Archive for September, 2012

Students put their business skills to work for injured Tulane football player

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Within hours of learning that Tulane football player Devon Walker (SE ’13) had suffered a devastating spinal injury in the Sept. 8 game against Tulsa, Brad Girson (BSM ’13) and Jesse Schwartz (LA ’13) started brainstorming.

Brad Girson

Freeman School student Brad Girson (BSM ’13), above, has helped raise nearly $15,000 for injured Tulane football player Devon Walker through the sale of T-shirts. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano.)

“We were sitting in our living room watching the game live, and we saw the injury happen,” recalls Schwartz. “We didn’t know the extent of the injury at the time, but when we found out, we just thought, ‘What can we do?’”

Girson and Schwartz had started a clothing line during their sophomore year, selling custom-designed T-shirts out of their dorm rooms, so it didn’t take long for the business partners to come up with an idea to create a T-shirt with Walker’s name and jersey number to raise funds for the family and rally students around the cause.

“It was kind of naïve,” Girson says. “We walked into President Cowen’s office Monday morning and said, ‘We have an idea to help Devon Walker. Can we meet with President Cowen?’”

Cowen quickly embraced the idea and with his support, the students placed an order for 384 T-shirts to sell at a rally being planned for Walker that Friday afternoon. By Friday morning, they had more than 800 requests for shirts.

“We realized we were dramatically underestimating,” laughs Girson. “We sold out in an hour and a half.”

Girson and Schwartz have since sold more than 1,600 T-shirts, generating nearly $15,000 for the Devon Walker fund, which was established to assist the Walker family with medical bills and other costs.

“Tulane does a really good job of instilling in students the idea of social entrepreneurship and giving back to the community,” says Girson. “When this injury happened, we knew we had to do something.”

The Devon Walker recovery T-shirt is available online through the Tulane bookstore and the Tulane Athletics online store. For more information about Walker’s recovery and ongoing support efforts, visit


Center for Audit Quality’s Cindy Fornelli speaks at Freeman School

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Cindy Fornelli, executive director of the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ), discussed the state of financial reporting, public company auditing and the role of the CAQ in a special lecture at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business.

Cindy Fornelli

Cindy Fornelli

Fornelli’s presentation, “The Path Forward: The Center for Audit Quality and the Quality of Financial Reporting,” took place on Monday, Sept. 17, in Goldring/ Woldenberg Hall II.

Fornelli is one of the nation’s leaders in the area of public company auditing policy. As executive director of the Center for Audit Quality, Fornelli heads an organization dedicated to enhancing investor confidence and public trust in the global capital markets by fostering high-quality performance by public company auditors. The CAQ also collaborates with other stakeholders to advance the discussion of critical issues and advocates policies and standards that promote public company auditors’ objectivity and responsiveness to market conditions.

In her talk, Fornelli discussed the mission of the CAQ and fielded questions from students on everything from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to her thoughts what effect the presidential election is likely to have on the accounting world.

The lecture culminated a busy day at Tulane for Fornelli. In addition to her presentation, she spoke to two small groups of students and met with Freeman School faculty members in addition to a lunchtime meeting with executives from local accounting firms.

“We were delighted to bring a leader from the world of accountancy to campus,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “Cindy understands auditing policy better than almost anyone, and judging from the enthusiastic response of our students, I think it’s clear her talk contributed greatly to their understanding of this important aspect of accounting.”

Prior to leading the Center for Audit Quality, Fornelli was the regulatory and conflicts management executive at Bank of America. In that role, she was responsible for managing enterprise-wide conflicts that potentially could arise from the bank’s delivery of multiple products and services across several business divisions, particularly those related to securities regulation.

Before joining Bank of America, Fornelli was deputy director of the Division of Investment Management of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where she was responsible for implementing SEC policy, rule and regulations in the investment company and investment advisory industries.



Freeman professor earns AICPA Best Early Career Researcher Award

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has named Jasmijn C. Bol, associate professor of accounting at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business, recipient of this year’s Best Early Career Researcher Award.

Jasmijn Bol

Jasmijn C. Bol, associate professor of accounting, is the recipient of this year’s Best Early Career Researcher Award from the American Institute of CPAs.

The award, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Accounting Association (AAA) in National Harbor, Md., is given to the researcher with the best overall body of research in management accounting. Eligible research must have been completed within the first five years of joining a faculty.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in the United Kingdom and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA) co-sponsored the award. It was granted in collaboration with the Management Accounting Section of the AAA.

Bol’s award winning research includes the use of accounting information for managerial decision making, with a special focus on performance measurement and compensation systems. Recent papers include “Spillover Effects in Subjective Performance Evaluation: Bias and the Asymmetric Influence of Controllability” (2011), “The Forward-Looking Role of Subjectivity in Performance and Promotion Evaluations: Evidence from Professional Services” (2011) and “The Dynamics of Incentive Contracting: The Role of Learning in the Diffusion Process” (2010). All were published in Accounting Review. The third paper was also published in Accounting, Organizations and Society.

“This award reflects our commitment to the next generation of researchers that will advance the profession of management accounting,” said Scott Moore, AICPA senior manager, college and university initiatives, who presented the award. “Bol’s research will help CPAs and CGMAs working in business and industry, many of whom are CEOs and CFOs, make better financial decisions.”

Bol joined the faculty of the Freeman School in 2012. She previously was assistant professor of accountancy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds a PhD from IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Spain, and a master’s degree in International Business from Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Research Notes: Prof. Janet Schwartz

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Janet Schwartz’s paper “Price Inferences for Sacred vs. Secular Goods: Changing the Price of Medicine Influences Perceived Health Risk” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Consumer Research. Schwartz, assistant professor of marketing at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business, co-authored the paper with Adriana Samper, assistant professor of marketing at Arizona State University.

To see more Freeman School research, visit the Faculty Publications page.

How much is a tweet worth? Try $18K

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

If you’ve ever wondered about the true value of social media, a class of Freeman School students has an answer for you.


That’s how much a Twitter message — or, if you prefer, a tweet — the students posted on behalf of the Louisiana Museum Foundation generated for the foundation’s efforts to repair and restore music legend Fats Domino’s white Steinway piano, which was nearly destroyed by floodwaters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Fats Domino's Piano

Fats Domino’s white Steinway grand piano sits on its side in his flooded 9th Ward home following Hurricane Katrina. A class of Freeman School students created a social media campaign to raise funds for the piano’s restoration and received an $18,000 donation from a fan in Australia.

“It was absolutely phenomenal,” says Susan Maclay, executive director of the foundation, which raises private grants and donations to support programs of the Louisiana State Museum. “Out of the clear blue sky, a perfect stranger saw their tweet, got in touch with us and said, ‘Look, whatever you need to finish the project, let me know.’”

The Twitter project was part of professor of practice Ashley Keller Nelson’s social media communications class, which puts undergraduate business students to work on social media campaigns for local nonprofits. Last semester, the Louisiana Museum Foundation reached out to Nelson for help on a number of fundraising projects, including one to repair Domino’s waterlogged piano for the museum’s upcoming Louisiana Music Experience exhibition.

Prior to the class’s involvement, the campaign had languished, with just a handful of donations that amounted to less than 25 percent of the funds needed to complete the project.

To get the word out, the students created a Twitter account for the campaign, @Fats_Piano, and began tweeting about Domino and the restoration project to a growing audience of followers in the New Orleans music community.

“It was more than simply posting messages about the project,” says Nelson. “The students had to create a personality for the piano and its Twitter account so the messages would grab the follower’s attention. For example, they tweeted, ‘You know Katrina done me wrong’ and linked a video of Fats singing ‘You Done Me Wrong.’ Another tweet said, ‘Hard to hate a Blue Monday on such a beautiful day!’”

Fats' Piano

Domino’s piano, shown here in a March 2006 photo outside Domino’s 9th Ward home, is now in the hands of conservators and will be a key artifact in the Louisiana State Museum’s upcoming Louisiana Music Experience exhibition.

The campaign captured the attention of some high-profile supporters, including the Tipitina’s Foundation, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and even Paul McCartney, who donated $1,000 toward the restoration effort.

Eventually, one of the students’ tweets found its way to a New Orleans music fan in Australia, who contacted the foundation and offered to provide the remaining funds needed to complete the project, which resulted in a donation of $18,000.

Domino’s piano is now in the hands of conservators, and Maclay says she expects it to be ready for the opening of the exhibition in 2014.

“I was very skeptical, but I will tell you I am now a believer in social media thanks to those students,” Maclay says. “The students were fantastic, and we loved working with them.”


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