Archive for the ‘Alumni News’ Category

Business School Council adds three new members

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

Ozgur Karaosmanoglu

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

Dana McIlwain

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

Matt Schwartz

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.


Accounting institute connects students with the profession

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.”


Join the Freeman School for Homecoming 2012

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 or contact Rhonda Brown at or (504) 862-8470

MBA grads go whole hog into new venture

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The local food movement is gaining popularity among foodies nationwide. In Louisiana, it seems like old hat. Whether they are eating fresh-caught shrimp, creole tomatoes or Ponchatoula strawberries, Louisianians feel that locally originated food is better. Two 2012 Freeman School MBA grads are hoping they can bring Louisiana meat into that number.

Freeman grads Seth Hamstead and Simone Reggie are the founders of Cleaver & Co., a locally sourced, whole animal butcher shop.

This summer, Simone Reggie and Seth Hamstead are opening Cleaver & Co. in New Orleans, a locally sourced, whole-animal butcher shop. The idea is to buy whole cows, pigs, chickens and ducks from South Louisiana farms.

“Our rule of thumb is 200 miles, whenever possible,” Hamstead says. “We know that sometimes we may have to go a little bit farther, but we want to make sure that we can tell the consumer exactly where it’s from.”

Hamstead calls the practice of buying whole animals and butchering them here “a more sustainable business practice” that benefits both the supplier and the consumer.

“We’re making sure the farmers are getting as much as they can out of that animal,” Hamstead says. “We’re also able to choose the farmers who are doing things in the way we think is right. The animals aren’t coming from confined feedlots; they’re not being raised in industrial conditions.”

The result, say Hamstead and Reggie, is a better-tasting product — something residents of food-obsessed New Orleans should appreciate.

While both admit that beef doesn’t usually come to mind when people think of what Louisiana does best, they say there is a long tradition of cattle ranching here that has been “pushed aside by the industrial food system.” They hope they can take New Orleanians’ zeal for local seafood and translate that into a desire for local, “land-based protein.”

“There’s such a market for local seafood,” Reggie says. “You see the signs for Louisiana seafood everywhere, and that’s great. We’re looking to make a movement for Louisiana meat as well.”

For more information about the business, visit Cleaver & Co.

A bicycle built for business

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Rob Lynch (MBA ’12) didn’t just start a new business in New Orleans. He helped start a new industry.

Rob Lynch (MBA ’12), owner of Bike Taxi Unlimited, spent a year and a half working with city officials to draft an ordinance legalizing pedicabs in New Orleans. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Lynch is the founder of Bike Taxi Unlimited, which last year became one of three companies awarded the right to begin operating pedicabs in New Orleans.

“We get people from A to B with kind of an interesting look at the city,” Lynch says of his pedal-powered rickshaws. “It’s all about showing people a different side of New Orleans.”

A graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans, Lynch worked as a financial analyst in St. Louis for four years, but he eventually grew tired of the corporate grind. When his brother told him about the thriving pedicab business in Charleston, S.C., Lynch, an avid cyclist, realized the tourist-friendly mode of transport would be a perfect match for New Orleans.

He spent two years living in a friend’s basement and subsisting on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to save money for the venture, and then another year and a half working with city officials to draft an ordinance legalizing pedicabs.

“The New Orleans ordinance on pedicabs is one of — if not the — most comprehensive in the nation, and that has a lot to do with local officials here wanting to do it right,” says Lynch. “I brought other pedicab ordinances from across the country to their attention and worked with them to form something that would keep everybody safe and let the industry survive.”

Lynch’s hard worked paid off. Bike Taxi Unlimited carried its first passenger in September 2011, and since then the company’s distinctive yellow pedicabs have become a familiar sight around town and at events like Jazz Fest and the French Quarter Festival.

Lynch recouped his initial investment in December, sooner than he had projected, and he says the business has done so well he plans to expand into two additional cities as well as start a new venture designing and selling pedicabs to operators across the country. Regardless of how much the company grows, however, Lynch says he’s committed to New Orleans.

“New Orleans is going to be the home base of where I do everything,” Lynch says. “I love the city. I’ve loved it ever since I came to college here, and I want to stay here.”

Graduate alumni celebrate reunion in City Park

Friday, May 11th, 2012

More than 150 alums spanning 45 years of the Freeman School turned out on Friday (May 4) for Freeman’s second annual Graduate Alumni Reunion Party.

More than 150 alumni from the classes of ’67 through ’07 attended this year’s Graduate Alumni Reunion Party.

The party was a chance for the Freeman School to recognize alumni of graduate programs (MBA, MFIN and MACCT) celebrating milestone graduation anniversaries. This year’s reunion honored graduates from the years ’07, ’02, ’97, ’92, ’87, ’82, ’77, ’72, ’67 and ’62.

The classes of ’82 and ’72 was the best represented with 20 alumni each in attendance, but even classes that only had a few members present were thrilled to see old friends and renew old friendships. In addition to alumni, a number of Freeman School faculty attended the reunion, including Dean Ira Solomon, John Elstrott, Frank Jaster, Jim Murphy, Eric Smith (MBA ’67), Kel Riess, Paul Spindt, Robin Desman Spindt (MBA ’97), Greg Thurnher (E  ’02, MBA ’07) and Linda Baynham (MBA ’02).

While the party was decidedly casual and unstructured—it was scheduled to coincide with Jazz Fest after all—Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon delivered a few remarks, updating alumni on the school and recognizing the reunion chairs who helped plan the event. Dean Solomon also introduced Richie Gray (MBA ’12, MGM ’12), who provided alums with a student’s perspective on Freeman’s newest programs and initiatives.

After Dean Solomon spoke, Hardee Kilgore (MBA ’67), chair of the reunion committee for the 1967 class, took the floor and presented Dean Solomon with a check for $207,597, representing the collective gifts all of this year’s reunion classes.

Planning for next year’s graduate reunion is already underway, so if you have a graduate degree from Freeman in ’08, ’03, ’98, ’93, ’88, ’83, ’78, ’73, ’68, ’63 or beyond, keep an eye out for news on the 2013 reunion party. If you’d like to be involved with planning next year’s reunion, please contact Rhonda A. Brown, director of constituent services and initiatives, at 504-862-8470 or for info.

From left to right, Class of ’82 graduates Patricia Stern, Mo Dunne, Janet Lyman, Deborah Lamensdorf Jacobs, Barbara Frausto Davey and Robin Peppe Sterneck.

From left to right, Tim Walker (MBA ’92), Jeanne Salassi Walker (MBA ’91), Chris Gleason (MBA ’92) and husband Mark Gleason

From left to right, class of ’07 grads Jamal Brown, Morial Vallot (standing), Ricardo De la Puente, Enrico Toro, Nash Pjevac, Jo-Ann Grande-Pjevac and Monique Brown.

From left to right, Curtis Pollet, Tara Byrd (MBA ’97), Mike Atwater (MBA ’97) and Jennifer Fortier (MBA ’97).

From left to right, Class of ’67 grads Bill Gibbons, George Adams, Eric Smith, John Davis and Hardee Kilgore.

To see more photos from the reunion, visit And if you haven’t yet made a class gift yet, there’s still time contribute by visiting



Five alums among DiversityMBA’s Top 100 Under 50

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Five Freeman School alumni are among the honorees in the 2011 DiversityMBA Magazine Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders.

Top 100 Under 50Compiled by DiversityMBA Magazine, the list recognizes exceptional minority and multicultural executives—including African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, foreign nationals and women—who have achieved success in highly competitive corporate, government or entrepreneurial environments.

Diversity MBA Magazine is an internationally distributed publication targeting women and multicultural professionals in corporate America and government as well as entrepreneurs and business students.

The honorees will be featured in DiversityMBA Magazine’s summer 2011 issue and will be honored at the magazine’s awards gala in September at the Chicago Wyndham Hotel.

This year’s Top 100 Under 50 award winners are Alex Hernandez (MBA ’03), founder and president of Hernandez Consulting; Lily Le (MBA ’98), executive vice president and chief marketing officer of AEG Affiliated Energy Group; Vipin Mayar (MBA ’88), executive vice president and global director of marketing performance at McCann Worldgroup; Sami Miettinen (MBA ’96), executive director of Royal Bank of Scotland; and Anne St. Clair (MBA ’01), private client manager at Bank of America.

Alex Hernandez

Alex Hernandez

Lily Le

Lily Le

Vipin Mayar

Vipin Mayar

Sami Miettinen

Sami Miettinen

Anne St. Clair

Anne St. Clair


This was the fifth consecutive year that Freeman School alumni have made the magazine’s Top 100 Under 50 list.  Since the magazine began compiling the list in 2007, more than a dozen alumni of the Freeman School have been featured.

To learn more about the annual honor and to see the complete list of this year’s honorees, visit

Tulane Business Forum looks at leveraging resources

Monday, October 11th, 2010

The Receivables Exchange was founded to connect small- and mid-size businesses in need of working capital with investors, but according to president and co-founder Nicolas Perkin, the biggest innovation the New Orleans-based company brought to factoring wasn’t creating a transparent marketplace for buyers and sellers of commercial receivable. It was enabling buyers to apply the same risk-management principles to receivables that they apply to the rest of their portfolios.

Nic Perkin

Nicolas R. Perkin, co-founder and president of the Receivables Exchange, talked about the company's growth as part of a panel discussion on alternative capital markets.

“Buyers can take 1 percent of 100 different auctions across 100 different industries,” said Perkin (TC ’94). “If you’re going to go buy stock, you’re not going to put all your money in IBM. You don’t do it in any asset class, why would you do it in this asset class? That’s really the fundamental principle of the innovation we think we’ve brought to the table.”

That unique innovation has helped to fuel 300 to 400 percent annual growth at the company, which Perkin said is in the early stages of a preparing for an IPO.

Perkin talked about the evolution of the Receivables Exchange and the current business landscape as part of a panel discussion on alternative capital markets at this year’s Tulane Business Forum. The forum, an annual presentation of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA), took place at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel on Oct. 8. This year’s program focused on the theme “Leveraging Corporate Resources,” and more than 650 people attended the forum to hear some of the ways that innovative businesses and business leaders are doing more with less.

Robbie Vitrano, co-founder and chairman of marketing firm Trumpet, told the story of Naked Pizza, which has used social media to grow from a single store in New Orleans to an international business with 400 stores in development in locations as far away as Dubai and Istanbul.

“We used [social media] as a way to get people interested in our idea, primarily using Twitter and Facebook to distribute this conversation in a way that allowed Naked Pizza to acquire two billionaire investors and more than 5,000 franchising inquiries,” Vitrano said. “It allowed for media to get a hold of this idea and start to distribute it. While we were just one location, were were in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and blogs around the world. In essence, it allowed us to validate the concept.”

Vitrano added that the low cost and wide reach of social media platforms makes them an ideal tool for businesses to find out what ideas work in a cost-effective way.

“Conceivably, that should favor a place like New Orleans, which isn’t New York or Silicon Valley but which certainly has Net intelligence and Net ingenuity,” he said.

David Brain, president and CEO of Entertainment Properties Trust.

The forum kicked off with a presentation by Charles N. Kahn III, president and CEO of the Federation of AmericanHospitals, who walked attendees through the process of how health reform was enacted and what it will mean for business. Kahn was followed by Vitrano and John Winsor, CEO of Victors & Spoils, a marketing firm based in Boulder, Colo., that, like Trumpet, is using social media technology to accomplish things that previously would have been unthinkable for an agency with just 10 employees.

Joining Perkin on the alternative capital markets panel were J. Marshall Page III, a partner at Jones Walker, and Christopher J. Perry, president and global head of Thomson Reuters Trading Focus Accounts. The panel was moderated by Peter Ricchiuti, assistant dean at the Freeman School and research director of the Burkenroad Reports program.

David Brain (A&S ’78, MBA ’79), president and CEO of Entertainment Properties Trust, a NYSE-traded REIT that focuses on megaplex movie theatres and entertainment retail centers, followed the capital markets discussion with a presentation on the often misunderstood concept of off-balance-sheet financing.

Dean E. Taylor, chairman, president and CEO of Tidewater, talked about the ways the company distinguishes itself in a commodity industry as luncheon keynote speaker.

The forum concluded with a luncheon keynote presentation by Dean E. Taylor (A&S ’71), chairman, president and CEO of Tidewater Inc. Taylor’s presentation focused on distinguishing your company in a commodity industry, and one of the key elements to achieve that goal, he said, is having the right people in place. To illustrate his point, Taylor showed a video that told the inspiring story of Tidewater’s Damon B. Bankston supply boat, whose crew rescued 115 people from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and fire aboard the BP Horizon oil rig.

“That’s something about which I’m immensely proud,” Taylor said. “They didn’t do it for glory. They didn’t do it for any other reason than it was the right thing to do. That’s typical of so many people in our industry that do what they do because they feel like it’s the right thing to do.”

Diversity MBA Magazine names five alums to “Top 100 Under 50”

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Diversity MBA Magazine has selected five alumni of the Freeman School for inclusion on its 2010 list of the “Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders.” The list recognizes exceptional minority and multicultural executives—including African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, foreign nationals and women—who have achieved success in highly competitive corporate, government or entrepreneurial environments.

This year’s Freeman alumni honorees are:

  • Shellond D. Chester (MBA ’00), assistant dean for finance, School of Liberal Arts, Tulane University
  • Jesse W. Devlyn Jr. (MBA ’93), CEO, Devlyn Vision Inc.
  • Vincent Ilustre (MBA ’04), executive director, Center for Public Service, Tulane University
  • William A. Taylor Jr. (BSM ’93, MACCT ’94), owner and founder, Taylor CPA & Associates and W3 CPAs and Consultants
  • Bouvier Williams (MBA ’93), vice president, talent management, human resources, MTV Networks


Commencement ceremony celebrates a return to normalcy

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

This year’s Freeman School commencement ceremony was nothing special, and according to Dean Angelo DeNisi, that’s what made it special indeed.

Kelly Buck (BSM/MACCT '10) is all smiles after receiving her diploma as Sara Biller (MACCT '10), left, and Enrique Caballero (BSM/MACCT '10), right, look on.

In his introductory remarks at this year’s ceremony, DeNisi told graduates and their families that each of his first four commencements had been extraordinary for one reason or another.

His first commencement ceremony in 2006 was the first commencement after Hurricane Katrina, which gave the event a special meaning. The following year, DeNisi awarded diplomas to the graduating MBAs who made the courageous decision to return to Tulane and New Orleans after Katrina, again adding a special meaning to the celebration. DeNisi’s third commencement ceremony stood out for his awarding of an MBA to an 81-year-old man who had begun the program in 1953, making him one of the oldest people ever to earn an MBA from Tulane. And last year’s ceremony was special because it included the awarding of the first degrees in the Freeman School’s new Master of Global Management program.

“This year I thought, okay, we’ll have a normal graduation,” DeNisi said, “but I was wrong. Although we have no one special item to acknowledge, we celebrate the normalcy of an academic year in this, the fifth year following Katrina. More importantly, we honor you and your academic achievements. Each of us here today is proud indeed of your accomplishments, your dedication to your programs and your school, and your active participation in the revitalization and resurgence of this great city. So, yes, today is a very special day.”

Vincent Do (MBA '10), kneeling, strikes a pose for photographers. Behind him, left to right, are fellow MBA grads Andi Rahmawan, Pavan Rupanguntla, Hasan Eryilmaz, Waron Sanguanwongwan, Mei-Yu Chen, Carolina Rojas and Cesar Solorzano.

This year marked Tulane’s 93rd year of conferring business degrees. At the May 15th ceremony in McAlister Auditorium, Dean DeNisi presented diplomas to more than 400 men and women from five continents, including 70 Master of Accounting graduates, 151 Master of Business Administration graduates, 131 Master of Finance graduates, 22 Master of Global Management graduates, 37 Master of Management graduates and two Doctor of Philosophy graduates.

Earlier in the day, 227 students received their Bachelor of Science in Management diplomas at the Undergraduate Diploma Ceremony in the Louisiana Superdome, which honors graduates of Tulane’s five undergraduate schools.

Chonchol Gupta (MBA ’10, MGM ’10), outgoing president of the Freeman School’s Graduate Business Council, delivered the charge to graduates. David Arango received the BSM Award for Scholastic Achievement, which recognizes the graduating BSM student with the highest cumulative grade point average, and Karthik Mahadevan earned the Marta and Peter Bordeaux Scholastic Achievement Award, which recognizes the graduating MBA student with the highest cumulative grade point average.

Freeman School Dean Angelo DeNisi, Tulane board member John Koerner and Associate Dean Peggy Babin, left to right, watch from their seats on stage as Chonchol Gupta delivers the charge to graduates.

In addition, five Freeman School graduates—John Baber, Jeffrey Good, Corrie Gurucharri, Kendall Plain and Adam Salup—received the Tulane 34 Award, which is presented each year to 34 Tulane graduates who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, student leadership and community service throughout their collegiate careers.

“I wish you the best in all your academic, professional, and personal endeavors,” DeNisi said at the ceremony’s conclusion. “We look forward to following your careers and watching you contribute to building a better world.”

To see additional photos from this year’s commencement ceremony, visit the Freeman School’s Flickr page.

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