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On Thursday, January 22, Temple University Fox Global MBA students had the pleasure of meeting and hearing globally recognized leader and strategist, Dr. Filippo Passerini, speak at Temple’s Center City Campus from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. MBA students and faculty had the opportunity to meet Filippo because of Fox’s own Dr. Mitrabarun Sarkar, who met Filippo during an immersion program to India and approached SGM Chair, Professor Arvind Parkhe to have Filippo come to Temple to speak about global business.

Dr. Passerini is the Group President, Global Business Services (GBS) and Chief Information Officer at the Procter & Gamble Company. With more than three decades of business-building experience, Passerini came to Temple to share his knowledge of the strategic transformation of global business and leveraging technology from the back office to the boardroom.

The room was filled with eager students, as they were in complete awe of Dr. Passerini’s message. Passerini’s visit injected a dose of reality check and fresh ideas into the group that interacted with him. He was able to challenge students to reframe and analyze their thinking throughout the discussion. Likewise, he was impressed by Fox, the energy, diversity and intellectual quality of his interactions. Temple students, staff and faculty learned a great deal from Passerini’s short visit and were honored to have him as a guest and speaker.

After his speaking engagement, Dr. Passerini met with the Dean of the Fox School, Dr. Moshe Porat, Chair of Management Information Systems Department, Munir Mandviwalla and the SGM Faculty. Invited guests also had the opportunity to meet Passerini including Assistant Professor & Managing Director of Entrepreneurship, Robert McNamee, Laura H. Carnell Professor & Chair, Arvind Parkhe, Executive Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute, Ellen Weber, Deputy Dean and Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Dr. Rajan Chandran, and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Dr. Mitrabarun Sarkar.

The day concluded at 5:30 p.m. with Passerini completing a videotaped interview with Dean Porat discussing why innovation is an important topic for students to learn, along with the digital challenge facing global businesses and business schools, the implications of the rise of emerging markets, the competencies industry is looking for in their new hires and what business schools can do to deliver on those requirements. They also discussed international business and why FOX IB students are especially ahead of the competition because of IB’S curriculum of immersion into different cultures. The interview including the remarkable conversation with these dynamic leaders will be posted to the IEI website in the near future. 

Quotes from the invited guests:

“Recently, I had designed and led an immersion program to India for senior executives of Proctor and Gamble. During the trip, I got to know Filippo as a very thoughtful, cerebral, yet pragmatic executive with terrific strategic insights. That was not a surprise, of course, given his stature in the industry. What struck me, however, was his deep desire to engage in the learning process and his love for academics. This ability to weave in and out of the abstract, conceptual world and the real world of global business was fascinating to me. I hope this is the beginning of Filippo’s involvement with us, and the beginning of a regular series of visits by senior executives and leaders to Fox.” – Dr. Mitrabarun Sarkar

“I enjoyed meeting Dr. Passerini. Dr. Passerini was able to bridge both academe and the world of practice. He speaks with Deans from major universities like Columbia and University of Toronto. He provided strategic insights which I found to be quite thought provoking.” – Dr. Rajan Chandran

“Filippo Passerini’s visit was a delight and a high-value experience, for Fox students and faculty alike.  Two key points that emerged clearly at lunch were [1] technology is simply a tool, and the important thing for businesses is the intersection of information management with strategy in a VUCA [volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous] world; and [2] the most important qualities for students to possess in the VUCA world are the ability to think strategically, innovatively and flexibly.” – Arvind Parkhe

 “In the first portion of his talk, Passerini wonderfully and elegantly described the innovation imperative — highlighting the necessity for innovation and change in modern organizations as well as the importance for our next generation of business students to understand and embrace these topics. This was wonderful to hear since we have fully committed to this perspective and launched dozens of new courses focused on innovation strategy and management in the last few years.” – Robert McNamee

Fox is a leader in the innovation field and offers innovation focused courses such as, Business Model Innovation (summer semester), Creative Problem Solving (spring / summer semesters), and Emerging Market Innovation (spring semester). If interested, there is still time for students to sign up for the summer, or fall courses in Fox’s academic fields of study including, Innovation Strategy, Technology & Innovation Management, and Entrepreneurship topics. Learn more about these topics and how to enroll here.

Be sure to stay connected with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute on their social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Temple University alumni, including a pair from the Fox School of Business, have been chosen for inclusion in DreamIt Ventures’ recent round of accelerator programs.

Photo of Yasmine Mustafa
Yasmine Mustafa

Fox alums Yasmine Mustafa and Ofo Ezeugwu, and School of Media and Communication alumna Bethany Edwards, comprise Temple’s best showing in a DreamIt Ventures batch. Founded in 2008, the Philadelphia-based idea incubator invests $25,000 in seed money in exchange for a 6-percent equity stake in the entrepreneurs’ business plans. DreamIt Ventures also provides a vast network of industry professionals with whom to network.

Mustafa, a 2006 alumna of the Fox School, founded self-defense technology company Roar for Good, which produces wearables marketed toward women. Mustafa’s devices are designed to alert the authorities, flash lights, send text messages and sound an alarm, among other features, in cases of emergency. Mustafa recently won first place in two categories at the 2014 Innovative Idea Competition, organized by Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute. She also won Temple’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl in 2010 with a separate venture.

Ezeugwu, who graduated from the Fox School in 2013 with a degree in Management Information Systems, is President and Chief Executive Officer of WhoseYourLandlord. The site gives users a platform upon which to rate the people from whom they rent, to “know what they’re getting into before they even sign the lease,” Ezeugwu said. Ezeugwu is a past winner of Temple’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl, having won $20,500 in 2014.

Photo of Ofo Ezeugwu
Ofo Ezeugwu

Edwards, who graduated from SMC in 2006, founded LIA Diagnostics. The company designed a flushable pregnancy test, which won the grand prize at last year’s Innovative Idea Competition.

Mustafa, Ezeugwu and Edwards are among the 12 companies to have been selected into DreamIt Ventures’ accelerator program.

Students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Tyler School of Art collaborated on a project that explored entrepreneurship through researching underground markets, and received feedback from students of the University of Technology Sydney.

UTS Fox and Tyler Students 2

The teams of Fox School and Tyler School students partnered with Stephanie Syjuco during her three-day residency in November, to discover the practical uses and workings of alternative economies. Syjuco is a San Francisco-based, mixed-media conceptual artist whose interests lie in counterfeit goods and underground markets.

In order to better understand the workings of underground markets, MBA students from the Fox School conducted primary and secondary research, and identified the workings of underground markets, specific products that are bought and sold in these economies, and their overall impact of their sale on mainstream economies. Their primary research included interviews with sellers and buyers in underground markets. They also looked into stakeholders’ perspectives, in order to identify any risks and explore the structure of alternative economies. Their secondary research examined the flow of products, from production to the hands of the consumer. Through their research, the Fox MBA students identified six products commonly bought and sold through underground markets, including sports jerseys, Tide laundry detergent and DVDs.

“This project pushed the boundaries of unstructured research and design-based field work to document and quantify markets that do not want to be documented or quantified in any way,” said James Moustafellos, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School and Associate Director of Temple’s Center for Design + Innovation, who led the collaboration between Fox School and Tyler School students.

Tyler students replicated an underground market in the Temple Contemporary Gallery, printing representations of the products that were to be “sold” and the money to be used for purchasing the goods. At the Nov. 20 gallery opening, University of Technology Sydney students visited the Gallery, and discussed the overview of the project, as well as the research the Fox MBA students had completed. UTS students, who were in Philadelphia studying entrepreneurship through a partnership with the Fox School of Business, were interested to learn how the Fox MBA students had researched an undocumented market.

Later, University of Technology Sydney students and Fox MBA students met with Syjuco to discuss her interest in underground markets and alternative economies, the challenges faced while researching a secretive market and entrepreneurial opportunities in alternative economies. Students from the University of Technology Sydney, Fox and Tyler engaged in a dynamic discussion to better understand alternative entrepreneurial ventures through researching underground markets.

–Ashley Kloczynski

Additional photos from the collaboration are shown below.

UTS Fox and Tyler Students 3

UTS Fox and Tyler Students 5

UTS Fox and Tyler Students 4UTS Fox and Tyler Students 1

UTS Fox and Tyler Students

Admittedly, Cassandra Reffner said she does not have as great of an understanding of mathematical analytics as business-school students. And she said she only understands the most basic functions of Microsoft Excel.

Fox School Management Information Systems professors James Moustafellos, far left, and David Schuff, far right, recognize Tyler School of Art student Cassandra Reffner as the winner of the 2014 Temple Analytics Challenge. Third from left is Doug Seiwert, Vice President of Information Technology at QVC, who served as the event’s keynote speaker.
Fox School Management Information Systems professors James Moustafellos, far left, and David Schuff, far right, recognize Tyler School of Art student Cassandra Reffner as the winner of the 2014 Temple Analytics Challenge. Third from left is Doug Seiwert, Vice President of Information Technology at QVC, who served as the event’s keynote speaker.

What Reffner does know, however, is how to analyze data and display it in a creative, understandable manner. A junior graphic design student from the Tyler School of Art, Reffner won the $2,500 grand prize at the second annual Temple Analytics Challenge.

The month-long competition, organized by the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) at the Fox School of Business, culminated Nov. 17 in finalist presentations at Alter Hall. The challenge tasks students from all of Temple University’s schools and colleges with making sense of data through visualizations and infographics.

The Temple Analytics Challenge awarded 10 prizes totaling $10,000, from corporate members of IBIT and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies at Temple University.

In its second year, the Temple Analytics Challenge received 130 submissions from more than 300 participants. The finalists came from both undergraduate and graduate programs across the University, including the College of Engineering, the Tyler School of Art, and the Fox School of Business.

Reffner used a test tube illustration to demonstrate the residual impact felt by employees following the proposed relocation of Merck’s corporate headquarters. Judges reflected favorably upon Reffner’s infographic, which displayed the raw number of employees whose commutes would be negatively affected by 30 or more minutes. (Other Merck Challenge finalists opted to use percentages.) To circumvent the issue, Reffner offered what she called “prescriptions,” using a medicine-bottle design to provide Merck with alternatives like incentivizing carpools or public transit usage, or implementing break time for employees who make longer commutes.

“I think the judges liked how I gave solutions, or as I called them ‘prescriptions,’ to help benefit those employees and to look at this in a less-negative term,” Reffner said. “

Corporate partners of the Temple Analytics Challenge provided data sets and specific problems from which the students had to create an original visualization that also provided clear and meaningful insight. The NBCUniversal Challenge pertained to the allocation of advertising dollars for midterm elections; the Lockheed Martin Challenge focused on employee behaviors predicting security threats; and the aforementioned Merck Challenge centered around the overall impact of a corporate site’s relocation. The 20 finalists presented their work before a panel of professional judges, including representatives from QVC, Campbell Soup Company, and RJMetrics.

“The breadth of majors and students that excelled in the competition was really impressive. Analytics and the ability to interpret and visualize complex data is such an important skill, it’s exciting to so many students get involved and the final presentations were outstanding,” said Nicholas Piergallini, Program Manager at Lockheed Martin and a judge for the competition.

“We’re proud to once again see such a great set of entries from students across the University,” said Dr. David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems and organizer of the challenge, “A key goal of the challenge is to encourage students from different disciplines to build their data analysis and communication skills, and to see how these skills apply to their careers.”

Reffner and five fellow Tyler students were among the competition’s 20 finalists, and she was one of three from Tyler to win one of the Temple Analytics Challenge’s 10 cash prizes. Encouraged to enter the competition by Tyler professor Abby Guido, Reffner said she hopes her grand-prize win helps push other students at Temple University to compete next year.

“Being a graphic design student, it was difficult to figure out what the data was and what we had to look at, what we had to analyze, and how to design it in a way people would understand,” Reffner said. “Most of my class doesn’t know Excel.

“But the Temple Analytics Challenge was an innovative way to bring students from around campus together and show we can translate what we do know to a broader spectrum. It was that multidisciplinary aspect of the competition that, I think, was the most fun.”

Doug Seiwert echoed Reffner’s point. Seiwert, the Vice President of Information Technology and Enterprise Applications Development at QVC, said the popular home-shopping network produces one terabyte of data every month.

“For those of you who don’t know, that’s a lot of data,” said Seiwert, the event’s keynote speaker, “and it can be daunting when you’re processing this much data. Our challenge, and (the students’) challenge in this competition, was finding ways to make the data widely consumable, and I think you all did an outstanding job.”

Leila Bouamatou and Tah MeouloudLeila Bouamatou doesn’t appear as though she had been traveling for two days. Her make-up is impeccable and her bright blue, polka-dotted melehfa stands out against the stoic dress of her Western classmates. She and her husband, Tah Meouloud, are at ease nearly 4,000 miles from home and surrounded by strangers.

Bouamatou and Meouloud are doctoral candidates in the newly formed Executive Doctorate of Business Administration (EDBA) program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. And unlike the other 23 students who compose the EDBA’s first cohort, Bouamatou and Meouloud are international students.

Six times a year, for three years, the couple will travel from Mauritania – an African nation of more than 3.5 million people – to Philadelphia to engage in their intensive, three-day weekend coursework within the Fox EDBA. The program is appealing to Bouamatou and Meouloud, who willingly make the two-day, Atlantic Ocean-crossing trip to the States to expand their professional and academic careers.

“It’s worth it,” said Bouamatou, of the 12-hour flight from North Africa to North America.

Why? The couple said they were attracted to the Fox School because of its accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a high distinction of achievement held by fewer than five percent of business schools worldwide.

Additionally, the couple had determined several years ago the United States was the ideal country in which to continue their educations. They said they chose Fox because of the flexibility of its EDBA – a program offered by only a handful of business schools in the nation – and its central location between fellow East Coast hub cities New York City and Washington, D.C.

The EDBA program combines two tenets that are central to the Fox School mission: research and real-world experience. Fox’s research-active faculty, which numbers nearly 200, covers a wide range of competencies – an ideal aspect for student mentorship within a multi-disciplinary EDBA program that embraces real-life learning and applied practices. The program is offered at The HUB at Commerce Square, a vibrant business center located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia.

Husband and wife Tah Meouloud and Leila Bouamatou, who are part of the first cohort of Fox School’s Executive Doctorate of Business Administration program, listen to instruction during their second residency. (Temple University)
Husband and wife Tah Meouloud and Leila Bouamatou, who are part of the first cohort of Fox School’s Executive Doctorate of Business Administration program, listen to instruction during their second residency. (Temple University)

When simplified, their pursuit of an executive education amounts to only 54 days in Philadelphia over three years. For such a small face-to-face time commitment, Bouamatou and Meouloud said they have received tremendous support from Dr. David Schuff, Executive Director of the EDBA program and an Associate Professor in Fox School’s Management Information Systems (MIS) department. They also had an opportunity to meet Temple University President Dr. Neil D. Theobald, who spoke to the first cohort of EDBA students in September during the program’s initial residency.

“We are not just left here. We feel comfortable,” said Meouloud, who said he has enjoyed networking with his professors and fellow students.

“Networking is an important component of the student experience,” said Schuff. “A key strength of the program is the diversity in the backgrounds of our cohort. Providing both formal and informal opportunities to learn from each other, both inside and outside the classroom, makes the residences about more than simply attending class.”

Both he and his wife dedicate 15 to 20 hours per week to completing curriculum requirements via the web-conferencing platform WebEx. The program’s density allows executives to graduate in only three years. Bouamatou said she enjoys the program’s commitment to research and hopes to use her time as a doctoral candidate to explore the role of female leaders in family businesses, before extending her knowledge to professional women in Africa.

“My passion for research had been unsatisfied in a way, and the EDBA program satisfied that thirst,” Bouamatou said.

A dedicated student, Meouloud concentrated on the development of global economic systems as they relate to capitalism. Meouloud believes the EDBA program will help him understand how economics and business can merge to reduce poverty in Africa and in developing countries.

In addition to enriching his professional pursuits, Meouloud said he and his wife have long-range aspirations to open a school in Mauritania with structure, content and standards similar to those in the EDBA program in which he is enrolled.

“We are sharing the space with professionals from different backgrounds and learning from them,” said Meouloud, who hopes to facilitate the same experience in Africa and France.

Though the couple has embarked upon only a third of their intensive residences for this year, they said they already could see the program’s potential to enhance their lives.

“My professional life will take on another dimension because the EDBA program gives me the experience, the confidence and the trust needed to move into a key position,” Bouamatou said.

Both Meouloud and Bouamatou matriculated through the French academic system before pursuing Master’s degrees in Europe. Bouamatou studied at the American School of Business in Lausanne, Switzerland before receiving her Master’s degree in finance at Eada Barcelona, in Spain, and her Executive Master’s in Business Administration (EMBA) from the Mediterranean School of Business, in Tunisia. Meouloud earned his Master’s in economics from the University of Nouakchott, in Mauritania, before studying international economic development at Sorbonne University, in Paris, France.

Bouamatou and Meouloud are multilingual, a skill that strengthens their professional and academic pursuits. Each speaks French, Arabic, Spanish and English, while Meouloud also is fluent in Chinese.

“I have had a multicultural educational and professional background for the last 10 years,” Bouamatou said. “I hope that I will bring new insights to the cohort based on different experience we have been going through.”

Professionally, Bouamatou has served since 2009 as the head of the Treasury Department at GBM Bank of Mauritania, the leading corporate and investment bank in Mauritania. Her interest in banking peaked in childhood when she watched her father – a banking entrepreneur whom she regards as her greatest mentor – succeed in foreign investments. He “built an empire from nothing,” she said.

An international economist and human resources manager for BSA Technologies, Meouloud “identifies the economic aspects of the situation.”

“And he’ll be the one to bring advice,” Bouamatou said, finishing her husband’s sentence.

Offering their cohort a vast and varied perspective, both Bouamatou and Meouloud have determined to gain everything possible from the EDBA program and the Fox School. This determination is evidenced in a French phase that Bouamatou features in her resume. Translated to English, the phrase suggests that perseverance creates great opportunities.

Bouamatou and Meouloud traveled 4,000 miles in pursuit of their next great opportunity, and they’re not looking back.

Douglas Maine, an alumnus of Temple University’s School of Media and Communications and a limited partner with investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman, addresses Fox School students at the second annual Temple Wall Street Day. (Credit: Jim Roese)
Douglas Maine, an alumnus of Temple University’s School of Media and Communications and a limited partner with investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman, addresses Fox School students at the second annual Temple Wall Street Day. (Credit: Jim Roese)

More than 40 students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business went from Broad Street to Wall Street last month, and they covered more ground than simply the 100 miles that separate the two East Coast cities.

At the second annual Temple Wall Street Day, held in New York City, Fox School students united with university and business school alumni to engage in a panel discussion that was followed by a robust networking session.

The event – which took place Oct. 10 at investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. – provided a platform upon which students could learn about careers in finance and financial services, and have a comfortable arena in which to ask questions of alums who, at one point, were in their shoes.

Visiting America’s financial capital and meeting with top Wall Street executives is an opportunity not often afforded to college students.

“It was eye-opening to be exposed to this brand new world,” said Jesse Worek, a senior double-majoring in Finance and Management Information Systems. “You think of Temple and Fox and, suddenly, your opinion has changed. You’re thinking of people who have gotten recruited for positions on Wall Street and in investment management.

“That’s what I foresee myself doing, and the whole experience was amazing.”

Wall Street Day came together through the behind-the-scenes work of Assistant Professor of Finance Cynthia Axelrod, Director of Corporate Relations at Fox’s Center for Student Professional Development Megan Panaccio, and Temple alumnus Douglas Maine, a Limited Partner with Brown Brothers Harriman.

Together, they assembled a panel that included:

  • Alan Cohen, CLA ’74, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Compliance for Goldman Sachs
  • Emily Hard, CLA ’04, Assistant Vice President and Relationship Partner with Brown Brothers Harriman in the company’s Boston office
  • John Jadach, FOX ’95, Director with LBC Credit Partners
  • Maine, SMC ’71
  • Jonathan Shelon, FOX ’94, Chief Investment Officer and Head of the Global Access Investment Team with JP Morgan
  • Jerry Solomon, CLA ’85, Investment Analyst with Capital Research Company
  • Dan Zibman, CLA ’74, FOX ’81, a hedge-fund industry professional since 1996

The bus trip, which included stops at New York City’s Sept. 11 memorial and reflecting pool, came to a close with the marquee of the afternoon’s program – a visit to Brown Brothers Harriman to hear from a panel of prominent Temple alums working in the financial sector. Topics of discussion ranged from personal career-path stories, job descriptions, and first-hand Temple experiences to dispensing career advice and assigning value to networking.

“When you get to hear from speakers of that level, it’s invaluable,” said Bryan Murray, a Fox School senior. “When you know they came from your school, you take even more from that dialogue.”

Murray said he felt instant connections with Temple Wall Street Day’s guest speakers, trading smalltalk and business cards with those who presided on the panel. The Royersford, Pa., native said he split his conversations with the alums between the university’s football team and his desire for a career in financial advising.

Fox School Assistant Professor of Finance Cynthia Axelrod, third from left, meets with Temple University alumni who served as members of the Temple Wall Street Day panel. (Credit: Jim Roese)
Fox School Assistant Professor of Finance Cynthia Axelrod, third from left, meets with Temple University alumni who served as members of the Temple Wall Street Day panel. (Credit: Jim Roese)

Shelon, the JP Morgan executive, said he was mutually impressed by the students, as they were with the panelists.

“I couldn’t believe the range of questions,” said Shelon, who studied Actuarial Sciences during his tenure at Fox. “I would’ve been scared to have been sitting where they were, but they had blocking and tackling questions about looking for a job in general, looking for a job out of state, what’s it like managing a team of your size – some practical questions, and some nuanced. I was delighted to see the students so engaged.”

“The questions demonstrated that Fox students are not simply intellectually curious,” said Hard, a Brown Brothers Harriman executive, “but that they are thoughtfully and consciously striving to educate themselves so that they may use the knowledge they gain at Temple to direct their future plans.”

Dr. Hilal Atasoy received the 2014 Young Researcher Award at the fifth-annual Workshop on Health IT and Economics. The honor – conferred during the Oct. 10-11 conference, hosted by the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business – recognizes the best research paper led by a junior-faculty member.

Dr. Hilal Atasoy“This is a tremendous achievement and I am honored to have been chosen as its recipient,” said Atasoy, Assistant Professor of Accounting.

Atasoy received the award for her paper titled, “The Spillover Effects of Health IT Investments on Regional Healthcare Costs,” which was co-authored by Dr. Pei-yu Chen, of Arizona State University, and Kartik Ganju, a Fox School PhD student in the Management Information Systems department.

The paper examines whether the health IT investments of one hospital will affect other hospitals in the region through instances of patient mobility, such as seeking a second opinion, changing hospitals out of convenience or due to change of address, among other reasons.

Viewed as a means of improving a patient care while decreasing health care costs, health IT improves diagnostics, decreases medical errors and can utilize the secure sharing of a patient’s medical records between hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. In her paper, Atasoy theorizes that if a patient previously had undergone baseline examinations and received proper care and diagnosis at one hospital, this can reduce spending at another hospital that same patient visits.

“Let’s say a patient first goes to Hospital A which is equipped with advanced health IT systems, and she receives a high quality of care and accurate diagnostics here. Then she moves to Hospital B. This might not reflect on Hospital A’s costs, as this hospital that went through all of the initial testing to determine the appropriate care and necessary treatment for the patient, but it could reflect in Hospital B’s costs,” Atasoy said. “The patient will be in a better health condition at that point of admittance to Hospital B and would not require any of those tests. In a sense, there could be a regional spillover from one hospital’s health IT investments to another hospital’s costs through shared patients.”

“Health IT is seen as a policy tool to reduce the health care costs, however, in most hospitals that adopt health IT system, the costs increase. In this study, we suggest that maybe this is not a hospital-level question, but instead it’s a regional question, with externalities going from one hospital to another. If there are regional spillovers, hospital-level effects may underestimate the societal benefits of health IT investments.”

Kevin Hong
Kevin Yili Hong

Fox School of Business PhD candidate Kevin Yili Hong, whose research interests include economic and behavioral issues in online labor markets, has received a tenure-track assistant professorship at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Hong came to the Fox School from China in 2009, to work with Paul A. Pavlou, Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy and the Fox School’s Chief Research Officer. Hong’s research has appeared in many top journals and proceedings, including MIS Quarterly, Journal of Global Information Management andInternational Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), among others. Some of Hong’s papers have won best paper awards at ICIS, the Americas Conference on Information Systems, and the Academy of Management Conference.

His dissertation focuses on various issues in the emerging online labor markets, using both empirical and analytical methodologies such as econometrics, game theory and field experimentation. Before joining the Fox School, Hong graduated magna cum laude from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a B.S. in Management and a B.A. in English Literature.

What drew you to the Fox School of Business?

I applied to the PhD program in 2008. I got several offers from top MIS PhD programs, but the primary reason I came here was the research interest fit with my advisor, Dr. Paul A. Pavlou. I look up to him, as he is a well-established researcher in the field with a stellar reputation. He has encouraged and convinced me to come here and work with him.

What has it been like working with the faculty here, especially Dr. Pavlou?

All of my experiences have been very positive. He is among the most professional people I’ve seen in my life. I learned so much from him. He cares a lot about my professional life, especially research, and he supports me in every way he can. It is lucky to be his first PhD student and work under his mentorship.

What drew you to your area of research?

For doctoral students, there was always the option of doing something your advisor is doing, basically following in their footsteps by extending their research, and I did some of that. Dr. Pavlou has always encouraged me to explore new phenomena, so I can establish myself as an independent researcher. So what I did was to explore something new – online labor markets – under his guidance. I have three papers in this area, which comprise my dissertation.

Why do you think you stood out to Arizona State, where you’ll be an Assistant Professor?

As I know, they received more than 100 applications, and they narrowed it down to a few candidates. I think what made me stand out was not only having top journal publications, and the reputation of Temple’s Management Information Systems program, but also other intangible capabilities: how you answer questions, how you approach people, how you react to people and other things. I got a lot of guidance from my advisor, Paul A. Pavlou, and Temple’s English language consultant Christina Owings in these aspects.

What are you looking forward to?

ASU’s MIS program is doing really well. They have a new undergraduate program in business analytics, and that’s something I’m interested in teaching. They also started a lot of new online programs, which is interesting as well. Besides teaching, as an Assistant Professor, you are always trying to publish more papers, do more research and collaborate with other faculty and PhD students. And I think my mentality will change as well from a PhD student to a professor, and I’m looking forward to a new life there.

Are you pursuing other research besides your dissertation?

Yes. I have three research streams. The first stream is my dissertation, which is online labor markets. My second research stream is on product uncertainty, and I’ve extended that stream of research with a new phenomenon called “product fit uncertainty.” My third stream is research related to social media and the economic value it provides to firms.

What will you miss about Temple and Philadelphia once you leave?

Philadelphia is a great city. It’s a city where you can get almost anything you want. I’ve gotten to know the city so well, so I know where to go and what to avoid. That’s good. At Temple, obviously all of the professors are great and are not only great researchers but also great people. They’ll provide you with research and emotional support. I’m also glad to see that, in my five years here, we have seen the MIS Department and also school go up immensely in terms of reputation. I just want to see the school reputation go upward and onward.

What advice would you give to prospective Fox PhD students?

For people pursuing a research career, I just think Fox is a great place to be. It has a culture that you start your research from day one, which is very important. So you could ideally have top journal publications by the time you graduate. And most importantly, find an advisor who can support you and get along with you professionally. This is where I was lucky!

Mary Grace Sear and Zilong ZhaoOver the summer, two undergraduate students from the Fox School of Business represented Temple University in the Windy City.

Actuarial science majors Mary Grace Sear and Zilong Zhao attended the Society of Actuaries’ (SOA) Center of Actuarial Excellence Student Summit, held Aug. 14-15 at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago.

Sear and Zhao were two of the 50 students at the conference, which had representation by 25 CAEs from universities in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong.

The summit included a host of SOA guest speakers, including president-elect Errol Cramer, who offered career advice and tips to help students stay on the right track within their major. The two-day event also featured a communication improvisational workshop emphasizing the importance of listening skills, and another workshop that required the students in attendance to analyze and present case studies that focused on healthcare and life insurance.

“The improv workshop was very informative,” said Sear, a junior from Havertown, Pa., who is also minoring in Management Information Systems (MIS). “The takeaway was that although people worry about how they present themselves, what they look like or what they are going to say next, it is more important to listen to what’s going on around them.”

“I learned a lot from the workshops through the speakers but I learned a lot more from my peers,” said Zhao, a junior born in Baoji, China, whose family now resides in Scranton, Pa. “I was inspired by the students from Canada and Hong Kong because they have amazing actuarial exam progress. I was very interested in what their schools were like and, overall, it was a great networking experience.”

Sear and Zhao were selected to attend the event on the strength of their leadership and interpersonal skills by Dr. Krupa S. Viswanathan, Associate Professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management and Director of Fox’s Actuarial Science program.  

“I chose Mary Grace and Zilong because not only do they possess strong analytical skills, they are both exceptionally well-rounded,” Viswanathan said. “Their strong communication skills were evident in class and through their participation in student organizations because they both held leadership roles.”

Outside of the classroom, Sear serves as Vice President of MIS at Gamma Iota Sigma, the risk and actuarial science business fraternity within the Fox School. Since his freshman year, Zhao has been active on campus. He currently serves as Vice President of Education at Temple Toastmasters, a student professional organization dedicated to communication and leadership development, and is an active member of Gamma Iota Sigma.

Sear and Zhao credited the Fox School with helping cultivate their leadership abilities.

“Fox really prepared me to be a professional,” said Zhao, who is also minoring in Computer Science. “While at the summit I was able to connect and network with people on a very professional level and confidently present the case studies to my peers. I love Temple, I love the program and the professors.”

Sear said her involvement with Gamma Iota Sigma, which hosts a career fair, requires etiquette workshops, resume reviews and mock interviews.

“Everything we learned at those workshops was extremely important because I had the appropriate networking skills to build on my professional contacts and network with various students at the conference,” Sear said.

Looking forward, Sear and Zhao said they are preparing for their upcoming actuarial exams, while also staying involved within the Temple community.

The bar graph is dead.

It’s a bygone relic of an era intimidated by 1.28 billion Facebook members and 3 billion computer users globally. These numbers are not as daunting as they once were; rather, they are now the tools used to determine anything from favorite food to political preference.

This is big data, the new face of statistical and computational analysis.

Big data is the collection of data sets so large that it is difficult to process them with traditional methods. As the volume, velocity and variety of these sets increases, so does the need for informed analytics.

The Fox School of Business created the Big Data Institute for just this purpose.

In existence for more than a year, and with the assistance of seed money provided by Temple University Provost Hai-Lung Dai, the Big Data Institute strives to blend several programs and encourage natural synergies among big data researchers, students and firms, while seeking to become a global leader in research, education, industry practice, and technology transfer of big data.

For Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Senior Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives at the Fox School of Business, the Institute represents a year of work supporting students and professors engaged with large data.

“The amount of data created in just an hour or minute is tremendous. We need new techniques and approaches to make sense of this data,” Pavlou said.

The Institute has five centers with individual specializations that include big data usage in mobile analytics, social media, health sciences, oncology research, statistics and biomedical informatics. These centers have used big data to connect brain imaging to successful advertisements, to use technology to create vast amounts of DNA for clinical study, and, in the School Tourism Hospitality and Management, to decrease dissatisfaction in the leisure industry, among other research projects.

“One of the unique advantages we have is that the Statistics department is housed in Fox. We try to leverage that to have different conversations,” Pavlou said.

The Institute and its centers are funded by data enthusiasts from Temple University, the federal government, affiliated firms and commercial groups, as well as start-ups the Institute helped get off the ground. With the aid of these associates, and partners in the private sphere, the Institute seeks to continue its research into cutting-edge data analysis.

In its pursuit of this goal, the Institute’s Center for Web and Social Media Analytics has capitalized on the data generated each minute from the 74 percent of adults using social media.

For Dr. Sunil Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS), this data is critical. “There is not a whole lot of awareness of what firms can do with social media,” Wattal said. “The Center provides firms with a way to quantify the value of social media and use the data to derive some interesting insights about their business.”

The Center logs onto social media to help firms such as Aerospace to understand consumer tendencies at the microscopic level. Combing through Twitter or flicking through Instagram, the Center decrypts consumer preferences for the latest fitness craze to political party affiliation. This data is then synthesized into something that anyone, from pollsters to yogis, can use to further their goals.

A key area of research, said Wattal, is how a crowdfunding organization can convince more people to donate to campaigns. Chief among the Center’s findings is that, contrary to the belief that Internet popularity grows exponentially, the more popular a campaign, the less likely it is to receive more funding. Working with a particular company, the Center has proposed design changes to combat this issue.

“There’s a community that gets created on these sites, and you can measure how people influence each other,” said Wattal.

In 2015, the Center will use funds received from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to host a big data and privacy conference, bringing together federal agencies, online giants such as Google, and interested parties to discuss personal privacy in the Big Data age.

To keep students abreast of the latest in data analysis, the Fox School’s MIS department has introduced its newest university-wide course, Data Science. It is available to all students and has allowed business students to improve their data usage in the business world.

“We’re constantly surrounded by data. If you can get the average employee to take this data and get some insight on their own you can give them an advantage over the rest,” said Dr. David Schuff, Associate Professor of MIS and instructor for the Data Science and Data Analytics courses.

Schuff said he begins with the basics – teaching business majors and minors in his Data Analytics course how to use data-mining software, like SAS Enterprise Miner, to examine data and identify its pertinent characteristics.

“We want them to be able to look at cause-effect relationships in business data and use some basic tools to analyze that data and use the results to make better decisions,” Schuff said.

Using the basic skills Schuff teaches, students can use data to examine consumer preferences, such as using sales receipts to predict which goods are bought in tandem and how strategic sales can maximize profits. Broadening the scope, if politicians want to know a Facebook friend’s electoral value, they need someone who can use big data to decipher the sentiment behind a Facebook post. For Schuff, this person is someone who is, “comfortable with data,” and can fuse tools gleaned in business classes to decode the human psyche.

Data professionals “know what you can do with data and so they know how to support the marketing function. These people aren’t going to be just data scientists, …but business people who are working with data,” Schuff said.

Schuff aims for his students to move beyond the bar graph- and pie chart-models to create and analyze more sophisticated visualizations to better integrate data in their professional lives. These students get hands-on experience using SAS products, as well as Tableau software, both of which are currently used in the analytics industry.

“We really want people to touch the tools they would be using in industry so they can speak from experience,” Schuff said.

Insideout-Prison-Exchange

Pathways to Sustainable Growth

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is a national program that creates dynamic partnerships between institutions of higher learning and correctional systems. Fox Management Consulting was tasked with developing a strategic plan, with a special focus on the role and funding of Inside-Out National. Inside-Out was provided with the information needed to implement new services offerings designed to position Inside-Out on a path of sustained growth. Fox MC’s plan has since helped Inside-Out raise $30,000. Read more.

Data visualizations and infographics are creative illustrations. They can help tell a story, convey a point – and even land Temple University students up to $2,500 in prize money.

The 2nd Annual Temple Analytics Challenge: Making Sense of Big Data opens Oct. 1. The student competition is geared toward understanding data through visualization, a component that experts have cited as the path to attaining a hot job in big data analytics.

The Temple Analytics Challenge is open to Temple University students across all schools and disciplines. Working in teams or individually, students are tasked with creating an original visualization that provides clear and meaningful insight into current issues facing industry.

Corporate leaders developed specific problems and data sets that student teams will use to create their visualizations. They are:
The NBCUniversal Challenge: Where will politicians spend their midterm advertising dollars?
The Lockheed Martin Challenge: Which employee behaviors predict security threats?
The Merck Challenge: What is the impact of a new corporate site?

“Last year the competition was an amazing success, with 183 entries from 400 students across seven schools and colleges,” said challenge organizer David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School of Business. “The competition gives students the opportunity to work on real-world problems and data, while developing critical visual communication skills.”

The winning team will earn a $2,500 grand prize. Two second-place prizes ($1,500 each), two third-place prizes ($1,000 each) and five honorable mention prizes ($500) will also be awarded. The prizes are sponsored by the corporate members of the Institute for Business and Information Technology at the Fox School of Business and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

Contest entries are due Oct. 30. Twenty finalists will present their work Nov. 17 before a live judging panel of industry leaders from Merck, Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, RJMetrics, NBCUniversal and the Campbell Soup Company.

Students can use any tools or software of their choosing to create their entries. Workshops and mentoring are available throughout October to further assist students.

For details, visit analyticschallenge.temple.edu. If you are a Temple professor looking to get your students involved, contact David Schuff (david.schuff@temple.edu) to request more information.

Yolandra Brown presents her entry at the 2013 Temple Analytics Challenge. Brown, a Management Information Systems major at the Fox School of Business, was the first-place winner of the competition, which is entering its second year. (Courtesy: Temple University)

Data visualizations and infographics are creative illustrations. They can help tell a story, convey a point – and even land Temple University students up to $2,500 in prize money.

The 2nd Annual Temple Analytics Challenge: Making Sense of Big Data opens Oct. 1. The student competition is geared toward understanding data through visualization, a component that experts have cited as the path to attaining a hot job in big data analytics.

The Temple Analytics Challenge is open to Temple University students across all schools and disciplines. Working in teams or individually, students are tasked with creating an original visualization that provides clear and meaningful insight into current issues facing industry.

Corporate leaders developed specific problems and data sets that student teams will use to create their visualizations. They are:
The NBCUniversal Challenge: Where will politicians spend their midterm advertising dollars?
The Lockheed Martin Challenge: Which employee behaviors predict security threats?
The Merck Challenge: What is the impact of a new corporate site?

“Last year the competition was an amazing success, with 183 entries from 400 students across seven schools and colleges,” said challenge organizer David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School of Business. “The competition gives students the opportunity to work on real-world problems and data, while developing critical visual communication skills.”

The winning team will earn a $2,500 grand prize. Two second-place prizes ($1,500 each), two third-place prizes ($1,000 each) and five honorable mention prizes ($500) will also be awarded. The prizes are sponsored by the corporate members of the Institute for Business and Information Technology at the Fox School of Business and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

Contest entries are due Oct. 30. Twenty finalists will present their work Nov. 17 before a live judging panel of industry leaders from Merck, Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, RJMetrics, NBCUniversal and the Campbell Soup Company.

Students can use any tools or software of their choosing to create their entries. Workshops and mentoring are available throughout October to further assist students.

For details, visit analyticschallenge.temple.edu. If you are a Temple professor looking to get your students involved, contact David Schuff (david.schuff@temple.edu) to request more information.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Temple University’s Fox School of Business with a $50,000 grant, with which the School will fund a workshop workshop is to bring together experts in the domain of big data and privacy to develop a research agenda for better understanding and promoting privacy in an era of big data. The “Privacy in an Era of Big Data Workshop”(please link to fox.temple.edy/nsfworkshop) will take place at the university on April 22 and 23 of this year. Government officials, industry leaders, and notable academics will meet to discuss privacy issues surrounding big data, and to develop a forward-looking agenda for research on the legal, technological, social, behavioral, economic, and broader implications of Big Data and Privacy in academia, industry, and government.

Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, the Milton F. Stauffer Professor, as Principal Investigator, and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Dr. Sunil Wattal, as Co-Principal Investigator, received the NSF grant. The objective of the NSF workshop is to demonstrate the merits in the pursuit of the potential for big data while respecting privacy rights.

In the proposal, Pavlou and Wattal argued that there are “unexplored links” between big data and privacy, and that the potential exists for breaches of privacy, particularly by corporations, malicious individuals or governments. The workshop, Pavlou and Wattal said, would unite individuals from multiple disciplines in an attempt to promote a “forward-looking agenda.”

“People often have very little control over the collection process, in terms of knowledge about what information is being collected and stored about them,” said Pavlou, a Co-Director of Temple’s Big Data Institute and the School’s Chief Research Officer. “They also are unaware of who has access to the information, and for what purpose the information will be used.

“Finding solutions to these big day and privacy problems must become a priority for this generation of interdisciplinary research.”

The NSF workshop will cover: the tradeoff between the benefits of big data and privacy protection; the legal, public policy and regulatory issues on privacy; privacy protection technologies; and social, behavioral and economical approaches to encouraging individual privacy practice.

Slated to take place in late Spring 2015, the workshop will be open to all centers that operate in conjunction with Temple’s Big Data Institute. Additionally, select global big-data experts from academia, industry, and government will be invited to attend. A date for the workshop has not yet been finalized.

The Third Annual Conference at Temple University on the Convergence of Managerial and Financial Accounting Research was held Aug. 7-9.

Co-hosted by the Merves Center for Accounting and Information Technology, and the Accounting Department at Temple’s Fox School of Business, the conference has received additional sponsorship support allthree years from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) UK, the world’s largest professional body of management accountants. Each year, the Accounting Conference explores state-of-the-art practices in how the understanding of financial reporting is and can be informed by considering managerial accounting issues, while showcasing important cutting-edge research by scholars in both managerial and financial accounting.

More than 80 leading experts gathered at Alter Hall, home to the Fox School of Business, including keynote speakers Jacob Thomas, Rajiv Banker, Eva Labro, Paul Zarowin, Sudipta Basu, Ranjani Krishnan and Lawrence Brown.

A co-organizer of this and other accounting conference series, Banker said this particular series attracted 50 percent more participants than last year, and is hopeful for continued growth in the years to come.

“Convergence of managerial and financial accounting is an exciting and expanding new field of research,” said Banker, a Professor of Accounting at Fox. “The Fox School of Business at Temple University, our faculty, and our PhD students are seen as emerging leaders in this new field of inquiry.”

Presentations featured research work by academics, revealing how managerial behavior influences financial reporting, and covered topics like Analyst Forecasts, Performance Evaluations, Earnings Behavior, International Financial Reporting, and Taxation. Presenters and attendees came from around the world, including representatives from universities such as Harvard, Northwestern, New York University, the London Business School, Yale, Columbia and Tilburg University.

In addition to presentations from professors and leading academic experts, 12 PhD students presented their research work during the conference.

Assistant Professor of Accounting at the Fox School and a co-organizer of this year’s conference, Lucas Threinen said he was impressed by the PhD students who had been accepted as presenters, noting “these students represented themselves very well, and I believe they were able to get valuable feedback about their work.”

Providing PhD students with an opportunity to present their research at an academic conference builds upon the mission of the Fox School’s PhD Program to educate, train and mentor PhD students in a supportive research environment with the aid of Fox faculty to generate and publish ground-breaking research in top journal outlets, and place them in peer and aspirant research institutions around the world.

Next year’s conference on the Convergence of Managerial and Financial Accounting will be held at the University of Calgary, in Canada, which Banker hopes will expand the scope of already-growing attendance, and will be co-sponsored again by the Merves Center for Accounting and Information Technology at the Fox School of Business. The Merves Center has more exciting events in the works for the upcoming academic year, bringing a new academic conference series focusing on Accounting Information Systems to Temple. Banker will co-organize this conference series with newly appointed Assistant Professor of Accounting Hilal Atasoy.

More information on conferences sponsored by the Accounting Department at the Fox School of Business at Temple University can be found by visiting their departmental website.