Throughout the month of February, the Fox School of Business is highlighting the voices and businesses of black entrepreneurs, executives, volunteers and more. These talented professionals are striving to make the world a more diverse, inclusive and accessible place for future generations.
To balance his impressively extensive workload, Anthony Copeman, BBA ‘14, chooses to work smart. Since he was a student studying accounting at the Fox School of Business, Copeman has founded a non-profit, began working for the City of Philadelphia, and launched an animated financial literacy YouTube series aimed at millennials called $hares.
His non-profit, Backyard Business, was born while he was still working on his undergraduate degree at Temple. The mission of the organization was to empower inner city youth to create businesses that met the needs of their community. But then Copeman decided that, if he really wanted to make an impact and inspire youth to embrace entrepreneurship, he needed to practice what he preached.
As a result, Financial Lituation came to fruition in 2016. What started as an Instagram account filled with financial inspiration evolved into a one-on-one financial coaching program, and then a digital platform hosting online workshops. The Financial Lituation website describes their mission best:
“FINANCIAL LITUATION is millennial-infused, digital platform which focuses on helping you reinvent your finances and reimagine your freedom. We believe that your mindset is the primarily currency for building wealth, and money is second. We help you start the journey towards financial freedom through mindset, movement, money, and maintenance.”
To build on this vision, Copeman came up with the idea of $hares. The series teaches financial literacy in an accessible way for millennials that might not have had exposure to finance topics. “My desire for starting $hares was to offer a creative way to reach millennials and help them understand personal finance concepts,” he says. “Financial literacy isn’t taught in the classroom. That may be a good thing, because if it can’t be taught in a relevant way than it shouldn’t be taught at all. With $hares, I want to bridge that gap.”
With an unprecedented amount of student debt, a volatile financial future, as well as lower earnings, fewer assets and less wealth than generations past, it can be uncomfortable downright frightening for millennials to talk about finances. When reflecting on the impact that these ventures have had on his audience, particularly millennials and underrepresented groups, Copeman says that $hares creates a safe space for people to be open about their money experiences and goals.
“Our goal is not to preach money, but rather freedom,” Copeman explains. “And that’s why millennials who engage with our content feel comfortable sharing their stories. All of our animated characters are approachable and relatable to the everyday millennial.”
While the entrepreneurial spirit flows freely through Copeman, after completing a year and a half of national service with AmeriCorps from 2013 to 2015, he decided to continue on the path of helping others by becoming a civil servant with the the City of Philadelphia. He is currently working in family court, but is in the process of transitioning to a new position in financial services.
Looking to the future, Copeman is committed to scaling the impact of his various projects, measuring the results, and trying new things. “I am constantly inspired by innovation and creativity. I’m always asking myself, ‘how can I leverage my passion and put my own creative spin on it?’”
On Tuesday, January 29, 2019 the Fox Graduate Alumni Professional Development Council held their first meeting of the minds.
This group, spearheaded by the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), was established to create a space for the school and MS and MBA alumni to connect and come up with ways to enhance career services for Fox School of Business alumni.
“One of the goals here is to continue the network of like-minded individuals that was established during your time as graduate students,” said Meredith Okenquist, director of Alumni Career Services and Professional Development in the CSPD.
At the inaugural breakfast, the selected members met and exchanged ideas with Fox academic program directors, CSPD staff, and fellow alumni from Fox MS and MBA programs. They discussed the mission and strategic goals for future professional development initiatives in partnership with CSPD.
Additionally, the group brainstormed various ways to get involved with current students and alumni, including networking panels, feedback collaboration opportunities, virtual presentations, and mentoring sessions.
The CSPD graduate team is excited about this new development, which includes plans to gather with the advisory council each semester and to partner with key professional development stakeholders at Fox and throughout the Temple University community in Philadelphia and internationally.
“We are proud of the impact and difference we have made in the lives of students,” said Assistant Dean of Student Professional Development Corinne Snell. “Now we are ready to take the next step and move up the ladder to further assist the entire Fox school community.”
Interested in learning more about alumni from the Fox School? Check out our story on Kevin Hong, “Fox School Alumnus honored with AIS Early Career Award.”
Throughout the month of February, the Fox School of Business is highlighting the voices and businesses of black entrepreneurs, executives, volunteers and more. These talented professionals are striving to make the world a more diverse, inclusive and accessible place for future generations.
From his work as an assistant professor of Marketing at Howard University to co-founding the Our D.R.E.A.M Foundation, Dr. Johnny Graham, PhD ‘16, has made it his mission to give back to his hometown of Baltimore using his expertise and access.
In his role at Howard, Dr. Graham conducts research on brand management and teaches introductory courses on marketing management and marketing analytics. He received both his undergraduate degree and MBA at the University of Maryland-College Park, where he was a Banneker Key-Scholar and Dean’s Scholar. He then went on to earn a doctorate in marketing from the Fox School.
In addition to his esteemed status as a scholar, Graham is an experienced jazz musician and entrepreneur. He previously served as chief partner of his own strategic consulting firm, Graham & Peters LLC, which specialized in helping young professionals in their entrepreneurial pursuits.
During his time as a PhD student, he was inspired by working with the Philadelphia Future’s program and the ever-present desire to give back to Baltimore. He used that passion and partnered with his fellow entrepreneur and former college classmate Justin Peters to develop the philanthropic concept that would revolutionize their careers.
“Creating something that would be engaging, but also informative for young people was important to us,” he says. “We wanted to expose youth from our community to avenues of economic opportunity, while also building their overall personal development and life skills.”
What started as an idea to organize a week-long youth entrepreneurship camp, in Baltimore evolved into Our D.R.E.A.M, a nonprofit organization aimed at entrepreneurship-based education for youth in underserved communities. Graham leverages his wide range of knowledge on business topics such as marketing research and strategy to establish the vision and program curriculums for Our D.R.E.A.M.
Through the organization’s cornerstone program, The Y.E.S. (Youth Entrepreneurship Startup) Program, Baltimore-based students learn basic business concepts and are given access to resources to help them develop leadership and communications skills, and to fuel their entrepreneurial spirit. The program regularly features lectures and activities led by local entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Since its inception in 2015, the YES Program has served 70+ students from 30+
different schools across the Baltimore metro area.
In 2018, the Y.E.S Program partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Baltimore City for the Teen Biz Challenge, which resulted in 11 students receiving over $28,000 of business startup funding.
With the largest cohort in the program’s history and the Mayor’s Office partnership, the organization has gathered more momentum than ever before. Dr. Graham and the rest of the Our D.R.E.A.M team used their connections within the business world to provide
student participants with volunteers to help them further develop their business ideas.
“The students came up with so many brilliant, tangible ideas, a mobile smoothie stand, a reinvented toothbrush, a hygiene subscription-based service and so much more. They showed business ingenuity and intuitiveness that I certainly did not have when I was their age,” said Dr. Graham.
When Dr. Graham looks toward the future, his goals are to grow holistically as a business thought leader and academic, and to make even more impact in the classroom, in his field, and in his community.
Home-sharing has revolutionized the lodging market. Today, digital platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway are popular choices over conventional hotel stays. With the industry expanding exponentially over the past decade, home-sharing lodging is expected to reach $107 billion—or 10% of total accommodation bookings in the country—by 2025.
So what makes Airbnbs so popular? Three researchers from the Department of Tourism & Hospitality Management at Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management sought to answer that question.
In a study recently published in Tourism Management, Assistant Professor Yang Yang, PhD student Karen Tan and Professor Xiang (Robert) Li used a dataset from a nationwide household tourism survey to better understand this growing segment of American travelers.
“First, we looked into what segment of consumers choose Airbnbs over conventional hotel stays,” Yang says. The researchers studied five broad categories of user-motivations: tripographics (including the purpose of the trip, nights of stay, expenditure, children companions, and group size), past travel experiences, tech savviness, socio-demographics (such as age and education) and destination characteristics (like home-sharing supply and crime rate).
“Airbnbs are selected by travelers with particular needs,” Yang notes. “Tourists who are younger, more tech-savvy and traveling with a large group size were the leading users.” Some of the other characteristics common across most users included travel for leisure purposes, itineraries planned in advance, interest in local cultural activities and the presence of personal vehicles during the trip.
The rate of crime in the destination was an important determinant in the choice of stay as well. “Travelers are less likely to stay in Airbnbs when there are crime-related security concerns,” Yang says. “Hosts and platforms should consider ways to mitigate tourists’ fear of crime, such as the introduction of home safety features, methods of crime prevention or even by offering insurance coverage.”
Yang highlights that their study challenges the popular stereotype that travelers choose Airbnbs mainly because they are cost-effective. “We did not find any significant effects of household income and price differences between hotels and Airbnbs on tourists’ choices,” Yang says. Based on this insight, he thinks that any price wars between hotels and Airbnbs would not be beneficial for either group.
The researchers also investigated the effect on the guests’ experiences when staying in Airbnbs versus a hotel. “Trip satisfaction did not differ between the two groups,” says Yang, “but the perceived value of the trip was significantly higher in the home-sharing group.”
That additional sense of value experienced by the users reflected the extra benefits that they received in Airbnbs that were not met in a traditional hotel setting. Yang says, “Facilities such as household amenities, extra space, experience authenticity and host-guest interactions were some of the key reasons.”
Karen Tan, a PhD student in the department and a co-author of the paper, believes that Airbnbs do not necessarily jeopardize the business of hotels. “Home-sharing may very well appeal to a segment of the population that previously didn’t travel as much,” she says. “Peer-to-peer accommodation could just be making the lodging pie larger.”
Much of the optimism underlying the projected growth of home-sharing lodging arguably lies in its untapped potential. “As the market for Airbnb grows,” says Yang, “hotels should not compete on lower prices, but rather focus on aspects that deliver greater value to guests.”
Learn more about Fox School Research.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, by 2050 the world’s population will have an estimated 9.1 billion people, and food production will need to expand by 70 percent in order to match the increased rate of consumption. The future of food security is in the hands of consumers and producers and what they can do to create sustainable food systems to account for the predicted growth.
On a smaller scale, agriculture in Pennsylvania and the Northeast region is facing some changes to its operations. Design thinking might not be top of mind for agriculture, but approaching solutions through these practices yields some fresh insights for a healthy food system.
Marilyn Anthony, director of business development for Fox Management Consulting, and the Vice President and Agricultural Lending Manager of Ephrata National Bank William Kitsch teamed up to lead an interactive workshop for the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (NESAWG) annual “It Takes a Region Conference” held in Philadelphia October 26 and October 27th, 2018.
Anthony’s and Kitsch’s workshop, “Here’s the Data: Let’s Design the Solutions,” used principles of design thinking to encourage participants to create consumer and user-oriented solutions to obstacles facing farmers and producers. “What surprised me was that everyone found a topic that they are passionate about and wanted to work on,” Anthony said. “We asked our workshop audience to think from the perspective of a user, someone who could benefit from or who could participate in Pennsylvania’s strategic recommendations and to think about how they could connect.”
Anthony and Kitsch presented the results of a research study, led by Temple University’s Fox Management Consulting group, a cohort of OMBA students, and the Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm E-consult Solutions, exploring 10 sectors of agriculture in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and Team Pennsylvania funded the research project, forming the basis for PDA’s strategic recommendations. The resulting six strategic initiatives focused on improving the branding and marketing, infrastructure of processing and manufacturing, business climate, workforce development and educational opportunities, and diversity of products within food systems in order to create more opportunities for Pennsylvania growers and producers.
Kelly Kundratic, the Manager of Agriculture Policy and Programs for Team Pennsylvania, took an active role in the workshop. “Learning the design thinking process and really stepping back, thinking from a place of empathy, looking at these goals, that’s something that I use now as much as I can,” Kundratic explains. “It can be time consuming, but really reframes how I’ll approach helping government and industry move together to act upon these six strategic initiatives. Trying to be empathetic and use the design thinking model will help me be able to do my job more effectively.”
Emphasizing the core take-away from the workshop, Anthony explains, “what was very valuable and useful was getting people to think about who, other than themselves, might be in that space and to begin to generate some ideas for how they could make an impact.”
Workshop participants brought their experience and perspectives from Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Many participants actively work to create more accessible and equitable food system as educators, nonprofit advocates, and funders.
Founded in 1992, NESAWG is a network of more than 500 organizations across Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. It works with
organizations and individuals involved in every sector of sustainable agriculture from farming and ecology to architecture and social services to garner awareness and support for the creation of just, sustainable food systems.
Are you interested in learning about sustainability topics? Check out “BlockChain Technology for Sustainable Procurement” in the Fox Video Vault.
Kate Zipin knows what empowerment looks like. As the founder and director of Own Your Awesomeness, a program that uses summer camps to help high school girls take pride in who they are, she has seen empowerment in action.
“Last summer towards the end of camp I asked the girls to spend some time writing an introduction for themselves,” Zipin remembers. After several minutes, Zipin invited the women to present their introductions to the group.
“I thought that maybe two or three girls would want to share,” Zipin recalls. Instead, five girls immediately raised their hands.
“The first girl went up and talked about her family, and when she was done the room exploded in applause,” says Zipin. “Another talked about wanting to be the first in her family to go to college.” By the end of the session every girl but one had shared her story to affirming words and raucous applause.
“I was really proud of them,” Zipin says, “but maybe more importantly I could see that they were really proud of themselves and each other.”
Since she started Own Your Awesomeness three years ago, Zipin has watched teens find their voices. Through open dialogue about cultural issues impacting women, skills building workshops that teach girls how to change a tire or use power tools, and activities that keep the girls moving and having fun together, these young women create a sense of pride in each other and themselves.
Seeing the program’s impact is not an issue. The struggle for Zipin (and most nonprofits) is measuring that impact. More and more grants are requiring data as part of the application process, and even individual donors appreciate metrics as a way of ensuring their money makes a difference.
To help her address the need for data, Zipin reached out to the Fox Board Fellows program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. Fox Board Fellows was created in 2000 to match skilled MBA students with non-profit boards for year-long partnerships supported by coursework.
“Fox Board Fellows is a win-win for its nonprofit partners and the Fellows,” says Program Director Maureen Cannon. “Nonprofit partners benefit from hosting an experienced, passionate MBA student as a non-voting, working board member. Fellows gain valuable insight and perspective on the realities of nonprofit management and are better prepared to be effective board leaders in the future.”
Own Your Awesomeness was matched with Fox Board Fellow Teena Bounpraseuth, a full-time student in the Global MBA program. A native of Philadelphia, Bounpraseuth says non-profit youth programs were a big part of her own childhood in the city.
“Growing up, I was part of the youth arts workshop program through the Asian Arts Initiative,” says Bounpraseuth. “It gave me an opportunity to learn more about my Asian American identity in a safe and inviting space and to see how art can be used in bridging communities. The Initiative was really important to me as a teenager and I see Own Your Awesomeness doing similar work with the summer camp. Kate and her team are amazing. They’re helping to build a network of strong, confident, and independent women.”
One of Bounpraseuth’s most vivid memories of that time was watching an Asian American spoken word duo. “Just to see the confidence in those women meant so much to me. Seeing them ooze confidence, knowing their history, embracing it, and that empowering them — It helped set an example for me.”
To help Own Your Awesomeness quantify their impact, Bounpraseuth interviewed leaders from several nonprofits throughout the city that work with youth. “Everyone measures impact differently,” she says. “The key is that your metrics are actionable, manageable and comparable, and most importantly that they align with your organization’s mission.”
Bounpraseuth also led the board through a logic model. This tool helps organizations think through how their resources and activities translate into the outputs and broader impact they hope to have.
“The Logic Model was helpful,” Zipin says, “because it gave us a chance to get on the same page about our goals. Now that we have those articulated, we can ask questions in our assessments that specifically apply to those goals.”
Bounpraseuth’s project helped Own Your Awesomeness define what metrics they should be tracking, and also highlighted that some things make better stories than charts. “One thing I’ve learned is that, even if people have a lot of numbers, there’s still a lot left up to interpretation,” she says. “Some things are just very difficult to calculate.”
This month as Zipin wraps up three weeks of camp she will distribute surveys about leadership and confidence, skills building, and plans for the future. Part of Zipin’s impact will make it onto those surveys.
But some of Zipin’s work, uncovering the intangible awesomeness of each of these women, can’t be relegated to a page. Women have laughed at themselves, talked about hard issues, played touch football, and changed tires. Some of that impact will just have to play out in the lives these women forge in the years to come.
Fox Board Fellows just matched another cohort of Fellows with nonprofits! To get a fellow at your nonprofit contact Maureen Cannon at Maureenc@temple.edu.
For the second time in a row, another successful alumnus of the Fox School, Kevin Hong, PhD ’14, won the prestigious 2018 Early Career Award by the Association for Information Systems. This award recognizes individuals in the early stages of their careers who have already made outstanding research, teaching and service contributions to the field of information systems. Last year Gordon Burtch, PhD ’13, was awarded this honor.
Hong is an associate professor of information systems, director of the IS PhD program, and co-director of the digital society initiative at the W. P. Carey School of Business of Arizona State University. “I feel really honored and lucky to have won this award,” Hong says. “I attribute who I am as a researcher today to my experiences and associations at the Fox School.”
We spoke with Hong to learn more about his journey.
Who were your mentors at the Fox School?
A lot of people at Fox have inspired me and taught me not just be a better researcher, but also a better person. Paul Pavlou was my advisor and mentor through the years. I learned so much from him, including how to write and publish papers.
If Dr. Pavlou is my research mentor, I’d say David Schuff is my teaching mentor. I watch all his videos and learn how to engage students while teaching. I also get ideas and examples to share with the students in the analytics class from him.
How did the Fox PhD program support you in achieving your degree?
The rigorous curriculum and training at Fox have helped me a lot. During the time I was a PhD student, Fox had recruited many world-class faculty members who were also high profile researchers from prestigious universities. They had solid training and the required expertise to teach the students state-of-the-art methodologies which I still use today.
What are some of the current research projects you’re working on?
My primary stream of research has been studying how to design and evaluate the efficiency of digital platforms. I also plan on taking a sabbatical next year to explore new technologies like artificial intelligence, and how humans and AI can collaborate better to develop newer streams of research.
What is your advice to current and prospective Fox PhD students?
What’s most important to be successful is to take initiative. Don’t merely do what the advisors ask you to do. Try to start your research early on. Discuss those ideas with your advisors and lead those projects. The environment created for research at Fox is truly amazing and you should take advantage of it, perform and deliver. For a doctoral student, the culture here teaches you to put research before everything and truly nurtures you to succeed in your academic career.
Read more about the previous Fox alumnus to win this award.
Learn more about Fox School Research.
Horns blare. A moped pushes its way into the visual anarchy of West Bengal traffic. The sun beats down through a thick haze of pollution. Meanwhile, four Fox School MBA students thread their way onto a side street.
The students stop at a small building in the heart of Kolkata, the international headquarters of Sari Bari. Through Fox Management Consulting they are here to help Sari Bari operate more efficiently and increase the revenues that fund their social mission of helping women who are stuck in, or at risk of entering, the sex trafficking industry in India.
“One of their biggest tasks is workforce development,” says Austin Litteral, an MBA student who worked on the project. “It can take a full year to help a woman rehabilitate physically and emotionally to the point where they can work.” Among other skills, the women often need basic reading and writing skills so they can sign their names and fill out standard forms.
When the women are ready, they are taught to sew to reshape second-hand Saris into brilliantly colored blankets and handbags. Younger women are employed to make the kanthas, traditional Indian blankets sewn from layers of retired saris.
Kantha blankets require long, straight lines of cutting and hand sewing which can be difficult for older women with less dexterous hands. To address this, Litteral explains, “Sari Bari introduced a new line of clutches years ago which required shorter cuts and were easier for the older women to sew.”
Planning new products to better serve employee needs is one of the many adaptions Sari Bari has made in order to balance its social and financial priorities. For the MBA students accustomed to addressing only one bottom line, the project was a lesson in creating synergies.
Litteral recalls, “At one point we suggested to management that they restructure workflow for efficiency, and they responded, ‘If we do that, it will open up more warehouse space for us to hire more women.’ Those were the terms they were thinking in.”
Louis M. Tritton served as the project executive for the Fox MC team, utilizing her years of experience in ecological consulting to offer recommendations and support. She noted that, given the unique demands of Sari Bari’s work, her team couldn’t simply consult from home.
“The Fox team immediately recognized the value of visiting the production sites, talking with sewers and managers, and observing the business in person,” Tritton said. “The trip to Kolkata made their recommendations practical and feasible.”
The team provided Sari Bari with a model for tracking costs and managing outputs more effectively, as well as recommended pricing and process improvements that should allow Sari Bari to meet and grow the sizable demand for their products.
Litteral’s teammate, Dorie Heald, said the project utilized the breadth of her MBA training. “HR, production, marketing, logistics, managerial accounting—we got to use all of that in our project. Plus, it felt good to know our changes would ultimately help Sari Bari employ more women.”
Back in Kolkata, a door opens. The students step into a room filled with women’s voices and brightly colored cloth. Like the women themselves, the students are hopeful that each piece they pull together will help Sari Bari become a stronger, more cohesive whole.
Fox Management consulting has completed over a hundred projects for non-profits, start-ups, and businesses around the world. Connect with us to learn what we can do for you.
Learn more about Fox School MBA programs.
While studying finance at the Fox School of Business, Tamika Boateng, BBA ’06, learned all about asset management and risk—she also learned the value of giving back to the community.
Boateng, now a management consultant for financial services at New York Price Warehouse Coopers (PwC), credits her commitment to volunteering for her professional success.
“While at Temple University, I discovered several new things that are meaningful in my life today, such as giving back,” Boateng says. “When I was 19, I applied with Big Brothers Big Sisters and was matched with an 8-year-old girl from North Philly. Every other week, I’d go to her house or bring her to campus. I tried to give her the college student experience and got to know her life. The experience made me realize the small things you do make a big impact on people’s lives.”
Boateng also joined the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), where she eventually served as the student professional organization’s vice president. In addition to helping jumpstart her career—namely through networking and securing internships with Johnson & Johnson and Vanguard—she was able to help other students achieve similar goals.
“We connected students with employers,” recalls Boateng. “We invited different companies and leaders to speak at our weekly meetings and we connected students from different schools in the Philadelph
ia area. We also had an annual conference with a career fair and professional development that helped students learn critical skills, such as networking, public speaking, and interviewing. It helped our NABA members prepare for internships and careers. Being part of NABA made me more career-focused and successful, and I know it had the same impact on others, too.”
Boateng’s commitment to volunteering continued beyond her time at the Fox School. After graduation, she was hired by Vanguard—which happened as a result of the internship she landed through NABA—and she eventually became the global head of bank strategy and relations. While there, she co-led a program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America where 60 of her coworkers became mentors to students at a school in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. The program cultivated relationships between students and professionals with the goal to increase the school’s graduation rate.
Her current volunteer activities include being a member of the board at the Settlement Music School Germantown Branch—one of the largest community arts schools in the country, alumni include Albert Einstein, Kevin Bacon, and Chubby Checker. Boateng connected with the school through Leadership Philadelphia, which matches the skills of professionals in the Philadelphia area to board opportunities with organizations in need. Boateng is passionate about music education (her twin sons both play piano), so it was a perfect match.
“My experiences in philanthropy made me the leader I am today,” says Boateng. “You gain so many skills through volunteering. While volunteering back at Temple, I did not fully grasp at the time all of the benefits. But I gained valuable communications skills and learned how to work with diverse groups of people from all different backgrounds; both these things would help me so much in the future. It’s so important to give back. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those experiences.”
With his business Forever Hung Wood Window Restoration, Chris Fullan, BBA ‘10, is working to preserve local Buck’s County history. Fullan urges owners of old homes: do not throw out your old, time-worn wooden windows!
Why is it beneficial to restore these windows rather than get them replaced? Fullan has quite the informed response: “[The original wood frame windows] are far superior than any replacement you’re going to get,” he told The Bucks County Courier Times. “With proper restoration from any quality restoration professional, you’re going to be very happy with the product. When they were originally built, the craftsmen that made these windows put a lot of time and care into making them—and they were made for each individual’s home. So it’s unsettling to see them being thrown into the landfill and ripped out.”
Fullan began working in an office during his post-college career, but quickly realized his calling was of a more entrepreneurial nature. During a period of unemployment, he was doing work on his own home and decided to pursue working with his hands professionally.
After working at several professional firms, Fullan began contracting and then used his business acumen to start Forever Hung Wood Window Restoration in October 2018. Forever Hung specializes in windows from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
The oldest windows he ever worked on landed on his lap during his time as a lead carpenter for WMG Historic Restoration in New Jersey. He was responsible for restoring about 130 windows from the Lazaretto Quarantine Station, which is a historic site that guarded the city of Philadelphia from epidemic diseases.
Fullan finds inspiration researching the history of the buildings he helps restore, and is proud he can be a part of preserving the richness of his community.
Americans are growing older—and their caretakers need to decide the best and most cost effective way to care for them.
Since 2011, nearly 77 million baby boomers have become eligible for Medicare. For the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases, home healthcare (HHC) is a convenient and cost-effective solution that avoids the necessity of receiving care through hospitals and nursing homes.
HHC meets an important demand in the healthcare system. Experts have found that close to 90 percent of Americans wish to spend their final time at home. But how does the care HHC providers deliver compare to that of larger health institutions?
Last year, In collaboration with investigators at the University of California at Irvine, Dr. Jacqueline Zinn, professor in the Fox School’s Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management, has received a five-year grant from the National Institute of Health to investigate the cost effectiveness and quality of care provided by home healthcare agencies.
Over the last decade, the home healthcare field has seen dramatic increases in patients, care providers, and spending. The New York Times reported that individual states spend close to $200 billion of their own funds on Medicaid, making it the second biggest item within their budgets.
As projections continue to rise and healthcare technology advances, patients should be aware of their care options.
“What we don’t know is whether or not the technologies that lead to additional growth impact the quality of care delivered,” said Zinn. “In other words, do larger facilities have better quality associated with growth? What is the optimal [home healthcare] agency size with respect to cost and quality? These are the questions we hope to answer.”
Home healthcare not only includes rehabilitative care after surgery, but hospice care and palliative care, which is dedicated to relieving people’s physical and emotional symptoms after facing life-threatening illnesses.
“Healthcare is on track to become 20 percent of the GDP,” said Zinn. “That means one in every five dollars generated by the U.S. economy will be in the healthcare sector.”
Alongside her fellow researchers at the UC Irvine, Zinn aims to discover valuable insights for patients, government, and health institutions, and home healthcare agencies alike by learning more about this under-researched field.
Are you interested in the intersection of healthcare and business education? Read our article, “Why More Surgeons and Health Professionals Are Pursuing MBAs” and learn more about Fox School Research.
Consumers today are heavily dependent on online reviews to make informed choices about what to buy. In fact, studies show that as many as 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before making financial decisions, and nearly 70 percent trust these opinions.
Given their importance, how do you tell if the reviews are from genuine customers?
Subodha Kumar, director of the Center for Data Analytics and professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School, developed an approach to detect fake reviewers on online digital platforms. In his paper published in the Journal of Management Information Systems, Kumar proposes an algorithm that analyzes the behavior of reviewers on a set of key features to help differentiate between the real and the fake.
“A user who reads a negative review of a restaurant is likely to trust the message, even though it was written by a stranger,” Kumar says. “One convincing review can often persuade consumers to shift their brand loyalty or drive several extra miles to try a new sandwich shop.”
This gives firms a strong incentive to influence their online review ratings. “Business owners inject their public ratings with a positive bias,” says Kumar. “They use fake accounts or paid reviewers to either promote their offering or strategically denounce competitors’ products.”
In studying a dataset from Yelp, a popular restaurant review platform, Kumar observed a striking difference in the way spammers interact on online platforms. “Even though individual reviews by a spammer may look genuine, collectively we can capture anomalies in the review patterns,” Kumar says, “In fact, they are remarkably skewed.”
By analyzing this pattern of behaviors, Kumar’s approach to detecting review manipulation can not only improve the experience of consumers across industries but also increase the credibility of reviewing platforms like Yelp.
Kumar considers six distinct features of every review in the data set:
- Review gap: Spammers are usually not longtime members of a site, unlike genuine reviewers who use their accounts from time to time to post reviews. Thus, if reviews are posted over a relatively long timeframe, it suggests normal activity. But when all reviews are posted within a short burst, it indicates suspicious behavior.
- Review count: Paid users generally generate more reviews than unpaid users. In other cases to avoid being detected or blacklisted, a spammer could post very few reviews from one account and create a new account.
- Rating entropy: Spammers mostly post extreme reviews since their goal is either to artificially improve a particular company’s rating or to bring a bad reputation to its competitors. This results in high entropy—or drastic randomness—in fake users’ ratings.
- Rating deviation: Spammers are likely to deviate from the general rating consensus. If genuine users fairly outnumber spammers, it is easy to detect instances where a user’s rating deviates greatly from the average ratings from other users.
- Timing of review: One strategy spammers may use is to post extremely early after a restaurant’s opening in order to maximize the impact of their review. Early reviews can greatly impact a consumers’ sentiment on a product and, in turn, impact sales.
- User tenure: Fake reviewers tend to have short-lived accounts characterized by a relatively large number of reviews and handles, usernames or aliases designed to avoid detection.
After considering these variables individually, the algorithm then looks into the way the variables interact with each other. It employs techniques like supervised machine learning and accounts for the overall review behavior of a user to provide a robust and accurate analysis.
Kumar’s methodology can also be deployed to post the information of the spammers in real-time. Digital platforms like Yelp could develop a spam score using these key features for each reviewer and share it with business owners and consumers, who can subsequently be tagged or filtered.
“The issue of opinion spamming in online reviews is not going away and detecting the perpetrators is not easy,” says Kumar. But developments in approaches like these, he says, “offer great insights to businesses, allowing them to create more effective marketing strategies based on the sheer volume of genuine, user-contributed consumer reviews.”
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.
Fox Smarts, Philly Heart
At the Fox School of Business, social responsibility is a guiding principle that the school has honored since it was founded a century ago, rooted in Russell H. Conwell’s notion that “your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard, if you but dig for them.” Read more>>
Emotional Labor May Affect You at Work
Do you suppress your feelings at work and kowtow to the wishes of clients, patients or difficult supervisors? Deanna Geddes of Human Resources Management tells U.S. News how emotional labor can affect employees every day. Read more>>
Millenials Invest Money Through Apps
Bora Ozkan of Finance went on NBC 10 to share why millennials are considered the perfect demographic for mobile investment app. Automated systems, artificial intelligence, and affordability are all keys to attracting the millennial generation. Watch now>>
Philadelphia Business Journal | Dec. 20
Thomas Fung of Marketing and Supply Chain Management shares what the newly named CEO of Campbell Soup Co. should do to be successful. Read more>>
Business Times | Dec. 12
Why are online reviews so extreme? Paul Pavlou of MIS explains why consumers most often see the five- and one-star ratings on online platforms. Read more>>
Reporter Online | Dec. 7
Alumna Brianna Judge shares her musical talents with a debut eight-song album and performances at locations like Bourbon and Branch over the holidays. Read more>>
CBS 3 | Dec. 5
Digital sexual harassment, also known as cyber-flashing, is on the rise. The MIS Department’s Tony Vance provides insight into why this happens. Read more>>
Business Wire | Dec. 4
The Risk Management and Insurance Career Reception for graduating seniors was featured on an episode of AM Best TV. Read more>>
Introducing Matthew Coughlin
The Fox School and the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management are pleased to welcome Matt Coughlin to the communications and marketing teams. As associate director of communications, Matt will be responsible for media relations for faculty, staff, students and alumni of both schools. You can reach Matt via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his new position as executive director of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Harvey Hurdle Jr., MBA ‘89, will blend personal with professional.
Hurdle spent his career leading various nonprofit and for profit organizations, including president and CEO of Leap Strategy LLC and COO and then CEO of Sellers Dorsey, a national healthcare consulting firm. He was also the COO of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights and public advocacy organization in America.
But his new appointment as executive director of the Philadelphia Bar Association is the first time he will directly serve the legal community, and it is a powerful change of pace for Hurdle. “I really value our legal institutions, because the ability to marry my husband and adopt my son were obtained by very smart lawyers and brave judges,” he says to The Legal Intelligencer. “I’m very excited about this job.”
As his first act of executive director, Hurdle will meet with bar members in order to identify their needs, and what issues should be a priority. However, he already has a few personal goals for the position. He hopes to increase access to justice for people who cannot afford it and to evolve the services the association provides to better assist attorney’s working in the changing legal market.
“The association’s leadership and staff look forward to working with Hurdle because of his passion for the association’s mission; his financial, managerial and operational skills and experience; his business acumen; and his strong interpersonal and communication skills,” Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Mary F. Platt says during the announcement of Hurdle’s appointment.
Prior to Hurdle’s appointment, Mark Tarasiewicz served as executive director for four years, and was a bar association member for more than two decades. After resigning in July of 2018, Tarasiewicz became executive director of administration for Spector Gadon & Rosen.
If you enjoy reading updates on Fox School alumni, read up on real estate mogul Jen Singley, who is using her business degree to help first time buyers find their dream homes in the City of Brotherly Love.
How does a firm looking to expand internationally build an effective global supply chain network from scratch?
Masaaki ‘Mike’ Kotabe, Washburn Chair Professor of International Business and Marketing at the Fox School, addresses this question by studying the strategies employed by Uniqlo, a Japanese apparel firm which successfully built a world-class global supply chain network in a relatively short period of time.
In his article, ”A Dynamic Process of Building Global Supply Chain Competence by New Ventures: The Case of Uniqlo,” which was published in the Journal of International Marketing, Kotabe proposes a dynamic model on how new firms can create a flexible supply chain network internationally. “By effectively developing partnering flexibility and exerting competitive pressure on partner suppliers,” Kotabe says, “new and small firms can overcome initial business challenges associated with the lack of local reputation, limited capacity for large orders and the presence of locally established competitors.”
Historically, major Japanese manufacturers invested significantly in manufacturing activities with advanced technologies and building close-knit suppliers. But with the rapidly changing global markets in the 1990s and 2000s, these relationships turned out to be a major financial burden with huge fixed costs.
Newly internationalizing Japanese firms began to develop more “asset-light” flexible relationships with local suppliers. But Kotabe says, “They still faced serious gaps due to the lack of initial large-scale production capability and bargaining power with local suppliers.”
However, Kotabe notes a transformational change in the strategy employed by new Japanese companies like Uniqlo. “They focus primarily on building relationships with their suppliers by providing them economic and technological rewards frequently,” Kotabe says. “They also maintain flexibility in their partnership by avoiding suppliers’ over dependence on the relationship.”
By examining Uniqlo’s successful supply chain development, Kotabe proposes a three-stage model that can serve as a guideline for small companies looking to build competitive advantages while expanding internationally.
In the first stage, building close relations with suppliers is crucial. “Suppliers are more cooperative when the partnering firm rewards them with large volume orders,” says Kotabe. By limiting not only the number of suppliers but also the variety of products to be manufactured, companies can ensure that every chosen supplier has a satisfactory share of the business, along with a large volume order per variant.
The second stage focuses on developing collaborative relationships with the suppliers by helping them build their competencies. Uniqlo hired a team of retired experts skilled in Japan’s textile industry to provide technical support to their suppliers’ factories. Kotabe says, “This move was key to Uniqlo’s success story as it helped in building trust and avoiding conflicts with its suppliers.”
“By receiving both economic and technological rewards continuously in the first and second stages of the process,” Kotabe notes, “the partners’ attitude toward the principal firm stays positive and cooperative.”
In the last stage, companies need to create flexibility in their supply chain by encouraging their suppliers to have other secondary customers. This allows them to grow their own business volumes independently and prevents excessive dependency on the partner. “Uniqlo enforced a compulsory non-exclusivity arrangement,” Kotabe says.”Therefore, even when Uniqlo canceled a transaction with a partner supplier, the supplier could easily find new clients.”
With more companies becoming involved in international markets to achieve better product quality and lower costs, it is important to effectively devise strategies to stay competitive. Kotabe’s study serves as detailed guidance for firms with limited international business experience to build a flexible global supply chain network from scratch.
For further reading on a similar topic, check out “What Is the Role of International Business Researchers?”
Learn more about Fox School Research.