Monday, February 28, 2011

Project Nicaragua Seeking Funding/Equipment

Project Nicaragua needs your help.

As this semester’s group of students prepare to go to Nicaragua over Spring Break, we will be collecting donations on behalf of the Wake community to take to Nica Hope, the local nonprofit organization providing job training and education to children and teenagers living in the trash dump community of La Chureca in Managua.

Nica Hope provides these youth who would otherwise barely earn $2 a day collecting trash and recyclables in the dump, with the opportunity to learn trade and computer skills in order to open doors to a brighter future and provide an outlet from their current living situations.  We have developed a deep relationship with Nica Hope, providing consulting services and visiting the organization on each trip. 

This year, Nica Hope is in need of various items including new and used sports equipment, school supplies, musical instruments, and arts and crafts. The full wish list is attached. We will be collecting donations in theWorrell student lounge through Friday, March 4.  Thank you in advance for any contributions you can make to help these youth in need. If you wish to make a cash donation, you can do so at

For more information on Nica Hope:

For more information on Fabretto Children’s Foundation, Nica Hope’s parent organization:

Wake Forest Students Win Corporate Growth Competition

A team comprised of Charlotte-based Working Professional MBA students from the Wake Forest University Schools of Business won first place and $5,000 in the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup competition in Raleigh on Feb. 26.

The team members include: Colin Clark (MBA ’12), Kevin Grace (MBA ’11), Chas Mansfield (MBA ’11), Ryan Poulsen (MBA ’11) and Adam Richeson (MBA ’11).  The students balanced full-time jobs, coursework and family obligations while competing in the ACG Cup. They earned the honor to represent Wake Forest after winning the campus competition on Jan. 22.

The ACG Cup competition is designed to give students from leading MBA programs across the country experience in providing strategic advice regarding valuation, capital markets and mergers and acquisitions.  Student teams play the roles of investment bankers and present to seasoned professionals from ACG®.

“I’m always amazed at our working professional students as they juggle work, family, health and school.  These five students added another ‘ball in the air’ to their already-full juggling routine when they decided to participate in this case competition,” said Bill Davis, Associate Dean of Working Professional Programs at Wake Forest University Schools of Business. “We are very proud.”

ACG® Cup judges told the Wake Forest team that they felt that they could ask a question of any of the team members and get a knowledgeable answer.

“The team approach of Wake Forest's Working Professional program contributed to the team's ability to divide and conquer this real-world M&A simulated experience,” Mansfield said. “Long hours and sacrifice were required of all team members.”

This is the first year that Wake Forest has entered this case competition. Team member Adam Richeson was instrumental in getting Wake Forest involved in the event.

Wake Forest University Schools of Business offers both an Evening and Saturday MBA for Working Professionals programs in Charlotte, NC.  For more information on these programs, contact Leslye Gervasi, director of Wake Forest University Schools of Business Charlotte MBA Programs at or 1.888.WAKE.MBA.

Click here to learn more about the ACG Cup.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Finding the Way Back: Impacts of White Collar Crime

Fraudulent scandals in previously well respected companies such as Enron, WorldCom, AIG, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and Satyam Computer Services have shaken the nation's faith in the business community.

It is reported that the US government loses between $300 and $660 billion per year to white collar crime schemes, investigations and prosecution. Companies, investors, taxpayers and society in general feel the consequences of these violations. We invite you to an intriguing session on white collar crime and corporate governance in which you will have the opportunity to hear from two former business executives who committed white collar crimes in addition to leading experts in the financial sector and forensic accounting.

This panel discussion will be held Thursday, March 17, from 4:15-6:15 pm in the Pugh AUditorium, Benson Student Center. Panelists: (click on the names for photos and bios)

  • Neil Weinberg, Senior Editor, Forbes; co-author of Stolen without a Gun: Confessions from inside history's biggest accounting fraud - the collapse of MCI WorldCom
  • Tom Golden, Retired Forensic Accounting Partner, PwC; author of A Guide to Forensic Accounting Investigation
  • Diann Cattani, Prevention/Detection Consultant, Director of Business Development, Audigence, Inc.; contributing author of Taking the Harder Right
  • Justin Paperny, Ex-securities broker, Bear Stearns/UBS; author of Lessons from Prison
  • Kelly Pope, Visiting professor, moderator

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Exploring Innovation

What is the difference between innovation and invention? And how does invention become a success?

At the CFO Alliance Roundtable breakfast held at the Carmel Country Club on Jan. 26, Ram Baliga explored these questions with finance and accounting executives from the Charlotte region and surrounding areas in a discussion called “Game Changers: How to Make Innovations that Matter.”

Baliga, John B. McKinnon Professor of Management at Wake Forest University Schools of Business, said that many people think that invention and innovation are the same, but that in reality only successful commercialization of an invention or discovery should be considered innovation. He went on to point out that appropriate business models were essential to translate invention/discovery into innovation.

He used several examples of companies who generated inventions but failed to turn them into innovations. An example of a costly failure to innovate was that of AT&T, who was the first to deploy mobile telephony in a test market but failed to develop it further assuming that there was only a limited market. By not persisting it ceded its lead in mobile telephony to Ericsson and the Finnish newcomer Nokia.

Baliga used other examples of companies such as Kodak (in digital imaging), Barnes and Noble (on line retailing) and Kmart (small town discount retailing) who had the means to be innovative but lost to Sony, and Walmart respectively. He explained that the fundamental objective of innovation was “to stay strategically, competitively, and financially fit,” and creating new business models were critical to success.

He said that a good business model must do three things: it must create value for the customer, and the customer’s customer; capture the bulk of the value created, and enable the firm and to take advantage of growth opportunities with minimal modifications.

Baliga then explored the many elements of the business model, including: the value proposition based on the customer’s willingness to pay; the specification of the revenue architecture, cost structure and target margins, and the strategy by which a company will gain and sustain a competitive advantage. He then talked about focusing on changing the various elements of the business model creatively to gain competitive advantage. One example was to reconceptualize the customer’s value. “Rather than an insurance company saying ‘I won’t insure a risky driver,’ they must instead ask themselves, ‘at what price can I make a profit on risky drivers?

Baliga then went on to assert that creative business models had the potential to transforming industries and that companies that generated such business models were ideally positioned to sustain competitive advantage.

Following his presentation, the audience broke into smaller groups to examine how innovation was being dealt with in their own companies. He also challenged the group to think differently about their customer’s key metrics, in their value capture – where he used the example of Google’s advertising based model as a way to monetize search and Apple’s iPod-iTunes model which minimizes value capture in selling music in order to maximize value capture through sales of iPod.

Baliga concluded by saying that innovation needs to be managed, and that companies should have a growth budget set aside to explore innovations.

The CFO Alliance was founded in 2007 and provides CFOs with an exclusive live events network and a knowledge-based online community where members can collaborate, discuss critical issues, and share knowledge among peers. Wake Forest became an academic partner of The CFO Alliance in 2009.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wake Forest Accounting Student Offer Free Tax Prep

Accountancy students from the Wake Forest University Schools of Business are donating their time and talents to prepare tax returns for free in conjunction with the Forsyth Working Families Partnership.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has sites set up throughout Winston-Salem. Forsyth County residents qualify for this free income tax preparation service if a family makes up to $49,000 per year (or individuals up to $24,000).

More than 60 Wake Forest accountancy and law students will be preparing tax returns at Goodwill Industries, 2701 University Parkway in Winston-Salem on Wednesdays between the hours of 4-8 pm from Feb. 9 through April 16. About 50 of these students are enrolled in an Introductory Tax class at Wake Forest and will receive class credit for their efforts.

“I believe strongly that students learn best when they apply the course material in a real world setting. The VITA program allows them to give back to the community while applying this knowledge,” said Yvonne Hinson, director of accountancy programs at Wake Forest University Schools of Business and the faculty member teaching the tax course.

A complete list of VITA sites, hours of operation, and a list of documents to bring may be found at(

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Markets Work as Does Democracy (Or Does It?)

The conventional wisdom among economists is that markets work and so does democratic decision-making ~ such as markets produce efficient outcomes and public policy choices reflect the preferences of the median voter. With respect to public policy, special-interest groups are often over-looked.

To non-economists, the notion that special interests don't matter seem absurd. The peddling of influence between special-interest groups and politicians is widely viewed by the lay-public as a pervasive form of democracy-subverting corruption that is detrimental to citizens and to society.

Lobbying, so the saying goes, is bribery done the American way. Who is right? Economists or everyone else? A large body of literature does indeed reveal that statistical links between money and political outcomes are hard to uncover. However, a growing body of work that examines the influence of special-interest groups around the world finds evidence that such groups are detrimental to economic activity and do indeed exert influence on public policy.

Bonnie Wilson, an associate professor of economics at Saint Louis University, will discuss these topics and more at a lecture scheduled for Wed., Feb. 23, from 6-7:30 pm at Carswell Hall, Annenberg Forum.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Prof. King Honored at Founders’ Day

Congratulations to Ben King, professor of practice in the Schools of Business, who received the Kulynych Family Omicron Delta Kappa Award during the Founders’ Day Convocation on Feb. 17. The award was established in 1982 by the Wake Forest Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa to recognize an outstanding faculty member who bridges the gap between classroom and student life. In 1997, the award was endowed by the Kulynych Family Foundation to honor the life and contributions of Wake Forest University Lifetime Trustee Petro Kulynych and his family.

Click Here to read more about the award.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wake Professor Named AMLE Associate Editor

Holly Brower, associate professor and director of internship development for the Business and Enterprise Management major, will serve as an associate editor of the Academy of Management Learning & Education (AMLE).

Brower has been published in the AMLE twice and has served on the editorial board for two years. Last August, she earned the “Reviewer of the Year” award.

In her new role as associate editor, Brower will manage the review process for 40 – 50 manuscripts each year, communicate with authors and reviewers, write a “From the Editor” letter for one issue each year, serve as an ambassador, and encourage submissions to the AMLE.

“Being an associate editor at one of our top tier journals in the Academy is an honor and a responsibility that I take very seriously,” Brower said. “The role of good reviewers and editors is a tremendous amount of work, and very important. In fact, I remind myself that to some degree, my colleagues’ careers depend on my doing a careful, faithful job.”

Brower’s associate editor term runs for three years beginning in July 2011. To learn more about AMLE, click here.

PepsiCo CEO to Speak at Wake Forest Commencement

President Nathan Hatch and PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive of PepsiCo, will give Wake Forest University’s 2011 commencement address May 16.

The commencement will begin at 9 am on Hearn Plaza. The ceremony is reserved for graduates and their guests and is not open to the general public.

Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and served as president and chief financial officer before succeeding Wake Forest’s current dean of business, Steve Reinemund, as CEO in 2006.  With nearly $60 billion in annualized revenue, PepsiCo employs 285,000 people worldwide.

“When she visited campus two years ago, Indra wowed students with her insight and energy,” said Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch. “She has developed a reputation at PepsiCo for challenging her senior executives even as she reaches out to their families with news and congratulations, making her the perfect speaker as students and their families gather to recognize this landmark occasion.”

In addition to being a member of the PepsiCo Board of Directors, Nooyi also serves on the boards of U.S.-China Business Council, U.S.-India Business Council, The Consumer Goods Forum, Catalyst, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Peterson Institute for International Economics, Grocery Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Soccer Federation. She is also a Successor Fellow of Yale Corporation and was appointed to the U.S.-India CEO Forum by the Obama Administration.

Before joining PepsiCo, Nooyi spent four years as senior vice president of strategy and strategic marketing for Asea Brown Boveri, a Zurich-based industrials company.  She also previously worked with Motorola, Boston Consulting Group, Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell, Ltd., a textile firm.

In a 2009 Time magazine article naming Nooyi one of the world’s most influential people, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said: “Her sharp strategic mind, tremendous market insight and humanitarian contributions all combine to make her a rare executive among the global corporate giants.”

Rebecca Chopp, president of Swarthmore College, will deliver the baccalaureate address during commencement weekend at 11 am May 15 in Wait Chapel. The service is a ticketed event open to graduates and their guests.

Before becoming Swarthmore’s president in 2009, Chopp served as president of Colgate University, dean and Titus Street Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School, and provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory University.

A well-known scholar of religion and American culture, she has authored or edited five books and has published more than 50 articles.  She serves on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Survey of Student Engagement and is a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the NCAA and the Steering Committee of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wake Forest Taps Elevator Competition Participants

The Wake Forest Escalator Competition was held on Sat., Feb. 12. Nine WFU students pitched their business ideas.

Afton Vechery won the Business Track with her proposal for Kera10 to manufacture and sell a keratin-based ingredient to the hair care industry.  Kera10 also has applications in skin care, wound healing and scar reduction, among others.

Katarina Kesty won the Social Track for her Cataract Pack Organization, which pre-packs all the disposable supplies needed for doctors to perform cataract surgery in developing nations.

Both students will represent Wake Forest in the National Elevator Competition coming up in March. We wish them the best of luck!

The Escalator Competition is an internal Wake Forest only business plan competition with two tracks: traditional and social entrepreneurship. The winner of each track in The Escalator Competition will receive an automatic entry into The Elevator Competition AND a cash prize.

Angelou to receive Medal of Freedom

Reynolds Professor of American Studies Maya Angelou will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday afternoon.
Angelou, a world-renowned poet, author, actress and civil rights activist, joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1982. She will be honored in a ceremony in the White House East Room with former president George H.W. Bush, German chancellor Angela Merkel, artist Jasper Johns and 11 others. The Medal of Freedom is the country’s highest civilian honor.
“This is fitting recognition of Dr. Angelou’s lifetime of service and creativity, and all of us at Wake Forest are very proud of her,” said Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch. “She has given her life in the name of creating a love of language and a keen awareness of the power of literature and learning, and generations of Wake Forest students have lived richer lives for her teaching and guidance.”
Angelou is the author of more than 30 books of fiction and poetry, from her best-selling memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” to her recently published personal cookbook, “Great Food, All Day Long, Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart.” In 1993, she delivered a poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at President Bill Clinton’s first Inauguration.
Angelou first visited Wake Forest in 1971 for a speaking engagement in Wait Chapel, starting what would become a long relationship with the University. She received an honorary degree from Wake Forest in 1977.
She returned to Wake Forest in 1982 as the first Reynolds Professor. In an interview in USA Today in 2008, Anglou talked about teaching: “I’m not a writer who teaches. I’m a teacher who writes. But I had to work at Wake Forest to know that.”
In 2002, the School of Medicine created The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity to study racial and ethnic disparities in health care and outcomes. Last January, Angelou spoke at the University’s observance of Martin Luther King Day, recalling her work with King in the 1960s as northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In announcing the recipients in November, President Obama said the honorees have “lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place.” The White House described Angelou as “a prominent and celebrated author, poet, educator, producer, actress, filmmaker, and civil rights activist, who is currently the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. She has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal for the Arts in 2000 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008.”
The other recipients are businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett; arts advocate and former ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith; the late Dr. Tom Little, who was murdered by the Taliban last August while on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan; U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); cellist Yo-Yo Ma; environmental activist John H. Adams; former AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney; Holocaust survivor and humanitarian Gerda Weissmann Klein; civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez; basketball coach Bill Russell; and baseball legend Stan “The Man” Musial.
Kerry M. King (’85), Office of Communications and External Relations

Maintaining Integrity

To be in integrity, you must honor your word, or inform all of the stakeholders that you won’t be keeping your word, and clean up the following mess. It might sound simple, but as Michael Jensen told an auditorium filled with Wake Forest University Schools of Business students and faculty, “integrity is a mountain with no top so you better get used to it, and even like climbing.”

Jensen is the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard University. He presented “Beyond Agency Theory: The Hidden and Heretofore Inaccessible Power of Integrity on Jan. 31 as part of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism Ethics Passport series.

“In every facet of life we are losing the war in the battlefield of integrity,” Jensen said. “Everyone espouses it, but few live it.”

Jensen defines integrity as a positive phenomenon, a state of soundness or completeness, versus a virtue. He used the analogy of a wheel with spokes, explaining how having broken or missing spokes impairs workability, and eventually leads to a collapse. His three dimensions of integrity include design, implementation and use.

When an object or system is out of integrity it becomes less workable, performance declines, and value declines. For a person, you are a man or woman of integrity, according to Jensen, if your word is whole and complete -- if your actions follow your word.

Jensen used meetings as an example to show when behavior can fall out of integrity. If someone shows up late, fails to attend or is distracted by answering e-mails, he or she is out of integrity.

It is nearly impossible to guarantee that you will keep your word, but Jensen says you can honor your word in the following ways: keep it; let others know that you won’t be keeping it on time; or let others know you will not be keeping it at all, and deal with the consequences. He asserts that by following these actions, you will immediately build trust with others and improve relationships in your professional and personal lives.

So what causes people to sacrifice integrity? Jensen cites seven reasons making up the “Veil of Invisibility.” Those include: seeing integrity as a virtue rather than a necessary condition; self-deception; seeing integrity as keeping your word, versus honoring it; failing to see integrity as a factor of production; failing to do a cost/benefit analysis on giving your word; and doing a cost/benefit analysis on honoring your word.

In closing, Jensen encouraged his audience to master the seven factors that contribute to the Veil of Invisibility and assured a 100% to 500% increase in productivity. “It’s just amazing what happens,” he said.

Click here to view the accompanying slides.

Dr. Michael Jensen "Beyond Agency Theory: The Hidden and Heretofore Inaccessible Power of Integrity" from WFU Schools of Business on Vimeo.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Journeys to Success

max_HEAD_PIC_site_ On Tues., Feb. 15, we are bringing Max Siegel to campus as part of our Journeys to Success Speaker Series. Siegel is a former executive with NASCAR, and was the highest ranking African-American in the organization’s history.

Siegel has also been involved in entertainment, producing, law practice and more. Siegal will be speaking at 7 pm in Annenberg Forum (Carswell Hall).

Director's Corner: Sharing Wake With the World

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in the Marketing Summit. Roger Beahm; co-chairs Joy Fuller, Jen Stoner and Ryan McBreen; the executive committee and every student, alumnus, staff member and faculty member who participated in last weekend’s events should be extremely proud! You all put on a wonderful event and it spoke volumes about Wake Forest University!

Over the next few months, many of you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts about your experience at Wake Forest with the outside world. Each year at this time, students and alumni will begin to receive requests to complete surveys about their graduate program. One of these surveys, from GMAC, is for internal purposes. It asks questions about every aspect of the program and then compares WFU with other participating schools. We really need this data to understand how we’re doing internally so that we can improve. First-year MBA students will receive a survey which asks you about your core curriculum ~ this is equally important for continuous improvement.

Most of the other requests you will receive, both now and when you are an alumnus, will be for external audiences. These surveys represent your opportunity to share your experiences at Wake Forest with the outside world. We take all of these surveys very seriously and hope you will too. Your participation is vital ~ in fact, we will not even be able to participate in the rankings if we do not get a sufficient response from our students and alumni. So, please, take these surveys seriously and consider them an important part of your responsibility as a student at Wake Forest. When you receive the email, go ahead and fill out the survey. Remind your friends, teammates and colleagues about the importance of completing their surveys too so that we get an adequate response rate.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this important process!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Working Professional Win State Competition

A team comprised of Charlotte-based Working Professional MBA students from the Wake Forest University Schools of Business is preparing for the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup competition in Raleigh on Feb. 26.

On Jan. 22, Colin Clark (MBA ’12), Kevin Grace (MBA ’11), Chas Mansfield (MBA ’11), Ryan Poulsen (MBA ’11) and Adam Richeson (MBA ’11) won a $500 prize and the honor to represent Wake Forest in the regional ACG® Cup.

They will compete against Duke University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and Meredith College for a $5,000 top prize.

The ACG® Cup competition is designed to give students from leading MBA programs across the country experience in providing strategic advice regarding valuation, capital markets and mergers and acquisitions. Student teams play the roles of investment bankers and present to seasoned professionals from ACG®.
This is the first year that Wake Forest has entered this case competition.

“The opportunity to simulate a true merger and acquisition transaction and create actual work product was very unique,” said Richeson. “We look forward to representing Wake Forest at the regionals.”

Click here to learn more about the ACG® Cup.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wake Students Win Venture Capital Award

A team of students from the Wake Forest University Schools of Business won the Entrepreneur’s Choice award at the 14th Annual Venture Capital Investment Corporation (VCIC) regional competition at Georgetown University on Feb. 4.

The team -- comprised of Chris Gabriel (MBA ’12), Andy Jones (MBA’12), Jamin Lundy (MBA ’12), Catherine Ramos (MA ’11) and Will Richards (JD/MBA ’12) -- won $500 for the Entrepreneur’s Choice Award, voted on by the management teams of the companies that participate in the VCIC competition.

The Wake Forest team coach is Todd Johnson of KeraNetics, a biomaterials company which creates keratin-based products for regenerative medicine, trauma care and cell culture. The faculty advisor is Stan Mandel, director of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University Schools of Business.

“Our team came a long way in such a short period of time,” Mandel said. “This is a great personal achievement for each of the students. They did well representing Wake Forest.”

VCIC is an MBA competition in which students play the role of a venture capital firm that must evaluate business plans and pitches from entrepreneurs, choose a venture in which to invest and negotiate terms of a deal.

Click here to learn more about the VCIC competition.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vote: SGA Charity Auction Recipient

Every year the Wake Forest Schools of Business sponsors a Charity Auction to benefit a local charity in its endeavors.  Students, professors, and area businesses donate items for both a silent and a live auction for all of us to bid on.  Last year, we raised more than $20,000 to support The Children’s Home (

We need your help in selecting this year’s charity!  The potential recipients are in the attached presentation.  Please take time to review the list and what each charity has to offer.  When you have made a decision, simply click on the link below and select your choice.  But make sure to get your selection in before Wed., Feb. 16, because that’s when we will announce who you all have selected.

This truly is a great chance for students to get involved to help a charity who really needs it.  Don’t miss out!!!

Thank you!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jarrell Joins Nonprofit Board

JarrellS Sherry Jarrell, a professor of practice of finance and economics at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business, was appointed to the board of the enGrant Foundation, the nonprofit public outreach arm of enGrant Scientific.

The enGrant Foundation is dedicated to bringing to the public a broader understanding of the importance and value of publicly funded scientific research.

enGrant Scientific is the world's most comprehensive source of information on scientific research grants, research activity, and funding trends cataloging more than 2.2 million scientific research projects and 350,000 researchers across all scientific disciplines at ( with their GrantScape search engine (

"enGrant is an exciting new venture that brings together the most current knowledge on internet technology, marketing research, and database management to understand and anticipate customers needs and deliver a service that exceeds expectations," Jarrell said. "I am thrilled and honored to be an inaugural member of the enGrant Foundation Board."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Alumni Update: Jones Joins Turnaround Firm

Conway, Del Genio, Gries & Co. LLC, a leading turnaround firm, promoted M. Benjamin Jones to senior managing director, effective Jan. 1.

In his new role, Jones will, in addition to his engagement responsibilities, play an active role in CDG's marketing activities as well as participate in the firm's growth and development of new services. "Ben has been with us since the firm's inception and he embodies the values, commitment to excellence and client service upon which CDG was founded," said CDG co-founder Robert Conway. "He understands the CDG way and has successfully applied it to provide our clients with superior execution and build longstanding relationships."

Jones has more than 15 years experience advising and participating in complex corporate reorganizations, leading engagements in a broad range of industries including healthcare, professional services, manufacturing, apparel, food processing, retail and entertainment. He has participated in all aspects of financial restructurings as an advisor to financially underperforming and distressed companies, lenders, creditors, corporate boards and equity owners, and has served in turnaround management positions including president, chief restructuring officer and chief financial officer.

Prior to joining CDG, Jones was a manager with Ernst & Young LLP in the corporate finance group and is a graduate of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business.

"Ben is a proven leader and his expanded responsibilities underscore the firm's recognition of his considerable accomplishments and success," Conway said. "We are excited to see him succeed."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Balancing Work and Family

j wayne wfu photo The Research, Development, and Advancement Committee of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wake Forest University is hosting a lecture by Julie Wayne, an associate professor, on “The Business of Balancing Work and Family.” The event is set for Tues., Feb. 8, at 4:40 pm at Tribble Hall, Room C-216.

Wayne earned her PhD in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology at the University of Georgia in 1998. She has taught courses in management, organizational behavior, human resource management, statistics, and contemporary organizational issues such as work-life balance.

In her research, she studies issues related to challenges created by changing demographics and roles of men and women in society. She has published research on sexual harassment, work-family conflict, and workgroup diversity in numerous journals and edited collections. In her work, Wayne focuses on positive aspects of individual and organizational functioning. For example, rather than a focus on conflict, she studies how work and family can benefit one another. She also seeks to understand biases against underrepresented groups or understudied topics in organizations (such as perceptions of men using family leave and same-sex sexual harassment).

Wayne has earned numerous awards for her teaching and research including the 2008 Calloway School Faculty Scholarship Award, a finalist for the 2007 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for the “best of the best” in work-family research, and was honored with the 2010 MA Teaching Innovation Award at Wake Forest.

Wake Students Win KPMG Case Competition

A team of four Wake Forest University Schools of Business students took first place in the national round of the KPMG International Case Competition on Feb. 4 in New York, earning the honor to represent the United States in a global competition April 6-8 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Wake Forest team is comprised of accountancy major Megan Petitt (’11), finance majors Tim Rodgers (’11) and Swayze Smartt (’11), and business and enterprise management major Afton Vechery (’11).

The students had three hours to analyze a business scenario, identify the key issues, and develop a series of recommendations to present to the judges.  To advance to the national round, the Wake Forest team was victorious at the campus level and at the regional round in Atlanta.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment by these four extraordinary students,” said Anna Cianci, assistant professor of accounting and faculty advisor for the KPMG competition team. “Their achievement is especially impressive in light of the fact that they competed against some of the best and brightest students from other great universities and came out on top.  Their dedication, hard work and talent are to be admired and applauded.”

Wake Forest will go up against teams from more than a dozen other countries while trying to bring the global championship title to Wake Forest for a second year in a row.

“I am extremely proud of our talented Wake Forest student team and dedicated faculty for this tremendous accomplishment,” said Dean of Business Steve Reinemund.  “We wish them the best of luck in as they move on to the world championship in Istanbul.”

Director’s Corner: Handling the Work Load

I hope you are now well settled in for the second half of the MA program. One issue many of you have shared with me is your current workload and how to handle it.

In addition to having a full load of courses, you are also working on finding a job, have Action Learning Projects to complete, and are trying to maintain some balance between school and having a life. We all recognize how difficult this is and the stress it can create. Throughout the MA program there will be peaks and valleys in your workload and right now you are in one of the peak periods. 

While all of these elements of the program are important, there will be times where you have to prioritize what is most important to you and allocate your time accordingly. Developing this skill now will serve you well for the rest of your professional and personal lives. A couple of other strategies that you might also consider to help cope with the demanding workload include:

  • Seek the advice of some of our second year MBA students. I’m sure they would be happy to share with you the strategies they employed to navigate the set of courses you are currently taking.
  • • Meet with Student Affairs and CMC to discuss time management skills.  

Finally, please let me know if you feel that you are so overwhelmed that you can’t find the time to take a break or that you are generally not coping well with the workload. 

Be strong!
Derrick Boone

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Experience Marketing Summit Online

The Wake Forest University Schools of Business are pleased to announce that the entire world can keep up "live" with the 21st Annual Marketing Summit, Feb 3-5 through the website

Check the site often to meet the teams, learn about the case, hear the speakers, and follow the competition. Student bloggers and videographers will be posting updates throughout the competition.

There will also be a Twitter feed and the opportunity to vote for a “favorite team.” Voting for that has already begun. To catch all the action, video footage, blogs, competitor information, and Twitter feed visit

Students Discuss Buffett Meeting

Last month, 20 Wake Forest University students from the Working Professional MBA programs in Winston-Salem and Charlotte, along with two faculty members, had the chance to spend the day with Warren Buffett, the highly respected American businessman, owner of Berkshire Hathaway, investor and philanthropist.

The event in Omaha, Neb., was hosted by Berkshire Hathaway and included students from seven other MBA schools from the United States and South America. The day began with a guided-tour of the 500,000-plus-square-foot Nebraska Furniture Mart, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway, with Robert Batt, a Mart executive vice president and grandson of founder Rose Blumkin. The legendary single-location Nebraska Furniture Mart got its start in 1937 when Russian immigrant Rose Blumkin ("Mrs. B") began selling furniture at a slight markup out of a shop basement. Her motto: “Sell cheap and tell the truth!" Warren Buffett purchased a majority stake in Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1983.

Batt discussed how the furniture industry has changed during his 49 years in the business. He said everyone in his company is always learning something new and learning from each other. He “told us the most sage advice he has ever received is to stay the course, don’t panic, everything will be fine,” said Chas Mansfield (MBA ’11).

Following the Furniture Mart tour, students gathered at Buffett’s downtown office for a 2.5-hour question-and-answer session with Buffett, who is often referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha.”

Buffett fielded questions from students about a variety of topics including his personal philosophy and investment strategies. “You need every ounce of temperamental quality that will enable you to act on what your mind tells you versus what the crowd around you is doing,” said Buffett. “Never make an investment decision if you can’t write down on a piece of paper why you are buying it. You have to know that you are getting your money’s worth.”

When Johanna Anderson (MBA ’11) asked about succession planning at Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett said his successor will likely come from inside the company. “The most important thing is to maintain the corporate culture. It is a one of a kind culture and leads to certain operational advantages, so my successor will have to make darn sure that nothing happens to our corporate culture,” said Buffett.

Wake Forest students appreciated all of the good the advice. “He emphasized that you need to attack problems quickly, don’t avoid them. Learn from your mistakes and move on to the next problem,” said Brian Patterson (MBA ’10).

After the question-and-answer session, Buffett took the students to lunch at one of his favorite local restaurants, Piccolo Pete’s, where they dined on steak, parmesan chicken and root beer floats. After lunch each student had the opportunity to have their photo taken and speak one-on-one with Buffett.

The day closed with a tour of Borsheim’s, a jewelry store owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and a question-and-answer session with Susan Jacques, CEO of Borsheim’s.

Matt Clewis (MBA ’10) took the lead in getting Wake Forest students invited to Omaha this year, “From interviews on CNBC and articles in BusinessWeek, it was obvious to me that Buffett was able to handle the popularity and temptations of wealth without allowing them to drastically influence his life. Minus the publicity, one could easily mistake him for an everyday middle-class citizen. To me, this makes him all the more interesting.”

This is the second time that Wake Forest MBA students were invited to participate. In November of 2008, the trip was led by Wake Forest student, David Perkins (MBA ’09), who wrote to Buffett’s office requesting an invitation for the school. Perkins had been a “fan of Buffett’s wisdom and inspiration” for nearly a decade and as an undergraduate, he joined his uncle in Omaha each May for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, which is affectionately known as “Woodstock for Capitalists.”

“My biggest take away from the trip was the fashion in which Buffett conducts his life. Without knowing who he was or what he has accomplished, people would be very surprised to discover the amount of wealth he has accumulated over the past half century. He is an extremely humble, down to earth individual who views himself as an equal contributor to society rather than a superior individual,” Clewis said.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More on the Marketing Summit Keynote

Copy of Marilyn_1225_FULL cropped The Wake Forest University Schools of Business will welcome one of Forbes magazine’s “World’s Most Powerful Women” to campus as part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series.  Marilyn Carlson Nelson is chairman and former chief executive of Carlson, a global group of integrated travel companies including Radisson Hotels, Country Inns & Suites, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and T.G.I. Fridays.

She will present “How We Lead Matters: Reflections of a Life of Leadership” Friday, Feb. 4 at 5:30 pm in the Worrell Professional Center auditorium room 1312 on the Wake Forest campus.  Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Carlson Nelson’s bestselling book by the same title.  She will offer wisdom, advice and inspiration while reflecting on her extraordinary career.

Carlson Nelson serves on the boards of ExxonMobil Corp., the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and is chair of the Mayo Clinic board of trustees. She is on the World Travel and Tourism Council, the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, the National Women’s Business Council and is past chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

Under her leadership, Carlson was the first major North American travel company to take a stand against the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry. On behalf of the company, she signed ECPAT, an international code of conduct with the mission to end child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.

Leading out Loud is a Wake Forest University Schools of Business lecture series created to educate and inspire business students through exposure to industry leaders shaping today’s business world. This series is made possible by the generous support of the Broyhill Family Foundation of Lenoir, NC.

Carlson Nelson’s presentation is also the keynote address for the 21st Annual Marketing Summit at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business.