Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
Last week, Eller College Undergraduate Programs hosted the College's first National Ethics Case Competition. This ethics challenge has become a touchstone of the E-tegrity initiative the College pioneered in 2003. This year’s event expanded on the 2004 regional competition, with international teams coming on next year.
Twelve other schools joined Eller in the event, facing off in an ethical obstacle course to propose the best solution to a business dilemma. Taking on the roles of executives at the fictitious construction company Palo Verde Development, undergraduate students were challenged to find the best all-around solution when confronted with whether or not to use labor brokers who hire illegal immigrant workers if not doing so posed a seemingly fatal competitive disadvantage.
“We looked at both what would be best for the company and society in general and then tried to find the middle ground,” said Eller undergraduate Spencer Mosness, half of the UA team that ultimately won the competition.
Mosness and his teammate Julia Joens were advised by management and policy lecturer and faculty fellow Suzanne Cummins. Both students are seniors, both economics majors, and both headed to law school after graduation.
Their winning solution eschewed using brokers who hire illegal immigrants and instead proposed cultivating an alternative labor force of welfare recipients, the homeless, parolees, and other marginalized people, tapping government grants for training programs and other government-based business development incentives to offset the extra costs of such measures.
“We wanted to find a way to avoid taking the easy way out,” Joens said of her team's approach to solving the problem and the research that informed their catalog of creative propositions. "It wasn't an option to bankrupt the company, so we had to find a complete and viable solution."
David Childers, president and CEO of Oregon-based EthicsPoint, Inc., served as one of the judges of the event and praised the competition for its choice in a timely and complex, real-world business issue. "These students see from a practical perspective that the bright ethical line may bankrupt a company," Childers said. "Running a business is not always about what's right, but how to make the best choices you can make with the cards you're dealt. Learning that is an invaluable lesson."
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona, EthicsPoint Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, Integrity Systems Inc., and Target Corporation sponsored this year’s event, with representatives from each company joining Eller faculty and staff to judge the competition.
The Eller MBA advanced to #60 overall in 2005 rankings of the world's top 100 MBA programs as calculated annually by Financial Times. The Eller MBA had previously been ranked at #90 and #86 in 2004 and 2003 respectively.
The survey indicates that Eller MBA graduates average a 144 percent increase in salary from the time they begin the program to three years following graduation, ranking the program at #18 on that axis.
Additionally, the program ranks #37 in value for money (three-year post-graduation earnings less program costs and opportunity cost of work lost during the program).
Ninety-five percent of the Eller alumni surveyed report having achieved the goals that led them to pursue an MBA.
The Financial Times rankings integrate information gathered from a survey of alumni and objective data about the College and Eller MBA program.
This weekend The University of Arizona celebrates Homecoming 2005 with a weekend full of events for alumni and friends. Be sure to stop by the Eller College tent on Saturday, Nov. 5. We'll be located near the southeast corner of Cherry Avenue and the UA Mall across from the site of the new Meinel Optical Sciences Building — the perfect location for watching the Homecoming Parade.
All are welcome to join us at McClelland Hall to hear these accomplished executives share their personal insights and experiences.
For information, contact Tammy Farris, Associate Director, Corporate Outreach: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dec. 8, Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix
The Eller College of Management joins The University of Arizona College of Engineering to honor five individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Arizona’s economy by leveraging technology for business leadership and growth. This year's Technology Executive of the Year award will be presented to J. Steven Whisler, chairman and CEO of Phelps Dodge Corporation. To reserve your table, e-mail email@example.com.
Dec. 9, Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson
The Eller College’s Economic and Business Research Center (EBR) presents a summary of Arizona’s economic activity and forecasts for the year ahead. Dean Paul Portney joins EBR director Marshall Vest and economics professor and Thomas R. Brown Chair in Economic Education Gerald Swanson for this annual favorite. With a standing-room-only crowd at the mid-year Economic Outlook breakfast last June, attendees are advised to reserve tickets now: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Eller College extends its sincere appreciation to alumni and friends who have continually supported our educational mission, research, and community activities.
For friends of the College evaluating options for a donation, a charitable gift annuity is one of the many ways to show your thanks and support — a way that benefits the College while offering you tax benefits and flexibly delivering income to you for the rest of your life.
In summary, here’s how a gift annuity operates:
A gift annuity also offers distinct tax benefits and may deliver significant estate tax savings. Again, in summary:
For information on establishing a charitable gift annuity that benefits both you and the Eller College, contact Jane Prescott-Smith, senior director of development, at 520.621.2301.
Ronald L. Oaxaca Named Top National Influencer
In October, Hispanic Business magazine named Eller College McClelland Professor of Economics Ronald L. Oaxaca one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States.
Oaxaca joined The University of Arizona in 1976. An econometric procedure he invented thirty years ago, the Oaxaca Decomposition, is today used worldwide to sort out claims of discrimination in salaries and wages, distinguishing between variations in employee qualifications versus variations that may stem from discrimination.
The Oaxaca Decomposition has been cited in hundreds of published research papers by economists and has been used in countless discrimination lawsuits. The technique has also been put to use in ways that even Oaxaca never anticipated: to disentangle the effects of race and poverty on student test scores; to sort out the causes of gender differences in school attendance in underdeveloped countries; and to determine why the use of medical and health services by African-Americans differs from that of other ethnic groups, to name just a few.
Sometimes researchers happen upon natural "experiments," with data, like passengers at a bus stop, just waiting to be picked up. That was exactly the scene that economics undergraduate student Ryan Johnson and economics associate professor David Reiley found in Santiago, Chile.
In Santiago, some bus drivers are paid a fixed wage. Others are paid per passenger and engage in what locals refer to as La Guerra por el Boleto — The War for the Fare. In this model, drivers depend on sapos, independent entrepreneurs who watch the buses and sell drivers information that allows them to speed up, slow down, or detour to maximize passenger loads.
Routes served by these drivers tended to overcome the common problem of "bunching" — busses arriving right after another with long waits in-between — that plagues public transit in major cities worldwide.
Working with Juan Carlos Muñoz of the Pontificia Universidad Católica (Santiago), Johnson and Reiley found that bus routes with fixed-wage drivers did experience more bunching, and passengers on these routes faced 10 percent longer wait times.
However, before you write your congressperson requesting a per-passenger wage model in your city, consider this sobering fact: Santiago's non-fixed-wage drivers have at least 67 percent more accidents, most likely from more aggressive driving (for example, passing buses to beat them to the next stop).
In the final analysis, the research illustrates several important concepts. First, it demonstrates the potential economic value of information (the bus spotting of the sapos) and how there are realms of data everywhere that lie fallow until some market creates an economic incentive for leveraging the information.
Second, the study illustrates the slipperiness of economic incentives. In this instance, an incentive (per-passenger wages) creates gain (more pay for the drivers, less waiting for passengers), but the backlash of those incentives (more accidents!) may far outweigh the benefits.
With so much of the world's population dependent on public bus systems, research that reveals the economic principles at play has far-reaching implications for the economic efficiency of public transportation. In their final analysis of the Santiago's bus driving, the researchers see advantages to both models. They suggest that technologies such as global positioning systems might allow for more sophisticated compensation systems that integrate the wage and pay-per-passenger models, adding bonuses to fixed wages and providing drivers with incentives to adjust their driving and spacing while still driving safely.
This month, we feature three current students taking part in one of the College’s newest offerings, the opportunity to combine a graduate degree from another college at The University of Arizona with an Eller MBA. MBA courses are offered from 3 to 6:30 p.m., allowing students to easily combine classes from two colleges. Students can select some courses that apply towards both tracks of study simultaneously, enabling them to complete both degrees with as little as one extra summer of academic work.
This dual-degree program was implemented to meet the growing need for professionals with both leadership skills and technological expertise, explained Amar Gupta, Eller's Thomas R. Brown Chair in Management and Technology, and the primary architect of the dual-degree offerings.
When Gupta simultaneously completed an MBA and a Ph.D. in computer science in the early 80s, he had to produce two completely unrelated theses for two professors. In contrast, this dual-degree program requires a single thesis that combines technology and management.
"The days of HP-type companies are over," said Gupta, referring not to the demise of Hewlett-Packard, but to the way the company grew years ago, with Packard in the role of expert administrator and Hewlett providing many of the company's technical innovations. "Today's economy requires that the same person have both domain expertise and business acumen."
For the inaugural class of these dual-degree students, the Eller College has partnered with the UA's Colleges of Engineering, Optical Sciences, and Science.
When planning her graduate studies, O’Toole had considered pursuing an MBA, but the Eller MBA, like most highly ranked programs, requires work experience for admission. O’Toole wanted to continue her education uninterrupted. When she learned that the new dual-degree program waives the work experience requirement, she immediately applied.
O’Toole decided to enter the program based on her observations as an intern and on the observations of her husband, who also works in technology. “The problem that I see is that there are a lot of good engineers who are bad managers, and good managers that don't manage engineers well,” she explained.
Although she was inspired by a counter example — an Intel manager who possessed both technological understanding and leadership training — she's well aware of managers who supervise scientists and engineers but lack technology expertise themselves. As a result, these leaders can’t always distinguish the most vital contributors. They’re also often unable to accurately assess the complexity of technological issues or to arrive at reasonable projections for the time and resources needed to overcome them, O'Toole explained.
Upon graduation, O’Toole plans to apply her education at the forefront of science and management, taking a lead role in identifying the most promising new technologies and making sure that consumers are getting, as she puts it, "the best of science, not just the science that’s best marketed."
Alicia Reeves earned a bachelor's in physiological sciences before joining the applied biosciences graduate program at the UA's College of Science.
The degree is part of the Professional Science Master's program, which combines a science-based master’s with some basic business education. That introduction to business struck a professional chord with Reeves.
"After taking the few required business courses, I was hooked and planned to get my MBA after graduating and spending some time working," she explained. "Early last summer, however, I discovered that the Eller College was going to be offering the dual-degree opportunity, and I decided, ‘Why put off until tomorrow something that I can do today?'"
Reeves saw the appeal of combining science and business based on years of work in UA research. "Even in my university career, I noticed the need for scientists to have some level of business knowledge in order to conduct their research," she said. "For example, finance and accounting help with grant funding and management, marketing helps with recruiting subjects for research studies, and leadership and project management are key skills that are involved in research science but are rarely taught in traditional science-based programs."
Jamie had already completed two degrees when she took on two more in graduate school. As a UA undergraduate student, she completed degrees in computer engineering and computer science, graduating in 2005. She had already been accepted to the graduate program in electrical and computer engineering when she learned of the opportunity to combine her studies with an Eller MBA.
"I'm hoping to have my own business someday doing software development or game design,” Jamie offered as one factor driving her decision to pursue a dual-master’s in engineering and business administration. “I work at IBM now, so I think this will also help me move up in the company and become a manager.”
Holding a job at IBM and pursuing two master’s programs with another on the way (she also plans to earn a graduate degree in computer science), Jamie admits that the program is a lot of work. Still, with her graduate studies fully funded, the program was irresistible: "It’s a great value,” she said, "and I can get both degrees in two years."