The George Washington University

School of Business: GWSB News

February 19, 2010

GWSB Team Wins National Sports Forum Case Cup Competition

Professor Lisa Delpy Neirotti says the GWSB team faced formidable competition on its way to the win.

Ten schools competed, but it was GWSB that took home the prize.

A team of GWSB sport management students have claimed top prize in the National Sports Forum Case Cup Competition. Grant Wasch, Morgan Goerke, Julia Bennett and Ian Cropp made up the winning team.

Started in 2007, the NSF Case Cup Competition brings together 10 schools with sports MBA and sports masters programs to vie in a multidisciplinary case-study contest. The competition unfolds at the annual National Sports Forum conference, the nation’s largest cross-gathering of top sports marketing, sales, business development promotion and event entertainment executives.

“This was the first year that GW was invited to compete and it surprised and impressed not only the competition but the esteemed judges from the industry,” said Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of tourism and sport management. “We should all feel very proud of our team, which worked very hard for this remarkable honor.”

The 2010 case is prepared in advance then released to the teams, which have 24 hours to study it and prepare 20-minute presentations with their conclusions. A day later, each team goes before a panel of judges, who ask follow-up questions.

Other schools in this year’s contest were: Arizona State University, Georgetown University, Ohio University, Texas A&M University, University of Central Florida, University of Memphis, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Oregon and University of South Carolina.

U.S.-Brazilian Relations: A Conversation with Maurício Rands

Mauricio Rands’ presentation drew an audience of Foreign Service and State Department officials, students, diplomats and experts in international affairs.

Maurício Rands, co-chair of the Brazilian legislature’s U.S.-Brazil Parliamentary Group, discussed ways to strengthen the relationship between the two countries during a gathering sponsored by GWSB’s Institute of Brazilian Issues in the Center for Latin American Issues (CLAI).

Rands is the Worker’s Party leader in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies and a member of the lower legislative body’s committee on Foreign Relations and Defense. He led a Jan. 26 discussion at GWSB that detailed opportunities in 2010 for bolstering ties between his country and the United States.

Students Head to the Olympic Games

There was some irony – at least as far as the weather goes – when 28 GWSB students left the District of Columbia, buried in snow, to head to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where a dearth of snow has emerged as a problem.

The students are enrolled in the “Behind the Scenes at the 2010 Winter Olympics” class taught by Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of tourism and sport management. Their goal is to under the business-side of the Olympics. To prepare for the trip, students studied the history of the games, learned about the International Olympic Committee and selected term-paper topics related to the games. In Vancouver, they are meeting with athletes, Olympic officials, advertisers and corporations linked to the games.

These are the 10th Olympic Games that Delpy Neirotti has attended with students. The activities can be followed on her video blog.

Haiti: Business Students and Alumni Rally with Support

The earthquake and relief efforts in Haiti have rallied the GWSB community. Students joined the “Swipe Your GWorld for Haiti” fundraiser. They took part in the on-campus candlelight vigil. And they have offered individual support in a number of other ways.

Elisabeth Delatour Preval, MBA, ’88, the First Lady of the Republic of Haiti, has been in e-mail communication with GW President Steven Knapp. Upon hearing of the University’s efforts, she wrote: “I take this opportunity to kindly extend my deep appreciation to President Knapp for his solidarity with the people of my country who are presently facing fear and sorrow in the aftermath of the worst catastrophe to have struck Haiti since the 19th century.”

Several GWSB alumni were on the ground when the earthquake began its devastation, and others have traveled to the Caribbean nation to provide relief assistance. Among them is Drew Sachs, MPA, ’93, vice president at James Lee Witt Associates. Sachs spent the last year helping the United Nations and the Haitian government build a community emergency-response training program. He was scheduled to be in Haiti conducting disaster-preparedness training on the day the earthquake hit, but he had postponed the trip just days before. Since the earthquake, he has been working with the Clinton Foundation and the United Nations to identify resources and get the organizations mobilized to identify unmet needs in Haiti.

Although he was not in Haiti at the time of the quake, Marcus Stouffer, GWSB Cert. ’06, has a connection to the country. The fraud and litigation program manager at AOL has taken three trips to Haiti for development projects with the Mission Evangelique Baptiste du Sud d’Haiti (MEBSH) and the United Methodist Church. Stouffer earned a GWSB certificate in project management.

GWSB Joins Aspen Institute Case Competition

GWSB is among 25 leading business schools from six countries competing for recognition and $40,000 in prize money. Their mission is to explore the significant and positive influence that business can have on society.

Through the analysis of a new business case study focused on international management challenges, the Aspen Institute’s 2010 Business & Society International MBA Case Competition aims to inspire future business leaders to innovate at the intersection of corporate profits and social and environmental impacts.

“Current business students are tomorrow’s business leaders,” said Judith Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program. “We are inspired by the participating business schools; they are looking for opportunities to teach their students that it is possible to change the world through thoughtful and long-term business investment, business strategy and risk management.”

Students will have one weekend to respond to a new case study addressing international management challenges. On-campus competitions will determine first place campus winners; their work will be reviewed by academic judges to determine five finalist teams. The finalists will travel to New York City to face a panel of corporate judges and join an invitation-only reception with friends of the Aspen Institute.

All finalist teams receive prize money, with the first place team winning $20,000 and $3,000 to donate to a 501(c)(3)-designated charity of its choice. The last Aspen case competition was held in 2008.

Alumni Valentines

For some students, GW provided more than just an education, it served as a launch pad for a long-term romance. These students may have met through a mutual friend, on move-in day freshman year, in Colonial Cabinet or in a class. Each year, GW highlights alumni couples. The 2010 roster includes GWSB alum Zachary Aisley, BBA, ’02.

Aisley and Abby Lestition (ESIA, BA, ’02) met in the first days of their freshman year on the ninth floor of Thurston Hall. Their friendship turned into romance in their junior year.

That spring, Zachary and Abby studied abroad together in Florence, Italy, revealing a mutual interest: a love of travel. Italy is just one of the more than 22 countries they have visited together. For this Valentine’s Day, they headed to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Their thinking? “Nothing says romance like the moguls competition on February 14!”

Both alumni have fond memories of GW and Washington D.C. “I felt so fortunate to live in the heart of such an incredible city,” said Aisley. “GW offered such interesting and fun classes that gave me the opportunity to learn about a broad array of subjects.””

Aisley is senior vice president at ZACA Inc., a manufacturer of home products for new construction and renovations. Lestition is senior executive of global communications at SmartJog, a French-based technology company specializing in managed file delivery of entertainment industry content.

The couple plans a September wedding in Buffalo, N.Y. More than 20 GW alumni are on the invitation list.

Business Leaders Exchange Ideas with F. David Fowler Career Center

GWSB Board of Advisors member John Fletcher, BBA, ’68 facilitates a brainstorming session during the first meeting of the School’s new Corporate Collaborative Council. The council was set up to promote networking between industry thought leaders from industry and GWSB. Fletcher is the council’s interim chairperson.

Getting to Know: Wenjie Chen

Name: Wenjie Chen

Title: Assistant Professor

Job duties: Last semester, I taught International Business Finance at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. This semester, I am concentrating on my research on cross-border mergers and acquisitions during a financial crisis.

Years at GW: Six months.

Best part of working at GWSB: Besides my supportive colleagues, it is being in Washington, D.C.

What co-workers do not know about me: I was born in China, grew up in Germany and came to study in the U.S.

Family: My parents and my fiance.

Favorite things to do on the weekend: Eating my way through all the different ethnic restaurants in D.C.

Favorite vacation spots: So far, Alaska and Tibet top my list.

Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


Sports Industry Networking and Career Conference

GW will be the venue for this year’s Sports Industry Networking and Career Conference, which will give students an opportunity to hear from prominent industry insiders – including New York Yankees President Randy Levine and NFL Athlete Representative Joel Segal – about the business of sports. The two-day event includes sessions on sustainable sports best practices, innovations in the industry, sport tourism and the growth of online sports marketing. Networking opportunities will be interspersed with the presentations and conference participants will attend a Washington Wizards game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

When: March 5, 8:50 7 p.m.; March 6, 9:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: GW Media and Public Affairs Building. 805 21st St. NW

The Great Recession: Bank Failures, TARP and Various Government Initiatives

The Finance and Investments Club continues its series of panel discussions on the current financial crisis with “The Great Recession: Bank Failures, TARP and Various Government Initiatives.” Panelists include Panelists: Richard Brown, chief economist at FDIC; Patrick J. Tadie, MBA,’93, who is executive vice president of the Bank of New York Mellon; and GWSB Professor of International Business Jiawen Yang.

U.S. Bank Vice President and Risk Manager Dale Robinson, BBA,’00, is a guest at the discussion and Somender Chaudhary, MBA,’04, MSF’10, is moderating the panel.

When: Monday, Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Duquès Hall, Room 652
To RSVP, contact Star Calaman at

NYC Alumni and Undergraduate Student Networking Reception

GWSB sophomore, junior and senior undergraduate students in finance and marketing are making their annual trip to New York City. Since 1998, the New York Trip has been an opportunity for students to visit companies, research professional opportunities and network with an eye on internships and jobs. Students will hear from a panel of recent alumni, including Leigh Roderick, BBA, ’02, of Barclays Capital Management; Josh Scharfberg, BBA,’04, of National Accounts InStadium; and Mara Geltzeiler, BBA, ’07, of Freddie Mac. The discussion will be moderated by Carol Engel, BBA,’85, MBA, ’88, who founded C.S. Engel and Associates.

To kick off the trip, GWSB’s Offices of Undergraduate Programs and Development and Alumni Relations is hosting a Student-Alumni Networking Reception. There is no charge for the event and light hors d’ouevres will be served. All GW alumni, parents and friends in the New York area are welcome.

Feb. 25, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The New York Palace
455 Madison Ave.
New York

Save the Date!

GWTAN 2010 Spring Colloquium – April 5

The George Washington Tourism Alumni Network (GWTAN) is holding its signature event – the Spring Colloquium – on April 5. To mark the 20th anniversary of the International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS), the theme of this year’s colloquium is “Corporate Social Responsibility in the Tourism & Hospitality Industry.” The event is sponsored by the Destination Marketing Association International. Look for further information about this and other upcoming GWTAN events on the GWTAN Facebook page (keyword GW Tourism Alumni Network).


Donald Hawkins, professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management, delivered the annual Marian Godeke Miller Lecture at Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Hawkins’ Feb. 19 address was titled “Tourism and Health: An Essential Connection.”

William E. Halal, professor emeritus of management technology and innovation, was the keynote speaker at the International Congress of Industrial Design in Singapore.

Getting Ink

BusinessWeek quoted Ayman El Tarabishy, Research Professor & Director of International Council of Small Business (ICSB), in a Feb. 8 article titled “Health Care: Rx for MBA Job Blues.” The article focused on growing opportunities for MBAs in the health care industry. El Tarabishy said the sector could represent a $20 billion market. “The money is there. Business people want to be a part of it.”

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of tourism and sport management, was quoted in a Forbes article on the most heated sports rivalries at the Winter Olympics. The article singled out skating and skiing as the most prominent in 2010.

Scheherazade Rehman, professor of International Business, was featured in a Newshour report on Greece’s debt problems and the European Union’s decision that Greece must take urgent fiscal measures. “The real fault lines in a regional bloc like this don’t come when times are good, but when times are bad,” she said in the Feb. 16 report. “We’re facing the worst crisis in 60 years, this financial crisis, and the fault lines are showing, clearly.”

The State Department’s online news service,, interviewed Liesl Riddle, associate professor of international business, for two articles. One looked at diaspora communities’ contributions to their homelands while the other focused specifically on African immigrants in the United States.

In January, Riddle also co-hosted a U.S. State Department Webchat on African diaspora investment with alumnus Greg Simpkins, vice president of policy and programs at the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation. The Web chat targeted African business executives and disapora investors.

A Feb. 8 article in the Financial Times looked at sports-business degrees and mentioned GWSB as one of the one the pioneering schools offering such academic programs.

A Media Week story detailed how the social networking site SportsFanLive had partnered with GWSB students involved in coursework at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The story ran on Feb. 8.


2010 World Conference Extends Deadline for Abstracts

2010 Conference Committee at the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) has extended the deadline for abstracts until March 1. The council, which is housed in GWSB’s Department of Management, said it had received many high-quality abstracts from more 40 different countries but, because of the late addition of a new developmental track, it added two weeks to the deadline. For more information, visit:

See What Colleagues Are Reading in JSBM!

For the month of February, the Journal of Small Business Management (JSBM) is offering free access to the some of its most downloaded articles. JSBM, the official journal of the International Council for Small Business, is currently circulated in more than 60 countries. Its editorial office is within the GWSB Department of Management; Associate Professor of Management George Solomon is its interim editor.

Submit your News to ICSB Today! ICSB’s new, online news form wants to collect and publish your news stories each month. The online form is simple and easy to use. ICSB members from around the world are encouraged to submit news items today and have them distributed around the world tomorrow! To submit news, click here:

Class Notes

Jon Handel, BBA, ’03 has launched a marketing consulting business. Handel has six years of marketing and promotional experience from working at Nickelodeon and the New York Press. These positions prepared him to help brands gain new customers, increase sales and enhance their image. Currently, he is consulting with KiptonART, an art management company with a directory of more than 900 emerging artists, to launch their rental and sales program.

Melissa McCormack, MBA, ’07, recently started her own business,, which sells fashionable and customized versions of medical ID bracelets. McCormack used a $1,000 MBA graduate award to implement the Medic Design business plan she wrote for her entrepreneur class at GWSB. The design grew out of McCormack’s own experience: As a diabetic, she wears a medical alert bracelet.

When D.C.’s Jen Corey finished among the top 10 finalists in the 2010 Miss America Pageant, it was in no small part thanks to Heather Cohen, BBA, '01. Cohen – an entrepreneur, fitness trainer and owner of Haute Fitness – put Corey through a rigorous regime leading up to the pageant. Cohen has also trained a number of professional athletes, including Milos Kocic of DC United’s soccer team.

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