The George Washington University

School of Business: GWSB News

November 6, 2009

‘Gold-Medal’ Professor Named to Olympic Educational Program Faculty

When it comes to knowledge of the Olympics, Professor Neirotti runs rings around the competition.

GWSB’s Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of tourism and sport management, has been to 14 consecutive Olympics – that’s two more than legendary ABC Sports reporter Jim McKay, if you’re keeping score. She’s spent more than two-and-a-half decades studying the development and organization of the Olympic movement and, of course, attending the games.

Now Neirotti has earned a prestigious appointment to an educational program administered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As one of eight instructors in the IOC’s Executive Master of Sport Management (MEMOS) program, Neirotti joins a distinguished international faculty. She and her colleagues provide instruction and mentoring for students from around the world seeking the knowledge and skills to improve the capabilities and performance of their respective national Olympic committees.

The MEMOS program, which started 13 years ago, consists of four one-week sessions over the course of a year. The first and last sessions are held in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the second and third sessions moving to different locations each year. This year’s program, which got underway in September, will hold its second session in Doha, Qatar, in January. The third session will be held in Malta in May before the program returns to Lausanne for the final session in September 2010. Forty students were accepted for this year’s program from more than 70 who applied through their national Olympic committees.

In addition to coursework in management and leadership, marketing, finance and human resources, students work on individual projects that are usually related to specific issues affecting their home-country Olympic committee or team. According to Neirotti, projects originated by MEMOS students have been implemented with practical results. Although many of the students “have never had formal higher education training, let alone sport management training,” MEMOS graduates have helped their national Olympic committees operate more efficiently and effectively, Neirotti said.

Each MEMOS faculty member serves as a mentor for five students, staying in touch with them over the course of the year and providing advice on their projects. For her first year in the MEMOS program, Neirotti is mentoring students from Ethiopia, Lesotho, Samoa, Serbia and Trinidad and Tobago.

“I am honored to be part of this important global educational program,” Neirotti said. “We are bringing together future leaders of national Olympic committees and preparing them to lead the Olympic movement through the next century.”

Dissecting Wall Street and the Post-Recession World

Dean Susan Phillips is hosting a series of faculty luncheons this semester to discuss the causes, effects and possible solutions to the current global economic slump.

When Dean Susan M. Phillips invited 14 of her faculty members to lunch, the goal was to talk about the heaving global economy and brainstorm on ways GWSB could “be part of the solution.”

“There are a lot of questions about the role of business schools at times like this. I want us to look at how we teach, what we teach and our research topics,” Phillips explained. “I wanted to start a conversation, to get faculty to think outside of their own boxes.”

The Oct. 22 lunch, the first of three scheduled during the fall semester, sparked a wide-ranging discussion that included ways new research could be woven into classes, changes in existing courses and the addition of new courses. Different faculty members will be invited to each lunch.

GWSB is ahead of many business schools in attempting to make sense of the financial crisis, Phillips said, in part because of the University’s location in Washington, D.C., close to the national policy debate swirling around Wall Street’s failures. She also said her role on an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) ethics study and the existence of active international business and strategic management departments within the School have brought home some of the financial crisis’ lessons.

Looking forward, the dean predicted that there will be more regulation of business, meaning business students’ knowledge of the regulatory environment must be broadened.

“There are business school skills and theories that apply to public policy,” the dean said. “We hear, for example, that the Securities and Exchange Commission is trying to hire more economists and more people with Wall Street experience. That is a huge change. Regulatory agencies used to look for attorneys.”

It was suggested at the luncheon that risk-management classes should expand beyond financial risk to include management risk and personal risk. Leadership – and its failure – was also discussed, as well as ways business schools can help shape government policy on corporate governance.

The discussion broached how students will need to better understand the post-recession role of emerging markets such as China, Brazil and India. New career fields – including in biotech and alternative energy industries – need to be embraced by business education, lunch attendees said. Neil Cohen, professor of finance, told his colleagues that he supports a return to the teaching of business history to put recessions and other financial upheaval into context.

When it came to research, the dean and the professors talked about new financial models, the growing interest in once-marginal notions like triple-bottom line and the need for students and professors to question widely held assumptions not backed by data.

“Faculty needs to help students learn the lessons of the past decade. And a lot of those lessons aren’t in the textbooks yet,” Phillips said.

‘It’s a Wonderful Town!’ MBA New York Career Trek

“The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down” – GWSB MBA students spent three days exploring career opportunities in the Big Apple.

Despite another tough year for job seekers, MBA students at the GW School of Business remain focused and optimistic. A record number of students took part in the annual MBA New York Career Trek. The students spent three days, Oct. 21 to 23, attending corporate presentations and informal breakfast, luncheon and dinner meetings with alumni in New York City. The students also had the opportunity to network with hundreds of GW alumni at a reception at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where they were welcomed by GW President Steven Knapp.

“New York offers a fast-paced environment, countless international organizations and many opportunities for young professionals,” said Ariana Massarat, a first-year MBA student and member of the Career Trek’s executive committee. “Overall, I just love the city. Who doesn’t?”

MBA student Catherine Lee, who serves as Career Trek president, said more than 40 GW alumni participated in this year’s event. “What makes the GW MBA career trek so different from similar programs at other schools is that we facilitate personalized, small-group meetings throughout the city,” Lee said.

Students met with prestigious GW alumni from Accenture, ACS Consulting, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barnes & Noble, BlackRock, Brookfield Asset Management, C.S. Engel and Associates, Catalyst Capital Advisors, CBS Inc., Citi Alternative Investments, Citi Habitats, Citigroup, Commerzbank, Constellation Capital, Cue-NYC, Deutsche Bank, Development Partners, Edelman PR, EMI Music, Eurohypo AG, Everlast Worldwide, Fitch Ratings, Fox-Pitt Kelton, Guggenheim Capital Markets, Jefferies Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase, Lindblad Expeditions, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Mercer, Michael Kors, MTV Networks, NORD/LB, Polo Ralph Lauren, Something Digital, Sony Pictures Television, Taconic Investment Partners, the U.S. Department of State, X-Game Franchise and Zwilling JA Henckels, Demeyere and Staub.

“Building a lifelong community is a top priority for GW, and the Career Trek adds strength by providing a forum for our students and alumni to connect. Students can practice their networking skills and build relationships that make our GW community stronger,” said Leah M. Kuppersmith, associate director for school alumni programs at the GWSB Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

“Our alumni have a lot to gain from this experience as well. This is a great way for our alumni to give back to their alma mater by becoming mentors to our future business leaders. By connecting with students, they can hear firsthand what they are learning in the classroom and what is new at the University,” Kuppersmith added. “This experience is often the first step to a deeper level of involvement with GW, as a volunteer, board member or donor.”

New Course Will Boost Financial Literacy, Teach Wealth Building

Professor Neil Cohen

The American public’s low level of financial literacy is a longstanding problem, but this knowledge gap has been heightened by the current economic crisis. Many people never receive any formal financial education even though a solid understanding of basic financial concepts is a tremendously important life skill. GWSB is doing its part to change that.

While the School offers a broad range of excellent business courses focused on big-picture and big-dollar concepts, instruction on how to properly manage personal money or the household budget has not been available to students – until now. In the spring semester the School will add a new “Personal Finance” course to its curriculum. The course, available to juniors and seniors in all majors, is designed to improve students’ financial literacy.

Students will learn about loans, credit cards, interest rates, investing and taxes. But Neil Cohen, associate professor of finance, said it will be neither simple nor simplistic. “Just because the dollar amounts are relatively small in families, compared to big companies, it is incorrect to believe that personal finance is trivial,” said Cohen, who will be teaching the class.

“The course will include stocks, bonds, portfolios, investing – in other words, the elements of wealth building,” Cohen said. “Mortgages and loans will also be covered, notably, what questions to ask, how to understand loan provisions, and the projected impact of contractual provisions into the future.

“Student must know how to think and analyze the impact of their decisions before they make them,” Cohen continued. “The objective of this course is to teach students how to create a comprehensive financial plan and have the ability to adjust it as circumstances change over time.”

Cohen believes that instruction in the basics of personal finance should be added to middle school curricula.

Career Advice from the Experts

Management professor Erik Winslow (second from right) leads a panel discussion on careers in consulting.

The F. David Fowler Career Center wrapped up a busy October, hosting a series of successful panel presentations that gave students valuable information and guidance about a range of professions. The career panels focused on finance, consulting and international business. Panelists included professionals from Fortune 500 companies, boutique firms and government agencies. Many of the panelists were GWSB alumni.

“The event was a great opportunity to not only meet and guide current students, but to also identify potential recruits for our organization,” said Sarah Guroff, MBA, ’09, who works as operations director with Chemonics International.

In an effort to involve faculty members in their students’ career development, professors of finance, management, international business and public policy acted as moderators for the panels. In addition to the panelists, students heard from three distinguished guest speakers: George Lucaci, MBA, ‘76, senior managing director at Channel Capital Group; William Fox, managing director at Alvarez & Marsal and CFO at Lehman Holdings; and Chad Holliday, DuPont Board of Directors chairman and GWSB executive-in-residence.

Lucaci shared his insight on the state of the hedge-fund industry. Fox spoke about his role in Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy proceedings. Holliday, who headlined the series’ latest event – on Oct. 21 – talked to a room of nearly 100 students and alumni about “green jobs” and strategic corporate social responsibility. Holliday’s presentation was co-sponsored by Net Impact and the GWSB Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy. Net Impact is a network of MBAs dedicated to using business to create a better world.

“We’re really pleased that someone of Chad’s corporate stature has an interest in connecting with our students and alumni and communicating with them on socially and environmentally oriented careers in business,” said Mark Starik, professor and chair of the Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy. “Chad’s informal style and wealth of corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainability knowledge were really appreciated by the session attendees.”

The real-world insight and expert perspective provided by the panelists and guest speakers have proven to be a valuable part of the F. David Fowler Career Center’s efforts to equip students with vital career-management skills.

“We will continue to bring high-profile guests to address our students. Hearing from the experts enhances students’ awareness and preparedness and helps them stand out in this turbulent job market,” said Gil Yancey, the center’s executive director.

Getting to Know: Rim Abboud

Name: Rim Abboud

Title: Administrative Manager, Department of Marketing

Job duties: Managing all aspects of department operations – coordinating course schedules, lectures and special events, staff payroll, publications, etc.

Years at GW: Since March 2009.

Best part of working at GWSB: I enjoy working in an educational institution.

What co-workers do not know about me: I am an electrical engineer. I am fluent in four languages. And I have traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Family: Married with one son, Philip, who goes to St. Albans School.

Favorite things to do on the weekend: Catch up with my son’s activities.

Favorite vacation spot: Italy. My husband and I were stationed there.

Favorite book: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.


Gil Yancey, executive director of GWSB’s F. David Fowler Career Center, will lead a discussion on career advancement in the current economic climate, on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the GW Virginia Campus, 20101 Academic Way, Ashburn, Va. Yancey’s presentation, “Managing Your Career in Economic Turmoil,” will be followed by a reception and information sessions for anyone interested in learning more about the GWSB Accelerated MBA, Master of Science in Information Systems Technology, and Master of Science in Project Management programs.

Alumni Career Networking Night, Nov. 18

The School Alumni Relations officers and the George Washington Alumni Association (GWAA) will host the “All GW Alumni Career Networking Night” on Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Marvin Center Continental Ballroom, 800 21st St. NW, Washington, D.C. The event gives GW alumni and graduate students an opportunity to network with alumni from various industries and to meet representatives from GW’s career centers. Participants will learn about the resources provided by GWAA and how they can make the most of being part of the GW community. For more information and to register for this event, click here.


William C. Handorf, professor of finance, was a featured speaker at recent seminars and conferences held in São Paulo, Brazil. The presentations included: “Bank Risk” with KPMG Brazil; “Implications of Real Estate Development for Economic Growth” with Serasa (an Experian company); “Market Signals” with Fecomercio (Federation of Commerce) and “Credit Risk” with Brazilian consumer credit association ACREFI.

Miguel Lejeune, assistant professor of decision sciences, presented his research at three sessions during the INFORMS 2009 conference in San Diego in October. Lejeune presented: “Disjunctive Normal Form Representation of Probabilistic Constraints” at an invited session on “Chance-Constrained Stochastic Programming;” “Construction of Index Funds under Risk Averse Constraint” (a joint project with G. Samatli-Pin, a PhD candidate at Drexel University) at an invited session on “Mixed-Integer Programming with Chance Constraints;” and “Pattern Recognition Techniques in Stochastic Programming” at an invited session on “Advances in LP Modeling of Combinatorial and Stochastic Optimization Problems.”

Don Hawkins, Eisenhower Professor of Tourism Policy, gave the Oct. 14 Inaugural Lecture for the 2009/10 academic year at the Universitat Rovira Virgili’s School of Tourism in Spain. He also gave the keynote presentation for the COODTUR Congress on International Tourism Cooperation in Vila-Seca, Spain, on Oct.15.

Soyoung Boo, assistant professor, Department of Tourism and Hospitality, received the Best Paper Award at the 27th EuroCHRIE (The European Council on Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Education) conference in Helsinki, Finland. She was honored at the Oct. 22-24 event for her paper, “Event Groups’ EWOM Intention in a Franchise Restaurant.” The EuroCHRIE federation brings together educators from hospitality and tourism management schools and universities into a global network.

William E. Halal, professor emeritus of management, technology and innovation, recently made presentations to the Noblis Corporation (formerly MITRE); the U.S. National Academies; the Korean Electrical Research Institute; and the World Future Society. Halal was also a panelist at a GW meeting, headed by University President Steven Knapp, for 300 alumni in New York City.

Getting Ink

James R. Bailey, Ave Tucker Professorial Fellow of Leadership, was quoted in an Oct. 28 CNN report on the now-infamous “balloon boy” incident, “How the ‘fame motive’ makes you want to be a star.” From the CNN piece: “Getting a lot of attention gives some people a rush of adrenaline, the ‘fight or flight’ chemical, said James Bailey, psychologist and leadership professor at George Washington University’s School of Business. When people experience this ‘high,’ they want to have it again and will engage in sometimes extreme or illegal behaviors to try to replicate the feeling. This need for recognition isn’t necessarily negative, and studies have shown that everyone has it in varying degrees, although there is some cultural variation, Bailey said. It becomes problematic when the desire for fame becomes dysfunctional and all-encompassing.”

Kristin Lamoureux, research associate, adjunct instructor and director of GWSB’s International Institute of Tourism Students, was quoted in an Oct. 26 CNN story on efforts to promote the United States as an international tourism destination. In the story, “World travelers: America wants you,” CNN’s Marnie Hunter reported that international travel to the United States has not yet recovered to pre-9/11 levels. Lamoureux commented on the Travel Promotion Act, which was recently approved by both the U.S. House and Senate. “Segments of the travel industry – including large destinations, cruise lines, airlines and hotel chains – have the means to promote themselves privately, but that leaves our national parks and forest lands, rural communities and the small businesses that make up most of the industry, according to Kristin Lamoureux, director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at the George Washington University [School of Business]. ‘This is an opportunity to brand the U.S.,’ she said.”

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of tourism and sport management, was interviewed for an NPR story on growing criticism of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). In the story that aired Oct. 27, Neirotti commented on complaints about the USOC from athletes and Olympics sports executives. “They withheld their complaints and unhappiness until the Chicago bid was done, just on the hope that we could get the games back in the United States,” she said. She added that when Chicago didn’t get the games, “the door was open for people to come out with the criticism.”

Neirotti was also quoted in a Sept. 28 Baltimore Sun story, “Reducing a marathon’s carbon footprint.” The article described organizers’ sustainability goals for the Baltimore Running Festival. Those goals include recycling, alternative-energy cars, composting of food and waste and the planting of 100 trees along the race course. “Best practices are still evolving, even among those certifying races, and some organizers still need to determine what works in their area, Neirotti said. ‘There are so many road races now, that’s the importance,’ she said. ‘If everyone did something, it would make a big difference.’ ”

GWSB was mentioned in an article in Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, Turkey’s English-language daily newspaper, about an International MBA Fair that took place in Istanbul on Oct. 24. GWSB was one of more than two dozen business schools from around the world represented at the event.


Don Hawkins, Eisenhower Professor of Tourism Policy, has been appointed to the boards of directors for two organizations, the Tourism Cares Foundation and Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA).

Class Notes

David Shavzin, MBA, ’87, co-founder of the Safe Teen Driving Club, is launching the Crash-Free America Corporate Communications Program. The program focuses on awareness of the risk factors that lead to motor vehicle crashes, providing practical steps parents can take and education about the tools available to manage teen driving. For more information, visit:

The bride, the groom – and a lot of other GW alumni: Karyn Shapiro, ’08; Caroline Turitto, ’04; Ben Getto, ’02; Mitch Blaser, ’73; Jessica Mantak, ’02; Bryan Derdenger, ’02; Tim Derdenger, ’02; Will Stern, ’02; Chris Shaw, ’01; R.C. Hammond, ’02; Kristen Kaczynski, ’02; Katie McMahon, ’02; Stephanie Baxt Gosling, ’02; Ashley Lucia, ’02; and Katarina Stastny, ’02.

Lisa Freeman, BBA, ’02, and Michael Fontanetta, BBA, ’02, were married on June 20, in Philadelphia. They met at GW, where they were next-door neighbors during their sophomore and senior years. Several GW classmates celebrated with the happy couple.

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