newsId: FF01B30F-5056-AF26-BEE52AAD504EB97C
Title: Professor Bird Retires After 29 Years
Author:
Subtitle: "I think my next chapter is not that different than adolescence. The future is wide-open."
Abstract: Barbara Bird, Professor of Management, is retiring after 29 years, leaving a legacy of teaching, research and friendship behind.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/10/2017
Content:

For the first time since Barbara Bird, Professor of Management, started at Kogod 29 years ago, she doesn't have a plan—and she loves it. She’ll retire at the end of August, and, save for some loose travel plans, is keeping things open-ended.

She's excited to explore her newfound freedom, but quick to admit she'll miss Kogod terribly. Her colleagues, her research projects, the university's diverse environment--all of it will stay close to her heart.

What she’ll miss the most? Her students. Over the past three decades, Bird's developed deep and meaningful relationships with pupils--connections that define her professional life.

"I adore my students," she says. "I think the best legacy I can leave is with those I've taught."

Her commitment is apparent when she talks about the work she's done to develop her teaching. Bird, a self-described “contrarian” who’s a bit “out-of-the-box,” delved into improv comedy as a way to build her teaching skills. She wanted to think quicker on her feet, and thought the fast-paced art of improv could help her do so.

She loved it so much she eventually formed her own troupe: the Home Improv-ments. The wittily-named group rehearses and performs regularly, giving Bird the experience she needs to stay on her toes in the classroom.

The Home Improv-ments also gave her the chance to flex her organizational behavior skills. Bird, who has a PhD in the field, built the troupe from the ground-up. “I’ve been able to develop my leadership and my teaching skills,” she says.

Her true passion, though, is entrepreneurship. She’s an avid researcher of entrepreneurs’ cognition and behavior. The topic is a bridge between business and social psychology--Bird’s other field of expertise—and offers the chance to investigate one of today’s hottest business areas.

She’s currently an emeritus scholar for AU’s Center for Innovation, and is an editor for Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, where she’s worked since 1987. Bird notes that these extracurricular projects give her a “very broad understanding of what’s going on in entrepreneurship,” which better informs her teaching. “It’s been an interesting combination with the improv troupe,” she laughs.

She’ll continue a couple of entrepreneur-focused research projects after leaving AU. She’s in the midst of studying DC Latino entrepreneurs for AU’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies. She’s also working with an organization in Switzerland who is researching repeat entrepreneurs.

Whatever her retirement brings, however, it’s certain she’ll stay tied to Kogod in spirit. It’s been an honor to teach and work with such talented people, she says, and she hopes they’ll stay connected in her absence.

Perhaps her biggest point of pride is simply having been a part of the community itself. She’s watched Kogod, and the university as a whole, grow immensely since she started. She feels privileged she got to contribute, and is excited to see what’s ahead for the school.

“Sometimes I wish I wasn’t leaving because I know Kogod will seize many great opportunities in the next several years,” she says. “But I know it’s also time to start my next chapter.”

Want to learn more? Listen and watch Professor Bird's last lecture at Kogod.

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Title: Whole Foods and Amazon: What Lies Ahead
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Abstract: What major challenges does the acquisition pose? Nelson Amaral, Professor of Marketing and consumer psychologist, addresses this question and more in the following article.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/04/2017
Content:

On June 16, Amazon surprised many experts when it announced its intention to purchase Whole Foods at $42 per share ($13.7B) - a move that was hinted at by their recent experiments like "Amazon Fresh" and "Amazon Go." We knew this major acquisition meant a big change in the business world-a fusion that would effect each companies' products and customers alike.

Nelson Amaral, Assistant Professor of Marketing, is a consumer psychologist who investigates the way consumers process information, and the relationships they form with brands. He's got broad marketing experience in four industries, both B2B and B2C, and has been published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

We asked this marketing expert for his two cents on the purchase. How will the companies' relationships with their consumers change? What opportunities has the acquisition created? And, alternatively, what major challenges exist? ________________________________________________________________________

Initially, it should come as no surprise that most experts are very supportive of this deal (share prices of both companies, Amazon and Whole Foods, rose following the announcement, while the market value of every major grocery competitor fell). For example, by purchasing Whole Foods, Amazon has acquired a retail business with higher margins than its own (5% vs. 3%). Also, Whole Foods has a loyal customer base that should provide Amazon lots of data in this traditional retail setting that can be used to inform future innovations.

While the acquisition of Whole Foods may appear to be ideal, research by consumer psychologists points to a number of challenges that may need to be addressed: (1) consequences of perceived differences in corporate culture, (2) perceived changes to the Whole Foods brand, and (3) potential changes in expectations about the personal connection between Whole Foods and its customers.

1. The Importance of Corporate Culture and Brand Perceptions

Corporate cultures develop organically and, as a result, are stable and hard to change. They are also often tied directly to brand perceptions (i.e. what consumers think of the brand(s) associated with a company). For example, Amazon's brand is associated with success, low-cost operations and ruthless innovation - no surprise given that they've fundamentally changed the way people shop and, earlier this year, became the fastest company to ever reach $100 billion in sales.

Likewise, its corporate culture is associated with a survival of the fittest philosophy, resulting in high employee turnover due to relentlessly high standards and pervasive burnout. Amazon succeeds with this cut-throat culture because it has fostered an innovative and collaborative set of systems and a recruiting strategy that provides it with a never-ending supply of young, bright graduates.

In contrast, Whole Foods is perceived as an organization that not only provides healthier natural foods, but conducts its business with both consumers and suppliers on the basis of "enlightened" values. By pursuing this differentiation-based marketing strategy, Whole Foods has chosen to focus on customer service, high-quality products, and exceptional in-store experiences.

This incongruity between the two cultures may cause some internal difficulties at the corporate level but, more importantly, even if the transition at the organizational level is seamless, consumers' perceptions about this incongruity may pose some serious challenges.

In particular, it's important that the Whole Foods brand continue to be seen as authentically- based on its presently associated values. Research has demonstrated that when an incongruity between two items is present, consumers actively increase the amount of effort they expend toward understanding the relationship between the pair. As a result, Whole Foods should expect its customers to be searching for evidence that the acquisition hasn't influenced their corporate values. Especially in the early weeks and months following the acquisition, consumers are likely to be hypercritical of any changes in product assortment, corporate communications, and marketing strategies.

2. Consumer Psychology and the "Big Business" Problem

A second issue that Whole Foods will need to navigate is the association that this acquisition conveys about Whole Foods moving away from the "niche" (i.e. little guy) business it started out as, and towards the big corporate America that Amazon exemplifies. Generally speaking, we know that people like to root for the underdog, and research has shown that this is in large part because we believe the underdog works harder. In the United States, where work ethic is intrinsically tied to our overall evaluations of individuals, the purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon can negatively affect how consumers view Whole Foods in two ways.

First, once Whole Foods is no longer seen as the underdog, there is less motivation to feel a personal affinity towards the brand (i.e. to root for its success); secondly, because work ethic plays such an important role in our evaluation of others, if Whole Foods' future success appears to be driven more by Amazonesque efficiency, as opposed to high levels of personal effort in selecting products and serving customers, a key element of the Whole Foods brand identity can be significantly diluted over time.

3. Losing the Personal Connection

Investors are probably most excited about the potential technological changes that Amazon can implement to improve the customer experience, while also significantly cutting labor costs through automation at several points of the grocery shopping experience. Amazon has obtained much of its success by recording every transaction, knowing more about every consumer, and every element of the businesses inventory, than any other retailer.

While this level of service is well-suited to online retail, it may be inconsistent with the expectations of Whole Foods' customers. At Whole Foods, customers expect sales agents to go above and beyond, walking through an aisle to help find a product, helping carry groceries to the car, etc. In stark contrast, four years ago, Amazon introduced "Amazon Go," an application that shoppers could use to buy all of their groceries without ever interacting with a store employee by roaming the aisles and scanning their products with their phone and simply walking out when they finished shopping.

This is not to suggest that any attempt to use technology at Whole Foods will be viewed negatively by its customers. But it does highlight the importance of Amazon's choice in technologies to implement so that they're consistent with the Whole Foods brand. For example, a story in The Economist recently highlighted how the use of facial recognition by French retailers increased sales by 10% by dispatching clerks to consumers when the software detected any dissatisfaction, confusion or hesitation.

Despite the challenges that have been highlighted in this article, the last example makes it clear that the potential to improve the bottom line while simultaneously maintaining or improving the customer experience at Whole Foods is definitely possible. Also Amazon's track record of success suggests that they're absolutely capable of making this acquisition a success all of the stakeholders, including Whole Foods customers. Like any acquisition though, several serious challenges will need to be addressed if such broad-based success is to be realized.
_____________________________________________________________________

Nelson Amaral is an Assistant Professor of Marketing. His research investigates the way consumers process information, and the relationships they form with brands. His work has been published in premiere journals and presented throughout North America; his research on luxury brands has been presented in Singapore, Monaco, France and Portugal.

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Title: As Tax Policy Discussions Ramp Up on Capitol Hill, a Call for Thoughtful Research
Author: Seth Shapiro
Subtitle: New Report Shows How Current Tax Policy Overlooks Impact on Women Business Owners
Abstract: Caroline Bruckner doesn’t work on Capitol Hill anymore, but she regularly finds herself back there. Find out how her most recent report, Billion Dollar Blindspot, is making an impact in the policy world.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/01/2017
Content:

Caroline Bruckner doesn't work on Capitol Hill anymore, but she regularly finds herself back there.

Before her current role as the managing director of the Kogod Tax Policy Center, Bruckner served as the chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), where she advised on tax, finance, budget and labor issues. Her government experience informs her job at Kogod quite a bit, particularly with research reports like Billion Dollar Blind Spot: How the U.S. Tax Code's Small Business Expenditures Impact Women Business Owners , which was released June 12.

Since publishing the report, Bruckner has leveraged her connections and knowledge of government to promote her findings. She prepared questions for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen based on the report's findings during a SBC hearing; entered written testimony into the public record for other hearings; and met with influential stakeholders to win support for the report's recommendations to develop additional research. "Our report is groundbreaking," Bruckner says, "but there's a lot more work to do."

Blindspot used survey data conducted by Women Impacting Public Policy, a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs, to determine how the tax code affected their businesses. "We found that women are effectively disadvantaged because of the industries that they're in and the way that they organized their businesses."

Influencing New Ways of Thinking About the Tax Code

With the Trump administration's focus on revising the tax code, tax policy discussions have been heating up-and Bruckner is working to ensure that Kogod's research is a part of the agenda on Capitol Hill.

According to the report, most women-owned businesses operate in the service industry. While women have been starting businesses at greater rates than their male counterparts over the past decade, those businesses haven't been growing to the same extent since they don't have the ability to borrow similar levels of capital. Service businesses are considered less scalable and the tax code does not grant them equal access to government-issued funding.

"Changing policies that affect this specific group of small-business tax payers could be a key to unlocking growth for parts of the economy that we've never considered," Bruckner says. Since the American economy has shifted away from businesses like manufacturing, it could be wise to grant businesses that align better with current economic trends greater access to capital.

Brent Sabot, the research assistant who worked on the report, stressed the economy is changing. "Women are owning more firms, and they're operating in different industries than the industries of small businesses in decades past," he says. "If Congress doesn't identify these changes and the challenges that come with operating a business in the modern economy, the legislation that comes out of Congress will not fully be evidence-based, and everyone can agree that that's bad tax policy."

Examining the Historical Context to Guide Modern-Day Policy Discussions

At Bruckner's request, Sabot spent hours combing through the records from Senate committee hearings dating back to the 1980s to try and find evidence of Congressional discussion on the tax code's impact on women business owners.

They never found any-and they weren't expecting to.

"We don't look at the tax code in terms of gender or race," Bruckner says.

While Congress has examined the challenges faced by women business owners, these issues have never been scrutinized through the lens of the tax code.

"We want to constructively encourage [lawmakers] to hold hearings to incorporate the needs of [women business owners], the fastest growing cohort of small business owners, into future tax legislation," Sabot says.

To understand why we don't have the information necessary to make informed changes to the tax code, it's important to understand the history of women business ownership and evolutions in tax policy.

"That's why we started the report with a timeline," Bruckner says. The first page of the report has a detailed chronology, starting with the passage of the 16th amendment, which ratified the individual income tax and made women subject to federal taxes before they even had the right to vote.

Bruckner cautions that she's not advocating for specific changes to the tax code…at least not yet. Since there's been so little historical research on women business owners and their relationship with tax policies, there's a large data deficit that needs to be overcome before thoughtful changes to the tax code can be made.

"Before we revise the tax code, we should just start with collecting data. You don't want to start developing policy before you have good stats," Bruckner says.

The Tax Policy Center and Bruckner can't do the research alone. They're trying to raise awareness and provide government with the right questions they need to ask in order to pursue policy with the greatest benefit-both for women and the American economy.

While she believes that Billion Dollar Blind Spot is an important step forward, it's just the beginning.

Read more about the report and view the full pdf online.

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Title: Brussels Opens New Doors for MBA@American Students
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle:
Abstract: This June 16-18, 2017, MBA@American students traveled to Brussels, Belgium for their first international immersion.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 07/22/2017
Content:

Brussels, Belgium: what comes to mind?

Do you think of a capital city with a vibrant cultural scene? Or perhaps its thriving, innovative business community? Maybe you’re focused on its political clout—a city known for its strong connection to the European Union.

This June 16-18, 2017, a group of Kogod students experienced all of this and more. Their journey—both an academic and a cultural experience—placed them in the heart of the city for a weekend of business site visits, group presentations and sightseeing.

“It was incredible,” says Candace Applewhite, MBA ’17. “I’ve never been to Europe before, which I’ve had on my bucket list for ages.”

The trip marked the MBA@American program’s first international immersion, bringing online students together from across the US to explore Brussels’ business landscape. Nearly 60 MBA candidates attended, 29 of which also completed a London extension course following the end of the weekend.

“The immersions are eye-opening opportunities because they get students out of their day-to-day lives,” says Maureen Breslin, Director of Partner Facing Online Programs. “They offer the opportunity to network with classmates, learn, and have cross-cultural experiences.”

A Political Hot Spot

The MBA immersion kicked off with a visit to the European Parliament, seat of the European Union and hub for some of the region’s most important political debates. While touring, students learned about the EU’s decision-making process, which parties participate and how the Parliament is structured. “It was surreal to stand in the room where the Parliament actually convenes,” says Danielle Balmelle, MBA ’17.

For Applewhite, the most impactful part of the visit were the presentations. Staff lectured on some of today’s hottest topics, such as Brexit and T-tip, and discussed how the EU plans to address the issues moving forward.

Applewhite says the experience introduced her to new perspectives, and encouraged her to consider opinions she hadn’t thought of before. “I went in with lots of biases. Hearing local viewpoints, rather than just reading about issues from afar, was really eye-opening,” she says.

An Innovative Business Ecosystem

The cohort also visited MindGate, a business region located in Leuven, a city about 25 kilometers east of Brussels. The trip offered MBA@American students the chance to explore the intersection of different local and international organizations, introducing them to various tech, healthcare and educational institutions. “It was fascinating to see how they’re merging all these fields to create an innovative business ecosystem within the city,” says Balmelle.

Students split into groups and toured different businesses, then met with company representatives to brainstorm solutions to problems affecting their enterprises. Balmelle’s group met with Imec, a R&D healthcare technology company that produces microchips. The company’s major issue? Attracting—and keeping—talent.

Her group tackled the challenge head-on, making recommendations for how Imec could better incentivize employees to work for the company. Ideas included helping spouses find jobs in the area, or finding ways to better integrate employees in the community. Students researched and analyzed their suggestions, assembling a presentation that they presented the final day of the trip.

“This was important because I really learn best by doing. This experience helped bring everything together–knowledge from our online classroom, and knowledge gained on the trip,” Balmelle says.

Cultural Exploration

The trip, while centered on academic experiences, wasn’t all knowledge-focused. Students still found time to visit local cultural sites and explore the city. They did walking tours of Brussels, visited a Stella Artois brewing company in Louvre—even toured an authentic Belgium chocolate factory (complete with a full-spectrum tasting, of course).

What struck Applewhite most during their outings were the social differences. Walking through the city, she noticed how attuned people were to each other. Conversations were quiet and intimate, and people seemed fully present in the moment. “No one had their cell phones out,” Applewhite says. “Everyone was talking to each other. They were engaged.”

Experiencing a different culture was just as meaningful as visiting the European Parliament and Mindgate, says Applewhite. The trip’s extracurricular outings helped put everything into context, and showed her a different way of life.

“It definitely gave me more of a global perspective,” she says. “I’m excited to take that knowledge back with me to the States.”

New Perspectives, New Possibilities

Both Balmelle and Applewhite endeavor to work internationally—either for a US-based international organization, or for a foreign company abroad. They’re excited to apply what they learned in Brussels to their professional lives. “Globalization is big—we’re not going backwards, we’re going forwards,” Balmelle says. “I want to take this experience and work it into my career.”

Both students agree that the Brussels immersion was an all-encompassing experience—one that was equally educational and inspirational. It exposed them to Brussel’s vibrant business landscape, and encouraged them to embrace new perspectives. The trip was a doorway of sorts—a passageway to new possibilities.

“Seeing how other people are exploring business' opportunities and challenges gets students thinking about the amazing opportunities out there,” says Breslin. “I can’t wait for what’s to come for our students.”

Learn more about the MBA@American program and its upcoming immersions.

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Title: Exploring Social Entrepreneurship While Climbing Mountains in Norway
Author: Seth Shapiro
Subtitle: Eight AU MGMT-396 Students Join International Participants for Two-week Summer Program
Abstract: For two weeks this summer, the undergraduate course MGMT-396: Non-profit and Social Entrepreneurship was taught like a graduate-level seminar--in Norway.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 07/20/2017
Content:

For two weeks this summer, the undergraduate course MGMT-396: Non-profit and Social Entrepreneurship was taught like a graduate-level seminar.

From June 19-30, Dr. Siri Terjesen, Associate Professor of Management and Interim Director of the AU Center for Innovation, brought eight AU undergraduate students to the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen, Norway, for a two-week intensive session.

Of the 25 students who participated (who were from ten countries and universities all over the world), AU’s cohort represented the only undergraduates—the rest were postgraduate students pursuing master’s degrees.

“It was a neat stretch for our AU students,” Terjesen says. “They really rose to the challenge.”

Many AU students were also pursuing majors other than business. “It was a very steep learning curve,” says Victoria Holton, a rising junior studying international relations. “But I enjoyed it.”

Learn. Climb Mountains. Repeat.

Certainly, the opportunity to visit Norway was a good motivator for the students to participate in the program.

David Peters, CLEG ’19, was excited to visit the country for the first time, particularly since it’s where much of his family is from, “Most days I would go for a hike up one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen,” he said. “Since it stays light out well past 10 o’clock, there was plenty of time to do longer hikes without fear of it getting dark.”

The students also regularly played pick-up soccer games with the other participants, played cards in the dormitories, and explored other parts of Bergen and the surrounding areas.

But that was only after class ended each day. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an hour break for lunch, the students were busy with their studies. Terjesen and her co-professor Bram Timmermans, Associate Professor at NHH, lectured on topics like the ethics of social entrepreneurship and how to measure social value in non-profits.

Class time also involved a variety of other activities, like guest lectures from local social entrepreneurs and a computer simulations in which students operated new start-ups in the clean-energy sector. During this in-class activity, students were responsible for overseeing the growth of their technology by setting prices, making hiring decisions, and more. The winning teams were determined based on the company’s final market value and the satisfaction level of the employees.

Holton says the classroom sessions provided the students with the “theoretical knowledge” they would need. She appreciated the opportunity to find “a real-life application for the theories we learned.”

Experiential Learning with Real-World Benefits

Students also had the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real Norwegian business. Each AU participant joined a group project, where they helped a local non-profit become financially viable. Their final assignment included writing a report outlining their recommendations for the business.

Holton’s group worked with a company called Papillon, named after the French word for butterfly, which helps recent female refugees integrate into Norwegian society by providing emotional and career counseling, music therapy for those that have endured trauma, language classes to improve their job prospects, and sewing workshops.

“We determined that the sewing workshops could most easily be monetized,” Holton says. “We put together a plan for them to create a product that could be sold in the stores in downtown Bergen.” The students also created a plan for Papillon to create a website so refugees could find information on its programs, and customers could easily purchase the company’s products.

For some of the students, the learning continued even after the program ended. Three of the AU students stayed in Norway to intern with a social venture for the duration of the summer, an arrangement made possible by a Norwegian government grant through its Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU). Also, two NHH graduate students came to AU to intern for the AU Center for Innovation incubator venture MEANS Database, a start-up that disseminates extra food to those in need. Travel and accommodation expenses for all five students was covered by the SIU grant.

Learning Different Perspectives—and Sharing Their Own

Students learned about the differences between American and Norwegian businesses during the program. “This provided them with a chance to appreciate the differences across countries and how people can start and grow their businesses,” Terjesen says.

Lauren Lane, BSA ’19, said she learned about regulations placed on Norwegian businesses, and about how many of the country’s non-profits receive substantial government financial support.

In addition to learning about business in Norway, the AU students also learned about other countries from the international students in the program.

“It was interesting because I didn’t know about specific laws in Argentina,” Lane says, citing one example of an Argentine business that builds houses for low-income people.

Lane said she appreciated the chance to learn about other perspectives and share her viewpoints as well. Despite being an undergraduate accounting major in a master’s program, “I still brought another point of view to the table,” she says. While her background was different from many of the other students, Lane used the fundamental accounting knowledge she learned at AU to offer insightful ideas for her group project.

“I am really pleased that our AU undergraduates were able to make meaningful contributions to a graduate-level course and to the Norwegian social ventures’ strategic planning,” Terjesen says. This was the first time the program in Norway was offered to AU students, but she hopes there will be more international, experiential learning opportunities for students in the future.

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Title: For Kogod Students, 4 Tips for Building Your Business Career
Author: Jamie McCrary
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Abstract: Randy Nordby, Kogod's new Finance & Real Estate program director, offers career building insight from his years of professional success.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 07/13/2017
Content:

Randy Nordby, Kogod’s new program director for the MS Finance and MS Real Estate programs, is all about making a contribution. He’s an innovator—one who improves whatever he’s working on, wherever he’s working. “It’s my focus everywhere I go. If there’s an opportunity to step up, I take it,” Nordby says.

He’s got 13 years of experience and a slew of current positions to prove it. He’s Finance Coordinator for Kogod’s MBA@American program. He serves on the CFA Institute’s board, and is helping the CFTC develop their education program. And, most impressively, he recently passed the Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Level II exam—a credential only 150 people hold worldwide.

He wants to pay his experience forward to his students. He hopes his knowledge will help them win their dream jobs—Nordby’s ultimate goal. “We don’t make cars or build products here. We help students prepare for jobs,” Nordby says. “I consider myself a success if every student I teach gets the job that they want.”

So, how do students build their dream careers? Below, Nordby shares his words of wisdom: four tips, garnered from his own years of success, on how to build—and advance—one’s business career. It’s one more way for him to make a contribution—one he hopes will inspire students to become innovators, too.

#1 Manage Up

“I’m always looking for areas where I can make suggestions. It’s how I’ve advanced in my career.”

Nordby recalls starting his first job out of college at a call center at Sallie Mae. He spoke to 200 debt-ridden students a day, advising them on how to repay their loans. “I asked, ‘What can I do to prepare myself?'" I wanted to be the most knowledgeable person there.

Fast-forward several years, and Nordby was running an entire team who didn’t advise—they educated. “We met with college financial officers and explained to students how to limit their loans,” he says.

He advises his students to always stay aware and engaged at work. “There’s always ways to improve what you’re doing,” he says.

#2 Focus on Your Strengths

“It’s all about specialization in today’s society. I don’t think there's time to focus on weaknesses—concentrate on what you’re good at.”

Nordby admits that’s part of the reason he’s gotten so far. He knew he was skilled at finance, and he’s good with people. He’s also great at multitasking. Nordby harnessed his strengths to build his career—one that’s marked with promotions and job diversity.

“If you have a skill, you’re persistent and a hard worker, that’s where you’ll show yourself,” he says.

#3 Follow Your Passions

“I don’t feel like I’m working because I’m doing what I really love. Find something you’re interested in and develop your skill set around it.”

Nordby comes from a long line of doctors and engineers—many of whom knew what they wanted to do since childhood. For Nordby, it was different. “I needed time to see what was out there,” he says. “I had to find my passion.”

He’s glad he took the time to find the career that was right for him. He’s working in a field he loves and giving back to a community equally as passionate.

“Eight hours a day is a long time if you don’t like your job,” he says. “Invest the time exploring now, and it’ll pay off later.”

#4 Make it Better

“Constrained optimization. These two words have always stood out to me. There will always be barriers to your success, but you want to ask yourself, ‘How can I optimize this? How can I make it better?”

Nordby is a life-long learner. He’s constantly finding ways to deepen his knowledge and continue to develop his expertise. “I earned my third master’s degree in finance from Kogod. I knew I could do a better job at representing the program if I myself had experienced it.”

He’ll finish his doctoral degree this Fall, building on the experience he’s gained at Kogod and in his career. He believes you’re never too old to embark on something new. “I thought I’d retire as a portfolio manager, but instead I started an education career I really love,” he says.

Nordby encourages his pupils and colleagues alike to search out “optimization opportunities”—chances to grow and advance oneself. It’s the key to one’s success, he says, and achieving one’s dreams.

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Title: Innovative Curriculum, World-Class Preparation
Author: Joshua Kaplan, MSSM '14
Subtitle: Reflections on my time in Kogod’s MSSM program
Abstract: "Attending Kogod was a crucial step in my career. It helped me tear down a common misconception: that business and environmental sustainability must always be at odds."
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 07/07/2017
Content:

Attending Kogod was a crucial step in my career. It helped me tear down a common misconception: that business and environmental sustainability must always be at odds. The MS in Sustainability Management program made this possible with its interdisciplinary nature, the experience and connections of the faculty, the opportunities in DC, and the chance to learn with a diverse, ambitious, and passionate set of peers.

Very few programs are designed like Kogod's MSSM, and its structure helped prepare me for exactly the type of job I wanted. I realized that some of the most significant work combating global issues such as climate change were happening in the private sector. My undergraduate background in environmental science prepared me to confront these problems from a very interdisciplinary standpoint, but I lacked the experience in subjects like accounting, finance, and organizational management that I knew I would need if I wanted to step into an organization and enact change from within.

The MSSM's core curriculum provided this necessary background, and allowed me to put business concepts within the context of how organizations approach corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Even in introductory courses like marketing, the faculty went out of their way to connect the subject matter with these areas, such as with a case study on how companies like Starbucks innovated fair trade certified commodities through their supply chains.

Kogod faculty not only bring world-class experience to the classroom, but really try to understand how their students want to practically apply their knowledge, such as in the example above. MSSM faculty also leveraged their connections and Kogod's DC location to gain access to networking events with practitioners; tour facilities such as General Electric's Water & Process Technologies manufacturing center or the Embassy of Finland; and bring high-powered speakers into the classroom. I keep in touch with many of these faculty members and speakers today, considering them not just mentors, but colleagues in the field.

My fellow students were another highlight of my time at Kogod. They came from incredibly diverse backgrounds; being able to sit in a room with engineers, architects, biologists, linguists, and consultants, as well as those with business backgrounds, made class discussions incredibly dynamic. Students were passionate, and willing to be critical of ideas that many would take for granted - a must in a newly emerging field built upon the idea of innovation, disruption, and change. It is now a privilege to call many fellow alumni of the MSSM program my colleagues. The MSSM alumni network has become one of its greatest assets in just a few short years.

Finally, I put the concepts I learned in the classroom into practice every day in my current role as Program Officer, Renewable Energy and Climate at World Wildlife Fund. In this role I work with large corporations to create new approaches for scaling renewable energy programs. The MSSM program in particular has positioned me to understand the financial basis of corporate decision-making, and understand how they can create value for the "triple bottom line" - financial, social, and environmental.

Even in a political climate where environmental regulations are under unprecedented scrutiny, the world's largest companies are stepping up their efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas footprints, source sustainable products, and account for the the full lifecycle of their products and services. They are doing this because it makes good business sense, mirroring the core idea that is the foundation of the MSSM program.

As these efforts increase, there has not been a better time to get into the emerging field of sustainability management. The MSSM program is well-positioned to create the next generation of leaders.

Learn more today about Kogod's MS in Sustainability Management program.

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Title: New Beginnings, Expanding Visions: Kogod Welcomes Three New Advisory Council Members
Author: Jamie McCrary
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Abstract: Jeff Ansary, John Heller and Anisha Singh officially joined the Council this Summer, bringing a full-range of business expertise with them.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 07/03/2017
Content:

Kogod's Advisory Council (KAC), the school's "behind-the-scenes" source of professional advice and mentorship, is growing. They're expanding their vision, focusing on initiatives that generate strong student outcomes. They're brainstorming ideas for how to optimize students' experience while at Kogod. They're also welcoming new members-three professionals with world-class experience and reputations alike.

Jeff Ansary, John Heller and Anisha Singh officially joined the Council this Summer, bringing a full-range of business expertise with them. They've started and run companies; worked in a diverse spectrum of fields, from finance, hospitality, real estate, federal contracting and marketing; negotiated deals domestically and internationally-you name it. Their greatest asset, though? Their passion for helping Kogod's students.

"I just want to give back," says Singh. "[I hope to] help Kogod graduates get great opportunities, and have strong visions for their futures."

Read more about each of the new KAC members below. You'll learn about their expertise and reasons for joining-and, most importantly, the impact they hope to have on the Kogod community.
_______________________________________________________________________

Jeff Ansary

Jeff Ansary Jeff Ansary comes to Kogod with 20 years of experience in finance, hospitality and real estate development. He worked with Hyatt Hotels Corporation for nearly a decade, where he built and led the Global Development Finance Group. Ansary is currently the Managing Director of Ansaco, LLC, an investment firm based in Bethesda, MD.

Kogod School of Business: What motivated you to join the KAC?

Jeff Ansary: I met with Dean Delaney several times, and he explained what the council would be working on the next few years: student employability, and the practical impact of faculty research. Today's work is so ROI-driven. I thought these were excellent concepts, and I have a good background I can draw on to help.

KSB: What are you most looking forward to in your work with the Council?

JA: I really enjoy my interaction with the students. It's our job to help them. It brings me closer to the school to hear first-hand what successes they're having, and what they're struggling with. I like figuring out what they want, and how to help them.

KSB: How has your professional experience prepared you for this role?

JA: I have a very diverse background. I've worked in capital markets, and in the hospitality sector with Marriott and Hyatt. I've also spent a lot of time on the hiring side. I saw a lot of things I liked and didn't like, and think I can bring some of that experience to the school.

KSB: What impact do you hope to have with your work?

JA: Strong student outcomes. I want to help them get hired by excellent employers. I'm open to doing anything I can-whether that's helping with networking, or giving more resources to the school.

KSB: What does being a KAC member mean to you?

JA: It's being an advisor to the dean-giving him my background to help him as he works to further the success of Kogod. I'm willing to do anything I can to help.
_____________________________________________________________________

John Heller

John Heller John Heller is CEO of PAE, a leading provider of enduring support for the essential missions of the U.S. government, its allied partners and international organizations, headquartered in Arlington, VA. He was named to the 2017 Wash100 for Post-Acquisition and Government Services Leadership, and received the 2015 GovCon Executive of the Year Award. Prior to joining PAE, Heller served as Senior Vice President and COO at Engility Corporation.

Kogod School of Business: What motivated you to join the KAC?

John Heller: Part of the PAE culture and one of my personal priorities is to serve the local community. The opportunity to serve on the KAC made sense for several reasons. Given that PAE is a large employer in the Greater Washington area, there is mutual benefit to developing a relationship with a local and leading business school. We are always seeking fresh talent, and we can offer very unique experiences to new graduates.

Secondly, PAE is a very international business-about half of our employees live outside of the U.S., and we operate on all seven continents. The foreign nature of our business fits American University's background.

Lastly, Dean Delaney was a key motivator. I've known him for ten years now, and respect him and his past achievements. His values align with both my own and those of PAE, and I'm excited to continue to support him at Kogod.

KSB: What are you most looking forward to in your role with the council?

JH: I'm most excited to help new graduates find their place in the working world, and help prepare them for employment. As an advisory board, we're all working in the community, so we have a great understanding of what organizations need. We can coach or advise the university on what it can do to improve the hiring rate, which is a big factor in attracting students: universities have to bring a great product to the table that offers a high likelihood of future employment. In return, universities need to produce students who have the broad experience employers are seeking, and who are equipped to become the future leaders we need in our business and government. I look forward to sharing my experience from the business and government contracting industry to assist the university attract high quality students and produce high quality graduates.

KSB: In what ways do you feel your professional experience has prepared you for this role?

JH: Business school was a transformative experience for me. I didn't study business as an undergrad so I took it that much more seriously. It was incredibly useful to me when I started working, and I want to share that with students.

I also think I can help by sharing how businesses view new graduates. What do companies expect from new graduates? What skills do we want them to bring to the job? This input can be helpful for the university to consider when building a program's curriculum.

So, I think I can help on two levels: on the student level, since I've been to business school, and on an administrative level, since I now work in business.

KSB: What impact do you hope to have in this new role at Kogod?

JH: I would like to advise the dean in any way he needs-whether it's helping improve student placement, continuing to shape and develop programs or achieving higher rankings.
______________________________________________________________________

Anisha Singh

Anisha Singh Anisha Singh is cofounder and CEO of Mydala.com, a local services marketing platform for large brands, with a 150,000+ merchant base and reach of 400 million customers in India. She launched her first venture, Kinis Software Solutions, in 2004. Singh has received many awards, including eTales' E-commerce Entrepreneur of the Year 2016; Cosmopolitan's Digital Power List 2016; and the World Women Leadership Congress' Women Leadership Award, 2014.

Kogod School of Business: What motivated you to join the KAC?

Anisha Singh: I wasn't connected to AU for a long time. I travel a lot for work, and have two young daughters-life is very busy. Last year, Professor Adhikari visited India for an alumni event that I hosted at mydala.com, my company. It was my way of re-connecting with AU. I felt like it was time to give back to the place where everything began. Kogod and its professors have had a deep impact on where I am today, and it's time to ensure we increase the impact globally.

KSB: What are you most looking forward to in this role?

AS: I'm excited to help raise awareness of Kogod globally. I think there's a real opportunity to do so because the student body is so diverse. I also think the way to do this is through the alumni. If we can build a tight alumni network in several countries, we'll have champions for Kogod all over the world.

I think if we can keep alumni involved in the school, we'll see a lot happen.

KSB: How do you feel your professional experience has prepared you to serve on the council?

AS: I think my global experience and outlook are my strongest assets. I speak about entrepreneurship globally at leading conferences. I actively mentor several start-ups and am a vocal champion of gender diversity. I bring the same to the KAC along with my passion for seeing Kogod as one of the top leading business schools globally.

KSB: What impact do you hope to have in this role?

AS: I just want to give back. I want to give back to the school that helped me start the path I needed to. I hope I can do something similar for the students that graduate from Kogod. That's the impact I want to have-help Kogod graduates get great opportunities, and have a strong vision for their futures.

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Title: 10 Reasons You Need to Go to Preview Day
Author:
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Abstract: Why American University’s “open house” event is a must for prospective students.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/30/2017
Content:

1. Preview Day provides prospective AU students and their families with a sample of the AU experience. You can't get that from the website or promotional materials.

2. Explore AU's beautiful, thriving campus. Take a campus tour led by current AU student ambassadors-many of whom decided to come to AU when they came to Preview Day. By the way, did you know AU's campus is an arboretum? One of the landscape projects has even been recognized for its eco-friendly design.

Preview Day is a chance to see AU's campus on a typical day during the academic year.









3. It tells AU's Office of Admissions that you are interested, which could be beneficial when you apply. AU's admission evaluation process factors in the extent to which a student has demonstrated interest. A campus visit is the best indication.

Coming to Preview Day tells AU's Office of Admissions that you are interested.










4. Learn more about AU's academic programs. During the Academic Overview sessions, students get the low-down on one of five AU schools of their choice: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Kogod School of Business, the School of Communication, the School of International Service, and the School of Public Affairs.

5. Hear directly from current AU students about what it's really like to be an AU student-without your parents. Ask any question during the "Life as an Eagle" for-students-only session.

Ask current students about their experiences at AU.










6. Get a taste of campus cuisine. At lunchtime, enjoy a boxed lunch provided by AU's Dining Services.

7. Find out if one of AU's signature first year programs would be right for you. Learn about AU's most rigorous academic programs and living-learning communities: the F rederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars, AU Honors, AU Scholars, and the Community-Based Research Scholars.

8. During the Student Life Fair, get more information about the residence halls, dining plans, student activities, and even how you can become a member of the Blue Crew. Also learn about study abroad, opportunities to engage in service projects, the University Library, and numerous other campus offices that provide social, spiritual, health, or academic resources for students.

Students join the Blue Crew to cheer the AU Eagles to victory.










9. Meet Admissions Experts. Also, investigate options to help finance your education.

10. It's free! There is no charge to participate. Even breakfast and lunch are free.

Register for Preview Day


Tags: Admissions,College of Arts and Sciences,Kogod School of Business,Media Relations,Office of Admissions,Office of Campus Life,Office of Enrollment,Office of Financial Aid,Prospective Students,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
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Title: ‘Race in the Marketplace Research Network’ Takes on Inequities in Global Markets
Author: Rebecca Basu
Subtitle:
Abstract: A call to action for scholars to work more closely with each other and stakeholders to build more equitable markets worldwide.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 06/29/2017
Content:

From the shooting of John Crawford III in a U.S. Wal-Mart store for holding a pellet gun, to the removal of black students from an Australian Apple store over fears they "might steal something," to France's recurring debates over "Islamic consumption practices," race plays a significant role in marketplaces. Race is also a key site of hierarchy upon which marketplaces rest, according to scholars. Enter the 'Race in the Marketplace Research Network,' - an emergent group of international scholars working at the intersection of race and markets.

"In establishing the Race in the Marketplace Research Network, we aim to build a network of innovative scholars who will advance an understanding of race," said Sonya Grier, Kogod School of Business marketing professor who conducts interdisciplinary research on topics related to race in the marketplace. "Network scholars will share their insights with each other and key stakeholders to build more equitable markets worldwide."

Why Race in the Marketplace?

As the RIM network organizers have noted, some scholarship explores the essential role of race and racism in the conception and maturation of prominent present-day global markets. The banking, textiles and soft commodities markets are deeply rooted in racially charged colonial and imperialist practices. Racial dynamics remain central to contemporary marketplace operations across the globe, such as target marketing, advertising, (reverse) redlining, service delivery and consumer profiling.

As race-related marketplace challenges repeatedly surface worldwide, scholars say there must be research on how existing racial hierarchies hinder inclusive and equitable marketplaces. Through RIM, scholars will build collaborations to examine how race impacts markets across diverse areas (commercial, health, art and other markets), how they can work together on research projects, and how to communicate cross-disciplinary findings.

The network's first-ever forum, called the Race in the Marketplace Forum, was organized by Grier along with Professor Guillaume Johnson of the University of Paris-Dauphine, and Professor Kevin Thomas, University of Texas at Austin. The RIM Forum brought together more than 50 international scholars to Kogod School of Business for the two-day event.

'When the Burger Becomes Halal'

Using a contentious moment in marketing as a case study, Grier, Johnson and Thomas recently published "When the Burger Becomes Halal." In France, a popular fast-food chain introduced halal meat exclusively at several of its restaurants, leading to media coverage after a town's mayor decried the company's decision.

Grier and her colleagues analyzed hundreds of comments on the issue in various media outlets. Echoing the French national motto -- "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" -- they identified three key debates, namely liberty (can the fast-food restaurant impose halal?); equality (is the strategy discriminatory against "non-Muslims"?); and fraternity (do "Muslims" deserve such attention?). They show how privilege gets defended and challenged in the marketplace. Highlighting the power of such discourses is one area where RIM network scholars hope to make a difference and improve marketplace research.

"Researchers and marketers alike are working to understand consumers in changing markets fragmented along racial, ethnic and religious dimensions around the world. These investigations must grapple with the realities of how history, social hierarchies, power and privilege inform and shape marketplaces and consumer experiences," the researchers write at the conclusion.

"By expanding investigations of marketplace inclusion and exclusion to explicitly consider the role of privilege and associated power dynamics, researchers can contribute to the evolution of more equitable [marketplaces]."

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Title: AU Launches Crowdfunding Platform
Author: Joanna Platt
Subtitle:
Abstract: UFUND is a platform the AU community can use to directly fund projects and initiatives.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/15/2016
Content:

American University's Office of Development and Alumni Relations recently launched UFUND, a crowdfunding platform just for the AU community. This is a new way for alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the university to directly fund the projects and initiatives they care about most.

AU faculty, staff, and students are planning ventures to shape the future of the community, nation, and world. By making a gift, donors support the development and success of these projects.

Currently, UFUND features five initiatives – The Eagle Innovation Fund, the DC-Area High School Ethics Bowl, an Alternative Break in Cuba, the Skills for Success Career Seminar, and production of the documentary In The Executioner's Shadow.

Members of the AU community are invited to submit new projects to be featured on UFUND.


 

Tags: Alumni,College of Arts and Sciences,Giving,Kogod School of Business,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
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Title: Chris Kalna, Kogod/BSBA ’08: Kogod leads to Carlyle Group
Author: Patricia Rabb
Subtitle:
Abstract: Chris Kalna is an AU Alumni Board member and associate vice president at The Carlyle Group.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/08/2016
Content:

“I first visited AU in the summer of 2002. That one visit was all the convincing I needed to apply and attend,” says Chris Kalna, Kogod/BSBA ’08, while describing the benefits of graduating from the Kogod School of Business.  

Born in Albany, New York, and raised in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, Chris feels that “AU’s size, location, the diverse background of the Kogod professors, and other like-minded students” were the most important factors in deciding to become an Eagle.

Chris is adamant that his AU degree has been crucial to his career success. “The school’s location to leaders of industry in Washington, its reputation for high academic standards, and the thoughtful guidance of my professors gave me the foundation I needed to graduate and begin my career,” he says.

After graduating in 2008, Chris worked in the IT and business consulting fields for companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton and Deloitte. After traveling in these jobs for several years, he changed careers in 2014 and now works in private equity for The Carlyle Group in Washington, DC. As an associate vice president, he manages the firm’s digital strategy. His work impacts many areas, such as Carlyle’s corporate website, employee intranet, mobile device strategy, cloud technology resources, document management, and social media. He enjoys having a direct impact on the firm’s strategy. “Our company is large enough to produce outstanding returns for our clients, yet small enough that my thoughts and directions can change corporate culture,” he says.  

During his time at AU, Chris recalls spending late nights with other Kogod students working on case studies, class projects, and study guides for exams. “Working together with my peers helped me build lifetime relationships and allowed me to work on the skills I needed to succeed in my career,” he says. Chris was also a part of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and one of the founding members of the AU’s men’s ice hockey team.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys cooking with his wife, Catherine, playing the role of doting dad to their four-year-old English bulldog, Dolly, and reading about personal and professional investment opportunities.
 
Although he’s busy with both work and family, Chris finds time to volunteer as a member of the AU Alumni Board. In this role, he hopes to strengthen the relationship between the university and alumni, lead the effort for alumni surveys and data gathering, and help direct the board to areas where their impact and work will be felt the most. “The AU Alumni Board is giving me a fantastic opportunity to give back to the school that has given me so much,” says Chris.

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Title: Alumnus Nick Kuhn Continues to Find New Ways to Give Back to AU
Author: Melissa Bevins ’02
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Abstract: Alumnus Nick Kuhn, Kogod/MBA ’86 is committed to giving back to AU.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 06/25/2015
Content:

Alumnus Nick Kuhn, Kogod/MBA '86, is one of the lucky few who knew early on what he wanted to do. Nick says that from the age of 22 he wanted to go into the real estate industry. He has worked full-time in real estate since he graduated from Lafayette College with an undergraduate degree in business and economics. But, that's not to say that he didn't explore other avenues. During college, Nick held a summer job with a stock brokerage and did an internship with a government contractor. However, since he took a job as a real estate agent right after graduation, he hasn't looked back.

As an MBA student at AU, Nick loved the hands-on nature of his work. He enjoyed working on case studies, participating in large group projects, and crafting presentations. Now, as an alumnus, he continues to support the current students who are engaging in this work. He has served for many years as a judge for Kogod's annual Case Competition, which he feels is a great opportunity for students to sharpen their communication skills, presentation style, and problem-solving techniques. Nick says he enjoys serving as a judge because of the opportunity to see the students in action. "I like seeing how they problem-solve, innovate, work as a team, think on their feet, utilize what they learn in the classroom to arrive at solutions, and defend their recommendations as if they were in the business world," he says.  

In addition to Kuhn's ongoing commitment to helping Kogod students, he has continued to seek out ways to participate actively in the life of AU. In past years, Kuhn has assisted with Dean searches for Kogod and served as a member of the Real Estate chapter in Kogod while it was still in existence, presenting homebuyer seminars to students and alumni. He has also recently become involved with Bender Library as a donor to its special collections.

Now, Nick is serving his first term on the AU Alumni Board. His term began in January 2014, and he says he is enjoying his service. He has taken the opportunity to get to know AU even better and to spend more time on campus, at meetings, events, and athletic events. His role on the Scholarship and Awards committee of the board allows him to play a direct role in the awarding of scholarships to current students as well as selecting alumni award winners. Nick says that he would like to see AU continue to expand its reach and involvement with international alumni communities.

When asked what advice he has for AU students and recent alumni hoping to follow his footsteps, Nick says, "Participate in internships to learn the nuts and bolts of the career. Real estate is demanding and requires a firm commitment."

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Title: Alumni Admissions Volunteer Chair Shares Passion for AU
Author: Patricia Rabb
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Abstract: Maria Luisa Ortega shares her passion for recruiting prospective students for AU.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/07/2015
Content:

"Growing up in Puerto Rico, and being the daughter of Cuban exiles, I decided to attend AU because it was by far the most international school I had visited," says Maria Luisa Ortega, Kogod/BSBA '85. "Coming from a family where politics and culture were always part of our daily conversation, Washington, DC represented the perfect environment for me." 

After her first visit during her junior year in high school, Maria Luisa knew she wanted to attend college at AU. "I had studied French and Russian growing up, and I was desperate to practice it and mingle with students from different countries," she says.

Maria Luisa enjoys reminiscing about her time at AU in the 1980s. "AU's teachers were the nicest, most helpful and caring. I remember hearing horror stories from friends at other schools, and I felt so proud that my teachers were always there for me," she recalls. With the Reagan administration in office during her time at AU, she has fond memories of that era. "Studying in DC during the Reagan years was absolutely thrilling to me. The United States was at the top of its game, and I was at AU enjoying all that glory," she proclaims.   

During her junior year at AU, Maria Luisa secured an internship at an advertising and marketing firm in Georgetown. That internship turned into a part-time job during her senior year. While completing her degree at the Kogod School of Business, Maria Luisa also studied French, Russian, and Italian. She believes this combination helped her obtain the job she wanted as an account executive in a Miami advertising agency upon graduation. 

With her daughter, Claudia Iturregui, CAS/BA '16, a current student at AU, Maria Luisa is delighted to share a legacy tie. "The pride that I feel having my daughter at AU cannot be measured. To know that Claudia is having experiences very similar to the ones I had is something for which I have no words," she exclaims. Maria Luisa believes her experiences at AU in the 1980s aren't that different from her daughter's experiences today. "It's as international and political as always, and she tells me the teachers are as nice as ever," she says. 

Maria Luisa resides in Coral Gables, Florida with her son, Enrique Iturregui, a high school senior. She owns and manages a franchise called Mr. Pretzels with stores in Florida and Georgia. "I love this kind of business because it deals with everything I studied at Kogod: accounting, finance, advertising, and manufacturing," she says.

As a long-time AU Alumni Admissions Volunteer (AAV) and chair of the AAV network, volunteering her time to AU has been very satisfying for Maria Luisa. The AAV network includes alumni and parents who assist admissions in the recruitment of prospective students. It is the largest group of AU alumni volunteers with more than 600 members in 38 states and 14 countries. "To be able to help AU recruit students who show great intellect, who are passionate, and who want to leave a mark in this world, what is better than that," she exclaims. 

Reflecting on her role as AAV network chair, Maria Luisa says she wants to attract more alumni to share their pride and love for AU with prospective students. "It is time for us to give back to the school that helped us grow, that trained and prepared us for what was to come and that ultimately pushed us out into the world as success stories waiting to happen," she declares.

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Title: Social Innovation with a Global Focus: How Tighe Wall makes an impact
Author: Nina Cooperman, SPA/MPA '15
Subtitle:
Abstract: Tighe Wall, Kogod/MBA ’11 shares his thoughts on his time at AU and how his experience at Kogod helped him find a career with a truly global reach in social and digital strategy.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/05/2014
Content:

As an editor and writer for the Princeton Review, Tighe Wall, Kogod/MBA '11, edited the guidebook to the 191 Best Business schools. When it came time to select a graduate program for himself, American University's Kogod School of Business was at the top of his list. Now, as a managing consultant in the social business global center of competence at IBM global business services in London, Tighe credits AU's global perspective to his success. Coming to AU, he says, gave him the opportunity to "build a small international business base in the U.S. and gain entrepreneurial skills."

During his time at Kogod, Tighe worked as an innovation and entrepreneurship research assistant with Professor Stevan Holmberg and interned with IBM. He says his experience "supplemented what I was learning with real world experience. AU has a real campus and all of the other attributes of living in the city are at your fingertips." 

Tighe continued to excel at Kogod and, as the commencement speaker for the business school's graduate students, urged his classmates to "keep taking chances and embrace new experiences."

His work caught the attention of the social business group, a small global group consisting of experts in the field within IBM who shape the company's point of view on the application of social networking tools and culture to business roles, processes and outcomes. He now works in London and has a portfolio of clients all over Europe.

Though he's moved to London, Tighe stays connected to the university. He is a member of the Alumni Board and serves as an alumni admissions volunteer. He sees these opportunities as ways to give back to the university, and as someone who went to AU for graduate school at Kogod, he brings a unique voice to the group.

According to Tighe, "Going through Kogod changed the way I think of the larger business community and global business. It broadened my perspective and fundamentally changed the way I understand how the business world works –the curriculum and the professors and thinking of business functions as a piece of how a larger organization operates." That global perspective has paid off.

Tags: Admissions,Alumni,Alumni Board,Entrepreneurship,Kogod School of Business
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Title: Luchs Family Scholarship Recipient Molly Fallon Reaps Rewards of Hard Work, Giving Back
Author: Mike Rowan
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Abstract: Her appreciation for debate aside, Molly Fallon can agree with her scholarship donor on one of their core values—the importance of giving back and paying it forward.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/29/2014
Content:

As commencement festivities took over campus and fellow classmates fondly reminisced about the best times of their college years, Molly Fallon, Kogod/BSBA ’14, recalled a different kind of memory—arguing.

Not just any kind of arguing, however. “I’ve really appreciated the disagreement and the debate that some of these classes have spurred from us,” said Fallon. “We’ve begun to disagree with one another in very constructive ways and bring some of our convictions forward.”

A Des Moines, Iowa native concentrating in marketing and finance, Fallon was chosen as the undergraduate speaker for the Kogod School of Business 2014 commencement. “Ironically, my fondest learning moments are not about agreement,” she shared with the Bender Arena crowd of faculty, family, and her fellow graduates. “While we might seek comfort in group settings, what we actually need is discomfort.”

For all her talk of discord and dissent, Fallon proved herself a natural collaborator in her time at AU. As a peer consultant in the Kogod Center for Business Communication, she assisted Kogod students with business writing and presentation skills. She also served as treasurer for the sorority Chi Omega, and worked together with about 30 students to oversee a portfolio of $350,000 in AU’s Student Managed Investment Fund. On top of that, she earned one of the school’s most prestigious group accomplishments—her team took home first place in the 2014 Annual Kogod Case Competition.

Recalling the case competition, she admitted, “That should have been one of the most stressful weeks of my life but it really was one of the most fun, honestly. It was a really great moment to leverage everything I had learned in the past four years here and have fun with it.”

Fallon’s leadership skills and community-oriented spirit were rewarded when she was named a recipient of the Luchs Family Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year. The application process for the scholarship asks students to provide evidence of deep involvement in the Kogod community. Humble, but attuned to the scholarship’s meaning, she reflected, “I think that my history of giving back to fellow students while at Kogod was something that identified me as a strong candidate.”

“I didn’t stand out in terms of numbers,” she shared. “To know that I was recognized for doing hard work, and that hard work wasn’t going unnoticed, [the fact that] it could be rewarded, and I could help myself through college by doing good work was a lot of positive reinforcement for me.”

A couple of days before giving her commencement address, Fallon had the opportunity to meet one of the benefactors of her scholarship, Kenneth J. Luchs, over lunch. The two found that they shared a passion for giving back.

“You can contribute in different ways,” Luchs said. “Money is only one way. Time is another way. Be a mentor to somebody.”

A strong history of civic engagement runs through Kenneth Luchs’ family. From the time his grandfather founded the family’s real estate business, Shannon & Luchs, in 1906, the family has been active in the growth of Washington, taking on leadership roles in various community organizations—a tradition that Luchs himself has carried on. A one-time American University student—taking night classes in real estate while he helped to run the family business by day—Luchs went on to serve on the AU Board of Trustees for 12 years. His afternoon with the recipients of his family’s scholarship marked 50 years—nearly to the day—since his father first introduced him to AU.

“I’d like [the recipients] to know that I’m available to be a mentor, and that I want them to be available as mentors to future students,” said Luchs. “It’s our duty to pay back whatever schools we’ve been educated at.”

Said Fallon after meeting Luchs, “He further instilled in me the belief that we can all do something to give back to those who have profoundly impacted our lives.”

Even as she found inspiration from getting to know her scholarship donor, Fallon had already been taking Luchs’ message to heart. While treasurer of Chi Omega, Fallon brought more scholarships to her sisters, stepping up efforts to identify and publicize existing opportunities, and creating new need-based awards by making minor budgeting adjustments. She has also taken it upon herself to be an advocate, often urging her sisters and students she advises as a peer consultant to apply for certain scholarships. She notes that students don’t realize what great candidates they are, and all they need is to know that the opportunities exist.

“I think that’s something really important—the idea of students helping students find and seek out scholarship opportunities,” said Fallon. “I am glad to have left that legacy.”






 

Tags: Center for Business Communications,Commencement,Giving,Kogod School of Business,Scholarship
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newsId: 03DCA440-F399-8A8D-CB557FB2BB853C68
Title: Business & Public Affairs: A Perfect Marriage
Author: Phil Recchio
Subtitle:
Abstract: Ben, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Christina Macfarland, SPA/MPA ’11, entrepreneurially apply their skills in South Florida, while giving back to AU.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 05/15/2014
Content:

Ben, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Christina Macfarland, SPA/MPA ’11, came to AU together, shortly after getting married in their native state of Florida, to pursue their individual academic and professional interests. Christina’s passion for nonprofit work and supporting her community led her to pursue a Master of Public Administration and,a graduate certificate in nonprofit management, whereas Ben built off his undergrad business degree by focusing his MBA studies on real estate and finance. Since graduation, they have returned to their home state to not only put their degrees to work, but also spread word of AU’s excellence while galvanizing the Florida alumni community. 

This past February, Christina and Ben hosted more than 60 AU alumni, parents, and friends in their Palm Beach home, and had the chance to catch up with their old neighbor, Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development, Dr. Thomas J. Minar. Before Dr. Minar delivered updates regarding campus plans and alumni initiatives within the South Florida community, Christina reminisced about her time working in the AU development department for corporate and foundation giving, and Ben remembered hunkering down in their condo during the infamous Snow-maggedon storm of 2010. 

These types of close relationships serve as a beautiful model for how the Office of Alumni Relations and Development seeks to engage AU alumni, and Christina and Ben are no strangers to the world of philanthropy and volunteering. Christina is a board member for the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, where fellow master’s alumna Jillian Vukusich, CAS/MA ’04, serves as vice president for community investment.  

Christina continues her educational pursuits, and is a recent graduate of "Leadership Palm Beach County," which kept her up to date on the latest trends in philanthropic and non profit leadership. This is especially important for those as involved in their communities as she is. She volunteers and has served on numerous committees for The Flagler Museum, March of Dimes, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Presently, Christina performs research and writing for Women Corporate Directors, the only global membership organization of women corporate directors which serves as a catalyst for thought leadership and networking.

In addition to serving on his high school’s alumni board and helping to recruit great students to AU, Ben founded a local publication, Palm Beach Philanthropy, to showcase and educate the public to the diverse causes being supported right in their backyard. While philanthropy has always been a passion and a practice for the Macfarlands, Ben also puts his MBA to work running a boutique asset management firm that focuses on investing family office and institutional capital into self storage, student housing, and other special situations in real estate. The firm, where Ben serves as a partner and chief investment officer, has successfully acquired over two million square feet of real estate in the last two years.

The Macfarlands' collective energy and productivity is even more impressive in light of the fact they’ve accomplished so much all while raising their blossoming family. While their two young girls are a handful at home, Ben and Christina have a long standing history of supporting each other through thick and thin. While on campus, they could be seen attending a kick-off event to help rally support for Christina’s successful run for Editor-in-Chief of the SPA journal The Public Purpose, and nowadays they work to balance their busy schedules of business and board meetings with family meals and outings. 

Thankfully, the Macfarlands have continued their tradition of support as alumni by hosting the recent event for the South Florida AU Eagle community. As for the beautiful marriage of Ben’s business degree and Christina’s nonprofit policy focus, its power can be encapsulated by an Arthur Fried quote: “Private philanthropy is the last frontier of unconstrained freedom for private action in the public good.” AU is lucky to count this entrepreneurial and philanthropically minded young couple among its alumni family.

Tags: Alumni,Kogod School of Business,School of Public Affairs
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Title: Building Upon a Family History
Author: Mike Rowan
Subtitle:
Abstract: After her valuable AU experience—and now her daughter’s—Mary McCarthy Hayford and her family are helping lay the groundwork for the university’s next generation.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/27/2014
Content:

Stroll along the west side of the quad, passing Frisbees floating across the grass and cheerful student organizations camped outside of Mary Graydon, and at either end of campus you will find a building that has been transformed within the last five years. Across the street from the Katzen Arts Center, the Kogod School of Business opened a 20,000-square-foot expansion in 2008. A few hundred yards down, next to Bender Library, stands the newly reopened McKinley building, the state-of-the-art new home of the School of Communication. Though housing separate schools, and situated on opposite ends of campus, there’s a strong thread connecting the two of them—the Hayford family.

Mary McCarthy Hayford, Kogod/MBA ’78, did her graduate work at AU’s business school, but when she attended, it did not yet bear the Kogod name. It was simply called the School of Business Administration. Classes were housed in the Ward Circle Building, and offices were in the cozy quarters of the Hamilton Building (known then as Hamilton Hall).

“I remember picking AU based on my perception that the administrators and faculty were more accessible,” McCarthy Hayford shares as she recalls her AU experience. “I look back not only on the great full-time professors in subjects which appeal to me, but also on several adjunct professors who imparted real world experiences. For me, that exposure to professionals working in industry was essential to seeing how the theoretical was applied in the real world, and to envisioning the type of career I would want to pursue.”

When the Kogod School of Business announced plans for its expansion campaign, Mary and her husband, Warren, signed on to help by making a major contribution to the building. Their generosity is marked by a plaque adorning one of the new classrooms inside, which displays their names.

Then, three years later, when the effort to renovate McKinley began, the Hayfords were there again, eager to give back once more, naming the facility’s new audio editing suite.

Why jump in to support another major project, especially when the family had so significantly dedicated themselves to an effort close to their hearts just a few years earlier? One reason is that their daughter, Margaret, SOC/BA ’13, just finished a very positive undergraduate career in the School of Communication.

“We feel strongly that SOC and AU provided Margaret with the experience she needs to pursue her career goals,” McCarthy Hayford articulates. “AU was one of few schools where she could study film and graphic design while still broadening her education in history, science and social science. She capped off her SOC experience with a semester in the film school in Prague where she worked with a small group to create a professional-quality film.”

In addition to Margaret, the Hayfords are parents to Amanda, a 2006 alumna of Oberlin College, and Warren, who graduated from George Washington University in 2012. Ms. McCarthy Hayford’s husband, Warren John Hayford, is the president and managing director of the software company RatioServices, and is a director of the Warren J. and Marylou Hayford Family Foundation, which his parents founded. The foundation has been instrumental in the Hayfords’ gifts to American University.

Though she has graduated—as have her children—McCarthy Hayford remains an avid learner. While embarking on a path toward starting a new career, she has been steadily auditing courses at the university. “Wherever that takes me, I hope to keep close ties to AU.”

Tags: Donor,Giving,Kogod School of Business,School of Communication
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Title: Legal Eagle Utilizes AU Education to Establish Domestic and International Niche
Author: Milt Jackson
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU alumnus’ expertise in law impacts domestic and international cases.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 03/15/2013
Content:

Philadelphia attorney and Kogod class of ’71 alumnus Theodore “Ted” Simon is having a wonderful career. Among other achievements, he has obtained reversals in the Pennsylvania and United States Supreme Courts. In addition to his longstanding successful representation of individuals and corporations locally, nationally, and internationally in state and federal trial and appellate matters (“white collar,” “blue collar” and “no collar”) he is a recognized authority on the subject of international extradition requests, and he has provided advice and counsel to multiple Americans abroad who have found themselves in challenging legal straits.

Accordingly, while accomplishing these achievements and elevating his law practice into a respected national and international niche – he also has become a “go-to guy” for advice and adept handling of high profile media driven cases - where he credits his AU experiences for assisting him to consistently achieve and maintain success.

After graduating from AU, and later, Temple University Law School, Ted joined the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and began to exercise his passion for litigation and criminal law. His drive, focus, creativity, and comprehensive approach eventually earned him a listing as one of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in Philadelphia;” a selection as a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer,” and an invited membership in the National Trial Lawyers Organization (a group composed of the top 100 trial lawyers from each state).

Additionally in 2012, he was sworn in as first vice president of the NACDL, a position he relishes because it allows him to play a more specific part in ensuring justice and due process and at the same time recognizing the important and noble work of criminal defense lawyers around the country.

Communicating his passion for justice and due process is another of Ted’s many talents. His most recent appearance, as a guest on CNN and Soledad O’Brien’s “Starting Point” is a case in point. On the show, Ted presented an articulate and seasoned perspective on the complex legal considerations surrounding bail for Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius – who is currently accused of murder in South Africa.

He told O'Brien that Pistorius was a good candidate for bail. He is called upon as a legal expert by honing his speaking as a sought-after speaker for legal seminars across the nation and his numerous on-camera appearances on all major networks and shows including NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, Larry King Live, Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC’s 20/20, and NBC’s Dateline.

As a result of his recognized communications skills and legal ability, Ted’s client list has included Michael Fay (Singapore caning), Amanda Knox (college student acquitted of murder in Italy), boxing promoter Don King, Gregory Porter (college student accused but all charges dismissed in 2011 protest in Egypt), Chipper Jones (civil defense), New York real estate heir Robert Durst (favorable resolution of federal firearms offenses in Pennsylvania after acquittal in Texas murder and dismemberment case), NBA forward Dante Cunningham (dismissal of alleged drug and other criminal offenses), Drexel’s starting guard Derrick Thomas (dismissal of assault charges) as well as other clients involved in high-profile legal matters.

Ted credits AU for helping to provide a solid academic foundation for his success. He says, “I was just 16, leaving home for the first-time, and the American University environment, the teachers and classmates, soon to be life-long friends could not be more warm, welcoming and supportive. In hindsight it provided the absolute perfect opportunity to grow, excel academically, and provide a rich and enduring network of beloved friends that began the first day and happily remains so today.”

When asked about how he feels about the practice of law after nearly 40 years, he answered, “I feel the same, but more so - it is a gift to be a lawyer, providing care, assistance, and representation in some of the worst of times, whether a person is criminally facing loss of liberty or civilly and entitled to redress and compensation.”

In response to Ted’s appreciation of American University and for all the university has done for him, Ted recently offered his network, time, and support in assisting with planning of an alumni engagement event in downtown Philadelphia. The event was a resounding success due to the participation of Ted and other alumni.

While the law is clearly his personal and professional passion, Ted's continued relationship with his AU Zeta Beta Tau brothers is primarily a personal passion. He says “primarily” because privilege and privacy protects their confidentiality as even here he has been called upon professionally in “life-altering situations.” Ted couldn’t have been happier “to have their back when they needed it most.”

His relationship with the “ZBT Powerhouse of Excellence” brotherhood began when he attended AU and has only strengthened since then. Ted is everlastingly thankful and appreciative of his classmates who have remained truly supportive of his work, accomplishments, and resulting national and international presence in the law.

So the next time you hear the words, “legal expert” mentioned during a news broadcast, pay close attention. It may be that an AU alumnus, by the name of Ted Simon, is about to hold court.

Tags: Alumni,Kogod School of Business,Law
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Title: Real-Life Experiences of AU Alumnus Hits the Big Screen in Blockbuster Hit Argo
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle:
Abstract: American University alumnus Mark Lijek, Kogod/MBA ’76, has lived quite the adventure—one big enough to create Hollywood Oscar buzz.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/12/2012
Content:

American University alumnus Mark Lijek, Kogod/MBA ’76, has lived quite the adventure—one big enough to create Hollywood Oscar buzz. Lijek was one of six employees lucky enough to escape the protests and attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Iran more than 30 years ago. Their story is the premise of the blockbuster movie Argo.

Lijek arrived in Iran in July 1979 and was only there a few short months before he nearly missed becoming a hostage. With his wife, Cora, by his side along with five others, the group became known as the “houseguests” of the Canadian Embassy for about 10 weeks before leaving the country posing as a film crew and making it back to safely to the U.S.

It was not fear as much as boredom that got the best of Lijek. “Boredom was one of the hardest things to face,” Lijek says. The group played scrabble, and he read many books, writing each title down as he completed it to help record the passing of time.

A recent story published on MyNorthWest.com chronicled details regarding the sequence of events leading to Lijek and the other officers escaping the embassy. Interviews with Lijek and other houseguests will be a special feature of the DVD release of Argo next year. However, as with any film, there is only so much time to share the story. “The movie is a slice of the real story which was why I wrote the book The Houseguests: A Memoir of Canadian Courage and CIA Sorcery,” Lijek says.

Lijek completed a Master in Business Administration at AU, attending class part-time in the evenings while he served in the United States Army during the day. “As an administrative officer for the State Department, I used my graduate degree a fair amount. It prepared me quite a bit,” he says.

Lijek moved to Washington, D.C. from Seattle to complete his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University. He retired from the Foreign Service to spend more time with his wife and children. He lives just outside of Seattle and keeps busy by promoting his new book and managing his website, marklijek.com.   

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Relations,Alumni Relations (KSB),Alumni Update,Kogod School of Business
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