Category: Center for International Business Advancement

VCU School of Business cohosts Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

MWF fellows with Dr. Rao and faculty and staff
The VCU Mandela Washington Fellows on opening day with VCU President Rao, School of Business Dean Ed Grier, Dr. Nanda K. Rangan, associate dean for international and strategic initiatives, Michaela Bearden, director of the Center for Corporate Education, and other VCU faculty and staff from the Global Education Office and Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

Fifty of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders in the areas of public management, business and entrepreneurship are spending June 20-July 31 in Richmond participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

For the second consecutive year, Virginia Commonwealth University will host this prestigious flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative and President Barack Obama’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of global leaders. The program is co-sponsored by the VCU Global Education OfficeL. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and School of Business.

MWF Fellows with Dr. Rao“Part of what we hope you’ll learn from this experience is that it is mostly your initiatives that will make the biggest differences in this world,” VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., said to the fellows at a welcome reception Monday. “A world full of people who absolutely, positively need your leadership, need your initiative and need you to be thoughtful about their concerns.”

The School of Business will host 25 fellows in a business and entrepreneurship institute. Fellows will attend sessions in Snead Hall with VCU faculty members and business practitioners to gain knowledge in critical topic areas such as creativity and ideation, entrepreneurship, brand management, analytics, technology, grants and more. In addition, fellows will be out-and-about in the business community with site visits such as Luck Stone, Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Each fellow is matched with a peer collaborator from the local business community for networking and information sharing.  In addition, International Coaching Federation-certified coach Lynn Ellen Queen of Queen & Associates, recruited 44 professional coaches from around the world to provide 10 one-on-one coaching sessions to each fellow — two sessions in the U.S. and eight once the fellows have returned to their home countries.

The other 25 fellows will participate in the public management and leadership institute through the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. This institute will expose participants to world-renowned scholars in the fields of governance, management, administration and leadership across the public and nonprofit sectors.

“We hope that the inspiration that has already begun to formulate in you will flourish completely and will enable you become the strongest leaders imaginable,” Rao said. “If VCU can be a small part of strengthening your ability to truly make a difference in the lives of millions of others, then we feel wonderful about that.”

The combined cohort of fellows will attend the 54th annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello on July 4 and were also welcomed at a special reception hosted by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and first lady Dorothy McAuliffe at the Governor’s Mansion on July 20.

The fellows at VCU are part of a larger group of 1,000 being hosted across the U.S. this summer. Upon completion of their program, these exceptional young leaders will meet with President Obama during a summit in Washington, D.C. Select fellows will also receive hands-on experience through six-week placements with U.S. companies, organizations and government agencies.

Fellows are young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa who have a proven record of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions or communities.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program that is supported in its implementation by the International Research & Exchanges Board, an international nonprofit organization that provides leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media and foster pluralistic civil society development.

For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit yali.state.gov and join the conversation with #YALI2016.

Annual VCU International Business Forum examines North America’s competitive agenda

The past 25 years have been an era of globalization, with countries becoming more connected as geographic, economic and social barriers of a bygone era are removed. With these power shifts taking place, the 21st annual Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business International Business Forum asks, What about North America? What should be on its competitive agenda?

“North America’s Competitive Agenda: Why and How the U.S., Canada and Mexico Should Enhance Their Alliance to Meet the Asian and European Challenges of the 21st Century,” sponsored by Universal Corp. and hosted by the VCU School of Business’ Center for International Business Advancement, takes place Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the University Student Commons Ballrooms, 901 Floyd Ave. A reception will follow in the School of Business Atrium, 301 W. Main St.

Van Wood, Ph.D., professor of marketing and Philip Morris Chair of International Business in the VCU School of Business, will moderate the panel, which will feature representatives from each country in North America.

“While these three countries have made significant progress in their quest to be a free trade area, there is significant opportunity to do more to strengthen the North American alliance, and to present a more coherent, meaningful and influential force in the shifting global landscape,” Wood said. “Our panel members bring a great wealth of experience and, I believe, insight into the many issues that will shape our economic, political and cultural landscape throughout the remainder of the 21st century.”

The panelists are Gilles Gauthier, minister for economic affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.; Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, an international strategic consultant and former Mexican ambassador to the U.S.; and Brandon Price, Ph.D., president and co-founder of Biogenen and the Ben J. Rogers Chair — Entrepreneur in Residence, at Lamar University in Texas.

The VCU School of Business established the International Business Forum in 1994 to raise awareness among students, faculty and the business community of the global nature of commerce and how it links to events both at home and abroad.


About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region, VCU Health is comprised of five health sciences schools (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy), VCU Medical Center, Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, VCU Massey Cancer Center and Virginia Premier. For more, please visitwww.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.

Daniels invited to speak at Sovereign Investor Institute Investor Roundtable

Kenneth Daniels
Kenneth Daniels

Kenneth Daniels, Ph.D., professor of finance, School of Business has been invited to speak at the prestigious Sovereign Investor Institute Investor Roundtable in Cape Town, South Africa, Feb. 25–27. The Sovereign Investor Institute represents sovereign wealth funds from around the world and allows funds managers to engage in open dialogue about the current investment environment.

Fifty-seven delegates are scheduled to participate in the roundtable, including representatives from such various institutions as Bank of Tanzania, Bank of Uganda, Reserve Bank of South Africa, Nucleos Instituto De Seguridade Social (Brazil), FMO Netherlands, Regents of the University of California, Oxford University, Barclays Africa Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers and T. Rowe Price International.

Daniels will serve on a “spotlight session” panel discussing Government and Shareholder Rights along with:

Scott E. Kalb (Instigator)
Executive Director
Sovereign Investor Institute
Institutional Investor
New York

Daniel Malan (Presenter)
Senior Lecturer, Business Ethics; Corporate Governance
University of Stellenbosch Business School
Cape Town

Dr. Renosi Mokate (Questioner)
Board Chair, GEPF
Executive Director, Graduate School of Business Leadership, UNISA University
Johannesburg

Daniels, chairman of the board of the Richmond Retirement System, has participated in several investor roundtables sponsored by institutional investors. Virginia Commonwealth University’s participation in such internationally sponsored events signals the rising quality of the Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate at the School of Business.

Business Students Expand Cultural Experience With New International Business Club

VCU students, faculty and staff recognize a diverse and multicultural professional work environment brings innovation, perspective and an often unique, exciting dynamic to the office and classroom.

For Business students Matt Soignoli and Tahira Riaz, those lessons and values are being adopted for a larger scope as the duo hope to establish and popularize the International Business Club.

Soignoli, who grew up in the Richmond area, and Riaz, a Pakistani emigrant and U.S. resident of 14 years, both approached the Office of Student and Alumni Engagement  earlier this year expressing interest in starting a student organization focused on international business.

“The idea stemmed from two people at once,” said Student and Alumni Engagement assistant director Claire Calise, who met and spoke with Riaz and Soignoli separately within a day of each other earlier this semester. “They came together and magic started to happen.”

Within a week of approaching Calise, the new International Business Club was represented at the biannual B.O.S.S. Fair to recruit other students interested in engaging business abroad. At the event, the new IBC co-presidents, Riaz and Soignoli found 20 dedicated and passionate students hungry to learn more about international business.

“I think for our business students in particular, something we’ve stressed often is that we are operating in a global economy,” Calise said. “Just because you’re working for a business in New York doesn’t mean you won’t have an international experience – whether it’s traveling abroad or working with an international client, it’s something that’s starting to hit students. They don’t work in a bubble anymore.”

Riaz is a Junior and new to VCU, transferring from Reynolds Community College this semester to earn a degree in Business Administration & Management. Riaz currently operates a private business with her husband, buying wholesale water-pipe tobacco – known as shisha or mu’assel – to sell to various hookah lounges and tobacco shops in the Richmond area.

Riaz said she moved from Pakistan to Northern Virginia 14 years ago, only relocating to RVA in recent years.
Riaz said she moved from Pakistan to Northern Virginia 14 years ago, only relocating to Richmond three years ago.

Though only six months into Riaz and her husband’s most recent business venture, she said they’ve found one interested client in the area. Because of her experience in purchasing and selling imported goods, Riaz believes she could help other students interested in broadening their business experience to the international level.

“I’m motivated, very passionate, and when I want something, I go do it,” Riaz said. “More and more people I’ve met at VCU, they share that passion. I think VCU can take that passion and use it.”

Sharing that passion is co-founder Soignoli. Currently in his senior year, he plans to finish earning his degree while doing a study abroad program in the spring at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Initially declaring a degree in Psychology after transferring to VCU from Radford University, Soignoli decided to pursue a degree in Business Administration with a focus on International Management to accompany his Psychology degree.

Soignoli said he plans to visit Miami and New York over winter break to network with professionals before his trip to China next year.
Soignoli said he plans to visit Miami and New York City to network with professionals before his trip to China next year.

“I have a passion for culture and learning about the world,” Soignoli said. “I’ve lived in Richmond most of my life. I just know there’s so much more out there. I want to go out and see it myself.”

Soignoli said once he completes the nearly 150 credits for his two degrees, he plans to re-enroll at VCU to earn an MBA. After that, Soignoli, who is 22, said he would like to study internationally for his doctorate degree before he is 30. His plan, he said, is to become a professor or work for an international non-profit.

“I’m really interested in physical and mental health. I’d love to work for a non-profit that directly helps others” Soignoli said. “But ideally, I’d like to do it myself and teach others.”

Office of Student and Alumni Engagement director Doug Knapp said recent success of new programs such as the International Consulting Program are reflective of student interest in international business. Since the ICP began in 2013, more than 80 students have traveled to Cyrpus, Greece, Spain and the Czech Republic. While abroad, students in the program consult with businesses small and large, such as a family-run restaurant, a winery, PepsiCo and EuroJet.

Riaz and Soignoli said they have numerous ideas for what the club could do and what it should be. Much like Knapp suggests, the co-presidents want to recruit a diverse group of students to share their cultural heritage and teach one another about common professional habits and practices in their native countries and regions. In addition to internal cultural exchange, both leaders said they’d like to invite speakers from local businesses who are engaged in international business to impart wisdom and advice.

“At our first meeting, we asked members what they want this club to look like,” Riaz said. “They told us they wanted to go to the companies that are working in the United States and in other countries which have branches everywhere. They said they want speakers to come and talk about other cultures and languages.”

The IBC will hold elections for an executive board next month. Having only met as an organization twice since recruiting its current core members, Riaz and Soignoli, they have laid out the framework for an organization which could elevate multicultural understanding and appreciation in the School of Business and the international business community.

“I’d like to see the club gain prestige and earn a reputation of being something fun that everyone knows about at VCU and at other universities,” Sognoli said. “I want it to be known as something that creates opportunities for others.”

-Article by Chris Suarez, student journalist

VCU School of Business 20th International Business Forum

International Business Forum Panel discussion at Commons

In business, ‘doing good’ and ‘doing well’ are not mutually exclusive

VCU School of Business’ 20th annual International Business Forum tackles corporate social responsibility

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014

Doing good may be its own reward, but it’s not the only reward. Doing good also can lead to a business doing well. In fact, in the 21st century, if organizations are not doing good deeds and works, consumers and other stakeholders will abandon them, said Van Wood, Ph.D., the Philip Morris Chair in International Business at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.

“Having corporate social responsibility as one of any organization’s embedded cultural traits is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” he said. “But it is tricky to find the balance between the two, and to communicate such in a way that does not come off as self-serving or just internal PR. It takes leadership, passion and intelligence.”

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From left, Sue O. Stephenson, vice president for Community Footprints at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.; VCU School of Business Dean Ed Grier; and Altria Client Services’ Jennifer Hunter, senior vice president of corporate affairs

Doing good is a win-win situation for companies looking to expand their bottom line, especially companies not immediately associated with “social responsibility.”

Wood chose “Doing Well, While Doing Good: The Full Story Behind Corporate Social Responsibility”  as the topic of the VCU School of Business’ 20th annual International Business Forum, which was held Oct. 22, because it represents a way of thinking that is important to all who care about both leaving this world in better shape than they found it and being successful in their careers and life’s work.

The forum, which launched 20 years ago with “Doing Business in Russia,” has evolved from looking at specific countries or areas of the world, to focusing on specific topics or, what Wood calls, “big think” platforms that represent forces or changes that will shape the planet and society for future generations.

“Twenty years is a long time to do something but Dr. Wood seems to find a new spark every year,” said School of Business Dean Ed Grier. “Today’s topic is very, very important. We’re talking about corporate responsibility and its impact on the world. … You want corporations to do well, but to do it in the right way.”

With the talk of leaving the planet a better place and doing good works, observers may have been surprised by the companies represented on the forum’s panel, but Wood said that was by design.

Van Wood, Ph.D., Philip Morris Chair in International Business at the VCU School of Business
Van Wood, Ph.D., Philip Morris Chair in International Business at the VCU School of Business

“Each of the four companies represented at this year’s forum — Capital One, Altria, Ford and Ritz-Carlton — could be viewed as not the perfect example of a company whose core purpose is to do well and do good,” Wood said. “But each of these four is in reality a shining example of just that.”

At Ford Motor Co., John J. Viera develops global sustainable business plans and policies, interfacing with global regulatory bodies, reporting externally on the company’s environmental and social performance, and leading the company’s engagement and partnerships with nongovernmental organizations and other external stakeholders.

“At the end of the day, your job is going to be how do you add value to the organization that you’re working for?” said Viera, global director for sustainability & vehicle environmental matters. “It could be increased revenue, decreased cost, but you’re going to be adding value. That’s just intuitive.”

Viera defines sustainability as the convergence of the economic, the social and the environmental side of how to approach how Ford conducts its business.

Now it’s “how we need to approach how we do life,” he said. “So you’re doing well for the company because you’re providing input that’s going to make that company more profitable, but you’re also doing good, because now you’re looking through this environmental and social lens.”

For Sue O. Stephenson, vice president for Community Footprints at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., the mission is simple: “employ phenomenal employees, who will delight the guests, who will generate funds.” That economic model is key, she said.

2014 International Business Forum panelist John J. Viera of Ford Motor Co.
2014 International Business Forum panelist John J. Viera of Ford Motor Co.

“We have to make a profit, but balance that with a focus on sustainability and social good,” Stephenson said.

Ritz-Carlton performs social good through its Community Footprints program, a series of multifaceted initiatives focused on child well-being, hunger and poverty relief, and environmental responsibility.

Rounding out the panel were Clifford Yee, senior director of community affairs at Capital One Financial Corp., who leads local community relations teams charged with developing and implementing Capital One’s Investing for Good strategy through philanthropic grant making, associate volunteerism and community programming; and Altria Client Services’ Jennifer Hunter, senior vice president of corporate affairs, who leads the team that provides Altria Group and its operating companies with services such as corporate affairs research, responsibility, communications, contributions and community relations. She also oversees Altria’s efforts to help prevent underage tobacco use and help adult tobacco users who decide to quit be more successful.

The discussion reinforced VCU’s commitment as a leader in integrating lessons and experiences in civic responsibility and community engagement for all students, preparing them to “do good” in all their endeavors.

“Thousands of students enroll in service-learning courses and participate in community-based co-curricular activities and are making a difference right here, right now,” said Catherine W. Howard, Ph.D., vice provost, Division of Community Engagement, a co-sponsor of the event along with the Robertson School of Media & Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Universal Corp. sponsored the event for the 20th consecutive year.

Subscribe for free to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at http://newsletter.news.vcu.edu/ and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday. VCU students, faculty and staff automatically receive the newsletter. 

20th International Business Forum

Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014

What are the social responsibilities of global corporations? Leaders from four international companies will address this question at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business’ 20th annual International Business Forum.

“Corporate Social Responsibility” will explore the role that social responsibility plays in the business model.

The forum, sponsored by Universal Corp. and hosted by the VCU School of Business, the Robertson School for Media & Culture and the Division of Community Engagement, takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 22, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the University Student Commons Ballroom, 907 Floyd Ave.  A reception will follow at 5:30 p.m. in the atrium of Snead Hall, 301 W. Main St. Attendance is free and open to the public.

Van Wood, Ph.D., professor of marketing and Philip Morris Chair of International Business in the VCU School of Business, will moderate the panel, which will feature experts from Altria, Capital One, Ford Motor Co. and Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.

“Corporate social responsibility represents a way of thinking that is important to all who care about leaving this world in better shape than they found it in, and also being successful in their careers and life’s work,” Wood said. “Doing well, in the 21st century, requires that organizations also do good, or consumers and other stakeholders will abandon them. Having corporate social responsibility as one of any organization’s embedded cultural traits is not just the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do.

Corporate social responsibility represents a way of thinking that is important to all who care about leaving this world in better shape than they found it in, and also being successful in their careers and life’s work.

“Each of the four companies represented at this year’s forum could be viewed as not the perfect example of a company whose core purpose is to do well and do good. But each of these four is in reality a shining example of just that, as the forum and the telling of their respective stories will uncover.”

Panelist Clifford Yee is senior director of community affairs and market president network at McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp., a Fortune 500 diversified bank. Yee leads local community relations teams charged with developing and implementing Capital One’s Investing for Good strategy through philanthropic grant-making, associate volunteerism and community programming.

Altria Client Services’ Jennifer Hunter is senior vice president of corporate affairs. Altria Client Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Richmond-based Altria Group. Hunter’s team provides Altria Group and its operating companies with services such as corporate affairs research, responsibility, communications, contributions and community relations. She also oversees Altria’s efforts to help prevent underage tobacco use and help adult tobacco users who decide to quit be more successful.

In 2006, Sue O. Stephenson, vice president for Community Footprints at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, assumed leadership of the Ritz-Carlton social responsibility program, Community Footprints. She is charged with expanding the company’s global efforts through a series of multifaceted initiatives focused on child well-being, hunger and poverty relief, and environmental responsibility.

John J. Viera, global director for sustainability & vehicle environmental matters at Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Co., develops global sustainable business plans and policies, interfacing with global regulatory bodies, reporting externally on the company’s environmental and social performance, and leading the company’s engagement and partnerships with nongovernmental organizations and other external stakeholders.

The VCU School of Business established the International Business Forum in 1994 to raise awareness among students, faculty and the business community of the global nature of commerce and how this links to events both at home and abroad.

VCU School of Business International Consulting Program

ICP VCU DereeThe VCU School of Business offers numerous opportunities for students to study abroad to build on students’ personal development and help gain real-world experience. Students have the chance to increase their independence, establish lifelong friendships and gain better appreciation and respect of other cultures. Additionally, students will increase their global network, learn to work in an international business arena and enhance cross-cultural communication skills.

For all of the reasons, the School of Business started the International Consulting Program (ICP). The ICP provides students with the opportunity to leverage their existing business skills and develop new skills in an international environment, all while broadening their personal experience through interaction with culturally diverse students.

“After the trip with ICP, and the information that I took away from the program, I hope to be able to implement my new knowledge and experiences with the rest of my courses at VCU as well as be able to use the entire program on my resume,” says student Anneliese Merz who travelled through the ICP to Athens, Greece.

420ICP gives students the opportunity to travel to one of  four partnering Universities in four different countries: Nicosia, Cyprus; Prague, Czech Republic; Athens, Greece and Cordoba, Spain.

I hope to be able to improve upon my skills in my academic and personal life with this experience,” said Jazlyn Green, another student who travelled through ICP to Greece.

What I liked about the program was that you have the opportunity to study abroad and not just take courses but you are able to work on a project for an existing company. That was the most appealing part of the program to me,” said Green.

Gaining real international business experience also introduces students to dilemmas they will run into once they start working for a company after school.

“When we were in Greece the company I worked for decided to change what they wanted from us the night before our presentation so we were up until five in the morning. We were able to complete the presentation and ended up pleasing the company with our recommendations,” says Merz.

The program is open to Undergraduate and Graduate Business students, with a minimum 2.0 GPA, who have already taken FIRE 311, Financial Management, MGMT 301, Business Statistics and MKTG 301, Introduction to Marketing.

TNT Express Presentation“I made tons of connections overseas. I was able to learn about the business world in another country and because I was able to work with an actual company, TNT Express, I made connections with that company. Another great thing about this trip is how many connections I made within the VCU community. The people who also end up going on this trip basically become a family,” says Merz.

Students interested in applying to the ICP can check out their website for more information and the application requirements.

-Article by Amy Calhoun, student journalist

School of Business Hosts Nearly 90 Businesses For Biggest Career Fair to Date

Jerrold Price, a Claims Manager with Nationwide Insurance, interviews sophomore Abhisek Sabbe
Jerrold Price, a Claims Manager with Nationwide Insurance, interviews sophomore Abhisek Sabbe

The School of Business hosted its 2014 Spring Career Fair last week, featuring the largest number of visiting recruiters to date.

Despite being held on a make-up day due to the season’s ever-changing weather, the event drew nearly 90 businesses looking to hire VCU students and alumni.

This semester’s career fair was held in Snead Hall and the Qimonda Atriums. The wing of the Engineering School was used by the fair for the first time in order to accommodate all recruiting business’s exhibits.

With a 23 percent increase in companies attending from previous fairs, students had an opportunity to solicit information about jobs, internships and other opportunities with businesses looking for budding young professionals.

According to the School of Business Career Services, nearly 700 students attended the career fair.

Snead Hall “There was great participation by employers and students,” said VCU School of Business Career Services Director Mike Eisenman. “The employers were extremely complimentary of not just the volume of participation, but also the quality.”

Eisenman says at least one student was hired immediately after speaking and turning in a resume with one business. Twelve companies had already scheduled interviews with VCU students prior to the career fair as well, according to Eisenman.

“There are a lot of qualified individuals,” said Elizabeth Cane, a Regional Property Manager with Dodson Property Management. “We’ve gotten a lot of excellent questions. Everyone seems serious about this job fair and students are taking advantage of a great thing here.”

Joe Dodd, VCU Class of ’12, attended the fair as a recruiter with Geico. Dodd currently works for Geico as a Management Development Associate in Auto Sales and said he was happy to help recruit from his alma mater.

“I attended all of the career fairs while I was at VCU and I made a lot of good connections,” Dodd said. “If you see a name you recognize or something you’re interested in, my advice is to go up and just introduce yourself.”

Geico recruiters Joe Dodd, VCU '12, and Sean Clark
Geico recruiters Joe Dodd, VCU ’12, and Sean Clark

Abhishek Sabbe, a sophomore double majoring in Information Systems and Computer Science, said he attended the fair in order to find an internship for this upcoming summer.

“The Career Fair has been amazing because it has given me an opportunity to learn more about different companies I had never heard of,” Sabbe said. “It’s let me put my name out there and provides real job opportunities.”

New to this semester’s career fair were more businesses in developing fields such as Supply Chain and Analytics. Eisenman says professors like Wayne Slough were instrumental in attracting companies to recruit at the fair.

Eisenman says the Career Fair is mutually beneficial for both students and businesses, creating opportunities for both parties to be successful.

“Employment is good right now.It’s a good time to be looking for a job if a student is taking advantage of the resources available,” Eisenman said. “They need talent. That’s the reason they come and we have that talent here.”

For information on upcoming Career Fairs and career building workshops offered by the School of Business Career Services, click here.

Article by Chris Suarez, student journalist

Ford C3 Grant Project – 1st Semester

DSC_0086

This past semester, the School of Business teamed up with the Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs as well as the School of the Arts on the Ford College Community Challenge grant funded project.

The Ford Sustainability Grant is a team-based, student-run, two-semester project that focuses on building sustainable transportation in Richmond.  For more information on the Ford C3 grant, click here.

Team members Celeste Ross (Project Manager), Michael Dillon (Assistant Project Manager), Siobhan Gray, Melanie Hamilton, Jacob Huber, Marc Kaplan, Zoe Lawrence, Yoora Lee and Alyssa Patton set out in the beginning of the Fall ’13 semester to identify transportation needs for those without personal transportation, identify constraints of public transportation and provide a recommendation for improving transportation in Richmond. Through database research, and in-person interviews and focus groups, the team was able to identify common transportation problems and community transportation needs.

Their research determined that transportation shortfalls were on account of the lack of weekend bus hours and route availability, costly transfer fees, cancelled bus routes, and long trip durations due to multiple stops and wait times.  All of these transportation constraints affect the ability to work in certain portions of the Richmond area and efficient access to areas outside of food deserts.

DSC_0102After pinpointing the constraints of using local public transportation, the team provides 5 strategic research based solutions.  The first solution is developing a circular bus route.  Similar to the DC Circulator, these routes are a growing trend in public transportation and have received a positive response from local riders.  They would allow for a more customized route that would pick up passengers more frequently and are more cost effective for riders.

The second solution is to provide a childcare and shuttle service at local churches.  With many of the areas in need of better public transportation having a higher rate of single parents, providing this service, parents would be more likely to use public transportation to gain access to food sources outside of neighborhood food deserts.

The third solution is creating a “smart card” system.  These cards would be durable, reusable and would allow riders to access their account balances.  Currently, if you lose your bus card, you lose the money on that card.  The smart card would be a more hassle free and reliable card than the current non-reusable card option.

The fourth solution is to provide a multi-modal transportation system that combines the use of kiosks, mobile and web applications.  This three-part system would allow riders to access real-time information and schedules, check their account balance and add funding to cards, city program information and job listings.

Lastly, the fifth solution is to provide a text alert system that riders could register for via the multi-modal transportation system.  This would provide users schedule changes and updates along with crime and emergency alerts.  They found that of the 92% of riders having cells phones, only 14% of these individuals have “smart phones” or Internet access on a cell phone.  This makes the reality of mobile applications less suitable for gaining transportation updates and text alert systems a more effective option for providing this information.

With the second semester to this project now underway, the new team is tasked with conducting community outreach and creating more awareness, expanding primary research and developing future solutions.  The Fall ’13 semester grant team provided the current team with a great deal of valuable research and a solid base for the project.

 

TEDTalks Time-Out! Introduced Admidst Climbing TEDx Popularity in Richmond

TedBannerEdit

Embracing the TEDx mantra of spreading ideas, the VCU School of Business is introducing TedTalks Time-Out!

Every Wednesday this semester, the School of Business will be screening TedTalks, the world renowned conference seminar series that covers a breadth of topics from all types of industries presented by speakers at the top of their fields and disciplines.

The idea of screening TEDTalks began in the Office of Student and Alumni Engagement. Claire Calise, a VCU graduate student and Ram to Ram Coordinator says the office learned about TEDx from conversations with local business leaders and in-office chit-chat.

“We thought it’d be a great idea to give students a peaceful place they can come in the middle of the day and hear something they’ve never heard before, think about something they never considered and learn something for fun.” Calise said.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, began in the 80’s as an annual conference in Monterey, Ca. that looked to merge the three fields and showcase innovation among the disciplines.

Calise said the School of Business is aware many professors at VCU use TEDTalks in their respective classes for lectures, citing its value as a tool to teach and entertain students.

“They make you question what you know,” Calise said.

Although the program is just beginning, students who are even remotely familiar with TEDx are coming to learn more.

“I think TEDTalk videos are really inspiring,” said Britney, a Marketing major who was in attendance at last week’s screening. “They make me want to go out and do something after watching them.”

The popularity of TEDx has permeated throughout all of Richmond in the last year. In 2009, TEDx was founded, leasing the TED name for local events, so anyone, anywhere could apply to organize their own TEDx presentation.

Last year, TEDxRVA held its first conference and featured a large number of presentations, including researchers from VCU, a performance by modern pop-pianist ELEW and Zoe Romano and a local Richmonder who became the first woman to run across the country without a support vehicle in 2011.

TEDxVCU is currently being planned by a student-led team under the direction of junior, Elliot Roth.
“What’s really sad at VCU sometimes is student voices aren’t heard, they get lost in our huge university,” Roth said. “This event is our opportunity to have a student voice and have ideas expressed.”

Roth said the diverse culture of VCU would be more than fitting for a TEDx event, giving students an opportunity to showcase the different ideas and cultures that exists right on-campus.

TEDxVCU held its first open meeting last week and is currently looking for a location and talent. The organization has open-mic nights planned in the near future to scout potential speakers and spread even more awareness of the program.

Roth and Calise said TEDTalks Time-Out! bring more attention to local TED events, and in turn educate students more about Richmond.

“I love this city and I think VCU students should be proud that they’re here,” Calise said. “Sometimes students don’t seem to get off campus much, and it’s unfortunate. We should learn more about the city we live in.”

While both TEDxRVA and TEDTalks Time-Out are being rolled out almost simultaneously, the associations had no previous contact. Roth admits it’s a happy coincidence, being mutually beneficial.

The TEDTalks Time-Out! screenings will take place in Snead Hall, room B1114 every Wednesday this semester at 3pm.

Each month will have a different focus; January on Leadership, February on Collaboration and Non-Profits, March on Sustainability and April will feature presentations from last year’s TEDxRVA. Students, faculty and staff from all all over VCU are invited to attend the weekly TEDTalks Time-out event.

If you have an questions or comments for TEDTalks Time-Out! please contact Calire Calise at caliselc@vcu.edu or (804) 828-2035.

If you’re interested in participating with TEDxVCU, please contact Elliot Roth at rothet@vcu.edu or (703) 232-6241.

For the complete TEDTalks Time-out! schedule, visit go.vcu.edu/timeout

-Article by Chris Suarez, Student Journalist

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