Posts Tagged ‘Ira Solomon’

Freeman launches new MFIN program in Beijing

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

The Freeman School has partnered with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one of the premier academic institutions in China, to establish a new international master’s program for finance professionals.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is one of the leading academic institutions in China.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has been called the top think tank in Asia.

The Tulane-CASS Professional Master of Finance program is an 18-month 34-credit post-experience master’s program targeted at individuals in government, banking, finance, insurance and other industries. Unlike the Freeman School’s New Orleans Master of Finance program, a one-year pre-experience program, the Tulane-CASS Professional MFIN is aimed at working professionals in Beijing.

“It’s a different market altogether,” says John M. Trapani III, Martin F. Schmidt Chair of International Business and executive director of the Goldring Institute of International Business. “We’re training people who are already in financial market positions, so the curriculum has been tweaked to reflect that.”

The program is taught jointly by faculty from the Freeman School and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government institution dedicated to research and public policy that Foreign Policy magazine called the top think tank in Asia. Freeman School faculty will travel to Beijing this summer to teach four courses at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and  students in the program will travel to New Orleans in December to take two classes at the Freeman School. The rest of the program will be taught in China by CASS faculty. The inaugural class features 27 students, but Trapani says the program will grow to accommodate up to 40 students per cohort.

“We are delighted that, in the future, many likely finance leaders in China will have earned a Tulane degree,” says Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School.

In establishing the program, the Freeman School becomes one of just a handful of U.S. business schools to offer degree programs approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

“This is a big deal,” says Trapani. “To offer a degree in China from an American university, you have to get Ministry of Education approval. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is so powerful and so influential in government, they were able to help us get approval very quickly. Most schools in the U.S. would do almost anything to have a Ministry of Education-approved program. I think this is going to be a great program for the school.”

The Tulane-CASS Professional MFIN is the Freeman School’s third international Master of Finance program. In addition to the Tulane-CASS  program, Freeman also offers dual-degree international MFIN programs in partnership with Guatemala’s Universidad Francisco Marroquin and Panama’s IESA Panama.


CFO Magazine: Nothing If Not Critical

Thursday, 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


Freeman School earns AACSB re-accreditation

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the leading accrediting body for university business education, has approved the re-accreditation of all degree programs at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business.


In May, the A. B. Freeman School of Business was informed that it had successfully completed its re-accreditation process.

The re-accreditation culminates a yearlong process in which a team of deans from peer institutions conducted a review of nearly all facets of school operations. In addition to studying data submitted by the school, the re-accreditation team visited the campus in December 2013 to meet with constituents and collect additional information.

“Our last re-accreditation took place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, so it really wasn’t a full and comprehensive AACSB review,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “In a sense, this is the first rigorous review we’ve undergone in a decade, so it’s very gratifying to learn that our peer review team shares the belief that we’re moving in the right direction and accomplishing the goals we set out to achieve.”

While accredited institutions are required to demonstrate that they meet certain specific standards of excellence, Associate Dean Clifton E. Brown said the process is less about compliance and more about ensuring that schools remain committed to continuous improvement.

“A main focus is whether we have processes in place that will successfully achieve our strategy and goals, particularly our learning and research goals, and whether we have processes that allow us to employ continuous improvement,” said  Brown, who coordinated the re-accreditation process. “So its focus is on improvement, basically.”

In notifying Dean Solomon of its decision to extend accreditation, Robert Sullivan, chair of AACSB’s Board of Directors, commended the Freeman School for six specific strengths and effective practices.

• Development of a strategic plan

• Commitment to experiential learning

• Implementation of the MBA Global Leadership Module

• Ongoing programs with international partner schools

• Extraordinary efforts on the part of faculty and staff in the wake of Hurricane Katrina

• Integration of nodes of excellence and comparative advantages across all programs

The extension of accreditation is for five additional years. The Freeman School’s next Continuous Improvement Review will take place in 2018-2019.

Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest-serving global accrediting body for collegiate schools of business. The A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University is one of the 16 founding members of the association. Today, nearly 100 years later, AACSB accreditation has become the internationally recognized hallmark of excellence in business education, with fewer than 5 percent of the world’s business programs earning the prestigious certification.

Harvard prof addresses leadership in changing business environment

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Lynn S. Paine, the John G. McLean Professor and senior associate dean for faculty development at Harvard Business School, discussed the changing global environment and what it means for the next generation of business leaders in a special presentation at the A. B. Freeman School of Business on Thursday, March 20. Paine’s talk, “Leadership and the Future of Capitalism: Getting Serious about Sustainability,” was part of the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

“Lynn’s insights into what business leaders must do to address emerging political and economic challenges was both timely and fascinating,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “It was truly a pleasure to give our students the chance to interact with a scholar of Lynn’s stature.”

Harvard Professor Lynn Paine, right, spoke to students about leadership as part of the Dean's Lecture Series.

Lynn Paine, right, with Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon, discussed leadership in the current business environment as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Paine is a member and former chair of the General Management unit at Harvard and co-founded the school’s required course on Leadership and Corporate Accountability. She currently co-chairs the Senior Executive Program for China. Her research focuses on the leadership and governance of companies that meld high ethical standards with outstanding financial results. Her publications, including more than 200 case studies, have appeared in a variety of books, periodicals and scholarly journals. Paine is most recently co-author of Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business with HBS colleagues Joe Bower and Dutch Leonard.

Paine’s other books include Value Shift: Why Companies Must Merge Social and Financial Imperatives to Achieve Superior Performance (McGraw-Hill 2003) and Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Integrity (McGraw-Hill 1998). Her most recent articles include A Global Leader’s Guide to Managing Business Conduct (with Rohit Deshpandé and Joshua Margolis), Global Capitalism at Risk: What Are You Doing About It? (with Joe Bower and Dutch Leonard), and The China Rules: A Practical Guide for CEOs Managing Multinational Corporations in the People’s Republic—all published in the Harvard Business Review.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa and a summa cum laude graduate of Smith College, Paine holds a doctorate in moral philosophy from Oxford University and a law degree from the Harvard Law School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in 1990, she taught at Georgetown University Business School and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business as well as National Cheng Chi University in Taiwan. PCAOB’s ‘Audit Failure’ Rate Is Highly Suspect

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014


Ira Solomon, dean and Debra and Rick Rees Professor of Business, recently co-authored an opinion piece for criticizing the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) for misleading statements regarding the quality of public company audits.

Solomon and co-author Mark Peecher, professor of accountancy at the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, take issue with the PCAOB for its use of the term “audit failure” — which has traditionally referred to the joint occurrence of an unqualified audit opinion and materially misleading financial statements — to describe audits in which the auditor simply failed to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to support its opinion on the financial statements, regardless of the fairness of the financial statements in question. The authors go on to say that PCAOB criticisms of auditors’ evidential bases are themselves open to criticism.

One reason is that PCAOB inspections usually occur after fieldwork, so hindsight bias can surface, especially when inspectors try to assess audit work on management’s estimates, which often are predicated on future economic events. That is, inspectors form retrospective judgments about auditors’ judgments regarding the reasonableness of management’s judgments. The management judgments in question concern things like the reasonableness of complex financial-statement estimates or the sufficiency of internal controls. It is hard to manufacture precision at the end of this judgment chain when it starts with so much ambiguity and uncertainty.

To read the article in its entirety, visit


New lab gives students the power of Bloomberg Professional

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Bloomberg is the world’s leading provider of news, data and analytics for finance professionals. Now, thanks to a new agreement, the Freeman School is making the company’s flagship desktop product — the Bloomberg Professional service — fully available to students.

Bloomberg Lab

In August, the Freeman School unveiled a new lab dedicated exclusively to the Bloomberg Professional service, the world’s leading financial news, data and analytics platform.

This summer, the Freeman School acquired 12 new subscriptions to the service, enabling the creation of a new computer lab dedicated exclusively to Bloomberg. The lab, located on the first floor of Goldring/Woldenberg Hall I, provides students with 24-hour access to real-time and historical data on commodities, derivatives, equities, fixed income and foreign exchange securities.

“Bloomberg offers users a staggering array of financial tools and information,” says Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School, who worked closely with faculty, staff and representatives from Bloomberg to make the lab a reality. “By making those tools and information available to students, we hope to enhance their understanding of key concepts and reinforce the theories they’re learning in the classroom.”

While the Freeman School’s Turchin Library has offered students limited access to the Bloomberg Professional service for a number of years, the new lab allows faculty members to fully leverage the power of Bloomberg in the classroom, enabling projects that let students apply conceptual knowledge to real-world examples.

Sheri Tice, for example, who teaches the Freeman School’s Darwin Fenner Fund course, is having her students use Bloomberg to run a host of sophisticated analyses on the fund, a $2.6 million stock portfolio managed entirely by the students.

“There are a bunch of portfolio analysis tools that are only available on Bloomberg,” says Tice, the A. B. Freeman Endowed Chair in Finance. “I can ask the students to determine if portfolio outperformance comes from taking on risk or represents abnormal performance, or I can ask them if outperformance comes from superior company-selection ability or industry-selection ability. The tools they need to answer those questions are only available on Bloomberg.”

David Lesmond, associate professor of finance, is having his Master of Finance students conduct a financial analysis of a firm, including forecasting what the company’s earnings are likely to be at the end of the semester.

“They’re using Bloomberg for almost everything,” says Lesmond. “As opposed to simply doing a problem at the back of a textbook, they’re using actual data to determine characteristics that we’d otherwise just talk about. It makes the lessons learned a lot more real.”

With the opening of the new lab, Freeman students now have access to the two leading financial data products on the market: the Bloomberg Professional service and Thomson Reuters Eikon, which is installed on work stations in the Freeman School’s Trading Center. According to Lesmond, that gives students a tremendous advantage.

“Every desk that does financial analysis is either going to have a Reuters terminal or a Bloomberg application,” Lesmond says. “By giving our students that experience while they’re still in school, they’re going to be able to step into those environments seamlessly and start contributing from day one.”



Join the Freeman School for Homecoming 2012

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Tulane University celebrates Homecoming 2012 next month, and as part of that celebration, the Freeman School is sponsoring a number of special events for business alumni.

Chef Brian Landry of Borgne will be on hand to serve his acclaimed Louisiana cuisine at the Freeman School’s tailgating party on Saturday, Nov. 3.

On Friday, Nov. 2, Freeman will host an Open House, Tour and Q&A with Dean Ira Solomon from 4 – 5 p.m. in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II. If you haven’t been to campus lately, it’s a great chance to catch up with Freeman, see our facilities and learn about some of the exciting things going on.

Then, on Saturday, Nov. 3, join us for tailgating at the Freeman School tent in Champions Square at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome prior to the Tulane-Rice football game. This year’s tailgating party honors the BBA/BSM classes of ’62, ’67, ’72, ’77, ’82, ’87, ’92, ’97, ’02, and ’07, but all alumni of the Freeman School are invited.

In the last few years, it’s become a Freeman tradition to invite some of the top chefs in New Orleans to provide food for our tailgating party, and this year is no exception. Joining us will be Brian Landry, executive chef of Borgne, the newest member of the John Besh Restaurant Group, who will be serving his acclaimed Louisiana cuisine in the Freeman School tent from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Those activities are in addition to Tulane’s long list of university-wide events, including a Town Hall with President Scott Cowen, the Helluva Hullabaloo Auction and Party, and the Wave ’12 All-Alumni Reunion Party and Concert featuring the Rebirth Brass Band.

For more information and to register for events, visit or contact Rhonda Brown at or (504) 862-8470

Center for Audit Quality’s Cindy Fornelli speaks at Freeman School

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Cindy Fornelli, executive director of the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ), discussed the state of financial reporting, public company auditing and the role of the CAQ in a special lecture at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business.

Cindy Fornelli

Cindy Fornelli

Fornelli’s presentation, “The Path Forward: The Center for Audit Quality and the Quality of Financial Reporting,” took place on Monday, Sept. 17, in Goldring/ Woldenberg Hall II.

Fornelli is one of the nation’s leaders in the area of public company auditing policy. As executive director of the Center for Audit Quality, Fornelli heads an organization dedicated to enhancing investor confidence and public trust in the global capital markets by fostering high-quality performance by public company auditors. The CAQ also collaborates with other stakeholders to advance the discussion of critical issues and advocates policies and standards that promote public company auditors’ objectivity and responsiveness to market conditions.

In her talk, Fornelli discussed the mission of the CAQ and fielded questions from students on everything from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to her thoughts what effect the presidential election is likely to have on the accounting world.

The lecture culminated a busy day at Tulane for Fornelli. In addition to her presentation, she spoke to two small groups of students and met with Freeman School faculty members in addition to a lunchtime meeting with executives from local accounting firms.

“We were delighted to bring a leader from the world of accountancy to campus,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “Cindy understands auditing policy better than almost anyone, and judging from the enthusiastic response of our students, I think it’s clear her talk contributed greatly to their understanding of this important aspect of accounting.”

Prior to leading the Center for Audit Quality, Fornelli was the regulatory and conflicts management executive at Bank of America. In that role, she was responsible for managing enterprise-wide conflicts that potentially could arise from the bank’s delivery of multiple products and services across several business divisions, particularly those related to securities regulation.

Before joining Bank of America, Fornelli was deputy director of the Division of Investment Management of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where she was responsible for implementing SEC policy, rule and regulations in the investment company and investment advisory industries.



Master of Finance program earns national recognition

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

For the second straight year, the Financial Times has named the Freeman School’s Master of Finance program as one of the best in the world.

MFIN Program ranked 30th globally

The Freeman School’s MFIN program was ranked 30th internationally and third among U.S.-based programs in the Financial Times’ latest rating of pre-experience master’s in finance programs, which FT defines as programs aimed at students with little or no work experience. The ranking, part of FT’s Financial Training 2012 special report, was published on June 18.

“Rankings are ultimately just a derivative of what we do, but external recognition is always welcomed and appreciated,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “We’re committed to making Freeman one of the nation’s premier institutions for graduate programs in business, so this outstanding showing in the Financial Times, coupled with the recent exceptional results for MBA placement, is gratifying evidence that our efforts are paying off. ”

The Financial Times surveys both the schools and their alumni to rank the top master’s programs in finance. Programs are rated on criteria including the salary and career progress of graduates, the relative value of the program, placement success, school diversity, and international exposure and mobility. To see the full ranking of pre-experience master’s in finance programs, visit

Freeman’s 2012 graduate diploma ceremony spans traditions

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The Freeman School’s 2012 graduate diploma ceremony was Ira Solomon’s first as dean of the business school, but in a number of ways the event harkened back to traditions of the past.

Dean Ira Solomon presided over the largest graduation ceremony in school history.

For the first time in three years, a band—the Po Boys Brass Band—was on hand to lead students into McAlister Auditorium at the beginning of the ceremony and out of the auditorium at its conclusion, lending an appropriately festive spirit to the proceedings.

For the first time in more than 10 years, the ceremony featured a distinguished guest speaker. Staley Motta (BBA ’67), chairman of Copa Holdings, the parent company of Panama’s Copa Airlines and Colombia’s Copa Colombia Airlines, delivered a humorous, heartfelt charge to the graduates.

And for the first time in more than 20 years, the ceremony featured the tradition known as “graduation bingo,” a game inaugurated by the late Irving LaValle, school marshal and professor of decision theory, in which students are given bingo cards featuring random words and phrases from the ceremony. The first student to get five words or phrases in a row—and shout “Bingo!” at the top of his or her lungs—wins a prize, which this year was a special second-line umbrella and the right to lead the graduating classes out of the auditorium.

Stanley Motta (BBA ’67), chairman of Copa Holdings, delivered this year’s charge to graduates.

Maggie Hopkins (MBA/MD ’12) won that honor, and she embraced the role with enthusiasm, leading a graduate second line out of the auditorium.

What was definitely not a return to the past was the size of the event. The Freeman School awarded diplomas to 857 graduates this year, the most in the school’s 95 year history of conferring business degrees.

At the graduate diploma ceremony, Dean Solomon presented diplomas to 63 Master of Accounting degree recipients, 279 Master of Business Administration degree recipients, 85 Master of Finance degree recipients, 35 Master of Global Management degree recipients, 85 Master of Management degree recipients, seven Master of Risk Management degree recipients, and 10 Doctor of Philosophy degree recipients.

Earlier in the afternoon, at the Newcomb-Tulane College Undergraduate Diploma Ceremony at the Superdome, Dean Solomon awarded diplomas to 343 Bachelor of Science in Management degree recipients.

Graduation bingo winner Maggie Hopkins (MBA/JD ’12) led a graduate second line out of the auditorium at the end of the ceremony.

Arielle K. Drucker (BSM ’12) received the BSM Scholastic Achievement Award, which recognizes the graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Management program with the highest cumulative grade point average. Robert W. Lynch (MBA’12) received the Marta and Peter Bordeaux Scholastic Achievement Award, which recognizes the graduate of the Master of Business Administration program with the highest cumulative grade point average.

“This year’s graduates, like those who came before and those who will come after, have completed rigorous, state-of-the-art courses of study,” Dean Solomon said in his remarks to graduates, their families and guest. “This year’s graduates have been challenged to make a positive impact on society using their knowledge and skills learned and honed here at Freeman. I have no doubt that they will be successful, making all of us proud to recognize them over the coming years as members of the Freeman and Tulane families.”

To see more photos from the 2012 Graduate Diploma Ceremony, visit the Freeman School’s Flickr page.

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