Raising Booth's Profile in Asia

kooser As Booth seeks to expand its global profile, William Kooser, '81, is the school's ambassador on the ground in Asia. "I'm here to help increase our visibility throughout Asia," said Kooser, who returned to Booth on June 3 after a four- year stint at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

In the newly created position of associate dean for global outreach, Kooser will be responsible for developing relationships with key government, business, and media leaders to promote the school and identifying ways to further raise the school's stature and increase activity, according to the announcement by dean Sunil Kumar. "The goal is to improve the school's global influence, expand the reach and quality of the Executive MBA Program Asia, and increase regional job opportunities for graduates."

After six years in management consulting, Kooser in 1987 helped create the Computing Exchange Group, a consortium of seven top business schools (including Booth) that focused on improving the use of information technology. He transitioned to a Booth-specific role as assistant dean for management in 1989. Over the next two decades he held key positions in Admissions, Career Services, International Programs, and in the Evening MBA, Weekend MBA, and Executive MBA programs. He developed the school's Total Quality Management Initiative in the late 1980s, helped launch the international MBA program in the mid-1990s, and was active in creating and managing the Global Advisory Board.

He was instrumental in building Booth's international Executive MBA Program, launching the Singapore campus, relocating the European campus to London from Barcelona, and ultimately overseeing all three of the program's campuses. He also taught management classes, including a course on doing business in Asia.

"My career has been varied," Kooser said. "One of the joys of working here is the chance to do so many different things." Kooser left Booth in 2009 to help Hopkins launch a new full-time business program, but the opportunity to strengthen Booth's profile in Asia lured him back. He will be based in Hong Kong starting in the fall. - Judith Crown

Photo by Steven Karl Metzer


Tech Matchmaker Tops New Venture Challenge

matchistFull-Time students Stella Fayman, Rishi Kumar, Prem Panchal, and Itamar Bar Zakay, along with Tim Jahn and Elan Mosbacher, spent months perfecting the business plan and presentation for their start-up, matchist, which pairs web and mobile developers with businesses looking for technical skill sets.

Their efforts paid off on May 30, when matchist took first place in the Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge (NVC).

The NVC is Booth's showcase for entrepreneurial talent. Since its launch in 1996, the competition has awarded more than $925,000 in cash prizes and more than $2 million in business services. It has helped launch more than 85 companies, which have gone on to raise more than $300 million in funding and have created several thousand jobs.

Matchist was among 100 teams that applied to the program in February 2013. The competition culminated in the spring when 10 finalists presented to a panel of judges comprising entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists.

Matchist's first place cash prize of $30,000 will enable the start-up to expand its customer base. "We grow through partnering with software companies, and to do that, we need a lot of people out there developing relationships," said CEO Fayman.

"We kept getting requests from people: 'How do you find developers?'" Fayman said, describing how the team struck upon their idea.

Over the course of the challenge, matchist proved adept at incorporating feedback. "When I read their business plan it jumped out at me that this is a service that several of our companies would use," said J.P. Fairbank, '06 (XP-75), managing director, Orchard Venture Partners, Chicago, and a judge. - Lisa Bertagnoli

Photo by Anne Ryan


Promoting Alumni Engagement and Connections

Tracy McCabe, the new executive director of Alumni Relations, hopes to facilitate relationships among Booth's 48,000 alumni and "determine where they align for the greater good."

"Alumni have such capability and influence to organize, advocate, and promote the school and their experience," said McCabe, who began in his position on June 3.

mccabeMcCabe and his team will be responsible for Booth's alumni-outreach activities around the world, including developing and executing a strategic plan for volunteer management and engagement, dean Sunil Kumar said in announcing the appointment.

Kumar noted that improving alumni engagement has been one of his top priorities. For example, the school combined Management Conference, Alumni Celebration, and class reunions into RECONNECT weekend, began the process of improving its alumni database, and enhanced alumni offerings on the Booth website.

Alumni Relations also has made it a priority to connect alumni to the student community in order to share graduates' experiences and insights with students and to bring the community together. With McCabe's hiring, Booth separated the school's development operation from alumni relations, which is now aligned with the program offices.

McCabe joined Booth from the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, where for the past decade he led alumni relations, marketing, and strategic planning for the College of Business. Previously, he led a 70-member sales administration team at Solo Cup Co. in Highland Park, Illinois.

It was his experience earning his MBA at the University of Illinois that whet his appetite for a career shift to higher education. "I wanted to stay in an environment that was intellectually stimulating," McCabe said in an interview. He began volunteering at the business school, which at the time was considering moving its executive MBA program from Urbana-Champaign to Chicago. That created an opportunity in communications as the school moved ahead with the 2003 relocation. He later added responsibility for alumni relations.

A stellar alumni base drew him to Booth. "You can't travel the world without meeting Booth alumni who are achieving great results for the companies they work for and the business world, and in that way, impacting society," he said. - Judith Crown

Photo by Steven Karl Metzer


Students Organize Emerging Markets Summit

Interest in emerging markets has been growing at Booth, as students see career opportunities in the fast-growing economies of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. In recent years, student groups organized daylong conferences such as the India Leadership Summit and the Africa Business Symposium.

This year, two second-year students brought together five Full-Time student groups to produce the first Emerging Markets Summit. The April 27 event at Hyatt Regency Chicago drew 420 students, faculty, and professionals.

Brian P. Sabina, MBA '13, MPP '13, and Andrew Leventhal, '13, set out to streamline content, draw connections among different regions, and make the program accessible to a wide range of students. "We wanted to change the game and do something that would differentiate Booth," Sabina said.

The summit was a collaboration among Chicago Africa Business Group, Emerging Markets Group, Latin American Business Group, Middle East and North Africa Group, and the South Asia Business Group. At the conference, attendees participated in either a regional track to concentrate on a single geographic area or a thematic track to focus on a topic across markets such as entrepreneurship, investment, selling to consumers, or government-business relations.

Going forward, the organizers hope the conference will attract an audience beyond current Booth students and faculty. "This was not about doing something more convenient for one year but creating a long-term vision," Leventhal said. Next year's conference is scheduled for April 12. - Ben Pokross

Last Updated 1/16/14