Tuesday, November 24, 2015

COBI’s newest alumni emerge from Executive MBA program

The newest alumni of the UT College of Business and Innovation celebrated their achievement on November 6 at the commencement program for cohort 19 of the Executive MBA program.

 “All of us in the College of Business and Innovation are extremely proud of the members of Cohort 19 for their very hard work and commitment to the program, and to their futures,” noted Dr. Rosalinda Dunlap, Director of the new Graduate Programs office in the College of Business and Innovation. “These `working professionals completed all of their course requirements through our accelerated 12-month program, which is built upon a unique on-campus and distance learning format. The students’ success speaks both to their determination and to the validity of our program structure.”

Other individuals serving the Executive MBA class in the new COBI Graduate Programs office are Darlene Howard, assistant director; Stacy Jenkins, advisor; and Carol Stamm, career placement coordinator.

Members of COBI Executive MBA cohort 19 are: Sy Albakri, Radiometer America; Cristina Alvarado,                 Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center,  The University of Toledo; Ally Anthony, ProMedica Toledo Hospital; Sabina Attavar, Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Hospital; Brandon Forga, Lear Corp.; Marcus L. Goodwin, The House of Emmanuel, Inc.; Matt Hammond, ProMedica; Anthony Hartford, ProMedica; Nicole Marie Woods Henley, Metrex Research; Heather Karns, The University of Toledo College of Law; Kathleen Krueger, ProMedica; Mark Kuhlman, Kuhlman Corp.;  Erin Reis, ProMedica; Marcus Rivard, DTE Energy;  Howard Robinson, M.D.; Thadius Wadsworth, ProMedica.

“I am extremely happy I chose The University of Toledo. As a physician and a mother of two young kids finishing my MBA gave me a huge sense of accomplishment,” Dr. Attavar said. “I would like to send a message out there to all my contemporary physicians that it certainly feels good to come out of your patient care zone and explore fields like business management, administration, technology, finance and negotiation. Armed with an MBA, Physicians can get into the administration side of hospitals as directors, vice presidents, presidents, etc. The potential is unlimited.”

 “The best experience for me was the UT faculty. They are all keepers. They are awesome!” Dr. Attavar said. “I have to admit I was skeptical initially as medical knowledge, biology, biochemistry, genetics, etc. was my main background. That changed completely.”

“Any time I emailed any faculty member I always got a response, plus additional advice and a note saying feel free to contact me if you need further assistance. I truly could not ask for more!”

“To my kids I want to set an example that you can do anything you put your mind into at any point in life,” Dr. Attavar said.

She also had one piece of advice for others considering UT COBI’s Executive MBA program: “Cut short your decision making process and go for it!”

Research activities enhance decade-long relationship between UT COBI and PSG Institutions

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation and PSG Institutions in Coimbatore, India have enjoyed a mutually enriching relationship for a decade. PSG MBA students spend a semester or more at UT.  Additionally, COBI faculty members go to India to teach at PSG Institutions.

But a meeting in October marked the beginning of another aspect between the educational organizations as PSG and COBI faculty members and grad students met to discuss joint research projects.

Dr. Paul Hong, Professor of Information Operations and Technology Management in COBI, said that it might be six months to a year to determine exactly what type of research project could be jointly undertaken, and that such research could lead to perhaps partnering with a journal, or hosting an international conference.

“Doctoral students are very motivated, and such a joint project could connect UT doctoral students with international scholars. Without our meeting in October and the visit from these PSG professors, this would take a lot of time.”

Dr. D. Sudharani Ravindran, professor and admission counselor, and Dr. R. Deepa, assistant professor, both of PSG Institute of Management in Coimbatore, India, visited UT COBI in October to work with faculty and students on a project that may help business professionals in both countries.

“Every year a faculty member comes to UT to collaborate on research for one month,” Dr. Ravindran said. “I did my MBA in marketing from PSG in 1979, and we are exploring other opportunities such as research. Furthermore, our marketing students in India and the Schmidt School of Professional Sales students here can have a cross-cultural exposure through video conferencing of sales role plays."

Dr. Deepa said, “I am exploring emotional intelligence with Dr. (Margaret) Hopkins, and looking at the big picture about what kind of research we can do together.”

Dr. Jung, an assistant professor in IOTM at UT COBI, said, “The research project involving supply chain and information technology to be explored by this international group will be transformational and key in the next decade.”

“A lot of my research deals with foreign exchange and international markets,” noted Marc Simpson, Ph.D., the John B. and Lillian E. Neff Endowed Chair in Finance at UT COBI. “It can often be useful to have insights from people in international markets to get the local perspective and to enrich the research project.  Institutions often vary internationally and the emerging markets, such as China and India, have been the focus of intense research in recent years. Our collaboration with PSG in recent years gives us advantages in conducting such research.”

Dr. Hong said “The growth of many businesses has slowed down, so small companies in cities such as Toledo are looking for business opportunities in China, India and emerging economies. Entrepreneurs have an idea to develop money, and investors have money and are looking to facilitate business opportunities. There are growth engine opportunities in emerging countries.”

“Companies here are also employing MBA students from India and China, recognizing that they are their future global business partners.”

Dr. Hong also said there are three criteria for companies considering new or enhanced involvement in working with foreign companies:

“One is that people appreciate this international network on a personal level; they must ask themselves if they value this kind of relationship of an international networking experience. The second is, can they handle the growth beyond their own region; they may want to do more, but do not know how. And finally is the reality that entrepreneurs in the Toledo area are increasingly going global, even small companies. They have to examine what kind of problems they struggle with, and when we talk with them, they talk about issues such as leadership and product development.”

“In Northwest Ohio we have a tremendous Indian community, so we have a lot of connections, which will open the door to great opportunities,” Dr. Hong said. “There are treasures in your own back yard. You just need to look around.”

COBI Marketing major makes princess dreams come true!

It’s likely that many UT College of Business and Innovation students once dreamed of being a princess, later trading in such dreams for the reality of daily life, college and their roles in the future of business.
But Laurel Lovitt embraces her own inner princess - - and the princesses others find within - - and turned it into the successful, growing business of Laurel's Princess Parties.

“As a child I truly loved to use my imagination. I was an only child  - - until my brother was born when I was 12 - - and my mom was a single mom, so growing up the most fun that I had was making memories, and I did this by using my imagination. Playing princess was fantastic, but I also knew that I was a true princess, not just pretending. As a child I was taught that a true princess is genuine, kind, loyal, gives to others and loving. I have always strived to live out all of these aspects of truly being a princess.”

“Laurel's Princess Parties (LPP) started with a dress and a dream to make a difference in the lives of children. One of my friends asked me to come to her daughter’s birthday as Princess Laurel in my blue prom gown, so I did. At the party I fell in love with making that child's dreams come true. Therefore I started Laurel's Princess Parties in May, 2013.”

Laurell  and her brother Joshua

Laurell as one of her princess characters, the Snow Queen

“I spent the first six months of the business teaching children that they could be princesses just like me, Princess Laurel. I held fairy garden workshops and went to birthday parties. Then in November, 2013 the movie Frozen was released. I knew that the children loved these characters, so I did my research and legal work to be able to use our version of these characters and Laurel's Princess Parties blew up! I went from doing six appearances a month to 15 a month within four months. Now we average 30-45 appearances every month,” Laurel said with justifiable pride.

“This business is very profitable and we have grown exponentially! We attend birthdays, special events and workshops. The reason that the business continues to grow is because of our WHY, and that is the children. We specialize in boy and girl parties now, and all of our performers are trained to fully put the kids first. Our packages start at $200. I know that when the children are put first then the appearances will come in. This job is the greatest because I am truly living my dreams,” she said.

“Our packages start at $200, and we market LPP through Social Media: Facebook, Instagram and Pintrest. We also have developed our own website, www.laurelsprincessparties.com. Along with these outlets we are partnered with many organizations who spread the word and host events with LPP characters.”

 “I started the business as just ‘me’ and now we have a full team,” Laurel explained.  “We have three male performers and five female performers, along with a bookkeeper, CPA, and three referral partners. We are a team and this business would not be what it is today without each team member.”

“Laurel's Princess Parties mission is to inspire children to use their imaginations to believe in their dreams. I see Laurel's Princess Parties branching off into two new territories in the next 3 years. This is a company that will continue to grow and thrive for years to come.”

Laurel said she chose UT to study business “because they have one of the top rated business schools in the country. I am studying marketing because I am truly passionate about spreading the word of companies through advertising and word of mouth. I did not have LPP underway when I made this decision. At the time I was an independent distributor for Herbalie, but I knew that one day I would be able to start my own company from the ground up.”

And perhaps in an instance of fantasy becoming reality, Laurel bears the title of what some may consider to be another type of royalty. “People would be surprised to know that I have just received the title of Miss Sylvania International and will be competing for Miss Ohio International in the Spring,” she said.

But title or not, Laurel is living her dream.

“Is it difficult? YES!” Laurel admits.  “I am a full time student, run all of the back end of the business as well as perform. I make many sacrifices to make this business truly successful. But I knew what I was getting into, and I wouldn't change it for the world.”

Travis Tygart discussed use of performance enhancement drugs with COBI Sales School students.

As CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, Travis T. Tygart was involved in one of the most high-profile cases when he and his agency took on seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

On November 4, the day he spoke at UT at the Edwin Dodd Distinguished Lecture Series in Business Ethics in a lecture co-hosted by the College of Business and Innovation and the College of Law, and sponsored by Dana Holding Corp. and Owens-Illinois Inc., Tygart also met with students in the sales program in the UT College of Business and Innovation.

“The case is interesting and well-known,” said Dr. Gary S. Insch, dean of the College of Business and Innovation. “It crosses the boundaries of both areas; there is the obvious legal aspect to this, but Lance Armstrong used his name to create a business. Certainly there are business ethics questions associated with this.”

Tygart was chosen to speak at this lecture not only because of this particular case, but because of the background he has that bridges the gap between business and law. Though he received his JD from Southern Methodist University in 1999, he pursued a different path than most lawyers.

“From our perspective, it’s great to have speakers on campus who went to law school and then ended up doing something different with their lives,” said Geoffrey Rapp, UT associate dean for academic affairs in the College of law and the Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values. “He has legal education but branched into a direction that a lot of people might not think is available if you go to get a JD. It’s nice for our students to get to see the diverse things someone can do after they go to law school.”

Under Tygart’s leadership, USADA’s efforts to protect clean athletes have included cooperating with federal authorities on numerous investigations such as the international steroid bust, Operation Raw deal, and the international doping conspiracy involving the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in San Francisco.

Tygart also has been recognized by Sports Illustrated as one of the 50 most powerful people in sports; named to Time magazine’s 100 list of most influential people in the world for 2013; named one of the top 12 world sports personalities of the year by Sport Intern; selected as one of the world’s most influential sports personalities by Inside Sport; and was one of the Colorado lawyers of the year named by Colorado Law Weekly.

“I think he’s got some really valuable perspectives for our students, particularly people who might be thinking about law or business school, on how you conduct an internal investigation,” Rapp said, “which is different than how you would defend a criminal in a lawsuit.”

“It’s a great opportunity to generate a conversation and talk about ideas like ethics,” Insch said. “That’s the whole point of a university, and that sometimes gets lost in the daily grind of just trying to get a degree.”

COBI MBA students from PSG Institutions in India experienced an American Thanksgiving celebration

COBI hosts 20 area high schools for JA Challenge

On November 13 The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation welcomed 60 high school students from 20 area high schools as they participated in the JA Business Challenge.

Using the JA Titan business simulation program, the teams had a series of decisions to make as CEOs of the competitive, technologically advanced industry of the Holo-Generator, all with the goal of winning scholarships.

Participating high schools were Anthony Wayne, Archbold, Bryan, Central Catholic, Defiance, Margaretta, Maumee Valley Country Day, Northview, Notre Dame Academy, Oak Harbor, Penta Career Center, Perkins, Perrysburg, St. Francis de Sales, Start, Swanton, Southview, Tinora, Toledo Technology Academy, and Vermillion.

Several area businesses provided mentors to the teams, including O-I, Owens Corning, First Solar, Eaton, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, Toledo Molding and Die, EY, KeyBank and The Andersons.