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.

Fort Worth Weekly
June 5, 2013
Profit and Virtue: International TCU program honors student business ideas for “doing good while doing well” -
By Annabelle Massey Malloy

Dylan Fox and Zach Herman made their first-ever trip to Texas on April 18. When they checked in at their hotel near Texas Christian University that night, they were wearing shorts and t-shirts and carrying minimal luggage — easily identifiable as the college students that they are. But the two George Washington University friends weren’t arriving for spring break frivolity or grad school interviews.

Fox is CEO and Herman is chief marketing officer of a one-year-old company called Crowdvance, an online fund-raising service for small nonprofit organizations. The pair came up with the idea, wrote the business plan, built the website, marketed it, pitched it to national retailers and small nonprofits, and hired interns. Now they’re monitoring results. And last month they brought Crowdvance to TCU and won first place in the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition that honors entrepreneurial ideas that “do good while doing well.”

Values and Ventures photoBrad Hancock, director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center at TCU, explained that the primary criterion in the three-year-old competition is to create a for-profit business venture with a meaningful purpose. “They’re not simply judged on whether this is a viable business with a good business plan,” he said. “How is it going to make the world a better place? The values component must be strong.”

TCU invites universities worldwide that have “good or even great entrepreneur programs,” Hancock said, to participate. This year, universities as far away as Scotland and Croatia sent teams.

Dallas real estate entrepreneurs Nancy T. Richards and Lisa Barrentine co-founded the competition with the Neeley School of Business in 2010 with a $1 million donation and a key requirement: that the competition teach college students how to make money while giving back. The two women work together at First Preston HT, where Richards is board chairman and CEO and Barrentine is president. Richards also serves on the TCU board of trustees.

This year, the Neeley staff gathered more than 30 area business leaders to serve as judges and mentors to 28 contestant teams. The top five teams advanced to the finals, along with a sixth team in a kind of wild-card berth. Cash prizes range from $15,000 for first place to $1,000.

When Fox talks about his team’s project, he spouts biz-speak — angel investors, distribution strategy, and “traction to date.” Crowdvance encourages donations to nonprofit groups by offering discounts or other perks from national retailers to people who contribute to one of the Crowdvance clients. Fox said the business offers value to both the nonprofit clients and the retailers.

“At first we wanted a better way to raise money for our own college clubs, but then we saw the potential to help small groups such as youth sports teams and small nonprofit companies,” said Fox, 21, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration last month. Herman, 20, is a sophomore majoring in international business.

The project had already brought them good grades and recognition at GWU before they scored the $15,000 prize in Fort Worth. “We won a similar competition at GWU last year, just after we launched our company,” Fox said. “Now that we had a year of operational experience, we were pretty confident about doing well at the TCU event.” For the two days of the competition, Fox and Herman holed up in their hotel room. “We had heard about the Stockyards, and we were told there was great barbecue and Tex-Mex food in Fort Worth,” Fox said. “But we didn’t get to see anything, and the only time we went to a restaurant was to eat Buffalo wings at a place near the TCU campus.

“I know people thought we were nerds,” he said. “And we kinda are. We came down here with the goal of winning. So we stuck to ourselves and maintained our focus. We stayed in our room, practicing and practicing.” He said he has been coming up with business ideas — each better than the last — since he was a little kid. The prize money will go into the business and, with additional help from new investors, will allow Crowdvance to hire a few employees.“We want to change the world too,” Fox said. “I wouldn’t be satisfied to be a big-time executive without creating a value.”

Finalist judge Paul Spiegelman said the contestants convinced him that “there’s hope for the future.” Spiegelman is the Bedford-based chief culture officer of Stericycle, a global company specializing in disposal of regulated substances. He co-founded Inc. Small Giants Community, which brings together leaders focused on values-based business principles. And he has written several best-selling books on business culture.

“Times are tough for new college graduates, and overall there is a real shift in America to demonstrate the connection between a culture of values and profit,” he said. “I believe that while business isn’t generally wired that way, the world is changing. It’s more of an evolution than a revolution, but it is changing.”

Spiegelman said judges were particularly impressed with Fox and Herman’s confidence in the success of Crowdvance.

Second place in the competition went to a team from Virginia with a plan for SoundSense, a home communications system for the hearing impaired that uses Wi-Fi technology to combine visual alerts from household devices such as phones and baby monitors into one user-friendly device.

The hometown team took third place. TCU seniors — now graduates — Brooke Bettis and Molly Johnson presented their plan for a company called “Sneeze4,” featuring facial tissues in environmental packaging, with part of the sales proceeds shared by four charities: Alzheimer’s Association, Wounded Warriors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Feeding America.

Bettis said the business will be on hold for a while, but she intends to implement it. She called the competition “the highlight of my college career.” Both she and Johnson have been hired for fulltime jobs to start in the next few weeks.

“I think I’ve always known that I would start my own business someday,” Bettis said. “I could never put so much time and effort into something that was strictly money-driven.”

Also placing were teams with ideas for employing veterans to improve police training in Honduras, using an online fashion marketplace to support artisans from around the world, and a paid service for families and friends of American military service personnel killed in action to place flowers on gravesites and record virtual cemetery tours for those who live far from their loved ones’ burial sites.

Two special $2,500 Founders Awards went to teams from Glasgow, Scotland, and Tampa, Fla. Students from the University of Strathclyde created a recycling company that produces organic fertilizer from coffee grounds. The Tampa team’s proposal would franchise contained, sustainable agricultural production systems (aquaponics) for areas in the world that are facing food shortages.

When the GWU team got back to the airport for their flight home, they had to apply some additional ingenuity on the spot: Their oversized presentation check wouldn’t fit anywhere in the passenger cabin, so the pair couldn’t carry it on. They scrambled to find a box for it and sent it home as checked baggage.

“It cost us $25, but it was worth it,” Fox said.


Wall Street journal
June 5, 2013
The Hot New MBA: Supply-Chain Management : More Schools Are Ramping Up Their Programs, Adding Majors and Concentrations as Employer Demand Grows  -
By Melissa Korn

Call it a problem of supply and demand.

With global operations becoming more complex, companies in manufacturing, retail and technology—and the consulting firms that service them—are scrambling to hire people with supply-chain expertise. But these experts are hard to come by.

Sensing growing demand, more than a half-dozen universities have recently introduced undergraduate majors, M.B.A. concentrations and even entire degree programs dedicated to procurement, inventory management and global supply-chain strategy.

Headlines of horse meat found in frozen beef products in Europe and see-through yoga pants illustrate the need. Supply-chain management has moved from a “necessary evil” to a “core competency” at companies across industries, says Rick Blasgen, president and chief executive of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, an industry group. The supply chain includes production, transport, distribution and other logistics, as well as the engineering and financial considerations involved in each of those elements.

In the past few years, many companies have experienced growing pains as they’ve added far-flung sourcing partners and shipped products to a more international market. The rise of fast-fashion brands such as Zara and Forever 21, which rely on quick turnaround to keep stores stocked, along with a growing interest in data analytics to find new efficiencies, have led companies to see their supply chains as crucial to success—or failure.

Wall Street ClipThe College of Business at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., last fall added an undergraduate major and M.B.A. specialization in supply-chain management after introducing an undergraduate minor about four years ago. Courses include global sourcing and social responsibility in the supply chain as well as a hands-on consulting project. Employers “don’t want cobbled-together courses, they want a real, content-laden supply-chain program,” says Teresa McCarthy, director of Bryant’s global supply chain management program.

The school already has nearly 150 undergraduate and M.B.A. students pursuing a major or concentration in the field, and employers are taking note. Companies including General Dynamics Corp. and Target Corp. have plucked Bryant students for job interviews and internships.

Bryant also joined the University Alliances program run by software company SAP AG, to give students hands-on training with the logistics technology they will be expected to use in the workplace. SAP has added more than 250 schools to the program in the past 18 months, and now counts more than 1,300 partner institutions.

Meanwhile, Rutgers Business School in New Jersey, which launched its M.B.A. concentration in supply-chain management more than a decade ago, added an undergraduate major in 2010 in response to employer demand and undergraduate requests. So far, it has registered 450 students for the degree, which includes classes in transportation, contract management and even packaging. Top employers hiring out of Rutgers include Dell Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Panasonic Corp., says Lei Lei, chair of the supply chain management and marketing sciences department.

Deloitte LLP launched a pilot in 2010 to tap students from supply-chain programs for its fast-growing supply chain and manufacturing consulting operation. It brings an average of 15 to 20 M.B.A. students into the group each year from schools including Pennsylvania State University, Arizona State University and a half-dozen others.

At craft retailer Michaels Stores Inc., new supply-chain hires are expected to hit the ground running. They are assigned jobs in areas including inventory management, where they might determine how many pipe cleaners or picture frames to buy for specific stores, and supply-chain analysis, which addresses engineering, analytics and operational efficiencies, the company says. Michaels stocks about 40,000 separate products at its 1,100 stores across the U.S. and Canada. Since it is difficult to forecast which items customers want, and when—for example, they needed to stock up quickly for the recent knitting craze—establishing a smooth path from factory to store shelf is a must, says Tom DeCaro, executive vice president of supply chain.

Because supply-chain graduates are in such demand, they command impressive salaries.At Arizona State, for example, supply-chain majors from the class of 2012 earned average starting salaries of $56,410, compared with $50,098 for undergraduate business students overall. At the M.B.A. level, students who took operations or supply-chain jobs reported starting salaries averaging $97,481, compared with $92,556 for all M.B.A.s.

Zach Freeman, a 22-year-old who graduated in May from Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business with a double major in supply-chain management and entrepreneurial management, says he was heavily recruited by companies around the country. Instead, Mr. Freeman is putting his operational and logistics knowledge to a more personal use. He is opening a moving company in Dallas-Fort Worth later this month but adds, “It would have been so easy to get a job, it was almost painful at times to turn them down.”

A number of institutions are also targeting midcareer professionals looking to strengthen their supply-chain skills.

Neeley, which has offered an undergraduate degree and M.B.A. concentration in supply-chain management for about a decade, this fall will add to its portfolio with an M.S. in supply-chain management aimed at working professionals with five to 15 years of experience.

University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School launched a dual-degree program with Tsinghua University in Beijing last fall, enrolling 23 mid- and senior-level Chinese executives in the first cohort. Meanwhile, University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business announced earlier this year that it plans to enroll its first online M.S. in global supply-chain management class in the fall, as will Portland State University’s School of Business Administration. These programs for more experienced managers are an easy sell. “This is aimed at people who have already drunk the Kool-Aid,” says Chris Allen, director of Portland State’s new program.

Schools say that even with the new additions, employers remain hungry. “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of chance to be saturated in the near term,” says David Closs, chair of the supply-chain management department at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business. Broad, which started teaching supply-chain courses almost 60 years ago, now offers an undergraduate major, M.B.A. concentration and master’s degree in supply-chain management for more experienced workers. It is also eyeing an online master’s degree, Mr. Closs says.