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Bradley University, Foster College of Business

Issue 2, Winter 2017

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Competing demands How to succeed in business An educational evolution


DEVELOPING LEADERS through experiential learning



OUR VISION To be the standard for engagement, innovation, and impact in business higher education.

OUR MISSION Through close interaction and experiential learning, Dear Alumni and Friends: Recently, we voted on a new mission statement for the Foster College of Business, one that more accurately reflects who we are and what we do. “Through close interaction and experiential learning, we empower individuals and organizations to achieve great outcomes.” Throughout this issue, you’ll see just how we put that mission into place. The cover story on experiential learning shows how students gain invaluable real-world experience in their first year creating a business plan for a virtual company; in their senior year they work with an actual client through our Senior Consulting Project. Staff and students of the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship have spent nearly 240,000 hours over the last 15 years making an impact on central Illinois businesses. You’ll learn how our faculty champion efforts like this, while staying abreast of current business practices.

we empower individuals and organizations to achieve great outcomes.

OUR VALUES In everything we do, we value integrity, persistence, innovation, collaboration, impact, growth, diversity, and risk-taking.

We also believe in the importance of continuing your education even after you graduate. There’s helpful information about work-life balance from Assistant Professor of Management and Leadership Heidi Baumann, along with tips from Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Law Tanya Marcum and Associate Professor of Marketing Raj Iyer, who studies consumer behavior. Of course, there’s much more, but we hope these pages will help keep you connected and engaged with Foster College. And if you have a story idea you’d like to share, send us an email at

CONTACT US Darrell Radson, Ph.D. Dean, Foster College of Business

Online: Email: Phone: (309) 677-2253 Address: 1 501 W. Bradley Ave. Baker Hall 123 Peoria, IL 61625

CONTENTS Issue 2, Winter 2017



Competing demands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Darrell Radson dean, Foster College of Business

How to succeed in business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Jason Garrett associate dean, Foster College of Business

Developing leaders through experiential learning . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 An educational evolution.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Heather McCord ’01 MBA ’06 assistant dean, Foster College of Business


Editorial Team S. L. Guthrie, executive editor Bob Grimson ’81, assistant director Mary Brolley, assistant director Andrew Faught, Doug McInnis; freelance writers Creative Team Sarah Dukes, art director Tom Gunter, graphic designer Duane Zehr, photographer James Steinberg, cover story illustration



Running the numbers . . . . . . . . . 2



Walter Zakahi ’78, provost

National rankings. . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Janet Lange M.A. ’93, interim associate vice president for marketing and publications

6 20 COLUMNS Research rundown. . . . . . . . . . . 18 A look back. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Degrees of success. . . . . . . . . . . 21


Gary R. Roberts ’70, president

Sales team finishes second. . . . . . 3

© Bradley University 2017. Experience is an annual publication of the Foster College of Business at Bradley University and produced by the Office of Marketing and Publications. Bradley University is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and the promotion of equal opportunities for all persons regardless of age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or veteran status. The university is also committed to compliance with all applicable laws regarding non-discrimination, harassment and affirmative action.

NEWS Running the numbers Ever since Alex DiVerde ’16 was a young boy, he loved two things: running and numbers. Recruited to Bradley by then-Head Coach Marc Burns, and armed with the results of a career placement test, the Peoria native came to the Hilltop where he joined the track and cross country rosters and pursued a major in actuarial science. “Investment banking was the top (result), but actuarial science was one of the related fields,” he said. “(When my dad explained it) I thought, ‘that sounds exactly like me.’” Highly sought by the insurance industry, among others, and considered one of the best jobs in the country, actuaries use math, statistics, finance and economics to determine the likelihood of future events. DiVerde excelled in his coursework, earning a nearly 3.9 GPA; he cited finance professor Vince Showers as one of his mentors. “Dr. Showers was so incredibly supportive of all the actuarial science students,” said DiVerde. “(He) is one of the biggest reasons why I was as successful as I was in college.” All the hard work led to numerous awards, including the 2016 Alan C. Williams Leadership Award from Gamma Iota Sigma, the industry’s collegiate fraternity, which recognized DiVerde as the top actuarial science student in the U.S. His cross country team won the 2015 Missouri Valley Conference Championship, a first. “Alex was willing to prioritize what was most important to him during his time at Bradley,” said Showers. “He used his determination, career goals and faith to help him put things in perspective.” DiVerde also gained an abundance of professional experience by securing seven internships, two of which were return engagements, along with some consulting work. He credits his ability to get it all done to the project management skills he developed in the corporate world, some lucky breaks in scheduling, and developing friendships with classmates and teammates in order to have a social life. “There was enough variety that (I never felt) burned out,” he said. “… I still had a normalized schedule even though I was very busy.” Equally plentiful were the job offers DiVerde received in his field, but instead he felt called to serve as a Varsity Catholic missionary with The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., working with the school’s athletes.

“Figure out how much you truly enjoy math,” he said. “Not because you have to be the smartest person in the world, but because if you don’t enjoy math, it’s unlikely you’ll be happy doing actuarial science.” — S.L.G.

2 | Foster College of Business

Jerry Anderson/University of Mary

What advice would DiVerde offer students considering a career as an actuary?

Sales team finishes second Julia Perisin ’17 and Mitch Kuldell ’16 placed second at the National Collegiate Sales Competition at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. It was the fifth top-10 finish for the Bradley

The Foster College of Business ranked highest among private

team since 2005.

universities in Illinois and 42nd nationally by Bloomberg

The duo also finished

Businessweek. The magazine also ranked the college 10th

in the top eight individually. Perisin, the only junior in the event’s final four, placed second and Kuldell finished eighth. Taylor Maloney ’16 was the alternate. A total of 68 schools and 130 individuals participated in the oldest and largest event for sales majors in the nation. College faculty and recruiters from sponsoring companies like HON, Aflac and Hewlett-Packard judge the students on live role-play sales call challenges. “Our sales program is one of the best in the country, and our team showed that as they faced the best sales students,” said marketing instructor and team adviser Brad Eskridge ’08 MBA ’10. — B.G.

Foster College continues to score high in national rankings

nationally for employer evaluations. All undergraduate business schools were eligible for the rankings but only 114 met the judging criteria. According to the magazine’s website, they based their rankings on feedback from corporate recruiters, students’ own ratings, starting salaries of graduates and the percentage of graduates who had at least one internship as a student., in a list released by Safeco Insurance, ranked the actuarial science program ninth in the U.S., based on differences in median pay between high school and college graduates working in the field. The college’s accounting program topped all Illinois schools in CPA exam first-time pass rates for candidates with an advanced degree, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. For candidates with a bachelor’s degree, Bradley’s first-time pass rate was second in the state, trailing only the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Business and accounting will both continue their accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). The accreditation, considered the gold standard by Forbes magazine, noted several areas of excellence, including the Senior Consulting Project, the new undergraduate curriculum and collaborative efforts with the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology. Foster College is among 185 schools worldwide to have gained accreditation for both its business and accounting programs, a distinction it has maintained continuously for the business program since 1978. “This accreditation is a testament to the premier educational opportunity we offer students,” said Dean Darrell Radson. The AACSB is the longest-running global association aimed at advancing management education, with 777 schools accredited in 52 countries and territories. — B.G. Bradley University | 3


We all react differently to the challenge of balancing commitments to our work, our families and our personal lives. Assistant Professor Heidi Baumann hopes to reframe the discussion of work-life balance to include the ways these facets of our lives may enrich each other. It isn’t easy to define work-life balance. Take it from Heidi Baumann MBA ’08, whose research explores how people navigate the relationships between work, family responsibilities and personal lives. The assistant professor of management and leadership is also concerned with helping managers and supervisors make employees’ lives better. As the mother of two young daughters, Baumann and her husband juggle demanding work schedules with family time and child care needs. “I definitely experience competing demands. It’s total craziness right now,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the flexibility of my career.” So, the term balance may be the wrong way to think about it. After all, most of us must work to earn a living. Although work-family and work-personal conflicts may be inevitable, the compartments of our lives coexist. Baumann dares to suggest they could even enhance each other. Her interest in the subject began when she worked on a large project for a Fortune 500 company where for months, her team worked mandatory 12-hour days, five days a week. She saw how stressful the hours were for her coworkers — and for herself. “I heard the struggles of my colleagues. (The long hours) weren’t good for them or their families.” It’s an especially rich time to study workers, she added. “It’s definitely a growing field of research. We have so many dual-earner couples and the first wave of fathers staying home with their children.”

4 | Foster College of Business

An influx of millennials (people born between approximately 1982 and 2004) to the workforce has also caused big changes. “They want work-life balance and expect autonomy and flexibility,” she said. Baumann defines work-family or work-life conflict as when pressures from one role interfere with meeting the demands of the other. “It can be family pressures affecting work, or work demands affecting family responsibilities,” she said. She also includes a personal sector — “things you do for yourself and people outside of your family” — like hobbies, volunteer activities and membership in clubs or civic groups. “This hasn’t been studied a lot,” she said. “I wondered, ‘What is there beyond family?’ “We have to consider single people, who derive satisfaction from personal activities that increase connection to others. Studies have shown that as work demands interfere with personal activities, single people socialize less. That can lead to depression and other physical symptoms and might affect their work performance.” Though she acknowledges the challenges of balancing work and other responsibilities, she’s hopeful the worlds can coexist or perhaps even benefit from each other. Work promotes a sense of pride and confidence and can provide opportunities for learning that improve life at home. Family interactions can put a person in a better mood at work. But because certain times in a person’s life or career can be especially stressful, it’s incumbent on managers and supervisors to institute supportive measures, she said. “Employees whose managers practiced these behaviors (see sidebar) showed less stress and strain. There was less conflict, and when there was conflict, they coped with it better. “They felt as if they had options. They felt supported.” n

An assistant professor of management and leadership, Heidi Baumann joined the Foster College of Business in 2013. She received the Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship from Purdue University for her doctoral dissertation research, which examined how work and family roles can both conflict with and enrich one another. She also worked in industry for five years.

Baumann’s advice to managers and employees is modeled on research into coping with demands, and behaviors of family- supportive supervisors. For everyone: n

Recognize that people have different coping styles. Women tend to make lists, or may want to talk out problems. For men, talking may increase their stress. They may retreat.


Redefine structural roles to reflect current situations. Renegotiate role responsibilities.


Get rid of the guilt. For example, a parent might say, “It’s OK that my kids aren’t in five activities.”

For managers: n

Offer emotional support specifically tailored to each employee. Talk to them. Listen to their needs.


Model good work-family behaviors in your own life. Stay home when you’re sick, don’t overwork or be a perfectionist, take time for yourself.


Offer instrumental support to employees in need, such as adjusting work schedules, encouraging them to stay home when they’re sick, and giving other tangible support.


Institute creative work-family management. Tune in to employees’ nonwork demands. Cross-train employees for backup; consider allowing staggered work hours; identify areas of a job that can be results-oriented rather than time-oriented. In short, if you can be flexible, allow it.

Bradley University | 5

How to succeed in business By Bob Grimson ’81

The Turner Center for Entrepreneurship makes a deep impact on central Illinois businesses and economy.


hen entrepreneurs Rich Brummett and Doug Rasmussen wanted to launch ZG3 Systems, LLC, in 2014, they knew they had a winning product with their auto glass installation device, but they needed help. Brummett and Rasmussen reached out to the Illinois Small Business Development Center, part of Bradley University’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship, to look at technology commercialization strategies and other ways to launch their business successfully. “The center really helped us refine and understand our cash flow and profit-loss projections,” said Rasmussen. “(They) helped us identify optimum pricing and prepared us for raising capital.” With more than 240,000 hours of staff and student contact, it’s easy to see how the Turner Center is making a large impact on central Illinois businesses and economy. The center’s programs, including the Illinois Small Business Development Center, the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center, the Technology Commercialization program, and the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center, are resources for new and growing businesses. Some of the programs operated at the university long before the center started in 2001 with funding from Robert Turner ’77 MBA ’78 and his wife, Carolyn, who was made an honorary alumna in 2016. “The Turner Center helped give a single source of branding to the college’s entrepreneurship activities,” said Jim Foley, center director and director of its international programs. “When you look at activities in the community, that’s where the Turner Center makes an impact.” Staff and student hours spent with more than 6,000 clients since 2001 created 1,400 jobs, with another 3,000 retained during the center’s existence. “These are not estimates,” Foley added, noting most of the center’s work is externally funded and there are stringent recordkeeping requirements. “They can be tracked by

6 | Foster College of Business

client-verified reports. They are solid numbers. And there’s no cost (to the client) for the bulk of what we do.”

THE CENTER OF IT ALL As a partnership between the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the federal Small Business Administration, the Illinois Small Business Development Center runs workshops about twice a month providing expert, confidential advice on every aspect of starting out. Foley said technology commercialization is also an important role for the center, with a full-time specialist on hand. Because helping companies grow and expand is crucial, two full-time export-development experts are on the Turner Center staff to aid those looking to tap overseas markets. “International markets are a big opportunity but that can get complicated, and a company can get in trouble very easily,” he said. Accessing public-sector markets and the companies serving them is made easier by the Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Many firms with government contracts must have subcontractors who meet certain criteria. “There is a process to be vetted. You can’t just say your business qualifies as woman- or minority-owned. We help those companies get certified.”

REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE Students gain real-world insights into the center’s processes through the Senior Consulting Project required of all Foster College students. “Professors put together multidisciplinary teams of seniors to work with clients to solve strategic issues,” Foley said. “We find the clients for the faculty, who then integrate those companies into the classroom. They do the academic side; we do the logistics of dealing with clients.”

Turner Center for Entrepreneurship


billion 1.3


clients served

60K Student Counseling Hours: 180K

in government contracts

Staff Counseling Hours:



Illinois Small Business Development Center The Illinois Small Business Development Center’s one-on-one assistance and startup workshops offer a head start, while existing and expanding companies can get help in areas such as marketing assessments, financial planning and succession planning. The center’s advice:

• Find one of the nearly 1,000 SBDCs nationwide for help with resources and research.

3,800 students in projects


business expansions


IL SBDC International Trade Center The center provides information, counseling and training to companies interested in pursuing international trade opportunities. Be proactive by:

• Identifying resources and assistance to determine export suitability.

• Letting a Foster College

International Senior Consulting Project identify top foreign markets.

• Get involved in the local

• Visiting another country,

• For existing businesses owners,

• Taking advantage of the federal

entrepreneur community. work ON the business more than IN the business.

• Be aware of personal strengths

and weaknesses and find people who are strong in areas where your skills lag.

participating in a trade show or meeting with potential partners. Small Business Administration’s Export Business Planner.

The trade center also offers assistance with free trade agreements and helps companies with compliance and classification responsibilities.

“The consulting projects give students hands-on experience and culminate their four years of study by applying it to a client,” agreed Cameron Horn ’15 MBA ’17, a graduate assistant with the Turner Center who coordinates the senior projects and heads the new Enterprise Program. He noted work done by the senior consulting teams might cost a client thousands of dollars if hired out. An outgrowth of the consulting projects, Enterprise projects are specific, task-oriented projects a company

750 student-based projects



jobs retained Since 2001

Technology Commercialization Program Companies need to protect their intellectual property through patents and trademarks, but the process can be challenging to understand. Technology commercialization focuses on clients beginning the patent process and those with an existing patent who need help to proceed. The center assists entrepreneurs, emerging companies, and mature companies in developing and commercializing innovative, technology-based products and services and business models in Central Illinois. They advise:

• Researching existing patents

and not talking too much about your innovation as rules now favor the first person to file.

needs, such as designing a website or running a social media campaign. In its first month of operation, Enterprise attracted seven central Illinois businesses and 12 students who worked on their projects. The program is open to all Bradley students. Assignments like these give students the opportunity to be consultants before graduation — gaining problem-solving and other real-world experiences — making it a win-win for them and their customers. Bradley University | 7

DEVELOPING LEADERS through experiential learning By Mary Brolley Illustration by James Steinberg As freshmen, Foster College students collaborate to create a virtual company. By the time they’re seniors, they’re ready to offer expert advice to a real one.

8 | Foster College of Business


n the spring of 2012, a team of six Bradley business majors had a unique assignment for their Senior Consulting Project. They were to conduct a competitive analysis of their soon-to-be alma mater and make recommendations for its future success. At the end of the semester, the group presented its findings to Darrell Radson, newly installed dean of the college. Despite their important client, the team was calm, Marian Trella ’12 recalled. “A lot of us had good internships, so we were used to giving presentations. We prepped a lot. It was a strong group, and we had good chemistry.” “They completed a thorough competitive analysis and developed recommendations,” said their teacher, Caterpillar Professor of Strategic Management Larry Weinzimmer ’83 MBA ’85. “It was a great way to get (Radson) up to speed.” “I was impressed by the plans the team came up with,” recalled Radson. “It was a valuable overview of the college and our competitors. Ultimately, their report formed the basis for the start of our collegewide strategic planning process.” Hundreds of small, medium and large businesses in Peoria, central Illinois and beyond have benefited from the expertise of these upper-level students and their projects; they work in interdisciplinary teams from the college’s six departments.

“They do a market and competitor analysis, decide their staffing and compensation requirements, and create a marketing plan and a basic financial plan.” — BRAD ESKRIDGE ’08 MBA ’10, INSTRUCTOR OF MARKETING

“I want them to think about how the core functional areas of businesses work together. It helps drive home these relationships in a real-world setting. This is the third semester I’ve taught the class, and it’s going well. It’s a way to offer our students a better experience right out of the chute.”

MELDING KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICAL SKILLS Asked about the Senior Consulting Project required of every business major, Professor of Management and Leadership Aaron Buchko MBA ’83 noted the historic tension in business education between academic preparation and the teaching of practical skills. “The definition of a profession is a combination of disciplines, the practice of which is an art,” he said.

But the training begins long before senior year — in Business 100, Contemporary Business, taught by marketing instructor Brad Eskridge ’08 MBA ’10.

‘A BETTER EXPERIENCE RIGHT OUT OF THE CHUTE’ Charged by the college’s curriculum committee with making the introductory business course more relevant and engaging, Eskridge decided to assign groups of students to create a business and a plan for its operation. Beginning with a mission statement, teams invent a small business, applying knowledge as they learn it in the classroom. “They do both a market and competitor analysis, decide their staffing and compensation requirements, and create a marketing plan,” said Eskridge. “They finish by creating a basic financial plan. They don’t need to get too detailed, but I want them to get the big picture of how businesses work. And I want them to learn teamwork. “There’s no expectation that their business makes a profit, as long as they think about, and justify, why it didn’t.” Bradley University | 9

“At Foster, we’ve always taken that title of profession very seriously. In the last 15 years, especially, the emphasis has been that this is a professional school.” Businesses chosen to work with a student team are grateful for the expertise of the students, said Buchko. “We use senior business students with 3 1/2 years of classroom experience. They have a strong base of knowledge and are adept in the latest technologies.” In more than 25 years of teaching the course, a few cases stand out for Buchko. One was in 1993, when a group of nurses from Canton, Ill., saw a need for home health care in rural communities. With help and advice from a team of Bradley students, they launched Spoon River Home Health Services, which has grown to serve residents of 13 counties in west-central Illinois and employ hundreds. Another memorable client was a stained glass company that requested a proprietary analysis of the U.S. market to decide whether and where to expand. A team of five students tackled the project, doing telephone surveys of architects and home-building centers. The team, Buchko said, developed a clinical mindset. 10 | Foster College of Business

“They were passionate and motivated. They decided they were going to own (the project). They created color-coded maps and information about five regions across the country.” The project, he recalled, won the college’s case of the year in 1990. Throughout the semester, Buchko emphasizes to students that their work is more than an exercise. “I tell them, ‘This is going to a business that needs real help. And you’re going to give them that help.’” How has the class changed in the time he’s been teaching it? “We started out devoting half the semester to the project. Now we take the full 15 weeks, and I expect a professional-looking result,” he said. “The process has evolved continuously,” agreed Weinzimmer, who has taught the course for 23 years. “Today’s students are so skilled in their use of technology. They do survey work and use that information to create a strategic growth plan.” He believes the course is a way for students to perform a service to the community while they are learning. “It’s the largest program of its type in the country. It gives our

students a competitive advantage when they graduate. It’s truly a win/win.”

INTERNSHIPS GO GLOBAL Trella said her internship experiences, membership in the Global Scholars program and work on the business project helped prepare her for a consulting job at Accenture in Chicago. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she said. “Because of his background in consulting, Dr. Weinzimmer provided great examples in class. He’s a fabulous professor.” Like Trella, many students choose to intern at a company to learn the ins and outs of the business. Marketing major Mindy Schanzle ’17 was just a sophomore when she began an internship with Hult Marketing in Peoria. She was soon promoted to a content developer, charged with creating and managing content such as ebooks, blogs and workflow content for Hult and its clients.

“I tell (my Senior Consulting Project students), ‘This is going to a business that needs real help. And you’re going to give them that help.’” — AARON BUCHKO MBA ’83, PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP

“I’m big on feedback,” said Schanzle, named 2015 Outstanding Co-op/Intern of the Year for Foster College by the Smith Career Center. “I listen closely to it, so I can improve. And if I do mess up, there’s a learning opportunity in it.” Her attitude and skills earned her a summer internship at Radio Flyer in Chicago, after which she returned to her post at Hult Marketing. Aaron Zimmerman ’17 MSA ’17 had a summer internship with Nielsen that was predictable in some ways. He commuted to an office and trained other employees in the use of a new data analysis software. In another way, it was not. He was in Sydney, Australia — a lifetime dream for the student in the integrated 3:2 master of science in accounting program. “I really wanted to study abroad, but I plan to finish the 3:2 in less than five years, so the summer internship in Sydney was perfect for me,” he said.

Zimmerman traveled extensively during weekends in the eight-week program, even arranging work trips to Nielsen’s offices in Melbourne, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand. Like nearly all Foster students, Schanzle and Zimmerman found help and resources at the Smith Career Center. There, students explore and define career options, learn how best to search for a job, obtain career-related work experience and are introduced to prospective employers. As director of internships for the Smith Career Center, Dawn Koeltzow M.A. ’13 works with employers as well. The career center’s recruitment operation is a mix of maintaining relationships with current businesses and finding new ones. Koeltzow and Joe Batteline, associate director of the center, take calls every week from businesses eager to learn how to start an internship program. “We build employer relationships by creating marketing materials, job listing templates, and targeted outreach plans to 5,000 contacts. And this summer we visited 62 different employers and offered an event on managing interns that drew 70 attendees to Bradley’s campus,” Koeltzow said.

GROOMING SUPERSTAR ACCOUNTANTS Though the classic image of an accountant is a solitary figure hunched over a spreadsheet, instructor Shondra Johnson knows there’s much more to the job. For accounting graduates to be successful, they must know how to conduct interviews, not just with prospective employers, but with future internal and external clients. She designed ATG 430 to offer students a semester-long practice in doing just that.

“…I want students to be able to interact effectively and efficiently. Part of the experience is self-reflection — learning from mistakes. I tell them, ‘I’m going to help make you a superstar in your first job.’”


Students adhere to a dress code, watch videos of themselves and get feedback from classmates. “Whether it’s an information-seeking or employment interview, I want students to be able to interact effectively and efficiently. Part of the experience is self-reflection — learning from mistakes,” she said. Johnson considers the class an extension of a required business communication class. “How should they phrase questions? How do they deal with rescheduling an interview? They need to develop professionalism and become aware of their mannerisms. “I tell them, ‘I’m going to help make you a superstar in your first job.’” She’s gratified that former students vie for the chance to join an alumni panel discussion held each year during the class. “Former students tell me how quickly the skills they learn in class — like active listening — are applicable. They even tell me they use them in personal relationships,” she said.

SKILLED AND RESOURCEFUL STUDENTS Students in management and information systems courses learn to develop technological solutions to 12 | Foster College of Business

business problems. The field, expected to grow 22 percent over this decade, helps bridge the gap between business and technology, said Matt McGowan, professor and chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Law. And while most of Foster College’s capstone projects yield a written analysis or list of recommendations, students in McGowan’s course, MIS 478, deliver an actual product to their grateful clients. “Often, clients’ needs are straightforward. They’re eager to establish a web presence, or they want to manage data or records,” McGowan said. Among many projects, teams of MIS 478 students have built websites for small businesses and nonprofits, created a logo and online sales tool for a local coffee shop, and developed a way for a hair salon’s customers to make appointments online. “Our students are skilled in the technical side, but also like to deal with people,” McGowan said. The course, he said, helps MIS seniors combine systems analysis, design and problem-solving skills. “With nearly four years of experience in the field, our students are skilled and resourceful.”

‘THE PROJECT IS THE CORE’ In the marketing research course, MTG 341, students learn in the classroom through lectures and discussion, then, week by week, apply that knowledge to a client project. The goals of the course are for students to learn to conduct research, analyze findings and hone their computer skills. “All marketing majors are required to take the class, in which the client-based project is the core,” said Mitch Griffin, professor of marketing and himself a marketing research consultant. “It’s a hard class. It takes a lot of time.” His students have worked with small and large manufacturers, car dealers and a concert venue, a number of nonprofits and a beloved local pizza joint. “The perfect semester includes (projects with) a new business, an established business and a nonprofit,” Griffin said. His students have gone on to work for major corporations and consulting firms. Every semester, one or two students approach Griffin after completing the class. “They say, ‘This is what I want to do,’” said Griffin. By this point, he’s not surprised. “These are students who showed high levels of engagement — who emerged as leaders within their teams.” Bradley University | 13


Foster College faculty have built a legacy of excellence in the classroom, one that continues to evolve and grow along with the business world.

14 | Foster College of Business

They come from different disciplines — business law, accounting, finance and economics. Two are full professors retiring after many decades at the Foster College. Two are new additions to the business faculty. But one thing unites them: a willingness to delve into the changes sweeping business. Together, their stories exemplify an attitude that resonates throughout Foster College faculty and administration: when the business world changes, Foster College changes as well. Professor Sandy Perry ’76 (entrepreneurship, technology, and law) is one example. As Congress and the courts reshape business law, her courses have changed to match.

For instance, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed after accounting scandals helped spur the stock market crash of 2001, became part of her courses. So did the Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009, which makes it easier for women to sue over pay discrimination. One of the biggest changes is her move away from a lecture approach to an interactive classroom experience focused on the application of legal principles to business scenarios. Perry has also crafted her classes to harness the advantages of the web while minimizing its downsides. She makes students study a legal case in depth, then deliver a presentation to the class on the court’s decision.

“There is a lot of information available instantly to students today that wasn’t available (previously).” — SANDY PERRY ’76, PROFESSOR OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP, TECHNOLOGY, AND LAW

Bradley University | 15

“… all we had was a slide rule. The calculator came later.”


Besides teaching public speaking, the requirement also tackles the epidemic of shorter attention spans, a byproduct of technology-driven distractions. Perry said the exercise has students sit down and do something in depth. She also teaches them to separate the wheat from the chaff as they plow through websites. “There is a lot of information available instantly to students today that wasn’t available (previously),” she said. “However, students need to learn how to determine whether the information is accurate, and they need to know how to analyze the information as it applies to business. The law courses stress analysis.” Perry retired in December, ending 32 years at the Foster College. This marked a small changing of the guard. The college welcomed five new faculty members while saying goodbye to Perry and three others: Professor Charles “Chuck” Stoner, a specialist in leadership, interpersonal dynamics and organizational change and the author of 12 books; Professor Coleen Troutman, whose research focused on practical tax and accounting issues; and Professor Shyam Bhandari, a specialist in corporate finance and applied statistics. Bhandari’s 40-year-career at the Foster College spans a period of seismic change in business, driven, in part, by rapid technological change. He now conducts research at Bradley under a post-retirement agreement with the university. When Bhandari moved to the U.S. from India in the mid-1970s for graduate study at Miami University of Ohio, technology was primitive by today’s standards. “At Miami, all we had was a slide rule,” he said. “The calculator came later.” During his tenure, there has been an explosion of business-related research at American universities, including his own contributions. Currently, Bhandari 16 | Foster College of Business

is researching the concept of free cash flow, a term coined in the 1980s. Roughly defined as operating cash flow minus capital expenditures, it is one of many measures companies use to gauge performance. Unfortunately, the calculations they use are open to interpretation. “Every company can measure it the way it wants,” he said. “It’s a free-for-all.” That could be a problem for investors and analysts trying to determine a company’s financial condition by poring over financial statements, since a company could use free cash to misrepresent its financial condition. To guard against this, Bhandari is looking for ways to create a standardized metric for calculating free cash flow. The Journal of Accounting and Finance will publish Bhandari’s paper on this subject next year. Associate Professor of Accounting Mollie T. Adams is the paper’s co-author. This is but one facet of Bhandari’s substantial output of peer-reviewed journal articles and presentations. In addition to work on free cash flow, he has authored journal articles on ethical dilemmas facing nonprofit entities and models for predicting business failures. Such topical research is found throughout the Foster College’s faculty among both longtime and newly hired professors. For instance, Assistant Professor of Accounting Wenxiang (Lucy) Lu, a new member of the accounting program, is researching the subject of corporate sustainability. The concept represents a major departure for business. In the old days, businesses were judged by one basic standard, i.e., how profitable they were. Now, they must take care of the environment, their employees and the places where they have sizeable operations, with their public image shaped by how well they do all three. Of course, this costs money in the short term, said Lu. But in the long haul, the benefits for the bottom line can be substantial. For instance, green buildings and other

“You attract customers when you engage in sustainability.”


is substantial. According to Corbett, that’s what happened during the Great Recession of the late 2000s.

“A lot of people think that if the economy is bad, then (their own) business will do badly.”


energy-saving measures save more than they cost. By not polluting, businesses can avoid fines, run-ins with regulators and hefty cleanup costs. Sustainability also enhances a company’s reputation with the public. “You attract customers when you engage in sustainability,” she said. “In the long run, business will increase profits.” At this time, there is no way to quantify these benefits on financial statements. “Currently, we don’t have a consensus on how to measure sustainability.” In the meantime, she has introduced a section on sustainability for her accounting students, and she encourages them to read further on the subject. “This is an area that is becoming increasingly important,” said Lu. Beyond the efforts of individual teachers, the Foster College makes regular changes to improve its programs. One of the most important thrusts is an ongoing effort to forge closer ties between the business and engineering schools. This makes absolute sense; managers and engineers must collaborate on the job to develop new products. The initiative is especially important for a university like Bradley, where roughly 40 percent of students with a declared major have chosen business or engineering. “Business students will learn how to evaluate high-potential business opportunities, especially those based on new technology,” said Foster College Dean Darrell Radson. “They will learn how to communicate effectively and work with people of other disciplines in a collaborative setting, and how to work with technical people on new product planning and development.” Technology is only one field modern-day managers must understand. They must also understand the constantly changing patterns of consumer behavior. This is the focus of research by Assistant Professor of Economics Colin Corbett, another addition to the business faculty.

“The Great Recession was a great teacher,” he said. “People reacted economically when times got bad, and that impacted business.” He cites falling home prices, a phenomenon that struck nationwide during the downturn. “If somebody’s home drops in price dramatically, they’re going to change their spending habits, even if they kept their house and their job. They feel poorer, and so they adjust their spending habits, moving away from buying from some businesses toward buying from others.” In such cases, companies that offer higher-priced products must decide whether to cut prices or produce cheaper versions of goods and services they already offer, Corbett said. He wants his students to understand this. He also wants them to understand that economic downturns or other major events can be an opportunity for business. “A lot of people think that if the economy is bad, then (their own) business will do badly,” he said, noting it wasn’t necessarily the case. “Some businesses do very well in hard times, like those that sell the cheap version of a product.” Business in the 21st century has been reshaped by the Great Recession, two stock market crashes, the rise of e-commerce, globalization and upheavals in the Middle East. When things changed, the Foster College and its teachers changed as well. The next time something big rocks the business world, it’s a safe bet it won’t be long before it shows up in their classrooms. n

NEW PROFESSORS IN FOSTER’S RANKS: Accounting William Bailey, J.D., Brigham Young University Fanghong “Jason” Jiao, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Arlington Anna Johnson, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University Wenxiang (Lucy) Lu, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Arlington Economics Colin Corbett, Ph.D., University of Oregon Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Law Jacob Young, D.B.A., Louisiana Tech University Management and Leadership Heidi Baumann, Ph.D., Purdue University Marketing Amita Bhadauria, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

When one consumer changes their spending, the impact is negligible. When millions of consumers do so, the impact Bradley University | 17


In this recurring feature, we provide a quick look at what our faculty are up to: what interests them, what they’re thinking about — and how they’re changing the world of business.

BE WARY BEFORE GIVING FEEDBACK Online shoppers might want to consider new research by Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Law Tanya Marcum before making their next purchase. Her latest paper, “Boiling Mad Consumers Over Boilerplate Language: Non-Disparagement Clauses in Online Sales Contracts,” considers an e-commerce staple: the online customer review.



Some businesses have created gag clauses that threaten legal action or financial penalties against customers who write negative comments about a business, even if what is said is true. Congress is considering legislation that would prevent merchants from threatening or taking punitive actions against consumers. Marcum and Bradley co-author Sandy Perry ’76, professor of entrepreneurship, technology, and law, traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in August to present their research at the Academy of Legal Studies in Business Conference. The Labor Law Journal will publish the paper in the spring.

Put her ideas to work for you: Marcum urges awareness. Non-disparagement clauses are often listed in a company’s terms and conditions, the proverbial small print that shoppers routinely agree to without reading. “The more that businesses are able to get away with these types of clauses, the more it becomes a growing trend,” Marcum said. “If a customer posts a comment on a website and they know it’s not true, they can certainly be sued for defamation.”


“But if they post a comment that’s true, the business doesn’t have the ammunition to say ‘I can sue them for putting it up there.’ But the business can say that you entered into a contract when you hit the agree button to terms and conditions. You’ve agreed that if you post anything negative, you’ll take it down, and if you don’t take it down, then you may be fined.” Businesses have levied fines ranging from $50 to $500. Marcum said people need to be very careful and make sure that they’re writing true statements or statements that are their opinion. “We could say, ‘I believe it’s the worst coffee ever,’ but we can’t say, ‘There were bugs in the coffee’ unless there were truly bugs in the coffee.” Maintaining free speech is an integral part of the online shopping experience, Marcum noted. “If we’re only allowed to post good reviews, those are deceiving to future customers when, in reality, there are problems,” she said. “These types of clauses do a disservice to customers who have real problems with a business.” n

18 | Foster College of Business

CAN SPENDING LESS MAKE YOU HAPPIER? In the U.S., consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic growth. But could reducing our role in the national economy — or becoming an “anti-consumer” — contribute to greater personal well-being? It’s a question that underpins research by Associate Professor of Marketing Rajesh Iyer, whose research paper, “Attitude Toward Consumption and Subjective Well-Being,” published in the spring 2016 edition of The Journal of Consumer Affairs, is a groundbreaking study on attitudes toward consumption at the personal and societal levels.


“This whole idea of anti-consumption is not that I won’t consume; it’s more that I’ll reduce my consumption as much as possible,” Iyer said. “It’s a fairly strong movement. It was something that started in the late ’60s, and then developed further in the late ’90s and early 2000s. “People started realizing that there is a depletion of resources, and over time we may lose out on a lot of these resources,” he adds. “Anti-consumption is, ‘I’m going to consume more in line with products that are environmentally friendly, and I’m going to do my part to be a global citizen.’” Iyer, who also serves as director of international business, and co-author James A. Muncy, professor of marketing at Valdosta State University (Ga.), provide empirical evidence that limiting our roles as consumers does, in fact, contribute to well-being.

Put his ideas to work for you: Consumers are most likely to experience well-being if they temper their spending, regardless of income level, Iyer said. Previous research has shown that while money can alleviate many of the challenges people face when they are poor, it does little to improve long-term happiness. “When we acquire something, it gives us an initial bump in happiness,” Iyer and Muncy wrote, “but that good feeling quickly diminishes due to familiarity.”


“Once a desire is fulfilled, we often look at newer desires or we develop the need for bigger and better things,” Iyer said. “If you remodel the bathroom, the joy of a nice bathroom dwindles as it becomes the new normal. As the new bathroom ceases to look good to us, now we say, ‘Hey, maybe the den needs some work.’ What happens is we come back to where we started, that is dissatisfied with a room in the house.” Iyer is now at work on expanded research that will suggest ways in which people can become smarter consumers. n

Bradley University | 19

A LOOK BACK Today’s accounting students use computers, not ledgers. But a passion for accuracy and an eye for detail will never go out of style.

Tools of the trade Dave DeFreitas ’87 pages through an accounting textbook used at Bradley by his father, Louis ’53. Both men spent their careers at Caterpillar Inc. — Louis retired in 1993 after 37 years, and after 28 years with the company, Dave is now the group CFO of corporate services. On behalf of his father, Dave donated the vintage accounting materials to Foster College to give today’s students a taste of how the profession and its training have evolved. The DeFreitas family legacy continues with Dave’s children, Mathew ’13 and Emma ’17.

20 | Foster College of Business

— M.B.

DEGREES OF SUCCESS Decade after decade, Foster College turns out successful graduates in a wide range of professions. In this issue, we turn our attention to the field of information technology.





HOW HE ENDED UP IN IT: An auspicious beginning — taking apart and rebuilding computers — started Vogel on the path to IT success. After high school, he spent 10 years at Caterpillar Inc. working in different areas of engineering; eventually, Vogel took over the IT functions for that division. During his Bradley years, Vogel fell in love with the security class taught by former professor Roy Schmidt, which ultimately led to a master’s degree — with plans to pursue a doctorate — and his current position at Underwriters Laboratory (UL).

A CHANGING SKILL SET Smith began her 21-year career in 1995 at the investment giant as an office automation business analyst shortly after earning her MBA/MIS at Washington University (Mo.). Back then, technical skills were enough to ensure success.

Senior Security Analyst, Underwriters Laboratory

MAKING TECHNOLOGY SECURE: Vogel’s main responsibility is to build and maintain a technical leadership over UL’s Cyber-Security Assurance Program, which helps companies assess the security risks to their networked products. These can be anything from a refrigerator to a medical infusion pump. “Consumers are focused on their data being stolen,” said Vogel. “But companies care about keeping their (proprietary) data secure and preventing security breaches.” As an example, Vogel cited home routers, webcams and other devices that typically have poor password security. Manufacturers can certify their products to UL 2900 series standards, taking them to the next level of security. TECHNOLOGY TOUCHES EVERYTHING: Although Vogel said he didn’t have a typical residential college career, living at home and working full time, he said his two years at the university gave him an appreciation for all his subjects, even the ones he didn’t like. “My Bradley Experience taught me there’s value in any subject matter.”

Senior Project Leader, Edward Jones

“That is not the case anymore, even for existing folks,” she said. “The bar is definitely being raised.” Tech professionals today and in the future will need to be well-rounded and not slotted into a narrow perspective. In addition, they’ll need to have skills in dealing with people, process, business and communication. While noting that her long-term stint at Edward Jones is anything but the norm for hers or any field, Smith said one of the advantages of working in IT is the ability to move within different departments, providing a variety of experiences within the same firm. Early on, Smith worked within the Infrastructure Department in the Data Center Operations and Network Services areas. Later, she moved into business solutions development and earned her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in 2012. In 1998, Smith became a limited partner with the firm. KEEP THE BIG PICTURE IN MIND “It’s really easy to get very narrowly focused on your little piece of the puzzle,” said Smith. “But, I think part of why I’ve been successful is (because) I’ve taken great pains to keep current on what’s going on overall with the firm and with the industry. ” Staying current allows Smith to make correlations that can help with whatever project she’s working on, even if the link just gives her the right questions to ask. It’s also helped her answer questions or know where to find the necessary information. — S.L.G.



“The world is changing,” said Vogel. “You really can’t learn everything from a book, and the stereotype of doing (it all) on your own should be eliminated. Reaching out and learning from others is critical (as is) jumping into and experiencing new technologies.”

“The ability to think through a plan, develop a strategy, execute the plan and monitor it — those classic management skills can serve you well, even if you’re not a project manager … Being able to understand the terminology, the approach and the process can bring a lot of value to a company.”

Bradley University | 21

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Marketing major Mindy Schanzle ’17 has had an exceptional Bradley Experience, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of alumni like you. Gifts to the Foster College of Business help provide scholarships for talented students like Mindy so they can achieve their own great outcomes. Won’t you help us help them?

The Foster College of Business. You make it all add up.

Experience Magazine  
Experience Magazine