Media Coverage

Mondaq
Newark, NJ
Friday, November 21, 2014

The recent increase in hedge fund activism is "hyperbolic" and should be carefully assessed, according to two notable scholars, John C. Coffee Jr. (corporate law; Columbia) and Darius Palia (corporate finance; Rutgers Business School), who have just published on comprehensive study on hedge fund activism entitled, "The Impact of Hedge Fund Activism: Evidence and Implications." The authors address various perspectives on the benefits and repercussions of hedge fund-led corporate change, relying on statistical analysis and market data to answer four questions:

  • Who are the targets of activism?
  • Does hedge fund activism create real value?
  • What are the sources of gains from activism?
  • Do the targets of activism experience post-intervention changes in real variables?

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BusinessBecause
New Brunswick, NJ
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On weekday mornings, Daria Demina rises at 5AM in Moscow with a thirst for knowledge. The financial bachelor’s student, enrolled at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, is at her peak of activity from 6AM. The only problem is that her classmates and lecturers are all still fast asleep. “I… Have a weird regime,” says Daria.

The ambitious Russian financier won’t wait for them to wake. Like a growing number of MBA candidates, she plugs into cyberspace to supplement her learning in-between degree studies. “I learn fast, and when things are too slow at lectures at university I get frustrated,” Daria says.

Students like Daria, who have grown up swiping, texting and blogging, are increasingly demanding flexibility in their study.

“In the recent trends we have seen, managerial professionals do not have the bandwidth to dedicate two to five years of their time to an MBA,” says Peter Methot, who leads executive education at Rutgers Business School in the US. Like a handful of others, Rutgers runs a “mini-MBA” that is taught entirely online.

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NJBIZ
Newark, NJ
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Rutgers Business School's Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development announced Tuesday its inaugural Entrepreneurship Awards.

The awards, according to a news release, will be given as part of an event CUEED is hosting for Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Mukesh M. Patel, founder of Somerset-based JuiceTank, is being recognized as one of the Rutgers Alumni Entrepreneurs at the event.

CUEED Executive Director Lyneir Richardson said the aim of the awards is to create awareness of forward-thinking business people and the role they play in growing the economy.

“This new award initiative at Rutgers Business School is dedicated to recognizing innovative entrepreneurs who are having an impact on their respective industry, the community and employees,” Richardson said in a statement. “These awards celebrate those inventors, disruptors, luminaries and newsmakers that have an impact on urban environments, regional business communities and even the global economy.”Full Article



Financial Post
Newark, NJ
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Once reviled as a threat to the status quo in executive suites and clubby corporate boardrooms, activist hedge funds are today lauded as catalysts for change, gaining clout and board seats in blue-chip companies: Canadian Pacific Railway, Microsoft Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co.

Like the leveraged-buyout kings of the 1980s and 1990s immortalized as “Barbarians at the Gate,” hedge-fund activists are the new breed of corporate crusaders shaking up lethargic companies, and overhauling the way businesses operate in the name of unlocking value for shareholders. The trouble is, their results don’t quite live up to the celebrity.

There are currently more than 400 activist hedge funds flexing their muscle worldwide: during the first six months of 2014, 148 activist campaigns were launched in the U.S. — up from 52 in 2005-2006. “Whatever their size, few companies today seem immune from the reach of hedge-fund activism,” concluded the report by Prof. Coffee and Darius Palia, a law professor at Rutgers Business School.

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BusinessBecause
New Brunswick, NJ
Sunday, November 16, 2014

America and Canada have become clusters for new “mini-MBA” courses which are being taught from Toronto to New Brunswick, but the trend has not yet emerged across Europe.

“It acts as a complement,” says Peter Methot, managing director of executive education at Rutgers Business School, which runs up to 18 “mini MBAs” on topics such as entrepreneurship and digital marketing.

“The mini-MBA also serves the purpose of focusing on a specific subject matter in a condensed period of time,” he adds.

Where MBA degrees are expensive, mini courses cost as little as $5,000 and have relaxed entry requirements.

They are targeting middle-managers, according to Alan Middleton, executive director of the Schulich School of Business’ Executive Education Centre. “The mini-MBA tends to get people later on in their careers,” he says, who want to move into broader responsibilities or more senior roles. “They don’t really have time to go back [to business school] for a year or an 18 month program,” Alan adds.

In that sense they are similar to custom executive education courses and EMBAs, which attract candidates who want to move up the ladder in their current careers, rather than establish new ones – although this is starting to change.

Peter says: “We have seen an exponential increase in the value employers place on a mini-MBA.”

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NorthJersey.com
Newark, NJ
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lei Lei, a Rutgers professor, has been appointed dean of Rutgers Business School - Newark and New Brunswick, effective Jan. 1. Lei replaces Glenn Shafer, the school's current dean, who has held the post since 2011.

According to a release, Lei has been a faculty member at Rutgers since 1989, after she received a doctorate in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin.

While at Rutgers, she was founding director of the Rutgers Center for Supply Chain Management in 2001 and founding chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management and Marketing Sciences in 2008.

The North Edison resident, who was born in Dalian, China, is the second woman to hold this position, according to Rutgers. In 2007, Rosa Oppenheim was executive vice dean of the school for two years.

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NJ.com
Newark, NJ
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Professor Lei Lei will take the reins from Glenn Shafer, who has led the Rutgers business school since 2011. Lei's appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

The professor has been a faculty member at Rutgers since receiving her Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1989. She has received multiple best professor awards at Rutgers Business School and earned a nomination for the Professor of the Year Award in 2010.

Lei was the founding director of the Rutgers Center for Supply Chain Management in 2011. She helped bring the school's Supply Chain Management program to national and international prominence, the school said in a news release.

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NJBIZ
Newark, NJ
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick will have a new dean with the new year, it announced Tuesday.

Lei Lei will take over from Glenn Shafer, effective Jan. 1, 2015, Rutgers Business School said in a news release.

Three key Rutgers officials — Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Richard Edwards and Rutgers-Newark Provost Todd Clear — said in a joint statement that, “A combination of Dr. Lei’s accomplishments as an academic leader, her acuity as a scholar and teacher, deeply engaged with business challenges facing communities locally and globally, were among the key qualities that led to her selection.”

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Newark, NJ
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A combination of Dr. Lei's accomplishments as an academic leader, her acuity as a scholar and teacher, deeply engaged with business challenges facing communities locally and globally, were among the key qualities that led to her selection, according to a statement from Nancy Cantor, Rutgers University Newark chancellor; Richard Edwards, executive vice president for academic affairs and Rutgers University New Brunswick chancellor; and Todd Clear, Rutgers University Newark provost.

"Lei highly values our faculty of top-notch researchers and practitioners, dedicated staff, and many strong programs initiated and cultivated by previous leaders of RBS.   She is very proud of our breathtakingly diverse, high-quality, and vibrant students, supportive alumni, and strong partnerships with the business community," said the statement from Cantor, Edwards and Clear.

Lei's many contributions to the university include becoming the founding director of the Rutgers Center for Supply Chain Management in 2001 and establishing the Department of Supply Chain Management and Marketing Sciences in 2008 as founding chair.

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Philadelphia
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Michelle Lee, a vice president of Wells Fargo Bank, has been promoted to the top community bank executive position on the East Coast.

Banking was not part of her initial career plans. After earning a degree in music from Boston Conservatory, Lee aspired to become an opera singer. When she joined Wells Fargo (then First National State Bank) as a teller in 1984, she thought it would be an interim job while she pursued singing.

Lee has received many awards throughout her career. She will be honored by the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership with the 2014 Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award next month. Created in 2011 in recognition of a champion of the IEL, Steven J. Diner, former Rutgers University-Newark chancellor, this award is given annually to an individual who demonstrates a long-term commitment to strengthening civil society through ethical leadership.

“Michelle’s passion and commitment to positive change in our community is evident through her remarkable legacy in the city of Newark and New Jersey,” said James Abruzzo, co-founder at the IEL. “The IEL is proud and honored to celebrate such an outstanding individual as Michelle, who exemplifies integrity and ethical leadership in both her personal and professional endeavors.”

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Yahoo! News
Newark, NJ
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) will honor Michelle Y. Lee, regional banking executive, Eastern Region for Community Banking at Wells Fargo, with the 2014 Steven J. Diner Ethical Leadership Award.

Created in 2011 in recognition of a champion of the IEL, Steven J. Diner, former Rutgers University-Newark chancellor, this award is given annually to an individual who demonstrates a long-term commitment to strengthening civil society through ethical leadership. In addition to the recognition, the awardee names a nonprofit organization in Newark to receive a monetary prize provided by the IEL. Lee has selected the Marion P. Thomas Charter School Foundation to receive this year's award.

"Michelle's passion and commitment to positive change in our community is evident through her remarkable legacy in the City of Newark and New Jersey," says James Abruzzo, co-founder at the IEL. "The IEL is proud and honored to celebrate such an outstanding individual as Michelle, who exemplifies integrity and ethical leadership in both her personal and professional endeavors."

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FindLaw
Newark, NJ
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In a paper published in The University of Chicago Law School's Journal of Legal Studies, Michael Simkovic, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, and Frank McIntyre, a professor of finance and economics at Rutgers Business School, wanted to know whether it's worth it to go to law school. Their conclusion: A law degree adds about $1 million on average to a person's lifetime earnings.

From the outset, Simkovic and McIntyre state what might be fairly obvious: "The economic value of a law degree turns not on whether law school graduates practice law but rather on how much more readily they find work with the law degree than they would have without and how much more they earn with the law degree than they would have without."

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REIT Magazine
Washington, DC
Friday, October 31, 2014

Although the U.S. economy continues to gain ground lost during the financial crisis, the pace of growth for much of 2014 has proved for many to be frustratingly slow and uneven. To get a clearer idea of what to expect heading into 2015, REIT magazine assembled four leading economists for a roundtable discussion.

Participants included: Morris Davis, Paul V. Profeta Chair of Real Estate and the academic director of the Center for Real Estate Studies at Rutgers Business School; Christopher Mayer, Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate, Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School; Kerry Vandell, director of the Center for Real Estate at The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California – Irvine; and Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

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NJBIZ
Newark, NJ
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rutgers Business School in Newark will be offering a two-day executive educational program called Executive Leadership: An Ethical Journey to Success.

The program, hosted by The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School, will culminate with a certificate of completion.

According to Ann K. Buchholtz, Rutgers professor of leadership and ethics and research director at IEL, the course will provide insight on how to navigate the sometimes murky waters and difficult decisions of doing business.

“This program provides tools for tackling the toughest challenges, those without easy answers,” she said in a statement.

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NJBIZ
Newark, NJ
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Outdoor Exchange (OX) is the first New Jersey company to truly embrace the most modem incarnation of borrowing from your neighbor.

Brett Gilbert, an associate professor at Rutgers Business School's Department of Management and Global Business, said the Internet has allowed for these broader associations by connecting strangers in a way that previously was impossible.

"Technology helps to build in a level of trust between a local person and a stranger who would be using a new type of good," she said. "It's allowing people to still conduct these transactions with strangers, but have a greater level of confidence that the deal will go through." That hasn't always been the case. Subscription sites such as the Outdoor Exchange have evolved from previous marketplaces that allowed for anonymity and less accountability.

"You can certainly do things through Craigslist, but one of the downsides is that people will oftentimes try to scam you," Gilbert said.

One way of holding members accountable for their behavior is allowing users to rate one another based on their transaction. These rating systems have been a prominent feature on e-commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon, but have played a large role in the growing Crust of shared economy businesses such as the rideshaiing service über and Airbnb, the local home-renting website.

"It really helps people to know the character of the person they're dealing with," she said. "That's why these rating systems are very effective, because it gives people an opportunity (to know) how this person has done in previous transactions.

Full Article



Marketplace.org
Newark, NJ
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

For six years, the Fed has used some form of the unconventional monetary policy known as quantitative easing. When that ends, the Fed still has its conventional tools.

“So the Fed still can influence short-term rates, thirty-day rates, overnight rates,” says Rutgers University’s Morris Davis, who was once an economist with the Federal Reserve Board. “It just has decided it will not try to influence longer term rates like the ten-year Treasury or mortgage-backed securities.”

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TMC News
Newark, NJ
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

According to Institute for Ethical Leadership Executive Director Judy Young, "These days, companies can't avoid ethical dilemmas and leaders need to be prepared. This new Executive Leadership: An Ethical Journey to Success Certificate Program includes ethics and values, corporate social responsibility, compliance, crisis communication and how to create and sustain an ethical culture. Participants will gain invaluable knowledge and practical experience in ethical leadership and critical decision-making skills. The benefits can be significant no matter what industry."

This program provides leaders and managers with the education, training, and critical-thinking tools needed to make ethical decisions for real-world challenges and to set the tone for their team and organization. It is designed to empower and challenge, and it provides additional tools that will enable leaders to review their typical responses to ethical challenges, identify different options and create and execute an ethical culture. With the knowledge gained from this unique program, organizations can avoid ethical breaches that can tarnish or ruin reputations, often costing companies millions of dollars.

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Newark, NJ
Sunday, October 26, 2014

Similar to the reality television show “Shark Tank,” participants in the annual “Rutgers Business School Business Plan” competition created a viable business plan and presented their entrepreneurial endeavors to a panel of three judges.

Bergen, owner of the Denville, New Jersey-based interior landscaping company Bergen Botanicals, won the $20,000 prize.

Paula Zwiren, president of Zwiren Title Agency in Livingston, New Jersey, received $15,000 for second place.

Zwiren and Bergen are both Flex MBA students.

Flex MBA graduates Sarah Blessing and Joanna Trzaska and their team, Aamir Khan and Leann Cosley-Richardson, won the $10,000 third-place prize for the fitness band TRAINgle.

Ray Rossi, director of the competition since 2011, said Rutgers tried to select businesses with a high probability of success that are on the verge of becoming commercialized and are ready to launch.

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ABC 4
Newark, NJ
Friday, October 24, 2014

At Rutgers Business School, women represent 51 percent of the new class of 79 full-time MBA students – the highest since 2007 when female students made up 48 percent of the class. In 2013, the incoming class of full-time MBA students was 39 percent female.

Rutgers MBA and Graduate Admissions will hold an Open House for prospective students on Saturday, Nov. 1 at Rutgers Business School, 1 Washington Park in Newark.

Another specific factor for Rutgers Business School: The atmosphere is perceived as supportive of women, according to students as well as the head of graduate admissions.

"Women can really stand out here," said Rita Galen, assistant dean and director of graduate admissions at Rutgers Business School. "They can be heads of clubs. They can be heads of the teams in case competitions. They can also be leaders in student government."

"This is a place where women are respected and supported," Galen said, "and it's a place where they feel like they can compete with men."

Vanessa Duvert, a 27-year-old with five years of experience doing public relations for non-profits, said she initially thought business school would be dominated by males. And the idea of that, she said, was a bit daunting."As a woman, especially as a black woman, these are the things you look at when you take your career in a different direction," Duvert said.

What she found at Rutgers Business School was very different.

"The Rutgers MBA is known for its supply chain program and at the head of the program you have Professor Lei Lei, a woman of Asian descent. There's also Sharon Lydon, the director of the MBA program, another woman," she said.

"There are women here in leadership positions," she said. "That in itself is very empowering."

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NBC Right Now
Newark, NJ
Monday, October 20, 2014

In the wake of ever increasing lawsuits and stories in the media about corporate missteps, the Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL), located at Rutgers Business School, is offering a new Certificate Program, Executive Leadership: An Ethical Journey to Success. This two-day executive education program, on Tuesday, November 18 and Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at Rutgers Business School in Newark, features focused learning experiences and case studies on ethical challenges and opportunities for business, nonprofit and government professionals to avoid the costly mistakes being made every day by organizations across the country.

"This program provides tools for tackling the toughest challenges, those without easy answers," says Ann K. Buchholtz, PhD, Rutgers Professor of Leadership and Ethics and Research Director at IEL. "Participants will study the critical relationship of compliance to ethics and how a clear understanding of ethical decisions can help a company avoid everything from an employee lawsuit to federal or state corruption charges."

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NewJersey101.5
Newark, NJ
Thursday, October 16, 2014

“The job creation that we’re seeing is disproportionally on the low end, people who have had advanced degrees and have expected to go into six figure jobs are finding that supply/demand curve is not in their favor,” said Mitchell Koza, distinguished professor of Management & Global Business at Rutgers Business School.

Koza said with many of the high-paying upper management positions gone, applicants with advanced degrees are left with less opportunity for career advancement or, in the case of job seekers-are forced to apply for entry level positions at a significantly lower pay.

The Rutgers professor was candid in saying that most of the current jobs that are gone will not return, however he was hopeful that new ones will take their places.

“We are seeing growth in banking once again, in financial and business related services, in internet related services, human services, and software as opposed to hardware development.”

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mbaMission
Thursday, October 16, 2014

MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Benefiting from the prestige of its parent university, the eighth oldest university in the United States, Rutgers Business School (RBS) hosts a suite of flexible curricular options and formal concentrations that are rooted in its multidisciplinary strength. The program boasts the “same education as an Ivy League School, at a fraction of the price” on its Web site, a claim that seems substantiated by robust industry connections across several disciplines, a network of 33,000 alumni, and a high employment rate (95% after 90 days after graduation for the Class of 2013).

For those aspiring to work on Wall Street, the school offers a Master of Quantitative Finance degree that earned it a place among the “Top 10 Quant Schools in 2012,” as ranked by Advanced Trading.



Newark, NJ
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rapid changes in technology are a reality of the current business environment. In addition to affecting how business is done, these changes present new challenges to auditors.

The internet, cloud computing, and the pervasive use of mobile devices enable auditors to practice in a globally connected environment. Technology can be used to transform auditing and improve audit effectiveness, according to the white paper: Reimagining Auditing in a Wired World, published by the Emerging Assurance Technologies Task Force of the AICPA Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC):

Paul Byrnes, Rutgers Business School
Tom Criste, Deloitte (Retired) Ross School of Business
Trevor Stewart, Deloitte (Retired),Rutgers Business School
Miklos Vasarhelyi, Rutgers Business School

According to the white paper:
•    The profession needs to achieve a “quantum leap” to redesign audit processes using today’s technology.
•    Existing auditing standards need to be modified to incorporate the concepts of Big Data and encourage auditors to use technologies that increase assurance beyond minimum required levels.

Significant changes in audit approach are needed to take advantage of the new environment, according to one of the authors of the white paper, Miklos Vasarhelyi, Ph.D., director of the Rutgers University Accounting Research Center & Continuous Auditing & Reporting Lab.

“The profession is still not doing very much with Big Data, yet,” he said. “But the sources of evidence have changed so dramatically that there can be no way that the profession will not use it. The more difficult prediction is when this change will happen. … It will not occur overnight but will be more ad hoc and evolutionary, and changes in audit practice will continue to occur as corporate processes change.”

To prepare auditors for these changes, Vasarhelyi said:
•    Educational needs must be met.
•    CPA firms should expand their assurance services.
•    Auditors should use Big Data and perform deeper analytics.
•    Audit procedures should be continuous.
•    Auditing standards need to be updated.

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New Brunswick, NJ
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This year, RBS admitted a 51 percent female MBA class, surpassing the 37 percent national average and becoming the first business school in the country to achieve gender parity. Sharon Lydon, executive director of the MBA Program at Rutgers Business School, recalled a conversation with Susan Smith about studying while caring for her five children and learning that studying at RBS was the best decision MBA candidate Susan Smith felt she ever made. 

"I have a lot of hope for the future as more women will come back to school and get their MBAs,” Lydon said.

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Ann Arbor, MI
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jeffrey Robinson, assistant director at Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, delivered the keynote speech at the event.

He spoke about the work CUEED has done in its efforts to revitalize Newark, N.J., along with other urban communities in the state.

Robinson’s address was structured around the three main lessons about how to be a successful entrepreneur in an urban environment that he learned from being a part of CUEED: finding collaborators and partners, being ready to pivot and knowing your audience.

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TEDxNavesink
Monday, October 13, 2014

In this talk, Mark Burgess brings to our attention how employees, through social media, are changing how companies market to, and engage with, customers and prospects.

Continue reading.



New York, NY
Friday, October 10, 2014

Rutgers Business School just achieved something Harvard Business School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and other elite business schools haven’t been able to: gender parity in its student body.

The school’s new class of full-time MBAs is 51 percent female. By comparison, the average share of women MBAs across North American business schools is 37 percent, according to the main accrediting body for U.S. business schools. That’s despite well-publicized efforts by HBS and other schools to inch their share of women above 40 percent.

It should be noted that New Jersey-based Rutgers’s MBA program is relatively small—its new class of students numbers just 79. Top U.S. business schools have classes that range in size from around 175 to 900. The surge in female MBA candidates is noteworthy for Rutgers, which had never seen more women than men enrolled in its MBA program before this year, and in 2013 had a class that was 39 percent women.

There are few clues as to why the business school is suddenly seeing more women on campus. The school noticed that the number of women MBAs from outside the U.S. rose to 19 this year from nine last year, according to Rita Galen, the school’s assistant dean and director of graduate admissions. That’s not the result of any specific outreach to international women or women in general, however. Rutgers doesn’t “do special recruiting for women,” Galen says.

“Maybe it’s because big schools with big endowments are intimidating,” Galen says to explain the school’s appeal to women. “Our class is 79. Theirs are 500; 1,000. We want to shake your hands at graduation.”

Full Article



ValueWalk
New York, NY
Thursday, October 9, 2014

Abstract:

We investigate the consequences of the “revolving door” for trial lawyers at the SEC’s enforcement division. If future job opportunities make SEC lawyers exert more enforcement effort to develop and showcase their expertise, then the revolving door phenomenon will promote more aggressive regulatory activity (the “human capital” hypothesis). In contrast, SEC lawyers can relax enforcement efforts in order to develop networking skills and/or curry favor with prospective employers at private law firms (the “rent seeking” hypothesis”). We collect data on the career paths of 336 SEC lawyers that span 284 SEC civil cases against accounting misrepresentation over the period 1990-2007. We find overall evidence consistent with the “human capital” hypothesis as well as some cross-sectional evidence of “rent seeking.” The revolving door impacts a large spectrum of issues. Our study is limited and is not able to study administrative or non-accounting enforcement cases, the choice of which cases to pursue, the incentives of employees other than trial lawyers and how the revolving door affects rule making. Subject to these caveats, our results provide an important first empirical look into the effects of revolving door incentives on the SEC’s enforcement process.

Full Paper



CBS Detroit
Detroit, MI
Thursday, October 9, 2014

Representatives from business, education, government and the community will gather Friday at the University of Michigan to discuss creating business strategies for urban communities.

The inaugural Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium will be held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and is intended encourage and empower entrepreneurs and businesses to solve problems urban communities.

“When you bring the university and corporate community, the small business community alongside the people who focus entirely on entrepreneurship support, and you throw in some students into the mix, you will find community folks who are ready to do what needs to be done to transform these urban areas,” said Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School.

Full Article



Cambridge, MA
Thursday, October 9, 2014

In response to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) in July 2010. Among its various provisions, Dodd-Frank outlines a series of broad reforms to the Credit Rating Agencies (CRA) market. Many observers believe that CRAs’ inflated ratings of structured finance products were partly to blame for the rapid growth and subsequent collapse of the shadow banking system. In response, Dodd-Frank’s CRA provisions significantly increase CRAs’ liability for issuing inaccurate ratings, and make it easier for the SEC to impose sanctions and bring claims against CRAs for material misstatements and fraud.

In our paper, Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on Credit Ratings, forthcoming in the Journal of Financial Economics, we examine whether Dodd-Frank achieves its stated objective of improving the quality of credit ratings, or whether the law unintentionally leads to a loss of relevant information in the CRA market. The quality of credit ratings may improve as the law encourages CRAs to invest in due diligence, strengthen internal controls and corporate governance, and improve their methodology (disciplining effect). Alternatively, CRAs may respond to the greater threat of legal and regulatory action by lowering their ratings beyond a level justified by an issuer’s fundamentals (reputation effect). Doing so helps CRAs protect their reputation in a market where issuing overly optimistic ratings is expected to have far greater legal and regulatory costs than issuing overly pessimistic ratings. As CRAs lower their ratings regardless of their information, investors rationally discount CRAs’ rating downgrades and some valuable information is lost to the market.

Harvard Law School Forum

Paper Abstract

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