Welcome to the The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
Classes are three weeks underway, and there's an unmistakable excitement in the air that comes with the beginning of a new academic year. Amid the activity, new rankings arrived from Forbes and U.S. News & World Report, recognizing progress in both the Eller MBA and Undergraduate Programs.
Despite the good news, we feel somber as we watch the sad story of Hurricane Katrina's destruction unfold. The University of Arizona has responded to the crisis by opening its doors to displaced students and offering various services to its own students from the affected states.
We extend our sympathy to all of those whose families and friends have been hurt by this disaster and wish them the very best in their recovery.
Undergraduate Programs and the Eller MBA both advanced in the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report and Forbes.
The survey also recognized excellence in what have become anchors of Eller’s educational leadership:
Forbes Best Business Schools ranking of 50 top MBA programs found that on average, the Eller MBA delivers an 80 percent increase in compensation within five years of graduation, placing it #12 in the nation in that measure.
Factored into the overall ranking formula used by Forbes—the five-year gain in salary less the cost of tuition and forgone salary—that strength helped place the Eller MBA at #33 among programs nationally, advancing from #45 in the prior survey (2003).
The Eller MBA was the only program in Arizona to appear in the Forbes list, which is published every other year.
Focus on Action
“I’m a big believer that the responsibility of any business school is to make sure you’re doing all the right things well—outstanding teaching and research, meaningful experiential learning for students, and targeted career services,” Portney said. “While I’m pleased with these surveys and proud of our accomplishments, rankings are not our focus. If we’re doing all the right things extremely well, the rankings will take care of themselves.”
Last month, roughly 1,200 freshman declared majors at the Eller College. The magnitude of that number is due, in part, to the debut of the pre-business major in 2000, which surged freshman enrollment at Eller to 941, up from 529 the preceding year.
The Arizona Daily Star* reports that while most students still claim “undecided” in lieu of declaring a major when entering college, the second-largest group declares pre-business, and the gap between those groups is shrinking. In 2004, less than 22 percent of freshmen were undecided (compared to nearly 40 percent in 1990), while nearly 18 percent declared pre-business their major.
“Many incoming freshmen know they’re interested in business and management—they’re excited by what those concepts represent—but don’t have the experience to know exactly where they want to focus their studies,” said Pam Perry, associate dean of Undergraduate Programs at the Eller College. “The pre-business major opens doors for those students who might have otherwise floundered, not sure where to commit. It brings them into a leadership-oriented community right from the beginning and gives them the opportunity to explore the different specialties they might choose to pursue.”
* The Arizona Daily Star, August 22, 2005: “Fewer delay picking a course of study,” by Eric Swedlund
“You all want to go to college, right?”
The question, from Mohan Tanniru, head of the Department of Management Information Systems (MIS), brought only a hesitant murmur and nodding of heads from the 20-some girls and boys gathered in the Hoffman E-commerce Lab at the Eller College.
But as MIS and IT graduate students began sharing their summer projects with the young students—developing Web content for the Tucson Museum of Art, or creating video games for cell phones, for example—interest in the room began to rise, and by the end of the session, as students chatted in groups over pizza and soda, they were clearly excited by what they’d seen.
This was precisely Tanniru’s goal in staging the event for youth in Tucson’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program, introducing them to technology and the kinds of career challenges open to someone with a degree in MIS and related fields.
Tanniru heads the Arizona Center for Information Science and Technology (ACIST) initiative, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters/MIS event hits two of the Center’s three objectives: workforce development through education, and social transformation through outreach—educating people of all ages about IT issues ranging from privacy to career opportunities.
“This is probably the first time many of these kids have heard of MIS,” Tanniru said. “Our goal is to show them the many ways information technology touches people’s lives and begin to interest them in careers in information technologies and their applications. We have more events planned for the year—this is just the beginning.”
The University of Arizona Office of the Provost honored Ken Smith in August, thanking him for his many years of service to the Eller College of Management.
Smith, who has returned to his faculty position in economics, served as dean of the Eller College from 1980 to 1995. When dean Mark Zupan left the College in January 2004, Smith again stepped to the plate, serving as interim dean prior to Paul Portney’s joining the College in July of this year.
Provost George Davis praised Smith for “his leadership in designing a strategic plan in management and technology,” which was Smith’s major focus during his second deanship at Eller, and for expanding the College’s campus-wide relationships “in ways that advance, among other things, entrepreneurship and technology transfer of intellectual property.”
Under Smith’s leadership as interim dean, the College created the Thomas R. Brown Chair in Management and Technology, recruiting Amar Gupta, accomplished senior research scientist from the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technoloogy, to fill the position.
In that same period, the College also launched a dual-degree combining an MBA with a master’s degree from the College of Optical Sciences and laid the groundwork for four additional dual-degree programs partnering with the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Science, Engineering, Pharmacy, and Science.
September 24: Professional Admissions
November 4–5: MBA Alumni Weekend
November 5: UA Homecoming
Jane Prescott-Smith has joined the Eller College as Senior Director of Development.
Prescott-Smith holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Prior to joining the Eller College, she worked with The University of Arizona’s Steele Children's Research Center since 1999, raising more than $12 million for pediatric research and teaching projects. Earlier in her career, as director of corporate relations for Northwestern, she played a key role in developing alliances that resulted in annual donations averaging $15 million.
Prescott-Smith joins Debra Rodriguez and Julie Miranda Trujillo in the College’s development efforts, crediting them with “having kept fundraising, alumni relations, and board communications moving forward” while the College sought to fill the senior director position.
As assistant director of student and alumni relations, Trujillo focuses on alumni relations (a huge job considering Eller’s 55,000 alumni and friends!), scholarships, Homecoming, and class gifts. Debra Rodriguez, who recently became assistant director of development, concentrates on the UA telephone outreach program, individual donors, and recognition.
Prescott-Smith maintains an open-door policy and encourages alumni and friends to contact her. “I’m always open to ideas,” she said. “We’re all working towards a common goal—to secure Eller’s place as a national leader in management and business education.”
With top-ranked programs at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the Eller College educates tomorrow’s top professionals—women and men who will make valuable contributions to their organizations and become leaders in their fields. Organizations can connect with these future professionals by underwriting Eller College events, building awareness of their companies among select student populations.
The Eller College hosts a number of events—large and small—throughout the academic year, such as:
Business Communication Competition
Several other events also offer underwriting opportunities, each serving a distinct objective, ranging from professional placement to developing leadership to recognizing excellence.
For more information on supporting Eller College events, contact Jane Prescott-Smith at 520.621.2301 or email@example.com.
The American Accounting Association (AAA) has honored Eller Deloitte & Touche Professor of Accounting William S. Waller with the 2004 ABO Notable Contribution Award in Behavioral Accounting Literature.
Waller focuses his research in the area of behavioral accounting, which is concerned with how decision makers respond to real or anticipated accounting information—how cost information affects pricing decisions, for example, or how profit forecasts affect motivation.
The results of one such study, co-authored with James. R. Frederickson, associate professor of accounting at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, will be published in the December 2005 issue of the Journal of Accounting Research. In “Carrot or Stick? Contract Frame and Use of Decision-Influencing Information in a Principal-Agent Setting," Waller and Frederickson had subjects act as employer and employee negotiating a contract that incorporated a variable beyond the employee’s control. The researchers showed that only when that variable was framed in the context of a bonus (rather than a penalty) did the subject pairs converge quickly on an appropriate contract, suggesting that when working with such variables in real-life contracts, employers are better served by reward-oriented terms.
Waller will be presented with a plaque honoring his achievements at the 2005 ABO Research Conference, to be held in Atlanta, Ga. in October.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) has awarded Frederick E. Webster, Jr. the 2005 Mahajan Award for long term contributions to marketing strategy literature.
Webster’s 2003 article "Can Marketing Regain Its Seat at the Table?"—co-authored with Eller marketing faculty members Alan J. Malter and Shankar Ganesan—won the Marketing Science Institute’s (MSI) 2005 Robert D. Buzzell Best MSI Working Paper Award (Marketing Science Institute Report No. 03-113) and was the basis for the MIT Sloan Management Review study that is the subject of this month’s The Eller Times Research Report.
His sole-authored 1992 article "The Changing Role of Marketing in the Corporation" (Journal of Marketing) remains one of the most frequently cited marketing articles of the past decade and won the MSI Buzzell Award in 1993.
A visiting scholar with a long-term commitment to the Eller College, Webster is the Charles Henry Jones Third Century Professor of Management Emeritus at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University and author of the book Market-Driven Management. He was presented the award at the AMA Educators Conference in San Francisco, Calif. in July.
Class of 2005 MBA students and faculty were recently celebrated at convocation ceremonies for their leadership and community service.
James Arthur Eddy, III received the Roy H. Johnson Leadership Award. While earning his MBA, Eddy was active with Net Impact, co-founded the Eller Outdoor Club, and served as VP of External Affairs for the UA’s Graduate and Professional Student Council, advocate for the University’s 7,000+ graduate students to state and federal legislators. Jon Stough was presented the Tom Rogers Community Service Award for his dedication to and participation in philanthropic activities.
Students from all three MBA programs—full-time, evening, and weekend—chose faculty members to honor with Distinguished Faculty Awards.
Full-time program graduates chose accounting professor Jeff Schatzberg for the third time in eight years. Steven Permut, a senior lecturer in marketing, was honored by the weekend MBA students for the second time, and management and policy professor Miguel “Mickey” Quiñones was chosen for the award by students from the evening MBA program.
A new award—the MBA Faculty Leadership Award—was presented to Lisa Ordóñez and Pam Slaten for their tireless commitment to excellence in the Eller MBA program. Ordóñez teaches statistical decision making across all three MBA programs, and Slaten teaches operations management.
Innovation drives economic progress, a fact Eller marketing researchers Frederick E. Webster, Jr., Alan J. Malter, and Shankar Ganesan point to in a recent article, published by MIT Sloan Management Review.
“Several studies have found that product innovation is the major influence on long-term business profitability,” they write in “The Decline and Dispersion of Marketing Competence,” citing in particular Deloitte’s finding that, by 2007, sales of new products are expected to generate 34 percent of total revenue.
Herein lies the challenge: Marketing—based on deeply understanding customers’ wants, need, and behaviors—drives innovation but is, in today’s corporate America, steadily losing clout with C-level decision-makers.
“Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. provide a strong case in point,” the authors suggest. “The recent downgrading of their debt ratings to junk status is widely believed to be related to their reliance on rebates, lack of substantial new product innovation and weak brand-development activity.”
A dearth of innovation is but one of several critical issues stemming from the decline of marketing, a descent and dissolution the authors trace to eight factors, including:
On the other hand, the authors note that marketing continues to influence corporate strategy in some companies, suggesting that “there is both an opportunity and a viable approach for building marketing competence as a source of competitive advantage.”
In particular, they identify eight factors distinguishing those companies where marketing holds sway, for example:
Findings in “The Decline and Dispersion of Marketing Competence” are based on continuing research and the field study detailed in “Can Marketing Regain Its Seat at the Table?,” which won this year’s Marketing Science Institute award for Best Working Paper. The full text of the article summarized above can found in the Summer 2005 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review.
Alberto Voli has never been unclear on what he wanted to do.
Born in Madrid, Spain to an Italian father and American mother, he's always felt at ease relating to foreign cultures. He played to that strength as a cast member and public relations representative with the internationally touring performance and community service group Up with People, and he knew he wanted to leverage his international background in business, as well.
Alberto has also always had an entrepreneurial drive, the desire to play a key role at the ground floor of private, innovative enterprise. So last year, when he saw the opportunity he'd been waiting for, he left his position as senior business consultant for Electronic Data Systems Corporations (EDS)—the $21-billion-in-revenue global IT giant—to become vice president of Tucson-based MedFix Solutions, Inc., a privately owned global supplier of new and refurbished medical supplies and equipment.
“It was almost like taking a step back to take 4, 5, or 10 steps forward,” Alberto explains, acknowledging the risk involved in his move. “From the time that I was in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program at the Eller College, it was something that I've always wanted to do. I found that this was a venue that could materialize the goal that I'd had for so long.”
In short, MedFix had everything he was looking for in a venture. It was young—operating in a part-time capacity since 1989 but never at a full-court press. It also had incredible scalability: “The medical industry is one that continues to expand with new technologies. I'd actually rather do something on a grand scale with large potential, hopefully with an international market,” Alberto explains. And yes, MedFix hits that last criteria, too, with customers in Iraq, Columbia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan, among others.
Alberto’s business partner and mentor, MedFix president Joseph Samaha (Lebanese and fluent in Arabic and French, as well as Italian and Spanish), had 20 years experience in the health industry before launching the company. Alberto brings expertise in sales, IT infrastructure, and 14 years of management experience working for global industry leaders like EDS, Indus International, and Dun & Bradstreet Information Services.
Today, Alberto is working to exploit what he sees as the company’s two greatest competitive advantages: IT expertise and reliability. “Many of the people in this business come and go. They're small-time and not able to leverage technology is such a way that they understand who all the main players are and can access and deliver supplies in a much more expedient way. Our customers can count on us as the one source for all their various products and supplies.”
The strategy seems to be working. MedFix Solutions projects 100 percent growth from 2004 to 2005.
Christopher Kunz’s path to founding a designer fashion collection didn’t follow the traditional path through design school and stints at big name fashion houses. His path was much more circuitous, starting with a double degree from The University of Arizona in biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology, ’95.
Chris, a native Tucsonan, spent his first two years at the UA, not only studying hard, but also playing for the University’s collegiate tennis team. Upon graduation, he spent a year in a research lab and then, as he puts it, “sort of wandered around a bit,” spending 18 months modeling in New York City, applying to medical school, and teaching tennis.
After a year in a biomedical engineering program at UA, he and his sister, Nicholas, namesake and co-founder of Nicholas K, began to kick around the idea of starting a business together. Nicholas had the traditional fashion training and experience, and Chris decided that the skills and knowledge of an MBA might allow them to pursue that dream together.
Chris earned his Eller MBA with dual concentrations in marketing and finance. He took a job immediately after graduation with Los Alamos National Laboratories working with early stage companies, all the while planning to launch the fashion business in 2003, the year they delivered their first line.
Today, Chris notes that the diversity of his experience has been invaluable in his role overseeing all corporate operations of Nicholas K. As he describes it, “I do everything—finances, shipping, production, sample traffic between showrooms and press, and all customer relations.” Yet even while juggling these multiple responsibilities in the never-slow-down, season-driven world of fashion, Chris says he still “hears these rules” floating around in his head as he makes decisions, rules learned in coursework for his MBA. The tricky part, or course, is that they never mirror textbook examples, there’s limited information, and always a ticking clock. It’s routine, Chris says, that there’s also not a right answer nor even a way to measure how good your decision was.
Nonetheless, the rules have had the desired effect: In just over two years, Chris and his sister have grown Nicholas K from nothing to a line carried in 105 stores across six countries. Within the next year, they plan to open a retail store in New York, where their line sells very well, but not nearly as well as in Japan, their hottest market representing 30 percent of their sales. “The Japanese have a great fashion sense, and one of their national pastimes is shopping,” Chris says. “They also have a fabulous eye for clothing and really appreciate the subtle details of our line.”
You might not think that a glass cheese wedge makes a solid foundation for landing a great job down the road.
But what if, for example, you personally presented that glass cheese wedge as a thank you gift/award to the CEO of Kraft Foods, Robert Eckert, a man you’d persuaded to speak at your college’s graduation with a sincere letter of request paired with subtle humor and some cajoling from one of his former professors?
Suddenly the cheese wedge starts to make sense.
But then, for Lindsay Galbut, it always made sense—showing appreciation, being creative, and having some fun along the way are all a natural part of what she sees as one of the key elements of success: “It is important to make connections with all different kinds of people from different backgrounds and industries and to go beyond just meeting and exchanging business cards by following up and keeping in touch.”
The formula works. Lindsay attributes her connection with marketing instructor Ed Ackerly winning the American Ad Federation’s prestigious Vance L. Stickell Memorial Student Internship and a great summer experience at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta. A friendship with a woman she met there ultimately led to a job at Chicago-based advertising goliath Leo Burnett.
Befriending a neighbor in Chicago led to Lindsay’s leaving Burnett to work with a public relations firm, which in turn reawakened her entrepreneurial spirit (while at Eller she started the non-profit Muralcles—still operating today in Tucson and Phoenix), leading to the launch of her own restaurant-oriented public relations agency. Her business, Utensils, landed contracts with companies like Robert Mondavi and Patsy Grimaldi’s Pizzerias, the longtime ZAGAT leader and a personal favorite of Frank Sinatra.
And then there’s the glass cheese wedge. Years after the gift, when Robert Eckert, by then CEO of Mattel, received a resume and portfolio (along with creative touches like a Barbie oven that opened to reveal “Lindsay Galbut’s Secret Recipe for Marketing Success”), he remembered the young woman whose marketing skills had persuaded him to speak at her graduation. Several rigorous interviews later Lindsay had a job—one of only three senior brand analysts in the marketing department.
"I attended meetings where adults held bears, petted stuffed animals, and dressed dolls, and that was normal," Lindsay recalls, amused. But through all her experience, the most important thing she learned was that her passion wasn’t advertising, it wasn’t media buying, it wasn’t even the brand management track at Mattel. Her passion was relationships.
“The majority of your life is spent working, so I believe in doing something that you're good at and that you really enjoy,” she asserts. For her, public relations fits the bill perfectly. Today she channels her skills into building relationships for Galbut & Hunter, a growing, internationally-focused Phoenix law firm her father co-founded. “I'm really able to make a difference here, and because the industry is so competitive, I’m forced to be very creative,” Lindsay says. “We’ve taken on more than 50 new clients just in the seven months I’ve been here. The firm I am promoting involves people who I know, care about, and believe in, and we have a solid plan for growth. I love it.”