Archive for the ‘Faculty News’ Category
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
This year’s Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference attracted a record crowd of 750 people, but event organizer Peter Ricchiuti says he didn’t need to see an attendance roster to realize they’d broken a record.
This year’s Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference attracted a record attendance.
“We knew it was bigger than we expected because we ran out of cookies,” laughs Ricchiuti, professor of practice at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business and research director of the acclaimed equities analysis program.
Now in its 17th year, the conference, which took place on Friday (April 26) at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place Hotel, features presentations from senior management at many of the small- and mid-cap companies covered by the program’s student analysts. This year, more than 30 companies led information sessions.
Ricchiuti says one of this year’s hottest sessions was by Evolution Petroleum Corp. The Houston-based energy company specializes in tertiary recovery, a process in which carbon dioxide is used to extract oil from previously drilled fields. The company’s Delhi Field in northeastern Louisiana was thought to be drilled out, but since purchasing the property eight years ago, Evolution has turned it into a monster field.
“The Delhi Field has now produced to a level where the royalties that are going to come back to Evolution are going to go up significantly between now and the end of the year,” Ricchiuti says. “The stock currently sells for about $9.50 a share and when you look at what they think they have under the ground, it ends up being closer to $18. So that was a session that people loved.”
Peter Ricchiuti, center, talks with conference attendees Arvind Sanger (MBA ’87), managing partner of GeoSphere Capital Management, and Ron Mills (MBA ’95), equity analyst at Johnson Rice.
According to Ricchiuti, the big turnout this year was partly a reflection of the overall stock market — the S&P 500 is up 12 percent in the last year — and partly a reflection of the performance of Burkenroad Reports’ “stocks under rocks.” Hancock Bank’s Burkenroad Small Cap Fund, which uses Burkenroad Reports as a primary sources of research and invests in many of the companies followed by the program, is up an impressive 17 percent in the last year.
“The Burkenroad Mutual Fund has outperformed 99 percent of the nation’s mutual funds since its inception,” Ricchiuti says. “The returns have been just amazing.”
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
The fifth annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week shined a spotlight on the city’s fast-growing startup scene this week, but the head of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University told attendees that the event is also a testament to the important role Tulane plays in the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Ralph Maurer, executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, moderated a panel highlighting’ entrepreneurship programs across the university at the fifth annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)
“If you look at all entrepreneurial ventures that are active this week in various competitions, over a third are founded by Tulane graduates and many more have Tulane alums and students as employees or interns or faculty as advisors,” said Ralph Maurer, a professor of practice who specializes in strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship. “That is no accident. We work very hard at building better entrepreneurs.”
On Tuesday (March 19), Maurer moderated a panel highlighting entrepreneurship programs across the university as part of Entrepreneur Week’s second annual Tulane Day.
Joining Maurer on the panel were Rick Aubry, assistant provost for social entrepreneurship and community engagement; Don Gaver, department chair of biomedical engineering; John M. Christie, executive director of technology transfer, Dr. Mark J. Kahn, professor of hematology/medical oncology at Tulane School of Medicine; and alumna Sarah Mack, founder of Tierra Resources, an environmental consulting firm that’s working to establish a cap-and-trade system to support coastal wetlands restoration.
Gaver described Tulane’s new interdisciplinary Bioinnovation PhD Program, which is designed to fast-track students for careers as biotech entrepreneurs.
“This is one of the only universities in the nation that has a school of science and engineering and also medicine, public health and a primate center all under one university, and the boundaries are very low for us to collaborate with one another,” said Gaver. “This is a great place for development of these kinds of technologies.”
In addition to the panel, NOEW’s Tulane Day also featured a discussion on entrepreneurial opportunities in New Orleans moderated by John Elstrott, professor of practice and emeritus executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute, and a keynote talk from Avram Glazer, Tulane parent and co-chairman of Manchester United football club.
Monday, March 18th, 2013
What should the A. B. Freeman School of Business look like in five years?
That was the central question posed to a large, diverse group of faculty, staff, students, alumni and employers in September 2012. Now, seven months later, the group—known collectively as the Strategic Planning Leadership Team—is preparing to release its findings to the entire Freeman community.
Since last September, a large, diverse group of faculty, staff, students, alumni and employers has been working to develop a new strategic plan for the Freeman School.
Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon assembled the team last summer to begin the difficult task of drafting a new strategic plan for the Freeman School. With more than 50 participants representing all the major stakeholder groups and professional support from Academic Leadership Associates, a nationally respected firm specializing in strategic planning for higher education, the effort is the most inclusive, most comprehensive strategic planning process in school history.
“I think we all share the view that it’s critically important for this school to determine what it wants to be on a goingforward basis,” says Solomon. “There’s a widespread recognition that we don’t have the scale to be everything to everybody, so this is the time where we’ve got to figure out where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.”
“It’s something that needs to be done,” adds Albin Soares (MBA ’13), president of the Graduate Business Council. “The business school has been around a long time, but the market has changed dramatically. Where do we fit in? What do we do well? Where do we go from here? That’s what we’re trying to figure out in these strategic planning sessions.”
The planning process is actually part of a larger initiative being undertaken at the university level. Seven years after Hurricane Katrina, Tulane is embarking on a major strategic planning effort designed to move the university beyond recovery and into the next stage in its growth. As part of that process, the provost’s office asked each academic unit to develop its own strategy document that will feed into the master plan, ensuring that key school priorities get the resources and support they need from the university’s central administration.
The Strategic Planning Leadership Team is in the final stages of a preparing a plan to guide the Freeman School over the next five years.
For the Freeman School, the process couldn’t come at a more critical time. Across the nation, business schools are facing increased competition from a wide variety of sources, including online programs, for-profit universities and institutions in Asia and Europe. At the same time, prospective students are becoming more demanding consumers, increasingly questioning the value of traditional business school offerings. Interest in the two-year, full-time MBA, long considered the flagship program at most business schools, has declined for five straight years, according to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council.
“If we are focused as we have been for a number of years on a strong MBA program, expecting that to continue, that’s not going to happen,” says Business School Council member Jerry Greenbaum (BBA ’62). “That’s just not where graduate education is going in the future, so we need to clarify where it is we want to go and what it is we want to do.”
Since the process kicked off in September, the Strategic Planning Leadership Team has spent hundreds of hours studying the management education environment and developing five-year goals for the Freeman School along with strategies to achieve those goals and metrics to measure outcomes.
“By collecting all the inputs from the various constituencies and then organizing that input around a clear vision of where we’re trying to go as a school, you get clarity on what you’re trying to get done, but you also get the buy-in, which I think is critical,” says Business School Council member Jay Lapeyre (MBA/JD ’76). “It’s a terrific process.”
Friday, March 8th, 2013
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest professional services firm, has awarded the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University a $10,000 grant to develop new accounting courses in the Master of Finance program.
Clif Brown, left, and Paul Spindt are members of the Accounting Curriculum Study Group, which has received a $10,000 grant from PwC to develop new accounting courses in the MFIN program.
The grant was awarded through the PwC INQuires program, which funds applied research projects contributing to the practice of auditing and tax.
The Freeman School’s Accounting Curriculum Study Group — which includes Jasmijn Bol, Clif Brown, Kell Riess, Paddy Sivadasan, Christine Smith and Paul Spindt — submitted the proposal for funding to assist in accounting curriculum development to support an upcoming revision of the Master of Finance program.
“I am delighted that one of the world’s leading accountancy firms has given us its support in our effort to provide stronger accounting coursework for one of our most highly regarded graduate programs,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School.
The curriculum plan includes the development of a two-course sequence on Financial Reporting for Financial Analysts which will focus on the nature and role of accounting in organization measurement, reporting and control processes from the perspective of a financial analyst. The courses will cover how to read, analyze and interpret financial accounting data to make a variety of informed business decisions with an emphases on analysis of operating profitability and return on investment as well as forecasting financial performance. Throughout, the courses will incorporate business and accounting cases and research projects based on real companies.
Work on the project is scheduled to begin this summer, and it’s expected to be completed by the end of the fall 2013 semester.
Friday, January 4th, 2013
When it comes to calculating their odds of getting the flu, consumers look to an unlikely gauge – the price of the flu shot – to measure their risk, according to a new study co-authored by a Freeman School researcher.
The study found that consumers make judgments about their risk of catching an illness based on the cost of its medication. The higher the price, the less they think they’re at risk, says co-author Janet Schwartz, assistant professor of marketing at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane.
“Your chance of winning at blackjack has nothing to do with how big the payout is and most people know that,” Schwartz says. “But when it comes to understanding what prices reflect for medicine, people look at the price and they do think that it somehow tells them something about their own risk of getting a disease. In reality, those two factors are completely independent.”
Researchers conducted several surveys to gauge consumers’ reactions to different medications based on cost and perceived risk. For example, they presented different health messages about getting a flu shot, emphasizing individual risk in one scenario and the larger public health risks in another. They told some that the vaccine cost $25 and others $125. Even though all were told the cost would be covered by insurance, those in the high-price group felt that they were at a lower risk of getting the flu.
Researchers found that consumers instinctively believed that important medication like flu vaccine should be affordably priced to be widely accessible. When priced high and perceivably out of reach for some, consumers inferred that the medicine must not be all that necessary and the risk of getting the illness must be lower. The results of the study, which is co-authored by Adriana Samper of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.
Friday, December 14th, 2012
John Elstrott, Ralph Maurer and Lina Alfieri Stern, the leadership team behind the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, are among the local movers and shakers to make the 2012 Silicon Bayou 100.
The staff of the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship. From left to right, Lina Alfieri Stern, John Elstrott, Terry McGuckin, Ralph Maurer and Rosalind Butler.
Silicon Bayou News, a website dedicated to covering the state’s rapidly growing startup scene, selects the Silicon Bayou 100 each year to recognize the most active and influential people in technology and entrepreneurship in Louisiana. This year’s honorees were announced on Dec. 12 at a release party at Eiffel Society in New Orleans.
Elstrott is emeritus executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute (LRI), the center he founded in 1991 to coordinate entrepreneurship programs and initiatives at the Freeman School. Under Elstrott’s guidance, the Freeman School has consistently ranked among the top graduate programs in the nation for entrepreneurship. Prior to his retirement in July 2012, Elstrott provided instruction, mentorship and advice to hundreds of entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs over the course of a 25-year career at the Freeman School. As emeritus executive director, Elstrott remains involved with the institute as a consultant and fundraiser, and he continues to teach entrepreneurship courses at the Freeman School.
Maurer is executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute, and he also serves as executive director of the Tulane Family Business Center, a program of LRI. A professor of practice in the area of strategy & entrepreneurship, Maurer focuses his teaching and research on innovation and strategy in highly dynamic markets, with an emphasis on both technology and the cultural industries. His work and consulting experience includes time with Apple, Daimler-Benz, Chrysler, Deluxe and multiple internet startups. In addition to his role at the Freeman School, Maurer serves as a consultant with EMH Strategy in New Orleans.
Alfieri Stern has been with the Levy-Ronsenblum Institute since its founding, and she has served as director of the institute since 2008. In that role, she plans and implements projects relating to entrepreneurial studies, urban economic development and social entrepreneurship. In addition, she places and mentors volunteer students in consulting projects for disadvantaged businesses and not-for-profit organizations. As staff adviser to the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, Alfieri Stern also plays a major role in organizing the annual Tulane Business Plan Competition and the Domain Cos. New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, which each year award more than $70,000 in cash and prizes to promising startup ventures.
Tulane University was well represented on this year’s Silicon Bayou 100. In addition to Elstrott, Maurer and Alfieri Stern, the list features dozens of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, organizers and services providers with Tulane connections.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as a leader in your field, but I think what’s even more impressive is the tremendous diversity of talent highlighted on the list,” says Maurer. “It’s been exciting to work with many of the people on the list over the last couple of years, and John, Lina and I look forward to working with them in the future to make the Freeman School an even bigger part of the New Orleans entrepreneurial community.”
For more information about the 2012 Silicon Bayou 100, visit Silicon Bayou News.
Monday, December 10th, 2012
On May 6, 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly 600 points in five frantic minutes only to regain most of that loss minutes later. The origin of the so-called Flash Crash remains a mystery to this day, but David Lesmond, associate professor of finance at the A. B. Freeman School of Business, has a strong suspicion of the underlying cause: high-frequency trading.
“These high-frequency traders are hitting the market with such rapidity that the markets have to react to them,” says Lesmond, who has been studying the phenomenon for the past three years. “Then other algorithms take over and they sell as well, so you see a contagion effect.”
Associate Professor of Finance David Lesmond says high-frequency trading is largely to blame for increased volatility in the stock market.
High-frequency traders utilize powerful computers and complex algorithms to take advantage of slight price imbalances in the market. HFT firms typically place thousands of orders too small to appear in the consolidated feed of stock transactions, enabling the traders to fly under the radar of Wall Street and quietly gather information about the market. The vast majority of those orders — up to 98 percent — are never executed. Instead, they’re placed solely to probe the market and then cancelled within the blink of an eye. If a market maker tries to fill an order, the high-frequency trader might conclude that a large buyer is present and quickly purchase shares to sell back to the buyer at a slightly higher price. Speed is everything.
“It’s gotten to the point that the high-frequency traders worry about the length of cord that connects the computers,” Lesmond says. “You’re thinking milliseconds at this point.”
While supporters argue that high-frequency traders reduce transaction costs and provide liquidity to the market, Lesmond has a different perspective.
“It’s price manipulation,” Lesmond says. “That’s the principal worry that everybody has about these high-frequency traders. Because if the price doesn’t reflect information, you have no transparency in the market, and if you don’t have transparency in the market, who gets the short end of the stick? The investors.”
According to some estimates, high-frequency trading comprises about 70 percent of all equities trading volume, but Lesmond says it’s difficult to quantify the volume because those trades don’t appear on the consolidated feed of stock transactions. As part of his current research, Lesmond hopes to generate a more accurate estimate of HFT volume and also get a clearer picture of its effects on the market, including whether or not the prices high-frequency traders buy and sell at reflect information.
“My feeling is that the prices do not reflect information in the market, and that’s just catastrophic,” Lesmond says. “If prices can be dictated by these off-exchange things, then we have no hope. That’s by definition what market manipulation is.”
Steps may already be underway to address the problem. Reuters recently reported that U.S. equities markets and regulators have agreed to add trades of less than 100 shares, referred to as odd lot trades, to a feed of real-time market data in an effort to boost transparency.
But according to Lesmond, the real source of the problem remains the low cost of trading. In the wake of the stock market’s conversion to decimalization in 2001, bid/ask spreads dropped to a penny or less, essentially eliminating cost barriers to trading. High-frequency trading, Lesmond says, was an unintended consequence of the conversion.
Regulators are now considering a tax to be placed on each order to force high-frequency traders to incur some cost for their activities, a reform that Lesmond says could greatly reduce their negative impacts on the market.
“I think regulators mostly want to inhibit high-frequency traders from submitting false trades—the trades that are submitted and then immediately retracted,” says Lesmond. “By instituting a tax on trades, however small, they hope to lessen the frequency of trade and that in turn may help stabilize the market, not to mention government coffers.”
Friday, November 16th, 2012
Jasmijn Bol’s research focuses on the subjective side of compensation contracting, exploring how managerial discretion influences performance assessment, contract design and promotion decisions. Now, as the inaugural holder of the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Professorship in Accounting at the A. B. Freeman School of Business, Bol hopes to build on that research with support from the world’s largest professional services firm.
Dean Ira Solomon, left, presents Jasmijn Bol with a plaque recognizing her investiture as the inaugural holder of the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Professorship in Accounting.
“It’s an honor to be associated with such a prestigious organization and I’m appreciative of the confidence they feel in me and my research,” says Bol, associate professor of accounting. “Hopefully, my research can benefit them and provide insights that will be helpful.”
Bol was formally invested as the initial holder of the PwC Professorship in a ceremony held at the business school last Thursday (Nov. 15). Dean Ira Solomon of the Freeman School introduced Bol and presented her with a plaque recognizing her new title, and Dana Mcilwain (BSM ’84), vice chairman and leader of PwC’s U.S. advisory services practice, spoke on behalf of the company, which was also represented by Kathy Nieland, managing partner of the firm’s New Orleans office. The ceremony concluded with remarks from Jerry Greenbaum (BBA ’62), chairman of CentraArchy, who spoke on behalf of the Business School Council, the Freeman School’s advisory board.
Dana Mcilwain (BSM ’84) represented PwC at Thursday’s ceremony to invest the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Professorship in Accounting.
The professorship was funded with donations from Tulane alumni and friends at PricewaterhouseCoopers along with matching gifts from the PwC Foundation. Partner Casey Herman (BSM ’86), who serves as PwC’s firm relationship partner with Tulane and who led fundraising effort within the firm, says the gift strengthens what was already a close relationship between the Freeman School and PwC, which in the last three years has hired more Freeman graduates than any other company.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to grow Tulane and Freeman as a great source of talent for PwC over the last 10 years,” Herman says. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the value of a Tulane education comes from the faculty, so we were happy to contribute to that effort, and after having met Jasmijn, I was even more committed. It’s just a great opportunity for the school to hire a teacher and scholar of her caliber.”
Bol earned her PhD in management in 2007 from Spain’s IESE Business School and joined the Freeman School in July 2012 after spending five years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, widely regarded for one of the nation’s top accounting programs. In August, Bol received the American Institute of CPAs Best Early Career Researcher Award in recognition of her scholarly work in the first five years of her career.
Thursday, November 8th, 2012
Friends, colleagues and former students of John M. Trapani came together on Thursday (Nov. 1) to honor the longtime A. B. Freeman School of Business faculty member with the establishment of an endowed professorship in his name.
John M. Trapani III, left, watches as Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon announces the establishment of an endowed professorship in his name.
Spearheaded by Stacey M. Berger (A&S ’76, MBA ’78) and David A. Sislen (A&S ’76), two of Trapani’s former students, the John M. Trapani III Professorship in Business Administration will support the teaching and scholarship of an outstanding early-career faculty member.
In announcing the professorship, Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon praised Trapani, the Streiffer Chair of International Finance and executive director of the Goldring Institute of International Business, for a career that has combined outstanding teaching with institutional leadership, most significantly partnering with universities around the world to expand the Freeman name and develop innovative new programs.
“As much as anybody—and maybe more than anybody—John has been an institution builder over the time he has been here at the Freeman School,” said Solomon. “I’ve traveled with John to South America, Central America and Asia, and I’ve had people tell me first hand. John has played a vivid role in the lifeblood of many individuals and institutions around the globe.”
Berger and Sislen helped raise more than $100,000 to fund the professorship, but the former classmates said that was a small price to pay to honor the man whose teaching and mentorship played such a significant role in their lives.
“I was not necessarily the most motivated student when I came here to Tulane,” said Sislen, president and managing director of Bristol Capital Corp. in Bethesda, Md. “Until I found John’s class and discovered an interest that sparked something I cared about—something that explained the world to me—I would have continued to be an undistinguished student. It was not only finding a topic that was exciting to me but also a guy, someone who could get me through the bizarre elements of economic theory, that really changed my direction in life and gave me that motivation.”
Trapani, center, with former students Stacey Berger, left, and Dave Sislen, who led an effort to raise more than $100,000 for a professorship in Trapani’s honor.
“John was an extraordinary professor and we really enjoyed the experience and the feel in his class and what he taught us beyond economics,” added Berger, executive vice president of PNC Real Estate – Midland Loan Services in Washington D.C. “It’s an honor and privilege for us to be able to give John the tribute that he deserves for what he contributed to Dave and I personally and what he’s contributed to the Freeman School and Tulane University.”
In acknowledging the professorship, Trapani shared some humorous recollections of Berger and Sislen and reflected on the meaning of being honored by former students.
“There are many accolades we get in academia, but to be recognized by your former students in my mind is really the highest accolade of all,” Trapani said. “It’s my hope that the Trapani professorship will be used to nurture education as a personalized sharing relationship between students and faculty in the same way that I’ve had the fortune to experience here at Tulane.”