912, 2016

KTLA

December 9th, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

Hollywood Insider and Attorney for the Stars Shares Unconventional Hobby

DECEMBER 1, 2016, BY AND

via KTLA

1010, 2016

Bloomberg Radio

October 10th, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

 

The Bloomberg Advantage: Menlo’s Moran on The Thing About Work

2305, 2016

San Francisco Chronicle

May 23rd, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College, News and Insights|

Former Cal baseball player keeps draft dreams alive

Minutes later, the Oaks’ closer and third baseman jogged out to the mound. The scouts readied their cameras and radar guns. Seven months removed from the Pac-12, Erceg was beginning a relief appearance for an NAIA team that plays at an Atherton park with the seating capacity of a high-school field.

If not for low grades, Erceg would be a key contributor on a Cal team that was expected to contend for the 2016 College World Series after being eliminated in the regionals last season. Instead he is leading the Oaks (33-20, 16-14) to the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament Monday.

Even on a smaller stage, Erceg is a promising major-league prospect.

“As long as he has the tools to play at the upper division and people recognize who the gentleman is, then there’s probably little or no difference” where he plays, said a National League scout who spoke anonymously because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly on players.

Erceg learned in September that he would not be returning to Cal when he got his grades from summer school. In a class he had to pass with at least a B-minus to maintain academic eligibility, he said, he received a C-plus.

“It was rough,” Erceg said. “I couldn’t believe it because I tried my hardest, did whatever I could, and you know, it ended up not being good enough. And in life sometimes that happens, so you’ve just got to keep moving forward. But definitely it was heartbreaking.”

Keep moving forward. That seems to be Erceg’s mantra. Menlo coach Jake McKinley said it’s evident in the way Erceg plays. He has hit 17 home runs this season, but big swings also mean big misses.

“When he gets embarrassed or when he fails,” McKinley said, “he gets upset, but at the same time he bounces back really quick.”

Erceg had a smooth transition to Menlo. He batted .311 in the regular season, compared to his .303 average at Cal last year. Erceg leads the conference in total bases (132) and is tied with teammate Garrett Gemgnani for the home run lead. The Oaks clinched a GSAC tournament spot in their final regular-season game May 1.

Just 20 minutes north of Erceg’s hometown of Campbell, Atherton is close enough for his parents to make some games. At third, he’s playing next to former Cal teammate Max Dutto. In the three hole, Erceg is batting in front of Gemgnani.

“I’ve never met somebody that wants to win more than him,” Gemgnani said. “That rubs off on people. So, great guy all around: teammate, player, friend.”

It’s taken a lot of time and effort, but Erceg said he has improved in the classroom, too.

“I got a 2.9 GPA in the fall, which is the best I’ve ever done,” Erceg said. “That was probably the biggest thing for me moving forward, being able to pick myself up after I fell.”

If all goes to plan, this is the last year Erceg will have to worry about grades.

McKinley estimates the number of scouts has increased from five per game last year to about 15 now. At Menlo’s March 30 doubleheader against Lewis-Clark State, there were roughly 25.

During the second game that day, a hard-hit comebacker smacked off the heel of Erceg’s glove and he doubled over, clutching his hand. A few scouts shook their heads and mumbled. The trainer ran out to examine him.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Erceg said. “Once I could move it around I was just like, ‘All right, let’s go.’”

Soon he was throwing fastballs to the next batter.

“He’s a fighter,” McKinley said. “He’s just a champion of a human being.”

Maddie Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mlee@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @maddie_m_lee

[via SF Gate]

2204, 2016

Mercury News

April 22nd, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College, News and Insights|

College baseball: Menlo’s Gemgnani blasts his way into history

By Vytas Mazeika, Daily News Staff Writer

In 1998, Nike came out with the ad campaign “Chicks dig the long ball” featuring Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Mark McGwire.

Flash forward to today, and baseball fans at Menlo College can’t get enough of Garrett Gemgnani at the plate. The 6-foot, 195-pound slugger broke the program record for home runs two weeks ago with his 17th dinger, surpassing the mark set by former teammate Daniel Comstock last year.

“I was very aware of where I stood in terms of that record,” Gemgnani said. “And when I hit the 17th home run, it felt really good rounding the bases knowing that I had just done that. And then when I spoke to (Comstock) later that day, he told me that he wouldn’t want anyone else to have broken it. So it was a very cool moment, and he had supported me the whole way.”

It was hard to foresee such success from the first baseman after his junior season. A transfer from Monterey Peninsula College, he won the triple crown as a sophomore by leading the team in average, home runs and RBI.

But in what he deemed a necessary step back in his development, Gemgnani hit .218 with only two home runs last year with the Oaks.

“It was pretty difficult,” he said. “It was tough to swallow and it was tough to push through, wondering when I was going to be in the lineup after having the opportunity to be in the lineup every day.”

Motivated to transform himself over the summer, Gemgnani worked tirelessly with Menlo hitting coach Jason Ochart.

“I spent many, many, many hours in the batting cages,” said Gemgnani, who watched a lot of film of Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista while revamping his swing. “Sometimes not even hitting, just being there. I’m a cage rat.”

“I think that the tools have always been there,” Menlo coach Jake McKinley said. “But I think that the amount of time that Garrett put in this summer allowed him to maybe be a little more confident or have more of a presence at the plate. I think that he’s obviously a pretty feared hitter by opponents now, and I wouldn’t say that was necessarily the case a year ago.”

It’s also helped that Menlo established a sports performance department over the summer, instilling a different philosophy during workout sessions.

“They still have a power-lifting aspect in them, but they’re very focused on explosiveness, mobility, flexibility,” Gemgnani said. “And I think that’s contributed to a lot of our guys staying healthy throughout the year, and it’s also contributed to our overall power and success.”

Gemgnani has been a beast at the plate, with a .318 average, the 17 home runs and 50 RBI. His slugging percentage is a stout .716.

That’s close to Barry Bonds proportions at his peak.

“I just focus on hitting the ball as hard as I can,” Gemgnani said. “And seeing my pitch and seeing it well. Trust in my ability to go to all fields and hit the baseball as hard as I can. That’s really as simple as I can make it, and it’s really benefited me.”

He also has more walks than strikeouts, which is important because pitchers have taken notice of his metamorphosis.

“They are dancing around me a lot more, and I’m starting to see a lot more off-speed (pitches), which is fine,” Gemgnani said. “Their approach has definitely changed as the season has progressed.”

Menlo (29-18) has two weeks left in the regular season. Those are six games in which Gemgnani can extend his home run record, but don’t expect to see him swing for the fences.

“I mean, the old saying is that a home run is just a line drive mishit,” said Gemgnani, who hopes to get taken in June’s MLB Draft, much like Comstock went in the 18th round last year — the fourth member of the Oaks selected in five seasons. “You’ve got to not focus on trying to hit home runs because they never really happen when you do.”

[via Mercury News]

2204, 2016

Forbes with Stroock

April 22nd, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, News and Insights, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

Ad-Sponsored Movies, A Global Netflix And The Future Of Entertainment

By: Dorothy Pomerantz- CONTRIBUTOR

In today’s Hollywood, business models are changing so quickly that it can be hard to keep up. Traditional gate keepers, like studios and broadcast networks, are getting pushed aside for new digital entrants. Advertisers are abandoning the 30-second spot in favor of making their own movies and TV shows. Production is fleeing Los Angeles and rich investors are once again sinking their hard earned cash into Hollywood money pits.

Entertainment lawyers are the men and women who sit at the fulcrum of these change and try to negotiate deals as the world changes around them. Schulyer Moore and Matthew Thompson , both partners at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, are two of the biggest lawyers in Hollywood. Together they have done deals worth over $2 billion including the RatPac deal to finance 25% of every Warner Bros. film, cobbling together $30 million from 40 different sources to finance Lee Daniels’ The Butler and structuring Mark Burnett’s deal on his amazingly successful miniseries The Bible.

I sat down with Moore and Thompson to get a glimpse of the future of Hollywood. Over coffee in their Century City high rise office, we discussed finance, movies that are basically long ads and the coming death of the broadcast networks.

Matt Thompson and Schuyler MooreMatt Thompson and Schuyler Moore

Money is coming back to Hollywood.

When the economy crashed in 2008, Hollywood got hit just like everyone else. The business has never offered a stellar return. Most movies tend to lose money and slate deals, where financiers invest in a group of films hoping any hits will outweigh the misses, don’t always work out. Rich individuals, who have always liked to put some money into movies for the fun of it, looked for safer pastures.

Today, Moore and Thompson say the money is back.

“There’s a lot of money looking for a home and for various reasons, entertainment is considered an interesting investment,” says Thompson. “I didn’t say good.”

 

Some billionaire are making smart, carefully structured investments that will likely make them lots of money. James Packer, who ranks 208th on our recent list of the world’s billionaires, is one of the men behind the RatPac Warner Bros. deal. (You can read more about it here.) Two of the slate’s initial films were the massive hits Gravity and The Lego Movie. (The dud Grudge Match was in there too but luckily, it didn’t cost too much to produce.)

But not everyone is inking such great deals. Hollywood studios are notorious for funky accounting that keeps even the biggest box office hits from ever showing a profit. So investors who stand to take a share of the net often walk away empty handed. As long as someone is willing to make this kind of deal, it’s going to be hard for more serious investors to negotiate better terms.

“Money is coming back here because people are feeling optimistic and the entertainment industry is fun,” says Moore.

Netflix NFLX +1.19% is about to change everything on a much bigger scale.

 

Netflix has already changed the way we think about consuming TV shows. It’s made binging a thing and we all now take it for granted that we can watch our Netflix shows wherever we want, whenever we want. But as Netflix expands internationally, it’s going to spur an even bigger change in how films are sold internationally. Right now producers sell off foreign rights territory by territory to hundreds of smaller distributors. The local distributors who handle home video are about to go out of business as studios instead make one deal with Netflix to distribute their films internationally.

“This is going to be a profound change,” says Moore. “The prices in local markets are going to go way down.”

That means it will be even harder for indie movies that rely on pre-selling foreign rights to get the money they need for production costs. That in turn will lead to more filming in movie tax havens and less money to talent up front.

Advertisers are getting creative.

The 30-second ad is almost dead. Trying to capture eyeballs when people are either forwarding through the ads or looking at their phones just doesn’t work anymore. In order to reach customers, advertisers now want to be in the content business. They want to finance movies that highlight their products.

Moore was an innovator of the branded movie. He was one of the producers on the film Goal. The 2005 soccer movie was 70% financed by Adidas in return for 70% of the screen time featuring Adidas good like shirts and shoes. The film didn’t do very well but it paved the way for more advertising sponsored entertainment. The most recent example of a movie-as-advertising: The Lego Movie. The 90-minute film is essentially one big ad for Legos but you won’t hear audiences complaining. The film has earned $360 million at the global box office so far.

“The Lego Movie really tripped that wire,” says Moore. “We’re on the cusp of a huge wave of equity from what would have been advertising dollars that are getting squeezed off of the TV.”

Expect every toy company that isn’t there already to jump into the film making business. The problem is those films have to be good. For every Lego Moviethere’s a Battleship. Luckily for the studios, marketers tend to measure return on investment in eyeballs, not dollars. That means the studios can offer them crappy terms on the financing of the films and no one will say a word.

Home video isn’t making up for DVD money, yet.

DVDs were once the safety net of the movie business. Even a bad movie could earn back its money on DVD. But that market dried up years ago. Now with things like iTunes rentals, Netflix and video-on-demand, home video money is slowly starting to come back into play.

“It’s flattening,” says Moore. “It’s no longer going down.”

What needs to happen for that downstream revenue to mean something again? Companies like Netflix have to dramatically increase how much they charge.

 

“What would you pay for Netflix?” asks Thompson. “You’d pay $20 per month and it would triple their revenue.”

Another way for studios to increase the home video money? Close what Moore calls “the piracy window.” That means offering movies at home earlier for a premium price. The lag between when films are in theaters and when they are available at home gives pirates a chance to thrive. Have movies come out at home and in theaters on the same day (but at vastly different prices) and you close that window. So far theater owners have been reluctant to agree to this idea. They are afraid of losing butts in the seats and hungry mouths at the concession stands. But soon, they may not have a choice.

Broadcasters are a dying breed.

The broadcast networks used to be the only game in town. Now they compete against on-demand viewing that is often better or cheaper. Media dollars are following viewers way from the big four.

“It’s a slow death but it’s a death,” says Thompson. “There will always be some form of broadcast TV but the model will look very different.”

As ad dollars follow the eyeballs, the broadcasters will have to come up with new models for making money. Cable networks are likely to start offering standalone online offerings as cable companies transform into high-priced pipes carrying massive amount of Internet data into our homes. The broadcasters will have to adjust.

[via Forbes]

1103, 2016

CBS – Good Day Sacramento

March 11th, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

Not Everyone Works at Google

We are chatting with author and university president, Richard Moran, who says that young grads need to look beyond Google!
403, 2016

Bloomberg Radio

March 4th, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

President of Menlo College, Richard Moran, was featured on Bloomberg Radio with Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson.

-March 4, 2016

 

2402, 2016

Law 360

February 24th, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

Stroock Boosts Entertainment Practice With New Hire In LA

Law360, New York (February 24, 2016, 3:35 PM ET) — Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP on Tuesday announced that it had bolstered its entertainment department in Los Angeles with the addition of a California-based industry veteran whose resume includes stops at Warner Bros. and Miramax.

Neil Sacker has joined the firm as special counsel in its Los Angeles office, bringing two-plus decades of experience that runs the gamut in the entertainment industry, from business and legal affairs to finance and operations.

Prior to joining Stroock, he was the president of Big Air Studios, a production and distribution company in Santa Monica, California. Sacker told Law360 that he is looking forward to joining forces with Schuyler M. Moore, head of Stroock’s entertainment practice group, whom he has long regarded as a “superstar” in the field.

“By combining our skill sets, we will offer distinctive business and legal services and advice to help clients achieve their goals and avoid risks that may not be obvious to others,” he said.

Sacker, a graduate of Yale Law School, spent early parts of his career as theatrical counsel at Warner Bros., where he oversaw legal issues related to the production of numerous movies. He also handled the drafting of agreements for writers, actors and other talent.

It was there that Sacker said he got some valuable advice from two of his mentors.

“Be a good listener and be humble,” he said. “Those things go a long way in Hollywood.”

In 1995, he joined Miramax, where he became one of the youngest executives to run the business and legal affairs department at a major studio, the firm said. Among other highlights, he oversaw the acquisition of rights to the “Lord of the Rings” franchise.

He has also worked as an executive at Yari Film Group, the producer of the Academy-Award winning movie “Crash,” and The Film Department, which was behind “Law Abiding Citizen,” starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx.

“Neil is highly regarded for his legal ability, work ethic and practical business advice while also respected for his integrity and constructive and positive approach to others,” Moore said in a statement.

Sacker, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, graduated from Yale Law School in 1986. He also worked as a litigation associate for Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP for about two years following law school.

Speaking about the move to Stroock, Sacker said that he has always been entrepreneurial and had thought about building a practice even while he was working on the inside of companies.

“I really enjoy working closely with different people,” he added. “I find people from Hollywood to be fascinating.”

Stroock on Tuesday also announced the hiring of Jesse J. Weiner, who comes on board as an associate in the entertainment department. Weiner, who is fluent in Mandarin, represents media companies and movie studios, among others, in their various business endeavors in China and the U.S., the firm said.

Weiner, who received his law degree from the George Washington University Law School, has also served as an adjunct professor at Renmin University School of Law, teaching international business transactions.

Stroock, which is nearly 140 years old, employs more than 300 lawyers, representing clients in transactional, regulatory and litigation matters.

[via Law360]
2402, 2016

International Business Times

February 24th, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

Why ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Might Be The Most Important Hollywood Movie Of 2016

kung fu panda 3
Jack Black is the lead voice in what could be the most important movie of the year. Pictured: Black attends the press conference for “Kung Fu Panda 3” on Jan.20, 2016, in Seoul.PHOTO: CHUNG SUNG-JUN/GETTY IMAGES

LOS ANGELES — For most Americans, the beginning of the year means good football, bad weather and worse movies. Hollywood tends to roll out formulaic comedies and cheap horror flicks in January and February, which is consistently the slowest time of the year for ticket sales.

But in what’s soon to be the world’s biggest movie market, it’s Chinese New Year, a time when hundreds of millions of people go home to spend time with their families — and head to the country’s cinemas in droves. That’s something Hollywood can no longer afford to ignore, and this year there’s a movie that could be a new blueprint for capitalizing on it: “Kung Fu Panda 3,” the animated comedy from DreamWorks Animation.

While the Chinese government has historically blocked Western movies from playing during the holiday (as a way of keeping the spoils for local producers), the deepening relationships between Chinese and Hollywood studios is changing that. “Hunger Games” studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. signed a co-production deal with China’s Hunan TV last year, and Dalian Wanda Group just bought a majority stake in “Jurassic World” production company Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion this month.

Getting access to the Chinese New Year movie market could have Hollywood rethinking the low priority they put on this time of year. “Kung Fu Panda 3,” which opens simultaneously in the United States and China on Friday, could be the most important movie of the year for the future of the industry.

Comedies and horror movies usually dominate the U.S. box office this time of year for a variety of reasons: They’re cheap to make,  they probably won’t win any Oscars, and they appeal to teens and tweens who can see them on school holidays or snow days. The Kevin Hart and Ice Cube comedy “Ride Along 2” was the movie that finally knocked “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” from the top of the charts earlier this month.

“Kung Fu Panda 3” does seem to suit the seasonal movie audience. It’s a family-friendly comedy that features the voices of Jack Black and Seth Rogen. And while it’s more expensive to make than the typical January release — the first two had production budgets estimated at more than $130 million — it has proven international appeal, particularly in China. “Kung Fu Panda 2” did $92 million in China in 2011, back when the country’s total box office was less than a third of the size it is today.

But “Kung Fu Panda” playing well in China is nothing new. What is new is the fact that “Panda 3” is a co-production between DreamWorks Animation SKG and several Chinese companies, which opened the door for Hollywood to participate in the Chinese New Year windfall. And if the movie does as well as it’s expected to — early preview numbers are encouraging — other studios are likely to want a piece of the action, even if it means rearranging their calendars.

It could also mean rearranging their budgets. To maximize the impact of “Kung Fu Panda 3” in China, the studios produced separate versions — one in English and one in Mandarin — which included reanimating characters’ speaking scenes so their facial gestures lined up with the language they were speaking on screen.

It could also change the composition of some of the movies released then, as those with Chinese themes and stars would seem to have more appeal to the local audience — and are likelier to get through the government censors that have to approve every film shown in the country.

Sky Moore, a partner at law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and the lead attorney on the Lions Gate–Hunan deal, told International Business Times that producers and writers have already taken note.

“You’ll never, ever see another Chinese bad guy,” Moore said.

So while a beginning-of-the-year release is still kind of regarded as second-tier status in this industry, that could change as Hollywood reorients itself eastward. And the next “Ride Along” might just have Kevin Hart and Ice Cube cruising down Shanghai’s Bund when it hits theaters one or two Januarys from now.

via International Business Times

2402, 2016

San Mateo Daily Journal

February 24th, 2016|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

California and the keys to the 2016 election

January 20, 2016, 05:00 AM By Melissa R. Michelson
Melissa R. Michelson
Many people are focused on Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, along with the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, but the elections of 2016 are much bigger than that. Voter turnout, voter suppression, California’s role in the House, Senate and presidential elections, digital mobilization strategies and other factors loom in the coming year. Here are the six biggest issues for the upcoming elections.

1). California still matters. There’s no guarantee the presidential nominee will be chosen by California’s primary June 7. Thanks to Citizens United and the Super PACs, we could have a repeat of 2008 for either political party, especially for the Republicans, with the nomination decision coming down to those last primary elections. There will be heated battles in California for statewide offices, especially the U.S. Senate seat opening up. If you live in California, your vote still matters, a lot. And that’s not even taking into consideration any hot ballot proposition decisions that might qualify by then.

2). Turnout, not persuasion. Getting out the vote and mobilizing new voters was key to Obama’s victory. It will likely be the key in 2016. Non-likely voters and new voters will be game changers. If Republicans can significantly increase turnout of their core support group (white men), that could counteract mobilization efforts among women and people of color by the Democrats. As new voters join the active electorate, predicted winners and losers based on outdated models of likely voters could mean more surprises.

3). The power of the Latino vote. The New York Times recently posted a story, “Whatever Happened to Latino Political Power?” questioning the impact of the Latino vote and the resurgence of the anti-immigrant vote as evidenced by Trumps’ surge in the polls. “Compared with Black Lives Matter protesters, Latinos seems passive,” the story noted. This is far from the truth. Latinos are key to margins of victory in swing states like Nevada, Texas and North Carolina. Both sides are trying harder than ever to woo Latino support, e.g. with endorsements and staffing decisions. One or both nominees may choose a Hispanic running mate (or nominee), which could provide a real-world test of theories of the power of shared ethnicity to drive voter turnout and vote choice.

4). State polls matter. National polls and national match-up polls don’t matter (although they are fun fodder for debate); nominations and Electoral College support decisions are made at the statewide level. What do state polls, and historical outcomes for early winners, tell us about who is likely to become the nominee? Such analysis also needs to take into account the quality of various polls; there are quite a few bad polls out there. Paying attention to the source and methodology of published polls is key to truly understanding who has what level of support, and who might really turn out to be our next president.

5). Voter suppression, Take 2. Voter ID laws, making IDs harder to get (Alabama closed DMV offices in African-American neighborhoods), Wisconsin enacted even stricter laws to obtain an ID, and both Texas and North Carolina have been sued by the federal government, limiting voter hours and making it harder to vote. Will this suppress the vote? Or will those who feel threatened fight back? In 2012, community organizations and nonprofit groups successfully organized to counteract the effect of voter suppression efforts, helping voters whose rights to vote were threatened to obtain needed documents and participate. In 2016, will the new round of voter suppression efforts successfully depress turnout among targeted communities, or will we see a repeat of 2012?

6). New toys and old reliable ones. Voter mobilization used to be all about pounding the pavement and driving individuals to the polls. Then, the rise of television, and especially direct mail, moved campaigns to mass communication efforts. The last few cycles have seen a return to the old style, driven by political science research that demonstrates that personal mobilizing is more effective, if more expensive. At the same time, folks are continuing to try to use new tools like Facebook, text messages, WhatsApp, and other online tools, to reach out to voters and mobilize their support. This year promises to see a mix of both old and new, as campaigns aim to hit the sweet spot of the ideal method of maximizing support from different communities.

 

Melissa R. Michelson is a professor of political science at Menlo College in Atherton, California, and an expert in campaigns, elections, Latino politics and California politics.

via San Mateo Daily Journal

1311, 2015

CBS – Good Day Sacramento

November 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

Ethics Lessons for Kids

A children’s ethics professional Dr. Leslie Sekerka from Menlo College visits Good Day Sacramento to give a quick ethics lesson for your kids.

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Dr. Leslie Sekerka from Menlo College

 

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[View full segment on CBS Local]

1311, 2015

KGO Radio

November 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

Menlo College Named Best For Veterans

lecture-hall-college-school

KGO 810’s Cathy Whitman reports:


(KGO) – One Bay Area College has been named one of the best for veterans returning to their lives at home. Menlo College in Atherton offers one of the best programs around.

Menlo College has been cited as a top place for veterans with its welcoming atmosphere and its participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The program supplements the financial aide that veterans are entitled to as part of the post 9-11 G.I bill.

“A lot of the time they don’t have to pay anything because we’ll take care of the rest and we’ll match it with the V.A.”

Registrar Christine Rabago says in addition to the financial aide, their Atherton campus is a small one, allowing vets to get the classes they need without having to fight the crowds at a larger institution.

It also allows them “to graduate on time so they don’t exhaust all their benefits before they reach graduation.”

Another huge benefit for veterans is the Menlo College internship program. The proximity to the Silicon Valley offers students the ability to learn on the job from the best.

“For all our business students they’re required to go through an internship.”

And their internship office includes help in preparing for interviews, putting together resumes and planning for careers in the future.

[via KGO Radio]

308, 2015

Fortune Magazine

August 3rd, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College, News and Insights|

A guide to doing business in Iran

3107, 2015

Time Warner Cable

July 31st, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors|

 

LA Galaxy stars fitted by Empire Tailors

via Time Warner Cable– April 2015

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806, 2015

CBS

June 8th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College, News and Insights|

7 Warning Signs Silicon Valley Companies Should Know That Signal An Employee Is About To Go Work For The Competition

By Richard Moran, President of Menlo College And cbsSF.com Contributor

Great employees fuel the Silicon Valley engine. But keeping them can be a challenge. Like a card player who broadcasts the next move, maybe we can read the turnover signals in advance.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the ten-year average for workers quitting jobs in the professional and business services category jumped almost 25 percent this past October.

Moving from job to job in Silicon Valley has always been common. There is always another Silicon Valley firm eager to hire away a star employee. Even average workers in popular fields can be treated like Jennifer Lawrence at a red carpet premiere.

When it comes to volatility, few careers can match high tech or consulting. I’ve spent the bulk of my career in those two worlds. For consulting, business travel can be interesting at first, but it gets old fast so people leave. And the toll the hours take on a social life is brutal. Then, there is the pressure of billable time and the stress of project completion. As one person told me when she was quitting, “There are easier ways to earn a living.”

In the tech world, the motivations for leaving include more pay and options, desire for a different company culture or just chasing the next big idea. The reasons are myriad, but maybe the biggest reason for turnover is that it is so easy to find another job. And when people leave, they take experience and innovation out the door, often to a competitor. Maybe that’s a good thing.

“Part of the reason Silicon Valley companies are so successful is that they’re a recombination of people who have worked in multiple companies,” Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn told Fortune magazine.

If it’s so easy, why do people stay? Silicon Valley companies spend millions on retention. Does it work? Author and consultant Dr. John Sullivan studied Apple and Facebook. “The No. 1 attraction and retention tool at both firms was not the free transportation or food but instead, two simple factors. The first was the ability for employees to do the best work of their lives, and the second was to have their work impact the world.”

Still, high tech workers move around a lot because everybody wants them, they are in demand. Having accepted so many resignations, I’ve learned seven signs your employee may be out the door.

#1 Friday Meetings. If someone wants to meet on a Friday afternoon and says, “It will only take five minutes,” assume that person is about to quit. It’s better not to wait until Friday; get it over with.

#2 Email Decline. Email engagement can be measured in the number of emails sent. Anyone with email production that drops in a big way is losing interest and will quit soon.

#3 Interview Blues. Anyone who does not want to participate in interviewing candidates. means they don’t want to try to sell someone on an organization they will soon be leaving. It won’t be long.

#4 Photos Vanish. When family and personal photos start to disappear gradually from the workspace, a letter of resignation will soon follow.

#5 Half Days. The person who takes “personal time off” but never for an entire day is probably interviewing. That is the colleague who takes half days off or says, “I am going to be a little late” is not long for his or her current work world.

#6 Personal Calls. Those people standing in the hall or the bathroom on their cellphone may not be chatting with Mom. The call might be an iPhone interview. (But could also be a sign they are ending a relationship, which might be even worse.)

#7 No Shows. Absence from the company holiday party or annual picnic might not be that important, but it could mean too that a quitter is developing. Or maybe not.

If someone quits, it is useless to try to talk that person into staying. In many ways a resignation is like a romantic breakup. When your boyfriend or girlfriend says, “I don’t love you anymore,” responding with “Yes you do!” doesn’t make a lot of sense. The same is true at the office.

The first time I resigned from a job I was a nervous wreck. My speech was prepared, and I went into the resignation meeting with a list of things that needed to be done after I left. It was like a list you would hand a neighbor when you’re about to go on vacation. There was no need, I left and, shockingly, they did just fine without me.

There is no disgrace in submitting a resignation. It happens a million times every day. My advice to employees is to make it a short meeting, don’t look back, don’t burn any bridges, and get excited about the next big thing.

Richard Moran, President of Menlo College

Richard Moran is the president of Menlo College, an author of seven business books, a contributor to Huffington Post, and a thought leader on business and workplace issues.
Used by permission, 2015 copyright by Richard Moran.

[via KPIX]

1505, 2015

CBS

May 15th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

Small Peninsula College Drawing Royalty From Around The World

“Several family members attended in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and it was through them that we were introduced to Menlo College,” student Abdullah Alakeel said.

The individualized attention of a small school helped draw the royals away from larger schools like Stanford.

“It has a big name back home.  And, several big businessmen in Saudi Arabia have attended Menlo, which kind of puts it up there with the big name schools,” Menlo College student Manhal Elhein said.

Prince Abdulaziz Al Saud credits a boarding school friend and fellow Saudi with encouraging him to attend Menlo College.  He is just the latest in a long line of members of the Saudi Royal Family, and that country’s elite to study at the small college over the past 50-years.

“A lot of my friends didn’t know, or maybe still don’t know about me being a prince,” Al Saud said.

Al Saud and many of his classmates are pursuing business degrees at the school.

[via CBS]

1305, 2015

The Huffington Post

May 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

The Recipe for Creating a Silicon Valley

By: Richard Moran, President of Menlo College

Posted:

Forget the hoodies and foosball tables.
Forget the mythology.
Forget the lucky breaks.

Two guys working in their garage living on Cheetos and Mountain Dew changing the world makes for a great story. Tech success in 2015 is a more complex story but one still within if the right ingredients are in place. Communities who want to build the “next Silicon Valley” would be wise to study Nurture, not Nature, according to two studies from MIT and the Brookings Institute. The research announced earlier this year identifies some of the secret recipes for success. News flash: it takes a stew of existing tech businesses, mentors, networks, higher education, government and venture capitalists working together as geographically close as possible. It doesn’t hurt if all the elements that attract smart young people to an area are in place. Think restaurants, bars and lots of things to do.

Every region wants to create another Silicon Valley. It’s not only the prestige — it’s the jobs, the wealth creation, the excitement of innovation, the ripple effect on businesses nearby and most importantly, the future. Control the next wave of innovation and you’re the captain setting the course for the economy.

Many have tried. Boston’s Route 128. The Research Triangle in North Carolina. Austin’s Silicon Hills. Utah’s Silicon Slopes. Silicon Beach in Santa Monica-Venice. Some are getting close, some not so much. Some have created a variation on Silicon Valley that works. According to a new study by the Brookings Institute, “America’s Advanced Industries,” other regions are all still trailing the original, Silicon Valley by a lot. San Jose and San Francisco are always at the top but things can change quickly based on one or two rock star companies that hit it big or hitting the latest trend just right.

The Silicon Valley is now the entire strip between San Jose and San Francisco. Not coincidentally, San Jose is tops for worker income followed by San Francisco. There are many lessons for communities to learn from this laboratory of success. Here are the ingredients for tech sector growth:

  • Corporations do much better than non-incorporated firms (six times more successful)
  • Locate your business near universities with research centers
  • Be close to colleges and universities with engineering and S.T.E.M. talent
  • Set up shop near other successful companies
  • Short names do better than long names for companies
  • Don’t name your business after the founder
  • Locate in areas where governments are friendly towards start-ups
  • If several prominent Venture Capital firms are located nearby, that’s a very good sign

The MIT study published in Science magazine, is titled “Where is Silicon Valley.” “The entire ecosystem is nurturing and helping companies within Silicon Valley realize their promise on a more guaranteed basis than anywhere else in the state,” said co-author Scott Stern of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Noting the research, the San Jose Mercury News reported, “Great technology ideas can come from anywhere, they note. but the Bay Area has two advantages. First, ‘there is a higher initial quality of startups — people are being drawn there, they graduate from its universities, they are more ambitious,’ Stern said. And, “Silicon Valley supercharges that effect, helping them along, so they deliver on their promise.” They found that the highest-quality startups are centered around research institutions, such as universities and national laboratories. Stanford, UC Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Caltech, UCLA and UC Irvine each host regions of entrepreneurial quality.”

The reporters noted that super-sectors have other things in common. “They invest a great deal in research and development — more than four hundred and fifty dollars per worker — and they employ high proportions of people from the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, collectively known as the S.T.E.M. fields.”

In the New Yorker, the magazine profiled cities in Utah that have grown exponentially thanks to companies like Novell. The story relied on findings from the Brookings Institute.

“Utah turns out to also have features in common with other places involved in the super-sector: local universities that graduate a lot of S.T.E.M. students (most notably, Brigham Young University); policies and infrastructure that attract businesses (for instance, tax breaks and a light-rail system that connects the state’s biggest cities); and strong relationships among local companies (Utah’s state and local governments, along with an economic-development organization, facilitate partnerships, and, because many of Utah’s businesses are home-grown, and the state’s population is small, densely located, and tightly knit, its businesspeople tend to get to know each other well).”

And don’t count on teenagers and 20-somethings wearing fedoras over their ironic hipster T-shirts for all your growth. A study in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitorconcluded those over age 35 contributed to 80 percent of the entrepreneurship activity from 2009. It’s simple, networks grow with age and the network of a 35-year-old is just plain bigger than that of a 22-year-old.

There is another Apple, Facebook or Twitter on the horizon, but it won’t happen in a vacuum.

 

[via Huffington Post]

1305, 2015

The Huffington Post

May 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

7 Signals of Turnover in Silicon Valley

By: Richard Moran, President of Menlo College

Posted:

Great employees fuel the Silicon Valley engine. But keeping them can be a challenge. Like a card player who broadcasts the next move, maybe we can read the turnover signals in advance.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the ten-year average for workers quitting jobs in the professional and business services category jumped almost 25 percent this past October.

Moving from job to job in Silicon Valley has always been common. There is always another Silicon Valley firm eager to hire away a star employee. Even average workers in popular fields can be treated like Jennifer Lawrence at a red carpet premiere.

When it comes to volatility, few careers can match high tech or consulting. I’ve spent the bulk of my career in those two worlds. For consulting, business travel can be interesting at first, but it gets old fast so people leave. And the toll the hours take on a social life is brutal. Then, there is the pressure of billable time and the stress of project completion. As one person told me when she was quitting, “There are easier ways to earn a living.”

In the tech world, the motivations for leaving include more pay and options, desire for a different company culture or just chasing the next big idea. The reasons are myriad, but maybe the biggest reason for turnover is that it is so easy to find another job. And when people leave, they take experience and innovation out the door, often to a competitor. Maybe that’s a good thing.

“Part of the reason Silicon Valley companies are so successful is that they’re a recombination of people who have worked in multiple companies,” Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn told Fortune magazine.

If it’s so easy, why do people stay? Silicon Valley companies spend millions on retention. Does it work? Author and consultant Dr. John Sullivan studied Apple and Facebook. “The No. 1 attraction and retention tool at both firms was not the free transportation or food but instead, two simple factors. The first was the ability for employees to do the best work of their lives, and the second was to have their work impact the world.”

Still, high tech workers move around a lot because everybody wants them, they are in demand. Having accepted so many resignations, I’ve learned seven signs your employee may be out the door.

Friday Meetings. If someone wants to meet on a Friday afternoon and says, “It will only take five minutes,” assume that person is about to quit. It’s better not to wait until Friday; get it over with.

Email Decline. Email engagement can be measured in the number of emails sent. Anyone with email production that drops in a big way is losing interest and will quit soon.

Interview Blues. Anyone who does not want to participate in interviewing candidates. means they don’t want to try to sell someone on an organization they will soon be leaving. It won’t be long.

Photos Vanish. When family and personal photos start to disappear gradually from the workspace, a letter of resignation will soon follow.

Half Days. The person who takes “personal time off” but never for an entire day is probably interviewing. That is the colleague who takes half days off or says, “I am going to be a little late” is not long for his or her current work world.

Personal Calls. Those people standing in the hall or the bathroom on their cellphone may not be chatting with Mom. The call might be an iPhone interview. (But could also be a sign they are ending a relationship, which might be even worse.)

No Shows. Absence from the company holiday party or annual picnic might not be that important, but it could mean too that a quitter is developing. Or maybe not.

If someone quits, it is useless to try to talk that person into staying. In many ways a resignation is like a romantic breakup. When your boyfriend or girlfriend says, “I don’t love you anymore,” responding with “Yes you do!” doesn’t make a lot of sense. The same is true at the office.

The first time I resigned from a job I was a nervous wreck. My speech was prepared, and I went into the resignation meeting with a list of things that needed to be done after I left. It was like a list you would hand a neighbor when you’re about to go on vacation. There was no need, I left and, shockingly, they did just fine without me.

There is no disgrace in submitting a resignation. It happens a million times every day. My advice to employees is to make it a short meeting, don’t look back, don’t burn any bridges, and get excited about the next big thing.

 

[via Huffington Post]

1305, 2015

The Huffington Post

May 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

Just Rewards for Bullies

By: Richard Moran, President of Menlo College

Posted:
 Early in my career I made the mistake of working for a bully. I ignored red flags about that boss and although it was a blunder, that choice has helped me ever since.
It was early in my career and I was naïve and optimistic. As I was considering what I thought was a hot new position, news about my prospective boss raised serious warning signs. I learned he was a bully and prone to outbursts but if you were one of his favorites, you never saw that behavior.

My detective work uncovered that he was dismissive and borderline abusive to executive assistants and the people who were on the lower ladders in the organization chart, and he managed up well with a smile, so senior managers were blind to his behavior.

I learned all of that, and I took the job anyway. I ignored my own due diligence because I was blinded by the promotion the new position represented and the glitzy brand of the new company. It was a mistake. Everything I learned was true. He was a bully and I, like others, suffered.

BUT, within three months of my arrival, he was walked out of the building and fired for sexual harassment. Bullies do get the just reward, it’s just a matter of when.

I made the mistake of not paying attention to my diligence. I made the mistake of not following my instincts. I made the mistake of not recognizing the importance of my supervisor in the decision-making process. So why was taking this job one of the best mistakes I ever made?

Because I learned some valuable lessons that I still apply. Here they are:

1. When contemplating a job move, never underestimate the importance of your new boss. Your supervisor will have the biggest impact on whether or not you will like your job. It is among the most crucial variables in any career decision. Move past the recruitment dinner.
2. Bullies don’t win. When one is around, everyone knows it and it’s only a matter of time before he or she will meet an unhappy end. However, never underestimate how miserable one can make you while waiting for the bully to be fired. (Unfortunately, there are very rare exceptions to this rule.)
3. You don’t need to tolerate bully behavior. Talk to those who can make changes.
4. Don’t be a bully. It is possible to be an effective leader and get desired results without leaving wounded people along the way.
5. Remain calm. Bullies feed on fear and intimidation. This isn’t easy, but if possible keep your cool while standing up for yourself.

My own experience in the workplace confirms the conclusions in the research.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle noted “A 2010 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that 35 percent of the U.S. workforce reported being bullied at work. Other studies have reported that 1 in 4 people have experienced some form of bullying at work.”

New research by IDG Connect places the figure even higher. A survey of more than 650 IT professionals around the world reports that 75% of them claim to have been bullied at work, with 85% of them saying they witnessed bullying of others.

Workplace lessons come from all different directions, situations, experiences and people. The lessons are not always from the paragons of success and leadership. The lessons can come from the dark side, too. For me, once burned, twice shy – I can now smell a bully from a mile away. Life is too short to work for or with bullies. Although a dying breed, they are still around. Just remember, they do get theirs in the end.

 

[via Huffington Post]

1305, 2015

Chronicle of Higher Education

May 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

People

March 9, 2015

  Science Philanthropy Alliance Names Its First President 1

Menlo College, Terri Givens Enlarge Image

TRANSITIONS

Terri Givens, an associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, will become provost of Menlo College, in California, in July, as well as a professor of political science there. She will succeedJames J. Woolever, who has been provost since 2011. He will continue as dean of professional studies.

 

[via Chronicle of Higher Education]

1305, 2015

San Francisco Chronicle

May 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Menlo College|

Tiny Menlo College is like home for Saudi elite

May 12, 2015 Updated: May 12, 2015 5:34pm

Faisal Al Kabbani (left) enjoys a light moment with fellow Saudis Abdullah Al Akeel (center) and Abdulaziz Al-Saud, a prince, Thursday May 7, 2015. More than 100 members of the Saudi Arabian royal family and other wealthy Saudis, mostly men, have graduated or attended Menlo College since 1963. Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle

More than half a century ago, a professor from Menlo College in Atherton took a vacation to Saudi Arabia, a struggling young country despite recent oil wealth, and spent many an evening telling Saudi dinner companions about the small, private men’s school specializing in business education.

“The next thing you know, we had the royal family there,” chuckled Dorothy Skala, who worked at Menlo for almost six decades, much of that time as an aide to the traveling professor, John “Judge” Russell, who was head of the business department.

Since the late 1950s, the little-known campus in the wealthy enclave west of Palo Alto has attracted more than 100 members of the Saudi royal family and that nation’s elite: princes, government ministers, bankers and gazillionaires like Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud (Class of ’79), the 34th person on Forbes’ latest list of the world’s richest people.

While Menlo College is no household name to most Americans, its attraction to Saudi nationals foreshadowed a boom in Saudi students studying at colleges across the United States. Since 2010, the number has more than doubled to 54,000, propelling Saudis to become the fourth-largest group of foreign college students in the United States today, according to the Institute of International Education, which tracks such statistics.

The boom is largely because the Saudi government began paying tuition, room and board a decade ago for students studying abroad. In 2014, the number of Saudi students soared 58 percent in a single year — more than any other country.

Six Saudi students are enrolled at Menlo College this year, more per capita than at the University of California, where there are 74 Saudi students — but 238,700 students overall.

“I knew all the Saudis. Mohammed Faisal — he was a huge, big guy,” Skala said of Prince Mohammed bin Faisal Al Saud (Class of ’63), who helped develop the Islamic banking system. “We welcomed them with open arms. They picked up the American ways very quickly.”

Menlo College opened in 1927 with two dozen students and by 2000 had grown to 500. Today, fewer than 800 students are enrolled. The college went coed in 1971, and administrators were able to identify just one female Saudi Arabian student, who graduated in 2011.

‘Big sign of respect’

Menlo charges about $50,000 (including room and board) per year for state residents and nonresidents alike, and Saudi families or future employers typically pay the bill.

The six Saudi students there this year include Abdulaziz Al-Saud, a Saudi prince who says he’s just a regular guy trying to figure out his future.

“I’m not going to enter politics, that’s for sure,” he said with a smile.

He and four other Saudi students — brothers Nawaf and Abdullah Alakeel, 21 and 23, Abdulaziz Al-Benyan, 21, and Faisal Al Kabbani, 19 — are majoring in international business management.

“The Bay Area is a great hookup for jobs,” said Al-Saud, 21, whose work experience includes managing an estate in Riyadh and looking after a special-needs child. His Menlo College friends wouldn’t dream of using his title, which is “His Highness, Prince,” and he looks aghast at the suggestion.

“I don’t like for them to say prince because they’re my friends,” he said. “When I talk to my dad, I might call him prince, depending on the situation. If I talk to one of my uncles, I’ll say it for sure. It’s a big sign of respect.”

The students said they like studying in Silicon Valley and prefer Menlo College to Stanford because it offers an undergraduate business major, unlike Stanford. All the Saudi students, including Manhal Elhein, 21, an accounting and entrepreneurship major born in San Francisco who grew up in Saudi Arabia, said they heard of Menlo from family or friends, a plus in the family-centered society.

“At Menlo, you’re able to walk into a class and the professor knows your name. I’m the type of guy who would rather have that student-teacher relationship,” said Al-Benyan, whose education is paid for by an oil company for which he’s agreed to work for four years after graduating.

Intersection of cultures

Seated around a table in the college’s administration building, the friends talked about the intersection of cultures, noting that Saudi Arabia is more Americanized than people know.

“People who grew up in Saudi Arabia are good with the mac-and-cheese thing,” said Abdullah Alakeel.

One graduate, Faysal Alaquil (Class of ’79), uncle of the Alakeel brothers, remembered arriving at Menlo with a letter of introduction from his brother, Youssef Alaquil (Class of ’67) and showing it to Skala.

“She had tears in her eyes when she found out that I am Youssef’s brother, of which she knew very well,” recalled Alaquil, who owns a trading company that bears his name. “She took the introduction letter and walked with me into Judge’s room and said … ‘Judge, look who is here! It is Youssef’s younger brother, Faysal, just come all the way from Saudi Arabia.’

“What school will treat their students like the way Menlo did? I felt at home,” Alaquil said. “I felt I am with my family.”

A more recent graduate, Suliman K. Olayan (Class of 2009), whose family owns the Olayan Group investment company, said he found a “friendly and, more importantly, close-knit environment” at the school. It was also, in a sense, exotic. “Menlo College was a far destination and would surely give me the chance to experience and immerse myself in new cultures and situations,” Olayan said.

College President Richard Moran, on the job since September, said he enjoys the diversity of Menlo — which includes students from Guam, Guatemala and elsewhere — and appreciates the legacy of Saudi students going back generations.

He said, “Who can argue with a stamp of approval from a member of the royal family?”

Nanette Asimov is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: nasimov@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @NanetteAsimov

Atherton school’s prominent alumni

Menlo College claims more than 100 Saudi Arabians who attended or graduated. Here is a partial list:

Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, former governor of Riyadh and 30th son of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdulaziz Alsaud (attended ’62)

Prince Mohammed Bin Faisal Al-Saud, banker and shareholder of Saudi and Gulf Enterprise Ltd. (’63)

Sheikh Youssef Elakeel, chairman, Al Bayda Trading Co. (’67)

Khaled Suliman Olayan, chairman of Olayan Group (’70)

Waleed Zahid, chairman AJIL Financial Services Co. (’71)

Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Al-Saud, former minister of education to the Saudi cabinet (’72)

Amr Khashoggi, vice president group affairs, Zahid Group (’77)

Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Alsaud, CEO, Kingdom Holding Co. and grandson of King Abdulaziz Alsaud (’79)

Mohammed-Ali Alireza, chairman of Modern Consortium for Refueling Aircraft Co. (’82)

Al-Sharif Jameel Adnan, first Saudi Arabian to sail around the world (attended ’85)

 

via [SF Chronicle]

 

2204, 2015

Variety

April 22nd, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, News and Insights, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

Legal Impact Report 2015

unnamed (1)

1303, 2015

Variety

March 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, News and Insights, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

Dealmakers Impact Report 2014

by Robert Marich

unnamed (1)

Schuyler Moore

Entertainment partner

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan

Moore feels that companies like Netflix and studios adapting products like toys into movies are under-appreciated catalysts. Netflix is a one-stop buyer of global film rights determined to compress distribution, which Moore says points to the fact that “the multi-window game is over.” Moore represented China Film Group for the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel that Netflix bought and that many think will upend windows. He also repped producer Moritz Borman on Oliver Stone’s untitled Edward Snowden film and Virgo Capital’s purchase of Millennium Entertainment.

[via Variety]


Dealmakers Impact Report 2014

by Robert Marich

unnamed

Matthew Thompson

Partner and Co-Head 

Entertainment Group

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan

Mark Burnett, wife Roma Downey and media conglom Hearst standardized their patchwork of reality TV program ownership ranging from “The Apprentice” to “Shark Tank” to set up what attorney Thompson calls “the quintessential win-win deal.” Thompson says his clients monetized, retained a significant stake in, and got a capable partner when MGM bought a 55% stake in September. Thompson also represented Leftfield Entertainment (“Pawn Stars”) and principal Brent Montgomery selling its 80% stake to ITV, and Relativity Media p&a financing.

[via Variety]

1303, 2015

Motorcyclist Magazine

March 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, News and Insights, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

1970 Norton Production Racer | ME & MY BIKE

In spite of spewing oil, broken clutch cables, useless brakes and dead electrics, Sky Moore loved his first Norton.

  • NAME: Schuyler (Sky) Moore
  • AGE: 59
  • HOME: Los Angeles, California
  • OCCUPATION: Entertainment lawyer

This is my 1970 Norton Production Racer, which I still ride regularly. I go way back with Nortons; I rode my first Norton to class at Palisades High School in the early ’70s, and I even crashed that one spectacularly next to school during lunch hour one day. I had been racing a friend on his Triumph, and he managed to jam his front wheel between my muffler and rear wheel at 60 mph. It didn’t end well for either of us, though it was worse for him: He ended up with a pin holding his broken arm together. In the process of repairing that bike, I converted it to look like a black version of the production racer, complete with clip-ons, a half fairing, and Dunstall pipes.

I became a fairly decent mechanic owning that Norton; it was that or perish, given its unique proclivity to break down at the farthest point from home. Oil lines spewed, clutch cables broke, the Lucas (“King of Darkness”) electrics went dead, the brakes were useless, kickstarters sheared off, and the “Isolastic” suspension would unhinge—but darn, I just loved that bike. When the opportunity came along to own another one 20 years ago, I jumped at it. And there is nothing—and I mean nothing—quite like the romantic nostalgia I get riding the curves on Sunset Boulevard on a chilly night tucked behind the half fairing with that sweet, twin-thumper exhaust note reminding me of my high school days.

[via Motorcyclist Online]

Moore-Motorcycle

1303, 2015

Los Angeles Business Journal

March 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, News and Insights, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

Show-Biz Attorneys Thrive With Expanded Roles

As studios become international conglomerates with pursuits that surpass the realm of basic filmed entertainment, the practice now requires an international deal-making skillset to coincide with the rapid growth.

Schuyler Moore, a partner in Stroock’s Entertainment Practice Group, represented Chinese state-owned broadcaster Hunan TV and Broadcast Intermediary Co. Ltd. to fund film distribution and production at Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.  The $1.5 billion deal, which closed last week, is the largest by a Chinese investor in a Hollywood studio and Moore will travel to China next month for a formal press announcement.

With recent international transactions such as Hunan and China Film Group Corp., Moore believes that investment signals a new wave of more hefty deals to come.  He says, “Foreign investments in U.S. films have been going on for years, but the difference now is that it includes China.  I think this deal is really going to open it up.  When I’m in China, I’m going to make the rounds to a lot of other media companies.”

Matthew C. Thompson, partner and co-head of Stroock’s Entertainment Practice Group, also has an international reach.  He recently advised Toronto-based Entertainment One Ltd. as it partnered with the Santa Monica, California company Mark Gordon Co. to create an independent studio.  Regarding growth in the industry, Thompson said, “If you look at the trend worldwide, 2014 was one of the strongest years.  In the near term, that trend will continue.  There’s tons of money looking for deployment and one of the marquee alternative assets out there is media.”

[For full article, please visit LABJ (subscription required)]

1303, 2015

Yahoo! News

March 13th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

Hong Kong’s aging master tailors need a stitch in time

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Bill Clinton did it. So did Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. For many tourists, even if they are not former U.S. presidents, a trip to Hong Kong isn’t over till they pick up a made-to-measure outfit from one of its family-run tailor shops.

As consumers worldwide seek out custom-made clothing to set them apart from the ready-to-wear crowd, the Hong Kong bespoke industry’s reputation for quality and speedy delivery ought to have helped the former British colony build on its advantage.

Instead, the local tailoring business is in danger of dying out after decades of underinvestment in the face of competition from low-cost centres such as mainland China. Nor has it matched the premium branding enjoyed by London’s Savile Row and Milan.

Hong Kong’s ageing army of tailors may be its last: years of training for demanding and painstaking work that yields low wages deters young people from entering the industry.

At 65, Cheung Wan-sun is among the younger master tailors at Bonham Strand, a bespoke tailoring firm in the Central business district.

“There will be no one to take over the business when we’re all retired,” said Cheung, one of eight tailors at the firm. “It’s not easy to make a living as a tailor.”

The profession doesn’t pay too well, with tailors taking home around HK$10,000 ($1,290) a month, half the median wage.

While the government pledged HK$500 million ($64.5 million) in its budget on Wednesday to help the city’s fashion industry, including promoting local designers and brands, master tailors have been left to fend for themselves.

“It doesn’t provide any help to the tailoring industry,” said Yally Yan, 24, an apprentice at Bonham Strand.

“To revive the industry, we have to do it ourselves.”

Some tailors have thrived through canny marketing of their sales to celebrities or whistle-stop world tours with marathon measuring sessions in hotel suites.

Anthony Asaf, of Empire Tailors, whose clients include judges and senior executives, sells more suits during his infrequent U.S. trips than from his main outlet in Hong Kong.

“As far as overseas business goes, we do as much as we can, not more, because there aren’t many young people doing the cutting, stitching end of the process,” said Mark, Asaf’s 26-year-old son.

Demand is still robust. It’s just that most orders are from overseas and busy executives place orders by phone or online.

A decade ago, new suits were delivered in three weeks. Now, skilled tailors are in short supply and it takes up to 12 weeks.

Tailored suits start at around $600 in Hong Kong, less than half the price for an entry-level outfit in Savile Row or Milan. Both European centres have successfully revived once-declining sectors by focusing on high-end consumers, brand building and ploughing revenue back into training programmes.

Hong Kong’s government-funded Clothing Industry Training Authority offers a part-time foundation course in men’s suit tailoring that costs HK$14,000 ($1,805), about two months’ wages for an apprentice tailor.

Regular customers say the shortage of gifted tailors could be just what Hong Kong needs to pump new life into the industry, pushing up prices and drawing a new generation to the trade.

“The pricing for premium tailors will go up,” said Sebastian Svensson, managing director of Lifestyleasia.com, as he gets a suit fitted in the shopping district of Tsimshatsui East.

“Hopefully, supply and demand will adjust that moving forward.”

($1 = HK$7.8)

(Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Tony Tharakan)

[via Yahoo! News]

703, 2015

CNBC

March 7th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

Tailored suit boom in spite of tailor shortage

Friday, 27 Feb 2015 | 1:18 PM ET

CNBC’s Jane Wells has the story on a tailor shortage in Hong Kong. [via CNBC Video]

703, 2015

CNBC

March 7th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

 

Want a custom suit? Good luck finding a tailor

Paul Leaf is a lawyer being fitted for a custom-made suit that will cost him $1,000. He does this a few times a year. “Recently it’s been every two months,” he said. “My credit card bill has been higher.”

Leaf met to be measured by tailors in a suite in downtown Los Angelesrecently, along with other customers like Paul Ruszat. “This is the only place I buy my suits and clothes,” said Ruszat.

The tailors measuring the two men are Anthony Asaf and his son, Mark, who have flown to L.A. on one of their semi-annual trips to the United States from Hong Kong.

“We see more demand coming here,” said Mark Asaf. “We find ourselves extremely busy here, more busy than Hong Kong.”

That’s both a good thing and a bad thing.

Read MoreWhat not to wear: The most unfashionable fashion stocks

Hong Kong is renowned for shops turning out quality, custom suits at a fraction of the cost for bespoke suits from the UK or continentalEurope. However, prices are going up, and it’s taking longer to make the suits, because there is a shortage of quality tailors.

“Making a suit, the hand labor, is just not as popular with the younger crowd,” said Mark Asaf. He said the number of premium tailoring shops in Hong Kong has collapsed by more than half over the last 10 years, and the average age of a tailor is 60.

“I think people would rather be doing this,” he said, imitating typing on a computer keyboard, “than this,” he said, moving his hands to mimic sewing.

Asaf’s father, who founded the company in 1983, agreed: “Young people think differently.”

Jens Koenig | Getty Images

The result is that it is taking longer for suits to get made. Mark Asaf said it used to take five weeks after visiting the U.S. to deliver finished suits to customers. Now it’s taking twice as long. It’s also taking longer for customers who go directly to Empire’s shop in Hong Kong. That’s far different than when Richard Ruszat first visited more than a decade ago.

“We went to Hong Kong, and I chose 12 shirts. I got to pick the material, I got to pick the collar and the cuff,” he said. “The next morning, all 12 shirts were ready for pickup.”

Read MoreMillennials redefine luxury—and the stakes are high

Still, the good news is that orders remain strong as business formal has made a comeback because of shows such as “Mad Men,” “Boardwalk Empire” and, well, “Suits.” Some custom suit work has already moved out of Hong Kong to mainland China or Vietnam, but most agree the quality is not the same.

If demand remains strong, and the supply of tailors continues to weaken, Hong Kong prices will rise to lure in new tailors. Yet if prices rise too much, the city will lose some of its price advantage over Savile Row in London or custom tailors in Milan. Price has been one thing that attracted California lawyer Shareef Farag to Empire, and now he’s hooked.

“Once I started having to wear a suit a lot for work, I really began to appreciate the difference in the quality, as well as the fit, that you get from a tailored suit,” he said. [Jane Wells via CNBC]

603, 2015

CBS

March 6th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

Hong Kong Tailors Stage 1-Day Suit Fitting Marathon In San Francisco

 John Ramos reports on a suit shopping tradition that had men lining up and businessmen traveling half way across the world. 2/19/15

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/video/11154835-hong-kong-tailors-stage-1-day-suit-fitting-marathon-in-san-francisco/

603, 2015

Reuters

March 6th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

Hong Kong’s aging master tailors need a stitch in time

HONG KONG Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:36am IST

Tailors work at a workshop at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district January 22, 2015. REUTERS-Tyrone Siu

Tailors measure a customer inside a bespoke tailoring firm at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district February 14, 2015. REUTERS-Tyrone Siu
Tailor Cheung Wan-sun, 65, cuts fabric inside a bespoke tailoring firm in Hong Kong February 11, 2015. REUTERS-Tyrone Siu

1 OF 5. Tailors work at a workshop at Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district January 22, 2015.

CREDIT: REUTERS/TYRONE SIU

(Reuters) – Bill Clinton did it. So did Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. For many tourists, even if they are not former U.S. presidents, a trip to Hong Kong isn’t over till they pick up a made-to-measure outfit from one of its family-run tailor shops.

As consumers worldwide seek out custom-made clothing to set them apart from the ready-to-wear crowd, the Hong Kong bespoke industry’s reputation for quality and speedy delivery ought to have helped the former British colony build on its advantage.

Instead, the local tailoring business is in danger of dying out after decades of underinvestment in the face of competition from low-cost centres such as mainland China. Nor has it matched the premium branding enjoyed by London’s Savile Row and Milan.

Hong Kong’s ageing army of tailors may be its last: years of training for demanding and painstaking work that yields low wages deters young people from entering the industry.

At 65, Cheung Wan-sun is among the younger master tailors at Bonham Strand, a bespoke tailoring firm in the Central business district.

“There will be no one to take over the business when we’re all retired,” said Cheung, one of eight tailors at the firm. “It’s not easy to make a living as a tailor.”

The profession doesn’t pay too well, with tailors taking home around HK$10,000 ($1,290) a month, half the median wage.

While the government pledged HK$500 million ($64.5 million) in its budget on Wednesday to help the city’s fashion industry, including promoting local designers and brands, master tailors have been left to fend for themselves.

“It doesn’t provide any help to the tailoring industry,” said Yally Yan, 24, an apprentice at Bonham Strand.

“To revive the industry, we have to do it ourselves.”

Some tailors have thrived through canny marketing of their sales to celebrities or whistle-stop world tours with marathon measuring sessions in hotel suites.

Anthony Asaf, of Empire Tailors, whose clients include judges and senior executives, sells more suits during his infrequent U.S. trips than from his main outlet in Hong Kong.

“As far as overseas business goes, we do as much as we can, not more, because there aren’t many young people doing the cutting, stitching end of the process,” said Mark, Asaf’s 26-year-old son.

Demand is still robust. It’s just that most orders are from overseas and busy executives place orders by phone or online.

A decade ago, new suits were delivered in three weeks. Now, skilled tailors are in short supply and it takes up to 12 weeks.

Tailored suits start at around $600 in Hong Kong, less than half the price for an entry-level outfit in Savile Row or Milan. Both European centres have successfully revived once-declining sectors by focusing on high-end consumers, brand building and ploughing revenue back into training programmes.

Hong Kong’s government-funded Clothing Industry Training Authority offers a part-time foundation course in men’s suit tailoring that costs HK$14,000 ($1,805), about two months’ wages for an apprentice tailor.

Regular customers say the shortage of gifted tailors could be just what Hong Kong needs to pump new life into the industry, pushing up prices and drawing a new generation to the trade.

“The pricing for premium tailors will go up,” said Sebastian Svensson, managing director of Lifestyleasia.com, as he gets a suit fitted in the shopping district of Tsimshatsui East.

“Hopefully, supply and demand will adjust that moving forward.”

($1 = HK$7.8)

(Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Tony Tharakan)

[via Reuters]

 

603, 2015

NBC

March 6th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

What do you get in a custom suit?

CNBCIs it worth it to pay $1,000 for a custom suit made by a tailor in Hong Kong? L.A. attorney Paul Leaf shows off his latest suit made by Empire Tailors. [via NBC News]
603, 2015

NFL Network

March 6th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

Dave Dameshek Blog
DDFP 335: Making trades & suits!

ddfp-150305-blog

DDFP 335

Shek and Handsome Hank react to the LeSean McCoy-Kiko Alonso trade by making blockbusters of their own with star players like Brandon Marshall and Adrian Peterson. The guys also debate which star veteran running back has the most left in their tank before Shek and producer Black Tie get fitted for suits by Empire International Tailors.

603, 2015

BusinessWorld

March 6th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

Hong Kong’s aging master tailors need a stitch in time

HONG KONG — Bill Clinton did it. So did Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. For many tourists, even if they are not former US presidents, a trip to Hong Kong isn’t over till they pick up a made-to-measure outfit from one of its family-run tailor shops.
bw
TAILORS MEASURE a customer inside a bespoke tailoring firm at Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district. — REUTERS

As consumers worldwide seek out custom-made clothing to set them apart from the ready-to-wear crowd, the Hong Kong bespoke industry’s reputation for quality and speedy delivery ought to have helped the former British colony build on its advantage.

Instead, the local tailoring business is in danger of dying out after decades of underinvestment in the face of competition from low-cost centers such as mainland China. Nor has it matched the premium branding enjoyed by London’s Savile Row and Milan.

Hong Kong’s aging army of tailors may be its last: years of training for demanding and painstaking work that yields low wages deters young people from entering the industry.

At 65, Cheung Wan-sun is among the younger master tailors at Bonham Strand, a bespoke tailoring firm in the Central business district.

“There will be no one to take over the business when we’re all retired,” said Cheung, one of eight tailors at the firm. “It’s not easy to make a living as a tailor.”

The profession doesn’t pay too well, with tailors taking home around HK$10,000 (US$1,290) a month, half the median wage.

While the government pledged HK$500 million (US$64.5 million) in its budget on Wednesday to help the city’s fashion industry, including promoting local designers and brands, master tailors have been left to fend for themselves.

“It doesn’t provide any help to the tailoring industry,” said Yally Yan, 24, an apprentice at Bonham Strand.

“To revive the industry, we have to do it ourselves.”

Some tailors have thrived through canny marketing of their sales to celebrities or whistle-stop world tours with marathon measuring sessions in hotel suites.

Anthony Asaf, of Empire Tailors, whose clients include judges and senior executives, sells more suits during his infrequent US trips than from his main outlet in Hong Kong.

“As far as overseas business goes, we do as much as we can, not more, because there aren’t many young people doing the cutting, stitching end of the process,” said Mark, Asaf’s 26-year-old son.

Demand is still robust. It’s just that most orders are from overseas and busy executives place orders by phone or online.

A decade ago, new suits were delivered in three weeks. Now, skilled tailors are in short supply and it takes up to 12 weeks.

Tailored suits start at around $600 in Hong Kong, less than half the price for an entry-level outfit in Savile Row or Milan. Both European centers have successfully revived once-declining sectors by focusing on high-end consumers, brand building and ploughing revenue back into training programs.

Hong Kong’s government-funded Clothing Industry Training Authority offers a part-time foundation course in men’s suit tailoring that costs HK$14,000 (US$1,805), about two months’ wages for an apprentice tailor.

Regular customers say the shortage of gifted tailors could be just what Hong Kong needs to pump new life into the industry, pushing up prices and drawing a new generation to the trade.

“The pricing for premium tailors will go up,” said Sebastian Svensson, managing director of Lifestyleasia.com, as he gets a suit fitted in the shopping district of Tsim Shat Sui East.

“Hopefully, supply and demand will adjust that moving forward.” — Reuters

503, 2015

The Daily Star

March 5th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

Hong Kong’s aging master tailors need a stitch in time

Reuters, Hong Kong

Tailors work at a workshop at Hong Kongs Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district. Photo: Reuters

Tailors work at a workshop at Hong Kongs Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district. Photo: Reuters

Bill Clinton did it. So did Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. For many tourists, even if they are not former US presidents, a trip to Hong Kong isn’t over till they pick up a made-to-measure outfit from one of its family-run tailor shops.

As consumers worldwide seek out custom-made clothing to set them apart from the ready-to-wear crowd, the Hong Kong bespoke industry’s reputation for quality and speedy delivery ought to have helped the former British colony build on its advantage.

Instead, the local tailoring business is in danger of dying out after decades of underinvestment in the face of competition from low-cost centres such as mainland China. Nor has it matched the premium branding enjoyed by London’s Savile Row and Milan.

Hong Kong’s ageing army of tailors may be its last: years of training for demanding and painstaking work that yields low wages deters young people from entering the industry.

At 65, Cheung Wan-sun is among the younger master tailors at Bonham Strand, a bespoke tailoring firm in the Central business district.

“There will be no one to take over the business when we’re all retired,” said Cheung, one of eight tailors at the firm. “It’s not easy to make a living as a tailor.”

The profession doesn’t pay too well, with tailors taking home around HK$10,000 ($1,290) a month, half the median wage.

While the government pledged HK$500 million ($64.5 million) in its budget on Wednesday to help the city’s fashion industry, including promoting local designers and brands, master tailors have been left to fend for themselves.

“It doesn’t provide any help to the tailoring industry,” said Yally Yan, 24, an apprentice at Bonham Strand.

“To revive the industry, we have to do it ourselves.” Some tailors have thrived through canny marketing of their sales to celebrities or whistle-stop world tours with marathon measuring sessions in hotel suites.

Anthony Asaf, of Empire Tailors, whose clients include judges and senior executives, sells more suits during his infrequent U.S. trips than from his main outlet in Hong Kong.

“As far as overseas business goes, we do as much as we can, not more, because there aren’t many young people doing the cutting, stitching end of the process,” said Mark, Asaf’s 26-year-old son.

Demand is still robust. It’s just that most orders are from overseas and busy executives place orders by phone or online.

A decade ago, new suits were delivered in three weeks. Now, skilled tailors are in short supply and it takes up to 12 weeks.

Tailored suits start at around $600 in Hong Kong, less than half the price for an entry-level outfit in Savile Row or Milan. Both European centres have successfully revived once-declining sectors by focusing on high-end consumers, brand building and ploughing revenue back into training programmes.

Hong Kong’s government-funded Clothing Industry Training Authority offers a part-time foundation course in men’s suit tailoring that costs HK$14,000 ($1,805), about two months’ wages for an apprentice tailor.

Regular customers say the shortage of gifted tailors could be just what Hong Kong needs to pump new life into the industry, pushing up prices and drawing a new generation to the trade.

“The pricing for premium tailors will go up,” said Sebastian Svensson, managing director of Lifestyleasia.com, as he gets a suit fitted in the shopping district of Tsimshatsui East.

“Hopefully, supply and demand will adjust that moving forward.”

[via The Daily Star]

503, 2015

Asia One News

March 5th, 2015|Categories: Clients in the News, Empire International Tailors, News and Insights|

Hong Kong’s master tailors face competition from low-cost rivals

Hong Kong's master tailors face competition from low-cost rivals

As consumers worldwide seek out custom-made clothing to set them apart from the ready-to-wear crowd, the Hong Kong bespoke industry’s reputation for quality and speedy delivery ought to have helped the former British colony build on its advantage.

Instead, the local tailoring business is in danger of dying out after decades of underinvestment in the face of competition from low-cost centres such as mainland China. Nor has it matched the premium branding enjoyed by London’s Savile Row and Milan.

Hong Kong’s aging army of tailors may be its last: years of training for demanding and painstaking work that yields low wages deters young people from entering the industry.

At 65, Cheung Wan-sun is among the younger master tailors at Bonham Strand, a bespoke tailoring firm in the Central business district.

“There will be no one to take over the business when we’re all retired,” said Cheung, one of eight tailors at the firm. “It’s not easy to make a living as a tailor.”

The profession doesn’t pay too well, with tailors taking home around HK$10,000 ($1,290) a month, half the median wage.

While the government pledged HK$500 million ($64.5 million) in its budget on Wednesday to help the city’s fashion industry, including promoting local designers and brands, master tailors have been left to fend for themselves.

“It doesn’t provide any help to the tailoring industry,” said Yally Yan, 24, an apprentice at Bonham Strand.

“To revive the industry, we have to do it ourselves.”

Some tailors have thrived through canny marketing of their sales to celebrities or whistle-stop world tours with marathon measuring sessions in hotel suites.

Anthony Asaf, of Empire Tailors, whose clients include judges and senior executives, sells more suits during his infrequent US trips than from his main outlet in Hong Kong.

“As far as overseas business goes, we do as much as we can, not more, because there aren’t many young people doing the cutting, stitching end of the process,” said Mark, Asaf’s 26-year-old son.

Demand is still robust. It’s just that most orders are from overseas and busy executives place orders by phone or online.

A decade ago, new suits were delivered in three weeks. Now, skilled tailors are in short supply and it takes up to 12 weeks.

Tailored suits start at around $600 in Hong Kong, less than half the price for an entry-level outfit in Savile Row or Milan. Both European centres have successfully revived once-declining sectors by focusing on high-end consumers, brand building and ploughing revenue back into training programs.

Hong Kong’s government-funded Clothing Industry Training Authority offers a part-time foundation course in men’s suit tailoring that costs HK$14,000 ($1,805), about two months’ wages for an apprentice tailor.

Regular customers say the shortage of gifted tailors could be just what Hong Kong needs to pump new life into the industry, pushing up prices and drawing a new generation to the trade.

“The pricing for premium tailors will go up,” said Sebastian Svensson, managing director of Lifestyleasia.com, as he gets a suit fitted in the shopping district of Tsimshatsui East.

“Hopefully, supply and demand will adjust that moving forward.”

[via Asia One]

912, 2014

Popular Science

December 9th, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

REMOTE BOMB DETECTOR — USES SOUND WAVES TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN TYPES OF EXPLOSIVES

A new type of bomb detection can sniff out how powerful an explosive is from afar. Devised by researchers at Vanderbilt University, Purdue University and the Colorado School of Mines, it uses a laser vibrometer and a sonic beam to identify how the bomb’s casing vibrates. From the patterns of the vibrations, the researchers can tell whether the homemade explosives inside are high-yield or low-yield.

Bomb-sniffing dogs and many of their mechanical equivalents need to be close enough to smell (or detect molecules of) an explosive. That requires getting a teensy bit closer to a potentially ticking bomb than most people really want. Acoustic detection has a greater range, allowing explosives to be identified from a safer distance. In testing, this system could distinguish between high-yield and low-yield type materials (they used an inert crystal and polymer material to simulate a live explosive in the lab) and identical plastic containers filled with air, water or a clay material.

Acoustic Bomb Detection

Douglas Adams / Vanderbilt

The technique, developed as part of a grant from the Office of Naval Research, was presented yesterday at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Dynamic Systems and Control Conference.

912, 2014

Fox News

December 9th, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

Def-tech-expl-detector-490x326.jpg

Professor touts faster, cheaper way to test for explosives

A Vanderbilt University professor has come up with a faster and less expensive way to test for explosives residue on surfaces.

Prof. Sharon Weiss has modified white gold leaf paper so that its surface provides signal amplification of 100 million times – so that a laser and detector to identify the chemical molecules of whatever it has been applied to.

“We start with a very thin, white gold film and use a simple chemical soak and one-step direct imprinting process to create what is essentially a fancy gold sponge,” said Weiss, an associate professor of electrical engineering and physics who also serves on the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Research and Technology Directorate at Aberdeen, Md.

“It looks like a thin metal sheet, similar to aluminum foil, and if you shine light on it you can see different colors just like those that reflect off a CD when you shine sunlight on it,” she said.

The foil is applied to the surface being tested, then placed inside a portable measurement tool that consists of a laser and detector that analyzes it. “Encoded in the reflected light is the identity of chemical molecules in the sample,” she said.

Weiss said the system will be available commercially in about a year.

Military or security officials testing for explosives at checkpoints or airports now use large mass spectrometers or ion mobility spectrometers that require first ionizing a sample before they can identify trace amounts of explosives, according to Weiss.

She said her system is faster.

“Swab the door handle or trunk, and know instantly whether there is explosive residue,” she said.

It will also be less expensive – costing about $10 per test as opposed to the $60 it costs now.

912, 2014

Military.com

December 9th, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

Def-tech-expl-detector

Professor Touts Faster, Cheaper Way to Test for Explosives

A Vanderbilt University professor has come up with a faster and less expensive way to test for explosives residue on surfaces.

Prof. Sharon Weiss has modified white gold leaf paper so that its surface provides signal amplification of 100 million times – so that a laser and detector to identify the chemical molecules of whatever it has been applied to.

“We start with a very thin, white gold film and use a simple chemical soak and one-step direct imprinting process to create what is essentially a fancy gold sponge,” said Weiss, an associate professor of electrical engineering and physics who also serves on the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Research and Technology Directorate at Aberdeen, Md.

“It looks like a thin metal sheet, similar to aluminum foil, and if you shine light on it you can see different colors just like those that reflect off a CD when you shine sunlight on it,” she said.

The foil is applied to the surface being tested, then placed inside a portable measurement tool that consists of a laser and detector that analyzes it. “Encoded in the reflected light is the identity of chemical molecules in the sample,” she said.

Weiss said the system will be available commercially in about a year.

Military or security officials testing for explosives at checkpoints or airports now use large mass spectrometers or ion mobility spectrometers that require first ionizing a sample before they can identify trace amounts of explosives, according to Weiss.

She said her system is faster.

“Swab the door handle or trunk, and know instantly whether there is explosive residue,” she said.

It will also be less expensive – costing about $10 per test as opposed to the $60 it costs now.

Bryant Jordan can be reached at bryant.jordan@monster.com.

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2014/07/28/professor-touts-faster-cheaper-way-to-test-for-explosives/#ixzz3LQp9PVEd
Defense.org

912, 2014

Economic Voice

December 9th, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

In the near future, 95% of Internet traffic will be conducted by machines talking to other machines.

This may be one of the most important economic and industrial trends in history, and Vanderbilt University intends to play  a leading role in this transformation.

Also known as “The Internet of Things,” the Industrial Internet connects objects and machines to each other without human interference or physical borders.  For example, an oil pipeline in Canada can be monitored in London while sensors detect potential leaks and send robotic assistance before any damage occurs; or a refrigerator equipped with computers can order vegetables, meat or juice with an online grocer and arrange delivery when supplies run low.

An Industrial Internet Consortium was formed earlier this year to set standards and answer questions about security.  Packed with corporate heavyweights such as Cisco, Intel, GE, AT&T and many others, Vanderbilt University joined the IIC  as the first  academic institution.

“By merging the ‘physical world’ with the ‘cyber world and connecting machines to machines and machines to the Internet, the Industrial Internet will result in huge productivity gains, reduced operating cost and sustained economic growth,” says Janos Sztipanovits, the Director of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University’s School of Engineering.  “According to GE, the Industrial Internet could add $10-$15 trillion to the global GDP over the next 20 years.

Janos Sztipanovits

Vanderbilt participates in IIC for their expertise and experience working on several projects for the U.S. government.  “Vanderbilt is working on new foundations and common frameworks and standards for the Industrial Internet,” he says. “In several projects funded by the National Science Foundation and DARPA we developed new design technologies for cyber-physical systems that are constructed as the network of physical and computational components.

The ISIS center conducts basic and applied research in systems and information science and engineering. Applications of ISIS technology span a wide range of software-intensive systems from small embedded devices, through real-time distributed systems, to globally deployed complex systems. Software is increasingly essential to the functions of these systems, and it is also the primary means of adapting them to their environments and users.  The ISIS research interests lie in the theoretical foundations, modeling, design, engineering, and educational aspects of these systems.

The new standards and recommendations could take years to achieve.  “The technical challenge is to make the Internet time-aware, secure and dependable such that it can serve as fabric for a networked physical world,” says Sztipanovits. “Achieving this is hard because the current Internet evolved for very different purpose.

The Industrial Internet Consortium announced their membership earlier this year. Their goals can be described as follows:

As the digital and physical worlds collide, organizations need to be able to more easily connect and optimize assets and operations to drive agility across all industrial sectors. The IIC was formed to help achieve this goal by identifying the requirements for open interoperability standards and defining common architectures to connect smart devices, machines, people, and processes that will help to accelerate more reliable access to big data and unlock business value.

A recent story in the American newspaper the Nashville Tennessean featured Sztipanovits and discussed Vanderbilt’s role in this transformative technology.

What about the many ethical questions that’ll undoubtedly be bound up with this new use of the Internet? For example, where should the line be drawn about the information machines are allowed to know about us? How many human checks should be put on machine decisions? Who should pay when machines provide services humans don’t want — for instance, if I didn’t want more milk, should I have to pay for it if it arrives at my door? And most important, of course, is the question of the security of personal information.

Vanderbilt is looking to address these issues alongside dozens of corporations that make up the Industrial Internet Consortium,” The Tennessean noted. “The consortium was formed to create standards for the new Internet and foster collaboration between companies developing the infrastructure to make it a reality.

With 95% of the Internet’s traffic to be occupied by machine-to-machine communication, this could be one of the most important projects undertaken by Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering, a legacy that will affect the inter-connected world for decades to come.

111, 2014

Wall Street Journal

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Ferrari-Maserati|

Just Off the Boat From Italy

By Christine Binkley, October 27, 2006

Full disclosure: Both my vehicles have kids’ car seats strapped into the back. So, when offered the chance to drive the new Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, the first person I called for advice was Elaine Wynn, wife of casino mogul Steve Wynn. She buys a new Ferrari every year.

“Wear pants,” Mrs. Wynn suggested firmly. So, clad in my favorite blue Elie Tahari slacks, I’ve slipped down into the low-slung, carbon-fiber-and-leather driver’s seat of the 599 with my dignity intact.

My heart is thumping. I press the brake, punch the red ignition button on the steering wheel and the engine revs with a roar that has literally been composed by sound engineers to purr and growl differently at each setting. I go first with the automatic-transmission choice — yes, there’s a choice — and we glide into Beverly Hills, Calif., traffic.

Then, I venture into the six-gear manual transmission and the car mothers me: It downshifts when it sees fit. There’s no stick shift and no clutch to push — just two finger-operated paddles by the steering wheel that serve to shift down (left paddle) and up (right paddle). An LED panel on the steering wheel flashes a warning if the revolutions-per-minute near the 8,400 red line.

I’m driving with James Del Pozzo, the 33-year-old general sales manager of the local Ferrari dealership, who says shifting with the paddles is “like playing a videogame.” We ascend the Santa Monica mountains and hit curvy Mulholland Drive.

Ferrari buffs say this car is groundbreaking, with its 620-horsepower V12 engine installed up front to more evenly distribute weight. This is an innovation over the rear-engine Ferraris that I’m told make driving in Beverly Hills traffic much like guiding a bronco through a rodeo chute. The engine placement allows the car to sit up higher off the ground, making it easier to get into and out of — in a skirt (though I felt more comfortable in pants). This is supposed to make the 599 the first Ferrari to appeal to women and less race-oriented drivers. I’m thinking of it as the soccer moms’ Ferrari.

But the base price of the 599 is way out of car-pool territory — $249,034. This version started at $265,295 because it came with a special transmission — and went higher because of options including an $800 iPod hookup and the $3,500 LED steering wheel. It belongs to Giacomo Mattioli, who is to Ferraris what Wal-Mart is to Procter & Gamble.

The F-List

Most Ferraris come from Italy by boat. This one was flown in to arrive in time to do a promotional lap last weekend at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. (Most Americans won’t get a chance to glimpse one until next year.)

With just 14 cars a day gliding off the assembly line, Ferrari can’t keep up with demand. Mr. Mattioli, who was once married to the granddaughter of company founder Enzo Ferrari, owns Ferrari and Maserati dealerships in Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Calif., and the Silicon Valley, as well as a stake in a Ferrari F430GT race car. The marriage to the founder’s kin didn’t last, but his grip on the company’s U.S. distribution channels held, and the man now sells more Ferraris than anyone in North America. Waiting lists for a new Ferrari can be years-long. The more you buy, the faster you’ll rise to the top of the next model’s list — a stroke of marketing genius that encourages some Ferrari lovers to buy $300,000 cars they don’t want in order to maintain their place in line for the one they covet.

If you ask Mr. Mattioli how this delivery schedule is determined, he’ll mumble vaguely about complex computer programs. But the truth is that Mr. Mattioli is the man who manages the F-list in Hollywood. According to people familiar with the dealership, it was Mr. Mattioli who decided that TV and filmmaker Michael Mann (who liberally sprinkles his work with Ferraris like the F430 Spider that Crocket drives in “Miami Vice”) will be getting his new 599 before Nicolas Cage gets his. Mr. Cage declined to comment. Mr. Mann didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The 599’s maximum speed is something over 205 miles per hour, according to the sales brochure, which is actually a hardcover book worthy of a coffee table. I couldn’t test this out in Los Angeles traffic, so I called Tony Marnell, a Las Vegas construction contractor who made enough money building casinos, including Bellagio and the Wynn, that he now owns 10 Ferraris, give or take.

Mr. Marnell says he once drove his Enzo Ferrari — a car so hot that it was named after the company’s founder — on a Nevada highway at 235 mph. The trouble with Ferraris, Mr. Marnell explains calmly, is that you can overtake ordinary cars at such a pace that before you know it, vroom, you’ve rear-ended some poor Honda right there in the fast lane.

Rare Kindness

Yet the Ferrari tries to protect drivers from its raw power. At 60 mph, its sensors read the ground 200 times every 3.2 inches. This is why you can’t burn rubber unless you disengage all the safety gear using the “manettino,” a tiny switch on the steering wheel with choices for normal driving conditions and rain and snow, as well as psychological needs like “sport,” “race” and one that might be named ” burn rubber.” (It turns off the stability and traction control.)

This is not the kind of problem I normally face on the streets of Los Angeles. The cars parked in my Hollywood Hills garage are a Subaru Outback and a dented Infiniti i-something. I can’t get the Crayola marker stains out of the Infiniti’s back-seat upholstery. Nobody eyes my wheels with lust.

Yet most everybody is green with envy about my Ferrari joyride. That includes the suave gentleman in the white Mercedes sports car who tries to wave me into traffic ahead of him on Mulholland Drive — the first kindness anyone has ever offered me in rush-hour traffic in this city.

Ferraris in Beverly Hills are sold by two salesmen, Mr. Del Pozzo and Bryant Kreaden. Mr. Del Pozzo says he has seven points on his driver’s license, which puts him dangerously close to riding a bicycle to work. He has collected these points in other people’s Ferraris, because it turns out that Ferrari salesmen generally can’t afford to own a Ferrari, as Ferrari dealers do. When Mr. Del Pozzo heads home from work six days a week, he climbs into the seat of his Toyota Prius. Mr. Kreaden drives a Scion, another Toyota product.

Maybe that’s also mea culpa for the gas they use at work. At 11 miles per gallon in the city, the Ferrari 599 is in league with a Hummer. Still, the 599 is a work of art. It reminds me of my husband’s Italian Lotto tennis shoes, which made his feet look sleek even in dirty sweat socks. Its body is sculpted to send air over the hood, through a gap in the side-view mirrors, and behind the “flying buttresses” at the rear. This serves the purpose of placing roughly 150 pounds of air pressure onto the rear end when traveling at 124 miles per hour, which helps keep the vehicle on the ground, Ferrari says.

So just for the record, in case anyone from the Beverly Hills Police Department is wondering: We did not go zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds in front of those gated homes along Crescent Drive on Monday. No way. Wasn’t us.

111, 2014

Daily Breeze

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems|

SCIENCE THAT SETS MINDS RACING

By Max Zimbert, February 16, 2009

Discovery Channel star Deanne Bell and NASCAR driver Leilani M nter made geek chic Monday for 200 middle school students in El Segundo on MathMovesU Day, the first day of Engineers Week 2009.

Raytheon Corp. hosted the students for the national program that engages middle school students about the potential for careers based on science and math skills.

“There’s so many different applications of an engineering degree and so many careers,” Bell said after addressing the students, teachers and company volunteers.

“There is no stereotype of a geek. You can be whatever you want, you can look whatever you want, and you can still use your brain in science and engineering.”

Jets, space pods and other exhibits from the Traveling Space Museum dotted the foyer outside Raytheon’s event center. South Bay and LAUSD students listened to Raytheon engineers and military veterans explain how equipment – like the Zero South Polar Exploration Vehicle – works.

“The whole idea with this is to inspire these kids in fields of math, science and technology,” said Bob Bryen, technology area director for Raytheon SAS and the company coordinator for Engineers Week 2009. “Sometimes what it takes is a little spark to give students the inspiration and understanding that math and science are used in some cool career fields.”

The outreach efforts are industry attempts to keep students engaged in math and science at an age when interest typically declines. Engineers Week continues Wednesday, when high school students are scheduled to work with Raytheon engineers to create a mechanism to harness green energy.

“We’ve seen a growth in interest even with the cutbacks in budgets these days,” Bryen said. “The schools take an interest in what we have to offer as a high-technology company.”

Learning how guided missiles are designed was Nathan Padilla’s favorite part of the day.

Students ate hot dogs while Korean War veteran Jack Craigie, a retired Air Force major, spoke about commitment and aviation pioneers Orville Wright and Chuck Yeager.

“When I say I went 12,000 miles per hour, a few kids say `ooooooh’ – that really grabs them,” he said. “All you really want to do is capture the ones who might wind up here.”

Many students said they enjoyed the MathCounts competition, where teams of two students were quizzed in geometry and algebra by Raytheon engineers. Bob Merrihew, a math teacher at Magruder Middle School in north Torrance, said it was good practice for his MathCounts team, which will face off with other area schools in a competition next week.

“These questions are a little bit tougher, but it does help,” he said. With the exception of one student, “They’ve never competed in a competition like that, so it gives them a little taste of what it’s like, as opposed to being in a classroom with me saying, `Time’s up.”‘

Brian Bodman, a 13-year-old student at Magruder, said he learned how “a crew of scientists and geologists are going to take a Hummer they equipped with tank tracks and take it to Antarctica and turn it into a 3-D movie.”
Raytheon volunteers arrived before 4:30 a.m. to set up. Students came to the Raytheon campus around 8a.m. in heavy rain on a school holiday because of Presidents Day.

“They voluntarily came out here to hear about the cool things going on at Raytheon and to listen to people speak about their careers,” said Bell, the host of Discovery Channel’s Smash Lab. “That says a lot. I think we have a lot of engineers coming up.”

111, 2014

Reuters

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems|

Raytheon Sees 2006 Test for Upgraded Hawk Sensors

March 9, 2005

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Raytheon Co. aims to flight-test upgraded sensor systems for the Global Hawk unmanned spy planes next year, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

The Global Hawk is built by Northrop Grumman Corp., but Raytheon supplies the sensor systems that allow the plane to transmit high-quality target and terrain data to U.S. troops.

It can also be used to spy on unfriendly countries by flying within the boundaries of an ally.

Raytheon has been awarded a 51-unit contract to supply the U.S. Air Force with systems for the Global Hawk that enhance airborne signals intelligence and radar capabilities.

Raytheon expects to deliver six more basic Global Hawk systems before beginning commercial production on the enhanced systems, which are now in the prototype stage, Steve Sheridan, director of reconnaissance and surveillance at Raytheon, told reporters at a company seminar.

“We expect to begin test flights in 2006,” he said.

The enhancements, which involve transmitter and materials improvements, will boost the range of the spy planes by 50 percent, although Raytheon declined to detail the current range.

Sheridan did say the technology expands the plane’s range for detecting a slow-moving ground target to 300 km from 200 km.

111, 2014

Daily Breeze

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems|

Sounding off in El Segundo

By Josh Grossberg, April 3, 2005

Everybody got yelled at.

Thousands of students from 50 high schools descended on El Segundo for the annual West Coast National Junior ROTC Drill Competition on Saturday. They marched, spun rifles, waved flags and sooner or later came face to face with a Marine drill sergeant in the Raytheon parking lot, who would press his nose to their frozen faces and scream.

“Oh my God! Could you possibly iron that shirt?” “Did you shine your shoes with a Hershey bar?”

While Marine Staff Sgt. Robert Britt grimaced, hopped on one foot and rolled his eyes, cadets like Hawthorne High School student Michael Whitehead stared straight ahead. He knew it was just part of the ritual.

“That was pretty cool,” he said after hearing the riot act. “It’s just fun. It’s a game.” While he seemed plenty menacing, Britt said his antics were a way to test a cadet’s mettle. “It’s to make sure they don’t lose their bearing and can handle stress,” said Britt, who admitted that all cadets got the treatment, no matter how perfectly dressed they were.

The yearly event — the Super Bowl of JROTC drill meets — attracted students from across the West Coast and as far away as Alabama. They were judged in a variety of events that tested their precision, bearing, appearance and knowledge. The tests came after spending the night in tents outside the sprawling Raytheon campus.

Joshua M.R. Robinson, a 17-year-old Redondo Union High School student, was the cadet in charge of the whole affair. He said the event is a chance for kids to hone the skills they’ve learned in their JROTC programs at school.

“It gives cadets a chance to work as a team and accomplishing a mission under pressure,” said Joshua, who will be attending West Point in the fall.

And, he said, it’s also a chance to meet kids from other schools with similar interests.

“It’s just fun to compete in something this big,” he said. While the cadets were put through their paces, family and spectators wandered, played video games, flew in flight simulators, climbed portable mountains and met with recruiters from different branches of the armed forces.

While the mood was bright, there were somber moments. Just after a stealth bomber few overhead, it was announced that the pope had died. And the event was held in honor of Sean Lee Brock, a Marine from Redondo Beach who was killed in Iraq in February.

“It’s sad, but I know his spirit is with us,” said his brother, Rayme Brock. JROTC doesn’t hold an allure for everybody, said 16-year-old Banning High School student David Lopez. “It’s something you have to love to do,” he said. “I love everything about it. I even like getting yelled at. It’s the adrenaline. You get a big rush.”

By the end of the day, Sgt. Britt’s voice was raw from all the screaming. But he said it’s something you get used to after a while.

“The kids don’t know it,” he said, “but I try to have a good time.”

111, 2014

Los Angeles Times

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems|

From Video War Games to Signing Up for Military?

By Jason Felch, April 3, 2005

Tim Casper, a crew cut-sporting 15-year-old from Victorville, peered into the computer monitor and hunched slightly as he maneuvered the video game’s soldier into a flanking position.

Using a keyboard, Casper ordered the soldier to lob a grenade, then slap a new magazine into his assault rifle. Creeping past the burned-out shell of a Humvee, the soldier fired a quick burst into the back of what looked like the enemy.

“That’s me, dude,” said Jeremy Donnelly, 15, looking up from a video screen across from Casper.

The classmates, both Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets at Victor Valley High School, were playing “America’s Army,” a realistic, multiplayer combat video game designed by the Army as a recruiting tool.

They were among about 2,000 teenage cadets from 40 local and national high schools who gathered in El Segundo on Saturday to show off their skills in the seventh annual West Coast National JROTC Drill Competition.

Students in crisp dress uniforms performed their drills with straight backs and steeled looks of determination, the heels of their polished shoes clicking on concrete.

Others practiced their flying skills in a Navy flight simulator or peered through infrared sights mounted on military assault rifles.

Across the country, about 3,000 JROTC units such as these teach self-discipline and leadership skills. They are not geared explicitly to recruiting students into the military, officials said. But amid recent military recruiting shortfalls, finding new ways to attract teenagers has become a priority, and recruiters from all branches of the military were out in force.

“It’s a lot more difficult to find the best candidates because you’re recruiting at a time of war,” said Maj. Martin Casado. He is commanding officer of the Los Angeles Marine Corps recruiting station, which reaches from San Luis Obispo to Redondo Beach.

Events like this one, held by Raytheon, one of the nation’s largest defense contractors, help the effort, recruiters say.

On display for the hundreds of teenagers, parents, children and veterans who turned out were the tools of war. “Can I pull the plug,” a small boy asked his father, clutching a “baseball” grenade from the Vietnam era.

Across the lot, a teenager peered into the steel belly of an M1A1 Abrams tank and said to his friends: “That thing makes me want to join the Army.”

“I want my son to go into the military,” said Marie Calleja, watching closely as her 9-year-old, Charles, struggled to bring the telescopic sight of an AR-15 assault rifle to his eye. “We don’t want him to go over there and get killed, but the percentages are pretty small.”

Calleja’s husband, Charlie, a Vietnam veteran, agreed. “JROTC programs would be really beneficial for the whole country,” he said. “The program will teach them respect and self-discipline. These kids are running wild these days.”

Others are concerned about the message the program sends to children with few other opportunities.

“These events are often done in areas where students feel like they have no other options,” said Andy Griggs, a member of the Coalition Against Militarism In Our Schools, a Los Angeles group opposed to the recruitment efforts. Griggs said in a phone interview that military recruiters often outnumber college recruiters at poorer schools in Los Angeles.

“It costs the military $18,000 per year to recruit one high school student,” he added. “In California, we spend $6,000 a year to educate these students.”

For Tim Casper and Jeremy Donnelly, the Army’s video simulation of combat is as close as they can get to the real thing, for the moment.

“I want to join either the Marines or the Air Force,” Casper said. “I kind of wish I was old enough to be over there now. It’s a good cause. The Iraqis are trying to threaten us.”

Donnelly, still enthralled by the video game, disagreed without looking up. “I don’t think the main threat is Iraqis. I think it’s anyone who threatens our freedom.”

Turning to Casper, he barked: “Secure that area for me.”

111, 2014

Reuters

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems|

Robotic ‘Penguin’ could hop on moon

August 30, 2005

LONG BEACH, Calif. — A robotic Lunar Penguin explorer could be hopping around on the moon by 2009, Raytheon Co. said Tuesday, as it unveiled the concept lander at an aerospace conference.

The unmanned lunar device, in development for two years, is 3 feet (1 meter) tall and weighs approximately 230 pounds (105 kilograms). It “hops” by reigniting small propulsion engines.

The Penguin, unveiled at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space 2005 Conference, can make a single jump of about six-tenths of a mile (1 kilometer) and could be adapted to make additional jumps, possibly over greater distances.

President Bush last year refocused the space program on sending people to the moon, Mars and beyond. Raytheon said the Penguin could be a robotic precursor to future manned space missions and was being proposed to NASA.

While still in the concept stage, the explorer could be launched as early as 2009, said Karleen Seybold, a senior systems engineer for Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass.

The Lunar Penguin, originally intended to land on the south pole of the moon to search for ice, is based on tactical weapons technologies, which should make it much more affordable, Raytheon said. However, the company did not disclose a price.

The lander sits on four legs, much like a small version of the original landers that brought astronauts to the moon. The squat, compact unit has a few tiny jump boosters protruding below and on its sides, and looks nothing like an actual penguin.

The Penguin uses rocket engines from ground-based missile defense systems and the guidance system of a Tomahawk cruise missile.

“Since we could set it down in such a precise location, the Penguin could be the delivery vehicle for the science community,” said Seybold said.

Raytheon is a major military defense technology company but has only a small share of NASA contracts.

111, 2014

Bloomberg TV

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Tennis Industry|

Wilson’s Muir Sees Growth in Tennis Racket, Ball Sales: Video

June 24 (Bloomberg) — John Muir, head of Wilson Racquet Sports and president of the Tennis Industry Association, talks with Bloomberg’s Michele Steele about tennis racquet sales. Muir, who spoke June 21 from Chicago, also discusses the company’s competition with Nike Inc. and industry outlook.

111, 2014

KABC

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Tennis Industry, Uncategorized|

Cardio tennis helps improve skills, burn fat

By Lori Corbin, August 10, 2010

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — We might like watching Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, but playing tennis isn’t always first on the list when it comes to fun-loving exercise. But a new twist on the game has many swinging back into action.

“There’s a perception problem sometimes with tennis that it’s a little boring or stiff,” said tennis pro Chris Ojakian.

Many believe tennis simply won’t offer a good workout unless you’re a pro.

For the best in game tennis is a grueling sport, but for most of us there’s a lot of stops and starts. It’s fun but we don’t necessarily burn a lot of calories. The solution is cardio tennis.

The big difference between tennis and cardio tennis: 60 minutes of swings, shuffling, muscle conditioning and fat burning.

“You’re doing a lot of shoulders, you’re doing a lot of core because any time you swing your racquet you’re using a lot of your mid-section,” said Ojakian.

He says it’s tough on triceps, biceps, and the entire leg — especially underutilized outer thighs and hips since there’s so much lateral movement.

There are different levels: novice to power cardio tennis, even a mommies and me.

“It’s in Greece, it’s in Turkey, it’s in Canada, it’s in a lot of countries,” said Ojakian.

Classes average to a session and can be done anywhere there’s room to swing.

Ojakian says cardio tennis is more popular than regular tennis, the cardio concept is perfect for those wanting to improve their skills.

“You’re hitting probably three to four times as many balls as you would in a normal tennis clinic,” said Ojakian.

And it’s fun.

“We do a lot of high fives, there’s a lot of hooting and hollering, a lot of yelling and screaming,” said Ojakian.

Actress Kendra Andrews tried cardio tennis as a way to keep her fitness level up when filming dance scenes in Step Up 3-D.

Watch Video Here

111, 2014

Forbes

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Tennis Industry, Uncategorized|

Billie Jean Inducted into TIA Hall of Fame

By Hannah Elliott, August 31, 2010

Tennis great Billie Jean King was inducted into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame this morning in a hotel ballroom over Grand Central Station in New York City.

King, who in addition to her 39 Grand Slam titles and 67 career singles titles earned the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, spoke briefly about her work promoting the sport–and industry–of tennis. Her biggest goal now, she said, is to help children become frequent players of the game. “My mantra is to get rid of the word ‘lesson,’” King says. “When a child signs up for tennis, they should be put on a team immediately…. The socialization process is so important. Children want to be on a team.”

That devotion to making the game fun and accessible for kids makes sense. King started playing tennis only because in fifth grade her friend Susan asked if she wanted to play. “If she hadn’t asked me, I wouldn’t have started playing,” King said.

The Hall of Fame honor was bestowed by the Tennis Industry Association, a non-profit trade association based in South Carolina. John Muir, the president of the TIA, spoke at length about his goals for the sport. He didn’t waste any time cutting to the chase: Goal No. 1 for TIA is to make money for tennis.

“It’s really about the revenue streams coming in,” Muir said, noting that his goal is to make occasional tennis players (those who play less than 21 times a year) into frequent tennis players. “It’s not about making them frequent players, it’s about making them frequent consumers of the industry.”

All told, there are 5.4 million frequent tennis players in the United States, according to TIA data, down 3% from last year. Muir said the industry faced a big decline in 2009, was up slightly in the first quarter of 2010, and has leveled off a bit since then. He didn’t speculate about how well the industry will rebound from Fall 2008.

“Now we’re trying to find the new normal,” Muir said. “You can’t really predict how much growth will happen in the next 12 months.”

But there is good news surrounding the tennis industry as well: Tennis is the fastest-growing “traditional” sport in the nation, according to the Physical Activity Council, with 30.13 million tennis players total. The number of all tennis players in the U.S. has increased 25% since 2003, and the amount of rackets sold has increase 28% over the same period.

It’s a fitting goal for Muir. King herself lobbied relentlessly to win fair pay for women tennis players in the 1970s and was the first female athlete to earn more than $100,000 in one year.

She also founded the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973, the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974 and co-founded World TeamTennis that same year. But having just recovered from surgery, she’s taking her game one day at a time–and keeping a positive perspective.

“I just had a double-knee replacement, and I’ve played tennis three times, so I’m a happy camper,” King says. “Because what really matters is to get out and play and have fun.”

111, 2014

Reuters

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Tennis Industry, Uncategorized|

Americans choose racket over remote control

By Alex Dobuzinskis, August 23, 2010

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Tennis has moved out of the country club and turned into one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States as Americans looking for a cheap pastime in a bad economy have hit the courts.

On the professional circuit, the U.S. Open starts next week but, if recent viewership trends are any indication, not as many Americans will tune in as did in years past.

These days, they are more likely to grab a racket than a remote control. The number of Americans playing tennis increased 43 percent to 18.5 million from 2000 to 2009, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA).

That is the steepest growth for any traditional sport, leaving aside games such as lacrosse and table tennis.

Golf, which has always been closely associated with tennis because of its country-club roots, has seen some decline.

The SGMA said golf dropped five percent last year to 27.1 million players, even before the Tiger Woods scandal.

Experts say this latest tennis craze is less of a celebrity-driven phenomenon than the last U.S. tennis boom in the 1970s, when American professionals such as Jimmy Connors, Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe dominated the game and drew amateurs to the courts in emulation of their idols.

“This current boom that’s happened in tennis has been orchestrated, we’ve been working on it a long time,” said Kurt Kamperman, chief executive of community tennis at the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

LOCAL BOOST

Tennis insiders point to a 1994 cover story in Sports Illustrated magazine with the headline “Is Tennis Dead?,” written at a time when participation was at a low point, as the catalyst for industry leaders’ decision to try to draw in new players.

In 1998, the USTA, the organizer of the U.S. Open, made a -million, multi-year commitment to boost tennis at local level. That has increased, with the USTA saying it now spends more than million a year on such initiatives.

Tennis manufacturers such as Wilson, Head and Prince also poured in millions of dollars, as instructors offered free lessons and public parks were turned into “welcome centers” to introduce new players to the game.

More recently, the Tennis Industry Association has showcased “cardio tennis” as a new fitness activity.

At the same time, U.S. tennis viewership has fallen as European players such as Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who won the French Open and Wimbledon this year, have dominated. Last year, 2.6 million Americans tuned into the U.S. Open, compared to 5.5 million in 1991, said the Nielsen Co.

Experts say the economy has also helped to popularize tennis as a participation sport.

Rick Horrow, visiting expert on sports at the Harvard Law School and author of “Beyond the Box Score,” said along with soccer, which is seeing new interest in the U.S. since the World Cup, tennis is the “next rising thing.”

“Golf is a fairly expensive sport to take up and a somewhat exclusive sport to join,” Horrow said. “In many ways, tennis is one of the sports that can be relatively easy to play, especially given this economy.”

FEDERER’S RACKET

Entry-level rackets sell for as low as . For , a novice can buy the same state-of-the-art racket that former world number one Roger Federer of Switzerland wields.

Wholesale trade in rackets, balls, accessories and equipment totaled million in the U.S. last year, said the SGMA.

Matt Powell, analyst with Sports One Source, said the Amer Sports-owned Wilson brand led with 38 percent of the tennis hardgoods market, followed by Head NV with 20 percent and Prince Sports Inc with 19 percent.

While low prices have helped to popularize the sport again, they have also been a challenge for the industry.

“There has been some margin erosion,” said John Muir, worldwide general manager for Wilson racket sports.

For instance, the price of balls had stayed the same since the 1970s despite rising costs, he said. The industry plans to increase sales by encouraging players to hit the courts more often, which would translate to quicker racket replacement.

Tennis is also growing in Asia, but industry insiders said the largest number of new players had been in the U.S.

“The U.S., if you had to pick a specific country, is where we have seen the most growth the last nine years,” Muir said.

111, 2014

KCBS

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Tennis Industry, Uncategorized|

Jaime Maggio Hits Up Cardio Tennis

By Jaime Maggio, September 5, 2010

A 2:20 segment on the health benefits of Cardio Tennis ran twice on KCBS in Los Angeles, Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, reaching hundreds of thousands of viewers.

111, 2014

Nashville Tennessean

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

Students enhance learning with Betty’s Brain software

Learning enhanced by interacting with inquisitive avatar

By Jamie McGee

Studying the causes and effects of climate change, sixth-graders at Meigs Middle Magnet School put together a causal map on their computer screen to teach an avatar named Betty all about it. They’re adjusting their model as they go, until Betty masters the concepts.

The software system, called Betty’s Brain, was developed by Vanderbilt University computer engineers and is being used this year in classrooms at Meigs as well as West End Middle School to help students learn concepts by teaching and by using technology that engages them and assesses their understanding in real time.

“Alot of learning happens through social interactions,”said Gautam Biswas, a Vanderbilt professor who has led the development of Betty’s Brain. “What we wanted to do in our computer-based environment was to try to simulate some of the social interactions that help in learning and provide more engagement in learning.”

If students don’t create an accurate causal map and Betty fails her assessment, students refer to tutorials on each phase of the process and correct their work. The interactive component gives students an alternative to textbooks and more experience with technology. In addition to climate change, Betty’s Brain has programs that study body temperature regulation and allow students to create traffic simulations.

As more students use Betty’s Brain, the program’s creators can study how students are most successful from it, find out what roadblocks exist, and adjust the software and improve the results.

Biswas began working on the early versions of Betty’s Brain in the early 2000s and began studying its classroom results in 2004, with research funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.

The goal is for Betty’s Brain to be used as a supplement for teachers’ instructions as well as offer teachers regular data on what concepts the class is struggling with so they can address misunderstandings as they develop. Additionally, Biswas said his team would like the program to help students recognize and develop learning strategies that they can use beyond Betty’s Brain.

“We never claim technology is going to solve all the education problems, but it’s a tool that provides lots more detail and specific information for the teacher, so the teacher can address it in the classroom,” Biswas said.

Jim Segedy, a Vanderbilt graduate research assistant, helps Meigs Middle Magnet School sixth-graders Victoria Guo, left, and Mae Herbert use Betty's Brain, a software system that helps students learn by engaging them in teaching, during a class Thursday.

James Parsons, a teacher at Meigs, has been using Betty’s Brain as a teaching tool since 2008. The causal maps of climate change help lay the foundation for students to work on projects in which they present real-world solutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“When you learn something and then teach it to someone else, you learn it much more fully than if it’s just taught to you, which is the whole idea of this system,” Parsons said. “They are having to synthesize the information and build something with it. It’s engaging them on a whole different level.”

And, according to the students at Meigs, it has helped them master the climate change concepts they will rely on to explain their greenhouse gas solutions.

“It’s more fun,” said sixth-grader Mae Herbert. “We’re teaching her, and that’s part of us learning.”

111, 2014

Gizmodo

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

How Vanderbilt’s Secret Software Lab Is Saving America

How Vanderbilt's Secret Software Lab Is Saving America

On a quiet street just off of Nashville’s historic Music Row, a dedicated team of more than 100 researchers are developing software systems that may very well revolutionize the modern world. From cutting edge cyber-security tech designed to defend America’s most critical networks to computer-learning algorithms that could all but eliminate airline crashes, Vanderbilt’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) is making our Internet of Things safer, better, stronger, and more resilient.

I recently sat down with Professor Doug Schmidt, Associate Chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Program at Vanderbilt University, to learn more about what goes on at this secretive research center. You won’t believe what they’ve got in store.

Gizmodo: Can you tell us a bit about the projects you’re currently involved with?

Doug Schmidt: We do a lot of work with various government agencies, like DARPA and the military service labs. We do a lot of work at places like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. We also do work with industry, like Microsoft, Siemens, or General Electric, and with companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and so on.

We have about a dozen different projects right now. One of the things that we’ve been doing has been focusing on trying to make it less expensive for the government to build large-scale defense systems. We’re doing something called “open systems,” trying to build systems that use standards-based off-the-shelf parts so that people don’t have to spend a fortune trying to build them all in a proprietary way.

We’ve been focusing on something called the future airborne capability environment, which is basically a common operating platform, composed of standards, reference notation, performance tools, and so on. We can use that to reduce the cost of acquiring software for military avionics systems—things like Joint Strike Fighter, the F18, and so on.

We’ve also been spending a lot of our time working with DARPA to come up with a way to revolutionize how military vehicles are built. So, rather than going in and having people go on these things manually with screwdrivers and blow torches or bending metal by hand, we’re building model-based tools that allow designers, architects, and systems engineers to essentially make the effective equivalent of a CAD diagram. Then we can analyze those diagrams for various properties electronically and computationally.

Once people are comfortable and happy with how it looks in the simulator, then they can go ahead and actually develop tools that will fabricate the result. It’s something kind of akin to 3D printing if you will. Rather than doing everything manually, you can use computer-aided design tools to do the composition, the synthesis, and the analysis at the design level. Then, when you’re happy, you push a button and out come specs that are fed into robots to make the actual thing you’re trying to build.

Giz: That’s fascinating. Now are the design aspects off-the-shelf components as well? Or have you guys had to develop custom software?

DS: What we’ve actually done for, gosh, 10 to 15 years or so, is building a suite of tools that make it easier to design software. It’s called the generic modeling environment—GME—and what we do is take the infrastructure and the tools that we’ve built in-house, and we’ve customized them on something called the advanced vehicle make program, and we customize them from the domain of designing vehicles.

How Vanderbilt's Secret Software Lab Is Saving AmericaExpand

The Adaptive Vehicle Make research program could cut vehicle design times by 80 percent

So we didn’t start from scratch. We started from an infrastructure we already had, and we’ve customized it and made it so that the main experts—subject matter experts, systems engineers, architects, and so on—can then use tools that work the way they are comfortable working, and then they’re able to use that stuff to do the analysis, the synthesis of the design.

Also, the military tends to spend a lot of money on custom radios, and custom communication systems that are chronically late, over-budget, or don’t work. So one of the things we’ve been doing here at ISIS is that we’re taking commodity software and hardware like Dell products—tablets, smartphones, and things like that—and we’re combining open-source, open-system software like Android, then we’re adding secret sauce in a few places having to do with security, making a mobile network as opposed to fixed cellular networks, making things be more reliable, making them be so that you can’t compromise them through various kinds of cyberattacks, making them work applications that are kind of tailored for soldiers, tracking themselves and their opponents.

How Vanderbilt's Secret Software Lab Is Saving AmericaExpand

The AMMO system in action

The cool part about it is that we’re able to give people essentially the experience you’d have as a commercial user in the USA with your smartphone, except we’re able to do these things in far-off lands where there’s no fixed cellular network, where it’s much more ad hoc, and where the radio network’s almost weirder and more specific to the DOD, we’re able to give the soldiers basically the same experience, or even a better experience really, than what they would have back home, while they’re out doing their mission.

Giz: How computationally intensive are these programs? Can they run on, say, desktop computers or do you need specialized computational hardware in order to use them?

DS: For doing the things that we do—the equivalent of CAD tools where you’re laying things out and connecting them together—those things can run on laptops or desktops, no problem. When you get to the later phases where you’re trying to do analysis of the models in order to check them for certain properties, that’s where you need the big iron.

I think an equivalent analogy would be people who do animation. You would have artists who would be working on desktops with accelerated graphics cards on them, and they get kind of a scene played out. Then, when they’re done, they turn that data over to a render farm, which is a big cloud or data center where they do all the compositing and rendering of the final product.

Giz: And what instigated the development of that program? Was there a specific need for it, or was there just more of an overarching general need for the technology?

DS: Not unlike the first example I gave you where we’re developing open, systems-based approaches for building defense acquisition systems, there are two motivations: number one, it takes way too long to build systems in the conventional way and, number two, it’s way too expensive to build systems the conventional way.

The government and the defense department are… reducing the amounts they’re spending, or, more accurately, they’re reducing the rates of growth of the money that they’re spending. They’re starting to look for new ways of doing things cheaper/faster/better, and so, in both cases, it was a drive, a realization, it was taking too long to build military vehicles, it was too expensive to build these vehicles, and everything that was done was done in a customized, proprietary way. That was not really where the government wants to be.

They want to be able to have something that’s equivalent to the commercial car manufacture market, where it’s relatively inexpensive to get relatively good quality stuff, there are a lot more products, and it’s not done in a custom way. You want them to cost $30,000, not $30 million.

Giz: Right. And what sort of cost and times savings are you guys looking at? Basically, how much more effective is it than the conventional method?

DS: It’s orders of magnitudes faster. Essentially what we’re doing here, or the way to think about this, is what people sometimes call mass customization. In the commercial world of—let’s just use automobiles as an example—you, the end user, get to customize a handful of things like the color and the interior, things like that. Everything else is commoditized. Even though things are relatively expensive in the grand scheme of things, it’s a lot of pre-assembled parts that are taken off the shelf and get plugged together.

How Vanderbilt's Secret Software Lab Is Saving AmericaExpand

A GPS smartphone tracking device for sniper fire location

You look at the military space… literally every piece for every airplane is different, for various reasons having to do with stealth technology. It’s ridiculously expensive. So we’re getting orders of magnitude improvement in cost, while still being able to deliver things that are specific for the more boutique needs of the defense department. There are things that the military needs but that they would prefer to be able to do with off-the-shelf parts that they just harden or customize in a few ways. They want to make the customization process similar and rigorous but as automated as possible.

Giz: And have any of these technologies reached the consumer market yet?

DS: A lot of the stuff… I think the closest thing in the consumer market is the buzz around stuff like 3D printing, not necessarily using it for building military vehicles but people are starting to use this to do, I don’t want to say mass customization, because it’s still fairly expensive, to do stuff with 3D printers, but you can do stuff a lot… you can do rapid prototyping, development of things in a very unique, larger and, of course, cheaper scale than if you had to do them manually.

In the Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm scheme of things we’re sort of at the “early adopter” phase. We haven’t crossed over into the mainstream, we’re still crossing that chasm. But I think as more people adopt this stuff the prices will come down, the comfort using the technology will increase, things will be much better.

111, 2014

Wired U.K.

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

 

Engineers use sound waves to detect bombs remotely

111, 2014

Nashville Tennessean

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

Vanderbilt School of Engineering to open cutting-edge research lab in MetroCenter

Experiments will test integrity, reliability of automotive, aeronautical systems

October 17, 2013

Vanderbilt plans to open engineering lab in MetroCenter: The new Vanderbilt University engineering lab will study the reliability of materials used on aircrafts and wind turbines, among other equipment.

When Vanderbilt University last year began the hunt for someone to chair its civil and environmental engineering department, a Purdue University professor who founded a massive laboratory studying the reliability of energy and transportation systems surfaced as a top candidate.

Now, Doug Adams is in Nashville, and he is bringing his lab and four-person research team with him. A new, 20,000-square-foot Laboratory for Systems Integrity and Reliability is scheduled to open in MetroCenter in January, allowing Vanderbilt graduate students to execute experiments on full-scale aircraft, wind turbines and automotives. The lab will work with the U.S. Department of Defense and large manufacturers, including Boeing and General Motors, to help test new and existing products.

The new lab is part of the engineering school’s push in recent years to further distinguish itself as an industry leader, and it is expected to complement the strides made in risk analysis and management research. Adams is one of six new hires in the past year under Dean Philippe Fauchet, who was brought on board in 2012.

Doug Adams was recruited by Vanderbilt from Perdue to create a 20,000-square-foot lab that will study the reliability of materials used on aircrafts and wind turbines, on the Vanderbilt campus. / Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean

“We have the theorists and we are now going to bring the experiments,” Fauchet said. “It’s going to bring our profile up in a very big way.”

The facility will include $10 million in equipment from the Purdue Center for Systems Integrity and will allow Adams to study the reliability of how large equipment responds in different environments, for example, how a wind turbine interacts with other turbines or how a lithium-ion battery performs over time. The goal is to make energy, security and transportation systems as safe and cost-efficient as possible.

“We are able to test assumptions over a much wider range of circumstances so that we don’t have to absorb that risk,” Adams said. “By having the ability to test full-scale systems, we are able to do a much better job of validating our models.”

Adams points to testing the reliability of using composite material instead of aluminum on an aircraft, as an example. The lightweight material can significantly reduce fuel costs for airlines each year, but damages that happen within the material are often more difficult to detect. At his former lab, Adams and his team developed technology to be able to quickly inspect and repair the material, allowing corporate and military partners to reduce maintenance time and costs.

Adams said he was drawn by Fauchet’s vision for the school to focus on energy and security and by the opportunity to work with those who specialize in risk prediction and management and those who design software systems at Vanderbilt’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems.

“There was a lot of excitement here about where everything was moving toward,” Adams said. “You go to some institutions, and they have great researchers but there is not this desire, this shared commitment to move forward and to really push the envelope. That’s what I felt they were doing here, and I thought that was a great opportunity.”

The new facility is similar to Purdue’s, but it will have a higher ceiling and a stronger floor that will allow for more types of equipment. At Purdue, Adams said between 20 and 30 graduate students worked on projects in the lab at a given time and he expects similar involvement at Vanderbilt. He declined to disclose the total cost of the lab but said there is significant cost savings that can be found for multiple industries through such experimentation.

“It’s a huge investment,” he said. “There will be payoff for the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt because it will augment the capabilities and give us new capabilities, and it will also give a return on investments to industry in the region, the department of defense and the military.”

111, 2014

Industrial Internet

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

Three Qs: Vanderbilt Professor Douglas Schmidt

II_post_91013

How does the Industrial Internet relate to your work at Vanderbilt’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS)?

The emergence of the Industrial Internet as a viable business and technology paradigm demonstrates the maturation of the types of work that researchers atISIS and elsewhere have been conducting over the past several decades to (1) connect machines embedded with sensors and sophisticated software to other machines (and end users), (2) enable access and control of mechanical devices in unprecedented ways, (3) extract data from these devices, make sense of it, and deliver the right information to the right people at the right time (and in real-time), and (4) derive some form of value in terms of improved utility and/or cost savings.  At the core of this work are advances in systems science and engineering technologies, including quality-of-service (QoS)-enabled middleware, end-systems, and networks; methods and tools for assured integration of components in heterogeneous systems, time-bounded machine learning; and model-integrated computing.

DouglasSchmidtISIS researchers have developed and applied open-source QoS-enabled middleware frameworks and model-integrated computing tools that are used in thousands of projects around the world. Some of the most vexing research and development challenges we’ve encountered are those associated with creating, validating, deploying, and sustaining mission- and safety-critical enterprise distributed real-time and embedded (DRE) systems, such as air traffic management, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems (e.g., for managing smart power grids),integrated health care, integrated air and missile defense, and electronic trading systems.  The Industrial Internet is an example of the broader shift towards enterprise DRE systems, where the right answer delivered too late becomes the wrong answer.

Enterprise DRE systems have become more dynamic; larger in topology, scope, and data volume; and more sensitive to end-to-end latencies than traditional real-time and embedded systems.  The key challenges we face when fielding these systems stem from having to (1) organize the information so producers and consumers can address and locate each item of interest, (2) distribute a high volume of messages per second while dealing with requirements for scalability and low/predictable latency, (2) maintain availability during bandwidth fluctuations and service disruptions, and (4) analyze telemetry data to self-di­agnose and self-correct at runtime. Moreover, assuring end-to-end quality-of-service (QoS) properties (such as dependability and security) is hard because end-system QoS mechanisms must work across different access points and within—and across—network domains.

Why did you choose Industrial Internet as one of the Top Ten Tech Terms for 2014?

I chose to focus on the Industrial Internet because many people are only familiar with conventional information technology (IT) products and tools like

  • personal computing devices, such as smart phones, tablets, or laptops,
  • office productivity tools, such as word processors or spreadsheets, and
  • infra­structure services, such as routers and servers.

Increasingly, however, our safety, health, and privacy in the air and in our cars, in healthcare delivery and record-keeping, in the water and food supply, and in energy grids and other utilities, depend on complex and interconnected machines that perform their tasks relatively autonomously.  In particular, over 90% of all processors are now used to control physical, chemical, or biological processes and devices in real-time.  As these processors are connected together to span multiple computing, communication and physical sub-systems, the resulting enterprise DRE systems must be developed, validated, and man­aged rigorously, despite the complexity inherent in those ever-larger combinations.

When this capability is harnessed properly, it creates knowledge that enables us to act quickly, save money, and produce better outcomes.  When poorly understood or improperly applied, on the other hand, the consequences can be catastrophic.  An educated workforce and user base is therefore essential to devise, test, and operate/supervise machines that can sense conditions, communicate dependably, and become instruments of effective decision making and economic value.

For example, an intelligent urban transportation system may automatically provision trains and buses based on regular usage patterns (such as the time of day), knowledge of special of events, (such as concerts or sports event), and real-time feedback (actual loads experienced on the trains and buses). If this system functions as expected the riders will gain significant utility. If it fails, however, there will be chaos, with many people missing their appointments, excess fuel consumption and carbon emissions due to traffic congestion, etc.

What advances do you expect to see in the Industrial Internet in the next decade?

Depending on the availability of sustained funding, effective collaborations between researchers and practitioners, and visionary technical and business leadership in government and industry, I see the following advances occurring in the Industrial Internet—and more broadly in the domain of enterprise DRE systems—in the next decade:

  • Precise auto-scaling and management of resources with a dynamic and system-wide focus. Auto-scaling in the Industrial Internet requires applications that indi­cate their resource needs a priori so providers can effectively scale the re­sources up or down.  For example, when load increases, services are provi­sioned with higher demand on existing resources and potentially given access to new ones, while resources also can be de-provisioned or loaded less heavily when load re­duces. The Industrial Internet will be composed of inter­acting services, so they will require dynamic resource management and auto-scaling algo­rithms that operate at the level of service groups working to­gether in end-to-end task chains, while ensuring that end-to-end QoS re­quirements are met.
  • Flexible optimization algorithms to balance real-time constraints with cost and other goals. Since applications and services in the Industrial Internet will be realized as end-to-end real-time task chains, their deployment on computing and networking resources must be schedulable to ensure real-time response times, while optimizing desired objective functions, such as minimizing operational costs. These requirements must be met in the context of the auto-scaling algorithms mentioned above.   Due to different criticalities of task chains that could be deployed on the resources, principled means for co-scheduling or per­forming admission control and/or eviction of mixed-criticality task sets will be needed.
  • Data provisioning and load balancing algorithms that rely on physical properties of computations. The Industrial Internet will generate load on a computing environment due to a combination of cyber and physical stimuli, such as traffic, power grid fluctuations, human movement and changing weather patterns. To build the most scalable and high-performance systems, algorithms and techniques are needed to exploit physical characteristics of data and computation to improve the distribution of work in the Industrial Internet. For example, data may need to be clustered onto nodes based on geographic associations, social network linkages, or other physical world aspects. Understanding the relationship between physical world aspects and cyber optimizations to improve scalability and response time of cloud systems is critical to support the Industrial Internet.
  • Embodiments of these technology advances in the form of standards-based commercial-off-the-shelf middleware.   Enterprise DRE systems have traditionally been developed in a stove-piped manner that locks customers and users into a limited number of system integrators, each designing their solutions using proprietary approaches to system architecture and integration. These stovepipes have yielded many redundant “point-solutions” that are prohibitively expensive to develop, certify, and sustain.  Advances in standards-based, commercial-off-the-shelf middleware (such as the Object Management Group’s Data Distribution Service) will enable application developers and systems integrators of the Industrial Internet to achieve seamless interoperability between hardware and software via common programming interfaces, communication protocols and data models.

I mention these examples since they relate to existing and emerging priorities that we are working on at ISIS. Our strengths in this area stem from our ability to pro­duce not only solid theories and fundamentals, but also methods and high-quality open-source platforms and tools that enable researchers and practitioners to access and apply our results to foster rapid tran­sition of enterprise DRE technology to academia and industry in a range of mission- and safety-critical domains, including the Industrial Internet.

Naturally, there will be other advances, as well.  For example, the Industrial Internet offers a vision that can potentially be extended through engagement and enrichment from other stakeholders.  For example, researchers funded by theNational Science Foundation and other agencies are beginning to examine how precise sensing, control, and actuation from cyber-physical systems (which feature a tight combination of—and coordination between—a  system’s computational and physical elements) can be integrated with scalable and dependable internetworking and cloud computing approaches.  The goal is to enable a new generation of safe, secure, reliable, resilient, enterprise DRE systems in areas of vital national interest, including energy, transportation, communication, defense, and food and water distribution.

Dr. Douglas C. Schmidt is a Professor of Computer Science and Associate Chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Program at Vanderbilt University.

111, 2014

Nashville Tennessean

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

Vanderbilt aiming to add more female engineering students

October 18, 2013

Vanderbilt School of Engineering is trying to draw more women.

The school brags a female population of 32 percent among undergraduates, which is above the national average of 18.4 percent as of 2011, according to the American Society for Engineering Education. Among graduate students at the engineering school, 28 percent are women, compared to 22.6 percent nationally. Women made up 59 percent of graduate schools overall in 2011, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.

While both of Vanderbilt’s engineering enrollment numbers are better than the averages, which helps the school further attract more women, it is not enough, said Chris Rowe, director of communications for the engineering school.

“Obviously, we really want to get to parity,” he said. “That’s a challenge for us.”

Part of the challenge, especially in the graduate school, is that companies are hiring graduates with lucrative salaries and the pool of women pursuing graduate level work becomes smaller as many decide to take those well-paying jobs rather than go after another degree, he said.

As a result, the school actively seeks to add to its female percentage, for example, by going to conferences for women interested in engineering. A more diverse population means more opportunities for women, but also a better quality program for all students, Rowe said.“In order to get better, more robust, more creative designs and to solve more complex and creative problems you have to have more, different kinds of people around,” he said.

111, 2014

Yahoo News

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

10 tech terms everyone needs to know for 2014

By Douglas C. Schmidt

August 14, 2013

Information Technology (IT) is getting more pervasive and complicated every day. Although most of us experience IT in terms of personal computing devices (smartphones, tablets, or laptops), office productivity tools (word processors or spreadsheets), or infrastructure functionality (routers and servers), IT is steadily becoming more sophisticated and critical to everything we do.

At the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) at Vanderbilt University, we conduct basic and applied research on the science and engineering of complex software-reliant IT systems to help industry, academia and ultimately, the general public.

The terms below suggest some of the key areas of technology development in the near future. Some of these may seem a bit more esoteric than others, but our future is clearly headed in these directions. To make intelligent decisions about our lives, our safety, our computers and more, here are the Ten Technical Terms Everyone Should Know for 2014.

1. Cyber-physical Systems (CPS) are an integrated set of hardware and software that controls physical things, which can involve humans or not. Classic examples of CPS’s include anti-lock brakes and automated mass-transit systems, like the subway. More sophisticated emerging CPS’s (such as driverless cars) are adaptive and intelligent, often solving problems as they occur in real time without direct human input. Among the hardest problems facing engineers is how robust and secure CPS’s should be to do what it is intended to do. More ‘robust and secure’ usually means more complex, expensive and apt to fail (ever had to reboot your car?), thus potentially costing time, money, lives or other unintended consequences.

2. Cloud Storage has become ubiquitous when talking about managing one’s growing cache of information, media and other data. The idea here is that your data is hosted by a third party, presumably secure and accessible anywhere you have an internet connection. The concept of a ‘cloud’ means many different resources connected together acting as one, thus increasing redundancy (and conceivably reliability) by creating many copies of data and storing it in many places. More copies in more places generate a potential security issue. If I store my file cabinet in your office, anyone with access to your office can get to my file cabinet. How good is your office door lock? Are you telling me the truth? Which files am I now comfortable storing in that file cabinet? These are the issues facing popular cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud.

3. Industrial Internet is an emerging communication infrastructure that connects people, data, and machines to enable access and control of mechanical devices in unprecedented ways. The Industrial Internet leverages the power of Cloud Storage and Computing to connect machines embedded with sensors and sophisticated software to other machines (and end users) so we can extract data, make sense of it, and find meaning where it did not exist before. Machines—from jet engines to gas turbines to medical scanners—connected via the Industrial Internet have the analytical intelligence to self-diagnose and self-correct, so they can deliver the right information to the right people at the right time (and in real-time).

4. 3G / 4G / 5G – The G stands for Generation, thus typically the speed of data transmission over wireless networks increases with each generation. U.S. wireless providers are far into the process of converting their networks from 3G to 4G, as are the device makers (Apple’s iPhone 5 was its first 4G smartphone). Recently two competing 4G platforms were in use by various wireless telecom companies. For many reasons, LTE (long-term evolution) won out over WiMAX for North American cellular phone markets in 2012, thus moving all of us closer to a common broadband platform for the world. You can expect to see 5G roll out within the next decade.

5. Advanced Manufacturing involves the integration of IT-based systems and processes in the creation of products (fit, form, and function) to high levels of quality and in compliance with industry-specific certification standards. Products are increasingly complex and users demand more performance and reliability from them. With complexity comes cost and time, thus in order to keep costs and manufacturing time economical, methods like rapid prototyping and computer modeling are essential. For example, GE Aviation is applying Advanced Manufacturing technologies to develop new types of ceramic that outperforms the most advanced metallic alloys within a gas turbine and jet engine environment. Paramount to advanced manufacturing is a highly skilled workforce operating in lean and continuous improvement cultures.

6. Big Data refers to the massive amounts of data collected over time that are hard to analyze and handle using conventional database management tools. Big Data analytics operate upon a wide range of datasets, from organized to seemingly random, including business transactions, e-mail messages, photos, surveillance videos, and cyber incident activity logs. Scientific data from sensors can reach mammoth proportions over time, and Big Data also includes text posted on the Web, such as blogs and social media. Big Data analytics has traditionally focused on offline processing (download the data and process it locally somewhere). However, advances in computing clouds, analytics, programs, and automation for cyber-physical systems are broadening the applicability of Big Data techniques for use using the conventional Internet and the emerging Industrial Internet.

7. Cybersecurity involves preventive methods to protect information and machines connected to networks from being compromised or attacked. As we migrate more of our personal and business data to cloud storage—and as cyber-physical systems connected via the Industrial Internet and next-generation wireless networks become more integrated and essential to our health, economy, society, and homeland defense—we need better methods and tools for identifying and neutralizing potential cyber threats, such as viruses and other malicious code, as well as human vulnerabilities, such as insider threats. A cybersecurity plan is critical when company information is highly sensitive, such as medical records, financial information and other personal information. Recent arguments have been made regarding the intentional access of private information in the name of cybersecurity and national security.

8. Augmented Reality is the interaction of superimposed graphics, audio and other enhancements over a real-world environment displayed in real-time. A key challenge in cyber-physical systems is that users often can’t see the cyber information they need in the real-world setting. For example, as construction workers walk around a site, they can’t see the 3D building plan for the project directly overlaid on the walls in front of them to determine if they are built as planned. Augmented reality technologies enable these workers to reduce costly mistakes by visualizing what they are building atop what actually exists in the physical world. Retailers are currently experimenting with augmented reality to get more customers into the stores by allowing shoppers to ‘see’ the clothes on them without having to actually try them on. Some of these apps are a bit gimmicky now, but have the potential to change how we shop, train for new skills, game, build, and make other important decisions.

9. Agile Development Methods are a principled means of anticipating the need for flexibility in creating IT solutions. Agile software development focuses on keeping code simple, testing often, and delivering functional bits of the application as soon as they’re ready. The goal of agile methods is to build upon small client-approved parts as the project progresses, as opposed to delivering one large integrated solution only at the end of the project. Now that agile methods are well-established throughout the commercial IT industry the challenge is to scale them up so they are suited in larger-scale mission-critical and life-critical environments, such as the Industrial Internet, automotive and avionics, space exploration, etc., that require balancing agility and discipline with large teams and long lifecycles.

10. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is a web-based class environment aimed at large-scale global participation and open access via the Internet. MOOCs have been dubbed a potentially disruptive technology trend that poses many challenges for traditional higher education. They are particularly relevant to the discussion of the other Tech Terms presented above because it’s likely that future researchers and practitioners of these topics will received a significant portion of their education through MOOCs and associated digital learning methods and tools. I recently taught one of the first four MOOCs offered by Vanderbilt on “Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture for Concurrent and Networked Software,” to 30,000+ students from all over the U.S. and scores of other countries. My experiences—both pro and con—teaching a MOOC underscored the point that in the rapidly changing and globally competitive environment in which we live, learn, and work, we need to continue to clarify and refine the value of—and affordable access to—high quality education.

Douglas C. Schmidt is the Associate Chair of Computer Science and Engineering and Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University.  He works at ISIS at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

111, 2014

Industry Week

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

Are Engineering Schools the Unsung Hero in America’s Industrial Rebound?

Groundbreaking research, cutting-edge systems and partnerships with industry and government have resulted in new technologies and paradigms that have transformed American industry, and will continue to bolster American competitiveness for the next decade.
111, 2014

Nashville Tennessean

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt Engineering School|

VU engineering school’s pride soars

Oct. 17, 2013
Philippe Fauchet, dean of Vanderbilt School of Engineering / John Russell / Vanderbilt University
Written by
Jamie McGee
The Tennessean

The Laboratory for Systems Integrity and Reliability is the latest feather in the cap for Vanderbilt University’s School of Engineering, which has made a push in recent years to become a leading program in the nation.

In the past five years, research spending from outside grants has climbed 40 percent to $71.9 million, undergraduate applications to the engineering school have more than doubled to 6,213 and average SAT scores has increased from 1420 to 1505. The school has added 10 faculty members, six in the past year, and with the increase of research grants, it has added more than 60 graduate students, bringing the total to 476.

“We have the nucleus to be even more recognized as one of the very top schools in engineering in the nation,” said Philippe Fauchet, dean of the engineering school. “We are really getting a place at the table to make sure that Middle Tennessee and greater Nashville be as successful as they can.”

The Institute of Software Integrated Systems, which is the school’s largest and fastest growing center, has more than doubled its research funds in the past five years to $24.2 million and is involved in more than 60 active projects with the help of more than 130 researchers and students.

For example, the institute is working with General Motors and other universities on a simulator to test automotive safety features, such as cruise control and lane-change warnings.

In a separate project, it has created a design tool and Web portal that will open up the design process for military vehicles to multiple vendors, reducing the time it takes to design new vehicles by several years through a program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, according to institute director Janos Sztipanovits.

“(The fact that) engineered systems are becoming more and more cyber-physical is very well-aligned with our core technology and core scientific direction,” Sztipanovits said. “That’s why we are experiencing a significant increase in interest in our work.”

Another indicator of the school’s progress is its partnerships with other universities. In the past, Vanderbilt was often asked to join more-established schools running a project, but in the past three years, the school is increasingly leading the projects, which leads to more funding, Sztipanovits said.

In addition to cyber-physical systems, the school also has decided to focus research on risk and reliability, radiation’s effect on electronics in space, energy and natural resources, which includes nuclear waste remediation, health and medicine, including medical robotics, and entertainment, according to Chris Rowe, communications director for the engineering school.

Last fall, just three months after Fauchet joined the school as dean, the university created a new tech entrepreneurship task force to connect students interested in entrepreneurship to local companies and business leaders and to help them turn their ideas into companies. Two undergraduate engineering students have since begun working on their business concepts at the Entrepreneur Center in a space designated for Vanderbilt. Pathfinder Technologies, InvisionHeart and Splitsecnd are among a list of more than 14 companies that were originated through the engineering school.

The development in each initiative helps attract to the school top talent, who may choose to stay in the area if they develop an attractive lifestyle here, Rowe said.

“If we are able to keep the brain trust here that we are developing, there’s an economic impact,” Rowe said. “A lot of the companies looking at this region are looking for skilled labors.”

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Popular Science

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News|

Remote Bomb Detector Uses Sound Waves To Distinguish Between Types Of Explosives

It can tell the difference between high-yield and low-yield explosives at a distance.

October 24, 2013

A new type of bomb detection can sniff out how powerful an explosive is from afar. Devised by researchers at Vanderbilt University, Purdue University and the Colorado School of Mines, it uses a laser vibrometer and a sonic beam to identify how the bomb’s casing vibrates. From the patterns of the vibrations, the researchers can tell whether the homemade explosives inside are high-yield or low-yield.

Bomb-sniffing dogs and many of their mechanical equivalents need to be close enough to smell (or detect molecules of) an explosive. That requires getting a teensy bit closer to a potentially ticking bomb than most people really want. Acoustic detection has a greater range, allowing explosives to be identified from a safer distance. In testing, this system could distinguish between high-yield and low-yield type materials (they used an inert crystal and polymer material to simulate a live explosive in the lab) and identical plastic containers filled with air, water or a clay material.

Acoustic Bomb Detection
Douglas Adams / Vanderbilt

The technique, developed as part of a grant from the Office of Naval Research, was presented yesterday at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Dynamic Systems and Control Conference.

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WSJ story on the Marshall School Marketing Plan

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, USC Marshall School of Business|

Marshall MBA Program: USC Business School Has New Case Study: Itself

By Rick Wartzman

LOS ANGELES — David Stewart, the chairman of the marketing department at the University of Southern California’s business school, likes to teach his students how General Motors Corp. forged a brand identity for its Saturn line.

Pretty soon, though, they’ll have another case study to contemplate: that of the business school itself.

Long considered a second-tier institution, USC’s Marshall School of Business is out to swiftly transform itself into a household name — at least among academics and corporate recruiters across the country.

Or to put it another way, the business school is starting to act like a business. “We teach branding,” Mr. Stewart says. “We don’t know why it wouldn’t apply” to Marshall.

Over the past several months, Marshall has hired a design firm that has done work for Walt Disney Co. to help it generate “brand equity”; begun a direct-mail blitz to hawk itself; stepped up its courting of corporations in New York and elsewhere on the East Coast; and mapped out a series of focus groups to gauge its marketing prowess.

Despite all that, building a brand won’t be easy — especially over the next 12 to 18 months, as the Marshall administration is intent on doing. “They can’t expect spectacular results that fast,” says William Pierskalla, the dean of cross-town rival UCLA’s Anderson School. “I’d be skeptical about the speed of it.”

Clearly, though, a better opportunity has never presented itself at USC. Late last year, the business school received a $35 million gift from Gordan S. Marshall, an alumnus who made his fortune at the helm of a $1 billion-plus electronic-components distribution company.

The cash gift — the largest ever made to a business school — was announced in January with great fanfare; flanked by the Trojan marching band, Dean Randolph Westerfield proclaimed that the School of Business Administration would drop that insipid title and forever be known as the Marshall School of Business.

The very next day, Mr. Stewart and the school’s other marketing professors gathered around the big wooden table in the dean’s conference room. Since he had become head of the school four years earlier, Mr. Westerfield had been mulling how to get the word out about its innovative programs, the rising test scores of its entrants, and the burgeoning ranks of its faculty.

And now, in the wake of the Marshall gift, the time for action was at hand. “We’ve got the money, and we’ve got the name,” the dean recalls telling his colleagues that day. “So what do we do now?”

For the next couple of hours, the group kicked around ideas. One thing it agreed on was that any chance to capitalize on the Marshall gift had to be seized quickly.

“We have a window of 18 months in which to get this name known — or it’s just going to be a piece of letterhead,” says John Crowe, the associate dean for external affairs, who says he would ultimately like to turn Marshall into “the Wharton of the West.”

One of the first steps was hiring the Selbert Perkins Design Collaborative, a Santa Monica-based firm that was already working with USC to integrate the university’s new monogram into its printed material and onto signs around campus.

Selbert Perkins started out by taking the business school’s current crop of publications from all its programs and departments and laying them side by side. The result was a stunning mess — a hodgepodge of logos and typefaces, all of which barely connected to the business school as a whole.

“By showing them this cacophony of messages and images that they were putting out, it sold them even more” on the need for a common identity, says Rick Simner, Selbert Perkins’s design director.

Over the next few weeks, the dean considered dozens of typesetting choices as he tried to find something that would catch people’s attentions but wouldn’t smack of, as he puts it, “selling corn flakes.” In the end, he settled on Caslon for the “Marshall” rubric and Frutiger to highlight individual “products” like the “MBA Program.”

The new look — shown, at left, for the first time — will be rolled out in a series of mailings to students, alumni, fellow business-school administrators and corporate recruiters over the coming months. The entire campaign will be controlled by a strict set of guidelines spelling out the proper spacing of the letters, how to relate the Marshall name (the “brand”) to the USC name (the “superbrand”) and other such fine points.

Yet there is much more than just flash at work here. The school’s applicant pool is growing. Its 175-member full-time faculty has also swelled by 14 slots since Mr. Westerfield became dean. Its goal of raising $100 million by the end of the decade has nearly been met, with 2 1/2 years to go. And it’s set to break ground on a $24 million state-of-the-art classroom building in the fall.

Most impressive is the focus of the Marshall curriculum — much of which befits a California business school: entrepreneurship, information technology and international commerce. In fact, every Marshall M.B.A. student travels to the Pacific Rim or Latin America to work with a company or industry there.

Nonetheless, the school tumbled to 34th from 26th in U.S. News & World Report’s ratings this year. (It was No. 26 in Business Week’s latest survey).

Dean Westerfield points out that one thing dragging down USC’s ranking was its inability to place students in jobs after graduation — an effort marred by the then-sluggish California economy. That said, three state competitors placed higher on the U.S. News list: Stanford at No. 1, the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School at No. 10, and the Anderson School at No. 17.

So can Marshall really expect to take off now?

Al Sanoff, managing editor of U.S. News’s graduate-school guide, cautions that reputations tend to change very slowly, and “moving dramatically up the list generally takes time.”

But Mr. Stewart, the marketing chairman, says he is confident that everything is falling into place for a more rapid rise. “Successful advertising campaigns always start with a good product,” he says. “And we’ve got a good story to tell.

“We’ll be disappointed,” he adds, “if we don’t move significantly” up the rankings in the next year or two.

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Forbes.com

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Accounting For GE

January 19, 2007

Forbes.com anchor Michele Steele interviews Bob Swieringa, Dean of Cornell’s Johnson School.

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Financial Times

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

The Long View: Time to question decades of dogma on stock splits

By John Authers, April 4, 2007

This is a holy juncture. Christians are celebrating Easter while Jews are celebrating Passover. These festivals strengthen and reassert faith, but they do so in large part by questioning it.

At a less profound level, self-questioning can be good for an investment portfolio, not just for the soul. So let’s take this opportunity to question one time-honoured ritual of equity investing: stock splits. What is the point of them?

Stock splits are meant to keep a share price at a manageable level. A two-for-one stock split involves replacing every outstanding share with two, and making no other changes. It is a complicated operation (although not wildly expensive), whose only effect is to halve the nominal price of the shares.

The habit is ingrained. General Electric’s share price at the end of 1935 was $38.25. Exactly 70 years later, it was $35.05. According to research by a group of academics from the University of California at Los Angeles, Cornell University and the University of Chicago*, GE would by this point have traded at $10,094.40, had it never paid stock dividends or split its stock.

I once interviewed a nonagenarian US investor, who had started his portfolio during the Depression. He tallied the success of his investments by the number of shares he had 60 years later, rather than by their value – so much was it taken for granted that companies would split their stock to keep the nominal price at about $40.

No constituent of the Dow Jones Industrial Average has a share price of less than $19, or more than $95.

In the UK, people like the nominal price of their shares to be even lower. Prices are quoted in pence, not pounds. No constituent of the FTSE 100 has a share price of more than 2,680p or less than 310p.

There are obvious disadvantages. Splits get in the way of comparisons of share price performance over time (although decent data providers can overcome this).

Sometimes they are self-defeating. Lucent Technologies probably wished it had not bothered to keep its share price at a “manageable” level after it was caught up in the collapse of the internet bubble. For years, until its merger with Alcatel of France last year, its share price stood at about $2. It almost always had the highest volume of shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

This is important, because stock exchanges and other intermediaries charge fees based on the number of shares traded, rather than on the amount of money that changes hands. So splitting stock increases costs for investors. The researchers from Cornell and elsewhere found that GE investors would have saved 99 per cent in brokerage commissions if it had not split its stock. About 5bn GE shares traded in 2005, so this is equivalent, they say, to about $100m.

Are there good reasons for this? None stand up to examination. One is that there might be an “optimal” trading range, at which individual investors can afford to buy a round number of shares. But this should logically at least have risen with inflation, so that average nominal prices now would be 10 times their level of the 1930s. In any case, individuals mostly now hold stocks through mutual funds, which don’t find high share prices a deterrent.

Another possibility is that there is an effective minimum ratio between the “tick” size, or spread between bid and offer prices, and the share price. Below a certain ratio, on this argument, nobody will be prepared to make a market in the stock.

The problem here, the researchers point out, is that exchanges have introduced decimalisation in recent years, in place of fractions. This helped to reduce the average tick size from $0.125 per share to about $0.01 over the last decade. But instead of falling by more than 90 per cent, as this theory would predict, average share prices stayed the same.

A final argument is that a low share price, in spite of the attendant costs, signals to investors that a company is of high quality. But a low share price can be embarrassing and the researchers found splits tend to come just as earnings have peaked – not at a time when companies need to send out positive signals.

So has anybody had the nerve to go against the orthodoxy? They have, and their identity is revealing. Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor, has never seen the point of stock splits. A share of Berkshire Hathaway, his main investment vehicle, will cost you $100,000. This has not harmed demand for the stock over the long term. Beyond the Buffett empire, the two highest share prices belong to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (which has been as high as $593) and Google (which has been as high as $513), the two most successful stock market debutants of this century. Neither has felt any need to bring its share price down to a lower level, and neither has been punished for this by investors.

So this is one case where questioning faith leads to a surprising result. Despite a century of dogma, companies should not split their stock, and investors should not reward them when they do.

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Businessweek

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Cornell Professor Builds on His Base

August 1, 2007

As one of the founding fathers of the “base of the pyramid” economic theory, Stuart Hart plays a crucial role in reshaping the way companies view the 4 billion people who live in poverty. The Cornell B-school professor is the founder and chair of the school’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and an authority on the implications of sustainable development and environmeantalism for business strategy.

His 2005 book Capitalism at the Crossroads is required reading for many students taking classes on the base of the pyramid theory, along with C.K. Prahalad’s 2004 book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profit .

Since Hart’s book was published, the subjects he touched upon in the first edition of the book—sustainability, climate change, and environmentalism, to name a few—have become some of the hottest topics of the day. With so many new developments in this area, Hart recently put out a second edition of the book, which hit store shelves in late July. In this new edition he expands upon the connection between terrorism and poverty, climate change, and new developments in sustainable enterprise. With its streamlined subtitle, an introduction by former Vice-President Al Gore, and a number of additional case studies, Hart is hoping that his book will have new relevance for business school students and more general readers.

BusinessWeek reporter Alison Damast recently spoke to Hart about the new book. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation:

Why did you ask Al Gore to write the introduction to the second edition of your book?

Al Gore’s star has really risen since the first edition came out in 2005. If you look at it going back maybe five years, he looks like a failed politician. That is clearly no longer the case, and he never really was. His track record around environmental matters and climate changes goes back 20 to 30 years.

But over the last two-and-a-half years, with the film An Inconvenient Truth and these issues exploding on the scene, he’s become prophetic on these topics. His level of visibility and his impact has risen dramatically over that period of time. The combination of his championing [combating] climate change, along with his new company, Generation Investment Management, made him seem like the perfect person to write the introduction. I’ve also tried to incorporate more content in this second edition around climate change.

I noticed you changed the subtitle of the book from The Unlimited Business Opportunities in Solving the World’s Most Difficult Problems to the more succinct Aligning Business, Planet and Humanity . Can you explain why you decided to do that?

It just seemed like the time was right to change it. I think the first subtitle was quite a mouthful to begin with because it was descriptive and very utilitarian, couched in business terms. With the first edition of the book, I tried to keep any reference to sustainability off the cover. I thought at the time it might prevent some people from picking up the book. Over the last two or three years, a lot has happened to suggest these issues have changed. I thought the time was right to change the subtitle to something that was a little more aspirational.

How does terrorism play into the theories you are espousing in this book?

The perspective I try to develop in the book is that terrorist actions are often embedded in extremist movements. It’s not just monetary poverty. It’s a loss of dignity, a sense of humiliation and alienation and a feeling you have no options. So certainly these extremist movements can’t exist without the tacit support of a large number of people. From my perspective, the whole idea I try to develop in the book is the importance of collaborating with those in the base of the pyramid, the other two-thirds of humanity. We need to create alternative pathways for them and a future so that people can see a way out.

Business school students are becoming more and more interested in base of the pyramid theory. Schools are responding by offering more courses on this subject. What are the long-term implications of this?

I certainly hope that the outcome is that there is greater interest, demand, and initiative for undertaking this action in companies. We need a supply of people who might actually have a chance of being effective. This is not something where you can just take a typical MBA and shove him into this role. It just doesn’t work that way. It takes a certain attitude, a sense of purpose and a set of skills to actually go out and do this work. Our hope is that base of the pyramid classes at B-schools will help us find people with the inclination and passion for this type of work. We want to give them the tools and skills that can make them effective.

In the book, you talk about how the perspective of the poor has been lost in the rush to capture the fortune of the 4 billion poor at the base of the economic pyramid. Why has this happened and what can be done to prevent that?

I think that this whole notion of the base of the pyramid has really taken off, which is very good. But whenever that happens, many companies come forward and essentially attach their own spin to the idea. The natural tendency for companies is to take their existing processes and routines and apply them to this new territory. When you do that, essentially what happens is you end up taking the product, technology, and business model you’ve already got and adapting them somewhat. But the danger is that it can become the latest form of corporate imperialism.

You and your colleagues have written guidelines—known as the base of the pyramid protocol— that you hope companies will use when they try to reach out to this market. Can these guidelines help mitigate this potential ‘corporate imperialism’ you talk about?

The protocol we wrote represents a pretty good attempt at developing a whole new business approach to addressing this problem of potential imperialism and perceived exploitation of the poor. It’s a problem if we are presuming, as Western capitalists, that we know what the problems are of these people who live in rural areas, urban slums, and shantytowns.

You can’t just foist products on poor people without really spending any time in these communities or getting to know them or developing any sort of empathic relationship. It’s a rather arrogant attitude. The vast majority of people who work for large corporations—any one, not just American or European—have never been in a slum or rural area. We need to show a little humility and admit that we don’t always know what is really going on in these areas. I don’t believe any of us who wrote the base of the pyramid protocol believe that you must follow it to the letter, but we do believe the spirit behind it is important.

Who do you think will be the true innovators in this field in the next decade?

I believe we are in the midst of the next “great transformation,” to use a term coined by [political economist] Karl Polanyi. We’re witnessing the birth of the kind of corporation that has a chance of succeeding and growing in the 21st century. Those that figure it out and are able to engage in that transformation will, I think, be the dominant corporations of the 21st century. At this point, it’s too early to tell who it’s going to be.

But I don’t think it’s likely that it will be a well-known brand company from the U.S., Europe, or Japan. These companies will be significantly marginalized over the next 10 or 20 years because they will not have been successful at this transformation. Companies in developing countries are in a prime position to really lead. It’s no coincidence that by far the biggest and most exciting commercial markets in renewable energy technology are found now in places like India and China, not here. They are best positioned for this and are beginning to awaken to the challenge and opportunity that is in their own backyard.

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Latin Business Chronicle

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Colombia: Small Business Boom

November 13, 2007

Small business is booming in Colombia thanks to reduced violence and economic growth, a new report says. Other experts also point to Colombia reducing red tape and becoming more competitive. The new report comes as the International Monetary Fund praises Colombia for its strong GDP growth and macro economic stability.

“The survival rates of ventures [in Colombia] double after 2001,” Wesley Sine, an assistant professor of management and organizations at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, said in a statement yesterday. “Entrepreneurs are more likely to take risks in stable environments.”

MOM-AND-POP SHOPS

Along with Shon Hiatt, a Cornell graduate student in organizational behavior, Sine has written Declining Insurgencies, a study that investigates the welfare of Colombia’s small business owners and is based on a decade of research of almost 1,000 entrepreneurs. Many of the businesses surveyed were mom-and-pop endeavors ranging from small convenience stores to auto repair shops to beauty salons and other family-run operations-the businesses most affected by neighborhood violence.

The study tracked the same entrepreneurs over a 10-year period, allowing Sine and Hiatt to measure the effects of changing political turmoil on entrepreneurial processes from year to year and from region to region in Colombia.

On a recent trip to Colombia, the authors observed that many businesses were more successful due to reduced levels of violence thanks to government crackdowns on guerrilla and paramilitary groups, and crime. “Once the fear of political violence and crime subsided, the entrepreneurs could focus on expanding their businesses,” the statement says.

EXPANDING THE NETWORK

The study found that the amount of time entrepreneurs spend in expanding their social network has increased by about 10 percent, new product introductions by entrepreneurs have increased by 5 percent and the likelihood that entrepreneurs enter into new markets has increased by 5 percent. “These seemingly small changes produce huge ripple effects with survival rates for new ventures doubling in Colombia,” the university said in the statement.

Although most Colombians were not directly affected by the violence in the country, the fear levels were high, causing small businesses to avoid risks, Sine says. “The collective fear was high, and small business people were afraid to take risks by expanding into new markets, trying out new products, and approaching other businesses and entrepreneurs that they didn’t know,” he says.

Entrepreneurs must network to succeed and won’t grow if they are afraid to leave their immediate neighborhoods to meet potential customers and business partners because they fear for their personal safety, Sine points out.

CASE STUDY: MEDELLIN UNIFORM MAKER

The study cites the case of a Medellin entrepreneur who manufactured uniforms for factory workers. The entrepreneur, who had one factory with three sewing machines, could not grow his business because visiting potential clients outside his neighborhood was risky.

“Traveling to parts of the city with which he was not familiar could be dangerous due to high levels of violence, making him a target of local criminal and insurgent gangs,” the statement says. “Moreover, doing business with companies that might have links to the paramilitaries would make him a target to other insurgent groups. So, he stayed home and only did business with existing customers who he knew and trusted.”

However, as the violence and political uncertainty subsided, the entrepreneur began to take more risks. He began contacting more potential customers and a greater diversity of customers and expanded his product line to support organizations in different types of industries such as mining and industrial chemicals. “Today this entrepreneur has six factories and sells specialized protective uniforms to companies throughout Colombia,” the university says in the statement.

IMF PRAISE

Meanwhile, an IMF delegation visiting Colombia expressed strong faith in the country’s economic policies and outlook. The IMF predicts that Colombia’s economy will expand by 6.6 percent this year and another 4.8 percent next year. That follows GDP growth of 6.8 percent last year, the country’s best result in 28 years.

“Colombia’s economic performance has been impressive,” the fund said in a statement Friday. “Growth has been underpinned by the authorities’ commitment to macroeconomic stability and the rising confidence in Colombia’s long-term economic prospects.”

Despite the progress in Colombia, local and foreign investors are eagerly awaiting U.S. congressional approval of the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement that was concluded in February 2006. The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved the U.S.-Peru FTA, but congressional Democrats say they don’t plan to approve the Colombia FTA any time soon.

CLINTON CONTROVERSY

Senator Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner among Democratic presidential hopefuls, issued a statement last week opposing the Colombia FTA. “I will oppose the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama,” she said in a statement. “I am very concerned about the history of violence against trade unionists in Colombia.”

The statement earned her a rebuke from President Alvaro Uribe. “This is an unforgivable lack of understanding of Colombia,” he told reporters during the Ibero-American summit in Chile last week.

Meanwhile, U.S. business groups continue to lobby for the Colombia FTA. “We urge Congress to continue this positive momentum by acting swiftly to approve the pending trade promotion agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea,” Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs at the Consumer Electronics Association, said in a statement last week. “The CE industry relies upon innovation, and innovation can only flourish in a trading system free of unnecessary tariffs and obstacles.”

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Marketplace

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Taxing ourselves green

November 12, 2007

Doug Krizner: Food, clothes, furniture — in the last few years, the goods we buy travel further and faster than ever before. That chews up a whole lot of energy, and leaves behind a whole lot of pollution. So is the consumer economy itself unsustainable?

Commentator Robert Frank is a Cornel University professor and author of The Economic Naturalist. He says: not so fast.

Robert Frank: It’s no mystery we like eating our favorite foods year-round. The problem is, importing large quantities of food and other goods from around the globe contributes significantly to global warming.

Does that mean our consumer appetites are destined to destroy the planet? Not necessarily.

Take imported food. In recent years, environmental activists have been urging us to eat foods grown closer to home. From now ’til spring, they’ll be eating only root vegetables or summer produce they’ve canned themselves.

But most people won’t make sacrifices like that voluntarily. The problem is the consumer economy provides us no incentive to consider the environmental impact of our decisions. The price of lamb from New Zealand, for example, includes the cost of the fuel used to transport it here, but not the environmental cost the trip imposes on the planet.

Fortunately, we don’t need to transform human nature to do something about global warming. We just need to pull some familiar economic levers to change people’s habits. The simplest solution would be a carbon tax that would force consumers to confront the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions. Such a tax would raise the price of fuel sharply — stuff from distant places would become much more expensive, and most people would buy much less of it.

I know what you’re thinking: A carbon tax proposal would be dead-on-arrival in Washington. If so, our problem is not that we don’t know how to make the economy sustainable. Rather, it’s that we simply lack the political will.

Krizner: Robert Frank is author of “The Economic Naturalist.”

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Christian Science Monitor

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Can Web-based worlds teach us about the real one?

By Chris Gaylord, Jan 23, 2008

With last week’s stock market sputter and re newed warnings of a recession, policymakers and presidential candidates are hawking countless plans to jump-start the economy. These proposals are often complex, sometimes controversial, and almost always conjectural.

If only there were a way to take them for a test drive.

Robert Bloomfield is tinkering with such a plan. As an accounting professor at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., he researches virtual worlds – a nascent, but growing, field in the social sciences.

His studies in economic policy lead him into digital realms where the laws of gravity don’t apply. But what about the laws of supply and demand?

Immersive online worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft attract populations that outnumber Sweden’s. And now, scientists are following players down the rabbit hole in hopes of learning more about the real world.

By tapping into the behavior of an estimated 73 million online gamers, Mr. Bloomfield and others hope to study the effects of public policy with an ease and specificity that only computers can deliver. The tools are not yet perfected. But the potential is too strong to ignore, says Bloomfield.

“I got into this because I was talking to the Financial Accounting Standards Board,” which develops standards for publicly traded companies in the US, he says. “They have a lot of questions about the effect of legislation, and it’s very difficult for them to see before the fact what the policy effects will be.”

So, inspired by the popularity of online worlds, several economists imagined creating their own immersive environments. They would design two identical worlds with the same virtual currency. And, sticking to the scientific method, the worlds would differ in some subtle variable.

Then, attract players. Let them loose. Sit back and watch.

The Standards Board loved the idea. But there was a hitch.

“What’s missing? Lots and lots of money,” Bloomfield says with a laugh. While games like World of Warcraft have multimillion-dollar budgets and teams of programmers, most researchers rely on grants and grad students.

For now, experiments have been repurposed to take place within the commercially successful worlds. And even though this setting is not ideal, several big reports have emerged.

Educators and epidemiologists have published studies on how players react to pandemics in World of Warcraft and the social game Whyville, which markets to young teens. IBM found that team captains in fast-paced fantasy games develop strong leadership skills – talents that the company says are applicable and highly prized in the corporate world.

Bloomfield is combing through data from a virtual stock exchange within Second Life, where avatars buy and sell shares in digital companies, earning in-game currency that is tied to real-life dollars. He’s studying how unregulated markets behave. (Early analysis shows that small investors don’t fare very well compared with the CEOs of the companies in which they invest – especially companies with heavy concentration of power in one person. The more distributed the control of a company, the better the returns for investors.)

Many skeptics, however, say that results found online don’t mean anything in the real world. While virtual worlds are more realistic and immersive than Pong, they are still video games. Motivations and incentives are purposefully skewed to make the experience fun.

The second consideration is the test subjects themselves, says Danah Boyd, a social-technology expert and doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley. One thing that attracted many researchers was the sheer size of the population. Major national polls consider 1,000 respondents to be sufficient, but Second Life offers 11.7 million avatars that can be scanned for data.

But think about the people behind the avatars, Ms. Boyd says. They are young – on average 26 to 28 years old. They are early adopters. “They are not a random sample of Americans,” she says. “When I’m looking at teenagers, I don’t speak about senior citizens…. And when you’re talking about Second Life, you’re not talking about the population at large.”

Proponents of online research counter with figures that the audience for today’s “massively multiplayer” games mirror the general public far more closely than most other video games. And in hopes of quelling the skeptics, several studies are attempting to see if reality shines through in the online worlds of pixels and pixies.

“If something that we know is true doesn’t work in one of these virtual worlds, then we know that there’s a problem,” says Edward Castronova, a telecommunications professor at Indiana University in Bloomington. He’s working to conclusively document principles such as supply and demand in digital worlds.

Other studies look into which human social quirks still turn up when character movement is controlled by mouse clicks.

Before graduating with a PhD from Stanford University last year, Nick Yee found that concepts of personal space from real life have seeped into Second Life.

“There is a well-known rule in the physical world that both personal distance and eye gaze are indicators of intimacy,” Mr. Yee says. “So, when you’re in an elevator, because you’re already so close to people around you, it would be incredibly uncomfortable to look them in the eye unless you were very intimate with them. And so, in an elevator, everyone just tries to look at the blinking numbers.”

Yee found the same phenomenon in Second Life. Within a distance of about 12 (virtual) meters, avatars who don’t know one another generally look away.

Nothing is conclusive so far, concedes Professor Castronova. But he’s certain that with time and funding, major research will emerge from virtual worlds.

“We’re building petri dishes for social science,” he says. “And if we’re able to calibrate this machine correctly, I don’t have any doubt that the results will be huge.

111, 2014

Financial Times

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Lessons in Development

By Sarah Murray, February 25 2008

To judge by their activities, one might think some MBA students at Cornell’s Johnson School in the state of New York were pursuing a degree in international development. Their projects range from water purification technologies for poor African communities to a sustainable tourism initiative in Croatia.

Students are required to apply social, economic and environmental conditions to their business development plans. And they are not doing this from a classroom. In teams of four per project, they have travelled to such places as India and Senegal to oversee the implementation of their ideas.

The activities of the Cornell students are part of a growing body of MBA coursework focused on the “base of the pyramid” business strategy. Known as BoP, the idea is espoused by influential US-based academics CK Prahalad and Stuart Hart, who argue that companies can help eradicate poverty by providing goods and services for the 4bn people who live on less than $2 a day.

For many participants, the attraction of the Cornell course was getting out of the classroom and into the field. Melissa McEwen, a Cornell MBA graduate, last year spent part of her time in Croatia evaluating how a resort project might play a role in sustaining the culture, economy and ecology of the island of Kalamota.

“There’s so much to be learnt through travel and exposure to other cultures,” she says. “These classes give you the benefit of that exposure, but they also help you apply things you’re learning, like finance and marketing, to real issues, in real places, with real people.”

The Cornell course and the rising prominence in MBA programmes of the theories of Profs Prahalad and Hart are part of the trend for sustainability topics in business schools. In the past few years courses and electives have paid increasing attention to the role of business in averting climate change and to the ethical challenges of running outsourced manufacturing operations in China or Indonesia.

But while these strategies fall under the term “corporate responsibility”, they tend to focus on the downside – the risk from climate change or of reputational damage to brands associated with human rights abuses.

By contrast, BoP strategies look at a potential upside – the idea that business can address issues such as poverty and disease through profit-making activities.

“What we’re trying to teach our students is that this is not a cost-of-doing-business proposition,” says Mark Milstein, head of Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and a lecturer in strategy, innovation and sustainable global enterprise. “This is a how-to-build-competitive-advantage proposition – and if you start from that framework, you’ll come up with some very different solutions.”

The Aspen Institute, which surveys the growth of sustainability and corporate responsibility topics in business education, has found that a growing number of business schools are including BoP material in their courses.

Among the schools it highlighted in a report was Kenan-Flagler, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where the marketing course includes a session on understanding customers in emerging countries and how to increase social as well as monetary value.

At the University of Michigan’s Ross school, students can choose a course that looks at the innovations in business models and technology needed to enter low-income markets.

Other business schools that incorporate similar material into their courses include: Egade in Monterrey, Mexico; Iese at the University of Navarra, in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain; the Owen school at Vanderbilt University, Nashville; San Francisco State University; and the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

At the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, half the global strategic management course is about managing businesses in emerging markets. “It’s clear that the action in most industries is going to be in developing economies,” says Angel Cabrera, dean. “The whole idea of BoP is very appealing because, yes, it deals with ideas of poverty and development, but it’s also about taking your business to new markets where traditional strategies won’t work.”

Meanwhile, executive education courses are starting to turn to this topic. Last year Harvard Business School launched an executive education programme designed to help participants come up with strategies that will improve economic performance while contributing to society.

Part of the reason this particular approach to business responsibility is so compelling is that, unlike topics such as environmental degradation or labour abuses in garment factories, BoP topics clearly link the possibility of fostering development in poor countries with profit-making activities.

“This is an opportunity for students to see a direct connection between business and something they’re very passionate about,” says Liz Maw, executive director of Net Impact, an on-campus group of more than 7,000 MBA students and young professionals. “MBAs love it when they can make a business case out of topics like corporate responsibility and microfinance, so this lends itself to that.”

Ms Maw is not the only one to have noticed this passion among young executives. Many academic and business leaders talk of a new generation of MBA students who, more than ever, want to see business as a means not only of making money but also as helping to solve some of the world’s more intractable problems.

“And that’s causing deans, academic leaders and those who frame how the school markets itself to wake up,” says Lisa Jones Christensen, an assistant professor who focuses on sustainable enterprise at Kenan-Flagler.

Much of the pressure to introduce this course material to the MBA programme comes from students, she says. “So rather than schools pushing towards students what they think they’re offering, this is student-led.”

Altruism is not the only reason participants are drawn to these courses. “Some students are seeing that this is how they can differentiate themselves in the job market, regardless of the personal and social benefits,” Ms Jones Christensen says.

And because BoP theories focus on revenue generation, academics are also taking an interest. “This offers faculty a way to find a connection to sustainability in a way they couldn’t before,” says Prof Milstein. “Perhaps in the past it was too ethically driven, it was couched in the language of social responsibility or it was focused on environmental management – and that only appeals to a certain subset of faculty.”

For business schools that offer this kind of research and teaching, the courses are proving a powerful selling point when recruiting students. Ms McEwen, for example, says that Cornell’s class was one of the main |reasons she chose the school.

Prof Milstein believes such decisions are coming from a generation of executives who are approaching their careers with a different attitude from that of their predecessors.

“This younger generation don’t want to stay and do the same work for decades,” he says. “They want to work in this other area and, if we don’t create a steam valve to allow them to do that, we will lose a lot of talent.”

Internships with a difference

For the past two years, Accenture Development Partnerships has taken MBA students from the likes of Wharton and London Business School and sent them to countries such as Namibia and India to work on development projects.

ADP is a charitable organisation set up by Accenture that provides consulting services to donors, NGOs and other non-profit groups in developing countries. The consultancy sends in its high-performing people for fees that, because they do not include profit margin or overheads, the groups can afford. Consultants work for half their usual salary.

The internships allow students, working alongside ADP teams, to see Accenture from a different perspective, says Gib Bullock, ADP director.

The company also benefits because a growing number of MBA graduates want to work for companies that are not only making money but also making a difference

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Psychology Today

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Can’t Wait!

By Jett Stone, February 20 2008

Our presidential candidates are offering images of a new post-election world and boasting about their respective experience—but the forward-thinking chants are more naturally rousing: New research shows that when we’re imagining the future, we experience more vivid emotions than when we’re describing events that have actually happened.

While psychologists have recommended that we savor good memories to improve our well being, the new finding suggests that daydreaming about good times yet to come may also make us happier. Though researchers aren’t certain as to why visions of the future are more emotional, it probably has to do with our brain’s ability to meld different potential scenarios into one colorful collage, whereas our memories only have the limited facts at hand to reconstruct what’s already occurred.

We may be tempted to rush into events that we know will be enjoyable, but it’s better to postpone those experiences and relish the anticipation, says Leaf Van Boven of Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, who conducted the research with Laurence Ashworth of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

Therapists often encourage patients to explore the past and speculate about the future, but one time frame may be preferable to the other, depending on what the therapeutic goals are. Dwelling on your upcoming birthday blowout is mood enhancing, but the flip side of the new research is that it shows how focusing on negative future events—a looming court date, for example—can cause us unnecessary anxiety, thanks to our overactive imaginations. A better way to cope, says Van Boven, is to trick our mental time machines by pretending the court battle has already been waged, and imagining it in the past tense, where it won’t be recalled as floridly.

If you’re preparing for a nerve-racking speech, for example, instead of feverishly anticipating the crowd reaction, it may be more calming to switch perspectives and picture the speech two weeks later—as if it were behind you. Then you can “recall” the end of the speech, when the audience erupted in applause.

Van Boven says whether we’re oriented in the future or past affects the decisions we make, which is why he thinks his research could shed light on how our emotional reactions to leaders can be manipulated with time references. “Since both Democrats and Republicans are responding to the word ‘change,'” he says, “they must all be excited by the potential for a brighter future.” Maybe we should postpone the election and just sit with those happy fantasies a while longer.

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WSJ

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

In India, How Do Rooftop Gardens Grow?

March 5, 2008

HYDERABAD, India — Can growing vegetables on India’s slum rooftops and holding cooking classes in slum alleyways make a difference?

That is the contention of a new program that’s about to begin in a 100-acre slum in the capital city of India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The country has seen hundreds of programs over the years designed to combat malnutrition. The latest aims to clear out the garbage, create a patchwork of small organic farms to grow vegetables that can be sold in the market, and then employ a team of 23 local women to demonstrate healthy cooking and good food hygiene.

The project is based on research by Erik Simanis, co-director of the “Base of the Pyramid” at Cornell University’s Johnson School in New York, a 3-year-old program that seeks to improve nutrition standards among the poor. He says it aims to develop understanding about the importance of micro-nutrients — minerals and vitamins traditionally not found in high quantities in India’s high-carbohydrate diet.

There’s a commercial twist. The project is being funded and supported by The Solae Company, a joint venture of DuPont Co. and Bunge Ltd. Solae is sending employees to help train the cooks and is donating soy protein for the cooking classes in an effort to beef up the nutritional benefits of the meals.

But the program’s ultimate goal is to establish a “culinary park network” on the rooftops so local women can grow their own vegetables and then turn surplus into meals for sale. The first gardens will be laid with topsoil in April and the first crops of tomatoes, spices, chilies, eggplant, mushrooms and leafy green vegetables is expected by the end of the year. The slum houses about 100,000 residents.

“Once the rooftop farms start developing, we can have easy and economical access to vegetables and fruits that get decomposed when they are imported from different villages,” says Jamal Bee, who lives in the slum and is on one of the teams that cooks traditional dishes like chapatti (pancakes), dal (lentils), upma (a south Indian dish made of wheat), paisam (rice pudding) and sweets using soy protein.

For some of the slum’s women, the program is as important for what it offers them as it is for education about food: a chance to socialize out of the gaze of men and earn some money as chefs. The 23 women in the program earn about $75 a month. “I see the world in a new light now,” says Prema, another participant. “It gives an immense sense of confidence and contentment to lend a helping hand to the household income.”

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Inside Higher Ed

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Brand Extension

By: Elia Powers, May 20, 2008

There are down sides to being a Cornell University student in Seattle. The 6:30 a.m. Saturday class starts are brutal. Ask any of the four business school students who are huddled at the end of a conference table in this suburban office building.

They are looking over spreadsheets and discussing a paper about the marketing of soft drinks, which may only serve as a reminder of the apparent caffeine shortage in the room.

A familiar face welcomes the class. Danny Szpiro, a Cornell professor, is live from an Ithaca, N.Y. studio. Through videoconference technology, students watch their professor speak in front of a still backdrop of the Johnson School at Cornell.

Szpiro, ever the animated instructor, is just the man to liven up a morning session of managerial accounting — one of the required courses in this executive M.B.A. program. As he does each class, Szpiro starts off with an accounting joke. He smiles at the end, but is anyone laughing? Szpiro can take a random sampling, just not a full measure, because the 80 students in this program are, as he speaks, spread across 14 cities in the United States and Canada.

In each location, students watch Szpiro on one television screen and see his lecture notes or slides on another. In Seattle, a bundle of blue chords connects the television to touchpads that allow students to communicate with Ithaca. They can also follow notes through a course Web portal on their computers.

This early morning class illustrates the way that — years into the spread of asynchronous distance education — many universities are working to educate their students as a cohort who has a significant portion of its education together. And the fact that Cornell’s business school is in Seattle (if only through students and video) shows the way that technology is part of the increasing push by business schools to secure positions outside their home territories.

During class, Szpiro is part lecturer, part talk show host, calling out names of students who press a button indicating they want to address the entire group.

“I see Steve in Buffalo has a question,” Szpiro says, and the student appears on the television screen. “Robert in Calgary – we go to you.”

Boardroom teams usually consist of six to eight students who stay together for the entire 17-month program. Three Saturdays each month, the entire cohort is together in real time, hooked up through cables and high-speed Internet. Most of the time is spent in this setting, although there are several so called “residential sessions” in New York when the group is physically together. (These sessions comprise 40 percent of the overall class time.) The traditional executive M.B.A. program is designed to take 22 months to complete.

Upon completion of the nontraditional program, students receive an M.B.A. from Cornell’s business school and from its partner in the program, Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario.

The two institutions have worked together in some capacity for more than a decade. Theirs is a partnership based largely on institutional similarities — both have highly-rated business schools located in relatively small outposts. In other words, they have some challenge reaching potential students who are planted in a major city and aren’t looking to move.

The Cornell-Queen’s Executive M.B.A program is the solution for the universities involved. Students can earn a joint degree without relocating, a tempting offer for mid-career managers like David Wrench.

“It’s hard to leave with your job and pick up and go to another city,” said Wrench, a senior vice president at Key Bank in Tacoma, Wash.

Price is also a factor. The total cost for the next incoming class of the Cornell-Queen’s program is $95,000, which includes tuition, books, course materials, lodging and meals during the executive sessions, and funds to cover expenses incurred during a global business project.

By comparison, the cost for the next incoming class of Cornell’s Executive M.B.A. Program is $122,400. (Classes for this program are held in Palisades, N.Y. every other weekend.) The full-time on-campus program costs $38,800 for the 2006-7 academic year.

Early on, the Johnson School’s faculty board rejected the idea of an executive M.B.A. program that would rely primarily on online content delivery.

“It is central to the philosophy of our school that students have a sense of interaction with faculty,” said Szpiro. “We felt that an online program couldn’t meet the value of a Cornell M.B.A., and that students could maintain personal contact even over the television.”

Given the nature of the field, business schools have long coveted partnerships with foreign countries and sought to position themselves within the United States to reach more students.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania opened a San Francisco-based office in 1996. Wharton West consists of a two-year executive M.B.A degree program and executive education courses, with the majority of students coming from the West Coast.

The same year, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University established joint executive M.B.A programs with universities in Israel, Germany, China and Canada. In addition to that effort, called Global Kellogg, the business school also offers a two-year program in Miami geared largely toward Latin American students and those who want to work in Spanish-speaking countries.

Jerry E. Trapnell, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, said he expects an increasing number of American institutions to set up branches (physical or not) in regions other than their own.

“We’re seeing a lot of delivery options, from 100 percent online to using different forms of technology to video conferencing,” said Trapnell, a former business school dean at Clemson University. “We find that in the various modes, if you invest in it correctly and build an infrastructure, classes can be just as active and rich as in the traditional setting.”

The reputation of a business school is likely to dictate how well a distance program fares, Trapnell said. Regional institutions, not just elite privates and flagship state campuses, are setting up online programs and what he calls blended models (to which Cornell’s would belong) that mix face-to-face interaction with real-time or taped distance learning.

Institutions get into trouble when they look at these programs as ways to increase revenue with little additional time or capital investment. “It’s quite expensive and time-intensive to build courses around the use of technology,” Trapnell said.

The Cornell-Queen’s program requires that a total of two dozen professors from both institutions learn the nuances of video conferencing. (Listen to this Inside Higher Ed podcast for more on teaching over the television.) Szpiro said he isn’t aware of other business schools that offer a program that relies heavily on live video conferences for the dissemination of information.

While Szpiro speaks, students in Seattle are often talking around the table. Besides the occasional jab at a professor — another accounting joke? — the classmates keep most of their comments to related material. Szpiro said he finds the quality of conversation is better in this setting, because students’ easy questions are answered by classmates in a boardroom, leaving the more complicated topics to be discussed by the entire group.

Still, the Seattle students say it’s sometimes a challenge to stay on task and lively throughout the entire session. Vrinda Kadiyali, a professor of business strategy whose class follows Szpiro’s on this dreary Saturday in the Northwest, makes a point of keeping everyone engaged.

“Last week, the first part of the class was great,” she said. “But then you were tired. I look forward to you being really energetic today … Montreal, I’m looking at you.”

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Industry Week

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Viewpoint – High Oil Prices Could Help U.S. Manufacturing

By: Joe Thomas, August 8, 2008

The higher oil prices that have shocked American industry and consumers alike may contain more than a silver lining, they present a golden opportunity to propel the U.S. into a more productive and efficient future. The short-term pain of higher transportation costs will turn into long-term gains if national policy aims forward instead of backward.

Both presidential candidates have addressed this issue mostly in response to higher gas prices for consumers. But the responses so far — more offshore drilling and conservation — address only part of the problem. A national policy based on alternative energy, natural gas, better mass transportation, more stringent auto mileage standards, tax breaks for greener technologies and offshore drilling (although results will be years in the future) and nuclear energy will be necessary to power up industry and consumers.

As we discovered when the IRS gave tax breaks to consumers who drove gas-guzzling SUVs and classified them as trucks leading to a surge in SUV demand, government can and does affect behavior quite significantly. Of course, private industry must respond as well. The manufacturing industry has taken the lead, with more local production and a more efficient supply chain instituted out of necessity. The days of sourcing lumber in the Pacific Northwest, shipping it to China for production of furniture, and sending it back to Chicago or Dallas as a new dining room table will be less common now that a container from Shanghai to Long Beach costs $8,000, compared to $3,000 less than 10 years ago.

Prices have dropped from $140 a barrel, but the era of cheap oil is over and no amount of debate on tire pressure can change that. Here are five outcomes that are likely if Americans embrace the end of cheap oil and politicians, industry and consumers act accordingly.

1. The U.S. will keep many of our manufacturing jobs. High oil prices and the devaluation of the dollar have made Asian goods more expensive to purchase and ship, and I believe this will keep the manufacturing sector stable. Many U.S. industries will keep current jobs and transfer fewer jobs offshore. Still, the initial investment required for plants in some heavy industries that have moved overseas is so high that new plants will not be built in some capital-intensive industries. The overall benefit will occur not just for final product assembly, but across the supply chain. Much of the U.S. economic growth comes from small- and mid-sized enterprises, which can provide better customer service and faster response time by keeping their manufacturing local. This competitive advantage will keep their manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

2. More U.S. auto production. Even though GM and Ford are closing factories and trying to build fewer trucks and more small cars, a transformation that will result in fewer jobs, the overall employment may stay stable — or increase — due to foreign investment. With the cost of auto components, including steel, rising, foreign auto firms like Honda, Toyota and Hyundai will purchase more components in the U.S. and assemble cars here, enjoying cost savings in purchasing and transportation and providing additional U.S. manufacturing jobs.

3. Less Driving. The Federal Highway Administration reported Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer miles in May compared to a year earlier. For the first four months of the year compared to 2007, we drove 40.5 billion less miles. This trend has major implications for train and bus usage and less tax revenue for the nation’s highway system. Lower tax revenue is a problem, but less driving and smaller cars will decrease oil consumption and provide side benefits, cleaner air and fewer highway fatalities.

4. Green Investment. It is now economically feasible to invest in wind, solar and other alternative energies. GE has a two-year backlog on turbines for large windmills. The private sector will find ways to improve the technology and lower the cost for a range of energy sources such as biofuels. But wind and biofuel will not be enough by themselves and industry must discover how to make solar power and other alternative energies economically efficient.

5. National Energy Policy. For years, gas prices were too low and it made us do things that were not economically justifiable or sustainable. The presidential race features candidates who advocate drilling — which will take years to produce results — and to produce more ethanol from corn, which is a mistake in my opinion. Biomass, grass and sugar cane are much more efficient as sources for ethanol than corn. A comprehensive energy policy which incorporates ideas to help manufacturing, the environment, and the economy can be called “all of the above.” We need drilling; we need nuclear power; we need renewable energy. Higher energy prices make many of these efficient.

While there is no one magic bullet to solve our energy situation, our dependence on cheap oil can no longer prop up our economy. And that’s a good thing.

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San Francisco Chronicle

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Cornell Johnson School of Management, Uncategorized|

Fuel Crisis May Boost Manufacturing

By L. Joseph Thomas, Sunday, August 31, 2008

The recent surge in oil prices has shocked the Golden State, but painful as they may be, higher oil prices present California with an opportunity in unexpected quarters: the state’s manufacturing base.

The days of cutting lumber in the Pacific Northwest, shipping it to China for production and sending it back to Pleasanton as a new dining room table are almost over, now that shipping a container from Shanghai to Oakland costs $8,000, compared with $3,000 a decade ago.

Oil prices may have dropped from $140 per barrel, but the era of cheap oil is over – and no amount of debate over offshore drilling or tire gauges can change that.

State and national policies based on alternative energy, natural gas, better mass transportation, more stringent auto mileage standards, tax breaks for greener technologies, increased nuclear power and offshore drilling (although results will be years in the future) will be necessary to power up industry and consumers.

As we saw from increased demand for hybrid vehicles when these cars received HOV stickers to drive in carpool lanes, government can and does affect behavior. But private industry must do its part as well.

Here’s what I believe will happen. First, the manufacturing sector will stabilize. The California Manufacturers and Technology Association reported 50,000 manufacturing jobs lost from May 2007 to May 2008. But high oil prices and the devaluation of the dollar will reverse this trend as Asian goods become more expensive to purchase and ship.

There is already evidence that this is happening.

The California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, a survey of 500 small manufacturers in Southern California, found an overall $243 million increase in sales during the fiscal period June 2007 to May 2008. Economists at Chapman University reported that manufacturing production has actually grown across most industries, from chemicals and plastics to electronics and aerospace, according to their California Purchasing Managers Index released this summer.

The high cost of transporting steel and other materials means domestic auto production has become much more appealing. This will benefit operations surrounding Fremont’s Nummi plant, for example, as it sources more parts from its more than 1,000 in-state suppliers, supporting upward of 50,000 jobs.

Much of California’s economic growth comes from small and midsize enterprises across the supply chain, which can provide better customer service and faster response time by keeping their manufacturing local. This competitive advantage will keep manufacturing jobs in California.

Silicon Valley innovators have increasingly shifted their focus to renewable energy, and clean-tech manufacturing is poised to be a huge boon for the Bay Area. High-tech industry luminaries like Intel, IBM and National Semiconductor have each poured millions into solar panel development.

While California has already taken great strides to invest in homegrown renewable energy sources, the Energy Information Administration says California still imports more electricity than any other state due to sheer quantity of energy demand. The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies recently reported that if California generates one-third of its electricity from renewables by 2020, the state could see an increase of 200,000 manufacturing jobs and a $60 billion injection for the ailing economy.

Oil at its current prices makes this target highly feasible. With increased investment, the private sector will find ways to improve the technology and drive down costs for alternative energy sources, including biofuels (from sources other than corn).

Many trends begin in the Golden State, and California’s decisions could greatly influence a new national energy policy. For years, gas prices were too low, and it made consumers and industry do things that were not economically justifiable. But Californians and the rest of the country are becoming better at conserving.

A comprehensive energy policy that helps manufacturing, the environment and the economy needs to be enacted. We need tougher mileage standards, more domestic drilling, nuclear energy, solar and wind power and other renewable energy. Higher oil prices make many of these economically efficient and more appealing to consumers and industry.

While there is no one magic bullet to solve our energy situation, our dependence on cheap oil can no longer prop up the California economy. That’s good for California and good for America.

L. Joseph Thomas is the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean of Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management and a professor of Operations Management. E-mail us at insight@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page G – 9 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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The Buffalo News

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, MIT Sloan School of Management|

MIT student from E. Aurora happy helping Indonesian tsunami victims

By Ryan Haggerty, August 7, 2005

Many graduate business students hope to spend their summers in internships at major companies, padding their resumes and learning the ins and outs of the corporate world.

But East Aurora’s Nathalie Butcher, a second-year student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, is spending her summer working in Sirumbo, a tiny village on a peninsula of the Indonesian island of Nias.

The village — home to about 1,000 residents, two satellite phones, one Internet connection, a sketchy electrical grid and no cellular phone coverage — was nearly destroyed by the December tsunami, and was rocked by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake in March that flattened the few remaining buildings.

Despite the painstaking and meticulous work required to get the village back on its feet, Butcher, 28, says there is nowhere else she’d rather be. “I’ve always described myself as someone who can get things done,” she said in a telephone interview from Jakarta, where she lives in between trips to Sirumbo. “I like to organize things, and I love large projects. I don’t mind small details that would probably annoy most other people.”

Those “small details” include planning and building a coconut oil production facility in Sirumbo, a project that would convert an abundant natural resource into profit. It would also provide steady jobs to villagers whose fishing industry was decimated when their boats and markets were crushed by the tsunami, and would result in improvements to the area’s infrastructure.

Butcher, who graduated from East Aurora High School in 1995 and majored in finance at Lehigh University, took her first steps toward a summer in Indonesia while at MIT in January, when she was searching for a summer internship and trying to raise money for the Sloan Leadership Club’s March trip to Patagonia, a rugged region of South America.

“I was feeling guilty because I was asking for money for a bunch of business students to go hiking on glaciers, when there were people without drinking water on the other side of the world,” she said.

While hunting for opportunities in Indonesia, she was directed to Alan White, a senior associate dean at Sloan and a member of the international advisory panel of United in Diversity, an organization started by a Sloan graduate about two years ago to help Indonesia’s disparate minority groups work together for political and economic stability.

Butcher, armed with a digital slide show, laid out her goals in a 10-minute interview with White.

“He liked it so much, he asked for a digital copy of the pitch and a copy of my resume,” she said. “The next day, I had a job.” Butcher’s clear objectives and knowledge of her own limitations made her an ideal fit for United in Diversity, White said. “I was struck by her idealism and the realistic approach she was taking,” he said. “She wasn’t going to remake the world, but she was going to go out to see what she cou! ld do.”

Butcher’s 12-week stay in Indonesia ends Aug. 24, but she will be able to see some payoff from her work, when 18 families move into new houses in the middle of the month, capping a project that Butcher helped oversee. Such tangible results have turned Butcher’s thoughts to the nature of her work following her graduation next spring.

“I love travel, and I love learning about other cultures,” she said. “I would prefer to work overseas because it’s a beautiful world, and I love exploring. If I can use my skills to help others, that’s fantastic.”

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Austin American-Statesman

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, MIT Sloan School of Management|

Summer school, Costa Rican style

By Laura Heinauer, August 10, 2005

They trekked by bus over a rickety suspension bridge in the jungle and hiked for three hours across a beach in the middle of the night, all to behold a sight rarely witnessed: nearly 100 baby Leatherback turtles crawling off to sea.

But the St. Edward’s University business students weren’t there to coo over the wonders of nature. They were working on marketing plans, microlending strategies and corporate sponsorships as part of the university’s master’s of business administration class in global project management.

Such courses — where students assume the roles of business consultants, draft business plans and help form startups in foreign countries — are fast becoming the most popular courses offered at MBA programs in Austin and across the nation.

“It teaches you how to deal with real global clients,” said Paul Rinn, one of eight students on the trip charged with drafting a 38-page business plan for a nonprofit organization called Association ANAI, which works to combat turtle egg poaching by providing Costa Ricans with other opportunities for sustainable income.

Students studying overseas learn the obstacles to running businesses in developing countries, school officials say. They also gain a hands-on understanding of the global marketplace and the challenges unique to running a multinational corporation.

Additionally, many students feel that by going abroad and creating job opportunities, they are having a much bigger impact on the economies of countries that have been overlooked.

“All students need exposure to foreign cultures, because there’s really nothing that isn’t global anymore,” said Ram Matta, a St. Edward’s professor who accompanied the students on the trip. He is working with Gary Pletcher, the St. Edward’s MBA program global management chairman and professor who planned the trip, to expand these global courses to other countries.

“They’re beginning to realize you have to get out there, that having a first-hand look its not something you can learn in a book,” Matta said.

The trip to save the Costa Rican sea turtles is one of nearly a dozen such global business trips at St. Edward’s, which has also sent students to Belize, the Czech Republic and Germany in the past three years.

Georgetown University in Washington requires at least one such international course for graduation from its MBA program, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, up to 10 percent of students are enrolled in such courses at any one time.

The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas has also started offering what it calls Global Connections courses. The program, which started about three years ago, went from offering three or four trips a year to eight. It is one of the school’s most popular programs, with 240 students participating this past spring, said Deidra Stephens, the school’s Global Connections coordinator.

As U.S. imports from low-cost countries continue to soar, officials said, one need only look at the numbers to see where MBAs are finding the best investment opportunities.

In 2004, the United States imported about $1.5 trillion in goods, a 17 percent increase from the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Those figures, school officials said, have led to more foreign MBA students opting to return to their own countries to start businesses. And now, American students are going with them.

Indeed, President Bush’s signing of the Central American Free Trade Agreement this month might have opened up more opportunities to expand American exports and take advantage of cheaper labor in such places as Costa Rica.

“The U.S. has a kind of proven track record, and business there is very predictable,” said Stephen Hazelton, a former MIT student who grew up in Austin and is now a venture capitalist in working in Vietnam. He said he worked as a management consultant for a few years in the States before realizing he wanted to go global.

“It’s very intense, challenging and exciting to think I could help create jobs here,” he said.

The Costa Rica trip — think “Apprentice” meets “Survivor,” with about a dozen aspiring businessmen and businesswomen dropped into remote areas of southeastern Costa Rica — was the fourth time St. Edward’s business students have been to this small Central American country in the past several years. The trips, which cost students $500 to $1,500, last about a week.

While in Costa Rica, students worked with a nonprofit organization and learned how multinational corporations such as Procter & Gamble and Intel can lower costs and improve efficiencies by opening offices in other countries.

In one exercise, the students toured a sock producing plant to get an understanding of how a business with a truly global outlook is run. The socks, for instance, were sewn in Costa Rica on machines built in Italy to be sold in the U.S. and elsewhere.

“I’ll never look at a sock the same way again,” student Jaime Luna said.

Luna and his classmates found that ANAI’s biggest challenges were that it lacked focus and personnel and had internal communication problems. The solutions students recommended included making the ANAI Web site more user-friendly, developing an internship program to help with staffing shortages and establishing a turtle adoption program to increase revenue.

Pletcher said he wants students to generalize their experiences. He tells his students to prepare to be hot, uncomfortable and ready to adapt quickly while overseas.

The real joy comes in creating future business leaders who are adept in a global environment, he said.

“I get goosebumps when I know I’ve got four students global assignments, four more interviewing and two teaching these courses at other universities,” Pletcher said. “But the most rewarding thing for me is seeing the individual confidence of each student grow to the point … that they can truly become effective global business managers.”

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NYT

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, MIT Sloan School of Management|

India lures interns to look at outsourcing

By Saritha Rai, August 7, 2005

This summer, Omar Maldonado and Erik Simonsen, both students at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, did something different.

Bypassing internship opportunities on Wall Street, just a subway ride away from their Greenwich Village campus, the two went to India to spend the summer at an outsourcing company in the Gurgaon suburbs of New Delhi.

“The India opportunity grabbed me,” said Maldonado, a Boston native whose family is from the Dominican Republic. “I wanted to get a global feel for investment banking and not just a Wall Street perspective.”

He and Simonsen, both 27, are spending three months at Copal Partners, an outsourcing firm with 100 analysts, which produces merger and acquisition pitch books and provides equity and credit analysis and other research to global banks and consultant groups, including those on Wall Street.

Maldonado and Simonsen, of Riverside, California, are part of a virtual invasion of students in India – mainly Americans so far, but also some Europeans and Asians.

Graduate students from top schools in the United States, as well as countries like France or Singapore, are vying for internships at India’s biggest private companies. For many, outsourcing companies are the destinations of choice.

Time spent in India is not just valuable business background, said Kiran Karnik, president of the outsourcing industry trade body, Nasscom. It is “also culturally fulfilling,” he said, adding that many students also travel while in India, giving them a view of the country and its deep history.

Nasscom is now trying to track the ever-increasing numbers of foreign interns. Many are in India to study globalization first hand, he said; China does not present the same opportunities because of the language barrier.

Karnik said he had met more than a dozen interns from the Harvard Business School spending the summer in India this year. “I expect a bigger horde of students to arrive next year because the ones here said they had a great time and will go home to talk about it,” he said.

Elsewhere, too, the trend is on the rise. At Georgetown University’s Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business, Stanley Nollen, a professor of international business, said India was of growing interest to students.

“No longer is India thought of as a land of snake charmers and bride burnings,” he said. “Now India means the world’s best software services, and increasingly, pharmaceuticals and auto parts.”

Nollen directs the school’s programs for MBA students in India that include “residencies” – academic courses centered on consulting projects for companies operating in India. A group of 49 students arrived this month and went to companies like Philips India Software and MindTree Consulting, both in Bangalore, the motorcyle-making unit of Eicher in Chennai, and the ICICI Bank in Mumbai.

But India can be a jolt to an average student visiting for the first time. In Gurgaon, a small town despite its tall office complexes and shiny new malls, Maldonado and Simonsen share an apartment where the power fails several times a day. Summer temperatures are regularly above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 Celsius.

The two said they had come prepared to find “inadequate infrastructure,” but had not been prepared for the daily frustrations of Gurgaon. There is no mass transport system, and even shopping for something as basic as an umbrella can take hours. They rumble to work in an auto rickshaw – a motorized three-wheeler that seats two and is a ubiquitous form of transport in Indian cities.

But the sophistication of the work being done in Copal’s Gurgaon office contrasted with the chaotic city outside. Simonsen said he was amazed.

“I came expecting to see number-crunching and spreadsheet type of work; I didn’t expect American banks to farm out intricate analytics,” he said. The two are working on a project that analyzes investment opportunities for clients across 23 countries.

Infosys Technologies, the country’s second-largest outsourcing firm after Tata Consultancy Services, discovered how popular India had become as an internship destination when the company began recruiting: for the 40 intern spots at its Bangalore headquarters, the company received 9,000 applications.

The final 40, cutting a wide academic swathe from engineering schools like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie-Mellon to business schools like Stanford, Wharton and Kellogg, have since arrived on campus for stays of three months. The interns work in areas from marketing to technology, but also experience a slice of Indian work life. They live in a 500-room hotel complex on Infosys’s expansive campus in the suburbs of Bangalore, exchanging coupons for meals at the food court, and riding the company bus downtown to decompress at the many pubs and bars.

Among them is Caton Burwell, 28, of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“India has come to symbolize globalization and I wanted to participate in the workings of the global economy,” he said, explaining why he had chosen India over companies nearer to home. “Besides, it would look great on my résumé.” Burwell said he has a better grasp of the workings of the global economy and the logic behind the choices companies and countries made, since arriving in India. “Being here is a powerful experience; it is impossible not to think differently,” he said.

Also, his attitude toward outsourcing has changed since meeting Indian employees who work very hard and care a great deal about the quality of their work. “To come here, meet these people, and to return home and turn your back on outsourcing is hard,” he said.

Jeffrey Anders, 29, from M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management is similarly stirred. Anders is halfway through his internship at the business process outsourcing division of Hewlett-Packard India in Bangalore.

“I can’t help but feel that I am witnessing the creation of a new global economic order, a new reality that most people back home don’t realize is coming,” said Anders.

After a meeting with the recruiting head of HP India’s back-office unit at a conference at M.I.T., Anders went to India to work on building a group of Indian economists and statisticians to perform complex analytics and predictive modeling for Western multinationals. “These highly educated and qualified people are not stopping at call centers and back-office work; they are getting ready to compete for every job.”

Meanwhile, Indian companies are looking at summer internships as a way of building a diverse work culture.

“Bringing investment bankers here provides our Indian team a perspective and context of Wall Street,” said Joel Perlman, co-founder of Copal Partners, a company based in London that has four employees each in New York and London and 100 or so in India.

Other companies, and even the schools themselves, are looking at internships as a step toward sending bright young people to work in India.

Infosys, for instance, hired Joshua Bronstein, a former intern from Claremont McKenna College in California, as its first American employee based in India nearly two years ago.

“In this increasingly global economy, we would expect to see India become an even greater source of employment for our students,” Sheryle Dirks, director of the Career Management Center at Fuqua, said.

Interns like Anders are getting a close view of the social changes underway in India. Outsourcing has created thousands of better-paying jobs and spawned communities of young people who can afford cars, apartments and iPods.

“I thought the stipend was the down side,” said Anders, “but coming here is a priceless experience.”

111, 2014

Boston Business Journal

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, MIT Sloan School of Management|

B school programs train students to act globally

By Mike Hoban, September 2, 2005

Kaidra Mitchell was a grad student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management in 2001 when she had an epiphany.

During a class, she listened to a talk by Endeavor Initiative, a nonprofit group that supports entrepreneurs in developing economies, and she realized that she would feel more passionate about working in a developing economy than as a management consultant in the United States.

She took an internship with Endeavor at a startup in Brazil for her course work, and following its completion, worked as a teacher’s assistant with MIT’s Global Entrepreneurship Lab, or G-Lab.

The work whet her appetite for working with developing economies, and after graduation, she took a position as a banking consultant in Tajikistan, the former Soviet Union province, assisting small enterprises with loans and business expertise in the impoverished nation.

Developed by Richard Locke and colleague Simon Johnson of the Sloan School, G-Lab is designed to teach MBA students about entrepreneurship in developing countries by placing them in internships with startup companies in various emerging markets.

And while most MBAs won’t be heading off to third-world economies with their newly acquired skills, G-Lab is one of a number of area business schools preparing their graduates for the global economy.

“The idea behind the course is that if you really want to understand what’s going on in the global economy, you have to do two things,” says Locke. “One, you have to not assume that the U.S. is the model that every other economy is trying to approximate. And two, you’ve got to get out of the classroom and experience how business is done in the real world.”

G-lab accomplishes this by matching four-student teams to a project overseas for a host company. The teams begin their research work on campus, and after developing their project strategy, communicating with host companies via phone and e-mail, they serve an intensive three- to four-week internship with the company in-country. At the end of the internship, teams present their conclusions to management and deliver reports and backup data detailing their analysis to faculty.

Liesbet Peeters, a 2005 Sloan grad who interned in India and is currently working in Swaziland for the World Bank, found the G-Lab experience “invaluable.”

“The (G-lab program) definitely provides a well-rounded structure to make you think about many different dimensions as a business leader,” she says. “It exposes you to an incredibly diverse group of extremely bright people.”

Proustian approach

Harry Lane, co-founder of Northeastern University’s Institute for Global Innovation Management, greets each fresh crop of students in his “executing global management” executive MBA class with a Marcel Proust adage: “The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

“We talk about globalization, and to most people that means going somewhere else,” he says. “What we try to instill in people is a global mind-set. We try to get them to see that you don’t have to go somewhere else to participate in the global economy.”

Which doesn’t imply that the students stay put on Huntington Avenue. Grad students are required to go on two trips for the program, the first being a weeklong trip to Instituto Panamericano de Alta Direccion de Empresa, Mexico’s premier business school, for its International Week. Students from North and South America, Germany and the Netherlands work in multicultural teams, address current business phenomena from an intercultural perspective, visit Mexican companies and attend cultural and social events.

The second trip takes them to France and the Czech Republic for 10 days. The purpose of the trip is to observe their respective business practices.

At Suffolk University, Shahriar Khaksari, dean of the international business program, has developed a Global MBA program for the students at the Sawyer School of Management. Modeled after South Carolina’s Moore School of Business and The Garvin School of International Management in Arizona, the curriculum emphasizes extensive out-of-country experience.

The 15-month program requires students to attend at least one international seminar abroad during the winter or spring break, as well as a three-month internship outside their home country. At the conclusion of the internship, students attend the two-week Capstone Seminar, where they share their experiences with students and faculty.

But Khaksari believes that the real strength of his 3-year-old program lies in the faculty. “We have a faculty that has international experience in terms of teaching, research, and travel. If you don’t have the experience, you can’t teach it.”

Babson College’s MBA program has had a global requirement since 1976, and the school established its Glavin Center for Global Management in 1997.

“We recognized the importance of global thinking early on,” says Marilyn Snyder, the Wellesley school’s deputy director of the program.

As part of the curriculum, students can choose to do a two-week offshore elective, take a longer internship between semesters, or study abroad for a semester at an affiliated school.

“Our strength is our entrepreneurship programs,” says Snyder. “Babson is continuously ranked as the top entrepreneurial school in the U.S., and we really want our students to be able to compete globally in the marketplace.”

111, 2014

Forbes.com

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, MIT Sloan School of Management|

Final Four Tickets At 80% Off

By Brett Nelson, December 22, 2005

How much would you pay for a seat at the Super Bowl? Face value of one of those tickets is around $600. But, then, face value is an illusion.

In reality, the mechanics of the NFL’s ticket-distribution process are so murky that not even season-ticket holders of the competing teams are guaranteed a seat—let alone one sold at face. Pigskin fans end up forking over roughly four times that amount (or more, depending how rabid they are) to see the big show. Talk about an inefficient market.

A gutsy Web startup called Yoonew wants to change all that. Launched in 2004 by two students from the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Baltimore-based company aims to bring order to the chaos by selling futures contracts on sports tickets. Under this arrangement, fans buy the right to take delivery of tickets when—and if—their teams make it to a coveted playoff game, which might be months away. Hence the name Yoonew—as in, “you knew” that your team would get there.

Given the uncertainty of the bet, those contracts sell for a fraction—call it an insurance premium—of the future market value of the underlying tickets. If your team makes it to the big game, you’ve locked in a cheap seat; if it falls short, you lose that premium. The savings could be huge. At the beginning of the football season, on Sept. 10, a clairvoyant Indianapolis Colts fan could have bought the right to see his team play in the Super Bowl for $719.31 per ticket. Since then the Colts have racked up a record of 13-1. On Dec. 19, that futures contract clocked in at $1,989.87. If the Colts keep winning, a ticket scalped in the Ford Field parking lot in Detroit on Super Bowl Sunday might go for $2,300.

But Yoonew has its sights on more than just football. In late December, the company will start selling contracts on tickets to the Final Four college basketball championship in March. While a “strip” of three tickets (for both semifinal games and the championship) are already on sale for $750 and up, fans will be able to buy futures contracts on most of the 25 top-ranked teams for around $100 apiece—an effective discount of 85% per ticket, assuming their teams make it all the way to Indianapolis. Contracts for seats to the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Finals will be available in January, followed in the spring by those for World Series games. Yoonew even plans to write contracts on more obscure events, like the National Finals Rodeo.

“Mostly corporations end up getting tickets,” says co-founder Hagos Mehreteab. “We are the advocates for die-hard fans.”

They are also courting some stadium-sized risk. All ticket brokers are short sellers: That is, they sell tickets they don’t have in inventory, hoping to buy them later—at a lower price—when it comes time to deliver. Some 25% to 40% of all broker deals involve such “try-and-get” tickets, according to a 2002 paper by Stephen Happel and Marianne Jennings in the Cato Journal. In Yoonew’s case, it hopes that the revenue it collects from selling all of those contracts exceeds the cost of delivering a relatively small number of tickets. This is a dangerous bet: If ticket prices spike, or if there are simply no tickets available, the company could suffer a loss or at least alienate its customers. Yoonew offers a 300% guarantee on tickets it doesn’t deliver, though that won’t do much for the company’s reputation if it can’t put people in their seats. “If customers are upset, it spreads like wildfire,” says co-founder Gerry Wilson.

Yoonew plans to offset some of that risk with a second revenue stream. This spring it will launch an online futures pit where both fans and speculators (those who might have an opinion about a team’s probability of making the playoffs, but who have no intention of attending the game) can trade ticket contracts in a secondary market. Yoonew will manage the exchange and take a small cut of each trade, as Nasdaq does with public equities.

What’s the difference between betting on ticket futures and illegal gambling? Like all derivatives, futures have an economic purpose by allowing buyers and sellers to hedge exposure to ticket prices; gambling, by contrast, is pure speculation.

As for competition, there isn’t much—right now. Online exchanges like eBay and Openseats.com simply match buyers and sellers of actual tickets. Ticketmaster—granddaddy of the primary ticket market—runs a program called ticketexchange that lets customers resell tickets they have bought from Ticketmaster to other customers at a set price, while Stub Hub allows season ticket holders to put unwanted seats up for sale. One company, called The Ticket Reserve, sells derivative contracts that obligate buyers to pay face value for the underlying ticket, plus the contract premium, if their teams make it to the big game. That’s probably less than what a usurious broker might ask, but more than Yoonew—which only charges a contract premium—collects. What’s to stop behemoths eBay, Yahoo! or Google from starting their own ticket futures exchanges? Again, not much. Sure, Yoonew boasts a proprietary pricing model (devised by MIT-trained statisticians) and a strong network of ticket suppliers, but the big boys have their own math whizzes on staff—and a lot more money to throw at product development and cultivating those broker relationships. “Technology evolves, and there’s always a better way to do something,” Wilson admits. “Being first is our competitive advantage.”

Mehreteab, 28, and Wilson, 27, met in high school chemistry class in Piscataway, N.J. Both ended up at Princeton, where Wilson played cornerback for the football team, but their friendship really galvanized in Boston. In 2003, as the Red Sox hurtled toward the World Series, Wilson, then at MIT, had trouble scaring up affordable playoff tickets. More out of frustration than entrepreneurship, he cooked up the idea of a ticket futures exchange. After scoring well in a couple of business-plan competitions, Wilson decided to pursue the idea full-time. Mehreteab, who had started a marketing company in Los Angeles, was coming back east to get his MBA just as Wilson was graduating in the spring of 2004. He moved into Wilson’s apartment in Cambridge for the summer, paying for rent by setting up Yoonew’s Web site and crafting a marketing plan. In the fall, Wilson moved to Baltimore, where a friend offered him a cheap place to stay and free office space at his law firm. With its co-founders in two different cities, and one just starting business school, Yoonew went live in September 2004.

The sailing hasn’t been exactly smooth. Take the debacle at the Final Four last March. As it happened, three of the four surviving teams were located within a four-hour drive of the stadium—and it seemed as if every student, alum and fan had made the pilgrimage to St. Louis. When Wilson showed up to buy tickets to fulfill his orders, prices had shot through the roof. Contracts on seats for top-ranked University of Illinois that sold for $100 in January were going for 12 times that much outside the stadium. “It was like selling flood insurance, and in the first year, there was a tsunami,” says Wilson, who ended up liquidating his 401(k) to purchase some $35,000 worth of tickets.

Wilson split the next few months between Baltimore and Boston, bussing tables and bartending to make ends meet while he hunted for more capital and choked down a lot of canned tuna. “I thought, ‘By summertime, we should be OK. We’ll have several million in the bank.’” But come July, Yoonew hadn’t raised a dime. Finally, in August, the company managed to raise around $2 million from angel investors, whose names Wilson won’t disclose, and is piling a good chunk of it into marketing. Wilson now rolls into stadiums in a dark-blue, 34-foot RV bearing the Yoonew logo. The entourage also includes a pickup truck dragging a trailer loaded with two Gem electric cars sporting 3-foot by 5-foot flags—ideal for tooling fans around a parking-lot tailgater. During football season, Wilson tries to hit two or three games (college and pro) per week. “Most people give us food, so we always come back full,” he says.

Wilson is taking his message to the streets, too. Starting Dec. 22, at 8 A.M., the Yoonew RV will be offering free rides in Manhattan for the duration of the current New York City transit strike. Passengers will get a free T-shirt and a chance to register online for two free tickets to the Super Bowl.

Yoonew jealously guards its financials. It will say that, for 2005, it has sold some 350 contracts covering 2005’s Final Four, the upcoming Super Bowl and the AFC and NFC championships. Average contract prices have ranged between $80 and $280, suggesting that Yoonew’s top line is somewhere between $28,000 and $98,000. With any luck, the company says it hopes to be profitable on an operating basis by mid-2007, assuming the futures exchange gets up and running.

There is some cruel irony in all of this. Trading, if it catches on, results in fairer and more accurate pricing for the commodity being traded. That’s great for customers, but bad for ticket brokers—the lifeline of Yoonew’s precious inventory. Wilson points out that, while price spreads for tickets may narrow, brokers who work with Yoonew will benefit from tapping a broader distribution channel. “There is a happy medium between all parties,” he insists.

Put another way, it’s hard to feel too bad when brokers get the short end of the stub.

111, 2014

The Economist

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School|

When Bradley Walters, an MBA student from Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, visited Rwanda, he found a country using its grisly past to inspire an astonishing economic rise

THERE we sat. Five students from four countries, excited to present our operational analysis and nervous to propose tweaks to the system we had spent two weeks auditing. The root cause of our nerves was that, like many things in Rwanda, Polyfam Clinique was already a success.

Three years after the genocide of 1994, Dr Immaculee Mukatete established a private clinic in Kigali that provided both quality care and personable customer service. As Rwanda grew, so Polyfam had grown with it, to include three full-time doctors, two dentists and six part-time physicians. As MBA students, we had been sent to Polyfam to correct the medical-records indexing system, recently transferred from paper to computer. The new system was playing up, and doctors did not have accurate medical records about their patients. Computer glitches also meant the system was becoming overloaded.

I am not the timid kind. But this was different. The night before I couldn’t sleep. Over two weeks we had worked tirelessly to understand the operations at the clinic, and in doing so listened to the stories and ideas of everyone we could. Hearing the hope that Rwandans have for the future of their country, it was impossible not to feel personally involved in the outcome.

This sense of being drawn into Rwanda’s future came in two distinct waves. First, there was the amount of energy the team put into our project. In December, we prepared for our trip by researching Rwanda, the health-care system and various medical-records systems. When we got to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, we immersed ourselves in the project. Breakfast through dinner we discussed the clinic’s operations and debated strategies for improvement. This was no student jolly; it was a work assignment. We skipped unrelated site visits as we became obsessed with solving the clinic’s problems. As a result of this effort, I felt a responsibility for providing a quality service.

The larger wave, however, came with an understanding of the story of Rwanda. Our first Saturday was spent outside of the capital, as we ventured south to see the rural countryside. The day began at the Nyamata Genocide Memorial, an inauspicious church where 24,000 people were murdered during two days in 1994. Filled with clothes, weapons and bones, the site’s simplicity magnified the event. We boarded the bus in silence. I remember frantically searching for my Ipod in an effort to cope with what I had seen. Never can I recall being so angry, feeling so hopeless, and not knowing where or how to direct it. As puerile as it sounds, at that moment I wanted to go home.

Yet our trip continued and we reached the Millennium Development Village of Mayange. Here, the focus shifted from the misery of what had happened to the power of what is happening. We met with farmers, teachers and students, and saw first hand the progress being made. In Mayange, I walked into a classroom filled with laptops, each with internet access, and saw a blackboard with the previous day’s lesson in excel. I drank local banana beer at a barbeque in a village comprised of victims and perpetrators of the genocide, and watched as their children, united, performed traditional dances. This was not a discounting of the past, but rather a unified commitment to the future. The optimism is contagious; it has helped to inspire an astonishing economic rise. It also made me realise the opportunity we had to make a lasting difference in a country that has overcome so much.

So there we were. The nerves quickly subsided as we presented our findings and discussed recommendations to improve the clinic. Dr Immaculee was quite receptive, and we launched a pilot of the new system during our last week in Kigali. Our project was a success in that we were able to fix the medical-records system as well as make operational improvements that cut the average time patients spent in the clinic by roughly 20%. Now back at Johns Hopkins university in Baltimore, we communicate weekly via Facebook to ensure that the system is still functioning, as we remain committed to assisting the clinic in anyway we can over the long-term.

111, 2014

Dean Gupta on Bloomberg TV

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School|

Yash Gupta, Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School, talks about factors contributing to food shortages. The interview can be found here: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/66045158-gupta-interview-on-food-supply.html

111, 2014

Top Colleges Blog

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School|

Business Schools Place Greater Emphasis on Ethics and Globalization

May 12, 2010

As the economy struggles to recover, business schools are taking a new look at how they develop their courses and curriculums. In effort to prevent another meltdown from occurring, these programs are placing more emphasis on concepts such as sustainability, innovation and globalization while also offering more opportunities for true coloration between business majors and other majors within the university setting.

“When we bring students into business school, we narrow their vision,” said Stephen Spinelli, who is the president of Philadelphia University, in a USA Today article when discussing the traditional method for teaching business school students. “We teach them to focus on increasing blinders until they have pinpoint recognition, but that limits what they can see on the periphery.”

Today, Spinelli maintains that broadening the vision of business school students is the key to preventing another crisis from occurring.

“If we don’t teach people to sort of look around and have greater peripheral vision, then we’ve just set ourselves up for the next crisis,” he says.

With a planned revamp of the University’s MBA program, Spinelli is certainly doing more than giving lip action. In fact, in the fall of 2011, the program will place an emphasis on collaborating with the university’s design and engineering schools. As such, business school students can anticipate working on hands-on projects with students from other fields rather than just those who are pursuing degrees in other business-related areas.

“We used to think it was highly collaborative when marketing and finance were working together,” said Spinelli. “Now we see that partnerships need to be much broader; three-dimensional collaboration needs to be taught.”

The University of Pennsylvania isn’t the only university to take notice, however, as Yash Gupta, who is the dean of the John Hopkins Carey Business School, has expressed a similar desire.

“What has happened in the last 18 months has shown that you cannot manage a complex system by dividing it into smaller pieces and optimizing those pieces with considering the whole,” said Gupta. “You cannot build an organization by simply maximizing shareholders’ value. Customers, employees, the general public are important.”

After conducting his own research, Gupta found that companies were looking for employees who possess some very specific skills. These included the ability to:

  • Adapt to change and to be flexible
  • Use critical thinking skills
  • View the world broadly
  • Connect invention with innovation
  • To link content to context

Through the global MBA program that will be offered at the school this fall, Gupta hopes to more effectively meet these needs. One way this will be accomplished is by working these skills into the coursework offered throughout the program rather than by offering a single class in areas such as decision-making or ethics.

“We’ll teach students about decision making – behavioral, rational, how the brain functions – in the first year, but we’ll also give them chances to make decisions,” said Gupta. “We’ll bring in CEOs or prominent academics to talk about ethics and ethical concepts, how managers sort things out and decide which decision is the right decision.”

The new program will also require students to work on projects focusing on the developing world while also expecting students to spend time learning how to work with people from various backgrounds.

Business leaders and others within the industry have taken notice of the changes taking place at the university level and are quite pleased by what they see.

“You can’t look at things as compartmentalized,” said John J. Fernandes, who is the president and CEO of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is the largest business school accreditation agency in the world. Ferenandes goes on to say that every needs to be interconnected ad contextualized to everything else. “After Enron and WorldCom, everyone said, ‘Let’s teach ethics,” but they did it in the corner as this separate discussion. But it is best taught across every business discipline because they all have different ethics challenges…It’s best taught across everything we do.”

At Harvard Business School, administrators feel strongly that ethics has always been a core component o the program. Nonetheless, in 2004, the school made it a requirement for all students to take the “Leadership and Corporate Accountability” course during the second term of their first year. According to David A. Garvin, who is a professor of business administration at the school, the course is designed to “give students a sense of responsibilities that they will have to al these different stakeholder groups.”

Focusing on the different stakeholders has gained recognition as being an essential piece to successfully teaching ethics. For example, with customers, business managers must decide what information needs to be disclosed. With employees, on the other hand, managers must know how to treat everyone with fairness. With the general public, the manager may need to deal with larger issues such as freedom of speech and child labor laws. Clearly, these are all concerns that needed to be addressed before the financial meltdown, but the high-profile lapses in ethical decision-making among business managers has taken center stage as they take the brunt of the blame for our current economic crisis. As such, universities as well as business students and employers have started to place an even greater emphasis on ethical decision-making and behavior.

“There was a sense of a greater need in helping students understand the roles, responsibilities and purpose of business and business leaders,” said Garvin as he discussed the research he conducted in preparation for his book Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads. Garvin also found that executives and deans saw a greater need for business students to understand “the limits of models and markets – risk, restraint and regulation.”

111, 2014

USA Today

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School|

Economic crisis leads business schools to meld ethics into MBA

By Jennifer Epstein, May 5, 2010

A few years ago, any discussion of the master’s in business administration would begin with discussions of scandal and mismanagement. Look at instances of accounting fraud at Enron and WorldCom: MBAs behaving badly. A president of the United States with mixed approval ratings and plenty of opponents in his own party: an MBA whose leadership skills seemed lacking.

Business school discourse today has a new set of topical lessons, emphasizing the roles played by MBAs in precipitating the global recession and creating financial products that benefited corporations but hurt consumers. “When we bring students into business school, we narrow their vision,” says Stephen Spinelli, president of Philadelphia University and co-founder of the Jiffy Lube auto service company. “We teach them to focus with increasing blinders until they have pinpoint recognition, but that limits what they can see on the periphery.”

A much-maligned concept like mortgage-backed securities, he says, “in its construct … could be taken as being sound—a hard asset that has clear value.” With broader perspective, they’re tougher to define and much riskier than they might seem. “You become dislocated from the person and their ability to pay that loan, the value of the property, what’s happening in the neighborhood around that property and what’s happening with the job market in that city and region.”

The financial crisis has administrators and faculty at business schools around the country rethinking that narrowing approach. Courses and curriculums are being revised to avoid building silos in business schools and students’ minds. Words—and ideas—like globalization, innovation and sustainability are taking hold.

Though he first started thinking about broadening students’ perspectives a decade ago while serving as vice provost at Babson College, Spinelli says that his ideas solidified as he watched investment banks crumble and ordinary people face foreclosure. “If we don’t teach people to sort of look around and have greater peripheral vision, then we’ve just set ourselves up for the next crisis,” he says.

In the fall of 2011, Philadelphia will roll out a revamped MBA program that will emphasize collaboration with the university’s engineering and design schools. Business students will work on hands-on projects with students in other fields, all with the aim of preparing them to collaborate once on the job.

“We used to think it was highly collaborative when marketing and finance were working together,” Spinelli says. “Now we see that partnerships need to be much broader; three-dimensional collaboration needs to be taught.”

Yash Gupta, dean of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, has a similar perspective. “What has happened in the last 18 months has shown that you cannot manage a complex system by dividing it into smaller pieces and optimizing those pieces without considering the whole,” he says. “You cannot build an organization by simply maximizing shareholders’ value. Customers, employees, the general public are important.”

In building a curriculum at Carey, which spun off from Hopkins’ School of Professional Studies in Business and Education in 2007, Gupta looked to industry for recommendations. Among the abilities and skills companies said they wanted from their employees: adapting to change and being flexible; critical thinking; a broad worldview; connecting invention with innovation; and linking content to context.

All of those things, Gupta says, will be interspersed throughout the global MBA program that Carey is beginning this fall. Rather than simply having one class on ethics or decision making as some other schools do, the curriculum will include those skills throughout.

“We’ll teach students about decision making—behavioral, rational, how the brain functions—in the first year, but we’ll also give them chances to make decisions,” he says. “We’ll bring in CEOs or prominent academics to talk about ethics and ethical concepts, how managers sort things out and decide which decision is the right decision.”

Carey will treat globalization similarly. Rather than taking a few classes on international business or an optional specialization, all students will work on projects in the developing world and spend time learning to work with people from different backgrounds.

The school is taking the right approach, says John J. Fernandes, president and CEO of the AACSB: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the world’s largest business school accreditor. “You can’t look at things as compartmentalized,” he says; everything needs to be interconnected, and everything must be contextualized to everything else.

“After Enron and WorldCom, everyone said, ‘Let’s teach ethics,’ but they did it in the corner as this separate discussion,” Fernandes says. “But it is best taught across every business discipline because they all have different ethics challenges.… It’s best taught across everything we do.”

At Harvard Business School, where administrators insist that ethics has always been incorporated throughout the MBA curriculum, it became clear that there was a need for students to get a solid dose of ethics. In 2004, the school began requiring all students to take “Leadership and Corporate Accountability” during the second term of their first year.

David A. Garvin, a professor of business administration, describes the course as “a way to give students a sense of the responsibilities that they will have to all these different stakeholder groups.” With shareholders, they’ll have to worry about fiduciary responsibilities. With customers, “information asymmetries” (as Garvin explains it, “Under what circumstances do you need to disclose?”). With employees, students will be educated about treating them fairly. With the public at large, MBAs’ responsibilities may be even greater—to deal with issues like child labor and freedom of speech.

Though these were all pre-financial crisis concerns, the high-profile ethical lapses that helped precipitate the downturn have only intensified the sense that MBA programs need to do more to create ethical graduates. Students in Harvard Business School’s class of 2009 drafted and spread “The MBA Oath,” a brief code of ethics that has been signed by more than 2,500 MBAs and business students.

In conducting research for Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads, a book published last month, Garvin says he heard from executives and deans who, after well-publicized accounts of unfair business practices and gigantic post-bailout bonuses, hoped to see ethics education ramped up. “There was a sense of a greater need in helping students understand the roles, responsibilities and purpose of business and business leaders.”

Executives and deans also told Garvin that they saw a need for students to better understand “the limits of models and markets—risk, restraint and regulation,” he says. Before the economic crisis, they came up with an even lengthier list of near-universal needs:

  1. Having a global perspective.
  2. Developing leadership skills.
  3. Improving integration skills.
  4. Understanding organizational realities and implementing them more effectively.
  5. The ability to act creatively and innovatively.
  6. Thinking critically and communicating clearly.

None of the needs are too surprising, but they are tough things to teach that business schools must continue working on.

Creativity and innovation are at the core of a new report from the AACSB, in which a task force of deans, university presidents and business leaders calls on business schools to play a larger role in innovation.

Although business schools are “built to go in a lot of different directions, and we as an accrediting body don’t try to push them one way or the other,” says Fernandes, the association’s president, innovation is something administrators and faculty should be thinking about. “If the light’s not already turned on, it turns that light on for them, that they should apply an innovative intention to their strategies.”

Business schools don’t have to be hotbeds of invention, just places where students and faculty develop better processes and products. Robert S. Sullivan, dean of the Rady School of Management at the University of California at San Diego, points to Apple’s creation of devices like the iPad as the sort of thing business schools ought to be training students to do. “The technology in the iPad is not a new invention,” he says, “but Apple looked around the corner in terms of figuring out what people want without necessarily asking them.”

And the products that business schools must train students to develop aren’t just glitzy gadgets or risky financial instruments; they’re things that will benefit humanity—business schools hope.

“If the world has shrunk, then business schools must solve the world’s problems,” says Gupta, of the Carey School. People who face challenges of “poverty, education, health: these are going to be my customers and employees tomorrow, so business schools must help them, too.”

111, 2014

U.S. News and World Report

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Uncategorized|

Schools Add New Entrepreneur Programs for M.B.A. Students

By Katy Hopkins, July 21, 2010

Entrepreneurship takes an eye for opportunity and a willingness to take risks, business school officials say. These new M.B.A. programs offer unconventional ways to help channel an entrepreneurial spirit:

In the “Discovery to Market” project at the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business, small groups of students in the new Global M.B.A. track will look for profitable opportunities in university scientists’ work. The two-semester program, launching in Spring 2011, will be an intense systematic approach to spotting opportunities in potentially patentable discovery, says Philip Phan, Carey’s vice dean for faculty.

“In terms of creating a sophisticated class of students that are good at using the basic tools of market research and evaluation, putting them to work on a project like that is probably the most difficult thing you can do,” Phan said. “It pushes the students to apply these tools that oftentimes are taken for granted in a classroom and to apply them to a real setting where they may not apply very well.”

If students find a discovery will be very likely profitable, employees at the Johns Hopkins Office of Technology Transfer will apply for a patent. Ultimately, for a successful discovery, “the students will have the option of being part of that team to start a company and take this thing to the next stage of development,” Phan says.

The entrepreneurial education will now extend past graduation at Babson College F. W. Olin School of Business, which boasts the top-ranked entrepreneurship program for 17 years running.

A the school where entrepreneurship is a both a “brand” and a “strategy,” as Entrepreneurship Division Chair Candida Brush puts it, 52 faculty members offer about 100 innovative classes ranging from alternative energy innovation in Norway to teaching high school students in Rwanda how to launch companies.

Now, M.B.A. graduates will be able to consult faculty members and use school resources to “explore, pursue, launch and grow” their startups through the Venture Accelerator, set to open in September.

“We need individuals who are opportunity seekers, and more importantly, opportunity creators,” says Olin Dean Raghu Tadepalli. “Rather than say, ‘Where are the opportunities?’ say, ‘There are opportunities, and we are going to seize them.’… The focus is on forward momentum.”

At Pace University Lubin School of Business, opportunity for inspiration sometimes comes from outside the classroom—even outside the country. In “Special Topics in International Entrepreneurship: Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Israel,” Professor Bruce Bachenheimer will take students to abroad in spring 2011 for a week to study opportunities in the young country’s advanced technology infrastructure.

Bachenheimer has taken entrepreneur students to Tanzania and India in years past. These international opportunities often lend a life-changing perspective of business opportunities in other countries, he says. For Pace graduate Melissa Lopez, this revelation came when she saw Tanzanian women selling handmade clothing to tourists at Mount Kilamanjaro.

“It made it pure to see entrepreneurship at a very small level, but [to see] how big people’s ideas are,” Lopez says. “Prior to taking the course, I had never thought I would have any interest in entrepreneurship. I had always thought I’d be working for a large company.

“After that course, I wanted to see if I could do something for myself.”

Classes in entrepreneurship are becoming more universally attractive, Bachenheimer says. About 15 percent of students in his entrepreneur classes are M.B.A. students. The rest are students from different academic disciplines who are considering what an entrepreneurial focus could do for their careers, he says.

“They’re all [saying], ‘I want to be more entrepreneurial. I don’t want to just work in an office or count on a job, especially when the economy is bad,” Bachenheimer says. “[They say], ‘I want to have more control of my destiny.”

111, 2014

Poets and Quants

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Uncategorized|

The Anti-MBA Business School

By John A. Byrne, October 20, 2010

In the fall of 2008 when Lehman Brothers went kaput and the economy plunged into a deep recession, Yash Gupta was scampering around the country trying to drum up support for a new business school at Johns Hopkins University. It could not have been the best time to enlist believers in yet another school that would pump out even more MBAs. After all, some critics already were pointing fingers for the collapse of the financial markets at the business schools and their graduates.

But Gupta, a life-long business educator who took the job to become dean of the B-school start-up, says the crisis gave him unusual license to rethink MBA education from scratch. “The meltdown helped us immensely because people were ready to question the orthodoxy,” says Dean Gupta. “We decided early on that we could not be a prominent business school by doing what every other school does. I don’t think I could have done that in 2006.”

The result: The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, which entered its charter class of 88 students in September, may well be the first business school for anti-MBAs. The school’s tagline, “Where business is taught with humanity in mind,” isn’t merely an advertising slogan. It’s central to Gupta’s belief that MBA education had gone off the rails and needed to get back in touch with humanity.

“WE PRODUCED MASTERS OF FINANCIAL ENGINEERING, PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T HAVE HEART AND SOUL.”

“Over the years,” he says, “I came to the conclusion that we leaned too hard on the science of business. The MBA became a degree in methodology. We produced masters of financial engineering, people who didn’t have heart and soul. I’ve been thinking for years that we were headed in the wrong direction.”

Gupta should know. When he took the job as Carey’s first permanent dean in January of 2008, he had already led three other business schools for the past 14 years. While dean at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business from 2004 to 2006, he developed an innovation-focused MBA curriculum. But running a school with entrenched faculty and a host of traditions and rituals didn’t allow him the chance to pull out a clean sheet of paper and rethink business education.

He had the benefit of doing a start-up at Johns Hopkins, world renown for its schools of medicine and international affairs. It was one of only four elite universities—Princeton, Brown and CalTech–left without a business school and a full-time MBA program. The last major university to launch a business school in the U.S. was Yale in 1976.

Everything about the school is different. The school occupies four floors in a modern skyscraper overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The building serves as the corporate headquarters for Legg Mason, the investment management firm. It is five miles away from the university’s bucolic Homewood campus, where parts of the movie, The Social Network, were filmed. The goal is to eventually move the business school there, but that may take as long as ten years.

In building a school inside an office tower, isolated from the university’s main campus, Gupta smartly leveraged the Johns Hopkins name in recruiting both faculty and students. Four of the 15 full-time, tenure-track faculty gave up endowed chairs at other universities for the chance to help Gutpa shape the culture of the school. “I couldn’t resist the Hopkins brand name,” says Christian Kim, who left Baruch College to join Carey as an assistant professor of marketing. “To me, it is a better brand than Cornell or the University of Pennsylvania. And Yash is a great marketer. I was so drawn to his vision for the school that I hardly ate when we first met over breakfast.”

Adds Federico Bandi, a finance professor who left the University of Chicago’s Booth School to teach at Carey, “I got a very good vibe from the leadership of the school. I had the impression that this would be an extremely dynamic place where things could get done quickly.” Because of the university’s reputation, Bandi thought, “this was a very low-risk enterprise. The place cannot fail.”

TEAM-TEACHING IS THE NORM FOR ALL THE CORE COURSES.

At Carey, all the core courses are team taught by two professors from different disciplines in classes that are no larger than 44 students each. Instead of courses in such basic MBA subjects as marketing and finance, Carey features integrated courses with such titles as “Managerial Decision Behavior” or “People and Markets.” Says Gupta with a certain level of pride, “We have a module on decisions being taught by a quant person and a behaviorist. We have a human expression module and it’s taught by a business person and a drama professor.”

A so-called “Innovation for Humanity” experience requires teams of students to travel to one of four countries–Rwanda, Kenya, Peru or India–for three weeks to work on pressing social issues. A “Discovery to Market” project enlists five-student teams in trying to commercialize science and technology developed in such university schools in medicine, public health, and bio-technology, as well as the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technologies Research Center in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Moreover, roughly 80% of the curriculum is required, compared with less than half at most other business schools. In the second-year, students can choose from four “verticals,” each composed of four electives in health, life sciences, energy, or environment—rather than more traditional MBA concentrations in strategy, marketing, or finance.

The school’s slick brochures even feature a highly enthusiastic endorsement from Russell Palmer, the former dean of The Wharton School. “This is the future, an incredible curriculum and opportunity,” Palmer is quoted saying. “The world needs people with broad apertures through which they can apply a business knowledge base. The Carey Business School is ahead of the pack.”

In truth, other business schools have tried out pieces of Carey’s approach over the years. Yale’s School of Management does interdisciplinary team teaching in its core classes. The University of Michigan’s Ross School makes consulting projects a core part of its MBA curriculum, though most of them are in the for-profit sector. But makes Carey truly different is putting all these different initiatives together at the same time as well as recruiting to the school largely non-traditional students who don’t want to beat a path to the typical MBA jobs.

NOT MANY STUDENTS HAIL FROM THE WORLD OF FINANCE AND FEW WANT TO END UP THERE.

Few of the MBA candidates, for example, are from the major consulting firms or from Wall Street. In the charter class, finance is not even among the top eight professional backgrounds, which include health care, government, non-profits, education, manufacturing, and technology. Some 55% of the class—far more than the typical one third–is from outside the U.S., with large contingents of students from Taiwan and China. (See My Story: From Shanghai to a Startup Business School for a profile of one Carey student).

Many of the students express a disdain for the types of finance jobs that often claim the largest percentage of MBA grads. When Jack Hirsch, a software entrepreneur from the West Coast, met with the admissions staff of the school, he made clear he had no interest at all in becoming an investment banker. “Is that okay?” he asked. Assured that it was, Hirsch applied and was accepted. Shaha AlShehail, a female entrepreneur from Saudi Arabia, was attracted by the social component of the program. She also has no ambitions to work on Wall Street or for a consulting firm. Instead, she intends to return to Saudi Arabia to launch a social enterprise.

Says student Allison Kooser, “I had a bad image of the MBA with people working 120 hours a week trying to make money on Wall Street. I think business could be more than just a bottom line.” Glenn Ketover, who once worked 100 hours a week at Lehman Brothers in New York, plans to use his Carey degree to transition to a job at an international NGO.

THE DEAN IDENTIFIES WITH THE NON-TRADITIONAL STUDENTS HE HAS RECRUITED.

The India-born Gupta says it was a key goal to bring in non-traditional MBA students. “I believe learning is not about looking alike,” he insists. “If you really want to believe in a new kind of program then all experiences must come to play. I’m an example of that. Nobody ever could have thought I would be a professor, never mind a dean. My mother could not even write her name. My father worked for a finance company in a clerical role. If I could contribute something from such a handicap, these people can contribute a lot more.”

Gupta grew up in Hadiadad, India, a small village about 190 miles north of New Delhi. He was youngest of eight siblings, all of who have at least a graduate degree. Gupta graduated from Panjab University in India in 1973, earned a master’s in production management a year later from Brunel University in West London and a Ph.D. in management sciences in 1976 from the University of Bradford in England. After teaching operations management, he first became a business school dean in 1992 at the University of Colorado in Denver. Seven years later, he was named dean of the University of Washington’s business school, a post he held until 2004, until moving on five years later, to become dean of USC’s Marshall School.

While the economic meltdown may have given Gupta license to build a far more innovative MBA program than would have been possible, it was no easy task to recruit students to a non-accredited school without career statistics or a strong alumni network at a time when many MBAs from long-established programs couldn’t find jobs. By April of this year, when top schools had pretty much filled most of the seats for their incoming fall classes, Carey only had 17 candidates committed to its new MBA program. “The applicant pool came in very late,” concedes Sondra Smith, director of admissions.

Many of those enrolled students applied only to the Carey School, drawn by its mission and the chance to be part of something new. A good number of other applicants had such schools as Wharton, NYU, Columbia and Maryland in their consideration set. “The real appeal was to be part of something new and something that had never been done before,” says Jarrett Bauer, who went to Villanova University for his undergraduate degree and had worked as a health care consultant.

THE CHARTER CLASS HAS AN AVERAGE GMAT OF 660 AND AN AVERAGE GPA OF 3.2

The first class of 88 students, divided into two cohorts, was culled from some 300 applicants. A quarter of the students were given partial scholarships by Carey, and five of them are on full scholarships. Nearly five percent of the class is without full-time work experience, coming direct from their undergraduate schools. The charter group has an average GMAT score of 660, and an undergraduate grade point average of 3.2, stats that put the students in a competitive arena with such business schools as the University of Maryland (average GMAT of 658), Vanderbilt University (653), and Penn State (652). “I think there may be brighter students at other schools, but the attitude and motivations here are much better,” says assistant professor Chester Chambers, who has an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School, a Ph.D. from Duke University and who had taught at Southern Methodist University. “There’s far more of a service and global component to the students.” The average age of the incoming student is 26, with 36% of the class female. The school hopes to double the incoming class to about 160 students as soon as the application pool and the quality of applicants allows.

If they do travel the less-worn MBA path away from consulting and investment banking as many here expect, many of the students are likely to seek jobs in social entrepreneurship, NGOs, health care services, pharmaceuticals, technology, environmental services, and alternative energy, predicts Phil Phan, vice dean for the school.

What does success look like? Not surprisingly, perhaps, Gupta defines success somewhat differently than many business schools. “I’m not going to tell you it’s about compensation for our students. To me, success is not quantifiable in the short run. I want our students to be able to go into organizations and to be able to exercise a new kind of management style,” he says firmly, “a style that cares deeply about people and community. Our objective is to become the model of what a future management school should look like.”

111, 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Uncategorized|

Johns Hopkins Builds a B-School from Scratch

By Alison Damast, May 10, 2010

The elite research university launches a new Global MBA program in August. On the to-do list: AACSB accreditation, faculty, and money.

For years, Johns Hopkins’ business offerings—mostly part-time degree and certificate programs—lingered in the shadow of the university’s internationally renowned medical and public health schools. That all changed in 2006 when the university received a $50 million gift from banker William Polk Carey, leading to the founding of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in 2007 and a new lofty mission to become one of the world’s leading business schools. That vision will be put to the test this August when the school launches its new Global MBA program, with a curriculum that the school’s inaugural dean, Yash Gupta, says seeks to reinvent the modern MBA.

“Since we are the new kids, we don’t have to change culture; we are building a culture,” Gupta says. “We are trying to change the mold.”

All eyes in the management education world will be on the new B-school in the coming year, as Gupta essentially builds a new MBA program from scratch, a daunting task that few universities have been eager to take on in the last decades. The Carey School is seeking to distinguish itself by designing a curriculum that will capitalize on Johns Hopkins’ strength in fields like medicine and public health, have a focus on emerging markets and ethics, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

To accomplish this, the school has recruited Gupta, a B-school dean with a proven fundraising track record and 14 years of experience, and installed him in leased office space in Baltimore’s Harbor East area that Carey now calls home. Gupta’s most recent deanship was at the University of Southern California’sMarshall School of Business (Marshall Full-Time MBA Profile), where he helped raise $55 million. Since his arrival at Johns Hopkins, Gupta has spent much of his time recruiting students, designing courses, and hiring a new cohort of top research faculty, with the ultimate goal of putting the Carey School in a position where it can compete with the world’s top B-schools. The school is in the process of obtaining accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), an essential credential that the school will need to get students and the business school community to take it seriously. Says Gupta: “We want to play in that sandbox.”

Challenges Ahead

It’s an ambitious goal for a fledgling business school, which still faces a number of significant challenges ahead, says John Fernandes, the AACSB president. The school already has a number of things working in its favor, perhaps the most important being the world-renowned Johns Hopkins brand, which will help the school establish itself as a serious player early on, and what appears to be a unique niche focus for its MBA program, Fernandes says. But in the next few years, the school will have to obtain accreditation, launch a major fundraising campaign, build up its alumni network, ramp up its career services offerings, and continue to attract top-rate faculty. Says Fernandes: “It’s not an easy task to go from nothing to a top school in a very short period of time.”

The last large university to open a new B-school was the University of California, San Diego, which opened the Rady School of Management (Rady Full-Time MBA Profile) in 2003 after receiving a $30 million gift from businessman Ernest Rady. Robert Sullivan, the school’s inaugural and current dean, says he faced numerous challenges: hiring faculty for a school with no track record; launching an executive education program to help pay the bills; and raising $110 million for a new building and other expenses, no small feat when you have no highly placed MBA alumni to tap for cash. He even had to borrow faculty from other schools. Says Sullivan: “It was really kind of Band-Aids for the first year.”

Gupta will face many of the same challenges and then some, Sullivan says. It’s already been difficult finding students willing to sign up for an unproven program, says Gupta, but finding senior faculty willing to come to a new business school has been by far the “biggest challenge.” Since he was named dean, Gupta’s been courting academics and selling them on the school’s vision. The school currently has 31 full-time faculty , including top scholars from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (Wharton Full-Time MBA Profile) and Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management (Krannert Full-Time MBA Profile), with the ultimate goal of having 90 in five years as the program grows, he says.

Startup Spirit

One of his recent hires is Ravi Aron, who spent seven years at Wharton and a year at USC’s Marshall School before accepting a job at Carey as an assistant professor on the research track. Aron says he jumped at the chance to be at a university that places a strong emphasis on the life sciences and medicine, as much of his research focuses on technology, health care, and globalization. He also was attracted to the unique structure of the school; unlike most B-schools, at Carey there are no departments or department chairs, allowing professors more academic freedom, Aron says.

“The school has a ‘pull yourselves up by the bootstraps’ spirit of a startup and a certain flexibility that I find absolutely exhilarating,” Aron says.

While it still has a number of hurdles ahead, the school has managed to accomplish one significant feat: attracting the school’s first Global MBA class, which will arrive on campus in August to start the program. To recruit students, the school sent Gupta on an international media tour, tapped into Hopkins’ overseas clubs and alumni groups, and participated in MBA tours. This year, 500 students applied for the school’s 80 spots, Gupta says. The school’s inaugural class is a diverse group; half of the class is international and—almost unheard-of among full-time MBA programs—half the class is female.

Students say they are intrigued by the school’s take on business education, which deviates from the traditional core curriculum taught at most MBA programs today. All classes are co-taught by faculty and there are no “typical courses like 101s and 102s” that students must take, Gupta says, though students are required to take a class on business essentials their first semester. Every Friday, the school will invite guest speakers to talk in a seminar setting about topics as varied as politics, ethics, cognitive science, and drama. First-year students are required to take a class called the “Innovation for Humanity Project,” where they study emerging markets and later spend three weeks over winter break tackling a business problem in a developing country like Rwanda, Kenya, or Trinidad. Another class, the “Discovery to Market” course, sends students to the medical school to study research and inventions; in their second year, they’re expected to take a scientific discovery made at Johns Hopkins and bring it to market. Students will also be required to pick a specialization in their second year, such as life science, energy, or the environment.

Different Approach

Shahd Alshehail, 24, an incoming student from Saudi Arabia, says she was drawn to the program because of its emphasis on emerging markets and entrepreneurship. Before coming to Carey, she helped her family launch a fashion house that helps women in small villages earn money from their needlework, and she wants to return to Saudi Arabia to work as a social entrepreneur. Most of the MBA programs she researched catered to Wall Street or consulting types, while the Carey School seemed to have a different take on business, she says.

“It doesn’t feel like a traditional MBA to me, which was a big attraction for me,” she says. “It’s not just a business degree. There’s a social and humanity aspect to it, which is something you can’t find anywhere else.”

That’s not to say students don’t have doubts about being the guinea pigs as the school struggles to gain its footing. Aaron Landgraf, 26, a Johns Hopkins alumnus with a master’s degree in environmental planning and management and four years of work experience at a software company specializing in online college applications, says he had some concerns about the school before enrolling, including the scope of the alumni network and the caliber of the faculty. But, after spending time at the school this spring and talking to faculty and staff, those worries quickly disappeared, he said. Says Landgraf: “I expect the school to try very, very hard to make sure we are successful because our success is their success.”

111, 2014

Poets and Quants

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School|

My Story: From Shanghai to B-School

By John A. Byrne October 21, 2010

Before coming to America last August as a first-year MBA student in the charter class of Johns Hopkins. Carey Business School, Zhiqiang Lin had never been outside his native China. He was well prepared for his American adventure. In trying to master the English language, he watched a lot of American TV shows on the Internet, including the Jerry Springer Show. His favorite movie: “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” He infectiously laughs out loud when he admits these guilty pleasures.

Born and raised in Shanghai, Lin graduated from Shanghai University in 2008 with a degree in electrical engineering and a dream to see the world. He worked in residential real estate while researching U.S. business schools that he might want to enroll at. “I searched each and every school on the list of U.S. News and World Report,” he says. “I looked at more than 100 schools, even the University of Texas at El Paso, before deciding on Johns Hopkins.”

Lin has embraced the American experience. “I feel like I’m drinking water from a fire hose,” he says. “I have a lot of ideas and dreams. Johns Hopkins can teach me how to make my dreams come true.”

His story:

I grew up in a typical family in Shanghai. It was a middle class family. Both of my parents are workers in a country-owned factory that made fabric for clothes and drapes. We lived in a house given by the government. I’m an only child. That’s because of the one-child party. All my peers in Shanghai are only children for the same reason. The one-child policy was most enforced in big cities in the middle class, while in rural areas people might have more children.

I started learning English when I was nine in the third grade of my elementary school, Shanghai First Normal School. My mother can say some phrases in English, like “Long live Chairman Mao,” but otherwise my parents cannot speak English. They did not go to college. They spoke Shanghainese. Later I went to a private middle school, Qiyi, and that experience changed by whole life. When I graduated form elementary school, the policy changed. Before that we had to take exams to decide which school you would go to. I found out that this new private school was being established and registered for the school.

There was a lottery, and I was very lucky. I encountered the very best teachers at that school and went there for four years. My lottery number was 957. It has special meaning. In Chinese, it sounds like, ‘Only you can go.’ They took 300 students into the school and more than 1,500 students were in the lottery. So I was very lucky. I encountered a teacher there, Zhang Xun, who was very nice to me. He taught math. One day, he gave us a very hard question and asked who in the class could solve the question. A lot of students raised their hands, and I raised my hand as well. He knew that I am pretty good at math so he gave chances to the students who weren’t as good in the subject. No one could answer the question correctly. I was the last hand up when the bell rang. At that time, he had two choices. First, he could simply illustrate the answer himself because the class was ending, or he could give me the chance to answer it. He called me up and in front of the class he said, ‘my parents gave me my life, but Lin Zhigiang, you know me.’ That is a very famous Chinese saying. It’s used to describe a friendship. He was the teacher. He was 40 years old, and I was only 14 years old. He said this in a very humorous way. The class laughed and I gave the answer, 100% right. Class over.

It made me feel great confidence. That changed my life. I was born with a cleft palate. I should be shy or have self-esteem problems but I don’t. Why? That’s because of my experience in middle school. I did a very good job in the entrance exam for high school, I was number one on the exam and was able to enter the best school, Shixi High School, in the Jing’an District in downtown Shanghai.

At the end of the freshman year in Shanghai University, my English teacher, Joan (She is an older American lady. Sorry I forgot her last name), sent me an American Atlas as a gift. In that book, there is a list of American universities as well. After I received the Atlas, I came up with the idea that I wanted to study in the U.S. I still keep that book, and I hope I can meet Joan again.

Events that have changed my life? I mentioned the math class in middle school. The other event has to do with this program. Johns Hopkins has changed my life. I was admitted into the Master of Finance program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, George Washington University, and Lehigh. I was on the waiting list at Boston College. Some schools also declined me, including Georgia Tech and Washington University.

After I got admitted to Johns Hopkins, from February to April, I was struggling over these choices. I asked my colleagues, my friends, my classmates, and my professors. I even asked the friends of my father. Some of them said, ‘Oh, the MBA is not as valuable as it was before. The master’s in finance is more popular now.’ Later, I talked with my best friend. He is the same kind of person as I am. We figured out the basic situation: What kind of person am I? I am not a quant, though I am good at math. I am a person who is enthusiastic about interpersonal skills. I am the kind of person who wants to be a leader. A financial engineering program would focus on quantitative skills. They would educate you from A to Z in finance and prepare you for a career as a quant. It might be too narrow for me. The MBA program would give me training in leadership and broaden my horizon. It would enhance my interpersonal skills. With that degree, I could also enter the financial analysis area. So I chose Johns Hopkins. They tried very hard to show how great it is. I got a lot of email after I got admitted. Not every school did that.

I arrived in Baltimore nearly three weeks before the program started. I was still struggling, though. I didn’t apply for an apartment before I came here so after I arrived I searched for a lot of apartments and was told, ‘sorry, there is no apartment for you now.’ So actually Will Graves, another student in the program and my roommate, was my only choice at the time. He was very nice. He helped me move from the Mount Vernon Hotel to an apartment. I had to buy the furniture from IKEA and I put it together myself. That was my first time. We have IKEA in China, however, we don’t like that because we prefer pre-built furniture, not furniture you have to build yourself. It was kind of crazy for me. The language part is the hardest of all. I will give you an example. I went to Houlihan’s and the waitress asked me if I want a drink. I looked at the menu and saw American beer. I said American beer and then she stared at me and I stared back at her. I finished my order. I didn’t know it is a kind of beverage and that that is Budweiser and Bud Lite and a lot of other kinds. I had never had American beer. Later, we figured that out. She asked to see my ID, and I showed her my J-card (student ID card) without a picture. She still sold me alcohol.

I bought a cell phone by myself. It was a lot of first experiences. The American experience has changed my whole life. At Johns Hopkins, we had a lecture by a Nobel Prize Winner. It was fantastic. We went to the World Bank. I would never have imagined doing that before. And I am going to Peru for the Innovation for Humanity project, and that’s another short story. Before I came here, in May, I knew I would go to Johns Hopkins and then knew that I had a chance to go to Peru. One day I was watching a TV program and there was a documentary on a tribe in Peru that lived on the water. I talked to my mom and said I will go to that place. My mother kind of didn’t believe me. And now I’m going.

The greatest challenge I’ve ever had is not study or work. I was born with a cleft palate and it was pretty hard. When I was an infant, I had two or three surgeries. When I was 10 years old, I had to go to hospital every month for braces on my teeth. The situation in China is very different. There was a long line before you could see the doctor. It was terrible. I did the surgery five years ago, between my freshman and sophomore years, and I might take the final surgery in the future for the facial part. It corrected the shape and the function of my jaw. It was painful, not only for me, but also for my parents. I don’t even want to recall it now. In the first two months after the surgery, I could only drink liquids, such as juice, milk, or soup. I dramatically lost weight because of that. Maybe one month after the surgery, one of my best friends send me the movie “Shawshank Redemption” on a DVD. This movie really gave me strength at that time. It inspired me. After watching the movie, I felt like I was crawling to “freedom” as well. And, to tell you the truth, the line, “Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.” became my motto as well.

When I grew up, a lot of people teased me, especially when I was an adolescent. At that time, people care about appearance. That was my biggest challenge. However, I kind of conquered that and I’ll tell you how. I read a book about psychology and it said that some people if they have self-esteem problems might act very aggressively. So you would say that person might be over confident. That might come from my situation. The other reason is the experience I had in the middle school. I had a lot of support from the school and the teachers there. I participated in a lot of public events. I became totally confident after that.

The first thing I am grateful for is China’s great economic development in the past two decades. Because of China’s economic reform, the private schools came into existence. While most of my peers were studying in public middle schools, I went to an excellent private middle school, which benefited me a lot. Also, because of the economic development, China established and developed more colleges and universities, and these institutes admit more students. I would say that my entire generation in China has benefitted from this.

The second thing I am grateful for is the love and support of my family. My parents have supported me at each step of my life. They helped me get the best education possible. They tried their best to get me treatment for my cleft palate and lip. They taught me their philosophy about life. No matter what they’ve encountered, they have always shown courage, patience, and hope in dealing with life’s difficulties. My father once told me that a person should not be arrogant or insecure, but should be confident. My mother often says that, “If you think you can, you can.” These have become my mottoes. Without my parent’s love and support, I would not have had as happy a life as I actually have.

The third thing I am grateful for is the great kindness my classmates in the GMBA program gave me. Before I entered the program, I never ever imagined that my classmates would give me so much love. All of them are willing to share their thoughts and to help me in life and study. Bradley Walters and Bret Victor always explain the American culture and life style to me. Will Graves is the best roommate I have ever had. Aaron Landgraf invited me to join his kickball team. And Elize Huleatt introduced me to the Boston Red Sox. All of my classmates have shown me great kindness, which has helped me adapt to my American life.

The three adjectives that best describe the John Hopkins Global MBA program?

First, innovative. The course structure is innovative because it is very comprehensive. One course might be the combination of two of three courses. For example, Financial Resources is a combination of Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Corporate Finance. People & Markets are the combination of Human Resources and Marketing. The way in which Carey teaches these courses is very innovative. Now, we are using the co-teaching method, which lets two professors share their different expertise in one class. We have two projects—Innovation for Humanity and Discover to Market–that are great innovations at the business school. Both of them will give us unmatchable experiences. And both of them will try to teach us how to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity.

The second adjective that comes to mind is humane. The education here is oriented for the good of humanity, which is also an innovation. And finally, career oriented. Every student talks with a career advisor at least once a month. And, nearly everyday, there is an information session in which a company or an entrepreneur will introduce us to a specific business area and its potential job or internship opportunities. We have a professional development class nearly once a week.

The hardest part of the MBA program is time management. There are too many group meetings. We have a lot of teams for each course, and it takes me a long time to read a case study because English isn’t my native language. Every week, there are at least two or three case studies at John Hopkins so I’m working every weekend.

What I find most surprising about America is how truly prosperous the country is, even during a recession. There are so many choices here, so many places for fast food, so many sports and sports games, so many parks and fields. I’m amazed that a lot of the fields are free to people, such as tennis courts. This is impossible in China. You have so many TV channels and so many TV shows. And, you have so many colleges and so many doctors. These things might be considered normal, here but I think they display the country’s tremendous commercial prosperity.

I see a lot of rules and principles underlying such prosperity. For example, people show respect to other people during daily life. You greet each other very often. I remember that one day, I saw one of my American friends put a jacket before he went out. I was very curious about this because that day was quite hot. I asked him why. He told me that on his t-shirt had guns on it and this might offend people so he must put a jacket on.

What should other Chinese young people know about the United States? They should know the American people. Actually, we are very alike. We share a lot of the same traits. All the differences are the result of our different environments. For example, we speak Chinese because people who speak Chinese raised us, and people in the U.S. can’t pronounce the names of many things on the menu of Chinese restaurants because they haven’t had these things before. So, if we understand this, we will be able to better understand the world. It is not hard for people from China and from the U.S. to be good friends; at least we can watch the NBA together.

111, 2014

Fortune

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School|

The Anti-MBA Business School

By John A. Byrne October 25, 2010

In the fall of 2008 when Lehman Brothers went kaput and the economy plunged into a deep recession, Yash Gupta was scampering around the country trying to drum up support for a new business school at Johns Hopkins University. It could not have been the best time to enlist believers in yet another school that would pump out even more MBAs. After all, some critics already were pointing fingers for the collapse of the financial markets at the business schools and their graduates.

But Gupta, a life-long business educator who took the job to become dean of the B-school start-up, says the crisis gave him unusual license to rethink MBA education from scratch. “The meltdown helped us immensely because people were ready to question the orthodoxy,” says Dean Gupta. “We decided early on that we could not be a prominent business school by doing what every other school does. I don’t think I could have done that in 2006.”

The result: The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, which entered its charter class of 88 students in September, may well be the first business school for anti-MBAs. The school’s tagline, “Where business is taught with humanity in mind,” isn’t merely an advertising slogan. It’s central to Gupta’s belief that MBA education had gone off the rails and needed to get back in touch with humanity.

“WE PRODUCED MASTERS OF FINANCIAL ENGINEERING, PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T HAVE HEART AND SOUL.”

“Over the years,” he says, “I came to the conclusion that we leaned too hard on the science of business. The MBA became a degree in methodology. We produced masters of financial engineering, people who didn’t have heart and soul. I’ve been thinking for years that we were headed in the wrong direction.”

Gupta should know. When he took the job as Carey’s first permanent dean in January of 2008, he had already led three other business schools for the past 14 years. While dean at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business from 2004 to 2006, he developed an innovation-focused MBA curriculum. But running a school with entrenched faculty and a host of traditions and rituals didn’t allow him the chance to pull out a clean sheet of paper and rethink business education.

He had the benefit of doing a start-up at Johns Hopkins, world renown for its schools of medicine and international affairs. It was one of only four elite universities—Princeton, Brown and CalTech–left without a business school and a full-time MBA program. The last major university to launch a business school in the U.S. was Yale in 1976.

Everything about the school is different. The school occupies four floors in a modern skyscraper overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The building serves as the corporate headquarters for Legg Mason, the investment management firm. It is five miles away from the university’s bucolic Homewood campus, where parts of the movie, The Social Network, were filmed. The goal is to eventually move the business school there, but that may take as long as ten years.

In building a school inside an office tower, isolated from the university’s main campus, Gupta smartly leveraged the Johns Hopkins name in recruiting both faculty and students. Four of the 15 full-time, tenure-track faculty gave up endowed chairs at other universities for the chance to help Gutpa shape the culture of the school. “I couldn’t resist the Hopkins brand name,” says Christian Kim, who left Baruch College to join Carey as an assistant professor of marketing. “To me, it is a better brand than Cornell or the University of Pennsylvania. And Yash is a great marketer. I was so drawn to his vision for the school that I hardly ate when we first met over breakfast.”

Adds Federico Bandi, a finance professor who left the University of Chicago’s Booth School to teach at Carey, “I got a very good vibe from the leadership of the school. I had the impression that this would be an extremely dynamic place where things could get done quickly.” Because of the university’s reputation, Bandi thought, “this was a very low-risk enterprise. The place cannot fail.”

TEAM-TEACHING IS THE NORM FOR ALL THE CORE COURSES.

At Carey, all the core courses are team taught by two professors from different disciplines in classes that are no larger than 44 students each. Instead of courses in such basic MBA subjects as marketing and finance, Carey features integrated courses with such titles as “Managerial Decision Behavior” or “People and Markets.” Says Gupta with a certain level of pride, “We have a module on decisions being taught by a quant person and a behaviorist. We have a human expression module and it’s taught by a business person and a drama professor.”

A so-called “Innovation for Humanity” experience requires teams of students to travel to one of four countries–Rwanda, Kenya, Peru or India–for three weeks to work on pressing social issues. A “Discovery to Market” project enlists five-student teams in trying to commercialize science and technology developed in such university schools in medicine, public health, and bio-technology, as well as the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technologies Research Center in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Moreover, roughly 80% of the curriculum is required, compared with less than half at most other business schools. In the second-year, students can choose from four “verticals,” each composed of four electives in health, life sciences, energy, or environment—rather than more traditional MBA concentrations in strategy, marketing, or finance.

The school’s slick brochures even feature a highly enthusiastic endorsement from Russell Palmer, the former dean of The Wharton School. “This is the future, an incredible curriculum and opportunity,” Palmer is quoted saying. “The world needs people with broad apertures through which they can apply a business knowledge base. The Carey Business School is ahead of the pack.”

In truth, other business schools have tried out pieces of Carey’s approach over the years. Yale’s School of Management does interdisciplinary team teaching in its core classes. The University of Michigan’s Ross School makes consulting projects a core part of its MBA curriculum, though most of them are in the for-profit sector. But makes Carey truly different is putting all these different initiatives together at the same time as well as recruiting to the school largely non-traditional students who don’t want to beat a path to the typical MBA jobs.

NOT MANY STUDENTS HAIL FROM THE WORLD OF FINANCE AND FEW WANT TO END UP THERE.

Few of the MBA candidates, for example, are from the major consulting firms or from Wall Street. In the charter class, finance is not even among the top eight professional backgrounds, which include health care, government, non-profits, education, manufacturing, and technology. Some 55% of the class—far more than the typical one third–is from outside the U.S., with large contingents of students from Taiwan and China. (See My Story: From Shanghai to a Startup Business School for a profile of one Carey student).

Many of the students express a disdain for the types of finance jobs that often claim the largest percentage of MBA grads. When Jack Hirsch, a software entrepreneur from the West Coast, met with the admissions staff of the school, he made clear he had no interest at all in becoming an investment banker. “Is that okay?” he asked. Assured that it was, Hirsch applied and was accepted. Shaha AlShehail, a female entrepreneur from Saudi Arabia, was attracted by the social component of the program. She also has no ambitions to work on Wall Street or for a consulting firm. Instead, she intends to return to Saudi Arabia to launch a social enterprise.

Says student Allison Kooser, “I had a bad image of the MBA with people working 120 hours a week trying to make money on Wall Street. I think business could be more than just a bottom line.” Glenn Ketover, who once worked 100 hours a week at Lehman Brothers in New York, plans to use his Carey degree to transition to a job at an international NGO.

THE DEAN IDENTIFIES WITH THE NON-TRADITIONAL STUDENTS HE HAS RECRUITED.

The India-born Gupta says it was a key goal to bring in non-traditional MBA students. “I believe learning is not about looking alike,” he insists. “If you really want to believe in a new kind of program then all experiences must come to play. I’m an example of that. Nobody ever could have thought I would be a professor, never mind a dean. My mother could not even write her name. My father worked for a finance company in a clerical role. If I could contribute something from such a handicap, these people can contribute a lot more.”

Gupta grew up in Hadiadad, India, a small village about 190 miles north of New Delhi. He was youngest of eight siblings, all of who have at least a graduate degree. Gupta graduated from Panjab University in India in 1973, earned a master’s in production management a year later from Brunel University in West London and a Ph.D. in management sciences in 1976 from the University of Bradford in England. After teaching operations management, he first became a business school dean in 1992 at the University of Colorado in Denver. Seven years later, he was named dean of the University of Washington’s business school, a post he held until 2004, until moving on five years later, to become dean of USC’s Marshall School.

While the economic meltdown may have given Gupta license to build a far more innovative MBA program than would have been possible, it was no easy task to recruit students to a non-accredited school without career statistics or a strong alumni network at a time when many MBAs from long-established programs couldn’t find jobs. By April of this year, when top schools had pretty much filled most of the seats for their incoming fall classes, Carey only had 17 candidates committed to its new MBA program. “The applicant pool came in very late,” concedes Sondra Smith, director of admissions.

Many of those enrolled students applied only to the Carey School, drawn by its mission and the chance to be part of something new. A good number of other applicants had such schools as Wharton, NYU, Columbia and Maryland in their consideration set. “The real appeal was to be part of something new and something that had never been done before,” says Jarrett Bauer, who went to Villanova University for his undergraduate degree and had worked as a health care consultant.

THE CHARTER CLASS HAS AN AVERAGE GMAT OF 660 AND AN AVERAGE GPA OF 3.2

The first class of 88 students, divided into two cohorts, was culled from some 300 applicants. A quarter of the students were given partial scholarships by Carey, and five of them are on full scholarships. Nearly five percent of the class is without full-time work experience, coming direct from their undergraduate schools. The charter group has an average GMAT score of 660, and an undergraduate grade point average of 3.2, stats that put the students in a competitive arena with such business schools as the University of Maryland (average GMAT of 658), Vanderbilt University (653), and Penn State (652). “I think there may be brighter students at other schools, but the attitude and motivations here are much better,” says assistant professor Chester Chambers, who has an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School, a Ph.D. from Duke University and who had taught at Southern Methodist University. “There’s far more of a service and global component to the students.” The average age of the incoming student is 26, with 36% of the class female. The school hopes to double the incoming class to about 160 students as soon as the application pool and the quality of applicants allows.

If they do travel the less-worn MBA path away from consulting and investment banking as many here expect, many of the students are likely to seek jobs in social entrepreneurship, NGOs, health care services, pharmaceuticals, technology, environmental services, and alternative energy, predicts Phil Phan, vice dean for the school.

What does success look like? Not surprisingly, perhaps, Gupta defines success somewhat differently than many business schools. “I’m not going to tell you it’s about compensation for our students. To me, success is not quantifiable in the short run. I want our students to be able to go into organizations and to be able to exercise a new kind of management style,” he says firmly, “a style that cares deeply about people and community. Our objective is to become the model of what a future management school should look like.”

111, 2014

Financial Times

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School|

Johns Hopkins launches Executive MBA in May

By Della Bradshaw January 4, 2011

Flush from the success of the launch of its full-time MBA in 2010, the Carey school of business at Johns Hopkins University is to launch an executive version of the programme in May 2011.

As with the full-time programme, the EMBA will draw on the expertise of other university departments, such as medicine and public health, and will aimed at a more eclectic student body than the traditional EMBA programme.

The programme will include two unusual projects. The first will be a “Discovery to Market” project that encourages students to take a scientific discovery from Johns Hopkins University and commercialise it. The second will be an “Innovation for Humanity” overseas project, intended to develop managers that can build sustainable businesses in developing markets.

Uncertainty in the US jobs market means that many would-be MBAs are opting for this kind of part-time or executive degree instead of taking the plunge and studying for a full-time MBA. According to GMAC, which distributes the GMAT test , 59 per cent of EMBA programmes showed growth in applications in 2010 compared to 2009.

http://carey.jhu.edu/

111, 2014

The Sacramento Bee

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, UCLA Law School|

Union issue holds up millions from tribes

By Carole Goldberg, May 23, 2007

A half-billion dollars in new state revenues should be an easy sell. But a tricky union issue may stall an agreement between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and five California Indian nations.

The agreement allows expansion of the tribes’ gaming facilities in exchange for projected payments of a half-billion dollars annually to the state. The tribal casinos have the customers, and the state could definitely use the revenue.

All that stands in the way of this agreement is approval by the Legislature. And all that stands in the way of legislative approval is a demand by the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (United HERE!) that the compacts include provision for a certain form of union organizing.

In particular, United HERE! wants the workers’ decision regarding union representation to be made by individual employees signing cards, rather than by a secret ballot. That demand should not prevent legislators from approving the compacts, which strike a reasonable balance between labor rights and respect for tribal sovereignty.

As a general rule, unions are much more successful organizing by this “card-check” process than through secret ballots. Some unions claim that secret ballots leave room for employer coercion, and some employers claim that card-check organizing facilitates coercion by the unions. The five tribes’ existing compacts, in force since 1999, provide for union elections through secret ballots.

Five other amended compacts that the governor signed in 2004 did require the other tribes to accept a union organized by the card-check method. United HERE! wants the newest compacts to follow the 2004 compact model rather than the 1999 model. The five tribes now seeking ratification of their compacts protest that the union has not tried hard enough to organize using a secret ballot, and that the choice of organizing method should be the tribes’ to make, so long as federal legal requirements are met.

Even labor sympathizers — and I count myself among them — should favor approval of the newest compact amendments, despite the absence of the card-check provisions. Under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, California is required to negotiate with the tribes in good faith. That obligation is imposed on the state because the tribes are federally recognized governments, and the casinos they operate are government enterprises supporting government functions such as schools, language revitalization efforts and health care. Tribal casinos are not private businesses.

The fact that some tribes in 2004 accepted the card-check requirement does not make it proper for California to insist on similar requirements for other tribes. Each Indian nation is a separate government, and it is not surprising that tribes would have varying views about the importance of their sovereignty in relation to labor organizing and other activities. In addition, three of the five tribes that agreed to the card-check requirement in 2004 were already represented by unions, making the additional demand moot as to them.

Moreover, unions have greater federal protection for their organizing efforts at tribal casinos today than they did in 1999 or 2004. A recent decision by a federal appeals court determined, for the first time, that the National Labor Relations Act applies to workers at tribal casinos. Although the NLRA does not currently guarantee unions the right to organize workers via the card-check method, it does protect against employer interference with the organizing process. Unions have been trying to persuade the new Congress to amend the NLRA to insist that unions be allowed to organize by card checks as well as secret ballots. Such a measure has passed in the House and is pending in the Senate.

Given that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress, not the states, the power to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes, it is preferable to let Congress, not a state compact, determine whether the card-check system should be imposed on tribes.

If California defers to federal standards for union organization at tribal casinos, workers will still have plenty of rights, and tribal sovereignty will have its proper respect.

111, 2014

The Hollywood Reporter

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, UCLA Law School|

Main Event: Reps vs. Studio Execs

By Carl DiOrio, March 5, 2007

A top exec from Universal had some bad news for the talent attorneys sharing the dais.

“There was a time, maybe only five years ago, when there were a lot of stars who could open a big movie, but today you could count them on one hand,” Universal Pictures co-president Jimmy Horowitz said Friday. “So we just can’t afford to (pay talent) the way we once did.”

Studio execs and talent reps jousted before a packed house at UCLA’s McGowan Hall to open the 31st annual UCLA Law School Entertainment Symposium.

Sure, big-name talent still manages to wrangle megabucks deals, but the terms often are quite different than the recent past, Horowitz said. Studios are resisting giving backend compensation with first-dollar gross except for the most sought-after actors and directors, he said.

Such pullbacks follow repeated instances in which overly lucrative backend deals hurt studios, said moderator and former Paramount executive E. Barry Haldeman, currently of the law firm Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro.

“I saw at Paramount (that) very often the talent would make more money than the studio,” Haldeman said.

Paramount Vantage executive vp Jeffrey Freedman, said the studio’s specialty unit commonly uses backend terms to compensate marquee talent it wants to attract to its lower-budgeted pictures. But the unit almost never gives away lucrative terms like first-dollar gross, which could see talent getting paid a percentage of revenue even before the studio is assured of breaking even on a release, Freedman said.

Actors’ upfront compensation is always modest, he added.

“I don’t pay any actors more than half a million bucks,” Freedman said. “It becomes a matter of whether they want to do the movie or not. It truly does.”

CAA’s Sheldon Sroloff complained that too often talent begins negotiations believing a film will be released through the main studio, only to find the project placed with its specialty division with compensation limited accordingly.

“To me, it’s bait and switch,” Sroloff said.

Alan Wertheimer, an entertainment attorney with Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum & Morris agreed that the situation can be difficult to navigate for talent and its reps.

“To the extent they can characterize everything as a specialty film or a labor of love, it’s in their interest to do so,” Wertheimer said.

Pay-or-play clauses, guaranteeing talent paydays whether a picture is completed, also sparked barbed exchanges between the panelists.

Uni’s Horowitz said studios generally demand conditions for granting pay-or-play, like talent’s waiving the right to final script approval.

But Thomas Hansen of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman noted there’s a difference between demanding and getting.

“Usually what happens (is) we fight about it until the conditions go away,” Hansen quipped, to the panelists’ and audience’s amusement.

An exception involves directors regularly agreeing to a cap on the production budget in order to secure pay-or-play, he acknowledged.

In another opening-day session of the two-day event, SAG president Alan Rosenberg and WGA president Patric Verrone said the spread of product-integration deals with TV advertisers has given talent another negotiating headache.

“Product integration, as opposed to product placement (is) when it pushes the envelope to the point where it is the star of the show,” Verrone said.

It’s understandable that networks would look for new ways of attracting advertising dollars in the DVR age, the labor duo said. But they argued that talent should have the right to consult on product integration and opt out of participating when necessary.

“It’s also a matter of compensation,” Rosenberg said. “For one thing, it’s taking a job away from the actor who would normally be getting compensated for doing that endorsement (as a commercial).”

SAG and the ad industry are conducting a joint study to identify new means of compensating talent in such situations, he said, and in other new circumstances such as when entertainment content is distributed via the Internet and or mobile platforms.

Moderator and attorney Ivy Kagan Bierman of Loeb & Loeb noted talent contracts increasingly bear language that could force talent into participating in product integration.

But Rosenberg and Verrone said the matter will be a topic for negotiation in the guilds’ next round of film and TV contract talks to ensure talent’s voice in the creative process.

“We’re looking to be part of a collaborative process,” Verrone said. “(But) Columbo doesn’t drive a Maserati.”

111, 2014

National Law Journal

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, UCLA Law School|

Law Schools Recruit New Deans from Outside

By Amanda Bronstad, July 16, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Several top law schools in Southern California recently named deans who came from outside their own faculty ranks, a strategic departure from those chosen in past years.

Since 2004, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law and Southwestern University School of Law have named new deans from outside California. Most recently, the University of Southern California Gould School of Law selected a new dean, Robert Rasmussen, who arrives next month from Vanderbilt University Law School.

The four deans are the first in several decades to come from other schools. Law school leaders attributed the shift to a desire for change and an opportunity to recruit faculty members.

An outside dean “always brings a new perspective and can look at things afresh,” said Rasmussen.

Recruiting skills

Rasmussen said he is the first dean to arrive from outside the law school since 1930. Traditionally, he said, most top law schools have hired deans from within their own faculty. But that practice has changed.

“As we see more movement among all faculty members, it’s natural to assume we’ll see more outside people becoming dean,” he said.

He acknowledged some challenges in having to educate himself, as an outsider, about the culture of the school. In the coming months, Rasmussen plans to meet with faculty members and alumni, he said.

But one of his top priorities is to aggressively hire more faculty members.

An outside dean is particularly effective in recruiting because of the relationships he or she brings to the school, said Michael H. Schill, a former law professor at New York University School of Law who became the first outside dean of UCLA School of Law in 2004.

During his tenure, Schill has helped recruit several new faculty members, such as Jennifer Mnookin, a former professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. “That’s a different type of hiring than this school used to do,” he said.

He said UCLA School of Law “was hungry for a major move” and that all the final candidates for the deanship were from outside the school. Faculty members, he said, “wanted to make a leap into the very, very top tier of law schools. Sometimes, that’s easier accomplished with someone who doesn’t have a history at the school.”

Bringing in new faculty is part of improving academic quality at Southwestern School of Law, said Dennis Codon, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Minneapolis-based Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, who serves as the school’s chairman of the board of trustees and was chairman of the selection committee that named Bryant Garth the school’s dean and chief executive in 2005.

Garth, a former dean of Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington, was most recently director of the American Bar Foundation.

While open to Southwestern candidates, the committee picked four finalists from other schools, Codon said. “There is a slight advantage to someone on the outside bringing in new thoughts and ideas of doing things we hadn’t explored in the past,” he said.

Garth replaced Leigh H. Taylor, who had been dean since 1978.

Such long tenures appear to be a thing of the past in Los Angeles, said Ronald F. Phillips, dean emeritus and law professor at Pepperdine University School of Law.

“There was a period of time when Los Angeles had clearly the most stable deanship of any area of the country,” said Phillips, who served for 27 years as the first dean of the law school. Now, a dean’s role has become more akin to an envoy out raising funds, he said.

Dean Kenneth Starr, of counsel to the Los Angeles office of Chicago’s Kirkland & Ellis and former independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation, joined Pepperdine in 2004. Two Pepperdine professors had served as dean and interim dean during the six years after Phillips stepped down.

111, 2014

Daily Journal

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, UCLA Law School|

UCLA Law Nabs IP Star to Build Center

By Andrew Harmon, February 21, 2007

LOS ANGELES – Doug Lichtman, the University of Chicago law professor known for trying to forge consensus between media companies and fair-use and consumer-rights advocates, has agreed to join UCLA School of Law’s faculty in July, school officials said Tuesday.

Michael H. Schill, UCLA’s law dean, said Lichtman’s hiring is key to the school’s campaign to recast its entertainment-law program as an institutional moderator for the legal wars affecting Hollywood. Beginning in August, Lichtman will be responsible for creating a yet-to-be-named research and program center that aims to educate journalists and policymakers on intellectual property issues, Schill said.

“Doug is one of those rare law scholars who’s able to communicate easily with people who believe in minimal protection of intellectual property, as well as people in Hollywood who believe there should be maximal protection,” Schill said. “His goal is to bridge the gap between the polarized views of intellectual property, with respect to entertainment law in particular.”

Lichtman, 35, has taught patent and copyright law at the University of Chicago since 1998. As an editor of the Journal of Law & Economics, he has focused much of his scholarship on the economic impact of intellectual property litigation and the application of middle-of-the-road compromises in copyright disputes.

In 2005, Lichtman co-wrote with Steven Levitt an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case MGM v. Grokster. Levitt, who teaches economics at the University of Chicago, co-wrote the best-seller “Freakonomics.” In the amicus brief, Levitt and Lichtman argued for low-cost, reasonable safeguards employed by peer-to-peer file-sharing sites to combat copyright infringement.

“He’s an important law- and economics-oriented intellectual property scholar,” said University of Chicago Law School Dean Saul Levmore. “Our loss is UCLA’s gain. For them, it is nothing short of a terrific coup.”

Lichtman said his role as director of the new research center will be to present “a real-world public debate” on intellectual property matters for journalists covering legal issues, rather than for scholars.

“Most intellectual property centers today focus on academic projects like training future faculty members and sponsoring law review articles. That’s great, but it’s not what I want to build,” Lichtman said. “I want to build a public-facing entity, one that speaks not to academics but to reporters, congressional staffers and maybe sometime even judges.

“Those are the audiences who need to see balanced intellectual property debate up close and hopefully walk away with a healthy appreciation for the important considerations on both sides of the divide.”

A Phase 2 project of the research center will be a Web resource for briefs and other documents pertaining to crucial intellectual property lawsuits.

Schiff said the law school’s faculty hiring committee courted Lichtman for two years for its 40-student entertainment-law program, which was launched in 2005.

A 1997 graduate of Yale Law School, Lichtman was tenured as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School when he was 29. He has provided legal advice for both sides of the copyright debate, including large media companies and Internet watchdog organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

“It’s an awkward position to be a passionate believer in the middle ground,” Lichtman said, “but it’s exactly where I want to be.”

111, 2014

Los Angeles Times

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, UCLA Law School|

Law Students Get a Head Start in the Real World

By Anna Gorman, May 23, 2007

Erubey Lopez began law school at UCLA two years ago knowing he wanted to become an immigration attorney.

But Lopez, an immigrant himself, got an earlier start than expected this spring.

In an effort to provide real-world experience to students and attract young talent to the specialty, UCLA School of Law created an immigration clinic this year.

The clinic, a joint project between the school and the Public Counsel Law Center, allows students to work with attorneys on actual cases while learning the ins and outs of immigration law.

“As Latinos, a lot of us were going to school to help people in that area, but we weren’t being trained,” said Lopez, 24, who lobbied school administrators for the program.

The clinic changed that, he said. Instead of simply listening to lectures, students are preparing petitions, interviewing clients and appearing in Immigration Court.

“We’re learning immigration law, but not through a book,” Lopez said.

Nine students, who worked with supervising attorneys on more than 20 asylum, trafficking and other immigration cases, just finished a semester course at the clinic.

“Los Angeles is ground zero for immigration in this country,” said Michael Schill, dean of the law school. “It made sense that we teach our students both how to practice immigration law but also to serve the community.”

USC has a similar clinic, which started in 2001, provides pro bono representation and has served clients from more than 25 countries.

One of Lopez’s clients at the UCLA clinic was a Guatemalan woman who fled the war in the 1980s and is trying to get a green card through her husband, who is a U.S. citizen. But the mother of four hit an obstacle because of two old petty theft convictions on her record. She could face deportation if she doesn’t win her case.

Even though school is out, Lopez is continuing to volunteer on her case. The responsibility he and his fellow students felt was daunting, he said.

“If we don’t do it right, someone’s life, someone’s family could be destroyed,” said Lopez, who begins his third year of law school in the fall.

Judy London, who teaches the UCLA course, said the students learn crucial skills, including how to interview clients and gain their trust.

London, directing attorney of the immigrants’ rights project at Public Counsel, the pro-bono arm of the Los Angeles County Bar Assn., said she hopes the clinic will encourage more students to pursue immigration law — or to work as volunteer attorneys while at corporate firms.

Aref Afsari, 27, recently graduated and hopes that he will be able to continue doing pro bono immigration cases after he takes the bar and begins his job at the Orange County office of Paul Hastings, an international law firm.

As part of the clinic course, Afsari helped file an asylum petition for a man from Zimbabwe who said he had been tortured by government forces and had watched the murder of his father. Because the asylum petition was filed more than a year after the man’s arrival, the case was referred to Immigration Court.

Afsari said the case made him realize the overwhelming need for legislative reform.

“To think he would be sent back because of what is really a technicality — the one-year deadline — is just kind of tragic,” he said.

Afsari said he met with his client about 15 times and developed a close relationship with him. He added that he stopped clocking in and out after the first week, because there was no question he was going to meet the required hours.

Ana Paula Noguez, 29, a licensed attorney in Mexico who came to UCLA for a master’s in law, said representing clients here and learning about the legal options available to them was fascinating and challenging. Her clients included a Salvadoran woman sexually abused by her spouse and a Guatemalan trafficking victim.

“It was hard because it’s difficult to make them talk about something so stressful,” she said. “You feel a big responsibility trying to do your best to help them to get relief from their suffering.”

111, 2014

LA Business Journal

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Big Shots

Two local real estate attorneys were behind three of the nation’s top 30 office sales last year. Chauncey Swalwell and Stuart Graiwer, partners at Century City law firm Strook & Strook & Lavan LLP, represented JP Morgan Asset Management Holdings Inc. in three acquisitions, including the Horizon at Playa Vista campus last January.

The highest valued deal at $479 million ranked No. 9 on the list. It involved the acquisition last July of two Seattle office buildings, one of which is occupied by Amazon.com Inc., from Schnitzer West LLC. Another was the No. 13-ranked deal: California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s $415 million sale of the China Basin Landing office complex in San Francisco.

The purchase of the Horizon campus, for $294 million from Lincoln and ASB Real Estate Investment of Bethesda, Md., ranked No. 27. Swalwell aid he was pleased to see some of his large deals recognized but stressed the dollar amounts don’t change the way he thinks about transactions.  “We are in a position where we treat the deals that are this big almost the same as the ones that are 10 percent of that size, because they are both just as important to the client,” he said.

 

111, 2014

Bloomberg TV: Thompson Discusses Reality Television Programming Trends (Video)

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Thompson Discusses Reality Television Programming Trends: Video

April 26 (Bloomberg) — Matthew Thompson, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, talks with Bloomberg’s Deirdre Bolton about the outlook for reality TV show programs. (Source: Bloomberg)

111, 2014

Hollywood Reporter

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Could a single federal tax credit end the economic war among the states?

By Schuyler M. Moore, May 29, 2009

IT’s TIME TO FACE some hard facts of life: California is on the precipice of bankruptcy.

The Golden State has the second highest unemployment rate in the country, coming in just behind Michigan with an ‘official” rate of more than 11% and an unofficial rate of nearly 20%, if you count those who work part time or have just given up. And guess where much of that unemployment is coming from? The entertainment industry, one of California’s largest employment sectors.

Other states are stealing California’s entertainment employment with a race to the bottom in tax-credit givewaways that are mind-numbing in their generosity. The ugly truth is that the “beggar thy neighbor” competition among the states has led them to give away a lot more than they’re getting, increasing the already massive deficits. We thus have a lunatic system in which states are competing against one another, driving them insolvent, rather than the country competing as a whole against the rest of the world.

There is still so much production in California that the state can’t compete on equal footing in this tax-credit flea market, as even a modest credit applied to the massive remaining production in California would tip it into bankruptcy. The best the state can do is pretend to compete, which is why it recently passed an anemic, deferred-production tax credit that looks good in news stories but in practice is a paper tiger. And in most cases, the credit is unusable because it is not refundable, and generally can only be used against the production company’s California tax liability, which is often zero. Even when the credit can be used, it is deferred until 2011, and given California’s history of “gotcha!” tax changes and its current fiscal problems, it would not be surprising if California deferred further use of the tax credit “for a little longer …”

The federal government is fiddling while Rome burns, merely waving at the problem of runaway production with Tax Code Section 181, which permits a deduction for the first $15 million for films shot in the U. S. The problem is that this deduction is a “passive loss” for individual investors that only can be used against “passive income” (basically income from real estate, and good luck with that these days), and even if the deduction is taken by a corporation with taxable income (a rarity in this time of mounting tax losses), at most it accelerates the deduction by about one year. With interest rates at about 2%, this benefit of one-year acceleration doesn’t even amount to enough to buy stamps to write home about. The worst part is that the deduction is not assignable, so it can’t be used to generate actual financing without some fairly tricky footwork. The result is that it is almost useless as a practical matter.

So what’s the solution? Easy. It is time for all the states to band together, stop the self-defeating madness and request the federal government to convert Section 181 into a useful 10% tax credit – instead of a deduction – for U.S. production costs. And it must be assignable in order to provide actual financing for production, which is what is really needed.

As part of implementing this tax credit, the federal government should use its power under the Commerce Clause to pre-empt all state laws (and don’t let Puerto Rico sneak away) that give tax credits for production. That way, the states would be saved from their self inflicted immolation, and they could go back to competing for production based on services, infrastructure and locations – just like in the good old days.

We could go back to seeing ads to shoot in Wyoming because of its sweeping vistas rather than shooting in Connecticut because of its sweeping tax credits. Yes, California might benefit disproportionately from federal preemption of state laws granting production tax credits because it could again compete for production on an equal footing based on the services and facilities here, but a rising tide raises all ships, and it is better for all the states to start floating again ‘than leak from a battle of excessive tax credits.

And I thought the Civil War resolved once and for all that America is one country, undivided, whose interest was of a unified national character, not a loose federation of wrangling fiefdoms. If we are going to seriously battle runaway production to foreign shores, we had better stand together and adopt a national plan to counter this scourge. And the best plan to do that is with a single federal tax credit that is assignable (to permit badly needed financing for production) or, barring that, is at least refundable.

One way or the other, we better do something intelligent – and soon – before the states nibble themselves to death.

Schuyler M. Moore, a regular contributor to THR, is a lawyer at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan Llp., author of “The Biz” and an adjunct professor at the UCLA School of Law and UCLA Anderson Business School.

 

111, 2014

Law Dragon

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Lawyer Limelight: Julia Strickland

By Xenia Kobylarz

Los Angeles attorney Julia Strickland, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, has made a name defending the titans of the financial industry in large-scale, complex class action suits. Her client list includes American Express, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Citi, TransUnion and Sallie Mae. Recently, the 30-year-financial-litigation veteran has expanded her client base to include Internet financial giant PayPal, successfully representing the online payment service and its parent company, eBay, against a consumer class action suit. Strickland took a break from her busy schedule to talk about how she grew her practice, her extensive Buddha collection and her passion for travel.

Lawdragon: Describe your practice and what distinguishes it from other lawyers and law firms?

Julia Strickland: Our practice focuses on the defense of financial services companies in class action litigation. There are very few firms in the country that have this as a focal point for a practice group. What distinguishes us is our very high level of expertise in what is very much a specialty practice area. This practice has grown over time to include representation of major bank and credit card companies. As our expertise has developed, our successes have become visible and resulted in many more matters over the years. We’ve been very visible in this community for about 15 to 20 years.

LD: How did you end up representing major banks and credit card companies?

JS: My entry into this practice was somewhat serendipitous. I started out doing a substantial amount of securities class action litigation. At the time, we had a partner who also had a significant banking regulatory practice. He introduced me to some of his clients who were smaller banks. I started doing bank work on individual cases, not class actions. At that time banks were not being sued as part of class actions. Years later, when banks were being sued as part of class actions I brought something unique to the table which was deep expertise in class action litigation due to my securities experience and a deep understanding of the banking business and the regulatory environment. Very few lawyers had that. So we were able to build on that.”

LD: Can you share some recent successes in the courtroom?

JS: Chae vs. Sallie Mae in the Ninth Circuit in 2010 comes to mind. This was an uncertified class action filed in 2007 challenging Sallie Mae’s methods of calculating interest, assessing late fees and setting the repayment start date on federally guaranteed student loans. The complaint alleged violations of California common law and state consumer-protection statutes. After Sallie Mae obtained summary judgment in the trial court, the Ninth Circuit affirmed and held that plaintiffs’ state-law claims were preempted under the Higher Education Act.

Another one was Zepeda vs. PayPal, Inc. decided in February of this year. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted PayPal’s motion to dismiss various claims asserted by online sellers of goods, finding in part that the placement of holds on sellers’ accounts did not violate the terms of the parties’ user agreement and could not serve as the basis for a breach of fiduciary duty claim.

A third case we are proud of Gonzalez v. Bank of America, decided in our clients’ favor in Texas in 2009. We successfully represented Loeb Holding Corporation, an investment firm named as a defendant in a class action complaint alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and unjust enrichment. The complaint alleged that Loeb was the controlling parent of defendant Intersections, Inc., which was alleged to have conspired with Bank of America to sell “worthless insurance” to Bank of America’s low-income and Hispanic customers from whose accounts the premiums were deducted. Loeb obtained dismissal on a motion to dismiss.

LD: What’s the most pressing issue right now on the minds’ of your clients?

JS: The changing and somewhat uncertain regulatory environment for financial services companies. The consumer financial protection bureau is in its earliest stages and there have been pronouncements from that bureau as to the direction it will take and the initiatives it will pursue, but those are not entirely clear. There are issues with respect to federal preemption, which is very important to national banks. We live in an ever changing and uncertain regulatory environment, which necessarily will impact bank operations as well as the risk of public and private enforcement actions.

LD: As a member of your firm’s Executive Committee and an active mentor for new lawyers, how do you inspire associates?

JS: I try to inspire associates in the same way that I was inspired. I think we all learn in our lives from the good and the bad experiences that we’ve had. What makes me the lawyer that I am today is that from the very beginning I was assigned matters where I played a significant role and my input was valued. Whether it’s the most senior lawyer or most junior lawyer, each one wants to feel they are doing something important and it matters in the development and success of a case. People want to know that they are part of making something happen and that their efforts are appreciated. It’s not easy. We are all extremely busy and under tremendous pressure from clients, and I try to remember what made me want to succeed, and give exactly that: to be an important contributor whose contribution was valued.

LD: I heard you collect Buddhas. When did you start and why?

JS: I started collecting Buddhas many years ago. We travel extensively. I’m a huge believer that travel is a hugely enriching experience. It takes you away from your life and challenges and teaches you that there are many different people in the world with lots of different beliefs. In the process of that, we really value our travels, and in particular Southeast Asia. I saw so many Buddhas and realized the serenity they bring to you, just looking at them, and that was really the inception. It also builds on my interests since college. My major was art history and religion and my thesis in college was in symbolism in Far Eastern art that focused on the symbolism of the Mandala. That was the beginning of my interest in the art of Southeast Asia and Buddhist art and artifacts. By the way, I’m not a Buddhist.

LD: Aside from collecting art, any other hobbies or interests you pursue outside of law?

JS: Travel is the big one. We traveled to every continent with the exception of Antarctica, extensively. And it’s really an important part of our lives. Other than that, my children Katie and Carolyn, who are both out of school and on their own now.

 

111, 2014

Adweek

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP|

Everybody Wants Some … Equity from Advertisers, that is

By Schuyler Moore, May 21, 2009

The age of equity movie investment by advertisers has arrived. There has been a seismic shift in the last year and big advertisers are going Hollywood.

Ford recently created a dedicated department with the sole task of stepping up Ford’s s positioning in films, including equity investments. Importantly, the new department solves the dilemma of how to get the marketing and financial departments within big companies to talk to each other, which is necessary for these transactions to work.

Studios such as Sony, recognizing the importance of this development, have created a department with the sole responsibility of tapping this source of financing. They have entered into multi-year overall product-placement deals in exchange for funding from the sponsors, including Miramax/Coors and New Line/Samsung.

Advertisers have been funding 100 percent of the equity for certain television shows, including GTX and The Restaurant, and are creating their own shorts to view online or as trailers in theaters, including BMW’s shorts on the Internet and the Seinfeld/Superman shorts by American Express. Management firms have entered the fray, with some of them hiring people to broker these deals.

Equity investment by advertisers raises new business and legal issues that need to be resolved to make the transactions work. The issues can be analyzed in terms of money in, money out and control. Closing these transactions requires trail-blazing a new path through this financial wilderness.

Depending on the size of the investment and the sophistication of the advertiser, the advertiser may feel entitled to exercise ultimate creative control, including final cut. Must the hero drive off in a Ford-while eating a whopper from Burger King?

Advertiser control might mangle the film, which would be self-defeating, so a careful balance must be struck to prevent the film from becoming a non-marketable commercial. If done with creativity, products can be woven into the fabric of a film in a way that strengthens it artistically (e.g. Castawaywas a two-hour subliminal Fed-Ex commercial). The trick is putting into words a mechanism that assures the advertiser the desired exposure yet gives the producer the flexibility to make a compelling film.

The solution may require mutual script approval and guarantees of a certain amount of on-screen product time according to pre-established guidelines.
One key question is determining the timing of funding. Producers tend to view equity as at-risk money, which should be made available during pre-production, even prior to closing any production loan or obtaining a completion bond. While this is unfamiliar territory for most advertisers, they naturally want to fund shoulder-to-shoulder with other financiers under the sheltering umbrella of a completion bond, although they are more flexible on this issue than banks.
Given the level of control that goes with a significant equity investment, advertisers may ask for adjacent advertising, such as a brief ad prior to the start of the film, inclusion of a short “special” on the DVD, and even a promotional song on the soundtrack.

One of the most difficult aspects of these arrangements is that many of the issues need the approval and cooperation of distributors (including foreign distributors), but they are not at the table. In addition, the advertiser may be insisting on a minimum number of theaters or P&A in particular territories, or it may be insisting on confirmation that the distributors will not edit the film. In these cases, all or part of the financing may be subject to the condition that the producer obtains distribution agreements complying with these requirements. The producer will then have to effectively impose these requirements on the distributors, and the distributors may be disinclined to acquiesce to these requests. (“Oh, by the way, we need you to guarantee to our advertiser a few things…”)

One of the key issues that the advertiser will be looking for is the right to use the images of actors from the film for advertising products. Once again, the producer is in the bind of having to promise to the advertiser certain rights that the producer simply does not control at that time (the permission of the actors). This can be a touchy subject, particularly for top talent. All the more so when the advertising blurs the distinction between cross-promotion for the film and outright advertising for products. The actors may expect to be compensated for this right, and the advertiser might reasonably be required to pay any associated increase in compensation.
If the advertiser intends to create a particular product line based on the film, such as a product line incorporating the title or trademarks from the film, the producer may seek to obtain a royalty from such sales.

Yes, the going is tough, and the negotiations can take months, at least until we get our sea legs on these transactions. But the rewards are worth it big time since advertisers have the unparalleled capacity to make a film happen. The next big financing wave is hitting the shore — and it could be a monster.

 

111, 2014

Super Lawyers

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

A bit of a rebel with a cause

By Erik Lundegaard, February 2010

There are nine framed photos hung in a neat, tic-tac-toe-like square on the wall opposite the 16th-floor window in Schuyler “Sky” Moore’s office overlooking Century City in Los Angeles. Eight of the photos are color photos of the motorcycles Moore owns and rides to work: ’70s-era Triumphs and Ducatis and Nortons. During the day he keeps his riding leathers in a drawer and at night he hangs his suits behind his office door. He’s been riding since age 15. He has never owned a car.

The photo in the middle is a black-and-white shot of a scruffy, long-haired teenager, electric drill in hand, working on a motorcycle and staring defiantly at the camera.

“That’s me in high school, in Pali High,” says Moore, 54, a partner in the corporate entertainment department at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. Then he laughs. “That’s actually my official high school picture because I didn’t go for the photo. I was a bit of a rebel in high school so they came and took the picture in auto shop.”

Asked why he was a bit of a rebel in high school, Moore pauses, but only for a second. “I was very much into drugs at the time,” he says. “I was actually a drug addict at the time.”

One word crops up as he describes those days: Fortunately. “Fortunately I wasn’t on addictive drugs,” he says. “I was mostly on psychedelics: uppers, downers, marijuana, LSD. Those fortunately were not addictive. Fortunately I stayed away from heroin and cocaine.”

And fortunately a cop helped turn him around. Unfortunately it wasn’t a good cop.

“I’d been arrested several times as a kid and was arrested again at 17, just before graduation. And it was just … I was handcuffed and had hair in my eyes and it was late at night, and this policeman made me hold the door open [for others in the station], and then laughed at me with his partner—at how funny it was to make me hold the door open. It was like kicking a dog when he’s down. It was just this epiphany: This isn’t working. My life … this isn’t the plan.

“So I went cold turkey and had to climb uphill from there. You know? Struggle my way out.”

Eight years later—after climbing from Santa Monica Junior College (two years) to UCLA (dean’s list)—Moore graduated first in his class at UCLA School of Law and quickly made a name for himself as a tax attorney. But he wasn’t satisfied. He leveraged his tax expertise to expand his practice: a security offering here, a debt offering there. He did the homework. He read the 13-volume Collier set on bankruptcy and worked on the Orion bankruptcy. He helped found Summit Entertainment and grew with the company. When it needed distribution, he learned distribution. When it needed financing, he learned financing. Soon he stopped advertising himself as a tax attorney altogether. “I shut off the T-word 18 years ago,” he says. “I now keep it hidden, I call it my secret shotgun. So I don’t advertise it and I don’t push it at all. I just use it. So if I’m on a transaction and can smell tax issues, I can deal with them. But I don’t promote myself that way because I don’t want to be a tax nerd. I want to be the general corporate guy.”

Current clients include production companies Hyde Park Entertainment, Natural Selection (co-financed by Muammar Qaddafi’s son) and Reliance Big Entertainment, which recently provided $325 million of the $800 million that allowed DreamWorks to split from Paramount Pictures.

Moore is often an expert witness in participation cases—who gets what profits from which films. He writes columns, often controversial, for The Hollywood Reporter. His book, The Biz: The Basic Business, Legal and Financial Aspects of the Film Industry, is in its third edition, while his earlier work, Taxation of the Entertainment Industry, updated annually, is used by the Internal Revenue Service as the training manual for its entertainment group. He teaches motion picture financing transactions at UCLA School of Law and entertainment law at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He’s been married for 25 years. He has two daughters.

By any measure he’s come a long way since that night in the police station. Yet what might surprise friends and family, colleagues and clients about the above story isn’t that Moore was once a drug addict; it’s that he paused before saying he was once a drug addict.

Moore doesn’t pause. He likes speed, brevity, bluntness.

“Unlike many lawyers I know, Sky actually gives you a short and clear answer: ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ or ‘Your question doesn’t make sense,’” says David Molner, founder and head of movie financing for Screen Capital International, with whom Moore has worked on approximately a billion dollars worth of deals. “He’s also the fastest turn I’ve ever seen. I mean I’m astounded.”

“When you call his office he picks up the phone, it doesn’t take three people to get through to him,” says Lori McCreary, co-founder, with Morgan Freeman, of Revelations Entertainment, a Moore client. “And he’s a master of brevity. He has a net-profit definition that is, I would say, one paragraph, as compared to the sometimes 14- or 15-page net-profit definitions that go with most films I’ve worked on. And it’s complete and clear.”

“He’s incredibly efficient as a transactional lawyer,” adds Robert Hayward, chief operating officer and principal of Summit Entertainment. “And then being a tax lawyer? He’d immediately be able to give you the rundown of the tax consequences of everything you were doing. It’s not like you’d have to have another lawyer, who would then come up to speed. It was, ‘OK, Sky, turn the hat around. What does this do for us on the tax front?’”

Hayward cites Summit’s purchase of the foreign distribution rights to Universal’s American Pie in 1999 as an example. “We were concerned that the picture was starting to heat up—this was only a couple of months before release—and we needed to close very quickly or we were going to lose the deal. And we had Sky draft and close the deal. Just extremely quickly. Had we used another attorney it may have dragged on and on, and Universal might have realized they were making a mistake and nixed the deal.” American Pie wound up making more abroad ($132 million) than at home ($102 million).

Everyone, it seems, has a story about Moore. The time he brought his motorcycle up the freight elevator and rode it around the hallways of his 1980s law firm. (He didn’t last there much longer.) The time his students couldn’t answer a simple question and he collapsed on the floor in disbelief. McCreary once ran into him at the Cannes Film Festival when he was beating the crowds by riding around on a motorcycle. “I was like, ‘How did you get a motorcycle in Cannes?’”

Students become colleagues. Sally James took his class at UCLA Law and was so impressed she followed him to Stroock.

Clients become students. Nzinga Garvey, COO of Aria Entertainment, took Moore’s business class after he agreed to represent her fledging company.

Opponents become clients. When asked how he hooked up with Reliance, which is owned by Anil Ambani, the sixth-richest man in the world in 2008, according to Forbes, Moore says, “I mentioned Hyde Park? It’s owned by an Indian gentleman. And Reliance and a few other Indian companies kept showing up on the other side of Hyde Park, and I did a good job on those. And they didn’t like being on the other side of me. So they hired me.”

In the early 1990s Ann Mitchell was president of Jean Pierre Sand USA Inc., which was involved in negotiations to use the name and image of Michael Jackson. “The selection of Sky was the best thing we did in the whole project,” she says via e-mail from Woking, England. “When we took Sky’s advice, things went right. When we didn’t, we normally ran into trouble, then backtracked and took his advice. … I always said that if anything happened to me, I wanted Perry Mason to be my attorney. Not anymore. I want Schuyler Moore.”

Moore’s workday begins around 7:30. He arrives at the office, reads the newspaper and the trades, and goes online for financial blogs. By 8:00 he’s ready to roll. The e-mail alone is staggering. There’s a handmade sign taped to his computer: Abandon all hope ye who enter here. He taped it up, he says, because, “One day last year I got back from a trip and I got on the Internet and tried to answer my e-mails?” His laugh is his punchline. As for why he couldn’t check his e-mail via cell phone? “I don’t use a cell phone,” he says. “I don’t check my BlackBerry.” Wherever he is, he’s completely on; and when it’s over, he’s completely gone. “One thing at a time,” he says. Even when that one thing is juggling many things.

His day is chaotic but fun. “F-U-N,” he says. He’s serious about fun—whether it’s riding motorcycles or dealing with those legal areas where contracts, securities, tax, bankruptcy and intellectual property collide.

“Here’s fun,” he says, showing off the number of people cc’ed in a typical e-mail. “I’m gonna scroll down. Ready? I’m scrolling. That’s the distribution list on the DreamWorks transaction. There’s about 50 people total. There are 10 for Disney, 10 for DreamWorks, 10 for everybody. Just the lawyers. For our side, it’ll be me—it’ll be one—at the meetings. I’ve got one associate working with me on it and that’s it. So we’re against a cast of thousands.”

Ironing out the details of the Reliance/DreamWorks transaction is just one of the tasks he’s juggling on this early August day. He’s also in negotiations with Universal, on behalf of client Berry Gordy Jr., regarding certain Michael Jackson films (which Gordy owns) and the word “Motown” (which Universal owns). He’s the U.S. tax lawyer for actor Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee), who’s being investigated in Australia for tax fraud. And he’s exchanging e-mails with the general counsel of Sony, which is co-financing a direct-to-DVD project with Aria.

But the main task, what kept Moore up until 11 the previous evening, is a simple term sheet. “There’s a film called Machete by Robert Rodriguez,” Moore says, “and it’s a pretty high-profile project, and my client [Hyde Park] wants to close the deal today.” His simple term sheet is now 57 pages. “People started sending attachments and approval lists and waterfalls and sales agent agreements that we kept attaching. So it’s now grown into this beast overnight.” Moore has simplified the waterfall—how the profits, if there are profits, get allocated—from 10 pages down to a couple of sentences, and others are e-mailing and phoning to sign off on this change. “I’m a big believer in E=MC²,” he says. “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

That’s the appeal of The Biz. In it, Moore breaks down most film transactions into three basic elements: Money In (who’s contributing and what are the triggers?), Money Out (what’s the order and priority for distribution?) and Control (who has it?). He divides most film financiers into two categories: schemers and dreamers. And he reduces the entire industry to one phrase-of-warning: “Most films lose money!” It’s his mantra. In effect, he’s warning potential clients against becoming clients. “The best position is to be controlling distribution,” he says. “And the more clients move down the food chain, the more I tell them not to invest. At the bottom of the food chain, I tell everyone not to invest.”

“In our initial consultation,” Garvey says, “he gave every reason under the sun, as a financier, to get up and walk out of the room. Walk out of the business. Run for the hills.

“And it’s passionate,” she adds. “It’s like, ‘Get the hell out!’ So I said to him, quite calmly—because, honestly, my business partner, who comes from the health care industry, was ready to bolt—I said, ‘Here’s the difference: Once you represent us, I have no fears that [the bankruptcy that pervades the industry] will happen.’”

He’s nothing if not opinionated. In a recent column he called for a return to the studio system. On the radio show “The Business” on KCRW he called for an end to residuals.

Law schools? “They’re often into philosophy and theory and hyper-space. I teach a very practical class, which is nuts and bolts: how you get through a day, how you close transactions, how you deal with issues that come up.”

DVDs? “Blu-ray, in my opinion, is dead. It’s a dinosaur. To watch the HD/Blu-ray thing was like watching dinosaurs fight. Because it’s going to be replaced by video on demand. Completely.”

The guilds? “I’m sorry. In this industry you’re getting paid gross? You’re telling me a truck driver on Batman should be getting a percentage of gross?”

How about an easy one? Now that he works behind the scenes, does he still enjoy going to the movies? “I don’t go to the movies,” he says matter-of-factly. “I don’t have a television and I don’t go to movies. Other than premieres. When a client invites me to a premiere I go.

“I don’t even know who Robert Rodriguez is,” he adds, referring to the Machete deal. “Everyone else seems to know who he is. He did Grindhouse apparently?” He reads aloud the cast list attached to Rodriguez’s film: “Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez.” He pauses. “I know De Niro.”

To clients, this is part of Moore’s charm. “He looks at everyone on equal footing,” says McCreary. Before Molner and Moore did a billion dollars worth of deals together, Molner was a newbie analyst in the business development group at Paramount and needed a lawyer to review his employment contract. That’s how they met. “It was totally not worth his time,” Molner says. “But he did it, he gave me fantastic advice. And he treated me with the same respect—and by the way, he hasn’t treated me any differently, I suppose, over the years, as the more business we’ve done, the more important a client I’ve become but …”

Moore doesn’t just not consume movies; he thinks they’re a waste of time. He’s written a book, as yet unpublished, called Duh! Suggestions and Stories from Dad, in which, in every other chapter, he tells his daughters his life story, followed by a chapter of advice. The most insistent piece of advice is to get rid of the TV; a close second is limiting other forms of media. “There is usually no lasting benefit of movies and concerts,” he writes, “and as much ‘fun’ as it seems at the time, the net result is just an entire evening lost, with driving, parking and ticket lines added to the main event.”

So: We have an entertainment lawyer representing billions of dollars coming into Hollywood—from India, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and soon, he says, from China—that’s used to make movies, which, in general, he warns against making (financially), warns against watching (culturally) and can’t be bothered with (personally).

And we haven’t even gotten to the most interesting part of the story. It’s the part that explains all the others.

First, a joke. As someone once said, it has the added benefit of being true. This bad-boy lawyer is, in fact, the great-nephew of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North: the actress Billie Burke, who played the role in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz.

The Moores moved into Burke’s old home after they came to Los Angeles from Westchester County, N.Y., when Schuyler was 10. He’s lived in the area ever since but still considers himself an East-Coaster. He has a twin brother, Pell, but there’s still an air of solitude about him. He’s a lawyer, as his father was—they moved West when his father became general counsel to Carnation Co.—but he isn’t a lawyer because of his father. He’s a lawyer, he says, because of his truancy, and because he was fascinated with 1960s cop shows like Dragnet, Adam-12 and CHP, and because when he was in college thinking of becoming a psychologist, he received sage advice from his older brother Barrett: “You know, Sky, you don’t have the patience to listen to people’s problems. Have you really thought about this?”

He’s been knocked around. He was born cross-eyed and had operations to correct it at ages 1, 9 and 33. When he was 4 he got hit by a bus. When he was 5, he had an emergency appendectomy. Later that year he fell through an ice-covered pond and had to be pulled out by Pell. He split his head open running into the family car, burned the skin off his hand at a campout and put a screwdriver through his finger helping out at home.

Then he really began to get into trouble.

He was first arrested when he was 12. He and friends took turns shooting a BB gun at cars. His friends missed, he didn’t. The cops came and got him that night. He began to pay less attention in school, drifted away from his parents. Then he found drugs, motorcycles and gymnastics. All three nearly killed him.

When stories like Moore’s are told—stories of people who overcome adversity, such as drug addiction—the line to success is fairly straight. The person is reckless and then he’s not. He risks his life and then he doesn’t. Moore’s path is bumpy. Not because of recidivism—he hasn’t even had a drink since he was 21—but because whatever reckless spirit was in him from a young age didn’t go away just because the drugs did.

When he was 19, he found himself alone on the Santa Monica beach—at night, in the rain—and decided it was the perfect time to attempt a double flip off the swinging rings. The eye operations had made ball sports difficult but he was a gifted gymnast. “Amateur,” he says, “but pretty decent.”

The double flip came up half a flip short. “I landed on my head from like 12 feet up. And snapped the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae. And was not good.”

He managed to drag himself to a phone booth and call a friend who picked him up on his motorcycle and drove them home. Yes, home. “I don’t like hospitals,” Moore says. “I’ve been in hospitals so much.” It took the persistence of his roommates and his father to get him to a hospital, where it was discovered he had a broken neck, with partial paralysis of his left leg and complete paralysis of his left arm. The doctors were waiting to see if the nerves in the arm would grow back—they did—but Moore wasn’t interested in waiting. Put in traction so the broken neck bones could realign and heal, Moore bugged every doctor coming through to give him a body brace. After several weeks, one doctor relented. Then with the help of Pell, Moore snuck out of the hospital … and promptly went back to street-racing his motorcycle—even though he had to lift his still-paralyzed left arm onto the handlebars to do it.

Is it worse breaking your neck or losing your spleen? Academic question to almost everyone but Moore, who’s done both. At 16, inspired by the movie Easy Rider and the TV show Then Came Bronson, Moore rode off on his Honda CB450 on month-long camping trips across the country: Colorado and Pike’s Peak; Wyoming and the Oregon coast; across Canada and down to New York. At 23 he was on such a trip, riding in northern California, but pushed himself too far and fell asleep. He woke up going into a gulley at 70 mph. After crashing and crawling back to the road, a highway patrolman came by but Moore refused an ambulance. “Because of the hospital thing,” he says. “Because I’m against hospitals.” Eventually he got to a gas station in Willows, Calif., and collapsed from internal bleeding. The bad news? There was only one hospital within 100 miles. The good news? It was right behind the gas station. The hospitals he keeps avoiding keep saving his life—although this time they had to take out his spleen to do it.

Moore, by his own estimate, has been in 20 motorcycle crashes—the last one a year ago—and nothing deters him from getting back on. “I’ve literally been out in a wheelchair at the hospital itemizing the parts on my bike to fix it,” he says.

He’s exhibited his need for speed in other ways, too. He got his pilot’s license and flew planes until his third near-crash. He took up snowboarding and free-fall parachuting. Now he’s hang-gliding.

And that’s the part that helps explain all the others. “The combination of these [near-death experiences] gives me a perspective on life,” he says. “I’m willing to be more out there, and take risks, and look like a fool and make mistakes, because how much worse can it get than dying? I mean, I’ve been there, right?”

There are two other photos in Moore’s office worth mentioning. They’re nondescript photos, one on each side of a folding frame that sits on the bookshelf opposite his desk. The photos were taken in 2002, and show Moore, looking gymnast strong, holding up, in one photo, his elder daughter Merritt, and in the other, his younger daughter Schuyler. Each daughter is doing a handstand on his hands. Each daughter is touching the ceiling with her feet.

“I call it ‘Touch the Roof,’” Moore says. “From when they were 1-year-olds we were doing these tricks … that became part of their life and part of their fun. You could almost watch the progression from there to what they’ve become.”

What have they become? Merritt is a student in the Harvard physics department having returned from a year off to dance with the Zurich Ballet. Schuyler is a senior in high school and a nationally ranked diver who, Moore says, “has offers from all the top Ivies,” and was just accepted early admission to Harvard.

“They learned balance and they learned gymnastics,” he says, regarding the photos.

That a man who lived such a crazy, out-of-control life could help others learn such balance and control. Did he think that was possible when he was young?

His answer is short and clear. “No.”

 

111, 2014

CNBC

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Hollywood Hunts Foreign Investors

Big hollywood studios are looking for financing but unlike wall street co-financing, these deal could be more complicated. cnbc’s julia boorstin with the story. with hedge fund and private equity financing drying up here in hollywood, the new money is coming from overseas in high net worth individuals in the u.s. and this time there are sfrintr attached. wealthy producers want creative input. sources tell me investors from saudi arabia, abu dhabi, india, russia, and china are each looking to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in hollywood. what in particular the foreign investors are after is acquisition of rights. they would love to be able to distribute big hollywood films in their home territories and they’re willing to put up significant equity to do that. in august hemisphere tempo co-financing fund announced its pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a dozen films including tin tin. and in june legender entertainment struck a deal circumventing chinese limits. now high net worth individuals are shifting their attention from indie films to blockbusters. david ellison raised $350 million to finance mission impossible:s ghost protocol ad other films. they’re having to be much more reasonable about the co-investment terms, not only from the level of their distribution fees but also the films that they allow the co-financers to co-invest in. and now the next wave of investment could actually come from brands, brands like hasbro which produced transformers, as well as the upcoming battleship. the easy money may be gone but there’s still no shortage of demand. back over to you. really interesting. julia, thank you.

 

111, 2014

CNBC

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Hollywood’s Next Round of Financing

By: Julia Boorstin, Dec 13, 2011

As the year draws to a close it’s more clear than ever that the era of mega slate deals funded by Wall Street is coming to an end. Studios simply no longer rely on Wall Street for co-financing: investors in Paramount’s “Melrose 2” fund are suing the studio over fraud and unfair business practices and Sony’s deal with hedge-fund backed Relativity expires in April.

After $12 billion plus — mostly from private equity and hedge funds — poured into Hollywood between 2005 and 2008, since then that number has shrunk to just $2 billion, according to Clear Scope Partners.

Why the decline? It can partly be attributed to Wall Street trends — private equity investors have less capital under management and can’t access the high leverage that was easily available in the last decade. Plus, many deals didn’t yield expected returns. The industry has struggled with DVDs’ decline and always-unpredictable box office results. But that’s not all: investors failed to secure favorable terms — bearing the weight of studio fees and the fact that they often couldn’t participate in studios’ sure-thing blockbusters.

Clear Scope Partners Clark Hallren estimates that over 80 percent of transactions disappointed investors. And he tells me that even deals that did work out won’t necessarily bring investors back — he’s had a number of people who turned a profit tell him that they feel like they just got lucky.

Wall Street’s financing pull back has impacted Hollywood studios — they’ve brought down budgets and are cutting back on stars huge paydays. Plus, they’re simply producing fewer films.

But there a slew of *new* investors looking to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into movies. The next wave of money is coming from overseas. Sources tell me investors from Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, India, Russia and China are each looking to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into movies. We’re seeing a growing number of these overseas deals. We’ve already seen some of this overseas money: In August Hemisphere Fund, which is backed by a Korean company and two Japanese companies announced its investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a dozen tent poles, starting with Sony and Paramount films including Smurfs and TinTin. And in June, Legendary Entertainment struck a deal with Chinese investors for co-productions.

The foreign money, more often than not, comes with strings attached — requirements for local production or local distribution rights, or limits on the type of content. But that can work in US production companies’ favor, as we saw with Legendary. Its China deal allows the company to circumvent China’s limits on the number of foreign films that can be distributed in the country, allowing it to tap into the fast-growing Chinese movie going market.

Another source of Hollywood money: high net worth individuals. Wealthy individuals have a history of financing artier fare — eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll focuses on movies with a message. He financed “Good Night and Good Luck” and “Syriana.” But now we’re seeing the shift to studio tentpoles. Larry Ellison’s son David Ellison has a $350 million fund at Paramount which is co-producing the likes of the upcoming “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” But Ellison isn’t passively investing as many hedge funds did — he’s a producer of the films.

The new money flowing into Hollywood is unlikely to add up to the $12 billion we saw in the last decade, but as always seems to be the case with Hollywood, there’s no shortage of interested investors. The question for studios is just what kind of terms they’re demanding.

 

 

111, 2014

Variety Dealmakers

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Matthew Thompson, partner, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan

Dealmakers Impact Report 2011: Lawyers
By Iain Blair

In the past year, the top entertainment lawyer has worked on deals worth more than $650 million for such clients as Reliance and Exclusive Media, representing in connection with $100 million of film production financing in each case.

Moore, whose other clients and deals include Hyde Park Entertainment on its $100 million financing transaction with ImageNation, Cyrte on its acquisitions of Spitfire Pictures and Newmarket Films, Aramid Entertainment Fund on over $200 million of film financing transactions, and Morgan Freeman on investments in high-tech companies, including digital kiosk company Digiboo, reports that since the recession, “as the hedge funds have shrunk, the big shift in financing has been the move to foreign investors and distributors.”

KEY DEALS: Handled investment in Hemisphere Capital Management, a $250 million slate financing transaction for large budget studio films including “Men in Black III” and “The Smurfs” for clients and foreign distributors Toho-Towa, Kadokawa and Lotte.

SPARE TIME: Motorbike rider (he owns nine and no cars), snowboarder and hang-glider.

TOP CA– USE: The Pacific Council

 

111, 2014

Variety Dealmakers

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Matthew Thompson, partner, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan

Dealmakers Impact Report 2011: Lawyers
By Iain Blair

Thompson works on major corporate deals and reps big money — banks, hedge funds and private equity funds investing in entertainment projects. He also handles more traditional M&A corporate work and the buying and selling of entertainment companies.

KEY DEALS: Reps Mark Burnett Productions and recently organized a joint venture with Hearst Entertainment. He describes it as “a major restructuring of Mark’s production business coupled with a complex joint venture deal regarding both existing and future shows for many years to come.”

Thompson also repped RGM Media and various affiliates in doing a $100 million-plus slate financing deal with Fox Intl. “to provide funding to Fox for production of at least 20 non-English language films globally.” On behalf of Comerica Bank, he executed several recent facility deals, including one for indie producer Nu Image (which is in production on “Expendables 2”). Thompson also did a facility for Endgame Releasing, which provide P&A financing to film owners looking to release theatrically in the U.S.

SPARE TIME: Riding horses, sports with wife and kids.

TOP CA– USE: Breast cancer awareness

 

111, 2014

The Daily Deal

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

The blockbuster as extended commercial

By Richard Morgan
November 28, 2011

Hollywood’s next financing trend will arrive with all the subtlety of a Michael Bay production.

That’s because it may well be a Michael Bay production — another blow-’em-up spectacle consistent with the oeuvre already containing such extravaganzas as “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Transformers.” But it’s also because, by the time the next trend gets here, everybody will have seen it coming.

All you have to do is think back to Reese’s Pieces in 1982’s “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.” Then fast-forward to that FedEx-driven drama of 2000, “Cast Away.” And, finally, recall the decibel-defying clash between Autobots and Decepticons in last summer’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

Still confused? Then let’s hear what Los Angeles entertainment attorney Sky Moore has to say: “The next trend in Hollywood financing is going to be true equity from advertisers. We’re even going to see a major advertiser buy a studio.”

Moore isn’t just talking about product placement. Rather, he’s talking about entertainment that’s advertiser-created and advertiser-owned. He’s talking about studio slates chock-a-block with 90-minute commercials of the sort he considers “Cast Away” to be. (Moore considers “Cast Away” a commercial despite knowing that FedEx Corp. didn’t pay a cent for its representation. The point, in his view, is the brand-recognition boost FedEx received.)

What’s more, as a partner of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, Moore is unusually qualified to assess Hollywood financing trends. He’s in the thick of the current one — a wave of Asian capital crashing down on Tinseltown — having not only having represented India’s Reliance-ADA Group in its $850 million funding of DreamWorks SKG but having advised the Japanese and South Korean backers of Hemisphere Capital Management‘s recently announced fund to co-finance no fewer than 12 tentpole productions.

Moore’s a student of previous trends, too. In his film industry text, “The Biz,” he cites a German tax law from the late 1990s that permitted the immediate deduction of a film’s entire negative cost. That the law didn’t specify where the film had to be shot triggered, Moore writes, “an unintentional subsidy for worldwide production.” But once Germany’s location loophole was tightened, so too was Hollywood’s capital infusion.

“These waves come and go,” Moore says in a phone interview. Yet he regards the next one as almost too easy to call: “Advertisers are getting squeezed off TV by digital products that allow viewers to zap right past them. They can’t accept that anymore.” Nor should they, given the success that “Transformers” toy creator and film co-producer Hasbro Inc. has been having with what it calls “immersive entertainment experiences.”

During a recent investor day presentation, Hasbro noted that of “Transformers 3” ‘s total box office of $1.1 billion in 2011, its $766 million international component by itself eclipsed the $710 million recorded for all of “Transformers 1” in 2007. Moreover, as extended commercials, “Transformers” and other media in support of Hasbro properties have a remarkable halo effect. Those properties supported by a movie or TV show recorded a compound annual growth rate of 16% between 2006 and 2010, whereas those lacking that support limped along with a CAGR of 4%.

Small wonder Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner called it an “exciting time” for projects aimed at bringing additional properties — Risk, Clue, Micronauts and even Monopoly, to name a few — to the silver screen. And though he didn’t address studio ownership (aside from Hasbro Studios, which already produces shows for the company’s one-year-old joint venture called Hub TV), he did promise “continuous news” on the subject.

It scarcely matters to Moore which advertiser buys a studio first. Any Hasbro hesitancy, he says, could induce Mattel Inc. to step up. And if Mattel doesn’t do it, then Red Bull might simply extend its extreme-sports videos and commercials to movie length. Don’t rule out the automakers, either. “See the latest trailer for ‘Mission Impossible’?” a Hollywood source says of the defunct TV show’s fourth installment as a film. “Looks like an ad for BMWs, not a movie.”

Although this last observation highlights what hidebound cineastes see as an exercise in duplicity — selling while telling — Moore counters that “Cast Away” settled that issue more than a decade ago. “When a film really works for a brand,” he says, “then its placement goes right by you.”

 

111, 2014

San Francisco Chronicle

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, News and Insights, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

By Daniel Rozansky
October 17, 2011

There is a cost to “free.” There is an additional cost to speed. It’s called privacy.

Each day we pay these costs to download movies, music and buy things on phones, tablets or computers. We agree to terms of service without thinking about the implications. But every day there’s a new rash of lawsuits over privacy rights. What’s the solution? Content providers could create more succinct terms of service to benefit consumers. As a byproduct, they will benefit, too.

The speed-for-privacy trade-off begins with free websites like Google, Yahoo, YouTube and Pandora. It continues with online stores that sift through the clutter to speed up shopping and direct us to products we might like based on where we live, shopping history and website visits.

But what are the websites and content providers getting in return for providing us with this useful information? Important information about us.

Privacy is a commodity. Your personal information is being bought and sold with your approval when you agree to the terms of service. Does anyone bother to read Facebook’s or iTunes’ terms of service or take the time to understand what they are agreeing to? Parents, do you have any idea what personal information your children are giving up? Probably not. That’s why websites and other online service providers should voluntarily agree to shorter terms-of-service language so consumers can identify what important privacy and other rights they give away when clicking “I Agree.”

First, an abbreviated terms of service should clearly state the information being collected. As information available through technology extends further and further past such simple things as your name and address, the privacy becomes less apparent. For example, the GPS technology that maps your route home also can track where you are right now or log where you go every day. Each time you visit a website, content providers collect “cookies” coupled with your IP address to create a log of your online behavior.

Second, the abbreviated terms of service should state how personal information will be used. Many of us enjoy GPS, but we are not happy if our phone doubles as a tracking device. Third, it should explain who will have access to our information and under what circumstances. Even if we are comfortable with a content provider using our Web history to tailor products to our interests, we might not want that data given to a third party. Fourth, it’s important to explain what is being done to secure the information from unintended use.

In short – an ideal abbreviated terms of service should explain what information will be collected, how it will be used, who will be using it and how it will be protected. If content providers would dedicate a few sentences to each of these four questions, or perhaps a straightforward chart, consumers could more easily make meaningful decisions about their privacy. Content providers would also benefit, because a short terms of service will enhance credibility, and help attract more (and more loyal) users. Even consumers who don’t hesitate to click “I Agree” (probably most) will appreciate a quick and straightforward education on privacy, which eliminates surprises.

It’s the right thing to do, and everybody wins.

Daniel Rozansky is a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in Los Angeles.

 

111, 2014

Stroock Attorney on cover of Super Lawyers

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, News and Insights, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

stuart-g2Stroock real estate attorney Stuart Graiwer made the cover of Southern California Super Lawyers magazine for July, 2012.

 

 

111, 2014

Reuters TV

November 1st, 2014|Categories: Clients in the News, News and Insights, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, Uncategorized|

Reuters TV