The George Washington University

School of Business: GWSB News

September 11, 2009

GWSB Prof Boosts Kurdish Business Know-how

Flanked by the Kurdish and Iraqi flags, GWSB Professor Herbert Davis congratulates a graduate of the special business program he developed and taught.

Herbert Davis, professor of strategic management and international affairs, recently completed a 30-day consulting assignment in Kurdistan, where he taught a series of short courses designed to help businesses understand what they need to know to work with U.S. companies. Working for Enterra Solutions, a U.S. management, consulting and tech-services firm specializing in “post-conflict environments,” Davis went to the autonomous region in northern Iraq to teach one-week courses on entrepreneurship and business management in the regional administrative capital of Erbil.

Nearly 100 business people from throughout Kurdistan participated in the training, which was organized in cooperation with the Kurdistan Business Center. Davis described the participants as “highly capable with very good business instincts.”

The program focused on the basics: contracts, developing business plans, due diligence and internationally accepted business standards.

“It was a very fundamental teaching experience and highly rewarding to me personally,” Davis said. “The Kurds have been isolated for so long and have lived in a conflict situation for decades. They were anxious to learn all they could in a short period of time. They were very interested in what I had to offer and put a lot of effort into the courses.”

Under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, Iraq had little commercial interaction with the United States. Davis said that is changing. The Kurdistan region’s economy – concentrated in oil, agriculture and service industries – has great potential for growth through foreign trade, particularly with the United States. Kurdistan has a population of about 5 million, with an estimated annual per capita income of $6,800 (as opposed to $4,000 for Iraq as a whole). The region is relatively secure, possesses a solid infrastructure with good roads and fairly dependable utilities and is in the midst of a building boom. It is home to a business community that Davis described as “very interested in learning what it takes to attract U.S. business partners.”

Despite some obstacles – including disagreements over interpretation of Iraqi and Kurdish investment laws and resources, for example, “there are substantial opportunities for Kurdistan,” Davis said, “and considerable opportunity for foreign investment.” He added that a healthy economy, with a strong foreign trade component, can form the foundation for long-term stability and prosperity in the region.

A Close-Up Look at Eco-Tourism in Costa Rica

If you can’t stand the heat, stay off the lava – Professor Jorge Rivera in Costa Rica.

The Central American nation of Costa Rica has long been a dream destination for eco-tourists. “Costa Rica has taken a leadership role in the symbiosis of tourism and the environment,” said Jorge Rivera, associate professor of strategic management and public policy. He should know, having recently completed a seven-month sabbatical in Costa Rica researching “environmental certification” of tourist communities.

Rivera’s research focused on the Blue Flag Program, an environmental certification initiative launched in 1996 and jointly administered by the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Tourism. Unlike certification efforts that evaluates individual hotels or resort properties, the Blue Flag Program rates entire communities on environmental quality and safety. Earning and maintaining certification requires the close cooperation of hotels, restaurants, local government and nonprofit agencies. Blue Flag certification has become an important selling point for communities looking to host eco-tourists drawn to Costa Rica for its beaches, rain forests and bio-diversity.

Rivera has collected 13 years worth of data on the program. He expects to produce a number of studies and papers over the next several years. He will be looking at the environmental and economic impact of the program: whether certification has helped improve environmental quality and whether certification has led to more investment, better hotel occupancy rates and higher prices in better-rated communities. He also will look at comparisons between participating and non-participating locations.

According to Rivera, the success of the Blue Flag Program has drawn the interest of the U.S. National Park Service. “It’s unique for a developing country to provide a model for the U.S.,” he said.

While in Costa Rica, Rivera was based at the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education (CATIE), a regional graduate school in the city of Turrialba. He received funding to support his research from both the GW Center for International Business Education and Research (GW-CIBER) and GWSB’s International Institute of Tourism Studies.

Rivera spent some of his time in Costa Rica working on two books: Voluntary Environmental Certification Programs, which will be published by the American Policy Studies Organization in December, and Business and Public Policy, which will be published next year by Cambridge University Press.

ICR Joins Sustainable Farming Initiative

John Forrer

GWSB’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility (ICR) forged an alliance with NewForesight, a Netherlands-based consulting and social venture entity that links corporate policies on certification and branding with sustainable farming practices around the world.

John Forrer, ICR associate director, said farmers often cannot afford the added expense of sustainable farming practices. The ICR-NewForesight partnership will seek to close that financing gap by working – in cooperation with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations – to match farmers with banks, investors and companies that promote sustainable agriculture and products.

“There is a strong interest in sustainable products emerging. Consumers are demonstrating a greater understanding of the social impact of what they buy and do, and it is having more and more influence on their spending patterns,” said Forrer, associate professor of strategic management and public policy. “Naturally, companies are beginning to respond.

“There is a real and growing business interest for companies to support sustainable farming and offer their customers the sustainable products they want,” he added. “It is a topic that will benefit from the expertise of faculty from different disciplines.”

Forrer said the new initiative builds on ICR’s “Peace Through Commerce” program, directed by Tim Fort, who is ICR executive director and a GWSB professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy.

“Sustainability provides economic, environmental and general quality-of-life benefits that can form the basis for long-term dispute resolution, particularly in the world’s conflict zones, where a large portion of commodities farming is done,” Forrer said.

ICSB Partners with Tech Firm to Benefit Small Businesses Worldwide

Ayman Tarabishy

The International Council for Small Business (ICSB), which is housed within GWSB’s Department of Management, has partnered with technology company xTuple to make the firm’s open-source enterprise resource planning (ERP) system available for free to its members around the globe.

xTuple, a leader in open-source ERP software, recently announced the release of xTuple ERP 3.3, showcasing a robust international tax- management system and more than 100 new product enhancements. While xTuple ERP is deployed in companies of all sizes (including several Global 1000 firms), it is a particularly compelling choice for small to mid-sized businesses.

The collaboration with ICSB will help advance the membership organization’s mission of supporting entrepreneurship and economic development worldwide. “The ICSB and xTuple have a common goal of sharing best practices to help small businesses grow and thrive,” said Ayman El Tarabishy, ICSB executive director. “We believe the open-source development process, combined with xTuple’s global community of innovators and entrepreneurs, offers a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to acquire leading-edge technology and expertise at very little, if any, cost.”

D.C.: Fourth Best Metro Area for Attending College

GW and other area colleges can take shared credit in helping to make the Washington, D.C., region the nation’s fourth-best metropolitan area for attending college, according to rankings released this week by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). AIER’s 2009-10 College Destinations Index rates metropolitan areas on the basis of academic environment, quality of life and professional opportunities.

Green with Pride: GW Climbs in Sierra Club Rankings

The Sierra Club ranked GW 81st out of 135 schools on its annual report card measuring the eco-friendliness of universities across the country. The score marks a significant improvement over last year, when the environmental organization named GW one of the five least sustainable schools in the United States.

“While it’s nice to improve in rankings of various kinds, universities need to ensure that behind the numbers, the values they espouse are actually being advanced,” said Mark Starik, director of GWSB’s Environmental Sustainability Program. “I’m glad to see that GW is doing better in this particular ranking, but I’m even more enthused every time we build a new residence hall that meets green-building standards, offer a new sustainability-oriented course or program, and work with one another to ensure that we are truly helping to lead society in sustainable directions.”

Getting to Know: Heather E. Bowen

Name: Heather E. Bowen

Title: Assistant Professor of Tourism

Job duties: Teaching courses in the Accelerated Master of Tourism (AMTA) program, research, chair of the AMTA Steering Committee.

Years at GW: This is my first semester.

Best part of working at GWSB: The collegiality and professionalism.

What co-workers do not know about me: I love to hula hoop.

Family: Owned and operated an amusement park for more than 50 years.

Favorite things to do on the weekend: Spend time with family and friends, especially if it involves fishing.

Favorite vacation spot: On the water.

Favorite book: Anything by Tom Robbins.


CFEE Presents Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Sept. 23
GWSB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence (CFEE) will host Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Kanter will be speaking as part of the Howard Hoffman Lecture series at 6 p.m. in Funger Hall, Room 103.

Kanter, who edited the Harvard Business Review from 1989 to 1992, specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. Her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for more than 25 years, through teaching, writing and direct consultation to major corporations and governments. She has been named by the Times of London as one of the “50 most powerful women in the world.”

GWSB Dean Susan Phillips said leadership is an important component of the School’s programs.

“At the GW School of Business we are steadily increasing the depth and breadth of our program offerings with recent emphasis in the M.B.A. program on ethical leadership, corporate responsibility and globalization,” said Phillips, who is a professor of finance. “In addition to providing an exceptional education to our students, we are preparing them to become global business leaders.”

Sign up for the lecture, which is free and open to the public. The first 150 people to arrive will receive a complimentary copy of Kanter’s book Super Corp. For more information, contact Stephanie Gresham at

GW Freshman Day of Service

Assistant Secretary
of the Navy BJ
Penn will be on
hand for GW's
first annual
Freshman Day of

More than 1,500 GW freshmen dedicated their time to a day of community service and civic engagement throughout the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Maryland, on Sept. 11, 2009. Assistant Secretary of the Navy and GWSB alumnus BJ Penn, MS Administration, ’80, joined the opening ceremony launching GW’s annual Freshman Day of Service.

“Serving those who have served us” was the theme for the inaugural day of service, which focused on volunteering on behalf of veterans throughout the region. Students were scheduled to serve at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Armed Forces Retirement Home, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and the USO, as well as a number of other sites around the area. A 6:30 p.m. candlelight vigil at the end of the day was organized to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Canadian Council for Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference, Oct. 16-18
The Canadian Council for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (CCSBE), an affiliate of GWSB’s International Council for Small Business (ICSB), will hold its annual conference in Toronto at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, one of Canada’s leading institutions for entrepreneurial education. The Oct. 16-18 conference marks the 30th anniversary of the CCSBE.

The conference’s ambitious agenda brings together entrepreneurs, policy-makers, academics and practitioners to explore how to fuel growth in Canada through the “commercialization of innovation.” Conference highlights include more than 20 seminars designed to help entrepreneurs run their businesses more effectively and 30 presentations from academics, policy-makers and practitioners on how to nurture entrepreneurial growth in Canada.

Additionally, ICSB and DELL will present findings from the 2009 Global Small Business Excellence Award program during a panel session and recognize the 2008 and 2009 Canadian national winners during the conference. Conference keynote speakers include Ian Delaney, chairman and CEO of Sherritt International Corp.; Phillip Phan, professor and vice dean for faculty and research at Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University; and Randy Pilon, president and CEO of Virox Technologies Inc.


Mark Starik

Mark Starik, professor and chair of the Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy, was a presenter, co-organizer or coauthor at six sessions of the Academy of Management “Green Management Matters” conference in Chicago in August. Starik organized a session and presented a talk on “The Greening of the Academy,” which identified the practices, performance and potential of the academy to become an ecologically sustainable organization.

“With the Academy of Management’s adoption of the ‘Green Management Matters’ theme, a major global academic association has recognized that the triple bottom-line of ‘people, planet, profits’ is both necessary and attainable,” Starik said, adding that the academy “is trying to encourage its thousands of members and other stakeholders to begin thinking and acting to make sustainability a reality.

“Most of the largest business, government and nonprofit organizations have already been moving in this direction, so it’s very timely for academia to also help lead in the advancement of long-term, holistic, quality-of-life issues and practices,” Starik said.

Jorge Rivera
James Bailey

Starik’s other sessions at the conference included the greening of universities and business schools and publishing on social and environmental entrepreneurship. Jorge Rivera, associate professor of strategic management and public policy, and GWSB doctoral graduates Mark Heuer, Tim Clark and Eva Collins were also coauthors or co-presenters. In addition, Starik and James Bailey, Ave Tucker Professorial Fellow of Leadership and chair of the GWSB Department of Marketing, co-hosted a reception for all GW stakeholders attending the meetings.

Young Hoon Kwak, associate professor of decision sciences, was a keynote speaker at the Project Management Community of Practice Annual Conference at Penn State Erie. Kwak presented his recent research on “Project Management and its Allied Disciplines” at the Aug. 18-19 gathering.


Miguel Lejeune, assistant professor of decisions sciences, published “An Exact Solution Approach for Integer Constrained Portfolio Optimization Problems under Stochastic Constraints” in Operations Research, 57 (3), pp. 650-670. The paper was coauthored by Pierre Bonami, a researcher with the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in France.

Reid Click
Robert Weiner

Reid Click, chair and associate professor of the Department of International Business, and Robert Weiner, professor of international business, coauthored an article titled “Resource Nationalism Meets the Market: Political Risk and the Value of Petroleum Reserves.” The article will appear in the Journal of International Business Studies, which the Social Science Citation Index rates as one of the top 10 business journals as measured by citation impact. The paper examines resource nationalism, a topic that has received popular media attention but little scholarly attention.

Susan Aaronson, associate research professor of strategic management and public policy, published the discussion paper “Corporate strategy and inadequate governance: The pitfalls of CSR” for the World Bank Institute (World Bank Business and Development Discussion Paper No. 11, Summer 2009). “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become the way for many corporations – and CSR initiatives can be helpful in many countries,” Aaronson said. “However, these same CSR strategies can have unintended consequences in developing countries where governance is inadequate. This article delineates some of the problems with CSR initiatives.” Aaronson, who welcomes comments, can be reached at

Getting Ink

Dean Susan M. Phillips, professor of finance, was interviewed for a Dow Jones Newswires story about the direction of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under its new chairman, Gary Gensler.

Phillips was also interviewed by the Australia Broadcasting Corp. for a television news segment on the economic crisis in the United States and the prospects for, and progress toward, recovery.

The GW Hatchet reported on GWSB’s climb in this year’s U.S. News & World Report annual college ranking – to the 38th spot, from 39th a year ago. This is the School’s ninth year on the U.S. News Top 50 Business School list. GWSB maintained its ranking as No. 16 in the nation for international business programs (September ’09).


Vanessa Gail Perry, associate professor of marketing, was selected as the second recipient of the Journal of Consumer Affairs best paper award for her article “Is Ignorance Bliss? Consumer Accuracy in Judgments about Credit Ratings,” which appeared in the Summer 2008 (vol. 42, #2) issue of the journal. The award, announced at the 2009 ACCI conference in Milwaukee, recognizes leading high-quality scholarship published in the Journal. Perry’s article was selected from among the refereed research articles published in 2007 and 2008.

Class Notes

Ian Newberg, BBA, ’88; MBA, ’90, has been promoted to president of Parkeon Inc., an international parking-services management firm. Previously, Newberg served as Parkeon’s national sales director, overseeing and restructuring Parkeon’s business development team to increase sales of multi-space parking systems. Additionally, he was involved in the New York City Parking Card, the largest parking “smart card” program in the United States. He has been facilitating the introduction of contact-less smart cards for use in on-street, solar, multi-space pay stations.

Retired Air Force officer and school administrator James W. Mariner, PhD, MA, ’61, is now an educational consultant and civic leader in Yuba City, Calif. He was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church in 2007.

Christopher M. Thomas, MBA, ’03, has been named vice president of governmental affairs, northeast, for CH2M Hill, a global engineering firm headquartered in Colorado.

D. Ricardo Koenig, BA, ’92; MBA/JD, ’96, married Silvana Gonzalez on July 18, 2009. The couple resides in Parkland, Fla.

In Memorium

The GWSB family was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Kathy Janeczek, who worked at the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management from 1984 to 1994, serving as an academic adviser, executive assistant and director of fellowships and scholarships. Our thoughts and condolences go out to her family and friends.

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