Here is a brief look at some of the recent news stories that featured Neeley students, staff and faculty. For a complete look at Neeley in the News, check out In the News Archives.

Entrepreneur logo
January 1, 2014
The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs - By Joe Robinson

Enter “entrepreneurial traits” into Google, and the menu of frequent searches will complete the query with “… of Steve Jobs” and “… of Bill Gates,” among others. These are the forces of nature that spring to mind for most of us when we think of entrepreneurs--iconic figures who seemed to burst from the womb with enterprise in their DNA.

They inspire, but they also intimidate. What if you weren’t born with Jobs’ creative genius or Gates’ iron will? There’s good news for the rest of us: Entrepreneurs can be guided to success by harnessing crucial attributes. Scholars, business experts and venture capitalists say entrepreneurs can emerge at any stage of life and from any realm, and they come in all personality types and with any grade point average.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, you don’t have to be Type A--that is, an overachieving, hyperorganized workaholic--or an extrovert to launch a successful business. “Type A’s don’t take the risks to be entrepreneurs,” says Elana Fine, managing director of the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, adding that the same goes for straight-A students. “Very often it’s C students who become entrepreneurs.”

However, the best entrepreneurs do share a collection of characteristics, from tenacity to the ability to tolerate risk, that are crucial to a successful venture. An analysis of 23 research studies published under the title “The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Entrepreneurial Status” found that entrepreneurs have different personality traits than corporate managers, scoring far higher on traits such as openness to experience (curiosity, innovation) and conscientiousness (self-discipline, motivation) and considerably lower on neuroticism, which allows them to better tolerate stress.


Starting a business is an ultramarathon. You have to be able to live with uncertainty and push through a crucible of obstacles for years on end. Entrepreneurs who can avoid saying uncle have a better chance of finding their market and outlasting their inevitable mistakes. This trait is known by many names--perseverance, persistence, determination, commitment, resilience--but it’s really just old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness.


It’s commonly assumed that successful entrepreneurs are driven by money. But most will tell you they are fueled by a passion for their product or service, by the opportunity to solve a problem and make life easier, better, cheaper.

Tolerance of Ambiguity         

This classic trait is the definition of risk-taking--the ability to withstand the fear of uncertainty and potential failure. “It all boils down to being able to successfully manage fear,” notes Michael Sherrod, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University.

He sees the ability to control fear as the most important trait of all. “Fear of humiliation, fear of missing payroll, running out of cash, bankruptcy, the list goes on.”


One of the defining traits of entrepreneurship is the ability to spot an opportunity and imagine something where others haven’t. Entrepreneurs have a curiosity that identifies overlooked niches and puts them at the forefront of innovation and emerging fields. They imagine another world and have the ability to communicate that vision effectively to investors, customers and staff.


Self-confidence is a key entrepreneurial trait. You have to be crazy-sure your product is something the world needs and that you can deliver it to overcome the naysayers, who will always deride what the majority has yet to validate.

Researchers define this trait as task-specific confidence. It’s a belief that turns the risk proposition around--you’ve conducted enough research and have enough confidence that you can get the job done that you ameliorate the risk.


Business survival, like that of the species, depends on adaptation. Your final product or service likely won’t look anything like what you started with. Flexibility that allows you to respond to changing tastes and market conditions is essential.


Entrepreneurs exist to defy conventional wisdom. In fact, simply starting a business breaks the rules, as only about 13 percent of Americans are engaged in entrepreneurship, according to a Babson College report. Doing what the majority isn’t doing is the nature of entrepreneurship, which is where the supply of inner resources comes in.

Are these traits in you? There’s only one way to find out.


Star Telegram
January 4, 2014
Tax time may soon be more costly for Texans  - By Anna M. Tinsley

Texans may soon take another hit to the pocketbook.

Inaction by leaders in Washington before the end of 2013 left undone the renewal of a measure that lets Texans — and those in other states with no income tax — deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal income tax forms.

“They fumbled on this one,” said Peter Locke, a finance professor at TCU in Fort Worth. “Of course, they can get back to it whenever they want … and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do address it.”

The deduction began years ago to give Texans and others who don’t pay income taxes some parity with taxpayers in other states who can deduct state and local income taxes.

As it stands, Texans may deduct sales taxes from their 2013 federal income taxes, which are due in April. But without any changes, those same taxes will not be deductible in the future. Without the deduction, Texans and others will face higher federal tax bills next year, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

In 2011, Texas was among the top states claiming federal deductions for state and local sales taxes, behind only Washington state and Nevada, claiming 20.2 percent, according to a Pew analysis of IRS statistics from that year. On average, that’s a $383 deduction per filer in Texas that will disappear unless Congress retroactively reinstates the sales tax deduction.


Star Telegram
January 12, 2014
Fort Worth chamber aims to attract young professionals - By Cathy Hirst

In an effort to brand Fort Worth as a city for young professionals, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce is launching a website to encourage the younger crowd to relocate.

“Nothing right now is really geared toward young professionals, that can really help be a target and a resource for them to go to,” said Brittany Bates, director of Vision Fort Worth, a membership group for young professional in the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

The website is part of a larger strategy to re-brand Fort Worth and draw in more young professionals, ages 22-40, after a survey completed in 2011 by the TCU Neeley School of Business found that Fort Worth is not attracting as many young professionals to the city as hoped.

The survey, which was also sent to cities such as Austin and Portland, found that many people are unaware of all Fort Worth has to offer, said Marilyn Gilbert, executive vice president of the chamber.

“The good news is that they didn’t have a bad opinion of us. So it is incumbent on us to try and get more awareness,” said Gilbert. “That is certainly our challenge and what we are working on.”

The site is going to be part of the answer to that problem, Bates said.

The online survey also found that only 46 percent of the 870 respondents felt that Fort Worth is pedestrian-friendly, and only 38 percent feel Fort Worth is good at providing support for business start-ups.

Only 48 percent of the young professionals already here would stay in Fort Worth if offered an opportunity in another city.

Negative responses to the city on the survey were based on transportation, conservative culture, education, lack of cultural diversity, air quality and the gas companies in the area.

The website is meant to educate those already living in the area about Fort Worth’s many opportunities, said Bates, and also convincing young professionals to relocate.

It will feature sections such as where to work, where to play, where to live, the arts, affordability, university and college programs, and local events, Bates said.

The website is also an effort to separate Fort Worth’s identity from Dallas’ in national advertising, Bates said.

With Fort Worth’s incredible job growth, attracting and retraining young professionals is important to the city, Gilbert said. Fort Worth was ranked the fourth-best large city for jobs in 2013 by Forbes.

A launch party for the website is planned from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 at the Flying Saucer downtown.


Star Telegram
January 12, 2014
Show me the money! - By Mark Fadden

Do you love money? Do you love to look at it, feel it, even smell it? Do you like making money for yourself as well as others? If you were it he financial services in 2013, you did really well. But is 2014 a good time to get into a ‘money job?’

2013 was a great year to be in the stock market.

If you are considering a job in financial services…what will 2014 hold for you? And what kind of training and education do you need to land the financial services job you want?

Fort Worth is blessed with having one of the best business school in, well, the business with TCU’s Neeley School of Business.

“It is ranked among the nation’s best MBA programs by Forbes and US News & World Report and is number four for MBAs with the most financial value at graduation by US News and World Report,” said LaTanya Johns, director of TCU’s graduate career center. Johns also mentioned that the MBA graduates typically enjoy a 100 percent increase in their salary from their pre-MBA days. Many of the jobs that Neeley grads obtain include credit and financial analysts, portfolio and investment managers, and valuations consultants.

“Most if not all of our graduates enter the workplace with relevant experience thought their internship,” said Jessica Cates, associate driect5o of undergraduate career services. “We encourage that our graduates have at least two internships. Also, all of our graduates are certified as Excel Experts. We also offer the Chartered Financial Analyst course, which allows students to complete Level 1 by graduations.”

If Neeley School of Business graduates are looking to stay in the DFW area after earning their MBs, then they have a host of companies from which to choose for employment. Sabre Holdings, Fidelity Investments, American Airlines, and Lockheed Martina re must a few of the local Companies that typically hire Neeley grads.