School of Business News Tue, 23 May 2017 09:40:17 -0400 MYOB en-gb Mason Spirits: BadWolf, Good Beer

MeyersFour Mason alumni walk into a bar....

Not really. But they do walk into their own brewery, winery, or distillery nearly every day, and their success is no joke. Not far from where they once crammed for exams, these entrepreneurs each fashion and distribute a distinctive line of beverages—beer, wine, or spirits—throughout Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Sarah Meyers, BS Management ’10, is just one of more than 15 Patriots crafting beverages in this growing industry. And Mason, they say, played a big part in what’s on tap.

Meyers says the idea to start a brewery was “deeply tied” to her Mason experience. In fact, she created the original business plan in her School of Business capstone course.

Sarah co-owns BadWolf Brewing Company in Manassas, Virginia, with her husband, Jeremy. It was during a trip to Germany that Jeremy developed an interest in home brewing. Soon friends were telling the couple they should open their own brewery.

The Meyers opened Little BadWolf in June 2013.

“The day we opened we had a line across the plaza,” she says. “We ran out of beer very quickly. The next day the same thing happened, and the third day [Jeremy] decided he needed to quit his job.”

Jeremy now works full-time at the business. In addition to her work at BadWolf, Sarah also works full-time in human resources for an IT firm.

“A typical day is kind of insane,” she says. “I juggle my day job and back-end business stuff for BadWolf. It’s always simultaneous.”

In August 2015, the Meyers opened Big BadWolf. The smaller brewery now acts as a “pilot brewery” to test recipes and get customer feedback. From there, they take recipes to Big BadWolf. The company also has four distributors that serve all of Virginia and Washington, D.C.

“We really built up our business, and we’re really starting to see the benefits and rewards,” she says.

Sarah says her Mason degree has helped with all aspects of running a business. “My management background has helped me to focus on the most important things and solve problems.”

Although she admits being an entrepreneur is hard work, for Sarah, the greatest joy is seeing her employees and customers happy. “We’re out there doing this because we have a passion for it. We love what we’re doing, and it’s more than a hobby. It’s a way of living for us.”

General Thu, 18 May 2017 12:45:42 -0400
Mason Shapes Law and Regulatory Impacts on Land Use and Ownership

MRED forumGeorge Mason University hosted a select group of legal scholars and real estate practitioners at the first Legal Colloquium on Regulatory Issues in Contemporary Land Law. The colloquium offered a unique forum for collaboration and discussion on the impacts of law and regulation on land use, real estate development, and property rights.

“Recent data from the National Association of Home Builders show that, on average, 24 percent of the price of a single family house reflects the costs of regulatory compliance or about $85,000 in dollar terms. Regulatory compliance costs have risen faster in the last five years than the cost of construction materials or the increase in disposable income. This has an impact on home affordability, which is a big economic and social issue in the metro Washington, D.C., area,” said Eric Maribojoc, director of Mason’s Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship.

The forum included representatives from the University of Cambridge; University of Reading; Princeton University; Georgetown University; George Mason University; Vanderpool, Frostick and Nishanian; and Tenenbaum and Saas.

Legal scholars from the five universities provided feedback on papers presented across a spectrum of interrlated topics with a unifying focus on the regulation of land use and resulting legal interpretations. Discussion topics included the limits of government power on taking and transferring property or property rights, the effectiveness of the judicial system in property rights disputes, and the impact of laws and regulations on the supply and prices of new homes and the preservation of affordable housing—a concern and growing focus for researchers from Washington, D.C.

“This was a tremendous inter-collegiate effort featuring a unique mix of perspectives,” said Kat Grimsley, director of Mason’s MS in Real Estate Development. “We achieved a much deeper level of discussion than is possible at most large conferences and I think both presenters and discussants had a meaningful experience. Hopefully, our work at the colloquium will help inspire new facets in the underlying research.”

General Thu, 18 May 2017 10:54:45 -0400
Accounting Student Inspired to Help Small Businesses

Ross“I chose Mason because I came from a really small, conservative town, and I wanted to come up and experience a different way of thinking. When I toured Mason, I fell in love with the diversity of the campus, and how it’s a tight, close knit campus feel close to D.C.,” said Jessica Ross, a sophomore from Roanoke, Virginia.

Ross changed her major a few times before finding her perfect fit with accounting. “I decided on accounting because I’ve always loved math, and I’ve always loved numbers. To me accounting makes sense,” she said.

Since starting classes with the School of Business, Ross has been inspired by her accounting professors, most of whom have been women. As a woman aspiring to enter the accounting field, she likes hearing her professors’ work experiences. For a class project, Ross interviewed a woman from her hometown who does accounting and finance work for the local businesses. After speaking with her, Ross knew she wanted to do the same type of work.

“I love small business. That’s what I grew up around, so since I switched my major I’ve wanted to do accounting for small businesses,” she said. Adding that she would like to start her own accounting business in the future.

Ross serves as a student ambassador for both the School of Business and university. She decided to be a School of Business ambassador in addition to her university role because “it felt like more of a condensed view, so I’d be able to give students my specific view on not only the university, but the business school as well.”

Ross is looking for an internship in the fall or next summer to expand her professional experiences. Even though she sees her career path helping small businesses, she is interested in interning with one of the Big 4 accounting firms as well as a non-profit.

“Mason has so many resources. We’re in an area where the major four accounting firms are, so if I could get an internship or job with one of those, that would be an amazing experience.”

General Tue, 16 May 2017 08:47:18 -0400
Uber and Lyft Are Changing How We Think About Work

UberThe on-demand economy is growing rapidly thanks to companies like Uber and Lyft. It is commonly thought that people join the on-demand workforce for supplemental income, but new research suggests otherwise.

Kevin Rockmann, associate professor of management at George Mason University, and co-author Gary Ballinger, University of Virginia, studied loyalty among professional on-demand workers. Their research, featured in the Journal of Applied Psychology, is one of the first published studies of on-demand work.

Rockmann describes on-demand work as a matchmaking service between customer and client. Websites and apps allow for matches to be made easily.

Firms are drawn to on-demand workers because they’re not actual employees. Rockmann explains, “Firms love using contractors and freelancers, because you don’t have to hire them. You bring people in for their expertise and you’re able to control your costs.”

“The business model suggests the only thing that would really drive loyalty for these people is more money,” Rockmann said. But, he notes, “the effects of money are very short term.”

“It turns out a lot of people do this work not because of the money, but because they enjoy the work, specifically the increased autonomy social connection.”

On-demand workers are able to control their own schedules, giving them a sense of autonomy. If they’re missing social connection in their day jobs, they might also take up consulting on the side.

“The firms that realize those reasons are actually going to end up doing much better because they’re going to have workers who are more loyal, meaning they’re going to work harder, stay longer, and not go to a competitor,” he said.

The research provides implications for how firms select workers. They usually choose based on availability, skills, qualifications, and whether workers are legally able to do the work.

“While we understand why you may need to look at the legal and skills component, there’s a whole other component about how you may go about selecting these workers to raise your competitive advantage,” Rockmann said.

A study by Intuit, shows that most on-demand workers average 40 hours per week. Their income, on average, is 34 percent from on-demand work and the remainder coming from a traditional full- or part-time job, contracting and consulting, or running a business.

Firms should select on-demand workers based on what they’re looking for in a job, and what they’re missing in their current job. This “completely changes the equation,” as Rockmann states, by selecting for factors that will help workers build loyalty to the firm.

The research might also help break the stigma that on-demand work is just for those who need money.

“This work is not just about money, which to some people might sound degrading,” Rockmann said. “If they can be happier and have a more fulfilled professional life by broadening out the kinds of tasks they’re doing, then they’re going to be better off and so will the organization.”

Rockmann notes that the employee-organization relationship “is much more similar to what we see in traditional firms than we typically think it is.”

But, he says, the on-demand economy is reshaping the workforce in other ways.

“I think the potential for these companies is to change not only how we book hotels and how we book taxis, but how we think about work. Maybe in 20 years, it won’t be working for one firm, but having a portfolio of firms that workers can choose to use their skills at and manage their own careers.”

General Fri, 12 May 2017 09:10:56 -0400
Business Competition Rewards Best Ideas, Not Just Fastest Pitches

Airposted first placeGreat ideas and business savvy were rewarded April 28 at the annual Deans’ Business Competition & Mobile Game Competition, a high-stakes pitch contest for current and prospective Mason entrepreneurs and innovators.

Current Mason students as well as recent alumni are eligible to compete in three categories: traditional, mobile game, and social impact. This year’s competition attracted a record 47 entries, with finalists delivering a four-minute pitch for their idea in front of an audience of about one hundred. Teams then answered tough questions from panels of judges drawn from the ranks of entrepreneurs and investors in the region—many with ties to Mason.

Top prize for the day went to AirPosted, a start-up that provides a peer-to-peer platform for low-cost overseas shipping. Co-founded by Rayan Rahman, a senior management major from Bangladesh, and his cousin Raisa Rahman, AirPosted launched in early 2017 and currently has handled more than 1,000 transactions. The team won a $10,000 cash prize made possible by a generous donation from fellow Patriot Marilyn Jackson, BS Management ’11.

Second place, and $5,000, went to TravelWeb, an iPhone app developed by Cody Lucas that lets travelers create a map-based digital scrapbook of their journeys. Lucas, an information systems and operations management major, plans to complete the prototype this summer. TravelWeb also won an additional $1,000 for the Audience Choice award.

The winner of the Mobile Game competition was One More Room, a game that requires users to solve puzzles of increasing complexity to escape from one digital room to the next. Computer game design major Scott Martin will receive development assistance at the Virginia Serious Games Institute (VSGI) valued at $10,000 to work on his game this summer.

Frankie’s Backyard Adventure, a concept by Amber Harlow, placed second. Harlow’s game is aimed at children ages 3-6, allowing them to creatively dress up virtual characters depending on the weather. Also a computer game design major, Harlow won $5,000 worth of development assistance at the VSGI.

In the social impact category, the winner of the Lynn Alexis Lee Corey Prize for Social Entrepreneurship, with its accompanying $5,000 award, was Home Again. Created by Ibrahim Pashaei BS Health, Fitness & Recreational Resources ’15, the owner of Manassas-based Northern Virginia Landscaping, Home Again supports veterans who are struggling with PTSD by providing them employment in the landscaping industry and a stable place to live. Home Again also won the $500 Audience Choice award.

An app aimed at providing practical help in math education, Math-ish, won the $2,500 second place award. Math-ish is created by the team of Jessica Pic, a PhD candidate in the College of Education and Human Development, Kimberlie Fair MED Curriculum and Instruction ’15, and Matthew Randon MED Curriculum and Instruction ’16.

Sumeet Shrivastava, president of the School of Business Alumni Chapter Board of Directors, explained why competitions such as this matter. “The students get practice on how to pitch to potential investors. They also get the opportunity to fail. That’s incredibly valuable early in your career as a life lesson,” said Shrivastava. “It might not be this business idea that catches fire for them; it might be their next one. But they are learning what a venture capitalist is looking for and what kind of questions to be ready to answer.” Shrivastava is President and CEO of ARRAY, a leading IT service provider to the aerospace and defense market.

Organized by the School of Business’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the event was held at MakeOffices, a co-working office space in Arlington, Virginia that is a local hub for startups and entrepreneurs.

General Tue, 09 May 2017 10:08:18 -0400
Exploring the Push and Pull of Two Emotional Cultures

Mandy ONeillMandy O’Neill has a message for managers who oversee a team of workers.

“In any organization you need to pay attention to your [workers’] emotional culture,” said the associate professor of management at George Mason University. “You want to develop an awareness and do a systematic assessment, but then do micro or macro interventions at each level.”

O’Neill, an associate professor of management in the School of Business and a senior scientist at George Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, knows what she’s talking about, having for years researched emotional cultures in various organizations and industries for more than 10 years. Her most recent study involved an examination of firefighters in a large metropolitan area in the southeast United States.

O’Neill interviewed 68 crews in 27 fire stations. Her findings, published in the Academy of Management Journal with co-author Nancy Rothbard of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, illustrate the push and pull of two emotional cultures—joviality and companionate love—and how they affect the camaraderie and performance of firefighting teams.

First, though, let’s define terms. Joviality is the ability to have fun and take a joke. Companionate love, in O’Neill’s research, means the ability to show compassion and caring in times of need.

“It was important to look at how they operate in tandem,” O’Neill said, “how one emotion was the thing you needed to know to explain performance, but the other you needed to know to understand the implications for health and well-being.”

What did O’Neill find?

The crews high in joviality and companionate love were the most efficient in their jobs and in their lives outside of work.

Stations high in joviality had job enthusiasm, what O’Neill called “indicators of high performance, but also increased risk-taking.” But if they were low in companionate love, interpersonal relationships suffered, at work and at home.

“This is where you hear about hazing or the most frightening frat house from your college days,” she said.

Stations high in companionate love but low in joviality seemed to lack enthusiasm for the job.

“You need the joviality to really see the performance implications,” she said.

And if stations had neither joviality nor companionate love, the culture seemed indifferent.

“One of the coolest things about emotions is unlike some abstract value that you read on a PowerPoint slide or in a management memo, emotions are nonverbal and contagious,” O’Neill said. “We have an inborn ability to recognize other’s emotions.”

That is why an organization “needs to develop an emotional culture that allows employees to thrive,” she said.

General Tue, 09 May 2017 08:31:06 -0400
New Program Gives More Honey Bees a Home

BeeInitiative landfillhill About two years from now, German Perilla hopes about four acres of the I-95 Landfill Complex in Lorton, Va., will be transformed into green meadows with grasses, wildflowers and bees—lots of bees.

Perilla, director and co-founder of George Mason University’s Honey Bee Initiative, let out a soft “woo-hoo” when asked about the project, and added, “I feel fantastic.”

The ambitious endeavor—a partnership among George Mason, Fairfax County and Covanta, a private waste energy company that runs the landfill’s incinerator—is the latest example of the Honey Bee Initiative’s broadening profile on campus and its outreach into the community.

The initiative is part of the School of Business and College of Science. The relationship allows the initiative to engage in even more robust research while providing a platform for business students to stretch their imaginations by developing sustainable business models.

At a “Smart Hive Hackathon” sponsored by Sioux Honey Association Co-Op in February, students began using technology to brainstorm about developing devices and apps to monitor hive health and battle colony collapse disorder, which is devastating bee populations worldwide.

The Honey Bee Initiative’s multidisciplinary courses on sustainability and beekeeping will be unaffected, as will its collaboration with indigenous communities in Colombia, Peru and El Salvador to establish hives that provide environmentally sustainable sources of nutrition and income.

“I’m thrilled by the multidisciplinary courses and research potential,” said Lisa Gring-Pemble, an associate professor in the School of Business and co-founder of the Honey Bee Initiative. “Our shared commitment to sustainability, social impact and bee and pollinator health is what drives our collaboration.”

“It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how science and business can work together, how science can help communities and do better for the environment,” said Peggy Agouris, dean of the College of Science. “I feel very strongly that this is a perfect combination of factors that can create something in the students’ academic experience they will not forget.”

In claiming portions of the 500-acre I-95 Landfill Complex that have been closed and capped by soil and turf, seeds for rye grass and wildflowers such as black-eyed Susan were planted on two acres in October and two acres this spring. Twelve hives, constructed of pine, each with 15,000 bees, will create an education site open to students and school groups. The sites will take about two years to mature.

“The main goal of the Honey Bee Initiative is to educate students, professors and the general public on the importance of pollinators. This is the platform to do it,” Perilla said. “This country depends on pollinators for its food security, and honey bees are the most versatile pollinators you can find.”

Claiming of the I-95 landfill actually began with Mason alumnus Eric Forbes, the complex manager who graduated from Mason in 2002 with an integrative studies degree and a specialization in environmental management and ecology.

A classmate of Perilla’s while at Mason, Forbes thought bee apiaries on closed areas of the property would be a win-win, and gave his old friend a call. Forbes said he wants to eventually turn 25 acres of landfill into meadows. That will not only provide habitat for native wildlife and pollinators, it will lower maintenance costs for the landfill through reduced mowing. New root systems will also reduce storm water runoff and erosion.

Officials from Fairfax County’s Solid Waste Management Program backed the strategy and donated $5,000, as did Covanta. The money went to buy seeds, the bees, hives and a pollen substitute to help feed the hives as they become established.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” Forbes said. “These partnerships between a state university and local government can lead to bigger and better things for education and the community.”

“It’s support that we never had,” Perilla said. “It’s an opportunity we never had. The fact that we’re working with Covanta, that we’re working with Fairfax County, that we’re working with the community... it really opens some doors.”

General Tue, 09 May 2017 08:24:48 -0400
Hitting an Ace: Tennis Player Excels on Court and in the Classroom

BuzoianuGiuliano Buzoianu trained most of his life to play tennis in the U.S. Encouraged by his dad and godfather, he started playing when he was six. Buzoianu, originally from Romania, has been dedicated to the sport since.

“I probably started practicing every day when I was 9 or 10. That’s when I committed. At 13, I moved to Spain for the tennis academy. They pretty much prepared all of us to be ready to come to the U.S. to play. It was intense,” he said.

It was in Spain that he first learned of Mason. Buzoianu’s principal was from Virginia and suggested he look into Mason. “I mainly came here for tennis, and he told me it’s a good school with a good accounting program,” the junior accounting major said.

“I love math, I love numbers. I like everything to be perfect and the right way.”

Despite a busy schedule as a student athlete, Buzoianu has maintained a 3.75 GPA and was awarded the Stearns Provost Scholar Athlete Award. “It’s nice to be recognized for something like that. It shows that they care,” he said.

Buzoianu’s typical day consists of class, a quick lunch, practice and/or lifting depending on the season, homework in the evenings, and matches on weekends. In the summers, he spends just a few weeks at home in Romania before going to Spain to coach, or studying abroad, as he did last summer in London.

“It was a good experience. I loved London and learned a lot about accounting,” he said. While in London, Buzoianu worked in a supermarket’s accounting department doing finance and information systems accounting work. He was responsible for checking inventory, making sure invoices were accurate, processing payments, and working with vendors.

This summer he plans on staying mostly in Fairfax, where he’d like to get an internship, take more classes, and coach tennis.

He plans on graduating on time in Spring 2018 and then taking the CPA exam. “I hope I can find a job with a firm here, maybe one of the big four.”

General Mon, 08 May 2017 09:15:46 -0400
School of Business Career Services Expands Offerings

JobQuestWith new staff members and expanded services to meet the needs of more internship and job-seeking students, the School of Business’s Career Services is on the rise. Kerry Willigan, director of Career Services, calls the changes a welcomed “growth opportunity.”

In the last year, Career Services has grown to include three full-time staff members, and will be adding a full-time internship coordinator and part-time government contracting job developer. Kaleb Lewis serves as assistant director and Kimberly Blue as graduate career manager, working at both the Arlington and Fairfax campuses.

Blue helps graduate students market themselves and their graduate degree so they can take the next step in their career. “While not terribly different from undergraduates, there is a bit more personal branding and strategic networking that goes into a graduate level job search,” Willigan said.

In the fall 2016 semester with only two advisors on staff, the Career Services team served more than 1,000 students and alumni.

“That’s a growth opportunity for us because we’re seeing such an increase in the demand from students who want to do an internship for credit. We’ve tripled the number of students who have taken the internship class,” Willigan said, as internship credits now count as an elective for an undergraduate student’s major.

With the creation of Business Foundations courses, students are looking for internships earlier in their college careers. Business Foundations courses provide undergraduate students basic principles to excel in today’s business environment. They prepare students for their upper level courses and real-world experiences, like internships.

“Some employers are actually looking at freshmen and sophomores for internships, so we’re going to start seeing more of those students too,” Willigan said.

Along with more staff has come expanded programming, such as the Ask the Professionals panels, which have transformed over the last two years from a focus on career field to major. “We’ve seen that quadruple. Two years ago we had maybe 25 students showing up for an Ask the Professionals event. Now we have nearly 100 showing up for each event,” Willigan said.

If students are short on time, they can also drop-off their resumes to be critiqued and ready for pick up in 48 hours.

“Resume drop off is brand new, and it’s something that we’re seeing increased traffic on, which is great,” Lewis said. “They can then schedule an appointment if they want one-on-one feedback, or they can do a walk-in. It saves them time and turns a 30 minute appointment into 15 minutes, and they’re getting valuable feed back on their resumes.”

Senior management major Mark Ghaly took advantage of resume drop off. “This is a really convenient service. I am glad it was put into place, and I could drop off my resume before I graduate,” Ghaly said.

Students will also have the chance to attend new workshops each semester, covering everything from basic resume writing skills, to networking and career fair preparation. The Career Services team will also reach out to students at new student orientations over the summer.

“We’ll be meeting with all incoming first year and transfer students in the undergraduate program, as well as their families to help them learn about us. Sometimes parents can be our biggest advocates in getting their student to visit,” Lewis said.

Career Services also is open to all School of Business alumni. Yousef Chashi, a management major, graduated in December 2016. When he started his job search in January of this year, he met with Lewis to get help with his resume and cover letter. Chashi says he now feels confident in submitting his application materials.

“I felt welcome in Kaleb’s office, which allowed me to ask more questions. His comments and suggestions were logical and very helpful to improve my cover letter and resume. Kaleb was also willing to look at them after my revisions and gave me some suggestions,” Chashi said, recommending that more students visit Career Services at the beginning of their job search.

Bashar Abdu, a senior accounting major, also met with Lewis when he was having doubts on pursuing an accounting career. Abdu said he was afraid to be judged, but “when I met with Kaleb, all this fear was put aside, and he was even more encouraging and understanding than I thought he would be.”

Lewis encouraged Abdu to try different internships and helped update his resume. Abdu felt more confident handing out his resume at the Career Fair and was even invited to an interview after posting his resume on HireMason.

It’s these success stories that make Lewis look forward to the future of Career Services and finding more ways to help current students and alumni with their internship or job search.

“We all really care about our jobs. Our passion is helping other people find their passion. So working with students and helping them through the process, we want to know how things are going. Let me know how the interview went, let me know when you get the position, because I get joy out of them and their success.”

With the Office of Career Services in “full growth mode,” Willigan is setting her sights high for its future.

“With our student to advisor ratios being above industry standards, we need to add more career staff to assist our graduates, undergraduates, and alumni with their career development needs,” she said. “With that expansion in mind, we will outgrow our current office suite and will be looking to locate to a state of the art career development center, which would include interview rooms fully equipped with the technology necessary for students to conduct both in person and virtual interviews.”

General Fri, 05 May 2017 09:07:04 -0400
Accounting Alum Scores Among Top 1% on CPA Exam

KargoshaGrowing up, Sahand Kargosha always knew he would pursue a career in accounting. After all, it runs in the family.

“My father, grandfather, and great-grand-father were all accountants. So I had a clear idea about what accounting was and what it took to be successful in this field. I also enjoy the problem-solving aspect of accounting and specially tax,” said Kargosha, who took advantage of Mason’s Accelerated MS in Accounting program to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting in only five years. .

The 2016 graduate now serves as a tax associate with Ernst & Young, LLP, where he focuses on helping partnerships and limited liability companies that aren’t typically taxed at an entity level prepare their income tax provision and compliance matters. Kargosha describes the work as engaging, and the “people and culture of the firm is the most enjoyable thing about my job.”

Because he knew he wanted a career in accounting, Kargosha sought out a school with a reputable program and professors that would aid in his career success. He says he found just that at Mason.

“They did a great job teaching the material. It helped me to be better prepared for my CPA exam. They also did their best to help the students develop their professional networks. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of professionals through my professors,” he said.

To become a licensed certified public accountant (CPA), aspiring accountants must take the Uniform CPA Examination. When Kargosha took the exam in 2016, he obtained a cumulative average score above 95.5 across all four sections of the exam on his first attempt.

He was awarded the Elijah Watt Sells Award from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for his performance on the exam. Of the more than 102,300 individuals who sat for the exam in 2016, only 58 candidates met the criteria to receive this award.

“It was definitely a humbling experience. I was not aiming for the award when I started studying for the exam. My goal was simply to finish all four parts in 16 weeks,” Kargosha said.

For now, Kargosha said is happy with is career in public accounting, with EY being the best option for him. “I really enjoy my experience here both in terms of the people that I work with and the work that I do.”

General Tue, 02 May 2017 10:58:48 -0400