School of Business News Tue, 14 Aug 2018 11:41:59 -0400 MYOB en-gb State Department Grants Help Mason Further its Mission as a University for the World

George Mason University understands the importance of working together with local communities to devise permanent sustainability solutions, and nowhere is that more apparent than with two U.S State Department-funded projects currently underway in Peru and around the region.

“Building Bridges and Capacity: An Innovative Model for US-Peruvian Educational Exchange” is a result of a $25,000 grant awarded to Mason’s Michael Gilmore and Andrew Wingfield for a project that seeks to develop an innovative and sustainable partnership between Mason and the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana (UNAP) that promotes study-abroad and training opportunities for students in the fields of environmental science, conservation biology and sustainability studies.

“Business for Peace and a Sustainable World: Beekeeping, Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment” is the result of another $25,000 grant that went to the Honey Bee Initiative project by Lisa Gring-Pemble and Germán Perilla and is a perfect example of Mason serving local communities while working to better the environment.

Here’s a closer look at both projects:

A bridge from Peru to Mason

David Gilmore.main Gilmore and Wingfield, both of whom are associate professors in the School of Integrative Studies within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, hope to formalize and strengthen long-standing collaborations between researchers and students at both Mason and UNAP as well as with experts at nongovernmental organizations and civil society in both Peru and the United States.

Gilmore has 20 years of experience working in the Peruvian Amazon while doing community-based conservation and sustainability work with indigenous Amazonian communities. Most of that has come with the Maijuna, which—with just 500 people— is one of Peru’s smallest and most endangered indigenous groups.

With the grant, both he and Wingfield hope to further develop the curriculum for a field course that they teach together in Peru while incorporating the Maijuna communities and instructing them in the teaching of that material. The two Mason professors additionally hope to foster a cultural exchange by providing opportunities for Peruvian students to join the field course they teach. Plans are also under way to explore opportunities for Peruvian students to come to the United States to study at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, Gilmore said.

“It’s all about building significant connections between Mason and UNAP and building capacity for conservation and sustainable development in the Peruvian Amazon,” he said. “Not only for Peruvian students, but also in the Maijuna indigenous group.”

Honey Bee Initiative keeps buzzing

For Gring-Pemble, the Honey Bee Initiative, a joint program of the School of Business and the College of Science, touches on manyPemble Parilla.main 0 goals from George Mason University’s strategic plan. The project is multidisciplinary, employs innovative learning and promotes entrepreneurship.

Through the leadership of codirector Perilla, MAIS ’12, the initiative has also developed an international presence in Colombia, Peru and El Salvador. In Colombia, it has placed 180 beehives in three communities through its social entrepreneurial outreach.

Officially, the program will partner with the Universidad Industrial de Santander in Colombia to apply an experiential business-oriented approach to explore social entrepreneurship and community-driven development.

In the program’s practical application, students from Gring-Pemble’s Social Impact and Entrepreneurship class (MGMT 454) will travel to Colombia with students from Perilla’s Beekeeping and Sustainability class (EVPP 423) to get a granular view of local businesses that not only make a profit but also help people and the environment.

With this grant and a formal relationship with a university, the initiative hopes to work with local governments and banks to double its number of beehives in Colombia to 360 in six communities.

There also are plans for students from the Universidad Industrial de Santander to travel to Mason.

“It highlights, or maybe affirms, the importance of working together with a community to drive sustainable solutions,” Gring-Pemble said. “And when the State Department puts their seal of approval on it, that’s wonderful.”

“You want to see the strategic plan in action?” she said. “Here’s the program.”

General Thu, 02 Aug 2018 08:30:58 -0400
Finance Student Takes on Internship in the Concrete Jungle

SaylesEmily Sayles is interning in the concrete jungle of New York City, immersing herself in what it means to be a busy New Yorker in the Financial District by day, navigating Wall Street walkers and investors in the afternoon, and debriefing research with seasoned financial analysts by night. Sayles is a rising sophomore studying finance. She obtained her internship through networking early and asking the right questions about gaining work experience in finance.

Sayles is a financial research intern with Argus Research Company, an independent investment research company that provides unbiased and impartial analysis of the U.S. equities to the professional financial services market.

Sayles is mainly responsible for obtaining research for analysts, updating and evaluating earning models for companies, and composing reports. Sayles’ internship has given her the opportunity to attend the NASDAQ with analysts for an on-air round table, visit and participate in the New York Stock Exchange with brokers, and work closely with select IPO brokerage firms.

Her interest in finance started early, when she realized her strengths in critical problem solving. “I like the more ‘what if’ situations to solve, so finance really intrigues me as a career that solves the ‘what if’s’ in financial services and investment banking.”

Sayles said her Contemporary Macroeconomics Principles and Development of Professional Skills courses that both helped her prepare for her internship in ways of interpreting trends and working in professionals settings. “We really talked about the different factors and analysis of trends in a business and trends,” she said.

She further explained the importance of writing a resume to prepare for professional environments and being career ready. “I already had a resume, but Career Services came into my class and helped us revise our resume, explaining how to write about soft skills versus technical skills.”

Sayles believes there is value in experiential education and planning for a full-time job or graduate school. Her future plans consist of living in Washington, D.C. or Philadelphia, obtaining her MBA, and becoming a financial manager for an ETS.

When asked what advice she would give to an intern on day one of their internship, she said, “You need to have a good mindset, open to everything coming at you and learn to intake information quickly and being open to lifelong learning.”

General Mon, 23 Jul 2018 08:39:54 -0400
Humphrey Fellow Hopes to Take What He's Learned at Mason Back to Afghanistan

Shahristani photo 2His deep love of country brought Afghanistan’s Ibrahim Shahristani all the way across the world for a six-week stay at George Mason University as a Humphrey Fellow.

Shahristani, who most recently served as chief information officer within Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries, was one of 152 fellows from 97 countries to visit America this year as part of the Humphrey Fellowship Program, which is affiliated with the U.S. State Department’s Fulbright Program.

The Humphrey Fellowship provides a year of professional enrichment in the United States for experienced professionals from designated countries that are undergoing development or political transition. Shahristani, who had spent the two previous semesters at Syracuse University before arriving at Mason, was eager to collaborate with scholars from Mason and around the globe while researching the best ways the Afghan government might deliver digital services such as commercial services, business registrations and the likes.

At Mason, Shahristani worked with J.P. Auffret, the associate director of the Center for Assurance Research and Engineering (CARE) within Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering and director of research partnerships in the School of Business. The two men are writing a paper that develops recommendations for addressing some of the challenges of providing digital services in war-torn Afghanistan, including the potential and risks of public-private partnerships. The project takes into consideration the country’s information and communication technology development to date, institutional and human capacity and policy and legislative needs.

“One of the big problems in my country is the lack of good leadership in areas of collaborative governance,” Shahristani said, referring to the scenario where diverse stakeholders work in partnership to improve the management of public resources and delivery of services.

Shahristani noted that he planned to apply the added leadership, technical and policy skills he’s learned in the hopes of better providing citizen-centric services that might close the gap between government and its citizens.

He cited the multidisciplinary approach of Mason’s CARE Research Center in the Volgenau School of Engineering and the School of Business for better preparing him to combine technology, policy and leadership during future projects in Afghanistan.

“There’s been a lot of work done the last 10 years and many large-scale plans,” Auffret said of Afghanistan’s slow rebuild, “but, in some cases, the next steps toward implementation and development haven’t been taken yet. There are some elements of digital government which are common across ministries as well as from country to country and from context to context, which will be helpful as the Afghanistan government scales their efforts.”

Shahristani’s responsibilities as the Ministry of Commerce and Industries’ chief information officer included aligning policy to support legal structure, implementing IT resources effectively and introducing innovation in public services.

He has previously worked as a project manager with USAID to facilitate information and technology training for midcareer employees and job seekers.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” he said, “but there are still a lot of challenges ahead.”

The Humphrey Fellowship Program has received funding as a Fulbright exchange activity from the U.S. Congress since its inception in 1978 to honor late Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Since then, more than 4,600 fellows from 157 countries have participated in the program.

Photo by Bethany Camp.

General Mon, 16 Jul 2018 14:02:00 -0400
Heart Over Height: Finance Major Tempchin Welcomes Challenge of Division I Basketball

TempchinUR12For much of his life, Jack Tempchin has been told he's simply too short to put together a successful career in the game of basketball.

For some, those types of doubts can end lifelong dreams.

But for the 5-foot-9-inch Tempchin, the naysayers and cynics have just fueled him to work harder and push further as he's realized his goal of playing Division I basketball.

The role of a walk-on is often a thankless job.

With no scholarship money and limited playing time in games, a walk-on makes his mark in practice, where digesting the scouting report and challenging the team's starters and key reserves in reps is vital to a team's overall success.

It may be a thankless job, but Mason student-athletes and coaches are thankful that Tempchin is around to push the Patriots as they prepare for the 2018-19 season.

"A lot of what Jack does won't show up in a box score, but every person in our program knows the value he provides," head coach Dave Paulsen said. "He's a great teammate and our guys love him and respect him. He fits in seamlessly and embodies the values we try to teach here at Mason."

Tempchin's path to Fairfax has been all about proving the doubters wrong.

The Silver Spring, Md., native first picked up a basketball at the age of five. His father served as his coach when he began playing, and his mother provided the competitive edge and boost which helped him fall in love with the game.

Tempchin also began to play soccer in middle school, but his priority continued to be basketball as he approached high school. At 4-foot-10 going into his freshman year, many urged him to invest in soccer, where his quickness and agility would be an asset and size would not be a detriment. But Tempchin was up for the challenge that basketball would provide.

"People counted me out because of my height, so I felt like I had more to prove in basketball," Tempchin said. "Soccer may have been the easier path because I had the speed, but I liked having that chip on my shoulder."

Tempchin knew that because of his size disadvantage, he would need to work harder than everyone else to hone his skill set and develop the talent necessary to be successful. Heading into his freshman year, he was up at 7 a.m. every day working out at Blake High School. While many of the school's potential varsity players came in early that summer to prepare for the season, Tempchin was one of the few there daily putting in the effort.

Varsity coach Marcus Wiggins noticed and loved Jack's competitive drive. That stamp of approval would prove critical, as the school's JV coach didn't feel Tempchin could make the team on account of his smaller frame.

However, Wiggins pushed back and ensured Jack would have a spot on the end of the JV bench as a freshman at Blake. The Bengals put together a great season, and Jack played the final minutes in almost every game, as the team often would be up by 20 or more in the closing seconds.

Heading into his sophomore season, he continued to work as hard as he could, but the attitude from the JV coach remained the same.

"It was frustrating, because I felt I was one of the better players on the team and I wasn't being given a fair chance," Tempchin said. "I wasn't even allowed to do drills because I was so small. But I was going home and doing extra drills, pushups and whatever else I could. I wanted to be a difference maker."

The hard work paid off, and Wiggins continued to believe in Jack. He called him up to the varsity team for his sophomore season. Tempchin led the team in 3-pointers made that season and served as a key role player on a team that won a lot of games. Then, as a junior and senior, Tempchin was named team captain and started for the Bengals.

During a successful senior campaign, Tempchin fielded offers from a number of Division III programs. He would be able to play a lot and potentially make an impact on the court right away.

But Tempchin also was intrigued by the prospect of walking on to a program at the Division I level, where he may not see a ton of action, but could play big time college basketball while helping the team in other ways.

A close family friend, Walt Williams, played at Maryland, and told Tempchin he would have a chance to walk on for the Terrapins if he enrolled at the university. He jumped at the chance, and prepared for the short trip to College Park to begin his collegiate experience in 2016. Unfortunately, he found out before arriving on campus that all of the walk on spots had been filled. It was disappointing, but he liked the business school at Maryland and decided to try out life as a regular student.

The experience marked another bump in the road that might derail the hopes of a less determined person. But Tempchin again took it in stride and promised himself he'd work even harder to eventually play college basketball.

He received an opportunity shortly after, albeit in a different way than he initially expected when he became a Maryland student.

The women's team had an opening for a male practice player and head coach Brenda Frese wanted Jack to be a part of the program. Tempchin greatly enjoyed the year with the elite Terrapins squad, which posted a 32-3 record (15-1 Big Ten) and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.

At the season's conclusion, he had the opportunity to reprise his role for his sophomore campaign, but he couldn't shake the itch of playing college basketball.

Tempchin missed being a part of the team and the sense of belonging that came with it. He applied to transfer to a number of Division III programs, but also sought to walk on at a series of Division I programs.

Mason assistant coach Dane Fischer was one of the first to respond to Tempchin after he distributed his resume and film to staffs across the country. The Patriots needed a walk on point guard to run the scout team during the 2017-18 season, and that role would be the perfect fit for Tempchin's attention to detail, work ethic and drive.

"I went on a visit to Mason and loved it," Tempchin said. "I loved the coaches and the players. It was a great fit. I didn't even want to go to the other schools."

He enrolled, and quickly developed a gritty reputation with the Patriots. Diving for loose balls and going hard every play, he often would help set the tone needed for the types of hard-nosed practices Paulsen looks to facilitate each day.

"All of our scout team players have a huge role, but for Jack as the point guard, it's even bigger," Paulsen said. "The effort and energy he brings to practice every day is critical. A lot of the success we've been able to achieve is based on the ability of that scout team to replicate the other team's offense at a high level."

On a typical two to three day gap between games, Tempchin will work with the Mason assistant coach responsible for scouting the next opponent. He'll take on the role of the opposing point guard, such as Louisville's Quentin Snider or Massachusetts' Luwane Pipkins. He'll study the player's tendencies, then aim to replicate them in practice while matching up against Mason starting point guard Otis Livingston II, as well as Justin Kier, Javon Greene and other Patriot guards.

With Pipkins, for example, Tempchin learned that the UMass star favored the rocker step, liked to shoot off the dribble and was tasked with taking a high volume of shots. So he'd aim to create that type of player for Livingston II to compete against in practice. He'd then go back to the film room to watch more tape, and bring back a more complete look at the next practice or pregame shootaround.

Tempchin performed the task admirably and had the Patriots ready to go when the ball tipped in the actual games during the year.

"Jack pushes us to play defense and challenges us in every drill," Greene said. "He helped us out so much last year. He shoots the ball so well – we'd have to do our part against him. That made us better and it translated into the games."

With Tempchin's help, Mason posted its highest-ever A-10 finish (fifth) and won nine league games, despite being one of the 12 youngest teams in the country. Mason also had only eight scholarship players, making the roles of the team's walk ons even more critical.

"I have other friends that are walk ons at other schools, and they don't get a lot of reps,
Tempchin said. "They were impressed with how much I practice, and it made me realize how big of a role I had. With less players, you have to be ready because there's no one behind you to step up and help the team. You really have to be locked in and I definitely cherished that role this season."

Tempchin himself saw action in four games for the Patriots and scored his first career point against NC Central on Dec. 9. In the final minute of the game, he was fouled and approached the line for the first of two free throws.

He missed the first, which he blamed in part on nerves, and also on his height, as Tempchin could actually see himself from the reflection of the video board. That was a touch freaky, but he shook it off, and sunk the second.

The Mason crowd erupted, commemorating the moment.

"It was just one point, but it was one of the best feelings I've ever had," Tempchin said. "It was really awesome to see how much the fans were behind me."

In addition to his work on the court and in practice, Tempchin also cemented a reputation as a "locker room guy." He picks his teammates up during periods of adversity and is relentlessly positive as the team pursues its goals and objectives each season.

"He provides a lift for our team," Greene said. "He's always smiling and joking around. That helps us after a bad game or a tough practice. He teaches me a lot. He's a great student, and I've learned a lot from him on how to balance studying, basketball and school work."

How does Tempchin stay so consistently positive?

He points to some necessary perspective learned over the past year while dealing with a personal tragedy in his life.

During the 2017-18 season, Tempchin lost one of his best childhood friends. It reminded him of basketball's place in the grand scheme of life, while also creating a sense of gratitude that he has an opportunity to live life and do what he loves.

"This game is so much fun, but it's still just a game," Tempchin said. "You're literally just losing a game. You're not losing a loved one, or an arm or a leg. It's a game and you get another shot at it. I stay positive because I know this group and I know that we can always get the next game. We always have a chance to win when we're on the floor together, no matter what. When we bring that focus and energy, we can be successful. It's almost hard to be negative with this group because everyone's so uplifting."

Tempchin has played basketball since he was five years old, but feels this Mason group is the closest team he's ever been a part of. Whereas teams can develop cliques, where certain players hang out with only a select few other guys, he feels this Mason roster is one, tight-knit unit.

"I've never been a part of something like this," Tempchin said. "Guys in high school play with each other for seven to eight years growing up, and they still have issues. That's never been a problem here. I love my teammates and our coaches are so good at what they do. You want to work for them and you want to work with them. You have that common goal and you want to help the team anyway you can. I feel like I belong and I want to help as much as possible."

He relishes his place within the Mason program, but also can look forward to what's sure to be a bright future in the financial world. He carries a 3.8 GPA at Mason as a business major and he's leaving himself open to a number of potential interests in the industry. He will graduate early – in December 2019 – and has the opportunity to exhaust his eligbility from there while potentially pursuing an MBA or putting credits toward a CPA designation during his time at Mason.

"I want to own my own company one day," Tempchin said. "I'm really into capital venture stuff and I like stocks. I love investing. I think basketball teaches you so much about investments. You ultimately invest a lot, you put a lot of time in and you get out what you put in."

For now, though, Tempchin is invested mainly in the 2018-19 Patriots, a team that has the potential to build on last year's foundation with every player from the 2017-18 campaign returning. Mason also will enjoy some added depth with three incoming freshmen and University of Virginia transfer Jarred Reuter, who sat out last season.

"The fact that we were so young last year and still achieved what we did shows so much promise," Tempchin said. "The freshmen coming in are very talented and they're great guys that will fit in well. The depth they'll provide is only going to help make us tighter as a team. If we stay focused and lock in on our goals, we have the potential to win a lot of games next season."

Photo and story by Mason Athletics.

General Thu, 05 Jul 2018 09:28:41 -0400
School of Business Alumni Recognized at Mason’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

George Mason University’s Alumni Association celebrated its 50th anniversary with more than 500 alumni, university leaders, and George Mason community members at a special gala celebration.

With just 52 alumni in 1968, Mason now has more than 187,000 alumni today, just 50 years later. The event was an inspirational night for alumni and all those connected with Mason.

Long-time supporter of the School of Business and Mason, Lovey Hammel, BS Business Administration ’88, was featured in a special video produced by GMU-TV titled “The Common Thread: A Story of Perseverance and Spirit.”

“We dream big,” said Ángel Cabrera, president of Mason. “When the door opens, walk through it. And I tell you, if it doesn’t open, kick it open. Kick it open, then walk through it. Then hold it open for many others to follow.”

As part of the event, the Alumni Association recognized 50 Alumni Exemplars who represent Mason’s diverse alumni community, and who exude what it means to be a Mason graduate. Seven School of Business alumni were honored at the event.

Paul T. Burke, BA Business and Public Administration '68
Paul Burke’s academic experience at Mason provided a foundation for lifelong military, public, and nonprofit service, leading organizations to accomplish their missions. After Mason, he completed Infantry Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army, serving in Vietnam as a combat signal officer, and was twice awarded the Bronze Star. Throughout his career he helped lead different nonprofit organizations focused on public service.

Michael R. Kutsch, MBA '75
Michael Kutsch has more than 35 years of entrepreneurial experience identifying successful business ideas and creating the infrastructure and processes to execute against them. His broad background includes founding, building, and acquiring various business interests and generating substantial value through effectively managing the operational and financial aspects of dynamic businesses. He earned an MBA in finance from Mason.

Stephen W. Neal, BS Business '78
From working as a young boy in the tobacco fields of Annapolis, Maryland, to becoming a dealer principal with one of the largest minority-owned commercial truck and school-bus dealerships in North America, Stephen W. Neal is CEO of K. Neal International Trucks Inc. and K. Neal Idealease Inc. Neal’s success was built on several foundations that he learned while attending Mason, and he is a proud Patriot.

H. Patrick Walters, BS Business '75 and MBA '80
Patrick Walters is currently Inova Health System’s EVP and chief human resources officer. He has been a member of Inova’s senior leadership team for more than 25 years. Walters’ early career included executive and financial leadership positions in other healthcare organizations in the Northern Virginia region. He credits Mason for preparing him well by providing broad exposure to business fundamentals, respect and appreciation for multiple points of view and the honing of his communication skills.

Allen F. Johnson, BS Management '83
Al Johnson has served as president of Allen F. Johnson & Associates (AFJ), a global business and consulting firm, since 2005. Previously he was an ambassador in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in the Executive Office of the President. The education, leadership, and social opportunities available at Mason were essential to his professional and personal development. Mason provided a strong foundation for his understanding of business, problem solving, and community service.

Ivy L. Zelman, BS Accounting '90
As CEO of Zelman & Associates, Ivy Zelman has 27 years of experience covering housing and housing-related industries. Founded in October 2007, Z&A provides analyses across all aspects of the housing spectrum. For the past 23 years, Institutional Investor has recognized Zelman as one of the most preeminent figures within the housing industry. Most notably, Institutional Investors–America Research Team rankings placed Zelman and her team with 11 first-place rankings.

Franziska Moeckel, BS Marketing '07
Franziska Moeckel is the assistant vice president of personalized health at Inova Health System. Moeckel is also the co-creator of MediMap®, Inova’s innovative pharmacogenomic testing program and the institution’s first trademarked product line. With more than 10 years of healthcare experience and a deep understanding of precision medicine integration, she is a respected thought leader in the field.

As part of the event, held at the EagleBank Arena on May 12, Mason’s Alumni Association presented a check to the George Mason University Foundation for $78,540, for the 50th Anniversary Scholarship Endowment.

General Mon, 02 Jul 2018 08:57:08 -0400
Building Her Future: A Bridge Between Technology and Management

Kapan croppedAnnika Kapani, an information systems and operations management senior, transferred to George Mason University her junior year. She described George Mason as a “prime location for endless job opportunities,” in business and technology, which would give her an edge over business majors from other universities upon graduation.

Kapani, who plans on graduating in spring 2019, chose to major in information systems and operations management because she views that skillset as the future of business. She described the major as a “bridge between the technical and managerial aspects.”

During her short time at the School of Business, Kapani has already held two internships.

“I believe internship experiences makes a person stronger, and also gives them a sense of what they want to do and where they want to be post-graduation. You get a better understanding of professionalism interning under different companies,” she said.

Kapani interned at Navy Federal Credit Union during the spring 2018 semester, and worked under three departments within the lending area. These areas included insurance, insurance claims, and correspondence.

As an insurance intern, Kapani was responsible for analyzing and sorting data that would be exported into a database for further review. Under insurance claims, she helped people with damages to their homes get repairs.

“At the time, Hurricane Harvey was in action so the department was behind on their tasks. I was able to help insurance claims catch up on thousands of overdue tasks,” she said. “I would communicate with members via email or phone call to understand their situation with the damages on their house and the steps they were taking to handle it. Then I would order an inspection to visit the house and make sure repairs were completed.”

The last department she worked with was correspondence, which she described as the most challenging because “it dealt with responding to members’ questions regarding anything under mortgage and equity servicing.” However, Kapani enjoys a challenge and said she learned the most working with correspondence because it required her to have “general knowledge of many business unites under lending.”

For summer 2018, she is interning with KPMG in the federal cyber risk advisory area.

School of Business Career Services helped Kapani secure this internship by providing meet-and-greet events on-campus with KPMG recruiters. She was able to meet one-on-one with a recruiter, which “helped me build a relationship for future recruiting events.”

“It gave me the opportunity to make sure the recruiter was able to connect applying my name to a face when looking into my internship application,” she said.

From her internships, Kapani has learned that “the most important skill to have going into any job is the ability to learn and adapt to something you have never seen or dealt with before.” She added that the internships would ease her transition from being a student to a young professional after graduation.

“Many people have told me that there is more to what you learn in classes that make you successful in the commercial world, and that is the ability to adapt and learn new things quick, accountability, attention to detail, and professionalism.”

General Tue, 26 Jun 2018 13:37:36 -0400
Management Major Travels from Internship to Mason Korea

Talman 2Kristen Talman knew George Mason University was the right school for her based on the university’s proximity to the nation’s capital. The management major was looking for a business school located in an area with several internship opportunities, and faculty who have worked in the business field prior to teaching.

“Due to the proximity to the nation’s capital and the plethora of companies that have offices in the Northern Virginia region it seemed optimal for a determined business management student who is looking to enhance their career aspirations while obtaining a prestigious degree taught by terrific professors,” Talman said.

The goal-oriented sophomore knew she wanted to expand her learning opportunities outside of the classroom early in her academic career, which also helped her “confirm my desire to study business” and understand the business environment.

Talman interned with Global Business Travel Association in Alexandria, VA from fall 2017 through February 2018. She interned with the Global Strategic Sourcing and Contracts team, which focused on both national and international contracts. Talman was responsible for generating sourcing and contractual documents, including solicitations, purchase orders, and service agreements, as well as conducting market research on priority categories and assisting with formulating and executing category development strategies through drafting PowerPoint trainings to present amongst departments.

Because she was interning with a middle-sized non-profit, she was also exposed to different teams during her internship, including sales development and marketing. Talman credits the internship with widening her scope of experience, and also enjoyed the organization’s work environment.

“There was never a day that I wasn’t eagerly greeted with a smile by at least a handful of employees who were committed to making GBTA successful both externally and internally by supporting their fellow coworkers. I was treated with respect and invited to participate in all meetings that my team did,” she said.

Talman was also able to apply concepts from Business Foundations classes to her internship. She said the Global Environment of Business, one of her favorite courses, taught her to apply “critical and informed thinking strategies to case studies,” which turned into real-life experience at her internship. Business Analytics was helpful in teaching her technical skills, like organizing and interpreting data in Excel.

Shortly after her internship ended in February, Talman hopped on a plane for some travel of her own. She spent part of the semester studying abroad and serving as an international peer advisor at Mason Korea. Talman plans on minoring in international business, and jumped at the international experiential learning opportunity, to take classes with Korean and American professors with experience working and living abroad.

“I wanted to help bridge the gap between the two campuses by serving as a peer advisor. Due to the smaller size of Mason Korea’s campus, it has been an excellent way to see Mason on a smaller scale and understand our core mission, internationally and in Fairfax,” she said.

In the future, Talman sees herself “wanting to couple my career aspirations with my international pursuits.” After graduation in 2020, she hopes to pursue a career in international marketing and communications.

“Through my desire to understand other countries’ culture, politics, and economics, I hope to work with a small to mid-sized company that is attempting to expand into a new emerging market by doing research on consumer behaviors and how to effectively market or communicate with a new population,” she said.

General Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:05:00 -0400
First Annual 2018 MBA Industry Summit

MBA summitGeorge Mason University School of Business together with the School of Business MBA Student Association recently held the first MBA Industry Summit at the school. The summit consisted of career workshops presented from School of Business Career Services, a panel of speakers from various industries, and a networking reception for students.

The highlight of this all-day event was the industry speaker panel, consisting of business professionals, professors, entrepreneurs, and former MBA students. The panel offered students an opportunity to hear first-hand how the MBA degree played a role in each person’s own personal experiences, and also what role it plays in their industry.

The panel included Bhavik Bhatt, MBA ’17, project lead for General Dynamics, Ben Diamond, MBA ’17, founder of Big and Strong and adjunct professor at Mason, Nick Hoover, MBA ’17, strategic analyst at Halfaker and Associates LLC, Caitlin Loiselle, recruiter at the National Security Agency (NSA), Shree Taylor, president & CEO, Delta Decisions of DC, Skip West, founder of MAXSA Innovations and adjunct professor at Mason, and Jim Wolfe, CEO & Co-Founder of J Street Consulting, and entrepreneur-in-residence and assistant professor at Mason.

“The MBA degree is the education that lets you figure out how the world works. Many of our students don’t want to work for ‘The Man’ their entire lives. At some point they’d like to move away from corporate entities and try entrepreneurship and start something on their own,” said Wolfe. “Events such as these give students the opportunity to learn how the MBA can help them throughout their career.”

Together with the support of the School of Business, Patrick Powell, president of the School of Business MBA Student Association, had an integral role in establishing the event. Powell said the idea for the event stemmed from survey responses of incoming MBA students. In these surveys, students were asked what industries they were interested in, and then this data was used to plan events throughout the year.

“In previous years, the MBA Student Association would take these surveys and try to set up some local business meetings with the most popular industries from the surveys,” said Powell. “This year I wanted to make a change and host our own summit and bring speakers from various industries to the students. By having the event on campus, it provided great access for students to network with all the speakers.”

The event was well attended by both MBA students and alumni. In addition to the panel, the event provided a unique opportunity for MBA students to enhance their career skills through workshops which included topics such as Career Readiness and You, Are YOU Career Ready?, and Strategic Networking Using Social Media. Career Services also discussed important skills and recommendations for networking and communication prior to students attending the networking reception that concluded the event. In addition, a photographer was available on-site for those MBA students interested in obtaining professional headshots.

“The training provided by Career Services, which involved career readiness and self-assessments, was a great benefit for students. Also, the industry speaker panel gave students insights into the skills learned from the MBA program and how they can be used in various industries,” said Powell. “The speakers also provided knowledge on their own thought processes and networking skills. Students were also able to have their questions answered by the speakers. Finally, the reception allowed for all students to have valuable access to network with all the speakers.”

Photo by Jess Wetterau

General Tue, 05 Jun 2018 08:24:55 -0400
Humphrey Fellow from Afghanistan Explores Government Digital Services Delivery at Mason

IbrahimHumphrey Fellow, Ibrahim Shahristani, is visiting George Mason University for six weeks and working with Professor J.P. Auffret in researching the application of best practices of digital service delivery for Afghanistan. Shahirstani’s visit follows his two semesters at Syracuse University as part of the Humphrey Fellowship Program, which is affiliated with the Fulbright Program through the U.S. State Department.

In Afghanistan, Shahristani was most recently the chief of information officer at the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. His responsibilities entailed aligning policy to support legal structure, implementing IT resources effectively, and introducing innovation in public services. In addition, he has worked as project manager with USAID facilitating competency-based, short-term modular training in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector for mid-career/semi-professional employees of private sector entities, and also mid-career/semi-professional job seekers.

“One of the big problems in my country is the lack of good leadership in area of collaborative governance. When I return to my country, I plan to use my leadership, technical and policy skills to facilitate collaborative governance in order to provide citizen centric services to close the gap between government and citizens,” said Shahristani. “The multidisciplinary approach of the CARE research center in the Volgenau School of Engineering and the School of Business at George Mason University will help me to combine technology, policy, and leadership in the future ICT projects in my country,” he added.

During his time at Mason, Shahristani’s focus is on working on a research paper with Auffret regarding delivery of digital services for the Afghanistan government. Shahristani will work on developing recommendations for addressing some of the challenges of providing digital services in Afghanistan including the potential and risks of public private partnerships. The project will also consider the governance, institutional, and policy considerations for the development of an Afghanistan digital identity system.

The Humphrey Fellowship provides 10 months of study and professional affiliations for mid-career scholars and professionals from developing countries. Fellows are selected based on potential for leadership and dedication to public service, and alumni have made contributions in their home countries ranging from serving as government ministers to starting schools and leading trans-formative policy initiatives. The 2017-2018 Humphrey Fellowship Program consists of 150 Fellows from 97 countries.

“The Humphrey Fellows are very accomplished and have great impact in their countries before and after their Fellowship year. We host Humphrey Scholars with an interest in the furthering the application of ICT to national development. During their stay, we arrange visits and calls with U.S. and international government, private sector, and academic experts on leadership and governance of ICT providing multiple perspectives across a range of contexts.” said Auffret, director, Research Partnerships, School of Business and associate director, Center for Assurance Research and Engineering (CARE), Volgenau School of Engineering.

“During my stay as a Humphrey fellow in the U.S., I have experienced friendship and professional networking with U.S. scholars and faculty and this experience helped me to use the Hubert H. Humphrey quote, the greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it,” said Shahristani.

Shahristani is the sixth Humphrey Scholar Fellow to visit Auffret. Previous Humphrey Scholars that Auffret has hosted were from Pakistan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Russia, and Namibia.

General Wed, 30 May 2018 09:40:22 -0400
Senior David Erinle Produces His Own Future

David Erinle mainNot many people grow up with a clear understanding of what they want to be in life. But David Erinle had a clue.

“My mom would say that when she was pregnant with me and in church, I would always kick on beat,” said Erinle, a senior business management major at George Mason University with a music technology minor. “So I like to say I was playing drums, before I was even born.”

His family gave Erinle his first drum set at age 3, and a keyboard at 8, with which he produced and recorded beats. So when Erinle started his own independent record label, he called it Blackburn Sound in honor of his childhood home on Blackburn Court in Montgomery County, Md.

“Everything I do now is a derivative of what happened there, and what started there,” said Erinle. “So I had to pay homage to that place, that’s where you get the Blackburn Sound.”

That sound is getting noticed thanks to Erinle’s tireless promotion of his brand and projects on social media, and the contacts he made because of it.

Grammy-nominated songwriter Jarmone Davis, who co-wrote wrote Marvin Sapp’s “Yes You Can,” which was No. 1 on the MediaBase gospel singles charts, is a mentor. Erinle has also interned with producer Javon Gant-Graham, who engineered Goldlink’s Grammy-nominated song “Crew.”

Erinle even produced a track for model Ashley Graham’s new swimsuit line commercial.

“What makes him stand out is his comprehension of technical and musical perspectives at such an early start in his career,” Gant-Graham said. “David is a bright musical mind, his curiosity is a trait not given to many.”

“As an audio engineer, sometimes I have to make a lot of things happen very quickly, I need to be able to adapt and move at a moment’s notice,” Gant-Graham added. “When I need a second hand, and when I need another mind, David is the person I call to be an extension of myself. He’s my sous-chef.”

Erinle credits Mason with “providing me with the opportunity and resources I needed to learn about the different aspects of music, as well as being able to grow as a producer and gain experience.”

He is also exploring his own sound with a new digital album called “Red Mountain Project,” which he produced in his dorm room studio.

And he has kept to his roots. Though his studio work ended his career with the Green Machine, he had been a drummer with Mason’s nationally known pep band. He still drums, though, for his church.

“David always had a great feel for the song when he played his groove. It just fit,” said Paul Bernfeld, the Green Machine’s administrative and ensemble assistant. “He also has diverse tastes in music, a diverse ear, which is perfect for the studio.”

It also helped with “Red Mountain Project.”

“I think music today, generally, is pretty simple, it doesn’t have many elements,” Erinle said. “But this project is massive, it’s complex. I take listeners on a journey throughout every track.”

“What I’ve grown to love about the industry is seeing something come to fruition from nothing,” he added. “You look back at the finished product, and it’s amazing. For the future, I hope to make music a sustainable career for me and grow my brand.”

Photo by Logan McKennah Brown.

General Wed, 23 May 2018 10:05:14 -0400