July 2015 Monthly Newsletter

NABA Selects Haslam Group for Chapter of the Year

NABA AwardThe student chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants at the Haslam College of Business received a Chapter of the Year award from its parent organization in June.

The award was presented during the NABA National Convention and Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was accepted by faculty advisor Randy V. Bradley, assistant professor of information systems and supply chain management, as well as four Haslam students: Gabrielle Yates (president-elect), Ashleigh Williams (vice president-elect), Cherish Hughes (outgoing membership development chair) and doctoral student Michelle Harding.

Yates credits the award to the chapter’s efforts to increase the value of membership. “We offered more networking opportunities with professionals from various business disciplines and backgrounds, providing access to resources needed to succeed both academically and professionally, as well as ensuring our members were well connected and aware of all opportunities offered on campus,” she said.

The award recognizes chapters that best highlight achievement and effectiveness. Membership recruitment and development, adequate documentation and reporting, planning and evaluation and the programs the chapter conducts or participates in throughout the year are all included in the criteria of the award.

Advisor Randy V. Bradley also served as the keynote speaker at the Scholar’s Luncheon during the convention. He credited the students for their success this year, as well as the chapter’s partners. “This is a tremendous accomplishment that is indicative of the hard work and dedication of our students,” Bradley said. “The national recognition signified by this award would not have been possible without the support of the many Haslam alums and corporate partners that helped create the foundation upon which our current students executed their vision.”

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Summer Research Program Recognizes 11 Faculty

ResearchIn its second year, the Haslam Summer Scholars research awards program has more than doubled its support for faculty led, high quality research in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“These awards allow us to promote strong scholarship while recognizing and supporting outstanding faculty in the Haslam College of Business,” said Annette L. Ranft, senior associate dean for academic affairs. “The program itself and the individual faculty awards are possible because of the generous financial support of our donors, most of whom are also Haslam alumni. We are grateful for their support as we congratulate all those selected on their promising work.”

A total of 11 faculty will carry a research fellow designation for the coming academic year. These faculty members conduct research across a broad spectrum of topics exploring areas of corporate governance, supply chain management, finance and accounting, executive behavior and entrepreneurship.

Chad Autry, William J. Taylor Professor of Supply Chain Management – Kinney Family Faculty Research Fellow

James Chyz, Assistant Professor, Accounting and Information Management – Jeff & Janet Davis Faculty Research Fellow

Russell Crook, Associate Professor, Management – Roy & Audrey Fancher Faculty Research Fellow

Tim Munyon, Assistant Professor, Management – Ray & Joan Myatt Faculty Research Fellow

Andy Puckett, Associate Professor and Massingale Scholar, Finance – Kinney Family Faculty Research Fellow

Georg Schaur, Associate Professor, Economics – Stewart Bartley Family Faculty Research Fellow

Wendy Tate, Associate Professor, Marketing and Supply Chain Management – Charlie & Caroline Newcomer Faculty Research Fellow

Christian Vossler, Professor, Economics – Nancy & David McKinney Faculty Research Fellow

Marianne Wanamaker, Assistant Professor, Economics – Kinney Family Faculty Research Fellow

David Williams, Assistant Professor, Management – Stanley Bowden Faculty Research Fellow

Tracie Woidtke, David E. Sharp/Home Federal Bank Tennessee Professor in Banking and Finance – Charles & Dorothy Duggan Faculty Research Fellow

Research Headshots










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Anne Smith Appointed Head of Department of Management

Anne Smith Anne D. Smith has been named head of the Department of Management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. She succeeds Terry Leap, who served as head of the department for four and a half years.

Smith has been with Haslam since 2001, teaching across all levels—undergraduate, masters, doctoral and executive. She has won numerous teaching awards, both at Haslam and in her previous posts at the University of New Mexico and McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Annette L. Ranft, senior associate dean for academic affairs and Reagan Professor of Business, said that Smith’s tenure bodes well for the future of the department.

“Anne has served as a long term faculty leader in the department of management with a strong track record of academic excellence through both her scholarship and teaching,” Ranft said. “We are fortunate to have Anne to lead the department in its efforts to continue to strengthen academic programs and thought leadership in the Haslam College of Business.”

Smith has published more than 20 papers in academic journals. Her research utilizes qualitative methods to study strategy, process in medium-sized organizations, and top management teams. She pioneered the use of photography in field research with her former organizations and strategy doctoral student Josh Ray. She also is currently the associate editor of Organizational Methods Journal and the incoming chair of the Strategizing Activities and Practices Interest Group in the Academy of Management.

“I have a mantra which reflects a bit of how I manage — boring is good,” Smith said. “That does not mean boring in the classroom but moving forward without drama. It applies to me anticipating and heading off potential problems and being prepared and clear.”

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Haslam College of Business MBA Program Named a Top 50 Best Value

Haslam Top 50 MBAAn MBA from the Haslam College of Business was named as one of the top 50 best values in the country earlier this summer. Haslam’s MBA program was ranked 29th by Value Colleges, a website dedicated to examining college affordability.

The website specifically noted that the program packs a large amount of coursework, as well as a study abroad experience and internship, into a 17-month format. These aspects paired with the shorter, and therefore more affordable, duration make the Haslam MBA a good value.

All business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International in the United States with program costs at or below $100,000 were considered in the ranking. Schools were evaluated according to their complete cost, educational prowess and the average starting salary for graduates.

The full rankings list is available on the Value Colleges website.


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Underrepresented Students Learn Business Skills at Haslam Summer Program

BETSTwenty-nine high school students from across the Southeast met with corporate executives and professors from the Haslam College of Business in June. The program introduces first generation college students and ethnicities that are underrepresented at the college level to the business world.

Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) not only educates rising high school seniors on office etiquette and business career possibilities, but also exposes them to college life and campus resources aimed at helping them succeed. The program, which is free to students, is in its eighth year.

While on campus, students heard from every department in the business school. They toured Dixon Hughes Goodman in Atlanta, and Radio Systems Inc. (the owners of PetSafe) and the mayor’s office in Knoxville.

The program included two lectures on leadership from representatives of Boeing and Mike West of BPV Capital Management. Buddy Lewis, a senior executive in sales at PepsiCo, gave the closing remarks on Saturday, June 27.

The week concluded with a marketplace competition, where students applied the business skills they learned throughout the week during a team-based simulation running a company as business professionals.

The program is a great recruiting tool, said Tyvi Small, Haslam’s director of diversity and community relations. Of the 150 students who have completed BETS since its inception, 64 have matriculated at the University of Tennessee, with 42 choosing business majors.

Participants in the 2015 program have an average GPA of 3.45, have demonstrated leadership and community involvement, and were nominated by a teacher or community leader.

The 2015 BETS program was sponsored by McCormick, Dixon Hughes Goodman, PepsiCo, Boeing and Scripps Networks.

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Student Spotlight: Michael Hromadka

Michael HromadkaWhile there were many factors that lead dual MBA/JD student Michael Hromadka to the University of Tennessee, his love for southern culture was certainly a catalyst.

“My father is from Louisiana,” he says, “and I value southern culture, specifically the emphasis on community, hard work, courtesy and family. I came to Tennessee because the university and the Haslam College of Business embody those values.”

A native of Dallas, Hromadka earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado Boulder. When it was time to select his graduate destination, the cultural fit wasn’t the only factor that lured him to Knoxville. “Several reasons led me to choose the Haslam MBA program,” he says. “I liked the idea of an accelerated full-time MBA program that was 18 months long instead of 24 months. I thought UT was the best value out of the schools I applied to when I compared the tuition to the lifetime return on investment. I also loved the community atmosphere. Everyone gets along at UT, and the faculty and staff in the MBA program really care about you as both a student and a person.”

In the future, Hromadka is interested in providing financial and legal consulting for small and medium sized businesses. He is spending his summer in Nashville at the state’s pension fund as an investments intern. The experience has given him exposure to investment portfolios at the fund, and he has had direct responsibility for preparing financial ratios and comparative and fundamental data on specific companies, sectors and industries.

No matter what path his career may take, Hromadka hopes to have his own company one day. He has already put his skills to the test with a venture called Biz Pro Photo, which creates professional portraits and websites for those who want to separate themselves from the masses in the job market. “I knew if I wanted a business portrait and personal website while I was in graduate school, some of my classmates might as well,” he explains. “It seemed like a good opportunity to provide a service for my classmates while making some money.”

One skill that entrepreneurship has taught Hromadka is flexibility, and the lesson snuck up on him quickly in his business endeavors. “We used the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center downtown for our photo shoots,” he recalls. “We were accidentally locked out during our first shoot. We didn’t let that stop us, and we quickly transitioned to a space in the Knoxville Chamber upstairs. After we moved some chairs and tables, we were off to the races!”

Hromadka has made the most of his time as a UT student, participating in a variety of extracurricular activities. He enjoys sports, noting that he’s missed only two home football games in his three years in Knoxville. He was a member of the MBA intramural basketball team that nearly won the championship this year. He is also a member of the Tennessee Association of MBAs and the Financial Management Association.

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Alum Spotlight: Todd Skelton

Todd SkeltonHaslam College of Business alumnus Todd Skelton understands the versatility afforded by a strong, diverse business background. Formerly a transactional attorney, he is currently serving as assistant deputy counsel to Governor Bill Haslam.

Skelton grew up in Surgoinsville, Tennessee, where he was valedictorian, an all-state cross country and track runner and a member of the United States Junior Men’s Team at the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy.

As assistant deputy counsel, Skelton advises the governor regarding judicial selection, legislation and matters affecting state government.

Prior to joining the governor’s office, he was an associate attorney with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. in the securities and corporate governance practice group in the firm’s Memphis office. At Baker Donelson, he worked with closely held and publicly traded companies on complex mergers and acquisitions and Securities and Exchange Commission compliance. He also advised companies regarding economic development incentive projects. “I really enjoyed transactional work, but I realized the opportunity to serve Tennesseans would be an honor and a great experience,” Skelton says of his switch from private practice to government.

He credits two mentors, Joe Carcello and Joan Heminway, for helping steer his career path and setting high expectations. Heminway is a law professor at UT, and Carcello is head of Haslam’s Department of Accounting and Information Management. In addition to being a student of Carcello, Skelton also worked with him at the C. Warren Neel Corporate Governance Center.

An engaged student leader while he was on campus, Skelton was named a Torchbearer, the highest honor awarded to undergraduate students. He received his bachelor’s degree in 2010 in the College Scholars Program and then graduated from UT’s College of Law in 2014 in the dual JD/MBA program with concentrations in business transactions and finance. He was again an active member of the campus community, serving as president of the Graduate Student Senate, portfolio manager for the Haslam Torch Fund and editor for the Tennessee Law Review and Transactions: Tennessee Journal of Business Law. He received a Chancellor's Citation for Extraordinary Campus Leadership in 2012 and also chaired the law school’s 2014 class gift campaign.

Skelton’s family has strong connections to the university. His mother, Joanna, and father, Mark, met at UT as undergraduate students. Joanna graduated from nursing in 1979, while Mark earned his business degree in 1979 and a law degree in 1982. Skelton’s sister, Amy, graduated from UT Law the same year he did.

Skelton continues to be active with the university as a member of the Young Alumni Council, where he co-chairs the philanthropy committee. In his spare time, he remains an avid distance runner. His family hosts the Skelton Law Racing Series, which consists of eleven road and trail races in Northeast Tennessee. “Running has been a big part of my life, and this is a way for my family to contribute to health and fitness in our region,” he says.

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Faculty/Staff Spotlight: Matt Harris

Matt HarrisMatt Harris is an assistant professor in the Center for Business and Economic Research and the Department of Economics.

Harris’ role provides a mixture of teaching and state-funded research. He does population forecasting for the state and recently wrote a chapter in the Economic Report to the Governor on the labor market in Tennessee pre, during and post Great Recession. This fall, he will teach the first econometrics course in the doctorate sequence while also examining research topics related to unemployment.

“I have great colleagues both in my department and across disciplines,” he says. “Nearly every time I walk into someone’s office to talk about research, I walk out having improved in some way.”

Harris came to Tennessee from the University of North Carolina where he earned his doctorate. When he’s not focusing on projects for the state, most of his research focuses on dynamic models of individual behavior in the fields of labor and health economics. His interest in dynamic modeling stemmed from his previous experience as an executive recruiter for a search firm in Washington D.C. “I observed individuals making choices about jobs and saw how their current situation was affected by past choices,” he recalls. “I also observed individuals making choices that took into account expectations about future outcomes.” Guided by those observations, he enjoys modeling individuals’ choices in such a way that their expectations about future outcomes are explicitly included in the decision making process. He has written papers demonstrating that high body weight increases the costs of switching occupations and slows wage growth over the life cycle by reducing returns to experience. He has also examined the effect of both current and habitual health on individuals’ spending on medical care.

Whenever possible, Harris partners with the business community to jointly pursue academic and applied research. He has been working with A Place for Mom, a senior living placement service, to better understand industry trends and drivers of demand for senior living. He has also partnered with a fitness company to model habit formation in exercise behavior, which he hopes can further the efficacy of incentives in wellness programs and influence product development.

Harris is married to Katherine, a Virginia Tech graduate in chemical engineering. As such, the 2016 Battle at Bristol, which will feature the Volunteer and Hokie football teams at Bristol Motor Speedway, is already circled on the family calendar. The couple has two sons, Michael (3) and Christopher (2), who already know the words to “Rocky Top.” The family is anticipating the arrival of a baby girl in September. While most of Harris’ hobbies are on hold for reasons that should be obvious, he looks forward to the prospect of starting a family band.

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