The business industry is an ever-evolving field with new concepts and technology constantly being implemented for the common good. Having an understanding of how corporations manage company conflict is essential for a successful career in business. The Department of Finance at the Fox School of Business is pleased to welcome three new professors—Thomas Kenny, Ming Fang and Thomas Intoccia. These professionals combine their tremendous amount of industry experience to effectively teach students tangible skills and theoretical approaches to the business industry.
Thomas Kenny joins Temple as an assistant professor, after having served as an adjunct professor during the Spring 2019 semester. Previous teaching positions at Rowan University and Rutgers University. Kenny worked as a managing director at Murray Devine & Co for 27 years and three years at Stout Risius Ross. With this level of experience, Kenny effectively combines his knowledge as a practitioner with textbook situations, giving Fox students a well-rounded, and oftentimes experiential, learning experience.
“During the last thirty years, I have worked in consulting, providing valuation and financial opinion services primarily to private equity funds for their transactions and their underlying portfolio companies,” says Kenny. “I will take situations that I have been involved in and apply the concepts to show students how I used these concepts in developing analyses and reports for clients.”
Ming Fang is an assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Finance.
Fang is an accomplished investment executive with decades of experience at firms, including AIG, Intelligence Analytics Consulting, Zacks Investment Management, Salomon Smith Barney, and Brevan Howard.
Although Fang’s background is focused extensively on management roles within the industry, he still views teaching as his favorite job. Fang’s philosophy is rooted in students’ applying the information learned, not memorizing it.
“I believe learning is a lifetime process, especially in today’s world,” says Fang. “In business, there are concepts that are constantly being developed such as financial technology, which requires you to keep your mind open and learn how to study for it and apply the information learned. So I generally recommend and encourage students to ask questions and think theoretically to gain a deeper understanding.”
Thomas Intoccia joins Fox as an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Finance. Intoccia has extensive experience in the financial services industry, including 13 years in various executive positions with Charles Schwab Advisor Services.
“I decided to give back by teaching the next generation of planners and advisors. Being a Fox alumnus, I had the opportunity to not only give back to my industry but my alma mater, too,” says Intoccia. “I began by guest lecturing for Cindy Axelrod in her Introduction to Financial Planning Class, which led to my first role as an adjunct instructor and now as a full-time faculty member.”
Intoccia also likes to combine his experience with classroom concepts to offer experiential learning to students. “In my view, it is also important to teach students how to think and act as financial planning professionals,” says Intoccia. “By utilizing case studies and allowing for active discussion, I try to give students get a real-world simulation that can be applied right away.”
Combining a substantial amount of industry experience with a passion for teaching the next generation of business professionals, Kenny, Fang and Intoccia establish themselves as professors who encourage students to think big and never to stop learning.
Dear Friends of the Department of Finance,
It’s an exciting time for the Finance Department at the Fox School.
In 2019, the Fisher Shain Center for Financial Services, our new center that will focus on industry-related research, curriculum development, and networking with the banking community opened. Wall Street Day and FPA Career Day were held, and the Real Estate Department, led by David Wilk, hosted their first symposium, Real Estate Asset Optimization for Social Impact at the new Comcast Technology Center.
We also welcomed three new faculty members, Ming Fang, Thomas Intoccia and Thomas Kenny. These professionals bring with them decades of expertise in the financial sector and will help improve our students’ readiness to enter the job market.
Our specialized master’s programs in finance, Financial Analysis and Quantitative Finance & Risk Management continues to evolve as well. With the addition of Professor Fang, we have added courses in data science and machine learning and will be including data science coverage throughout the program including relevant cases in other courses.
The Owl Fund currently has almost $700,000 under management and for 2019 outperformed the S&P 500. Internships and job placements continue to improve for the Owl Fund with current May graduates headed to J.P. Morgan, Guggenheim, Credit Suisse, RBC, Macquarie, Vanguard, Comcast, MUFG, LBC Credit Partners and Bryn Mawr Trust. The list of internships is just as impressive: Deutsche Bank, Barclays, MUFG, UBS, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, TD Bank. The earnings for the Owl Fund provide one of the largest individual scholarships in the Fox School, the Jay Lamont Scholarship in Economics, Finance and Real Estate, which was awarded to Jared Swansen and Kyle Wenclawiak for this current academic year.
Also in 2019, Howard Brown, a finance undergraduate alumnus, was presented with the Fox Excellence in Alumni Achievement award at the Musser Awards for Excellence in Leadership. In addition, Professor Steve Casper was presented with the Musser Award for Excellence in Service and Professor Lalitha Naveen with the Musser Award for Excellence in Teaching.
And the future is not lacking in exciting opportunities! In February, we will be presenting a proposal to establish the Diamond Bond Fund, a student-run fixed income fund, to the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees. This semester we are piloting a new course that will be the platform to run the fund. The Charles Schwab Foundation gave another generous gift to the department, this time to expand the financial planning program’s online and remote capabilities. The Charles Schwab Interactive Financial Classroom provides state-of-the-art software that allows the instructor to move applications around the screen by hand and allows students to share their work in-person or remotely. The ribbon-cutting for the innovative new classroom is March 19th.
And finally, we will be seeking School approval for the Fox Finance Fellow program that will be a two-semester professional development program for academically, high achieving Finance majors.
As companies embrace data science and machine learning, these technologies are becoming more disruptive. Facebook changed the landscape of social networking and advertising using an advanced technology called deep learning, Amazon is redefining the meaning of customer satisfaction with predictive analytics, and big data is allowing Uber to optimize its driver matching experience for users.
In this evolving digital world, the Fox Department of Finance understands how professionals in finance will need skills that may not have been required in their roles in the past. In 2019, the specialized master’s programs in finance added dedicated data science and machine learning for finance courses with ongoing use cases throughout the curriculum.
John Soss, associate professor and academic director of specialized master’s programs in finance, sees the curriculum change as mirroring business trends. Business analysts are now tasked with making critical decisions based on large volumes of data that require new skills as a result. Integrating finance and data science skills like Python and SQL accounts for the transforming role of finance professionals and allows our students to stand out in the job market.
“We are at the forefront of offering industry matched graduate studies in finance with required core data science and machine learning courses for all finance masters, not just those with a mathematical finance concentration,” Soss says. “Finance has evolved and in the same way, data science is interwoven throughout our masters in finance curriculum.”
With an already unique curriculum and program calendar design, cohorts take a set sequence of courses that build upon each other toward an extensive body of knowledge, which now further accounts for the financial technology revolution reshaping the global economy. With an applied project approach, students explore how data science is evolving in areas like credit risk, customer management, financial planning, portfolio management and algorithmic trading.
Another confirmation for updating the curriculum is the addition of readings in financial technology in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program’s body of knowledge. The Fox masters in finance programs attractively simultaneously prepare students for the CFA and Financial Risk Management (FRM) exams. The recent changes to the finance masters curriculum underscore this program’s advantage.
The school’s dedication to staying on the cutting-edge of the financial sector extends beyond the classroom. In spring 2019, Fox co-sponsored the conference Business in a Digital World with the CFA Society of Philadelphia. Among the distinguished speakers was Amir Ahmadi, head of AI, machine learning and data science, Enterprise Advice at Vanguard. He highlighted how AI can be used to provide personalized financial planning at optimal costs.
In January of 2020, Fox MS scholars explored digital disruption on an immersion trip to San Francisco, visiting various companies to learn firsthand about the impact that data analytics has had on industries such as marketing, finance and human resources. During many of their site visits, the students connected with fellow Owls, as Temple University alumni at Facebook, AstraZeneca and Google led interactive presentations.
“It was a great, experiential way to see, directly from Temple graduates who are pioneering this space, why data science is important,” adds Soss.
Former Philadelphia Union player and Southeastern, Pa., native Zach Pfeffer embraces new role as investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs
PHILADELPHIA—Imagine that you’re 15. You’ve just signed a contract as the first homegrown player with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer (MLS). You’re the fourth-youngest player to ever sign an MLS contract. To top it off, you received a lucrative signing bonus as part of the deal.
So what do you do with your newfound wealth and fame? For Zach Pfeffer, the answer was easy: invest it.
“My initial finance spark was really a result of being a young kid making a professional salary,” says Pfeffer, who retired from professional soccer in 2016 after playing five seasons in the MLS along with one season in Germany with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. “My parents were really good at telling me how my money would grow if I invested it, and that just stuck with me.”
While soccer is Pfeffer’s first love, finance could be considered his second. Once his professional playing career came to a close, the Dresher, Pa., native enrolled in the Fox School of Business at Temple University where he majored in Finance.
“For years, soccer had just been a relentless pursuit,” Pfeffer says. “At the time, I tried to analyze where I was in life and felt it was an appropriate time to say, look, not only did I accomplish the goal of playing a professional sport, but I had a nice career, too. I had a strong interest to go down the finance and business path, and I had accumulated two years of college credits (through studying online). It just seemed like the right time to go back to school.”
The decision paid off. Pfeffer graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2019 and is already working in New York City as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs.
For years, Pfeffer’s office was literally a field, and the only office supply he ever needed was a ball. That’s a stark comparison from the office he now occupies inside the 749-foot-tall, 44-story building on 200 West Street, the global headquarters for Goldman Sachs.
However, Pfeffer says he’s been able to use several of the skills gained from his professional soccer career.
“The experience of working within a team and working in a collaborative environment is very transferable to the business world at large,” Pfeffer says. “In sports, you have to remind yourself to never get too high or too low, and you’re always under a lot of pressure. That experience has been really helpful.”
Pfeffer’s time at Fox has also greatly prepared him for his career at Goldman Sachs. After enrolling at the university, he immediately sought out leadership roles. He also completed internships with Morgan Stanley and Falcon Capital Partners.
“I just dove in headfirst. I honestly could not get enough of it,” he says.
Before long, Pfeffer joined the Temple University Investment Association (TUIA) and became involved with The William C. Dunkelberg Owl Fund, a $695,000 long-only equity student-managed investment fund that operates as the parent entity of TUIA. It remains the highlight of his time at the Fox School.
“I tell every single person that The Owl Fund was the crown jewel of my experience at Temple,” Pfeffer says. “I spent two semesters working with the Owl Fund and then during my final year, I was able to lead the Owl Fund as the chief investment officer. It really equipped me with a tremendous skillset to go out into the business and finance world and excel from the getgo.”
Jonathan Scott, professor of finance and chair of the department, and Cindy Axelrod, associate professor of finance and director of financial planning and the Owl Fund, worked closely with Pfeffer during his time as a student.
“Zach’s competitive drive elevated the performance of the Owl Fund, and he made everyone around him up their game,” Scott says. “While we have had many outstanding students in the Owl Fund over the past 12 years, Zach certainly stands near the top.”
“Zach immediately came into Fox with that spark that you look for in students,” Axelrod says. “We knew very quickly that he was going places and that he had a bright future ahead of him. As a professional soccer player, he consistently stepped up his level of play, and I think that analogy will be appropriate for his banking career, too.”
Since graduating from the Fox School, Pfeffer has fully embraced his new career at Goldman Sachs. He plans to continue to hone his craft and hopefully rise up in the company.
While soccer is no longer Pfeffer’s profession, don’t expect him to fully hang up his cleats anytime soon.
“It’s the game I played since I was three years old, and I owe so much of my success to soccer,” he says. “There are actually a fair amount of retired MLS players who live in New York City, so every few weeks, we still try to get together for a pickup game.”
About the Fox School of Business
The vision of Temple University’s Fox School of Business is to transform student lives, develop leaders and impact our local and global communities through excellence and innovation in education and research.
The Fox School’s research institutes and centers and 200+ full-time faculty provide access to market-leading technologies and foster a collaborative and creative learning environment that offers more than curriculum—it offers an experience. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the job market.
The school’s knowledge-creating research faculty affords it the flexibility and responsiveness to address the needs of industry and generate courses and programs in emerging fields of study. As a leader in business research, the Fox School values interdisciplinary approaches and translational research that advance actionable insights to solve real-world problems. Our research informs an adaptive curriculum, supports innovation in teaching and prepares students for the changing nature of work.
Howard Brown is a changemaker.
After graduating from the Fox School, Brown, BBA ’05, enjoyed several years at Goldman Sachs and then TD Bank. He lived in a Manhattan highrise; he held season tickets to the Eagles and the Yankees. Today, he heads an investment company focusing on social infrastructure and economic development.
Those are great things, but what makes Brown a changemaker is his work in the Philadelphia School District. The former foreign-exchange analyst teaches students at Northeast High School about business. But more than that, he teaches them about life choices.
When Brown was still at Olney High School, he started coming to Temple University. A friend who was two years older than Brown was a student at the Fox School.
“He took me all through Temple’s campus,” Brown says. “I had a chance to learn about the Temple culture, Fox and all the great things the school did for him. I was enamored with the school even before I went there.”
At the Fox School, Brown focused on his studies and opportunities, starting out as a marketing major but soon switched to finance. He joined the financial management association, the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and he joined a student professional organization (SPO) for entrepreneurs.
When asked if he was involved with the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), Brown’s voice goes up an octave. “Was I?” he rhetorically asks. “Corinne Snell, is she still there? Janis Campbell? Those people treated me like gold.”
At the CSPD, Brown was a corporate relations liaison, establishing relationships between businesses and the CSPD team. It was a chance to practice networking and learning the importance of creating relationships to do business.
“They helped me grow from being a scrappy kid to being much more polished,” Brown says. “A big reason I was able to get an internship on Wall Street was the Center. They were very instrumental in my success, but they were very instrumental in a lot of people’s success.”
From analyst to mentor
In 2004, before he graduated, Brown interned at Goldman Sachs. Then he was hired as a foreign exchange analyst where he oversaw trading, risk and financial reporting involving several businesses on the foreign exchange and spent time working in several units at Goldman Sachs. The normal process, Brown explains, is to work on the trading floor for about three years and then go back to school for a master’s degree. That was not for him.
He traveled up and down the West Coast trying to get a business up and running throughout the recession. Eventually, he returned to the Philadelphia area.
“My grandparents were teachers,” Brown says. “My grandmother was always very critical of my handwriting and I told her it did not matter because I would never be a teacher.”
When he first came back to Philadelphia, he volunteered at the school district. Brown was a motivator. He met with kids who had or were in danger of dropping out and stressed for them the importance of going back to school.
“It was about getting brutally honest about their future prospects if they don’t get educated,” Brown says. “Many of them were very receptive to me because I wasn’t really all that much older than they were.”
Brown’s success in mentoring high school students led him on trips to an odd place: prison. In 2014, he was among a trio of men—the others were pastor Damone B. Jones Sr. of Bible Way Baptist Church and Chad Dion Lassiter, president of the Black Men at Penn School of Social Work—mentoring rapper Meek Mill while Mill was in the Philadelphia prison system. Brown said he spoke to Mill frequently about what kind of impact the rapper could have, given the power of his voice and about the role Mill wanted in the lives of his children. The two men have remained friendly and regularly speak, often about their children.
Brown spent about a year volunteering at the school district before he took a vice president position with TD Bank, where he managed and executed asset-based and leveraged financings.
He was there for three years before he felt the pull of wanting to connect with students again. Throughout his time with TD Bank, he still spoke at schools and gave career advice at Northeast High School.
To hear Brown tell it, that first gig volunteering was about discovering himself. And now, as a teacher, it is more about the students discovering themselves.
Teacher, counselor, parent, friend
Generally speaking, Brown teaches business, but the classes fall into two primary categories: marketing and entrepreneurship.
Brown says his students have chemistry, algebra and other common classes all day long and then they come to him where he is trying to teach them how to start a business.
“Even those who are not entrepreneurial love being creative and developing businesses from scratch,” Brown says. “Young people tend to quantify success on money or how many assets a person has. I tell them some of the most unsuccessful people I’ve met in my life had a lot of money. Being successful is not about money.”
Brown explains that teaching often goes much deeper than what is in the lesson plan. A lot of the lessons he imparts involve teaching his students to look at themselves through a different world view.
“Teaching is not just about teaching your subject and your curriculum,” Brown says. “You are a teacher one day, a counselor one day, sometimes you are like a parent, sometimes you are a friend. You have to listen a lot.”
Brown recently completed his master’s degree in education and entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of Business. He is specifically interested in education entrepreneurship and is working on conceptualizing a program or school that teaches entrepreneurship and venture capitalism.
There are not a lot of high schools that introduce students to entrepreneurship and business. Yet, according to his research, there are a lot of benefits to learning business earlier in scholastic careers than later.
“What I try to articulate to my students is that you can be a producer instead of a consumer, and change your community. You can create generational wealth.”
Many of his students come from very challenging backgrounds. “You can make a huge change for you and your family just by being an entrepreneur,” Brown says. “You don’t have to do something very big, you can start right where you are and do something small.”
When companies look to become more efficient, one of the first things they do is look for waste—elements of the production process that add little value despite taking up precious time and resources. However, with careful implementation, businesses can achieve greater efficiency by investing in what works well.
For example, take the contrast between push and pull processes in manufacturing. Most manufacturing firms operate using a “push” model; they make a certain amount of product and store it in a warehouse until it can be sold. In contrast, other companies operate a “pull” model; they only produce products after having received an order. In pull manufacturing, no product stays sitting in a warehouse and products move through production with little delay, reducing the amount of waste in the process.
This “pull” manufacturing model is one of the ways that companies become lean—in other words, identify areas that don’t produce value, cut that waste and thereby increase labor and process efficiency. However, going lean puts enormous pressure on companies and requires special attention paid to supply chain management and labor.
Tom Stone, DBA ’18 and assistant teaching professor of business at Penn State Abington, wanted to take the lessons learned from lean manufacturing and apply it to the software industry.
“When I worked with software developers at Siemens, we started integrating lean with agile,” Stone explains. Agility, a close cousin of lean, involves making processes more iterative, and therefore more flexible. By breaking the process into small, iterative pieces, developers can make changes to the product without damaging or undoing months of other productive work. “We wanted to do it because it would ultimately improve efficiency by making outflow—the number of software functions available at the end of the production process—predictable.”
While you can count the physical output of a process like manufacturing, this is harder to do with software development. Stone measured the outflow through the time and production of “stories,” small components of software that will later be combined into a final function that a customer uses.
During his time in the Fox School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program, Stone decided to focus his research on the benefits of efficiency training. Specifically, Stone wanted to see if the process of software development could be improved by providing efficiency training to developers based on lean and agile techniques. This strategic investment into the labor force would take two forms: long-term coaching or a one-time training event.
When dealing with lean and agile processes, Stone emphasizes that what is at stake isn’t having knowledge, but keeping it. “Knowledge erodes over time,” Stone explains, “and with the knowledge goes the efficiency. Coaching keeps it from eroding.”
His findings were impressive. Workers who went through coaching saw a 37.1% net improvement in the amount of time needed to complete stories. One-time training saw a staggering 58.7% net improvement. Labor costs also fell, thanks to the trainings.
Stone’s paper on the topic, titled “The ROI of Investments in Lean Agile Software Development Training,” won the Best Paper Award at the 2019 Engaged Management Scholarship (EMS) Conference in Antwerp, Belgium, this past September. This is the second year in a row that a Fox DBA alumnus won this award, which is sponsored by Business Horizons, an academic journal from Indiana University. In 2018, Ofra Bazel-Shoham, DBA ’17, won for her paper which discussed how gender-diverse boards affect companies’ decisionmaking.
Measuring the efficiency of the labor that goes into software development is a difficult task. Stone hopes that his research will help close the gap between software production processes and financial metrics. By pioneering this measure of productivity and thus proving the power of efficiency training, Stone wants to help others learn how to quantify, recognize and reward the value of lean.
“Software development is an increasingly critical industry,” Stone emphasizes. “Learning from manufacturing about how to measure productivity in this industry can have an enormous operational and financial impact.”
When most students start classes as a freshman, they worry about finding friends, figuring out what clubs to join and where the dining hall is located on campus.
In addition to those common collegiate concerns, Brandon Bechtel is managing 10 part-time employees, opening a third location for his business and transitioning into a CEO-style roll while he is on campus pursuing a finance degree at the Fox School.
Bechtel’s brainchild, Brandon’s Candles, was born when he was 13 and looking to find a hobby. He started making candles in his basement, testing different scent combinations.
“I came across an article online about making candles,” says Brandon. “I thought it would be cool to create candles and design a brand—figuring out which type of wick burns best, creating a label that people would like. I was always interested in the business side of things.”
Today, the company has made nearly $1 million in sales and has two locations in Skippack, one warehouse and the Candle Studio. At the Studio, customers can create candles with the scent combination (they have over 100 scents to choose from) and design of their choosing. In October, Brandon’s Candles opened a third location, a second Candle Studio, in Old City.
Juggling all of this and jumping into a business school curriculum has been a humbling experience, Bechtel explains. “I realize I need to keep on top of my classes and keep pace because everyone around me is also motivated to do well.”
Owning a business has offered a unique perspective on his course load, offering a tangible approach to the concepts he learns in class. In addition to evaluating case studies and theoretical business plans like the rest of the class, Bechtel can turn around and use what he learns for the benefit of Brandon’s Candles.
He is also using his classes in topics like Human Resource Management to hone his leadership skills as he steps into more of a managerial role while he lives on campus at Temple. “I can’t do as much of the boots-on-the-ground work living in the city. I have started to develop a team I can rely on, that can help me by making more of the critical thinking decisions.”
It is that business savvy that Bechtel points to when asked about the level of success he has achieved at 17. “I have stuck with this for a long time. From the beginning, I have been dedicated to building a business. I distinguish myself from competitors by focusing on customer service, offering a quality product and a great experience to go along with it.”
Bechtel hopes that the new Philly location will increase profits and wants to introduce even more products to the range of experience his company offers. DIY lotion and hand soap packages are next on his list.
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.