On a brisk, fall morning, 30 crisply-dressed Fox School of Business graduates and friends gathered for a Breakfast With Fox & TWN event on the topic of executive presence, at Temple University Center City.
Over breakfast, Allison Francis Barksdale, EMBA ’00, CEO of RISE Leadership and a member of Temple Women’s Network (TWN), presented Executive Presence–Do You Have IT? How To Cultivate the IT Factor In You. She discussed the concept of authenticity, and when pressed had this to say:
“I don’t think authenticity is worn out as a buzzword. When we get to its essence, buzzwords should be retired when we have achieved a certain level of understanding and I view authenticity as being tied to integrity, in which we’re making progress but still have a long way to go.”
Barksdale shared a few tangible resources, including an online quiz, “Test Your Executive Presence”, and also encouraged attendees to lead with their values, and discover their own answers to the following three questions:
- What is executive presence?
- Why is it important?
- How can you cultivate it?
Ashley Rivera, IME ’18, was one of the millennials in attendance. She commented on how important networking opportunities were to her career progression and how crucial it was to keep her network relevant after graduate school.
“I worked so hard for my degree—am I going to be a leader?” she wondered.
Like many other recent Fox School graduates, Rivera has experience working in startups and is hoping to create her own business. While at Fox, she attended events like the Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, which helped to instill her with a self-confidence that she could eventually turn an idea into a viable business.
“I know I can add value to a company with my leadership skills,” she said. “I have a diverse knowledge base and a strong group of supportive colleagues and former classmates.”
During her presentation, Barksdale—a certified life coach, encouraged people like Rivera to cultivate an executive presence by “ACE-ing” it.
“Awareness, know what your skills are,” said Barksdale. “Commit to make changes in areas you’d like to improve. And exercise your new skills until you’ve achieved the desired level of improvement.”
Former risk management student Derek Jones, BBA ’09, walked away feeling inspired.
“Allison said things about expressing your personality and to use that as an advantage,” he said. “In previous jobs, I found that I didn’t fit the culture. I think it’s important to be self-aware and inspire change or make a change if necessary.”
Barksdale thinks current Fox School students should work on developing three specific leadership qualities in order to jump-start their careers.
“Students should invest in developing competence, poise, and emotional intelligence,” she said. “Those skills will really help them with self-awareness and control as managers and leaders.”
Next up for Fox networking events will be the Holiday Party, hosted by the Fox School of Business Alumni Association on December 13th, from 5:30-8 p.m at The Acorn Club (1519 Locust St.). Early bird tickets are available until 11/23 here.
Just a few short months ago, Joël Da Piedade, Nassera Seghrouchni, and Habibou Djima met as classmates in their Fox Executive MBA program in Paris, France. Today, they are business partners. These three EMBA graduates decided to take the work from their capstone project and create an actual consulting company.
“Our capstone customer was the COO of a French [tourism] organization,” explains Nassera. “We rapidly developed a consulting relationship while doing the strategic audit. We enjoyed the collaboration together, how we managed the challenges constructively to successfully help the COO transform his organization and manage the risks.”
Throughout their experience working on the capstone project, Joël, Nassera, and Habibou soon realized the market need for a dynamic tourism consulting firm. The group researched several existing companies experiencing similar challenges faced by their capstone customer. This demonstrated there was a significant opportunity coming to fruition.
The most impactful part of the group’s capstone experience was the individual relationships they created. Joël quotes the group-spirit, learning from his classmates, and challenging each other as the most memorable part of his capstone experience. “Each of us was engaged to deliver the best [product] and help each other.” The support provided by their teammates gave the group the confidence to take their capstone project to the next level and launch their company.
“Axiom Et Associes is a consulting firm in strategy and transformation,” says Nassera. “The goal is to help organizations such as SMEs [and] non-profits define and implement their strategies and transform by being innovative, ambitious and pragmatic. Axiom Et Associes provides consulting and solutions in transformation (360, digital), customer experience, operation excellence, and business development strategies.”
Learn more about the Fox Executive MBA program.
This is the most common question asked by people considering an MBA. To find an answer, we spoke with three students from Fox School of Business MBA programs. We discovered there are many ways to consider the ROI of the MBA, and that salary increase, while important, is not the only one. Here’s what we learned.
Not All About the Benjamins
The salary boost is the main reason cited for pursuing an MBA. But it was about something greater than bank roll for Chris Wallace.
Wallace worked at Comcast and was eager to rise in the company when he began the Fox School Executive MBA program in 2010 (which was partially funded by his employer). His objectives were to improve his financial acumen, leadership skills, and strategic thinking, all of which he claims he did tenfold.
After completing his MBA, he founded Incite, a consulting firm specializing in optimizing sales teams. In 2015, he sold Incite to GrowthPlay, where he now works as a managing director.
“If I didn’t have the MBA skillset, I couldn’t have done this,” he says. “Financially, my MBA paid for itself two years after graduating.”
“But,” he continues, “I don’t evaluate the ROI of the MBA solely from a financial perspective. For me, the knowledge, the experience, and the personal enrichment made it worth it. Some do it just to put it on their resume; you can tell who they are. If you don’t have the hunger and curiosity, you won’t learn as much. Thinking of it as a sterile business transaction is completely missing the point.”
Serving the Public Good
Heather Qader was working with the NAACP, in Washington, D.C., when she realized her colleagues climbing the career ladder had something she didn’t: MBAs. She wanted to climb, too, but was worried it would jeopardize her commitment to community activism and the public good.
She ultimately made the MBA leap. She took student loans to finance 100% of the full-time Fox School Global MBA program, which she completed in 2016. And she found a way to balance the MBA with her altruistic commitments.
“I thought business school was shallow, but I was wrong,” she admits. “It was more collaborative than selfish and individualistic. Now my business acumen is sharper and I have more confidence in business conversations.”
Qader pursued startup job opportunities after graduation, worked freelance for a real estate investor, and did marketing for a friend’s company. Within a year of graduating, she landed the perfect job.
“I’m at the intersection of business and government, which is exciting,” says Qader, now the manager of business development for the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce. “And I’m able to balance my interests and skills.”
“The ROI depends on what the timeline is,” she says when asked if the MBA was worth it. “The year after? Maybe not. As far as recouping expenses, I haven’t done that yet, but I will eventually. But now I’m in a great place and I love my job.”
The Network Is Priceless
A robust professional network can make or break your career. Jeff Fonda knows this—he also knows earning an MBA is a great way to build one.
“A big part of it was building a network—paying for access to alumni, local and national companies, and recruiters,” says Fonda, who completed the full-time Global MBA program in 2018. “I knew it was the path I had to pave to get to my next job. The education was secondary, but that changed, because I learned much more than I expected. Still, the network was the key.”
Prior to starting the MBA, Fonda had significant work experience. He was the founder and CEO of Earth Literary Project, which has opened 13 public libraries in Uganda, and also the vice president of a textbook company, Bell Tower Books. But he felt more contacts were required to make major moves. The MBA program fixed this.
“Fox helped me jumpstart my network,” says Fonda. “There were tons of events where I was able to meet many employers, alumni, and important industry representatives. Since the number of MBA students was small, we had meaningful individual time and access with recruiters and people I would’ve never met otherwise.”
Fonda’s connections in the program led to an internship with IBM’s prestigious Summit Program. He now works for IBM as a senior client relationship manager.
“My salary will definitely be higher with an MBA,” says Fonda. “And there’s no way I’d be considered for the job I’m taking, or even get my foot in the door, without the MBA network. Without a connection to the recruiter, I never would’ve gotten the job. Fox was the key to landing me here.”
“There’s no doubt,” he continues, “an MBA is worth it.”
Learn more about Fox School MBA programs.
Executive EMBA alum, Jeunetta Lewis ’15 is rising the ranks of Foot Locker, Inc. We checked in to learn about her recent promotion in the organization.
I was promoted to Senior Director of Global Procurement. My responsibility is to lead the day-to-day operations of a global team that includes Store Development Procurement, Strategic Sourcing, Global Supplies, and Global Travel Operations.
The goal of the team is to work with other functional leaders to optimize $1B of non-merchandise spend, provide superior support and service to our internal customers, and leverage technology to enhance productivity and reduce risk. My goal in managing this team is to provide clear and consistent communication, set challenging, but achievable goals, help them get their jobs done by providing the necessary tools and/or removing obstacles, and ultimately get results.
I love that this position requires a transformative thought process. Instead of thinking about why something cannot be done, we think “what would need to be true?”
The EMBA program was enriching in my life as well as my career. The material translated directly to my experience in the workplace. The curriculum surrounding globalization and negotiation played a big role in preparing me for this new position. But most importantly, the relationships I was able to build with my classmates, faculty, and Temple as whole have been invaluable.
Advice for Future Students
- Always have a positive attitude and don’t accept limits.
- Be selfless. Focus on bringing value to your team first. It will benefit you in the long run.
- You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything. You have to make choices.
This past January, we excitedly welcomed our new Executive MBA Class of 2019. All students successfully completed their Orientation weekend, where they got right to work attending seminars, participating in workshops, and forming relationships with one other.
The EMBA Class of 2019 includes students from diverse industries, ranging from healthcare specialists to financial service consultants, design engineers, and 20+ more backgrounds represented.
Throughout the course of the weekend each day was not only filled with professional and personal development opportunities, but extended beyond the classroom with events each evening. These provided the new students a chance to have more casual conversations with each other, as well as students in the other existing cohorts and staff members.
A few fun facts:
- Average Years of Professional Experience: 15.5
- Average Student Age: 40
- 36% of the cohort is comprised of female students – 11% better than the national average
- 24% of our EMBA’s are veterans.
- Students represent 6 states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maine, Arizona, and Oregon.
We are excited to see this talented group of professionals embark on their EMBA journeys!
Most define “expat” as someone who is experiencing life in a foreign country differing from their home country. We asked Terry Parchman, Tokyo EMBA Class of 2019, how he is enjoying the Fox EMBA program at Temple University Japan.
Why did you decide to move abroad? How long have you lived abroad?
I wanted to support my daughter’s dream of returning and graduating high school in Japan. I have lived abroad more than 17 years (Okinawa, Iwakuni, Tokyo, and the Philippines).
Describe your experience living abroad.
Japan’s culture is rich with family values, and respect for others. I love immersing myself into the cultures where I live, learn their languages, and enjoy everything each culture has to offer (especially the food – love Jiro-ramen)!
Why did you decide to join an EMBA program while living abroad?
I started a master’s program at Boston University, but did not finish due to military assignments. When I discovered Temple University Japan, I immediately researched it and decided that the timing and EMBA program was right for me. The EMBA was very attractive and the perfect bridge toward achieving my entrepreneurial goals.
What is it like taking EMBA classes with students of a different nationality?
I love the global/multi-national classroom. There is so much that we learn from each other within and outside the classroom. It is an experience that only a few lucky individuals get to explore! I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of such a program.
How has being an expat affected your experience in the EMBA program?
I enjoyed 23 years of military service, and it is really nice to continue serving my country within such an amazing host country as a civilian. Expat’s bring their unique leadership experiences into the classroom, which harmoniously collides with bright business professionals from various walks of life. It is a wonderful arrangement. I love it!
Many of you have probably seen emails hit your inbox talking about the EMBA Global C-Suite Series, and wondering what it’s all about, so we are here to explain! The Global C-Suite Series is a co-curricular initiative that invites all Executive MBA students in Philadelphia, around the world, as well as alumni, who are looking to learn about a new topic of interest to them or wish to gain additional skill sets to apply in the workplace. Topics for the series are based off student feedback and emerging global market trends.
We kicked off the start to the New Year with a workshop held by Dr. Bertrand Guillotin on Artificial Intelligence (AI), a topic that continues to make headlines in professional business presses throughout the world.
‘Artificial Intelligence: Hype or Reality?’ was a series of videos and supplementary articles that culminated in a final live video session to interact with Dr. Guillotin.
The workshop dove deep into AI’s impact on key industries, including healthcare and transportation, and students even witnessed Sophia, Saudi Arabia’s robot created by Hanson Robotics who actually received Saudi citizenship in October 2017.
Some of the questions that were raised as we witnessed these recent developments are whether we, as humans, are ready to build a trust with and live alongside robots [like Sophia]? Will they take away our jobs, or will they prove to be more of an asset?
If you were unable to attend the workshop and still want to learn more about AI and its potential revolutionary impact on business strategy and the workplace, you can view the live session here.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming workshops over coming months, which include topics such as digital marketing analytics.
If you have an idea for a topic you would like to learn more about, please submit your suggestions here.
As a physician executive, Devang Gor, class of 2018, wanted to formally learn and sharpen his operational and leadership skills he uses on a daily basis. We asked Devang about his transformational process and his recent promotion.
DEVANG APPLIES NEW CONCEPTS IN THE WORKPLACE
I applied for the position of chair, Department of Radiology & Diagnostic Medical Imaging at Lehigh Valley Health Network, when the current Chair announced retirement. Throughout my multiple interviews, I was able to demonstrate sound knowledge of concepts from corporate finance, negotiation, corporate strategy, operations and leadership fields. I was humbled and invigorated when I was chosen for the job.
The job of the Chair is to provide administrative and clinical leadership to the Department of Radiology, oversight of 80 Radiologists working in five different hospitals reporting over 1 million Radiology procedures every year.
The position involves working collaboratively with the highest levels of network leadership from other clinical departments to meet network goals and provide the highest quality of patient care.
Learning from such outstanding faculty, and peers, who are executives from various different fields, has allowed me to gain tremendous insight into the structure of business. This extends from its most basic conceptual level to its most advanced applications in various fields of life. It has not been just about business, but about personal growth and fine-tuning various leadership skills, people skills, learning new concepts and taking it all back to apply them at work on a daily basis.
Advice for Future Students or Colleagues
I cannot overstate the role that the Fox School of Business has played in my current career success. To anyone who wishes to take the next step in their executive careers, I would say don’t be ambivalent about going back to school.
Plan ahead, work hard, make short-term sacrifices, and the world will be yours.
WHAT IS IT? Throughout 2018, the Fox School of Business at Temple University is celebrating 100 years of innovative business education. Join the EMBA team during the month of November in celebrating our shared past, present, and future. Share your Fox pride and well wishes!
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED? Post a selfie of yourself or with your classmates, alumni, professors, etc. on our Fox 100 LinkedIn post and include the hashtag #EMBAFox100.
Help us get 100 submissions!
Ideas for selfies include:
- Pictures in front of Fox School of Business advertisements in/around your city
- Pictures wearing Temple or Fox gear
- Pictures with fellow EMBA members
- Pictures on any Temple campus
EYE ON THE PRIZE! The top 5 #EMBAFox100 selfies with the most Temple pride will be chosen to win EMBA swag!
On Friday, October 20th, the Fox EMBA program launched its newest program site in Casablanca, Morocco, joining existing sites in Paris, Tokyo, and Bogotá. In partnership with École Hassania des Travaux Publics and École de Ponts Business School, the Casablanca site represents the Fox School of Business’s first offering of the Executive MBA program in Africa.
Casablanca has long been known as the cultural hub and financial capital of Morocco. This initial cohort of 36 students traveled from all different regions in Morocco to join the program, including Rabat, Berrechid, Temara, and more. They represent diverse industries, from air travel to agriculture. We are very excited for these talented professionals to begin their Fox EMBA journey!
Santiago, Chile: Wine Anyone?
Chile, that long skinny country in South America, produces some of the world’s best wines. In April 2018, Executive MBA students will travel to Santiago, Chile to study Chile’s investment in and expansion of wine exports, comparative business practices between the U.S. and Chile, and look further into how Chile is competing with traditional Old World wine producers.
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel: “Start-up Nation”
Israel is one of those complex nations that can be discussed for hours without gaining a full understanding of what is happening there culturally, politically, and economically. This April, Executive MBA students will travel throughout the country to try to understand the story of Israel’s economic miracle. Outside of Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv has become known as one of the most innovative cities, and Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world! It is no wonder why Israel has been nicknamed the “Startup Nation.”
Paris and Grenoble, France: Re-Discover France
France is the 6th largest economy, and though it may not always be perceived this way, it is one of the easiest and fastest countries in Europe for setting up a business. Now it makes more sense as to why ‘entrepreneur’ is a French word! This April, Executive MBA students will travel to Paris and the Alps to gain a better understanding of how the French balance both business and pleasure while still maintaining their entrepreneurial drive.
Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan: “Electric Town”
Japan is an island nation that has the third largest economy in terms of its GDP. During this Executive MBA Immersion, students will have the opportunity to travel to Tokyo and Kyoto. At the center of Japan’s booming economy is Tokyo, which continues to dominate the world when it comes to innovation and technology, and Kyoto, which will expose students to the cultural and historical aspects of Japan. However, with a decreasing population, how long will Japan be able to maintain this status?
Did you know your EMBA degree can take you around the world while you’re still a student? In collaboration with our international partner institutions, EMBA students have the opportunity to fully-immerse themselves in other cultures and study alongside local students in Paris, Bogotá, Tokyo, Casablanca, and Philadelphia.
An exchange experience allows students to learn about business from a different perspective; delve into another culture; and network with students, faculty, and professionals from across the globe. Students can choose to take up to two courses at our international locations, based on which classes best suit their academic and professional plans.
We asked Amy Cordone, Julien Laemmel, and Angelica Rubio to highlight their exchange experiences at our partner site, École des Ponts in Paris, France.
The Paris cohort was a very small group in comparison to the Philadelphia cohort, but very welcoming. I had the opportunity to work on a group assignment and it was very interesting to see how they experience the class and what they look to get out of the class, versus how we do this in Philadelphia. There was a lot more class discussions and questioning the professor rather than lecturing. I liked how on the last day they went together on a leisurely lunch at a restaurant where people really had a chance to get to know each other. I was also very impressed with the students, that they were completing a rigorous program like we do here in Philly, but that they were presenting and writing in a second language.
AMY’S ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS
It’s good to get out of your comfort zone – especially when you’re in a place that speaks a different language. It was also fun to combine this with a family trip, as it was my kids’ (8 and 6 years old) first trip overseas and husband’s first time in Paris!
Being a part of the Bogotá, Colombia program, I wanted to discover the culture of Paris. I really wanted to take a negotiation course, and familiarize myself with diverse managerial skills sets. It was three days of interactions with amazing and highly talented people from both Paris and Morocco. The negotiation course was particularly interesting to in a country foreign to me because France has very different styles and tactics that differ from Africa and Latin countries. We had some very intense and interesting discussions about the best way to negotiate.
JULIEN’S ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS
The exchange is a great opportunity to enhance your vision of the world and the learn diverse ways to interact with business across cultures.
Planning my trip to Paris from the Cali, Colombia program was a dream come true. Taking a class with the Paris cohort was invaluable. I met amazing and passionate people, who were full of new ideas. The interaction with my fellow executives, sharing life experiences and talking about the courses, were great experiences for me. I have built life-long professional relationships though the exchange program.
ANGELICA’S ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS
I highly recommend the Executive MBA Exchange Program to everyone who has the opportunity. It is unique added bonus to the program, and not only provides more opportunities to meet our peers abroad, but also gives us a taste of different cultures.
Executive MBA alums are thriving throughout the world and prominently in the Philadelphia region. We checked in with Philadelphia alumni Stephen Fean, class of 2017, and William Calderaro, class of 2009, to learn about their recent promotions to President of their organizations.
STEPHEN FEAN’S LEADERSHIP OF THE FIRM
As President of Watchdog Real Estate Project Management, my increased responsibilities include managing day-to-day operations, developing and implementing high-level strategies that align with our mission and vision, and providing our employees the tools they need to be successful.
What I love most about most about this opportunity is that I have the ability to help others reach their career goals and ambitions. This is rewarding on a professional and personal level.
The curriculum and faculty played a significant role in preparing me for this role. If I came across a new idea or strategy in class over the weekend, I could implement it on Monday morning in the office. My peers also played a huge role in getting me to think about the business from a new perspective while providing a powerful network to tap into.
Advice for Future Students or Colleagues
Business, just like the EMBA program, isn’t so much about the right or wrong answer. It is more about the ability to listen to those around you, gather the facts, and execute a planned strategy that will help you accomplish your career goals.
WILLIAM CALEDRARO’S PLANS FOR GROWTH STRATEGY
I’ve been appointed as President of The Safegard Group, an insurance brokerage firm that specializes in commercial property and casualty insurance; life, medical and health benefits; and personal insurance. I am now responsible for directly overseeing our Property and Casualty Division. I’ll help set the overall growth strategy with our two principals and leadership team.
I started the new role with one-on-one employee interviews to gauge their happiness levels, short- and long-term goals, feedback on what we’re doing well, and where we can do better. Their responses, as well as their genuine appreciation and excitement for being asked to voice their opinions, was amazing. It’s important for them to know they are valued and appreciated. Corporately, it’s equally important to make sure we put them in the proper positions to be successful and productive. I expect to pursue the same types of feedback directly from our clients in the coming year as well.
The program itself is a microcosm of the workplace (and life). Teamwork was imperative to manage the course load. Individual accountability was mandatory. Analytical thinking was needed to overcome the academic rigors presented. Most importantly for me, it came down to the people – faculty, staff, and certainly my cohort. Ten years later, close friendships and meaningful relationships still exist from our time together.
Advice for Future Students or Colleagues
- Enjoy what you do. If you don’t enjoy the work, then you’re not going to be fully vested.
- Dedicate yourself to your craft and be the best professional you can be.
- Treat others with respect. The cardinal rule. We may have different opinions, backgrounds, thoughts or beliefs, but treating people respectfully is always appreciated and should be mandatory – in business and in life.
- Be positive – in all aspects of your life. Good things come with positivity. Others are naturally drawn to positive people. There’s enough negativity surrounding us in today’s world. Why not be positive?
The EMBA Alumni Board’s new President, Sidney Johnson, class of 2015, is an accounting executive with extensive leadership experience. Based in Montgomery County, PA, Sid is the Founder/President of NumbersByDesign, LLC, a consulting firm that advises companies on strategies to build sound financial plans and scalable accounting structures for growth. We asked Sid about his goals for the board and his personal experiences as an EMBA student.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AS PRESIDENT OF THE ALUMNI BOARD?
Giving back to a community of which I am proud to be a member. I am also looking forward to being a conduit for connecting some of our incredibly talented alumni to each other for their future endeavors.
We have so many alumni across various platforms in business leading some of the world’s top companies.
My sincere hope is that our alumni really connect with each other and give back to the Fox EMBA community to foster great business synergies and share their experiences. If you have a desire to start a business, partner with another organization, find experienced professionals for open positions, or transition to a different business space, this alumni base should operate as a resource. Meeting some of our alumni and learning about their backgrounds has been an amazing experience.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EMBA EXPERIENCE?
The closing ceremony at the completion on our final class day. This was a special time because it caused me to reflect on the entire 16-month experience with such an amazing cohort! This valuable time we spent working together, passionately disagreeing with each other, challenging each other’s theories, as well as our Moroccan immersion with the incredible MB, is an experience I will always cherish.
The members of our 2015 cohort have been a tremendous resource for me regardless of industry. I have immediate access to a network of incredible executives that I can call on for advice or feedback.
To get involved in the EMBA Alumni Board, please contact Sid at email@example.com