The Fox School of BusinessCenter for Student Professional Development (CSPD) has a commencement tradition. Toward the end of every semester, graduating students, when they secure a post-graduation job, ring a bell and publicly announce who their soon-to-be employer is and what their new position will be.

It’s a great way to declare, “I did it! And this is what I’m doing next!”

Temple University’s commencement, which will include hundreds of undergraduate students receiving BBA’s from the Fox School, is this week. So we asked several members of the Class of 2018 to share with us their new jobs and some inspiring stories about their time at Fox and Temple.

 

 

Kasey Brown, BBA ’18

Major: Management Information Systems
SPO: Association for Information Systems
New Job: Summer staff missionary, Catholic Youth Expeditions

New Uplifting Experiences: “First and foremost, I’m excited to grow in my Catholic faith. Temple gave me a beautiful opportunity to discover this faith, and I feel so blessed to work for an organization that allows me to grow and discover even more. Secondly, I have always had a special place in my heart for high school students and young adults. I remember what a difficult time of life it can be, and I look forward to being with them and help them in any way I can. In addition, working with Catholic Youth Expeditions means getting to learn more about how to serve the poor and how to love others—and there’s nothing more important to me.”

Helping Others: “Temple and Fox gave me the opportunity to hone my skills—not only in business, but also in communication, time management, leadership, crisis management, critical thinking, and teamwork. More importantly, Temple and Fox helped me discover the reason why I wanted to do business: to serve others. I know that in whatever job I do, it’ll never be just a job. It will be an opportunity to use my skills to help others and give back all I’ve been given here.”

 

William Clark, BBA ’18

Major: Finance
New Job: Financial analyst, Revint Solutions

Perfect Launching Pad: “As I progressed through my lower-level BBA core classes, I realized I had a passion for analyzing underlying financial data. I have been a math and science guy as early as the second grade, so pursuing a career centered around financial analysis seemed like a natural fit. A financial analyst position is the perfect launching pad for a long, successful career in corporate finance.”

Love at First Sight: “I fell in love with Fox from the moment I attended my first course. I had the privilege of being taught by some of the best professors in academia, within a modern building full of the latest finance-based technology. The Capital Markets Room was one of my favorite places at Fox, as I was able to hone my skills in Bloomberg, FactSet, and VBA programming, among other things. I was able to attain valuable knowledge that allowed me to separate myself from the crowd.”

 

Alexa Ann Gerenza, BBA ’18

Major: Marketing
SPO: American Marketing Association
New Job: Group ticket sales associate and service coordinator, New York Yankees

A Lifelong Fan’s Dream Job: “I’ve been a Yankees fan my entire life and to now have a job that always seemed so unrealistic it’s still hard to believe. Moving to NYC and having my office at the stadium and my work schedule based around game days, is less typical, yet so very exciting. This is an entirely new lifestyle than one I expected to have post-grad, but I’m beyond excited for the journey ahead.”

Finding Confidence (and Forever Friends!): “The American Marketing Association has given me my forever friends and motivated me to work harder in everything I do. It has given me more opportunities than I ever imagined, including two trips to the AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans, leading Temple’s chapter as vice president to success as a top five chapter, touring the Facebook office in NYC, and competing in an eBay sponsored case competition. Without the lessons learned and the experiences gained, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to send the initial LinkedIn connection to the Yankees and jump on the first phone call, which ultimately led to the position.”

 

Kyshon Johnson, BBA ’18

Major: International Business
New Job: Business Leadership program/Global sales associate, LinkedIn

Linking Up with LinkedIn: “LinkedIn is my dream company. I was able to tour the San Francisco office in 2016 and made a promise to myself I’d work there. I felt the company and culture aligned perfectly with my passions and life purpose. Initially, I applied for a summer internship and was rejected. I used that experience as motivation and an opportunity to improve my professionalism. I interned at Comcast and gained industry experience before applying for my full-time role. I am confident LinkedIn and the Business Leadership program will groom and mold me into a successful business woman.

The Fox School Network: “I am thankful for the resources and support that Fox and Temple have provided during my undergraduate experience. Fox has a strong alumni network filled with professionals throughout the world. I utilized the alumni network to connect with Owls within the technology industry. I was able to meet with individuals that work at Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They were all enthusiastic to assist me in landing a role at their companies. This professional foundation allowed me to explore career options and connect with amazing individuals.  

 

Katherine Taraschi, BBA ’18

Major: Marketing
New Job: Owner, O bag (King of Prussia Mall)

An Italian Vacation Inspires a Career: “O bag is an Italian company that creates interchangeable bags and accessories that customers can build in the store. It’s a store my friends and I were completely obsessed with when we visited Italy last spring. We visited six different locations all over Italy and one in Budapest. O bag King of Prussia will be located on the first floor of the Plaza between Lord and Taylor and Nordstrom.”

Benefits of a Real-World Curriculum: “I love that the professors at Fox all have real-world experience. Hearing different situations that they’ve encountered embedded in course topics gave a different perspective to the lessons—and definitely helped prepare me for my new position as a business owner.”

 

Lindsey Thompson, BBA ’18

Major: Human Resource Management
SPO: Net Impact; Society for Human Resource Management
New Job: Compensation analyst, Day & Zimmermann

A Passion for Philly… and Data: “I’m so excited to continue to live in my favorite city (Philadelphia), work with coworkers I have formed connections with during my internship at Day & Zimmermann, and to dive into the details of data in a field I’m passionate about.”

Involvement Pays Off: “The professors in Fox’s HR department, as well as other schools throughout the university, are some of the kindest and most knowledgeable people I’ve met. I can’t thank them enough for passing on their extensive industry knowledge, their warm and understanding natures, for making me think, and for serving as mentors. My leadership position with Net Impact and my role as a Teaching Assistant taught me the value of detail orientation, time management, effective communication, and remaining open-minded. I would suggest to any undergrad to get involved outside of class, because it has really added to my experience here at Temple!”

 

Ian Usher, BBA ’18

Major: Management Information System
SPO: Association for Information Systems
New Job: Media-Tech associate, NBC Universal

Becoming a Tech Leader: “I’m incredibly excited to start working for NBC Universal. While working for NBCU last summer, I discovered the company has a wonderful culture where I feel engaged and valued, even as a young employee. During that time, I became good friends with other interns, and it will be wonderful to continue to grow those relationships. The Media-Tech Associate program is a very demanding program, but it’s designed to give us the skills necessary to become future technology leaders.”

A Professional Journey Began at Fox: “Throughout my career at Fox, I was pushed to think logically, clearly, and critically to solve many real business problems. I was fortunate to work on projects with real companies, from startups like PoundCake to major organizations like CHOP. Completing these projects and learning how to interact with professionals helped me excel during my internship and prepared me for the workplace more effectively than if my classes were purely lecture-based. I was a poor writer before coming to Temple, and Fox classes like Business Communications have helped me improve my writing skills dramatically. That’s been critical thus far in my professional journey.”

Learn more about the Center for Student Professional Development.

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

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

STHM prof in USA Today
You’re traveling. You arrive at the hotel, in an unfamiliar city, and your reservation is nowhere to be found. Now what? STHM’s Michael Sheridan offers insight in a recent interview with USA Today. Read more >>

Inside Higher Ed explores groupwork
Groupwork has long served as a staple of education. But can that experience be replicated within online programs? Experts in online learning, including Fox’s Dr. Darin Kapanjie, weigh in. Read more >>

What is eSport’s future?
Experts predict that the eSport professional gaming industry could exceed $1.5 billion in revenue in the next two years. Last week, STHM hosted a conference focused on the phenomenon, and Dr. Daniel Funk speaks with Technically Philly. Read more >>

Are small brands overtaking bigger ones?
Marketing and retail trends seem to indicate this is the case. Fox’s Thomas Fung shares his expertise with The Philly Voice, in its weekly ‘Infrequently Asked Questions’ segment. Read more >>

Philly Voice | April 26, 2018
STHM’s Dr. Thilo Kunkel shares his research findings on football player branding and social media followership with Philly Voice. The research also receives publicity in Forbes. On the subject of arena renovations, Kunkel weighs in with Syracuse University’s The Daily Orange student newspaper.

6 ABC | April 27, 2018
Why are gas prices on the rise? Will drivers experience relief soon? Fox’s Dr. Sherry Jarrell has the answer. Watch >>

Media requests: Please send requests to Christopher A. Vito, associate director of communications & media relations, Temple University’s Fox School of Business, at cvito@temple.edu

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

Last month, a team of four Fox School juniors took a road trip to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to compete in the 2018 International Business Case Competition. They placed second and returned to Temple with a cash prize of $500.

The Fox School team—consisting of students Tyler Ascione, Sonali Patel, Nathan Pham, and Tarun Sangari—was one of the 12 teams to participate in the live competition sponsored by Nidec Motor Corporation and judged by business leaders from the St. Louis area. The challenge focused on developing strategies for the Japanese company to position, sell, and introduce its new FORECYTE sensors used for monitoring the vibrations and temperature of motors. The team was given the case Friday evening, and had to develop strategies and provide two rounds of presentations to the judges the next day. It was a hectic 24 hours.

“We had to figure out how to consolidate our ideas and put together a cohesive PowerPoint deck within the 24-hour time limit,” the team said. “In the first four hours, we individually researched and tried to get a holistic understanding of Nidec’s business model and the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ industry. The next six hours, we wrote our ideas on a blackboard and deliberated our strategy. After dinner, we were all extremely fatigued, and did not have a single slide ready. However, at around midnight, we found a second wind. We began motivating each other, and our energy showed through the slides.”

The team ultimately developed a prize-winning recommendation for Nidec.

“Our solution was multi-faceted,” the team said. “First, we recommended they license out its new sensor technology to MROs (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Then, for the next five years, we recommended they collect and analyze the data aggregated from those MROs and OEMs. Once the firm had a sufficient level of data, we suggested opening up a new line of revenue: providing insights to OEM and MRO clients. These insights would give the firms a better way to manage their human capital and assess business needs. To maintain security, we considered a distributed ledger technology, providing a way to record digital interactions that are highly resistant to outages.”

4 Most Valuable Lessons Learned

1. “The greatest lesson I learned was to accurately assess and portray different qualitative options with a quantitative model. I had struggled with recommending businesses to pursue different strategies, but I have since gained the tools to quantify the strength of one strategy over another.” – Tyler Ascione, Finance and Management Information Systems double major

2. “Participating in my first case, the greatest lesson I learned is how important it is to decide on a strategy that everyone agrees on and be able to present. It is important to ensure the strategy is a success by conducting a lot of research and having data. It took us a lot of effort to put together the case. However, at the end of the day we all worked as a team and had fun!” – Sonali Patel, Finance major

3. “My lesson was the power of teamwork and team chemistry. We were given a tough case with limited data about a new product from the company. It took us 10 hours to come up with an outline and a general strategy. By then, we were all very tired. But once we came together, each of us tried to motivate each other by talking and even joking around. It seemed trivial but some late-night laughs helped a lot in keeping us up and finishing the presentation. Because we liked each other and understood unique strengths of each team member, we were able to overcome difficult challenges and have a lot of fun along the way.” – Nathan Pham, Management Information Systems major, Finance minor

4. “The greatest lesson I learned from the case was how important it is to tell a story with your numbers. While having a ton of great data is very helpful to support your argument, having the ability to analyze that data and present it in an interesting manner is far more important than anything else.” – Tarun Sangari, Finance and Accounting double major

Learn more about the Fox School’s undergraduate programs.

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The Stone family is celebrating two new doctors.

Thomas W. Stone and Thomas J. Stone, father and son, both complete their doctoral programs this month, successfully defending their dissertations for Temple University’s Fox School and the College of Liberal Arts, respectively.

For many, completing a doctoral degree is a long, solitary process of researching and writing. For the Stones, while their research topics and processes were distinct, they experienced this journey together.

The elder Stone, graduating as part of the Fox School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) 2018 cohort, completed his dissertation on the productivity of lean software development. Working alongside his cohort and with managers at his former company (previously Siemens Healthcare, now Cerner), Stone enjoyed his interacting with other business professionals in pursuit of his degree. “I began writing on this topic when I started in the DBA program three years ago and spent years developing it while working at Siemens,” says Stone. “The Fox School does a great job of building up to the dissertation.” He praises his advisor, Sudipta Basu, and his cohort classmates for their encouragement throughout the experience.

The younger Stone completed his doctoral degree in the College of Liberal Arts’ Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He studied how Latin American authors address historical events in their narratives and critique the “great man” theory, which treats the biography of notable men as the basis of history , under the guidance of his long-time advisor, Dr. Hortensia Morell. “These writers understand characters as part of both fiction and historical writing,” he says. The works are narratives about four Latin American individuals: Aztec emperor Montezuma, political leader Simón Bolívar, explorer Christopher Columbus, and revolutionary Che Guevara.

The pair empathized with each other’s experiences, understanding the challenges they faced and celebrating the completion of milestones. While they embarked on their own research journeys—father running field experiments and collecting and analyzing data, and son diving into literature with support from his advisor—the two shared a support system. “We both struggled to get through this,” says the father, “but we made it to the finish line together.”

The father’s pride is evident. He applauds the younger Stone’s success, praising his diligent work ethic in completing this accomplishment on his own terms. Both father and son will graduate together May 10 at Temple University’s 131st Commencement.

The elder Stone felt lucky to have his son go through this process with him. “He reminded me to order my cap and gown,” Stone laughs.

Learn more about the Fox School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration program.

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

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

A murder — and a social media dilemma
In Allentown, a family uses Facebook to memorialize a deceased loved one. But that family member’s page features countless photos of the murderer. Despite requests from the family, Facebook’s policy leans toward preservation of the account as the deceased person left it. Fox’s Amy Lavin, an expert on social sentiment analysis, speaks with the Allentown Morning-Call. Read more >>

More commercials in your car?
With the advent (and increased use) of ride-sharing services, what does the future hold for in-car smartphone advertising? Fox’s Dr. Subodha Kumar, in an interview with national entertainment magazine Variety, explains data transmission and GPS pinpointing for more-tailored ads from advertisers. Read more >>

Two interviews with U.S. News
Do you need life insurance? Fox’s Michael McCloskey describes it as “the most overbought” form of coverage. And in another U.S. News & World Report story, Fox’s Dr. Janis Moore Campbell explains how critical thinking plays a role in supporting financial success.

Philadelphia Business Journal | April 19, 2018
Local companies and investors are jumping into Blockchain and related technological initiatives. Fox’s Dr. Bora Ozkan weighs in on Blockchain and other cryptocurrencies. Read more >>

Temple Now | April 19, 2018
Last week’s edition of the university e-newsletter sheds light on a Fox undergraduate carving out a career path in the music industry, as well as STHM’s upcoming eSports conference. Read more >>

Philadelphia Gay News | April 19, 2018
Will Pennsylvania’s lack of an anti-discrimination law affect Philadelphia’s chances of securing Amazon’s HQ2? Fox’s Dr. Jeffrey Boles offers his insights. Read more >>

American Banker | April 17, 2018
How do natural disasters impact small businesses and their lines of credit? American Banker speaks with Fox’s Dr. Benjamin Collier, highlighting his research work in this space. Read more >>

WalletHub | April 16, 2018
Fox’s Dr. Eric Eisenstein speaks with WalletHub about credit card rates. Read more >>

Media requests: Please send requests to Christopher A. Vito, associate director of communications & media relations, Temple University’s Fox School of Business, at cvito@temple.edu

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Maureen (Mimi) Morrin

Maureen (Mimi) Morrin’s research path started with something many don’t like to think about: odors.

“As weird as it may sound,” says Morrin, “when I was in the doctoral program, I knew I wanted to do some scent research.” At the time, sensory marketing was not a term in research vernacular. In the last decade, however, Morrin has witnessed the growth of this field.

Understanding the Senses

What is it about holding a Starbucks cup that keeps customers coming back? How does the smell of a luxury car elicit an emotion? These are the types of questions Morrin and her associates explore as they determine how the senses drive consumers.

As founder and director of the Consumer Sensory Innovation Lab at the Fox School of Business, Morrin has established a collaborative setting for doctoral students, professors, and corporate managers to research the world of sight, sound, scent, taste, and touch as they relate to consumer influences. “I think that humans on some basic level need sensory input,” says Morrin. “It helps you make sense of your world—the senses tell you what’s what.”

Today, corporations want a deeper understanding of what exactly can attract customers to their stores—and what keeps them coming back. Her work with various retailers and consumer packaged goods companies has fostered growth within the center, which is funded in part by external grants. While Amazon and Jet.com are consuming more of the retail pie, Morrin says brick-and-mortar retailers have an edge when it comes to the shopping experience.

“Companies may ask, what is my competitive advantage when people can just buy my product on Amazon?” says Morrin. “But, they have the ability to impact all of our five senses—to delight us sensorially speaking.”

A Sense of Community

At the Fox School, Morrin works closely with a number of doctoral students and undergraduates. The Lab provides a venue for those who self-identify as sensory researchers and allows for information- and resource-sharing. Through projects that determine if a store’s messiness has an affect on sales or if mint-flavored snacks allay the guilt a dieter may feel on a cheat day; Morrin sees her collaborative lab as a safe zone.

“Being a doctoral student can be very stressful and you often feel isolated, because you’re essentially learning how to be an independent researcher,” says Morrin. “Those who have been in the program longer are able to help junior students—it makes them feel like they’re a part of something.”

Across All Boards

On days Morrin is not running sensory experiments or encouraging questions on consumer decisions in her class lectures, she is deeply involved in the research community. Earlier this year, Morrin was invited to join the editorial review boards of the Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Consumer Affairs, and became an associate editor at the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

“I benefit from being a reviewer because I am able to see where the field is moving,” says Morrin. “The more reviewing you do, the better you get at detecting the bigger picture as a researcher.”

With a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of marketing, Morrin has seen her unique interest in sensory inputs become a mainstream trend. Though she is excited that more people are studying the field, Morrin’s passion for sensory research is not a fad.

“Whether it’s in or out, I’m here to stay.”

Learn more about Fox School Research.

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

Be Your Own Boss Bowl 2018 (Photo: Chris Kendig Photography)

UniFi, a mobile app focused on financial wellness and onboarding, won the Bernard and Murray Spain Grand Prize at the 20th annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl® (BYOBB®), a Temple University-wide business plan competition.

Led by Jessica Rothstein, an MBA student at Temple’s Fox School of Business, the UniFi team won $60,000 in prize money at the April 19 final presentations. The earnings will immediately support UniFi’s acquisition of talent and technical resources.

“Our team celebrated winning Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, but for us, it was right back to work,” Rothstein said. “We have so much to achieve in the coming weeks and months, and two pilots to launch this summer. Winning this competition will definitely help us reach our goals.”

UniFi’s mission is to solve financial illiteracy through a digital platform purchased by companies and distributed to their employees. The app, Rothstein said, aims to improve communication between employers and employees to curb low adoptive rates of benefits packages—a workplace epidemic that exists nationwide, Rothstein said.

Additionally, UniFi will create “a snapshot of a user’s finances, centralizing statements for employee benefits and mortgages,” Rothstein said, and offer access to critical financial resources “in language everyone can understand.” UniFi also will provide 24/7 support, either through text messaging or social media.

“We’re not financial advisors. We’re translators,” said Rothstein, whose business partners include Lauren Della Porta and fellow Fox MBA alumnus Derek Miller. “The world’s top financial institutions have created this content and shared it on the Internet, but people don’t understand it, or know how to look for it.”

BYOBB® is the flagship program of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), and is ranked one of the nation’s most-lucrative business plan competitions. This year, 12 finalists representing five of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges delivered presentations in competition for more than $200,000 in cash prizes and related products and professional accounting, legal, and marketing services.

Jessica Rothstein at Be Your Own Boss Bowl 2018 (Photo: Chris Kendig Photography)

BYOBB® features three distinct tracks. The winners from each were:

  • Social Impact Track: Ovarian Lab. Led by College of Engineering student Emily Kight, the company produced an in-home, non-invasive urine test that screens for ovarian cancer.
  • Undergraduate Track: Kovarvic LLC. The company, led by Fox School student Daniel Couser, developed a handheld device that uses pulses of vibration to influence brain waves and de-escalate anxiety attacks.
  • Upper Track: UniFi.

“Even if you don’t win, you’ve already won,” said Temple provost and executive vice president JoAnne Epps, addressing the competition’s finalists. “You are our future. The notion going forward that says, ‘We do things this way, but why can’t we do it differently?’ That’s you who are posing those important questions, and that’s you who are forcing us to answer them.”

IEI recognized Steve Charles, KLN ’80, with the Self Made and Making Others Award, celebrating lifetime achievement in entrepreneurship. A Temple University Trustee, Charles recently gifted $10 million to support the university and Temple Libraries.

And for the ninth year, IEI recognized students who best demonstrate the passion for entrepreneurship that was embodied by former Fox School professor Dr. Chris Pavlides. Entrepreneurship major Douglas Trachtman and Real Estate major Jalen West received the Pavlides Family Award.

Learn more about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.

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

Sheila Ireland, BBA ’93, was recently appointed the executive director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Workforce Development. “There is no one better suited to lead this work than Ms. Ireland,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a press release. “She comes with decades of experience in workforce development, including national recognition for her expertise in coordinating industry partnerships. Her ability to understand and address the needs of industry in a way that is also acutely aware of the challenges facing Philadelphia residents will serve the people and businesses of our city well.”

Ireland, who majored in Human Resources at the Fox School and earned a master’s degree at La Salle University, has worked for many years in human resources and workforce development in both the public and private spheres. Her previous position was as deputy director of the City’s Workforce and Diversity Inclusion program.

We recently spoked to Ireland about her new position and some of the goals of the newly established Office of Workforce Development. She also gave some advice to high school students heading to college, and to college students heading off to new jobs after graduation.

What’s the biggest challenge of your new role?

“In order to implement the strategy, it’s going to require systems change. A lot of times when we look at Workforce Development, it’s program-based or service-based, and it’s based on a certain set of participants. But in this case, when you look at the strategy the way I look at it, it’s about systems alignment. When you see all the metrics, the ones for me that will really change things, will be where systems start to change and be more coordinated. Funding streams in the City of Philadelphia really need to be organized around quality, delivery, and services, where now it’s a hodgepodge of different things. Shared goals and common data systems are in the plan, and those will make a big difference that we’ll see in unemployment in Philadelphia.”

What excites you most about this position?

“What’s most exciting is that, in the city’s history, I’ve never seen the major players come to the table together like they are now. You never see the School District, and Philadelphia Youth Network, and Philadelphia Works, etc., at the same table talking about how we, as collaborators, can affect change in the city. It’s usually this conversation where if you put a lot of people into the same room a fight breaks out. Everyone advocates for their particular issue and it always ends up being that kind of conversation. We never have the conversation where we realize all these different services need to be offered in coordination so people can lift themselves out of poverty or return to employment. I think for the first time we’re starting to have that conversation, about how education connects with employment, and how workforce connects to employment. We’ve had those conversations before, but never in a coordinated way. We’re doing that now.”

Sheila Ireland, BBA ’93, executive director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Workforce Development

I read “Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine,” the new citywide workforce strategy, and I noticed a big emphasis throughout on long-term job training. Now, with traditional pathways to employment and promotion structures eroding, and the rise of the gig economy, and so on, how do you accommodate for those changes through the lens of long-term job training?

“I’ll ask you to look at it differently. The center is the career pathways model. The focus is that it’s informed by the way people usually go through their careers versus the reality. The myth is, you go to college, you do well; you get a job, you do well; you advance, you advance, you advance. The reality is those people’s careers are more like Slinkys. Stuff happens. Bad stuff happens. Unemployment happens. Industries contract. Enron. I could go on and on. People need the opportunity to partake in a system where there are entry and exit points no matter what the skill level. If you look at the career ladder, it starts at very low skill. Things like First Step Staffing, whose sole focus is getting people off the street and employed in two weeks is one end of the spectrum. The other end of the spectrum is when we talk about our tech industry partnerships, where people talk about the real digital skills required to engage in what is one of the fastest growing sectors in Philadelphia and the country. So we’re talking about this systems based approach where, wherever you are, we as a city need to provide you to the resources you need to connect to work.”

As Philly high school students enter college, what skills do you think the city needs its future employees to have, and what should they be studying?

“It’s interesting that you say that because I normally get a different question. I normally get the question about how is Workforce connected to kids going to college, and the answer is they need the same skills. People use a lot of different terminology: soft skills, power skills, twenty-first century skills, etc. It’s emotional intelligence and the ability to delay gratification. It’s the ability to work effectively in a team. Team work says you don’t always get your way, that you work toward a common goal. It’s all connected. This is what employees look for, and they’re the hardest skills to get. It’s much easier to focus on tech skills, or quantitative skills. Really, the skill is about how to build a career, and how to envision moving away from the now and seeing the bigger picture of where you could be. I remember my first job, I worked for money, and I didn’t care what I did. I had a part time job in high school typing for a PhD candidate; I was in the tenth-grade typing letters because I had no idea what she was writing about! It was data entry. It was awful, but I learned so much. My parents said, ‘You can’t quit, you have to get it done because you made a commitment.’ That always stayed with me. That skill is important: tenacity in the face of unpleasantness. You can’t build a career without that.”

And for students graduating this month from the Fox School of Business and Temple University, why should they stick around to work in Philadelphia rather than take a job elsewhere?

“I’ll tell you my personal piece. I’m from Chicago; I’m not a Philadelphia native. I’ve had opportunities to leave the city, but I love it here. There’s a particular pace and charm that makes it very distinct from New York or D.C. Philly is a small big city. I enjoy that in a lot of ways. Despite the things that we struggle with, there are so many positive things happening here. In New York or D.C., you’re just a cog in the wheel. As a young person in Philadelphia who’s building their career and their vision about the impact and change they’re going to make in their lives, there’s an opportunity to be a part of the future of the city.”

Learn more about the Fox School’s Department of Human Resource Management.
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The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded The World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP) a $1M, three-year matching grant to implement key strategies of the Greater Philadelphia Export Plan. As part of the nationwide Global Cities Initiative (GCI), supported by the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, the plan aims to increase the number of exporting companies and accelerate regional job and revenue growth through economic exports. Specifically, the plan will build capacity among the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s), and bolster export growth in the Greater Philadelphia region’s health and professional services, architecture, design, engineering, and construction management companies.

Academic partnerships are key to the success of the GCI. Partners, such as Temple University’s Fox School of Business, help supply research to uncover data, trends, and analysis that directly impacts the professional and academic international business community. The end goal for such partnerships are to fuel economic growth, help companies’ increase their sales, and attract more investors in key industries for the region.

A recent study from Team Philadelphia, with Temple University leading the research and data analysis, sought to support GCI and uncover the global network analysis of the region. According to Brookings, Philadelphia ranks fifth among U.S. cities in terms of pharmaceutical exports. The region’s strengths in R&D and the innovation is needed for biotechnology, according to Dr. Ram Mudambi, professor at the Fox School, and his team. Philadelphia is higher up on the value chain, focusing in innovation rather than manufacturing. It remains a challenge for cities to learn how to balance this expertise at innovation with the desire for job creation at all levels, which would historically have been supported by manufacturing. In addition, Dr. Bertrand Guillotin, professor and academic director at the Fox School, contributed to the data collection efforts, which were crucial for the GCI’s first annual Philadelphia report.

For Pennsylvania, promoting exports from Philadelphia is a key economic development tool. It leads to job creation, higher wages, more stable companies, and a diverse market base for firms. Imports play an important role too. The United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland are key trading partners both in terms of exporting and importing, which demonstrates that Pennsylvania is part of the pharmaceutical global value chain, interacting actively with these key country partners.

Temple University’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) is currently implementing more than 70 events to improve U.S. competitiveness in the world marketplace and to produce globally competent students, faculty, and staff. Temple CIBER at the Fox School has received a grant from the Department of Education since its inception in 2002 and is one of 17 such centers in the country. The CIBER grant supports academic research for the international business community, including helping produce research that meets the needs of global business objectives.

The program recognizes these figures in its efforts to help U.S. companies connect to global markets:

  • 95% of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S.
  • <1% of America’s 30 million companies export
  • 58% of U.S. companies that export do so to only one country
Learn more about the Fox School’s programs in International Business.
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On April 4, five teams consisting of Fox School undergraduate students participated in the On Target Case Competition, sponsored by Target and hosted by the Center for Student Professional Development. They were asked to act as consultants in order to address a corporate issue—in this case, the role of gender toys in merchandising—spanning multiple functional areas of Target’s business. The five finalist teams, whittled down earlier from 15 overall team submissions, received a collective total of $3,500 in prizes. The winning team went home with $1,300.

“There were so many innovative ideas and solutions,” said Anita Galiano, a senior field campus recruiting leader at Target and one of the competition judges. “Their professionalism, from their demeanor to how they projected themselves from a research standpoint and really dove into the case study, was impressive. There’s normally a point when teams stumble, like if we throw a wrench in their plans, but the winning team was very committed to their plan and quickly came up with great advice and answers.”

The winning team consisted of students Cong No, Tung Nguyen, Quyen Le, and Thao Nguyen, whose pitch to Target was a plan titled “PlayVenture.” It included the implementation of an indoor play area where kids could test new toys and shoppers could earn rewards, the development of new in-store displays to promote gender-neutral product categorization, and the creation of an internal toy brand.

“The most valuable lesson we learned was that trying our best always led to worthwhile results,” said Thao Nguyen, a member of the winning team. “We did a lot of research about toy trends, especially gender neutrality in the toy industry, and we pushed ourselves to come up with creative ideas. Another valuable lesson we learned was that understanding our teammates was key to the group work. Because the process was very long and we were all busy with studying and other things, we respected each other’s busy schedules and had flexible meetings. Therefore, everyone had the chance to contribute to the team work.”

“What made our team a good team,” Nguyen continued, “was that we really paid attention when our teammates were talking so we could pick out strong and creative points. By doing so, we were all respected within the team, and we created a comfortable and conducive working environment.”

Learn more about the Center for Student Professional Development.
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A roundup of media mentions featuring faculty and staff from the Fox School of Business and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management.

Fox School in Financial Times
Recently, business schools are weaving into their curriculum study in neuroscience. Fox’s Dr. Angelika Dimoka, the director of Temple’s Center for Neural Decision Making, speaks with Financial Times about Fox’s PhD program in this space. Read more>>

Leading by example
The Philadelphia Eagles’ Brandon Brooks, a Super Bowl champion, is also a champion of mental health awareness. Honors students in a leadership course led by Fox’s Dr. Crystal Harold invited Brooks to Alter Hall to speak with Fox students at a de-stress event. 6 ABC and student newspaper The Temple News provide coverage. Read more>>

‘Performing at the highest level’
Fox’s Dr. Crystal Harold is among the recipients of Temple University’s annual teaching, research, and creativity awards. Temple Now, the university’s weekly newsletter, announces all of the 2018 awardees. Read more>>

Technically Philly | April 9, 2018
Three leaders of a local venture firm—including its CEO—have stepped down recently, amid calls from its investor groups for speedier returns on its stake sell-offs. Fox’s Dr. TL Hill provides subject-matter expertise on these processes. Read more>>

The Legal Intelligencer | April 5, 2018
Fox’s James Lammendola contributes an op-ed to The Legal Intelligencer, detailing a nonprecedential opinion by the Superior Court. Read more>>

Sydney Morning Herald | April 3, 2018An editorial in Australia’s second-largest daily newspaper discusses the pitfalls of a current marketing strategy, and it cites the research work of Fox’s Dr. Joydeep Srivastava. Read more>>

Media requests: Please send requests to Christopher A. Vito, associate director of communications & media relations, Temple University’s Fox School of Business, at cvito@temple.edu

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

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute‘s 20th annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, where Temple University students and recent alumni live pitch their bold business ideas, happens Thursday, April 19, at Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business.

The 12 finalists will compete for $200,000 in prizes, which will help launch their businesses and take them to the next level. For more information, and to RSVP to the live pitch contest, click here.

In preparation for BYOBB® 2018, we spoke with several past winners and finalists to learn more about the state of their businesses back when they competed, where they are now, and what their next big move will be.

 

Joe Green, Affinity Confections

AFFINITY CONFECTIONS

Founder: Joe Green, BBA ’12

Major: Entrepreneurship

About Affinity Confections: “Affinity Confections creates pastries and desserts featuring premium natural ingredients without any artificial flavors or colors. All of our confections are created to be portion controlled and seasonally inspired to highlight seasonal flavors.”

BYOBB® 2015 prize: Third place, upper track ($5,000)

Then: “We were in the growth stage of the business, framing out additional revenue streams, but we were already profitable as a company during the pitch. We wanted the prize money to build out operations.”

Now: “We are currently in another growth phase, expanding our baking operations and creating more packaged products for retail sale. We’ve also gotten several contracts in Philadelphia, with institutions such as University Of Pennsylvania and CHOP.”

What’s next: “We’re working on building production and retail space.”

 

Jung Park, Cocktail Culture Co.

COCKTAIL CULTURE CO.

Founder: Jung Park, BBA ’16

Major: Marketing

About Cocktail Culture: “Cocktail Culture Co. offers a booking platform for immersive experience-based activities such as cocktail classes and whiskey tastings. We teach the art & craft of mixology with freshly squeezed juices, homemade syrups, and premium ingredients. Our interactive classes offer a promotional channel for liquor brands to market their products for consumer purchase and usage.”

BYOBB® 2016 prize: Third place, undergraduate track ($5,000)

Then: “We were going through the formation/ideation phase. I was still brainstorming the concept, sizing the target market, figuring out how to create value for the consumer, and how to make the idea scalable.”

Now: “We are in the middle of the validation stage. Last year, 2017, was our first real year in business! The first six months were kind of scary, but we saw all our hard work pay off after August. After August was still scary, but a different type of scary, because we were getting flooded with sales and it was definitely overwhelming for our small staff. Some other big changes and growths we had since we were in the BYOBB® ? Well, our website isn’t on GoDaddy Website Builder anymore, so that’s good! That was definitely an ugly time for us. In the beginning, when you don’t have money, resources or help in general, you’re forced to do everything yourself, even when you’re not good at it). We also got a real logo and we’re building traction on corporate sales. We’ve served major names, like Viacom, Microsoft, and ATKearney; and we’re doing an event with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, so that’s exciting. We’ve been chasing bachelorette parties for a whole year (and some change), so we’re happy to see our hard work pay off. We have bachelorette parties all the time now and they’re almost always $500 to $1200 sales.”

What’s next: “The next step for Cocktail Culture Co. is more sales! We’re trying to figure out the maximum market potential in Philadelphia right now. Last year was proof that it’s a profitable concept. We’re getting our numbers up at our current location and figuring out if it’s a good idea to open a second location in the Philly suburbs. We’ve been talking a lot about Atlantic City in the past two months, so I’m hoping that works out by the end of this year or beginning of next year.”

 

Andrew Nakkache, Habitat

HABITAT

Founder: Andrew Nakkache, BS ’16

Major: Economics

About Habitat: “Founded in 2013, while at Temple University, Habitat is a Philadelphia-based company passionate about helping local businesses and committed to accelerating new ways to live and work within the ‘convenience economy.’ Today, Habitat helps restaurants by providing them a single delivery fleet for all of their orders. We do this through aggregating orders from various ordering sources (Grubhub, Eat24, Phone-ins, etc.).”

BYOBB® 2015 prize: First place, undergraduate track ($21,000)

Then: “We were trying to do too many things then. Our app was a hyperlocal marketplace that looked like Instagram, and functioned like Craigslist, but only for college students and local businesses.”

Now: “We pivoted twice since the BYOBB®. Our first pivot was to focus on food delivery on college campuses: think Caviar for campuses. This pivot gave us focus and insight into the market, which ultimately led to our more recent and successful pivot. We realized that restaurants had a much bigger pain around managing online orders rather than receiving more of them. We’re now B2B, working behind the scenes, and the best part is, as Grubhub gets bigger, so do we!”

What’s next: “This year is all about distribution partnerships that give us scale. We recently signed two partnerships with online ordering companies that have over 50,000 restaurants combined!”

 

Nick Delmonico, Strados Labs

STRADOS LABS

Founder: Nick Delmonico, GMBA ’17

MBA concentration: Health Sector Management

About Strados Labs: “For clinicians seeking critical respiratory data, Strados utilizes proprietary technology to collect and transmit data in a simple, non-invasive manner, improving outcomes and saving money.”

BYOBB® 2017 prize: Grand prize; First place in the Urban Health Innovation track ($60,000)

Then: “Strados Labs had designed a proof of concept prototype and conducted several customer journey maps and studies. As an early start-up, we focused heavily on understanding the pain points of our stakeholders, both patients and caregivers in managing and monitoring exacerbations and complications due to airway compromise. We found that there was a major data gap between what patients knew about their own signs and symptoms and what care teams know about patients in advance of a hospitalization event. We competed in BYOBB® to raise the necessary funding to further the development of our product, and to refine our value proposition to health organizations.”

Now: “Since 2017, Strados has raised more than $200,000 through a combination of business competitions, grants, and early investors. We have finalized our minimum viable product (MVP) and are in the process of conducting a clinical study at a major health system in New York. We have also participated in three globally ranked accelerator programs including NextFab RAPID, Brinc.io Global IoT, and Texas Medical Center Accelerator (TMCx) Cohort 6. The programs not only provided access to capital, but enabled our company to create collaborative partnerships with leading health institutions and care platforms across the country. Strados expanded its management team to include a highly experienced medical device CTO with successful exits and a clinical advisory team that includes physician leaders in pulmonary medicine and respiratory therapies with multiple successful medical devices and drug launches.”

What’s next: “Strados will be launching pilot studies with clinical partners over the course of the summer and will be moving the Strados product further through a full commercial launch. We have some additional partnerships in the pipeline that we are excited to announce in the near future.”

 

Lisa Guenst, ToothShower

TOOTHSHOWER

Founder: Lisa Guenst, BA ’13

Major: Community and Regional Planning

About ToothShower: “ToothShower is an oral home care suite for the shower.”

BYOBB® 2017 prize: First place, upper track ($20,000)

Then: “It was our first business plan ever written and there was no revenue. We were in the prototype stage.”

Now: “We have our tooling completed from money we raised on crowdfunding—we raised more than $325,000 through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. And our first run sample has been tested and we are waiting for our second sample to test.”

What’s next: “Once we deliver the product to our crowdfunding backers, we will move into ecommerce sales.”

 

David Feinman, Viral Marketing Ideas

VIRAL IDEAS MARKETING

Founder: David Feinman, BBA ’15

Major: Entrepreneurship, Marketing

About Viral Ideas Marketing: “At Viral Ideas, we create to inspire. We work with companies as their dedicated video partner. We are a modern video production company built for new media. We believe in the power of defining companies why and sharing their why through video and modern media production.”

BYOBB® 2017 prize: Second place, upper track ($10,000)

Then: “Two and a half years ago, while still in college, Zach Medina and I started Viral Ideas with $250 of our own money and just one client. At the time of BYOBB, we had 42 clients and were working out of our office space in Southampton, Pennsylvania. Other than BYOBB® winnings and our original $250, we are proud of the fact that we’re entirely self-funded while sustaining 2x year over year growth.”

Now: “Growing the business hasn’t been easy. It’s meant putting our heads down to focus only on work, overcoming the challenges that most startups face, giving up a social life and making significant sacrifices along the way. Now, less than three years into the business, we were voted Best in Bucks for Media production by Bucks Happening and have more than 120 clients while also working with some of the most significant brands in the world. In 2018, we’re on track to double our revenue again and fully launch our technology platform.”

What’s next: “We’re working to simplify the process of creating a video. After building more than 700 videos for some of the most significant companies in the world, we’ve learned that the process can be drawn out, time-consuming, and complicated. We intend to solve this problem by creating a technology which reduces the amount of time required to develop a video through a technical solution.”

 

Left to right: Felix Addison, Kelley Green, Ofo Ezeugwu, and Nik Korablin of Whose Your Landlord (Photo: Durrell Hospedale)

WHOSE YOUR LANDLORD

Founder: Ofo Ezeugwu, BBA ’13

Major: Entrepreneurship

About Whose Your Landlord: “WYL is a web platform empowering and informing the rental community by providing landlord reviews, neighborhood and community-driven content, and access to more than 500,000 listings across the U.S.”

BYOBB® 2014 prize: First place, upper track; Best plan by a minority entrepreneur ($20,500)

Then: “We had just launched, with maybe 10,000 or 20,000 users.”

Now: “750,000 users, people looking for reviews/rentals (25% MOM growth). 70,000 blog readers/mo (43% MOM growth). More than 500,000 active listings nationwide. Renter search queries, 230% MOM growth. 10,000 landlord reviews in the Northeast. Corporate partnerships with American Express, Allstate, Roadway Moving, Dominion, etc. Recent coverage in Forbes, New York Post, NowThis, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Blavity, Curbed, Newsweek, TechCrunch, etc.”

What’s next: “We are raising capital at republic.co/whoseyourlandlord (go invest!) and working with Univision on a podcast focusing on the following: ‘WhoseYourLandlord (founded in 2013) is a web platform empowering and informing the rental community through landlord reviews, neighborhood-focused content, and by providing access to quality listings across the United States. Their brand has become synonymous with realness, community, and growth. In a time where multicultural communities are under attack in many places across the world, The Take Ownership podcast highlights insightful stories and people who are really doing the work to enlighten folks on mentally and economically taking ownership of the spaces they live in.'”

For more information about Be Your Own Boss Bowl 2018, and to RSVP, click here.
Learn more about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.
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In the Venn Diagram of sociologists and international business researchers, Dr. Richard Deeg sits right in the middle.

This June, Dr. Deeg, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will receive the Journal of International Business Studies Decade Award from the Academy of International Business for his 2008 paper that encouraged scholars to think about international business in a more holistic way.

“My interest in business has been within the political context,” says Deeg, formerly chair of the Department of Political Science. “I want to know how businesses are organized, regulated, and structured, and how this impacts other segments of society.”

Since 1996, the Decade Award has honored the most influential article in international business (IB) in the previous ten-year period. Dr. Deeg is the second Temple University researcher to receive the award, the first since Dr. Arvind Parkhe, Laura H. Carnell Professor and chair of the Department of Strategic Management in the Fox School, in 2001.

Deeg and his co-author, Gregory Jackson of the Free University of Berlin, compared two international business approaches in their paper, “Comparing capitalisms: understanding institutional diversity and its implications for international business.”

First, a variable-based approach, which was and remains common in IB literature, focuses on individual aspects of a country in order to understand how an outside firm may be affected. For example, executives may examine a country’s legal framework, which may not be as strong as in their home country or may favor different activities over others, to learn how it would impact decisions made in the new country.

Deeg presented “comparative capitalism” as an alternative viewpoint in IB, an approach frequently used in political science and sociology. “We were advocating a holistic approach,” says Deeg. “We said, don’t just compare property rights, and how they might be different and how that might affect our business. You also have to think about how the whole system in a different country works.”

The paper did not present one approach as superior than the other; rather, they were meant to be used as complementary. The variables-based approach, which using specific characteristics of an economic landscape, lends itself well to quantitative studies. The comparative capitalism approach, on the other hand, is helpful in understanding the way these institutions interact.

“Since 2008, there has been a lot more research in examining institutions,” says Ram Mudambi, Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategy at the Fox School. “While it existed before this paper, it would be fair to say that institutional context has seen an increase in interest in IB literature over the last decade.”

Deeg uses his political science background to view the existing IB literature in a unique light, and he advises others to do the same. “My advice, particularly to young researchers, is to break outside your preordained professional circles and societies, and venture into ones that overlap.”

Since being named Dean of the College of Liberal Arts in September 2016, Deeg has recognized the value of translating research insights outside of academia.

“How do we take the ivory tower work we do and connect it to the city? The Fox School is certainly thinking that way, and we’re trying to invest as well,” says Deeg. “It’s a way to give back to the city, but it’s also a way to launch the students.”

Learn more about Fox School Research.

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Nobody likes a tattletale.

Since our days on elementary school playgrounds, we have been conditioned to avoid tattling. The possibility of being declared the class snitch has kept many school children’s lips tightly sealed—and, sadly, that attitude continues in the professional world today.

Dr. Leora Eisenstadt, assistant professor in the Department of Legal Studies at the Fox School of Business, once asked her undergraduate students in a business law and ethics class a simple question: Would they be willing to oust the firm they worked for, knowing there was fraudulent activity occurring?

Out of 22 students, only one said yes.

For the students who decided to stay quiet, their choice was not ddue to a lack of morality, but rather a fear of not recovering from the act of whistleblowing.

“Whistleblowing involves speaking out against an organization that you see doing something illegal, corrupt, or harmful to the general public,” says Eisenstadt. “Whistleblowers are often the subject of retaliation—once you come forward, you are likely to face termination or some other adverse employment action.”

Eisenstadt and co-author Dr. Jennifer Pacella of Baruch College confront the laws regarding whistleblowers in their paper, “Whistleblowers Need Not Apply,” which has been accepted for publication by the American Business Law Journal. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, retaliation against someone who complains of discrimination is prohibited. In contrast, the “swiss cheese” laws covering whistleblowing often provide little to no protection for the tipsters, who are likely to be ostracized and blacklisted from their company or even industry after the story breaks.

After reviewing the Whistleblowers Protection Act, Dodd–Frank Act, Sarbanes–Oxley Act, and the False Claims Act, Eisenstadt and her co-author uncovered many of the loopholes that would inherently exclude whistleblowers from potential support. Although the laws prohibit retaliation to some extent, three out of four statutes do not protect whistleblowers from future employers’ prejudices.

While whistleblowers may be lauded by the public as a righteous and ethical individual who brought down a corrupt company, new employers are likely to see them as disloyal troublemakers.

“Beyond losing your job, the main reason people won’t come forward as whistleblowers is that they know they could be blackballed in the industry and face an extraordinarily difficult time finding future employment,” says Eisenstadt. “Sometimes, that is even more traumatizing than losing your present job.”

While anti-discrimination law clearly prohibits retaliation against job applicants, whistleblowers are typically left out in the rain. Eisenstadt and Pacella, in the first article to examine the lack of legal protections for whistleblowers who are applying for new jobs, propose a way to change that.

“We are arguing that Congress needs to step in and amend each of these federal statutes to provide protection for whistleblower applicants,” says Eisenstadt. “Our reform proposal is remarkably simple: take the language that’s in Title VII (and the decades of court interpretations that come with it) and add it to the whistleblower statutes.”

By adding the phrase “and job applicants,” Eisenstadt argues that this would end the problem of courts’ varying and unclear interpretations and create stronger protections for a vulnerable group. With clear statutory language detailing protections available to whistleblowers, courts can more fairly apply the law to the many types of whistleblowing cases that occur in both private and public settings.

“This is a problem that requires legislative action and not something the courts can do on their own,” says Eisenstadt.

With their hopes set to send their research to legislatures once published, the future of whistleblowers may become more positive—and maybe those 21 students who stayed quiet will eventually speak up.

Learn more about Fox School Research.
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The popularity of true crime entertainment—from books to movies and television shows—has increased significantly in recent years. And when readers and viewers obsess about the type of work detectives, FBI agents, and criminal profilers do, they’re obsessing about the work of people like James R. Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald, who will speak about his distinguished career at the Fox School Wednesday, April 18 (3 p.m., Alter Hall, MBA Commons 7th floor), studied law enforcement and corrections at Penn State before becoming a police officer in Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania. He climbed the ranks, from patrol officer to detective to sergeant, and was then recruited by the FBI in 1987. His first assignment was to the FBI/NYPD Joint Bank Robbery Task Force. Then he was promoted to a supervisory special agent as a profiler and later a forensic linguist, a job that put to work his two master’s degrees in organizational psychology (Villanova University) and linguistics (Georgetown University).

His first case as a profiler? The Unabomber investigation, one of the longest (17 years) and most expensive criminal investigations of the 20th Century.

His work with the FBI helped put Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, behind bars. He has since written three books about his life and career, the most recent being A Journey to the Center of the Mind, Book III, which focuses on his first decade working with the FBI. He has also worked as an advisor and producer for several television shows, including CBS’s Criminal Minds and the Discovery Channel’s recent Manhunt: Unabomber.

In advance of Fitzgerald’s public event at the Fox School, we spoke to him about his exciting career path.

The work of criminal profilers has become household knowledge to many, but for those who may not know, can you explain what it is a profiler does?

“A profiler looks at the behavioral aspects of a crime or a crime scene and attempts to determine personality and demographic factors about the offender or offenders. They’re usually invisible clues, not forensic clues, and they’re based on psychological issues or issues regarding to the specific needs of the offender. Experienced profilers can determine what kind of offender it is and what he or she might do next and where they might do it.”

When you started working for the FBI in the late-1980s, profiling was still a fairly new practice. What was it like working in what was then a new, rare profession?

“Profiling came into its heyday in the 1980s and ’90s. I’m generally considered the third generation of FBI profilers. The concept of profiling was still very new and people, including the law enforcement community, were just finding out about it and learning that it wasn’t magic or mysterious, but involved an extensive knowledge of existing violent crimes, learning how and why each of those offenders committed those crimes, and the behavioral clues left behind.

“Profiling involves extensive knowledge of the criminal mind; I had been a police officer for 11 years and an FBI agent for seven years before I became a profiler. To be a good profiler, you have to have spent time at violent crime scenes interviewing victims and witnesses, and/or dealing with arrested individuals once they’re in the penal system. As a new profiler, part of my training was to go to prisons and meet with convicted lifers who’d committed violent crimes and interview them, just like in the TV series Mindhunter.”

Your first assignment as a profiler was to track down the Unabomber. This turned out to be a huge, life-changing case. How did you deal with the pressure of that situation?

“It was definitely a pressure-laden situation, especially because we knew he could bomb again at any time. He already killed three people, injured several dozen, and his bombs were getting more lethal. In June of 1995, he sent his ‘Manifesto’ to The New York Times and he wrote in accompanying letters that if they published it, he’d stop bombing for purposes of killing, but not for purposes of sabotage. A lot of people forget that last part. I believed he would try to keep his word, and I thought that by putting the ‘Manifesto’ out there someone might recognize his writing style, themes, and topics. There were debates within the FBI’s UNABOM Task Force in San Francisco whether to publish it or not; I firmly believed we should publish it and I stated so.

“There was so much linguistic evidence in it, and we finally got approved at the highest levels of government to publish it. The pressure was there. We knew that if we made a mistake it could possibly result in more bombings. Kaczynski, at the time, was just one of many suspects. I was the expert on the ‘Manifesto,’ then in February of 1996 I was asked to read a 23-page document that was faxed to me back at the FBI Academy in Quantico. It turned out someone named David Kaczynski, Ted’s younger brother, through his attorney, had turned over this document to the FBI. I read it, compared it to the ‘Manifesto,’ and told the UTF bosses either it was an elaborate plagiarism or ‘you’ve got your man.’ The latter was eventually proven to be correct. I went back out to the UTF in San Francisco, and about eight weeks later, the Unabomber was arrested and he never saw the light of day again.”

Your career has evolved in such a unique way, especially now that you’re writing books and working on television shows. How have you stayed open to these new career pathways?

“Life is full of adaptation. As an undergrad or grad student, you have to be willing to veer left or veer right, and sometimes even go backwards, to achieve your goals. Everyone’s life is a journey. My life varied over the years with different types of assignments within my profession. As a Bensalem police officer, I remember sitting on top of a billboard on I-95 looking for guys stealing cars. Throughout my career, I did undercover drug buys, responded to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and had my first job as a profiler be the Unabomber case. The language analysis work I did on that case set legal precedent on how language can be used in the courts. Now I’m having a second life in Hollywood. I’ve adapted from street officer to FBI special agent to profiler to forensic linguist to TV consultant and writer. And I don’t think I’m done adapting yet. I remain open and excited to see where it takes me next.”

This event, sponsored by the Department of Legal Studies in Business, is part of an ongoing series of celebrations commemorating the Fox School’s 100th anniversary.

Learn more about the Fox School’s Department of Legal Studies in Business

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