Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
The Eller College of Management has developed a unique internship with the Tucson branch of SCORE, a national nonprofit of retired executives who serve as advisors to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Three Eller Honors students have each been paired with a SCORE advisor and spend two days a week providing real consulting services to start-ups in southern Arizona.
“Our goal was to get the students interested in the small business world, especially with start-up companies,” says SCORE student intern facilitator Rao G. Bollimpalli.
Eller student Charles Post has been working with SCORE advisor Steve Laden this semester. “Working with Steve has been a great experience,” says Post. “We are managing a wide variety of projects, ranging from client advising, to developing marketing plans, to studying financial statements, to performing research tasks for clients.”
“We currently have a client who is trying to gain entry into a major corporation to introduce a product concept to them,” says Laden. “Charles provided the client with a list of key corporate decision makers.”
SCORE advisor Mario Vedrich has been working with Eller student Eric Wilson this semester. “Eric attends consulting sessions with clients twice a week, reviews business plans and offers comments when appropriate,” he explains. “This exposes him to up to four clients each week, mostly start-ups, but at times existing businesses in search of assistance.”
“I am currently working on a project where I’m aiding a local restaurant start-up,” says Wilson. Vedrich says Wilson’s project encompasses site selection and evaluation, review of lease agreements, equipment selection, site build-out, initial promotion, plus any other issues that arise in the start-up phase.
“Eric is being exposed to the real world of small business start-ups as well as small business expansions,” says Vedrich. “He will see the result of good planning, poor planning, and no planning, a microcosm of the small business world that fuels our economy.”
“Probably the most unusual component of this program in contrast to other internships, is the opportunity to work with a wide range of business types, owners, and financial positions,” says Laden. “Most interns work for a single company, usually fairly substantial, and in a narrow business function. At SCORE, our clients range from startup to substantial and have a host of business challenges.”
“I think the whole experience is mutually beneficial,” says
Wilson. “The counselors and clients seem to be gaining from my interactions
with them as much as I’m gaining from theirs with me. That’s
what makes this internship great — I can both learn and contribute at the
On October 14, 29 Eller executive MBAs celebrated their graduation from the 14-month program in a ceremony on campus, followed by a champagne brunch.
“As a member of the inaugural class, I was excited to be a bit of a ‘guinea pig’ for the Eller College,” says Cristie Street, managing partner of Nextrio, LLC. “As a high-tech business owner and new mom, an executive MBA was appealing because it offered a comprehensive curriculum at a break-neck pace.”
Street says her expectations were high — but Eller’s EMBA program delivered. “With very few hiccups, the integrated teaching style, the modular material, and most importantly, the cohort of my fellow classmates created exactly what I wanted and needed,” she says. “It’s a challenging program— so don’t think ‘executive’ translates to ‘cushy.’ There were times when I wondered how I would get it all done. And there were times when I know I could have done it a little better. But these situations exactly parallel our business lives and practicing the ‘juggling act’ is an unofficial part of the syllabus.”
Eller alum Jay Geldmacher, group vice president of Emerson, addressed that juggling act during his commencement speech. Dubbing it the “sacrifice algorithm,” he stressed the importance of grasping opportunities as they are presented and understanding that success means achieving balance— which often occurs at a price.
“I am confident that I walk away from this program
better prepared and more knowledgeable about how to manage the executive
team at any corporation in the world,” says Street. “I wanted
to rely on more than the gut instincts that had helped me grow my business
so far. With each new class, I found that a new piece of the puzzle fell
into place for Nextrio. Armed with this knowledge and a few innovative
ideas sparked by the dynamics of the class, I’m ready to take on
the world — starting with Tucson.”
During the last week of September, 42 government and nonprofit leaders from around the state gathered for the 14th annual Southwest Leadership Program.
Attendees came from organizations including the Better Business Bureau and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce; city governments including Tucson, Sierra Vista, and Peoria; and counties including Pima, Pinal, and Gila. The conference served police captains, public works officers, building inspectors, and management analysts alike.
The five-day professional development program addressed the complexities, challenges, and rewards of leadership as a public servant through sessions on collaborative networks, ethics, working with the media, negotiation, and human resources.
Participants earned a Certificate in Public Policy and Management from The University of Arizona.
“It’s the longest standing executive education program at the Eller College of Management,” says School of Public Administration and Policy lecturer and program director Paul Melendez. This year, the program’s attendance grew 40% over last year.
MIS Department Continues to Innovate: International Conference, IBM Initiative, and Unique Classroom Projects
Entity Relationship Conference
Academic research and industry application unite at the 25th International Conference on Conceptual Modeling, being held in November and co-chaired by Management Information Systems (MIS) department head Mohan Tanniru and MIS professor Sudha Ram.
“The Entity Relationship model is a conceptual model which forms an important subset of MIS,” explains Ram. “It deals with how to design databases, organize data, and make databases link with each other.” The 25th anniversary of the conference revolves around conceptual modeling, which Ram says functions for IT systems in the way that a blueprint functions for building a house.
“The conference is a nice blend of academia and industry,” says Ram. “We examine real problems that businesses face.” In addition to research presentations from leading academics in the MIS field, representatives from IBM and Microsoft will provide their industry perspectives. “They’re interested in using our techniques in their companies,” Ram says. “They’ll also be posing challenges that we can take on for future research.”
More than 140 speakers from over 25 countries will come to Tucson for the prestigious conference, which will honor Dr. Peter Chen, distinguished chair and professor of computer science at Louisiana State University, who developed the Entity Relationship model 30 years ago. Terri Mitchell, IBM's Vice President of Storage Systems Development, will be the keynote speaker.
View conference details at http://adrg.eller.arizona.edu/ER2006.
IBM and Eller Partner to Deliver Coursework in Online Communities and Social Network Systems
IBM and the MIS Department at the Eller College have partnered to develop coursework on the study of online communities and social network systems that use Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, podcasts, and forums.
The course is designed to equip students with the skills to create and manage online communities, and will be offered to MIS and marketing students in the Eller College of Management. It is the first in a new suite of courses from the MIS Department related to managing and marketing online services.
The new course is designed to reinvigorate undergraduate student interest in information technology. According to a recent report from the Association for Computer Machinery, the number of newly declared computer science majors has declined by an average of 32% in the last four years. Similar declines are also felt in the MIS programs across the country. Designed to appeal to a new generation of students who are familiar with online communities like MySpace and Facebook, this new course helps students build practical and sophisticated information management skills that can be applied to a variety of industries and businesses.
MIS 341 Undergraduates Work in Global Teams to Tackle Real-World Challenges
As part of an MIS 341 systems analysis class, undergraduate majors in the MIS program are working in global teams with graduate students from T.A. Pai Management Institute in India and the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan to solve real-world MIS challenges posed by sponsor companies.
Eight separate teams are taking on challenges such as migrating corporate files from a shared network directory to a document library, assessing the effectiveness of a contact management system for a treatment facility, and developing a plan to implement a new software package.
The students were divided into teams based on their interest in the specific project and individual skills. Each U.S.-based team is partnered with students from India and Taiwan — and they will never meet face-to-face as they work to complete their projects. Instead, they will leverage technology such as audio and video conferencing using Skype to communicate and Wiki pages – collaborative websites that anyone can update — to share information including status reports, presentations, and working documents.
The use of global teams is especially relevant for students who plan to
work for international firms, but in a broader sense, brings culturally
diverse expertise to bear on contemporary business challenges.
Increasingly, b-schools recognize that the key to an engaging and rigorous MBA experience lies in experiential learning — taking students from the classroom to the office, where academic acumen is transformed into managerial substance.
The full-time MBA program at the Eller College takes it one step further, helping students shape and articulate their career goals, then guiding them from goal to career, step by step, semester by semester.
Before the first semester, Eller advisors work with incoming MBAs to identify career and industry goals. Then the Eller team identifies opportunities to tailor students’ educational experiences to their desired outcome.
The highlight of the experiential learning program is field projects. Teams of students are given multiple opportunities during the two-year program to work directly with a business sponsor client in identifying and addressing a real-world business problem or challenge. The end goal is to provide the client with a solution and actionable recommendations. With thoughtful planning, the student can tailor these experiences to advance his or her individual career goals with respect to a specific industry and / or skills acquired.
Don Winans, Eller Entrepreneurship ’05, leveraged his field project with Honeywell into a position as a consultant with Accenture.
“Working on the Honeywell Intellectual Property project gave me an opportunity to delve into a relatively new and entrepreneurial subject matter in the business world,” says Winans. “The structure and nature of the project afforded my team the freedom to explore new perspectives on a very real strategic question faced by most industry leaders: how does my company find new life in its intellectual property?”
Winans believes the experience provided substantive content for his resume and for interview talking points: “In this project I performed a management consulting engagement, working with senior executives and world-class scientists to produce a professional document that was utilized immediately to influence business decisions made by one of the top aerospace manufacturers in the world. My team's work, the following year, became a high-priority project with global visibility.”
On October 11, five recipients of Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Scholarships gathered with members of the Brown Family Foundation Board at the Arizona Inn for an awards luncheon.
The scholarships were first funded in 2002 in memory of Burr-Brown founder Tom Brown. After four years of annual funding, last year the Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation established $1 million endowments for both the Eller College of Management and the College of Engineering, to recruit and support top students in perpetuity.
The scholarship program at the Eller College supports full-time MBA students with declared interests in the field of technology and management. Three of this year’s recipients are dual-degree students, pairing their MBAs with master’s degrees in management information systems, natural resources, and mechanical engineering.
Patricia Ewanski, a dual-degree MBA and master’s in natural resources candidate and recipient of one of the scholarships, addressed an audience which included Sandy Brown Moran, Mary Brown, and Sarah Brown Smallhouse (Eller MBA ’88).
“I have spoken to my fellow scholarship recipients, and each one has told me how much this scholarship has affected their lives,” says Ewanski. “I’ve learned a little bit about their aspirations and I know how hard they work from the classes that we share. Each person I spoke with expressed their aspirations to become a leader like Mr. Brown and to excel in carrying his legacy forward.”
Ewanski plans to leverage her MBA and master’s in natural resources to work as a sustainable development strategist and “intrapreneur” for companies involved in renewable energies or clean technologies.
In addition to Ewanski, Eller scholarship recipients were
Kaijia Bao, Fei-Shan Chang, Saurabh Gupta, and Edward White.
Finance major Matthew Boltz is the first recipient of the $1,000 Dr. Thomas C. Moses Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was established in 2004 in honor of Dr. Moses, who served the Eller College of Management as an undergraduate advisor, instructor, and assistant head of the finance department for 23 years.
“I know he would have been so proud of this,” says Dr. Moses’s wife Dottie. “His students were his life.”
She says that for years, they would receive thank you notes and updates from the many students Dr. Moses taught. “At one time, he was adding up all the students he had worked with — he advised, too — and realized that he’d touched 15,000 students over his career,” Dottie said.
Dottie will meet recipient Boltz later this month at a private scholarship reception. Boltz says he is planning to use the funding to pay for GMAT testing and his CFA exam costs.
“I'm currently pursuing financial positions with some top non-Wall Street firms in the capacity of equity trading or portfolio management,” says Boltz. “I am also considering a one-year master’s in finance program.”
On January 1, Robert and Kathleen Eckert Professor of Marketing Merrie Brucks will assume the presidency of the Association for Consumer Research. The organization is a multi-disciplinary scholarly organization focused on understanding consumer behavior.
Brucks has devoted her career to the study of consumer behavior, particularly the response of children to advertising. “I began studying kids’ perceptions of advertising long before I had kids,” she says.
Brucks recalls a conversation with marketing professor Melanie Wallendorf in which they talked about the unique perspective of children. “We wondered how they view marketing messages intended for adults,” she says. Their subsequent research indicates that small children perceive images depicting sex appeal — for example, a scantily clad woman holding an alcoholic beverage draped over a lounge chair — as telling the story of a mommy. “They’ll say, ‘That mommy is so tired,’” she says. “They don’t even see the alcohol.”
One of her most recent projects determines to what extent children connect advertisements for products targeted to adults to the specific brand being promoted — the answer, she says, is not much. “Children tend to see such ads as promoting the category. For example, they see a Tropicana commercial and connect it to orange juice but do not make inferences about the brand Tropicana. They see a Marlboro ad and connect it to smoking in general, but not about how Marlboro is differentiated from other brands. They don’t think much about branding for adult-targeted products until they’re in about the fifth grade.”
For products such as tobacco and alcohol, this finding is critical for making national and global public policy. For example, it explains the role that advertising may have in creating positive user imagery for smoking in young children. In her co-authored paper “Young Children’s Understanding of Cigarette Smoking,” published last year in the journal Addiction, Brucks demonstrates that second-grade children have lifestyle associations with cigarette smoking that are consistent with those exhibited by fifth graders, and furthermore, these associations are unrelated to personal exposure to smoking.
“My research has definitely influenced me as a parent,” Brucks says. “From the time my kids were tiny, I would watch TV with them and help them interpret what they were seeing.” Her kids — now in their teens — grew up deconstructing advertising messages, and her daughter is now interested in studying consumer behavior as a career.
Brucks is currently working on a project with doctoral student Wendy Boland and assistant professor of marketing Jesper Nielsen which explores a phenomenon they have dubbed the context carryover effect. They have discovered that when an individual is trying to make a decision between two similar items, if the first item is not available, the individual no longer wants the second item — even though just moments before, the person could not decide between the two.
“Initially we thought this was because the second item became a reject in the person’s mind,” says Brucks. “But we found no support for that. It’s one of those counterintuitive things.” The evidence indicates that individuals become fixated on a differentiation point between the items, and that attribute becomes a reason to reject the second item.
“There’s no way an economist would predict these results,” says Brucks with a laugh. “But we developed all these different choice scenarios, and the results bear out.”
According to a new paper co-authored by Eller College associate professor of finance William Maxwell, regulatory measures imposed on the bond market have had dramatic effects, including significantly reduced costs and greater diversity among bond dealers.
“The beauty is that this type of event — a fundamental change in the way the market operates— rarely happens,” says Maxwell.
In 2002, at the urging of the Securities and Exchange Commission, NASD (formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers) implemented transparency measures on U.S. corporate bond trading data.
After TRACE — or Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine— was implemented, three published papers examined the post-TRACE bond market. But Maxwell’s paper, co-authored with Kumar Venkataraman and Hendrik Bessembinder, is the first to compare bond trading data before and after TRACE.
“Just making bonds transparent reduced trading costs by 50%,” says Maxwell.
While the main goal of TRACE was to level the playing field for retail investors, the greatest reduction in trading cost was for mid-sized transactions. While the trading costs for large blocks also fell, the relative effect on large institutional investors has been less favorable. From the perspective of the big institutions, says Maxwell, their costs have gone down, but it’s not enough. The key is relative performance to other firms, and smaller institutional investors have had a comparatively bigger reduction in costs.
TRACE also had significant impact on the number of dealers willing to make a market in a particular bond. Before TRACE, he explains, a few dealers would dominate the market for particular bonds. Other dealers were unwilling to make a market in those bonds since they assumed the seller had already shopped the bonds at the dominating firm. For example, if Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch dominated the market in a particular bond, and a seller offered to sell the bonds to a smaller dealer, the smaller dealer would assume that the seller had already shopped the bonds to the large firms. “If Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch wouldn’t buy them, why would I?” says Maxwell. “It’s a self-reinforcing adverse selection process.”
Post TRACE, smaller dealers can watch the stream of bond prices, reducing the adverse selection process. “There are more diverse dealers willing to make a market in bonds now,” says Maxwell.
In the paper, the authors estimate a loss of $1 billion in trading fees to dealers. Partially because of this, firms may have shifted away from bond issuance at the urging of investment banks. Maxwell’s paper does not speculate on the causality, but he notes that investment bankers may advise a company to issue bank loans instead of bonds. “But it’s all interrelated,” he says. “It’s like a balloon: if you squeeze it in one place, it’ll pop out somewhere else.”
Anne Lee came to the U.S. from Korea when she was just five years old, after her parents each earned master’s degrees at The University of Arizona. Her grandmother raised her while her parents completed their studies, then Lee joined them and the family moved to Los Angeles.
When the time came to choose a college, The University of Arizona came calling. “I was recruited to play for the women’s golf team,” she explains. At that point, Lee planned to play golf professionally, and the Arizona Women’s Golf Team was a top-ranked collegiate team. The team ranked #1 in the nation for two of the four years that Lee played, and was Pac-10 Champion for three of those years.
But after four years on the highly competitive collegiate circuit, Lee decided not to play golf professionally, and began to consider other options. “I attended one of the career fairs at Eller to check everything out, and Neiman Marcus was there,” she says. “They took me as an intern for their Scottsdale store, then hired me full-time in the human resources department.”
Lee worked in Scottsdale for a year and then decided to move back to Southern California. “What girl wouldn’t enjoy working for Neiman Marcus,” she says with a laugh. Saks Fifth Avenue was hiring for a parallel position in human resources for the prestigious Beverly Hills store, and Lee got the job.
Now, two years post-graduation, Lee is considering options for the future. She enjoys the flexibility of working in human resources, since, she says, “Every corporate environment has an HR department.” But Lee hasn’t ruled out marketing or public relations, in which she has an academic emphasis.
Her time at Eller gave her valuable foundations for the working world. “As a marketing major, I found that everything was based on group projects,” she says. “The need to work in a team correlates to the real world.”
“I’m looking at MBA programs right now,” she
continues. Lee wants to stay in the L.A. area, and is considering the
programs at USC, UCLA, and Pepperdine.
Juggling life, work, and school is nothing new to David Lundell: he’s been doing it since he was 16 years old, when he began working in the IT industry. He continued to work fulltime while he earned his undergraduate degree in computer engineering at The University of Arizona — during which time he and his wife also had their first child.
Post-graduation, Lundell took a position as a database administrator with Tucson-based Lasertel, a supplier of semiconductor laser chips for printing equipment. Throughout his undergraduate education and time at Lasertel, he acted as a consultant, and one of those consulting jobs eventually led to a surprising observation: “It turned out that the biggest problem one company faced wasn’t technology, it was communication between upper level management and technology consultants,” he says.
On that case, he noticed that upper management and the technology department could only yell back and forth at each other. “I said to them, hey, you need to be able to communicate with these folks,” he explains. “I realized that in order to serve people well as a consultant, I needed to be able to solve their business problems as well.”
So Lundell decided to supplement his computer engineering degree with an Eller MBA, while continuing to work at Lasertel. Ultimately, the company downsized, and during the second semester of the MBA program, Lundell moved to Phoenix for a database administrator position with Ryland Homes — commuting to Tucson once a week to earn his degree. But work and school were not the only demands on his time: during his fourth semester in the MBA program, Lundell raced up I-10 from Tucson to Phoenix to make it to the birth of his second son.
In 2004, Lundell opened his own business and technology consulting and training firm, Chandler-based Mutually Beneficial. “I help people get the right info into the right hands at the right time,” he says. On one recent case for a large bank, he led a project to extract data from a human resources database and run reports on the information. When he came in to the project, the error-filled reports took four days to run. When he left, the reports were generated in one hour — accurately.
Lundell is currently working on two books on SQL Server, adding to publishing credits which include a book on Windows Server 2003 he wrote for a Prentice Hall series.