The George Washington University

School of Business: GWSB News

March 27, 2009

Lifelong Learning: Avoid Being “Taken to the Cleaners”

Melinda Sossamon leads a presentation at the recent EMBA “Lifelong Learning” event.

When lawyers took center stage at a recent Lifelong Learning event, they explained how to avoid being taken to the cleaners – literally.

Their presentation focused on a notorious $54 million lawsuit against a Washington, D.C., drycleaner accused of misplacing a pair of trousers. Christopher Manning and Melinda Sossamon, partners in the litigation group at law firm Manning & Sossamon, detailed how good business practices can both avoid such litigation. They also talked about how, once legal action has been taken, a business can successfully weather the process.

In a case that grabbed national headlines, Manning & Sossamon said they saved the Chung family dry cleaning business from being “taken to the cleaners” by a disgruntled customer.

The GW School of Business Office of Alumni Relations partnered with the Executive MBA (EMBA) Alumni Association for that March 18 kickoff of the Lifelong Learning series for 2009. The EMBA Alumni Association continues the series on May 7 with “An Evening with Michael Oxley – The State of the Economy: Sarbanes-Oxley and Beyond.” Oxley will be taking questions as well as offering insights on the current economic situation.

For more information, contact Heidi Whalen at

Experts Discuss Turkey’s Business Success

A panel discussion on “How Turkey Competes for Foreign Direct Investment in the Global Economy” drew a high-profile panel of business and political leaders.

The GW-Center for International Business and Research (CIBER) at the School of Business sponsored the March 11 discussion.

Panelist Alev Günay, who directs the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey, gave an overview of the country’s investment climate and economy. She explained that Turkey is the world’s 16th largest economy, posting nearly $20 billion in direct investment over the last three years.

“Turkey is healthier than before and has a political stability,” said former U.S. Ambassador James Holmes, who now heads the American Turkish Council. “It provides more return and manageable risks to investors, and modernity is one of the country’s most surprising characteristics of Turkey.”

By way of example, Holmes cited Chevron’s investment in Turkey’s Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, Citibank’s investment in Akbank, and GE’s investment in Garanti Bank.

Other panelists were Abdullah Akyuz, the U.S. representative for Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, and Ian Lesser, a leading scholar on Turkish politics and the senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund. Liesl Riddle, a GWSB Associate professor of international business and international affairs, moderated the discussion.

Natural Gardening Company ‘Worms’ Its Way to Dell Award

Innovation and leadership in social media earned Wiggly Wigglers, a natural gardening mail-order company in rural England, the global 2008 Dell Small Business Excellence Award. The contest was sponsored by Dell Inc. and coordinated by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) within the GWSB Department of Management.

Wiggly Wigglers produced one of the world’s first gardening and farming podcasts and now has thousands of weekly listeners around the world. Readers at the San Francisco Chronicle rated it as their “favorite gardening podcast.” The company also designs its catalog using ideas generated on its Facebook page by experts and customers.

The company was the United Kingdom’s “Small Business Champion of 2005.” The Dell award, announced Nov. 6, 2008, in New York, is Wiggly Wigglers’ first-ever global award.

Heather Gorringe founded Wiggly Wigglers on her kitchen table in 1990. The eco-gardening company sells bird seed, feeders, composting equipment, plants, flowers, turf, tools, and worms.

“Small businesses need to realize there are online conversations happening about their brand every day, and they are more likely to be positive and have impact if you’re part of them,” said Gorringe. “Social media can be time consuming, but it is really valuable, has better longevity than traditional media, and it is a lot of fun.”

Using social media to connect with current customers and reach new ones, Wiggly Wigglers now serves 90,000 customers worldwide and delivers its products across Europe. The company was able to cut its advertising budget by 80 percent after it began using social media instead of traditional advertising.

Wiggly Wigglers will receive $50,000 in Dell technology and services and a lifetime membership to the ICSB. In connection with the award, Gorringe participated in roundtable discussions with Dell CEO Michael Dell and Ayman El Tarabishy, a GWSB assistant visiting professor and the executive director of ICSB. They addressed best practices and prospects for small businesses that embrace innovation and information technology.

ICSB, founded in 1955, serves as the first international membership organization to promote the growth and development of small businesses worldwide. It has more than 2,000 members in over 70 countries, joined through 10 affiliate networks.

The global 2009 Dell Small Business Excellence Award competition is still accepting submissions at For a full description of criteria, rules, regulations, award levels, partners, and judges, visit

GWSB 2009 MBA Case Competition

Dean Susan Phillips (center) joins students from Concordia University. The group won the 2009 Case Competition held March 20-21.

The GW School of Business MBA Case Competition, now in its 16th year, brings together MBA student teams from local, national, and international business schools to examine a challenge faced by a nonprofit organization. The teams then present solutions that draw on the assets of the organization. Concordia University, Copenhagen Business School, and the University of Alabama emerged as this year’s top teams.

Associate Dean Meets Prospective Students in California

GW School of Business Associate Dean Lawrence Singleton led a GW team that traveled to California to speak with prospective applicants and their families in Los Angeles.

Jill Gully, senior assistant director of undergraduate admissions, and Vanessa Okoro, ESIA, ’09, joined Singleton at a March 22 meeting to discuss the GW experience and application process. Rahsaan Burroughs, GW associate director of undergraduate admissions, moderated the panel.

Singleton said that GW wants students who generate original knowledge, have sharp writing and analytical skills, and are able to understand and debate educational theories. He cited numerous examples of how GW students apply knowledge beyond the doors of the classroom through real-time experiences such as internships, case studies, research, and academic excursions into the city.

The college search process is starting earlier and earlier for high school students. The GWSB admissions office is responding to that trend by hosting such gatherings throughout the country.

University of Texas Professor Dissects Debt

WHAT: Stan Markov, associate professor of accounting and information management at the University of Texas at Dallas, will speak to the GWSB community about debt literacy, financial experiences, and over-indebtedness.

March 27, 2009
2:10 — 4 p.m.

Duquès Hall, Suite 254
2201 G Street, NW

Heather Heyman; or (202) 994-6825

An Agenda for the Americas

With a new government in Washington and the much-awaited Summit of the Americas convening in Trinidad in April, the United States and the other countries in the Western Hemisphere have an opportunity to forge a new working relationship. In anticipation, the Center for Latin American Issues at The George Washington University School of Business is sponsoring a high-profile conference to discuss ways to tackle the most pressing issues on the inter-American agenda.

April 7
8:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.

Jack Morton Auditorium
805 21st Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the conference or to register, visit

Save the Date! Climate Action Conference

The Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy and the Institute for Corporate Responsibility’s Environmental Sustainability Program will co-host GWSB’s third annual Climate Action Conference. The conference brings together speakers from business, education, energy, health, economics, and other fields. It offers the GW community a chance to learn about climate change-related opportunities, policies, and the local and international effects of an ever-warming world.

April 22-23, 2009
8 a.m. — 5 p.m.

Jack Morton Auditorium
805 21st Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

For details on the conference or to register, visit

Conference: Good Jobs in a Tough Economy

The George Washington University School of Business Department of Management and the Bureau of National Affairs will co-sponsor “New Frontiers in Labor and Employment Policy: Ensuring Good Jobs, Fair Treatment, and High Performance in a Turbulent Economy.”

June 11-12, 2009

The George Washington University School of Business
Cafritz Conference Center
800 21st Street, NW,
Washington, D.C.

The forum, led by the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), will focus on policy issues around union organizing, pension and health care benefits, and other themes for which legislative debates are anticipated. The forum will also consider state and industry-level challenges in rebuilding the “American Dream” and explore assumptions about the workforce, unions, employers, and other stakeholders.

The forum is structured as a series of seven workshops and four plenary sessions featuring panels of legislators, labor and management practitioners, and leading researchers. The debate offers an opportunity to participate in public policy dialogue concerning some of today’s most pressing problems.

For details and to register for the event, visit

Maxon Lecture Spotlights Corporate Social Responsibility

GW School of Business Robert P. Maxon lecturer, Mustafa Koç, gave a March 25 presentation on the challenges facing an effective corporate social responsibility program at a time of heightened global competition. Koç, BBA, ’84, is chairman of Koç Holdings, one of Turkey’s largest conglomerates

Getting to Know: Yilu Zhou


Title: Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Technology Management

Job Duties: Conduct research, teach classes, and supervise students

Years at GW: 2.5 years

Best part of working for the GWSB: Working with intelligent and supportive colleagues and learning from them; watching students progress in class and hear about their job offers and achievements; and having the freedom to do interesting research.

What co-workers don’t know about me: Recently I bought a professional oboe in Paris, and I practiced in the studios in Phillips Hall.

Family: My parents and my fiance

Favorite things to do on the weekends: Watch a fun movie, go to a nice restaurant, and catch up with friends. It sometimes ends up with cleaning the house, doing laundry, and catching up with e-mails and work.

Favorite Vacation Spot: Any beach resort.

Favorite Book: Fortress Besieged by Zhongshu Qian


Patrick McHugh, associate professor of management, published “Batter Up, Student On Deck: The Utility of Moneyball in Management Education,” in the April issue of the Journal of Management Education.

Getting Ink

Susan Phillips, GWSB dean and professor of finance, wrote an opinion column for the Financial Times. “Without ethics, the free market system is at risk,” focused on teaching ethics in business schools. “For me, there has never been any question. Business schools must ground future business leaders in the duties and rewards of stewardship. Tomorrow’s executives must understand the concerns of multiple stakeholders. They must wield power responsibly. They must recognise that corporate responsibilities go beyond short-term profit and loss,” she wrote. (3/16)

Phillips was also a guest on Bloomberg Television’s “Morning Call” program with host Bernard Lo. The show, which airs nationally and across Asia, highlights the business morning in Asia with news and views from around the world. (3/18)

The induction of sports legend and Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin into the GW School of Business Sports Executive Hall of Fame was mentioned in the Sports Business Journal. The Sports Industry Networking and Career Conference, co-sponsored and hosted by GWSB, was also mentioned in the publication.

Scheherazade Rehman, professor of international business and international affairs, was a guest on C-Span’s “Washington Journal.” She discussed the G-20 meeting and global banking reform. (3/13)


ICSB and its European Affiliate Launch Wiki for Small Business Scholars and Practitioners
ICSB and the European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ECSB) are activating a new wiki aimed at establishing one of the world’s richest online communities for entrepreneurship and small business studies. As an extension of the ICSB’s global mission, the wiki is a first step in developing the potential of Internet-enabled collaboration to foster interaction among a worldwide membership. It takes just a few minutes to join. Once registered, members can edit almost any content in an unsupervised, peer-to-peer, open-source fashion. For example, users can add or improve definitions in the encyclopedia, start collaborative activities in workspaces, add links, promote events, and create their own personal blog pages. Visit the Wiki at

From Canada’s Ryerson University, Steven Gedeon Wins Experiential Learning Competition
Steven Gedeon’s Investment Negotiation Workshop won the 2009 3E-Learning Award, a community-based program designed to collect and disseminate entrepreneurial experiential exercises to other instructors around the world. A member of the Canadian Council for Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Gedeon was selected for his approaches to teaching negotiations, selling a company, and setting a CEO compensation package. The Investment Negotiation Workshop identifies principle- versus position-based bargaining strategies and ways to avoid leaving money on the table because of weak planning or implementation. “People may think they are good negotiators when they may actually be quite weak,” Gedeon said. “In the real world, you never discover that you left $40 million on the table!” For more information and to download the free experiential exercise, click here.

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