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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.

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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.

Dr. Daniel Huerta-Sanchez

Dr. Daniel Huerta-Sanchez

A common debate among stock market investors is whether the market is efficient – that is, the degree to which stock prices reflect all available, relevant information. The Efficient Market Hypothesis, developed in 1970 by economist Eugene Fama, is based on assumptions that there are no anomalies that can survive the fierce and precise force of arbitrageurs who attempt to profit from price inefficiencies in the market, that every trader makes fully rational financial decisions based on fundamentals, and that markets have so many participants that security prices cannot deviate from intrinsic values.

However, recent advances in behavioral finance dispute the Efficient Market Hypothesis and suggest that sentiment is a factor that can significantly push prices away from equilibrium, indicating that sentiment (or unbacked investor expectations) is a risk factor that should be considered when evaluating securities. Behavioral finance models suggest that a significant number of investors seem to misperceive the true distribution of expected returns and, as a result, their trading leads to observed security prices that are inconsistent with the idea of market efficiency.

“Our research seeks to provide more evidence that supports the notion that security prices are actually affected by behavioral biases introduced in the market – even by sophisticated investors,” says Daniel Huerta-Sanchez, assistant professor of finance at the College of Charleston School of Business. “We focus on particular industries that are usually observed to be transparent, unbiased, and even unaffected by irrational traders.”

One industry that Huerta-Sanchez focuses on in his research is real estate, specifically examining the impact of sentiment on the return-generating process of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

REITs are unique securities that offer a hybrid investment between equity and real estate. Investing in REITs allows ownership in professionally-managed real estate portfolios that most financially-constrained investors could not have otherwise owned given the illiquid characteristics of the real estate market and the large and long-term commitment of the typical real estate investment (Chan et al., 2003).

As such, REITs are a magnet for both individual and institutional investors who simultaneously seek diversification via indirect commercial real estate ownership and who are concerned with allocating their capital in liquid securities that can be traded without incurring in significant transaction costs (Han and Liang, 1995).

“The tangible nature of the underlying asset in REITs seems to lead investors to believe that this market is highly transparent and that deviations from net asset values are uncommon, meaning a causal relationship between sentiment and REIT prices should be insignificant and non-persistent,” says Huerta-Sanchez.

“However, results from our studies suggest that REIT returns are not only influenced by overall market sentiment, but if we distinguish sentiment from institutional investors and individual investors, we find that both groups influence REIT returns in their own way.”

Research by Huerta-Sanchez and Gutierrez also focuses on other industries such as the financial industry and the American Depository Receipt industry and how behavioral biases affect their firm prices. At this moment, Huerta-Sanchez et al. have papers under review at the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance and at Managerial Finance. Recently published papers can be found at the Journal of Economics and Finance and at the Journal of Investing.

Jake Durham believes that one of our greatest freedoms as Americans is the right to vote.  Unfortunately, most Americans have lost patience with the process and long waiting lines to take their turns at the polls.  Some even say that the tone and tenor of politics doesn’t warrant their attention.

According to a Washington Post article, just 36% of eligible voters casted a ballot in the November 2014 midterm elections.  While presidential races have significantly higher turnout, only 62% voted in 2012.

Jake, a sophomore studying business, entrepreneurship and political science, sees an opportunity for social change that could reenergize the American spirit on election day.

During the celebration of the College of Charleston’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, he was one of eight students who participated in a SharkTank-like event hosted by the School of Business, the Honors College, and ENACTUS.  Dubbed the “Wild Pitch for Social Change,” Jake presented his new voting app concept and registration process that would give voters an easier, less time consuming way to register and vote. In his mind, a technology-driven solution could help spur greater turnout in local, state, and national elections.

Eight student finalists make their Wild Pitch to our select judging panel for the 2014 Social Change Wild Pitch competition to promote entrepreneurship at the College of Charleston.

Eight student finalists make their Wild Pitch to our select judging panel for the 2014 Social Change Wild Pitch competition to promote entrepreneurship at the College of Charleston.

Sixty-one students applied for a spot in the competition and eight were chosen to make their pitch.   The top Wild Pitch prize of $1,000 went to Jake for his voting app idea.  Mary Frances Zeager placed second for her idea of establishing a coop among the School of Business Microfinance Club, Corpus Callosum, Sherman Capital and Meeting Street Academy for students and parents to create businesses and sell their products.   The third place winner was James Lee, a senior business administration major, who conceptualized a StudySimple app to consolidate course syllabi and streamline how students could select courses each semester. Other College of Charleston students who made pitches include:

  • Kesha Rainey
  • Michelle Smith
  • Joey Baldwin
  • Laura Fuenfstueck
  • Anna Baginski

“The number of applications shows how quickly entrepreneurship is spreading among our students, especially now with our new minor,” says David Wyman, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and assistant professor.  “Our students are a great asset and see no boundaries to the growing entrepreneurial activity in the Charleston region. The business community is engaged in the business school and our students learn so much from successful thought leaders who have their time, resources, and networks to share.”

The event also featured a “Beat the Professor” component with Kelly Shaver, professor of entrepreneurship, who presented Phoenix Recycling, a business in Richmond, V.A. Phoenix Recycling reduces landfill waste and creates a profitable revenue stream from restaurant owners and others who pay for pick up and delivery of recyclable material to a processing facility.  This system of manually loading recyclables in small trucks fills a market need in cities with narrow streets, particularly on historic Richmond alleyways.

The judging panel was comprised of notable entrepreneurs including:

  • George Stevens, President and CEO, Coastal Community foundation
  • Stuart Williamson, Executive Director, The Alabastar Jar Foundation
  • Ian Sanchez, Owner, Purposeful Entrepreneurship
  • Jennifer Morrow, Owner, RootedID
  • Rachel Duey, Founder, Humble Diggs
  • Derek Snook, President, IES Labor Services

“Throughout this competition, I learned that it wasn’t necessarily about what I saw as broken, but rather that I was in good company with many influential social entrepreneurs on our judging panel,” says Jake.  “They gave me the motivation to realize that my dream may actually be a reality.”

The next steps in his business plan include developing a working prototype with a programmer and presenting it to high-profile politicians including U.S. Senator Tim Scott.

If mail-in ballots are any indication that a new voting process does dramatically improve turnout in states such as Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, then Jake’s idea could have a transformational impact on our elections.

“I know many people in our government today and worldwide have one time or another thought that mobile voting would be ideal, but have written it off as either too risky or just not feasible. But why not? In the technological day and age we are in, it’s within our grasps if someone has the ambition and determination to take that next step.  Hopefully that person will be me.”

For more information about entrepreneurship at the College of Charleston, contact David Wyman at [email protected]

Will West Coast Port Delays Dampen Holiday Shopping?

By Ron Menchaca
Posted on 25 November 2014 | 11:12 am

For the past several weeks, the flow of cargo at several major West Coast ports has slowed due to disagreements over a labor contract.

Port_of_Oakland_embedWhile some U.S. retailers have raised concerns that the issue could affect holiday inventories, Kent Gourdin, a professor and director of the Global Logistics and Transportation Program at the College of Charleston, says the strife isn’t likely to ruin Christmas.

“The bulk of the movement of goods for the holiday shopping season occurs in late summer and early fall, so I think any impacts from a serious freight stoppage now would be felt in the spring,” Gourdin says. “The impact on the average consumer right now is pretty minimal since it takes a while for any effects to filter down through the supply chain.”

RELATED: Learn more about the Department of Supply Chain and Information Management in the School of Business.

At issue is a labor contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and waterfront employers. The sides are negotiating a new contract to replace one that expired at the end of June 2014.

Kent Gourdin

“Working without a contract always raises tensions,” Gourdin says. “In addition, some truckers are striking in LA/Long Beach to protest the improper classification of impendent contractors. While neither of these situations has resulted in a port being shutdown, sporadic disruptions have occurred.”

Following a similar contract dispute in 2002, dozens of West Coast ports shut down for 11 days, causing estimated economic losses of $1 billion per day. The 2002 lockout ended when then-President George W. Bush invoked emergency provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act. But President Barack Obama has so far declined to wade into the current dispute.

Port slowdowns are a fact of life in maritime trade, Gourdin says. Because labor contracts must regularly be renewed, tensions are inevitable as both sides vie for better deals. That posturing coupled with the ever-increasing size of container ships creates a fragile situation that can dramatically disrupt world commerce.

“The bottom line is that more than ninety percent of global trade moves via the maritime industry,” Gourdin says. “In today’s world, there is simply no viable alternative.”

See original article on The College Today.

Since its founding in 2009, the Schottland Scholars program in the School of Business has come to embody the best attributes of the College of Charleston: high-achieving students and alumni, dedicated and accomplished professors and selfless community mentors.

A new gift from one of the Schottland program’s most ardent supporters will help ensure these qualities endure long into the future.

Bill Finn, a Schottland Scholars mentor and a member of the School of Business Board of Governors, recently announced a gift of $50,000 to the Schottland Programs Endowment. His gift will permanently name one of the 10 Schottland Scholars in honor of Carrie Messal, founding director of the Schottland Scholars Program.

Messal is an associate professor of management in the Department of

Dr. Carrie Blair Messal, associate professor of management.

Dr. Carrie Blair Messal, associate professor of management.

Management and Entrepreneurship. She joined the School of Business in 2007.

“We are now confident that as long as there is a College of Charleston, there will be a Schottland Scholars program,” Messal said. “Thanks to the gift from Mr. Finn, I am honored that my name will also be a part of this lasting legacy.”

Finn made his gift as a result of a call to action by Peter and Susan Schottland, the founders of the Schottland Scholars Program. In April 2014, the Schottlands committed $1 million to establish the Schottland Programs Endowment.

Read more about the Schottland family’s gift to establish the Schottland Programs Endowment.

Along with the announcement of their gift, the Schottlands challenged alumni and friends of the School of Business to contribute an additional $500,000 to the new endowment. Finn and others who join the Schottlands will ensure that the Schottland Scholars Program and Schottland Leadership Award will be permanently supported.

Finn is a retired CEO/Chairman of AstenJohnson Inc., a global engineered

Bill Finn, Chair, Asten Johnson, Executive Committee Member, School of Business, and Industry Advisor, Schottland Scholars

Bill Finn, Chair, Asten Johnson, Executive Committee Member, School of Business, and Industry Advisor, Schottland Scholars

products company based in Charleston. He has served as a friend and mentor to all Schottland Scholar graduates and has become an invaluable business advisor to Messal.

“Her commitment, service and dedication to the program as our founding director has been extraordinary,” Finn said of Messal. “Her personal interest in seeing the Scholars succeed combined with her enthusiasm is a winning combination.”

Finn and others familiar with Messal’s work on behalf of the Schottland Scholars say she is the driving force behind the program and the high-impact, hands-on learning experience it provides to students.

Brumby McLeod, assistant professor in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, is serving as the program’s interim director this year while Messal is on sabbatical.

The seeds for the Schottland Scholars program were planted more than 20 years ago when Peter Schottland’s father, Stan Schottland, established the Schottland Leadership Award in 1993. An original member of the School of Business Board of Governors, Stan Schottland is former president and CEO of American Bag & Paper, the predecessor of American Packaging Corporation.

Peter Schottland established the Schottland Scholars Program in 2009. Each year approximately 10 senior business students are selected to participate in the program following a rigorous application and interview process.

The program fosters professional development by providing students with challenging, extracurricular opportunities in the business community, including site visits to local, regional and national companies as well as lectures from invited business and government leaders.

“Having been a CEO/Chairman for over 30 years I have seen the lack of self-confidence many graduates have entering the workplace,” Finn said. “The Schottland Scholars Program builds that confidence through as many as 40 meetings and conversations with C-level executives.”

As a result of the Schottland family’s unwavering commitment, the program has now produced five years of graduates and established a strong network of Schottland alumni who are giving back to the program and staying connected to the College, Messal said.

“It has always been my concern that the network would fade away without continued funding for the program,” Messal said. “Thanks to the generosity of the Schottland family and other great friends like Bill Finn who are responding to their challenge, that network will endure for the long-term.”

Watch video of Bill Finn announcing his gift.

Read original article from The College Today.