The George Washington University

School of Business: GWSB News

April 23, 2010

GW Team Wins $20,000 in Business Plan Competition

From left: Winning team members David Mathison, Christina Johns and Moh Saidinejad are all pediatric emergency room doctors.

HealthEWorks, a service that customizes and improves health education for patients in urgent-care situations, won the $20,000 first-place prize at the GW Business Plan Competition. The event involves teams of GW students and alumni competing before a panel of judges to see who can present the best business plan.

The money, along with $10,000 in awards split among three teams of runners-up, will help launch start-up companies.

The April 15-16 competition, part of the GW Summit on Entrepreneurship, was sponsored by GWSB and the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence. More than 100 entries were received.

“We’re incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful process,” said David Mathison, one of the members of the winning team and an MBA candidate at the GW School of Business. “It’s exciting to make a product that’s good for both patients and hospitals.”

Winning team members Christina Johns, David Mathison and Moh Saidinejad are all pediatric emergency room doctors. As health care providers, the gap in health education provided for patients became very apparent to them. This spurred the idea for HealthEWorks, which will help patients better understand their illnesses.

The Business Plan Competition finalists survived three elimination rounds over a two-month period. During the final round on April 16, each team presented creative and innovate business plans to a panel of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. The presentations were modeled on a format used in venture capital presentations.

First runners-up James Albis and Raymond Marcovici presented two aromatherapy products to help reduce hunger and increase energy. Second runner-up Ari Menase detailed a plan to import Angus cattle to Turkey for breeding and sale. Third runners-up Richard N. Bradford and Kate Comiskey had a plan for a personal security training service for federal employees.

“The GW Business Plan Competition is an amazing opportunity for GW students across campus to turn their entrepreneurial dreams into a reality,” said entrepreneur John Rollins, who launched AZTECH Software Corp. and served for 30 years as its CEO and chairman before founding StreamCenter, a Maryland company that produces and markets webcasts of professional conferences.

The GW Business Plan Competition, funded by Richard and Annette Scott, awards $30,000 in cash prizes to GW teams presenting great ideas for new products or services. At least one member of the team must be currently enrolled at GW. The Scotts‘ daughter, Allison Scott Guimard, graduated from GWSB in 2005.

Office of Entrepreneurship Debuts

In a major step toward becoming a leading research institution, GW has created an Office of Entrepreneurship and appointed Jim Chung as director of the new division. The office will work to foster innovation and serve as a hub for developing the inventions and business ideas of faculty, students, alumni and the broader D.C. community. The division, which includes the existing Office of Technology Transfer, is under the umbrella of the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Chung, who served as the director of the VentureAccelerator program at the University of Maryland’s Technology Enterprise Institute, has helped launch seven companies, which have raised millions of dollars in funding and revenues. Chung also served as director of the Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund, working with the state’s Department of Natural Resources to invest $250,000 annually in Maryland-based environmental tech startups.

At GW, Chung says he ultimately hopes to build a “hotbed of entrepreneurship.”

“When people want to start a company the goal is to have them think first of GW as a place to come for resources and ideas and talent,” he said.

For more information on the new appointment, visit GW Today.

Institute for Sustainability Calls GWSB Home

The new university-wide Institute for Sustainability Research, Education and Policy has made its debut within its new home: GWSB.

The institute, led by Mark Starik, chair of the Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy, was launched April 19. It will promote, initiate and evaluate GW sustainability research, focusing on four key areas of sustainability: global climate change, sustainable organizations, sustainable communities and infrastructure, and urban sustainability.

“The GW School of Business has helped to lead faculty throughout the University to advance sustainability research,” said Starik. “We hope the new institute will continue to advance the study and practice of sustainability within the University and beyond.”

The institute already has announced 10 summer research grants of $10,000 each to GW faculty members and doctoral students. Among the recipients is Patricia Kanashiro, a doctoral student in the School of Business

The Institute for Sustainability will analyze and disseminate a range of information about sustainability-related policies to government, businesses and nonprofits. It will also help coordinate sustainability efforts on GW’s campuses.

Climate Action Symposium Dissects Tar Sands’ Impact

Panelists at the April 13 symposium on Canada’s tar sands spoke about the environmental impact of the land.

Canada’s massive tar sands development, one of the biggest investment projects on the planet, is savagely damaging the environment, risking the health of Native Canadians, decreasing the populations of caribou and other northern species and heavily contributing to global warming, according to a panel of experts assembled for the annual Climate Action Symposium at the School of Business.

The new GW Institute for Sustainability Research, Education and Policy organized the April 13 symposium titled “The Next Big North American Climate Issue: Sustainability Impacts of the Canadian Tar Sands Development.”

“You’re going to hear a lot more about this issue, I guarantee it,” said panelist Margery Moore, president of the British Columbia-based Institute for Sustainability Education & Action.

Tar sands, also known as oil sands, are a mixture of sand and a dense form of petroleum. Until recently, the extraction of crude oil from tar sands was prohibitively expensive. But rising oil prices and technological advances have made the process commercially viable. Globally, Canada leads the way in production of tar sands oil.

In 2008, oil extraction from tar sands in the province of Alberta accounted for roughly half of Canada’s crude oil output, according to the U. S. Energy Information Administration. Canada is the United States’ No. 1 energy supplier.

Moore said the Pembina Institute, a sustainable-energy think tank in Canada, has called for the development to be paused while more research is undertaken to examine its effects. She also discussed the ongoing trial involving oil sands giant Syncrude Canada following the deaths of 1,600 migrating ducks trapped in toxic sludge in a wastewater pond at the tar sands site.

GWSB Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy Mark Starik, who heads the new GW Institute for Sustainability Research, Education and Policy, said the institute plans to hold a range of events over the next year, highlighting positive and negative sustainability aspects of societal, organizational and individual decisions and actions.

Canadian conservation photographer and environmental activist Garth Lenz showed the symposium audience dramatic images of the tar sands project. He called the development “an ever-expanding web of destruction” and noted that it is harming one of the planet’s defenses against global warming: the world’s third-largest watershed after the Amazon and the Mississippi rivers.

Near the development, the Cree community at Beaver Creek has mounted a legal challenge. Jack Woodward, the British Columbia attorney representing the Cree, said the case will focus on provisions of an 1876 treaty between the Cree and the Canadian government.

Treaty rights are constitutionally protected in Canada.

Some companies – notably Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond – have launched retail boycotts of fuel from Alberta’s tar sands. However, Woodward said, boycott results can be slow and weak.

“Low carbon rules like those adopted by California are more promising,” he said, but added that Canadian politicians are unlikely to take that approach. Tar sands are a tremendous source of revenue for the country.

“It is time for us to wake up collectively and understand that this is not being done for our good,” said panelist Ron Lameman, a member of the Beaver Creek Cree and an activist in the international aboriginal movement. He said the tar sands area looks like a “moonscape” and the air is fouled.

Panelist Jessica Shipley from the Pew Center for Global Climate Change discussed transportation fuels and the center’s work with the business community and a coalition of corporations that support mandatory climate policy.

Along with interest in biofuels, cogeneration and innovation in energy, Shipley said “de-carbonization” of fossil fuels was a potentially important strategy. She noted that crude from the tar sands contained high levels of carbon but cautioned that alternative fuels must be available before tar sands crude can be displaced on a large scale.

“The Midwest is heavily dependent on oil sands,” Shipley said. “They get almost 80 percent of their petroleum imports from Canada, and 22 percent of those imports come from oil sands.”

Vancouver corporate public relations specialist James Hoggan, the author of the book Climate Cover Up, closed the presentations by detailing how manipulative public relations campaigns have turned climate change into a topic of debate.

“This is a story about the boatloads of oil and coal money that have been spent over the past couple of decades to harass scientists and confuse the public about global warming,” he said.

GWSB Hosts Graduate Real Estate Case Competition

University of Pennsylvania students take first prize in the annual Real Estate Competition

The University of Pennsylvania claimed the top prize and $10,000 in The George Washington University School of Business’ 4th Annual Graduate Real Estate Case Competition. The April 10 competition, presented by GWSB’s Real Estate Investment and Development Organization (REIDO), featured teams from six universities.

Georgetown University took second place and $3,000. Third place went to the University of Maryland, which took home $2,000. Other competitors were New York University, the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary.

Boston Properties, CityInterests, The JBG Companies and Paradigm sponsored this year’s competition. A six-judge panel comprised of senior executives from the sponsoring companies and real estate professionals from the metropolitan Washington area evaluated proposals on their creativity, feasibility and design.

The case competition required participants to evaluate and make recommendations for a property owned by CityInterests in Washington, D.C.’s downtown Ward 7.

REIDO was established to complement the real estate concentration offered through GW’s MBA program. The club is open to all full or part-time MBA students interested in real estate investment or development.

Students Claim $5,000 Award for Corporate Strategies to Manage Climate Change

Students competed for $5,000 in a competition designed to highlight management strategies that could positively impact climate change.

Four GWSB MBA students took home a $5,000 prize for analyzing how businesses employ management strategies to have a positive impact on climate change.

Sponsored by GWSB’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility and communications firm MS&LGroup WorldWide, the $5,000 prize is designed to build a greater understanding of the connection between effective management strategies and the prevention of climate change.

The graduate students presented their ideas April 21 to judges from top companies, including MS&LGroup, Sodexho, Northeast Utilities, ICF International, Native Energy and United Laboratories. It marked the first year for the competition.

The award-winning student team included Marian Gyarmathy, Tristan Harvey, John Lynch and John Walsh. The team examined 10 companies in the automobile industry—leaders, followers and laggards—identifying leadership, operational and regulatory strategies that could effectively manage climate change.

Jennifer Griffin, a director at the ICR, and MS&LGroup’s Sheila McLean, senior vice president and director of ECO Network, led the research project and student competition.

“This project provides an opportunity for the next generation of business leaders here at the GW School of Business to gain real-world experience on issues that will have an impact on our future competitiveness,” said Griffin, an associate professor of strategic management and public policy at the GW School of Business.

Ritz-Carlton: Building a Brand Through Culture

Ezzat Coutry, senior vice president at Ritz-Carlton, tells students and faculty how to build brand loyalty.

Achieving excellence in customer service rests on the ability of companies to consistently align their initiatives with corporate culture, Ezzat Coutry, senior vice president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., told MBA students and faculty.

Speaking at an April 12 event hosted by the Department of Marketing, Coutry shared examples on how the Ritz-Carlton fosters a culture of self respect, confidence and trust among employees. “Culture is not part of the game, culture is the game,” he told the audience. Coutry also illustrated how Ritz-Carlton built its image by encouraging employees to give back to their own communities through the company’s “Community Footprint” initiative.

Coutry oversees 28 Ritz-Carlton hotels open or under development in the Southeast United States, Caribbean, South America and Mexico. Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, which recognizes outstanding customer service.

Getting to Know: Joelle Davis Carter

Name: Joelle Davis Carter

Title: Director for Undergraduate Programs

Job duties: Coordinating and designing co-curricular programs to enhance the academic experiences and professional development for GWSB undergraduate students.

Time at GW: One month.

Best part of working at GWSB: The opportunity it affords to work with faculty and staff who are committed to student success and engagement. Some of my office’s signature programs including the Mintz Sophomore Getaway, Battle of the Beltway case study competition and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), which all involve the collective efforts of students, faculty, staff and alumni.

What co-workers do not know about me: I receive several invitations to serve as a motivational speaker and facilitator for college students and professional development programs. My most recent invitations have included a leadership conference at George Mason University and a student leadership retreat at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Family: My husband, Randall L. Carter, and I live in neighboring Prince George’s County. We met as undergraduates at Winston-Salem State University in 1993 and have been best friends ever since. Our immediate families reside in the Washington, D.C., area and North Carolina.

Favorite things to do on the weekend: Randall and I frequently take advantage of Maryland’s natural resources, especially the Chesapeake Bay. We enjoy eating crabs and seafood in small towns such as Grasonville and Queenstown, Maryland, as well as canoeing and fishing.

Favorite vacation spots: We have several but our local favorite is Lansdowne Resort in Lansdowne, Virginia, just minutes from Tyson’s Corner. The spa and golf offerings make it perfect for a quick getaway. I have also enjoyed vacation time on the beautiful island nation of Barbados, West Indies.

Favorite book: Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching, by Paula Giddings. This is a wonderful biography depicting the life of Ida B. Wells, an African American journalist who used her pen in the late 1880s to inform the nation of acts of lynching. The themes of the book demonstrate the importance of courage, family and friendship, as well as perseverance and activism. I often refer to certain sections of the book when I become frustrated with the complexities of life.


Discussion on Economic Recovery, Growth

GWSB professor of international business, Danny Leipziger, moderates “From Recovery to Sustained Growth: Policymakers’ Challenge” – a panel discussion on the challenges of moving from economic recovery to sustained growth. Panelists will explore what new financial regulations, higher unemployment and damaged personal and corporate balance sheets mean for future economic growth. The event is free and open to the public.


Monday, April 26
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


Elliott School of International Affairs
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
1957 E. St. NW
Washington, D.C.


Haiti After the Earthquake: A Roundtable

GWSB’s Center for Latin American Issues (CLAI) hosts a roundtable discussion addressing how the international community can help post-earthquake Haiti define a path to sustainable economic growth and development. A question-and-answer session follows the discussion. Eugenio Diaz Bonilla, the Inter-American Development Bank’s executive director for Haiti, will moderate the roundtable. The event is free and open to the public.


Thursday, April 29
9:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.


Jack Morton Auditorium
805 21st St. NW
Register at


Featuring Chris Young, GWSB ’80, ’83

Curious about organizational, financial and operational consulting within the federal community? Interested in the diverse experiences that can lead you there? If you are considering consultant employment opportunities and thought about careers working with federal and public sector entities, then join alumnus Chris Young as he talks about his career experiences and the role GW played in getting him where he is today.


Wednesday, April 28
7 p.m.


Alumni House
1918 F Street NW
Washington, D.C.

RSVP here.



Global Entrepreneurship Seminar

In conjunction with President Barack Obama’s Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, the International Council on Small Business (ICSB) is hosting a seminar at The George Washington University School of Business.

ICSB Executive Director Ayman El Tarabishy moderates the event, “National Factors Affecting Business Creation: A Global Assessment.” Presentations will be made by Paul Reynolds, visiting professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University; Amr Gohar, president of the Middle East Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Lois Stevenson, visiting research fellow at the International Development Research Centre in Cairo, Egypt; and G. Dale Meyer, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The seminar looks at people who create businesses and the cross-national and country differences affecting the entrepreneurial process. Please click here to learn more.

2010 World Conference Just Two Months Away!

Cincinnati is the location of the 2010 ICSB World Conference, which brings together ICSB’s international community to share knowledge and network across borders. Over the last 55 years, personal and professional contacts from other countries and across cultures have given ICSB members an advantage in the global marketplace. More than 500 participants from 50 countries are expected to attend this year’s conference on June 24-27. As many as 10 workshops will be added to the original program, and more than 400 conference submissions have been received. Major sponsors of the event include Procter & Gamble, Visa and Dell Inc.

Competitive paper tracks include Entrepreneurship Education, Individual Entrepreneurship, Women and Minority Entrepreneurship, Small Business and SMEs in Developing Economies, Public Policy, Entrepreneurship and Technology, Family Business, Corporate Entrepreneurship, International Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum, and Social Entrepreneurship.

Please click here for more information on the program, registration, and accommodation.


Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of sport management, gave a presentation titled “How Green is Your Event?” at the National Association of Sport Commissions’ recent conference in Columbus, Ohio. The GW Green Scorecard was featured in the session.

Salah S. Hassan, chair and professor of marketing, spoke on “Nation Branding and Transatlantic Relations: The Role of Cultural Diplomacy” at the German Marshall Fund. The event was held in Washington on April 19 and was organized by Young Leaders Forum of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

Liesl Riddle, associate professor of international business, has been invited to give remarks at the United Nations’ Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting on Investment for Development. Her remarks will focus on the growing importance for diaspora investment and entrepreneurship in developing economies

Liesl Riddle, associate professor of international business, and Tjai Nielsen, assistant professor of management, gave a presentation titled “Liberian Diaspora Investment Potential: Recent Empirical Findings” during an April 3 conference on entrepreneurship in Africa at the Whitman School of Business at Syracuse University


Liesl Riddle, associate professor of international business, published “Globalization, Biculturalism, and Cosmopolitanism: The Acculturation Status of Mexicans in Upper Management” in the International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 10(1): 37-53.

Getting Ink

GWSB was listed as one of the top MBA programs in the nation, according to rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report. GWSB’s part-time MBA program ranked 35th in the nation, and its full-time MBA program ranked 55th in the 2010 “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” In addition, the magazine published a Q&A on the admissions process at GWSB.

Dean Susan Phillips was profiled in The GW Hatchet, speaking about her time as dean and the role of the future dean. Phillips said the incoming dean should focus on maintaining a relationship with students. “Students are why we’re here,” she told The GW Hatchet.

Tim Fort, the Lindner-Gambal professor of business ethics, was profiled in an April 15 U.S. News & World Report story on how business schools are now putting a focus on ethics. “In the long term, ethics pays,” he told the magazine.

The Washington Post covered the GW Business Plan Competition in the April 19 Capitol Business section. The story, “Docs win George Washington business plan competition,” described the winning team and the process for the competition.

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of sport management, was quoted on NPR, and the Voice of America about the death of former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. “Under Samaranch, the type of members changed,” Neirotti told NPR. The IOC “included more [delegates] from Third World countries, and sometimes they were used to receiving gifts for their votes and their support,” she said.

Hossein Askari, the Iran Professor of International Business and International Affairs, was quoted in an All Headline News story headlined “Iran Tries to Lure Expat Investments with New Bank.” He told All Headline News: “I think that Iran is having serious foreign exchange problems and is trying to ease the constraints any way that it can.”


Jennifer Griffin, associate professor of strategic management and public policy, won the Best Business & Society Paper in two decades for “The Corporate Social Performance and Corporate Financial Performance Debate,” a paper she co-authored with John Mahon.

Class Notes

Steven M. Braunstein, BA, ’86, has been named president of Snyder Cohn. In the new position, he takes over day-to-day leadership of the firm’s operations and its more than 75 associates while maintaining his hands-on client responsibilities. Braunstein is a 25-year veteran with Snyder Cohn, a certified public accountancy and business-consulting firm.

Zeinab Karake, PhD, ’87, has co-authored a book with Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates minister of foreign trade. Cyber Law and Cyber Security in Developing and Emerging Economies was released this month by Edward Elgar Publishers. The book says cyber crimes are a prime obstacle to e-commerce in developing countries, and governments play a key role in developing control mechanism. Karake is director of research at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

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