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Snowstorms and In-State Rivalries: The History of the Warren Buffett T [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2017, 12:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Snowstorms and In-State Rivalries: The History of the Warren Buffett Trip
Every couple of years, Owen sends a group of business and finance graduate students to Omaha in the dead of winter. The students have a chance to attend a Q&A session with Warren Buffett, the world’s fourth-richest man, alongside a few other schools; Buffett then takes them out to lunch at his favorite local steakhouse, Gorat’s.

It’s a rare opportunity to interact with one of the business world’s finest minds — and Owen students owe a debt of gratitude to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for its beginnings.

The UT Connection

Richard Wright (MBA’05) attended college at UT Knoxville and participated in two trips to Omaha while enrolled there. After coming to Owen, he stayed in touch with one of his finance professors at UT, Dr. Albert Auxier, who eventually invited Wright to tag along with UT’s trip in 2005.

Wright agreed and asked if he could bring several fellow Owen students along as well. Dr. Auxier said yes, and Wright confirmed everything with Buffett’s assistant, who approved the addition of a few Vanderbilt students. When January rolled around, six Owen students, including Wright, boarded a plan and flew to Omaha. They got to participate in the Q&A session and take a picture with Buffett (featured photo at the top).

Passing the Torch

Wright graduated from Owen that spring, so he needed a current student who could become the new leader of the Omaha trip. Luckily, Patrick Burke (JD/MBA’07) reached out to Wright; Burke had heard about the trip and wanted a chance to meet Buffett himself. Wright introduced Burke to Buffett’s assistant, and Burke took charge from there.

“Just like everything else, it was all about relationships and follow up,” Burke recalls.

He set out to coordinate the first official, Vanderbilt-only trip. To prepare, the group read books about Warren Buffett’s life and pored over his annual letters to shareholders. Based on their research, they also brainstormed a slate of thoughtful questions for the Q&A session, since schools are allowed back based on the quality of the questions they ask.

“Obviously, we don’t want to be upstaged by UT, so let’s do our homework. We can do homework at Vanderbilt, right?” Burke told the students.

The opportunity to meet Buffett in person is a once-in-a-lifetime memory, and Burke even got a chance to ride with the legend on the way to lunch (Buffett usually picks a few students to drive to the restaurant). In retrospect, Burke found that much of the intellectual benefit comes from doing the prep work beforehand and reading the investor’s letters to shareholders. “His letters prompted me to think critically about the whole (financial) environment,” he said. Exercises like that eventually led him to turn down a Wall Street job offer and start his own company, Seed Hospitality.

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Students tour a Buffett-owned local business during the trip in 2013

Resurrecting the Trip

Burke graduated in 2007, and no other students stepped up to take over leadership of the trip. No one from Vanderbilt even reached out to Buffett’s office until 2012, when Philip Woodlief, Adjunct Professor of Management, emailed Buffett’s assistant to see if the famous investor could come speak on campus. She said no — but did invite a group from Vanderbilt to come visit Omaha instead.

Even though the waitlist was several years long at the time, Vanderbilt hadn’t sent a group of students to Omaha since 2006, so Buffett’s team made space for a group from Owen in early 2013. By then, Buffett’s office had reduced the size of the group from 50 to 20 students, so students had to apply and were then chosen by lottery.

“All of a sudden I was everyone’s best friend,” Woodlief recalls, remembering how people he had never met reached out to ask if they could join the trip.

A massive snowstorm was slated to hit Omaha the same day of their trip, but fortunately the snowfall wasn’t as severe as predicted. The meeting and lunch went off without a hitch, and Vanderbilt was even invited back the following year.

However, Woodlief decided to hand off coordinating duties to another professor so others could participate on the trip. Cherrie Clark took over management, and Vanderbilt has been asked to return to Omaha several times since then. The next group of students will meet with Buffet on January 12, 2018.

While students have the chance to hear dozens of speakers during their time at Owen, Burke urges them to recognize how unique the chance to meet the Oracle of Omaha truly is.

“It’s easy to get jaded (and think) ‘Oh, it’s another speaker’…but soak it up. You’re going to be out in the real world again soon, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Just enjoy it,” he said.

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Woodleif and the students snap a group photo with Buffett at Gorat’s

The post Snowstorms and In-State Rivalries: The History of the Warren Buffett Trip appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Finding Yourself Through Finance: MSF Program Launches Alum on Private [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2017, 14:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Finding Yourself Through Finance: MSF Program Launches Alum on Private Equity Path
Most finance employees in the early stages of their career hope to move eventually from investment banking to the private equity side. A rare few land jobs in private equity from the start, and Arti Vula (MSF’17) is one of them.

A Change of Plans

Vula didn’t originally plan on working in finance at all, and his journey to Owen and private equity was anything but straightforward. In fact, Vula actually came to the U.S. in 1999 as a refugee of the Kosovo War. As the conflict between the Albanians and the Serbians escalated, Vula and his family (who are Albanian) sought refuge with his uncle in Lexington, KY.

He grew up in Lexington and matriculated down the street at the University of Kentucky, where he played rugby and studied economics and political science. He completed his undergraduate degree in three years and originally planned to go into academia.

“I graduated quickly and hadn’t thought a great deal about (what I wanted to do),” he recalls. “I just assumed I was going to back to school (to enter academia). It took a bit of time to realize I didn’t want to do that.”

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Arti Vula (MSF’17)

After coming to that decision, he worked in a high-end restaurant in Lexington for about two years while he considered what career he did want. He began reading books by and about Warren Buffett, which piqued his interest in finance.

“Once I started reading his books, I started seeing that it’s not just some opaque number on a ticker,” he said. “There’s companies behind it and there are fundamental (market forces) that move them…that really interested me a great deal.”

Back to School

With a finance career in mind, Vula began to consider a return to school. He looked at MBA programs but decided that he didn’t have enough work experience and didn’t want to take two years off to get a degree. A Master of Science in Finance program perfectly suited his needs.

Owen was one of his top picks initially and became his first choice after his campus visit. Vula appreciated that Owen’s MSF program has dedicated staff and resources (instead of sharing them with the MBA program) and felt that the staff genuinely cared about each student.

“After I came for a campus visit and met (Senior Associate Director of Career Management) Blake (Gore) and some of the other staff, they immediately became my first choice,” he said. “The MSF program gives you the necessary intellectual tools…but I think what sets them apart are the resources (like the Career Management Center).”

While at Owen, Vula also interned at local financial advisory firm Rayburn West Financial Services. Despite the demands on his time, Vula managed to ace his classes. At commencement, he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in the Master of Science in Finance for his year, given to the individual with the highest GPA in each program. Vula keeps the award in his new apartment.

“I was just focused on my classes, trying to keep my GPA up to get ready for recruiting…but I’m happy that I did it,” he recalls. “I don’t think that grades were the most important achievement or the driving factor of my value from the program, but it was nice (to be recognized at commencement).”

The more you know ‘this is what I want to do,’ the more you can achieve. -Arti Vula

Starting in Private Equity

After graduating, Vula started his new job as a Private Equity Analyst at Battle Investment Group in Atlanta. He found out about the opportunity through Doreways, Vanderbilt’s online job posting portal, but he credits the MSF recruiting resources with helping him land the job.

“I found the opportunity through Doreways, but a lot of what led me to take advantage of it…was all the networking and interviews I did beforehand,” he said. “When you pick up the phone and call (alumni), not only are they willing to speak to you, but they want to speak with you…It was probably one of the most significant factors (in preparing me for recruiting),”

Vula admits that going straight into private equity after school can be difficult, but says that he’s learning more every day and appreciates getting to work closely with the company partners.

“Going into private equity without a great deal of experience is not necessarily easy and doesn’t happen often,” he said. “I think private equity offers a lot because you get to make an investment in one specific company and then own it and work to improve it from the inside.”

Vula knows how difficult it can be to decide which career path to follow. His top piece of advice for young professionals is to contact alumni and other mid-career employees to get firsthand stories.

“Finance offers you a lot of options, and sometimes it’s hard to understand what the daily functions and long-term career trajectories looks like (without talking to someone),” he said. “The more you know ‘this is what I want to do,’ the more you can achieve.”

The post Finding Yourself Through Finance: MSF Program Launches Alum on Private Equity Path appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Deloitte and HP Inc. Co-Sponsor 11th Annual Human Capital Case Competi [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2017, 13:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Deloitte and HP Inc. Co-Sponsor 11th Annual Human Capital Case Competition
Now entering its 11th year, the National MBA Human Capital Case Competition (HCCC) challenges participants to come up with solutions to complex hiring, staffing, and performance issues. The competition gives MBA candidates from around the country a chance to think critically about human resource issues and network extensively with corporate sponsors Deloitte Consulting and HP Inc. A combined total of $14,000 in prize money is distributed between the top three teams.

“I think it’s important to have (the competition) to show that human capital and human resources…are just as important to business as finance and accounting and marketing,” said Daniella Gafen (MBA’18), Director of the HCCC. “It’s a great way to get hands-on (experience) thinking about real problems…If you don’t have great people in the right places in the right organizations with the right support, you’re not going to be able to do anything.”

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Representatives from HP Inc. (pictured here) as well as Deloitte networked with participants throughout the weekend

The Case: A national company that provides at-home care for the elderly is looking to hit $3 billion in revenue by 2025 by expanding its operations domestically and abroad. These plans for growth come as the home health care industry faces high turnover and a projected shortage of workers. Teams were tasked with coming up with a strategic plan to retain employees and reorganize the business for expansion.

Teams were given the case a week in advance. However, 1.5 hours before they were supposed to present on Friday, they were confronted with a sudden twist: a major data breach, which they had to incorporate into their final decks.

On Saturday, the three finalists had to trim their decks to just five slides and present again. Teams were assigned country-themed code names during the competition so they would be rated anonymously.

The Judges: Danielle Lesko, Managing Director of Health Plans Human Capital, represented Deloitte Consulting, while Luciana Duarte, Vice President of Global Head of Employee Experience, represented HP Inc. Recent Owen alumni from both companies also came to the competition to network with participants.

The Winner: The team from USC (a.k.a Stomp’N’Slide) walked away with $10,000 in prize money for its idea to open a new service division, which would provide help around the home for elderly adults, such as lawn care. Boston University took the second-place prize of $3,000, while Cornell placed third and received $1,000.

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Lesko (left) and Duarte (right) listen to presentations

The Judges’ Feedback: “I really appreciate the time and investment you all made into this,” Lesko thanked participants at the end of the competition. “We learned a lot, and we had such a great experience being here as judges. We hope you can say the same thing.”

“The growth mindset has been particularly incredible over the past couple of days,” added Duarte. “We actually took into account not only the (final) performances today, but also the performances over the last couple days…and that’s how we ultimately arrived at our decision (and declared a winner).”

The Students’ Feedback: Whether they win or not, students see the case competition as a valuable way to prepare for human capital recruiting. “These case competitions really offer the best simulation of what it’s like to work with a client and (address) a business problem where you’re trying to use human capital to solve the issue at hand,” said Ricky Chan (MBA’18), who competed in the HCCC last year and served as team captain for the Owen team this year.

The case competition doesn’t just help students prepare for interviews, but also to critically analyze human resource strategies in general. “It’s not just the case interview, it’s thinking about the larger human capital issues, because there are trends and themes that come up no matter if the case is health care or (another industry),” said fellow Owen team member Penny Dolan (MBA’19).

The post Deloitte and HP Inc. Co-Sponsor 11th Annual Human Capital Case Competition appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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MMark Students Investigate the Economic Impact of Nashville Oktoberfes [#permalink]

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New post 20 Oct 2017, 06:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: MMark Students Investigate the Economic Impact of Nashville Oktoberfest
When Stephanie Verheyen (MMark’17) volunteered to help with Nashville Oktoberfest last year, she hoped to get some hands-on event marketing experience and maybe a free ticket to the festival. Little did she know the opportunity would eventually turn into her mentoring the next class of Master of Marketing students through a six-month project.

“Since I was born in Munich originally and I’m very close with my German heritage, (volunteering at Oktoberfest) seemed like an awesome opportunity,” she said.

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She helped with the VIP check-in for the event in 2016 and got to know Director of Marketing Adam Bowie in the process. Bowie’s company, Rush Hour Marketing Technology, handles event marketing and ticketing for Nashville Oktoberfest, the second-largest Oktoberfest celebration in the United States.

The next year, Verheyen reached out to Bowie to see if he needed more help with the 2017 Oktoberfest. Bowie pitched Verheyen on a more in-depth project: running an economic impact study. The event was forecasted to draw more than 300,000 attendees, but festival organizers wanted to know exactly how much money it contributes to Nashville’s economy.

Getting the MMarks Involved

A recent alum, Verheyen knew how much she appreciated getting hands-on experience during her time at the Master of Marketing program. She proposed the Oktoberfest project to the newest class of MMark students, hoping to get three or four to volunteer.

“One of the things that was really important to me as an MMark…I wanted to make sure that my whole time spent at Owen, I wasn’t just going to class,” she said. “I was looking for every possible opportunity to do (outside projects) at the same time…to prove that I willing to go above and beyond.”

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Olivia Cohn-White and a furry friend collect surveys at Oktoberfest

Eight of the MMarks students signed up immediately: Haley Jo Kimmen, Kirstin Johnson, Olivia Rovelli, Olivia Cohn-White, Sarah Bell, Laura Lee Singer, Katie Pisarek, and Lauren Smith.

“(Stephanie) came and spoke to us, and I texted her right after: ‘Sign me up. I want to do this. Oktoberfest sounds right up my alley,’” recalls Rovelli, who is considering a career in event marketing.

With Verheyen acting as a group coordinator, the MMark team ran the study from start to finish, from authoring the survey questions to conducting a mid-August test run at the Italian Lights Festival.

Improving the Survey

Italian Lights gave the team a chance to experiment with the study conditions. Originally, they administered test surveys on clipboards, and had to approach festivalgoers directly since they didn’t have their own booth. They also wore staff t-shirts the first day, which became problematic when attendees turned to them for festival information. The team used their Italian Lights experiences to refine their approach for Oktoberfest.

“Doing an economic impact study of something that happens once a year; you can’t miss your mark the first time around,” Kimmen said.

For Oktoberfest, he team streamlined the survey, re-wording confusing questions, and loaded the form on iPads. They secured their own booth with a Vanderbilt Business banner and wore Vanderbilt shirts to distinguish themselves from festival staff. Once festivalgoers saw the Vanderbilt name, most were more than happy to help out the students with their survey project.

“We had quite a few people interested in Vanderbilt or Owen. We got to give them our own spiel and be advocates for the school, not on purpose. But it was a good way to be the face of Vanderbilt in a positive way,” Johnson said.

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The coveted tasting glass

Another change proved critical to survey’s success: giving away a free Oktoberfest tasting glass in exchange for filling out the form. Attendees were so eager to take the survey, the team ran out of glasses after less than two hours on Saturday. They called a volunteer in the VIP tent and asked her to bring more.

“I asked, ‘Can we just have another box?’…She rolls up with this massive golf cart, (tasting) glasses everywhere,” Rovelli said. “We went through all of them.” All in all, the team gathered almost 350 survey responses, nearly doubling their responses from Italian Lights.

Looking Ahead to Next Steps

Now that the festival is over, the team plans on sending out a follow-up survey via email, asking attendees how much they spent on food, drinks, and shopping. Then, they’ll analyze the data from the two surveys and give a detailed report to Bowie and the Oktoberfest staff. The festival also plans to present the data to the city of Nashville to support their permit requests for more event space.

“In prior years, they’ve had difficulty getting space. This is the first year they expanded outside of Germantown,” Johnson said. “Giving them this detailed data and background info (will) prove Oktoberfest is worth it and that they deserve the space…because it’s bringing in money and visitors to the city.”

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From left to right: Lauren Smith, Kirstin Johnson, and Haley Jo Kimmen

Even as they’re helping the festival, the MMark students are gaining real world experience they can use as talking points during the recruiting process.

“I can definitely use (the project) as a story to tell in interviews, talking about practicing skills, collecting data, understanding consumer data, and coming to a conclusion based on that information,” Kimmen said. “I think you can develop surveys and collect all this data, but if you can’t come to a conclusion and have an actionable item (based on the data)…you didn’t really learn a whole lot.”

“We learn about it in all of our classes, but (it’s different) to really go out there on the field and deliver these surveys and have them respond to them and interact with us,” Rovelli adds. “You get a firsthand appreciation for the world of marketing and how customers think and act.”

The post MMark Students Investigate the Economic Impact of Nashville Oktoberfest appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Meet the Vanderbilt MS Finance Class of 2018 [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 08:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Meet the Vanderbilt MS Finance Class of 2018
The Vanderbilt Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Class of 2018 arrived at Management Hall in August, most with little-to-no prior work experience. Over the next nine months, they’ll work together in and out of the classroom and pursue careers in investment banking and research, advisory services and consulting, corporate finance, and private wealth management.

For more information on Owen’s newest MSFs, read the class snapshot below and visit our program page to learn more.

Class Size: 51

Average GPA: 3.6

Average GMAT: 687

Female (% of class): 18

International Students (% of class): 16

Undergraduate majors (partial list):

  • Accounting
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Economics
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Marketing
  • Religion
Undergraduate institutions represented (partial list):

  • Boston College
  • Duke University
  • Florida State University
  • Furman University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Texas-Austin
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wake Forest University
To learn more about MSF students past and present, check out our recent story about MSF’17 Arti Vula and MSF’18 Wade Freebeck.

The post Meet the Vanderbilt MS Finance Class of 2018 appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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A Conversation with Caroline Guenther (MBA’15) – Forbes 30 under 30 (P [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 09:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: A Conversation with Caroline Guenther (MBA’15) – Forbes 30 under 30 (Podcast)
Earlier this year, Caroline Guenther (MBA’15) was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 for the year 2017. At an orientation event last month, she talked with Megan Nichols of the Career Management Center about her career path to Cisco, the future of technology, and the recognition from Forbes.

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on Overcast

The post A Conversation with Caroline Guenther (MBA’15) – Forbes 30 under 30 (Podcast) appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Entrepreneur and Investor Symposium Gives Students a Crash Course in S [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2017, 09:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Entrepreneur and Investor Symposium Gives Students a Crash Course in Startups
On October 20, the Vanderbilt Entrepreneurs Association (VEA) hosted its second annual Entrepreneur and Investor Symposium. Open to Owen students as well as Vanderbilt undergraduates, the symposium brings in panels of experts to share their real-life experiences in venture capital, search funds, and startups.

Venture Capital Panel

The Panelists: Chris Booker (BS’07) joined Frist Cressey Ventures as a partner in 2016; prior to that, he was a partner at XMi Holdings, Inc. Andrew Goldner is the co-founder of GrowthX and a Kauffman Fellow, a two-year leadership development program for venture capitalists. Jared Winegrad is a principal for the FinTech Growth Fund at Cultivation Capital.

Key Takeaways: Much of the panelists’ discussion focused on increasing gender, racial, and socioeconomic diversity in venture capital. “We’re trying to get the venture capital community to look like the rest of America,” Booker said. “When you’re sitting in the room, and everyone has the same experiences and perspectives, you’re going to miss something,” Winegrad added.

They also gave tips for entrepreneurs seeking venture capital funding for their startup. “The numbers in your model are wrong. I know that with 100% certainty. But I also don’t care…it’s not the actual numbers that matter, it’s the logic that went into it,” Goldner said.

Search Fund Panel

The Panelists: Dan Calano (BS’09) is the principal of Blue Range Capital, a new search fund looking to invest in a single business and grow it long-term afterwards. Jay Davis (BA’03) is a managing partner of Nashton Partners and the CEO of Vector Disease Control International, a mosquito control company that helps cities and counties control diseases such as malaria. Badge Stone is the managing director and co-founder of WSC & Company, another private investment firm interested in acquiring businesses through the search fund model.

Key Takeaways: Search funds have been around since 1984, but they’re not well-known in the entrepreneur community, and few business schools have classes on them. In a search fund, investors identify a promising entrepreneur and pay his/her salary for two years as he/she seeks to locate, acquire, manage, and grow a privately held company. The investor then has the first right of refusal to invest in whatever company the entrepreneur identifies.

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Panelists explain the search fund concept

“There are investors looking for talented people. Frankly, I don’t think they care where they come from,” Calano said. “In the background, this search fund community was always there…it is a lot more open than you would ever think. If you pick up the phone, they will talk to you,” Stone added.

Founders/Startups Panel

The Panelists: Rick Apple (MBA, JD’12) is the Chief Operating Officer of Altus UC, which helps businesses unify their communications across phone, desktop, and mobile devices. Becky Sharp (BA’87, MBA’91) is the owner of International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. and the CEO/co-owner of Collegiate Sports Data. Paul Zettler (MBA’14) is the CFO of Groups360, which helps event planners sort through meeting and convention spaces based on criteria like the size of the group or hotel amenities.

Key Takeaways: As alums themselves, the panelists encouraged attendees to take advantage of their time at Owen. “My career in entrepreneurship actually started in this room,” Zettler recalled, referring to Michael Burcham’s Launching the Venture class, which he highly recommended. He also suggested that students take a diverse slate of classes, since startup employees take on so many roles.

The panelists were frank about the low success rate of startups. “A lot of companies fail, don’t get us wrong,” Apple said. Success rate aside, they urged students to try entrepreneurship early in their careers, when the risks are less significant. “You all have that in spades (right now), in terms of being able to take a risk while the fallback is minimal,” Sharpe said. “I think the risk is that once you do go out into the entrepreneur world, you’re never going to want to go back,” Zettler added.

The post Entrepreneur and Investor Symposium Gives Students a Crash Course in Startups appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Vanderbilt’s Women in Business Symposium Moves to the Fall [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2017, 15:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Vanderbilt’s Women in Business Symposium Moves to the Fall
 

This weekend, Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management is hosting its annual Women in Business Symposium, an opportunity for alumni and prospective students to celebrate businesswomen, network, and discuss how to navigate the corporate and business school worlds.

Held on October 27th and 28th, the symposium kicks off on Friday evening with a “Celebration of Owen Women” reception for Owen alumni, to be held at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.

The main event begins on Saturday morning with a Keynote address from Melissa Thomas-Hunt, the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence at Vanderbilt and a Professor of Management at Owen, and Allison Elias. In the afternoon, leaders from companies including Exxon Mobil, Medtronic, Deloitte, and Rock the Street, Wall Street will host a panel entitled “Go for It!”

 

The afternoon continues with a session on the Forte Foundation, a Q&A for prospective students with current Owen MBAs, a Lean-in Circle hosted by the Owen Women in Business Association, and networking.

“We want to show that Vanderbilt is a great environment for women to explore many avenues that lead to rewarding careers,” says Christie St. John, Director of Admissions, “not just the typical MBA path to finance or consulting, but also in technology, marketing, human capital management and entrepreneurial pursuits.”

Click hereto learn more about the Symposium and how to attend.

The post Vanderbilt’s Women in Business Symposium Moves to the Fall appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Meet the Master of Marketing Class of 2018 [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2017, 06:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Meet the Master of Marketing Class of 2018
The Vanderbilt Master of Marketing Class of 2018 arrived at Management Hall in late July, most with little-to-no prior work experience. Over the next 10 months, they’ll work together in and out of the classroom and pursue careers in social media, advertising/PR, digital marketing, and consumer insights/market research.

For more information on Owen’s newest Master of Marketing students, read the class snapshot below and visit our class profile page to learn more.

Class Size: 15

Average GPA: 3.44

Average GMAT: 631

Undergraduate majors (partial list):

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Art History
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • English
  • Legal Studies
  • Marketing
  • Medicine Health and Society
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
Undergraduate Institutions represented (partial list):

  • Babson College
  • Dakota State University
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Mississippi State University
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Virginia
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wake Forest University
Visit the Master of Marketing page to learn more about the Class of 2018.

To get to know a few of our MMark students better, check out our recent story about Class of 2018 members Sarah Bell and Scott Sypniewski.

The post Meet the Master of Marketing Class of 2018 appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Owen Finance Club Hosts First Case Competition of the Year [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2017, 10:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Owen Finance Club Hosts First Case Competition of the Year
This Thursday, the Owen Finance Club (OFC) hosted their first case competition of the year, the Owen Investment Banking Case Competition. It’s a chance for Owen first-year MBA and Master of Science in Finance candidates to research a recent merger and acquisition transaction based on its strategic rationale, valuation, risks, and benefits.

“(The competition) definitely helps with recruiting, to make sure (students) are able to speak intelligently about a transaction as well as to do the research necessary to perform at an internship. A lot of that also helps them to prepare for the technical side of interviewing,” said Dylan Bright, President of the Owen Finance Club.

The Case: This year’s case asked students to explain the strategic rationale for Amazon’s recent $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Inc. Participants evaluated the merits of the all-cash deal structure from each firm’s perspective; they also explained whether or not a share exchange would have made more sense for either firm. Finally, students shared their perspectives on the valuation and explored the greatest risk of the transaction from the perspective of Whole Foods shareholders.

Students received the case four days in advance and could prepare up to three slides. Eight teams of three students each presented for a maximum of 15 minutes, followed by about five minutes of questions from judges.

Image
Judges make notes on student presentations

The Judges: Nine investment banking judges from a variety of firms — Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Houlihan Lokey, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, and Wells Fargo Securities— evaluated participants. Their experience ranged from the associate level (1-2 years) to the vice president level (10+ years) so they could speak to students about each stage of investment banking careers. All of the judges were either Owen or Vanderbilt undergraduate alumni.

“They want to feel like they’re giving back and helping out the students, making sure they’re as prepared as they can be (for interviews),” Bright said.

The Winner: Judges rated the team of Moheb Abdelmaseeh, James Owen, and Ben Sellers as the best presentation, praising their investigation of the transaction risks and payment structure, as well as their discounted cash flow analysis. While judges do rank the top three finishers, Bright says the competition’s focus is on gaining experience.

“It’s not about winning, it’s about getting the experience and finding out what you did wrong and what you could have done better or explained more clearly,” he said. “That will only help (students) in the interview process.”

Students interested in finance are encouraged to sign up for the upcoming Corporate Finance Case Competition, to be held on November 9. The competition focuses on analyzing an individual company from the perspective of a corporate finance department.

The post Owen Finance Club Hosts First Case Competition of the Year appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Meet the Vanderbilt MAcc Class of 2018 [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2017, 08:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Meet the Vanderbilt MAcc Class of 2018
The Vanderbilt Master of Accountancy (MAcc) Class of 2018 arrived at Management Hall in August, most with little or no prior work experience. Over the next 12 months, they’ll work together in and out of the classroom, intern at industry-leading companies, and sit for the CPA exam.

For more information on Owen’s newest MAccs, read the class snapshot below and visit our programs page to learn more.

Class Size: 40 (Assurance: 28, Valuation: 12)

Average GPA: 3.6

GPA Range: 3.2-4.0

Average GMAT: 691

GMAT Range: 650-750

Female (% of class): 40

International Students (% of class): 5

Undergraduate Institutions represented: 22

Visit the MAcc program page to learn more about the Class of 2018.

To learn more about MAcc students past and present, check out our stories about MAcc alum and Deloitte manager Sara Simonds and current MAcc student Nicole Powell.

The post Meet the Vanderbilt MAcc Class of 2018 appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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All-Access Vanderbilt [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2017, 10:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: All-Access Vanderbilt
The post All-Access Vanderbilt appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Accelerator Alum and Google HR Partner Tori Wycoff (Podcast) [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2017, 10:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Accelerator Alum and Google HR Partner Tori Wycoff (Podcast)
Tori Wycoff (Vanderbilt BS’11) is an alum of the Accelerator Summer Business Institute, as a student and operations manager. She’s spent the last 6 years working for Google as a recruiting coordinator, HR coordinator, and now an HR business partner. This week on This is Vanderbilt Business, we spoke with her about the value of the Accelerator program, Google and its recruiting process, and how to plan your career as a student.

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on Overcast

 

 

The post Accelerator Alum and Google HR Partner Tori Wycoff (Podcast) appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Let me tell you about Vanderbilt. [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2017, 12:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Let me tell you about Vanderbilt.
The post Let me tell you about Vanderbilt. appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Vanderbilt MBA Programs [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2017, 13:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Vanderbilt MBA Programs
The post Vanderbilt MBA Programs appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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The uncomfortable parallels between ICOs and the “penny stock” underwo [#permalink]

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New post 01 Nov 2017, 08:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: The uncomfortable parallels between ICOs and the “penny stock” underworld
The post The uncomfortable parallels between ICOs and the “penny stock” underworld appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Picture of Health (Care): Immersion Week Prepares Students to Enter He [#permalink]

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New post 01 Nov 2017, 12:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Picture of Health (Care): Immersion Week Prepares Students to Enter Health Care Industry
Davis Rand (MBA’19) spent part of his fall break standing in the back of an operating room, watching the surgeon search for an intestinal blockage.

“I was in the room, scrubbed up, and I was staring at this guy’s intestines,” he recalls. “That’s incredible. Not too many people get to go in an operating room and be five feet from someone like that.”

Davis’s operating room shift sounds like training at medical school, but he’s hardly a physician-to-be. In fact, Davis had essentially no experience in health care before participating in Health Care Immersion over fall break.

“With no medical background, all I knew about an emergency room or an operating room environment, I had learned from shows like ‘House.’ And it’s not really like that,” he said.

Health Care Immersion was the highlight of my Vanderbilt experience so far. -Raj Majumder

Health Care Immersion is designed to help the first-year Owen MBAs with a health care concentration build their knowledge of the complex industry. Students get two hours of credit for participating in Immersion, which is a requirement of the concentration and prepares them to take Professor Larry Van Horn’s Mod II class on Health Care Economics and Policy.

A Truly Immersive Experience

During Health Care Immersion, students shadow three different departments at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC): the operating room, the emergency department, and nursing units. They also visit the VUMC Simulation Lab — where medical students train on mannequins — and the LifeFlight Emergency Services Department.

Image
Students practice CPR on a training dummy in the simulation lab

“Not a lot of times do business (people) go down to the actual caregiving level and sit with them,” said Burch Wood, Director of Health Care Programs. “They get to see that perspective and the nurses get to share their thoughts and opinions.”

Even students with extensive experience in the medical field say they find the shadowing experiences eye-opening. One of these students is Raj Majumder, who worked as a medical researcher at several major hospitals and an adjunct professor of biology before coming to Owen.

“Coming at it from a business standpoint is an entirely different thing. I admit that I was wrong about it,” he said. “I thought (shadowing) was going to be a bit like ‘I’ve seen this already,’ but not even close.”

Getting to Know the Health Care Space

Students also listened to speeches and panels from 31 executives at various health care companies and took a day trip to Franklin to visit some of them in person.

“Larry Van Horn had a parade of fantastic guests come through, from practicing physicians to hospital administrators to CEOs of large provider networks,” Rand recalls.

In particular, students gave rave reviews to Travis Messina (MBA’08) and his company Contessa Health, which seeks to provide hospital-level care in patient’s homes, reducing readmissions and emergency department overflow. Lauren Holroyd, a joint MD-MBA candidate who already has three years of medical school under her belt, says she appreciated getting to hear about non-traditional companies such as Contessa.

“This is not really a concept I had heard of (before), and it affects the way medicine would be practiced in the future from a physician standpoint,” she said.

Image
A student learns how to take a patient’s pulse

Other highlights included John Dreyzehner, the Tennessee Commissioner of Health, who spoke about public health’s responsibilities and how they differ from the health care industry’s. Weston Smith, former CFO of HealthSouth, talked about blowing the whistle on his company’s $2.8 billion accounting fraud and the role of modern corporate ethics.

“I’ve heard (Smith) speak three times, and it’s still a compelling story,” Wood said.

Why Immersion is Worth It

Health Care Immersion may happen during fall break, but it’s no vacation: days routinely last 10 or 11 hours, and students must add a four-hour shift in the emergency department to one day as well. “It was grueling, but it was absolutely worth it,” Rand said.

“I’m not aware of any other place that has a health care program like us that does anything quite like (Health Care Immersion). It’s a unique experience,” Wood said. “It allows (students) to understand whether they’re really interested in health care, and then it gives them good stories.”

Despite the grueling days, for most students, Immersion only confirmed their passion for the health care industry, even as they were confronted with its many complex problems.

“There’s an inherent bias you have when you’re a physician: ‘I want to do every single thing possible for this one individual (patient),’ and that may not make the most financial or business sense,” Holroyd said. “You have to have different, more business-minded tactics to progress forward and make the system as a whole better.”

“Obviously, every bright-eyed MBA student wants to change the status quo (in health care), but you can only say that if you’re very intimately aware of what the status quo is,” Majumder added. “Health Care Immersion was the highlight of my Vanderbilt experience so far, honest to goodness.”

 

The post Picture of Health (Care): Immersion Week Prepares Students to Enter Health Care Industry appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Students Exploring Finance and Consulting Head East for Immersion Week [#permalink]

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New post 01 Nov 2017, 21:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Students Exploring Finance and Consulting Head East for Immersion Week
Vanderbilt MBAs have a week off from classes between Mods 1 and 2, but for first-year students, it’s hardly a break. The time is known as Immersion Week, and the days are packed with learning and networking opportunities for students in every career track.

For students looking to enter the finance and consulting industries, Immersion Week is a chance to visit firms in person and network with practitioners. Finance-minded students had the option to visit Charlotte and NYC; those interested in consulting drove down to Atlanta for a day.

“The treks are a condensed job search tool. Students may start their time at Owen thinking, ‘I want to go into consulting’ and perhaps they don’t have first-hand knowledge of that lifestyle and that career trajectory,” said Courtney Fain, Associate Director of Recruiting and Operations at the Career Management Center.

The Format 

Finance participants met with representatives from four banks in Charlotte, NC and six banks in New York City, with Closing Bell receptions in each city. Students were afforded plenty of opportunities to meet practitioners through company tours, panels, and small group discussions. Many utilized their free time for coffee chats and one-on-one networking with alums in the area.

“Even for someone that has a background in financial services, being able to interface with the banks and the people that work there is tremendously valuable, especially if that bank doesn’t come on campus,” said Rhett Hogan (MBA’19), a former pharmacist.

Image
The entire Consulting Trek group snaps a photo in the lobby of Deloitte’s Atlanta office

Falling on a Friday, the Consulting Trek afforded Owen students a chance to explore the field while participating in other Immersion Week activities — including BrandWeek, Health Care Immersion, and the Charlotte Finance Trek — before driving down to Atlanta.

Students started the day off at Deloitte, where six alums hosted breakfast and took questions. They drove to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which broke the students into three groups and walked them through real life cases the consultants had just wrapped up. The day ended at Bain, where students sat through a panel discussion and toured the office building. Students also connected individually with consultants at each firm.

Check out the story map at the end of the article for a closer look at the journey.

Industry Knowledge

The finance treks are a primer on two core branches of financial services: investment banking and private wealth management. This industry knowledge helps students narrow down their preference.

“It was a great for me, and probably anyone from a non-traditional background, to get introduced what an investment banker does and the process for M&A, leveraged finance, debt capital markets, equity capital markets — all of these words and terms that you might hear as you move into financial services recruiting,” said Rhett Hogan (MBA’19), who previously worked as a pharmacist.

The treks also allow students to explore the differences between the firms — their work cultures and office environments — as well as the cities.

Image
Students pose with the Wall Street Bull during the NYC Finance Trek

“(The treks) are a very good chance for you to get a sense of what this company is like…they have very different styles and culture. Only if you go to the companies can you experience that,” said Yuwen Cao (MBA’19), who attended both finance treks.

“Not only are you meeting the banks and the bankers…you’re also getting an introduction to the city. That’s the benefit of going on both,” Hogan added.

Networking Opportunities

“Consulting is an industry that’s really dependent on networking. Especially for certain companies, such as Deloitte, their staffing models are networking-based,” said Jacqueline Lim (MBA’19). “It’s almost a prerequisite in terms of recruiting for consulting, going on this trek and being able to make those connections with people.”

Students continue to build these relationships long after the trek, which acts as a natural ice-breaker and gives them something to follow up about via email or the phone.

Image
Students network with practitioners in NYC

“I think if you have people you actually had a meaningful conversation with, and you can email them afterward and say, ‘Hey, I really enjoyed getting to talk about this case you were on. This sounded really cool. Can I know more about it?’” said Jason Kaspar (MBA’19).

The smaller group size (30 students) make it easier to connect with consultants at the various firms and stand out in the crowd of applications.

“Being one of 30 is definitely better for (firms) to remember who you are and make those deeper connections,” Lim said.

Relationships aside, networking also offers reference points to mention in cover letters and interviews later in the application process, which can further bolster chances of securing a summer internship in consulting or financial services.

“(Without the treks), I don’t think you would be able to provide as rich of a cover letter or interview or interaction down the road,’” Hogan said. “I’m much more educated now as an applicant for both a summer and/or a full-time position, having gone on the treks.”

The post Students Exploring Finance and Consulting Head East for Immersion Week appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Faculty Spotlight: Rita Gunn [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2017, 10:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Faculty Spotlight: Rita Gunn
Corporate Inversions – where a U.S. organization merges with a firm in a low-tax jurisdiction, then locates to that jurisdiction for tax benefits – were a hot topic in 2013 and 2014. They’ve returned to the news cycle in recent months as the Trump administration considers undoing an Obama-era executive order designed to stop inversions. Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that inversions will decrease corporate tax revenues by 2.5% (or $12 billion annually) by 2027 if current tax-minimization strategies remain unchanged.

Image
Professor Rita Gunn

During the initial uproar over inversions, Professor Rita Gunn (then a PhD student at the Kellogg School of Management) and her advisor Professor Thomas Lys weren’t convinced that corporate income tax told the whole story with inversions. Most inversions are now being implemented through a merger or acquisition; therefore, other changes are occurring simultaneously in the business. Some of these changes affect other sources of revenue, like taxes on Capital Gains and dividend payouts, which weren’t being factored into analyses.

So Gunn and Lys took a closer look at inverted companies and the impact of their inversions on the Treasury. They found that, once capital gains and dividend taxes are taken into account, “it’s not clear that the U.S. actually loses tax revenue,” she says. In some cases, taxes from dividends and one-time capital gains might be substantial enough for the Treasury to gain additional revenue. The researchers are rewriting their findings now and expanding their sample.

Gunn’s other research also looks at mergers and acquisitions – specifically, the difference in purchase prices between private and public firms. Research has found that acquirers achieve larger returns from private firms, due to a concept known as the liquidity premium. “Basically, they say that with private firms, the owners need money now, but their ownership is illiquid, so they’re willing to accept a lower price,” she explains. But with differences between comparable companies as wide as 15%, Gunn thinks the truth may go beyond the liquidity premium.

Looking at the purchase price allocations, Gunn and her co-authors Professor Nir Yehuda at University of Texas-Dallas and Professor Thomas Lys found a large discrepancy between tangible and intangible assets for public and private firms. Namely, private firms have significantly higher intangible assets. “When we’re just matching companies on industry and size, we’re still comparing apples and oranges. Once you control for the asset makeup of the firms, it removes most of the difference in pricing,” she explains. “Acquirers are not as willing to spend money on intangible assets that may or may not pan out.” It’s a fairly simple explanation – private targets are riskier, so buyers won’t pay as much – but one that hadn’t been considered before.

Gunn’s dissertation on corporate earn-outs, provisions written into a transaction where the seller of a business receives additional payments based on the future performance of the business sold, looks at murkier aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Earn-outs have to be fair valued each quarter, and any changes in those estimations flow into operating income. This odd rule (one that was just instituted in 2009) opens up the potential for unscrupulous activity – revising an estimated earn-out down boosts operating income, revising upward reduces it – but Gunn’s research found that, while companies tend to overstate earn-outs (by on average 40%), they only do so to signal future income and performance, not to meet or beat earnings estimates. “They’re not just overestimating to get over a hurdle,” she says.

Professor Gunn is teaching accounting in the Hoogland Undergraduate Business Program. She’s impressed with what she’s seen so far. “The students are amazing,” she says. Gunn believes the expanded coursework in accounting may entice more students into the field. “People sometimes view accounting as just counting people’s money; there’s an aspect of that, but then there’s all the cool stuff, where you have a strict set of rules and you can figure out all these go-arounds and loopholes. That’s where it gets interesting.”

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Why experts say Kirt Webster could now land in court [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2017, 07:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Why experts say Kirt Webster could now land in court
The post Why experts say Kirt Webster could now land in court appeared first on Vanderbilt Business School.
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Why experts say Kirt Webster could now land in court   [#permalink] 06 Nov 2017, 07:01

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