The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a research team from Temple University a three-year grant totaling nearly $900,000 to fund a social-science project into the tracking of human behaviors through big data.
This marks the fourth NSF-awarded grant in the last five years that an interdisciplinary team of Temple faculty members has received to study the evolution of digital artifacts using large-scale digital trace data. The collaboration joins researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and College of Science and Technology (CST).
“When humans interact with digital systems, we leave a trace. Every call we make, every website we visit, it’s stamped with time and space information,” said Dr. Youngjin Yoo, the Harry A. Cochran Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School, and the research grant’s primary investigator. “What we do is constantly changing, and the trace data can act as DNA. What we focus on through this research is the repeat behaviors in humans that can be captured through digital trace data.
“Using those evolutionary patterns, we believe we can predict future behaviors of individuals and organizations. For example, by detecting the changes of commute patterns of individuals, we can predict overall public-transit systems’ performance in the future. Similarly, we want to be able to predict the changes in individual behaviors based on environmental changes.
Yoo said he and the grant’s co-principal investigators will study digitally enabled processes in complex digital systems, which “are like a living ecosystem, in that they constantly evolve,” he said. If patterns in the trace data represent what they call “behavioral genes,” Yoo said, alterations to those behavioral routines are “gene mutations.” Eventually, he said, the research team envisions developing software that will better predict the changes to those behavioral genes.
The benefits in doing so, according to Yoo, “are endless.” In a healthcare application, trace data could develop a pattern by which a patient sees a doctor or produce an average cost of care per patient. In an industry sense, such “gene mutations” could impact performance and cost.
“On the surface,” Yoo said, “all smart phones, for example, look the same. But everybody’s phone is different because of apps. It used to be that the product’s designer would make the product, and that was the end of the story. Now, it’s only the beginning. Millions of apps are downloaded. They’re changing constantly.
“Our argument is that, particularly in digital space, innovation never remains the same. It constantly changes and takes different forms.”
The research team includes: Yoo; Dr. Sunil Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School; Dr. Zoran Obradovic, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Data Analytics at CST; and Dr. Rob Kulathinal, Assistant Professor of Biology at the College of Science and Technology.
The NSF-awarded research grant runs through Jan. 31, 2018.
Researchers at Temple University’s Fox School of Business have identified an area of the brain that can significantly better predict the success of TV advertising.
Professors Angelika Dimoka, Paul A. Pavlou and Vinod Venkatraman led the research study at Temple’s Center for Neural Decision Making at the Fox School of Business. The research team received a $286,000 research grant from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), a non-profit group that provided TV ads from major sponsor companies in the consumer-goods, financial, technology, travel, and pharmaceutical industries.. The study sought to understand whether measures obtained in the lab when a small number of consumers watched these TV ads can predict the success of these ads in terms of increasing sales in the market.
Their research paper recently has been accepted for publication in the Journal for Marketing Research, a top marketing journal. They completed the study in collaboration with researchers from New York University, Duke University and the University of California, Los Angeles, who analyzed available sales and success data from the TV ads.
Fox School’s research team evaluated the responses of more than 300 participants to television advertisements using eight distinct methods: traditional surveys; implicit measures; eye tracking; heart rate; skin conductance; breathing; and brain activity, as measured by fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and EEG (electroencephalography).
“This is the first study to relate individual-level measures in the lab to market-level behavior,” said Venkatraman, lead author and Assistant Professor of Marketing. “We show that physiological and brain responses to a 30-second TV advertisement can provide reliable markers for evaluating its actual success in the market.”
“Based on our research and findings, from all seven neurophysiological methods, brain data collected using fMRI, were the most predictive,” added Angelika Dimoka, Director of the Center for Neural Decision Making, and an Associate Professor of Marketing. Specifically, we are able to show that activation in an area of the brain known as the ventral striatum, the reward center of the brain, can predict a TV ad success. The higher the activation in the ventral striatum, the higher the success of the TV ad. Nobody has ever been able to make such a linkage.”
The findings suggest that a key to a successful TV ad, Venkatraman noted, is the ability to increase the desirability of the product featured in the TV ad – a construct that is difficult to measure through the use of traditional, self-reported measures.
“A researcher might ask a test participant, more traditionally, ‘Do you like this ad? Are you likely to purchase this product?’” said Pavlou, Fox School’s Associate Dean of Research and Chief Research Officer. “While subjective measures like traditional questionnaires can still predict the success of TV advertising, the use of neurophysiological measures, especially fMRI, can almost double the power of our prediction.”
Dimoka, Pavlou and Venkatraman began their research December 2012, after meeting ARF officials at the second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Decision Neuroscience, spo nsored and hosted by the Fox School of Business. They concluded their testing and research six months later.
Dr. Seok-Woo Kwon, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has been appointed to a three-year term as a member of the entrepreneurship research committee of the Academy of Management (AOM).
Founded in 1936, the AOM is the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars. Its membership spans 20,000 members in 115 countries.
“The organization sponsors many interesting sessions that can enable and advance future research. I am very honored to be invited to the group,” Kwon said of the opportunity.
In 2012, Kwon received the Academy of Management Review’s 2012 Decade Award, one of the discipline’s most-prestigious awards, which recognizes the most-influential AMR research paper of the last 10 years, for his 2002 work, “Social Capital: Prospects for a New Concept.”
Kwon, who joined the Fox School of Business in 2012, instructs Organizations and Management Theory, a core course at the PhD level, and teaches Managing Knowledge Networks at the MBA level. Prior to his arrival at Temple, Kwon earned his PhD in Management and Organization from the University of Southern California, where he also attained his Master’s degree in Communication Management from the university’s Annenberg School for Communication. Previously, Kwon received his Master’s in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and his Bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology from the University of Michigan.
Admittedly, Cassandra Reffner said she does not have as great of an understanding of mathematical analytics as business-school students. And she said she only understands the most basic functions of Microsoft Excel.
What Reffner does know, however, is how to analyze data and display it in a creative, understandable manner. A junior graphic design student from the Tyler School of Art, Reffner won the $2,500 grand prize at the second annual Temple Analytics Challenge.
The month-long competition, organized by the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) at the Fox School of Business, culminated Nov. 17 in finalist presentations at Alter Hall. The challenge tasks students from all of Temple University’s schools and colleges with making sense of data through visualizations and infographics.
The Temple Analytics Challenge awarded 10 prizes totaling $10,000, from corporate members of IBIT and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies at Temple University.
In its second year, the Temple Analytics Challenge received 130 submissions from more than 300 participants. The finalists came from both undergraduate and graduate programs across the University, including the College of Engineering, the Tyler School of Art, and the Fox School of Business.
Reffner used a test tube illustration to demonstrate the residual impact felt by employees following the proposed relocation of Merck’s corporate headquarters. Judges reflected favorably upon Reffner’s infographic, which displayed the raw number of employees whose commutes would be negatively affected by 30 or more minutes. (Other Merck Challenge finalists opted to use percentages.) To circumvent the issue, Reffner offered what she called “prescriptions,” using a medicine-bottle design to provide Merck with alternatives like incentivizing carpools or public transit usage, or implementing break time for employees who make longer commutes.
“I think the judges liked how I gave solutions, or as I called them ‘prescriptions,’ to help benefit those employees and to look at this in a less-negative term,” Reffner said. “
Corporate partners of the Temple Analytics Challenge provided data sets and specific problems from which the students had to create an original visualization that also provided clear and meaningful insight. The NBCUniversal Challenge pertained to the allocation of advertising dollars for midterm elections; the Lockheed Martin Challenge focused on employee behaviors predicting security threats; and the aforementioned Merck Challenge centered around the overall impact of a corporate site’s relocation. The 20 finalists presented their work before a panel of professional judges, including representatives from QVC, Campbell Soup Company, and RJMetrics.
“The breadth of majors and students that excelled in the competition was really impressive. Analytics and the ability to interpret and visualize complex data is such an important skill, it’s exciting to so many students get involved and the final presentations were outstanding,” said Nicholas Piergallini, Program Manager at Lockheed Martin and a judge for the competition.
“We’re proud to once again see such a great set of entries from students across the University,” said Dr. David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems and organizer of the challenge, “A key goal of the challenge is to encourage students from different disciplines to build their data analysis and communication skills, and to see how these skills apply to their careers.”
Reffner and five fellow Tyler students were among the competition’s 20 finalists, and she was one of three from Tyler to win one of the Temple Analytics Challenge’s 10 cash prizes. Encouraged to enter the competition by Tyler professor Abby Guido, Reffner said she hopes her grand-prize win helps push other students at Temple University to compete next year.
“Being a graphic design student, it was difficult to figure out what the data was and what we had to look at, what we had to analyze, and how to design it in a way people would understand,” Reffner said. “Most of my class doesn’t know Excel.
“But the Temple Analytics Challenge was an innovative way to bring students from around campus together and show we can translate what we do know to a broader spectrum. It was that multidisciplinary aspect of the competition that, I think, was the most fun.”
Doug Seiwert echoed Reffner’s point. Seiwert, the Vice President of Information Technology and Enterprise Applications Development at QVC, said the popular home-shopping network produces one terabyte of data every month.
“For those of you who don’t know, that’s a lot of data,” said Seiwert, the event’s keynote speaker, “and it can be daunting when you’re processing this much data. Our challenge, and (the students’) challenge in this competition, was finding ways to make the data widely consumable, and I think you all did an outstanding job.”
A PhD student at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has accepted a position at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.
Michelle Andrews, who is pursuing a Marketing PhD at Fox, will join Emory’s Goizueta Business School in August 2015 as a tenure-track assistant professor of marketing. U.S. News and World Report included Goizueta in its 2014 rankings of the top-20 business schools in the nation.
“I am very honored by this opportunity to join the research and teaching community at Emory University, and I am extremely grateful for all of the support I have received and the connections I have made here at Temple University,” Andrews said.
Andrews received the Best Conference Paper Award at the 2014 American Marketing Association Summer Educator Conference. Her paper, titled, “Using Mobile Technology to Crowdsense,” used crowdedness as an environmental factor in determining peoples’ responses to mobile advertisements. Andrews conducted the study for her paper, which was co-authored by Fox School Professor of Marketing and Andrews’ faculty mentor Dr. Xueming Luo, within subway trains in southeastern China.
“Michelle is an innovative thinker in the marketing discipline and a role model for a future class of successful Fox PhD students,” Luo said.
Andrews is slated to attain her PhD from the Fox School of Business in Spring 2015.
–Christopher A. Vito
Dr. Hilal Atasoy received the 2014 Young Researcher Award at the fifth-annual Workshop on Health IT and Economics. The honor – conferred during the Oct. 10-11 conference, hosted by the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business – recognizes the best research paper led by a junior-faculty member.
“This is a tremendous achievement and I am honored to have been chosen as its recipient,” said Atasoy, Assistant Professor of Accounting.
Atasoy received the award for her paper titled, “The Spillover Effects of Health IT Investments on Regional Healthcare Costs,” which was co-authored by Dr. Pei-yu Chen, of Arizona State University, and Kartik Ganju, a Fox School PhD student in the Management Information Systems department.
The paper examines whether the health IT investments of one hospital will affect other hospitals in the region through instances of patient mobility, such as seeking a second opinion, changing hospitals out of convenience or due to change of address, among other reasons.
Viewed as a means of improving a patient care while decreasing health care costs, health IT improves diagnostics, decreases medical errors and can utilize the secure sharing of a patient’s medical records between hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. In her paper, Atasoy theorizes that if a patient previously had undergone baseline examinations and received proper care and diagnosis at one hospital, this can reduce spending at another hospital that same patient visits.
“Let’s say a patient first goes to Hospital A which is equipped with advanced health IT systems, and she receives a high quality of care and accurate diagnostics here. Then she moves to Hospital B. This might not reflect on Hospital A’s costs, as this hospital that went through all of the initial testing to determine the appropriate care and necessary treatment for the patient, but it could reflect in Hospital B’s costs,” Atasoy said. “The patient will be in a better health condition at that point of admittance to Hospital B and would not require any of those tests. In a sense, there could be a regional spillover from one hospital’s health IT investments to another hospital’s costs through shared patients.”
“Health IT is seen as a policy tool to reduce the health care costs, however, in most hospitals that adopt health IT system, the costs increase. In this study, we suggest that maybe this is not a hospital-level question, but instead it’s a regional question, with externalities going from one hospital to another. If there are regional spillovers, hospital-level effects may underestimate the societal benefits of health IT investments.”
Fox School of Business PhD candidate Kevin Yili Hong, whose research interests include economic and behavioral issues in online labor markets, has received a tenure-track assistant professorship at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
Hong came to the Fox School from China in 2009, to work with Paul A. Pavlou, Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy and the Fox School’s Chief Research Officer. Hong’s research has appeared in many top journals and proceedings, including MIS Quarterly, Journal of Global Information Management andInternational Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), among others. Some of Hong’s papers have won best paper awards at ICIS, the Americas Conference on Information Systems, and the Academy of Management Conference.
His dissertation focuses on various issues in the emerging online labor markets, using both empirical and analytical methodologies such as econometrics, game theory and field experimentation. Before joining the Fox School, Hong graduated magna cum laude from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a B.S. in Management and a B.A. in English Literature.
What drew you to the Fox School of Business?
I applied to the PhD program in 2008. I got several offers from top MIS PhD programs, but the primary reason I came here was the research interest fit with my advisor, Dr. Paul A. Pavlou. I look up to him, as he is a well-established researcher in the field with a stellar reputation. He has encouraged and convinced me to come here and work with him.
What has it been like working with the faculty here, especially Dr. Pavlou?
All of my experiences have been very positive. He is among the most professional people I’ve seen in my life. I learned so much from him. He cares a lot about my professional life, especially research, and he supports me in every way he can. It is lucky to be his first PhD student and work under his mentorship.
What drew you to your area of research?
For doctoral students, there was always the option of doing something your advisor is doing, basically following in their footsteps by extending their research, and I did some of that. Dr. Pavlou has always encouraged me to explore new phenomena, so I can establish myself as an independent researcher. So what I did was to explore something new – online labor markets – under his guidance. I have three papers in this area, which comprise my dissertation.
Why do you think you stood out to Arizona State, where you’ll be an Assistant Professor?
As I know, they received more than 100 applications, and they narrowed it down to a few candidates. I think what made me stand out was not only having top journal publications, and the reputation of Temple’s Management Information Systems program, but also other intangible capabilities: how you answer questions, how you approach people, how you react to people and other things. I got a lot of guidance from my advisor, Paul A. Pavlou, and Temple’s English language consultant Christina Owings in these aspects.
What are you looking forward to?
ASU’s MIS program is doing really well. They have a new undergraduate program in business analytics, and that’s something I’m interested in teaching. They also started a lot of new online programs, which is interesting as well. Besides teaching, as an Assistant Professor, you are always trying to publish more papers, do more research and collaborate with other faculty and PhD students. And I think my mentality will change as well from a PhD student to a professor, and I’m looking forward to a new life there.
Are you pursuing other research besides your dissertation?
Yes. I have three research streams. The first stream is my dissertation, which is online labor markets. My second research stream is on product uncertainty, and I’ve extended that stream of research with a new phenomenon called “product fit uncertainty.” My third stream is research related to social media and the economic value it provides to firms.
What will you miss about Temple and Philadelphia once you leave?
Philadelphia is a great city. It’s a city where you can get almost anything you want. I’ve gotten to know the city so well, so I know where to go and what to avoid. That’s good. At Temple, obviously all of the professors are great and are not only great researchers but also great people. They’ll provide you with research and emotional support. I’m also glad to see that, in my five years here, we have seen the MIS Department and also school go up immensely in terms of reputation. I just want to see the school reputation go upward and onward.
What advice would you give to prospective Fox PhD students?
For people pursuing a research career, I just think Fox is a great place to be. It has a culture that you start your research from day one, which is very important. So you could ideally have top journal publications by the time you graduate. And most importantly, find an advisor who can support you and get along with you professionally. This is where I was lucky!
Fox School of Business PhD candidate Mike Obal, whose research includes disruptive innovation adoption, interorganizational relationships, new product development (NPD), and online marketplaces, has been hired as an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Manning School of Business at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Obal won the 2013 Robert Robicheaux Best Supply Chain Management Dissertation Proposal Award from the Society for Marketing Advances. His other achievements include publications in Industrial Marketing Management, the Journal of Service Management and the International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications. He has also presented at a number of conferences including the American Marketing Association, the Academy of Marketing Sciences, and the Product Development and Management Association.
Obal’s dissertation examines the adoption and acceptance of disruptive technologies within firms. Prior to joining the Fox School, he obtained an MBA in marketing from UMass Boston and a BS in marketing from Syracuse University.
What led you to the Fox School?
What I was looking for when I was considering PhD programs was a program that had a really strong reputation as far as research that the faculty members were doing, and the types of placements that PhD students were going to. I knew before I got here that there were students who had come out of here and gone to places like the University of Pittsburgh, Villanova, Cornell, and that’s just within this department. I knew that if I could come here and do a good job, I would have a good chance of placing well. The other thing I’ll say, more from a personality thing, is that I’m originally from the Boston area, and I wanted to be in a city; it’s what I preferred. Temple was all of the things that I wanted. I was able to check off all the marks.
What does it feel like going back to Massachusetts?
It’s a happy coincidence. Honestly, when I was looking for jobs, I was looking pretty much nationwide. I still had the same personal preferences as before, like location and good reputation. I also wanted to go to a place that is listed on the Carnegie classifications as a full research university. That’s where Temple is and UMass Lowell as well. I wanted to go to a school that has the same goals that I do. I like research.
What drove you to your particular area of research?
I definitely saw a need for it. My background is in online marketing, which sparked a general interest in innovation and technology. I saw that when you compare the innovation area to other subareas in marketing, like consumer behavior, there are just not that many people looking at how innovations are created and how to get them to the end customers. So, here is an area that I was already interested in, and I knew that, specifically, there was a little pocket that not many people were looking at.
What has your experience been like working with the faculty at Fox?
It’s been great. Working with my advisor, Tony Di Benedetto, who is one of the top names in innovation research, has surely helped me move along that way. And also, working with Dick Lancioni, whom I’ve worked with since day one; he’s always been very open and receptive to ideas. Working with Nathan Fong, who is an assistant professor here; he has a really good grasp on the current trends in research and is a great methodologist. He’s always given me really good feedback in terms of improving my research. But even beyond them, the other people in this department have always just kept their doors open and have always been willing to give me feedback one way or another, and that’s the best thing that I could have. Whenever I’ve had questions, I’ve always gotten answers and not closed doors.
Why do you think you stood out to the University of Massachusetts, where you’ll be an Assistant Professor?
In honesty, I think they were looking for someone in the innovation and technology area in marketing, so they wanted someone who did the type of research I was doing. Beyond that, I think there was really such a great fit as far as where they are as a university and where I am. I think we have a lot of the same types of goals. When I met everyone and did campus invites, we were all just on the same page. I wanted to go to a place that was moving forward at a fast rate. I didn’t want to go to a place that was sort of stuck in their ways. And to be honest, I don’t think that it hurt that I was from Massachusetts
What are you most excited about?
Being on the other side! I’ve been a student for way too long, and it will be exciting to be a tenure-track professor and to have all of the responsibilities that come with that. I feel ready for that. I’m ready to move past being the “forever student” to being a professor.
Are you currently pursuing any other research besides your dissertation?
I have a project going on with another doctoral student here that takes a look at new product development processes, which is more on the front end of innovation. I have a similar one that is with a doctoral student at the State University of New York in Binghamton. I have a project that takes a cross-cultural look at how different cultures review websites. I’m working on a project with a formal doctoral student here, Ellen Thomas, who’s now at New Jersey Institute of Technology, where we’re looking at technology transfer and knowledge exchange between buyers and suppliers. A lot of it is within the same area, but with different angles and perspectives.
What will you miss about Temple and Philadelphia?
I love the city and the campus. Temple is a perfect campus for the city. It’s a big state university that’s very much molded into the city that it lives in. I think it gives it a little extra character. It has a certain grittiness to it, but it’s a nationally known university, where expectations are high. The great thing with Philly is that you can always find new things in the city. I’ve been here for almost five years now, and you never stop finding things that are new and interesting. I’ll miss it. I have a lot of good colleagues here and a lot of good friends in the city. I think they trained me well. It’s a good step for my career obviously, but it’s definitely going to be a little bittersweet to leave this behind.
What advice would you give to prospective Fox PhD students?
Find your area of interest and really focus on that. Have thick skin. Faculty may tell you to do this or do that, but as long as you’re working hard and focusing, you just have to push through. Also, go at it like it’s a marathon. You can’t get your degree in one year. It’s going to take five years or more. Don’t try to rush through it; you won’t make it. At Temple you have all of the resources you could ever want at a university. Our faculty is interested in enough topics that you can come here and do research on any topic and be fine. It’s very much a self-motivated program. If you want to do something, they will support you, but you’ve got to be self-driven. People who come in with that attitude, regardless of their background, are pretty successful.
The bar graph is dead.
It’s a bygone relic of an era intimidated by 1.28 billion Facebook members and 3 billion computer users globally. These numbers are not as daunting as they once were; rather, they are now the tools used to determine anything from favorite food to political preference.
This is big data, the new face of statistical and computational analysis.
Big data is the collection of data sets so large that it is difficult to process them with traditional methods. As the volume, velocity and variety of these sets increases, so does the need for informed analytics.
The Fox School of Business created the Big Data Institute for just this purpose.
In existence for more than a year, and with the assistance of seed money provided by Temple University Provost Hai-Lung Dai, the Big Data Institute strives to blend several programs and encourage natural synergies among big data researchers, students and firms, while seeking to become a global leader in research, education, industry practice, and technology transfer of big data.
For Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Senior Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives at the Fox School of Business, the Institute represents a year of work supporting students and professors engaged with large data.
“The amount of data created in just an hour or minute is tremendous. We need new techniques and approaches to make sense of this data,” Pavlou said.
The Institute has five centers with individual specializations that include big data usage in mobile analytics, social media, health sciences, oncology research, statistics and biomedical informatics. These centers have used big data to connect brain imaging to successful advertisements, to use technology to create vast amounts of DNA for clinical study, and, in the School Tourism Hospitality and Management, to decrease dissatisfaction in the leisure industry, among other research projects.
“One of the unique advantages we have is that the Statistics department is housed in Fox. We try to leverage that to have different conversations,” Pavlou said.
The Institute and its centers are funded by data enthusiasts from Temple University, the federal government, affiliated firms and commercial groups, as well as start-ups the Institute helped get off the ground. With the aid of these associates, and partners in the private sphere, the Institute seeks to continue its research into cutting-edge data analysis.
In its pursuit of this goal, the Institute’s Center for Web and Social Media Analytics has capitalized on the data generated each minute from the 74 percent of adults using social media.
For Dr. Sunil Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS), this data is critical. “There is not a whole lot of awareness of what firms can do with social media,” Wattal said. “The Center provides firms with a way to quantify the value of social media and use the data to derive some interesting insights about their business.”
The Center logs onto social media to help firms such as Aerospace to understand consumer tendencies at the microscopic level. Combing through Twitter or flicking through Instagram, the Center decrypts consumer preferences for the latest fitness craze to political party affiliation. This data is then synthesized into something that anyone, from pollsters to yogis, can use to further their goals.
A key area of research, said Wattal, is how a crowdfunding organization can convince more people to donate to campaigns. Chief among the Center’s findings is that, contrary to the belief that Internet popularity grows exponentially, the more popular a campaign, the less likely it is to receive more funding. Working with a particular company, the Center has proposed design changes to combat this issue.
“There’s a community that gets created on these sites, and you can measure how people influence each other,” said Wattal.
In 2015, the Center will use funds received from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to host a big data and privacy conference, bringing together federal agencies, online giants such as Google, and interested parties to discuss personal privacy in the Big Data age.
To keep students abreast of the latest in data analysis, the Fox School’s MIS department has introduced its newest university-wide course, Data Science. It is available to all students and has allowed business students to improve their data usage in the business world.
“We’re constantly surrounded by data. If you can get the average employee to take this data and get some insight on their own you can give them an advantage over the rest,” said Dr. David Schuff, Associate Professor of MIS and instructor for the Data Science and Data Analytics courses.
Schuff said he begins with the basics – teaching business majors and minors in his Data Analytics course how to use data-mining software, like SAS Enterprise Miner, to examine data and identify its pertinent characteristics.
“We want them to be able to look at cause-effect relationships in business data and use some basic tools to analyze that data and use the results to make better decisions,” Schuff said.
Using the basic skills Schuff teaches, students can use data to examine consumer preferences, such as using sales receipts to predict which goods are bought in tandem and how strategic sales can maximize profits. Broadening the scope, if politicians want to know a Facebook friend’s electoral value, they need someone who can use big data to decipher the sentiment behind a Facebook post. For Schuff, this person is someone who is, “comfortable with data,” and can fuse tools gleaned in business classes to decode the human psyche.
Data professionals “know what you can do with data and so they know how to support the marketing function. These people aren’t going to be just data scientists, …but business people who are working with data,” Schuff said.
Schuff aims for his students to move beyond the bar graph- and pie chart-models to create and analyze more sophisticated visualizations to better integrate data in their professional lives. These students get hands-on experience using SAS products, as well as Tableau software, both of which are currently used in the analytics industry.
“We really want people to touch the tools they would be using in industry so they can speak from experience,” Schuff said.
Temple University’s Center for International Business Education (CIBE) has joined exclusive company.
Temple CIBE at the Fox School of Business is one of only 17 such centers in the country to have had its grant-renewal proposal approved for federal funding from the United States Department of Education. Temple is the only university in the Greater Philadelphia region and in Pennsylvania to have received funding for CIBE.
“This grant renewal demonstrates Temple University and the Fox School’s place among the country’s leading centers of international business,” said Rebecca Geffner, Director of Temple CIBE. “The education, outreach and research opportunities afforded by this grant are immeasurable.”
The international business institute is scheduled to receive federal funding for four more years. The grant, announced in September, allows for $250,000 annually. This represents the fourth such grant for Temple CIBE, a fixture at the university since its inception in 2002.
“Temple won the CIBE grant in the face of increased competition, and a shrinking government budget that saw the number of CIBE institutes cut from 33 to 17,” said Dr. Ram Mudambi, Executive Director and Principal Investigator of Temple CIBE. “This award is a testament to Temple’s excellent performance over the last three grant cycles, as well as a good current grant proposal.”
Temple CIBE has plans to implement more than 50 activities in areas such as the teaching of improved international business curriculum, critical language instruction, research in innovation, patents and new growth markets, study abroad, business outreach and partnerships with community colleges and minority serving institutions. All of the activities are designed to improve American competitiveness in the world marketplace and to produce globally competent students, faculty and staff.
“The renewal of this prestigious grant continues to affirm the Fox School’s vital role in producing cutting-edge international business research, promoting international ideas within our community and fostering worldwide learning among our students and faculty,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “Once again, the Fox School and Temple are being recognized as destinations for global engagement.”
The latest grant will help support expansion of short-term study abroad programming into parts of Asia including South Korea and Japan, where the Fox school currently has partnerships, as well as other emerging markets. Additionally, the grant will create opportunities for junior and senior faculty at Fox to enhance and expand their research within the international business field, either through international collaboration or travel. Finally, the Center will create knowledge in international business education through two main research initiatives: Temple Knowledge Maps, a project conducted by Dr. Ram Mudambi, which seeks to geographically map the locales of innovation around the world and the connectivity of global innovation networks; and Advancing U.S. Competitiveness in the Context of Emerging Innovation Models, spearheaded by Dr. Mitrabarun “MB” Sarkar, which studies how Western businesses shape their entry into emerging markets and how that entry in turn shapes them.
Grant renewal also will allow for continued external partnerships between Temple CIBE and the Philadelphia U.S. Export Assistance Center, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, among others, as well as with local community colleges.
“Our work with these and other partners in the region allows us to reach a large constituency to promote U.S. competitiveness overseas and international trade, to sponsor training programs on topics such as automated export compliance standards and intellectual property regulations and to develop impactful programming around current international business issues,” Geffner said, “This new round of CIBE funding will allow us to not only continue to foster those relationships, but expand upon them in even more meaningful ways.”
“The recent CIBE grant renewal for an additional four years both underscores and reflects Temple’s leadership in international business,” added Dr. Arvind Parkhe, Chair of Fox School’s Strategic Management department. “In international business research, teaching, external partnerships, and community impact, Temple continues to set the standard of excellence and innovation.”
Fox School’s EMBA program is ranked No. 2 nationally for international course experience by Financial Times, and U.S. News & World Report ranks Fox’s undergraduate program in international business No. 13 in the nation.
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.
The Academy of International Business (AIB) held its annual global business conference in Vancouver, British Columbia from June 23-26, and a professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business did not leave empty handed.
Dr. Amir Shoham, Associate Professor of Finance at the Fox School of Business, received the SSE/WAIB Award for Increased Gender Awareness in International Business Research in recognition of his research paper entitled, “Do Female/Male Distinctions in Language Influence Microfinance Outreach to Women?” The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and the Women in AIB (WAIB) sponsored the award.
Shoham set out to find a different solution for cultural dimensions than the commonly used survey-based measures. He studied the structure of languages in general and gender marking, particularly in grammar.
“Today’s research that is conducted is mostly survey-based and it’s extremely problematic,” said Shoham. “I wanted to find an alternate way and did so based on language that focused on culture and gender.”
Shoham also collected data based off financial records released from Microfinance Organizations (MFOs) in various countries around the world. MFOs provide financial services to individuals or small businesses in low-income areas, where traditional banking is a scarce resource.
In conjunction with his three co-authors – Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, of France’s ESSEC Business School; Isreal Drori, of the College of Management and Academic Studies in Israel; and Ronny Manos, of Cranfield University in the United Kingdom – Shoham discovered that language influences hybrid organizations’ management of its dual missions.
“The empirical evidence from MFOs’ outreach strategy toward females helped to analyze whether language’s influence depends on MFOs’ profit orientation and the consequences this has for whether there is a tradeoff between outreach and sustainability or whether they are compatible,” said Shoham. “The main finding is that the sustainability and outreach tradeoffs depend on how organizations treat societal attributes when defining their outreach strategy.”
Nonprofit MFOs define a universal mission of outreach that does not selectively interact with social attributes, Shoham said. For-profit MFOs build outreach strategies that target female borrowers. This occurs more frequently, he said, in countries where gender roles are unfavorable toward women.
The SSE/WAIB award is extremely selective, so much so that the award was not bestowed upon anyone in 2013. When their names were announced, Shoham and his co-authors were proud to know that their hard work had paid off.
“When your work is recognized,” he said, “it’s a great feeling.”
Data visualizations and infographics are creative illustrations. They can help tell a story, convey a point – and even land Temple University students up to $2,500 in prize money.
The 2nd Annual Temple Analytics Challenge: Making Sense of Big Data opens Oct. 1. The student competition is geared toward understanding data through visualization, a component that experts have cited as the path to attaining a hot job in big data analytics.
The Temple Analytics Challenge is open to Temple University students across all schools and disciplines. Working in teams or individually, students are tasked with creating an original visualization that provides clear and meaningful insight into current issues facing industry.
Corporate leaders developed specific problems and data sets that student teams will use to create their visualizations. They are:
The NBCUniversal Challenge: Where will politicians spend their midterm advertising dollars?
The Lockheed Martin Challenge: Which employee behaviors predict security threats?
The Merck Challenge: What is the impact of a new corporate site?
“Last year the competition was an amazing success, with 183 entries from 400 students across seven schools and colleges,” said challenge organizer David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School of Business. “The competition gives students the opportunity to work on real-world problems and data, while developing critical visual communication skills.”
The winning team will earn a $2,500 grand prize. Two second-place prizes ($1,500 each), two third-place prizes ($1,000 each) and five honorable mention prizes ($500) will also be awarded. The prizes are sponsored by the corporate members of the Institute for Business and Information Technology at the Fox School of Business and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.
Contest entries are due Oct. 30. Twenty finalists will present their work Nov. 17 before a live judging panel of industry leaders from Merck, Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, RJMetrics, NBCUniversal and the Campbell Soup Company.
Students can use any tools or software of their choosing to create their entries. Workshops and mentoring are available throughout October to further assist students.
For details, visit analyticschallenge.temple.edu. If you are a Temple professor looking to get your students involved, contact David Schuff (email@example.com) to request more information.
A research paper authored by a current PhD student at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has earned international acclaim.
Pauline Milwood recently received the Best Paper Award at the second biennial Advances in Destination Management Conference, for her paper titled, “Knowledge, Innovation and the Role of the Destination Management Organization: Integrating Stakeholder and Network Perspectives.”
A PhD student with a concentration in Tourism and Sport, Milwood was honored at the conference, which took place June 11-13, in St. Gallen, Switzerland. She co-authored the paper with her advisor, Dr. Wesley S. Roehl, a professor from Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
“It felt extremely gratifying (to be recognized),” Milwood said. “The PhD program is extremely grueling. It kind of makes the thorns and challenges that develop in the process of doing research all worth it in the end.”
The paper integrates stakeholder and network perspectives to examine the role played by destination management organizations (DMOs) in developing competitive advantage. Ultimately, the paper suggests that DMOs should utilize more involvement and collaboration engagement strategies and less control and monitoring engagements strategies to influence successful innovation outcomes among destination partners.
The research has implications for a wide range of entities, according to Milwood.
“The dynamic of government, business, and local residents’ roles comes into play when we’re talking about innovation development of a tourism area,” Milwood said.
In addition to its practical implications, the research enhances the theoretical ideas of network and stakeholder theorists.
“There is benefit to blending theories to better understand both structure and process dynamics of these relationships among public, private and third-sector interests, specifically as it relates to developing innovation in tourism,” Milwood said.
The Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, within which the paper will likely be published, co-sponsored the award.
A PhD student from Temple University’s Fox School of Business proved she can stand out in a crowd. Michelle Andrews received the Best Conference Paper Award at the 2014 American Marketing Association Summer Educator Conference Aug. 2 in San Francisco.
Andrews’ paper, titled, “Using Mobile Technology to Crowdsense,” employed crowdedness as an environmental factor that affects how people respond to mobile advertisements. The study for her research paper, which was co-authored by Xueming Luo, a Professor of Marketing in the Fox School’s Marketing and Supply Chain Management department, was conducted within subway trains.
In the context of a subway train, the measurement of crowdedness – a sometimes-abstract entity in research, Andrews remarks – becomes more precise.
“The reason we chose the subway train context was that it was unique,” said Andrews, who will earn her PhD in Marketing from the Fox School in Spring 2015. “During a subway commute, you’re surrounded by others in a public environment with little to do.”
Andrews, who signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding her research paper, could not specify which specific subway system she used for her research paper, but noted it was located in southeastern China, where, as Andrews pointed out, subways are mobile-equipped. That enabled Andrews and her co-authors to determine the number of mobile users within the specific dimensions of a subway train.
“We predicted crowdedness would increase immersion into mobile devices,” she explained. “We found that in congested trains, purchase rates were significantly higher than in uncongested ones.”
Andrews’ winning paper was co-authored by Zheng Fang, of China’s Sichuan University and Anindya Ghose, of New York University.
Also at the conference, Andrews’ research papers earned two further distinctions. The same paper that received the conference’s overall Best Paper Award also garnered the Best Track Paper Award in the Digital Marketing & Social Media track. Another of her research papers, titled “The Effectiveness of Cause Marketing” received the Best Track Paper Award in the Social Responsibility & Sustainability track.
“Michelle is so hard-working and innovative in her thinking for what’s coming next for the Marketing discipline, and the Best Conference Paper Award recognizes her for that,” Dr. Luo said. “Hopefully, this significant award will be influential, not only for our school but also for marketing on the whole, in demonstrating how to connect with consumers anytime, anywhere.”