August 11th, 2014
Do you know where in New Orleans the fountain dedicated to Sophie Gumbel is? How about where to find the “meteorite” on Tulane’s campus?
As part of the challenge, MBAs had to find the fountain dedicated to Sophie Gumbel and create a photo homage to the opening of “Friends.”
Locating those obscure landmarks were two of the challenges this year’s incoming MBA class took on as part of Team Engagement Challenge (TECh), an Amazing Race-style team-building exercise held as part of orientation.
While the competition resembled a traditional scavenger hunt — perform seven difficult tasks in two hours — TECh was actually designed to acquaint students with Tulane and New Orleans while at the same time requiring them to use their creativity, networking skills and social media savvy. Their challenges included tasks like locating sculptures and artwork on Tulane’s campus as well finding a former K&B Drugs on the edge of campus and conducting interviews with business owners on Maple Street. Instead of collecting things along the way, the students proved they had solved their challenges by uploading photos and videos to a special Facebook page and competing for the highest number of likes.
Students were asked to locate the Doll House, the smallest house in New Orleans with its own postal address.
“As future executives, MBA students need to be connected to the community, so this was a way to help jump-start that process,” said John Clarke, associate dean for graduate education. “New Orleans is a microcosm of the world, so we want students to be aware of and be a part of the local community. By developing their understanding of how things work here, they can develop an understanding of how things work in the rest of the world.”
According to event organizer Morgan Molthrop, co-owner of tour and corporate events firm Custom New Orleans, the Freeman School is the first business school in the nation to “gamify” team-building activities with social media.
“Tulane should be very proud of being the first program with the vision to step up their game, so to speak,” Molthrop said. “These MBA students nailed the technology and showed tremendous enthusiasm. It’s no wonder New Orleans is becoming known as the entrepreneurial capital of the U.S.”
To see more photos from the Team Engagement Challenge, visit the Freeman School’s Flickr page.
July 28th, 2014
Today I attended Beau Parent’s funeral service. The passing of Professor Parent is a sudden, tragic and very, very sad life event. It is extremely painful for the family—I know first hand as I fairly recently lost one of my parents. And, it is painful for his friends and colleagues, especially those of us within the extended Freeman School community.
Such life events can provide an opportunity for reflection. While I only knew Beau for a little more than three years, I learned early on that Beau Parent lived a life of purpose and impact. We often say that we are in the business of transforming the lives of our students. Beau began for Freeman that transformation for hundreds of students each semester and, over his more than 35-year career, literally thousands of Tulane University students. Beau was a highly ethical, extremely hard-working, and totally dedicated educator. Beau also had a special talent for teaching relatively large numbers of students. Yet he was able to establish personal relationships with many of his students. As I have travelled to cities around the U.S. and, for that matter, around the globe, I am asked about Beau as much or more than any current or past member of the Freeman faculty. Beau indeed did have a special and rare talent.
He very much will be missed!
Ira Solomon, Dean
Debra and Rick Rees Professor
A. B. Freeman School of Business
July 28, 2014
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
July 16th, 2014
Business Research Guide, a website dedicated to technologies, products and services, and career and education options, has ranked the Freeman School No. 5 in the nation on its list of 30 Great U.S. Colleges for Studying Business Abroad.
With over 10 affiliate universities worldwide, students may choose to attend programs at the Leipzig School of Management, the University of Innsbruck in Austria, or Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Through a joint venture with the National Taiwan University and schools in Mexico and Europe, Executive MBA students may travel abroad to study global business practices, history, and culture. Graduate students may pursue internships during the summer at multinational corporations in Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
The ranking was based on commitment to excellence in international business education, variety of study abroad options for full and part-time students, and focus on global exchange with educational institutions across the globe.
The Freeman School began offering study abroad options for students in 1988. Since then, study abroad has become a major component of the Freeman School’s international program, which encompasses student and faculty exchanges, study abroad opportunities, initiatives like Burkenroad Reports for Latin America and the Latin American Research Consortium, and joint venture degree programs with 35 partner institutions in 20 countries.
To see the list in its entirety, visit Business Research Guide.
July 10th, 2014
Ira Solomon, dean and Debra and Rick Rees Professor of Business, is quoted in the current issue of CFO Magazine on a proposal to require auditors to disclose “critical audit matters” in their reports. The article explains the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s rationale for the plan as well as reasons why many CFOs and audit firms are uncomfortable with it.
What are we signaling to the users of financial statements when the auditor has to say, ‘Well, I reached that conclusion, but boy, it was really tough’?” asks Solomon. “Does it tell you that you ought to be more uncertain about that? What is it that you want me to think about when I consider loaning money to the company or investing in it?
To read the article in its entirety, visit CFO.com:
June 24th, 2014
The Freeman School has received a $25,000 gift from Phillips 66 to support student enrichment programs, including courses in energy finance and trading, during the 2014-15 academic year.
Phillips 66’s Sherri Thomas (second from left) presented a gift of $25,000 to the Freeman School to support student enrichment programs. Also pictured are James W. McFarland, far left, and Geoff Parker, far right, of the Tulane Energy Institute and Jennifer Campbell of Phillips 66.
Sherri B. Thomas, director of early career facilitation at Phillips 66, presented the gift to James W. McFarland, executive director of the Tulane Energy Institute, and Geoff Parker, director of the institute, during a meeting at the school on May 20.
“We recognize the value of a strong energy-focused business education like the one the Freeman School offers,” said Thomas. “We’re extremely proud of the Tulane graduates who work in our company, and we’re excited to support Tulane and other universities that teach skills critical to our company’s success.”
Phillips 66 is an energy manufacturing and logistics company with segment leading businesses in midstream, chemicals, refining and marketing and specialties. Since 2012, the company has donated more than $75,000 to the Freeman School to support student and faculty development programs. Phillips 66 has also been an active recruiter at the Freeman School and a participant in many career development events.
“Phillips 66 has been one of our most dedicated corporate partners from the very beginning, in terms of both financial support and hiring our graduates,” said McFarland. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with them to improve our energy-related programs and offerings.”
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.”
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.
May 22nd, 2014
The Tulane 34 Award is among the most coveted university-wide honors bestowed upon graduating students. Named for the year Tulane University was founded, the award recognizes 34 students from across the university who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate lives by demonstrating exemplary leadership, service and academic excellence.
This year, seven graduates of the A. B. Freeman School of Business were honored with the award. The Freeman School is proud to recognize the following Tulane 34 Award recipients.
Briggs Barrios (BSM ’14), a native of Metairie, La., is a member of the Tulane varsity baseball team and was twice named Tulane Male Scholar Athlete of the Year for maintaining the highest grade point average among all male student athletes. Barrios’ academic performance led to his being selected to participate in the invitation-only Darwin Fenner Student Managed Fund honors seminar. Outside the classroom, Barrios organized the Tulane baseball team’s Vs. Cancer events, which raised more than $10,000 for childhood cancer treatment. For his activities, Barrios was awarded a 2014 Tulane Athletics Torch Award for excellence in service to Tulane Athletics, Tulane University and the entire New Orleans community.
Erynn Bell (MBA ’14), from Jacksonville, Fla., served as 2013-14 president of the Graduate Business Council, the Freeman School’s graduate student government organization, and was named the 2014 MBA class representative to the Freeman 50, an organization of recent MBA graduates that works to support the school in the areas of career management, development and alumni relations. Bell participated in the Renewable Energy Case Competition and in the IDEAcorps Challenge, which brought teams of students from top MBA programs around the country to New Orleans to work with startups. Following her wedding, Bell will join Tidewater Inc. in New Orleans as manager of corporate applications.
Amber Bennett (BSM ’14), a native of West Columbia, S.C., is a member of Tulane’s volleyball team and was elected as Tulane’s female representative to the Conference USA Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Among her many service activities, Bennett chaired the “Let’s SAAC Hunger!” food drive, helped organize Conference USA fundraising efforts for paralyzed Tulane football player Devon Walker, and served as a volunteer with Court Watch NOLA and the NCAA Samaritan’s Feet program. In recognition of her activities, Bennett received the Conference USA Spirit of Service Award. Academically, Bennett earned honors including Dean’s List, 3.5 Club and the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
Adam Griego (BSM ’14), a native of Metairie, La., served in multiple campus leadership positions during his academic career, including serving as president of the Green Wave Ambassadors in 2012, president of the Inter-fraternity Council in 2013, homecoming king in 2013, and Orientation team leader for the classes of 2015 and 2016. In addition, Griego was an active member of Zeta Psi fraternity and served as past philanthropy chair and social chair with the organization. An honors student, Griego also served as a research equity analyst for the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports program in 2013-14.
Zachary Hoyt (BSM ’14), a native of Delran, N.J., graduated with a BSM in finance, a minor in Legal Studies and specializations in entrepreneurship and energy. He also earned a BA in Latin American studies. Hoyt served as a Burkenroad Reports analyst, was vice president of membership for business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, and was finance chair of Tulane’s Latin American Studies Organization. He also presented his research at a number of Latin American Studies conferences. A Public Service Fellow, Hoyt worked with 10 education-based community partners dedicated to engaging youth in the community and represented the Tulane delegation to the Model Organization of American States.
Tommy Milburn (MFIN ’14), from Warwick, N.Y., created, managed and was a frequent contributor to the Tulane Master of Finance blog and served as an MFIN Student Ambassador, helping prospective students learn more about Tulane through campus tours, emails and phone calls. Milburn was a member of the Freeman Consulting Group, the Tulane Black MBA Association and the Tulane Energy Club. Outside the classroom, Milburn volunteered at Joseph A. Craig Elementary School, helping to teach children about the vital role they and their families play in the local economy. Milburn will soon join the Deutsche Bank’s Emerging Markets Immersion Program as an investment banking analyst in Mumbai, India.
Klara Vyskocilova (BSM ’14), a native of Klatovy, Czech Republic, excelled as a scholar athlete on the Tulane tennis team. Vyskocilova was Louisiana Player of the Year in 2013 and played in the All-American Tournament twice. She was named Conference USA Player of the Week on two occasions and was a member of the 2013 Conference USA Honor Roll and the 2014 Conference USA Women’s Tennis All-Academic Team. Vyskocilova also worked on the Greening Yulman project, which aimed to help Tulane build a more environmentally friendly football stadium.
The Freeman School congratulates each of its 2014 Tulane 34 Award winners.