Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WMU MBA team places first in the ACG Cup

A team of four Western Michigan University MBA students placed first in the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup, a competition which provides students with experience and insight into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking and private equity.

The team of Faisal Allaboon , Jon Andrews and Phillip Hammond, all of Kalamazoo, and Vincent May of Plainwell, Mich., won a $5,000 cash prize in the competition held at Grand Valley State University in late February. They defeated participants representing leading west Michigan MBA programs from Davenport University and Grand Valley State University.

From left are the ACG Cup winning team members Jon Andrews, Fiasal Allaboon, Vincent May, and Philip Hammond.

As part of the competition, teams analyzed complex business cases and presented strategies including valuations, identifying capital markets, developing merger/acquisition strategic alternatives and financing options.

The WMU students are currently enrolled in the Seminar in Finance course at the WMU Grand Rapids Regional Site, taught jointly by John Boll, BBA ’77, and Dr. Robert Balik, associate professor of finance. “There are seven students in the class,” says Balik. “We formed two teams. Each team received a case two weeks prior to the presentation date. The first round of the cup competition was held in late January. We were at somewhat of a disadvantage as both the two other schools had formed teams last fall, while our teams were formed just prior to the presentation.

“This is the second year for the ACG cup competition,” says Balik. “The crux of this year's case is firm valuation. Both rounds of the competition dealt with the valuation of a privately held regional broadband service provider,” says Balik, adding that the case was highly complex. “The first case, including financial information, was 18 pages long.”

“Winning teams from each school repeated the process in the second round receiving the information two weeks before the presentation.

The winning team was announced at the ACG awards ceremony on Tuesday, February 23. “Even at the graduate school level, involvement in the competitions and events are valuable experiences for the students, providing them with both the academic and networking components,” says Balik.

ACG has two chapters in Michigan, the West Michigan chapter in Grand Rapids and the Detroit chapter. Each chapter runs separate competitions.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WMU team places second in statewide HR competition

A team of business students from Western Michigan University placed second in a statewide competition designed to test their knowledge of the human resources field. The Haworth College of Business played host to HR Games 2010 “Sharing Our Resources -- Benefitting Our Students,” a fast-moving day of student competition, food and fun held in late March.

Throughout the Jeopardy-style matches, students answered questions on different human resource areas such as strategic management, total rewards, employee and labor relations, selection, leadership and risk management.

The second place WMU team members are Justin Szostek of Allen Park, Mich., Jenna Breen of Allendale, Mich. and Alison Fettig of Battle Creek, Mich. An Eastern Michigan University team took first place overall.

From left are Risé Landeros, HR Games judge, Satish Desphande, WMU team advisor, and WMU second-place team members Jenna Breen, Justin Szostek, and Alison Fettig.

“Student leaders from the WMU Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter planned the event,” says Dr. Satish Deshpande, professor of management. “This is the first time for the competition to be held at WMU, and what a great way to showcase our campus. There were nine teams in all participating from Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University and WMU, who were accompanied by family members and friends. There were over twenty community HR professionals, including many WMU alumni, who spent their Saturday as volunteers serving as speakers, scorekeepers, judges, etc. We could not have run the event without their help.”

“The competition prepares the students for the upcoming Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification exam,” says Deshpande. “It also provides them with the opportunity to network with HR professionals serving as volunteers.”

The Michigan HR Games were developed by the SHRM and open to all schools in Michigan. In addition to the Michigan Council of SHRM and the Haworth College of Business, the following sponsors provided supported for the event: Domino’s Pizza, Kalamazoo Human Resources Management Association, Kellogg’s, Target, Walker Parking Consultants and Walmart.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Excel guru offers students opportunity to improve employability

WMU students, faculty and staff members have the opportunity to learn Excel skills when Bill Jelen, aka Mr. Excel, shares his knowledge on April 20, from 3 to 5 p.m., during a seminar at the Fetzer Center.

“While many accounting and finance jobs use Excel extensively, students majoring in any business discipline will need to use it. Excel is a tool whose degree of usage depends, to a large degree, on users’ knowledge of the program,” says Dr. Robert Balik, professor of finance in the Haworth College of Business, host to the event. “Who better than Mr. Excel himself to show us what the program can do?”

Jelen shares his knowledge through and is the author of more than 20 books on the Microsoft spreadsheet program Excel. Before founding in 1998, Jelen spent twelve years as a financial systems analyst at Telxon. His company automates Excel reports for hundreds of clients around the world. His website answers over 30,000 questions a year – for free – for readers all over the world. He has given Power Excel seminars around the United States. Bill Jelen has made over 60 guests appearances on TV’s “Call for Help” with Leo Laporte, was voted guest of the year on the “Computer America” radio show, and his daily video podcast “Learn Excel from Mr. Excel” is a top 50 tech video podcast on iTunes.

Balik says students who learn to use Excel’s powerful tools will be better prepared in the work place regardless of their chosen profession. The Department of Finance and Commercial Law in the Haworth College of Business was awarded a grant to host the event by the 2009-10 WMU Visiting Scholars and Artists Program.

Established in 1960, the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program significantly contributes to the intellectual life of Western Michigan University. The program provides funds for academic units to bring distinguished scholars and artists to campus. The visitors meet with faculty and students in their fields and address the community at large.

Persons driving to the presentation and without a parking pass should use Parking Lot 72F. For location see following web page: . When entering the parking lot, the attendant will provide a parking sticker.

Contact Dr. Robert Balik, 387.5674 or, for more information.

Sampple Lesson from Mr. Excel:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Haworth College of Business Global Lecture Series

The 2009-10 Global Lecture Series continues Monday, March 22, with a presentation by Altaf Saleem, former Pakistan federal minister for privatization. His presentation, "Privatization in a Developing Country: The Case of Pakistan," begins at 6 p.m. in room 1120 of Schneider Hall, home to WMU's Haworth College of Business. The event is free and open to the public.

Saleem served as federal minister for privatization and chair of  privatization commission (1999-2002) in Pakistan from 1999 until 2002. He was also a member of the government’s economic management team. Following an October 2005 earthquake, he was put in charge of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA). In this role, Saleem was responsible for the implementation of a United States $5 billion reconstruction and rehabilitation program for 3.6 million people in the affected area.

Saleem has a distinguished history of promoting education in Pakistan. He is a founder of the National Management Foundation, which runs Lahore University of Management Sciences. He also founded a trust to run a teachers training institute and operates free medical services for the less privileged. He has served as chair of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.

Saleem has been the president of the World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan and served on the board of trustees of WWF International.

Saleem is a graduate of the University of Karachi and attended advanced management programs at Harvard Business School and IMD Switzerland.

The Global Lecture Series is sponsored by a U.S. Department of Education B.I.E (Project EDGE) grant, the Global Business Center and the Global Business Students Association.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Digitalization and the future of newspapers?

Students, faculty and members of the community will gather on the campus of Western Michigan University as part of an all day conference to discuss the future of newspapers in the age of digitalization.

The conference theme "Can an Educated Society be Sustained Solely by Digitization?" will examine the future of newspapers and society and will be held on Saturday, March 27, in the WMU Fetzer Center, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

"This conference is probably the first of its kind in the nation," says Dr. Andrew Targowski, WMU professor of business and information systems and conference chairman. "We hope it will serve as a model for similar forums at other universities and colleges in other states."

Keynote addresses include:

• Digital Media & News: Reinventing the Newspaper Future
 - by Dr. Richard Gershon, WMU School of Communication

• Saving Paper Papers
- by Cheryl Kaechele, President of the National Newspaper Association

• Can Democracy Survive in the Google Age?
 - by Dr. Thomas Kostrzewa, WMU Political Science Department

• The Future of Reason in the Digital Civilization
 - by Dr. Andrew Targowski, WMU Center for Sustainable Business Practices

The luncheon talk will address Credibility, Incredibility, and the Demise of Objectivity, Civility, and Wisdom by Cal Samra, editor and publisher of an award-winning humor newsletter (both paper and digital) and former newspaper and Associated Press reporter.

“Newspapers are a national treasure.” Samra said. “A paper paper is the glue that holds a community together. Newspapers survived the Great Depression. They survived radio and television. They survived shoppers. But can they survive the Internet?”

The conference will address these questions:

• Can paper papers be saved?

• Should newspapers give themselves away free on the internet, or should they charge for internet access to their daily editions?

• Are we entering a new era of digital journalism?

• Is there a place for both paper and digital media?

The conference will explore ideas aimed at improving editorial and business practices at newspapers, and open a dialogue between journalists and technologists. The conference has called for papers, with cash prizes to be given to the best paper in each of three categories: Faculty, Student, and Professional Journalist.

Best papers chair Dr. Thomas Rienzo commented that the conference is a “unique venue to consider the implications of an increasingly digital world.” One of other papers to be offered is "Do Copyrights Help or Hurt in a Digital World?" by Joel E. Bair, an attorney who is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on copyrights and trademarks.

The conference is sponsored by WMU’s Haworth College of Business; Center for Sustainable Business Practices; WMU’s College of Arts and Sciences; Haenicke Institute for Global Education; and the National Newspaper Association.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit Admission is $20 (lunch included).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stimulus impact on Michigan transportation and infrastructure is topic of discussion

Michael Newman, BBA ’73, president/managing director, Michigan Aggregates Association (MAA) and the affiliated MAA Foundation, will discuss “Transportation and Infrastructure funding in Michigan – The Stimulus Impact and Future Financing,” on Friday, Mar. 26 as part of the Keystone Breakfast Speaker Series.

The event will be held in the Dean’s Conference Room of Schneider Hall, home of the Haworth College of Business. The event is free and open to the public and begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. followed by the presentation at 8 a.m.

Reservations are required and may be made by calling (269) 387-5050. Parking is available in the nearby Fetzer Center parking lot.

The MAA is a trade association located in Lansing, Mich., that focuses on promoting the interest and growth of the construction materials industry through legislative, regulatory and public policy advocacy. Newman has held his current position with the organization since 1995.

Previously, Newman served as president/CEO of the Michigan Restaurant Association and as executive vice president/COO of the Michigan Retailers Association.

In addition, Newman was appointed to the Michigan Water Resources Advisory Council in 2005 and currently serves as the Co-chair. The Council provides guidance to the Michigan Legislature and Executive Office on water use issues concerning the Great Lakes, inland lakes and other aquatic systems.

Newman has also served on the board of directors of the Trust for Resource Allocation Council, Michigan Society of Association Executives where he served a term as chairman of the board, and the National Aggregate and Concrete Executives Group where he was also chairman of the board.

The speaker series is underwritten through the generosity of Keystone Community Bank. It provides an opportunity for the local community to hear prominent business leaders, WMU faculty, alumni and friends of the Haworth College of Business discuss current business issues and corporate strategies as well as key information regarding the continuing progress of the college.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Food marketing conference to focus on operating in the new economy

Food industry leaders will gather to discuss customer service, the future of retailing and the deployment of social media tools at the 45th Annual WMU Food Marketing Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, March 24-25.

Hank Meijer, co-chairman and CEO Meijer Stores, will share his thoughts on serving customers as part of the conference, which annually draws more than 400 food industry executives to Kalamazoo. The event will be held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. This year’s theme is “Essential Business Lessons for the New Economy.”

Kicking off the event at 4 p.m. on Wednesday is Kevin Hunt, president and Co-CEO, Ralcorp Holdings Inc. His presentation and the follow-up executive forum at 4:30 p.m. will examine the customers shifting need for value. Moderated by Michael Sansolo, author and retail food industry consultant, the panel will include Brian Audette, vice president of independent sales for Supervalu; Denny Belcastro, senior vice president for Kraft Foods Inc.; Carole Bitter, president and CEO for Friedman’s Freshmarkets and Michael Malenfant, vice president of customer business development for Procter and Gamble.

Wednesday evening will feature Sansolo along with co-author Kevin Coupe, founder of MorningNewsBeat.Com. The two will draw upon stories and lessons from their new book “The Big Picture,” which examines how popular films provide a treasure trove of lessons large and small, profound and simple, to share and study how to become a better marketer, partner and leader.

On Thursday morning, two concurrent presentations begin at 8:15 a.m. Dan O’Connor, president, CEO for Retail Network Group, will discuss “The Future of Retailing” and Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president of digital strategic services for The Nielsen Company, will discuss “Using Social Media Wisely.”

Four concurrent, one-hour morning breakout sessions run from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and include the following topics:

• “Leadership by Investing in People"
• “Tracking Trends That Matter – Consumer & Shopper Insights to Drive Trips and Sales”
• “Manage the Most Diverse Workforce Ever”
• “Private Brands Aren’t so ‘Private’ Anymore”

Additional breakout sessions run from 11:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m. with topics including:

• “Reinventing Retail: How Consumers’ Shifting Values are Changing the Face of Retail”
• “Making a Sustainable Difference in Our World”
• “Understanding the Mindset of the Customer”
• “Optimizing Center Store Meal Shopping: A Focus on Shoppers and Convenience Meals”

At 2 p.m. Hank Meijer, co-chairman and CEO for Meijer Stores and the third generation to lead the Michigan-based retailer, will close the conference by offering his outlook for the future with his talk: “Customers Don’t Need Us, We Need Them.” The title is based on the foundation of the Meijer organization, a philosophy held since 1934.

The Annual Food Marketing Conference is presented by WMU's Food and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Marketing Program in the Haworth College of Business. Proceeds from the conference support Food and CPG Marketing scholarships and related program operations.

For more conference information, including cost and registration details, call the event hotline at (269) 387-2132 or visit

WMU to host Michigan HR Games – March 27

For the first time since its inception, the Haworth College of Business will play host to HR Games 2010, “Sharing Our Resources -- Benefitting Our Students,” a fast moving day of student competition and food, fun and prizes designed to test students’ knowledge of the human resources field. The event will be held on Saturday, March 27 in Schneider Hall on the campus of Western Michigan University.

Invitations have been extended to over 15 colleges and universities in the state of Michigan to participate in the Jeopardy-style matches between teams where the students are tested in a number of different HR areas such as strategic management, total rewards, employee and labor relations, selection, leadership and risk management.

WMU is expected to have eight to ten teams compete in the event which is expected to draw student teams and family members from the participating schools along with faculty and HR professionals in the field.

“The HR Games are a win-win for our students and the Haworth College of Business,” says Dr. Satish Deshpande, professor of management. “The games are timed to help students prepare for the upcoming Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification exam and it furthers their career development. It also gives them an opportunity to network with HR professionals who are at the games volunteering in various capacities. Since the games attract a lot of outsiders like HR professionals and parents, it is a great way to showcase our campus and can be a great recruiting tool for future students.”

The Michigan HR Games are sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management. The event brings community HR professionals and alumni to campus to serve as speakers, scorekeepers, judges, etc. Last year WMU business students placed third in the competition.

Student leaders from the WMU’s SHRM chapter are working hard to plan the event. In addition to the competition, students may attend a Friday evening reception at the Fetzer Center which will provide them with networking opportunities with human resource professionals from the community.

For further information about the competition or registration information, contact Dr. Dan Farrell, professor of management at 269.387.5850 or

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Faculty pair honored for service-learning initiatives
Feb. 26, 2010

KALAMAZOO –In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Rev. Coleen Slosberg (center), United Campus Ministry (UCM), and Dr. Timothy Palmer (left), professor of management in the Haworth College of Business, have taken their passion a step further. The two have incorporated an academic component into philanthropic opportunities and are offering these programs as service-learning experiences for WMU Business students.

This initiative has earned the duo this year’s Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award, an honor that recognizes contributions to community service. The prestigious annual award is the highest MCC bestows on faculty and staff in Michigan. The organization held an awards ceremony in early February to honor Slosberg and Palmer along with award recipients from each MCC member campus who engages or influences students to be involved in community service or service-learning through modeling, influence or instruction.

“We are delighted that MCC has recognized Coleen and Tim for this project,” says Dr. Ajay Samant, interim dean for the Haworth College of Business. “Business majors who take part in service-learning projects learn a lot as they gain insight into societal issues. These opportunities offer them an added perspective as they prepare for future careers.”

Slosberg has been engaged in service-learning for more than 15 years having developed leadership and service-learning courses at both WMU and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Palmer teaches a Strategic Business Solutions class. It was through meeting with Slosberg that Palmer was inspired to convert his Strategic Business Solutions class into a service-learning offering. Subsequently, this has become a popular and influential class in the Haworth College of Business.
Students have the option of choosing from several different service-learning experiences, all of which are coordinated by UCM. Some students work with Habitat for Humanity, others with Volunteering with Kids. Some students will choose to attend an Alternative Spring Break. These experiences may take the form of spending a weekend in Chicago where they engage in a variety of activities that may involve preparing and serving meals in homeless shelters, tutoring underprivileged school children, helping ESL adults practice English, or refurbishing social service facilities.

Integrating service-learning into the class provides Palmer the opportunity to complement the traditional business school focus on financial performance with opportunities for students to discover the relationship between the strategic choices that businesses make and how they impact community/urban issues.
Michigan Campus Compact annually recognizes outstanding community service and service-learning by faculty and staff of MCC member campuses. The Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award is given to one person from each campus who engages or influences students to be involved in the community service or service-learning through modeling, influence or instruction. This is the seventeenth year for this award.

Caption for photo, above: From left Dr. Tim Palmer is pictured accepting the MCC Faculty/Staff Community Service Learning Award.  Rev. Smith-Slosberg was unable to attend the event.  Palmer is standing with Renee Miller Zientek, Michigan Campus Compact Executive Director, and Dr. Don Tuski, Chair of the MCC Board of Directors and President of Olivet College.