Michelle-Andrews
Michelle Andrews and Xueming Luo

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

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute Managing Director Rob McNamee (far left) and Executive Director Ellen Weber (far right), with the Innovative Idea Competition finalists Bethany Edwards, Cecilia Scimia, Yasmine Mustafa, Bradley Blosser and Sean Webster.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute Managing Director Rob McNamee (far left) and Executive Director Ellen Weber (far right), with the Innovative Idea Competition finalists Bethany Edwards, Cecilia Scimia, Yasmine Mustafa, Bradley Blosser and Sean Webster.

If participation in a recent Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) competition is any indication, entrepreneurship is alive and well at Temple University.

Final presentations for IEI’s Innovative Idea Competition, held Nov. 12 at Alter Hall at the Fox School of Business, featured representatives from seven of Temple University’s 17 schools and colleges: Fox, the School of Medicine, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Engineering, Tyler School of Art, Boyer College of Music and Dance, and the School of Media and Communication.

The competition awarded $7,000 in prizes to students, alumni, faculty and staff for ideas on innovative products, services and technologies, said Ellen Weber, the institute’s Executive Director. IEI saw a 36-percent increase in total submissions from last year’s event to this year’s, in receiving a competition-record 253 submissions, including 230 from undergraduates.

Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat speaks with Istvan Varkonyi, Director of Temple University's General Education Program, Office of the Senior Vice Provost, at the 2014 Innovative Idea Competition.
Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat speaks with Istvan Varkonyi, Director of Temple University’s General Education Program, Office of the Senior Vice Provost, at the 2014 Innovative Idea Competition.

“As you can see, through this annual competition, entrepreneurship has become a pillar of the student experience, not only at the Fox School, but among all students at Temple University,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “After all, this university was founded by Russell Conwell – an entrepreneur himself.”

Bethany Edwards, SMC ’06, received the Anne Nelson Grand Prize of $2,500, with her Lia-Pregnancy Test Redesign. Weber lauded the privacy and convenience aspects of Edwards’ design of a flushable pregnancy test, which was free of electronic or plastic materials.

“The plot to so many great movies would be ruined if you didn’t see the evidence in the trash can,” Weber said.

Similar to the TV show “Shark Tank,” three guest entrepreneurs (dubbed IEI’s “piranhas”) judged the final presentations: Glen Gaddy, of Robin Hood Ventures; Holly Flanagan, of Gabriel Investments; and Mike Krupit, of Trajectify and Philly New Technology Meetup.

A member of Fox School’s undergraduate population and a Fox alumna were among the winners.

Sophomore Bradley Blosser took first place in the undergraduate competition, with his idea for a snow-dissolving light post. A Finance and Accounting major, Blosser said the device, which is not in production, will be capable of melting snow from above using an infrared light. Believed to be ideal for clearing street corners and parking lots, the device can be affixed to a lightpost at varying heights, Blosser said, and will not interfere with the air space, instead warming only the ground.

Yasmine Mustafa, who graduated in 2006, took first place in the graduate faculty, staff or alumni category. Mustafa is the founder of self-defense technology company Roar for Good, which produces wearables marketed for women. The technology is capable of dialing 911 or sending text messages in cases of emergency, and even sounding an alarm or causing lights to flash.

Mustafa, who in 2010 won Temple’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, has vowed to commit a portion of the proceeds from her wearable technology to programs and charity that promote respect for women.

“She’s trying to make sure the product she’s developing will lead to the problem’s solution,” Weber said.

An attendee of the Innovative Idea Competition uses Yorn.com to cast a vote for the People’s Choice Awards. For the first time in the competition’s 17-year history, attendees were offered an opportunity to provide feedback on presentations using real-time voting technology.
An attendee of the Innovative Idea Competition uses Yorn.com to cast a vote for the People’s Choice Awards. For the first time in the competition’s 17-year history, attendees were offered an opportunity to provide feedback on presentations using real-time voting technology.

Mustafa, one of six women to qualify for the competition’s 10-person final presentations, also earned first place in the People’s Choice Award category.

For the first time in the event’s history, attendees used Yorn.com, a real-time feedback platform, to determine winners of two People’s Choice Awards. More than more than 400 comments had been submitted, according to Tyra Ford, the Director of Strategic Marketing Initiatives in Fox’s Department of Strategic Management, offering additional input and wisdom on the various presentations.

“We’ve gotten such a great response from this element of the competition,” Ford said. “It’s something we hope to continue in the years ahead.”

The full list of winners is as follows:

  • Anne Nelson Grand Prize: Edwards
  • First Place (Graduate faculty, Staff or Alumni): Mustafa
  • Second Place (Graduate faculty, Staff or Alumni): Cecilia Scimia, School of Medicine, Heart Upbeat!
  • First Place (Undergraduate): Blosser
  • Second Place (Undergraduate): Sean Webster, College of Engineering, Bouyant Pile
  • First Place (People’s Choice): Mustafa
  • Second Place (People’s Choice): Edwards

In other IEI news, submissions are being accepted for the 2015 Be Your Own Boss Bowl®. The BYOBB is a business-plan competition open to the entire Temple community, which includes current students, alumni, faculty and staff. Information sessions are slated for Dec. 3 (at 12 noon) and Dec. 4 (at 5 p.m.) at the IEI Lab, in 503D Alter Hall. The due date for submissions is March 16, and finalists will deliver presentations April 16.

Leila Bouamatou and Tah MeouloudLeila Bouamatou doesn’t appear as though she had been traveling for two days. Her make-up is impeccable and her bright blue, polka-dotted melehfa stands out against the stoic dress of her Western classmates. She and her husband, Tah Meouloud, are at ease nearly 4,000 miles from home and surrounded by strangers.

Bouamatou and Meouloud are doctoral candidates in the newly formed Executive Doctorate of Business Administration (EDBA) program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. And unlike the other 23 students who compose the EDBA’s first cohort, Bouamatou and Meouloud are international students.

Six times a year, for three years, the couple will travel from Mauritania – an African nation of more than 3.5 million people – to Philadelphia to engage in their intensive, three-day weekend coursework within the Fox EDBA. The program is appealing to Bouamatou and Meouloud, who willingly make the two-day, Atlantic Ocean-crossing trip to the States to expand their professional and academic careers.

“It’s worth it,” said Bouamatou, of the 12-hour flight from North Africa to North America.

Why? The couple said they were attracted to the Fox School because of its accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a high distinction of achievement held by fewer than five percent of business schools worldwide.

Additionally, the couple had determined several years ago the United States was the ideal country in which to continue their educations. They said they chose Fox because of the flexibility of its EDBA – a program offered by only a handful of business schools in the nation – and its central location between fellow East Coast hub cities New York City and Washington, D.C.

The EDBA program combines two tenets that are central to the Fox School mission: research and real-world experience. Fox’s research-active faculty, which numbers nearly 200, covers a wide range of competencies – an ideal aspect for student mentorship within a multi-disciplinary EDBA program that embraces real-life learning and applied practices. The program is offered at The HUB at Commerce Square, a vibrant business center located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia.

Husband and wife Tah Meouloud and Leila Bouamatou, who are part of the first cohort of Fox School’s Executive Doctorate of Business Administration program, listen to instruction during their second residency. (Temple University)
Husband and wife Tah Meouloud and Leila Bouamatou, who are part of the first cohort of Fox School’s Executive Doctorate of Business Administration program, listen to instruction during their second residency. (Temple University)

When simplified, their pursuit of an executive education amounts to only 54 days in Philadelphia over three years. For such a small face-to-face time commitment, Bouamatou and Meouloud said they have received tremendous support from Dr. David Schuff, Executive Director of the EDBA program and an Associate Professor in Fox School’s Management Information Systems (MIS) department. They also had an opportunity to meet Temple University President Dr. Neil D. Theobald, who spoke to the first cohort of EDBA students in September during the program’s initial residency.

“We are not just left here. We feel comfortable,” said Meouloud, who said he has enjoyed networking with his professors and fellow students.

“Networking is an important component of the student experience,” said Schuff. “A key strength of the program is the diversity in the backgrounds of our cohort. Providing both formal and informal opportunities to learn from each other, both inside and outside the classroom, makes the residences about more than simply attending class.”

Both he and his wife dedicate 15 to 20 hours per week to completing curriculum requirements via the web-conferencing platform WebEx. The program’s density allows executives to graduate in only three years. Bouamatou said she enjoys the program’s commitment to research and hopes to use her time as a doctoral candidate to explore the role of female leaders in family businesses, before extending her knowledge to professional women in Africa.

“My passion for research had been unsatisfied in a way, and the EDBA program satisfied that thirst,” Bouamatou said.

A dedicated student, Meouloud concentrated on the development of global economic systems as they relate to capitalism. Meouloud believes the EDBA program will help him understand how economics and business can merge to reduce poverty in Africa and in developing countries.

In addition to enriching his professional pursuits, Meouloud said he and his wife have long-range aspirations to open a school in Mauritania with structure, content and standards similar to those in the EDBA program in which he is enrolled.

“We are sharing the space with professionals from different backgrounds and learning from them,” said Meouloud, who hopes to facilitate the same experience in Africa and France.

Though the couple has embarked upon only a third of their intensive residences for this year, they said they already could see the program’s potential to enhance their lives.

“My professional life will take on another dimension because the EDBA program gives me the experience, the confidence and the trust needed to move into a key position,” Bouamatou said.

Both Meouloud and Bouamatou matriculated through the French academic system before pursuing Master’s degrees in Europe. Bouamatou studied at the American School of Business in Lausanne, Switzerland before receiving her Master’s degree in finance at Eada Barcelona, in Spain, and her Executive Master’s in Business Administration (EMBA) from the Mediterranean School of Business, in Tunisia. Meouloud earned his Master’s in economics from the University of Nouakchott, in Mauritania, before studying international economic development at Sorbonne University, in Paris, France.

Bouamatou and Meouloud are multilingual, a skill that strengthens their professional and academic pursuits. Each speaks French, Arabic, Spanish and English, while Meouloud also is fluent in Chinese.

“I have had a multicultural educational and professional background for the last 10 years,” Bouamatou said. “I hope that I will bring new insights to the cohort based on different experience we have been going through.”

Professionally, Bouamatou has served since 2009 as the head of the Treasury Department at GBM Bank of Mauritania, the leading corporate and investment bank in Mauritania. Her interest in banking peaked in childhood when she watched her father – a banking entrepreneur whom she regards as her greatest mentor – succeed in foreign investments. He “built an empire from nothing,” she said.

An international economist and human resources manager for BSA Technologies, Meouloud “identifies the economic aspects of the situation.”

“And he’ll be the one to bring advice,” Bouamatou said, finishing her husband’s sentence.

Offering their cohort a vast and varied perspective, both Bouamatou and Meouloud have determined to gain everything possible from the EDBA program and the Fox School. This determination is evidenced in a French phase that Bouamatou features in her resume. Translated to English, the phrase suggests that perseverance creates great opportunities.

Bouamatou and Meouloud traveled 4,000 miles in pursuit of their next great opportunity, and they’re not looking back.

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.

Dr. Hilal Atasoy“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.”

Kevin Hong
Kevin Yili Hong

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!

Mike Obal
Mike Obal

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.

More than three-quarters of black women aged 12 to 74 are considered clinically obese.

Christine WegnerFor Christine Wegner, a Fox School of Business PhD student and a research assistant in the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), this statistic was a key component in her award-winning research that investigated how social stigmas keep black women from participating in physical activity.

Wegner received the Best Student Abstract Award at the National Recreation and Park Association’s Leisure Research Symposium, held Oct. 14-16 in Charlotte, N.C. The competition selected the best student research in the leisure industry, as it related to current cultures.

Wegner’s work with Black Girls Run! (BGR!), a national organization that uses running to promote physical fitness and health among black women, while combatting stereotypes surrounding the activity, spurred her research. She reacted to how few black women engage in running because of social stigmas surrounding the sport. When coupled with a sedentary childhood, a deficit of black female professional athletes, idealization of a larger body type and issues of hair maintenance, these stigmas have contributed to illness and increased body weight among black women.

To understand this dynamic, Wegner said she reached out to 63,013 black women through BGR! The responses she received helped uncover how the group combats race and gender issues in the running culture. With 70 nationwide chapters, including one in Philadelphia, BGR! teaches black women basic running skills and creates a safe and empowering environment in which they exercise these skills. Working with the organization, Wegner identified confidence, skill, health, time, preference and hair management as six key areas when breaking down the barriers between black women and their athleticism.

“I think that Philadelphia is a good (research) target because of its greater prevalence of obese and sedentary individuals than many other cities like it” Wegner said.

Wegner, whose PhD studies include a concentration in Sport Management, relied upon several skills gleaned from her STHM and Fox School educations to better understand her research results. Wegner hypothesized using information gathered from her courses addressing the nature of organizations to predict that a group promoting a common goal can combat stereotypes held by the majority of its participants. With this in mind, Wegner drew upon her background in leisure activity afforded her through STHM to evaluate how the change in self-identification could result directly from BGR! Participation.

“At STHM, we focus heavily on distinct features and problems within sport and physical activity,” Wegner said. “This focus has allowed me to look at this organization holistically, from both a business perspective that I gained from Fox and from the broader issues in sport gained from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.”

Wegner concluded that, as predicted, participating in BGR! changed the mindset surrounding running in the black female culture to increase the number of women who now identify as black, female and runners. Their increased physical activity has helped reduce the risks of Type 2 Diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses among black women, and has provided a sense of empowerment as they accomplish various athletic and health-related goals.

“The most rewarding part was presenting my work with this organization, and finding out that there were some BGR! members in the audience at the conference,” Wegner said. “Seeing how passionate they were about the power of the organization made me feel that my research was worthwhile.”

Photo Credit: Paul Coker/Philadelphia Business Journal

At the Philadelphia Union League, Dr. M. Moshe Porat got right down to it. Upon taking his seat beside fellow panelists – four of the city’s top international business executives – Porat offered three reasons why Philadelphia needs to invest in its international students.

“They have innovation, energy and excitement – everything necessary to help Philadelphia compete domestically and globally in the marketplace,” said Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business at Temple University. “They want to come here, and we have the opportunity of a lifetime.”

An invited guest at the Oct. 14 event, Porat participated in the inaugural Global PHL panel, co-sponsored by Philadelphia Business Journal and JPMorgan Chase. In a room of more than 200 of the city’s select business, economic and financial leaders, Porat and fellow experts addressed the need to raise Philadelphia’s global profile and the subsequent economic and industrial impact in doing so.

Philadelphia, home to more than 100 colleges and universities, is an appropriate landing spot for international students, Porat posited. In fact, international students made up more than 10 percent of the undergraduates, 30 percent of graduate students and 85 percent of the PhD students at the Fox School during the 2013-14 academic year.

Photo Credit: Paul Coker/Philadelphia Business Journal
Photo Credit: Paul Coker/Philadelphia Business Journal

Pennsylvania, a top-five host state in the nation for international students, is equally well-positioned for students from overseas. Pennsylvania and nine other states combine to host 61 percent of the nation’s international-student intake, according to the 2013 Open Doors report on International Education Exchange, by the Institute of International Exchange.

Like Philadelphia, Boston is regarded as an education hub on the East Coast. Dissimilarly, though, Boston has a reputation for keeping its international students in the region in the years after they have graduated.

“We are attracting a lot of international students – maybe not as many as we’d like – although we have the capacity to absorb more,” Porat said. “We have more universities within 15 miles of Philadelphia than Boston has.

“The difference,” Porat continued, “is that in Boston, many of these students stay in Boston or in the area, but in Philadelphia they go back to other places. That means we don’t have enough means and actions and ideas on how to retain these students.”

The solution, Porat said, is multi-pronged. On the national level, immigration policies tend to limit the ability of corporations to keep recent graduates of international origins, thus reducing full-time employment offers. Locally, Porat said, universities have to be more proactive in attracting students.

“I think we are all working independently,” he said, “and competition is good, but more (needs to be done) in a coordinated fashion, primarily in China, India, Brazil and Korea, where many of (Philadelphia’s international) students are coming from.”

The panel discussion – moderated by Morgan McGrath, JPMorgan Chase’s Head of International Banking – were: Michael Araten, President and CEO of K’nex Brands and The Rodon Group; Leo Holt, President of Holt Logistics Corp.; Stephen P. Mullin, President of Econsult Solutions, Inc.; and Linda Mysliwy Conlin, President of the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia.

Those in attendance also heard from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who has traveled extensively to promote international initiatives and promote the city as both a world-class destination for tourism and a possible landing spot for businesses.

Philadelphia, as Nutter pointed out, experienced its first population growth in 60 years, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. He credited increases in immigrant population and improved foreign relations for the population jump. In recent months, Nutter visited with Pope Francis, who is expected to make Philadelphia the first destination he visits during the 2015 World Meeting of Families. Nutter also said he has reaffirmed Philadelphia’s 50-year sister-city connection to Florence, Italy, and has met with business leaders from other international cities.

“People are talking about Philadelphia, around the corner and around the globe,” Nutter said. “I’m out there, and our responsibility is to support your efforts to continue to make our case for Philadelphia.

“Yet we remain, at times, one of America’s best-kept secrets. … We’re a little shy sometimes and not as outgoing and outward as we should be, but we are increasingly taking our place on the world stage and I have no doubt we will succeed in our goal.”

Sometimes, improving Philadelphia’s global profile is regarded as “either too hard, too unpopular or too unimportant,” said Peter Kaldes, Executive Director and Head of JPMorgan Chase’s Global Cities Initiative, but its impact is undeniable. Kaldes pointed out that only 36 percent of Americans hold passports, that only 1 percent of U.S. firms export and that a stunning 41 percent of domestic job creation stems from the international expansion of existing firms.

“We aren’t doing enough to look beyond our borders for (international) growth,” Kaldes said, “but we’re moving in the right direction.”

“The U.S. is a place where people want to study,” Porat added, “so let’s ask, ‘What are we doing to keep them here?’”

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.

For one researcher at the Fox School of Business, time is literally of the essence.

Dr. Robert T. Krafty, who will supervise research into biomedical time-series data collecting, has received a grant exceeding $843,000, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The grant and all of my work looks at how we analyze data that’s collected over time,” said Krafty, Assistant Professor of Statistics. “The specific patterns of the data could tell us important information.”

The grant applications which Krafty will study pay particular attention to body signals, such as heartbeat electrocardiograms (EKGs) and brain-wave electroencephalogram (EEGs), and how these patterns are associated with different things such as measures of the quality of life or how well someone will respond to treatment.

“What I am doing is creating ways in which we can find out how these patterns are associated with certain outcomes,” Krafty said. “The main products are methods and tools that anyone can use to analyze big-time series data. The secondary goal is to apply those methods to our data on electrophysiology to see if we can help find a better way to understand how to treat sleep disorders.”

Krafty, the primary investigator for the grant, has two collaborators with whom he will work – Martica Hall, PhD, and Daniel Buysse, MD who are located at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Hall and Buysse are sleep-study researchers responsible for studying older adults who have trouble sleeping. Some of the patients they treat have sleeping issues due to the loss of a spouse, and others are primary caregivers for a spouse who has Parkinson’s disease. The data applied to their current research was collected from a previous study at the University of Pittsburgh, Krafty said, adding that the results produced by this grant will be used to create new statistical methods and programs to analyze collected statistical data more efficiently.

“What we want to know is what sort of patterns of physiology during sleep help indicate a better quality of life or if a patient will respond favorably to a treatment,” said Krafty.

So far in their preliminary research, Krafty and his team have found a connection between patterns of sleep and quality of life that suggests limiting the amount of sleep per night could be helpful in older adults. Krafty explained some global experts advocate that older adults should restrict their sleep. However, there was no actual evidence to back up that assumption until now, he said.

The awarded grant will also fully support one graduate student’s PhD education, Krafty said. Fox doctoral students, Scott Bruce and Zeda Li, are majoring in Statistics and have been selected by Krafty to work on the project.

The extensive time-series research Krafty is conducting will be completed by June 30, 2017.

Krafty has also been invited to speak at the NBER/NSF Time Series Conference , the leading international conference for time series data, which attracts top statisticians from around the world. At the conference, held Sept. 26-27 at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in Missouri, Krafty will discuss the discoveries compiled in his research paper entitled, “Penalized Multivariate Whittle Likelihood for Power Spectrum Estimation.”

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.

Dr. Amir Shoham
Dr. Amir Shoham (Courtesy Temple University)

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 (david.schuff@temple.edu) to request more information.