While studying finance at the Fox School of Business, Tamika Boateng, BBA ’06, learned all about asset management and risk—she also learned the value of giving back to the community.
Boateng, now a management consultant for financial services at New York Price Warehouse Coopers (PwC), credits her commitment to volunteering for her professional success.
“While at Temple University, I discovered several new things that are meaningful in my life today, such as giving back,” Boateng says. “When I was 19, I applied with Big Brothers Big Sisters and was matched with an 8-year-old girl from North Philly. Every other week, I’d go to her house or bring her to campus. I tried to give her the college student experience and got to know her life. The experience made me realize the small things you do make a big impact on people’s lives.”
Boateng also joined the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), where she eventually served as the student professional organization’s vice president. In addition to helping jumpstart her career—namely through networking and securing internships with Johnson & Johnson and Vanguard—she was able to help other students achieve similar goals.
“We connected students with employers,” recalls Boateng. “We invited different companies and leaders to speak at our weekly meetings and we connected students from different schools in the Philadelph
ia area. We also had an annual conference with a career fair and professional development that helped students learn critical skills, such as networking, public speaking, and interviewing. It helped our NABA members prepare for internships and careers. Being part of NABA made me more career-focused and successful, and I know it had the same impact on others, too.”
Boateng’s commitment to volunteering continued beyond her time at the Fox School. After graduation, she was hired by Vanguard—which happened as a result of the internship she landed through NABA—and she eventually became the global head of bank strategy and relations. While there, she co-led a program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America where 60 of her coworkers became mentors to students at a school in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. The program cultivated relationships between students and professionals with the goal to increase the school’s graduation rate.
Her current volunteer activities include being a member of the board at the Settlement Music School Germantown Branch—one of the largest community arts schools in the country, alumni include Albert Einstein, Kevin Bacon, and Chubby Checker. Boateng connected with the school through Leadership Philadelphia, which matches the skills of professionals in the Philadelphia area to board opportunities with organizations in need. Boateng is passionate about music education (her twin sons both play piano), so it was a perfect match.
“My experiences in philanthropy made me the leader I am today,” says Boateng. “You gain so many skills through volunteering. While volunteering back at Temple, I did not fully grasp at the time all of the benefits. But I gained valuable communications skills and learned how to work with diverse groups of people from all different backgrounds; both these things would help me so much in the future. It’s so important to give back. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those experiences.”
A board of directors plays a crucial role in determining the success of any organization and is largely responsible for major strategic decisions. However, females in these top management roles are often underrepresented. Without women on boards, companies are losing out—not only on talented leaders, but also on different perspectives of business. This raises the question: in what ways do companies with women on the board perform differently than companies with all-male boards?
Prior research suggests there are gender differences in risk-taking decisions, with many researchers supporting that women are more sensitive to risk than men. However, Ofra Bazel-Shoham, research assistant professor in the Department of Finance at the Fox School, reconsiders the implications of this conclusion.
Bazel-Shoham argues that female leaders change the way business is being done in her paper, “The Effect of Board Gender Diversity on R&D.” She looked at boards’ decisions regarding high-risk, high-reward investment decisions, as well as their professional behavior, to understand the differences in outcomes that gender-diverse boards produce. The research recently won the Best Paper Award at the 2018 Engaged Management Scholarship Conference, hosted by Temple University this September. The award was sponsored by Business Horizons, an academic journal from Indiana University.
As a proxy for analyzing risk-taking decisions, Bazel-Shoham used choices around research and development (R&D), often a potentially risky yet highly rewarding investment. “It requires upfront resources and has a very low probability of success,” she says.
Bazel-Shoham, who is also the academic director of Fox School’s new part-time MBA Program in Conshohocken, collected data from CEOs and board members in 44 countries and over a period of 16 years. The gender disparity was already obvious, as she notes in her sample only 2% of all CEOs and 9% of all board members were female.
The study found that while the direct correlation between the number of women on boards and the number of investments in R&D was negative, women were more likely to focus on monitoring performance, which ends up incentivizing risky but data-driven decisions. Bazel-Shoham says, “As female leaders put more emphasis on monitoring, gender-diverse boards were able to quantify and measure their decisions better than all-male boards.”
Bazel-Shoham elucidates this argument by analyzing the behavior of female directors who are most often outnumbered by their male counterparts. Her interviews with female leaders suggest that being in a minority puts more pressure on women to not make mistakes and make data-driven decisions.
She elaborates, “We realized that female directors felt they were ‘under a magnifying glass’ most of the time and were judged more stringently than their male colleagues.” This made them make more conservative decisions, which usually translated into making lesser high-risk R&D investments. However, teams that quantified their results better supported performance-based compensation where incentives are measurable and dependent on the actual outcome rather than on vaguely defined promises.
Organizations often use performance-based incentives to motivate managers to make riskier but potentially profitable long-term investing decisions. Bazel-Shoham says, “We observed that such remuneration systems encourage CEOs and senior management to engage in more R&D activities.” With women involved, boards more often supported this form of compensation, in affect encouraging managers to make more of these investments. Bazel-Shoham found that these actions successfully mitigated women’s effect of being more risk-averse.
Besides indirectly increasing R&D spending, Bazel-Shoham notes having even one woman on the board of directors significantly influences how the board behaves, the decisions it makes and their resulting outcomes. To illustrate this, she quotes an experience of a male CEO of a large educational organization. “The women directors read all the materials ahead of time, have specific questions and are more professional than the others,” he says. “They have changed the organizational culture of the board. The men, in turn, have started to prepare themselves better as well.”
Underrepresentation of women on boards of directors continues to be a pressing issue to shareholders and society at large. However, organizations are slowly understanding the strategic importance of leveraging a more diverse top management team. With rapidly changing market dynamics, leveraging the power of gender diversity is beneficial for the long-term success of businesses.
In partnership with Schwab Advisor Services, Charles Schwab Foundation has committed $352,000 to Temple University’s Fox School of Business to support the School’s financial planning program. Launched in Fall 2015, the Fox financial planning program has been one of the school’s fastest growing undergraduate degrees, with more than 300 registered students since the program’s launch, including 98 registered students in Spring 2018.
Charles Schwab Foundation’s gift will enable the Fox School to purchase and install state-of-the art technology to bolster the financial planning program’s online and remote capabilities. Installation is slated for completion in Spring 2019. This investment in the School will effectively connect students with wealth managers, financial planners, and advisors to create awareness of the field and prepare students for futures in the registered investment advisor (RIA) industry; at a time when an estimated $30 trillion in assets is expected to pass between generations. Charles Schwab Foundation’s contribution will finance a 158-inch diagonal video wall, complete with two HD cameras for web video conferencing, ceiling pickup microphones, and JBL speakers, touch annotation monitors, and an LCD touch display with controls in Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business.
“We are proud to work with Temple University to shape and inspire the next generation of independent investment advisors,” said Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab Advisor Services. “Access to cutting-edge technology and firsthand perspectives from professionals in the field will prepare students for successful careers in the independent investment advisor industry.”
“The generous support from Charles Schwab Foundation enhances our students’ academic and professional experience by enabling them to apply their classroom knowledge to the financial planning industry,” said Cindy Axelrod, director of the Fox School’s Financial Planning programs. “The enhanced investment in cutting-edge technology will allow students to directly connect with financial planning professionals without any physical or geographical constraints, giving them a first-hand understanding of the industry, so that they will be better prepared to enter the job market.”
The school introduced Financial Planning as an undergraduate major in 2015 to prepare students for careers in this in-demand field. Students who complete Financial Planning curriculum at Fox are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination upon graduation, a unique feature of the program. The Fox Department of Finance oversees the program, which also draws upon the expertise of faculty from Fox’s Legal Studies in Business and Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management departments.
“According to job and occupational outlooks, the field of personal financial advisors is growing much faster than other fields,” said Ronald Anderson, interim dean of the Fox School of Business and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management. “I’m delighted that, thanks to our first-rate faculty and high-quality program, we are preparing so many talented, determined, and hard-working students to fulfill their desires for better life opportunities and career paths.”
About the Fox School of Business at Temple University
Established in 1918 and celebrating its centennial, the Fox School of Business at Temple University is the largest, most comprehensive business school in the Philadelphia region and among the largest in the world, with more than 9,000 students, more than 220 full-time faculty and more than 60,000 alumni around the globe.
The Fox School has a proud tradition of delivering innovative, entrepreneurial programs for the past 100 years. With facilities that provide access to market-leading technologies, the school fosters a collaborative and creative learning environment. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the real-world job market. Learn more at fox.temple.edu. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
About Charles Schwab
At Charles Schwab we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
About Charles Schwab Foundation
Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com/community. The Charles Schwab Foundation is classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation. Charles Schwab Foundation and Temple University are unaffiliated entities.
The Fox School of Business‘ Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) has a commencement tradition. Toward the end of every semester, graduating students, when they secure a post-graduation job, ring a bell and publicly announce who their soon-to-be employer is and what their new position will be.
It’s a great way to declare, “I did it! And this is what I’m doing next!”
Temple University’s commencement, which will include hundreds of undergraduate students receiving BBA’s from the Fox School, is this week. So we asked several members of the Class of 2018 to share with us their new jobs and some inspiring stories about their time at Fox and Temple.
Kasey Brown, BBA ’18
Major: Management Information Systems
SPO: Association for Information Systems
New Job: Summer staff missionary, Catholic Youth Expeditions
New Uplifting Experiences: “First and foremost, I’m excited to grow in my Catholic faith. Temple gave me a beautiful opportunity to discover this faith, and I feel so blessed to work for an organization that allows me to grow and discover even more. Secondly, I have always had a special place in my heart for high school students and young adults. I remember what a difficult time of life it can be, and I look forward to being with them and help them in any way I can. In addition, working with Catholic Youth Expeditions means getting to learn more about how to serve the poor and how to love others—and there’s nothing more important to me.”
Helping Others: “Temple and Fox gave me the opportunity to hone my skills—not only in business, but also in communication, time management, leadership, crisis management, critical thinking, and teamwork. More importantly, Temple and Fox helped me discover the reason why I wanted to do business: to serve others. I know that in whatever job I do, it’ll never be just a job. It will be an opportunity to use my skills to help others and give back all I’ve been given here.”
William Clark, BBA ’18
New Job: Financial analyst, Revint Solutions
Perfect Launching Pad: “As I progressed through my lower-level BBA core classes, I realized I had a passion for analyzing underlying financial data. I have been a math and science guy as early as the second grade, so pursuing a career centered around financial analysis seemed like a natural fit. A financial analyst position is the perfect launching pad for a long, successful career in corporate finance.”
Love at First Sight: “I fell in love with Fox from the moment I attended my first course. I had the privilege of being taught by some of the best professors in academia, within a modern building full of the latest finance-based technology. The Capital Markets Room was one of my favorite places at Fox, as I was able to hone my skills in Bloomberg, FactSet, and VBA programming, among other things. I was able to attain valuable knowledge that allowed me to separate myself from the crowd.”
Alexa Ann Gerenza, BBA ’18
SPO: American Marketing Association
New Job: Group ticket sales associate and service coordinator, New York Yankees
A Lifelong Fan’s Dream Job: “I’ve been a Yankees fan my entire life and to now have a job that always seemed so unrealistic it’s still hard to believe. Moving to NYC and having my office at the stadium and my work schedule based around game days, is less typical, yet so very exciting. This is an entirely new lifestyle than one I expected to have post-grad, but I’m beyond excited for the journey ahead.”
Finding Confidence (and Forever Friends!): “The American Marketing Association has given me my forever friends and motivated me to work harder in everything I do. It has given me more opportunities than I ever imagined, including two trips to the AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans, leading Temple’s chapter as vice president to success as a top five chapter, touring the Facebook office in NYC, and competing in an eBay sponsored case competition. Without the lessons learned and the experiences gained, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to send the initial LinkedIn connection to the Yankees and jump on the first phone call, which ultimately led to the position.”
Kyshon Johnson, BBA ’18
Major: International Business
New Job: Business Leadership program/Global sales associate, LinkedIn
Linking Up with LinkedIn: “LinkedIn is my dream company. I was able to tour the San Francisco office in 2016 and made a promise to myself I’d work there. I felt the company and culture aligned perfectly with my passions and life purpose. Initially, I applied for a summer internship and was rejected. I used that experience as motivation and an opportunity to improve my professionalism. I interned at Comcast and gained industry experience before applying for my full-time role. I am confident LinkedIn and the Business Leadership program will groom and mold me into a successful business woman.”
The Fox School Network: “I am thankful for the resources and support that Fox and Temple have provided during my undergraduate experience. Fox has a strong alumni network filled with professionals throughout the world. I utilized the alumni network to connect with Owls within the technology industry. I was able to meet with individuals that work at Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They were all enthusiastic to assist me in landing a role at their companies. This professional foundation allowed me to explore career options and connect with amazing individuals.”
Katherine Taraschi, BBA ’18
New Job: Owner, O bag (King of Prussia Mall)
An Italian Vacation Inspires a Career: “O bag is an Italian company that creates interchangeable bags and accessories that customers can build in the store. It’s a store my friends and I were completely obsessed with when we visited Italy last spring. We visited six different locations all over Italy and one in Budapest. O bag King of Prussia will be located on the first floor of the Plaza between Lord and Taylor and Nordstrom.”
Benefits of a Real-World Curriculum: “I love that the professors at Fox all have real-world experience. Hearing different situations that they’ve encountered embedded in course topics gave a different perspective to the lessons—and definitely helped prepare me for my new position as a business owner.”
Lindsey Thompson, BBA ’18
Major: Human Resource Management
SPO: Net Impact; Society for Human Resource Management
New Job: Compensation analyst, Day & Zimmermann
A Passion for Philly… and Data: “I’m so excited to continue to live in my favorite city (Philadelphia), work with coworkers I have formed connections with during my internship at Day & Zimmermann, and to dive into the details of data in a field I’m passionate about.”
Involvement Pays Off: “The professors in Fox’s HR department, as well as other schools throughout the university, are some of the kindest and most knowledgeable people I’ve met. I can’t thank them enough for passing on their extensive industry knowledge, their warm and understanding natures, for making me think, and for serving as mentors. My leadership position with Net Impact and my role as a Teaching Assistant taught me the value of detail orientation, time management, effective communication, and remaining open-minded. I would suggest to any undergrad to get involved outside of class, because it has really added to my experience here at Temple!”
Ian Usher, BBA ’18
Major: Management Information System
SPO: Association for Information Systems
New Job: Media-Tech associate, NBC Universal
Becoming a Tech Leader: “I’m incredibly excited to start working for NBC Universal. While working for NBCU last summer, I discovered the company has a wonderful culture where I feel engaged and valued, even as a young employee. During that time, I became good friends with other interns, and it will be wonderful to continue to grow those relationships. The Media-Tech Associate program is a very demanding program, but it’s designed to give us the skills necessary to become future technology leaders.”
A Professional Journey Began at Fox: “Throughout my career at Fox, I was pushed to think logically, clearly, and critically to solve many real business problems. I was fortunate to work on projects with real companies, from startups like PoundCake to major organizations like CHOP. Completing these projects and learning how to interact with professionals helped me excel during my internship and prepared me for the workplace more effectively than if my classes were purely lecture-based. I was a poor writer before coming to Temple, and Fox classes like Business Communications have helped me improve my writing skills dramatically. That’s been critical thus far in my professional journey.”
Learn more about the Center for Student Professional Development.
The talented, diverse, and driven Class of 2021 at the Fox School of Business are poised to become the next generation of innovators and business disruptors. They arrive highly-accomplished and are excited to hone their skills with the help of our top-tier faculty, market-driven curriculum, and professional development opportunities.
In fall 2017, the Fox School redesigned the Bachelor of Business Administration Core Curriculum to weave critical thinking, communication, and quantitative reasoning skills into the fabric of core business knowledge. The redesign team continues to work with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and employers to integrate these skills across the curriculum to better position Fox undergraduates for success post-graduation. These four freshmen are among the first to participate in the enhanced curriculum.
Watch the video below and read on to learn more about these four freshmen who are ready to change the world.
- Hometown: Philadelphia
- Age: 18
- Major: Business Management
- Career goals: CEO, creative director, project manager
- Hobbies: Public speaking, reading, writing
- Hidden talent: Making music, playing violin
- Hometown: Royersford, Pa.
- Age: 18
- Major: Business (declaring Accounting)
- Career goals: Grad school, then Certified Public Accountant
- Hobby: Competitive horse rider
- Hidden talents: “I can bake pretty well and I love to make handmade gifts!”
- Hometown: Havertown, Pa.
- Age: 19
- Major: Entrepreneurship, Marketing
- Career goals: Serial entrepreneur, thought leader
- Current businesses: Symbie (social networking app) and eThree (sales engagement platform)
- Claim to fame: Joined rapper Travis Scott onstage at concert and knew every word
- Hometown: Medford, N.J.
- Age: 19
- Major: Finance, Entrepreneurship
- Career goals: Wealth management sales or investment banking firm in mergers and acquisitions
- Dream: “To retire from the financial field after 15 to 20 years and work as a high school math teacher in my hometown.”
- Current business: Has run landscaping company, Robert Z Properties LLC, since freshman year of high school
- Hobby: “I love to travel. I went to Switzerland this fall and Italy this summer.”
- Hidden talents: Good cook and ping pong player
Learn more about Fox School undergraduate programs.
For the financial community, the period around earnings announcements—the official public statement of a firm’s profitability—is often a time of speculation. As investors, knowing when to buy or sell stocks is part of the job. And when earnings announcements are released, the risks are only magnified.
The question is: Why hold onto a risky investment?
For decades, researchers have been unable to understand the irregular behavior of investors holding during earnings announcements. Dr. Pavel Savor, associate professor of finance at the Fox School of Business, proposes a groundbreaking explanation of this phenomenon in his paper, “Earnings Announcements and Systematic Risk.”
Depending on the news—good or bad—regarding a firm’s performance, earnings announcements can create a risky investing environment. Savor found that the expectation of a firm’s earnings can entice investors to hold stocks while expecting higher returns.
“People are naturally risk-averse,” says Savor. “If you are holding on to a risky asset, you need to be compensated for it.”
For example, if you were given the opportunity to hold a one percent stake in Google at the time of an earnings announcement, what should you do? “You would say, that’s not enough [stock], because it’s a very risky time.” If investors are holding a stock around earnings, they are going to demand higher returns. This risk-based explanation, Savor argues, causes the stock prices to increase during these periods.
And this doesn’t just impact the period around the earnings announcements. Savor found that the anticipation of the announcements has a longer term effect than previously thought. According to the research, the performance of a firm during an announcement period can predict its future growth two and three quarters into the future. Savor found that the returns at announcing periods were significantly better predictors for performance than market returns.
Much research has been conducted on earning announcements, but this study is the first of its kind to show that returns around earning announcements can be explained by risks inherent in those announcements.
Savor’s word to investors: Proceed with caution. “Be aware of the risk you are bearing,” he says. The gamble of investments may be inevitable, but with the recognition of the risk involved, firms can perform better. Earning announcements not only reveal a firm’s progress, but also give insight to how the economy is reacting to stocks.
“We [researchers] all hope our work will have tremendous impact,” says Savor. He anticipates this research will help investors be better informed when choosing their investments. “Our paper is likely to change at least how people view some return patterns. This is something no one was able to show before.”
Learn more about Fox School Research.
Ever since that first brave soul cut a hole in a slab of dough, shaped that slab into a circle, tossed it in hot oil, pulled it out, sprinkled some sugar on it, and took a bite, human beings have been gaga for donuts.
In recent years, donut-mania has ramped up to a whole new level, with boutique shops popping up in cities across the country. Philadelphia hasn’t been immune to this craze—the city loves donuts. And everyone in Philadelphia can now celebrate because there’s a new donut option in town. It’s called Factory Donuts and the founder’s a Fox School alumnus.
Factory Donuts opened its doors, in the Mayfair neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia, in August. Founded by Heather and David Restituto, BBA ’96, it offers about two dozen colorful and creative options, including the maple bacon explosion, blueberry bake, pumpkin pie, and David’s favorite, mint chocolate chip. The shop boasts high ceilings, exposed brick, and a trendy, industrial vibe.
“We put our own spin on the design and concept of the store to differentiate ourselves,” says David, a self-described “sweet tooth.” “We tried to make the outside and inside appear like a factory, with red brick, the layout of the machines, the lights hanging from the ceiling. And we want people to be able to see their product made right in front of them—from batter to a finished donut—in just a few minutes.”
Factory Donuts is David’s first time as a business owner, but he’s no stranger to operating a business. He has run Rita’s Italian Ice franchises, as well as several Philadelphia area Meineke franchises with his father, who initially encouraged him to major in finance at the Fox School.
“My father guided me toward finance and taught me it’s what separates a business from doing well or not well,” explains David. “Not understanding the numbers makes a huge difference. Growing up in the business, with my father teaching me about cost of goods and labor percentages, and how to put financing around the business aspects, it taught me how to run a business. Most importantly, it taught me how to grow a business.”
Given David’s long history with franchises, it may come as no surprise that franchising will be the next step for his business. They’ve already received hundreds of unsolicited offers from people interested in opening their own Factory Donuts location. The next move will be opening a corporate headquarters to handle the franchisor transition.
“We have so much positive interest from people,” says David. “We’re ready to launch the franchise end of the business and we’re planning for future growth. It’s a very exciting time.”
Dr. Bora Ozkan, Director of the Capital Markets Room (CMR) at the Fox School, was invited to speak at the Bloomberg Education Speaker Series, held in July in San Francisco. Ozkan shared his experience incorporating Bloomberg into the courses he taught over the last four years at Temple University. The university utilizes CMR in various ways including hosting classes and workshops, and raising funds from businesses and Fox School alumni.
Another feature that sets the Fox School apart is the Capital Markets Room. CRM is a mock trading room and simulation lab that boasts 50 computer stations with a subset of the stations configured as Bloomberg Professional terminals. Additional data access and insights are provided through FactSet Research Systems, Capital IQ, and Thomson Reuters’ Eikon. Specialized software programs, such as SAS, Stata, Matlab, JMP, and Crystal Ball are also available in CMR. The Fox Fund and Owl Fund spend a majority of their time in CMR doing market research, pitching exercises, and monitoring their progress. Not only do organizations use the room, but also the Vanguard ETF Trading Competition, University Trading Challenge, Prudential Stock Competition, and Prudential Excel Workshops are held in CMR each year. These events spotlight CMR and attract business and alumni donations to the Fox School. Last year, the Charles Schwab Financial Planning Center was brought to Alter Hall because of CMR’s success.
The Bloomberg Institute creates the future of financial training, partnering with industry-leading financial institutes and key decision makers. Bringing to the forefront tools, news, and data to students and universities.
A catalyst for the continued positive trajectory of the Department of Finance, Dr. Ozkan was recently awarded the Superior Faculty Advisor Award from the Financial Management Association International. “We nominated Dr. Ozkan because of his dedication to not only the organization, but also the members,” said Robert Klein, president of the Financial Management Association. “Dr. Ozkan has opened many doors for the organization, which was one of main reasons FMA increased its membership to around 160 active members this past academic year.”
The Department of Finance congratulates Ozkan on his accomplishments and contributions to the Department. To view his presentation, please click here.
The Department of Finance is pleased to welcome Yue Qiu from University of Minnesota, Tilan Tang from Clemson University, Rudy Yaksick from Wenzhou-Kean University, and Justin Vitanza from University of Rochester.
Read more about the new faculty here.
Senior finance major Anthony Merola is no stranger to success. He has accomplished a variety of impressive feats within the Fox School and beyond. Through his involvement in student professional organizations and landing highly competitive internships, his contributions to Temple University are truly remarkable and have awarded him prestigious scholarships.
Merola decided to major in finance based on a strong interest in financial markets and a desire to work in an investment related role. He wanted to get a real-word classroom experience from a distinguished faculty who all have had years of experience in the industry. Through the Fox School’s diversified curriculum, he was exposed to industries other than finance and received a unique global business perspective.
Merola is heavily involved on and off campus. This year, he is serving as the chief investment officer of the William C. Dunkelberg Owl Fund, a $500,000 long-only equity student-managed investment fund, after being involved in the organization since he was a freshman. What initially drew Merola to the Owl Fund was the competitive edge it provides in order to prepare students for a smooth transition into the workforce.
In addition to the Owl Fund, Merola served as the president of Temple University Investment Association (TUIA) from 2016-2017. He interned for companies such as Raymond James Financial, JP Morgan Chase & Co, and Aberdeen Asset Management.
Academically, Merola excels and proves himself to be a hardworking and driven student. He earned a number of scholarships for his academic achievements, such as the Fred E. Kemner Scholarship and Jay Lamont Scholarship. In addition, he has been on the Dean’s List multiple times throughout his college career.
Merola’s outside interests include American and World history; he enjoys watching documentaries to learn more about history in his free time. Merola will graduate in the Spring of 2018 with high honors. He will then begin work as a full-time fixed income analyst at Aberdeen Asset Management.
On May 2, during the annual Department of Finance Awards Dinner, Students and faculty were honored for their various achievements throughout the school year. In attendance were invited students, faculty and the Real Estate Advisory Board. The Fox School of Business’ Dean Moshe Porat kicked off the dinner with some advice to students, “Our job is to work hard, day in and day out.” This passion was well represented among this year’s award and scholarship recipients.
The Keynote speaker of the event, was Councilman-At-Large, City of Philadelphia, Allan Domb, who also is a member of the Real Estate Advisory Board. As a Councilman, his goal is to make Philadelphia a healthy city through practical bills that benefit not only the residents in the city, but the businesses in the city, as well.
A highlight of the evening was a presentation of the inaugural Forrest Huffman Award. Councilman Domb, who has known Huffman for over 30 years, spoke about the many contributions that Huffman has made to the Philadelphia real estate community. They, along with Dr. Peter Chinloy presented Adrian Dolinay, Fox ‘17 with the Forrest Huffman Award. Huffman is retiring after nearly 30 years of remarkable service to the Temple University community. Dolinay was joined by several members of his family to receive this honor.
Chair of the Department, Ronald Anderson, closed the ceremony with remarks about the accomplishments the Department of Finance has achieved this past year and how the department is looking to the future.
“In student outcomes, we’re getting better and better at placing our students into great jobs, each year,” he exclaimed.
Next year the Department of Finance hopes to expand their Financial Planning and Real Estate program, and continue to build on this past year’s achievements.
Recipients of the awards included:
Jordan Abrams, Fox ‘19, Fred E. Kemner Scholarship
Anthony Merola, Fox ‘18, Jay Lamont Scholarship
Adrian Dolinay, Fox ‘17, Forrest Huffman Award
Hinal Patel, Fox‘17, Jack Ritchie Award
Srinivasan Kuppuswami, Fox ‘17, Finance Outstanding Student Award
Joseph Heidt, Fox ‘17, Owl Fund Leadership Award
On May 2, The William C. Dunkelberg Owl Fund met to present their Annual Report to board members and Owl Fund alumnus. The Owl Fund’s mission is to provide the Temple University students with an active learning environment where they put investment principles into practice to achieve professional and personal goals related to investment management.
In 2016, members were able to learn and gain real experience inside the world of asset management. The year had an unprecedented amount of geopolitical events throughout the year, which caused market volatility. The Fund appreciated by 8.15%, underperformed the S&P 500, which was up 11.96% by 384 bps. The 8.15% gain on the year gave the Fund a market value of $256,613.38 as of December 31, 2016.
During the Fall 2016 semester, the Temple University Board of Trustees and executive administration allocated $250,000 from the University’s Endowment to the Owl Fund, effective January 1, 2017. The fund will receive monthly installments of ~$20,000 throughout the year.
The Fund also made changes to the investment policy statement (IPS). The Fund is now allowed to invest in companies that are not a part of the S&P 500 Index. This expands their investment horizon beyond ~500 stocks. Its sector holdings limit was also increased during the school year, from five stocks to seven stocks. This will help the Fund diversify, and limit the use of sector ETFs. Finally, the Fund is now allowed to invest in publicly traded REITs, as Real Estate became its own sector on September 23, 2016. These changes signal unanimous confidence that the University has in the Fund. Leo Helmers, member of the Dean’s council and Owl Fund Advisory Board, attended a meeting recently and said, “President Englert was gushing,” after the presentation the students made to the University’s Investment Committee earlier last week.
The opportunities gained in the Owl Fund are unmatched real-world experiences that expose students to global investment world. “The Owl Fund gave me access to C-suite executives and investor relations teams from Fortune 100 companies, introduced me to Temple alumni across the financial markets, and allowed me to meet top industry professionals from across the country. Most importantly, I was able to meet highly motivated and passionate peers and work with them on challenging projects,” said The Chief Investment Officer of the 2016 – 2017 academic year, Joseph Heidt.
During the first quarter of the year, from January 1, 2017 to March 31, 2017, the Fund outperformed their benchmark by over 100 basis points (1%). The year-to-date is up ~75 basis points (.75%) from their benchmark and they are learning from their experiences from the past year to put forth the tactics gained this semester. The Fund hopes to continue to grow throughout the rest of the academic year.
Pavel Savor, Associate Professor of Finance, and his co-author, Mungo Wilson, recently received the 2016 Amundi-Smith-Breeden Prize for one of the top three papers in The Journal of Finance. The paper is entitled, “Earnings Announcements and Systematic Risk.” This impressive honor underscores the strength of the Finance faculty at the Fox School of Business.
Power in Finance week kicked off Monday, October 31, 2016 with a bang. The Financial Management Association and Temple University Investment Association held a joint meeting to host Temple alumna, Celeste Clancy, the Vice President of Wells Fargo Banking. Mrs. Clancy talked to students about opportunities within the field of commercial banking. She also discussed her rise through the commercial banking industry and how critical her Temple University education was to her professional success.
Real Estate was also well-represented during Power in Finance Week as Temple University alumus Michael Bailkin, of Akerman, came to speak to our Financial Modeling students. Bailkin is an accomplished lawyer and real estate executive, having served on the Real Estate Board of New York and the National Policy Committee of the Urban Land Institute.
On Wednesday, the Department of Finance dedicated their brand new Financial Planning Center that was funded by a $250,000 Charles Schwab Foundation grant given to the University. The center will act as a hub for education, outreach, research and innovation in the financial services field.
During the week, students also learned some vital lessons from successful women in the finance profession. The Department of Finance hosted a panel with Andrea Kramer from Hamilton Lane, Kristie Bergey from the Center for Architecture and Design, Jean Rosenbaum from Hotaling Investment Management, Kellie Brady from AXA/Karr Barth and Eleisha Smith from JP Morgan Chase. Students in attendance asked the panel for career navigation advice and how to achieve success in a male-dominated profession.
Closing out the week, students participated in a University Trading Challenge that featured Jason Pride from Glenmede, as the keynote speaker. Students from Temple University student organizations, as well as students from New York University, Fordham University, University of Minnesota, Rutgers University, University of New Haven, and Adelphi University participated in the challenge. Winners of the competition included the teams from Fordham University and New York University.
Meanwhile, members of the Temple University chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), joined the Philadelphia chapter of FPA for their Third Annual Career Day. The event included networking and interviewing opportunities with local financial planning professionals, knowledgeable panelists and speakers and best practices to help you make the leap from student to new professional.
Assistant Professor of Finance, Cindy Axelrod, and Dr. John Soss took over 100 students to the offices of Brown Brothers Harriman on October 21, 2016 for the Fourth Annual Wall Street Day. The Wall Street Day is in its fourth year and has only grown since the Department of Finance began taking students in 2012. Undergraduate students from the Owl Fund, Fox Fund, Master of Business Administration and Specialized Master students enjoyed the day hearing from a panel of speakers in the industry which also consisted of Temple University alumni.
The panel was represented by Alan Cohen CLA ‘72 from Goldman Sachs, Kim Cross FOX ‘88 from Morgan Stanley, Joyce Mizerak FOX MBA ‘84 from JPMorgan Chase, Jonathan Shelon FOX ‘94 from KraneFunds, and Jerry Solomon CLA ‘85 from Capital Research Company.
The distinguished panel discussed their own careers, the stock market, bond markets, technology, emerging markets and career advice with students.
“Our students gained valuable career advice, management insights as well as real-world investment experience by connecting with our alumni. Wall Street Day clearly demonstrates the depth and the strength of an undergraduate and graduate degree from the Fox School of Business,” said Axelrod. The day was also of high-impact to our graduate students who attended. Dr. John Soss, Academic Director of the MS Finance Suite, added, “Wall Street Day recasts our student’s dedication and success in the classroom into exciting career opportunities. From invaluable insights into their career paths to sharing the current focus of Wall Street activity, our alumni offer an unfiltered view of both the hurdles and rewards to a successful banking career – the event is inspiring and reminds students to always dream big.”
Both Dr. Soss and Professor Axelrod look forward to building on this tradition to provide our students with unmatched real-world experience.