As Social Media Influencers Step Into the Political Arena, Regulators May Crack Down

With increased scrutiny on "influencer culture"—the phenomenon of social media stars providing endorsements for all kinds of products, events and services—there is the potential for government regulators to crack down if and when the trend enters the political arena. So says Roberto Cavazos, Executive in Residence in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business and a veteran economic analyst with extensive experience in financial, data and health care fraud.

With increased scrutiny on "influencer culture"—the phenomenon of social media stars providing endorsements for all kinds of products, events and services—there is the potential for government regulators to crack down if and when the trend enters the political arena. So says Roberto Cavazos, Executive in Residence in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business and a veteran economic analyst with extensive experience in financial, data and health care fraud.


Over the past year, Prof. Cavazos has been taking the pulse of social media's impact on marketingbusiness, the news for over a year, working on research with Israeli cybersecurity firm Cheq. Now, he is part of a growing chorus expressing concern that influencers could do lasting harm to the process of political campaigns and issues management—or even democracy itself. 


Quoted in Morning Consult, Prof. Cavazos says that recent developments in political advertising and campaign marketing suggest that a reckoning is in the works—something he calls a "forcing event" that prompts government regulators to put limits on influencers.


"Imagine a scenario where some community has some issue, and they have social influencers, and one gets angry at somebody and all of a sudden they're producing deepfakes or they're becoming malicious. Those kinds of things are going to be the "wake-up call" for change, he says.


In the wake of Twitter's ban on political ads, and Facebook's ongoing controversies regarding inaccuracies in paid political content, the core issue clearly has lawmakers and regulators on edge, Cavazos says. The 2020 election could be the event that sparks a regulatory firestorm.


Read the article.

Baltimore Data Week Keeps on Making an Impact
Celebrating 20 Years of BNIA-JFI
BNIA Baltimore Data Week logo

It seems that even during these uncertain times, when you get a chance to celebrate—you do it! That is exactly what the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore recently did—they celebrated their 20th anniversary with one of the most compelling week of events.


Traditionally BNIA-JFI offers a one-day series of community-oriented workshops to delve deeper into Baltimore’s data and the annual Vital Signs report. But this year, one day wasn’t going to address the magnitude issues being covered so the event has expanded to become “Baltimore Data Week.” Over the course of a week, the workshops helped city neighborhoods access data for their communities and helped policy leaders better understand the nuances of each neighborhood, a little better.

It seems that even during these uncertain times, when you get a chance to celebrate—you do it! That is exactly what the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore recently did—they celebrated their 20th anniversary with one of the most compelling week of events.


Traditionally BNIA-JFI offers a one-day series of community-oriented workshops to delve deeper into Baltimore’s data and the annual Vital Signs report. But this year, one day wasn’t going to address the magnitude issues being covered so the event has expanded to become “Baltimore Data Week.” Over the course of a week, the workshops helped city neighborhoods access data for their communities and helped policy leaders better understand the nuances of each neighborhood, a little better.


There were 20 virtual sessions, ranging from panel discussions to workshops to "mapathons" that were offered. Community leaders, nonprofit organizations, governmental entities, and civic-minded technologists in Baltimore and around the world can come together to see the latest trends in community-based data, and learn how other groups are using data to support and advance constructive change. Baltimore Data Week was structured around a series of how-to, interactive workshops in which participants who work with data will explain what data are available, where to find and access it, and how this essential information can be actionable for communities.


With a large range of content, time slots, speakers, and skill levels, there was something here for everyone.


Seema Iyer, associate director, research assistant professor in the Jacob France Institute, and leader of BNIA, believes marking the 20th anniversary of the project was vitally important. Not only did more people get an opportunity to see the open source data come alive throughout the week, the presentations revealed Baltimore's storyline in these uncertain times.


“We know there are a lot of people and businesses struggling right now and the immediate future seems uncertain. But we thought maintaining our annual event was an important sign that could shine a light on so many people and organizations that are using data to keep our city and neighborhoods strong. We are overwhelmed by the discussions and participation. And grateful for the many, many well-wishes we’ve received from new and old friends over the past 20 years.”


New this year the Vital Signs report had added COVID-19 data and data that expands into Baltimore County, Md. 


"For the first time ever, after 20 years, we are prepared #VitalSigns indicators for Baltimore County," said Iyer in a Linkedin post. "We know neighborhood issues don't stop at the City/County line and communities in the county need access to data like we've had in the City for two decades. You can see daily COVID-19 test counts along with ten critical indicators for housing, economic and digital insecurity. 


Check out the website for a full picture of the Vital Signs project or view the recorded Facebook Live events throughout Baltimore Data Week. Showcases Professor Singhal’s New Journal to Rival HBR
Kalyan Singhal

In an Oct. 25, 2019 post on contributing author John Byrne wrote a piece titled “Profs Plan A Rival To The Harvard Business Review,” that prominently featured Kalyan Singhal, professor of operations management in the Merrick School of Business and UB’s Doris E. and the Robert V. McCurdy Chair in Business, for his new project that will rival Harvard Business Review.

In an Oct. 25, 2019 post on contributing author John Byrne wrote a piece titled “Profs Plan A Rival To The Harvard Business Review,” that prominently featured Kalyan Singhal, professor of operations management in the Merrick School of Business and UB’s Doris E. and the Robert V. McCurdy Chair in Business, for his new project that will rival Harvard Business Review.


The article introduced Singhal’s latest foray into elite-level scholarship journals with  the Management and Business Review. In 2020 Professor Singhal along with is co-editors-in-chief, Wally Hope of the University of Michigan, Christopher Ittner of the Wharton School of Business, will launch the publication.


In the Forbes article, Singhal is quoted as saying that he believes that, “Over 98 percent of the faculty never even attempt to publish in HBR. We want to reach those authors.”

MBR will launch its first issue soon and will do so with the support of 180 advisors from academia and the corporate world. MBR will be published in both print and digital forms in four issues per year, and their complimentary digital copies will be distributed to millions of readers.


The MBR website reveals that the purpose of the launching this journal is to reach over 20 million potential readers who seek broad range of knowledge about management and business practices. The existing sources – including publications like Harvard Business Review (HBR), Sloan Management Review (SMR), and California Management Review (CMR) – and of course an enormous amount of information available on the Internet, meets a fraction of these readers’ needs.


In 1989, in collaboration with about 300 professors and executives, Singhal founded the Production and Operation Management Society. He serves as the editor in chief of the Production and Operation Management Journal, which publishes scientific research into the problems, interest and concerns of managers who manage product and process design, operations and supply chains.

Maryland Taxation of Retirees: A Bigger Picture
by Phllip Korb & M. Kate Demarest
maryland flag

Before the Maryland legislature adjourned early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposed cutting income taxes for retirees. Before considering what more we need to do to reduce Maryland income taxes for this class of taxpayers, let us look at what we are already doing. First, Maryland does not tax Social Security benefits. This is in stark contrast to the fact that 13 states that do tax Social Security benefits.

Before the Maryland legislature adjourned early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposed cutting income taxes for retirees. Before considering what more we need to do to reduce Maryland income taxes for this class of taxpayers, let us look at what we are already doing. First, Maryland does not tax Social Security benefits. This is in stark contrast to the fact that 13 states that do tax Social Security benefits.


Furthermore, if you are 65 or over or you or your spouse was totally disabled, you are entitled to a pension exclusion. This exclusion reduces the amount of income that is taxed by Maryland and the counties and, as a result, reduces a taxpayer’s income tax obligation. The exclusion is equal to the lesser of retirement income received as a pension, annuity or endowment from an “employee retirement system,” such as a 401(k), 403(b), or a defined benefit plan, or $31,100 less taxpayer’s Social Security benefits.  This provides a particular benefit to federal civil servants, police, firemen, and others who may not have been required to participate in the Social Security system or had their Social Security benefits limited by rules governing federal pensions.


There are additional benefits available to certain retirees. Retired correctional officers; law enforcement officers; and fire, rescue, or emergency services personnel may also use the pension exclusion beginning at age 55, with the provision that the retirement income must be attributable to their service in the aforementioned capacities.


One of the characteristics of a good tax system is that it is equitable. While there are many economic and social goals promoted through our tax system, the concepts of fairness and equal treatment are paramount. In order to provide equitable treatment to all retirees, the general Maryland pension exclusion should be expanded to apply to distributions from traditional IRAs and simplified employee plans (SEP) as well, not just pensions from “employee retirement systems.” If tax policy is made to encourage individuals to save for retirement, the tax law should not be written in a way to exclude those same benefits associated with retirement savings for self-employed individuals and individuals that rolled their pensions into traditional IRAs.


As if what is currently in the law benefiting retirees is not enough, Governor Hogan proposes eliminating state income taxes on retirees who make less than $50,000 per year, as well as a reduction of 50 percent to 100 percent for retirees who make less than $100,000 per year. Governor Hogan believes this change is necessary to keep tens of thousands of Maryland retirees from being forced to flee the state. Going back to fairness, why not extend this break to all taxpayers and not just retirees? Or is it because those lower earning taxpayers cannot flee Maryland because of their jobs and family?


Trying to help certain classes of taxpayers at the expense of other classes of taxpayers goes to the bigger issue, Maryland’s individual income tax is extremely regressive. Maryland’s income tax system is essential a “flat tax.” Beyond the first $3,000 of income, the tax range is from 4.75 percent to 5.75 percent. On top of this rate, local jurisdictions add an additional tax, which is collected by the state. Approximately one-third of local jurisdictions, including Baltimore City and County, Howard County, and Montgomery County, tax at 3.2 percent, with the remainder taxed at slightly lower rates. Adding a local tax rate of 3.2 percent to the marginal rates above results in a range of 7.95 percent and 8.95 percent. Maryland’s tax system becomes more regressive when considering deductions from income. Higher income taxpayers are able to reduce their taxable income and tax obligation through deductions such as mortgage interest, while low income taxpayers renting a home receive no benefit.


Rather than continuing to add to the numerous Maryland subtractions and credits designed to benefit certain classes of taxpayers and special interests, a fairer and simpler approach might very well be to make the Maryland individual income tax more progressive.

Phillip Korb is an associate professor of accounting and the chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics in the Merrick School of Business. He is a licensed CPA and received his master’s degree in taxation from the University of Baltimore. He is also a former education member of the State of Maryland Board of Public Accountancy. Mr. Korb can be reached at


Kathryn Demarest is a lecturer in accounting in the Merrick School of Business. She is a licensed CPA and has earned both an MBA and Masters of Taxation from the University of Baltimore. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of taxation, and represents low income clients in tax controversy cases through the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. Ms. Demarest can be reached at



Message From the Dean

I don’t have to tell you that these are challenging times. We are at the crux of an important moment in history where we are facing the twin viruses of COVID-19 and systematic racism. Our entire community is committed to be a model for other universities in the new normal and a beacon of light for transformational business education.  


Unlike most universities, UB actually mirrors the deep diversity of the modern workforce. The world is made up all races, genders, ages, knowledge-sets and backgrounds. It is something we tout and celebrate at UB. Clearly, our students’ life experiences are varied and that gives us the opportunity to work to prepare our students to accept people different from themselves. And for that, I have strong optimism for the future of the Merrick School of Business and the people we will impact along the way.


We talk about impact a lot in higher education. Nothing has impacted us all more than the pandemic. Many of you know we’ve been delivering an Online MBA since 1999. A matter of fact, we were the world’s first AACSB accredited school to obtain this distinction. So, when COVID-19 struck in March, and the UB campus closed, we were ready to transition our face-to-face classes to the virtual world with quality, speed and faculty experience. This is in contrast to many other business schools who were pondering whether they could even deliver courses online. The reality is that in “normal” times many of our students like the combination of coming to campus for some classes and taking other classes online. In the future, we believe that we will have to be even more flexible in terms of offering — some face-to-face, some totally online and some combination of both. Over the past few years more and more undergraduates have opted for online classes. We are particularly pleased that in the last year we received approval to deliver an online version of the B.S. in Business Administration program. Right now, all the business administration requirements for two specializations, general business and accounting, can be completed online. Therefore, in terms of delivery, we feel we are in the right place, at the right time.


We also believe that this is the right time and place to study business at Merrick School. Many of our undergraduate students are coming back to higher education to complete their degrees. What we have found is, that no matter the age (22 or even 66!) that when they complete a degree, it becomes a great pathway to economic mobility. In fact, we are particularly proud of UB’s 2019 ranking on the Social Mobility Index which was #21 of all institutions in the country.


Our graduate students are largely professional at work with over five years of work experience, looking to advance their own professional careers either within their company or industry or in a few cases to make a transition into a new industry. For both our undergraduate and graduate students we help them launch or expand professional and entrepreneurial careers. Our specializations are designed to enable our graduates to become business professionals or entrepreneurial leaders. Recently we added specializations in data analytics both to the B.S. in Business Administration program and the UB MBA. Students with these skills are in high-demand. We also are enabling our students to build careers around “risk,” which we think in tomorrow’s world, will be even more in-demand. We just launched the only undergraduate specialization in Maryland in Risk Management and Insurance to fill that need. And we now have a specialization in Cybersecurity in our MBA and a new degree for cyber-security professionals, M.S. in Cybersecurity Management.


But our students go into a whole range of professional careers and it is wonderful when we have alumni come back to campus. For example, last year I attended an annual Beta, Alpha, Psi event — where dozens of accounting alumni came back to network and others spoke on the panel. Current students love the fact that we frequently have alumni visitors return to campus (or virtually) during a given semester. I also enjoyed a dinner where two of our graduates of the Ratcliffe Entrepreneurship Fellows Program, who now work with two of Baltimore’s most promising start-up companies, came back to talk with our current Entrepreneurship Fellows.


What is pre-occupying my mind these days is what business is going to be like post-Covid19 and what that means for business education. Our faculty is deeply involved in working through this question. We had a competition for special summer research funding for faculty focused on the question. As a result, several faculty members are working on relevant and impactful projects. Take the work of professors Regina Bento and Lourdes White for instance, they are working on research geared toward managerial decision-making during a pandemic and the ethical issues and risks associated with it. And the work of professors Dan Gerlowski and Ting Zhang. They are working on research as to whether teleworking will be the new normal and the implications for real estate markets.  These are just two, we actually have nine of these projects that our faculty are pursuing, all of which will further the compelling knowledge of the business world.


Every semester we have guest speakers come to campus and sit down with me for a fireside chat. And this fall I will interview several business leaders to see what their perspectives are for the post-COVID-19 business world. Look for future messages about this series which will be open to our students, faculty and members of the soon to be launched “Dean’s Circle.”


Lastly, a bit of UB news. Because of public health concerns we intend to operate remotely for the fall semester. But as I indicated from our experience with online education, we believe we can deliver business education with high-quality in this modality. Of course, we miss seeing our students and you our alumni, in-person. Please keep an eye out for the events we will be doing virtually. A nice byproduct of doing everything virtually is that more people are finding their way to our virtual events and they even find them more engaging.


Thank you again for all your support and take the time to explore this issue. There is a lot discover.




Murray M. Dalziel, Ph.D.


Merrick School of Business

School Receives Renewal of AACSB Accreditation

The Merrick School of Business—the home of business education at the University of Baltimore, where business has been taught since the institution was founded in 1925—has maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International–The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees in business and accounting. AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of quality in business education, and has been earned by less than five percent of the world's business programs. Today, there are 862 business schools in 56 countries and territories that maintain AACSB accreditation.


In an official statement from the accrediting body, Stephanie M. Bryant, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB, congratulated the University of Baltimore and 47 other institutions for their commitment to quality business education and to the intense peer-review process it exemplifies. In order to maintain accreditation, each school must demonstrate a focus on excellence in all areas, including teaching, research, curricula development and student learning, every five years.


Among those aspects of the school that impressed the AACSB evaluation team were the endowment levels for an institution the size of UB, the levels of engagement of the advisory boards and individual faculty, and the contemporary scholarly research themes that the faculty has adopted. The peer team that reviewed the school noted that Merrick's specific approach to teaching business and conducting research showcases the school's engagement with students, businesses, and the greater community.


"At Merrick School of Business we strive every day to keep improving our teaching, research and overall student experience," said Murray Dalziel, dean of the Merrick School of Business. "The efforts and commitment of our faculty and staff exemplify the dedication they have to our students. By upholding the AACSB's standards of excellence, we signify the high quality of our programs and our value proposition to students from around the region."


Part of that value proposition, as stated on the AACSB website, is about the impact of the organization on the institution's educational mission:


"When educational, professional, and business organizations become members of the AACSB Business Education Alliance, they are part of a movement united to improve the quality of business education around the world," the site says. "AACSB connects, shares, and inspires innovation and quality throughout the member network, as well as the business community. The collective strength of the organization is founded on diverse perspectives, a global mindset, and a commitment to making a difference."

Online MBA Ranked by U.S. News; Program for Veterans Listed in Top 60 Nationally


The University of Baltimore’s online MBA has been ranked for the ninth consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report, a feat no other institution with an MBA in Maryland can claim. The rankings, published on Jan. 13, placed UB in a tie at #58 in the nation for its Online MBA for Veterans, and #102 for its overall Online MBA.


In the veterans category, UB tied with Northeastern University, The Citadel and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The overall online program also tied with a number of other institutions, including Queens University of Charlotte (McColl), Texas A&M-Kingsville, East Carolina University, and others. This is an improvement of 11 positions over the 2019 rankings.


“The UB Online MBA is recognized as an especially good value in a highly competitive market,” said Murray Dalziel, dean of the Merrick School of Business. “The methodologies used by U.S. News have been fair and comprehensive over the last several years, and so we feel especially pleased to routinely appear in their study of such a large number of accredited MBAs across the country. Nine years in a row is an impressive feat.”


The University of Baltimore is home to hundreds of veterans studying in an array of fields, including business, law, game design, creative writing, public affairs, and more. With its campus designation as a Yellow Ribbon institution, UB delivers for veterans, from admission to graduation. The Bob Parsons Veterans Center, for example, provides support and guidance for military and veteran students, while specific programs help them find new paths in life. The online MBA, for instance, helps meet a veteran’s busy schedule with staggered start times, and fits his or her budget with in-state tuition available to all who sign up for the online degree.


Learn more about the online MBA, available in the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business.

Marketing Faculty Recognized for Outstanding Research

At the annual Faculty Awards celebration, Assistant Professor of Marketing Praneet Randhawa received the Merrick School of Business's Outstanding Article award for her 2019 co-authored article titled “The interactive effects of product and brand portfolio strategies on brand performance: Longitudinal evidence from the U.S. automotive industry” in the International Journal of Research in Marketing.

At the annual Faculty Awards celebration, Assistant Professor of Marketing Praneet Randhawa received the Merrick School of Business's Outstanding Article award for her 2019 co-authored article titled “The interactive effects of product and brand portfolio strategies on brand performance: Longitudinal evidence from the U.S. automotive industry” in the International Journal of Research in Marketing.


From the perspective of Dean Murray Dalziel, who had to consider several Merrick School of Business faculty for the Outstanding Paper award, he selected Randhawa because she and her research colleagues demonstrated what the Merrick School of Business is really looking for in knowledge creation.


"They advanced research in this area through rigorously looking at the key product and brand variables that predict performance," said Dalziel. "They also provided clear and new propositions for marketing executives about how to manage product and brand portfolios."


Randhawa’s research interests primarily centers on understanding customer and managerial issues in marketing with special emphasis on services marketing, customer experience management, innovation, and new product development. Her interest in pursuing this particular paper stemmed from a strong sentiment that she and her co-authors came to agree upon. They felt strongly that product portfolio and brand portfolio decisions are highly interconnected and although in real life managers don't make product (or brand) decisions without consider the other.


“The literature seems to treat that product portfolio and brand portfolio decisions independently, or at least did not test the impact of the interplay of product and brand portfolio strategies,” said Randhawa. “We thought this was an important research question to pursue in the auto industry given both product and brand decisions are not only expensive, but also have far reaching implications in terms of performance.”


The newly appointed Middendorf Distinguished Professor explained that the paper looks at how product growth decisions are impacted by brand growth strategies. She shared that in the findings, product and brand growth strategies need to be considered hand-in-hand. Specifically, the data reveals that for auto industry having larger number of brands is a good strategy for firms that have a limited number of innovative products, whereas having too many brands, while maintaining too many product types, is a poor strategy for the performance of the firm. The researchers also found that positioning of the brand in the marketplace is critical to be considered with considering product growth decisions.


Learn more about Prof. Randhawa.


In addition to the Outstanding Article Award, the School of Business announced professorships, chairs and annual teaching awards for the academic year 2019-20 at the school’s May virtual awards ceremony:

Professorships / Chairs

  • Regina Bento, professor of management, continues to hold the Baltimore Gas and Electric Chair
  • Mikhail Pevzner, associate professor of accounting, continues to hold the E&Y Chair in Accounting
  • Amir Pezeshkan, assistant professor of management and international relations, continues to hold the CSX Leadership Chair
  • Praneet Randhawa, assistant professor of marketing, was awarded the J. William Middendorf Distinguished Professor
  • Eusebio Scornavacca, assistant professor of information systems, continues to hold the John P. & Margaret M. Thompson Professorship in MIS
  • Jaya Singhal, professor of decision science, continues to hold the Frank Baker Chair for Research Excellence
  • Kalyan Singhal, professor of supply chain management, continues to hold the Doris and Robert McCurdy Chair
  • Lourdes White, professor of accounting, awarded the Lockheed Martin Chair
  • Nafeesa Yunus, associate professor of finance and real estate, continues to hold the Harry Y. Wright Chair in Finance
  • Ting Zhang, and associate professor of economics was awarded the Harry Y. Wright Chair in Economics

Annual Teaching and Service Awards

  • William Carter, assistant professor of management shares the Dean Clifford C. James Chair for Distinguished Teaching.
  • Roberto Cavazos, lecturer in decision science received the Dean’s Award for Faculty. 
  • Dong Chen, associate professor of finance received the Yale Gordon Chair of Distinguished Teaching.
  • M. Kate Demarest, lecturer shares the G. Maxwell Armor Professorship.
  • Seema Iyer, associate research professor and program director of the Real Estate and Economic Development program, received the Dean Daniel Costello Service Award.
  • Tashi Jelani received the Dean’s Award for Staff
  • David Lingelbach, received the Turner Medallion.
  • Joshua Penrod, adjunct management faculty, received the Adjunct Faculty Award.
  • Theodore Peters, lecturer in management shares the Dean Clifford C. James Chair for Distinguished Teaching.
  • Marta Rivell received the Dean’s Award for Staff
  • Michael Swaby-Rowe received the Dean’s Award for Staff
  • Frank van Vliet, senior lecturer in marketing and entrepreneurship, shares the G. Maxwell Armor Professorship.
  • Jan Williams, associate professor of accounting shares the Yale Gordon Chair of Distinguished Teaching.


Identifiable Intangible Assets and Subsequent Accounting for Goodwill
by Mikhail Pevzner & Phllip Korb

Acquired goodwill represents the excess of cost over the fair market value of the net assets acquired as a result of a business combination. We believe that it is a premium paid by management in recognition that the combined entity will create more value than the two entities operating separately.


This value proposition does not occur immediately, but requires the full integration of the operations of the two enterprises over time. Unfortunately, a large amount of research shows that acquisitions, in particular stock-for-stock acquisitions, actually under-perform the market, and thus expected synergies from acquisitions often do not materialize. [1] For this reason, some prominent finance scholars (most notably Aswath Damodaran who is one of the foremost valuation experts in the finance academic profession) seriously questioned the usefulness of the capitalization of the acquired goodwill[2]. Thus, if acquired goodwill is to remain capitalized on the balance sheet, at a minimum, research should be conducted to determine the time period over which, historically this has taken place, as well as the time period over which this has not taken place in the case of unsuccessful efforts. In other words, the life of the synergies or failure to realize the synergies should be used as the amortization period. If a systematic approach to this cannot be found, goodwill should be expensed over a relatively short period of time (e.g. 3-5 years).


One way to come up with a meaningful way to amortize goodwill is to empirically examine the length of typical acquisition benefits across different industries. For example in some industries, benefits of acquisition could be relatively short-lived (e.g. if technology rapidly changes). In other industries (e.g. in more traditional manufacturers), acquisition can lead to longer benefits, especially if acquisition leads to greater market power. In some ways, the current goodwill revaluation approach tries to get at it, but given that most goodwill impairments are unduly delayed[3], it does not appear to be successful. Our approach would be to amortize goodwill over this integration period so that future periods would not be burdened by a cost related to a fait accompli. In the case of underperforming acquisitions, the cost would be written off by the end of the amortization period. In other words, the cost to acquire the business would be allocated over the period of the benefit of the acquisition, i.e. the integration period. If the acquisition underperforms or is not realized, it would no longer exist as an asset at the end of the amortization period. Since assets represent resources expected to provide future benefits, writing off goodwill over this time period would at the end of the period reflect that goodwill has no future value. If the FASB concludes that this approach is too costly or burdensome on firms, it should strongly consider rapid amortization for goodwill.


We feel that this income statement approach more clearly reflects the financial position of the combined entity, rather than the current impairment of goodwill balance sheet approach, which is extremely subjective. Furthermore, until the impairment approach were to result in goodwill being written off, we feel an asset is being carried on the books whose future value may already have been realized.


If the amortization of goodwill is adopted, we feel that it should be shown in the income statement, because it is the result of a management decision affecting the operations of the businesses. It should not be shown in other comprehensive income or through adjustments to equity. This is because prior research shows that investors may not effectively understand OCI disclosures[4].


In anticipation of objections to a uniform amortization period, research could be conducted by industry or line of business to provide industry specific periods or allow management a choice within a specific, but somewhat narrow range.


We feel that the current impairment approach has proven not to have met the Board’s standards required of financial information. The expected improvement, if any, in the quality of information to financial statement users has not been justified by the cost of generating and auditing the information. Furthermore, we believe the reduced cost of the amortization approach does not diminish the quality of the information, particularly because there is widespread evidence of the lack of timeliness of goodwill impairments, as we document above.


Originally appeared in the Merrick Today blog contributors Mikhail B. Pevzner, professor of accounting and Phillip J. Korb, associate professor of accounting. The team also contributed to the blog Audit Analytics on Oct. 8, 2019 in an article titled “Goodwill and Intangible Asset Impairments in S&P 500.”

[1] See, for example, Gu, F., & Lev, B. (2011). Overpriced shares, ill-advised acquisitions, and goodwill impairment. The Accounting Review, 86(6), 1995-2022; Li, Z., Shroff, P. K., Venkataraman, R., & Zhang, I. X. (2011). Causes and consequences of goodwill impairment losses. Review of Accounting Studies, 16(4), 745-778; Fu, F., Lin, L., & Officer, M. S. (2013). Acquisitions driven by stock overvaluation: are they good deals?. Journal of Financial Economics, 109(1), 24-39; Harford, J., Humphery-Jenner, M., & Powell, R. (2012). The sources of value destruction in acquisitions by entrenched managers. Journal of Financial Economics, 106(2), 247-261; Akbulut, M. E. (2013). Do overvaluation-driven stock acquisitions really benefit acquirer shareholders?. Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 48(4), 1025-1055.

[2] See, for example, Damodaran’s interview to Forbes available at:

[3] See, for example, Li, K. K., & Sloan, R. G. (2017). Has goodwill accounting gone bad?. Review of Accounting Studies, 22(2), 964-1003.[4] See, for example, Maines, L. A., & McDaniel, L. S. (2000). Effects of comprehensive-income characteristics on nonprofessional investors’ judgments: The role of financial-statement presentation format. The accounting review, 75(2), 179-207.

[4] See, for example, Maines, L. A., & McDaniel, L. S. (2000). Effects of comprehensive-income characteristics on nonprofessional investors’ judgments: The role of financial-statement presentation format. The accounting review, 75(2), 179-207.

Faculty Publications 2019-2020
A Selection of Faculty Articles Published Between July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020



Phillip Korb, CPA and associate professor of accounting, Dan Gerlowski, professor of economics, and Ting Zhang associate professor of economics, co-authored “An alternate state in mind: the effect of CPA exam credit-hour requirements and economic competitiveness on state-level exam candidate pools and pass rates” in Accounting Education.


Professor of Accounting Mikhail Pevzner co-authored an article titled “The Consequences of Providing Lower Quality Audits at the Engagement Partner Level” in the Journal of International Accounting Research.


Dong Chen, associate professor of finance published an article titled “Extreme Weather and Ratings on Corporate Climate Mitigation Policies” in Organization & Environment


Associate Professor of Finance and Real Estate Nafessa Yunus published the following articles: “Dynamic linkages among U.S. real estate sectors before and after the housing crisis” in The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and a second article in Applied Economics titledCommonalities across commercial real estate indexes.”


Ting Zhang, associate professor of economics published an article titled “Workforce Training for Older Workers: Toward a Better Understanding of Older Worker Needs after the Great Recession” in Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations and co-authored papers titled “Does Generation Matter for Entrepreneur Types: Four Generations of Entrepreneurs,” in the Southern Economic Journal, and in the Journal of Patient Experience, “Rural Disparities in Hospital Patient Satisfaction.”


Elizabeth Gammon, an adjunct faculty member, co-authored “Strategies to Achieve Competencies during Disruptive Change: Emerging Employer Needs and their Impact on Program Deliverables in the Healthcare Sectorin The Journal of Health Administration Education.




Professor of Management Information Systems Anil Aggarwal published “Using Deming’s Cycle for Improvement in a Course, A Case Study” in the International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies. He also published “A Conceptual Framework for Big Data Models Using Filtration Theory” in the Journal of Information Technology Management.


Eusebio Scornavacca, associate professor of management information systems published “Unveiling an entrepreneurial perspective in smart city research” in the International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal.   




Regina Bento, professor of management co-authored an article titled “The Rose and the Cactus: The lived and unanswered callings of Manya Sklodowska (Marie Curie) and Mileva Marić (Einstein)” in Cultural Studies - Critical Methodologies. She also had a co-authored piece in Management Learning titled “Premises, Promises, and Perils of the Academic Potemkin Village.”  


Assistant Professor of Strategic Management William Carter published an article titled “Tackling weaknesses in students’ financial analysis capabilities: A value-based exercise for strategic management courses” in Management Teaching Review.    


Lecturer Theodore Peters and Professor of Management Lisa Stickney co-authored “Teaching Tips: What to do with a Bad Exam” in the Journal of Human Resources Education. Peters also co-authored a paper titled “In spite of technology: a failure in student project ownership” in Organization Management Journal.


Associate Professor of Management Amir Pezeshkan co-authored the following papers: “Risk, capabilities, and international venture capital syndication in China” in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research and “When do dynamic capabilities lead to competitive advantage? The importance of strategic fit,” in the Journal of Management Studies.


Professor of Management Lisa Stickney co-authored an article titled Improving “Academic Literacy in the Management Classroom: Are Your Students Lost in Translation?” in Management Teaching Review.


Assistant Professor of Management Kevin Wynne co-authored an article titled “Trusting autonomous security robots: The role of reliability and stated social intent” in Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.




Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship David Lingelbach published “No Peace, No Rest: Paying More Attention to Actors at the Wealth-Power Nexus” in the Journal of Management Inquiry.


New faculty member Sanwar Sunny, assistant professor of entrepreneurship co-authored papers titled “Leveraging blockchain's potential - The paradox of centrally legitimate, decentralized solutions to institutional challenges in Kenya” in the Journal of Business Venturing Insights,Venture capital as an ecosystem engineer for regional innovation in an emerging market” in International Business Review, and “Design Thinking & Entrepreneurship Education: Where are we and what is next?” in the Journal of Small Business Management. He also published “Nature cannot be fooled – A dual-equilibrium simulation of climate change” in  Organization & Environment.      

2020 Student Academic Achievement Awards

In a momentous shift from years past, the 2020 Annual Academic Achievement Awards and Honor Societies' Induction Ceremonies event was moved to the Zoom virtual platform. We were able to accommodate our students to showcase their perseverance and hard work during the May ceremony. As a follow up, Assistant Dean Kathea Smith and Director of Marketing and Communications, Danielle Giles, circled the Baltimore Beltway and other parts of the state to hand-deliver all of the awards to personally and at a social distance to each of the merit award winners. 


In the highlight of the night was the the 2020 Dean’s Award that was presented to Louis Chaverini , B.S. '19. The award is presented to the undergraduate student who demonstrates high academic achievement, leadership and service. Chaverini transferred to the University of Baltimore in the spring of 2018 to complete his bachelor of science in business administration degree with a specialization in accounting. He graduated summa cum laude in December 2019. His career goal was to be an accountant in the federal government and he has achieved that dream. While a student, he completed an internship at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland. When Chaverini graduated in December he was hired as a full-time accountant. Outside of his coursework and internships, he also found time to be a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and the ISACA. He also serves as the treasurer and board member for Itemwize, a non-profit focused on the environment and recycling.


Departmental Merit Awards

  • Data Analytics Merit Award, Naomi Weiss, B.S. ’19
  • Charles Siegmann Information Technology Award, Diane Vu, B.S.’20
  • Accounting Merit Award, Julie Styers, B.S., ’19
  • Finance Merit Award, Jennifer Hemler, B.S., ’20
  • Real Estate and Economic Development Merit Award, Luke Kluttz, B.S., ’19
  • General Business Merit Award, Delaney Heath, B.S., ’19
  • Human Resource Management Merit Award, Ashley Johnson, B.S., ’19
  • International Business Merit Award, Devin Davenport, B.S., ’19
  • Management Merit Award, Jake Zielinski, B.S., ’19
  • Entrepreneurship Merit Award, Sundae Stewart, B.S., ’19
  • Dr. Peter Lynagh Marketing Merit Award Nancy Oelschlaeger, B.S., ’20


Special Accounting Awards

  • MACPA Outstanding Student Award, Ryan Claggett, B.S., ’20
  • Mary Lou Hudson Award for Academic Excellence in Accounting Madison Jordan, B.S., ‘20
Winter Tour de Financial Regulation

A seminar class on Financial Regulatory Challenges was offered by Professor of Accounting Mikhail Pevzner during the 2020 Winter Session. During this intensive course, students had the opportunities to visit agencies and hear from professionals from the Maryland Insurance Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), The Federal Reserve Board of Governors (The Fed), The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the self-regulatory organization FINRA, also known as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.


During the off-campus lectures students were learning new topics like the capital markets, crypto currency, monetary policies, risk and insurance, banking regulation and prevention of bank failures, and much more.


“Taking our students to these financial regulatory agencies exposes them to the realities of what their current or future firms comply with every day,” said Pevzner. “I am so thankful that our students can see these agencies in action. Each agency shared with us applicable information, and for that I am grateful for their knowledge and hospitality.”


Want to know more? See what some of the students had to say about their visits to the agencies.


Maryland Insurance Administration

I especially found the fraud sector interesting. Forensic accounting is something I have a newfound interest in and would like to hear more about it. It would be fascinating to trace the numbers in a criminal investigation.”


Overall, I went into today’s visit not very educated on insurance and came out with a wealth of information. I thought it was interesting that in 2022, there will be 300,000 available jobs in the insurance industry. I can understand this as not many college students have the insurance industry within their career path choices. It is beneficial for the MIA to be partnering with various high schools in order to educate students early about the possible career path. – Josephine Jensen

The Fed

The visit provided us with an extensive and detailed information about the responsibilities of the Federal Reserve System and their importance in the government regulations. The Federal Reserve has one of the most essential functions of a national development, and specifically, they provide tools for stabilizing an economy and ensuring balanced macroeconomic growth and financial strength. Without these two main functions a country and its citizens would have a very hard time existing. The Federal Reserve System is basically the backbone of the economic system, and although many people are not very clear of their role, it is a system that plays a critical role in consumers’ daily existence. Once specific segment of the presentation that resonated with me and reinforced the importance of the Federal Reserve function was the part about the day of September 11, 2001. The two short sentences of the press release on that day “The Federal Reserve System is open and operating. The discount window is available to meet liquidity needs” (, had such a tremendous effect and carried so much importance that they most likely changed the course of the history. I was not aware of this specific press release by the Federal Reserve and that was something that really stood out from this presentation. This press release was what seemed to be a small but extremely powerful example of the significance of the Federal Reserve System. Also, I must mention the “rap song” by the “Fresh Prince of D.C.” That was very entertaining and it was a real treat. It was a great ending to a fantastic presentation. – Madison Jordan


“The Chief Accountant Matt Jacques discussion on data analytics playing an integral role in investigations sparked my interest, as in my current job, I deal a lot with data mining and cleaning. It was encouraging to hear from him that the SEC and many companies are pursuing job candidates who have data analytics skills and the ability to read, write, or manipulate code to manage and clean data. Lastly, Jonathan Duersch’s three keys of finding a mentor, become an expert in something, and make as many good relationships as you can, are goals I strive to achieve and maintain in my professional career.” – Brent Thomas


The visit to the FDIC was very informative on the important role the regulator has in the financial industry. In emphasizing that importance, our presenter, Kate Fritzdixon, Sr. Financial Economist at FDIC, went over significant changes in the US economy throughout the years. Ms. Kate also walked us through graphs discussing the financial crisis data and its influence on economic growth and eventually recover. Renata Ernst Kerche


“I found the discussion about the SRO structure of FINRA interesting – I did not previously realize FINRA was self-sufficient and not tax-funded. This makes me wonder if there are other organizations in the federal government that could successfully operate with a similar model. Typically the public good problem arises and this is not possible, however it would be interesting to see a broader mindfulness of this possibility in public leaders, potentially paving the way for innovators to find ways of creating savings for the taxpayer.” – Joseph Winnard


Alumni Snapshot
Lisa Phillips: Paying it Forward

Lisa Phillips, MBA '18, arrived at UB after completing her undergraduate degree at Coppin State University. In 2017, she was named the Greater Baltimore Urban League’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Phillips’ path to success has been a winding road but one steadfast in a strong vision with purpose. She embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and the love of others. She is the founder of owner and founder of Celeebrate Us Workforce Training Program. A company that evolved from her first business that focused on making gift baskets. Her collaborative attitude has helped her work with multiple organizations to build and enhance workforce programs and building strategic alliances.  


Phillips recently sat down with The Merrick Exchange to share some thoughts about her entrepreneurial endeavors, why mentorship is so important to her, and to share some valuable advice for our students.


Merrick Exchange: Tell us about all of your entrepreneurial endeavors since you started your UB MBA.  


Lisa Phillips: My goodness, I’ve been so blessed. I will try to remember all the wonderful contracting opportunities. My current business is based solely on contracting.


In the beginning, I decided to contact the Baltimore City Department of Social Services after graduating from college. I had been on welfare and food-stamps multiple times in my life, but when I received my bachelor’s degree, I felt empowered that I would not ever need government assistance again. That faithful phone call resulted in my first government contract for $25,000. Receiving a large payment like that was mind-blowing.


That relationship lasted four years and morphed into a six-figure contract that ended in 2018. During the Freddie Gray uprising, I was asked to facilitate two training cohorts for 11 homeless youth that set the stage for my business to expand. I have been able to successfully expand my workforce training program to Delaware and Pennsylvania. In addition earlier this year, I received a wonderful opportunity to work with federal prison inmates from the Volunteers of America Federal Prison Reentry program. In the future, post-COVID-19, I have partnered with two long-term care facilities to assist them with building an in-house workforce training program that has the goal to replenish the depleted frontline healthcare workforce.

Merrick Exchange: What is one important thing you have learned as an entrepreneur? 


Lisa Phillips: Mission over money. Make your business about mission and the money will come.


Merrick Exchange: What is the most fulfilling aspect of your role as a workforce development business leader?


Lisa Phillips: Hearing “Ms. Lisa, I got the job.” It never gets old.


Merrick Exchange: What do you want our readers to know about the people you are helping through workforce training?


Lisa Phillips: Most of the people I serve, have lived in an environment where "difficult starts," are common. However, they are no different then anyone else. They want to earn a decent living, they want relationships, they want better for their children. They are people who may have loss their way like me.


Merrick Exchange: What are some of the business challenges that you face with your current projects?


Lisa Phillips: Everything that ever meant something to me was taken away from me, until I created Celeebrate Us. I struggle with relinquishing parts of the business to anyone. I have to get over that because it will hamper my growth.


Note: the extra “e” in Celeebrate is Phillips’ way of emphasizing her extra effort she put forth for her students, employers and training partners.


Merrick Exchange: Please share your thoughts on the importance of having a mentor in your professional life.


Lisa Phillips: I have five mentors. You need a mentor for every part of your life that needs improvements. Mentors are designed to expose you to the peaks and valleys you will face in life.


Merrick Exchange: What advice would you give to students who would like to pursue the life of an entrepreneur?


Lisa Phillips: Become the absolute best employee before you become an entrepreneur. When I ceased working for someone else to become an entrepreneur, I made sure that I understood fully what it was to be an exemplary employee so that I can set the standard for my future employees.


Merrick Exchange: What is the one job-hunting secret you wish all students knew?


Lisa Phillips: Soft skills. Soft skills. Soft skills.


Merrick Exchange: Why did you choose to earn your MBA degree?


Lisa Phillips: I suffered many losses in my life mainly because of self-sabotaging behaviors. Once I addressed my behaviors, I needed wins that made me stand out. Earning a MBA provided me with such a level of distinction from my peers. I’m so proud of that accomplishment.


Merrick Exchange: How has attending UB helped you in your career?


Lisa Phillips: I am so revered and respected because of my education. It has opened so many doors for me. More importantly, my education from UB has lifted my family out of poverty.


Merrick Exchange: What personal goal have you set for yourself for 2020?


Lisa Phillips: In December 2017, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The surgery, radiation treatment, and losing one of my businesses caused my personal relationship to suffer dramatically. I was engaged to be married in 2018. The devastation of all those events took a toll on us both. We called everything off and ended the relationship for one year. We reunited in 2019 and decided to work on our relationship. So we definitely rediscovered that only we understand our love and that there’s no other man for, but him. He felt the same way so our plans are to skip the big wedding, take a trip down to the court house and get hitched. During COVID-19, we were quarantined separately because of my underlying health issues. I’m spending most of 2020 planning to be his wife and grooming my youngest son to help more with the business.




Alumna Honored with the 2020 Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business

Alumna Brianna Billups was honored with the 2020 Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business. A 2018 graduate, Billups was part of the elite Ratcliffe Entrepreneurship Fellows program, where she founded her business Fully Grown,  an organic line of fruit snacks whose profits go to supporting the change in nutritional health of children, families, and communities. She also runs The Garden Project which is a nonprofit supporting urban agriculture programs in city schools.


Billups is the eighth women to receive the award. The Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business is given annually to a woman in the Baltimore metro area who follows in Pickersgill’s footsteps. This individual is a successful businesswoman who has made significant contributions to her field. She is creative and innovative, inspiring others with her work. She is also a civic leader, demonstrating significant ties to the area through charitable work, mentoring, or community service.


According to the event’s nomination background Billups’ leadership achievements and activism in the community are much like Pickersgill’s was in 1813. Her efforts “exemplifies innovation in her chosen field and has the power to inspire others.”  Mary Pickersgill, the woman and Baltimore citizen who sewed the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired our national anthem, was more than a patriot. She was a driven, creative, and successful businesswoman, a female sole proprietor of her flag making business, uncommon in 1813. She devoted her later life to charitable causes, becoming the president of the charitable Impartial Female Human Society in 1828. Under Pickersgill’s direction the Society opened Baltimore’s first home for aged women and lead a successful campaign to raise wages for the city’s seamstresses.


More About Brianna’s Business Story

In 2019, Brianna Billups decided to take Fully Grown into a more focused direction. After dissolving the meal prep services from the company and she solely focusing on manufacturing and selling all-natural snack products. She began selling them at three local farmers’ markets. Taking a step back allowed her to reconnect with her customers and get firsthand feedback.

By the end of the farmer’s market season, she wanted to revamp Fully Grown’s entire business model. So she worked closely with Baltimore’s Innovation Works to apply to the Open Works EnterpRISE Pitch Competition. She won one of the grand prizes funds of $1,000 and put it towards Fully Grown’s newest efforts to support youth participation in culinary arts and urban agriculture.


Today her goal is to create a partnership with Baltimore City high schools that offer culinary arts training to employ their students in the production and sales of Fully Grown all-natural snacks. Through this partnership students will be engaged in the operations of a local food business, gain workforce development training and earn an income while still in school. It is her hope that she can make the production site of our snacks a youth works site, so the students may earn potentially higher wages and her company can employ more youth interested in the fields of culinary arts, hospitality management, business, and entrepreneurship.


Among the many changes to Fully Grown, Billups is moving into the next phase of her career. She have recently been accepted to Johns Hopkins University School of Education where she will be earning a master’s degree in elementary education in partnership with Urban Teachers of Baltimore. She feels extremely blessed to be able to take her experiences and knowledge and share them in a classroom that she can call her own. Education has always been a passion of hers and has been at the forefront of her business venture since its inception.


Update Your Alumni Information
Connect on Social Media

Join the growing number of Merrick School of Business alumni, students, and faculty networking online.

linkedin.jpgClick here to connect with the Merrick School of Business' LinkedIn "closed" group. We are 2,660 members (and counting) strong, or our publicly facing school promotion page.



Click here to 'Like us' the University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business's Facebook page. You can also "Like" our M.S. in Accounting page, where we share news and updates from the industry and news from our faculty, students and alumni.


Click here to follow us on Instagram. Sharing who we are, one picture at a time.

twitter.jpgClick here to follow the University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business on Twitter. Sharing our news in 140 characters. Click here to follow the MBA program on Twitter.


youtube.jpgClick here to watch videos produced (including past Merrick Engages events or our Fast Pitch series) by visiting the University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business on YouTube.


Click here to view photos focused on the events held by the University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business on Flickr.




Keep up with us by visiting our blog Merrick Today from time to time, too. 

Past Issues of The Merrick Exchange
Winners Announced for UB's 'Rise to the Challenge' Business Pitch Competition

Four winners, including undergraduates and alumni, emerged from the "Rise to the Challenge" Business Pitch Competition on June 10, each receiving their own virtual version of "the big check" and a portion of the more than $23,000 in prize money. The event, conducted entirely online for the first time, is supported annually by the University of Baltimore's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to showcase many of the UB community's most talented and driven entrepreneurs.


Brian Furr, a Ratcliffe Entrepreneurship Fellow, a junior and founder of Mindful Designs, which manufactures "My Furr's Guitar" to aid early childhood development by teaching music through a simple, color-coded system, came up a two-time winner. Furr earned the top vote in the category of "Existing Business Ventures," a $5,000 prize, and he was chosen as the evening's "Most Promising Business," walking away with a $15,000 "check." The award, established in 2018 through the Jay Ripley Entrepreneurship Fund, is given to the student whose business, in either category, has the best prospects for growth, as determined by the judges.


Torianne Montes-Schiff, a Ratcliffe Entrepreneurship Fellow and a junior, earned the top award in the category of "Aspiring Business Ventures," netting $2,000 for her business idea, Almano, a subscription box service featuring handmade goods from local artisans, including jewelry, art prints, natural health/beauty care products, and seasonal herbs.


Kevin McHugh, B.S. '19, founder of Bloom Box, an agricultural subscription box business catering to the needs of urbanites, especially those living in elder care facilities, took home the Crowd Favorite award of $1,000. Another UB alumnus, James Soldinger, M.S. '17, won the first Baltimore Fund Award for Flave, a mobile app that uses gamification and personalized content to encourage consumers to eat at local dining establishments.


New this year, and sponsored by the University System of Maryland, the $500 award is given to the entrepreneur who best exemplifies the University's commitment to Community and Civic Engagement, Ethical Engagement, and Responsible and Resourceful Stewardship for the City of Baltimore. Soldinger also earned the $500 "Hustle Award," presented by Jason Tagler, founder of Pitch Creator. The cash prize—normally rolls of $20 bills in a glass jar but this year delivered via PayPal—goes to the finalist who shows the most improvement during the multi-week presentation coaching program.


As an added highlight this year, Shelby Blondell, B.S. '15, MBA '18, a double alumna of UB's entrepreneurship program and a rising star as both an entertainer and inventor, provided the "half-time" show while the judges met to deliberate and choose the winners. In addition to being a songwriter-singer, as she calls herself, and a musician with several chart-topping songs to her credit, she’s also a successful, prize-winning, serial entrepreneur and the inventor of The Sheller, a 3-in-1 crab mallet, knife and bottle opener. Blondell performed several songs and then engaged in a Q&A session with Murray Dalziel, dean of the Merrick School of Business, about the intersection of creativity and commerce. The combo helped make the entire night a memorable celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit.


Other finalists in the competition, now in its eighth year, included:

  • Nicole Mighty, founder of Spiked Orchids, an upcycling fashion brand that supports the local market and seeks to help solve sustainability issues through the reuse of materials.
  • Juliana Stube, whose company JES Made provides one-of-a-kind luxury fashionable, functional, and sustainable pet accessories.
  • Adrian Nelson, B.S. '16, whose company Nail Quail, makers of Strong Will, a natural product to help people with a nail-biting habit stop and regain confidence, comfort, and nail health.

For the very first time, the finalist cohort, consisting of undergraduate and graduate students as well as alumni, pitching in two separate categories, Aspiring Business and Existing Business, all competed from remote locations, due to restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel of expert judges, who also participated remotely, represented the local business and entrepreneurship community, as well as the UB ecosystem:

  • Carlene Cassidy, CEO, Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation
  • Tracy Imm, MBA '92, founder, Tracy Imm Worldwide
  • Brian Meritt, partner, RSM US

"Although not everyone walked away with a monetary prize, I believe that all of the finalists proved to be winners this year," said Henry Mortimer, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. "Honestly, the work that they put into this competition, amid the uncertainty of a global pandemic, a volatile economy, and national and local unrest—not to mention adapting their lives from an in-person to a virtual setting, literally overnight—is nothing short of extraordinary. They're all impressive, and it is my hope that I'm not the only one who feels that way—that each caught the attention of someone new who’d be interested in their idea or product, possibly some very influential people who can help nurture the growth of their enterprise and allow them to continue to develop as entrepreneurs.”


If you were unable to view the competition, you can watch the competition on the Merrick School's YouTube channel.


The "Rise to the Challenge" competition, sponsored by UB's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is designed to generate awareness of emerging and established innovative business ventures nurtured by the UB community. Learn more about the "Rise to the Challenge" business competition.

Learn more about the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Entrepreneurship Fellow 'reels' in top prize in Attman Competition

Four winners emerged from the 2019 Leonard and Phyllis Attman Competitive Business Prize Competition event on Nov. 19, each taking home their own "big checks" and their portion of the more than $5,000 in prize money. The competition, held in the Wright Theater, and sponsored by the University of Baltimore's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, showcases many of the UB community's most talented and driven entrepreneurs.


Melvin Clark III, B.S. '20, took the top prize for the evening, netting $3,000 for his venture, AMJ Fishing Group, which produces high-end performance fishing gloves and apparel for sport and recreational anglers.


Second place, and a $1,000 prize, went to Devante Jones, J.D. '22, and Dexter Carr Jr., MBA '21, who teamed up to create G-Haven, a mobile e-sports pop-up venue where both competitive and casual gamers can gather to enjoy food, drinks, streaming services, and a social scene.


The team of Sherri Freeman, B.S. '20, Jumoke Gyenyame, B.A. '21, and Sherri Haynes, B.S. '20, representing E-Sure, a chip-encrypted medical insurance card bridging the gap between the provider, insurer, and the patient, took home the Crowd Favorite award of $750.


As an added highlight this year, Nikia Madison, B.S. '21, founder of Safe Pl8te Grocery, which provides allergen-free foods and snacks and serves as a resource for people who suffer from food allergies, earned the $500 "Hustle Award." Jason Tagler, founder of Pitch Creator, presented the cash prize—rolls of $20 bills in a glass jar—to Madison for showing the most improvement during the six-week presentation coaching program.


Now in its sixth year, and a highlight of Global Entrepreneurship Week on campus, the Attman Competitive Business Prize is sponsored by UB's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and provides an opportunity for UB undergraduates and graduates, from all schools, to pitch ideas and concepts for new and existing businesses before a live audience of their peers, UB staff and entrepreneurial experts.


The University of Baltimore Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, named one of the Baltimore Business Journal's "Top Incubators and Accelerators for 2019," directs support and assistance to UB students and alumni interested in building or growing an enterprise. We do this through support, culture, events, education and research, and connecting with the business community. Meet with one of our counselors to discuss launching or growing your business.


Visit us at or call 410.837.4892 for more information.


(Photo by Adam McCall.)

The Role of “Dynamic Flexible Arrangements” in Studying Abroad

If you participate in a Global Field Study with Eusebio Scornavacca, you’ll get fully immersed in local cultures, work on real-life projects and learn all about the phrase “D.F.A – Dynamic Flexible Arrangements.” The UB Parsons Professor for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture has been sharing his knowledge and expertise around the world for most of his career. And along the way he’s learned to expect the “unexpected” and be flexible to adapt to the local environment at a moment’s notice. So, when he leads a Global Field Study course, he is sure to emphasize the need to be calm, flexible and embrace the local culture and environment.


Most recently, Scornavacca led a group of 12 students to Africa to collaborate on “global digital innovation challenges” with local tech companies in Accra, Ghana. This project was developed in partnership with The Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).


Scornavacca, says, “Real-life cases are an effective way to learn how to work in groups and to attack problems from a variety of perspectives. Our students had to hit the ground running and work with their GIMPA counterparts to address real business challenges presented by the partner companies. They were able to immerse in a new culture and business environment as well as experience firsthand how local IT entrepreneurs are creating a positive impact in their communities and building businesses, despite the economic and social challenges they face.” The four locally owned tech companies were:

  • Leti Arts, a digital games and media company that brings an authentic Africa to a worldwide audience, through meaningful games and digital comics.
  • Amatsii, digital healthcare company that provides consumer search and product discovery, procurement, and analytics technology solutions for the pharmaceutical industry in Africa.
  • LinQworth Limited, a digital solutions company that develops innovative digital solutions for the African market.
  • Makedu Consult, a digital transformation consulting firm that offers software development services for web-based and mobile applications.

Alexander Hosseini is transfer student from Howard Community College, enrolled at UB in 2018. He has participated in two Global Field Study courses with Prof. Scornavacca, he went to Finland in 2019 and Ghana in 2020. These trips were the only times Hosseini has ever been out of the country. As an international business major the Global Field Study experiences have provided him a clear compare and contrast experience between two countries.


“Finland, a Western European country and Ghana, a developing country you get to understand the need for Dynamic Flexible Arrangements,” said Hosseini. “Their scheduling and flexibility are totally different. You see two extremes of the spectrum and it is a great way to learn.”


It was a clear when he worked with his assigned startup, Makedu, who had the goal to rebrand themselves, which included considering a new name and implementing their core values into a mission statement.


“The rebranding process, that was huge for them,” he said. “And you realize business scenarios are difficult, but if you don’t think about it deeper, you may make a misstep. I think everybody just thinks rebranding like, changing a few letters of the company name or like we’ll just change it to this or that. There’s a lot of deep thought that goes into it. Changing your company image and where you’re headed as a company is a big deal.”


In the end, Hosseini took away some unexpected outcomes from his experience. One of which is “patience,” something that is imperative during situations of DFA.

“As bad as you think you have something, somebody else has it a lot worse. You definitely had to get outside of yourself and kind of look at things from a bigger point of view on how things can be different.”


Michael Brown, completed his undergraduate degree at UB and he is now pursuing his MBA. He believes that a Global Field Study is essential for all business students.


“There’s no doubt that this experience has completely changed my life,” said Brown. “I can’t believe that school has taken me to Africa! I can now say without question that I have an experience as an international business consultant, which is something that will be cemented on my resume forever. I can say that I have hands-on learning of cultural differences, operationally, financially, and personally thanks to Professor Scornavacca and the UB Global Business Study.”


His personal reflection of the experience has shaped him in unimageable ways, including the discovery through a DNA test that his ancestry includes 18 percent Ghanaian.


“I’ve never been so excited and proud,” he said. “Learning cultural history directly from sources in Ghana during both private conversations and cultural tours, has increased my consciousness forever. I hope to destroy unspoken walls between ‘Africans’ and ‘African Americans,’ and reunite us all in any way possible. We are all one people, living in different places, under different laws. However, we all hurt, celebrate, eat, sleep, and laugh together as one family.


Students in Ghana 2020

Fast Pitch Video Series. What will you learn?
Apply for Graduate Business School