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Since the late 1990s, entrepreneurs have used crowdfunding campaigns to fuel projects ranging from cookbooks to 3D printers and molecular ice cream. Those campaigns have spilled over into popular culture. Crowdfunding financed the Veronica Mars movie, the Pebble smart watch and the Coolest Cooler, with all three projects raking in several million dollars through Kickstarter.

But in 2016, with thousands of campaigns running across Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and similar platforms, how can users and businesses launch campaigns that rise above their competition?

Dr. Sunil Wattal and Dr. Gordon Burtch sought to answer that question.

After seven years of analysis on the crowdfunding campaigns and a few research papers later, the research team summarized its findings in a primer published in the Institute for Business and Information Technology, titled “Crowdfunding: Tapping into the Wisdom (and Wealth) of Crowds,” co-authored by New York University professor of information, operations, and management sciences Dr. Anindya Ghose.

“At the time, crowdfunding was a bit of a new area of business study,” said Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. “Very few people knew how these markets worked, what didn’t work, and other dynamics of crowdfunding.”

Burtch, who earned his PhD from the Fox School of Business, developed an interest in crowdfunding in 2009, after a family friend introduced him to one of the earliest crowdfunding platforms – the now-defunct Cameesa. The platform allowed users to buy “shares” in a T-shirt design and earn royalties after it had gone to print.

“I thought the concept was really very interesting, because it was combining so many novel ideas in one market: crowdsourcing, creativity, investment and so on,” said Burtch, an assistant professor of information and decision sciences at the University of Minnesota.

Burtch worked with Wattal, his academic advisor at the Fox School, to study crowdfunding data sets and research ideas. Together, they wrote papers that would ultimately provide key takeaways and tips for entrepreneurs and businesses interested in crowdfunding, all of which can be found within the Fox School Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) Report.

“I repeatedly see people make the mistake of failing to realize just how much preparation and groundwork goes into the execution of a successful campaign,” Burtch said. “A lot of things are done behind the scenes, before the campaign even launches.”

Selecting the Appropriate Crowdfunding Platform

Not all crowdfunding platforms are the same, cautioned Wattal and Burtch, who outlined a few of the more-popular types:

  • Donation- and lending-based crowdfunding, in which online donors receive no financial return.
  • Rewards-based crowdfunding, or campaigns that prompt individuals to contribute in exchange for incentives like a form of the product for which funds are being raised, or another service.
  • Equity-based crowdfunding, which provides donors with an ownership or stake in the project in exchange for donations.

“With the donation-based approach, backers’ expectations are more realistic in that if you are giving money, you don’t expect anything in return,” Wattal said. “Reward-based crowdfunding has been around for a long time, and sites that use this approach attract millions of users and a lot of web traffic. It’s a low risk and low return.”

Equity-based platforms tend to have a higher risk and higher return, Wattal said, adding that backers carry higher expectations because they are investing in the product and growth of a business.

Projects for goods in the technology, books, or gaming sectors are better suited for equity- and lending-based platforms, he said. And research shows that initiatives around public good, charity, or community projects work well on donation- and reward-based models.

Striking a Balance with Campaign Duration

In the IBIT Report, the authors suggest that extended fundraising durations tend to negatively impact a campaign. This is because backers do not feel an urgency or level of excitement to help the campaign reach its goal. However, some lengthier campaigns may lead to greater attention and awareness of the project’s promotion. Finding a balance is important, Wattal said.

“It’s not just about how much money is raised, but also how much is raised over time,” said Wattal, who found that the average campaign duration is between 30 and 45 days.

Establishing Realistic Goals

In the review, the authors suggest that lofty fundraising goals may lead funders to believe the goals are excessive or unrealistic. Most crowdfunding platforms do not require the funding campaign to close when a goal is reached, which encourages entrepreneurs to set a lower threshold.

Again, balance is important when setting goals, the authors said; they state that when a goal is met, crowdfunders may fade because they assume the campaign has been fulfilled. To decrease the likelihood of this happening, they recommend including in the campaign pitch that the goal will only address a portion of the project’s budget.

Maintaining Campaign Engagement

Many campaigners make the mistake of underestimating the social aspect of crowdfunding, Wattal said. This happens in the presentation of the product on the campaign page, or in the failure to execute a proper promotional strategy on social media or other marketing channels.

“When you create a campaign for a product, it should have the potential to go viral and create a lot of buzz,” Wattal said. “Some campaigners hope the product or idea will sell itself, but that’s not the case.”

The professor recommends campaigners create descriptions that are easy-to-read and error-free. He also advises that they should develop a thorough promotional plan for social media and beyond.

Preparation Is Paramount

The authors warn not to launch a campaign too early. If a project doesn’t appear to be well prepared or organized, crowdfunders may be less inclined to contribute.

Another reason to ensure proper preparation revolves around intellectual property issues. Wattal said there have been a few high-profile incidents in which projects were replicated or copied. He cited the TikTok Lunatik watch kit, a 2010 Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $900,000. Its creator, Scott Wilson, did not pursue proper creative protections before the campaign, however, and his designs were copied. “Those kinds of issues aren’t very common, but it’s a possibility,” he said.

A Successful Campaign

Entrepreneurs and business owners can learn a lot from Pebble watch’s campaigns, said Burtch and Wattal. Its first campaign generated more than $10 million. The Kickstarter for Pebble Time, a second-generation watch, met its fundraising goal of $500,000 in less than 20 minutes, and went on to eclipse $20 million from more than 70,000 crowdfunders.

The latest campaign for the third-generation watch, Pebble 2, launched in spring 2016 and raised more than $12 million.

“The Pebble Time campaign was a slam-dunk because Pebble already had an established following of backers on Kickstarter from its original campaign,” Burtch says. “Moreover, it had gained a great deal of experience. Nothing beats first-hand experience.”

Wattal added that it is important for entrepreneurs to understand the elements of a successful campaign, as crowdfunding continues to grow.

“It’s an exciting market,” Wattal said, “and there is going to be a lot of action in this space over the next few years.”

Colin Powell, retired four-star general of the U.S. Army and former Secretary of State, meets with Temple University President Richard Englert, Provost Joanne Epps, and Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat on a visit to campus during Military Appreciation Month in November. (Ryan Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)
Colin Powell, retired four-star general of the U.S. Army and former Secretary of State, meets with Temple University President Richard Englert, Provost Joanne Epps, and Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat on a visit to campus during Military Appreciation Month in November. (Ryan Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

When Chiquitta Evans served on a base in Willow Grove, Pa., she would regularly drive past Temple University’s Ambler campus.

“I would always say, ‘When I retire I am going to come back to Philadelphia and go to Temple,” said Evans, originally from Alabama.

After serving in the U.S. Marines for nearly 16 years, Evans is now a Human Resource Management major at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and is slated to graduate in 2018.

“This wasn’t here when I started,” Evans said, as she looked around sixth-floor office space in Conwell Hall that overlooks Broad Street. The furniture is all new thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Student Veterans of America in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation.

The Military and Veteran Services Center officially opened on Main Campus in August after more than five years without a centralized location. The center held a grand opening ceremony Nov. 15 with a little help from a special campus visitor — Gen. Colin Powell cut the ribbon that marked a milestone in Temple’s history.

Powell’s visit headlined a leadership forum sponsored by NewDay USA, a leading veterans-affairs mortgage lender that helps American veterans purchase or refinance their homes. The forum also featured Admiral Tom Lynch, NewDay USA Executive Chairman, as part of an ongoing series hosted by colleges and universities around the country.

“I think the American people appreciate what our veterans do and will always be there for our veterans,” Powell said, “but it really takes local activity. It takes what you’ve done here at Temple. It’s a remarkable facility.”

The Center develops programs and streamlines services to enhance the transition to a successful university experience for veterans, service members, and their dependents and survivors. The office provides a one-stop service center and is also home to the Temple Veterans Association.

The Temple Military and Veterans Services Center will serve the nearly 1,300 military service members and veterans in the student population. G.I. Jobs Magazine has ranked Temple University as a Military Friendly Institution each of the last six years. For business students, the Fox School of Business provides Yellow Ribbon Program match scholarships to eligible applicants, to help offset tuition costs for military personnel and veterans. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Fox Online MBA and Online BBA programs as the Nos. 1 and 5 veteran-friendly programs in the country, respectively.

Currently, a group of Fox undergraduate students is supporting the veteran-empowering Travis Manion Foundation through Dr. Jean Wilcox’s 10-10-10 entrepreneurial marketing course, which tasks students with multiplying $10 of seed money by a factor of 10, to be donated to various charities, non-profits, foundations, and community organizations.

Powell, after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Temple veterans center, delivered an address to students and faculty at the Temple Performing Arts Center. Fox School military personnel and veterans said they welcomed the opportunity to hear from the retired four-star Army general.

“As a leader in my current job, and as a veteran, I paid attention to his message,” said Tim Orange, a senior Management Information Systems (MIS) major from Cheltenham, Pa. “He mentioned taking the time to show people that you care. As he spoke, I reflected a lot on my life, and how I can personally apply his message.”

Added Heikell Perez, a senior Business Management major from Miami, Fla.: “Gen. Powell mentioned that when you place people in leadership positions, you need to empower them to make decisions. … It wasn’t so much his message was (exclusively) for veterans, as they were for the entire crowd.”

Orange, who served six years of active duty with the U.S. Army, and Perez, who served nearly eight years of active duty with the U.S. Air Force, and many other military personnel and veterans attended Powell’s hourlong leadership forum, which was sponsored by NewDay USA. Like Temple, the company remains committed to educating military personnel and veterans, and their families. The NewDay USA Foundation has provided four-year scholarships to the children of fallen and disabled veterans.

The message of veteran support from Powell, “one of the nation’s most-senior advisors,” said Silas Adams, embodied what Adams said he’s witnessed first-hand at Temple University.

“I firmly believe Temple and the Fox School take great strides to support the veteran population and acknowledge the value they add to the campus culture and the dynamic they bring to the Temple experience,” said Silas Adams, who served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a command and control specialist.

After Adams’ discharge from the U.S.M.C he appreciated the support he received “nearly instantaneously,” he said, from Laura Reddick, Temple’s Associate Director for Adult and Veteran Student Recruitment, and Debbie Campbell, Fox School Vice Dean and faculty advisor for the Temple Veterans Association. At Fox, Adams completed his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in MIS, and is now pursuing a Master of Science degree in IT Analytics and Cybersecurity.

“I can attribute my success to the support I received and continue to receive from Temple and Fox, collectively,” Adams said.

Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney, of Brandywine Realty Trust, holds his crystal owl statuette as the recipient of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership.
Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney, of Brandywine Realty Trust, holds his crystal owl statuette as the recipient of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership.

A short drive to the boardwalk taught Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney a lifelong lesson about professional drive.

As a child, Sweeney would walk two miles of boardwalk planks in Wildwood, N.J., until he had secured a job for the summer. And only then would Sweeney’s father provide a ride home.

“I have found that persistence defines us, motivates us, and relentlessly pushes us forward,” said Sweeney, who received the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Temple University’s Fox School of Business honored Sweeney as the recipient of the Musser Award, the highest honor conferred by the School, during a Nov. 16 dinner and reception at Mitten Hall. This year’s event marked the 20th anniversary of the award ceremony, which has recognized a litany of Philadelphia’s leading businesspeople.

Fox School of Business faculty, staff, and alumni recipients of the 2016 Musser Award gather on the stage. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)
Fox School of Business faculty, staff, and alumni recipients of the 2016 Musser Award gather on the stage. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

The evening paid homage to Sweeney, who is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Trustee of Brandywine Realty Trust, which develops, builds, and manages the nation’s leading Class A office and mixed-use properties. He has overseen the growth of Brandywine Realty Trust from four properties and a total market capitalization of less than $5 million to more than 33 million square feet and a total market capitalization of close to $5 billion.

“Jerry is a fresh-thinking, innovative leader who is helping to elevate Philadelphia’s reputation into the upper echelon of the world’s greatest cities,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School. “His commitments to community, civic change, and professional leadership are unmatched, and we are proud to honor him.”

CNBC anchor Tyler Mathisen presides as master of ceremonies of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership dinner. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)
CNBC anchor Tyler Mathisen presides as master of ceremonies of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership dinner. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

Sweeney is credited for coining the term “vertical neighborhood,” which has been used to describe the 50-story FMC Tower at Cira Centre South and its premier amenities.

“Our true legacy is not in the money we make or the buildings we build,” Sweeney said, upon accepting the Musser Award. “Our legacy is in how many lives we touch, how many smiles we make, and how much cheer we bring.”

Tyler Mathisen, the managing editor of CNBC Business News and co-host of CNBC’s Power Lunch, once again served as the event’s master of ceremonies. He introduced attendees to one of Sweeney’s earliest business ventures, when he developed a business plan to sell rabbits as a fourth-grader. Mathisen then welcomed to the stage a rabbit named Tony, from Philadelphia’s Morris Animal Refuge.

“He’s yours to take home, Jerry, if you’d like to reestablish your first business conquest,” Mathisen said, jokingly.

The Musser Awards dinner and reception gathers Philadelphia’s leading business executives under one roof. Past top honorees in attendance included Warren V. “Pete” Musser, Robert Fox, and Steven Korman, and Temple trustees Dennis Alter, Chairman Patrick J. O’Conner, and Daniel H. Polett.

Also recognized at the reception were:

  • Excellence in Teaching: Dr. Pallavi Chitturi, Research Professor of Statistical Science
  • Excellence in Research: Dr. William W.S. Wei, Professor of Statistical Science
  • Excellence in Faculty Service: Martin Doyle, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems
  • Excellence in Administrative Service: Dr. Janis Moore Campbell, Director of Graduate Professional Development
  • Excellence in Student Leadership: Ancy Thomas, FOX ‘15
  • Excellence in Alumni Achievement: Daniel Conway, FOX ‘87
Dean M. Moshe Porat, left, and Warren V. “Pete” Musser, right, greet 2016 Musser Award recipient Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)
Dean M. Moshe Porat, left, and Warren V. “Pete” Musser, right, greet 2016 Musser Award recipient Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

O’Connor called Sweeney “a one-of-a-kind businessman, community servant, and leader. The Fox School of Business could not have chosen a more-deserving honoree for this 20th anniversary event.”

Sweeney credited his success to his supportive professional colleagues and loving family.

“The only limit on our capacity to dream and grow are those that are self-imposed,” said Sweeney, who credited his success to supportive colleagues and his loving family. “And to achieve this recognition from the Fox School, the vanguard of Philadelphia’s renaissance, is truly special.”

cori-shearer_001Cori Shearer
BBA, ‘14
Product Manager of Growth, Shazam

Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.
Learning and flexibility: “At Temple, you can learn at your own pace, learn while also working part- or full-time, or learn while pursuing passions outside of the classroom.”


During her sophomore year, Cori Shearer, BBA ’14, went on a service trip to Jamaica that inspired her approach to business and product development.

As part of the trip, hosted through the Howard Gittis Student Center, Shearer and her peers helped children in the local community develop an eco-friendly trash disposal system to combat the lack of disposal resources and irregular waste management maintenance. The experience reaffirmed her desire to devote her time and energy to serving fellow underrepresented populations and to take a people-centric approach to business.

“The trip taught me to challenge my unconscious biases and to always try to understand barriers faced by others in certain markets,” said Shearer, 24. “Some of us have unchecked privileges that blind us to problems in the world, which prohibit us from understanding people. If we can’t understand people, how can we hope to develop products that meet their needs?”

Shearer, Product Manager of Growth for the popular music discovery application Shazam, applies this experience when she helps the company think about user diversity and platform access in product decisions.

Her journey to Silicon Valley, like her enrollment at Temple University, was unexpected. Shearer, who originally intended to pursue a career in the performing arts, fell in love with technology after taking her first management information systems course during her sophomore year. Her knowledge and passion for the field quickly developed as she became more active in the department, and began to participate in and even place at hackathon competitions.

In her junior year, Shearer attended a conference in San Francisco where Tim Westergren, Pandora Radio founder, delivered the keynote address. Westergren’s insight and charisma inspired Shearer.

“I remember saying to myself afterwards, ‘I want to work for him one day,’” Shearer said.

A year later, Shearer made that happen; she graduated from the Fox School of Business, bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco, and landed a summer internship as a technical program management intern at Pandora. Afterward, she officially began her post-grad career as a product specialist at the discovery engine StumbleUpon. Now, a year later, Shearer celebrated her work anniversary at Shazam, which she joined in September 2015.

In addition to her full-time job, Shearer devotes free time to mentoring and volunteering with organizations such as CODE2040 and Girls in Tech, which are dedicated to the advancement and the inclusion of underrepresented groups in tech.

“As a person of color and a young woman, I understand the barriers others face not only to enter but also to advance in this industry,” Shearer said. “I appreciate the opportunities I now have to help others navigate it.”

Shearer said she doesn’t believe in luck in the traditional sense. She credits her success and career growth to her “say yes” mindset, which she developed at the Fox School.

“I’ve had the privilege of experiencing success early in my career because I put in the preparation, I’ve remained resilient, taken advantage of opportunities and not people, and have surrounded myself with mentors and allies,” she said.

Collaboration

November 16, 2016 //

Businesses in today’s globally competitive and rapidly changing technological environment are increasingly resorting to multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving.

Regardless of a student’s prospective career field, the Fox School of Business are fosters the development data analysis and creative-thinking skills at every level. makes the strongest employee.

As part of its efforts to support interdisciplinary studies, the Fox School lends support and faculty leadership to activities that are open to students from Temple University’s 17 schools and colleges: the Temple Analytics Challenge data competition, and the Temple Art of Business/Business of Art (AB/BA) student professional organization.

Visualizing data-based solutions

The Temple Analytics Challenge started in 2013 as an outlet for students at Temple to develop their data analysis, information visualization, and communication skills. It focuses on making sense of big data through visualization, a key component of data analytics cited by experts as a promising path to job opportunities.

Finalists from the 2016 Temple Analytics Challenge
Finalists from the 2016 Temple Analytics Challenge

Participants work on scenarios using data from corporate partners, analyzing the data and presenting their findings in a way that is meaningful and understandable to a wide audience. Not only do students have a chance to work with real-world data and problems — this year’s theme is “Improving Global Health” and corporate partners Merck, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, and AmerisourceBergen are participating — they also have an opportunity to win up to $2,500 from a total pool of $12,000 in prize money.

“The Temple Analytics Challenge, by integrating analytics, big data, and visualization with real-world important problems, provides students with valuable, employable skill sets,” said George Llado, SVP and CIO of Alexion. “We are very excited to see how the students tackle the challenges of world health.”

The competition is not exclusive to Fox students, and is open to entrants from all 17 of Temple’s schools and colleges. In the past, winners and finalists have come from the Tyler School of Art, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Engineering, the School of Media and Communications, the College of Public Health, and the Fox School.

This level of interdisciplinary competition doesn’t just benefit the participants. The corporate partners are looking for solutions to real-world problems. While the industry partners might be better versed with approaching the subject from a business-school perspective, they might not look at their data the same way an art or engineering student would.

The Fox School’s Institute of Business and Information Technology (IBIT) and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies sponsor the Temple Analytics Challenge, which is in its fourth year.

“A powerful aspect of the Analytics Challenge is that it gives all Temple students the opportunity to develop new data literacy skills,” said Laurel Miller, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS) at Fox, and a co-organizer of the competition.

“There’s an empowering aspect to this,” said Dr. David Schuff, Professor of MIS, and the Challenge’s creator and co-organizer. “I’ll often have students come to me who are interested in participating but unsure whether they have enough data analysis skill. We infuse the competition with workshops and one-on-one counseling to make sure all students have the support they need and the sense that this is something they can do.”

Melding art and business

MESH 2016Beyond the Temple Analytics Challenge, the Fox School bridges the gap between students in the art and business communities through the Art of Business/Business of Art (AB/BA) student professional organization.

Each year AB/BA members host guest speakers, an art-and-business networking event, and a university-wide creativity showcase, MESH: Redefining Art at Temple.

Speakers include: George Ciukurescu, FOX ’15, who played bass for the band Valencia, and is an accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers; Conrad Benner, who founded popular Philly street art blog Streets Dept.; and Tiffica Benza, FOX ’01, and Ashley Peel-Pinkham, owners of Philadelphia Independents, an Old City shop that sells souvenirs made exclusively by Philly artists.

AB/BA members also help each other sell goods at Philly’s annual Punk Rock Flea Market, Tyler Alumni Art Market and Spruce Street Harbor Park.

By participating in AB/BA, Fox students with an art background can mentor Tyler students in business practices,” said Laurie Fitzpatrick, the organization’s faculty leader, and an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Fox. “Together, they can be in touch with the art world. Just because you’re in business school, there’s no reason you should stop painting or stop writing. Your art is part of your life.”

Conversely, for art students, AB/BA is an opportunity to embrace the business world, which methodologies and practices that can seem intimidating, Fitzpatrick said.

“It’s been really fascinating to watch the business students in our group interact with the art students, and watch different ways of thinking come together,” said Fiona Fackler, a former president of AB/BA. “At meetings, we foster conversations and new friendships between students who may not normally interact on a daily basis.”

“It can be difficult to associate with people outside of your major, so it’s nice to step out of those boxes we build, to see people a little differently, or try to get to know people more deeply over shared interests.”

Michael BradshawPHILADELPHIA, Nov. 10, 2016 – Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) has appointed Michael Bradshaw, NBCUniversal Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, as its newest Executive in Residence.

The IBIT Executive in Residence program facilitates interaction between industry leaders and the faculty and students of Temple University’s Fox School of Business. In his role as IBIT Executive in Residence, Bradshaw will visit the Fox School Nov. 14, and engage with faculty and students on topics and projects of mutual interest, while also promoting the activities of IBIT, the Fox School’s Management Information Systems department, and the Fox School of Business.

NBCUniversal is member of IBIT, and Bradshaw is a member of the Fox IT Advisory Board.

“I’m honored to serve as an Executive in Residence at the Fox School,” said Bradshaw. “The challenges we address today through technology represent a blend of business strategy, planning and communication. It’s important to engage the next generation of students so they understand this complexity and recognize potential opportunities as they pursue technology careers.”

Bradshaw, in his role as Executive Vice President and CIO of NBCUniversal, leads the information technology organization and oversees NBCUniversal’s global IT operations, infrastructure, applications, and strategy.

Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Bradshaw served as Vice President and CIO for Lockheed Martin’s mission systems and training business. He managed IT services that supported business programs and functions, and led the IT integration for major acquisition, resulting in a global business unit of more than 35,000 employees. He also has served as Vice President of Lockheed Martin’s enterprise IT services, leading the team responsible for enterprise application and infrastructure services. Bradshaw previously held various leadership positions at IBM, where he led its global IT infrastructure transformation initiatives.

He holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Operations Management.

Said Laurel Miller, Director of Temple IBIT: “Michael has successfully led major complex projects while managing and implementing dramatic changes in business models. He is the ideal role model for students.”

Contact:
Christopher A. Vito
Temple University
215-204-4115, cvito@temple.edu

Dan GenuarioDan Genuario is on a mission to capture Philadelphia one frame at a time.

The senior Management Information Systems major at Temple University’s Fox School of Business is using his creativity to showcase the beauty in the abandoned. His photography hobby has turned into a passion, and is opening up doors to his potential future.

Three years ago, Genuario used his cell phone camera to start taking pictures of graffiti and architecture around the city. He noticed his father had a digital camera that he never used and, one day, decided to pick it up and start shooting.

“I’m self-taught, but I like to credit my abilities to my friends. I learn a lot from their feedback, everything from how to shoot to post-processing,” Genuario said.

Genuario has found a community while hunting for rundown and abandoned areas to photograph. His adventures have taken him to a variety of landscapes, including dilapidated warehouses and asylums that date back to the 19th century.

After sharing his work with the Saxby’s Coffee shop on Temple’s campus this summer, the shop decided to showcase a piece in its newly remodeled space. The photograph that hangs on the wall is the exquisitely captured interior of a deserted water treatment plant from the 1930s.

“It was so photogenic and such beautiful architecture,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything quite like that place.”

After exhausting most of the vacant properties in and around Philadelphia, Genuario decided it was time to expand his portfolio. This past summer, he combined his loves of travel and photography into several road trips with friends.

“We went to the Midwest, down south, and up to New England to branch out more,” he said.

Genuario’s work also has appeared in several shows throughout the city, at places like the Trocadero Theatre and Goldilocks Gallery. A dedicated student, he was offered other art shows, but declined due to his schoolwork. “I have to find the right balance between school and photography,” he explained. “I don’t want to give up my passion of photography for school, but at the same time I want to graduate.”

Genuario said he’s “still trying to figure it out,” with regard to his career choices, but said he’d ideally like to apply the information technology and business management skills he’s honed at the Fox School with the potential launch of a photography business.

“I can have a good career with my major and eventually retire to pursue photography,” Genuario said. “I would love to travel the world and take photos.”

Dan Genuario photo 2Dan Genuario photo 1Dan Genuario photo 3

Arjun Bedi Photo
Arjun Bedi

Arjun Bedi, MBA ’87, is the Fox School of Business’ 2016 honoree for Temple University’s Gallery of Success.

The Gallery of Success showcases banner alumni from each of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges with a display in the lower level of Mitten Hall, located on Temple’s Main Campus.

Bedi is a senior leader within Accenture, a worldwide professional services company that provides strategy, digital, consulting, technology, and operations services. He serves as a Managing Partner and leads a significant part of Accenture’s Life Sciences business. He has been with the firm for more than 25 years, and a partner for 16 years.

Since becoming partner, Bedi has held several leadership and management roles, including leading the Global Life Sciences Research and Development practice (2006-2012) and more recently leading the High Growth Bio-tech sector (2012-present). Additionally, he recently took on leading one of Accenture’s largest Life Sciences client relationships.

Bedi has worked with the top 15 global life sciences and the top 10 bio-tech organizations, in areas of management strategy, share-holder value management, IT strategy, and global operating model optimization, among others. His functional expertise span the entire Life Sciences value chain, from drug discovery and development to commercial, supply chain and enabling functions like strategy and finance.

Bedi earned his MBA in Computer Science and Information Systems from Temple’s Fox School of Business in 1987. He previously received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics (honors) from India’s Delhi University in 1984.

Photo of Dean M. Moshe Porat and Fox School adjunct instructor Paul Silberberg walk in at the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia’s Vision and Values celebration.
Dean M. Moshe Porat and Fox School adjunct instructor Paul Silberberg walk in at the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia’s Vision and Values celebration.

Hillel of Greater Philadelphia recognized Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, for his campus leadership and advocacy for Israel.

The Jewish organization honored Porat at its annual Vision and Values Celebration, held June 2. Attended by more than 200 community leaders and friends of Hillel, the event generated nearly $200,000 to fund programs and services for Jewish college students in the Philadelphia region.

Porat was not the only awardee from Temple University. Two undergraduate students, Ari Abramson and Arielle Manstein, received recognition as Student Exemplars of Excellence. Abramson, a sophomore, majors in Management Information Systems at Fox, while Manstein recently received her degree from Temple’s Kornberg School of Dentistry.

Porat lived in Israel for half of his life, moving there at a young age from Poland with his parents. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tel Aviv University, before traveling stateside and completing his doctoral degree program at Temple University.

Photo of Dean M. Moshe Porat and his wife, Dr. Rachel Porat, at the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia’s Vision and Values celebration.
Dean M. Moshe Porat and his wife, Dr. Rachel Porat, at the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia’s Vision and Values celebration.

As Fox School’s Dean, he helped redesign the school’s flagship MBA program to incorporate into the curriculum international immersion trips, including those to Israel, to foster the exploration of the country’s innovation, entrepreneurship, and tech ecosystems. He also led a push to include Israel-based companies within the Fox Management Consulting capstone course, in which students provide professional-grade strategic solutions to paying clients. Porat also serves as an active member of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

“This recognition from Hillel was a point of great personal pride,” Porat said. “I believe strongly in the values and purpose of Hillel, and have always made an effort in my career to demonstrate the strengths and competencies of Israel, while encouraging students to visit the country and learn its innovation and entrepreneurship history. For these reasons, it was quite fulfilling to receive this honor.”

Photo of Dean M. Moshe Porat delivers remarks after being honored at the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia’s Vision and Values celebration.
Dean M. Moshe Porat delivers remarks after being honored at the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia’s Vision and Values celebration.

The event, held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, buzzed with more than 200 attendees, including Porat’s wife, Rachel, and their sons, Manny and Sam, and daughter, Galia. Hooter, the mascot for Temple Athletics, also made an appearance.

“Moshe not only is a product of another culture and another country, but he’s very active around the world,” said Dr. Neil Theobald, President of Temple University. “He brings a global perspective to the deanship and to our administrative councils that is hugely important. … The value of Hillel and the values of Temple University, what they have in common, Moshe is such a great representative and archetype of those values.”

Fox School of Business student Robert Moses accepts the trophy for winning the Penn State Abington Business Challenge, shaking hands with Dr. Manohar Singh, division head for social sciences at Penn State Abington.
Fox School of Business student Robert Moses accepts the trophy for winning the Penn State Abington Business Challenge, shaking hands with Dr. Manohar Singh, division head for social sciences at Penn State Abington.
A team of students from Temple University culled its business and information technology savvy to take first place in the Penn State Abington Business Challenge.

The team – composed of Robert Moses and Nicole Cirillo from the Fox School of Business, and Nick Carmen from the College of Science and Technology (CST) – claimed the $1,000 first prize and bested eight other finalists when it delivered its winning presentation April 2 at Penn State University’s Abington campus.

Temple’s team was one of 200 invited to compete in the Penn State Abington Business Challenge, a case competition in which students solved a complex business issue by providing strategic solutions for a company within the IT healthcare industry.

The Temple trio emerged from the stacked field of finalists by providing quantified recommendations and implementations, based upon six years of historical financial figures provided to each team.

“From an analytical standpoint, we went beyond this singular company and identified trends and drivers within the industry, which I believe differentiated us from our competitors,” said Moses, a Business Management major who graduated in May. “By providing more than a high-level overview, we also created a forward-looking table to account for our recommendations and expenses, and forecasted the potential revenue.”

Fox School of Business student Robert Moses poses with the first-place trophy after he and his team won the Penn State Abington Business Challenge.
Fox School of Business student Robert Moses poses with the first-place trophy after he and his team won the Penn State Abington Business Challenge.
Dr. Manohar Singh, division head for social sciences at Penn State Abington, and the competition’s organizer, later revealed the name of the unidentified company as the Greater Philadelphia-based MRO Corporation, which delivers health information management and technology systems built to safeguard confidential information. Steve Hynes, MRO’s chief executive officer, served as one of the competition’s five judges.

“It was an interesting exercise for the students – researching, forming hypotheses, and defending them,” Hynes said. “I was impressed that the students put in so much effort and leveraged the strengths of their teammates.”

Temple’s team delivered highly efficient and effective solutions for MRO Corporation’s desired growth within its particular marketplace. Teams from Swarthmore College and Shippensburg University placed second and third, respectively.

For Cirillo, a Business Management major who graduated in May, the case competition provided an opportunity to learn from other competitors.

“This was an interesting experience because it exposed us to the analyses completed by our competitors,” she said. “It was eye-opening to see students from other schools run their analysis completely differently, using the same figures, and it was great to represent Temple and win first place.”

1970s

Fred Krieger, BS ’69, MBA ’76
Delivered the keynote address at the January commencement ceremony for the Fox School of Business and the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

1980s

Chris Fiorentino, BBA ’76, MBA ’83, PhD  ’88
Appointed interim president of West Chester University, in West Chester, Pa. He had served as the university’s vice president for external operations.

Mark S. Pollock, BBA ’83
Hired as chief financial officer of Clutch, a Philadelphia-based firm that uses transactional and behavioral data to give retails insight on customers.

James J. Dornan, BBA  ’85
Received the Musser Award for Excellence in Alumni Achievement, at the Fox School’s 19th annual Musser Awards for Excellence in Leadership reception in November.

Robert L. Nydick, PhD  ’85
Cited by Sports Illustrated for research into the greatest professional sports records of all-time, along with co-author Howard J. Weiss, a professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School.

Carol King Barrow, MBA ’86
Named to the executive committee of the board of trustees for SAGE Eldercare, which provides information, support, and services to help individuals lead independent and active lives in a four- county region in New Jersey.

Philip P.  Jaurigue, MBA ’86
Introduced as a new member of the ownership team of the Philadelphia Soul, of the Arena Football League. Jaurigue is the president and founder of Sabre Systems Inc., of Warrington, Pa.

Mike Shannon, MBA ’87
Appointed chief executive officer of Houghton International, Inc., a global leader in metalworking fluids and services.

Kim Cross, BBA ’88
Promoted to managing director of Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

Michael S. Keim, BBA ’89
Promoted to president of Univest Bank and Trust Co., for which he also joined the board of directors.

Rahul  Merchant, ’89
Recognized as the 2015 Gallery of Success honoree of the Fox School of Business.

Eric H. Siegel, MBA ’89
Recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2015 Corporate Counsel Award, which recognizes the top corporate attorneys in the Philadelphia region. Siegel is executive vice president and general counsel of Incyte Corporation.

1990s

Atish Banerjea, MS ’91
Appointed to the board of directors with Nelson Education Ltd., Canada’s largest educational publisher.

Sheila Hess, BBA ’91
Appointed Philadelphia City Representative by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

Janesa Urbano, BBA ’92, MBA ’96, LAW ’96
Recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2015 Corporate Counsel Award, which recognizes the top corporate attorneys in the Philadelphia region. Urbano is vice president and general counsel of Ernest Bock & Sons Inc.

Raymond K.Y. Yam, BBA ’92, MBA ’96, MS  ’98
Received the Broadcasting Board of Governors Gold Medal Award for his service with the Voice of America, an international public broadcasting service of the United States federal government.

Adam Zhu, MBA ’94
Named non-executive chair of Greater China for Bacardi and special advisor to the chief executive officer of Bacardi Limited, the world’s largest privately held spirits company.

Stephen T. Wills, MS  ’94
Appointed interim chief executive officer of Derma Sciences, a tissue regeneration company focused on advanced wound and burn care.

John Aloysius, PhD ’96
Appointed interim director of the Behavioral Business Research Lab at the University of Arkansas.

Seth Gillston, BBA ’96
Appointed as manager to a team of private equity practice underwriters within Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. He also serves as Chubb’s executive vice president.

Brent Saunders, MBA ’96
Featured in Bloomberg’s Businessweek. Saunders serves as chief executive officer of Allergan Plc, the Dublin-based pharmaceutical company.

James  Schurr,  MBA  ’98
Added to the Athletic Wall of Fame at Conwell-Egan Catholic High School, in Fairless Hills, Pa., where he was a five-sport athlete.

Madan Annavarjula, PhD ’98
Appointed dean of the College of Business at Bryant College, in Smithfield, R.I.

Susan Kruml, PhD ’99
Hired as vice president of academic affairs at Midland University, in Fremont, Neb.

Louis Zecca, MBA ’99
Joined David Boland, Inc., a general contractor based in Titusville, Fla., as the company’s executive vice president, managing the firm’s extensive portfolio of projects and developing new relationships with government and commercial market clients.

Marcia Lyssy, BBA ’01, MBA ’07
Promoted to senior vice president of human resources for global logistics firm BDP International. She had served as global director of talent management.

2000s

Raza Bokhari, MBA ’01
Appointed non-executive director of Akers Biosciences, a medical device company focused on reducing the cost of healthcare through faster, easier diagnostics.

E. Albert Reece, MBA ’01
Received the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, honoring a medical school faculty member who has made major contributions to improving the health and healthcare of the American people.

Megan E. King, MBA ’03, LAW ’03
Recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2015 Corporate Counsel Award, which recognizes the top corporate attorneys in the Philadelphia region. King is general counsel of Brandywine Realty Trust.

Ariell Johnson, BBA ’05
Opened Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse in Philadelphia in January, becoming the first black woman-owned comic book store in the United States.

Yasmine Mustafa, BBA ’06
Shattered her crowdfunding campaign goal by more than 650 percent for her company ROAR for Good’s product Athena, a piece of wearable self- defense tech jewelry designed with one-touch technology. Also she was named to Billy Penn’s “Who’s Next” list of Philadelphia’s up-and-coming STEM leaders.

Michael P. Ginnetti, MBA ’06
Appointed interim chief financial officer, interim principal financial officer, and interim principal accounting officer of Dorman Products, a leading supplied or original equipment, dealer-exclusive replacement automotive parts. He had served as the company’s corporate controller.

Alex Mobarak, BBA ’07
Hired as controller of Cargas Solutions, a business software and consulting firm based in Lancaster, Pa.

Sylvester Mobley, BBA ’07
Named to Billy Penn’s “Who’s Next” list of Philadelphia’s up-and-coming STEM leaders for his work as executive director of Coded By Kids, an organization that provides free weekly coding education programs to children.

2010s

Angela Moemeka, MBA ’10
Featured prominently within the  Dallas  Medical  Journal,  in a story delving into children’s health and community health. Moemeka is the vice president and medical director of community health for Children’s Health System, in Dallas.

Darryl Singleton, BBA ’11
Named store manager of TD Bank’s Conshohocken, Pa., branch.

Natily Santos, MBA ’14
Spotlighted in October by Al Dia News, in a story on “The Rise of the Latino Corporate Leader in Philadelphia.” Santos is the regional procurement manager at Aramark, a Philadelphia-based foodservice, facilities, and clothing provider.

Will Cummings, BBA ’15
Selected to the NBA Development League All-Star Game. The point guard, who started with the Temple men’s basketball team, plays for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the D-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets.

To submit a Class Note, email your accomplishments, promotions, and achievements to khamm@temple.edu

Dr. Luo
It’s on a crowded subway train that the next big thing in mobile analytics has emerged. New research by a professor from the Fox School of Business shows an upswing in mobile purchases as consumers turn to their smartphones to disengage from the hassle of a packed train.

For the study’s coauthor, Dr. Xueming Luo, Charles Gilliland Chair Professor of Marketing, Strategic Management, and Information Systems at Fox, the results are both impactful and surprising.

“Crowded environments are oftentimes noisy and annoying,” said Luo. “We expected them to turn customers off to such purchases. That wasn’t the case.”

Luo’s study, which has been cited by the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail among other media outlets, was coauthored by Emory University’s Dr. Michelle Andrews, a Fox PhD alumna; Sichuan University’s Dr. Zheng Fang; and New York University’s Dr. Anindya Ghose.

The study partnered with a cell phone service provider that over several days sent randomly selected subway riders in a large Asian city mobile ads for digital services such as video-streaming. The study found that smartphone users trapped in densely packed trains were about two times more likely to opt to buy the promoted mobile services than those in non-crowded trains.

Though crowding is subjective, the study focused on participants with at least five or more people positioned within 10 square feet. In order to determine that crowding influenced purchasing behavior, the study examined travelers throughout the day – from rush hour business people to lull-hour, non-business casual travelers.

“It’s about being around strangers and having a fear of social awkwardness,” said Luo, and the Founder and Director of Temple University’s Global Center for Big Data in Mobile Analytics. “To avoid eye contact we reach for our phones. This happens in elevators, too. Your smartphone saves you from awkward social moments.”

Using smartphones as a coping strategy, consumers block out external social interactions and allowed marketers and advertisers to have their full attention, Luo said. And in order to maintain that attention, he said, marketers rely on creativity in cultivating consumer staying power in a market consumed by its ability to flick, click, and dismiss anything that bores them.

Understanding consumer attention spans is a part of Luo’s larger research in mobile analytics. The most effective way to engage consumers, he said, is to offer personalized incentives – from discounts to ads that appeal to a consumer’s proximity to a business. Sending out targeted geographic and temporal advertisements is well-received in instances in which consumers are annoyed by noise or crowding on their commutes.

“Cutting–edge marketing is all about delivering the right message at the right place and right moment to make an impact,” Luo said. “Smartphone technology can be leveraged to attain that, especially in a crowded subway train.”

Temple University’s Fox School of Business will honor three top technology leaders Tuesday, April 12 at its 16th annual Information Technology Awards.

This premier event is organized for Greater Philadelphia’s technology community by the nationally ranked Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) and the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT). This year, Linda Dillman of QVC, Robert Moore of RJMetrics, and Rich Brennen of Spencer Stuart will receive awards.

Photo of Linda Dillman
Linda Dillman

Linda, Robert, and Rich are leading the ongoing digital revolution that is transforming the business landscape,” said Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat. “They join a proud and rich tradition of leadership exhibited by previous Fox IT Award recipients. The IT Awards, now in its 16th year, continue to recognize the best and brightest role models.”

Linda Dillman, Chief Information Officer, QVC, will receive the Fox IT Leader Award for her leadership in the use and development of IT in business. Dillman helped to develop and implement QVC’s global technology vision and strategy. Under Dillman’s leadership, QVC’s IT organization works to deliver a high-quality, seamless, multiplatform, engaging shopping experience for customers.

Dillman also serves on the board of directors for Cerner, the leading U.S. supplier of healthcare information technology solutions, and she was recently appointed to the GS1 US Board of Governors.

A seasoned leader, Dillman was recently named to the Top 10 Women in Tech list by Chain Storage Age magazine and a 2015 Top IT Pro by the Philadelphia Business Journal. She has also been recognized as a Computerworld Premier 100 IT leader for 2015 and a Most Powerful Women in Cable by CableFAX magazine in 2014 and 2015. Additionally, Dillman was named to Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for five consecutive years.

Photo of Robert Moore
Robert Moore

Robert Moore, Co-founder and CEO, RJMetrics, a SaaS company that builds data infrastructure and analytics tools, will receive the Fox IT Innovator Award for his innovation in applying technology and insights to create business opportunities. Using his skills in data analysis, entrepreneurship and software development, Moore’s RJMetrics seeks to inspire and empower the data-driven community. Prior to launching RJMetrics, Moore served on the Investment Team of Insight Venture Partners in New York. As a writer and speaker, Moore has been featured by the New York Times, Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, TEDxPhilly, EnterConf, and Business of Software.

Moore supports local startups, serving on the leadership team of Philly Startup Leaders, and mentoring burgeoning Philadelphia entrepreneurs through the PSLU accelerator program.

Photo of Rich Brennen
Rich Brennen

Rich Brennen, North American CIO Practice Leader and Partner of Spencer Stuart, will receive the Fox IT Award for Distinguished Alumni for his work in the IT field and contributions to the community, industry and Temple. Brennen earned an MBA from the Fox School of Business in 1978. After graduation, he spent 15 years with IBM, where he played an instrumental role in building the company’s international information technology strategy and consulting practice. At Spencer Stuart, Brennen expanded its information officer position, leveraging his consulting talents to recruit 250 chief information officers for several Fortune 500 companies.

Brennen is currently a member of the Fox School Dean’s Council and Temple University’s Conwell Society.

Munir Mandviwalla, founding chair of the MIS department said, “The Award recipients are superb role models for our students and an inspiration to our faculty for their role in leading the new digital centric economy.”

Recipients are nominated and selected by a committee comprised of senior leadership at Fox, the Fox IT advisory board, and previous recipients.

The Fox School’s MIS department is ranked No. 1 globally in research for the period 2009-2014. US News and World Report has ranked its graduate and undergraduate programs in the Top 20 and Top 15 respectively in the nation.

The Institute for Business and Information Technology integrates industry perspectives with academic research expertise to create forums for generating and exchanging best practices.

For more information on the annual Fox IT Awards, visit http://ibit.temple.edu/itawards/

NCAC_group 2015
Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) joined forces with Lockheed Martin in Washington D.C. in November to host the first annual National Cyber Analyst Challenge.

The competition, which welcomed 44 students and nine faculty advisors from nine universities, was designed to enhance students’ skills in combatting cyber-attacks and address a cyber talent crisis in the United States. The three-month, multi-phase competition aimed to inspire today’s technologically literate students to pursue careers in cyber security.

The result: It worked. Nearly 60 percent of the competition’s student-finalists completed online profiles with Lockheed Martin. On a 1-to-5, highest-to-lowest scale, the participants rated the competition highly on the metric of ‘learned a lot’ (1.33) and ‘value’ (1.15). One student remarked, “Hearing everyone tell us how valuable we are was a nice ego boost going into this field.”

“Cyber security analysts represent a critical skill need for most organizations,” said Chris Kearns, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President of Enterprise IT Solutions. “These students showed great promise through their hands-on teamwork to solve real world challenges and progress through the competition.”

According to SimplyHired.com, in mid-2015, there were 26,980 open cyber-security related positions. The need in these positions is less for operators and more for analysts. As threats multiply and diversify, intelligence analysis and identification is becoming critical, rather than secondary to the ability to configure or code secure servers. Yet, the job seekers in the talent pipeline find it difficult to integrate operational skills with strategic threat and cyber analysis. The goal of the National Cyber Analyst Challenge was to provide students with the opportunity to integrate specific operational skills with strategic threat analysis.

In the first phase of the competition, students pored over 75 gigabytes of data to find the cause of the simulated hack. Then the teams submitted 10-slide summary reports to explain their respective solutions for preventing future cyber-attacks. In the second phase, in which only nine teams competed, the students received training from industry experts. The competition culminated in a real-time practical challenge held at Lockheed Martin’s Global Vision Center in Crystal City, Va., in November.

A panel of industry experts, scoring finalists on technical proficiency, judgment, and communication, awarded the winning team $25,000 in prize money. Runners-up received awards of $7,500-$15,000 to support student, faculty, and curriculum development.

“It was gratifying to work with Lockheed Martin to create such a student- and faculty-centric opportunity,” said Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, IBIT’s Executive Director and the Chair of Management Information Systems at Temple’s Fox School of Business. “We hope to increase the national cyber talent pool across the nation’s top programs in Management Information Systems, Computer Science, and Engineering.”

– Lora Strum and Christopher A. Vito

Will Cummings
Will Cummings didn’t earn much playing time in his freshman season with the Temple men’s basketball team. As a sophomore, though he’d have to play behind a number of seniors, Owls coach Fran Dunphy viewed Cummings as a leader in the making.

“The summer before my sophomore year, Coach Dunphy said to me, ‘This is your time to step up,’” said Cummings, who in May graduated from the Fox School of Business. “I remember going home (to Jacksonville), working out three times a day, and watching it come together and make a difference.”

That summer, Cummings modeled a catchphrase around his newfound determination: “Self-Motivated Grind.” A capable web programmer who studied Management Information Systems at Fox, Cummings developed a website to promote his brand and create T-shirts with the slogan.

“I can’t explain why it took off so successfully,” he said. “I just Tweeted it one day and I started hearing from people who said they liked the message that it was sending.”

Cummings, who went on to earn First-Team All-American Athletic Conference honors in his senior year, is demonstrating his mettle on a different level these days. He’s suiting up for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League, the single-affiliate team of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

Will Cummings
As he hones his skills and works toward his dream, Cummings recently shared a few minutes of his time:

Q: You played with the Rockets’ summer-league team and with the team throughout training camp. After graduating from the Fox School, did you have offers to play professionally overseas, as well?
Cummings: “I did. I had plenty of offers overseas, but the goal was to make the NBA. My family, my agent, and I know it’s a process. Houston has shown a full commitment to me, and while there are no promises, I’m just playing hard and working every day, trying make my case to play in the NBA.”

Q: There was one moment from the preseason in which you made the top plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter. That must’ve been a nice surprise, right?
Cummings: “I had a lob pass to K.J. (McDaniels) and it ended up on Temple’s Facebook page. It was great to see the support.”

Q: If you weren’t playing basketball professionally, what career path would you have chosen?
Cummings: “Well, my degree is in MIS. I’m good at programming, so I probably would’ve pursued something in that field. I had an internship my senior year with The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia. It’s a non-profit, and I worked there as an information systems intern working on their website and building it from scratch. I was there six weeks and got a lot of experience. If I ever get injured, and knock on wood that I don’t, I know that’s a career path I’d probably pursue.”

Q: You built a website of your own, too, right?
Cummings: “It’s for my brand, Self-Motivated Grind. I built the site my junior year at Temple as a motivational page to connect with young kids looking for inspiration. I have Google Analytics for the site, and it’s reached 45 countries. I have an Instagram page for it, too. People send me photos of themselves wearing my T-shirts at Temple games. I haven’t put the time in lately, because of basketball, but it’s on the backburner. It’s something my sister (Ashley) and I work on together. She and my brother (Willie) work at Lockheed Martin.”

Q: Is it safe to assume there aren’t many basketball players who have that skill set?
Cummings: “That’s probably true. I’ve heard (Miami Heat forward) Chris Bosh knows how to program, but it’s rare, yes.”

Q: Has there been a major lifestyle adjustment following graduation from Fox?
Cummings: “You don’t realize how much time you have on your hands and how hard you work in college until you graduate. I’ve adapted pretty smoothly to life after college, but without classes, study halls, or anything like that, it can be slow.”

Q: What part of your Fox School education translates to the basketball court?
Cummings: “I would say it’s the critical thinking skills I learned when I was at Fox. There are a lot of classes, including a project management class, that teach you along the way how to think critically and to help you think about a solution to the problem you’re facing. That’s a valuable skill that I can use in everyday life and as it correlates to basketball, thinking about the current moment or one play ahead. I have Fox to thank for that.”