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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ash Vasudevan, PhD ’96, describes himself as being driven to make a difference and drawn to the unknown.

Case in point: He co-founded a nationwide talent search in India to find the next big-league-caliber baseball pitcher in a country where cricket dominates sports. Launched in 2007, that reality TV competition spanned a dozen cities and attracted 35,000 participants.

The theory behind the competition is that innate athletic ability can be applied across sports requiring similar skills, such as from cricket to baseball. It culminated in 18-year-olds Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel—javelin throwers who disliked cricket and had never heard of baseball—becoming the first Indians to sign professional sports contracts in North America (both with the Pittsburgh Pirates).

By now the story might sound familiar. Disney’s Million Dollar Arm—based on the competition of the same name—premieres nationally May 16 with Vasudevan being played by Aasif Mandvi of The Daily with Jon Stewart.

The movie chronicles the first season of Million Dollar Arm, which Vasudevan launched with sports agent JB Bernstein (portrayed by Jon Hamm) and Will Chang, who has ownership stakes in a number of professional teams, including the San Francisco Giants and the D.C. United. Vasudevan, who co-founded Seven Figures Management with Bernstein and Chang, is managing general partner of San Mateo, Calif.–based Edge Holdings, which creates and funds ventures in technology, media and entertainment.

“Life really would be boring if you didn’t take risks,” Vasudevan said of his business philosophy. “I’m drawn to the uncertainty. It’s the tried-and-true methods I don’t find particularly appealing. I like trying something nobody has tried before.”

Vasudevan has been involved in ventures ranging from reQall, a global business focusing on personal-assistance technology, to Gigante, a documentary about Major League Baseball player Andres Torres, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Going to India to find a star pitcher did not resonate with many of Vasudevan’s friends. Some suggested he and his colleagues should recruit in markets such as Japan or South America, which have produced numerous big leaguers, but Vasudevan countered that established scouting systems in those markets are much more likely to identify premier talent, leaving fewer gunslingers available to compete for reality TV.

Production of Season 3 of Million Dollar Arm is expected to start in the fall. Before that, of course, Vasudevan and colleagues will experience what it is like to inspire a feature film and to be portrayed in a movie shown around the world.

“The first time I watched myself on the screen, it was weird,” Vasudevan said of Mandvi’s performance. “To see Jon Hamm addressing my character, and reliving some of those conversations, is a lot of fun. We never imagined we would have such a wonderful global platform to tell our story.”

In an era where innovation affects everything around us, it is important for entrepreneurs to understand its value and how it affects companies seeking to grow.  This research borrows theories, methods, and tools from evolutionary biology (the study of how species evolve overtime) to better understand the changes digital technology bring to a company, described as a multi-ecosystem in constant change.  Two basic forms of evolution are found in these digital ecosystems (communities of organisms): mutation, that includes imitation and incremental changes; and recombination, that requires a more direct intervention.  Companies that want to promote, grow, or manage their ecosystem(s), must understand their evolutionary trajectory which will allow them to enter a highly competitive digital market where the competition is happening at the ecosystem level and not just at the product level.

Using the tools and postulates of Game Theory as a foundation, it is possible to better understand -and recommend- the best practices necessary to create effective strategic alliances at the domestic and international levels.  The principles that guide successful international or global alliances have challenges that do not exist at the domestic level, however, the approaches to promote cooperative partner-behavior remains relatively the same.  This research has direct implications for firms seeking to establish new alliances as well as validate ideas derived from Game Theory.

Markets have their own gravitational pull, as a result of which the innovation value-chain tends to coalesce in spaces that customers inhabit. The rising prominence of emerging markets, for example, is being accompanied by a similar shift in the innovation eco-system to China and India. A corollary of this is a fundamental change in the directionality in knowledge and resource flows. Whereas earlier, it was typically from the West to the East, the trend seems to be changing in recent years as a more polycentric world emerges, one in which there are multiple centers of economic activity and knowledge generation.

Building a Strategic Alliance Down Under

August 30, 2012 //

We are at the EMC program privileged to be working with the Business School of the University of Technology, Sydney (“UTS”) in helping develop an experiential learning model similar, but clearly not identical to, that which we have had in place at Temple for more than a decade. We are utilizing as our learning platform for a select group of Australian MBA students three strategic consulting engagements where we are committed to producing “professional grade” results for real enterprises.

We are in this new setting for our model finding again that “live” changes everything about learning business, and for the better. Case studies are an invaluable methodology for learning theory, but that is a process that will always remain incomplete until the consolidation that can only happen with carefully guided application to a real business problem takes place. We are the MBA already “rethought.”

The faculty fortunate enough to be involved in this highly collaborative effort with UTS are themselves learning from the “application” experience as respects the realities of crafting a successful strategic alliance. We know from this experience that the critical elements of actually making a partnership work include:

A shared vision, strongly held.

We both view the development of solid professional skills, in a business setting, as a mission that should be given primacy in MBA programs. Many of these skills develop best through structured interaction with a consulting client, guided by an experienced, “been there, done that” faculty member with significant real world business experience. Would you want a doctor that had never completed a residency?

Our focus is on the mission and operational excellence.

This can only happen because of the alignment of views on what we are seeking to achieve; time and resources do not have to be “spent” on revisiting strategic objectives, as those were set during the comprehensive, mutual – discovery process that led to our partnership agreement. We are thus able to hold the students, project managers and all others involved in the program to a “professional grade” standard as respects program implementation; always the hardest part of any change process.

Neither party believes, “… the way we do things here works, so that is the way it should be done everywhere”; we each have much to learn from the other.

The UTS program in Australia will benefit from our learning curve on developing and running experiential learning models of this sort, and we have already benefited from the fresh insights and meaningful improvements that can only happen when bright, engaged people doing something new work hard to help make it better. Our program in Philadelphia is stronger because of what we are doing in Australia.

 

We both have “flesh in the game”, and interests align.

This is a major undertaking for both schools, it has garnered significant attention both internally and externally, there would be a “cost” in not succeeding that has little to do with money, and is all about assets that are far more important to us both, reputation and brand.

We like each other.

At its roots, a strategic alliance is first and foremost a social network. We work well together because we enjoy doing so; there is a striking and palpable similarity of cultures between UTS and Temple. In our market entry analysis we explored the possibility of working with any number of universities in Australia. That the “fit” with UTS was particularly good could not have been any more obvious. These “soft”, often ill-defined assets are usually at the very heart of differentiating the partnerships in business that work and those that do not.

 

Our goal is to build a global consortium of MBA programs around the world incorporating an experiential learning experience as their capstone program. We could not be any prouder and happier than to have started that larger undertaking in partnership with UTS.