The Fox School of Business‘ Center 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
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
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
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.
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.”
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.
Even in shaking hands with Sheila Hess, she vibrates with positive energy. Framed by the Philadelphia skyline in the near distance, she’s off talking about the city with an infectious and genuine enthusiasm that only makes sense for Mayor Jim Kenney’s newly appointed City Representative.
“Philadelphia just energizes me,” said Hess, 46.
Hess earned her undergraduate degree from Temple University’s Fox School of Business in 1991, with a concentration in Human Resource Administration (now Human Resource Management).
Her enthusiasm and genuine love for helping others pushed her resume to the top of the pile at Independence Blue Cross, where she would spend the next 24 years of her career working in human resources and making her mark upon the organization and Philadelphia. She met Kenney more than 20 years ago at a volunteer fundraiser. Inspired by his goals for the city, she volunteered for his recent mayoral campaign. Impressed with her panache and grasp on the city’s pulse, Kenney wanted her to represent the city.
“Once he offered me the job, I didn’t hear anything else he said. It was such a dream come true,” Hess said.
In addition to being an ambassador and a leader of the city’s official welcome wagon, as City Representative, Hess participates in meet-and-greets with anyone – from international dignitaries to the millions of visitors the city attracts. Hess also steps in as the face of the city when the mayor cannot attend events, bestowing city proclamations, citations, and ceremonial gifts in recognition of community organizations. She also is a steward of special events, including Police Athletic League (PAL) Day at City Hall, the Police and Fire Memorial Service, and the Mayor’s Centenarians’ Celebration.
Hess is already looking forward to placing Philadelphia in the national and international spotlight, building upon its Lonely Planet designation in February as a top U.S. destination, its new title of World Heritage City, and its selection to host the Democratic National Convention this August.
“A good leader has a good ear, and though we can’t change everything, we can make it work on some level,” Hess said. “It’s all about seamless communication and working together.”
Hess originally hails from California, but her family relocated to her mother’s native South Philadelphia neighborhood so Hess could receive treatment for spina bifida, a spinal cord birth defect, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. When asked of her disability, Hess considers it a gift – one that allowed her to become a Philadelphian.
“I’m Philadelphia’s biggest fan,” Hess said. “I root for all of our sports teams, win or lose, and I always will.”
Hess’ passion for Philadelphia kept her close to home when she chose Temple. Raised in the city’s Catholic school system, she was drawn to Temple’s reputation and its innovative and diverse campus life. Having been a mathlete in high school, she pursued her skill with numbers and enrolled in the Fox School as a Finance major. However, her path would deviate as she realized her talents didn’t align with her heart’s desire. After one human resource course, she knew what she was meant to pursue.
“I could just see HR in my personality. I love being the face of an organization. That’s just inside me,” Hess said.
Hess works with several non-profits, including Back on My Feet and Variety – The Children’s Charity — a charity assisting children and youth with physical and developmental disabilities. In her limited free time, Hess and her husband, Mike, enjoy gardening. Always a fan of bringing out the best in something, Hess likes to buy wilted plants and nurse them back to life.
“It’s just fun to watch things grow,” Hess said.
Much like Philadelphia’s reputation, as its new City Represenative.
The Fox School of Business will launch a specialized Master of Science degree in Human Resources Management that will be available online beginning August 2016.
Fox’s ability to deliver high-impact, cutting-edge online curriculum is nationally renowned. In January, the Fox Online MBA program earned its second consecutive No. 1 national ranking by U.S. News & World Report.
“Spurred by the Online MBA’s national prominence, and the record growth of our program, it seemed like a natural fit to offer an online version of the Master of Science in Human Resource Management program,” said program director Dr. Tony Petrucci.
According to Petrucci, the program’s format will be nearly identical to that of the Fox Online MBA. The MS in Human Resource Management will feature four-week courses that meet once a week, offered on Thursday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. The courses will include “synchronous and asynchronous learning,” Petrucci said, meaning it will feature academic videos produced by Fox faculty, online discussions between faculty and students, case analysis, and more.
Fox’s MS in Human Resource Management benefits greatly from the ability for students and faculty to complete coursework collaboratively and interactively through the use of WebEx web-conferencing technology, said Petrucci, an Assistant Professor within the Fox School’s Human Resource Management department for seven years.
“We are able to break our cohorts into teams in order to work on cases,” Petrucci said. “Additionally, the methods that are unique to the Human Resource Management curriculum that are traditionally focused on student and faculty engagement remain intact within the online experience.”
The difference between the Fox School’s traditional and the online versions, Petrucci said, is the pace at which students can complete the program. The online version of the MS in Human Resource Management program, with 10 three-credit course, can be completed in as quickly as one year or as many as three, depending upon the student’s schedule.
Convenient access and delivery of the program will attract prospective students, said Dr. Arthur Hochner, Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at the Fox School.
“I have students in my Online MBA courses who are located in Chicago and Texas, for example, or are traveling professionally and have accessed the course from Ireland, Poland, and India,” Hochner said. “This format is incredibly convenient for professionals.”
Petrucci said he believes the online version of the MS in Human Resource Management will only further bolster Fox School’s already-prominent reputation in the delivery of online education.
“Our goal was that this program would mirror or even enhance the experience that students receive in a traditional classroom, and our focus was built around that mission,” he said.
There’s an unlikely emotion that acts as the moral compass of a workplace. According to a researcher from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, it’s anger.
Dr. Deanna Geddes’ conceptual research delves into moral anger, an emotional expression that is geared toward the improvement of the human condition within the workplace. She and fellow researcher, Dr. Dirk Lindebaum of the University of Liverpool, (now Cardiff University), proposed a new definition for moral anger within their research paper, “The Place and Role of (Moral) Anger in Organizational Behavior Studies,” which was published online December 2015 in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
The Chair of Fox’s Department of Human Resource Management, Geddes said employees potentially place at risk their jobs, careers, and companies for which they work when moral anger motivates actions that expose inappropriate circumstances at work.
Where moral anger varies from expressions of personal anger, she said, is in the identification of the subject who is suffering from workplace injustice and improprieties.
“It’s important to note that, with both moral anger and personal anger, social norms are violated and likely people were treated unfairly,” she said. “But instances of moral anger prompt action when you witness an incident that impacts someone else more than it impacts you. Speaking out on behalf of others is the core differentiator.
“Moral anger isn’t a self-serving type of anger expression. It’s the opposite. It’s someone’s response when another is being treated unfairly or being bullied, for example. Moral anger triggers corresponding action that is not intended to cause further harm, but instead to help repair the situation.”
Often an employee who expresses anger at work is viewed as “an out-of-control and hostile deviant,” Geddes notes. However, unless it’s a common occurrence, Geddes’s research found that those who express anger in the workplace are likely to be a company’s most-committed and most-loyal employees.
That’s because moral anger is a fairness-enhancing emotion, through which employees can act with the wellbeing of others in mind. Geddes said moral anger has the potential to restore equity, protect dignity, improve working conditions, and rectify damaging situations.
She and Lindebaum reviewed literatures on similar anger constructs, including those which pertained to moral outrage and moral conduct, to see how moral anger differentiated. Then, they reviewed literature pertaining to expressions of anger, to arrive at a more-practical “redefinition,” she said.
“Moral anger, by our definition, is not intended to avenge an individual person’s slights,” Geddes said. “It is to demonstrate that the human condition within an organizational environment can be improved. That’s truly the goal and the social function of moral anger – to defend those who are vulnerable.”
Toward the end of an academic semester, students traditionally prepare to take final exams. However, students enrolled in Dr. Crystal Harold’s course at the Fox School of Business are undertaking projects centered on service and improving relationships in the Philadelphia community.
While offered at Fox, the course, titled The Leadership Experience: Leading Yourself, Leading Change, Leading Communities, is open to all honors students at Temple University.
Harold, an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at Fox, said she created the human resource honors elective three years ago to help students learn the process of leading by organizing events that benefit the community. The course also focuses on reflection, assessment, and development on the core skill sets required of effective leaders. Throughout the semester, students are asked to identify their strengths and weaknesses as leaders in order to gain insight into their leadership evolution.
“I chose to have students focus their efforts on organizing a charitable or community-focused event for a couple of reasons,” Harold said. “First, the community aspect helps the students develop a greater appreciation for the community in which Temple University operates. Second, there is a growing interest among this generation of students engaging in social responsibility and community activism. This project not only teaches valuable lessons about both leadership and followership, but also appeals to the students’ desires to help.”
The student-led events include an April 17 charity 4-on-4 basketball tournament, to raise money for the Family Memorial Trust Fund of fallen Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III, who was killed March 5 in the line of duty.
“After hearing of the tragic passing of Officer Wilson, we decided to hold this event in order to provide his family with as much financial support as possible,” said Cameran Alavi, a senior mathematical economics major. “It’s a chance for us to come together and support a worthy cause, as well as honor the life of a great man who was loved by everyone he knew.”
Another group organized a Philly Block Clean-Up for April 18. Kevin Carpenter, an environmental science and biology double-major, said his group decided to focus on an event geared toward the improvement of environmental needs in the surrounding Temple University community.
“Having pride in the neighborhood, even though a lot of students aren’t permanent residents, is extremely important,” he said. “Making an environmental impact, helping the community at large and being able to connect with Philadelphia residents through environmental action is a great feeling.”
One group decided against hosting an event, and instead partnered with the People’s Paper Co-Op and Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) over the course of the Spring 2015 semester. People’s Paper Co-Op and PLSE offer free expungement clinics for those in the Philadelphia community who wish to clean up their criminal records and learn viable skills, like public-speaking or how to expand upon their professional networks, to help them re-enter the workforce. After sitting in on the clinics, group members will present their suggested areas of improvement on how to further develop the expungement program to the leadership of both the Co-Op and PLSE.
“One hardship of the criminal justice system is the challenge of re-entry for individuals trying to restart their lives,” said Jacob Himes, a junior double-majoring in Italian and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies. “Our group attends each clinic, volunteers and looks for avenues of improvement in the program.”
Fox School junior Sarika Manavalan’s group assembled an April 19 Bookdrive Benefit Concert, to benefit Treehouse Books. Treehouse Books is a non-profit organization in North Philadelphia that serves youth in the community by giving children the opportunity to enhance their literary skills by focusing on the importance of reading. The entry fee for the event is one children’s book, or a monetary donation in lieu of one.
Manavalan said Harold’s course has provided countless intangible lessons.
“You can learn about leadership skills in the classroom but it’s really when you work hands on with other people that you develop them,” said Manavalan, who is double-majoring in Marketing and Management Information Systems (MIS) at Fox. “Whether or not our events are successful, it’s more about creating your event from scratch and learning how to work with non-profit organizations and finding ways to benefit the community.”
Scheduled Event List
4-on-4 Basketball Tournament (benefitting the Officer Robert Wilson III Family Memorial Trust Fund)
Friday, April 17, 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $20 registration fee per team
Location: Pearson Hall Courts (3rd Floor), Temple University
Contact: Cameran Alavi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bookdrive Benefit Concert (benefitting Treehouse Books)
Sunday, April 19, 7-8:30 p.m.
Five students from the Fox School of Business elected for a non-traditional spring break. Their remote destination was a placid campus. Their beach was a third-floor conference room in Altar Hall.
And instead of vacation, they opted for preparation.
The group’s discipline paid off. Five members of Temple University’s Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter comprised the team that won first place in the SHRM East Division Undergraduate Case Competition and Career Summit.
This marked the first time the Fox School had fielded a team for the regional case competition, which was held March 20-21 in Baltimore. Fox’s team included juniors Megan Rybak, Ryan Colomy, Connor McNamee and James Harootunian, and senior Nicole Bieri.
“We are extremely proud of this inaugural SHRM case competition student team, for preparing so diligently and then winning this prestigious competition,” said Dr. Deanna Geddes, Chair of Fox’s Human Resource Management department. “They are impressive ambassadors for our undergraduate HRM program.”
Fox’s SHRM team, one of 17 in the competition, received its case March 1, on the first day of Temple University’s spring break. The members were required to submit a two-page executive summary and the PowerPoint slides to their presentation only three days later, a deadline that significantly cut into their spring-break downtime.
“We spent the majority of our break in a conference room, pouring over the case information,” McNamee said.
“The case was a small non-profit hospital that was having challenges with its talent-development function,” Harootunian said. “We argued that there was a problem with who was responsible for overseeing employees’ long-term growth. While it’s important for the managers of each division to have a hand in it, we made a case that HR, the employees and the hospital should all factor into the process.”
Lacking case competition experience, the team delivered its presentation on four occasions at the Fox School in the days leading up to the summit. In doing so, the members hoped to elicit genuine questions from a fresh audience, in order to replicate the queries they might face from a judging panel.
In Baltimore, the Fox SHRM team made its 15-minute, first-round presentation March 21. The members were informed later that day that they had been selected as one of two teams to advance to the next day’s final round.
“Once we learned we were one of the finalists, to us, that felt like we won,” said Rybak, the team’s captain. “Making the final round was a bigger achievement than we had expected. We were new to the competition. I think that helped us remain calm in our second presentation, which was in front of a larger group and in a larger room.”
Each of the Fox SHRM team’s five members earned complimentary registration to the 2015 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, to be held June 28-July 1, in Las Vegas, Nev., as well as a $2,500 stipend to cover most of the team’s travel expenses for the Baltimore-based case competition.
More importantly, Fox’s SHRM team received sterling feedback from the final-round judges, who lauded the team’s use of metrics to support its analysis. Judges also cited impressive business communication skills, professionalism, and presentation fluidity. After the announcement of their win, a healthcare-industry professional approached the team seeking a future collaboration.
“One gentleman even gave us his business card and asked us if we could help his hospital make similar improvements to their HR practices,” Colomy said.
“Our excellent Temple educations showed and, at that moment, I was never more proud to represent the Fox School,” Bieri said. “We could not have done this without the support of the other Temple students who attended the conference, and our two advisors, Dr. Debra Casey and Dr. Andrea Lopez, who supported us the whole way.”
Temple’s nationally recognized SHRM chapter is one of 24 student-professional organizations at Fox. The group has been recognized previously as one of SHRM’s top-10 chapters nationally, and, in 2013-14, receives the national organization’s Outstanding Chapter Award.
The case championship is not the first notable distinction earned by the chapter, and it likely won’t be the last.
Initial impressions based upon a person’s facial features can significantly impact how we evaluate that person’s behavior, according to research by a professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
Dr. Brian Holtz, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management, conducted three studies, all of which suggested that people were more likely to accept the actions of an individual whom they initially perceived to be trustworthy.
New York Magazine and the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail recently featured Holtz’s research, which was initially published in the journal Personnel Psychology.
Holtz’s studies draw on prior psychological research demonstrating that certain facial features stimulate impressions of trustworthiness (high inner eyebrows and prominent cheekbones), while others (low inner eyebrows and shallow cheekbones) have the opposite effect.
In his first two studies, Holtz introduced participants to the biography of a fictitious CEO, which included a professional headshot, and then asked participants to gauge the CEO’s trustworthiness. Later, the participants read a description of a meeting in which the CEO announced a temporary pay reduction and were asked to evaluate how the CEO handled the situation. The subjects, Holtz said, were unaware that he had manipulated the CEO’s image to reflect either a trustworthy or untrustworthy face.
He found that participants who viewed the trustworthy face, tended to give the CEO the benefit of the doubt and judge the CEO’s actions to be fair. In contrast, participants who viewed an untrustworthy face evaluated the same actions to be significantly less fair.
“In essence, these results illustrate a confirmation bias, such that our initial expectations of others are often confirmed,” Holtz said. “If we expect a person to be trustworthy, for example, then we are more inclined to perceive their behavior in a favorable light.”
Participants of his third study – undergraduate students from Temple University – were asked to write a business-related memo that they were led to believe would be evaluated by a Fox School MBA student. Before writing the memo, participants viewed the LinkedIn profile of an MBA student purportedly assigned to evaluate their memo. In reality the LinkedIn profiles were fabricated to present either a trustworthy or untrustworthy face. In addition to earning research credit, participants were told they could earn a cash bonus of up to $6 depending on the quality of their memo.
Two days after the initial session, participants received a written evaluation of their memo, and were informed that they would receive a $3 cash bonus – “an ambiguous, down-the-middle ranking,” Holtz said. Then, the participants completed a questionnaire designed to assess their view of the MBA student’s evaluation of their work.
“Again, the results suggested that initial impressions of trustworthiness shaped how fairly the participants thought they were treated by the MBA student, even though all participants received the exact same outcomes,” Holtz said.
“Ultimately,” he continued, “the key takeaway point from this research is that we form initial impressions very quickly and, for better or worse, our initial impressions can have cascading effects on how we perceive subsequent interactions with others.”