Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Learn the worth of valuation

Knowing how to value assets and liabilities is an essential skill which allows professionals to know their company’s worth and financial status.

The Valuation graduate certificate teaches MBAs and MBA alumni important skills in valuing companies, assets and investments.

Cathy Shenoy, director of MBA programs, said the certificate is especially helpful for those in finance-related fields, including commercial lending, corporate finance, banking, real estate and mergers and acquisitions.

“Anyone who’s going to be doing large financial transactions needs to know how to value those transactions,” Shenoy said. “If you don’t know how to value those transactions, you don’t know how to make a bid or accept an offer.”

George Bittlingmayer, professor of finance and economics, said valuation is also an important skill when professionals are looking at the financial components of a company.

“It helps you think through how a project or company is going to support itself,” Bittlingmayer said. “What are the moving parts? How do operations and the financing of the project interact?”

The Valuation certificate is only open to current MBA students and MBA alumni. It is composed of five classes for a total of ten credit hours. Students are required to take financial statement analysis and business valuation and may choose three courses from a list including applied portfolio management seminar, derivatives strategies, international finance and entrepreneurial finance.

Learn more at Apply by July 15 for fall 2014.

by Allison Kite

Monday, April 28, 2014

School honors student leaders with R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Awards

Dean Bendapudi (left) applauds the 2014 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Award honorees.
The School of Business announced its 2014 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Award winners last week, recognizing strong, diverse leaders from different areas within the school.

This year’s winners include Amy Goodpasture, undergraduate; Kristi Marks, Master of Accounting; Adam Buhler, Master of Accounting; Anas Maazouzi, MBA; and Samer Sarofim, doctorate.

Douglas May, director of the International Center for Ethics in Business, created the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Award in 2006 to embody the positive values of the School of Business and encourage similar behaviors in other students. The seven principles of the RESPECT code stand for responsibility, enthusiasm, self-esteem, professional integrity, equity, compassion and teamwork.

All recipients exhibit a strong drive for excellence not only in the classroom but also in campus organizations, community services and part-time jobs.

Students were nominated by faculty, staff and students. The awarded recipients were chosen by the Honor Council in the School of Business.

Awards are funded by the Majorie McNish Fund for Ethnics in Business, established by J. Hammond McNish, former business law professor at the School of Business, to honor his late wife who was dedicated to education and community service.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Course bridges geography, marketing and supply chain

Spatial analysis, geocoding and thematic mapping. You wouldn’t guess by skimming Alan Halfen’s syllabus that his new elective in the School of Business is a marketing course.
Alan Halfen answers student questions.

MKTG 400: Marketing, Supply Chains and Geographic Information Systems aims to offer methods for gleaning consumer behavior insight through geographic tools.

“Geography’s principle role in marketing is in understanding people and place,” said Halfen, who created the interdisciplinary class after earning his doctorate in geography from KU in 2012. “In the field of geography, places are social constructs defined by history, cultures and perceptions.”

The senior-level course is a combination of the three fields, taught in a hybrid format. Students are immersed in the material in a mix of traditional lectures and interactive, lab-based activities, using geographic information systems, known as GIS, a set of computer tools and hardware used to analyze, manage and model data in a geographical way.

He said geographers who study places do so by understanding the people who occupy them. “Marketing merges with geography at the crossroads of people and place,” he said. Using geographic tools, businesses are able to shed light on how customers make purchasing choices, which is a foundation of marketing.

While GIS tools have been used in geography for decades, their application in business is becoming more commonplace.

Halfen hopes students will be able to understand how geographic information systems can be used by businesses to solve complex problems, how to employ basic GIS programs and how to critically analyze case studies for their use — or lack — of spatial data and geographic information systems.

With strong enrollment in its first semester, Halfen plans to offer the course every year in the spring semester. He is developing additional elective courses that focus on data analysis and visualization, and looks to create a course on location-based marketing in the future.

“As data becomes more and more available, it will be more important than ever for skilled workers to use technology to manage and understand data,” Halfen said.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Supply chain management drives when, where, how of business

Supply chain management is one of the fastest growing but most misunderstood areas of business.

Supply chain students study abroad in Panama 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the supply chain management field is expected to grow 22 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is double the average growth rate for all occupations.

Joe Walden, a decision sciences and supply chain management lecturer, said he thinks supply chain management is an important business skill because it touches all other departments of a company. A company can’t survive if its supply chain fails to get the product to the consumer.

“I think everybody that’s going to go to work for any company needs to understand supply chain, but especially those who are trying to become an MBA
need to understand how the supply chain interacts,” Walden said. “It’s not a stand-alone function.”

One of the biggest roles of supply chain management professionals is to look for opportunities to increase the company’s bottom line by finding the most cost effective and efficient way to get resources and produce and transport a product. However, supply chain management professionals also drive top-line revenue by finding out what the consumer wants to buy and where and when they want to buy it. Steve Hillmer, director of finance economics and decision sciences, said supply chain is important because it revolves around getting the product to the customer.

“It starts with the customer and asks, ‘What does the customer want?’” Hillmer said. “Then it goes back and asks, ‘Okay, now where do we get that?’”

The Supply Chain Management graduate certificate is composed of one decision sciences course and four supply chain management courses for a total of ten credit hours. These courses cover operations management, procurement and supplier management, logistics and distribution management, information systems for supply chain management and Lean Six Sigma.

Learn more at and apply by July 15 for fall.

by Allison Kite

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Business law professor recognized for paper

Journal of Financial Crime, an international research journal published in the United Kingdom, has recognized John Gergacz, KU professor of business law, for writing one of the journal’s “Highly Commended Papers of 2013.”

Gergacz’s paper, “In-house counsel claims against a corporate employer and access to privileged corporate communications: An analysis and a proposal,” appeared in the journal in fall 2013.

The paper evaluates in-house legal counsel’s dual role in wrongful discharge claims against a corporate employee and its effect on privileged corporate communications.

“I feel very honored to have my work recognized by the Journal of Financial Crime,” Gergacz said.  “Its editorial board consists of legal scholars from throughout the world and I am pleased that they selected my piece for this distinction.”

Gergacz is also the author of the leading legal treatise, “Attorney-Corporate Client Privilege 3rd edition.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Peeps hatch plan to sell all year

Easter’s famous marshmallow chicks have come to roost year-round.

Peeps, one of Easter’s most popular candies, may dominate the marshmallow candy market, but it’s yet to be determined if they can survive on the shelves year-round. Starting May 1, Just Born, the treat’s manufacturer, will add new varieties of Peeps including miniature Peeps and three different flavors (strawberry crème, chocolate crème, and sour watermelon). Vince Barker, an associate professor of strategic management, said he thinks the strategy is wise and uses his sons as evidence.

“While I do not eat a lot of Peeps, my family loves them and my sons in particular are huge fans,” Barker said. “We already buy peeps shaped as pumpkins and hearts for other holidays as treats, so my family’s experience shows a market might exist for Peeps outside of holiday periods.”

Barker said Just Born’s strategy will lead to more than just increased revenue and customer satisfaction. Keeping Peeps on the shelves year-round will likely lower the cost of production. Laura Poppo, a strategic management professor, said she agrees with Barker— producing Peeps year round makes economic sense.

“Assuming Peeps require some specialized equipment to manufacture, if they only use this equipment a few months out of the year, then their return on investment is minimized,” Poppo said.

Now that Peeps will be offered all year, people can count on constant access to them at grocery stores.  With these candies taking up shelf space, Poppo is concerned by what it might replace.

“I am just wondering what product the supermarkets are going to take off the shelf in order to put Peeps on the shelf year round — I hope it is not black licorice,” Poppo said.

by Mackenzie Leander

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

School of Business makes rank on Best for Vets list

The University of Kansas School of Business was recently ranked No. 25 on the Best for Vets: Business Schools 2014 list.

Military Times releases the annual list of the top colleges, business schools, employers and other organizations for veterans. To determine the ranking, Military Times released a survey and analyzed answers from the colleges and universities that responded.

The ranking considers schools’ resources, tuition, programs and GMAT scores among other factors. Military Times also released a list of the best universities for veterans in the fall, and KU as a whole ranked No. 23 on this list.

The School of Business and the University of Kansas have created programs and support for veterans, reserve and active duty soldiers including the MBA with a concentration in Petroleum Management, the Brigade Pre-Command Course and the Masters of Science in Business Supply Chain Management and Logistics, as well as other non-academic programs and services.

Dee Steinle, administrative director of masters programs, said a variety of university and business school programs were factored into the ranking, but one of the most important was the MBA program.

“In particular, there was a point of interest on the MBA program because I think it’s a very familiar commodity across schools,” Steinle said. “While I think all of our programs played into it, the MBA was probably the most recognizable program that they circled back to.”

The business school provides a variety of programs tailored to the needs of veteran and current military students. Steinle said the MBA with a concentration in Petroleum Management is beneficial to Navy officers who are looking for new skills.

“We have a specific part of our MBA program that allows supply corps officers from the Navy to come to KU, earn an MBA and take hours within the School of Engineering as well to reshape their careers into fuels officers,” she said.

Greg Freix, director of the Master of Science in business supply chain management and logistics program, said while both the business school and the university have strong programs for veterans, they’re working on initiatives to further improve services for veterans. One such initiative is a veteran legal services center, which would be run through the School of Law in Green Hall. Law students, supervised by faculty, will assist veterans with legal issues surrounding veteran’s benefits claims.

“We’re trying to better identify the veterans on campus in a way that meets with legal requirements,” he said. “We’re trying to better serve the veterans on campus as we pull together folks from all these different areas.”

by Allison Kite

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dean Bendapudi inducted into KU Women’s Hall of Fame

Dean Neeli Bendapudi was inducted into the
Dean Neeli Bendapudi
KU Women’s Hall of Fame last night along with five other new members.

Since Bendapudi returned to KU in 2011 as the first female dean at the School of Business, she has raised more than $55 million for a new state-of-the-art business school to open its doors in fall 2016. She has helped implement a program to instill social responsibility in business students by pairing MBA students with Kansas nonprofit organizations, and she has collaborated with university departments to increase the number of women in business.

“The university is lucky to have such an articulate and enthusiastic representative,” said Ann Cudd, vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies.

Since 1970, KU has inducted outstanding leaders into its Women’s Hall of Fame, which is located at the fifth floor of the Kansas Memorial Union.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A clean sweep for accounting students

Accounting students (from left) Kara Notvedt, Morgan Shapiro and Adam Baker.

KU business students cleaned house at the ConocoPhillips Accounting Challenge last week, taking home prizes for first, third and fourth place.

Students were divided into teams of three, each student from a different university, to compete in the challenge. The three winning teams included business school students Morgan Shapiro (first), Kara Notvedt (third) and Adam Baker (fourth). Notvedt attributes her success to vital skills she learned from KU courses and professors.

“I felt prepared going into the case competition because the accounting program and business school at KU hold their students to a higher standard,” Notvedt said.

Both Notvedt and Morgan Shapiro strongly encourage KU business students to seize opportunities like the accounting challenge.  It’s important for students to network early on in their careers and it will end up paying off, Shapiro said.

“I gained more confidence talking with people that held powerful positions within a company,” Shapiro said.  “Not only did I get to network with the employees of ConocoPhillips, but I also had a lot of fun at their offices.”

The business school congratulates Shapiro, Notvedt and Baker and encourages students to participate in opportunities like the ConocoPhillips Accounting Challenge.

by Mackenzie Leander

Friday, April 4, 2014

Learning the strategy of leadership

Successful business leaders must possess strong strategic thinking skills and decision making abilities.

The new Strategic Management graduate certificate provides a skill set that makes for more effective decision makers.  The certificate integrates economics, psychology and management to provide detailed insight into what makes companies competitive. That knowledge is not only important in the business world, but can also translate into a student’s personal life.

“This program may help MBA students to lead a more fulfilling personal life by making decisions strategically, and it may help them to better manage their work by understanding and practicing the strategic management process,” said Jane Zhoa, associate professor of technology management.

The certificate teaches students how to effectively lead and make decisions while adapting to rapidly changing organizations, environments and demographics. Vince Barker, professor and faculty coordinator of the certificate, said this advanced management focus is important to current MBA students, but it also serves a wider market.

“It’s also a great thing for students who already have an MBA,” Barker said. “They pick up that specialized knowledge that’ll allow them to be a better manager and better business owners.”

The Strategic Management graduate certificate is made up of four management courses and one business course, a total of 10 credit hours. The courses cover international business, corporate strategy, managing technological innovation, strategy implementation and managing strategic direction and change.

Apply for fall 2014 by July 15. Visit for more information.

by Mackenzie Leander

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The nuts and bolts of networking

Though networking styles can vary depending on someone’s personality and style, there are several important components of successful networking.

In our previous networking blog, networking was defined as a two-way relationship, so one of the biggest networking don’ts is to view the other person as a mere asset to you. In Upstart Business Journal’s article, Founder and President of Come Recommended, Heather Huhman, said some people forget that networking is a mutually beneficial relationship.

“Think about how your skills and expertise might be useful to your networking contacts and give, give, give before asking for something in return,” she said.

To network successfully, you have to put yourself out there but remain professional and poised. Though confidence is important, arrogance can make you seem insincere. Devon Bull, president of KU Entrepreneurship Club, said it’s important to balance confidence with professionalism.

“Don’t be overly aggressive,” Bull said. “Most people don’t know they’re being overly aggressive. There’s a point of being confident and then there’s a point of grabbing someone when they’re mid-conversation with someone else.”

It’s important to remember to follow up with other professionals promptly. Not only does it send a signal that you valued your conversation with him or her, but it increases the likelihood that they’ll remember you. Foster Casterline, president of ISAK, said if you make a good connection with someone, it is important to follow up immediately.

“If it’s somebody that there’s potential to have a professional relationship with, you’ll know by the end of your initial conversation what the next steps are going to be,” Casterline said.

Because networking is based on relationships, it is important to maintain the relationships you build through events and coffee. Jennifer Jordan, director of the Business Career Services Center, said she likes to keep track of her network electronically.

“If I collect a business card, I’m going to try to go straight to LinkedIn and connect with that person electronically so that I have pulled them into my network,” she said. “That’s how I personally organize my network.”

This is the second in a four-part series about networking. Check back for blogs about how to follow up after an event and when and where to network.

by Allison Kite