Archive for the ‘Faculty News’ Category
Friday, April 17th, 2015
The Albert Lepage Foundation has committed $12.5 million to the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University to establish a new center dedicated to the study, teaching and practice of entrepreneurship.
Albert Lepage (MBA ’71), retired chairman of Lepage Bakeries Inc., has committed $12.5 million to the Freeman School to establish the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will oversee the Freeman School’s offerings in entrepreneurship, including coursework, academic research and student programing. The center will also have a significant focus on community outreach, developing new programs to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem and address unmet business needs in New Orleans and the Gulf South.
“There is a real need for research in the best practices of entrepreneurship and growing a business,” said Lepage Foundation President Albert Lepage, the retired co-chairman of Lepage Bakeries Inc and a 1971 MBA graduate of the Freeman School. “But it is also important to bring that expertise back into the wider community — both the under-served and well-served — to help entrepreneurs and innovators in New Orleans and Gulf South achieve their goals and thrive.”
“Business leaders who are successful recognize that economic and social advancements come from tackling issues with an entrepreneurial outlook and embracing innovation of all kinds,” said Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon. “We are so grateful for Albert’s generosity and vision in helping create what will become an even more vibrant hub for this philosophy at Freeman and the city of New Orleans.”
The Freeman School’s existing Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship and the Tulane Family Business Center will continue their important work as segments within the Albert Lepage Center.
Albert Lepage joined the family baking company shortly after graduating from Tulane. He became president in 1978 and chairman in 1983. In 2012, Lepage Bakeries merged with Flowers Foods and Lepage became co-chairman. He served until his retirement in 2014 as chairman of Quality Bakers of America Co-operative, the national licensor of Sunbeam Bread, and as treasurer of the American Bakers Association, the baking industry’s leading national organization.
Friday, March 27th, 2015
The Freeman School is currently accepting proposals for the inaugural Millie and Allan Bradley Innovation in Ethics Education Grants.
The Millie and Allan Bradley Innovation in Ethics Education Grants Program will award grants of up to $10,000 to support innovative teaching in ethics.
Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to Tulane University faculty to support the development of innovative educational materials focused on ethics in business and society. These intellectual contributions might include case studies, decision- or judgement-making tools or research reports. Potential topics include business’ role in society, corporate social responsibility, social innovation and entrepreneurship, leadership character, corporate culture, ethics programs, and ethical decision-making dilemmas.
Proposals that reflect two emerging trends in higher education — collaboration among faculty across disciplines and “flipped classrooms” — will receive special consideration. Interdisciplinary perspectives on ethical issues increase students’ levels of ethical wisdom and enhance their overall understanding of this important broad-based educational foundation. Flipped classrooms refers to interactive, student-centered designs that use in-class time for students to engage in problem-solving and apply course content to real-world problems. Regardless of the focus or format, all submissions should have an ethical component as the centerpiece.
Funding for the program is provided by Millie P. Bradley (NC ’73, MBA ’75), former controller and manager of information systems with Exxon Mobil Corp., and Allan Bradley Jr. (MBA ’75), president and CEO of Questar Pipeline Co.
To learn more about the grants program, including information on how to submit a proposal, please see the program’s electronic brochure.
Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Barry Salzberg, global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., the largest professional services network in the world, will discuss the challenges of running an international business in a special talk hosted by the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.
Barry Salzberg, global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., will discuss global business and leadership as the 2014 R. W. Freeman Distinguished Lecturer.
“Leading Across Borders: Insights on Global Business and Leadership with Deloitte’s Global CEO” will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 5:30 p.m. in the Lavin-Bernick Center’s Qatar Ballroom. Salzberg’s presentation, the 2014 R. W. Freeman Distinguished Lecture, is free and open to the public.
As global CEO of DTTL, Salzberg leads and manages the Executive committee and sets the strategic direction of Deloitte, a global network comprising 47 member firms in 150 countries, with approximately 200,000 employees worldwide. Salzberg is a member of the DTTL Board of Directors and Executive committee.
Prior to assuming his current position, Salzberg served as CEO of Deloitte LLP (United States) from 2007 to 2011, and as managing partner from 2003 to 2007. During his time as CEO of Deloitte LLP, he was a member of the U.S. Board of Directors, the DTTL Executive committee, the DTTL Board of Directors and served as the Americas Regional Managing Partner. Salzerber joined Deloitte in 1977 and was admitted as partner of the Deloitte U.S. member firm in 1985.
In his earlier career, Salzberg was a lead client service partner and tax partner of the Deloitte U.S. member firm, where he became an acknowledged authority in the areas of personal tax and partnerships tax matters. In this role, he directly served the CXOs of many large clients, helping them with their personal tax and financial planning needs, as well as partnerships and corporations, mostly law firms or merger and acquisition specialists.
Salzberg received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Brooklyn College, his LLM in taxation from the New York University School of Law, and his JD from Brooklyn Law School. He was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and a Juris Doctor Honoris Causa from Brooklyn Law School.
Established in 1985, the R. W. Freeman Distinguished Lecture series is the premier annual speaking event at the A. B. Freeman School of Business. The series is named in honor of Richard W. Freeman (BBA ’34), former president and chairman of the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Ltd. and former chairman of Delta Air Lines. Mr. Freeman served on the Board of Tulane for 13 years and was a major benefactor of the university and the business school. In 1984, he was instrumental in raising funds to rename the school in honor of his father, A. B. Freeman. Mr. Freeman received the business school’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1958 and Tulane University’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in 1975.
Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
When it comes to business scandals, names like Madoff, Leman and Enron are top of mind. But why do people misbehave in the marketplace? That was the subject of a conference on Friday (Oct. 10) at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. With discussions from anthropologists, psychologists, philosophers and military scholars, the meeting of the Moral Research Lab was no ordinary business conference.
Janet Schwartz, left, and Peter McGraw were organizers of “Morality in the Marketplace,” an interdisciplinary research conference on morality and moral decision making.
“Morality and the Marketplace” was the first in-person meeting of the lab, a virtual group of interdisciplinary scholars who study morality and moral decision-making. Nine researchers affiliated with the lab — including scholars from business, economics, psychology, philosophy and anthropology as well as representatives from the military, the National Institutes of Health and even a corporate fraud examiner — presented research aimed at better understanding why people behave badly in the market.
“I think the thing that’s interesting is that it’s interdisciplinary,” says Janet Schwartz, assistant professor of marketing at the Freeman School and organizer of the conference. “The researchers came together from all over to present their ideas about how to make this research more relevant to the practice of ethics.”
Conference co-organizer Peter McGraw, associate professor of marketing at the University of Colorado–Boulder, said that while the conference’s purpose wasn’t to tell people how to behave in a marketplace, the research presented can be used by policymakers and executives to help create more ethical work environments.
“When people think about a business school, they often have a very narrow perception of what they do,” McGraw says. “Business schools can inform public policy, support entrepreneurs or help consumer advocates, so any time you can help understand the marketplace at some micro or macro level, the ability to prescribe expands greatly. Business schools have a much broader mission than most people assume, and I think a conference like this can help highlight that.”
“Morality in the Marketplace” was co-sponsored by the A. B. Freeman School of Business, the Murphy Institute, Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the D. W. Mitchell Lecture Fund as part of the Provost’s Faculty Seminars in Interdisciplinary Research.
Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
At the September meeting of the Freeman School faculty, Dean Ira Solomon announced the recipients of five awards honoring professors for outstanding teaching, research and service.
The Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 2012 to recognize faculty members who are outstanding instructors and whose teaching aligns with the strategic objectives of the school. The award – which is presented at both the graduate and undergraduate levels – is based on several criteria, including student evaluations, the level to which the faculty member integrates academic research into his or her teaching, and the extent to which the course provides high-impact experiential learning opportunities for students.
This year’s winner of the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Education is Geoffrey Parker. Parker, the Norman Mayer Professor of Business and professor of management science, joined the Freeman School in 1998 and was promoted to full professor in 2011. He is co-developer of the economic theory of two-sided networks, and his research explores the economics of and strategy of platform markets. In the classroom, Parker teaches Process Modeling and Technology Integration, Modeling and Analytics, and Platform Strategy, a course based in large part on his own research. He currently serves as research director of the Tulane Energy Institute and is a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business and president of the Industry Studies Association.
The Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award for Undergraduate Education was presented to Kris Hoang. An assistant professor of accounting, Hoang joined the Freeman School in 2012 after earning her PhD from the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on judgment and decision-making in corporate governance and audit settings, and her teaching emphasizes the role of accounting information in management decision-making and strategy. The Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award is Hoang’s third teaching award this year. In the spring, Hoang received both the FSG Teaching Award, presented by the Freeman Student Government Executive Board, and the BSM Howard W. Wissner Award, selected by a vote of the undergraduate student body.
Established in 2012, the Dean’s Excellence in Intellectual Contribution Award was created to honor professors of practice and lecturers who have produced outstanding scholarly contributions. This year’s award went to Peter Ricchiuti. The William B. Burkenroad Jr. Professor of Practice in Finance, Ricchiuti began teaching at the Freeman School in 1986 and has served the school in variety of roles, including assistant dean and director of the Career Management Center. In 1993, he founded Burkenroad Reports, a student equities research program that has earned national accolades and helped place hundreds of students in finance positions. In 2014, Ricchiuti published his first book, Stocks Under Rocks: How To Uncover Overlooked, Profitable Market Opportunities (FT Press), an investing guide based on lessons he’s learned over the years as director of Burkenroad Reports.
Dean Solomon also announced a new award at the meeting. The Dean’s Award for Faculty Excellence was established to honor faculty members for outstanding overall performance. The award, presented each year at the discretion of the dean, recognizes professors who have exhibited sustained, exceptional performance in teaching, research and service. The inaugural recipients of the award are Michael Burke and Sheri Tice.
Burke, the Lawrence Martin Chair in Business and professor of management, joined the Freeman School in 1991 and holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. One of the nation’s leading experts on worker safety training, Burke’s research focuses on learning and the efficacy of workplace safety and health interventions as well as the meaning of employee perceptions of work environment characteristics (psychological and organizational climate) and statistical procedures for assessing inter-rater agreement. Burke has chaired 34 dissertation committees and served as a member on an additional 51 committees at the Freeman School, the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the Department of Psychology. He also recently completed a term as chair of Tulane University’s Social Behavioral Institutional Review Board as is now serving as Management Area Coordinator at the Freeman School.
Tice, the A. B. Freeman Chair of Business and professor of finance, joined the Freeman School in 1998 and was promoted to full professor in 2010. Her research focuses on corporate finance and the effect of firm characteristics on the decisions and performance of firms and their competitors. In the classroom, Tice supervises and teaches the Darwin Fenner Student Managed Fund course, an honors seminar in which students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels read current scholarly research on value investing and manage three portfolios totaling over $3.8 million in Freeman School endowment funds. Tice also serves as faculty director of the Master of Finance program and recently concluded a term as Finance Area Coordinator.
“One of the joys of serving as dean is the ability to recognize excellence in one’s colleagues, and these five faculty members clearly deserve recognition,” said Dean Solomon. “I would be remiss, however, if I failed to note that selecting these individuals was anything but easy because excellence resides broadly within the Freeman School faculty.”
Monday, August 18th, 2014
Dean Ira Solomon is pleased to announce the following appointments to the faculty of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.
C. Edward Fee joins the Freeman School as the Morton A. Aldrich Professor of Business and professor of finance. Fee, a visiting professor at the Freeman School in 2013-14, was previously the Philip J. May Endowed Professor of Finance at Michigan State University. His research interests are primarily in the areas of corporate finance and corporate governance, and include mergers and acquisitions, managerial labor markets, and the interaction of corporate financial policy with product market relationships. He has published in leading finance and accounting journals, including The Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, The Journal of Business, Journal of Accounting and Economics, and The Accounting Review. His article “Managers With and Without Style: Evidence using Exogenous Variation,” co-authored with Charles Hadlock and Joshua Pierce, won the 2014 Michael J. Brennan Award for the best paper in the Review of Financial Studies. Prior to beginning his academic career, Fee traded commodity options and futures. He has an MBA from Tulane University and received his PhD from the University of Florida.
Ganapathi (Gans) Narayanamoorthy, who joins the faculty as associate professor of accounting, comes to the Freeman School from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served as an assistant professor of accountancy. He also served as an assistant professor at Yale School of Management. Narayanamoorthy’s research focuses on the capital markets area in accounting, with particular emphasis on market efficiency and litigation risk. He is also a bank accounting expert. Narayanamoorthy has published extensively in the top journals in accounting, including the Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Contemporary Accounting Research, and Review of Accounting Studies. Prior to entering academia, Narayanamoorthy was an investment banker managing public offerings of large corporations, including Fortune 500 companies. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India, and his PhD from the University of Rochester.
Assistant Professor of Accounting Adrienna Huffman comes to the Freeman School from the University of Utah, where she recently completed her PhD. Huffman’s research focuses on capital markets, with an emphasis in valuation and financial reporting. Her dissertation explores the implications of asset measurement attributes for firm valuation. At Utah, Huffman’s dissertation was granted the competitively-awarded, university-wide Marriner S. Eccles Research Fellowship in Political Economy for originality, creativity and potential for research success. Prior to her academic career, Huffman worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce as a statistician at the Census Bureau. She earned her undergraduate degree with honors in economics from Washington University in St. Louis.
Nishad Kapadia, who joins the faculty as assistant professor of finance, comes to the Freeman School from the Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University, where he served as an assistant professor of finance. Kapadia’s research is focused on empirical asset pricing and has appeared in the Journal of Financial Economics. Kapadia has also worked with KPMG Consulting in London and Bombay on projects that included business strategy, technology selection and risk management for financial services firms. He received his bachelor’s degree from St. Xavier’s College in Bombay, his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India, and his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Osman Kazan joins the Freeman School’s tenure-track faculty as an assistant professor of management science after serving as a visiting professor in 2013-14. Kazan received his PhD in 2013 from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he specialized in electricity pricing and retail power management. His research explores decision making associated with energy issues such as smart grids and renewables, and he often uses empirical methods to estimate power generation costs and map consumers’ demand patterns through behavioral experiments. Prior to beginning his academic career, Kazan worked as a senior management consultant for technology companies including Sabre and Hewlett-Packard. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and a master’s degree in operations research from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Assistant Professor of Finance Zeigham Khokher joins the tenure-track faculty after serving as a visiting professor in 2013-14. His research interests include energy finance, with an emphasis on reduced form and structural models. Prior to joining the Freeman School, he served as a visiting faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Securities and Exchange Commission. As an assistant professor at Western University’s Ivey Business School, Khokher received numerous teaching awards. He is the co-author of “Exhaustible Resource Price Dynamics,” which was published in the Journal of Finance. Khokher earned a BBA (Finance), BA (Mathematics), MS (Mathematical Statistics) and PhD (Finance) from the University of Texas at Austin.
Joon Ro, assistant professor of marketing, received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. His research uses empirical models to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing strategies and make policy recommendations, especially in creative industries such as movies and video games. Ro’s dissertation focused on firms’ dynamic pricing strategies under the presence of used goods markets and consumers’ dynamic product adoption. He has a BA and MA in economics from Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, and an MS in economics from the University of Texas at Austin.
Assistant Professor of Management Science Claire Senot comes to the Freeman School from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, where she recently received her PhD. Senot’s research interests include health care operations, quality management and organizational learning. Her paper “Process Management Impact on Clinical and Experiential Quality: Managing Tensions between Safe and Patient-Centered Health Care,” published in the Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM) journal, received the INFORMS 2012 Industry Studies Best Paper Award. Prior to beginning her academic career, Senot worked in operations management in Sydney and Chicago. She holds a master’s degree from Audencia Graduate School of Management in France and an MBA from Ohio State University.
Sherif Ebrahim joins the Freeman School as a lecturer in strategy and innovation and director of entrepreneurship and innovation education with the Levy Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship. Ebrahim had served as an adjunct professor of strategy and innovation at the Freeman School for the past several years. Ebrahim is president & CEO of Strategic Management Group and managing partner of SMG Capital. He is a board certified health care executive, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, an NAPH Managed Care Public Policy & Finance Fellow from New York University, and a Health Systems Management Fellow from Tulane University and the state of Louisiana.
Anu Varadharajan joins the Freeman School as a lecturer in accounting and associate director of the Master of Accounting program. She comes to the Freeman School from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she served as a lecturer in accountancy and where she consistently appeared on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent. Prior to beginning her academic career, Varadharajan spent nine years with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a tax manager and as regional finance director for PwC’s Northeast Region. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the National University of Singapore, an MBA from the University of Rochester, and is a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA). Varadharajan is also an entrepreneur with her own line of natural, organic, handcrafted skin care products.
In addition to the tenured/tenure track and lecturer appointments, Dean Solomon also named three professors to one-year visiting appointments. Steven Wei Ho was appointed visiting assistant professor of finance, Srini Krishnamoorthy was appointed visiting assistant professor of management science, and Debjeet Pradhan was appointed visiting assistant professor of accounting.
“An outstanding faculty is the foundation of every great business school, and this group of scholars and educators is truly outstanding,” said Dean Solomon. “I’m very happy to welcome them to the Freeman School and Tulane University.”
Thursday, July 24th, 2014
During Beau Parent’s accounting lectures at the A. B. Freeman School of Business, he would pause, look around his class and say in a booming voice, “Make sense? Make sense?” But the news of Parent’s sudden death just doesn’t make sense to the thousands of students who learned accounting from the legendary Tulane University instructor.
“Beau Parent helped everyone understand accounting and get through that class,” one of his colleagues said. (Photo by Sabree Hill)
When word began to spread that the 73-year-old Parent died on Sunday (July 20), calls of concern from former students began streaming into the school. For 37 years, Parent taught Financial Accounting to every business undergraduate.
A memorial service will be held on Monday (July 28) at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 6367 St. Charles Ave. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m., with a memorial mass at 11 a.m. A reception will follow in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall at the Lavin-Bernick Center on the Tulane uptown campus.
“It’s difficult, starting the fall term without Beau in his classroom,” said Michael Hogg, professor of practice who has known Parent for nearly 25 years. “He was one of the most gifted teachers I’ve ever met.”
A CPA, Parent was a frequent winner of the BSM Honor Roll teaching award, and also earned the James Murphy Award for Excellence in Teaching. Twice he received the Howard Wisner Award given by undergraduates to teachers who demonstrate special interest in students. He was faculty adviser for the school’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi honorary national accounting fraternity.
Parent developed the school’s five-year Master of Accounting program, taking pride in helping students get internships at firms all across the country, Hogg said.
Parent’s Tulane roots extend throughout his family. His daughter Colette Raphel is university registrar; his daughter Christine Smith is a professor of practice who teaches accounting; his son-in-law David Raphel is assistant technical director in the Department of Theatre and Dance; and his widow, Elizabeth Parent, is an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in memory of Parent to the Tulane University Scholarship Fund, Office of Development, P.O. Box 61075, New Orleans, LA 70161, or at this website. Gifts will be used to support scholarships for students like those he taught and mentored throughout his career.
– Carol Schlueter
Friday, June 13th, 2014
Professor of Accounting R. Lynn Hannan has been named to a three-year term as an editor of Contemporary Accounting Research.
Professor of Accounting R. Lynn Hannan was recently appointed to a three-year term as an editor of Contemporary Accounting Research.
The appointment, which began May 1, is a prestigious one. Published since 1984 by the Canadian Academic Accounting Association, CAR is recognized as one of the top five journals in accounting and one of the top 50 in business.
“It’s a great honor to serve as an editor of Contemporary Accounting Research,” says Hannan. “It’s truly one of the leading scholarly publications in the field, and I’m very excited to become a senior member of the editorial team.”
With more than a dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals to her credit, Hannan is one of the nation’s leading scholars in the area of managerial accounting that deals with the social and psychological drivers of decision making. Her research explores the intersection of accounting, management and psychology, focusing on how organizations can improve outcomes via the design of their accounting information and incentive systems.
Hannan joined the Freeman School in 2013 from Georgia State University, where she served as a professor of accounting and director of the accounting PhD program. Prior to beginning her academic career, she worked as an auditor for the state of Pennsylvania and later as a tax manager for Westinghouse Electric Corp. While managing the tax implications of a $6 billion accounting charge at Westinghouse’s financial services division, a loss that almost bankrupted the company, Hannan realized the important role that accounting plays in influencing managers’ decisions. The experience helped spark her interest in the relationship between accounting information and incentive systems.
“Accounting information helps you make the right decision, but it also influences those decisions,” she says. “How you’re evaluated, for example, can skew the way you process accounting information, perhaps leading you to focus more on short-term results. What I’m interested in is how we can improve accounting to help people make better decisions, in terms of both quality of information and the motivational factor.”
A recent paper by Hannan on framing in incentive contracts explores the issue of motivation. Through a series of experiments, Hannan found that penalty clauses are a greater performance motivator than bonuses, but the effect is moderated by the employee’s perception of the penalty. To the extent that the employee feels the penalty is unfair, he or she is less motivated by it.
Hannan says this type of research — applying insights from cognitive and social psychology to traditional agency theory— is relatively new in accounting.
“Historically, this area of research was based almost exclusively on the utility function — people are motivated by wealth and leisure, so if you want to get someone to do something, you have to pay them,” Hannan says. “What my research does is expand the utility function to include what I call social preferences. In the real world, people don’t just care about money. They also care about things like fairness and their reputations and how they compare to peers. So given these social preferences and cognitive limitations, how can we then present our accounting information in the best way and design contracts in the best way? That’s really my focus.”
Hannan also serves as a director of the Institute of Management Accountants Research Foundation, an international organization of accounting and financial professionals working in business, so she hopes that that role together with her appointment at Contemporary Accounting Research will help to promote accounting education and scholarship at the Freeman School.
“The energy here right now is just amazing,” she says. “Everyone in the accounting area is very collegial, very high-energy. Just really good people. I’m excited to do anything I can to help spread the word.”
Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service has lost $20 billion in the last two years as it struggles to adapt to a fast changing, increasingly digital business environment. Could the agency help right itself by taking a page from its online competitors? The Freeman School’s Geoff Parker thinks so.
Geoff Parker recently co-authored a paper for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General that recommended adding a digital information layer to advertising mail to help it better compete with online advertising.
Parker, professor of management science and a nationally regarded expert in platform economics, recently co-authored a paper for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General that recommends adding a digital information layer to advertising mail to help the agency better compete with online advertising.
“This is really a first step towards setting up a more effective platform for advertising mail,” says Parker, who co-authored the report with colleagues Marshall Van Alstyne and Tushar Shanker. “Ultimately, platforms are about creating effective, valuable matches between users. When I send you something you don’t want, it’s wasted paper, wasted fuel cost, wasted printing — it’s just waste. If we can eliminate some fraction of that through the use of better information, that’s a win-win all the way around.”
Parker and Van Alstyne are no strangers to postal platforms. In 2012, they co-authored a report for the International Post Corp., a consortium of the world’s largest postal systems, detailing ways to generate additional revenue through digital business models.
That report eventually caught the attention of the USPS Office of Inspector General, which was seeking ideas to sustain and enhance the Postal Service’s lucrative advertising mail business, which generated $16.9 billion for the agency in 2013.
While direct mail offers a number of advantages for advertisers, Parker says its chief shortcoming is the inability for advertisers to know with certainty which consumers want to receive ads and which don’t.
“You know who responded when they make purchases, but you don’t know who was interested but got distracted or who just threw it away, so the feedback loop is slow and noisy,” Parker says. “What we’re trying to do here is get a quicker, more accurate feedback loop and build out a data layer that goes on top of the physical delivery system.”
To generate that data layer, Parker and his co-authors propose a digital coupon mechanism to collect information from mail recipients. Each piece of advertising mail would feature a code that recipients could scan to receive a coupon or cash reward, but those recipients would first have to provide a small amount of feedback indicating what types of ads or advertisers they’re interested in. The Postal Service would then collect that information and use it to help advertisers better target prospective customers.
“It puts the Postal Service in the position of being able to charge for the data layer,” Parker says, “so that they can build a new revenue stream.”
While the Postal Service hasn’t announced any plans to move forward with the proposal, Parker says the fact that it was made public indicates significant interest within the agency.
“This is an incredibly important industry and a very important organization, so it was really exciting for us to think about how to move this traditional industry into the 21st century,” Parker says. “We really enjoy it when the research we do has the potential to make a multibillion-dollar impact.”
Parker, Alstyne and Shanker’s paper, “A Redeemable Information Coupon Mechanism for Advertising Mail,” is available via the U.S. Postal Service website.
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
Assistant Professor of Accounting Kris Hoang has been named the 2014 recipient of the Freeman Student Government (FSG) Teaching Award. The award, previously known as the Howard W. Wissner Award for Undergraduate Teaching, is presented annually by the FSG Executive Board in recognition of professors in the Bachelor of Science in Management program who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the education of students.
All faculty members who taught a for-credit course in the preceding academic year are eligible to be nominated for the award. From those nominations, three professors are chosen by a vote of the undergraduate student body. The FSG Executive Board then selects the winner from those finalists.
Hoang was recognized for her teaching in Managerial Accounting, which emphasizes the role of accounting information in management decision-making and strategy.
“I really treat the whole course as language acquisition,” Hoang says. “This is the language of business and until you have some mastery of that language, it’s really hard to have a conversation at the board room table about the big strategic decisions that need to be made. That’s how I try to appeal to students who may not be pursuing further studies in accounting but who are definitely going to be using these concepts to navigate the professional world, whether they’re executives, lawyers or politicians.”
Hoang joined the Freeman School in 2012 after completing her PhD at the University Of Alberta’s School Of Business. Her research examines the judgment and decision making behavior of managers, directors and auditors in corporate governance settings. She studies how auditor-client relationships impact financial reporting. Prior to beginning her academic career, she provided auditing services and developed corporate governance resources for clients at Deloitte in Toronto.