Welcome to the The Eller Times News, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.
For two years in a row, Entrepreneur magazine has ranked Eller's McGuire Entrepreneurship Program second in the nation and first among public schools.
The ranking distinguishes the McGuire Program as one of only four programs to place in the national top-tier grouping for three consecutive years. The 12 top-tier schools are identified annually through a scientific assessment of more than 60 program dimensions.
In addition, Entrepreneur ranks program director Gary Libecap, professor of economics, entrepreneurship, and law, as fourth among the nation’s top entrepreneurship program leaders.
Like the program itself, Eller entrepreneurship students and their business plans are earning national recognition. In March the Autonomx, LLC team won third place at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED) competition for a plan that combines multiple sensing technologies in autonomous vehicles with agricultural applications. That same month, the team behind BTO (Bid-to-Own) Auction Technologies took third place at the Enterprise Creation Competition for a plan that pits rival colleges against one another online in fantasy sports leagues.
Eller also recently earned recognition at the annual Kauffman/Angell Center for Entrepreneurship National Case-Writing Competition at Wake Forest University. MIS graduate student and entrepreneurship associate John Dale placed second for his original teaching case on the social impacts of productivity gains achieved through software automation.
Five years ago, Eller College Undergraduate Programs had a problem. There was no system in place for effectively and efficiently managing student advising, which supports some 5,000 students a year.
They looked at various software systems in place in hotels, medical offices, etc., and decided none fit their needs well. So working with Eller IT, they created their own, the Eller Student Management System (eSMS), a set of online tools with detailed student records, online scheduling, messaging, and more.
eSMS has continued to evolve over the past 5 years, and today serves not only Undergraduate Programs, but aspects of the Eller MBA program, as well. And soon, it may serve even more clients.
For the past year, a team of undergraduate students in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, working with entrepreneurship mentor-in-residence Joann Rockwell, has studied the market potential for eSMS, conducting research, surveying competition, and creating a business plan. In April, the team will unveil their plan for taking eSMS beyond the UA.
In February, the entrepreneurship team also represented the Eller College at the Arizona Legislative/UA Wildcat Pride Night in Phoenix, an event attended by Arizona legislators and elected officials, as well as UA officials, alumni, parents, and friends.
“This is a collaboration between Eller IT, Undergraduate Programs, the entrepreneurship program, and the UA Office of Technology Transfer,” noted Joann Rockwell. “It’s a great example of how we bring multiple teams together to work on a problem and find market opportunities for technologies developed here at the University.”
Eller Marketing students continue to learn from experience, both real and imagined. Well, perhaps not “imagined,” but virtual!
In the first instance—real experience—a group of students working with department head Robert Lusch is leveraging marketing and management skills for the Marshall Foundation, which owns nearly all the “Main Gate Square” properties along University Avenue west of the University.
The foundation depends on rental income from these properties for charitable giving throughout Tucson, including donations of 50 to 60 percent of their annual net revenue to the UA. Because of the nature of the rental market, higher rent means higher income.
For this reason, it’s critical that businesses thrive in Main Gate Square to support the foundation’s giving. Yet many Tucsonans overlook or avoid the area as a shopping and dining destination. The students working on this project have conducted multiple surveys to understand why the Square isn’t patronized more widely and will make final marketing recommendations to the Foundation’s board later this year.
In contrast, students in senior lecturer Sushila Umashankar’s new Marketing Strategy MBA class are exploring the discipline through Markstrat, a sophisticated, Web-based simulation tool used at top business schools around the country.
Student teams are assigned to various virtual firms. Throughout the semester teams are required to make numerous decisions about the company’s product and brand portfolio, target segments, distribution, pricing, promotion, and more in a dynamic, competitive marketplace.
To underpin their strategies, students have access to in-depth “data”: industry reports, market reports, studies—they can even order additional R&D from their allocated budget. The series of decisions occur in a simulated nine-year period, with each decision complexly interacting with earlier decisions and multiple “market” variables to impact performance. The combinations ultimately drive the success or failure of the firm, with its final stock price being a key factor in their overall course grade.
“They really make corporate level marketing decisions,” Umashankar said. “They have to work as a team to think about a marketing plan, come up with a strategy for their market, and keep that strategy fairly flexible so over time they learn from each decision round.”
Some four hundred people filled a ballroom at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa last week for the 25th annual UA Executive of the Year luncheon. Eller College students, faculty, staff, and members of the College's National Board of Advisors (NBA) looked on as Ann Fudge, CEO and Chair of Young and Rubicam Brands, received the honor.
Fudge spoke of the importance of re-invention and innovation as she tackles the monumental task of “writing the story of a different future” for one of the world’s largest marketing communications conglomerates. She stressed also the importance of “living and leading from a core of integrity,” a theme that clearly resonated with the audience.
She closed her acceptance speech with a moving quote by an unknown author addressing the phenomenon of leadership, abridged here:
“Leadership is an invisible strand as mysterious as it is powerful. It pulls and it bonds. It is a catalyst that creates unity out of disorder. The qualities of leadership are universal. They are found in the poor and the rich, the humble and the proud, the common man, and the brilliant thinker. The most precious and intangible quality of leadership is trust: the confidence that the one who leads will act in the best interest of those who follow, the assurance that he will serve the group without sacrificing the rights of the individual. In the highest sense, leadership is integrity. This command by conscience asserts itself more by commitment and example than by directive. Integrity recognizes external obligation, but it heeds the quiet voice within, rather than the clamor without.”
Ms. Fudge was presented with a bronze statue of a pioneer woman. The statue was provided, as it has been each year, by NBA member Warren Rustand and his wife Carson. The sculptor, Deborah Copenhaver Fellows, may be best known as the artist commissioned to create the Korean War Memorial in Washington State, dedicated in 1993.
In conjunction with the Executive of the Year luncheon, Fudge was the preeminent speaker of the inaugural Capturing Executive Opportunities (CEO) Forum, an opportunity for Eller undergraduate students to engage with and learn from leading executives.
Check the next issue of Progress magazine later this spring for more on Ann Fudge and the CEO Forum.
John B. Shoven, the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics and director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford University, shed light on the hotly debated, complex issue of Social Security reform as the honored guest of the Fathauer Lecture in Political Economy on February 3.
In his presentation, “Restoring Social Security’s Solvency: Plans that Work,” Shoven illuminated both the impending problems with Social Security (namely that expenses will starkly outstrip revenues beginning around 2015), as well as the three most widely accepted proposed solutions, including President Bush’s plan, the “Diamond-Orzag Plan” (often billed as a democratic alternative to the Bush plan), and Shoven’s own plan, created with economist Syl Schieber and published in Shoven’s book, The Real Deal: The History and Future of Social Security.
The Fathauer Lecture in Political Economy was created in 1982 and endowed in 1996 by Isabel and Walter Fathauer. “This lecture series meant a great deal to my mother, who was an economics major in college at Northwestern,” recalled Mari Fathauer Martin, daughter of Isabel and Walter Fathauer. “In fact, after my mother passed on, my father continued to come to the lectures in a wheelchair. Even when he was deaf and could no longer hear, he would come, and we would send him transcripts. So it was very, very dear to their hearts, and it’s an honor to carry on this family tradition for my parents. They were great supporters of The University of Arizona.”
Each year, the Fathauer Lecture brings an internationally respected scholar to the Eller College. The 2005 Lecture was attended by more than 200 business and community leaders, students, faculty, and other community members.
As one of the largest insurance agencies in the United States with over $300 million in total premiums, Lovitt & Touché is dedicated to providing insurance solutions around the world. Now it’s also dedicated to providing education solutions in the state of Arizona.
Instead of sending traditional client holiday gifts of edible treats, Lovitt & Touché has established a $25,000 scholarship program at the Eller College.
“The cookies or nuts get put into a kitchen and are forgotten,” noted the agency’s CEO Charles Touché, who, like the company’s senior vice president, Dave Wilder, is an alumnus of the UA. “We figured our clients would embrace this idea. We want to keep Arizona’s best students in the state.” Touché’s prediction was correct: The program has been met with unanimous consent.
Eller College associate dean Pam Perry said the College plans to use the scholarships in a mentorship program, The Edge, that will connect successful alumni with upper-division students, who in turn mentor incoming freshman.
"It will establish a culture of students helping students," said Perry. "It's a really nice loop."
Lovitt & Touché presented each of its clients with a framed certificate announcing that the gift had been made in their names. The company plans to present similar gifts to Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, with the stipulation that in each instance, the funds be earmarked for business education. “As we grow, the size of our gift will grow,” Touché said, “This is a work in progress.”
Special thanks to Rodney Campbell, The University of Arizona Foundation’s director of communications, for developing this story.
Philip Morris USA, Pulte Homes, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car were key sponsors for the 2005 Career Showcase, an opportunity for Eller College’s 5,000+ undergraduate students in 12 academic programs to meet and interact with recruiters from 60 corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
McClelland Hall’s first and second floors buzzed all afternoon February 17 as students milled under arches of red and blue balloons, exploring the hundreds of professional opportunities represented at the event.
“The candidates here have been amazing,” said Ryan Stam, Pulte Homes sales counselor and a 2004 Eller alum. He projected that at least 40 percent of the students he connected with would get an interview, noting that they were “high caliber candidates” overall. “We need a foundation of education in our leadership, and Eller provides that,” Stam said.
Coordinated and presented by Delta Sigma Pi and Eller College Student Council, Career Showcase was established in 1994 and is the largest student-managed career fair in Arizona. Along with a pre-Showcase week of career search strategy workshops, the event plays a key role in the career search process for undergraduates like marketing senior Kavita Williams.
“This is a great opportunity for a lot of students,” Williams said. Researching opportunities in marketing and advertising, Williams made it her goal to talk with every organization at the event: “If you’re just starting your career search, this is a great way to open yourself up to a lot of opportunities.”
The 2004 - 2005 Eller College Faculty Awards were announced at the National Board of Advisors meeting March 29, 2005. Five outstanding faculty plus one outstanding team of faculty and staff were honored for their distinct contributions to the Eller experience.
Award recipients are listed below:
Carol Sacks Colena looks out for mice. And rabbits, rats, and non-human primates—indirectly, anyway.
Her employer, the Office for Research Subject Protection at Harvard Medical School, is charged with ensuring that animal subjects—pigs involved in cardiovascular research, for example—are protected from harm and unnecessary discomfort.
As administrator for the Office’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Carol is responsible for managing non-compliance issues and reporting to regulatory agencies, a hefty task considering the school has more than 900 active research protocols and over 400 investigators.
Though demanding, the job is ideal for Carol, combining her science background (an undergraduate degree in animal science and work in biotech research) with skills learned in the Eller MBA program.
“The business administration and management skills that I learned at the Eller College helped me create a bridge to move from the lab bench to the business side of the science world,” Carol explains. In one current project, managing the development of a relational database with Web-based tools, Carol is “relying directly” on skills learned as an Eller student in a consulting project for Rain Bird Corporation.
Before joining Harvard, Carol also drew on skills acquired during her year in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program to launch her own business, a shuttle service for kids. The company was a great success, but a growing family (Carol and her husband have a son who’s almost 4 and another baby on the way) and other factors meant the Harvard offer won out.
“Harvard is a great place to work,” Carol notes, “and this keeps me involved in the sciences. Last August the entire freshman class was gathered outside my office, and I thought, 'These are tomorrow’s doctors, the best of the best.' It’s so cool to be right here with all these amazing people.”
Armando Roman knew from the time he was 15 that he would own his own business. Entrepreneurs like his father and other relatives were role models for self-made success.
Those examples inspired Armando to start not one business, but two: Roman & Company CPA’s, P.C. and AXIOM Financial Resources, Inc., a consulting firm that primarily serves Native American tribes and enterprises.
Armando earned his undergraduate degree in accounting and finance at the Eller College, knowing he wanted to be a certified public accountant (CPA). But after working for two public accounting firms, he was determined to realize his dreams of self-employment. Wanting to spend time on the east coast, Armando earned an MBA from Drexel University before returning to Phoenix to launch his entrepreneurial career.
Armando later wrote about the experience of making that change—from corporate employee to business owner—in the book Make the Leap: Shift from Corporate Worker to Entrepreneur, a practical, how-to guide to starting your own business, co-authored with fellow CPA and entrepreneur, Genevia Gee Fulbright.
While another book—this one specific to starting a business in Arizona—is already well underway (Armando works on it nightly when his wife and three children are asleep!), Armando still finds time and energy for another passion, public radio.
Three years ago, he and two colleagues founded Friends of Public Radio Arizona, a non-profit corporation created to raise funds for the support of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and other public radio broadcasters. An annual black-tie auction of rare wines marks the major fundraiser for the group, with last November’s event raising some $250,000 in one night.
Armando remembers being strictly disciplined as an undergraduate, but credits his Eller education as the foundation of what he’s built as a CPA since: “Getting a CPA license has opened up so many doors for me, and there’s no way I could be a CPA if it were not for my Eller degree.”