Awards gather on the stage.
Fox School of Business faculty, staff and alumni recipients of the 2018 Musser Awards gather on the stage. (Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University Photography)

The evening recognized Rendell’s 34-year career of public service, including his time served as governor of Pennsylvania from 2003–2011 and mayor of Philadelphia from 1992–2000, and celebrated his lasting influence on the city and state the Fox School of Business has called home since its founding in 1918.

“For a century, the Fox School has been plugged into the city of Philadelphia, with students and alumni taking advantage of and benefitting from the personal and professional opportunities it offers,” said Dr. Ronald Anderson, interim dean of the Fox School. “The leadership of Governor Rendell and his strategic investments in our communities, the economy and education make the Fox School’s location in Philadelphia an attractive place to live, to study and to work, and we are proud to honor him.”

Dean Ronald Anderson, left, and President Richard M. Englert, right, congratulate 2018 Musser Award recipient Governor Edward G. Rendell.
Dean Ronald Anderson, left, and President Richard M. Englert, right, congratulate 2018 Musser Award recipient Governor Edward G. Rendell. (Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University Photography)

In accepting the Musser Award, Rendell, who currently serves as special counsel at Ballard Spahr, LLP, spoke on his continued commitment to the city and his special focus on alleviating the high poverty rate in Philadelphia, which is ranked as the poorest of the country’s largest cities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. He offered recommendations on how to reduce poverty in the city, calling on business leaders to hire extra students looking to work this summer, increase minimum wage and donate to pre-k programs, among other tips.

Rendell also discussed the legacy of Warren V. “Pete” Musser, the namesake of the evening’s event, whom Rendell called “one of the greatest businesspersons and philanthropists in town,” and the impact the Fox School has made on the business world and society in the region: “Think of all the Fox School has done for the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania and how many jobs have been created because the Fox School exists. Think about what this region would be like if the Fox School never existed. Think about it and be proud.”

The evening paid homage to Rendell’s love for the Philadelphia Eagles with a green “LOVE” statue.
The evening paid homage to Rendell’s love for the Philadelphia Eagles with a green “LOVE” statue. (Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University Photography)

Tyler Mathisen, the managing editor of CNBC Business News and co-host of CNBC’s Power Lunch, once again served as the event’s master of ceremonies. Mathisen commented on the uniqueness of this year’s event — taking place during the Fox School’s Centennial anniversary — and recognized the School’s century-long heritage of innovation within business education.

Temple Police Officer Lawrence Besa and his retired canine partner Jarvis prepare to present the 2018 Musser Award.
Temple Police Officer Lawrence Besa and his retired canine partner Jarvis prepare to present the 2018 Musser Award.

The event also paid homage to Rendell’s love for Philadelphia sports, especially the Philadelphia Eagles, featuring green décor and a “LOVE” statue made of plants, and his affection for dogs, with special guests Temple Police Officer Lawrence Besa and his retired canine partner Jarvis presenting Rendell with the Musser Award.

Past top honorees in attendance included Warren V. “Pete” Musser, William J. Avery, Joan Carter, Steven H. Korman and James E. Nevels, and Temple Trustees Dennis J. Alter, Joseph F. Coradino, Mitchell L. Morgan, Chair Patrick J. O’Connor and Jane Scaccetti.

“Governor Rendell’s leadership created an atmosphere in Philadelphia where students and alumni of Temple University and the Fox School of Business can start new businesses, produce new jobs and be successful. Thank you, Governor Ed Rendell, for all you’ve done to create a city where Temple University can thrive,” said O’Connor, who is serving his 10thand final term as chair of the Board of Trustees.

Provost JoAnne A. Epps greets 2018 Musser Award recipient Governor Edward G. Rendell.
Provost JoAnne A. Epps greets 2018 Musser Award recipient Governor Edward G. Rendell. (Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University Photography)

The Fox School also celebrated faculty, staff, alumni and students worthy of distinction with the following prestigious awards:

  • Excellence in Teaching: Michael Valenza, associate professor and chair, Department of Legal Studies
  • Excellence in Research: Dr. Xueming Luo, Charles E. Gilliland, Jr. Chair Professor of Marketing, Strategy and MIS; founder and director, Global Center on Big Data in Mobile Analytics
  • Excellence in Faculty Service: Dr. Steven Balsam, professor of accounting and Senior Merves Research Fellow, Department of Accounting
  • Excellence in Administrative Service: Julian White, senior director, Center for Undergraduate Advising
  • Excellence in Student Leadership: Suchetha Subramaniam, FOX ’18, Future Leaders Program, GSK
  • Excellence in Alumni Achievement: Adam Lyons, FOX ’09, founder and chairman, The Zebra

Hosted by the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), the NBCUniversal Analytics Competition challenged students across Temple University to solve important industry-specific problems. In its sixth year, participants were asked:

  • How can media companies align with esports?
  • Why do pharmacies buy drugs from non-primary vendors?
  • Who are the winners and losers in healthcare funding and payments?

Roughly 354 students from six schools and colleges developed submissions in one of two categories: analytics or graphics. Finalists submitting analyses were judged based on presentation relevance, completeness, depth and consistency, while graphics were judged on clarity, novelty, insight and utility. The final judging and awards event took place on Nov. 13, 2018 in the Commons of Alter Hall at the Fox School of Business. The first, second, third and honorable mentions winners took home $12,000 in cash prizes.

“For this years Temple Analytics Challenge, we received some of the highest quality viral submissions in the six year history of the competition,” remarked Interim Dean Ronald Anderson of the Fox School of Business and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management.

The winning team in the analytics category was comprised of students Jake Green, Sergio Aguilar and Rohit Bobby. They used analytics to identify which mainstream sport (soccer) was best aligning itself with the esports audience, and provided data-driven recommendations how major media companies can mirror that pattern of engagement and brand recognition. You can read the team’s full analysis here.       

“Our team really came together and worked hard to understand what it meant to ‘align’ with esports. For our team, the hardest part was to apply a particular outcome to the question. To do that, we reframed it and thought about how NBCUniversal could adapt and remain a leading platform for sports entertainment,” said Jake Green, a management information systems major.

The graphics competition winner was Xi (Cynthia) Cheng, a graphic and interactive design major. She developed a video to explore the demographic connections (such as gender, total viewership and age range) between viewers of esports and traditional sports in order to explain how media companies can use this data to develop appropriate advertising for both groups.

“I got inspiration, and selected elements from old school video games. I had different visions for traditional sports and esports, and used aspects of various games such as a Pokeball or a Super Mario power-up to illustrate statistics,” she explained.

“The drive of Temple students is inspiring,” said Laurel Miller, assistant professor of management information systems, IBIT director, and the co-founder of the Analytics Challenge. “It is unique that 354 students from across campus took the initiative to participate in a voluntary contest, learned how to interpret complex data and tools on their own, and prepared a time limited presentation for an industry judging panel. I was really impressed with the winners this year, their analysis and visualizations were so well done that they were able to provide new insights to an expert industry panel.”

Learn more about the Temple University Analytics Challenge.

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Steve Casper spent the spring of 2018 teaching his students about stocks, bonds, time value of money, cash flow and cost of capital. This does not sound unusual for a finance professor, except that particular semester he was on sabbatical in Cambodia.

Most of his students, who came from rural farms on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, had a limited academic background in finance. Many did not have a personal relationship with traditional financial institutions that Americans accept as commonplace, like banks and stock markets. Casper, associate professor of finance and managing director of the DBA program at the Fox School of Business, says, “It was the most challenging class I’ve ever taught, but it was so much fun.”

Since the summer of 2016, Casper had been volunteering his time teaching rural students in Cambodia. After first getting involved via Habitat for Humanity, Casper has built a relationship with these students, teaching finance and leadership during two-week seminars. Last spring, the director of the Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia, the leading English-speaking university in the country, asked Casper to teach a full semester.

“Most of these students have never had a calculator before,” says Casper, FOX PhD ’10. “I was told I had 30 students. I get over there and I brought 30 TI-BA II+ financial calculators. My wife was coming two weeks later and I said, ‘Liz, I have 54 students. I need you to bring another 24 calculators, I just ordered them on Amazon.’ Eventually, it got up to 94 students.”

This past October, four of these students came to Philadelphia for a week of leadership and business practice. The trip was organized by the Cambodian Rural Student Trust, an NGO founded in 2011 that aims to help bright Khmer, or Cambodian, students from poor, rural families go to high school and university in Cambodia.

Casper brought the students to meet with representatives from all over the financial world, from companies like SAP, B-Lab and Saul Ewing. He invited the students to speak to his finance classes at the Fox School. The Khmer students shared the story of their lives, which often included uneducated family members, the loss of one or both parents and financial hardships. But each had a strong, unrelenting belief in the power of education to transform lives.

Khmer students Doeb Chhay, Sinoun Lem, Sompeas Sokh, and Yeat Son.

One student named Sompeas, who is majoring in law and hopes one day to become a lawyer, shares her philosophy. “I believe men and women are equal. I believe education will provide women with the knowledge to believe this and give them the skills to follow their dreams, have amazing careers and be greater contributors to society.” She continues, “The special thing about this trip is that I can share my voice and bring back many ideas that will inspire other girls to be adventurous and ambitious, while also expanding how I see things in my small world.”

Casper is grateful to the Fox School for allowing him to expand his world as well through his sabbatical. Casper loves the opportunity to teach both his American and Khmer students. “I always wanted to do this,” he says. “To have great classes, you have to be thinking about it all the time—how can I make it better, how can I get this point across?”

His passion for education translates into his enthusiasm about the mission of the Cambodia Rural Students Trust. The completely student-run organization, Casper says, “can give a student a place to live, feed them, and pay for their college or high school,” all for $2,000 a year.

“In Cambodia, education is a privilege,” says Casper. “I am honored to be part of something that empowers students to lead themselves and lead society.”

Learn more about Fox School Research.

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A roundup of media mentions featuring faculty, staff, and students from the Fox School of Business and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management.

What’s Next For the Fox School of Business?

Dean Ron Anderson speaks with Business Because about the school’s centennial and his appointment as dean marking a new chapter in Fox history. “We’re going to use this as an opportunity to refocus the school,” he says. Read more>>

One Fox Student’s Dreams for Inclusivity

Shawn Aleong, a legal studies freshman, will study in San Francisco on a trip organized by the Fox School to learn digital and alternative financial services to further his advocacy efforts for inclusive business. Read more>>

The Odds of a Winning Ticket

Laurie Burns used her statistical reasoning and games of chance class to calculate the odds of winning October’s billion-dollar jackpot with Fox29. Watch now>>

Inquirer | October 19

David Schuff, chair of the Management Information Systems department, provides insight into how the rollout of SEPTA’s Key program led to an untold number of free rides since August. Read more>>

College Magazine | October 25

What does a financial advisor actually do? Cindy Axelrod, certified financial planner and assistant professor of practice in the Finance department, gives advice to college students interested in wealth management. Read more>>

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

On a brisk, fall morning, 30 crisply-dressed Fox School of Business graduates and friends gathered for a Breakfast With Fox & TWN event on the topic of executive presence, at Temple University Center City.

Over breakfast, Allison Francis Barksdale, EMBA ’00, CEO of RISE Leadership and a member of Temple Women’s Network (TWN), presented Executive Presence–Do You Have IT? How To Cultivate the IT Factor In You. She discussed the concept of authenticity, and when pressed had this to say:

“I don’t think authenticity is worn out as a buzzword. When we get to its essence, buzzwords should be retired when we have achieved a certain level of understanding and I view authenticity as being tied to integrity, in which we’re making progress but still have a long way to go.”

Barksdale shared a few tangible resources, including an online quiz, “Test Your Executive Presence”, and also encouraged attendees to lead with their values, and discover their own answers to the following three questions:

  1. What is executive presence?
  2. Why is it important?
  3. How can you cultivate it?

Ashley Rivera, IME ’18, was one of the millennials in attendance. She commented on how important networking opportunities were to her career progression and how crucial it was to  keep her network relevant after graduate school.

“I worked so hard for my degree—am I going to be a leader?” she wondered.

Like many other recent Fox School graduates, Rivera has experience working in startups and is hoping to create her own business. While at Fox, she attended events like the Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, which helped to instill her with a self-confidence that she could eventually turn an idea into a viable business.

“I know I can add value to a company with my leadership skills,” she said. “I have a diverse knowledge base and a strong group of supportive colleagues and former classmates.”

During her presentation, Barksdale—a certified life coach, encouraged people like Rivera to cultivate an executive presence by “ACE-ing” it.

Awareness, know what your skills are,” said Barksdale. “Commit to make changes in areas you’d like to improve. And exercise your new skills until you’ve achieved the desired level of improvement.”

Former risk management student Derek Jones, BBA ’09, walked away feeling inspired.

“Allison said things about expressing your personality and to use that as an advantage,” he said. “In previous jobs, I found that I didn’t fit the culture. I think it’s important to be self-aware and inspire change or make a change if necessary.”

Barksdale thinks current Fox School students should work on developing three specific leadership qualities in order to jump-start their careers.

“Students should invest in developing competence, poise, and emotional intelligence,” she said. “Those skills will really help them with self-awareness and control as managers and leaders.”

Next up for Fox networking events will be the Holiday Party, hosted by the Fox School of Business Alumni Association on December 13th, from 5:30-8 p.m at The Acorn Club (1519 Locust St.). Early bird tickets are available until 11/23 here.

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Professor Cindy Axelrod in the Capital Markets Room in Alter Hall | Photo: Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University

In partnership with Schwab Advisor Services, Charles Schwab Foundation has committed $352,000 to Temple University’s Fox School of Business to support the School’s financial planning program. Launched in Fall 2015, the Fox financial planning program has been one of the school’s fastest growing undergraduate degrees, with more than 300 registered students since the program’s launch, including 98 registered students in Spring 2018.

Charles Schwab Foundation’s gift will enable the Fox School to purchase and install state-of-the art technology to bolster the financial planning program’s online and remote capabilities.  Installation is slated for completion in Spring 2019. This investment in the School will effectively connect students with wealth managers, financial planners, and advisors to create awareness of the field and prepare students for futures in the registered investment advisor (RIA) industry; at a time when an estimated $30 trillion in assets is expected to pass between generations. Charles Schwab Foundation’s contribution will finance a 158-inch diagonal video wall, complete with two HD cameras for web video conferencing, ceiling pickup microphones, and JBL speakers, touch annotation monitors, and an LCD touch display with controls in Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business.

“We are proud to work with Temple University to shape and inspire the next generation of independent investment advisors,” said Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab Advisor Services. “Access to cutting-edge technology and firsthand perspectives from professionals in the field will prepare students for successful careers in the independent investment advisor industry.”

“The generous support from Charles Schwab Foundation enhances our students’ academic and professional experience by enabling them to apply their classroom knowledge to the financial planning industry,” said Cindy Axelrod, director of the Fox School’s Financial Planning programs. “The enhanced investment in cutting-edge technology will allow students to directly connect with financial planning professionals without any physical or geographical constraints, giving them a first-hand understanding of the industry, so that they will be better prepared to enter the job market.”

The school introduced Financial Planning as an undergraduate major in 2015 to prepare students for careers in this in-demand field. Students who complete Financial Planning curriculum at Fox are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination upon graduation, a unique feature of the program. The Fox Department of Finance oversees the program, which also draws upon the expertise of faculty from Fox’s Legal Studies in Business and Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management departments.

“According to job and occupational outlooks, the field of personal financial advisors is growing much faster than other fields,” said Ronald Anderson, interim dean of the Fox School of Business and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management. “I’m delighted that, thanks to our first-rate faculty and high-quality program, we are preparing so many talented, determined, and hard-working students to fulfill their desires for better life opportunities and career paths.”

About the Fox School of Business at Temple University

Established in 1918 and celebrating its centennial, the Fox School of Business at Temple University is the largest, most comprehensive business school in the Philadelphia region and among the largest in the world, with more than 9,000 students, more than 220 full-time faculty and more than 60,000 alumni around the globe.

The Fox School has a proud tradition of delivering innovative, entrepreneurial programs for the past 100 years. With facilities that provide access to market-leading technologies, the school fosters a collaborative and creative learning environment. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the real-world job market. Learn more at fox.temple.edu. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Charles Schwab

At Charles Schwab we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com. Follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and LinkedIn.

About Charles Schwab Foundation

Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com/community. The Charles Schwab Foundation is classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation. Charles Schwab Foundation and Temple University are unaffiliated entities.

Most public officials want to stay in office—and insurance regulators are no different. In the days, weeks, and months leading up to the elections, many assume that public officials would be proactive, striving to implement policies that improve their credibility and increase their chances of reelection. However, recent studies by Martin Grace, Harry Cochran Professor of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management at the Fox School and Tyler Leverty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, say that this is not the case for insurance regulators.

The financial health of the insurance companies is closely monitored by the state insurance departments to provide protection to the policyholders. When a company faces a financial crisis, the regulators intervene and help them regain their footing. In situations where the company is irreversibly dying, they are declared insolvent, or bankrupt.

To keep these stages in check, insurance regulators conduct regular financial examinations, especially for companies facing financial crisis. In their paper, ”Do Elections Delay Regulatory Action?” which was accepted by the Journal of Financial Economics, Grace found that these interventions on failing companies fall by up to 78% in the year leading up to an election. These delays result in an increased cost of failure for both policyholders and taxpayers.

Graph 1: Electoral Cycle vs the Regulatory Interventions

The reason for this seems to be rooted in the political incentives for the insurance regulators. Insurance commissioners are elected by popular vote in some states or appointed by the governor in the others. To have a positive opinion around their candidateship, insurance commissioners avoid making formal regulatory orders or making declarations of insolvency for insurance companies up to a year before the elections. “As this could raise questions on their competency and could be seen as a black mark when they run for higher office,” says Grace, “it is easier for insurance regulators to delay companies’ bankruptcies. So they strategically postpone any official resolution until after election day.”

And, Grace says, “The more competitive the race is, the more bad news might matter.” While appointed commissioners tend to delay interventions only before tightly contested elections where the appointing governor is running for office, elected regulators delay interventions before all elections.

To conduct this study, the researchers collected data from approximately 3,200 firms and 300 separate elections in 50 states over 21 years (1989-2011). With varying election dates and state-regulated insurance policies, Grace says, “these heterogeneities gave us a very rich data to study a given insurer at different intervals of time, across different states, and at various stages of the electoral cycle.”

With so much data and possible causations, it took the researchers about eight years to publish the paper. During various presentations of the research, Grace recollects offering a dollar to anyone who could come up with a plausible explanation to the observation that they hadn’t heard of before. ”We covered it all,” Grace says. “But if someone came up with a new idea, I would give them a dollar.”  However, given their extensive data set and time, Grace and his co-author were confident in their findings that elections were the main cause of these delays.

Grace emphasizes that these delays are important because they cost taxpayers more money. When an insurance company goes bankrupt and they run out of cash to pay off their debts, the balance is covered by the government from the pool of state taxes collected from policyholders of the healthy insurers. For example, he reasons, “Let’s say we have a $100 left in the failed insurer. If we closed the insurer immediately, the value would remain $100.” However, if the insurer is closed in 6 months, there would be more costs associated, like paying employees and managers of the failed insurer. “That means all taxpayers will have to pick up the balance.” Grace’s research found that delays increased the cost to taxpayers by up to $0.48 dollars for every dollar of failed insurers assets at the time of insolvency.

Research shows that prompt governance reduces the delays caused due to elections. “This was seen to be especially true in the case of appointed regulators,” says Grace. Current laws mandate regulators to report and take timely corrective actions at prescribed levels of declining capital of the insurers, limiting the regulators’ ability to delay.

The effect of delays in regulating insurance companies has a discreet yet profound effect on the cost of insurance to society. Timely settlement of claims, especially when the insurance company is in a financial crisis, helps decrease the cost of failure to both the policyholders and taxpayers.

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In honor of its Centennial anniversary, the Fox School of Business brought together alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of Temple University at Foxtoberfest, an outdoor event featuring food trucks, vendors, entertainment, giveaways, and a beer garden.

The fall festival was a century in the making, taking place 100 years after Temple’s business school was founded as the School of Commerce in 1918. Foxtoberfest celebrated entrepreneurship, a key pillar of the Fox School, by featuring Temple alumni-owned businesses, ranging from popular food trucks and donuts to a cell phone repair company and artists.

Among the more than 25 vendors lining Liacouras Walk and Montgomery and 13th Streets, 18 were alumni-owned, including:

As part of the celebrations, the first 100 people to each food truck and vendor were treated to free food, such as caramel apple and pumpkin bourbon ice cream sandwiches from Weckerly’s; roasted corn on the cob from Li Ping Corn Co; fried cheese curds from The Cow & The Curd; and healthy treats like gourmet fruit pops from Whimsicle and jars of fresh, local, and organic ingredients from Simply Good Jars. Factory Donuts took the celebration to the next level by bringing along 1,000 fresh donuts from its headquarters in Northeast Philly to the Temple community.

Attendees over the age of 21 years old mingled in the on-campus beer garden, playing lawn games and enjoying brews from alumni-owned breweries, including Love City Brewing (Melissa Walter, EDU ’11) and Victory Brewing Company (Bill Covaleski, TYL ’85).

Relive the celebration with our photo gallery and share your experience at the event by tagging #FOX100 and connecting with the Fox School on social media. To get involved with and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Fox School of Business, visit the Centennial website to travel through an interactive timeline, share your story, and attend an upcoming event.

Photo: Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University

Just one year into business, Jared Cannon, MS ’16, founder of the healthy eating startup Simply Good Jars (SGJ) is making a bold pivot away from individual food-in-jars subscriptions toward a smart refrigerator model that the company says will offer growth and sustainability.

“Over the summer, our waiting list grew to over 750 people,” said Cannon. “So we decided to shut down subscriptions and move to a vending model.”

The decision may seem strange given the popularity of meal subscription services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. However, customer loyalty and enthusiasm gave SGJ instant credibility in 2018, when Cannon was selected as a Philadelphia Inquirer Stellar Startup finalist and Independence Blue Cross named him a semifinalist for the Health Hero Challenge.

Cannon and his team are working on securing the capital needed to bring their jars to smart fridges. Plans include nearly 40 of these refrigerators in coworking spaces across Philadelphia. SGJ is already in locations that include WeWork, Pipeline and the Brandywine Liberty Trust corporate office. Business success will mean changing lunch culture at work by building a customer base that is willing to pay for the convenience of healthy, delicious breakfasts and lunches.

There’s a shift happening in the startup landscape, according to Cannon, an energy that is motivating entrepreneurs to solve problems in cities rather than vice versa. He feels a personal responsibility to serve as a part of the solution, something the northern Delaware native may have gained from an unlikely upbringing. Before the chef-turned-entrepreneur took off on his tasty endeavor, Cannon benefited from some unusual experiences.  

“In seventh grade I enrolled at a Democratic Free School to learn as an individual,” he said. “There weren’t classes, report cards or standardized tests.”

Cannon attributes his unique perspective as a business owner to his self-governed education. He was given permission to develop differently and to dabble in things he may have never tried—like engineering, computer mechanics and construction. Food wasn’t a focus at the Free School, but at home Cannon learned to love the culinary arts. In their kitchen, the big Cannon family came together. They also instilled a general enthusiasm for the outdoors in their children, which shaped Jared’s value system.

“I think something that’s baked into my generation is an awareness about how our product choices affect the environment,” he said. “My parents taught me to value food and not to waste it—that’s something I’ve carried into my business model.”

Social enterprise is also shifting at SGJ. Instead of contributing meals to Philabundance, the company is now donating funds to help support the Philabundance Community Kitchen. Beyond financial help, Cannon’s team is engaging with the Community Kitchen’s job placement and internship program to offer jobs to their low-income participants and graduates who hope to begin careers in the culinary field.

“We’re young, we’re growing, and there’s nothing better than working on something that you’re passionate about,” said Cannon. “The human element behind a product is the powerful differentiator.”

Beyond the business pivot, there’s more big news for Cannon and the SGJ team. He’s an expecting father just two years out of Temple and a year into business. And beginning in November, SGJ will celebrate another first—a stall at Reading Terminal Market that will be open from Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A refrigerator will be on site, though it won’t be smart. Exclusive breakfast and lunch jars will be sold, created in collaboration with other Reading Terminal vendors like Old City Coffee, Martin’s Meats and Sausages, Iovine Brothers Produce, Godshall’s Poultry, Pequea Valley yogurt and Condiment.

“The most stressful thing right now is having all of these dynamic people around me who have bought in, and are taking the risk with me,” he said. “I’m learning how to be the fearless leader that I’m supposed to be, and I take it very seriously that it’s not just me anymore.”

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The “agency theory of the firm,” a way of looking at social interactions in business, says that managers are agents of shareholders. As such, managers must generally make decisions that maximize shareholder profits. Since the Citizens United case in 2010, those decisions have included the right to make unlimited independent political expenditures, under the right to freedom of expression.

So what are the ethical implications of companies making contributions for or against a political candidate? Daniel Isaacs, assistant professor of Legal Studies and academic director in the Fox School, weighs on this question in his article, “When Government Contractors May or May Not Spend Money on Political Speech,” which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Ethics.

“There are some situations where it will be in the economic interests of businesses to forgo making independent political expenditures,” says Isaacs. By aligning profit motives with ethical conduct, Isaacs aims to remove barriers to ethical behavior.

Sometimes, however, profits and ethics do not align. In these cases, Isaacs argues that managers may not use the agency theory of the firm as a means to escape their ethical obligations.

For example, says Isaacs, imagine a private prison that is experiencing a reduced number of prisoners due to declining crime rate in the state. The prison has the right to make independent political expenditures on behalf of a candidate that favors laws that would require courts to impose longer prison sentences for all crimes. The outcome of these expenditures and the succeeding election would increase profits for the private prison by ensuring a steady stream of prisoners who will spend more time in jail.

But what happens if maximizing profits for shareholders by making these independent political expenditures leads to profit and unethical outcomes, like longer prison sentences? Does the agency theory allow managers to ignore the ethical situation and simply make money? No, says Isaacs, “because the agency theory relies on the concept that principals must do that which agents dictate.” If that is the case, though, managers cannot act beyond the authority of their principals.

“This relationship between the managers and the shareholders does not dilute the managers’ moral obligation,” Isaacs says. “The agency theory does not grant them an ethical free pass.”

Isaacs says that the shareholders lack the power to authorize managers to make profits in a way that they wouldn’t do themselves. “And managers cannot escape their ethical obligations by claiming that they were just following orders,” he says.

Companies should consider whether it is in their best interests to make independent political expenditures, as forgoing in some cases might make them more appealing. For example, if a company voluntarily waives its right to make independent political expenditures, Isaacs argues that it can use that to its competitive advantage. “One of the risks that at least one private prison identified in its disclosure statement was that the public may change its perception of private prisons,” says Isaacs. “If the public becomes hostile to the concept of private prisons, governments may stop entering into contracts with the corporations—something that a reasonable investor would want to know.”

With the boundaries of profitability, law and ethical obligations blurring in the real world of business, Isaacs’ research works to identify ways in which the market can support ethical decision making. He finds an unexpected friend in agency theory, arguing that the way people justify profit maximization, also serves to demonstrate the limits of shareholder power to engage in or authorize others to undertake such behavior.

“Shareholders and managers, as human beings, have a moral obligation, and desiring profits does not justify all actions of achieving them,” he concludes.

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Attendees at the 19th annual League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference (Photo: Chris Kendig)

On a bluebird Tuesday morning in Alter Hall, the Fox School of Business hosted the 19th annual League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference. With nearly 300 people in attendance, this year’s conference was the largest to date, evidence of strong interest in investing in female innovation. According to stats from the Women’s Business Owner’s Association, there are 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S.—yet only 17% of startups are headed by women.

“From recognizing women who have excelled in the fields of law, business, theater, and sports, along with advice about how to ‘Ask for What You Want’ from entrepreneurs, to the three current students pitching their ideas, the conference represented a true cross-section of entrepreneurship,” said Ellen Weber, executive director of Temple University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI).

Yasmine Mustafa, BBA ’06, delivering the keynote presentation. (Photo: Chris Kendig)

As the keynote speaker, Yasmine Mustafa (Fox ’06) shared her story of perseverance and inspiration as an undocumented immigrant who is now a proud American citizen and co-founder and CEO of ROAR for Good. As a wearables startup, ROAR for Good helping thousands of women to feel safer around the world. Mustafa relayed a few small business learnings she’s come to embrace over the past few years:

  1. Others are happy to help
  2. Get as many no’s as possible
  3. Give, give, and give some more

Four Temple alumni were inducted into the League’s Hall of Fame during the event, including Arbill CEO Julie Copeland, Blackstar Film Festival founder Maori Karmel Holmes, Axelrod Firm president Sheryl Axelrod, and retired professor and diversity trailblazer Tina Sloan Green. Generosity in words and actions abounded as Copeland doled out “Weapons for Success” to young entrepreneurs in the audience:

  1. A sense of belief in yourself
  2. Gratitude, even in the worst times
  3. Show up every day with love

In candid conversation, Temple Executive Vice President and Provost Joanne A. Epps made a pitch to start-ups to move the needle in innovation.

A conversation with Temple Executive Vice President and Provost Joanne A. Epps (Photo: Chris Kendig)

“I do think it’s important to change the numbers, change perspectives and attitudes,” she said. “It matters profoundly that we don’t have enough female leaders.”

Making pitches of their own, three young entrepreneurs had the opportunity to let the room in on what they were up to. Two Temple students—Stephanie Taylor of TailorFit Laundry and Emily Kight of Ovarian Lab & Biomaterix, gave three-minute pitches. Adding one final voice, eighth-grade student Anna Welsh, founder and CEO of Little Bags, Big Impact, shared her textile recycling business model with a bit of social enterprise mixed in for good measure.

“I design, hand cut, and sew small bags from locally sourced materials,” she said. “I have an accountant, a lawyer, have received an official U.S. trademark, have sold over 1,000 bags and employ two people two part-time. Expansion plans include moving my business out of my parent’s house.”

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