Archive for the ‘Alumni News’ Category
Monday, September 16th, 2013
As Al Green croons in the background, a chef assembles small plates of sous vide pork belly with shiso and corn espuma at a work station in the front of the room as Paco Robert, the evening’s host, places them in front of diners gathered at two long, candlelit tables.
Paco Robert (MBA ’11), center, brought his fast-growing social dining venture Dinner Lab to the Freeman School for a live case study on the business. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)
The scene may sound like something out of a trendy restaurant, but the dining room in question is actually an MBA classroom at the A. B. Freeman School of Business.
Robert (MBA ’11) brought his innovative startup Dinner Lab to the business school earlier this month for a live case study on the fast-growing social dining venture.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Robert founded Dinner Lab a year ago to create one-of-kind experiences for adventurous eaters. For a $100-per-person annual fee, members are invited to special communal dining events presided over by both up-and-coming and renowned chefs and hosted in extraordinary locations. One dinner took place overlooking the city on the 21st floor of Canal Place, which was under construction at the time. Another was held in an abandoned church off Magazine Street.
The case study was part of New Product Development in the Hospitality Industry, a new MBA elective that focuses on innovation in the hospitality sector.
“The course was created to focus students on the consumer experience in hospitality-related ventures,” says Ralph Maurer, professor of practice and instructor in the course. “From that perspective, it was great to be able to bring in Paco to talk with students about the business and what he’s done to create this very successful, very innovative product.”
Since its start in New Orleans last year, Dinner Lab has branched out into Austin, Nashville and New York, and all but Nashville — which just launched — have a waiting list to join. Despite the rapid growth, however, Robert says the focus of the concept remains the same as when he started.
“It’s all about the food, the people and the experience,” Robert says.
Thursday, August 29th, 2013
The Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) has elected eight members to serve on its board of directors. The new board members’ three-year terms began in January 2013.
Aimee Adatto Freeman
Katie LaCorte Teen
The new board members are Brian Banks (BSM ’04, MACCT ’05), supervisor at Bourgeois Bennett; Shannon Brice (MBA ’04), chief financial officer of Richard’s Disposal; Aimee Adatto Freeman (MBA ’95), owner and president of Adatto Freeman Strategic Consulting; Dominik Knoll (MBA ’10), CEO of the World Trade Center of New Orleans; Frank Russo (MBA ’92), senior manager for Governance, Regulatory & Risk Strategy at Deloitte & Touche; Katie LaCorte Teen (MBA ’11, MGM ’11), partner and account management director at the Marketing Hub; Lindsey Varney (MBA ’12), regional social media coordinator for Harrah’s New Orleans; and Chris Williams (MBA ’11), project analyst with Barriere Construction.
The Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) was established in 1938 to encourage the active involvement of alumni in supporting the Freeman School’s goal to be one of the leading business schools in the nation and the premier business school in the southern United States. TABA achieves that mission by focusing its efforts in the areas of career management, development and external relations.
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
One night last spring, Albin Soares (MBA ’13) was working at his computer when he got a text message from one of his colleagues on the Graduate Business Council, the Freeman School’s student government organization.
“Hey, you need to calm down for the day,” the message read.
Outgoing GBC President Albin Soares (MBA ’13) earned a reputation as one of the most active presidents in the organization’s history.
Soares puzzled over the message for a second before realizing what it was about.
“I looked and I had sent out 74 emails that day,” laughs Soares, the outgoing president of the GBC. “So I was like, ‘Okay.’”
Days like that weren’t unusual for Soares, who earned a reputation among faculty and staff as one of the most active, involved presidents in recent GBC history. From working with faculty to revamp the MBA program to making sure that the television in the GW2 lounge stayed tuned to CNBC, no issue was too big or too small for Soares, who brought boundless enthusiasm and unrelenting tenacity to the job.
“Over the last year, I think I spoke with Albin more than I did with my associate deans — or my wife for that matter,” quips Dean Ira Solomon. “While I can’t say that I agreed with every idea Albin brought to me, there’s no question his extraordinary drive and determination made Freeman a better school. One just needs to look at his record of accomplishment to see the profound impact he had on the Freeman School.”
Over the course of the year, Soares’ achievements included establishing a discussion lounge for graduate students, bringing in a host of guest speakers, and lobbying successfully for the creation of an experimental “offboarding” program to provide graduating students with a formal send off. When he found out that alumni participation in giving was one of the criteria used in ranking surveys, he succeeded in getting not just a pledge but a check from almost every member of the 2013 graduating classes.
Perhaps most prominently, Soares co-chaired with Dean Solomon the task force dedicated to rewriting the Freeman School’s mission statement and core values during the recent strategic planning process. In that respect, he played a substantive role in defining the Freeman School’s direction for the next five years.
“There’s not one big, bright, shiny thing I accomplished as GBC president, but I can say we chipped away at a lot of things that needed to be done,” Soares says of his tenure as president. “I think that’s what I’m most proud of.”
A native of Southern California, Soares worked a variety of jobs — including stints in the entertainment industry, as a Mercedes-Benz salesman and as a legislative aide to U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany — before deciding that he needed an MBA to pull everything together and give him the skills to get to the next level. Since graduating in May, Soares has relocated with his family — his wife, Elizabeth, and 11-month-old son Bennett — to the San Diego area, where he hopes to launch a business idea he developed at the Freeman School, but as an alumnus and a new member of the Freeman 50, the Freeman School’s young MBA advisory board, he plans to remain involved with the Freeman School for many years to come.
“We’ve had some really stellar professors, some who have been life changing,” Soares says. “That’s probably the thing I liked best and it’s probably the thing we all liked best about the Freeman School. Having a small class, everyone knew each other’s names. We’ve gone on three international trips together, we’ve worked on projects, done team building. I hope that that bond continues as we all move on with our careers.”
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
More than 150 alumni and guests from the classes of 1968 through 2008 gathered in City Park Friday night (April 26) for the Freeman School’s third annual Graduate Alumni Reunion Party.
The event, which took place in Parkview Terrace (second floor of the old City Park Casino building), is a chance for the Freeman School to recognize alumni of graduate programs (MBA, MFIN and MACCT) celebrating milestone graduation anniversaries. This year’s party honored graduates from the years ’08, ’03, ’98, ’93, ’88, ’83, ’78, ’73, ’68 and ’63.
The reunion is also a chance for friends and former classmates to catch up with each other and to catch up with the Freeman School. Dean Ira Solomon attended the reunion along with a number of faculty and staff members, and he gave attendees a brief update on the state of the school. Lauren Nelson (MBA ’13), a member of the Graduate Business Council and president of Tulane’s chapter of MBA Women International, also spoke to alumni, offering guests a few comments about life at Freeman from a student’s perspective.
The party also included the presentation of a check to Freeman on behalf of the reunion classes. Members of this year’s reunion classes together pledged more than $300,000 to the Freeman School to provide support for a wide range of operating expenses. Reunion fundraising efforts are continuing through June 30, 2013, so if you haven’t yet made a gift, you can visit the Freeman School’s online giving page to make your pledge.
To see all the photos from this year’s Graduate Alumni Reunion, visit the Freeman School’s Flickr page.
Left to right, class of ’03 alumni Ana Derbez, Jose Mascarell, Tsetsa Dankova and Victor Luque.
Left to right, Kell Riess, Alvin Jones (MBA ’68) and Harry Smith (MBA ’68).
Left to right, Justin Collins (MBA ’08), Lorena Rojas (MBA ’08), Philip Allison (MBA ’08), Ryan Usner (MBA ’08) and Oscar Parada.
Members of the MBA class of 2003, which had the biggest turnout of all the classes honored at this year’s party.
This year’s reunion class chairs presented Dean Ira Solomon with a check for more than $300,000, representing the collective gifts of the reunion classes. From left to right, Chuck Atwood (MBA ’73), Dean Solomon, Alex Hernandez (MBA ’03), David Heikkinen (MBA ’98), Alvin Jones (MBA ’68), John Silbernagel (MBA ’88) and Bob Kottler (MBA ’83).
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
In the 38 years since its debut, the official New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival poster has become as much a part of the annual celebration as Irma Thomas, Crawfish Monica and Rosemint Tea, but few fans are probably aware that the highly collectible posters—which fetch hundreds of dollars on eBay—got their start as a class project at the A. B. Freeman School of Business.
Bud Brimberg (L ’75) created the first Jazz Fest poster, shown above, as a class project in the Freeman School’s first entrepreneurship course.
In 1975, Bud Brimberg (L ’75) was a third-year law student casting about for a class to take just for the fun of it. Unable to find anything to his liking at the law school, he wandered over to the Freeman School and signed up for the only course that didn’t require any business school prerequisites, a recently introduced class called Entrepreneurship and the New Business Enterprise.
Developed by marketing professor Bill Bennett and based on a class he’d taken at Harvard Business School, the course consisted primarily of case studies, but Bennett also required his students to complete a class project. Each student was asked to create a pro forma for a proposed business detailing the venture’s capital requirements and projected cash flows and income. Those numbers would then have to be programmed in FORTRAN and run on the university’s mainframe computer.
That’s a lot of work for just a simulation, Brimberg thought. One day after class, he approached Bennett and asked if instead of writing a pro forma he could actually start a business.
“He looked at me and he said, ‘That’s highly unorthodox,’” Brimberg recalls with a laugh. “I looked at him and said, ‘For God’s sake, it’s entrepreneurship!’ And he said, ‘Well, go ahead.’ And that was it.”
From the beginning, Brimberg focused his entrepreneurial attention on Jazz Fest, which was then in its sixth year. His original plan was to make a live recording in the Gospel Tent and release it as an album, but when that concept didn’t pan out, he went to his friend Quint Davis, producer of the Fest, and pitched his second idea: a high-quality commemorative print in the style of classic French poster art. Davis was skeptical.
“We’ve already got a poster,” he said, pointing to the cardboard placards volunteers would staple to telephone poles around town to promote the Fest.
Brimberg explained he was proposing something very different, a numbered, limited-edition print silk-screened onto museum-quality paper. Davis still wasn’t convinced.
“Okay, I’ll tell you what,” Brimberg finally said. “Maybe you’re right, but I think I can come up with some program that will work and I’ll pay you off the top a percentage of gross. No risk. I’ll underwrite the whole thing. And if I sell one poster, you’ll make money.”
The 2013 Jazz Fest poster was designed by artist James Michalopoulos and features Aaron Neville.
It was an offer Davis couldn’t refuse. Brimberg commissioned two Tulane architecture students to create a design featuring an umbrella-waving parade grand marshal with lettering in the classic art nouveau style. The hand-pulled edition of 1,000 posters sold for $3.95 each at the Fest, and Brimberg spent much of his time explaining to customers why that was such a good deal.
When the dust settled, Brimberg walked away from the Fest with less than $500 in profits (and an A in the class). It may not have been much, but it was enough to launch Brimberg on what’s become an almost 40-year career as a businessman and entrepreneur.
He went on to found ProCreations Publishing Co. and Art4Now, which together have produced the Jazz Fest poster every year with the exception of a three-year stretch in the early ’90s. In 1994, Brimberg began producing the Congo Square poster as well, and in 1998 he debuted an expanded line of Jazz Fest apparel — BayouWear — based on the popular “HowAhYa” Hawaiian shirt he’d introduced in 1981. He also started a number of other businesses along the way, most notably Plan-A-Flex, a manufacturer of architectural design and planning kits. Brimberg sold that company to Stanley Works in 1986.
Looking back on his career, Brimberg credits the Freeman School and that first entrepreneurship class with giving him the tools he needed to be successful.
“If you try to understand what makes a frog jump by cutting it open, which is what most academics do, you really don’t know what makes a frog jump,” Brimberg says. “But if you sit there and observe the frog from every angle, you may not understand the molecular level, but you’ll understand what makes the frog jump. I think what [the entrepreneurship class] did was make me understand how the frog jumped. It showed me all the moving parts you would need to start a business and how everything locked together. So, yes, it was pretty useful.”
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
The Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) has announced the establishment of chapters in five U.S. cities. The five TABA chapters are Houston, Nashville, Washington D.C., New York and Miami.
TABA has established new chapters in five U.S. cities.
Establishing TABA chapters in cities outside New Orleans has been a longtime goal of the association, and TABA President Tom Spiers (MBA ’01) says he hopes the creation of these chapters will help strengthen ties among alumni in those cities and enable TABA to offer programs that better serve their needs and interests.
“The Freeman School has more than 20,000 alumni worldwide, representing an incredibly diverse population in terms of both geography and demographics,” says Spiers. “I think it’s important for us to do everything we can to engage those individuals at the local level, and the establishment of these first five TABA chapters will greatly enhance our ability to do that.”
According to Peggy Babin, associate dean for external relations, the five chapter cities were chosen based on several criteria, including the number of Freeman alumni residing in the greater area and the response of alumni in those cities to TABA’s outreach regarding the creation of local chapters.
“The five cities we chose—Houston, Nashville, Washington D.C., New York and Miami—are each home to hundreds of Freeman School alumni, and individual alumni in those cities were instrumental in providing the enthusiasm and support we needed to establish TABA chapters,” says Babin. “Our strategy is to get these chapters up and running initially and then add more cities in the coming months and years.”
For information on how to become involved with a local chapter or how to start a chapter in your city, contact Babin at email@example.com or Rhonda Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
Freeman School graduate Edward Crawford (MBA ’09, MGM ’09, LA ’09), an associate with Goldman Sachs & Co. in Miami, is currently deployed with U.S. Navy special operations forces in Afghanistan. He recently this holiday message to share with the Freeman community.
I write to you all today on Christmas from Afghanistan. I’ve been deployed in this remote province for 6 months now and have just a few more months to go. This deployment has been an incredible experience and has taught me a lot about what is most important in life.
We have had good times and bad times but we have always pulled through together. The fighting season here is finally over but unfortunately there has still been violence. We have lost a number of brothers in the last few weeks and the last one’s remains will arrive home on Christmas day. It has been a dramatic challenge for us to deal with the loss of these incredible men but we are cognizant of those wives who have lost their husbands and all the children who will spend their Christmas knowing that their dads will never be back. I have had the great honor of serving with these men who have given their lives for a greater cause and on this beautiful Christmas day we are remembering their sacrifice here. I thank all of you who have supported and prayed for the troops lost during this difficult mission and I pray that, on this day of birth and rebirth, their families can find some solace that their loved ones died as heroes and will never be forgotten. I wanted to thank each and everyone one of you for supporting Mary, Caroline and baby Edward in my absence and for the love and comfort you have provided. You have made this Christmas the most memorable of all.
Today is a new day, a day of joy and we are celebrating how lucky we are to have friends like you. I can’t wait to see you all back in the states in just a few months. Have a Merry Christmas, may God bless you and may the Christmas spirit dwell in each and every one of you on this special day.
The only blind person at Christmas time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Edward J. Crawford
Morton A. Aldrich Fellow & Jones Scholar
Tulane University, A. B. Freeman School of Business
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
The Business School Council, the primary external advisory board of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, has recently added three new members.
Ozgur Karaosmanoglu (A&S ’84, MBA ’87) is senior vice president, investments, and managing director at Raymond James Financial Inc. Prior to joining Raymond James in 1993, Karaosmanoglu served as an investment executive at Legg Mason and as an account executive and operations managers at Dean Witter. Karaosmanoglu is founder of the Global Wealth Management Group at Raymond James, which serves both retail and institutional clients with total assets of approximately $250 million. He served on the Raymond James Executive Council and is a member of the firm’s Chairman’s Council. In 2006, he was named Broker of the Year by Registered Rep. magazine in honor of his dedication and service to his clients.
Dana Mcilwain (BSM ’84) is a vice chairman and leader of the U.S. Advisory Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he provides strategy and direction for over 9,000 PwC professionals focused on helping clients through three areas of focus: Consulting, Deals and Forensics. Prior to being named leader of the U.S. Advisory Practice, Mcilwain served as a member of the U.S. firm’s Board of Partners and Principals, and was the New York Metro Advisory Regional Leader and East Region Advisory Leader. He joined PwC in 1984 in New Orleans, is currently based in New York and has served a wide variety of clients.
Matt Schwartz (BSM ’99) is a co-founder and principal of the Domain Cos., a real estate development and management firm headquartered in New Orleans and New York. Domain specializes in large-scale community development with a focus on mixed-income and mixed-use development. Since its inception in 2004, Domain has been involved in the acquisition and development of more than 3,000 housing units and 250,000 square feet of retail space in markets ranging from small cities and major established urban areas to pioneering and redeveloping urban environments. Prior to launching Domain, Schwartz was a vice president of Related Capital, then the largest multifamily owner and financial services provider in the country.
With more than 50 members spanning the United States and China, the Business School Council serves as the primary external advisory board of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. In addition to leading fundraising activities and promoting the Freeman School externally, the Business School Council advises and assists the dean in the areas of strategy, curriculum and program development, marketing, admissions and placement.
Friday, November 30th, 2012
In 2012, ManpowerGroup ranked accounting at No. 5 on its list of the 10 hardest jobs to fill. That talent shortage is expected to continue through 2020 as more and more accounting professionals reach retirement age.
The inaugural Accounting Leadership Institute featured presentations from 27 accounting professionals, representing 14 different organizations.
Those numbers aren’t lost on the staff of the Freeman School’s Career Management Center. To help meet the nation’s growing demand for accounting professionals, the CMC recently organized a two-day program for prospective accountants as part of this year’s Freeman Days Chicago.
The Accounting Leadership Institute was a professional education and networking event designed to introduce students to the variety of career options available in accounting. Held at the Hampton Inn and Suites Chicago Downtown, the institute featured a day of educational sessions on career management and workplace skills led by Chicago-area accounting professionals followed by a day of information sessions with employers.
“Our primary goals were to educate students on accounting career options, to enhance their professionalism and to help them expand their networks in a major market with a large alumni base,” says Margie Cartwright, career consultant at the CMC and organizer of the institute. “Most of the organizations we partnered with for the institute hadn’t previously worked with the Freeman School, and they all expressed enthusiasm for staying connected with us.”
In all, students heard from 27 accounting professionals, representing 14 organizations from the public, private and non-profit sectors.
“We’re a big fan of anything that draws more students to the accounting profession, so I applaud Tulane for doing this,” says Casey Herman (BSM ’86), a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, who led a session on Big Four career paths. “It was a great way to help students think about the different dimensions of the accounting profession, whether it’s corporate accounting, internal audit or public accounting.”
The Career Management Center hopes to make the Accounting Leadership Institute an annual part of Freeman Days Chicago.
Students gave the info sessions and workshops high marks, but many said the best part of the institute was the chance for one-on-one interaction with professionals in a wide range of accounting positions.
“The opportunity to ask questions was invaluable,” says Jess Dallager (BSM/MACCT ’13). “We got candid responses that I think were eye opening for a lot of us. You can’t get those insights from a textbook.”
While this year’s event was just a pilot program, Cartwright says she’s hopeful the institute will become an annual part of Freeman Days Chicago.
“The evaluations we received were all very positive,” Cartwright says. “Going forward, we think the institute will be a great way to help expand our alumni base in Chicago and introduce students to a wider network of employers.”
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Tulane University celebrates Homecoming 2012 next month, and as part of that celebration, the Freeman School is sponsoring a number of special events for business alumni.
Chef Brian Landry of Borgne will be on hand to serve his acclaimed Louisiana cuisine at the Freeman School’s tailgating party on Saturday, Nov. 3.
On Friday, Nov. 2, Freeman will host an Open House, Tour and Q&A with Dean Ira Solomon from 4 – 5 p.m. in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II. If you haven’t been to campus lately, it’s a great chance to catch up with Freeman, see our facilities and learn about some of the exciting things going on.
Then, on Saturday, Nov. 3, join us for tailgating at the Freeman School tent in Champions Square at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome prior to the Tulane-Rice football game. This year’s tailgating party honors the BBA/BSM classes of ’62, ’67, ’72, ’77, ’82, ’87, ’92, ’97, ’02, and ’07, but all alumni of the Freeman School are invited.
In the last few years, it’s become a Freeman tradition to invite some of the top chefs in New Orleans to provide food for our tailgating party, and this year is no exception. Joining us will be Brian Landry, executive chef of Borgne, the newest member of the John Besh Restaurant Group, who will be serving his acclaimed Louisiana cuisine in the Freeman School tent from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Those activities are in addition to Tulane’s long list of university-wide events, including a Town Hall with President Scott Cowen, the Helluva Hullabaloo Auction and Party, and the Wave ’12 All-Alumni Reunion Party and Concert featuring the Rebirth Brass Band.
For more information and to register for events, visit http://tulane.edu/homecoming or contact Rhonda Brown at email@example.com or (504) 862-8470