New program prepares non-business grads for business

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

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

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

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.”


Innovation in Ethics Education grant recipients announced

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 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 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 tools and frameworks to 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 a 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.


Research Notes: Robert Hansen

May 26th, 2015

HansenRobertRobert Hansen’s paper “Can analysts pick stocks for the long-run?” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Financial Economics. The paper, co-authored with Oya Altınkılıç and Liyu Ye, examines stock return drift following analysts’ revisions of their stock recommendations. The paper finds that during the high-frequency algorithmic trading period of 2003-2010, the stock return drift is not significantly different from zero, overturning previous research findings. The authors’ new findings agree with improved market efficiency after declines in real trading cost inefficiencies associated with transacting on analysts’ reports. Hansen is the Francis Martin Chair in Business and professor of finance. Will Blue Bell bounce back from recall?

May 21st, 2015

From, May 21, 2015:

Loyal customers may return, but the recall is “incredibly damaging,” especially in areas where Blue Bell is still an unfamiliar name, said Janet Schwartz, an assistant professor of marketing at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business.

Schwartz added it would take time for Blue Bell to win back the trust of ice cream sellers, especially after reports the company knew about listeria at an Oklahoma plant as far back as 2013.

Grocery stores, ice cream parlors and other distributors will need to see changes in how Blue Bell approaches food safety before they restock the brand, she said.

“People have emotional bonds to brands. Distributors don’t,” Schwartz said.

To read the article in its entirety, visit

Research Notes: Claire Senot

May 19th, 2015

Senot-125-v2Claire Senot’s paper “Role of Bottom-up Decision Processes in Improving Care Quality: A Contingency Perspective,” co-authored with Aravind Chandrasekaren and Peter Ward, has been accepted for publication in Production and Operations Management.  Senot is an assistant professor of management science at the Freeman School.

New concentration helps MBAs make sense of big data

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.”


BizED Magazine: A Framework for Innovation

May 11th, 2015


From BizEd Magazine, May/June 2015:

In laying out a framework to help business schools develop innovative programs, author J.D. Schramm highlights the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports program.

What did the Freeman School have to be, know, and do to sustain curricular innovation at this level? The Burkenroad Reports program is institutionally distinctive (it focuses on Gulf Coast firms), demand-driven (it serves the firms and the students), and collaborative (a team works under the direction of a visionary founder). It is pedagogically sound (it provides bootcamp research training), follows an appropriate schedule (it gives students Fridays off so they can travel to the firms), and is committed to continuous improvement (through a feedback loop). Finally, the program focuses on a narrow scope of operations (it works with smaller but publicly traded firms), provides engaging content (it develops skills that have real-world relevance), and offers experimental leeway (the dean allowed Ricchiuti to give it a try). Tulane had all nine factors in place to launch an innovative program—which is now in its 22nd year.

To read the article in its entirety, visit



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