Fintech, Blockchain and Digital Disruption course to be held in new virtual reality format
PHILADELPHIA, March 18, 2020 — Bora Ozkan doesn’t do virtual reality. Good luck if you try to get him to play video games.
“It’s just never been my interest. I don’t even own a VR headset,” says Ozkan, assistant professor of finance in the Fox School of Business at Temple University.
However, as an educator, he’s always looking for ways to improve the student experience. He believes that VR might be able to achieve that.
“When I first put a headset on, I saw that the experience is so unique and different,” he says. “I immediately started to think, ‘How can we use this to benefit our students?’”
Ozkan has been researching that question for the last 18 months. This week, he’ll get his answer.
On March 19, he will begin teaching Fintech, Blockchain and Digital Disruption in the virtual reality (VR) format as part of the Fox Online MBA program. The seven-week accelerated course is believed to be one of the first MBA-level courses to be offered in a VR format anywhere in the United States. The 20 students enrolled in the course can take it anywhere in the world. All they need is the Oculus VR headset that they received in the mail after signing up for the course.
Once they put the headset on is when things get interesting.
The course takes place in two VR classrooms; one mirrors a traditional auditorium-style lecture hall while the other is in an outside park. The details are meticulous. For example, benches in the park actually have iron fittings that are embedded with a Temple T.
Students are visualized with virtual avatars. The instructor, in this case, Ozkan, is live-streamed from a video studio into the center of the virtual lecture hall. Ozkan can see the virtual classroom as he lectures. He’s aware of when a student avatar raises his or her hand. For students, the scene basically mirrors that of an in-classroom lecture hall.
Ozkan’s desire to create this course comes from a need to continuously improve online learning outcomes in higher education. That’s especially relevant today as so many colleges and universities have been forced to move online due to coronavirus concerns.
One of the challenges of online education is distractions. Your Facebook feed is only ever a click away. Your phone is almost always sitting next to you.
“What I really like about VR is that students are not going to be distracted by cellphones or their computer. When they take off their headset, the avatar’s head falls down, so you know someone took off their headset and is not paying attention,” Ozkan says.
The course was built by the Fox School’s Online and Digital Learning department with the help of the Glimpse Group, a virtual reality and augmented reality platform company headquartered in New York City.
It wasn’t easy.
“There is no PowerPoint or Microsoft Word template for what we’re doing. I never thought I would be able to work on a VR project in this department, and it’s been a huge learning curve in many, many ways,” says Tom Lennon, senior video production specialist at the Fox School.
Gabby Gutierrez, a Fox School video specialist and 3D designer for the project, agrees.
“The research component, of course, has been very time-intensive. We had to play different roles,” she says. “We’re not just building an environment, we’re building all of the pieces in the environment.”
While this is the first VR course the team has designed, it will likely not be the last. Ozkan and the team expect to make adaptations based on this course, which they will then use in future courses.
In some ways, Ozkan believes the VR classroom can actually offer a better experience than face-to-face instruction. For instance, the technology can be adapted, so that every student can have a front-seat view of the instructor when they put on the headset.
It’s unknown how students will respond to the course over the next few weeks, but there’s a lot of optimism.
“Everybody was excited that it is something new that hasn’t been done,” says Layah Bogen, an instructional designer for Fox Graduate Programs. “We have a hypothesis, and we think if it’s true, the impact can be big.”
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.
The course is receiving attention beyond the Temple community. Read the recent Philadelphia Business Journal article, “Is virtual reality the future of online learning? A Temple professor is giving it a try.”
This is the most common question asked by people considering an MBA. To find an answer, we spoke with three students from Fox School of Business MBA programs. We discovered there are many ways to consider the ROI of the MBA, and that salary increase, while important, is not the only one. Here’s what we learned.
Not All About the Benjamins
The salary boost is the main reason cited for pursuing an MBA. But it was about something greater than bank roll for Chris Wallace.
Wallace worked at Comcast and was eager to rise in the company when he began the Fox School Executive MBA program in 2010 (which was partially funded by his employer). His objectives were to improve his financial acumen, leadership skills, and strategic thinking, all of which he claims he did tenfold.
After completing his MBA, he founded Incite, a consulting firm specializing in optimizing sales teams. In 2015, he sold Incite to GrowthPlay, where he now works as a managing director.
“If I didn’t have the MBA skillset, I couldn’t have done this,” he says. “Financially, my MBA paid for itself two years after graduating.”
“But,” he continues, “I don’t evaluate the ROI of the MBA solely from a financial perspective. For me, the knowledge, the experience, and the personal enrichment made it worth it. Some do it just to put it on their resume; you can tell who they are. If you don’t have the hunger and curiosity, you won’t learn as much. Thinking of it as a sterile business transaction is completely missing the point.”
Serving the Public Good
Heather Qader was working with the NAACP, in Washington, D.C., when she realized her colleagues climbing the career ladder had something she didn’t: MBAs. She wanted to climb, too, but was worried it would jeopardize her commitment to community activism and the public good.
She ultimately made the MBA leap. She took student loans to finance 100% of the full-time Fox School Global MBA program, which she completed in 2016. And she found a way to balance the MBA with her altruistic commitments.
“I thought business school was shallow, but I was wrong,” she admits. “It was more collaborative than selfish and individualistic. Now my business acumen is sharper and I have more confidence in business conversations.”
Qader pursued startup job opportunities after graduation, worked freelance for a real estate investor, and did marketing for a friend’s company. Within a year of graduating, she landed the perfect job.
“I’m at the intersection of business and government, which is exciting,” says Qader, now the manager of business development for the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce. “And I’m able to balance my interests and skills.”
“The ROI depends on what the timeline is,” she says when asked if the MBA was worth it. “The year after? Maybe not. As far as recouping expenses, I haven’t done that yet, but I will eventually. But now I’m in a great place and I love my job.”
The Network Is Priceless
A robust professional network can make or break your career. Jeff Fonda knows this—he also knows earning an MBA is a great way to build one.
“A big part of it was building a network—paying for access to alumni, local and national companies, and recruiters,” says Fonda, who completed the full-time Global MBA program in 2018. “I knew it was the path I had to pave to get to my next job. The education was secondary, but that changed, because I learned much more than I expected. Still, the network was the key.”
Prior to starting the MBA, Fonda had significant work experience. He was the founder and CEO of Earth Literary Project, which has opened 13 public libraries in Uganda, and also the vice president of a textbook company, Bell Tower Books. But he felt more contacts were required to make major moves. The MBA program fixed this.
“Fox helped me jumpstart my network,” says Fonda. “There were tons of events where I was able to meet many employers, alumni, and important industry representatives. Since the number of MBA students was small, we had meaningful individual time and access with recruiters and people I would’ve never met otherwise.”
Fonda’s connections in the program led to an internship with IBM’s prestigious Summit Program. He now works for IBM as a senior client relationship manager.
“My salary will definitely be higher with an MBA,” says Fonda. “And there’s no way I’d be considered for the job I’m taking, or even get my foot in the door, without the MBA network. Without a connection to the recruiter, I never would’ve gotten the job. Fox was the key to landing me here.”
“There’s no doubt,” he continues, “an MBA is worth it.”
Learn more about Fox School MBA programs.
For years, an MBA is how professionals have gotten from A to B in their careers. The MBA bump, as it is commonly called, usually manifests as a salary increase or a promotion. These days, it’s not uncommon for the MBA bump to coincide with the baby bump.
That’s right, professionals are simultaneously starting families and pursuing MBAs. Nationally, MBA students average 6.4 years of work experience, meaning most MBA candidates are in their late 20s or early 30s. That’s also around same age when most Americans are having their first child, according to a recent study.
So how can you achieve work-life balance and learn to balance budget sheets? Here are some tips from current and former Fox School MBA students who have successfully juggled parenting and pursuing MBAs.
Communications executive Kristi DeSimone already was accustomed to working virtually. That’s why she found the Fox School’s Online MBA program a proper fit.
“I never knew when my work day would end, or that I could commit to being in a physical classroom,” said DeSimone, who resides in Vineland, N.J. “The program gives me freedom to take courses in my house or while I’m traveling, and I can do coursework or talk to classmates at my convenience.”
DeSimone “scheduled everything,” she said. She delivered her daughter only a few days after delivering a presentation in a finance course. DeSimone graduated in December 2017, just before her maternity leave expired.
Find What Works for You
When Lamees Alhaj signs into her online classroom Friday at 4 a.m., most of her U.S.-based classmates are logging in Thursday at 7 p.m. “The Online MBA is ideal because our workweek here in Dubai runs Sunday through Thursday,” said Alhaj.
The program’s flexibility, Alhaj said, is paramount. She got engaged, planned a wedding, and welcomed a baby—all while managing her studies. “I can take one class per semester or three,” said Alhaj, a service excellence officer at American Hospital Dubai.
Alhaj has learned to work around her daughter’s schedule, too. Routinely, she watches academic lecture videos or completes reading assignments while holding or soothing her baby at all hours of the day.
Rely on Your Support System
In a four-week span last summer, Rory McCale relocated to the Philadelphia region, started a new job in surety insurance, bought and sold a home, enrolled in the Fox School’s Part-Time MBA program, and welcomed a baby daughter.
“Needless to say, it was hectic,” McCale said.
With his schedule constantly changing, he relied on late hours and early mornings to stay ahead.
“The professors were responsive,” McCale said. “If you had a question at midnight, you’ll get the answer you need by the time you wake up. Without support from my wife and from within the program, I couldn’t have held it together. The flexibility and professionalism of (the professors and staff) from the program have been a huge help.”
Incorporate Your Children into Your Schoolwork
Early in his career, Dan Berger embraced that there is no perfect time to pursue an MBA. So, he took a page from his father’s playbook. In his youth, Berger remembers his father reading case studies to him while attaining his MBA.
“That was 20 years ago, but the lesson there can be applied today in my MBA program,” said Berger, a Part-Time MBA student who works in the health industries advisory practice of a Big 4 accounting firm. “If you’ve asked yourself, ‘How can I study and engage with my family at the same time?’ it’s simple. Throughout this process, I’ve realized that I can read to my son, shift my priorities, and incorporate him into my coursework.
He added: “I am proof that you can start a family and get an MBA.”
Learn more about Fox School MBA programs.
Anthony M. DiJulio, 33, wanted to be a scientist. After earning a BA in chemistry from Muhlenberg College, in 2006, he immediately landed a job as an associate scientist at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, a Swiss multinational company and a major player in the pharmaceutical world.
“They were a big, bad pharma company and I was this 22-year-old kid who didn’t come out of Harvard or MIT,” recalls DiJulio. “I didn’t have that kind of pedigree, but they took a chance on me and I delivered. I was so happy because I loved chemistry—it’s like cooking on steroids! You can take compounds and materials, do the reaction, prove the reaction, and ultimately create a substance that goes into toxicity trials and eventually becomes a drug. I thought that was so cool.”
New career doors open
DiJulio’s goal was to earn a PhD in chemistry. In 2009, while still working at Novartis, he completed an MS in chemistry at Seton Hall. Then something happened that altered his career path forever, and spun his love of chemistry in a completely new, exciting direction.
“A huge opportunity arrived—Novartis gave me a couple million dollars to set up a new lab,” DiJulio says. “Suddenly, I was handling budgets, planning, negotiating, and I loved it. This changed my whole trajectory and made me realize I wanted to do business. I knew that, in order to move up to a leadership position, I needed an MBA.”
Choosing an MBA program
DiJulio was living in New Jersey and traveling regularly to Switzerland for Novartis. He needed a flexible MBA program to accommodate his hectic professional life. And he found the perfect match in the Fox Online MBA program.
“The Fox MBA program allowed me to immediately use what I learned in business situations and it made the finance and the accounting and the economics courses more real to me,” he says. “At that stage, I’d already been through grad school and was more mature as a student, so it was my most enjoyable piece of education, by far.”
DiJulio had great success at Novartis. He climbed the ranks to become a senior scientist, and then a financial controller. However, after completing his MBA in 2012, he decided to take a bold step and move more firmly into the business world.
Finding the perfect job
DiJulio worked for a couple years as a commercial development and strategy associate with Air Products and Chemicals, and then for a few more as a pharmaceutical business development manager for Ashland Inc.
Then, in 2017, DiJulio was offered a job as a business development manager for Lonza, a Swiss chemical and biotechnology company. The new job offer uniquely synthesized his passions for chemistry and business.
“Now I do business and chemistry every day,” he says. “I have to hit numbers, I’m held accountable, and sites are dependent on me to bring in work. I interact with major pharmaceutical companies to develop their products; I work with virtual companies and startups, too. I’m engaged on a business basis and as a chemist, covering everything from finance to formulation and synthesis. It’s a two-pronged approach that links up perfectly with my background.”
One perk DiJulio discovered along his professional path is travel. In addition to traveling to Switzerland and across the U.S, he has been to Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, China, Ireland, France, and Belgium, among other countries.
“I’ve improved myself as a person by becoming more well-traveled,” he says. “I’m really happy about that.”
“The MBA got me where I am and where I want to go in the future,” he continues. “The opportunities I’ve had in business development would be very rare without an MBA. And I’m definitely more of a resource to a company with an MBA. It was a big investment, for sure, but now I am reaping the benefits of it.”
Share your Fox School success story here.
Learn more about the Fox Online MBA program.
“I started at the bottom, literally at the lowest position in the company,” says Scott Grady about the job he landed in 1996, the year after he graduated from high school. It was with J.W. Pepper & Son, the 142-year-old Pennsylvania company that’s now the world’s largest sheet music retailer.
“I walked around the warehouse pulling customer orders all day,” Grady continues. “The way the orders were organized—and we’re talking about a thousand orders a day—was illogical to me. So I devised a system to help the order flow be smoother. That was noticed by upper management and it sent me on my way.”
That was 22 years ago. Grady still works at J.W. Pepper & Son, but now he’s in a C-suite position. In 2017, the same year Grady earned his MBA from the Fox School, he was promoted to chief strategy officer (CSO).
Grady began climbing the ladder at J.W. Pepper & Son soon after devising that new order system back in his warehouse days. In 2001, he was relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and tasked with opening a new sales and marketing office. In his nine years out west, he earned a business degree and rose from being operations manager to vice president and regional marketing manager.
He returned to the Philadelphia area in 2010, this time as J.W. Pepper & Son’s vice president of brand strategy.
“It was a defining moment for me,” recalls Grady. “I had worked in many different roles, from operations and management to marketing, but this was a senior leadership role working closely with the core brand and new brands. I had to learn how to be entrepreneurial inside of a company that was 140-years-old—that’s when I decided I needed to get an MBA.”
The Fox Online MBA experience
Grady entered the Fox School’s Online MBA program in 2015. As a working professional with a hectic schedule and senior level responsibilities, he was drawn to the flexibility of the online format. He was also skeptical, namely about the lack of direct interaction with fellow students. But the program’s in-person residency, held at the Fox School’s Alter Hall at the beginning of the first semester, was a major perk.
“I was afraid that, since it was an online program, I’d be too far removed from people,” he says. “But the residency brought us together and it was a defining experience. I learned so much and I’m still friends with many of the other students. It was great to work and network with professionals who were already in the field doing great things.”
“Every day,” he says about his two years in the program, “there was so much practical work application for what I was learning. Balancing the work load wasn’t the biggest challenge, it was figuring out how to apply everything. What I learned from the entrepreneurship class, about business models, is something I apply in almost every business meeting now.”
The C-suite demands confidence
Grady, in his current role as CSO, is responsible for managing a portfolio of projects and initiatives, a team of developers and business analysts, and new mergers and acquisitions. One of Grady’s main focuses with J.W. Pepper & Son, whose biggest client in the sheet music game is public school music programs, is bringing new technology initiatives to music classrooms. He recently helped launch Cut Time, a group management tool for music educators. And last year, he oversaw his first acquisition.
Grady regularly applies what he learned from his MBA at J.W. Pepper & Son. He says the most important skill he acquired was how to be a confident decision maker.
“At this level,” says Grady, “you have to be a confident decision maker. You have to earn people’s trust and you have to be decisive. You have to look at all the angles and to make sense of all the incoming information, and then make decisions that will effect the entire business. Being able to make these big decisions is the number one thing the MBA gave me.”
Learn more about the Fox Online MBA program.
On February 2, Temple University’s Liacouras Center was buzzing with excitement for the Fox School of Business and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management winter graduation ceremony, where over 500 undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred.
The keynote speaker was Lori Bush, MBA ’85. Following her position as the president of Nu Skin, the personal care brand, Bush served as the CEO and president of skin care company Rodan + Fields until her retirement in 2016.
In her speech, Bush, the author of a best-selling wellness book titled Write Your Skin a Prescription for Change, detailed how she achieved great things in her career by being scrappy, leveraging her strategic training, and pushing the limits of business with limited resources. She advised the new graduates to look at the small moments of everyday life through a business lens, as this can lead to meaningful, career-changing insights.
“Everything is business,” said Bush. “You have to take inspiration from everyday life—then just add business principles and stir.”
The student speaker was Beatrice Raccanello Esq., MBA ’17. Raccanello, a native of Italy, earned her law degree from Bocconi University in Milan, and then relocated to Philadelphia to earn her Master of Laws from Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law. While working full-time for the Beasley School, as the assistant director of the Office of Graduate and International Programs, Raccanello enrolled in the Fox School’s Part-Time MBA program.
Raccannello spoke about how she was initially afraid to move to an unfamiliar country, but that her experiences as an international student ultimately molded her into a bolder leader. She found strength and inspiration by working with other exceptional students in the Part-Time MBA program who, like her, had full-time jobs, family responsibilities, and other life commitments.
“We became better leaders,” she said, noting how beneficial it was to work with students who brought diverse backgrounds and professional perspectives to the classroom. “We were able to collaborate to pursue our dreams.”
In an evolving healthcare industry, prominent surgeons are choosing to pursue graduate business education—a trend that continues to grow nationally.
(Editor’s note: A version of this story first appeared in the Spring 2015 edition of Fox Focus, the school’s alumni magazine.)
It’s 4:30 a.m., and Alexander Vaccaro reaches for his alarm clock.
Soon after, he’s reading lectures and watching transcribed videos from the seat of a recumbent bike. The piece of exercise equipment doubles as Vaccaro’s classroom desk as he completes coursework during his daily workout.
An orthopaedic surgeon and spinal specialist, Vaccaro maintains a tightly organized schedule. He’s the Richard H. Rothman Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery at Jefferson University Hospitals and president of the Rothman Institute, an international leader in orthopaedic science, research, treatment, and technology. And he completed his Online Master’s of Business Administration through Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
Vaccaro estimated that he committed at least two hours daily to his Fox Online MBA. Often, it was more.
“I’m being honest when I say this: It’s one of the hardest and one of the most-rewarding things I’ve ever done,” said Vaccaro, who’s also a professor of neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery. “You know what you do for a living. Getting your MBA helps you figure out why you do what you do, and you’re able to do it better.”
Vaccaro is one in a growing number of accomplished medical professionals, with a slew of letters following their surnames, who supplemented their clinical educations with a business education at the Fox School.
The reason? As the landscape in American healthcare continues to evolve, medical professionals like Vaccaro are learning that one of the greatest issues in their field is a business-related one.
“I was brought up thinking about care for the individual. Now I have to care for the system that cares for the people,” Vaccaro said. “I almost think an MBA should be mandatory for clinicians. When you get into medicine, you need courses on how to run a program, and you need background skills in operations, marketing, law, ethics, and communication. Those in medicine who plan to lead need an MBA.”
Healthcare spending in the United States reached $3.3 trillion in 2016, or 17.9 percent of its gross domestic product. And that figure is expected to continue climbing. Physicians equipped to tackle the challenges of operating a medical facility, in relation to both patient treatment and business management, are in high demand.
According to a 2011 U.S. News & World Report study, hospitals run by trained physicians earned quality scores that were 25 percent stronger than hospitals run by management. Having a physician who is capable of balancing a budget and managing personnel “is more than valuable. It’s indispensable,” said Dr. Steven Szebenyi, the former chief medical officer and senior vice president of healthcare management with Health Partners Plans, a not-for-profit health insurance organization in the Philadelphia region.
Szebenyi, in his former role, oversaw all clinical aspects of Health Partners Plans, reporting to the company’s chief executive officer and senior team, managing a staff of nearly 200, and overseeing its budget, among other duties. The push for a business education among the nation’s top healthcare workers can influence hiring practices, Szebenyi said.
“I look for someone with more than clinical experience,” Szebenyi said. “I look for someone with administrative training, additional training, or both. That need is only going to continue to grow. With this shift from volume-driven healthcare to value-driven healthcare, you see more and more physicians taking more prominent roles and leadership positions.”
A gathering of more than 700 of the nation’s preeminent business and healthcare executives at the University of Miami’s “The Business of Healthcare: Bending the Cost Curve” conference in January 2014 concluded that the challenge of lowering overall costs while raising the quality of care remains. And in November 2014, Todd Kislak, who boasts a decade of healthcare management experience, told Bloomberg Businessweek that the issue boils down to “the coats vs. the suits. What you need is people who can wear both.”
Temple’s Fox School of Business is preparing physicians to do that. A number of high-ranking surgeons have completed the Fox Online MBA program, which combines technology, collaboration, and real-world experience, so professionals in any industry can balance the rigors of continued education, full-time employment, and family.
Like Vaccaro, Dr. Cataldo Doria earned his Online MBA at the Fox School.
For years, Doria, the director of the Jefferson Transplant Institute and the Division of Transplantation at Jefferson University Hospitals, said he had considered a graduate degree in business administration, before choosing Fox for its “top-notch reputation,” he said. “Medicine is changing so much and so fast, and unless you really understand the economics and the business of it, you’re going to be left behind,” said Doria, the Nicoletti Family Professor of Transplant Surgery.
Three other physicians who earned their Online MBAs from the Fox School have noted immediate gains professionally as a result of their recently attained business credentials.
When Dr. Vani Dandolu had elected to pursue her Online MBA, clinical colleagues said she had swayed “to the dark side,” said the chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Nevada School of Medicine. Instead, Dandolu viewed the program as an opportunity to learn business-world language without having to give up her stake in academic medicine.
“I get more credibility, my opinions are taken more seriously and, really, I would not have been a serious candidate for my current position if not for my additional degrees,” said Dandolu, also the ObGyn residency program director and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Nevada. “I was very clear on what I wanted to get out of my MBA and I believe that focus is critical when you are pursuing any new venture.”
Philadelphia-area surgeons Dr. Aron Wahrman and Dr. Daniel Dempsey, who attained their Online MBAs at Fox, agree. As clinical assistant professor of surgery at Penn Medicine, Wahrman sees a benefit to giving the program’s top medical students and residents a taste of business education.
“I think traditional curriculum, which mainly focuses on scientific and clinical curriculum, does them a disservice,” said Wahrman, who earned his Fox Online MBA in 2011. “With everything that’s going on in healthcare, the patient is expecting quality and value, and an MBA gives you a broader perspective on topics pertaining to that. Moreover, you can’t just give (administrative duties) to people in healthcare who aren’t as vested in taking care of patients or in making decisions at the individual and community level. That’s why I think pursuing a Fox Online MBA was a good fit.”
Dempsey is professor of surgery, chief of gastrointestinal surgery, and assistant director of perioperative services at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to commencing his Fox Online MBA studies, he said he possessed a basic knowledge of a hospital’s business operations, but “by no means was I an expert.” He said he’s since been able to complete financial analyses on greater returns on how his hospital spends, and better understand profit loss and cash flow, as a result of his most-recent degree.
Like Dandolu and Wahrman, Dempsey said he faced vilification from his colleagues in medicine.
“The common reaction was, ‘What’re you doing that for? You’ve been doing aspects of administration for years,” he said.
And Dempsey’s reply?
“I have one foot in each camp now,” said Dempsey, who earned his Fox Online MBA in 2011. “Having an MBA, especially one from Fox, trains you to be a more-effective messenger between these two large arenas. Suddenly, you’re able to help non-clinical administrators understand a surgeon’s point of view, and you also are more able to help the clinicians understand how an administrator sees something.
“Overall, that business education facilitates greater communication between the two sides.”
The responses Dempsey received are somewhat commonplace. In a 2005 research paper written by Dr. Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, professor in public health sciences at Clemson University, students reported uncomfortable exchanges with doctors who saw them as “traitors” for having enrolled in a joint MD/MBA program. Sherrill, whose research has concentrated in medical education, identified a critical “gap in training,” when it comes to clinical leaders who lack business education.
“The real driver is the financial constraints of healthcare today,” she said. “In fee-for- service medicine, there wasn’t a push for cost efficiencies. Reimbursement services have changed. There was a time when you didn’t have to worry about cost. You’d be reimbursed no matter what you charged. It’s gotten more important in healthcare to be cost-conscious. There’s more regularity around quality and accountability measurement, from payers and policymakers.”
Dr. Maria Chandler, the president of the Association of MD/MBA Programs (AMMP), said nearly 70 dual-degree programs exist in the United States. One of them is housed at the Fox School, through which dual-degree students pursue the Fox Online MBA. The program, which can be completed in less than two years, employs a flipped-classroom model.
The program features what Fox has coined “a curriculum carousel,” which provides multiple entry points throughout the calendar year. Students can pursue the degree at their pace, and can register for one or up to three courses per semester. Each course is delivered one at a time over four weeks, and the program can be completed in as quickly as 20 months.
The program-opening residency features a leadership course, networking and team building opportunities, professional development workshops, and special events.
As Chandler sees it, the overlap between the two industries is “larger than people think,” and necessitates a foundational business education.
“I’ve seen surgeons without business training stand up in meetings, and say they need new equipment for one reason or another,” Chandler said. “And when they are asked, ‘How do you suggest we pay for that,’ the surgeon can’t make a business argument.
“Then, I’ve seen others who say, ‘If you double throughput through our department, the piece of equipment would pay for itself in X amount of months.’ Now, all of a sudden, the surgeon has the CEO’s ear and can get what he or she wants. And that’s just a small sampling of what a business education can do for a medical professional.”
A dual-degree program, according to Chandler, gives students the skills, vocabulary and applicable training to succeed in both arenas following attainment of their degrees. In her leadership position with AAMP, Chandler said she has come into contact with a wide array of scholars who were thankful for the joint education, executives who wished they’d had it, and a small subset of those who don’t see the value in it.
“I once met a surgeon who was in charge of a $6 billion budget and had absolutely no business training,” she said. “In what other industry would someone be tasked with managing a budget of that size and have no business training? That’s the current state of the healthcare industry.”
Vaccaro, the orthopaedic surgeon and Rothman Institute president, said he did not want to be left behind within his evolving field. Pursuing an Online MBA at Fox allowed him to supplement his medical know-how with the ability to, in his words, “speak the language” of the business community.”
“I’m a much-better leader today because of Fox’s program,” Vaccaro said. He earned an MBA, he said, “to run a healthcare system, to improve its quality, and to make it more accessible and affordable. We have to start to control the healthcare system, and that’s what a business education can do for someone like me.”
Learn more about the Fox Online MBA program.
Life is unpredictable. Tammylynn Rodriguez, BBA ’17, can attest to that.
Rodriguez initially enrolled at Temple University’s Fox School of Business to earn a traditional, on-campus Bachelor of Business Administration degree. And despite a fire in her family home and maintaining full-time employment, she wasn’t willing to put her dreams on hold.
“(Fox’s program) really allowed me to be myself,” said Rodriguez, who addressed fellow students during her undergraduate commencement ceremony in May.
Is there an appropriate time for students like Rodriguez to transfer into an online degree program?
U.S. News & World Report asked that question and spoke with Rodriguez, who’s now a Fox Online MBA student. U.S. News also reached out to Elvita Quiñones, who often counsels Fox students making their academic transition through the school’s Center for Undergraduate Advising.
Learn more about Rodriguez, and the Fox Online MBA and Online BBA programs by reading the full story at usnews.com.
For Daniel Isaacs, a cup of coffee turned into a learning opportunity for his students.
This summer, Isaacs took a coffee break from designing a new Online MBA Sustainability in Business course. As he walked to Temple University’s Saxbys café, he thought about the central questions for his course, which included how businesses are looking to reduce waste and increase efficiency and profit through sustainability.
At the Saxbys counter, Isaacs, an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at Temple’s Fox School of Business, asked, “What does the café do with its used coffee grounds?”
“The manager responded, we throw them out — anywhere from 80 to 100 pounds each day,” Isaacs said. Then he realized, “I had a real-world example that my students could use to apply the sustainability concepts that we would study.”
Using the figure from Temple’s Saxbys café as his guide, Isaacs estimated that close to 500,000 pounds of used grounds were left unused annually between Saxbys’ 14 Philadelphia-area locations. Isaacs explained that “to maximize efficiency, companies need to search their value chains for waste.” And citing Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, he added that, “waste equals food.”
Isaacs challenged his MBA students to develop a consulting project around the use of Saxbys disposed coffee grounds. The students, from Fox’s Online and Part-Time MBA programs, were to create strategies for how Saxbys could best put to use the used grounds. This provided the students with an opportunity for experiential learning, which is integral to the Fox School’s fabric.
The result: In August, two students delivered their findings and recommendations to executives in a presentation at Saxbys’ corporate headquarters in Philadelphia. Ittai Marom and Ashley Murgatroyd compiled the strongest findings from the class to develop a comprehensive presentation.
For Murgatroyd, she liked the idea of offering the grounds to local farmers for use in their composting piles. “In theory, that works,” she said, “but from a practical sense, composting can only take a certain percentage of coffee grounds, so the grounds would have needed to be more widely dispersed.”
Marom believed strongly in a redesigned atmosphere at Saxbys locations, with space in each café reserved for growing plants and herbs, and producing compost to be used to make and bake products for the individual shops.
Isaacs said he has since spoken with representatives of Saxbys, who conveyed their positive feedback from the presentation. CEO and founder Nick Bayer referenced one of Saxbys’ core values: “We do more with less. We believe in finding ways to be sustainable in everything we do every day.”
“Years after you finish a degree, the courses that stand out are those that involve practical, hands-on learning,” said Marom, who will complete his Fox Part-Time MBA in May 2017. “I don’t think I’ll soon forget this course, and this project.”
“In MBA classes, it’s important to learn theories that you can ultimately put into practice,” said Murgatroyd, who will complete her Fox Part-Time MBA in December 2017. “That’s what we accomplished for Saxbys, and it was great to see their senior leadership group process our research and evaluate our suggestions.”
Temple University’s Fox School of Business has entered a three-year partnership with Flinders University to deliver its nationally ranked entrepreneurship programs to the prestigious Australian university.
The Fox School of Business will help Flinders University drive South Australia’s economic transformation by training thousands of undergraduate and graduate students annually in the entrepreneurial mindset and skills required to start new businesses and facilitate innovation in existing industries.
To do so, the Fox School will build a series of 12 modules of online education to expose Flinders University’s 26,000 students to entrepreneurship – regardless of their major or course of study. The modules will include videos, exercises, and training manuals, and will be localized by South Australian faculty and executives trained by Fox School faculty.
Additionally, the Fox School will provide RoadMapTM, Fox’s revolutionary higher-education platform that assembles all feedback and assessments to demonstrate personal development and return on investment to students. RoadMapTM will be customized to track the development of those personal enterprise behaviors, or competencies, that have been identified by business and society as valuable in the Australian context.
This partnership leverages Fox’s reputation as a leading provider of online and entrepreneurship education. In January 2016, the Fox Online MBA program earned a No. 1 national ranking from U.S. News & World Report for the second consecutive year. And in November 2015, Fox’s undergraduate- and graduate-level Entrepreneurship programs earned top-10 rankings from The Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship magazine. It also leverages the Fox School’s extensive experience in supporting entrepreneurship-based economic development in the Philadelphia region, largely through the 350 projects completed by its renowned Fox Management Consulting program.
“We are proud to enter this partnership with Flinders University,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of Temple’s Fox School of Business. “There are a number of similarities between students at Flinders and Temple – two universities that have stimulated innovation and promoted entrepreneurship for decades. This partnership enables the Fox School to employ our expertise to power the Personal Enterprise Journey of Flinders students more than halfway around the world.”
Flinders University Chancellor Stephen Gerlach and Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Colin Stirling visited Temple University Aug. 18 and met with Acting President Richard Englert and Provost and Executive Vice President JoAnne A. Epps to make official the contractual partnership and to discuss Temple’s role in extending entrepreneurship throughout the university and into the community.
Flinders University, through its New Venture Institute (NVI), is creating entrepreneurial opportunities for its 26,000 students. Since its founding in 2013, the NVI has overseen 252 student projects and 136 start-ups, trained nearly 1,500 individuals, and generated more than $540,000 in investments.
“Innovation and creativity – those characteristics that underpin entrepreneurial thinking – are a critical part of the picture for all industries,” said Matt Salier, Director of the NVI at Flinders. “Next time someone asks you what job you’d like, challenge yourself by reframing the question as, ‘What problem would you like to solve?’ Our partnership with the Fox School of Business brings the best in global education methods and content to help our students answer this question.”
The Flinders-Fox School partnership also will allow for potential study-abroad opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at both universities. Details on this will be finalized and announced at a later date.
About the Fox School of Business at Temple University
Established in 1918, the Fox School of Business at Temple University is the largest, most-comprehensive business school in the Greater Philadelphia region, and among the largest in the world, with nearly 8,500 students, more than 200 full-time faculty and more than 65,000 alumni. Accredited by AACSB International — a distinction held by less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools — the Fox School offers BBA, Global MBA, Part-Time MBA, Executive MBA, Online MBA, Specialized Masters, and PhD programs, and an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration, on campuses throughout the world.
About Flinders University
Flinders University, in Adelaide, Australia, is a world top 2% University that enjoys a well-justified reputation for excellence in teaching and research. It provides exceptional student experience and has a long-standing commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for all, attracting students from more than 100 countries. Established in 1966, Flinders’ leadership in innovative research has seen it rise to equal 10th in the prestigious Time Higher Education rankings of Best Universities in Australia 2016.
Leaders from the nation’s top online MBA programs gathered recently at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, forming what is believed to be the first consortium of its kind.
Academic Director of the Fox Online MBA program Dr. Darin Kapanjie invited program directors, deans, and chairpersons from a host of top-ranked online graduate business programs to share ideas and best practices, raise awareness of online education programs, and assemble the foundation of a mission statement for the newly formed group, named the Online MBA Consortium.
Kapanjie said he first appealed to his peers only a few months prior to the proposed gathering, which was held Aug. 5 in Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business.
“The feedback and responses we received were overwhelming,” said Kapanjie, the Managing Director of Fox’s Online & Digital Learning team. “The hope is that what we have developed manifests a need to educate, collaborate, and continue to push quality online education forward. I believe this group can serve as a guiding force for best practices for online MBA programs, both nationally and internationally.”
In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Fox Online MBA program the best in the nation, alongside Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, all of whom shared the No. 1 rank.. While representatives from all of the online MBA programs ranked among the top 10 by U.S. News had accepted Kapanjie’s invitation, representatives from eight of those programs were available to visit Fox and attend the inaugural consortium meeting.
“Though all the programs in attendance were competitively ranked,” Kapanjie said, “there’s always something to learn and improve upon. Every program has its niche – that one area in which it may excel. One program may have perfected the student engagement or faculty credentials components, while another is working diligently to improve in those areas. These programs are going to remain remarkably different, and we’re going to be competitors with one another in the marketplace, but the camaraderie and collegiality was incredibly rewarding.”
The consortium’s members include, in order of respective program rank by U.S. News:
- Kapanjie, Christine Kiely, Assistant Dean, MBA and MS Programs, and Valerie Henry, Director of MBA and Specialized Master’s Programs, Temple University’s Fox School of Business
- Philip T. Powell, Chairperson of Kelley Direct, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business
- Susan E. Cates, President and Associate Dean of Executive Development, University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School
- Minu Ipe, Faculty Director of Professional MBA Program, Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business (unable to attend)
- Alexander D. Sevilla, Assistant Dean and Director of MBA Programs, University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration
- Monica S. Powell, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, University of Texas at Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management
- Kathryn Barraclough, Head of the MBA Program, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business
- Brian Cameron, Associate Dean of Professional Master’s Programs, Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business (unable to attend)
- Steven G. Allen, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Research, North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management
- Stanley G. Harris, Associate Dean of Graduate and International Programs, Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business
“Prospective MBA students deserve easier access to well-designed, high quality, and affordably priced graduate business education,” said Powell, of Indiana University. “New technologies enable this, but the industry is stubbornly slow to expand worthy online options in the marketplace. Through collective work of the member schools, the Online MBA Consortium elevates academic legitimacy of an MBA earned online and insures emphasis on high scholarly standards as more business schools offer distance options. This is good for the market as a whole.”
Next summer, the Online MBA Consortium will be hosted by Dr. Monica Powell at the University of Texas at Dallas. Six months prior to their meeting, the participants will arrange a virtual collaborative session for presentations. It’s critical for the success of the consortium to maintain its annual, in-person component, Kapanjie said.
“A majority of the nation’s top online MBAs incorporate residencies into their programs and, while we feel plenty can be accomplished in a virtual format, we feel it is important for us to have an annual meet-up.”