Five students from the Fox School of Business elected for a non-traditional spring break. Their remote destination was a placid campus. Their beach was a third-floor conference room in Altar Hall.
And instead of vacation, they opted for preparation.
The group’s discipline paid off. Five members of Temple University’s Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter comprised the team that won first place in the SHRM East Division Undergraduate Case Competition and Career Summit.
This marked the first time the Fox School had fielded a team for the regional case competition, which was held March 20-21 in Baltimore. Fox’s team included juniors Megan Rybak, Ryan Colomy, Connor McNamee and James Harootunian, and senior Nicole Bieri.
“We are extremely proud of this inaugural SHRM case competition student team, for preparing so diligently and then winning this prestigious competition,” said Dr. Deanna Geddes, Chair of Fox’s Human Resource Management department. “They are impressive ambassadors for our undergraduate HRM program.”
Fox’s SHRM team, one of 17 in the competition, received its case March 1, on the first day of Temple University’s spring break. The members were required to submit a two-page executive summary and the PowerPoint slides to their presentation only three days later, a deadline that significantly cut into their spring-break downtime.
“We spent the majority of our break in a conference room, pouring over the case information,” McNamee said.
“The case was a small non-profit hospital that was having challenges with its talent-development function,” Harootunian said. “We argued that there was a problem with who was responsible for overseeing employees’ long-term growth. While it’s important for the managers of each division to have a hand in it, we made a case that HR, the employees and the hospital should all factor into the process.”
Lacking case competition experience, the team delivered its presentation on four occasions at the Fox School in the days leading up to the summit. In doing so, the members hoped to elicit genuine questions from a fresh audience, in order to replicate the queries they might face from a judging panel.
In Baltimore, the Fox SHRM team made its 15-minute, first-round presentation March 21. The members were informed later that day that they had been selected as one of two teams to advance to the next day’s final round.
“Once we learned we were one of the finalists, to us, that felt like we won,” said Rybak, the team’s captain. “Making the final round was a bigger achievement than we had expected. We were new to the competition. I think that helped us remain calm in our second presentation, which was in front of a larger group and in a larger room.”
Each of the Fox SHRM team’s five members earned complimentary registration to the 2015 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, to be held June 28-July 1, in Las Vegas, Nev., as well as a $2,500 stipend to cover most of the team’s travel expenses for the Baltimore-based case competition.
More importantly, Fox’s SHRM team received sterling feedback from the final-round judges, who lauded the team’s use of metrics to support its analysis. Judges also cited impressive business communication skills, professionalism, and presentation fluidity. After the announcement of their win, a healthcare-industry professional approached the team seeking a future collaboration.
“One gentleman even gave us his business card and asked us if we could help his hospital make similar improvements to their HR practices,” Colomy said.
“Our excellent Temple educations showed and, at that moment, I was never more proud to represent the Fox School,” Bieri said. “We could not have done this without the support of the other Temple students who attended the conference, and our two advisors, Dr. Debra Casey and Dr. Andrea Lopez, who supported us the whole way.”
Temple’s nationally recognized SHRM chapter is one of 24 student-professional organizations at Fox. The group has been recognized previously as one of SHRM’s top-10 chapters nationally, and, in 2013-14, receives the national organization’s Outstanding Chapter Award.
The case championship is not the first notable distinction earned by the chapter, and it likely won’t be the last.
At Temple University’s Ritter Hall Annex, the elevator bay is abuzz with students and staff members talking about the building’s newest addition: Rad Dish Co-Op Café. The vegetarian, cash-only eatery has become a hotspot for foodies looking for locally sourced meals.
Keeping an eye on a midday lunch rush, Lauren Troop, Rad Dish co-founder and its head of outreach, said her involvement in the café inspired her transfer into the Fox School of Business.
“Through this project, I was able to see that you can use business to solve problems like these and be a leader in your community,” said Troop, a junior entrepreneurship major.
Troop and fellow Fox School student Trevor Southworth are among the Temple students who are behind the primary operations and day-to-day management of Rad Dish Co-Op Café.
Troop said she’s always been fascinated by eating habits and the sustainability of the slow-food movement, which promotes the use of a local ecosystem to support traditional meals. It wasn’t until Troop opened Rad Dish in January and started her courses at the Fox School in Fall 2014 that she saw how to turn her interests into a business.
“I took a class that explored innovation through different business plans and Rad Dish’s business plan, being a co-op, is so unique,” Troop said.
Utilizing skills gleaned from her Marketing and Human Resource courses, Troop said she began to problem-solve issues of promotion and business management while working to maintain the idea of opening a locally sourced restaurant at Temple.
Rad Dish Café, as a co-op, embraces a purely democratic leadership that allows all students equal voting rights, and invites students and community members to buy into the co-op for $25, which affords them a 10-percent discount on purchases and voting privileges in the co-op.
Among the committee leaders is Trevor Southworth, who not only supports Rad Dish’s cause, but also views the venture as an ideal application for the skills he’s learning in the Fox School.
“I’m in Cost Analysis right now and that’s everything I do for Rad Dish,” said Southworth, a sophomore accounting major at the Fox School.
Rad Dish is primarily funded by seed money provided by Temple University’s Office of Sustainability. Southworth, who heads Rad Dish’s finance committee, focuses on creating a financial plan that allows the restaurant to meet and exceed overhead costs and saving to pay back the seed funding within five years. Southworth and Troop also worked to launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that raised $2,000. The idea came from alumna Rachel Voluck, FOX ’14, the former president of Fox School student professional organization Net Impact, a responsible business coalition.
Prior to its February soft opening, Rad Dish worked with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute’s (IEI) Living Learning Community to plan the grand opening and formulate outreach programs. Troop also said she plans to work with Sustainable Marketing business students to pitch the co-op model, and hopes to resume a series of independent studies available through the Fox School to get students involved.
“This semester we hope to create those relationships and plan out more organized internships,” Troop said. “A big thing for us is collaboration between colleges.”
Troop and Southworth have also reached out to Dylan Baird, FOX ’13. The alumnus, who took second place at the IEI’s 2010 Be Your Own Boss Bowl, a university-wide business plan competition, launched Philly Foodworks, an aggregator for local farms to sell their crops locally. Rad Dish uses Baird’s community-sourced agriculture delivery service as a drop-off/pick-up zone for the café’s food stores. And the café’s breads and pastries are courtesy of Lauren Yaghoobian, FOX ’01, who launched Northeast Philadelphia-based Wildflour Bakery with her husband, Nishan, shortly after graduating.
“We would use Temple alumni over anyone else because they get so excited about it,” Southworth said. “It’s natural networking and I’ve learned a lot.”
Both Troop and Southworth look forward to continuing their business educations and applying their skills to Rad Dish’s everyday operation.
“I want to learn these news skills and have this business succeed,” Troop said. “I’m excited to continue collaboration between a variety of Temple schools and colleges.”
Attracting students to the Executive MBA
The Times profiled the recruiting efforts of the nation’s top Executive MBA programs and, in doing so, spoke with Fox School’s Dr. Michael Rivera, the program’s Academic Director.
Rader on the radio
Dr. Bruce Rader, Associate Professor of Finance, joined conservative talk-show host Rick Smith to discuss Pennsylvania’s pension situation and appropriate next steps, as well as missteps worth avoiding.
A hiring how-to
Lately, candidates are finding themselves in the driver’s seat when it comes to the job market. Corinne Snell, Assistant Dean for Student Professional Development at the Fox School’s Center for Student Professional Development, and Dr. Tony Petrucci, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management, contribute their perspectives.
Studying, entrepreneurship go hand in hand
NerdScholar.com, a subsidiary of USA Today College, spoke with national leaders for a report on how to launch a successful business while in college. Ellen Weber, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Executive Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, weighs in, suggesting students find a mentor.
Could a spicy cinnamon scent persuade you to buy a Lexus? A professor from the Fox School of Business thinks so.
Dr. Maureen Morrin, Professor of Marketing at the Fox School, and a collaborative research team found a definitive connection between warm scents, consumer preference for luxury (more expensive items), and an increase in overall spending.
“If there is a warm scent in the room, people perceive the room to be smaller, and more full of other people,” Morrin said, citing the research findings of she and her team. “As a result, they feel a little less socially powerful. In order to restore their feeling of power, they prefer premium or luxury brands.”
Morrin and her research colleagues (Dr. Adriana Madzharov of the Stevens Institute of Technology, and Dr. Lauren Block of Baruch College) published the findings of their scent-power correlation research in the Journal of Marketing in January 2015. Their research also received mention in Science Daily. The study is believed to be the first of its kind to examine how temperature-related associations with smell affect our spatial perceptions and sense of self-importance.
For her most-recent study, Morrin and her colleagues exposed test subjects to two identical retail environments, and then subtly manipulated the scent in each atmosphere to be either warm, like spicy cinnamon, or cool, like minty menthol. They found that consumers exposed to the warm scents felt less socially powerful, finding the room crowded and overwhelming. To assuage their insecurities, they not only purchased more goods, but showed a preference for luxury items assumed to increase one’s social status, Morrin said. Conversely, those participants in cool-scented environments showed no inclination toward or against the luxury items, and bought less overall.
“Cool scents tend to work in an opposite direction than warm scents in terms of their impact on how powerful you feel within a given environment,” Morrin said.
Morrin, whose research interests include sensory processing and consumer decision-making, has always been interested in pioneering studies regarding the correlation between scent and consumer behavior.
The idea of warm and cool scents emerges from learned associations between foods and scents that can influence our conscious perceptions. When one smells menthol, the association is immediately with mint, which to our taste buds is cool, Morrin said, while vanilla and cinnamon evoke opposite reactions.
Morrin’s study revealed that not only can scent prime our emotions, it actually alters our idea of ourselves in space. Morrin’s test subjects reported increased crowding in rooms with warmer scents when the population remained constant. Conversely, the shoppers in cool-scented rooms reported increased spatial perception and a reduced number of people in the room.
Should retailers take advantage of these findings, Morrin said the market for luxury goods can be targeted acutely.
“Retailers of luxury goods might consider how their store’s atmospherics impact shoppers’ spatial perceptions,” she said. “Aspects of the retail environment that elicit power-compensatory consumer responses might lead to a greater preference for and purchasing of luxury brands.”
Morrin said she hopes to continue her investigation, and is currently working with several doctoral students from the Fox School to investigate other ties between scent and consumer behavior. The next step, she said, could be determining how ambient scents, especially those outside of our conscious awareness, could influence our purchase choices.
Research team receives publicity
An interdisciplinary research team led by Dr. Youngjin Yoo, the Harry A. Cochran Professor of Management Information Systems, recently received a nearly $900,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation. The team – which includes Dr. Sunil Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems – was recently profiled by the student newspaper.
Designing a future for Philly’s public transit system
SEPTA, the largest public transit provider in Southeastern Pennsylvania, teamed with the Fox School and the Center for Design + Innovation for the fifth-annual Fox DESIGNchallenge. Dr. James Moustafellos, Associate Director of cD+i and Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems, is featured in SEPTA’s video recap of the event.
The latest on e-commerce in India
India-based online e-commerce company Flipkart is tapping into three new revenue streams, and India’s premier financial daily publication tapped Dr. Sunil Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, for its coverage.
Ram Mudambi to serve as program chair of upcoming Academy of International Business annual meeting
Discussed in this issue:
• Dr. Ram Mudambi, of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has been elected Program Chair of the 2015 Academy of International Business (AIB) annual meeting.
• Global MBA climbs in national and international rankings.
• Fox School’s Dean Porat attends elite global forum in China.
• Temple CIBE at Fox is one of 17 elite centers nationally.
It’s never too early to embrace entrepreneurship.
That’s what nearly 100 Philadelphia high school students learned March 12, in gathering at Temple University’s Fox School of Business for the fourth-annual Youth Entrepreneurship Conference.
The collaboration between Temple University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurs (NFTE) made for a successful event, providing NFTE students the opportunity to meet business educators, leaders and mentors who ignited their entrepreneurial mindset. Participating Philadelphia high schools in the one-day conference included Boys Latin Charter School, Esperanza Charter School, Franklin Learning Center and Lincoln High School.
Private sector leader Jeff Brown, President and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, served as the event’s keynote speaker. Brown, who also operates 11 Philadelphia-area ShopRite supermarkets, shared how he has utilized entrepreneurial thinking to operate supermarkets successfully. Hiring local residents, incorporating healthcare services and offering financial services not previously available, he said, have impacted the surrounding neighborhoods.
Sylvia McKinney, Executive Director of NFTE, and Tyra Ford, IEI Director of Operations and Strategic Marketing Initiatives, opened the conference with welcoming remarks.
“It may not happen in the next 12 months. It might happen five years from now,” McKinney said, “but the entrepreneurial mindset we’re developing with these students is going to go with them for a lifetime.”
Two faculty members from the Fox School – IEI Managing Director Rob McNamee and IEI Executive Director Ellen Weber – led presentation workshops and interactive activities to share their insights on becoming successful entrepreneurs. Additionally, David Kaiser, the Director of Undergraduate Enrollment Management at the Fox School, offered helpful tips on getting into the college of your dreams.
“It was great to see how engaged and energized the students were in learning about the different ways to innovate,” Weber said. “Students learned how to create experiments to test assumptions that are core to their business models, using the hypothetical Onion Goggles Company.”
According to the participating high school students, the takeaways from the event varied.
“Innovation is key,” said Jose Asencio, a student from the Franklin Learning Center. “Innovation helps express creativity and helps build and maintain relationships.”
“If you work hard enough, you can be anything you want in life,” said Shadeed Savage, another student from the Franklin Learning Center. “I learned from the instructors that not everybody started out at the top. Many people have to find their way on their own terms.”
Founded in New York City in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a former entrepreneur turned high school math teacher in South Bronx, N.Y., NFTE began as a program to prevent dropouts and improve academic performance among students who were at risk of failing or quitting school. NFTE inspires young people from low-income communities to stay in school, recognize business opportunities and plan successful futures. Visit www.nfte.com for more information.
The mission of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute is to proactively promote the entrepreneurial spirit throughout all 17 schools and colleges of Temple University. The IEI’s highly skilled staff and faculty provide consulting services to project groups and new ventures while developing and maintaining the IEI’s rich offerings of programs and relationships. The IEI offers many years of experience in new ventures launched and consulting, extensive networks and boundless enthusiasm for experiential learning.
Click here to learn more about IEI.
Diana Kyser’s management style involves intricately fitting together a company’s puzzle pieces. Sometimes, a few pieces are missing. In most cases, the pieces are there and simply need to be arranged.
It’s a skill Kyser said she has always possessed.
“In our Navigating the Global Marketplace class, Professor (Ram) Mudambi talks about orchestrators – the kinds of people who can take a product that’s already in place and improve upon it,” Kyser said. “Professionally, that’s how I see myself. I’m a builder, a fixer.”
Kyser is a doctoral candidate in the inaugural cohort of the Executive Doctorate of Business Administration program at the Fox School of Business.
She’s also one of the leading businesswomen in New Jersey.
NJBIZ has named Kyser one of its Best 50 Women in Business for 2015. The weekly business journal selects women who reside or maintain employment in New Jersey, and must hold a senior management position within their organization. Honorees are either self-nominated or nominated by others. (Click here for NJBIZ’s 2015 honorees.)
“This is the 10th-annual award for NJBIZ. I’ve been nominated before, but I’d never been selected, so it’s rewarding,” said Kyser, of Summit, N.J.
Kyser’s professional background is rich with leadership experience. She’s the founding partner of COO on Demand, assisting companies in tailoring their execution strategies and formalizing their operations to scale for continued growth. Kyser’s company, which was founded nearly three years ago, offers operational experts to handle bookkeeping, human resources, management communications, business strategizing, and more for companies of all sizes.
“Maybe you’re a small business that needs help with the operations side, so the owner can focus on running the product side,” Kyser said. “Maybe you have a mid-size business that needs help refining its operations or strengthening its overall business plan. Maybe you manage a big business and you need a chief operations officer on an interim basis until you can hire one. These are some of the services we offer.
“Some of these companies could really benefit from high-level, experienced talent but, at the moment, can’t afford it. We think COO on Demand is quite revolutionary.”
Ultimately, Kyser said, she envisions bringing all of COO on Demand’s employees and offerings under one roof in a call-center-like setting, with management services being rendered by phone.
“It all comes back to reducing small-business failure rate, and it’s a goal that can be achieved,” she said.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Kyser in the early 1990s helped found C3i, which blossomed into a worldwide leader in technical support services for life sciences companies. She and two other C3i cofounders sold the $75 million venture funded global technology solutions firm within the last year to Telerx, a division of Merck.
Looking for another challenge, Kyser enrolled in Fox’s Executive DBA program, which launched in Fall 2014. She’s surrounded by others like her, who hold high-level, senior leadership positions as researchers, executives or entrepreneurs. The program, which is offered by only a handful of business schools nationwide, combines research with real-world experience.
“I can’t tell you how amazingly skilled the people in this program are,” Kyser said. “Their wealth of experience and knowledge is unbelievable. I’ve always loved academics and learning, and this program puts the business piece right there with the research and learning pieces.”
Just like in Kyser’s professional career, it’s all about fitting the pieces together.
Michael Graves, the postmodern architect whose work includes Alter Hall, the home of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, died March 12. He was 80.
Michael Graves & Associates Architecture & Design, Graves’ architectural firm based in Princeton, N.J., designed Alter Hall with assistance of local architects Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates. Dedicated in 2009, the eight-floor, state-of-the-art building is one of the most-sophisticated business school facilities in the nation.
Graves’ team designed Fox School’s home to foster collaboration and connectivity among students and faculty, with soaring common areas, open staircases and ample meeting space. Alter Hall features a 4,200-square-foot student lounge, a 274-seat sloped auditorium, and a three-story atrium.
“Alter Hall was designed to be as dynamic and vibrant as our school community, and Michael Graves and his team were at the forefront of that design,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “Michael’s creativity and innovation rendered an indelible impression on our campus. It was with great regret to learn of Michael’s passing, and our thoughts at this time are with his family, friends and colleagues.”
Graves’ architectural designs, which employed a menagerie of colors, symbolism and shapes, first took hold in the 1980s. His work, which inspired a generation of architects and popularized a form of design that’s still being used today, includes: the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World; the Philadelphia Eagles’ NovaCare Complex practice facility; and the U.S. Parks Service’s Washington Monument Restoration.
More than an architect, Graves also was an interior designer and product designer. He’s perhaps most-famously known for his collaboration with Target, for which he helped design the retailer’s “cheap chic” reputation with decorative-yet-affordable housewares and home goods.
Graves also served as a professor of architecture for 39 years at Princeton University. According to multiple published reports, he died of natural causes.
“Of all his accomplishments, Michael often said that, like his own family, his proudest creation was his firm,” the firm said in a statement. “As we go forward in our practice, we will continue to honor Michael’s humanistic design philosophy through our commitment to creative unique design solutions that transform people’s lives.”
University-wide exposure for Fox profs
Forbes recently featured the research findings of Fox School professors Dr. Vinod Venkatraman, Dr. Angelika Dimoka and Dr. Paul A. Pavlou. Internally, the researchers’ work made for the top headline in a recent edition of Temple Today.