Monday, December 27, 2010

Helping Hands for Christmas

Several Wake Forest Schools of Business students are finding an opportunity to not just do good, but do well, through Santa’s Helper – an organization founded by Chip Rives (MBA ’89) in 1986.

Rives, who created the organization as an undergraduate at Wake Forest, founded Santa’s Helper as a way to provide toys to underprivileged children in Winston-Salem. Santa’s Helper recruits student-athletes and other volunteers to wrap gifts and then deliver them, dressed as Santa and elves. Rives, a former Wake Forest fullback, was featured in Sports Illustrated in 1987 in the “Sportsmen of the Year” issue for his work.

More than 100 Wake Forest student-athletes volunteered for this year’s Santa’s Helper – among those, Ryan Britt (’11), a Business and Enterprise Management major with a nonprofit concentration. Britt has been a volunteer for the past four years. Britt, who volunteered as a Santa, hopes to one day join a company that serves underprivileged children. He says Santa’s Helper is a good fit for him in his career pursuits.

“I had a professor tell me that it is important to make a difference in even one person’s life. I believe this and want to help others any way I can,” Britt said. “In any company I join in the future, I want that company to have a mission of doing ‘good’ in the community.”

Caitlin Crawford (’11), an Accountancy major, and a track and cross country runner, volunteered as an elf. “The experience has been great. Seeing all the little kids’ faces light up is the perfect experience to put you in the Christmas mood,” Crawford said. “Doing activities off campus that really make a difference help keep you in touch with the Pro Humanitate motto.”

Santa’s Helper raises about $15,000 each year. The families are selected based on a list provided by the local Salvation Army. This year, the program served about 170 families.

Click here to read an article about the event in the Winston-Salem Journal.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter at Wake

For the second time in less than a month, the campus at Wake Forest University has been blanketed in a thick cover of snow, giving the area a special feel. Not sure when the university last enjoyed a white holiday season, but this is a nice touch to reward the business school students who elected to stay in town during their winter break. We are including a few pictures from first-year full-time student Parag Shirsekar so you can see for yourself what we have been enjoying!


Wait Chapel in the wintertime.

Worrell Professional Center


Prelude to a snowball fight?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wake Forest Makes Another Top 50 Ranking

Wake Forest University is once again ranked among the Top 50 Business Schools in the U.S. by Poets & Quants. The full-time MBA program ranked #41 this year, up four spots from last year. The Poets & Quants list is a composite of five major rankings including Financial Times, The Economist, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report. It was founded by the former editor-in-chief John Byrne.

"The ranking measures the overall quality and reputation of the flagship full-time MBA programs at the schools, rather than the schools themselves," Byrne said. Because Poets&Quants blends the rankings and tends to eliminate anomalies and other statistical distortions, Byrne considers it the most authoritative ranking of MBA programs.

Poets & Quants takes into account quantitative and qualitative data captured such as: surveys of corporate recruiters, MBA graduates and deans; faculty publication records; median GPA and GMAT scores for entering students; and salary and employment statistics from the latest graduating class.

“The Poets & Quants list is a good indicator that the Wake Forest University Schools of Business are consistently improving.  Recruiters, students, alumni, and peer schools are taking notice of the quality of our programs that challenge students to follow their personal passions while improving the world in which we live,” said Scott Shafer, Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Business Programs. 

Schools were ranked based on a combined index, weighting the BusinessWeek ranking 30%, the Forbes ranking 25%, the U.S. News & World Report rankings 20%, the Financial Times rankings 15%, and The Economist ranking 10%.

The Cost of Cutting Prices

Sheri BridgesAs the recession drags on and money and job security are concerns, it’s not surprising that consumers continue to wait for sales before making a purchase.

In the short-run, the consumer “wins”— purchasing the item for less. But at what cost?

“When a brand goes on sale, it gives away part of the profit margin needed to invest in future innovation and quality,” says Sheri Bridges, associate professor of business at Wake Forest University and an expert in branding and consumer behavior.

“This affects the consumer’s satisfaction in the long run because the company cannot afford to develop the newer and better products we all want,” she adds.

In fact, Bridges says, firms that keep giving away margin will eventually have to reduce the quality of their goods and services.

“Too many brands think the only way to get and keep customers is by cutting prices,” Bridges says. “In reality, consumers are more interested in high value than low prices. Value is a function of the bundle of perceived benefits offered at a given price. Apple doesn’t discount its products, but it’s still one of the hottest electronics brands around.”

Continual price-cutting conditions consumers to wait for sales before making purchases and sends a message that, in the company’s eyes, the brand is not worth full price.

“Selling products at a discount is like paying someone to like you,” Bridges says. “Good marketers know that sales aren’t necessary, if you’re providing the right value to the right customer.”

By Kim McGrath, Office of Communications and External Relations

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Alumni Update: Sheehan Named CFO at Healthcare Company

IntegraMed America Inc., a leader in developing, marketing and managing specialty healthcare facilities in the fertility and vein care markets, announced that John Hlywak, Jr. will retire as chief financial officer at yearend. Additionally, the Purchase, N.Y., company said that Timothy Sheehan, would serve as CFO on an interim basis.

“We are fortunate to have sufficient depth in our financial team to be able to transition the CFO role,” said Jay Higham, IntegraMed’s CEO, in a press release. “Tim has a strong, well-rounded finance and operational background with health care experience. … These factors, in addition to his significant public company experience, made us confident in his ability to handle the CFO function on an interim basis over the next few quarters.

Sheehan joined IntegraMed as vice president of finance in January, and in this role he managed the corporate accounting and finance functions. Tim previously served as the CFO of Scale Finance LLC, a Winston-Salem provider of outsourced CFO services to emerging growth companies.

His prior role was as vice president of corporate development at MINRAD International, an AMEX-traded manufacturer of medical devices and specialty pharmaceuticals where he managed the corporate development, product registration and customer service groups, in addition to his responsibility for investor relations, SEC reporting and capital raising.

Tim is a CPA and earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Finance and Accounting at Virginia Tech and an MBA with distinction from the Wake Forest University Schools of Business.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Alum Update: Bunn Joins SquareTwo Board

SquareTwo Financial, a leader in the asset recovery and management industry, announced earlier this week that Thomas Bunn, a former vice chairman at KeyCorp, has joined the SquareTwo Financial board.

Bunn, a 1978 alumnus of Wake Forest University and a member of the board of visitors, served as vice chairman at KeyCorp and president of Key National Banking from 2005 until 2008. In this role he was responsible for multiple lines of business, including corporate and investment banking; real estate banking; equipment finance; global treasury management; bank capital markets; and Victory Capital Management.

He joined the Cleveland bank in 2002 as president of Key Corporate and Investment Banking. During his tenure, Bunn was a member of the management committee and executive council, as well as a director of KeyBank, and Victory Capital Management. Prior to joining Key, he was the managing director and head of global debt capital markets at Bank of America, where he served for 24 years.

"Tom has extensive experience in the financial services industry and is universally respected by banking and finance professionals," said Paul Larkins, the president and CEO of SquareTwo. "He is our eighth board member, and we are fortunate to add yet another highly accomplished strategically-minded professional to our board."

"SquareTwo Financial is uniquely positioned for growth and excellence in the debt purchasing and asset management industry," Bunn said. "Paul Larkins has put together a solid executive leadership team, as well as an impressive core of directors, and I'm excited to be elected to help guide this innovative, growing company."

Bunn earned his bachelor's of science degree in business administration from Wake Forest University and his MBA in finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a member of the Wake Forest University board of trustees and the Babcock School of Business board of visitors. He also serves on the board of Southern Weaving Company and is on the board of advisors for Sound Harbor Partners.

SquareTwo is based in Denver.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Marketing Summit Unveils Competing Schools

The 2011 Marketing Summit now has its list of competing schools!

In the graduate category, the following teams will compete for bragging rights and a $75,000 grand prize:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Boston College
  • London Business School
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Wake Forest University

The undergraduate teams will consist of:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Emory University
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Maryland
  • Brigham Young University
  • Wake Forest University

Congratulations and good luck!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wake Forest Plans Tennis Facility Ahead of Tourney

Earlier today, Wake Forest announced plans to host an annual professional tennis tournament, beginning in August 2011. The Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University will be an American Tennis Professionals World Tour 250 series event that was previously held in New Haven, Conn. The tournament will be part of the Olympus US Open Series and will be the final ATP tournament prior to the US Open.

“It is an honor for Wake Forest to serve as the host of the Winston-Salem Open,” said President Nathan O. Hatch. “The international attention garnered by the tournament will allow us to showcase Wake Forest's unique character.”

To accommodate the tournament, a new tennis facility will be constructed off of Shorefair Drive, between BB&T Field and the Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center. The facility will have 10 to 12 outdoor tennis courts, including a
stadium court which can seat at least 3,500 spectators. The facility will also be used by the Wake Forest tennis teams and may be used for concerts and other entertainment activities.

The new facility will impact the student parking lot at BB&T Field.  While this will change the look around the student lot, it presents new and exciting opportunities to further enhance the atmosphere of the student lot.

“The construction of the new tennis facility will allow tremendous programming possibilities for our student tailgating area,” said Ron Wellman, the director of athletics. “The student game-day experience is important to the landscape of Wake Forest football, and we look forward to engaging with students over the coming months to discuss the opportunities that this area can now bring, like concerts, tailgate space and other activities.”

Following the holiday break, the athletic department will form a committee of student leaders to discuss tailgating and the game-day experience. Interested students are encouraged to e-mail Mike Odom in the athletic
department at

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Wishes From Dean Reinemund

Dear Schools of Business Students,

Reinemund2 It is a great time for reflection as we come to the end of this calendar year and celebrate the holiday season. I am grateful that you have chosen to invest in a Wake Forest education. I hope that you are already realizing the benefits of your investment and that you use your vacation time to go back and think about your goals, especially as they relate to your career, and the actions you will take to attain them.

Take a few minutes to sit back and reflect on what you’ve learned in the classroom and what you’ve learned about yourself. Pressure-test the assumptions you have made regarding what you want to do with your life. Utilize resources from family and friends and others you may meet during your break. I hope you will come back with a renewed sense of purpose and fire about what you would like to accomplish and a road map on how you will get there.

Most of all make sure to also enjoy the time with your family and friends during this holiday. I wish all of you and your families, the very best during this Holiday Season and hope you have a restful, relaxing and safe winter break.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lovefeast Lures 2000+ to Wake Forest Campus

Following a tradition started by a student in 1965, more than 2,000 people gathered for the annual Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service in Wait Chapel Sunday night.

Students taking a break from studying for exams joined faculty, staff, alumni and community members to hear the Handbell Choir, the Flute Choir, the Concert Choir and a Moravian band.

Chaplain Tim Auman led the service, which featured a message by Gail R. O’Day, dean of the School of Divinity.

O’Day’s sermon focused on peace and the potential for unity, “You are sitting together row upon row, the powerful and the vulnerable, the triumphant and the struggling, the ‘I can’t make ends meet’ and the ‘I got it made,’ the upbeat and the downtrodden, the timid and the brave, friend and foe. One community…”

Ninety gallons of coffee and 175 dozen yeast buns were served. As candlelight filled the chapel toward the end of the service, the crowd sang, “Joy to the World” and the traditional Moravian carol “Morning Star.”

The Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service is a custom that originated in Europe in 1747. The first lovefeast in North Carolina was held on the evening of the arrival of the Moravians at Bethabara in 1753.

By Cheryl Walker ('88), Office of Communications and External Relations

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fueled By Competition

Geoff Smith is a self described sports junkie. He lives and breathes sports. If he is not on a ski slope, you will most likely find him at a NASCAR track. He is fueled by competition, and has made a career out of his personal passion.

Today, Smith is the president of Roush Fenway Racing. The Wake Forest University Schools of Business Sports Management Club welcomed him to campus to share his personal story and offer advice to students interested in pursuing sports management careers.

Smith earned his law degree from Wayne State University and worked in private practice in Detroit, eventually crossing paths with up- and-coming NASCAR race team owner, Jack Roush. In 1990, Smith accepted an offer to manage the business operations of Roush Racing and serve as general counsel to the engineering service conglomerate, Roush Industries.

By 1997, he was promoted to the position of president and transferred from Michigan to North Carolina. Smith was instrumental in expanding Roush Racing to operate multiple teams. He negotiated the sale of half of Roush Racing to New England Sports Ventures, owners of the Boston Red Sox. The business was renamed Roush Fenway Racing in 2007.

“It’s one of these businesses you need to leap into. It’s an event marketing business. You need to be at the events and travel 29 to 38 weeks a year,” he said. But Smith doesn’t mind the schedule. “I do it because I love the competition. There aren’t many places where you can plan and get graded every week on how you do.”

Smith said unlike other professional sports, NASCAR is a sanctioning body owned by a family and teams need to pay to compete and use mandated products and services. The price to compete is high, and Smith said the economy has made it more difficult to keep a team going. “We are a microcosm of what is going on in America. Our sport has been devastated by the recession. We don’t have new sponsors coming on board and the ones we have our staying, but cutting back.” He said 70% of the Roush Fenway Racing revenue comes from sponsors. Auto manufacturers and prize money make up the additional revenue sources.

Ben Ralston (MBA ’11), president of the WFUSB Sports Management Club, asked how NASCAR teams translate value of what is given to a sponsor. Smith said, “Your value is strictly what one person would pay for. They do not care what our costs are.”

Sponsorships have also been impacted by political pressure, according to Smith. He pointed to how banks are getting chastised for spending money on marketing through sports sponsorships and said that corporate hospitality events are getting scaled back or eliminated.

Despite tough times, there are a variety of sports management career opportunities. Smith pointed to financial management, business development, operations, and communications. He said activities can include everything from selecting players and deciding pay to licensing merchandise and selling sponsorship packages.

However, Smith acknowledged that getting a foot in the door is not easy. He said being a player or former player, coach, or team owner are common avenues and “nepotism is big in pro sports everywhere, much more pervasively in corporate America.” Smith recommended doing business with a sports team while working in an outside agency or firm as a good way to open doors. “You can get noticed at an account services level jus by your enthusiasm and attention to detail.”

The newly formed WFUSB Sports Management Club works closely with the University Athletics Department to expose business students to the skills needed to build a career in modern day sports management and sports marketing. For more information, contact Ben Ralston at or associate athletic director Barry Faircloth at

CFA Review Scholarship to Honor Alum’s Memory

Becker Professional Education CFA Review is honoring the memory of Wake Forest University Schools of Business student Brent A. Rosenberg (09’, MA ’10) with a full scholarship for its Level 1 CFA Review.  The scholarship will be awarded annually on December 15 to a current Wake Forest student sitting for the June Level I CFA Exam.

The Brent A. Rosenberg Becker CFA Review Scholarship will be awarded based on student excellence and financial need.

To apply for the scholarship, applicants should provide a written statement of 250 words or less describing why you should be considered for the scholarship.  Recommended information includes contributions to Wake Forest University, future career goals, your decision to pursue the CFA Charter, and why purchasing the review would be a financial burden.

Submit application to Prof. Jarrell (Kirby 109) at by Dec. 8.

A Refuge for Exam Week

image Students during exam week drink coffee — a lot of coffee. About 2,000 cups have been ordered to sustain students through finals week as part of Wake the Library.

This year, the library is asking students to bring their own reusable mug to support the university’s sustainability initiatives. Cups, for those who forgot to bring one, will be available upon request at the Circulation desk.There is no limit to refills.

In addition to the free coffee, the library provides food each night at midnight. “For the first Wake the Library event in spring of 2006, food was an afterthought managed by staff members, but since then, food has become an essential component of the week-long activities,” says Wanda Brown, associate dean of the library. “The students are very appreciative.”

Water and fruit, which are available every night of finals week, are coupled with selections of pizza, subs, chicken sandwiches and burritos. Midnight snack menus will be posted on the Z. Smith Reynolds Library Facebook page each day.

At 11:45 pm, the queue begins forming for evening snacks. This year, students can win one of five “Golden Tickets” using Gowalla — a location-based social networking application compatible with most Smartphones and the iPad — to earn the right to skip to the head of the snack line.

On a graffiti wall in the library atrium, students can use paint and brushes to draw pictures or write messages on a display board. Monday through Friday, a graffiti video station will be open for students to share their thoughts and send video messages to friends and family. “Much like the existing graffiti board, the video station aims to provide a constructive and fun outlet for students to express themselves during exam week,” says Wake Forest Fellow Gretchen Edwards.

The library is also accepting non-expired, unopened canned goods as payment for overdue book fines. Food will be donated to Campus Kitchen to provide groceries for those in need during the holiday season.

The Z. Smith Reynolds library will remain open 24 hours from Friday, Dec. 3 through Saturday, Dec. 11 — closing at 5 pm when the last exam is taken and winter break officially begins. The serving of food at midnight begins on Sunday, Dec. 5.

By Kim McGrath - Office of Communications and External Relations

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Targacept to Sponsor Biotech Conference Case

Biotech logo FULL

The 2nd annual Wake Forest MBA Biotechnology Conference and Case Competition will be held Feb. 18-19, 2011, in Winston-Salem on the campus of Wake Forest University.

The Wake Forest MBA Biotechnology Conference will bring together some of the brightest and most creative minds from outstanding MBA and graduate programs in the region, as well as guests and judges from various companies related to the industry.

Targacept will be this year's case competition sponsor. Targacept  is a biopharmaceutical company with a therapeutic focus on central nervous system diseases and disorders and was recently named one of The Scientist magazine's "Best Places to Work in Industry". The company has established strategic alliances with AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline for the results of the company's research with neuronal nicotinic receptors (NNRs). Competing teams will have the opportunity to offer real world solutions to a current business problem Targacept is facing.       

In addition to the case competition, the conference includes panel discussions with some of the industry's leaders, a look into the future of biotechnology through a panel discussion with industry leaders and a tour of Targacept's advanced facilities.

Click here for a recap of last year's conference. If you have any questions or would like additional information on the event, please contact

Showing the Love: 2010 Lovefeast

image Ninety gallons of traditional Moravian blend coffee; 175 dozen yeast buns with nutmeg, cinnamon and orange flavoring; 2,200 beeswax candles wrapped with red ribbon; and 900 luminaries: the ingredients are in place for Wake Forest’s traditional Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service.
The 46th annual lovefeast — the largest single lovefeast in North America — will be held Sunday, Dec. 5, at 8 pm in Wait Chapel. The service is free and open to the public.
Gayle Hartgrove, administrative assistant in the Chaplain’s Office, has coordinated the service since 1996, ordering the coffee and buns and recruiting about 60 faculty, staff and students to serve as “dieners” (German for servers) to pass out the coffee and buns and light the candles.
“The lighting of the candles is my favorite part,” she said. “All of the lights go out in the chapel right before our candle lighters begin row by row lighting the candles. The chapel is in complete silence. It truly is such a beautiful and moving sight.”
The candles are provided each year by the Mary Ann Fogle Service League from Home Moravian Church. The buns are made by Mrs. Pumpkin’s bakery in Winston-Salem, and Aramark provides the coffee. Members of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity place the luminaries that encircle Hearn Plaza.
The service will include a message by Gail R. O’Day, dean of the School of Divinity. O’Day, who was named dean last April, was formerly senior associate dean at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. University Chaplain Tim Auman will lead the service.
A number of student groups will perform, including the Wake Forest Concert Choir, conduced by Brian Gorelick, associate professor of music; the hand bell choir, conduced by senior Beth Ann Williams; the flute choir, conducted by Kathryn Levy, lecturer in music; and the divinity school choir, conducted by Laura Jane Kist. The Messiah Moravian Church Band, directed by Robah Ogburn, will also perform.
University organist Don Armitage and guest harpist Kerry Anne Conner-Briggs (’87) will also provide music. Carillonneur Lauren Bradley (’05) and guest carillonneurs Ray Ebert (’60) and senior Kathryn Rohrer will play the Janet Jeffrey Carlile Harris Carillon.
Those attending the service may make monetary contributions to the Chaplain’s Emergency Fund, which supports students and staff in financial need. For more information on the service, call (336) 758-5210.
~ Kerry M. King (’85), Office of Communications and External Relations

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Segway Inventor Talks Innovation and Passion

You might know Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research & Development, as “the Segway guy.” But he would much rather you know him as the guy who invented the first insulin pump, a robotic arm for humans, the iBOT stair climbing wheelchair, or a revolutionary machine which can provide safe drinking water to developing countries.

Dean of Business Steve Reinemund welcomed Kamen, a man he called “the real Dean,” to the Wake Forest University Schools of Business on Nov. 17. “Personal Passion Changes the World” was part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series. The audience included students, faculty, guests and even children who have participated in Kamen’s FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions.

It is quite clear that Dean Kamen is a passionate man, full of energy and strong opinions. He is brilliant, yet approachable. Dressed in his signature blue jeans and denim shirt, Kamen is authentic --describing himself as “genetically incapable of not being sarcastic.” He will proudly point out that he didn’t wear a coat and tie to meet the President of the United States and “the Secret Service doesn’t have a sense of humor when it comes to chasing the President around with a robot.”

The stories behind Kamen’s inventions are inspiring. He challenged Wake Forest business students to commit to ventures that will change lives, versus immediate financial returns. “If you have a big idea, go with it, be flexible, seize opportunities and make it happen,” Kamen said.

(Story continues below.)

The Insulin Pump
The insulin pump, now widely used by diabetics, was Kamen’s first big medical invention. He developed it in his parents’ basement. His brother was a medical student looking for a portable drug infusion system to electronically control medication doses for infants. Kamen came up with a solution in 1973. “We lost two decades,” he said. “It only took 20 years to become an instant, overnight success.” Developing technology isn’t the struggle, he said. “Getting people to accept change is the hard part.”

The Crown Stent
Countless cardiovascular patients have Kamen to thank for reducing the risks and recovery time from surgery. When Johnson & Johnson asked him to improve the design of the Palmaz-Schatz stent, Kamen looked to his team of aerospace engineers to create a stent that could get into smaller arteries and navigate around tight corners. “When I went to the FDA for approval, I wasn’t going to tell them a bunch of motor heads at my helicopter plant in Michigan came up with the design. Since my helicopters can deliver drugs, I said ‘this stent was developed by the alternative drug delivery group’. Seize the opportunity to put the right things together,” Kamen emphasized.

HomeChoice PD
Kamen said he rejected the chance to make a peritoneal dialysis machine a little better, simpler and cheaper. Instead, he set out to make a device that would eliminate trips to a dialysis center. He was warned it would be a high risk, but came up with a machine that a patient can use at home while sleeping. “This is something that went from ‘another one of Dean’s crazy ideas’ to a standard of care,” Kamen said.

“Making an improvement on a wheelchair seemed like a stupid idea,” Kamen said. That’s why he developed the iBOT, an all-terrain mobility device that could allow disabled people to “stand up” and even climb stairs. At first, the FDA told Kamen it was too dangerous. It took years to get approved. To this day, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) will not reimburse patients for the purchase of an iBot, he said. “Business people have unbelievable control and authority in this country. Be careful, use it wisely.”

DARPA Prosthetic Arm
Medical advances have improved the survival rates for men and women injured in combat, but some survivors are coming back with missing arms and legs. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wanted to develop a robotic arm that would allow someone to have enough agility to pick up a raisin or grape. Kamen showed the audience a video of a man learning to use the arm. “He picks up the spoon, holds it completely level and starts eating cereal,” Kamen explained. “His wife is standing behind him watching and she says ‘Chuck hasn’t fed himself in 19 years. You’ve got a choice, Dean-- we keep the arms, or you keep Chuck!’” The latest generation of the prosthetic arm due out next year has twice as much power and speed and looks more human than robot-like.

Power and Water
Kamen gets very animated when discussing the potential of his self-powered machine that can purify any liquid into safe drinking water. “The box doesn’t care what’s wrong with the water,” he said. Millions of people, mostly children, die from waterborne illnesses each year. “We could have more impact on global health than the entire pharmaceutical industry combined,” he added. “Why isn’t that happening?” Kamen asked business students to support his vision. “The people with no water and no electricity have no money. You can’t build a 90-day success model. You have to believe that these are productivity tools.”

Wherever Kamen goes, he doesn’t miss an opportunity to share his passion for FIRST. He started the non-profit program to create a sport out of engineering. FIRST organizes robotics and LEGO competitions around the world, getting kids inspired and excited about careers in science and technology. The program has also provided more than $12 million in scholarships. Kamen quotes his friend, Walt Havenstein of Science Applications International, who told FIRST contestants, “This is the only sport where every kid on the team can turn pro.” He asked for support saying that whatever you put into it, you’ll get even more out of it and “it’s fun, it’s rewarding, and everyone wins.”

The Segway
Even the Segway was a medical invention. Kamen calls it a “fun byproduct” or a “trivial side effect” of the iBOT. The Segway is an electric, human transporter which uses much of same stabilization technology as the iBOT; it just doesn’t have a seat. He shared the notorious photo of President George W. Bush on vacation, falling off of a Segway. “It’s a self-balancing machine,” said Kamen. “They work a lot better if you turn them on before jumping on to them.”

Many people have won as a result of Kamen’s relentless passion for solving problems and improving lives. Perhaps his passion has inspired someone in his audience at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business to create the next big thing that will change the world.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Blog: Keeping the Family Out of Court

We noticed this blog from Kathy Baker, posted at, and thought it important enough to share. Hope you find this informative.


BakerKOver dinner recently, several members of the Wake Forest University Family Business Center and I were introduced to the concept of ADR by Judge Ben Tennille, Chief Judge of the North Carolina Business Court.

A little background here: In January of 1996 Judge Tennille was sworn in as the first Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases in North Carolina and charged with creating the first state-wide Business Court in the nation. Today, all cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law in our state are assigned to the Business Court, where a special superior court judge oversees resolution of all matters in the case through trial.

Back at dinner, Judge Tennille expressed dismay at the number family-owned business owners that appear in his court, and concern that the legal process does not serve these companies well.

imgresFamily members come to court hoping the judge will be able to solve their disputes (and, of course, rule in their  favor). But, according to Judge Tennille, the judge actually has very little discretion in these cases. Often the only choice available under the statute is to rule for dissolution of the business. This is typically not the preferred result for the business owners. After consulting their tax advisors, they realize it is a very unappealing and prohibitively expensive option.

After months of preparing for litigation, and thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of dollars spent, the principals find that it is still up to them to resolve their dispute. Oftentimes, the underlying reasons behind the lawsuits are things that have little to do with the business operation.

Unfortunately, the legal system has no mechanism to slow the rush to litigation once it has started. Once one party has decided to sue, direct communication between the family members often ends. The lawyers are doing their jobs, advocating for the individual interests of their clients. Unfortunately, the collective interests of the family and the company -- its customers, employees, and suppliers -- are overlooked in the process.

Family businesses are at their best when the interests of the family members and their business are aligned. A divisive lawsuit is heartbreaking for the family and a real drain on the productivity and profitability of the business.

Family business owners usually want to keep information about their business operations private. A lawsuit opens up the family relationships and business dealings for public scrutiny, which is a very painful development for most family business owners. As I was preparing to write this article, I looked at the current issue of Family Business magazine and read about the Rollins family of Atlanta, Georgia. The family and family business had always kept a low profile, until the death of the family matriarch precipitated changes that led to unrest and discord among family members. The current lawsuit, filed by children against their father, seems to be an unlikely outcome for this family – but unfortunately is an all too common result.

In our litigious society, the road less traveled seems to be one involving Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR provides an avenue for the parties to talk about their dispute with a facilitator or mediator, and to resolve their differences before pursuing legal action. At the very least, the parties can be made aware of the expected costs of litigation and get a realistic view of the ability of a court to resolve their dispute.

An opportunity to talk things through could also be an important step in diffusing and de-escalating a disagreement that is otherwise on the road to the courthouse. This is an area where the member companies of a local Family Business Center program may be of service. A business owner may be more receptive to peer advice from a fellow family business owner than an officially-designated “mediator” in the early stages.

A more proactive step would be to include language in the shareholder or partnership agreement to mandate that in the event of a dispute ADR will be pursued as a first option. This part of the shareholder agreement can act as a kind of “pre-nup” for owners – creating an opportunity for a conversation on how future disputes will be resolved while times are good and relationships are trusting and friendly.

The inclusion of an ADR mechanism in the shareholder agreement also provides a great educational opportunity for future shareholders. A presentation and discussion of the purpose of the ADR provision could be a natural addition to any family council meeting. Again, the resources of the local Family Business Center could be brought to bear in crafting appropriate language, as well as in providing a slate of potential mediators from the member companies, and from business and law school faculty members.

The Wake Forest University Family Business Center is currently working with Judge Tennille and faculty members involved with our Community Business and Law Clinic to develop recommended language for inclusion in the shareholder agreement. I will keep you posted on our progress and welcome comments and suggestions on this idea.

Schools of Business Holiday Party

Join your fellow students, faculty, and staff at the annual Schools of Business Holiday Party at BB&T Ballpark.  We will put celebrate the close of another semester and wish the 2010 MSA students good luck as they embark on their careers. There will be music, drinks and light hors d’oeuvres.  Cocktail dress required.

When: Friday Dec. 3, 8:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Where: BB&T Ballpark

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sustainability Event in the Works

FogelDThe Charlotte campus, the Career Management Center and the MBA Working Professional students would like to invite you to attend a very special event, “Understanding the Business of Sustainability,” on Tuesday, Dec. 14, from 6-8 pm at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business Charlotte campus.

Dan Fogel will moderate a distinguished panel of corporate executives as they discuss the emerging market of sustainability and renewable energy. There will also be information on how to leverage your MBA, skills, and experience to pursue career opportunities within this fascinating industry.

More information to come later this week!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NASCAR Exec to Appear at Wake Forest

Wake Forest University will host Geoff Smith, the president of Roush Fenway Racing, on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 5:30 pm. Food will be provided as part of the event, to be held in Worrell 1117.

Smith has presided over 120 different NASCAR teams including five championship teams. He will speak about sports marketing, sports management and the application of the skills learned in graduate school.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wake Student Wins State Farm Competition

image Jackie Swoyer, a junior and a Business and Enterprise Management (BEM) major at Wake Forest University, was announced winner of the first National State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition held in Warrensburg, MO, on Friday, Nov. 12.

The multi-round competition required students to develop a detailed written marketing and sales plan targeted at the 18-25 year-old demographic, one of State Farm’s most challenging demographic groups to maintain. This plan was judged before the competition by a panel of State Farm executives. Then students competed in multiple rounds of simulated sales encounters in front of a panel of three to five judges each.

Parker Schweer, also a junior and BEM major, made it successfully through the 2nd round. The competition involved students from seven other universities, including Louisiana State University and University of Texas at Austin.

Pat Dickson and Michelle Steward, both BEM faculty at the Schools of Business, offered the Wake Forest students feedback on their written sales plans, and coordinated with local State Farm employees who offered sales training sessions to both students.

“Dr. Dickson and Dr. Steward were instrumental in guiding us through this process. They both were very accommodating and were extremely interested in seeing us excel in the competition.” Swoyer said. “With Dr. Steward’s encouragement I created a brand around my marketing plan, which really helped me uniquely position my portfolio.”

“This was an opportunity to have their talents showcased in front of a Fortune-50 company,” said Steward. “During Jackie’s session, you could feel the excitement in the room from the State Farm employees watching her hit each of the marks central to their brand.”

Swoyer also recalled the moment she completed her final presentation and was led to a central viewing room where she was allowed to watch the remainder of the competition.

“For some reason, I expected that maybe four or five extra people might be watching me do my mock sales call,” she said. “To my complete shock and amazement, when I walked into the room, I was met with an audience of probably fifty or sixty, many applauding and standing from their seats. I was so excited. Almost every person in the room made an effort to tell me what a great job I had done. I couldn't believe it.”

Swoyer received a check from State Farm for $5,000 for winning first prize. She said her next challenges will be finding a summer internship and exploring her career options.

“This experience has given me a huge boost of confidence. I was so intimidated walking into the competition, but what I learned more than anything is that I have a lot to bring to the table. I had such an amazing experience, from competing, to meeting students from other schools, to socializing with some of the highest State Farm executives in the country,” Swoyer said.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Alumni Update: Beatty Wins Banking Award

Three associates of First Hope Bank were chosen as 2010 “New Leaders in Banking” by NJ Bankers and NJ Banker magazine. Recipients were selected by an independent panel of judges, none of whom is an active banker. Awardees were determined to be rising stars of the banking industry who are under 40 years of age and making significant contributions to their institutions and communities.

First Hope’s award recipients were Chief Operations Officer Daniel Beatty, Chief Financial Officer Lewis Beatty and Michelle Miragliotta, assistant vice president and loan administration/consumer credit officer. A total of 17 “New Leaders in Banking” awards were presented at a ceremony held at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City on Nov. 8.

Daniel Beatty began his First Hope Bank career in 2007 after graduating from the Military Academy at West Point and serving six years with the U.S. Army. He began as a teller and then worked in other areas of the bank to become familiar with all aspects of community banking. In 2008, the bank’s board appointed him as chief operations officer.

Lewis Beatty joined the Bank in 1999 as assistant vice president for retail operations, eventually spearheading the bank’s formation of a contact center and the establishment of a web page and internet banking. In 2002, he was appointed chief financial officer. Earning his MBA with a concentration in Finance from Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Lewis performed his undergraduate work in Business and Economics at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, also in North Carolina.

Miragliotta joined the bank in 2003 as a teller and advanced to loan clerk and then to retail analyst in 2004. In September, she was promoted to her current position. A graduate of Drew University in Madison, Miragliotta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with a minor in business administration.

Reposted from


Lewis Beatty is third from the left. Photo from the Warren Reporter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Are You Ready for a Road Trip?

The Healthcare Club has arranged for company tours and networking sessions with management of Eisai Pharmaceuticals and BlueCross BlueShield on Friday, Dec. 10 (likely an all-day commitment). We will be carpooling to these companies since they are located in the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh. If any students are interested, please contact me or fill out the survey below. We have limited space, so if a student wants to go, let me know ASAP as spots are filling up, or register here.

This is a great chance to gain valuable insight into the many opportunities not only within these companies, but within the industry as a whole. Also, this event will help to build a strong reputation going forward for our club and our program. As a last reminder, please only RSVP to this event if you know that you can make it. We have 20 spots available and we want to make a strong showing. Please inform us of your interest as soon as possible.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bob Holland’s Quest for Success

Earlier this week, we featured a student’s perspective on a special guest lecture. Here is another perspective:


From growing up in a racially segregated town in Michigan to becoming the first African-American CEO of a majority-owned franchise company, Robert Holland has a lifetime of interesting stories. At 70 years old, he is still on “The Quest for Success.” Holland shared personal accounts of his life journey, with students, faculty and visitors on November 11, at Wake Forest University Schools of Business.

Dean of Business Steve Reinemund welcomed Holland, a personal friend and professional mentor, to campus to meet with students and deliver a presentation for the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series.

Holland is corporate director and managing partner of Essex Lake Group, a global consulting firm for Fortune 500 companies. He was the first African-American to be recruited as CEO of a majority-owned franchise company when he accepted the top post at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Inc. He has also served as CEO at WorkPlace Integrators, Rokher-J, Gilreath Manufacturing, Inc., and City Marketing. Earlier in his career, Holland was an associate and partner with McKinsey & Company, Inc.

Rather than talk in depth about his career as an executive, Holland focused on his earlier years. “These are years that you can’t search on Google,” he said. “But, they are a pretty important part of who I am.”

(Story continues below.)

A painful memory in Holland’s life history includes a cross burning in his front yard. His father was disturbed because he could not shelter Holland and his siblings from open racism and discrimination. For instance, Holland enjoyed the opportunity to go ice skating on Mondays. Always the entrepreneur, he encouraged the operator to also allow white kids to participate. The rink was “missing out on a business opportunity.” Holland later found out that he was actually the one missing out, because the rink was open for other kids every other day of the week.

“I am not looking for sympathy or a badge for the challenges of my childhood. I share it to provide some context to show, as my parents would say ‘what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger’,” he said.

Racial barriers almost kept Holland from fulfilling his dream of going to college. When he told a high school guidance counselor that he wanted to study to become an engineer, the counselor handed over a list of trade schools. Refusing to settle, Holland pursued and received a Congressional recommendation for the Air Force Academy. But that opportunity passed when his high school failed to turn over academic transcripts. In an era long before the Internet, he had to find catalogs to learn about colleges. He got his break when he met a college professor during a track meet.

The professor shared a list of colleges with engineering programs that would accept African American students. “Each application cost $25 and I only had $50, so I applied to the first and last in alphabetical order, and was accepted at Union College in Schenectady, NY.” Holland boarded a bus and headed to college, leaving Michigan for the very first time.

While at Union College, Holland quickly put his entrepreneurial talents to work. He had a job filling soft drink machines on campus, being able to keep a penny for every bottle sold. One day, Holland put a beer inside of a machine to keep it cold until he was done with work. A student ended up “buying it” before he was able to retrieve it from the machine. “The students were giddy when someone put in a quarter in and got a beer out. So, I decided I was going to start ‘peppering’ the soft drink machines with an occasional beer, and needless to say my profits went up,” he said.

(Story continues below.)

Holland's presentation was sprinkled with humor and readings of some of his personal writings. He told the audience, "I brought Ben & Jerry's, but if you don't like my poems, you don't get ice cream."

One such poem was "Time, Values and Ice Cream," Holland wrote when he became CEO of Ben & Jerry's. The ice cream maker launched a "Yo I want to be CEO" contest asking applicants to submit essays on the lid of their favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor. Holland was actually recruited by a corporate search firm, but still he went ahead and wrote a poem reflecting on how times changed because when growing up, his hometown ice cream parlor did not allow African Americans to sit inside.

Holland highlighted the importance of committing random acts of kindness. "Not one of you will achieve success if there is no one interested in helping you. It is very difficult to control who helps you. It is very easy to control who you help."

During a small group discussion with Master of Arts in Management students, Holland shared the details of a program he founded to reduce drop-out rates and gang activity in Detroit. "The only way to combat gangs is to create one. A gang is basically a group who believes in each other and has an identity." This new "Make a Difference Gang" looked out for each other through struggles to graduate from high school. Holland worked with local businesses to "employ" the kids, paid them a stipend, and taught them how to invest in the stock market. Of that first “gang” of 46, only two didn't graduate. One dropped out, another was shot. "A little bit of time and attention can have an enormous impact," he said.

Throughout his career, Holland has traveled extensively and done business around the world. He emphasized the value of recognizing different cultures and paying attention to non-verbal communication. When Jamin Lundy (MBA ’12) asked for the best piece of advice from his global experience, Holland recommended that students learn a dialect of Chinese, so they do not miss out on the many business opportunities in China for Westerners.
Chris Van Roekel (MBA ’11) asked Holland how he defined success in his own life. He responded, “I am still a work in progress…It won't include a title and it won't include the name of the company."

Holland left audience with these final words of wisdom-- "If you haven't helped a stranger in some small way, you have missed out on an opportunity."

Click Here to read a student's perspective from the First Hand Experiences Blog.

Angel Investors to Visit Campus

The Entrepreneurship Club is excited to host a member meeting for the Piedmont Angel Network (PAN) on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 4:30 pm in Worrell 1117. PAN is a local angel fund that is focused primarily on early-stage financing for companies in North Carolina. The meeting should conclude around 6:15 pm. Included in the meeting, PAN will screen two companies for potential investment and Andy Dreyfuss, PAN’s fund executive, will open the session with an introduction and background to the fund.

Please consider attending this meeting, as it is a great opportunity to learn more about angel investing and observe and participate in the process that an investment fund takes when making investment decisions.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brigade Capital Exec to Present Nov. 19

Rob Brady of Brigade Capital Management will make a presentation on Friday, Nov. 19, at 3:30 pm as part of the next Invest-Connect Series event. Brigade is an SEC-registered investment advisor with products that include long and short credit, distressed debt and traditional high yield. A question and answer session will follow. 

All are welcome to attend the event, which will be held at Greene Hall, Room 145. Business casual attire is appropriate for this event. To RSVP, email James Kelly at by Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Importance of the “Human Element” in Healthcare

Only healthcare organizations that consistently deliver quality and strong margins will survive in the changing landscape, according to Dean Cinkins, Senior Client Director for GE Healthcare. The Wake Forest University Schools of Business Healthcare Club invited him to campus on Nov. 4 to present “Initiating, Leading and Managing Change.”

“The human aspect to all of this is so important and not to be underestimated,” said Cinkins as he outlined GE’s Change Acceleration Process (CAP) and Work-Out technique for problem solving. “The status quo is just not going to cut it anymore. There are work processes that need to be redesigned, budget cuts everywhere, relocating teams, and redesigning organizational structures.”

Cinkins stressed that management and leadership are quite different. “Managing is the planning, budgeting, staffing, and the problem solving. It’s about maintaining that status quo, but leadership is about establishing direction and empowering people to bring solutions forward.” He said GE’s (CAP) model focuses on managing solutions while leading the people. The CAP model includes creating a shared need, shaping a vision, mobilizing commitment, making change last and monitoring progress.

While his presentation focused on the (CAP) model, Cinkins stressed that successful change initiatives require strong, committed leadership throughout the entire initiative cycle. GE’s “Work-Out” tool is a process of concentrated team-based decision making used to resolve issues and improve processes. He said when used effectively, the (CAP) model and “Work Out” tool can help an organization improve patient satisfaction, lower costs and improve employee engagement.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wake Forest Placement Ranks High With BusinessWeek

Bloomberg BusinessWeek's research found that, despite a tough economy, 92% of the 2010 full-time MBA students at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business secured jobs within three months after graduation, placing the program in a tie with Yale University at No. 12 nationally.

"We are proud of our 2010 graduates and our Career Management Center for their focused efforts to secure jobs in this tough economy," said Dean of Business Steve Reinemund. "Our small school environment offers a highly-personalized experience for students and recruiters with one-to-one guidance, and we are honored to have earned this recognition."

Overall, Wake Forest placed in the top 50 among U.S. business schools. This news comes on the heels of Wake Forest's Full-time MBA program ranking in The Economist which ranked the school No. 33 in the nation. Wake Forest's strong employment rates, starting salaries and student satisfaction were key factors that influenced this ranking. Additionally, Princeton Review jointly with Entrepreneurship Magazine ranked Wake Forest's graduate entrepreneurship program at No. 23 in the nation.

Wake Forest Technology Day

The Operations & IT Club is organizing “Wake Forest Technology Day” on Thursday, Nov. 18, in the Innovation Lab (3209). The career panel discussion will be held from 3-4 pm followed by an hour-long networking event.

There will be four panelists:

  • Paul Stein: Advisory Partner, Ernst & Young
  • Tim Leblanc - Senior Vice President, Bank of America
  • Rocky Griggs - Marketing Manager, Microsoft
  • And a Consultant from Goodrich.

This would be a great opportunity to learn from, and network with, industry leaders. Food and drinks will be served. Are you interested? Please fill out this survey if you plan to attend.

Measuring Success: A Student’s Perspective

WFU Business School / MA Program 7-19-10 Nikki Bracy (right) is an MA student in the Wake Forest University Schools of Business. Last week, she attended two events featuring Robert Holland, a managing partner and advisory board member of Essex Lake Group and a former CEO at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade.

Here, she shares her thoughts of Holland’s morning conversation and afternoon lecture on the ingredients for success.


What is success? How do you measure it? How do you define it? And most importantly -- how do you achieve it?

I ran into Worrell at 7:59 am excited to have breakfast with Bob Holland and some of my fellow MAs. And while that was far too early in the morning for my brain to function properly, I knew today would be the day that I would receive the necessary tools to embark on my own “Quest for Success.”

Mr. Holland gave a nice overview of his accomplishments. Then he told us different stories that have shaped his life. He spoke of the importance of character and communication. He spoke fondly of his kind, hard-working mother, who was moved by someone who simply had a genuine interest in her life. He talked about peoples’ unwillingness to help a homeless woman whose only goal was to move off of the sidewalk and stay out of the way of busy passersby. He told us an amazing story about motivating inner city youth to stay out of gangs, focus on their education, and ultimately take control of their future. As I heard him speaking, I found myself attempting to connect the dots. How did these events lead him to where he is today?

Later that day, as I sat listening to his speech in the Law Auditorium, I could feel myself (and everyone around me) waiting for him to spill the beans. What was his secret? How did he manage to do so much with his life, motivate so many people, and (let’s be honest), make so much money? The question and answer section came and someone asked him “what is your definition of success?” Finally, I thought, someone was brave enough to ask what we were all dying to know. We were finally going to hear how a CEO achieved success. But he simply said, “I don’t know. I’m still a work in progress.”

He said he’s “still searching.” How? How could he still be searching for success when it’s etched into every inch of his past? PR professionals always told me that success should be measurable. So surely the 44 high school students he helped graduate could be considered successful. My teachers always measured success with the letters ‘A’ through ‘F’; so obviously, Mr. Holland’s ability to achieve outstanding grades at Union College made him successful. My mother always said I could only be successful by “having an impact on others and staying true to myself.” So naturally, his positions on 14 different publicly traded company’s corporate boards and his work with numerous nonprofits is proof that he’d been successful. So what was he “still searching” for?

He said that in order to know what success is you have to know what is important to you. He said, “Unto thine own self, be true.” And isn’t that what we’ve been learning all of this time? Finding our passion is the key to life. Well, our passions, desires, and strengths all differ from person to person. And so does success.

So while I went to the speech hoping to leave knowing exactly what I needed on my “Quest,” I learned that success is an anomaly, and that’s ok. We are each the biggest stakeholders in our future. In fact, we are the stakeholders, the company, AND the client. Think about it. Who else can determine what you accomplish? The way I define success cannot be found in Webster’s dictionary, on Wikipedia, or in the mouth, mind, or heart of anyone else. So the way I achieve success must be my own as well.

We go to speeches by CEOs because they’re good opportunities. But in the back of our minds we are hoping to unlock their secrets or perhaps we are hoping that some of their luck, knowledge, or talent will rub off onto us. Not likely. So what should we go to these speeches hoping to gain? We should go to get a glimpse into the life of someone who stayed true to themselves. We should leave with the appreciation that all of us can achieve even more than we dreamt we could, if we work hard enough.

So what is the true definition of “success?” The world may never know. And really … who cares? As Mr. Holland said, even he continues to search for success, which he said may only be measured by others.

Segway Inventor to Discuss “Person Passion”

deankamen Dean Kamen, the man responsible for inventing the first insulin pump, the Segway, and an all-terrain wheelchair known as the iBOT will present “Personal Passion Changes the World” on Wed., Nov. 17, at 5 pm. in the Worrell Professional Center auditorium room 1312 on the Wake Forest campus.  The event is part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series.  The lecture is free and open to the public.

Kamen is the founder of DEKA Research and Development and serves as co-host of the program ‘Dean of Invention’ on the Planet Green television network. He has more than 440 patents including a breakthrough in water purification technology which has the potential to improve living conditions in developing countries.

In 1989, Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a program known for its student robotics competitions. He has received numerous engineering and technology awards including the National Medal of Technology from then President Clinton and a Global Humanitarian Action Award by the United Nations.  He holds honorary degrees from several universities.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Alumni Update: Miller to Lead Pfeiffer University

Pfeiffer University has named veteran banker and North Carolina native Michael Miller its next president. Miller, 59, will officially begin as the university’s ninth leader on Dec. 1.

Pfeiffer University Board of Trustees Chairman Greg Hunter officially announced the appointment. He also thanked the presidential search committee for their service during the four-month selection process. Miller’s appointment was approved by the university’s trustees on Nov. 10 during a special board session.

"Mike's experience as a business leader, attorney, entrepreneur and community advocate has led organizations to success and will expose Pfeiffer to a unique set of leadership skills," Hunter said. "His ties to the region and the state make him uniquely qualified. He possesses the qualities, vision and expertise to lead this institution, and we are excited about Pfeiffer University's future with Mike at the helm."

Miller brings more than 25 years of executive leadership experience. The attorney, who was a former president and CEO of CommunityONE Bank in Asheboro, led its growth from a one-county bank to an organization with more than $2 billion in assets with 45 offices in 18 North Carolina counties.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the Pfeiffer community. I look forward to working with our dedicated faculty and academic professionals, and an outstanding board of trustees to provide an exceptional academic and intensely personal student experience which has come to define Pfeiffer,” Miller said. “I am excited to be a part of this very special university community and to be able to play a part in helping Pfeiffer realize the tremendous opportunities on its horizon.”

A longtime banker, Miller has also served as chairman of the North Carolina Bankers Association, dean of the North Carolina School of Banking, a director of the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and a director of the American Bankers Association. He serves on the board of visitors and the corporate relations committee for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and recently completed terms as a director for the Randolph Community College Foundation and the Ferree Educational Foundation.

Miller has been active in community, state and industry affairs. He serves on the board of directors for Randolph Hospital Inc., an independent community health organization. He is a former chairman of the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, a non-partisan, independent research organization, and served two terms as a trustee and chair of the NC IOLTA Committee of the North Carolina State Bar.

A Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, Miller earned a MBA from the Babcock School of Management at Wake Forest and a JD from the Wake Forest School of Law. He has also worked in private law practice and in corporate practice in the legal department of Blue Bell Inc.

He is married to the former Donna Jacobi, a community civic leader and missions and educational volunteer who is a recipient of the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. The couple has three adult children: Michael Miller Jr., of New York, Lisa Miller of Washington, DC, and Jake Miller of Lexington, NC.

Miller succeeds Dr. Chuck Ambrose, who left Pfeiffer after 12 years on June 30 to lead the University of Central Missouri. David McIlquham, a former Sealy Inc. CEO and a Pfeiffer trustee, has served as the university’s interim president since July 1.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wake Back in Top 50 in BusinessWeek MBA Rankings

Wake Forest University Schools of Business is ranked among the top-50 in the nation according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek's 2010 Full-time MBA ranking. Overall the School ranked No. 48.

The full ranking report showed that despite a difficult economy, 92% of Wake Forest's full-time class of 2010 MBA students secured jobs within three months after graduation, placing the School in a tie with Yale at No. 12 nationally.

"We are proud of our 2010 graduates and our Career Management Center for their focused efforts to secure jobs in this tough economy," Dean of Business Steve Reinemund said. "Our small school environment offers a highly-personalized experience for students and recruiters with one-to-one guidance, and we are honored to have earned this recognition."

This news comes on the heels of Wake Forest's Full-time MBA program ranking in The Economist which ranked the school No. 33 in the nation. Wake Forest's strong employment rates, starting salaries and student satisfaction were key factors that influenced this ranking. Additionally, Princeton Review jointly with Entrepreneurship Magazine ranked Wake Forest's graduate entrepreneurship program at No. 23 in the nation.

Leveraging Your MBA: A Seminar

WFU Business School Headshots 8-20-09 Guy Groff (left), Career Management Center director, will conduct a program on leveraging the MBA for “lifelong career management.” He will explore several areas within career development that will help MBA candidates begin brainstorming the next steps needed in career progression.

This workshop will provide valuable information on using an MBA degree to its best advantage in this competitive job market. Topics include leveraging your past experience, assessing viability, positioning yourself, and research tools.

Dinner will be served at the event, set for Thursday, Nov. 18, from 5:30-6:45 pm, at 1109 Worrell. Registration for this workshop is limited to Evening MBA students, alumni and prospective students only. Click here to register.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What’s In a Name?

Family business owners shared tips for success and discussed the pros and cons of putting a family name on the line during a Wake Forest University Family Business Center forum Nov. 2 at the Graylyn Conference Center in Winston-Salem.

Keynote speaker Wendy Yuengling Baker of the D.G. Yuengling & Son, America’s Oldest Brewery, told the audience about the history of her family business and strategy for longevity. The Yuengling family started brewing beer in Pottsville, Penn., in 1829 to serve thirsty coal miners. The business survived the Prohibition Era by selling “near beer” and operating a creamery, dance halls, and restaurants. “When Prohibition ended, we promptly packaged a truckload of beer to send to President Roosevelt the very next day in support of the 21st Amendment,” she said.

Today, Yuengling has three plants and sells $2 million barrels of beer per year in the 13 states along the East Coast. The company employs 250 people and is pursuing opportunities to expand westward.

Yuengling Baker is one of four daughters of current president, Dick Yuengling. “When asked if the company name would ever change to DG Yuengling & Daughters, my father always says ‘never’ it’s too long to fit on the label!” she said. After going away to college and working in the advertising industry, she returned home in 2006 to work in the family business. She highly recommends work experience outside of the family business. She also stressed the importance of networking through programs like the Family Business Center.

Leaders of several local family businesses joined Yuengling Baker for a panel discussion about the pros and cons of branding the family name.

Brad Bennett of Wildfire Ideas served as the panel moderator. Bennett said when he and Mike Grice started their marketing and communications company, they needed a name that reflected the creativity and passion. “Bennett and Grice just sounds lame,” Bennett said. “We wanted to come up with name that calls people to ask, what is that? Over the years, our name has come to stand for how people can come to us to generate ideas and bring them to fruition in the marketing and communications space.”

Like Bennett, the family behind the soft drink, Cheerwine, does not use its name in the company brand. Cheerwine CEO Cliff Ritchie is the great-grandson of company founder, LD Peeler. “During WWI there was a severe sugar shortage so my great grandfather started experimenting with different things for sweetness and came up with a formula for Cheerwine,” Ritchie said. Family legend is that the soda earned its name because its appearance.

The TW Garner Food Co. carries the family name in its corporate banner, but not on its most-popular product line: Texas Pete. “We haven’t leveraged the family name in the hot sauce category because our market research showed that family owned and even being around for 80 years isn’t necessarily important in the consumer’s mind,” Glenn Garner said. He said leveraging the family name was more important with the former product line of jams, jellies and preserves because the name reflected homemade style, tradition and family values.

Andrea Neese of Neese Country Sausage knows what it is like to not only to leverage the family name, but to also serve as its spokesperson. After appearing in television commercials, she often gets recognized by strangers throughout the Carolinas asking her if “she is the sausage lady.” Neese is part of the family business’ fourth generation. She said as the family kept getting larger, they made a strategic move to minimize the “hands in the pie.” In 1992, several family members bought out the others’ shares. “It was probably our biggest decision to be made since the founding of the company,” she said.

Bill Parson explained the value of branding the family name at Carswell Distributing Co., a commercial outdoor power equipment wholesaler. Parson’s father-in-law, Bob Carswell, started the business in 1948, selling electric water pumps for wells. Through the years, Carswell Distributing sold everything from toys to home appliances. “We market the Carswell name not to the consumers, but to the dealers. The dealers buy from us and know the name carries a sense of commitment, value and integrity.”

Beth Monaghan says her family name stands for a commitment to carry out promises. She owns the Monaghan Group, an accounting solutions firm. “I consciously decided to put my name out there because that meant something to me,” Monaghan said. She cautioned that customers often request to deal directly with you when your name is on the company.

Roger Beahm, Wake Forest University Schools of Business professor and CEO of Beahm & Associates, advised family business owners to consider leveraging the family name if it provides a valuable point of difference, positive and desirable brand image, supports claims, and contributes to brand knowledge. “Consider the needs and wants of your customers, does familiness align with their needs?” He cautioned using a family name if it dilutes the brand focus, creates a weak or ineffective image, or distracts from what is most important.

Forum attendees were treated to a luncheon featuring the products of family-owned businesses. The menu included Yuengling beer cheese soup, Texas Pete Chicken, Neese’s Sausage pasta, beef with a Cheerwine demi-glaze, and a wide variety of Golding Farms salad dressings and sauces.

“We had an incredible turnout for the event,” said Kathy Baker, director of the Family Business Center. “The opportunity to hear other family business owners share their stories is highly valued by our members. Which makes sense -- because the heart of the value proposition of the FBC is the opportunity to participate in a true peer group.”

The Family Business Center, established in 1999 under the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship in the Wake Forest University Schools of Business, addressed issues faced by closely held and family firms. The member-based organization uses the capabilities and educational resources at Wake Forest, in the community and beyond to provide closely held and family firms the assistance they need to grow and succeed from generation to generation.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Semper Fi: Wake Celebrates Marine Corps Birthday

Wake Forest University Schools of Business celebrated the U.S. Marine Corps’ 235th Birthday during a ceremony at the Worrell Professional Center courtyard on Nov. 9. Students, faculty and staff listened and watched as Marine veteran Rob Duryea (MBA ’12) read General John A. Lejeune’s birthday message and cut a birthday cake with his officer’s sword.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate a tradition which is a significant part of my life. I had a great time over the past 20 years in the Marine Corps,” Duryea said.

The oldest Marine present, Dean of Business Steve Reinemund, received the first piece of the cake and passed it along to the youngest marine present, Matt Berthinet, (JD/MBA ’13). Formality calls for the passing of the piece of cake to symbolize the passing of history, tradition and culture.

Reinemund served five years as an officer in the Marine Corps after graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1970. Berthinet joined the Marine Corps in 2003. Career Management Center director Guy Groff, also a Marine veteran, was among those present at the birthday ceremony.

Wake Forest prides itself on the success of military students returning to earn graduate degrees at the Schools of Business. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Wake Forest participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The VA started this scholarship-matching program to honor military service post 9/11.

Watch video of the event here, courtesy of News 14. View a slideshow here.


Prof. Jarrell Calls Into Limbaugh Show

JarrellS Wake Forest University professor Sherry Jarrell waited patiently and got through to be featured on Tuesday’s Rush Limbaugh program. In her capacity as an economist, she called the program to weigh in on Federal Reserve monetary policy, inflation and deflation. Limbaugh was impressed enough to keep her on the line for more conversation after cutting to a commercial break!

While many economists are concerned about inflation, Jarrell called into the program to point out that the Fed's purchase of bonds did not necessarily increase the money supply. Rather, she believes the Fed has a false sense of confidence that it can control inflation and that its policies are being guided by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's excessive fear of deflation.

Jarrell said via email that the program had received a number of emails urging Limbaugh to have her back on at a future date. The conversation was featured on the front page of Limbaugh’s website, where a transcript is also available. Another way to access the talk is through Jarrell’s own website,

How Do You Clown Around?

20091020chaiken0010Several nights ago I was watching a program on PBS called “Circus.” The makers of this documentary followed a  traveling circus company called Big Apple Circus and filmed the shows and what happens behind the scenes. Prior to watching this program I was trying to think about the best way to start this article, which focuses on non-verbal communication. Then I saw a clown. The clown’s name was “Grandma,” ironically played by a man, Barry Lubin. “She” had a white face, red lips, a big red nose, glasses, a curly wig, a red dress and big brown satchel.
I thought, “Wow – this guy doesn’t talk much, but he really connects with his audience.” As the documentary went on I saw more and more clowns and I noticed some things that clowns do to communicate with the audience that don’t involve words: exaggerated movements, colorful make-up, elastic faces, funny costumes, and outrageous props.
Consider a clown’s make-up as a channel of communication. The traditional white-face coloring seems to allow the individual playing a clown to create a new persona, which is what Lubin did. Suppose he or she paints on high eyebrows which, to me, exhibits excitement, surprise, interest, and friendliness – so many engaging emotions by simply drawing a couple of lines above his or her eyes. The red lips, depending on how they are painted on, can make one a sad clown or a happy clown. We can quickly and readily identify with the clown’s mood by which way the lips’ corners are pointing.
What about in an interview setting?
Interviewer: “Tell me about yourself.”
Interviewee: Joe pauses, says um several times, looks down at the floor, slumps back in his chair and begins his response with a hesitant vocal inflection. Joe makes fleeting eye contact, stumbles over his words, and touches his face in a nervous manner.
When I conduct a mock interview with somebody I’m often listening with my eyes. There is a lot of information in the above scenario that is not expressed in words. In this situation Joe came across nervous, unsure and unprepared before he even started talking. Let’s take a look at Joe’s interview from a few perspectives:
Joe’s Voice. There are clues in Joe’s voice (also called vocal paralanguage) that provide a lot of insight. How something is said is often more important than words alone, or what is said. Vocal paralanguage, which is very subtle, but interpreted keenly by our ears, includes: pronunciations, national accent, regional accent, emotion, charisma, sarcasm, deference, contempt, truth, deception, fluency or dysfluency, and standard of non-standard speech. Joe’s hesitancy to speak and his bumbled response suggest to the listener that he is unsure of himself and that he lacks confidence.
Joe’s Face. The face, or the “mirror of the mind,” is a very powerful channel of communication. Joe looked down searching for the answer to the question, and he didn’t maintain good eye contact. Eye contact is perhaps the most important aspect of nonverbal communication. In Western culture eye contact is viewed as a meaningful and important sign of confidence and social communication. When a person maintains eye contact he or she is perceived as relaxed, friendly and sincere. The mouth, another part of the face with a considerable number of expressions, is also an important means of communication. How do you react when you see a person smiling, frowning, or exhibiting frustration or surprise? Think of a sad clown and a happy clown. What helps us know if he or she is happy or sad? Perhaps we can understand the clown’s mood because our eyes naturally focus on a person’s face, which is where we innately view and interpret the communication exhibited via an individual’s mouth, both audibly and visually. 
Joe’s Body Language. Joe didn’t have very good body language – he was slumped in his chair. He would have had good interviewing body language if he were sitting erect and leaning slightly forward, which communicates that he is approachable, receptive and friendly. Someone sitting in a firm, erect position communicates that he or she is taking charge; slouching may indicate that a person is not interested; and slumping communicates that a person is defeated. Even something as subtle as how a person is leaning impacts his or her communication with another person. In a book titled Nonverbal Communication, Albert Mehrabian discussed the “lean factor” – “a forward lean conveys greater liking, whereas a backward lean, or turning away, shows a more negative attitude.”
The example of Joe’s interview and its analysis reflects Western culture’s perceptions of nonverbal communication. While many of the above examples are shared among different cultures, there are many differences as well. Vocal paralanguage, personal space and eye contact are several nonverbal characteristics that can significantly vary among different cultures. For example, it is considered disrespectful in some cultures to maintain strong eye contact with a person. In Western culture an individual who is not familiar with a particular culture that avoids eye contact may become frustrated or offended. Becoming more culturally aware can help one better understand the nonverbal customs different cultures value.
You can see from the example above how powerful and important non-verbal communication can be. Joe most likely impressed a negative image of himself on the interviewer before he even began answering the first question. There are a couple of ways to better understand your nonverbal communication in an interview setting. A mock interview with a career development professional can provide insight into your interview style. Additionally, reviewing a video recorded mock interview can provide excellent insight into your nonverbal habits in an interview setting. These techniques can help you become more self-aware of your nonverbal communication habits.
~ Eric Chaiken, Career Management Counselor