Archive for October, 2011

EMBA program moves up in latest FT ranking

Monday, October 24th, 2011

The Freeman School executive MBA program moved up a spot in the latest Financial Times ranking of the world’s top executive MBA programs.

In the latest Financial Times ranking of executive MBA programs, the Freeman School’s EMBA program is ranked 74th in the world and 25th among U.S. programs.

The Freeman School’s executive MBA program is now ranked 74th in the world and 25th among U.S. programs. The ranking was published Oct. 24 in Financial Times and on

Financial Times ranks executive MBA programs on measures of alumni success, school diversity and quality of faculty. Three years after finishing the program, graduates of the Freeman School’s executive MBA program earn an average salary of $167,458 per year, an increase of 54 percent over their pre-EMBA salary. In addition, the Freeman School ranked 19th among the top 100 in the category of work experience, which measures the previous experience of EMBA participants according to criteria including seniority of positions held, number of years in each position, size of company and any international work experience prior to starting the EMBA.

To see the full executive MBA ranking online, visit To learn more about the Freeman School’s executive MBA programs in New Orleans and Houston, visit


Love DIY projects? It’s the Ikea effect

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

So it turns out there’s a reason why you could never throw out that wobbly old bookcase you put together in college. Call it the Ikea effect.

Daniel Mochon

Assistant Professor of Marketing Daniel Mochon says consumers tend to value self-made products more than similar professionally assembled products. Photo by Sabree Hill.

In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Tulane researcher Daniel Mochon argues that consumers tend to value products they build themselves—such as furniture from Ikea—more than similar professionally built products.

“Usually when people think of building their own furniture, they think it’s sort of foisting cost onto the consumer and therefore it reduces value,” explains Mochon, assistant professor of marketing at Tulane’s Freeman School of Business. “But what we find is that people actually come to love the things they have created.”

In a series of experiments, Mochon and co-authors Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely asked subjects to build simple items—such as Ikea storage boxes or origami figures—and then compared their willingness to pay for those items to their willingness to pay for similar pre-assembled products. Surprisingly, participants were routinely willing to pay more for the items they put together than for the professionally assembled items.

Mochon attributes the phenomenon to what psychologists refer to as the need for effectance.

“People just have a fundamental need to feel like they can intervene in the world,” says Mochon. “By creating stuff, they have a way to signal to themselves and others that they can intervene. I think that’s why people love do-it-yourself projects so much. It’s a way to show you have control over the world.”

The researchers’ findings also help to explain the popularity of sites like YouTube, which rely on user-generated content. Mochon says users get the same kind of satisfaction from uploading a self-made video that they get from assembling an Ikea bookshelf.

“People love their own videos,” says Mochon, who teaches a course on social media marketing at the Freeman School. “They see that badly focused video of their cat jumping on a sofa bed as the most amazing thing in the world because they created it themselves.”


Innovative approach to health care wins top prize at PitchNOLA

Friday, October 7th, 2011

The ideas presented spanned everything from urban farms to educational wetlands trips to an online crowdsourcing program to support underprivileged students, but in the end, it was an innovative approach to health care that captured the top prize at PitchNOLA 2011.

Sarah Mason, left, and Arwen Podesta, right, won first place at this year’s PitchNOLA competition with their pitch for an integrative medical practice. Also pictures are Andrea Chen, second from left, executive director of SENO, and Stephanie Barksdale, manager of Tulane’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives. (Photos by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo.)

The Well, a multi-modal clinic combining primary, holistic and mental health care services, won first place at this year’s PitchNOLA competition, an “elevator pitch” contest for local social entrepreneurship ventures.

The competition, a presentation of Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives and Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO) with support from the Freeman School and the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, took place on Thursday (Oct. 6) in the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium.

In earning this year’s top honors, the Well edged out nine other ventures to win a prize package worth more than $6,000, including a $3,500 cash award, $2,000 in pro bono marketing and PR services from Trumpet Group, $500 in billable legal hours from the law firm of Baker Donelson, and a mentorship and pro bono technical assistance from SENO.

Serving as judges for the competition were Leslie Jacobs, founder of Educate Now! and chair of GNO Inc.; Eric Shaw, vice president of policy and programs at Foundation for Louisiana; and Nishith Acharya, executive director of the Deshpande Foundation, who delivered a keynote address to attendees.

The Well’s Dr. Arwen Podesta, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Tulane Medical School, and Sarah Mason, a registered nurse, won the competition with their pitch for a new outpatient clinic, one that would serve both the primary care and mental and behavioral health needs of patients. Podesta noted that the lack of a comprehensive approach to care at the clinic level results in many patients failing to receive the treatment they need.

“There are examples of integrative, holistic centers, but none that I know of that include mental health, psychiatry, behavioral health and addiction,” said Podesta.

That unique approach to meeting a significant social need impressed the judges.

“One of the things we were asked to judge was the level of innovation,” Jacobs said. “In our mind, they were clearly very innovative. This problem exists, it is the first we’ve heard of this type of solution, and we felt it was worth an investment to see if this could be viable.”

This year’s PitchNOLA attracted more than 200 people, making it the biggest competition in the three-year history of the event.

“The Well really had the passion,” added Shaw. “I think they could create a model that could be replicated throughout New Orleans and throughout the state.”

AMPS, a producer self-sustaining urban farms, won this year’s “audience favorite” award and a prize package worth $1,000. Audience members were able to vote on which pitch they liked best via text message during the competition.

Prior to PitchNOLA, LifeCity in conjunction with SENO and Tulane presented Green the Gras, a competition for ideas to make Mardi Gras more environmentally sustainable. Beadcycle, an initiative to reward individuals who recycle their Mardi Gras beads with tokens good for discounts at local restaurants, won the top prize of $1,000 plus consulting services from SENO.

This year’s PitchNOLA attracted more than 200 attendees, making it the biggest in the three-year history of the competition. According to Shaw, that attendance reflects the remarkable growth of social entrepreneurship in New Orleans.

“It really is a groundswell,” Shaw said. “SENO has been amazing bringing attention to it, Tulane has been amazing bringing attention to it, and a lot of foundations are supporting it. It really is a new type of entrepreneurship, to help people and address a need in the community.”


Trapani and Bakamitsos tapped to lead Exec Ed

Friday, October 7th, 2011

John M. Trapani III has been appointed as the new head of executive education at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business.

John M. Trapani III, professor of economics and Streiffer Chair in International Finance, will serve as the Freeman School’s new associate dean for executive education.

Trapani, professor of economics, Streiffer Chair in International Finance and executive director of the Goldring Institute of International Business, will oversee executive programs as associate dean for executive education.

He succeeds Russ Robins, who had served as associate dean since 2002.

In addition, Yiorgos Bakamitsos has been appointed assistant dean for executive education. In that role, Bakamitsos will report to Trapani and manage the day-to-day operations of the school’s executive MBA programs in New Orleans and Houston. Bakamitsos will also have responsibilities for developing new executive education options.

The one-year appointments were announced by Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon.

“John has served the Freeman School as a professor, administrator and director for more than 20 years, and his wealth of experience and insight will be a great asset to all our executive programs,” said Dean Solomon. “As a longtime instructor in the EMBA program, Yiorgos brings knowledge, enthusiasm and a deep understanding of the executive education market to his new role. I am delighted to have John and Yiorgos on board in these new roles.”

Trapani served as the Freeman School’s director of executive and international programs from 1989 to 1991, and since then he’s served in a variety of senior administrative positions at the business school, including senior associate dean, vice dean and director of the Goldring Institute of International Business.

“The executive education market is undergoing a transformation, and we hope to be on the leading edge of that change,” said Trapani. “I’m looking forward to working closely with Yiorgos to improve and expand our executive education options.”

Assistant Professor of Marketing Yiorgos Bakamitsos, center, will serve as the Freeman School’s new assistant dean for executive education, with responsibilities for managing the day-to-day operations of the school's executive MBA programs.

Bakamitsos joined the Freeman School in 2005 as assistant professor of marketing and has taught in the executive MBA program since 2007. Prior to joining the Freeman School, he served as an assistant professor at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and as a lecturer at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He earned his PhD in marketing from the Kellogg School in 2000.

“The Freeman School attracts some of the brightest business leaders in New Orleans and Houston for its executive programs,” said Bakamitsos. “I’m excited by the opportunity to help create a more valuable, dynamic educational experience for these outstanding executives and working professionals.”

About the Freeman School
The Freeman School of Business at Tulane, originally the College of Commerce and Business Administration, was established in 1914 and is a founding member of AACSB, the premier accrediting body for collegiate schools of business. Today, Freeman is a leading, internationally recognized business school with more than 2,500 students in programs spanning four continents. The Freeman School is consistently listed among the nation’s best business schools by publications including U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Financial Times and AméricaEconomía.



Economic development officials say collaboration is key to success

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

This year’s Tulane Business Forum focused on growth through innovation and collaboration, and according to a panel of New Orleans economic development officials, the city’s remarkable rise in a host of national business rankings—everything from best city for attracting people under 25 with college degrees to top metro area for IT job growth—is perfect example of that theme.

Tulane Business Forum presenter Leslie Jacobs, left, said recent success in economic development is a result of increased collaboration at the state, regional and local levels.

“These impressive national rankings did not happen by accident,” said Leslie Jacobs, chairman of Greater New Orleans Inc., which leads economic development activity for the 10-parish southeast Louisiana region. “There is an alignment at the state, regional and local level that is unprecedented.”

Jacobs moderated a panel presentation on regional economic development at the 32nd annual Tulane Business Forum. The forum, an annual presentation of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA), took place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside on Sept. 30. More than 700 people attended this year’s event to hear local and national business leaders discuss strategies that leverage innovation and collaboration.

Panelist Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc., said the organization divides its efforts between business development—recruiting companies to come to New Orleans—and what he calls product development, or ways to make the greater New Orleans region more attractive to businesses.

Hecht cited a long list of product development initiatives championed by GNO Inc. in collaboration with other groups, including the elimination of capital gains tax on the sale of a business, incentives for digital media companies, angel investor tax credits, a tax incentive for creating well-paying jobs, and even social developments like educational reform. Those efforts have helped to attract high-profile companies like French computer and video game giant Gameloft, which plans to build a software development studio in New Orleans, and Globalstar, which recently moved its corporate headquarters from the Silicon Valley to Covington.

“The fact is, because of our good product development, we’re having business success,” Hecht said.

Jay Grinney, president and CEO of HealthSouth Corp., delivered a luncheon keynote presentation on how the company recovered and rebuilt itself in the wake of a near-fatal accounting scandal.

The forum also included presentations by Stephen Moret, secretary of Louisiana economic development, who talked about the state’s economic development efforts, and Walter L. Schindler, managing partner of SAIL Venture Partners, who highlighted investment opportunities in sustainable energy companies.

This year’s keynote speakers were Michael C. Slocum, president of commercial banking at Capital One, who delivered a morning keynote session on funding innovation, and Jay Grinney, president and CEO of HealthSouth Corp., who delivered a luncheon keynote on how the company rebuilt itself in the wake of its near-fatal accounting scandal.


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