Archive for the ‘Freeman News’ Category

New course honors Burkenroad Reports patron

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

“Aaron was one of the greatest, smartest investors I ever met,” says Peter Ricchiuti. “He was the consummate value investor, always looking for things that were out of favor. I learned so much from him.”

Selber-Course-TLW_2976

Instructor Myke Yest says the Selber Course delves into an important yet often neglected area of finance. (Photos by Mahesh Rajan.)

Ricchiuti, founder and director of Burkenroad Reports, is talking about businessman and private investor Aaron Selber Jr. (BBA ’50), who died in August 2013 following a long illness. A member of the Burkenroad family by his marriage to the former Peggy Burkenroad, Selber played a major role in the family’s decision to endow Ricchiuti’s program in honor of his late father-in-law, New Orleans coffee magnate William B. Burkenroad Jr. (’23), and he remained one of its biggest champions until his death.

This semester, the Freeman School introduced a new course to pay tribute to Selber’s lifelong commitment to Tulane University. The Aaron Selber Jr. Course in Alternative Investments is a finance elective dedicated to the wide-ranging category that encompasses everything from real estate to hedge funds. While future offerings may explore other areas, this semester’s class focuses exclusively on one alternative investment: distressed debt, the highly complex investing space that Selber enjoyed most.

According to course instructor Myke Yest, the class delves into an important yet often neglected area of finance.

“Investors spend far more time talking about the equity of a company than they do the debt side, but the reality is that the value of the bond market is far greater than the equity markets,” says Yest, a professor of practice in finance. “Distressed debt was an area that Mr. Selber was truly passionate about, so what better way to honor him than to make an entire course about distressed debt?”

The course combines lectures and case studies on non-investment-grade bonds with talks from an all-star lineup of guest speakers, including James Duplessie (MBA ’84), head of Distressed Debt Strategies at Napier Park Global Capital, and Howard Marks, co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management and one of the nation’s leading experts on distressed securities.

Selber's friend and business partner Dewey Corley spoke about distressed debt at the first meeting of the class.

Investor Dewey Corley spoke about his friend Aaron Selber and his approach to distressed debt as the course’s first guest lecturer.

Kicking off the guest lecture series on Jan. 15 was Dewey W. Corley (L ’70), Selber’s longtime friend and business partner. Corley worked with Selber’s son-in-law Robert H. Autenreith (E ’74, MBA ’78) and all the members of the family to help raise $1.2 million to name the course in Selber’s honor.

“Aaron was an inspirational guy,” says Corley, who met Selber in the early 1970s and became his investing partner in 1998. “He cared deeply about education, about Tulane University and about investing, so I think he’d be delighted to know that this course had been established in his honor.”

While students in the course will gain the technical skills necessary to analyze and value distressed debt, the class also features an experiential learning component in the spirit of Selber’s beloved Burkenroad Reports. Yest plans to have his students write analysis reports on distressed companies detailing why the company is in distress, what piece of its debt they’d recommend purchasing, and what the most likely return for investors is. In a crowded job market, Yest says the reports can help students gain a critical edge.

“We can have a curriculum that is technically very strong, but if we’re not giving students relevant, applicable experience, we’re not doing our job,” Yest says. “The Selber Course gives students not only some unique technical skills, but also a deliverable to show potential employers what they did at Tulane, and that goes a long way toward helping them to stand apart from the competition.”

Ricchiuti, whose program has been helping students stand apart from the crowd for almost 25 years, echoes that thought.

“Aaron was always interested in creating things at Tulane that weren’t available anywhere else,” Ricchiuti says. “Burkenroad Reports was one of those things, and now I think the Selber Course is as well. When students come out of it, they’ll have a set of skills that nobody else has, and that’s something I think Aaron would be very proud of.”

 

 


Think you need luck? Think again

Friday, February 13th, 2015

If Friday the 13th finds you being a little more careful than usual, you’re likely one of the millions of Americans who consider themselves to be at least a little superstitious.

lucky

The Freeman School’s Eric Hamerman says people are more likely to turn to superstition to help achieve performance goals as opposed to learning goals.

A. B. Freeman School of Business researcher Eric Hamerman studies the impact of superstition on decision-making and his latest paper sheds light on the situations in which individuals use superstitions most.

People are more likely to turn to superstition when they’re interested in achieving a performance goal as opposed to a learning goal, he said.

“Performance goals involve somebody else giving me approval whereas learning goals involve an internal sense of competence and mastery,” said Hamerman, an assistant professor of marketing at the Freeman School. “Only when looking for outside approval do we bring in outside sources, such as luck, to try to help ourselves.”

An example of a performance goal would be a musician who practices in order to receive applause. If the musician were to practice solely for the satisfaction of mastering the piece of music, that would be a learning goal. Similarly, a student who studies to get an A has a performance goal whereas a student who studies to learn the material has a learning goal.

While Hamerman’s research doesn’t address whether belief in superstition affects one’s performance, he said focusing on performance goals tends to make people feel less in control while focusing on learning goals tends to make people challenge and stretch themselves.

“The lesson here is that we should really try to reframe those performance goals as learning goals,” Hamerman said. “If we focus on the process rather than the outcome … we’ll tend to focus on more rational solutions to become better achievers.”

Hamerman’s paper “Reliance on Luck: Identifying Which Achievement Goals Elicit Superstitious Behavior,” co-authored with Carey Morewedge, appears in the March 2015 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.


Freeman unveils new four-year MD/MBA

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Recognizing the growing need for physicians with business training, the A. B. Freeman School of Business and Tulane University School of Medicine have created a new four-year accelerated program for medical students to earn a master of business administration with their medical degrees.

MDMBA-release

This summer, the Freeman School and Tulane School of Medicine will begin offering a new program that enables students to earn a medical degree and an MBA in just four years.

The joint-degree program, which begins this summer, is one of only a very few four-year MD/MBA programs across the country.

“Future leaders in medicine must excel as clinicians as well as managers in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare market,” said Dr. Lee Hamm, senior vice president and dean of Tulane University School of Medicine. “This joint degree program is designed to prepare physicians who may later run their own practices, become biomedical entrepreneurs or pursue future careers in health care administration or pharmaceutical development.”

“Whether their goal is to become a practicing physician, medical director of a hospital or manager of a medical group, physicians who understand the tools, concepts and language of business will have a critical advantage in bridging the clinical and business sides of health care,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School.

The four-year program is for newly admitted medical students who will take courses at Freeman during the summers before and after their first year of medical school. Students then complete their business education throughout the remainder of their time at the school of medicine.

The new program will be offered in addition to Tulane’s existing five-year MD/MBA degree, which began in 2004. The five-year degree includes a required global leadership component, which provides real-world learning experiences through international travel. Both combined programs allow students to save time and money over earning the two degrees separately. Each require 48 credit hours compared to the usual 60 hours of a traditional two-year MBA program.

For more information, visit: http://tulane.edu/som/admissions/programs/combined-degrees.cfm


PitchNOLA winner comes full circle

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

When entrepreneur Larry Irvin Jr. took the Freeman Auditorium stage at last year’s PitchNOLA startup competition, it did not go well.

PitchNOLA, an annual social entrepreneurship elevator pitch compeition, took place Jan. 28 on Tulane's uptown campus. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

PitchNOLA, an annual social entrepreneurship elevator pitch compeition, took place Jan. 28 on Tulane’s uptown campus. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

He froze up a minute into his pitch, rushing out of the auditorium as a stunned audience watched his business partner Kristyna Jones dash up to finish the presentation.

Unbowed, the two came back for a second shot last week for PitchNOLA 2015: Community Solutions and more than redeemed themselves. Their venture, Brothers Empowered to Teach (BE2T), won the top $5,000 prize in the annual elevator pitch contest for social entrepreneurs seeking to solve community challenges in New Orleans.

BE2T recruits African-American college students to work as teaching assistants and mentors in area public schools. The goal is to close the achievement gap for at-risk students by inspiring and incentivizing men of color to become teachers.

“We’ve hit another milestone,” Jones said. “Winning means that stipends will be covered this fall for two of our 15 (classroom) participants.”

Held annually at Tulane University since 2009, PitchNOLA allows 10 semi-finalists to go before a panel of judges and a live audience to pitch their ideas to take on pressing, local issues in workforce development, children and families, social justice and the environment. The contest is co-hosted by the A. B. Freeman School of Business,  Tulane Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching and Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation.

“I’ve judged this event since it’s started, and these entrepreneurs had the best pitches I’ve seen, across the board,” said judge Leslie Jacobs.

UnCommon Construction won $3,000 as the second place winner and $640 as the audience favorite. The nonprofit builds houses with high school apprentices and uses the proceeds to provide them with expanded college and career opportunities.

Gator & Crane placed third, winning $2,000. The company seeks to build an environmentally sustainable grocery store that offers healthy foods while reducing packaging waste.

 


Going the distance to fight cancer

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Liz Cowle grew up with cancer.

Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few weeks before Liz was born. She died a month after Liz’s fourth birthday, leaving her grieving father to care for her and her two young sisters.

Liz Cowle will run from San Francisco to Baltimore this summer to promote cancer awareness.

Liz Cowle (BSM/MACCT ’15) will take part in a cross-country run this summer to promote cancer awareness.

“All the pictures that I have of my mom, she’s very withered away,” says Cowle, a fifth-year Master of Accounting student at the Freeman School. “It got to the point that she wasn’t even able to pick me up anymore. My dad had to carry her from the bed to the bathtub. She left us videos and you can see as I grew up, she gets worse.”

Losing her mother to cancer at such a young age was traumatic, but Cowle says the experience taught her to be independent, to give back when she can, and most of all to appreciate her good health and physical fitness.

This summer, she plans to do all three of those things when she embarks on a cross-country run to fight cancer. As a participant in the Ulman Cancer Fund’s 4K for Cancer, Cowle will run from San Francisco to Baltimore to raise funds and promote cancer awareness. Along the way, she’ll also visit hospitals and cancer centers to award scholarships and hand out care packages to patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Liz with her mother, ??? Cowle, who died in 1992.

Liz and her mother, Denise Cowle, who died from cancer in 1996.

“I’ve participated in 5Ks that benefit different cancer charities, but I always wanted to do something bigger,” says Cowle, who will join the New Orleans office of Deloitte & Touche in September as an auditor. “When I saw this and learned that we would actually go across the country and meet with patients, I thought it would be the best way I could spend my summer before I begin my job.”

Cowle is one of 60 runners and 100 cyclists selected to participate in the annual cross-country trek, which last year raised over $1 million to support programs for young adults affected by cancer. As a member of this year’s 4k for Cancer team, Cowle expects to run about 60 miles per week over the course of the seven-week journey. To prepare for that task, she’s been adding mileage to her daily runs in Audubon Park as well as working with a personal trainer on resistance exercise including weight lifting and suspension training. She also practices Bikram yoga three times per week.

“I know the 4K will be emotionally and physically exhausting, but l also know the journey will be incredibly rewarding,” she says. “Cancer doesn’t stop, so why should I? People keep telling me I’m crazy for wanting to run across the country, but as Steve Jobs used to say, ‘The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.’ I can’t change what has happened to me and my family, but maybe I can change what happens to others.”

To learn more about 4K for Cancer or make a pledge to support Cowle’s run, visit 4kforcancer.org/profiles/liz-cowle.

 

 


Deadline approaching for 2015 Business Model Competition

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

College entrepreneurs have less than two weeks to enter the 15th annual Tulane Business Model Competition for a chance to win more than $25,000 in cash and prizes for promising startup ventures.

Parastoo Khoshakhlagh, a doctoral student in the Tulane biomedical engineering program, makes the winning presentation for Tympanogen. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

Jan. 30 is the deadline to apply for the 2015 Tulane Business Model Competition, which will award $25,000 to a promising startup venture. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

The contest, which is hosted by the A. B. Freeman School of Business and the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, seeks early-stage ventures that demonstrate a market-tested ability to adapt to customers’ needs. It is open to any team led by at least two or more students enrolled in a college or university. To enter, teams must submit a company description and other details by 11:59 p.m., Jan. 30 at: http://tulane2015.istart.org/.

“The Tulane Business Model Competition is a way for Tulane University to recognize and foster high-potential ventures that have demonstrated the ability to test their assumptions in the field and then pivot based on that market feedback,” said Lina Alfieri Stern, director of operations with the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship.

Tulane will select six semi-finalists who will get to pitch, receive mentoring and network with a variety of “Lean Startup” experts on Monday, March 23, during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Lean Startup is a business development model created by entrepreneur and author Eric Ries. The three finalists selected by judges will then present their business models at Tulane University on Thursday, April 16.

Formerly known as the Tulane Business Plan Competition, the contest was reorganized last year to emphasize the importance of validating a business model through field research. The contest rewards ventures for breaking down their idea into a key business model hypotheses; testing their assumptions with customers; applying Customer Development / Lean Startup principles to make sure they nail the solution; and changing until they have a customer-validated business model.

For more information, visit LRI.Tulane.edu/competition.php.


Undergrads find mentors in alumni

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

For business school students, getting a good internship is the first step toward landing a great job after graduation, but for students lacking previous professional experience, that’s often easier said than done.

Tulane alumnus Barrett Cooper gives Jason Dunleavy, a sophomore majoring in finance, a tour of the Orpheum Theatre, which is currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar restoration. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

Barrett Cooper (MBA ’13) gives Jason Dunleavy, a sophomore majoring in finance, a tour of the Orpheum Theatre, which is currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar restoration. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

To help ease the transition from classes to the professional world, the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University introduced a new program during the fall semester that enables students to “shadow” an alumnus on a typical workday.

Program developer Jade O’Dell says the NOLA Professionals Job Shadowing Program can give students practical knowledge of jobs and careers while helping them to become more comfortable with networking.

“This is something to do before you start applying for internships,” says O’Dell, a counselor in the business school’s Career Management Center. “You can talk to professionals in the field, get an idea of what different professions are like and then figure out where you want to go from there.”

Jason Dunleavy, a sophomore majoring in finance, was matched with Barrett Cooper (MBA ’13), chief operating officer of ERG Enterprises. The venture capital firm’s holdings include the Windsor Court Hotel, the Pontchartrain Hotel, Tipitina’s and the Orpheum Theatre, which is currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar restoration. Dunleavy spent the day with Cooper visiting properties and learning more about how the company chooses its investments.

“I was amazed at how smart Jason was and how knowledgeable he was of the industry,” Cooper says. “ERG Enterprises believes very strongly in the importance of mentoring and networking, so we were happy to be able to help Jason get a better understanding of what the workplace is like.”

O’Dell hopes to make the program available to more students during the spring semester, with the help of additional alumni volunteers. Any Tulane alumni interested in participating in the job shadowing program may contact O’Dell at 504-865-5417.


TABA to establish alumni chapter in Shanghai

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The number of Freeman School alumni in the People’s Republic of China has grown to nearly 400 in recent years, comprising a large, diverse group of business, government and community leaders. In January, the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) will pay tribute to the business school’s growing footprint in Asia with the establishment of a new chapter in Shanghai.

In January, the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) will establish a new chapter in Shanghai to serve the Freeman School's growing population of Chinese alumni.

In January, the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) will establish a new chapter in Shanghai to serve the Freeman School’s growing population of Chinese alumni.

The Shanghai Chapter of TABA — the association’s first new international chapter in 20 years — will sponsor networking events, promote the Freeman School and Tulane University in Shanghai, and serve as a hub and resource for Freeman alumni throughout eastern China. A ceremony and reception recognizing the chartering of the chapter will take place on Friday, Jan. 9, at Shanghai’s Grand Swissotel. All Freeman School alumni interested in being part of this historic event are invited to RSVP at freemanshanghai.eventbrite.com.

“One of the goals we outlined as part of last year’s strategic planning process was to expand our alumni outreach in China,” says Peggy Babin, associate dean for external relations. “The establishment of a TABA chapter in Shanghai will enable us to better support and serve the interests of our graduates in China, which boasts our fastest-growing alumni population in the world.”

The chartering ceremony is being held in conjunction with another major event designed to serve the Freeman School’s growing number of Chinese constituents. The West to East Career Expo, which will take place from Jan. 6 – 9 also at the Grand Swissotel, is a networking and recruiting event for Chinese nationals studying business at Tulane, Rice University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of Southern California. About 100 students will have the opportunity to network, attend company information sessions and interview for jobs in China.

“This event is a ground-breaking approach in serving our international student population,” says Leonard Williams, director of the Freeman School’s Career Management Center. “Although many of our international alumni have been successful in gaining employment on their own when they return to their home country, this event will make that process easier and possibly more efficient for them.”

In conjunction with the expo, the Freeman School will host a networking reception for Freeman School students and alumni in China on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at the Grand Swissotel. The reception is being modeled on Freeman Days events, so participation from alumni is essential to its success. Any Freeman School alumni interested in attending should RSVP  at freemanshanghainetworking.eventbrite.com as soon as possible.

 


Burkenroad Reports wins top teaching award

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Tulane University’s Burkenroad Reports won top honors this week for best teaching delivery in the prestigious Wharton-QS Stars Awards, an international competition recognizing innovative approaches in higher education that enhance learning and student employability.

Peter Ricchiuti, founder and director of the Burkenroad Reports program, which earned a national award for innovative teaching on Tuesday.

Peter Ricchiuti, founder and director of Burkenroad Reports, which earned a national award for innovative teaching on Tuesday.

The program, within the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, gives students practical stock analysis experience by covering traditionally overlooked small-cap companies in the Gulf South. Each year 200 students meet top management, visit company sites and publish investment research reports on 40 “stocks under rocks” in six states.

“This is an amazing recognition of the work we have been doing for the past 21 years,” said Peter Ricchiuti, Burkenroad Reports founder and director. “It is particularly meaningful because it celebrates both the creativity of the program and its results in developing strong, well-prepared students. Burkenroad Reports has sent about 600 students off to careers in the investment field.”

Hancock Bank manages a mutual fund based on the program. It has over $750 million in assets and has outperformed about 99 percent of the nation’s nearly 7,000 equity mutual funds, Ricchiuti said.

“The investment community has praised the research excellence of Burkenroad Reports for years, but I don’t think as many people realize it’s also a unique and innovative educational program,” said Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon. “I’m very pleased to see Peter and his staff receive this well-deserved national recognition for developing and executing a truly outstanding educational program.”

The Wharton-QS Stars Awards took place on Dec. 9 in Philadelphia. The competition, developed by the Wharton School SEI Center of the University of Pennsylvania and QS Quacquarelli Symonds, publisher of the QS World University Rankings, received submissions from 427 universities and enterprises from 43 countries. It included 21 awards judged by a panel of 25 international experts. A list of winners is available at http://www.reimagine-education.com.

For more information on Burkenroad Reports, visit http://www.burkenroad.org.


Fox Sports N.O. airs campaign inspired by students

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Last year, students in a Freeman School marketing class worked with officials from Fox Sports New Orleans to help develop a marketing campaign for the network’s coverage of Louisiana high school sports. This year, Fox Sports New Orleans showcased those ideas in a series of promotional spots that aired throughout the 2014 high school football season.


The ads were written and produced by Fox Sports New Orleans’ marketing staff, but Director of Marketing Mary Hyink says the spots were based in large part on ideas the students came up with. On the creative side, the students proposed a campaign that focused on the legacy of Louisiana high school sports and suggested using NFL stars who played high school football in Louisiana to promote the network’s coverage. Fox Sports New Orleans ended up engaging  former NFL stars Jake Delhomme (above) and Randall Gay (below), both former Louisiana high school standouts, to promote its game of the week. Several Freeman students even participated in filming the spots. On the social media side, Fox Sports New Orleans adopted the students’ idea for a hashtag campaign — #wheredyageaux — to tap into the school pride that’s at the heart of the high school athletics experience. Hyink says the spots aired more than 300 times during football season.

“We had a great experience working with Tulane last year,” said Hyink. “Their ideas really helped shape our 2014 campaign.”

Hyink says Fox Sports New Orleans was so pleased with last year’s project, they plan to work with a class of Freeman students on a new project focused on its New Orleans Pelicans coverage in the spring 2015 semester.



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