Archive for the ‘Freeman News’ Category

Innovation in Ethics Education grant recipients announced

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Ira Solomon, dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, has announced the inaugural grant recipients in the Millie and Allan Bradley Innovation in Ethics Education Grants Program.

Established in 2014, the program awards grants of up to $10,000 to Tulane faculty members to support the development of innovative educational materials focused on ethics in business and society. Special preference is given to proposals that involve interdisciplinary collaboration and/or “flipped classrooms,” in which students use in-class time for problem solving and applying course content to real-world problems.

“We received a number of outstanding proposals, but the three selected to receive our inaugural grants stood out for their innovative approaches to the study of ethics in business,” said Dean Ira Solomon. “I’m delighted to be able to support these three exceptional educators in their efforts to develop unique, high-quality teaching materials.”

The 2015 Millie and Allan Bradley Innovation in Ethics Education grants recipients are as follows:

John ClarkeJohn Clarke, professor of practice in management, was awarded a grant to develop teaching materials to help students understand how entrepreneurs and startup companies can infuse social and environmental value creation into their business models. Clarke will work with Tom Gibson, an internationally recognized expert on socially responsible investing, to develop course materials that emphasize the tools and frameworks that support the development and implementation of sustainable business practices and the critical role entrepreneurship plays in addressing  problems faced by society.

Chris McCuskerChris McCusker, professor of practice in management, received a grant to prepare a case and supporting video on the ethical dilemma faced by Luis Guerrero, former project management director at Banorte, who was charged with implementing large-scale layoffs at the company, one of Mexico’s largest banks. The case will draw upon the work of major ethical philosophers to address the role of business in society and the leadership challenges faced by managers charged with cutting costs under time pressure.

Emily RosenzweigEmily Rosenzweig, assistant professor of marketing, was awarded a grant to develop educational modules on each of the four Ps of marketing: product, price, promotion and placement. Each of the modules will present an ethical issue, and each will consist of a video lecture or screencast (voice-narrated slide show), a quiz to test the students’ understanding of the concepts covered in the lecture, materials to support an in-class exercise, and a teaching guide.

Funding for the program was 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.


New concentration helps MBAs make sense of big data

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Big data is one of the business world’s biggest buzzwords, offering organizations the promise of revolutionizing the way they generate value for customers and shareholders. Now, a new MBA concentration gives students the skills they need to help companies transform data into actionable knowledge.

Geoff Parker, above, developed a new course in analytics and modeling for the concentration.

Modeling and Analytics instructor Geoff Parker says employers are expressing growing interest in data analytics skills.

The Freeman School’s analytics concentration is designed to prepare students to master the use of large data sets in business, covering everything from obtaining and managing data to using powerful statistical computing applications to draw meaningful business inferences.

“There’s been quite a bit of interest among students, and we’re seeing huge interest in the employer community,” says Geoff Parker, professor of management science and developer of the concentration’s modeling and analytics course. “It’s an exciting area to be in.”

“As the world becomes increasingly computerized and everything turns into data, we need to continuously enhance the skills we teach to help students keep up,” adds Professor of Finance Russ Robins, who teaches econometrics and forecasting. “The analytics concentration gives students a very highly sought after skill set to put in their toolbox.”

Courses required for the concentration include marketing research as well as three new offerings: modeling and analytics, econometrics and forecasting, and advanced spreadsheet modeling. Topics covered include data mining, clustering, visualization, machine learning, serial correlation, forecasting, and basic time-series regression models for both stationary and nonstationary data. Students completing the concentration will also learn R, an open-source platform for statistical computing that enables users to do some remarkable things.

Ashwin Ananth (MD/MBA ’15), a student in the joint MD/MBA program, used skills he developed in the analytics courses to help improve patient outcomes at Tulane’s Head and Neck Cancer Center.

“We’d collected all this data on patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer, but I didn’t know what to do with it,” says Ananth. “Thanks to Professor Parker, we were able to analyze how long it takes patients to get through the treatment process and identify where there were bottlenecks. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without his class.”

Thomas Altman (MBA ’14) used data from Twitter to generate a heat map that tracked user reactions to last year’s NCAA men’s basketball final in real time, a project he credits with helping him to land his current job as business analyst with software company Aptify.

“The skills I learned in Geoff’s class aren’t necessarily in my job description, but they’re definitely in demand and being able to talk about them intelligently is important,” says Altman. “The fact that I’d done the project in Geoff’s class and could talk about it helped separate me from other job candidates.”

Those are the kind of testimonials Parker hopes to hear more of in the coming years, especially as more students start to combine their analytical abilities with skills in other disciplines.

“Our competitive advantage is applying analytical tools to solve problems in industries where we’ve already built expertise, such as finance, energy and entrepreneurship,” he says. “We’re going to be working very closely with the companies that hire our students to make sure we’re teaching them the right skills they need to solve the right problems.”


Business students honored as Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Two students at the A. B. Freeman School of Business have been named Tulane University’s 2015 Scholar-Athletes of the Year.

Brandon Schmidt, left, and Jackie Wegner were named the 2015 Tulane Scholar-Athletes of the Year. (Photo courtesy Tulane Athletics.)

Brandon Schmidt, left, and Jackie Wegner received Tulane’s 2015 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards. (Photo courtesy Tulane Athletics.)

Jackie Wegner, a junior finance major from Clearwater, Florida, received the female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and Brandon Schmidt, a senior finance major from Lafayette, Louisiana, was named male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The university bestows the awards each year to honor the male and female student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average after a minimum of five semesters. The awards were presented Sunday night (April 26) at Tulane’s annual All-Sports Athletics Banquet in the Lavin-Bernick Center.

Wegner, a member of the sand volleyball team, has a GPA of 3.987 and has been a member of the Tulane Scholar Athlete Program since 2012. This season, Wegner and teammate Tea Juric posted a 27-6 record and became the first sand volleyball team in Tulane history to qualify for back-to-back trips to the national championships.

Schmidt, a linebacker on the football team, earned his second consecutive Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He played in six games for the Green Wave in 2014, seeing action primarily on special teams and logging one tackle.

The ceremony also honored Tulane’s American Athletic Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Schmidt earned the male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award while swimming and diving’s Claire Schelske, a senior finance major from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, earned the female award. Schelske earned a 3.979 GPA while serving as president of the Tulane Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She participated in 10 meets in 2015, competing in the 100 free, the 100 breast, the 200 breast and the 500 free events as well as being part of three relay teams.

“Participating in intercollegiate athletics requires extraordinary dedication and hard work, but to achieve the level of academic success that these student-athletes have achieved is nothing short of remarkable,” said Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon. “They represent the best of student athletics, and I couldn’t be more proud to have them as students here at the Freeman School.”


Freeman hosts 19th Finance Case Competition

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

MBA teams Washington University in St. Louis, the University of North Carolina and Tulane University took home the top prizes at the A. B. Freeman School of Business’ 19th annual Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Finance Case Competition.

An MBA team from the Freeman School earned third-place honors in this year's competition. Pictured with sponsors Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence, center, are from left to right Cynthia Brown, David Dowty, Rodolfo , ???.

An MBA team from the Freeman School earned third-place honors in this year’s competition. Pictured with sponsors Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence, center, are, left to right, Nguyen Hai Ho, Sophia Brown, David Dowty and Rodolfo San Martin.

The competition, which took place at the Freeman School on Friday (April 17), tests the valuation and financial analysis skills of students in a challenging, time-sensitive environment. Student teams are tasked with analyzing a real-world finance case and then presenting their recommendations to a panel of finance professional charged with selecting the top presentations.

Washington University took home this year’s grand prize of $7,000, University of North Carolina earned second place and a prize of $5,000, and host Tulane University took home the third-place prize of $3,000. Also participating in this year’s competition were Rice University, University of South Carolina, University of Texas – Dallas and Vanderbilt University.

“I’m more impressed every year by the caliber, consistency and excellence of the presentations,” said competition judge Casey Herman (BSM ’86). “As a partner at PwC, I hope a few of you are coming to work for us, because we need you. You guys were great.”

“It’s tough to judge because you all are so talented and frequently the margins are very close,” added competition judge Joe Agular (A&S ’81, MBA ’88), partner with Johnson Rice & Co.  in New Orleans. “Hopefully, you all learned something valuable and take something away from the experience.”

Also serving as a judge this year was Chris Conoscenti (MBA/JD ’01), managing director with Credit Suisse in Houston.

The Finance Case Competition began in 1997 and has been sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence since 1998. Berdon Lawrence (BBA ’64, MBA ’65) is the founder of Hollywood Marine and former chairman of Kirby Corp., an operator of inland tank barges headquartered in Houston. Kirby purchased Hollywood Marine in 1999. Lawrence is also a former member of the Business School Council and a former member of the Board of Tulane.

“I owe a lot to my Tulane education,” Lawrence told attendees at the awards presentation. “I don’t think I could have built my company over the years had I not had a good business education here at the Freeman School, so this is a way for me to give something back.”

Lawrence left this year’s participants with some words of advice.

“Two things: Work real hard and be honest,” he said. “If you do that, you’re going to be successful.”


Malaria detection device wins Business Model Competition

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Disease Diagnostic Group, a startup company with technology to dramatically improve the diagnosis of malaria, won first place and a $25,000 grand prize at the 15th annual Tulane Business Model Competition.

Disease Diagnostic Group's John Lewandowski, right, receives the $25,000 grand prize from Sherif Ebrahim, the Freeman School's director of entrepreneurship and innovation education.

DDG’s John Lewandowski, right, receives this year’s grand prize from Sherif A. Ebrahim at the Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs Awards Gala on Thursday (April 16).

The final round of the competition, an annual presentation of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, took place at the A. B. Freeman School of Business on Thursday (April 16) with the winners announced later that evening at the Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs Awards Gala at the Audubon Tea Room.

In earning this year’s top prize, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-based DDG edged out runner-up D&P Bioinnovations from Tulane University, which earned the $10,000 second prize, and REEcycle from the University of Houston, which won the third-place prize of $2,500.

DDG’s flagship product is a medical device that uses magnets and lasers to accurately and inexpensively detect the presence of malaria parasites, which produce a magnetic byproduct.

“Current diagnostics are slow, expensive, and require medical expertise and refrigeration,” said DDG co-founder John Lewandowski. “We’ve created a reusable and portable device that leverages those magnetic biomarkers and can be used to diagnose malaria with one drop of blood from a fingertip for one-tenth the cost and 100 times the sensitivity of current techniques.”

Competition judge Srin Vishwanath (PHTM ’97) said he was impressed with both DDG’s technology and business model.

“The three finalists were all very smart and very viable businesses, but Disease Diagnostic Group was furthest ahead in terms of really developing a business model and getting closer to market,” said Vishwanath, CFO of GreenWave Healthcare Technologies. “It was close, but I think all the judges were in agreement that their business plan stood out.”

The 2015 Tulane Business Model Competition drew applications from more than 50 high-potential ventures across the country. Sherif A. Ebrahim, director of entrepreneurship and innovation education at the Freeman School, said this year’s entrants were among the strongest in the competition’s history.

“We received some very well considered business models this year that showed the capacity to pivot based on market feedback, but our three finalists truly represented the best of an impressive group of contenders throughout the competition,” said Ebrahim. “They each applied business model dynamics to create fundable businesses with sustainable value, and all three have the potential to become highly successful companies.”


Freeman honors Maurin, Besh as Entrepreneurs of the Year

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business honored real estate executive James E. Maurin (MBA ’72) as Tulane Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year and restaurateur John Besh as Tulane Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2015 Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs Award Gala. The ceremony took place on Thursday, April 16, at the Audubon Tea Room.

The Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship presents the awards each year to highlight outstanding entrepreneurs in the community. The Tulane Distinguished Entrepreneur of Year Award honors individuals who combine a history of entrepreneurial success with philanthropic generosity and service to the community. The Tulane Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes individuals who are solving social problems and meeting community needs through the use of entrepreneurial principles. Tulane President Michael A. Fitts and Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon presented the awards.

James E. Maurin (MBA '72)

James E. Maurin (MBA ’72)

Maurin is co-founder and retired chairman and CEO of Stirling Properties, one of the Gulf South’s leading commercial real estate companies. Founded in 1975, the company’s business areas include brokerage services, development and redevelopment, acquisitions and investments, and property and asset management over a wide array of property types. Maurin is a member of Tulane University’s Business School Council, and his professional and civic activities include serving on the boards of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Ochsner Health System, Blueprint Louisiana, the LSU Foundation, the LSU College of Business Dean’s Advisory Committee, the Northshore Community Foundation, the Urban Land Institute and the World President’s Organization. He earned his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from LSU in 1970 and an MBA from Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business in 1972. Maurin began his career as a CPA with Ernst and Ernst and has been active in the shopping center industry for over 37 years.

John Besh

John Besh

Besh is a chef, businessman and entrepreneur dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his 11 restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits and public activities, he aims to preserve and promote ingredients, techniques and heritage. Besh is the author of three award-winning cookbooks, and he hosts two national public television cooking shows. His non-profit organization, the John Besh Foundation, works to protect and preserve the culinary heritage and foodways of New Orland and the Gulf Coast area. In 2011, the foundation established the Chefs Move! scholarship program to send a minority recipient to the International Culinary Center in New York City. The scholar pledges to return to New Orleans and work in the restaurant industry for five years, promoting and supporting diversity in the kitchen. To date, seven Chefs Move scholarships have been awarded. The foundation also started a microloan program in partnership with the A. B. Freeman School of Business to financially assist and advise farmers and artisanal producers within 200 miles of New Orleans to grow their businesses.

“Jimmy Maurin has devoted his career to developing commercial real estate properties that anchor communities, promote further development and spread economic prosperity,” said Dean Solomon. “John Besh, through his philanthropic foundation, is working to help provide the region’s farmers and culinary professionals with the training and business support they need to become sustainable. I am delighted to be able to recognize these two outstanding business people with our 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year awards.”


BSM/MACCT alum earns 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Megan E. Baumgartner (BSM/MACCT ’14) has been named a 2014 recipient of the American Institute of CPAs’ Elijah Watt Sells Award.

A. B. Freeman School of Business

Alumna Megan Baumgartner (BSM/MACCT ’14) earned the AICPA’s prestigious Elijah Watt Sells Awards, which recognizes the year’s top performances on the Uniform CPA Examination.

The AICPA bestows the prestigious award upon candidates who obtain a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination and pass all four sections of the examination on their first attempt. As a 2014 award winner, Baumgartner is one of just 60 individuals out of the more than 90,000 who sat for the exam to achieve the criteria.

“It is a huge honor to receive this award, and my experiences at the Freeman School definitely contributed to my success,” said Baumgartner, who serves on the financial services assurance staff with EY in McLean, Virginia. “I would not be where I am today without my accounting professors. Their passion encouraged me to pursue accounting and provided me with a fundamental understanding of the field.”

“I had the privilege of knowing Megan as a student, as an advisee in the BSM/Master of Accounting program, and as my teaching and graduate assistant, all roles in which she excelled,” said Christine Smith, assistant director of the joint BSM/MACCT program. “She is truly exceptional, and there’s no doubt in my mind that she has some very exciting days ahead of her.”

The Elijah Watt Sells Award program was established by the AICPA in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA examination. Sells, one of the first CPAs in the United States, was active in the establishment of the AICPA and played a key role in advancing professional education within the profession.

“To place in the top .1 percent of CPA candidates in a given year is a remarkable achievement, and one that speaks volumes about Megan’s hard work, perseverance and dedication to excellence,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “I couldn’t be more proud of her for earning this extraordinary honor.”


MFIN team earns top prize in ACG Cup competition

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

A team of Freeman School Master of Finance students traveled to Baton Rouge on Saturday (March 28) and came away with first-place honors in the 2015 ACG Cup, the Association for Corporate Growth’s annual M&A case-study competition.

A team of Freeman School MFIN student won first place at the fifth annual ACG Cup.

A team of Freeman School MFIN student earned first place in ACG Louisiana’s 2015 ACG Cup.

Presented locally by ACG Louisiana, the competition challenges students to analyze a complex mergers and acquisitions case and offer their finance recommendations. ACG members who are experienced M&A professionals serve as judges. The competition took place at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business.

This was the first year that the competition was open to Master of Finance students as well as MBAs, and the Freeman School’s MFIN team made the most of the opportunity. The students — Yutiancheng “Tian” Hu, Yinuo “Perfeeno” Wang, Qian “Ann” Wu, Yulu “Evelyn” Zhang and Yuan Zheng — beat out MBA students from LSU and University of Louisiana – Lafayette to win the top prize of $2,500.

“It was a great opportunity for us to put what we’ve learned from the MFIN program into practice,” said Hu. “We treated the case like a real M&A deal, so it was exciting to be able to pitch our investment ideas to the judges. It was just an amazing teamwork experience. I wish our team could work a real LBO deal together in the future.”

Each year, the ACG Cup gives hundreds of MBA students from leading business schools across the nation the opportunity to apply classroom studies to real-world experience and gain invaluable insight into the field of mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advising and private equity. Founded in 1954, ACG is a global organization with 56 chapters. ACG’s 14,000 members include professionals from private equity firms, corporations and lenders that invest in middle-market companies, as well as from law, accounting, investment banking and other firms that provide advisory services.

Internships help undergrads bring it all together

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Hala Bowen (BSM ’14) had always dreamed of owning her own concert venue, so when, as part of her business integration capstone course, she got the chance to do an internship at the Civic Theatre, she jumped at the opportunity.


As part of her internship at the Civic Theatre, Hala Bowen (BSM ’14) built spreadsheets to recap each event’s financial performance just hours after the show.

“Working for the Civic was my dream job, basically,” laughs Bowen, an Atlanta native who majored in entrepreneurship. “Being able to be a part of all the decisions that go into booking and running a music venue was just an amazing experience.”

Built in 1906 by the Shubert family, renowned developers of New York’s Broadway district, the Civic went through a host of incarnations in its long history, everything from vaudeville house to discotheque, before shutting its doors in the 1980s. After lying in disrepair for nearly 25 years, developers Brian Gibbs (BSM ’95) and Bryan Bailey (BSM ’02) took over the property and returned the elegant Beaux-Arts theater to its original use as a live event space.

Bowen worked alongside Bailey, the Civic’s managing partner, for 16 weeks, learning everything it takes to run a successful entertainment venue. She was no mere lackey. In addition to assisting with marketing and logistics, she created an Excel template for Bailey that pulled data from the theater’s point-of-sale system to create a recap of each event just hours after the show. She also helped build a template that used previous event data to predict the performance of upcoming events.

“There are so many things that go into making it a great show for the venue that you don’t think of unless you’re plugging in the numbers,” Bowen says. “That’s what I liked best — getting my hands dirty seeing what actually makes things successful.”

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Hala Bowen says the internship helped her understand what it takes to produce successful live events.

“She tackled everything we threw at her,” says Bailey. “By the end of her internship, she was definitely contributing a substantial amount, and I think the best part is she was taking the things she learned in school and applying them to the real world.”

The undergraduate internship program is the brainchild of Larry Merington, adjunct lecturer in management and instructor in the business integration capstone. While internships at the graduate level are traditionally part of the job-search process, Merington says his goal is more educational.

“The capstone is intended to push the students to bring together all the skills they’ve learned in the last three-plus years,” explains Merington. “Internships are a way for students to go into a real business and see firsthand how the things they’ve learned in school can be applied to solve financial or marketing or operational problems.”

This year, Merington’s students interned with clients including the National World War II Museum and a locally based hotel and hospitality group. While the program is currently voluntary, Merington hopes eventually to recruit enough clients to make it a required part of the class.

“This is really a bridge,” adds Merington. “A bridge between your academic career and putting it into practice.”

For Bowen, her internship with the Civic helped her realize there were other ways to be involved in music and live event production. Inspired in part by Bailey, she earned her real estate license after completing her internship. Today, as a marketing and sales associate with tech firm showNets, she helps coordinate Wi-Fi and Internet services for trade shows, marketing events and major venues.

“Even though my passion is live music, there’s usually a concert for each of these huge conferences,” Bowen says, “so it’s cool to be part of another side of producing live events.”


Research Notes: Daniel Mochon

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Mochon-236x236Assistant Professor of Marketing Daniel Mochon received the Society for Consumer Psychology’s 2015 C.W. Park Outstanding Contribution to the Field Award for his paper “The IKEA effect: When labor leads to love.” The award was presented at the society’s winter 2015 conference in Phoenix.  The paper, which Mochon co-authored with Michael Norton and Dan Ariely, suggests that individuals attach greater value to products they create themselves than those products might objectively deserve. It originally appeared in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in 2012.

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