CofC Logo
Ask the Cougar

The MBA program in the College of Charleston School of Business has been recognized

among the Top 10 programs nationally for the highest percentage of graduates who find jobs, according to the U.S. News Short List.

The College’s MBA program ranked No. 3 on the list, with more than 97 percent of its full-time 2014 graduates finding employment within three months of graduating.

“This is great news not only for the College, but for the entire Charleston community,” says College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell. “The College’s MBA program, like our other graduate degrees, is keenly focused on preparing students for success in the workplace, whether securing their first jobs or advancing their careers.”

Alan T. Shao, Dean of the School of Business, says the ranking is particularly gratifying given that the College’s MBA program is still relatively young.

“We are very proud of our MBA program’s high placement ranking by U.S. News & World Report, especially since it’s just five years in the making,” says Shao. “With concerted effort by our faculty, world class mentors, strong advisory board, and MBA team leadership, our graduates are going to continue to find good jobs in fields that matter to them. It’s all part of our Ready-to-Work vision for our business school.”

Read full story about the MBA rankings.

The College’s one-year, full-time MBA program blends a solid core curriculum with teaching excellence. Real-world projects, case-based courses, business mentors and global experiences combine to help students gain critical thinking skills and perspectives needed to succeed in their careers – careers that they’ll launch soon after graduating.

Every student in the MBA program is paired with an industry mentor who takes an active interest in guiding their mentee’s ambitions, introducing them to networking circles of influence and showing them the ropes of business success.

Watch a video about the MBA Mentor Experience.

McConnell says the ranking highlights the MBA program’s focus on job preparation. “We are thrilled that our students are benefiting from the mentorship and networking opportunities that are the centerpiece of this innovative program, which is the only one of its kind in South Carolina.”

 Read original MBA No. 3 Ranking article on The College Today.

You may now address him as “Mr. Ambassador.”

Steve Litvin, Hospitality and Tourism Professor and Fulbright Ambassador.

Steve Litvin, Hospitality and Tourism Professor and Fulbright Ambassador.

College of Charleston Hospitality and Tourism professor Steve Litvin has been named a Fulbright Ambassador.

As an ambassador, Litvin will serve as a representative of the Fulbright Scholar Program and help with outreach efforts to the higher education community.

“From the day I began teaching, the hope of earning a Fulbright was an aspirational goal,” says Litvin.

Litvin’s Fulbright award was as University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) Research Chair in Sustainable Commerce, hosted by the University of Guelph College of Business and Economics.  The focus of his Fulbright research related to the issue of destination management in heritage cities, with a focus on Niagara-on-the-Lake. He has been able to apply that experience in studying Charleston’s tourism policies.

“Though my award was research only, when asked if I would consider teaching a class I readily agreed,” he says. “I enjoyed the opportunity to meet Canadian students and to interact with faculty as a teaching colleague. I traveled around the Province of Ontario studying and learning, with doors opened readily to welcome me as a visiting scholar. But perhaps the highlights of my visit were the invitations I received to speak at other universities.”

Litvin earned his undergraduate degree from Bentley College, an MBA from Babson College and a Doctor of Business Administration degree from the University of South Australia’s International Graduate School of Management.Litvin’s main areas of interest are tourism consumer behavior and tourism impacts. He is very active advising on local Charleston tourism issues.

For more than 65 years the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education, has served as the collaborating agency for the U.S. Department of State in administering the Fulbright Scholar Program. The worldwide success of the program has been built on the talent, commitment and professionalism of scholars who have served universities and research institutions in more than 155 countries.

Read original article published on The College Today by Mike Robertson.

College of Charleston students from the Carter Real Estate Center were awarded scholarships for free memberships into the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors® (CTAR) and the Commercial Investment Division (CID). There are currently 11 students in the program, 10 of whom swept the scholarship awards.

College of Charleston real estate students with School of Business faculty and industry professionals.

College of Charleston real estate students with School of Business faculty and industry professionals.


The CTAR Student Membership scholarship is presented to 10 students who are seeking a graduate or undergraduate degree in real estate, have completed at least two years of college and one college-level real estate course, and are not yet associated with an established real estate office.

The scholarships comprise a dual membership in both CTAR and CID, access to all CTAR and CID events including the monthly Commercial Division luncheons, discounted member rates for events, programs and classes, discount on the pre-licensing course at CTAR, industry updates, and access to monthly market statistics reports.

The College of Charleston students who received scholarships are:

  • Jacob Alexander
  • Connor Barrett
  • Andrew Braden
  • Christine Chambers
  • Justin Cirello
  • Rodney Goodwin
  • Katherine King
  • Andrew Newman
  • Neith Stone
  • Hannah Yarborough

“The student membership program with the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors® is designed to help students interested in pursuing a career in real estate establish a strong foundation for their future,” says CTAR CEO, Wil Riley.

“The opportunities provided by this program are invaluable,” says Riley. “Building your professional network as a student is often a challenge, but at CTAR, we understand the importance of connecting our current membership base of more than 4,100 veteran Realtor® professionals to the next generation. Through access to Association events, educational resources and the support of the local Realtor® Association, we are committed to helping these students succeed.”

About the School of Business
College of Charleston’s School of Business offers eight undergraduate majors and several interdisciplinary concentrations, an honors program in business, an M.S. in Accountancy and an MBA.  Approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend from as far away as China, Germany and Brazil. The faculty has research expertise in areas such as supply chain management, hospitality and tourism, political economics, financial investment, bankruptcy, business intelligence, real estate, entrepreneurism, and executive leadership. Visit to learn more about our students’ achievements, undergraduate and graduate programs, faculty and Centers of Excellence. 

About the College
The College of Charleston is a public liberal arts and sciences university located in the heart of historic Charleston, South Carolina. Founded in 1770, the College is among the nation’s top universities for quality education, student life and affordability. With more than 11,000 students, the College of Charleston offers the distinctive combination of a beautiful and historic campus, modern facilities and cutting-edge programs.


Dr. Peter Calcagno, director of the Initiative for Public Choice & Market Process, Associate Professor of Economics

Dr. Peter Calcagno, director of the Initiative for Public Choice & Market Process, Associate Professor of Economics

The Initiative for Public Choice and Market Process (IPCMP), will host a series of events during Adam Smith Week on March 16-20, 2015. The 7th annual Adam Smith Week’s theme is on entrepreneurship with discussions on a variety of topics ranging from theoretical perspectives on productive and unproductive entrepreneurship to discussions of practical opportunities and challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the US and developing countries. All events are open to students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the Charleston community.

  • “Productive and unproductive entrepreneurship.” A panel discussion featuring Russell Sobel, Ben Rast, and Vince Graham on 3/16 at 2pm in Tate 202.
  • “Political Entrepreneurs: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” A public talk by Bobbi Herzberg on 3/16 at 6pm in Wells Fargo Auditorium, Beatty 115.
  • “Entrepreneurship in developing countries.” A panel discussion featuring Christopher Day, David Desplace, and Beatriz Maldonado on 3/17 at 3pm in Tate 202.
  • “Why Entrepreneurship Matters: Economically, Politically, and Morally.” A public talk by Alexei Marcoux on 3/17 at 6pm in Wells Fargo Auditorium, Beatty 115.
  • “The Bourgeois Deal: How Societies Flourish.” A public talk by Art Carden on 3/18 at 6pm in Wells Fargo Auditorium, Beatty 115.
  • “How to Write an Op-Ed.” Lunch workshop with Todd Nesbit and Jordan Ragusa on 3/19 at 1:30pm (Tate 202).
  • “Why Major in Economics?” Lunch workshop with Peter Calcagno on 3/20, at noon (Tate 202).

About Adam Smith Week
The Adam Smith Week is the biggest annual event organized by the IPCMP in order to create awareness about important topics in economics among students at the College of Charleston. We engage students, faculty, alumni, and the community in a series of discussions on Adam Smith and his economic philosophy.

Who is Adam Smith?
Adam Smith’s 1776 book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (also known as “The Wealth of Nations”) is one of the most important works in economics. One of best known ideas explained in the book is that of the “invisible hand” of the market, the idea that individuals’ self-interest often promotes society’s interests. Adam Smith’s writing was also essential to understand the importance of entrepreneurship for growth and prosperity. Smith explained that the wealth of nations was created through changes in the division of labor, growth of firms and industries. Entrepreneurship was essential to the division of labor and, hence, to economic growth. “Adam Smith is one of the most recognizable figures in economics, and his contributions to the fields of philosophy and economics are still relevant today,” says Pete Calcagno, Ph.D, professor of economics and Director of the IPCMP. “His conceptualization of entrepreneurship leading to changes in the division of labor is fundamental to our understanding of how wealth is created.”

About the Initiative for Public Choice & Market Process
Founded in the fall of 2008, the Initiative for Public Choice & Market Process advances the understanding of the economic, political and moral foundations of a free market economy. The Initiative for Public Choice & Market Process supports the growth and development of teaching and research at the College of Charleston School of Business while engaging students and the Charleston business community. Visit or to learn more.


When Shopping Centers Today magazine profiled Charleston’s King Street and its shops and restaurants that are busy year round, reporter Matt Hudgins interviewed Elaine Worzala, associate dean of the School of Business, executive director of the Carter Real Estate Center, and professor of commercial real estate.  Worzala is an international researcher in commercial real estate and the go-to source for insight and understanding of the growth of Charleston and its impact on property values in the region.

Dr. Elaine Worzala, associate dean, executive director, Carter Real Estate Center.

Dr. Elaine Worzala, associate dean, executive director, Carter Real Estate Center.

In commenting on King Street’s ability to attract top retailers that rent storefronts for $60 to $65 per sq. ft., Worzala paid tribute to the city’s Mayor Joe Riley for outstanding planning and and nurturing of growth over the past three decades.  In the past five years alone, property values on the Charleston peninsula have been partly driven by higher-income shoppers and retirees who buy homes here.

The article also points to Charleston’s booming tourism industry that keeps King Street businesses hustling year round.  The College of Charleston’s students, parents, faculty, staff, and administrators and other major employers located downtown also frequent the nearby shops and restaurants and support the local economy.

Read complete article Worzala_ShoppingCentersToday.

Kerem Bolukbasi ’01, an Operations Executive at private equity firm TPG, helps to manage TPG’s more than $66 billion in assets. That’s right, billion. With a B. Bolukbasi’s job has taken him around the world – from London to New York, Florence to Istanbul, and finally back to Charleston – and he’s learned some valuable tricks of the trade along the way.

The College Today interviewed Bolukbasi recently. Here are highlights of the Q&A interview.

Q: What is your position title and what are your responsibilities?

Bolukbasi '01 at work in TPG's New York office.

Bolukbasi ’01 at work in TPG’s New York office.

A: I’m an Operations Executive for TPG, one of the largest Private Equity firms in the world with more than $66 billion under management. I’m mainly responsible for building financial, planning, forecasting, and operational capabilities at TPG portfolio companies. I accomplish this by taking on various operating roles and serving as a financial and executive advisor to our clients.

Q: What are some of the accounts you’ve gotten to work on?

A: This one is hard to talk about given the sensitive nature of the investments we handle. TPG has been active in the healthcare industry given the tremendous need to provide better, less expensive, and more outcome-based healthcare. Some of the other well-known companies we’ve been associated with are Chobani yoghurts, Burger King, J.Crew, and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I love being exposed to multiple industries, companies and places. They all come with their unique set of challenges, like analyzing the business models developing new strategies and getting a read on the people. It can be exhausting but taking on these new challenges keeps me engaged in what I do.

Q: What did you learn at GE? How did your time there affect you professionally?

A: Quite a bit. I went through GE’s leadership program, which is incredibly demanding. I’m glad I went through it but I would never do it again! That said, the fundamental skills I gained in leadership, communication, finance and business acumen are lessons I’ll never forget. I also got exposure to a diverse set of leaders with varying styles. From that I learned what kind of leader I would, and would not, like to be.

Q: How did the College help you prepare for this position?

A: As a young Turkish immigrant, college was the time I transitioned from a teenager to a young adult. I had tremendous support around me from the faculty, swim team coaching Staff, teammates, and from Jack Tate in the business school.

I felt great responsibility towards all those people to be successful, and that kept me motivated. The most important skill I learned as a student athlete on scholarship is to balance my time effectively and focus on priorities. In college I learned that I perform best when I’m under pressure to complete and deliver many tasks.

EXPLORE: Learn more about the international business major at the College of Charleston.

Q: What advice would you give to a current student interested in working at a private equity firm?

A: Don’t give up in the face of rejection.  The private equity world is a very close-knit community that takes a long time to break into.  You must be persistent and strategic about gaining professional experience that will set you apart.

Q: What was it like to live abroad in London?

A: London is an awesome city with unbelievable character and diversity. I lived with my wife and daughter in an apartment near the city center – within walking distance of the Natural History and British Museums and Hyde Park. We tried to soak up everything we could, the places to see, food & drinks.

I also had the opportunity to take part in long term assignments in cities like Barcelona, Florence, Istanbul, and Munich, some of which we got to enjoy as a family as well. It is always a challenge to learn the customs and language of a new country, but we made it fun, sort of like solving a puzzle.

Read original article on Kerem Bolukbasi by Hannah Ashe on The College Today.

Kevin Waltermire ’03 and MBA ’11 is scheduled to appear on on ABC’s Shark Tank on February 6, 2015 to pitch his product, The BevBoy (a koozie that floats and stays upright in the water) it will be his second experience in a shark tank.

Kevin Waltermire '11 MBA, at taping of Shark Tank appearance featuring his BevBoy product.

Kevin Waltermire ’11 MBA, at taping of Shark Tank appearance featuring his BevBoy product.

The College Today interviewed Waltermire about the lessons learned from the SharkTank experience that was taped months ago.  While he can’t share the outcome of his appearance, he did share the important Lessons Learned as a brave contestant.

He first participated in a shark tank in the MBA’s capstone course. Waltermire and his One-Year Global MBA classmates pitched ideas to Charleston-based business people for valuable feedback on their ideas as well as their presentation style.

EXPLORE: Learn more about the College’s One-Year Global MBA.

“It would make for a better story if I’d won!” Waltermire said. Instead he participated as an audience member, as he had already been hired for a job in Shanghai. In the scheme of things, though, Waltermire is focused on the more important shark tank – the one on network television.

Here are a few lessons he learned from preparing for and appearing on the hit reality show:

  1. You might black out – and that’s ok.

Despite being nervous, Waltermire rocked his appearance on Shark Tank – at least that’s what he was told. “When I walked off set all the producers were waiting and they hugged and high fived me and said ‘Kev, you killed it!’ I was like, ‘Really, because I don’t remember anything!’” he said. “It was so stressful to face the Sharks that I felt totally exhausted and I didn’t remember specifics from the taping for a couple of days!”

  1. Use props.

When Waltermire pitched The BevBoy to the sharks, he knew he’d have to put them in the mindset of needing the product. So, “I had a buddy come on with me and we set up a real hot tub on the set. That way the Sharks could see the need for the product and how it was used.”

  1. Prepare for the long haul.

Waltermire explained, “About a full year passed between when I first applied for the show on ABC’s website and when I actually filmed my appearance. Four months went by before they reached out to me for a phone interview, then I had to submit three professionally produced videos, then I had to create a mock-pitch. Once the producers approved those, they flew me to Los Angeles for the episode and I still had to jump through several hoops before filming.”

  1. You are your company.

“There are two types of investors,” Waltermire said. “Those who invest in the horse and those who invest in the jockey. In this case, the horse is the product or company you’re pitching, and you are the jockey. Based on the questions the Sharks asked me, I would guess that they’re investing in the jockey. They want to know about your idea and your numbers and all that, but mostly they care about your vision and how committed you are to that vision. They need to see that you’ll fight for it.”

  1. Use your nerves as motivation.

“I noticed that the Sharks on Shark Tank really rip people apart when they get their valuation wrong,” Waltermire said. “Your valuation is based on a lot of factors, and determining it is a delicate balance between your actual sales numbers (among other things) and your potential for growth in your market.”

Waltermire continued, “While I didn’t want to come right out and value my company at $1 million – in part because, as a new company we only had about $10,000 in sales – I knew that it had that potential and I didn’t want to sell it short. On top of that, I was super focused on making my family proud. I knew my parents and their friends were watching and I was not going to embarrass them – I channeled my nervousness about that into motivation and tried to appear as confident as I could.”

This article originally appeared on The College Today.

Marketing and finance are the top two fastest growing majors at the College of Charleston.

Enrollment in both of these programs is up significantly over the previous year. In the case of marketing, it’s up 155 percent, and that program has only been offered since 2013. And finance, which has been in existence here for just two years, has seen a 118-percent increase.

Clearly, some of the College’s newest majors are attracting strong interest. And that shouldn’t be surprising. It’s always been important for this institution’s curriculum to remain relevant to society’s evolving needs.

“The College of Charleston is committed to the timeless and enduring value of the liberal arts,” explained Brian McGee, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “That commitment is part of the wonderful heritage of our historic institution.

“Not surprisingly, however, as student interests shift and as new employment trends emerge, the distribution of students among our academic majors will change over time. These five undergraduate majors include some of our newer programs, or programs that have been significantly revised in recent years.  I am proud that we can provide such a rigorous and relevant array of academic programs for our students.”

WATCH: A finance grad excels at IBM.

Regarding relevance, the marketing major is a case in point. It’s not the College’s fastest growing major by accident. According to a forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of marketing specialists and marketing research analysts will increase more than 30 percent by the year 2022.

To prepare students for careers in this field, the College requires marketing majors to take courses in marketing concepts, marketing research, consumer behavior, international marketing and marketing management. That slate may imply specialization, but the background these students obtain is purposely broad and it will enable them to apply their skills and knowledge across a wide array of fields.

The same can be said for each of the other fastest growing majors. Graduates in public health go on to work in education, private practice, the nonprofit sector and government (as well as other realms) and those in arts management produce, perform, curate, administer, fundraise and teach. And finance and exercise science majors are just as likely to end up in private industry as in the public sector.

According to Interim Provost McGee, this kind of wide ranging placement for graduates shouldn’t be surprising either. “The size of our faculty and the diversity of the options available to our students differentiate us from many other liberal arts colleges.” And that, he adds, is the College of Charleston advantage.

See original article posted on THE COLLEGE Today by Dan Dickison.

As the School of Business at the College of Charleston kicks off its spring 2015 semester, it welcomes new faculty and staff, as well as some familiar faces to new administrative positions.

Elaine Worzala, professor of real estate, has been named associate dean of the School of Business as well as executive director of the Carter Real Estate Center. Worzala holds a Ph.D. in real estate and urban land economics and a master of science degree in real estate appraisal and investment analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  An active member of several academic associations, Worzala has served as the president of both the American Real Estate Society and the International Real Estate Society and is currently serving as a board member for both organizations.

Kathryn Bender joined the Department of Accounting and Legal Studies as an associate professor of legal studies. Bender served as the senior vice president for legal affairs and general counsel at the College of Charleston from November 2012 to January 2015. Previously, she had her own consulting practice for public and private institutions of higher education and was associate vice president for legal affairs with the University of North Carolina system office, which works with the 17 UNC campuses. Prior to that, she was associate general counsel at The Catholic University of America, where she started as assistant general counsel.

Bender’s degrees include a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Meredith College, a master’s degree in higher education administration from Columbia University and a law degree from Suffolk University.

William Hassett is heading the Carter Real Estate Center as its new director. Hassett, who has 30 years experience in the real estate industry, was the CEO of a regional developer, The Nelson Companies in the Boston area, which built millions of square feet of high-rise office buildings and hotels. In addition to the development division, the leasing, management, construction and hotel divisions reported to him. The company also built the nation’s first child care center with a fully accredited kindergarten within an office park. A zero stage incubator was also founded using the space resources of the company within an office park of approximately two million square feet. Hassett is a graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard Business School.

Christopher Starr joined the Department of Supply Chain and Information Management as an associate professor of information management. He was formerly chair of the Department of Computer Science and a faculty member in the same department. Starr also serves as a founder and first director of ICAT, the College’s first talent accelerator for technology entrepreneurship. Starr holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the College of Charleston and a master of science degree and Ph.D. in systems science from the Medical University of South Carolina. His dissertation was in nuclear medicine and radiation dosimetry where he developed a new dual-isotope procedure for attenuation correction in single photon emission computed tomograms for cardiac imaging in vivo.

Glenda Inabinet assumed the role of assistant to the dean at the School of Business in January 2015. She has worked at the College of Charleston for six years, first in the Human Resources Department as the classification and compensation coordinator, then as the business manager for the dean of the School of Sciences and Mathematics. Her professional background includes working as a bank and credit union branch manager and retail lender. While still in the credit union industry, she changed fields to begin her work in human resources. She served as vice president of HR for a local credit union for eight years and earned her PHR certification prior to coming to the College. Inabinet is a graduate of Furman University.

In addition to the School of Business’ new faculty and staff, Rhonda Mack, professor of marketing, assumed the role of department chair for the Department of Management and Marketing, and Weishen Wang, associate professor of finance, was named department chair for the Department of Finance.



Chris Birkel, J.D., M.P.P.

Chris Birkel, J.D., M.P.P.

America’s most popular sport may soon be knocked out as a result of significant market forces, according to Chris D. Birkel, assistant professor of legal studies at the College of Charleston School of Business.

A paper authored by Birkel argues that increasing insurance costs driven by threats of lawsuits – similar to that of the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA) against the National Football League (NFL) for damages caused by concussions – will create changes to the current marketplace for football that could threaten the economic viability of football as currently organized.

“I decided to pursue this topic when the lawsuit between the NFLPA and the NFL was initially launched,” says Birkel. “The settlement negotiations and final settlement agreement injected some enthusiasm into my research.”

Earlier this year, the NFL reached a settlement of more than $870 million for concussion-related brain injuries among its retired players, agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research.

Because Birkel can’t predict the future of football, he makes his argument by creating parallels to two instances where increasing insurance costs seem to have affected popular childhood activities in the not-too-distant past: diving boards and playground equipment.

According to Birkel’s research, the number of diving boards in public pools and the number of monkey bars, seesaws, and merry-go-rounds found in public playgrounds have both decreased drastically over the years.  While there is no consensus regarding this widespread disappearance, Birkel points out that both activities “caused either significant injuries or the likelihood of significant injury that led to the threat or reality of significantly higher insurance premiums attendant to prospective lawsuits.”

In the same vein, Birkel argues that an increase in insurance premiums as a result of lawsuits will affect the future of football. The more injuries, the more lawsuits, the higher insurance premiums will be for football programs at all levels – down to the Pee Wee leagues. As a result, Birkel argues that fewer boys will participate in football programs, thus shrinking the pool of talented, experienced players from which college programs recruit, which will ultimately affect the sustainability of organized football as we know it.

“Fewer players mean fewer competitive teams and less enjoyment for participants and fans,” says Birkel. “It’s not clear whether this is a net-positive or a net-negative for business and society but it’s a conversation that needs to start before the changes to organized football are too profound to reverse.”

Knocked Out: The Once and Future Demise of Football by Chris D. Birkel will be published in the Berkeley Journal of Sports & Entertainment Law 4:1.