On April 26, nonprofit executives and MBA students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business gathered for breakfast to celebrate a successful year of contribution to the regional nonprofit community. A partnership between Fox Net Impact and the Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC), the Fox Board Fellows (FBF) program places MBA students (Fellows) on the boards of local nonprofit organizations as non-voting members for an academic year through an elective course in nonprofit governance. The program is designed to give business students the opportunity to work with and learn from nonprofit leaders while contributing their time and business skills to benefit local nonprofit boards and committees. A final deliverable for the course is a professional quality, strategic project for the local nonprofit. At the closing breakfast, outgoing Fellows, incoming Fellows, and nonprofit Partners came together to discuss lessons learned from the past year and offer best practices for future partnerships.
“This program is a unique opportunity for students to behave like a board member, become immersed in an organization, and exchange something of value,” said Maureen Cannon, Program Director of Fox Board Fellows and Senior Associate Director of Fox MC.
Julie Agee, a second-year MBA student participating in the FBF program, was paired with the Mazzoni Center, which provides health and wellness services to the LGBTQ communities. “The FBF program was the reason I decided to enroll in Temple’s MBA program,” she said. “Working with the Mazzoni Center gave me a unique opportunity to help the organization move from traditional fundraising to a major gifts campaign, and helped me understand how to communicate with donors,” Agee said.
Hayley Boyle, Vice President of Programs at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, was one of the nonprofit partners to participate in the FBF program this past year. Through the program, she and her colleagues developed documents and expectations, such as organizational bylaws, a process that Boyle admitted was sometimes painful, but dramatically improved the organization. Going through the process, according to Boyle, helped her understand the key questions board members need to know to keep the board and organization on mission.
“There’s tremendous value in participating in a nonprofit board to expand one’s horizons and gain a different perspective,” said Meredith Okenquist, Associate Director of Graduate Professional Development at the Fox School. “Many professionals want to engage with a board as they move through their career, and this gives them great experience,” she said.
“I was really happy with both the learning outcomes that the students reportedly achieved, and the organizations were extremely impressed with the students’ ability to come in, join the board, and make a lasting impact on the organization,” Cannon said.
This past year, MBA students partnered with 21 nonprofits in the area, and next year the program will include 24 organizations.
To learn more about the Fox Board Fellows program, contact Maureen Cannon at email@example.com.
On April 18, Becca Zinn, Assistant Professor of Practice, Marketing and Supply Chain Management and Marketing Director of Fox Management Consulting, and Cliff Tironi, Manager of Performance Analytics at Temple University’s Fox School of Business facilitated a session with business professionals on ways to have productive, growth-focused conversations. The event, hosted by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, was the third and final session led by Fox School faculty as part of an eight-month-long mentorship program, “Pay it Forward: Mentoring our Future Leaders,” designed to help young professionals grow and develop through mentorship.
At the onset of the mentorship program in 2016, participants were tasked with working on a project together. During the breakfast session, they discussed how feedback-related conversations impacted their projects’ progress, and participated in a conversation about how to facilitate productive feedback conversations in the workplace.
The Chamber decided to pilot the mentorship program with its own Young Professionals Council (YPC) upon learning that employers were concerned about retention of young professionals in the area, according to Patty Day, project manager in the Leadership Councils business unit at the Chamber and organizer of the mentorship program. The program, designed to help root young professionals in Philadelphia, has received extremely positive feedback from both mentors and mentees, who felt it was a good use of their time, according to Day. “They’re all really busy people, and by their commitment to this, they’re showing how important it is to them,” she said.
Christina Wong, vice president of ESM Productions, was paired with mentor Emily Bittenbender, founder and managing partner of Bittenbender Construction. The pair reflected on the positive experience the mentorship program provided. “I’ve been at my company for 11 years and have received mentorship, but being with Emily has given me a different perspective,” Wong said. “There’s no judgment here, and the trust factor is remarkable,” Bittenbender added. “The most incredible thing is that I have a new friend.”
Program participants included mentors who are current Chamber members and mentees participating in YPC. They represented a wide array of Philadelphia area companies such as KPMG, Comcast, PNC, Saul Ewing, the Kimmel Center, Wawa, and Vanguard, among others.
Through its consulting services, Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) has worked with firms of varying sizes and functions on strategies to meaningfully engage young adults, both as customers and as employees. To learn more about these and other services Fox MC offers, contact us here.
In February, two faculty members from Temple University’s Fox School of Business traveled to Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia to help launch a new innovation and enterprise program they helped create. The program is part of a three-year partnership between the two universities to deliver customized entrepreneurship and innovation education to Flinders students, and this visit marks the first delivery of curricula after nearly two years of preparation.
Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Fox School and Managing Director of Fox Management Consulting, and Michelle Histand, Adjunct Professor at the Fox School, are among the Fox School faculty members developing content for the new program. They spent two weeks at Flinders University working with faculty and observing classes to provide real-time guidance and support. Their visit coincided with orientation week, during which they spoke with students to promote and the program and generate enthusiasm, and met with administration members to deepen the relationship between the two universities. Hill’s course, called a topic in Australia, is an elective on Social Entrepreneurship, and Histand’s Creative Thinking and Innovation course is required for incoming freshman.
The new courses offer students real-world, hands-on opportunities, which differs from the usual classroom lecture-based teaching approach, according to Histand, and so far, the courses are receiving positive feedback from students. A fundamental difference between the two universities is that Australian students are not required to attend classes; nevertheless, students have been attending and actively participating, and all of the course sections are registered to capacity.
“We hope students get a different learning perspective from these classes and think about alternate career paths they hadn’t thought of before,” she said. “We want to create excitement and drive to get students to class and make them employable at the end [of the program].” Histand highlighted the importance of on-campus collaboration opportunities between the two universities, which strengthened their relationship and made collaboration more seamless.
The Fox-Flinders partnership builds on the success of both organizations’ efforts to support entrepreneurship. Fox’s expertise in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education has been widely recognized: The Online MBA program at the Fox School of Business is ranked No. 1 in the nation for the third consecutive year by US News & World Report, both the graduate and undergraduate Entrepreneurship programs at Fox are ranked among the top 10 by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, and Fox MC has provided consulting services to nearly 150 startups and early stage companies.
“Fox MC and others at the Fox School of Business, including the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute and faculty in the Strategic Management Department, have been studying and teaching entrepreneurship for quite some time. Fox is well-positioned to help Flinders cultivate a dynamic entrepreneurship program that prepares students for the future,” Hill said.
Fox Management Consulting develops customized entrepreneurship education programs to support entrepreneurs, government and nonprofit organizations, service-providers, and students.
Contact us to learn more about the services that Fox Management Consulting offers.
Click here to learn more about the Fox School’s partnership with Flinders University.
In January, Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) caught up with recent Fox graduate, Andrew Li, Global MBA ’16, in Philly’s up-and-coming Fishtown neighborhood to learn about his new venture as co-founder of the clothing company, Franklin & Poe.
Li, who began his career as an analyst with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), met his current business partner while traveling for work, and discovered that they had a shared interest in clothing design. More significantly, however, was that the duo was invested in developing more American-made clothing companies in the U.S., a current void in the fashion industry. Together, they came up with the idea to create Franklin & Poe, a clothing company that promotes and supports American manufacturing, craftsmanship, and jobs.
“We strive to create high-quality clothing that ensures fair wages with our partners, facilitate discussions about where products come from and how they are made, and integrate ourselves in our community,” Li said.
While he and his business partner aspired to start the business while he was working for the DOD, Franklin & Poe remained a dream until Li attended Temple University’s Fox School of Business (Fox) with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Li additionally attributes his ability to launch Franklin & Poe to the Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) capstone course, a required applied learning experience in which students work in teams to provide research and recommendations to fee-paying clients.
“The consulting project helped me understand the critical factors to making a commercial corridor successful, including retail density, access to public transportation, safety, beautification, and much more,” Li said. He also spoke to his increased ability to focus on customer needs and create and deliver the right message to target segments as a result of the Capstone course.
Upon reflecting on his business journey, Li described it as challenging, but a challenge for which he is prepared. He emphasized the importance of understanding all aspects of the businesses for it to reach its full potential. He and his partner are in the process of perfecting the necessary business fundamentals, such as proper marketing, to attract the right customers to their unique business. He offered some words of wisdom to hopeful entrepreneurs enrolled in the Fox GMBA Program.
“When you know what you want to do [for a career], apply that to the courses that you take. For me, it was more helpful to think about my business idea while learning the concepts being taught. Take advantage of the resources available,” he said.
So, what’s next for Li and his budding company? Li plans to bring in more American brands, continue to promote local craftsmen, and develop his own line of clothing that will be manufactured by as many locals as possible. He and his co-founder have also embarked on a t-shirt series project designed to support the local community. All shirt proceeds will be given to one public school charity.
“We both live in cities [Philadelphia and Baltimore, respectively] and have young children,” Li said. “It is paramount to us to help strengthen the quality of our public schools to encourage young families to want to stay in cities, not be forced to move, and help other families that don’t have a choice of schools.”
To learn more about the services Fox Management Consulting offers, contact us here.
There is always buzz when Temple University’s Fox School of Business Part-Time MBAs and first-year Global MBAs jump right into their consulting projects. The projects are part of required courses designed to help Fox MBA students develop management competencies by working on diverse projects for client firms and organizations.
This spring, there are 79 MBAs involved in 15 Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) projects – some in marketing and some in strategy. The first-year Global MBAs are conducting extensive primary research, including interviews and surveys, enroute to building detailed marketing strategy plans for client firms. The final-year Professional MBA students are developing evidence-based strategic recommendations, complete with financial projections, for their clients.
Clients include foreign and U.S. companies, established firms, start-ups and not-for-profits. This spring’s clients include two private equity firms, a community development financial institution, a large multinational, a large school district, several start-ups, and Temple University.
At the beginning of the semester, MBAs are separated into teams of 5 to 6, each guided by an esteemed cohort of experienced advisors and project executives. Teams are assigned one project executive, who meets with the teams twice weekly, and are supported by 3-5 advisors, who meet at key moments during the life of the projects. The combination of students and executives brings tremendous expertise, a diversity of perspectives, and creativity to each project. Overall, each team works hard, with students contributing 750-1000 hours per project and the project executives and advisors another 15-20 days.
“The Fox Management Consulting projects are tremendously challenging for students, project executives, advisors and faculty but provide one of the richest educational experiences possible – and tremendous value for money for client firms. The students learn by doing (under careful supervision), and client organizations benefit from creative, evidence-based solutions to pressing business problems – and the opportunity to see potential talent in action. While the projects are challenging, they’re never boring, and it is a rare privilege to make a difference in so many lives and companies.” -TL Hill, Associate Professor, Strategic Management and Managing Director, Fox Management Consulting
Galvanized from their winter break, MBAs are ready to combine what they’ve learned thus far throughout their MBA coursework with the expertise of our advisors and project executives, to solve real problems for real clients.
“One thing I learned in business school is that you must keep an open mind as to where the business goes. You might need to pivot but you must stay true to the mission.” – Kerry Slade, Fox School of Business alum and President/Founder of Slade Unlimited, LLC.
Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) caught up with recent Fox alum Kerry Slade, Global MBA ’16, to discuss how her work with Fox MC helped shape her path as an entrepreneur.
In addition to being the President and Founder of the accessory company Slade Unlimited, LLC, Slade wears many hats and excels at all of them. She’s an adjunct professor for the Fox School of Business at Temple University and is an associate at Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP. These roles provide Slade support as she bootstraps Slade Unlimited into a revenue-generating enterprise.
Slade Unlimited operates with a mission to create sustainable, ethical jobs in emerging markets by importing high quality accessory products that are manufactured in emerging markets. By maintaining a close relationship with its suppliers and partners, Slade Unlimited closely monitors both the environmental and social impacts of the business.
Inspiration for Slade Unlimited came when Slade worked as a teacher in Malawi in 2005. Slade developed a strong bond with her students and cared for their well-being in and outside of the classroom. After leaving Malawi, Slade attended law school and maintained contact with her students while she pursued her law degree. Once Slade started practicing as an attorney, she began sponsoring children in Malawi to go to high school. After some of her students had graduated and were unable to obtain jobs, Slade observed a bigger problem: the massive unemployment rate within the country. She wanted to do something about it. This led her to pursue an MBA at the Fox School of Business, so that she could refine her business skills. At Fox, Slade studied social enterprises and the triple bottom line (TBL) framework, in which companies focus on the social, environmental, and financial impacts of their business. This served as a foundation for her own for-profit business. While completing her summer internship during her first year at Fox, Slade began working on her company, Slade Unlimited.
Fast forward 10 years after her teaching days in Malawi, and Slade Unlimited launched in November 2016, celebrating with a kick-off party on November 10, 2016. During the party, Slade sold out of one of her most popular product lines, showing promise for the demand for her products and enthusiasm for her mission. Since then, Slade brought on Heather Qader, Global MBA ’16 as Chief Marketing Officer. Qader will build and execute the firm’s marketing strategy.
Slade says that her time at the Fox School of Business contributed to her early success as an entrepreneur. The intellectual and emotional support from professors, the structure of Fox’s Global MBA program, and course content provided a foundation for launching and growing a new venture. More specifically, Slade mentioned a Fox MC consulting project from her marketing class. She, and a team of Fox MBAs, developed a retail distribution strategy and marketing plan for Sari Bari, a social enterprise that produces women’s accessories from recycled saris and provides employment to women looking for a way out of the sex industry. Sari Bari recently received the prestigious $1 million Opus Prize. This project provided Slade an opportunity to research the dynamics of retail distribution within the U.S. market and an understanding of how social enterprises differentiate products through careful and creative marketing. As part of her MBA capstone, Slade worked on a Fox MC consulting project that developed a strategy and plan for entrepreneurial education at The Enterprise Center, again providing her with an opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship, while developing recommendations for a client.
When asked about the future state of the brand, Slade mentioned her goals are to deepen her relationship with her suppliers, get more press to bring more attention to the brand, and to improve her products overall.
Slade left us with a quote that serves as a message to both current and aspiring entrepreneurs. “It sounds cliché in business school to say that ‘failure is good.’ But when you’re out there by yourself as an entrepreneur, you realize it’s true, which helps you cope with any obstacles that may come your way.”
In Spring 2015, Fox Management Consulting provided marketing research and planning to Sari Bari, a social enterprise that makes women’s accessories from recycled saris. Recently, Sari Bari won the OPUS Prize, and along with it, $1,000,000 to build the organization.
Co-founder and creative director Sarah Lance commented on the work from the Fox MC team: “The team’s awesome work laid a foundation for how things have moved ahead.” Below, Sari Bari provided a guest blog post on the prize and what’s next for the organization.
From Sari Bari:
“We, at Sari Bari, are extremely grateful and deeply honored by the Award of the Opus Prize. We see it as not only an honor for Sarah Lance, but truly an honor for and recognition of the work of the entirety of the Sari Bari community for freedom, women whose own choice for freedom makes it possible, staff and interns who gave their time and talents and our community of customers and cheerleaders who have contributed with their belief that freedom was and is possible!
The Opus Prize is allowing Sari Bari to dream for a longer future. Many years ago we committed to building something that would last not 5 years or 10 years but more than 50 years, we dreamed for a future that we ourselves may never see become reality. Still we intentionally held the long view that we wanted to provide long-term options for employment for women who needed a way out of the commercial sex trade and women who were vulnerable to being trafficked. We dreamed for a day when Sonagacchi, a red light area of more than 10,000 would no longer be a red light but a place restored. The dream is still the same and capacity to continue to pursue that dream in all its impossibility is expanded with the opportunity that the receipt of the Opus Prize presents.
So what is SARI BARI going to do with the OPUS Prize?
Sari Bari has been around for more than 10 years and with the help of the Opus Prize we will expand employment opportunities and support to 100-150 women in the next 5 years. Additionally we are committed to continuing to build a sustainable infrastructure through capacity building, evaluation, Fair Trade certification, staff development, and education for the women and staff, and building the support infrastructure and capacity of SBUSA to increase sales of goods and awareness and action around the issues related to commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Sari Bari will engage in strategic partnerships to broaden and deepen opportunities for freedom through and with parallel organizations, this is a “give back, Pay forward” commitment to freedom for women.
With the help of the OPUS PRIZE we plan to grow Sari Bari in 4 major focus areas:
Employment and Opportunity
We will continue to create more opportunities for freedom from the commercial sex trade through Sari Bari in Kolkata India.
- Employ up to 150 more women in the next 5 years
- Develop new businesses to employ more women for freedom
- Expand types of products and skill bases of existing women to ensure long term viability of the business
- Complete the Heroes Campaign, specifically targeting hiring young women existing the aftercare system in Kolkata ($174,000 already raised, $75,000 to $100,000 to complete the campaign which includes building purchase which creates expanded space to hire more women)
Capacity and Infrastructure
Sari Bari is committed to sustainability of the business and social services of Sari Bari in India and the role of SBUSA as a key role player in sustainability of projects in Kolkata. We seek to develop capacity and ensure a strong infrastructure In both Sari Bari in India and the USA
- Board Development (USA and India)
- Strategic hiring in the areas of Operations, Social work, fundraising and Design
- External evaluations of the projects: manufacturing, social business
- Trade registrations: Fair Trade Registration and Craftmark registration
- Policy development
- Leadership and professional development of USA and India staff
- Increase sales revenue and customer base
- Expand marketing reach
- Ensure the development of a sustainable reputable USA based Sari Bari organization.
- SBUSA Annual Board Development/retreat
- Staff Care: Annual retreats, sabbaticals for long term staff
- Partial Salary support for Staff who fundraise for their financial support.
- Centralize SBUSA operations
Sari Bari is seeking to expand the brand to engage more customers and donors to partner with us to sustain freedom and opportunity for the women at Sari Bari and our ability to continue to hire more women.
- Trade Shows
- Re-brand to engage more customers
- Website updates
- Book writing support for Sarah Lance to tell the Sari Bari Story
Sari Bari is committed to partnering with and empowering similar and parallel organizations working with Trafficking Survivors and doing trafficking prevention work around the world.
- Partner with young and developing orgs to support capacity building for suitability
- Consulting with developing orgs to assist them as they grow their businesses and programming
- Partner with US based org working with survivors to take on fulfillment services for SBUSA.
Sari Bari has developed a plan to use the funds over a five-year period and we have developed a strategic plan to begin implementation in 2017. We will keep you updated on our progress.
In the meantime, we will keep doing what we do and not only dreaming for the future but implementing the next steps that will make a new future possible for more women and their families.
Read more about the OPUS Prize:
This week, senior leaders from Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI), the University’s center of innovation and entrepreneurship, are visiting Temple’s Fox School of Business (Fox) to collaborate with faculty and solidify the initial round of courses that will launch this February as part of a three-year partnership between Fox and Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia to deliver customized entrepreneurship and innovation education to thousands of Flinders students.
Through the partnership with Flinders, Fox faculty members are developing a series of 12 online education modules related to entrepreneurship and will provide training to Flinders faculty to deliver the course materials. The content will be available to all Flinders students, regardless of major or course of study, and will include videos, exercises and training manuals.
“This is a critical visit,” said Marilyn Anthony, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Fox and Director of the Flinders project. “Our key content developers, including Fox faculty and adjunct professors, are meeting individually with the Flinders team to develop the conceptual design of each course (called a “topic” in Australia), including instructional flow and course materials. They want to ensure that the content aligns with Flinders students and local issues relevant in Southern Australia.”
As part of Fox-Flinders partnership, Fox will also provide RoadMap™, its proprietary higher-education platform that assembles all feedback and assessments to demonstrate personal development and return on investment to students. It will be customized, however, to track the development of competencies, or personal behaviors, that have been identified as valuable based on focus groups, surveys, and feedback from business professionals and industry leaders in Adelaide.
“The model takes advantage of Fox’s expertise and adapting that to knowledgeable insiders to make it a better fit for South Australia,” Anthony said.
“One of the major benefits of RoadMap™ from an administrative perspective is the ability to analyze and access and analyze cross-course data and use it in a variety of ways that one can’t natively in a learning management system such as Moodle or BlackBoard,” said Cliff Tironi, co-creator of RoadMap™ and Manager of Performance Analytics for Fox’s MBA and MS Programs.
As part of the visit, Matt Salier, Director of NVI, delivered a presentation to Fox faculty and administration on “the value of the Flinders NVI Model – The Entrepreneurial University.”
“We can’t do things as universities have always done things,” Salier said. He emphasized the need to challenge the way things have been done in the past, learn from past mistakes, and encourage students, regardless of major, to “Differently Think,” the advertising slogan running in Australia to promote the Flinders-Fox partnership. “We want our graduates to be the most innovative employees for our SME (small and medium enterprise) economy. We have to find a way to run alongside contemporary issues and stay current.”
The Fox MC-Flinders partnership builds on the success of both organizations’ efforts to support entrepreneurship. Fox’s expertise in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education has been widely recognized: The Online MBA program at the Fox School of Business is ranked no. 1 in the nation for the second consecutive year by US News & World Report, both the graduate and undergraduate Entrepreneurship programs at Fox are ranked among the top 10 by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, and Fox MC has provided consulting services to nearly 150 startups and early stage companies.
Fox Management Consulting develops customized entrepreneurship education programs to support entrepreneurs, government and nonprofit organizations, service-providers, and students.
Contact us to learn more about the services that Fox Management Consulting offers.
Marilyn Anthony wears many hats at Temple University’s Fox School of Business (Fox), and this past semester she added yet another one. We caught up with Anthony to take a glimpse into the vital role she plays at Fox.
An assistant professor in strategic management, Anthony recently became the director of the Fox partnership with Flinders University, in which Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) at Fox and Flinders University have partnered to deliver customized entrepreneurship and innovation education to thousands of Flinders students, and is also a Project Executive (PE) for Fox MBA students participating in the Fox MC capstone course, an applied learning experience in which students work in teams to provide research and recommendations to fee-paying clients.
Anthony has devoted the majority of her career to food and sustainable agriculture, working in various environments including non-profit, for-profit and as a small business owner.
She has worked in some of Philadelphia’s finest and most innovative restaurants as a professional chef, served in business development and management positions in the hospitality industry and overseen mid-Atlantic regional corporate food services before foraying into the sustainability movement. She began her relationship with Fox as a client whose organization hired Fox MC for a consulting project.
“I was so impressed by the quality of research and thinking that went into the project that I wanted to become involved with Fox MC. It was far beyond what my own organization could have done,” she said. She started as an extremely satisfied customer, moved into a Fox MC advisor role and soon became a PE. “I have been excited to refer projects to colleagues from the nonprofit and sustainable agriculture world, the quality of the research serving as my main selling point.”
Anthony brings substantial expertise to each MBA Capstone project, and provides 150+ hours of oversight to each Fox MC project team. In her role as PE, Anthony ensures that Fox MC MBA consultants deliver top-quality work to clients, and strives to serve as a coach to the students.
“Many students may never have previously worked with a client before, which is a very unique relationship,” she said. As a former Fox MC client, she strives to model client management and encourage students to be thoughtful, open and take responsibility.
“At the beginning of the semester, I don’t know the answer. Each project is new and unique, and the students and I are in a process of discovery to learn what opportunities are available,” Anthony said.
She noted that these projects represent a significant pivot in the students’ MBA education. “They are shifting from mastering content in a course to a topic where they’re not in control, and are addressing an unfamiliar topic with an unpredictable client. It’s a huge responsibility to deliver high quality work in a short period of time,” Anthony said. She added that there’s no ‘right answer’ to these projects, another unique aspect of the Capstone course, and emphasized the important role the PE plays encouraging risk taking and helping students have confidence that they can succeed.
“Everyone starts off knowing nothing about subject, and at end, they’ve learned enough about an industry to make a recommendation to a client whose livelihood is that industry. It’s transformative and really hard,” said Anthony.
Anthony is currently overseeing three MBA projects, including a UK-based direct to small business online insurer, who has hired Fox MC to develop a go-to-market strategy to expand its business to the U.S.; a foundation looking to restore the agricultural components of its farmland; and a non-profit seeking assistance with its board structure, governance and legal structure.
To learn more about the services Fox Management Consulting offers, contact us here.
On Nov. 11, faculty from Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business (Fox) hosted an interactive session exploring the life cycle of small farm businesses as part of the annual It Takes a Region Conference hosted by Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG). Conference attendees included farm and food systems practitioners across the Northeast region from Maryland to Maine, including service providers, educators, funders, and advocates for organic and sustainable farms.
During their session, “Scaling Up: How to Determine If, When, How, and How Much,” Marilyn Anthony, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Fox, and Bill Kitsch, Adjunct Professor and Project Executive for Fox MC, offered tools for evaluating growth, assessing growth risks and rewards, and accessing financial resources to fuel expansion. They shared the results of a 2016 U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant on community supported agriculture (CSA) and direct farm sales market changes in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and facilitated a case study of a real farm business contemplating growth to keep pace with perceived market demand.
“There’s a generation of farmers who think CSA is the way to go, and that’s all they know. We’re seeing that while this model was successful 10 years ago, it’s really struggling now,” Anthony said. “There hasn’t been enough analysis of CSAs and discussion of real alternatives to provide them with a way to analytically look at the market, evaluate their business model and mitigate risk.”
Anthony and Kitsch’s presentation included a research report conducted by Fox MBA students who were hired by the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) to research successful specialty crop farming practices as part of the Fox MC capstone course, an applied learning experience in which students provide research and recommendations to fee-paying clients.
“The results from the MBA students’ research really turn the whole notion upside down about the best way to start a farm business and what type of business is more likely to succeed,” Anthony said. “By the end of the presentation, audience members, all of whom came from the world of CSA, were challenged and convinced of our argument.”
Anthony added that while the CSA model may appear to be the most attainable, as a business model, it is the most complex and requires the highest level of technical, marketing, sales, accounting and management skills. “Why would you start your business at a place with the highest demand for all of these skills when you’re just beginning your business?” According to Anthony, this resonated with the audience, as many participants have witnessed farmers struggling with this very problem.
Anthony, who has devoted the majority of her career to educating and advocating for farmers, and Kitsch, who originally engaged with Fox MC as a client for a regional company offering agricultural financing for agribusiness, home, land and farm loans, offer their expertise to help MBA students assist clients with sustainable farming-related business issues. They have been asked to present this research again at the Future Harvest CASA’s (Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture) Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed Conference in Jan. 2017.
Through its consulting services, Fox MC has worked with firms of varying sizes and functions on strategies related to sustainable agriculture and farming. The NESAWG presentation was Fox MC’s latest effort to address this issue. To learn more about this and other services Fox MC offers, contact us here.
In efforts to expand the experiential learning opportunities offered to its MBA candidates, Temple University’s Fox School of Business (Fox) has partnered with two universities across the globe to tackle a pressing environmental issue–extinction of endangered species through poaching. Students from UTS Business School, part of the University of Technology, Sydney, arrived in Philadelphia on Nov. 13 to kick off the first of a three-part intercontinental MBA case study to reduce the demand for animal products.
On Nov. 17, Dennis Paris, Assistant Professor of Practice, Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Fox, along with Becca Zinn, Assistant Professor of Practice, Marketing and Supply Chain Management and Marketing Director of Fox MC, Arion Rochman, Principal/Creative Director at Opus Brand Strategies, and Adam Schreiber, COO at Schreiber & Paris, led an interactive discussion for Fox and UTS business students about ways to reduce, rather than drive global demand of animal parts
“The goal of our session with UTS was to offer our market research, planning and tactical expertise to help with the development of a strategy framework that would ultimately lead to an international market reduction plan of animal parts,” Dennis Paris said. “After an energetic discussion, we concluded with next steps and a framework to better understand the beliefs and values of two target markets: those possessing or wearing for status, and those who consume for ritualistic or medical purposes.”
The UTS students are focusing exclusively on the “demand” side of the problem and understanding the drivers of consumer behaviors in this illicit market in order to develop a strategy for market destruction or reduction. In the second phase of the project, Fox MBA students will leverage the research from UTS to develop a marketing strategy to reduce demand for products from poached animals as part of the Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) capstone course. Lastly, MBA candidates from University of Cape Town will incorporate the first two pieces of the project to develop a financing model and social venture bond to fund the strategic plan.
“We’re not going to change the culture [of poaching] overnight. We first have to understand why people are using the product,” said Arion Rochman. “Then we can develop powerful, impactful messages that slowly plant seeds to demystify the idea and encourage a change in the way people think. These resources won’t be here forever” she said.
Other notable events in which the Fox and UTS students participated this week as part of the project included:
- Design thinking session at LiquidHub
- Visit to Philadelphia Zoo to learn about conservation
- Visit to Adventure Aquarium to discuss shark and marine conservation
- Meeting at Independence Blue Cross for Innovation session
- Meeting at BDP International to discuss compliance
- Visit to City of Philadelphia Innovation Lab
Through its consulting services, Fox MC has worked with firms of varying sizes and functions on strategies to protect economic tourism and natural resources. The three-university initiative is Fox MC’s latest effort to address this issue. To learn more about this and other services Fox MC offers, contact us here.
On Nov. 14, business professionals from the Philadelphia region gathered at KPMG to discuss ways young professionals can grow and develop through mentorship. The event, “Pay it Forward: Mentoring our Future Leaders,” hosted by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber), kicked off a series of mentorship events designed to partner young professionals with area business executives. During the event, Rebecca Zinn, Assistant Professor of Practice, Marketing and Supply Chain Management and Director of Marketing for Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business (Fox), guided attendees through a presentation on “Cultivating Leadership Opportunities Within the Organization” together with Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Fox and Managing Director of Fox MC.
During her presentation, Zinn pointed to research conducted by Abodo.com showing that a thriving job market is the most important quality in a city for young professionals, and that Philadelphia offers a majority of the qualities that young professionals cited as important. However, she also said that “sixty-four percent of young professionals expect to leave their job or city within five years” and highlighted the importance of investing in this population of the workforce and giving them a reason to stay. “As a business community, we have an opportunity to invest in the future by cultivating leadership,” Zinn said.
“Data show that young professionals aged 28-34 need to build relationships with mentors both outside of their sector and outside of their organization,” said Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Chamber. “That’s what we’re hoping to do with young professionals in our organization. There’s a lot of opportunity” he said.
The goal of the kickoff event was to develop a baseline for how mentors and mentees can understand each other’s challenges and help young leaders become better employees, leaders and colleagues, according to Ginny Susini, Chair of the Chamber’s Young Professionals Council (YPC), an arm of the Chamber that connects ambitious, visionary young people with a strong, diverse network of peers, mentors and regional business and civic leaders. Susini is also a mentee participating in the program.
“The Board has wanted to start this program for years to connect young professionals with business leaders in the region, and we’re excited that this program has finally launched,” Susini said. She expressed optimism this new program will provide young professionals with additional incentive to stay and establish roots in Philadelphia.
Mentorship program participants included mentors who are current Chamber members and mentees participating YPC. Participants represented a wide array of Philadelphia area companies, such as KPMG, Comcast, PNC, Saul Ewing, the Kimmel Center, Wawa, and Vanguard, among others. They broke out into small groups and addressed topics Professor Zinn prompted, including leadership development opportunities for young professionals in their organizations and potential changes in organizational dynamics.
“I hope the event formed a foundation for mentor relationships that will be developed over the next six to eight months,” Zinn said. “Through the discussion questions, I aimed to introduce topics that mentors and mentees can continue to discuss as they start meeting together.”
Program participants will reconvene as a group in January, April and June 2017.
Through its consulting services, Fox Management Consulting has worked with firms of varying sizes and functions on strategies to meaningfully engage young adults, both as customers and as employees. To learn more about these and other services Fox MC offers, contact us here.
When Corinne O’Connell, Associate Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia (HFHP), reached out to Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Managing Director of Fox Management Consulting at Temple’s Fox School of Business in 2010, she did not expect a casual one-off meeting about the state of her business to morph into a five-year partnership that would catapult HFHP to new heights.
In the most recent engagement between the two organizations, Fox MBA candidates participating in the Fox Board Fellows program developed a comprehensive procurement strategy and process for ReStore, HFHP’s discount home improvement store. The strategy included a training process and guides for staff and board members to use to assist with ReStore’s procurement process. Fox Board Fellows, a program operated by Temple’s Fox School of Business, places MBA candidates on nonprofit boards, in which they serve as active and engaged visiting members. Fellows contribute a professional quality, strategic project to their partner nonprofits as part of a credit bearing, elective course in Nonprofit Governance.
To learn more about Fox Board Fellows or the services Fox Management Consulting offers, contact us here.
Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Managing Director of Fox Management Consulting at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, presented “Build, Buy, or Sell: Applying Strategic Thinking to the Next Step of Wealth Creation” to minority business owners and entrepreneurs. During the session, Hill presented a strategic framework to guide business owners through an evaluation process. By proactively researching, analyzing and monitoring specific industry and market factors, business leaders can make informed decisions about the best next step, whether it’s investing towards organic growth, acquiring another business or selling to a firm better positioned to address market realities.
The presentation highlights three options for using profit to meet goals:
- Build: Reinvest in sales and operations – organic growth
- Buy: New opportunities or capabilities – inorganic growth
- Sell: Take out as dividends – whether to spend, save, give away or invest outside of the business
It also provides a framework for business owners to evaluate numerous aspects of their business and industry, including but not limited to:
- the type of wealth they are creating, such as human capital or financial capital, for example
- underlying business challenges they are facing
- where in the chain of commerce their business operates
- aggressiveness and strength of competitors
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