Goizueta in the News: April 22, 2011

Notable comments from Goizueta staff, faculty and students will be shared each week along with news on alumni, programs and rankings. Click here to review previous media updates. You can also inform Goizueta Newsroom of media postings (email).

The Street: Citigroup’s Reverse Split Is Bad for Investors
“Aside from appearing to be a move made out of desperation, stocks typically fail to perform well after a reverse split is enacted. According to a 2006 joint study conducted by students at NYU’s Stern Business School and Emory’s Goizueta Business School, more than 1,600 companies that conducted reverse splits underperformed the broader market by about 50%, on average, in the three years after the split.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Should raising taxes be part of the strategy for reducing the federal deficit?
“Jeff Rosensweig, associate professor, Emory University, wrote the “yes” position on this question.” [link unavailable 4/17/2011]

The Emory Wheel: Goizueta B-School Student Launches Website to Find a Date for an Upcoming Fraternity Formal
“As a marketing major and a strong believer in the power of social media, [Kirby] Liu decided to utilize his skills, acquired over his past two years at the B-School, to market himself as a brand. His website, www.findkirbyadate.info, allows interested parties to apply to be his formal date.”

The Emory Wheel: Students Create App For Digital Punch Card
“Four Emory students and a professor are collaborating to create PunchBunch, a free iPhone application that acts as a digital loyalty card, which will allow Emory students to record their purchases and redeem free products by scanning the barcode provided by participating vendors.”

FINS Sales & Marketing: ABC News Appoints Digital Head
“ABC News has appointed AOL’s Joe Ruffolo to head up digital at the company. Ruffolo was most recently vice president of AOL.com, where he ran both operations and editorial for the company’s homepage. He replaces Paul Slavin, a lauded former reporter, who left ABC News last week after 33 years.”

PR-GB.com: Brett Chepenik- An Active Member Of Donna Hicken Foundation
“Brett Chepenik, a fitness personality for the local Fox Action News Morning Show, is the president and creator of Timed Exercise, a revolutionary exercise program designed to improve the fitness of any committed individual in less than 30 minutes a day.”

Deccan Herald: Feeling at home at Emory University
“Her stint at Emory University in the United States, with its academic choices and professional order, has been an experience worth savouring for Swargajyoti Gohain”

The Emory Wheel: Mayor, Emory Launch State Case Competition
“Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the Social Enterprise Program at Emory’s Goizueta Business School announced last week their decision to spearhead a statewide case competition at Emory to encourage the use of electric vehicles in the Metro Atlanta region, according to an April 4 press release from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.”

Goizueta Newsroom: Tests Remain for Music on “The Cloud”
“Amazon announced “Cloud Drive” recently, adding fuel to an always hot debate about licensing of digital music. According to Reuters, the service lets users “store about 1,000 songs on the [Amazon site] for free instead of their own hard drives…”

Goizueta Newsroom: Goizueta Third at Venture Capital Competition
“Nine regional champions competed recently at the 14th annual international finals of the Venture Capital Investment Competition at UNC Chapel Hill.”

Goizueta Newsroom: Student Carries Wine Project Forward
“Natalie Reese wanted her business education to be unique. She feared being seen as an MBA from a ‘cookie cutter’ program with a resume lacking passion. Now, less than a month from graduation, she can look back at an experience that included world travel and — perhaps — front line input on a poverty-fighting wine industry in Ethiopia.”

Student Carries Wine Project Forward

Natalie Reese wanted her business education to be unique. She feared being seen as an MBA from a “cookie cutter” program with a resume lacking passion.

Now, less than a month from graduation, she can look back at an experience that included world travel and — perhaps — front line input on a poverty-fighting wine industry in Ethiopia.

“The prospect of saving the world through wine is definitely a romantic one and one I thought was great,” said Reese, one of six Goizueta students who traveled to Ethiopia to conduct a feasibility study on an economy-boosting wine industry. “I loved it. For me, also, it iwas a really neat opportunity to take on a project that was not typical for a business school… I could go off and do something entirely different and have this amazing experience and really learn from it, have my eyes opened and my horizons expanded.”

In August, six MBA students from Emory’s Goizueta Business School traveled to Ethiopia to research a project that could change at least a portion of the social landscape in this East African country. PHOTO: John Langford

Six months of work went into the feasibility study commissioned by the International Society of Africans in Wine (ISAW). The report concludes that — with proper funding and manpower — an economically sustainable, high-quality wine industry can be created with an ability to combat poverty.

FOR MORE ON THE STUDY | PDF

Reese was on hand at the Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington, D.C. March 24 to answer questions but the study is already coming to life.

Sandhya Deshetty, also an MBA candidate at Goizueta, recently founded SPARC Development — an agency charged with getting funding to take the wine project and similar university research to the field.

Literally.

“In working through this pilot project it’s becoming even more evident that, as social enterprise is growing in universities across the nation, there’s this tremendous amount of knowledge that is just not being utilized and taken advantage of,” Deshetty said at the embassy. “There’s a tremendous amount of ideas coming from students, coming from faculty that really just needs a push forward to make it happen.”

Wine has been made in the Ethiopia since the 17th century but now, with the availability of land and the right partners, the region is ripe for wine industry growth. Deshetty’s plan, built from the study, calls for a co-operative system modeled after the Ethiopian coffee industry.

The research team, led by Associate Professor of Organization and Management Peter Roberts, estimates domestic and international demand for any wine produced. For instance, existing studies point to a growing demand for wine within Ethiopia. Moreover, a preliminary survey of Ethiopain restaurants in the U.S. revealed an approximate demand of 9,500 cases per year.

“Right now we have every relevant person in place ready to go as soon as we have the funding,” added Deshetty, who presented to a mix of alumni, Ethiopian government officials and philanthropists at the embassy to formally launch her nonprofit’s first project.

Students on the research team met with the prime minister and other government officials last August. “Quality” was stressed for success of any wine industry.

Almaz Amaha, Minister Counsel of Economic and Business Affairs at the Embassy of Ethiopia and Solomon K. Mekonnen, Senior Economic Officer,  said they look forward to supporting the project and appreciate the efforts of students and SPARC Development (LinkedIn).

“They have a huge emphasis on using a market-driven economy as a means to development [and] a focus on value-added agriculture,” adds Deshetty, who will serve as the first in-country project manager. “The goals of this project are aligned with the over-arching goals of Ethiopia… “

Access to capital, a lack of industry knowledge and limited market access could prove challenging but the team hopes to mitigate concerns with government involvement and support from foundations, social impact investors and universities.

Individuals at the University of California-Davis and Cornell University have already pledged support to the project.

Deshetty said a trip is planned for September to start site visits. Partnering with the Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center, the team will examine areas where significant varietal testing has been done and survey farmers on the possibility of forming co-ops.

Goizueta’s active support in the realm of social enterprise could present other opportunities as well. But perhaps none, as Reese puts it, could be as romantic as building a poverty-fighting wine industry.

Deshetty said she hopes drinking a glass of Ethiopian wine is just the start.

“Ten years from now I hope SPARC has little pockets of activity going on around the world,” said Deshetty. “We see our immediate involvement with these projects being short term but always having a long-term affiliation. We want to be able to take similiar projects like this — feasability studies coming out of schools — that just need that extra little push; we’re that spark that moves it forward.”

Follow SPARC Development on Facebook | Twitter

Fighting Poverty Through Wine

Goizueta MBA students are working on a feasibility study that they hope leads to a sustainable wine industry that fights poverty in Ethiopia. SUBMITTED PHOTO

With an estimated three quarters of its population living off less than $2 a day, Ethiopia is one of many African nations searching for different ways to jump start the economy.

A team of graduate students from a university halfway around the globe may have one answer.

In August, six MBA students from Emory’s Goizueta Business School traveled to Ethiopia to research a project that could change at least a portion of the social landscape in this East African country. Six months of work went into a feasibility study commissioned by the International Society of Africans in Wine (ISAW). The report concludes that — with proper funding and manpower — an economically sustainable, high-quality wine industry can be created with an ability to help combat poverty.

“It’s a poor part of the world but, when you go there, you see lots of opportunity,” said Peter Roberts, a professor of organization and management at Goizueta and head of the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative.

The team met with government and industry leaders in a country, and returned to Atlanta with notes on the climate, culture, history and economics of Ethiopia.

One look at the hillsides and the temperate climate and the group realized a wine industry is not only possible, but could actually flourish. Wine has been made in the region since the 17th century but now, with the availability of land and the right partners, the region is ripe for wine industry growth.

The plan calls for a co-operative system modeled after the Ethiopian coffee industry. Roberts’ team estimates domestic and international demand for any wine produced. For instance, existing studies point to a growing demand for wine within Ethiopia. Moreover, a preliminary survey of Ethiopain restaurants in the U.S. revealed an approximate demand of 9,500 cases per year.

With this kind of demand, an Ethiopian farmer could earn approximately 12,000 Ethiopian birr per quarter hectare plot compared to 2,500 birr with other crops. (One U.S. dollar is currently equal to roughly 17 Ethiopian birr). “The return is even higher… when farmers also receive a five percent ‘social premium’ from the downstream profits associated with making and selling wine,” according to the report.

Access to capital, a lack of industry knowledge and limited market access could prove challenging but the team hopes to mitigate concerns with government involvement and support from foundations, social impact investors and universities. The University of California-Davis and Cornell University have been contacted for possible contributions of the project.

“A lot of interesting things are going to happen just by Emory getting parities to the table,” said Melonie Chapman, a non-profit consultant in Atlanta that assisted the team in Africa.

The Goizueta students, who are all scheduled to graduate in May, plan to remain active. Two soon-to-graduate students — one on the research team — are now taking steps to launch an organization to carry the project into its implementation stage.

Sandhya Deshetty says the purpose of their venture is to pick up where feasibility studies typically stall.

“All too often sound recommendations that could drive economic growth and achieve social impact go unrealized,” she said. “Natalie (Reese) and I will not only design, but also implement market-based solutions to global poverty; and this project is a tremendous opportunity for us to help transform innovative thought into action.”

Stephen Satterfied, founder of ISAW, applauded the school for its continuing efforts and said he’s confident the process can draw social entrepreneurs and end with a positive impact on Ethiopian society.

“Ultimately, the vision embodied in the report is somewhere between 80 and 160 families in Ethiopia being on the cutting edge of viticulture in Ethiopia,” Roberts said. “Obviously, the next four to six weeks are going to be extremely exciting.”

To view the Executive Summary of the report (PDF), click here.