Archive for the ‘Freeman News’ Category

The next economic hurdle? Achieving critical mass

Friday, August 21st, 2015

In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has staged a remarkable economic comeback, adding thousands of jobs, attracting billions of dollars in investment and topping a host of “best-of” lists — everything from top cities for export growth to cities with the biggest increase in number of college graduates.

GNO Inc. chief Michael Hecht told a Freeman School audience that the region's next big challenge will be achieving a critical mass of companies and workers. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

GNO Inc. CEO Michael Hecht told a Freeman School audience that the region’s next big challenge will be achieving a critical mass of companies and workers. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

But in a talk at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business on Wednesday (Aug. 19), the head of the nonprofit charged with leading the region’s economic development efforts said the hard part is just starting.

“I think our challenge over the next 10 years is building critical mass,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc. “[Harvard Business School professor] Rosabeth Moss Kanter said change is easy at first, but it gets hard in the middle. Here’s the thing: We’re getting to the middle.”

Hecht was the featured speaker at Katrina+10: New Orleans Now, a discussion of the city’s business environment 10 years after Katrina. Sponsored by the Freeman School and the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA), the program also featured Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, as well as remarks from Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon and TABA President Chris Bonura.

Hecht said New Orleans is currently caught in what amounts to a chicken-and-egg situation: Some workers are reluctant to move here because of the limited number of employers and some employers are reluctant to move here because of the limited numbers of workers.

To reach the so-called tipping point — the point at which economic development becomes self-sustaining — Hecht said the region will need more companies, more employees, more venture capital to support growth and a regional brand that goes beyond food, music and Mardi Gras.

“That’s going to be hard work,” Hecht said. “But if we can get to that point and become self-sustaining, then economic development is going to become much more organic. We’re not there yet, but I’m incredibly optimistic about our chances.”

LaGrange followed Hecht with a discussion of the port’s accomplishments of the last 10 years as well as goals for the future. While port cargo is at a 14-year high, LaGrange said significant infrastructure investments will have to be made to continue to attract new companies.

“It’s all about financing for infrastructure improvements,” LaGrange said. “In order to maintain our competitive advantage, we’re going to have to find additional sources of financing.”

Bonura said Katrina+10 was the first of what he hopes will be many programs designed to bring alumni back into the classroom for educational events centered on important business topics. The presentation was broadcast over the web to alumni around the country.

Four alums named to DiversityMBA Top 100 Under 50 list

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Four alumni of Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business are among the honorees in the 2015 DiversityMBA Magazine Top 100 Under 50.

UPDATED-DiversityMBA-325The list, compiled by DiversityMBA Magazine, 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. The 2015 list was chosen from a pool of 300 nominees. Executives and emerging leaders selected for the list represent 25 disciplines, 15 industries and 20 different graduate degrees.

This year’s Freeman School honorees are Gary Cao (MBA ’97), vice president of Cardinal Health; Ruben Garcia Espejo (MBA ’01), vice president of finance, EnLink Mindstream; Shane Price (MBA ’09, MGM ’09), senior consultant, Engage Partners; and John Suarez (BSM ’04, MBA ’10), financial adviser, Merrill Lynch.

Cao and Garcia were honored as executive leaders while Price and Suarez were chosen as emerging leaders.

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 2015 issue and will be honored in September at the magazine’s Business Leaders Conference and Awards Gala, which this year takes place at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Oak Brook, Illinois.

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


Selling consumers on healthy eating

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Tulane University School of Medicine has opened up a new front in the battle against obesity and diet-related disease: the kitchen.

The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine is a groundbreaking program of the medical school that trains future physicians in the fundamentals of food, nutrition and cooking so they can better help their patients make practical dietary changes. The center boasts the world’s first full-time teaching kitchen owned by a medical school, and its curriculum has to date been licensed to a dozen medical schools across the country.

Marketing professors Harish and Mita Sujan and Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine Executive Director Timothy Harlan, left to right, are working together on research to help doctors better assist their patients in achieving diet-related goals.

Marketing professors Harish Sujan, left, and Mita Sujan, center, are working with Dr. Timothy Harlan, right, executive director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, on research to help doctors better assist their patients in achieving diet-related goals. (Photo by Tricia Travis)

“We’re trying to teach physicians to have a different conversation with their patients about food,” says Dr. Timothy Harlan, executive director of the center, associate clinical professor of medicine and an accomplished chef.

While food and nutrition are the focus, the center also incorporates research from other disciplines, including — perhaps surprisingly — business. For the last several years, Harlan has been working with Harish Sujan and Mita Sujan, marketing professors at the A. B. Freeman School of Business, to use insights from consumer behavior research to help doctors communicate their health recommendations to patients more effectively. Their most recent study investigates how healthy individuals achieve their diet-related goals.

“There’s a lot of research that looks at self-regulation, but researchers have not systematically studied what good self-regulators actually do in life,” says Mita Sujan, the Malcolm S. Woldenberg Chair of Marketing at the Freeman School. “We’re trying to figure out what people who are good self-regulators do to regulate their eating and then build those skills and strategies into the curriculum.”

Last year, Sujan co-authored a study that looked at what successful participants in an exercise program did to achieve their goals. What she discovered was that good self-regulators also tend to be good planners.

“What we show in the paper is that giving people planning aids is really big,” Sujan says of the study, which was published in Journal of Consumer of Psychology. “It really, really drives their ability to self-regulate.”

Sujan says that individuals who have difficulty self-regulating can significantly improve their outcomes by focusing not on distant goals – such as lowering cholesterol or losing weight — but rather on specific short-term strategies. Those tactics include planning ahead (such as packing a lunch instead of dining out), substitution (opting for fresh fruit instead of cake), moderation (ordering a small size instead of a large), restraint (eating only half a dessert or entree), and developing intrinsic interest (resolving to find a recipe to make a better-tasting, healthier dessert).

Instructors at the Goldring Center are already using Sujan’s recommendations in their classes, but Harlan says the long-term goal is to conduct tests to determine which strategies are the most successful. Those strategies can then be formally incorporated into the curriculum to help improve its efficacy.

For Sujan, who has studied the ways consumers make decisions for 30 years, it’s rewarding to see her research being applied so quickly and for such an important purpose.

“I think the academy is changing, especially in marketing, which is such an applied field,” Sujan says. “We’ve moved from lab studies to field studies that tell us what people actually do to make good decisions, and our work with Tim is a great example of that shift.”

EMBA classes take studies to Paris and Beijing

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
In a classroom on the campus of historic business school ESCP Europe in Paris, adjunct lecturer Alain Dumont leads a discussion with Executive MBA students from the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. (Photo by Caryn Lang)

In a classroom on the campus of historic business school ESCP Europe in Paris, adjunct lecturer Alain Dumont leads a discussion with Executive MBA students from the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. (Photo by Caryn Lang)

Executive MBA students studying at Tulane University need passports for their program finale, an International Business Seminar. In early June, 18 of the students traveled to Paris and 19 others went to Beijing for eight days of lectures and visits with global companies.

“Students meet with business and government leaders to learn about doing business in the host countries,” says Caryn Lang, associate director of executive education with the A. B. Freeman School of Business, who accompanied the group that visited Paris.

Students from the Freeman School’s EMBA programs at the New Orleans uptown and Houston campuses attended the seminars as the capstone events ending their programs of study.

The seminars include a combination of lectures and company visits “designed to give participants a face-to-face, insider perspective into the challenges facing businesses, including economic, marketing, logistical and political, and the success, failure and planned responses to those challenges,” she says.

The group in France toured and met with executives at the U.S. Embassy, Domino’s Pizza Europe and the Paris offices of Coca-Cola Enterprises and global fashion retailer Hermès. Presentations at Hermès offered dramatic contrasts in the marketing of prestige and mass-marketed retail products, Lang says.

In Beijing, the students visited sites such as the U.S. Embassy, Peking Union Medical College Hospital and multi-national companies Schlumberger and Chevron.

The Stewart Center for Executive Education is recruiting now for the next EMBA class, which starts in January 2016. For more information, register for the EMBA webinar to be held on Wednesday, July 1, from noon until 12:30 p.m.

–Carol Schlueter (


Management prof earns 2015 Most Influential Article Award

Monday, June 15th, 2015
Lei Lai

Lei Lai

Assistant Professor of Management Lei Lai has been named a recipient of the 2015 Most Influential Article Award from the Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management. The award will be presented at the Academy of Management’s 75th Annual Meeting, which will take place in August in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Lai and co-authors Hannah Bowles and Linda Babcock earned the award for their article “Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask.” Originally published in 2007 in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the paper investigates differential treatment of men and women when they attempt to negotiate. Lai has served as an assistant professor or management at the Freeman School since 2009. Her research interests include the glass ceiling for women and minorities, gender and negotiations, employment relations and organizational justice, social networks, and emotions and decision making.

Tulane Business Forum surveys changing business landscape

Monday, June 8th, 2015

With technology and shifting demographics changing the way companies do business, what can executives do to ensure that their organizations stay on top?

Warner Thomas

Warner L. Thomas

Thomas Ryan

Thomas L. Ryan

For its 36th annual program, the Tulane Business Forum looks at the changing business environment and highlights corporate leaders who are taking bold steps to adapt,  innovate and rise above the competition. “Changing Landscapes: Business Leaders Taking Action” will feature presentations from prominent business people who have distinguished themselves by embracing disruption and adjusting to change.

This year’s morning keynote speaker is Warner L. Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, who will discuss how Ochsner is embracing change to provide health-care consumers with high-quality, coordinated care at a lower cost.

Delivering the luncheon keynote will be Thomas L. Ryan, president and CEO of Service Corporation International, North America’s leading provider of deathcare products and services. Ryan will discuss how SCI has managed to leverage its competitive advantages to remain relevant to its customers.

The Tulane Business Forum will take place on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, from 8:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Others speakers at this year’s forum include:

  • Jennifer W. Allyn, managing director, Diversity, PricewaterhouseCoopers (New York)
  • Adam Bryant, “Corner Office” columnist, The New York Times (New York)
  • Andrew J. Champagne, CEO, Hollywood Trucks (New Orleans)
  • Michael A. Fitts, president, Tulane University (New Orleans)
  • David Nason, president and CEO, GE Energy Financial Services (Stamford, Conn.)
  • Ira Solomon, dean, A. B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University (New Orleans)

The Tulane Business Forum is a presentation of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA), which represents over 19,000 alumni worldwide. Each year, the forum features speakers of national and international renown who address topics of interest to the business community.

Forum registration, which includes continental breakfast and lunch, is $200 for the general public and $150 for Tulane alumni. Accountants can earn five Continuing Professional Education credits, and engineers can earn five Professional Development Hour credits by attending. For more information or to register, visit or call 504-861-7921.


New program prepares non-business grads for business

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Kelsey Chan-Chin graduated from Tulane University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in public health and a deep desire to help people eat healthier.

The pilot Master of Management class at the headquarters of Bao Steel, a Chinese company they toured during their class trip to Shanghai.

Master of Management students visited the headquarters of Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp., the world’s fourth-largest producer of steel, during their class trip to China in December.

“I like the part of public health that involves interacting with the community, so I eventually would like to run a nonprofit,” says Chan-Chin. “But in order to do that, I realized that I would need some foundation in business.”

To build that foundation, Chan-Chin enrolled in a new program at the A. B. Freeman School of Business designed to help non-business students like her gain the skills they need to achieve their career goals or expand their career possibilities.

The Master of Management (MMG) is a one-year master’s program targeted at students with undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than business. Launched as a pilot program last year, the 36-credit-hour curriculum includes introductory courses in accounting, finance, business statistics, strategic management, leadership and ethics, marketing, operations management, and organizational behavior. Students also complete a course in international business that includes a trip to China to work on a consulting project for a Chinese manufacturing company.

“It’s a way to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace and open doors to career paths that wouldn’t otherwise be available,” says John Clarke, associate dean for graduate program at the Freeman School. “It’s designed to augment your undergraduate degree with new knowledge, skills and capabilities that enable you to launch your career.”

Graduates emerge with a broad skill set that enables them to join a wide variety of organizations in a wide variety of roles, but Clarke says the goal of the program isn’t to replace the student’s undergraduate degree.

“The idea is to enhance what you already have and build from it,” Clarke says. “A student who graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering or neuroscience might pursue a career in the medical products or pharmaceuticals industry. Or a student who came in with a degree in chemistry might go into a materials or products company where that undergraduate degree would be an asset.”

Jonathan Ginsburgh, a member of the pilot class, majored in communications as an undergraduate with an eye towards sports marketing, but he eventually became more interested in finance and wealth management. He enrolled in the MMG program to gain the additional skills he felt he needed to get his foot in the door.

“A lot of what wealth management advisers do is marketing, so I thought my communications degree had value,” Ginsburgh says. “The MMG program was a way for me to get the business background I needed to pitch myself to potential employers.”

Following his graduation in May, Ginsburgh joined the wealth management division of Iberia Bank, a job he attributes directly to the skills he acquired in the MMG program.

Ultimately, Clarke says, success stories like Ginsburgh’s do more to demonstrate the value of the program than anything he could say.

“We know the program resonates with students, parents and employers,” Clarke says. “Given the success of the pilot, we are excited to officially launch this summer.”

Tulane teams win big in neuroscience startup competition

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Two teams led by current Tulane students or graduates were among the winners of the Neuro Startup Challenge, an international competition designed to bring National Institutes of Health medical inventions to market.

Estia Pharmaceuticals and Vascular Therapeutics — comprised of Tulane alumni and students — were among only 13 teams selected as winners of the Neuro Startup Challenge, which attracted more than 70 teams.

Tulane-based ventures Estia Pharmaceuticals and Vascular Therapeutics were among 13 teams selected as winners of the Neuro Startup Challenge.

The A. B. Freeman School of Business, School of Science and Engineering, School of Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the Office of Technology Transfer at Tulane, along with the New Orleans Bioinnovation Center, were among the units that played major roles in mentoring and supporting the winning teams.

“This was truly an interdisciplinary effort among faculty, students and graduates that leverages our university’s collective strengths and contributes on a national level,” said Sherif Ebrahim, director of entrepreneurship and innovation education at the Freeman School.

This year’s winning Tulane teams, Estia Pharmaceuticals and Vascular Therapeutics, were among only 13 teams selected as winners of the challenge, which attracted more than 70 teams.

Estia Pharmaceuticals will seek to develop a new, commercially successful formulation of the drug Modafinil, which has shown promising results in treating ADHD. Estia Pharmaceuticals is a start-up founded by Lowry Curley, a graduate of the Tulane School of Science and Engineering, along with Nick Fears, a Tulane psychology graduate student, and Mitchell Fullerton, a Tulane biomedical engineer and doctoral student.

Vascular Therapeutics, which includes Tulane engineering and medical students Kevin Chiu, Kim Lee, Michelle McCarthy, Jason Ryans and Ashwin Sivakumar, will work to commercialize a therapeutic that seeks to increase the treatment window for stroke patients.

This was the second year in a row that two teams from Tulane were among the competition’s winners.

“It is completely amazing that two years in a row two teams from Tulane have won; statistically the odds of this are very low,” said Rosemarie Truman, founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Innovation, which coordinated the competition. “Obviously, you have some very bright and talented people there.”

Freeman places 7th in portfolio management competition

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

With four students in the top 100, Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business placed seventh overall in Institution Investor’s third-annual All-America Student Analyst Competition.

Institutional InvestorResults of the contest, which this year attracted more than 2,300 students from 74 colleges and universities, were announced in the May 2015 issue of Institutional Investor magazine.

“While it’s exciting to see our name in the top 10, the real credit should go to our students,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “In outperforming more than 2,000 other student analysts, they demonstrated an understanding of portfolio management that will serve them well in their careers. I congratulate each of them for their outstanding performance in this year’s competition.”

The Freeman School’s top-ranking students were Kim Ma (BSM ’16), who placed 54th, Christopher Gorman (BSM ’18), who placed 58th; Ryan Zukoff (BSM ’17), who placed 70th, and Jonathan Bass (BSM ’17), who placed 77th.

Sponsored by Institutional Investor and research services firm Mark My Media, the All-America Student Analyst Competition challenges students to build a portfolio by investing $100,000 in virtual cash. From September 2014 to February 2015, students bought and sold stocks and index funds, used leverage, and took short positions in mock portfolios. Participants were then ranked by a six-factor algorithm that rewarded money-making ability as well as risk management.

In addition to overall ranking, other categories in the competition included long alpha, short alpha, net benchmark outperformance (versus the Russell 3000) and sector competitions covering basic materials, capital goods/industrials, consumer products, energy, financials, healthcare, and technology/telecommunications/media. Freeman School student Alec Hazan (BSM ’17), who finished 145th overall, placed third in the consumer products sector.

To learn more about the competition and see the complete list of winner, visit


Mastering the business of health care

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Kenny Wang will begin his residency in emergency medicine this fall, but the Tulane University School of Medicine graduate has career aspirations that go far beyond the ER. Wang hopes to eventually go into academic medicine and one day direct a residency program.

Anesthesiology resident Jonathan Eskander, left, with Michael Yarborough, head of the School of Medicine's residency program, and John Clarke, associate dean for graduate programs at the Freeman School, recently began the Professional MBA program.

A Professional MBA scholarship program for anesthesiology residents at the School of Medicine is one of the Freeman School’s growing number of programs targeting healthcare professionals. Above, left to right, Dr. Jonathan Eskander, the newest scholarship recipient, poses with Dr. Michael Yarborough, former director of the residency program, and John Clarke, associate dean for graduate programs at the Freeman School. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

To help achieve that goal, Wang enrolled in the five-year MD/MBA program, a joint offering of the School of Medicine and the A. B. Freeman School of Business that enables medical students to earn a Master of Business Administration with just one additional year of study.

“Having a good business background is important for so many reasons,” says Wang (MD/MBA ’15). “A lot of doctors use business degrees to go into private practice, but I think everyone can benefit from skills like negotiations, leadership and financial management.”

Wang is one of a growing number of students combining medical studies with business in an effort to broaden their skills and fast-track their careers. Since 2003, the number of joint MD/MBA programs in America has grown from 39 to 65. More than 500 students now graduate with dual MD/MBA degrees each year.

“Combining business education with medical education gives students the best of both worlds—the ability to care for patients and the ability to practice in a cost effective manner,” says Dr. Marc Kahn, Peterman-Prosser Professor of Medicine and senior associate dean at the School of Medicine, who helped launch the MD/MBA program 12 years ago.

“It’s partly driven by the complexity and rapid changes we are seeing in the health care industry,” adds John Clarke, associate dean for graduate programs at the Freeman School. “But a business background is valuable in a variety of situations, whether you’re looking to run your practice more efficiently, implement best practices, take on a senior management role, or move out of clinical medicine into consulting, venture capital or private equity.”

Dr. Stephen Newman (MBA ’92) practiced medicine for 15 years before getting his MBA, but he says the decision to pursue a business degree was one of the smartest he ever made.

“The MBA program gave me the foundation I needed to advance my career,” says Newman, who went on to become chief operating officer of Tenet Healthcare Corp., the nation’s third-largest hospital company. “It gave me an in-depth understanding of the business of health care.”

This summer, the Freeman School and the School of Medicine introduced a new four-year, accelerated MD/MBA program to make it even easier for medical students to earn a business degree. The intensive format enables students to earn a medical degree and an MBA concurrently, eliminating the need for an additional year of study.

“Tulane is one of only several schools that allow students to get both degrees in four years,” says Kahn

The accelerated MD/MBA is just one component of the Freeman School’s efforts to serve the city’s rapidly expanding healthcare market, which is expected to add 17,000 jobs over the next 20 years. Other initiatives include electives in healthcare management, the expansion of a Professional MBA scholarship program for anesthesiology residents at the School of Medicine, and a new healthcare specialization within the PMBA program.

“This is all part of a broader strategy to develop a significant healthcare market presence,” Clarke says. “Given what we’re seeing in health care at both the local and national levels, we think it’s a strategy we’re going to be pursuing for many years to come.”


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