The Berthiaume Center was proud to host the kickoff event for this year’s Innovation Challenge, where students from Geography, Chemistry, Management, and Mechanical Engineering took home prizes. This Minute Pitch Competition boasted a greater variety of disciplines represented, an increase in number of graduate student participants, and greater quality of ideas than we have seen in the past. Over 60 teams from across campus submitted applications to compete in the event and 31 were selected to present their ideas to an audience of approximately 150 and a panel of 5 judges.
“What are the true opportunities for cross-pollination in a world sports community? What skills and network will you need?” asked sports agent/marketing innovator J.B. Bernstein ’91 in Professor Todd Crosset’s graduate course, Social Historical Foundations of Sport. The UMass grad is best known for creating The Million Dollar Arm contest in India, which generated the first two athletes from India to sign professional sports contracts in North America.
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At his Michelin-starred Restaurant Marc Forgione, Isenberg HTM grad Chris Blumlo '99 insists that "every point during the customers stay be positive." Blumlo's m.o. calls for attentiveness to customers, business diligence, and improvisation in response to unforeseen challenges.
Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) Network clients and counselors were honored at the U.S. Small Business Administration's annual Massachusetts Awards Ceremony in May. Isenberg has been headquarters to the MSBDC Network since 1980.
This year's 4th annual Isenberg Business Leadership Awards, held at the Colonnade Hotel and Boston and attracting 330 members of the Isenberg community, honored Chuck and Karen Peters of New England Wire Products and Recent Alumni awardee Brian Tino, account executive at InVision.
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“No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we carry the Isenberg brand with us,” Senior Class Speaker Stephanie Berenson ’16 told an audience of over 4000—graduating seniors, their families, and Isenberg faculty and staff—at Isenberg’s Senior Celebration at the Mullins Center on May 7. “We are part of each other. We are each other’s network, and one day, as graduates, we will be a resource for Isenberg students just as alumni have been for us,” emphasized the dual marketing/journalism major.
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A team of five Isenberg undergraduates scored two first-place and one second-place finish in the International Business Ethics Case Competition, on April 20-22 in Cambridge. The team explored First Amendment and other issues involving free-speech versus abusive messaging on a social networking site.
Isenberg is the highest ranking public undergraduate business school in the Northeast, according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 Undergraduate Business School Rankings. Climbing three places since the 2014 ranking, Isenberg now ranks 11th among public undergraduate business school programs in the United States. The new rankings clearly illustrate Isenberg’s growing national stature, with the school moving up 45 spots among private and public business schools since 2010.
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Automated Controversy Detection, a startup business founded by UMass Amherst computer science 4th-year Ph.D. candidate Shiri Dori-Hacohen earned top honors of $35,000 in seed money on April 7th at the campus’s 2016 Innovation Challenge business plan competition. Coordinated by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, an Isenberg-based initiative that promotes entrepreneurship across the UMass Amherst campus, the multi-stage Challenge, in its culminating event of the year, featured six student teams that vied for $65,000 in awards.
The third annual Women of Isenberg Conference took place on February 28th in the UMass Amherst Campus Center. Put on by student organization Isenberg Women in Business, the event attracted 310 attendees and offered a full day of speakers, panel discussions, and networking
“People are critical resources for organizations. But compared with other 'assets,' people have opinions and emotions; they can walk out the door and never return. They can also withhold effort, be lazy or excel when they choose to. Yet, all companies need employees.” It is this dance between business and the people who fuel it that makes the field of Human Resource Management so intriguing to Prof. David Lepak, the internationally renowned scholar whom Isenberg has proposed for its Berthiaume Chair in Business Leadership at Isenberg.
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The campus-wide Innovation Challenge business plan competition's new seed pitch component is propelling student teams, through mentoring, workshops, and targeted financial seeding. “We introduced the new phase to elevate and accelerate the larger event’s already high level of competition," notes Isenberg professor William Wooldridge, executive director of Isenberg's Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, which coordinates the Challenge.
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In a visit to WEBS, "America's Yarn Store," students in Marc Weinberger's class, Managerial Perspectives on Marketing Strategy," talked business strategy with owners Steve and Kathy Elkins. Founded by Steve's parents, Art '57 and Barbara Elkins, WEBS is the nation's largest retailer of knitting supplies and services.
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Coordinated by Isenberg’s Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, the daylong event on November 17th at the Campus Center offered separate panels on global and local entrepreneurship. It featured a third panel that explored financing mechanisms for social entrepreneurs. And it offered a dynamic networking opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors, and academics (including students).
An MBA faculty panel on gender challenges in the workplace and the sports industry recounted obstacles in mobility and biases in interpersonal relations. The panel also noted progress, including leveraging gender allies and advocates.
In a guest lecture in the Isenberg course, Real Estate Principles, Tom Nolan '79 described milestones in a career of financial innovation in real estate. A veteran of diverse commercial and residential ventures, Nolan is CEO of Spirit Realty Capital, which includes over 2500 properties, with commercial tenants like Applebee's, Shopko, and car dealerships.
In a visit to Isenberg, Pat Whelan '80, described an innovative career in big-picture real estate, including 25+ years of executive management with investments and operations in large public and private and companies. Whelan's current market involves preowned rental homes. He's also been a top executive with an apartment REIT, a real estate media and technology firm, and a company with extensive recreational, residential, and golf community assets.
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Isenberg's Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship has received a gift of $400,000 from Ernst & Young and Isenberg alumni at the firm. In addition, an in-kind gift from EY has given Isenberg Gold Sponsor status in the firm's regional EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
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