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OWLympiad_1The Fox School of Business will welcome nearly 250 juniors from Philadelphia-area high schools to Temple University for the 7th annual OWLympiad math competition, to be held May 9 at the Howard Gittis Student Center.

Free to attend, OWLympiad offers cash prizes for 11th-graders who are exploring career possibilities in the actuarial science field. Actuaries leverage high-level numerical skills to assume positions in insurance, consulting, investment banking, government organizations, and more.

“This event creates awareness that actuarial science is an appealing career path for someone who loves math, and it’s a great way for local math-minded students to connect with one another,” said OWLympiad coordinator Dr. Krupa Viswanathan, an Associate Professor and Director of the Fox School’s Actuarial Science program.

OWLympiad will challenge teams of four students to demonstrate their knowledge in a range of math-related subjects, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The competition, which begins at 9 a.m., will consist of a multiple-choice exam, a “24” math cardgame competition, and a Quizzo-style lightning round. The team that accrues the most points will be awarded $400. All participating students will receive a customized T-shirt, lunch, and other items provided by the event’s sponsors.

OWLympiad_2The Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, as well as the Sigma Chapter of international professional fraternity Gamma Iota Sigma, will host the competition. Travelers Insurance Company and the Casualty Actuarial Society are the event’s sponsors.

Temple University offers one of the most-distinguished Actuarial Science programs in North America, and has been recognized by the Society of Actuaries as a Center of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) – one of only 30 institutions to receive this honor. The Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department has offered engagement opportunities for local high school students for the past 15 years, including OWLympiad.

Email Timothy Ellis (timothy.ellis@temple.edu) or Viswanathan (krupa@temple.edu) for more information about OWLympiad.

All business plans for the  Be Your Own Boss Bowl (BYOBB) competition are due this Tuesday, March 17 at 11:59 p.m. Competitors will submit their plans to https://app.wizehive.com/appform/login/byobb2015 and BYOBB finalists will be announced by April 1. As a reminder, you must include three items in your application:

If you have any questions about the BYOBB competition please look at the BYOBB website, email iei@temple.edu or call 215-204-3082 for more information.  We will have people standing by until 8:00 pm on March 17th to answer questions. 

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BYOBB2015 to join in on the conversation. 

On Tuesday, February 24, IEI’s Executive Director, Ellen Weber, led a “Pitch Decks” workshop discussing the components and expectations of a pitch deck to prepare those who are competing in the BYOBB business plan competition. The presentation took place in Fox’s IEI Lab from 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Beginning the presentation, Ellen defined a pitch deck as “a six-to-eight minute presentation with an investor focus that grabs early attention and holds attention by hitting highlights of your business plan, leaving the investor eager to know more.” When someone likes your pitch, it increases your chances of getting your business plan read. For instance, if you do a great job with your pitch deck, the judges will be more favorably disposed while reading your business plan. 

Regarding the pitch deck PowerPoint presentation, it is important the presenter’s slides speak for his/her product or service. If the slides fail to tell a story, students should create a narration deck to include their notes from their note section to help the pitch deck flow. Remember, don’t just tell the business plan, share the business plan so the judges can see it and have a feel for it. A personal tip Ellen suggested to students was to create an appendix slide so BYOBB participants are prepared if a judge asks a question, the participant can go directly to that slide to answer the judge’s question.

Out of all of your PowerPoint slides, the financials slide is most important. This is because judges can get a sense of how you think as an entrepreneur by seeing a three year financial projection and history. By showing your revenues, expenses and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), the judges can learn when you think growth or break-even may occur in your business. Keep in mind to never include decimals in your financials!

At the very end of your presentation, do not have a slide simply saying, “Thank You.” The last slide will stay up for judges to look at during the Q&A so it is essential to leave a lasting impression by ending with a summary slide of reasons why to invest in your company. Also, don’t forget to have your contact information listed in the beginning and end of the presentation because if someone sends your pitch deck to someone else, and you have no contact information listed, you may have lost yourself a major opportunity.

BYOBB judges will also pay extreme attention to how well the students know, understand and care about competition. Ellen advised, “The more you can differentiate your product or service, the better. The more you know about your competitors, the better. It is okay to have your competition do some things your company can’t do because this is how you show which niche you are going for.”

Overall, do what is best for you and your company. Make your story compelling, keep it simple and short, cover all of the necessary info, and show what the product looks like. Be passionate, entrepreneurial, honest and coachable. Don’t get discouraged by constructive criticism; do your homework and listen and accept negative feedback, as it will only help you in the long-run.

As a reminder, there will be On Demand Mentoring sessions on March 10 (5 p.m.) and March 11 (12 p.m.) for BYOBB participants to receive feedback from senior executives on the financials, strategy, marketing, and other challenging sections of their business plans. Both sessions will take place in Alter Hall’s IEI Lab, room 503D.

To learn more about how to create a successful pitch deck, visit http://bizclarity.com/handout-basics/. Be sure to stay connected with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute to get the latest updates on workshops and events on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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It was standing room only for renowned entrepreneur and Strategic Management Professor, Dwight Carey, as he led the “Cash Flow, Profits & Financials” workshop on February 18 in Fox’s IEI Lab.

Professor Carey started his presentation by stating, “Cash is more important than your momma because without cash you are out of business.” Students laughed at his opening remark, but he was very serious.

Throughout the workshop, he never strayed from the discussion of a cash flow pro forma, as it is key to an entrepreneur who does not want to run out of cash. He asked students about the components of a balance sheet and the main difference between income sheets and balance sheets because these answers are key to a successful cash flow pro forma. He shared the easy part of a cash flow pro forma is the expenses, and the hard part is the income.

As a young entrepreneur, the odds are going to be against you. Professor Carey said, “In the first five years, about 50 or more percent of all startups are going to go bankrupt. At the end of 10 years, only one in 10 companies will make it.” He provided advice on how to avoid joining these statistics:

  1. There is such a thing as “love money.” For example, your father is willing to cash in his 401K to get your business going. Be cautious because if this money burns out, you may have your father living with you for the rest of your life. Ultimately, be careful when borrowing this so-called love money!
  2. It is extremely important to project your revenue. This means, sit down with no distractions and write down every little thing that could affect your business sales in the future. This includes strikes, natural disasters, the city shutting down, etc. As entrepreneurs, you need to always look into the future for your business to succeed.
  3. Do not hire people in the beginning of your company simply just to “hire people.” You need to remember that once you hire someone, you have an ethical and moral responsibility to make them good employees. It is immoral to simply hire and fire people just because you suddenly realize you don’t need them in your company. Instead, hire independent contractors or your peers who have the skills your business needs to get started.
  4. If you want your product in a company, don’t be afraid to call that company’s president. Ask for just 15 minutes of his/her time to pitch your product to get it in that dream company. Perfect your pitch in front of a mirror so you are confident and ready to share your innovation and passion with the world!
  5. Lastly, ask yourself from May to the end of your first year, “Can I afford to lose $45,000?” If you say no, don’t throw your idea away quite yet. Instead, go back over your cash flow pro forma and either (1) increase your sales or (2) cut your expenses. Ultimately, be incredibly realistic about your product and business and ruthlessly honest with yourself in order to succeed.

At the end of the workshop, Professor Carey gave students “homework” to research the founder of SPANX, Sara Blakely, who is the first female billionaire under 30 years old. He told students to listen to her story from The Edge Connection, as she will share, “One day you wake up and you’re an inventor and then one day you wake up and you’re a company.” Learn more about Sara and her booming business here.

Be sure to stay connected with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute to get the latest updates on workshops and events at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

While college seniors across the country prepared for their last undergrad finals and applied for jobs, William Thorsson and his Fox School of Business peers flew to Denver, Co., for a national competition in which they gave a presentation in front of 100 risk management industry leaders.

On April 30, moments after finalist presentations ended, Gabriel and her three teammates learned they won the Risk and Insurance Management Society’s inaugural Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge.

“I wasn’t actually in the room when our victory was announced, so I didn’t believe it right away,” the senior risk insurance and healthcare management major said. “I was beyond excited when it sunk in.”

The competition has taken place for the last three years. This was the first year the conference was hosted at the RIMS conference, and the second consecutive year Temple University’s Fox School team won.

“It’s a testament to their hard work and training,” said Professor Robert Drennan, chair of Fox’s risk, insurance and healthcare management department. “We’ve always felt our undergraduate program at the Fox School is the very best in the country. A lot of objective evidence points to that, and this victory is just one more piece of evidence.”

Thorsson and his teammates Cathleen Gabriel, Martin Leicht and Steven Costa entered the challenge back in February when they and the 14 other contestants were presented with a risk management situation for Snap-on Inc. Each team had to respond to a proposal and create a presentation to win Snap-on’s business.

Each team submitted proposals to RIMS and by March, judges narrowed the running to nine teams. The nine schools were invited to the annual RIMS conference in Denver and gave oral presentations to a panel of 10 judges.

At the conference, judges chose narrowed the competition to three finalist teams who gave their presentation in front of industry leaders and professionals on the conference’s last day.

The Fox School team was awarded $4,000 for their first place victory. Florida State University and the Virginia Commonwealth University, won second ($3,000) and third ($2,000) places, respectively.

Thorsson was also thrilled for the exposure to the industry the challenge provided to him and his team.

“It highlights how fortunate we are to have a such a great risk management program and how, as Fox students, we’re given a holistic view of business,” he says.

Gabriel, who accepted a job at America International Group (AIG) Inc., says the entire challenge experience and victory made her grateful for the quality of education she received at Fox.

“Everything I’ve learned in the classroom, I’ve been able to apply to real life situations,” Gabriel says. “Attending and winning the Spencer-RIMS Challenge with my teammates was an amazing way to end a tremendous college career.”