Friday, February 21, 2014

COBI forming new cohort for Executive MBA

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation (COBI) will begin its next cohort for the Executive Masters of Business Administration (EMBA) program this fall, and applications are now being accepted.

COBI offers one of the most accelerated EMBA programs in America, enabling working professionals from across the region to complete their Executive MBA in just 12 months, with on-campus sessions just one weekend per month. During these 12 months, students have unprecedented opportunities including:

•Interaction with dedicated, recognized and highly qualified faculty teaching in the EMBA program
•Individualized executive coaching to enable student success
•Networking that will provide students with professional connections that will last a lifetime

•Online and on-site classes which offer a great deal of flexibility

•International study trip (7-10 days) that combines company meetings, cultural immersion and first-hand observation of how business works in the international setting

The Princeton Review has recognized the graduate programs, including the EMBA, in the UT College of Business as among the best since 2008. Online graduate offerings in The University of Toledo (UT) College of Business and Innovation (COBI) are among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 Best Online Programs rankings. COBI also offers one of the most effective and efficient blended models of on-site and online courses, with classes meeting on campus just one weekend per month. 

Open houses will begin this spring.  For more information, contact Darlene Howard at 419.530.7982, or email

More than 100 companies recruit business students at annual winter job fair

More than 100 major companies sought the talent their businesses need at The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation (COBI) annual winter job fair on February 7 in the UT Student Union. Among the nationally recognized companies which participated were Coca Cola, Best Buy, Chrysler, DHL, Marathon, HCR ManorCare, Westfield Group and Kroger.

More than 475 COBI students attended the event.

“The tremendous participation of so many well-known businesses at our semi-annual COBI job fair reflects very positively on the quality of both our programs and our students,” noted Terribeth Gordon-Moore, COBI Senior Associate Dean. “It also demonstrates the extremely dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship enjoyed by COBI and major national recruiting companies such as Enterprise, Healthcare REIT, Huntington and Cooper Tire & Rubber.

“Employers are looking for undergraduate students to participate in business internships and their leadership development programs, as well as for seniors and graduates seeking full-time employment,” she added. “We also strongly encourage our freshmen students to attend the job fair, engage these company representatives now and begin a relationship with these employers.” 

“This job fair is part of what we do to prepare our students for their futures,” Gordon-Moore explained, adding that the college’s Business Career Programs office works year-round to assist students in acquiring internships and jobs upon graduation.  “We strive to provide the necessary resources so our students can conduct their own tailored job searches.”

More than 85% of COBI students participate in internships, and the job placement rate for COBI graduates is greater than 80%, even in recent economic times.

Company nominations now being accepted for UT College of Business annual Human Resource Management Award for Excellence

The Human Resources Management Excellence Awards were established in 1998 by The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation (COBI) Department of Management to encourage and recognize excellent progress and achievement in the field of human resource management among area organizations.

“These awards are given annually to an individual or HR department having a profound impact on their organization’s performance through demonstrated commitment, innovation and leadership in the human resource function,” noted Dr. Clinton Longenecker, COBI Professor of Management and chair of the Awards Selection Committee. 

Nominations are being accepted from now through March 30, 2014.  Anyone can nominate any organization, including their own.  
To nominate an organization, email the following information to

-          Nominator’s name, title, name of nominator’s organization, and contact information

-          Name of the nominated human resource department along with contact information for someone within that HR department

-          A paragraph describing why this HR department is deserving of this recognition.
Nominated organizations will be contacted and asked to provide additional information

Winners must have at least one designated HR practitioner; be actively involved in the continued development and improvement of their organization’s HR function; make significant contributions to improve organizational performance through their collective HR efforts; and provide vision, guidance and leadership in developing or improving the major HR practices in their organization.
The awards will be presented on May 13, 2014 at the Toledo Area Human Resource Association meeting in Perrysburg.

Previous Human Resource Management Award for Excellence winners include, Spangler Candy Company, SSOE, Mercy Health Partners, Owens Corning and Sauder Woodworking.

COBI Alumni Affiliate Celebrity Wait Night set for March 24 at Ciao! Ristorante

Ciao! Ristorante will be the location of the 2014 COBIAA Celebrity Wait Night event. This event raised over $8,000 for the Lawrence V. Conway Business Alumni Scholarship in 2013.The 2014 event will take place on Monday, March 24. Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Please make plans to join us and help us raise much-needed scholarship money for our students!  To reserve a spot at this great event, call 800.235.6766.

Business, engineering students work together in NSF funded project to advance entrepreneurship

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation and College of Engineering students are participating in an innovative merging of classes this semester to learn how to take creative product ideas and develop them into profitable businesses.

Students in three classes - - Entrepreneurship, taught by Dr. Sonny Ariss; Business Law, taught Dr. Brandon Cohen; and the Bioengineering Senior Design class, taught by Dr. Ronald Fournier - - are working together in 12 teams, with mentors available to each team.

The University of Toledo is one of only four locations in the United States participating in this program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and developed in conjunction with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

According to the National Science Foundation, Innovation Corps (I-Corps) is a set of activities and programs that prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory.

Combining experience and guidance from established entrepreneurs with a targeted curriculum, I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches grantees to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to student participants.

"This is an inaugural and very special program at the University," Dr. Cohen said.  "It’s a three year grant at $100,000 annually to develop, train and coach 30 eTeams per year who will learn the 'Lean Launch' curriculum and integrate the training into customer discovery during the year-long Senior Design Course. Students bring and share different perspectives from their inter-disciplinary classes, and each has to understand the value of what the other brings. They're here to be critical thinkers."

With a product idea in place, teams develop their business models utilizing the Lean Launch Pad system, which focuses on nine basic building blocks: customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships and cost structure.

Dr. Ariss added, “Entrepreneurship is launching a new venture, whether it occurs by starting your own company or by starting a new venture within the corporate business structure, known as intrapreneurship. This trend is becoming very important today because corporate America is looking for innovative thinking from their employees. Many large corporations such as Google, Intel, and 3M have created funds for their employees to fund an innovative idea within their corporate structures to help the growth of the company in the long run."

"Learning the business model canvas of the Lean Launch NSF program will help train our students to make a decision whether to launch their own venture or scrap it with minimal cost,” Dr. Ariss said.

Dr. Cohen told the students, "90% of all businesses fail.  The Lean Launch concept, which emphasizes the 'sell, then build' philosophy, helps you figure out if your idea has a place in the marketplace. If people are not willing to pay for it, it probably does not solve a large enough problem."

Each team receives up to $1,000 to develop a prototype of their product.

"If any design/product idea has market viability after going through the business canvassing process in class, that eTeam has a much higher success rate in getting NSF SBIR program funding," he said. "The over-arching theme here is that technology startups are not like big companies. Entrepreneurs find a market need and then find a solution that the market is willing to pay for. Sometimes you fail during the discovery phase; sometimes you pivot and move in a new direction. As long as you follow the process to its conclusion and continue to learn during the process, any result in this class is good because knowledge is a key driver of success and the ultimate reward."

Dr. Fournier said, "Bringing engineering and business students together on design project teams is unique in academia. It brings a synergistic perspective to the design process, gives the students the opportunity to learn from one another and see what the real world of business is actually like."


Thursday, December 19, 2013

COBI professor brings international, engineering experiences to business classroom

December marks the end of Dr. Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas’ first semester teaching at The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation department of management, but if he has his way, it was only the start of what he hopes will be a career at COBI. That’s the focused goal of a man who knows universities, having obtained four degrees from three universities on three continents.

“I was born in Bolivia, a lower-middle income country. I was strongly influenced by my father who sees education as an investment for personal development. Education has expanded my view of the world,” he said.

Dr. Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas
Alvarado-Vargas obtained his bachelor’s degree at Bolivian Private University (Universidad PrivadaBoliviana), where he studied production engineering.

“The university exposed me to various companies and business people. I am still in contact with them, and with authorities of the university.”
Later, he obtained a master’[s degree in international business at Florida International University in Miami.  “I returned to Bolivia in 2004, a young engineer with a master’s degree, but it was very difficult to find jobs…I was overqualified,” Alvarado-Vargas said.  “I was hired by Bata, a shoe manufacturer, and worked there for five months. I was happy there, but they did not use my full potential, and I didn’t see any challenges there.”

“I saw an opportunity to study abroad, in Belgium, so I obtained a scholarship from the Belgian government and went to Ghent University (Universiteit Gent) for a master degree in operations and technology management. They speak Dutch there; I already spoke English, Spanish and French, but I don’t like to feel lost, so I learned Dutch in the evenings.  I think to be functional in society you have to be motivated to be part of that society.”
“While in Belgium I was a graduate assistant to a professor who exposed me to different kinds of research, and pushed me to keep going,” Alvarado-Vargas said, reflecting on his own passionate interest in research.

“Then I received a stipend from Florida International University, arriving in Miami in 2007 to pursue my Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering, but I transferred to business administration….which was the best decision of my life. This is what I really like, and with my engineering background, I was unique. Strategic management, innovation, and technology management are my areas of research, and I was able to bring different angles and viewpoints to it. Some look only at business, and some look at engineering, but I was able to bridge the gap, which I think also enhances the classroom experience for my students. I graduated in the summer of 2013 with a Ph.D. in business administration.”
Alvarado-Vargas said he loves teaching, and recalled that his first instructional experience was as a private tutor as a senior in high school, charging a minimal fee to earn extra money. His first formal teaching on the university level was in 2008 at FIU, teaching Engineering Economic Analysis, a textbook which still maintains a prominent position on the shelf above his office desk in Stranahan Hall South. Later, he taught strategic management, international business, managing innovation, operations management, and organizational management at FIU.

In his search for a full-time teaching position, he accepted an invitation to visit The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation.
“I was very happy and surprised the first time I came to The University of Toledo; I knew I belonged here. When something is right for you, you feel that energy. Comparing it to other institutions I had the chance to know from inside, I think UT is equally competitive in resources for research, and, since it was founded in 1872, this school has a history.”

Alvarado-Vargas’ commitment to research even extended to his process for selecting a football team to cheer for, using strategy “to pick my NFL team forever.” He spent a year analyzing the 32 teams, their strengths and weaknesses, and finally determined that his winning team would be the Pittsburgh Steelers.  “Having an engineering background, I could relate to steel…besides, who has a dolphin for a mascot?”
Since settling in Toledo this past summer, he’s been to the museum, the zoo and some area restaurants, but admits he is still exploring the city. He added that he does not miss the traffic or weather of Miami, and that, “I think winter clothing is more elegant.” In addition to helping his students succeed, he enjoys a variety of live music, playing the guitar, travel, movies (Braveheart, A Beautiful Mind and Amadeus are his favorites), and admits to being into motocross sports, especially when he was younger.

“As a teenager, I was really determined about my future. If I wanted something, I found a way to get it,” he said.
Currently, his focus and determination remain intense and intact. “Everything is possible if you really put in the effort.”


Friday, December 13, 2013

COBI again receives international recognition as Excellent Business School

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation is again internationally ranked by Eduniversal in their recently released 6th edition of their annual worldwide business school ranking, The Best 1,000 Business Schools in 154 Countries, 2013.

This year Eduniversal recognizes only 145 schools in North America in rankings of Excellent, Top and Universal.
UT COBI, rated Excellent, is the only ranked business school in Northwest Ohio.  Headquartered in Paris, the international higher education ranking agency Eduniversal endeavors to provide information for students that enables them to make the right decision regarding the choice of their future studies anywhere in the world.

Eduniversal defines a business school’s international reputation “as its capacity to enhance the prestige of a student – and therefore improve his employment prospects – in his country of study and abroad.”
“By providing a serious and reliable reference that reflects the international dimension of the 1,000 Best Business Schools in the world, Eduniversal serves as an essential tool for students, human resource professionals and deans and directors from all corners of the world,” noted Martial Guiette, CEO and founder of Eduniversal.

Classification by Eduniversal as an Excellent school is based on two essential elements: the internationalization criteria - - which includes accreditations, such as by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); rankings by publications such as Business Week and the Wall Street Journal; membership in international academic associations; and university studies - - and the vote by 1,000 business school deans around the world. Every dean’s vote was transformed into a recommendation rate that students and others in the academic field can use to evaluate and compare the academic institutions.

“We are very excited by this prestigious ranking, which validates the high quality of our faculty and students, as well as the significance of our curriculum at all levels,” noted COBI Interim Dean Thomas Sharkey. “Not only has UT COBI again been recognized by this international organization, but we are honored to again be recognized as an Excellent school.”

“Furthermore we completely agree with Eduniversal’s emphasis on the importance of a business school improving a student’s employment prospects. This is a primary focus at COBI, and an area in which we perform extremely well, with an 85+% job placement rate for our graduating students, even during recent challenging economic conditions.”

“The fact that many well-known companies come to UT COBI to find the talent they need reflects very positively on our outstanding quality, and demonstrates the extremely dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship enjoyed by COBI and the business community,” Sharkey said.
COBI is also a member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a recognition earned by only 5% of all business schools in the world, and is consistently acknowledged as one of America’s Best Business Schools by The Princeton Review.