Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
Student teams at the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship are breaking records this semester, pulling in multiple honors and more than $40,000 in awards at competitions in the United States and Canada.
"This kind of performance is unprecedented," said Sherry Hoskinson, director of the McGuire Center, "not just for Eller, but for any school. Working in the framework of the new education model we implemented last year, the business plans our students are creating are more solid than ever."
This year's winning teams include:
BVM Technologies won first place at the University of Nebraska's Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship New Ventures World Competition in Lincoln, Neb. Their performance earned an automatic berth at Moot Corp (BVM and Eller's MSDx team — see below — will both compete at Moot Corp this year). The MBA students behind BVM — Robin Meeks, Eric Oden, and Daniel Rak — built a business plan on a technology developed by faculty at The University of Arizona, a method for mimicking blood vessel behaviors to allow in-vitro testing of intravascular medical devices and drugs.
Cetra Coating took third place at the Asper Center for Entrepreneurship's Stuart Clark Venture Challenge held at Canada's University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Feliciano Garcia (MBA), Patrick Marcus (Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering), Alfredo Moran (MBA), and Tricia White (MBA) created a venture plan for scratch-resistant plastic coatings with potential uses in sports equipment, handheld technology devices, and more.
InterKinetic Technologies — Recharging Lives earned Eller MBA students Nick Amatuzzi, Chip Bacon, Chaitanya Bhuskute, Josh Hill, and Jeff Hughes the EnterSys / Vuico Best IT/Wireless Award at the international Rice Business Plans Competition Mar. 30 to April 1. They built their business plan on PowerSpring™, a universal wireless charger for mobile telephones. The Rice competition simulates the process of soliciting start-up funds and gives students opportunities to network with 100+ investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders.
MSDx, LLC placed second at the prestigious Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (S.E.E.D.) business plan competition sponsored by Westmont College, Santa Barbara, Calif. MSDx competed against more than 80 teams with a plan built on a patented technology — introduced to the team by a local investor — that allows physicians and others to diagnose Multiple Sclerosis with a simple blood test. The team — which brings together students from four domains: Stephen Bassett, an applied biosciences master's student; Allan Conger an MBA student; Simran Nirh, a management information systems master's student; and Marie Wesselhoft, a non-degree seeking student with an MBA and a bachelor of science in medical technology — also received a Fast Track Grant from the Arizona Department of Commerce to help them prepare applications for the U.S. Small Business Administration's Small Business Innovation Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program.
Original Theory took first place at the Queen's Entrepreneurs' Competition and at the prestigious Enterprise Creation Competition hosted by Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. As such, the team is the first to win first place in two major competitions in the history of Eller entrepreneurship. The brains behind Original Theory — Eller seniors Alex Farkas, Stephen Tanenbaum, Greg Rosborough, and Jonathan Pucciarelli — created a business plan for making original art from graduate and undergraduate students available to the collectors market online.
Strengo took second place at the Northwest Venture Championship at Boise State University, Boise, Idaho. The team competed against 24 teams from around the world with a plan for commercializing broad use of the seed salvia hispanica L as a source of Omega-3 fatty acid, which has been shown to help lower the risk of heart disease. Eller seniors Douglas Allen, Wei-Liang Kao, Amanda Stubbs, and Matt Van Horn trademarked the name "Strengo" for the seed.
The Eller College's student chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), under the guidance of marketing senior lecturer Sue Umashankar, earned four awards at the national AMA conference in Orlando, Fla. March 23-25, 2006.
The students representing the Eller chapter earned three awards:
The students engaged in the International Case Competition — Jonathan Edwards, Katie Johnson, Jeff Knudten, Marjorie Reiter, Vivek Sridhar, Francisco Terrazas, Emily Teyechea, and Rian Valenti — earned $1,500 for Eller's AMA chapter.
Umashankar, who has advised the Eller chapter of the AMA since 1999, won the most prestigious top advisor honor at the conference, the Hugh G. Wales Faculty Advisor of the Year 2005-2006 Award and a cash award of $500.
Management Information Systems at the Eller College continues to evolve while maintaining its #4 ranking in the latest U.S. News & World Report's survey of graduate education in the United States.
After years of extensive planning and collaboration among department faculty and industry leaders, MIS now offers two programs targeting experienced professionals. The first accelerates the MIS curriculum for IT professionals, allowing them to earn a master's in just one year.
The second program — similar to the dual-degree MBA programs Eller has forged with other UA colleges — allows students with either IT or business experience to earn both an MBA and a master's in MIS in just two years. The program also integrates certification through the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship and focused leadership development.
The Salter IT Leadership component of the dual-degree program begins with a symposium in which students learn about IT leadership challenges from working executives. In the summer between years one and two, they engage in an applied leadership experience at a technology firm. In the second year of the program, they further develop leadership skills by mentoring undergraduate teams as they take on IT consulting fieldwork projects.
The curriculum changes are the latest results of the work of the MIS Futures Council, which brings together faculty and leaders from industry nationwide to identify and better understand the MIS needs in the marketplace. Meetings across the country led to high-level structural changes in the MIS program, changes now further realized with evolution in curriculum content.
Mohan Tanniru, MIS department head and and Salter Distinguished Professor in Management and Technology, shared those changes at the inaugural MIS Curriculum Roundtable he organized last month, bringing together faculty and leaders from some twenty of the top-25 MIS programs nationwide.
"Companies are more agile today in order to respond to a marketplace that changes quickly," Tanniru said, explaining the impetus for the evolution of Eller MIS. "We need to match that with agility in academics. You don't want to change your program every year — you need the theoretical foundation at the core — but you also need to evolve to parallel changes in industry. We're a leader in MIS, and we need to demonstrate to others what can be done."
For more information on the new MIS master's programs, contact Cortez Smith at email@example.com or 520.626.0493.
The program launched last year and has been enhanced this year with the introduction of a certificate of entrepreneurship from the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. Students complete both degrees and the entrepreneurship certification in just two years.
Amar Gupta, Thomas R. Brown Chair in Management and Technology, said the program is unique not only for its accelerated two-year schedule but also for its integrated entrepreneurship training.
"We are pioneering the programs that will fuel and advance innovation in the near future," Gupta said. "I believe IBM's commitment signals this program's strength, and we're establishing similar relations with other leading technology companies."
UA President Peter Likins also lauded IBM's involvement with the Eller College. “IBM’s alliance with The University of Arizona and the Eller College is a major strategic commitment. It is also a testimony to the ease with which the two organizations work together," Likins said. "When you consider the cost of tuition, incidentals, salary, and benefits for these six students for a two-year period, IBM’s commitment exceeds $2 million for this group of six employees. We expect that IBM will sponsor employees in future years and we must make sure that they get a good return on this investment."
Join the Eller College of Management and The University of Arizona for an exciting series of new Summer Programs for K-12 explorers!
"I want to be..." Career Camp
The Eller College Department of Management Information Systems will also welcome 70 students this summer in the MISS (Math, Information Systems, and Science) Adventures camp. Students are recommended by their schools and attend free of charge. MISS Adventures is presented in partnership with Raytheon, GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) at The University of Arizona, Tucson Unified and Sunnyside School Districts, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. Ernst & Young will also again partner with the Department of Accounting to welcome eleventh graders from underrepresented populations to the Accounting Careers Awareness Program, a week-long exploration of accounting and campus life.
Friday, April 28, 2006, 12:30 to 6 p.m.
Join faculty and friends of Eller entrepreneurship as student teams present their business plans and the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program honors alumni, fellows, and emerging entrepreneurs. All activities are open to the public. RSVPs appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more with the competition program.
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006, 6 p.m.
Celebrate the outstanding achievements of graduating seniors, outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni at the annual awards dinner for Undergraduate Programs. $35 ticket ($25 for students) includes dinner. Formal attire requested. Please RSVP online or by phone at 520.626.7592.
Environmental Progress and Policy in the Next Twenty-Five Years
Tuesday, May 16, 2006, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
UA alumnus Patrick Yalung hosts Dean Paul Portney as he discusses environmental progress and policy with UA alumni and friends in Seattle. From 1995 to 2005, Portney served as president of Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C., the premier independent institute dedicated to analyzing issues in natural resources, energy, and the environment to enable sound policy choices. RSVP to email@example.com.
Thursday, May 18, 2006, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Join alumni and friends of the Eller College to meet Dean Paul Portney, enjoy drinks and hors d'oeuvres, visit with top Eller students who will be visiting New York on a study tour, and learn about the latest College developments. Please RSVP by May 16.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006, 7:00 to 8:45 a.m.
How much higher will interest rates go? Why is immigration reform so important? What are the effects of voters' decisions on regional transportation? Plus, an update on Fed policy under a new chairman and a look at the economy-wide effects of unfrenzied housing markets. Please join us for breakfast with economists Gerald J. Swanson and Marshall J. Vest as they answer these questions and offer insights on what to expect in Arizona's economy for the remainder of 2006. RSVP now at www.eller.arizona.edu/outlook.
Diana and David Freshwater have pledged $30,000 to support education at the Eller College. The three-year Diana and David Freshwater Fellowship will be awarded to economics professor John C. Wooders.
Wooders' research explores microeconomic theory and experimental economics, as well as game theory, particularly game theory models in which trade is decentralized or in which players can communicate prior to play. One paper examining game theory in sports, "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," written with economics department head Mark Walker, will soon be published in The American Economic Review.
David Freshwater earned his master's degree in Finance at the Eller College. He serves on the Eller College National Board of Advisors and has provided financial support to the College through the Business Partners Program. After a successful career in real estate consulting and development, David founded The Fountains Retirement Communities, Inc. In 2005, he formed The Freshwater Group, devoted to "a complete transformation of the way people age and the way they feel about aging" through the development of "continuing care campuses" and living facilities that integrate dining, shopping, exercise, education, and health care.
Undergraduate Programs will present seven students with Outstanding Senior Awards at the annual awards banquet, A Night with the Stars, in May:
The Eller College Student Council also honors two undergraduate instructors each year for teaching enthusiasm, expertise, and effectiveness.
By survey, students are asked to choose one instructor from both a large and small class. This year's honorees:
Congratulations to all the exceptional students and faculty at the Eller College of Management!
The University of Arizona Graduate and Professional Students Council named Sudha Ram, professor of management information systems and director of the Advanced Database Research Group, the Graduate and Professional Advisor of the Year for 2006.
Students nominating Ram wrote that she "is very open-minded and gives us total freedom in picking topics for our research. She encourages us to think independently and critically. ... She uses her years of successful experience … to guide us step by step on how to conduct research effectively and avoid pitfalls. She has a unique vision on how to do quality research."
It's no secret that on any given day, stock prices at the NYSE range widely. Anheuser-Busch, for example, sold at $52 per share on the same day that Boston Beer (makers of Sam Adams) sold for $15.
Yet if the total value of a firm is mainly determined by the firm's future earning power, then the price of its stock depends only on the number of outstanding shares, a figure the firm itself determines. Given that, if an optimal trading range for a firm's shares exists within a given industry, why do stock prices vary so greatly among businesses in the same markets?
Edward A. Dyl, Christopher Sheafe/Estes Homes Professor of Finance at the Eller College, explores this "Share Price Puzzle" in research to be published in the July issue of Journal of Business.
Looking at share price levels between 1976 and 1996, as well as a number of observed phenomena concerning the relation between stock price ranges, investor bases, and market values for firms in the United States, Dyl and co-researcher William B. Elliott explore two hypotheses to get to the bottom of stock price variation:
Supporting both hypotheses, the researchers find that higher than expected share prices predict stock splits, and that firms whose stocks do split increase their investor bases more than firms whose stocks don't split.
In short, those wide ranging stock prices don't just happen — they're engineered by the companies themselves to tailor their stock for those investors most likely to buy their shares.
Note: Last year, researchers Jean Heck and Philip Cooley identified Edward Dyl as one of the most prolific authors in finance literature between 1953 and 2002. Dyl ranks 83rd among 5,811 authors in the leading seven journals, 50th among 11,475 authors in a second tier comprised of 16 core journals, and 47th among 17,573 authors in a third tier of 72 journals.
A Better Way to Build
Eric Freedberg, B.S.B.A. '85, with his wife, Nanci, and children, Jason and Rachel.
Fifteen years after founding the company Milestone Homes, Eric Freedberg and his business partner Dante Archangeli proudly note that they're able to refer new customers to every one of their 90+ satisfied clients.
It's not a bad record for a custom homebuilder who set out to be a professional golfer when he first came to The University of Arizona. When that plan turned out not be a hole-in-one, Eric switched to business, majoring in accounting and finance with the intention of becoming a tax lawyer.
On graduating, Eric was ready to start law school, but when friends turned him on to job opportunities with Arthur Andersen in Phoenix, the offer the company extended was too good to pass up. In time, Andersen helped fund Eric's CPA education. Still, the job wasn't the best fit.
Not one to waste time being unhappy, Eric went back to school at the University of Southern California, earning a master's in real estate development and then doing acquisitions for a savings and loans company. But with that industry's crisis in the early 90s, fortune stepped into Eric's life once more. His job dissolved, he contacted Dante, whom he'd met in graduate school, and together they founded Milestone Homes.
Eric credits his homebuilding success, in part, to his finance and accounting education. "When I'm looking at deals, there's a certain level of comfort I have that I feel I wouldn't have if I'd done more of a general business background," he explains. "No matter what business you're in, it ultimately comes down to whether or not you're making money and knowing where the money is going."
That business background helped inform one of the first decisions that put Milestone Homes on the right path – the choice to found the company in Tucson, Ariz. at a time when the real estate market was poor but brimming with potential. "We were able to tie up properties for no-cost options and do joint ventures," Eric explains. "With no capital behind us, we needed opportunities like that. We were able to acquire a number of lots, and then the market changed, and we were sitting on much more valuable assets." While the team still had to build on spec for the first five years — their youth and lack of experience was an early obstacle — they were able to sell their homes quickly as Tucson's population and real estate market began to boom.
It was another business decision, however — a strategy to focus on quality — that's still the driving force behind Milestone Home's ability to continually grow their range of work (today, the company's homes range from $400,000 to $3M). "We feel that if we take care of the customer, that takes care of most of our problems," he says. "The way to do that is to properly supervise every job, and the way to properly supervise is to not overextend."
As a result, Eric and Dante remain in close contact with clients throughout the building process and limit site supervisors to two projects at a time. The company could increase profits by stretching their contractors a little thinner, but for Eric, that's a losing proposition in the long run: "When I look at the exchange — the extra dollars compared to what I think hurts in terms of quality and then reputation — it's not worth it."
|Monicia Porter, MBA '02, is working toward fulfilling her goal of opening a charter school for underprivileged youth.|
Knowing how to get from point A to point B. The most successful people — in business or otherwise — all possess this skill. They see the bigger picture and can break down a goal into achievable chunks.
That's the tactic Monicia Porter has taken since 1998, when she and her husband set their sights on the goal of opening a charter school for underprivileged youth.
They were living in Atlanta, Ga. at the time and volunteering with America Reads, a 1997 – 2001 initiative challenging all Americans to improve children's literacy. While eager to do her part, Monicia found the program lacking in many ways and spent many nights with her husband talking about what they'd do differently. It was then the idea to open their own school seized them, an idea that's never loosened its grip.
In 2000, Monicia took the first major step towards that goal and enrolled in the Eller MBA program as a full-time student, despite the fact that she had a 6-week old son and was working full-time.
"I really want to be an entrepreneur," she says, "and I wanted an MBA. It gives you a leg up on others when you're applying for management positions, and even though I was already managing, I wanted to move up a little bit higher so I could get a better feel for what it would be like to own my own business. I was looking for specific skills to build on."
She remembers that first semester as grueling: juggling family, work, and school. She was working full-time as a consultant for Keane in systems and business management, getting off work at 7 a.m. and often having to be at class an hour later. She remembers having to plan every second of her day. "If I'd known what I was going to go through that first semester I probably would have waited," Monicia says, "but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
It also helped Monicia line up and knock down more milestones on the path to her goal. While in the Eller MBA program, she did an internship with Deloitte, implementing a new information system for San Jose County, and upon graduation, she went to work for Intel as a commodity manager responsible for over $300 million in purchasing. The experiences added two more knowledge sets she'd need for her goal: how to work in the public sector and how to work with vendors.
Monicia is now in the final stretch towards her goal. Last August, she had the opportunity to work with the state of Texas revising its math curriculum. That, in turn, led to her present career, teaching high school at an inner-city school in Dallas.
"You have to know where your employees have been in order to manage them," Monicia says, explaining her choice to leave an accomplished track record with Intel. "I'm a firm believer in that."
Getting the teaching experience she needs now, Monicia fully expects to meet her goal and open her charter school with her husband within the next four years. And along the way, she acknowledges she still has much to learn. "These kids have taught me a lot," she explains. "I didn't think I grew up sheltered until I started working here. They have so much to overcome, and they do it everyday."
It's not an easy path Monicia has chosen — and she still balances too much work with time with her husband and raising four children — yet she draws inspiration from knowing she's on the road to where she truly wants to be. "Don't get me wrong," she says. "At one point, I thought I wanted to be the CEO of some big company, but I found out that wasn't where I wanted to be. I'm a firm believer in loving what you do."