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Asia Global Biztech Program Wraps Up its First Summer in Taiwan

Boise State students in Taiwan

Career Track MBA Student Rhett Suciu (white shirt in the middle) fulfilled the required summer internship through this program.

Eight Boise State students who participated in the Asia Global Biztech Summer program in Taiwan are making their way back to campus after nearly two months abroad.

The program, the first of its kind at Boise State, was hosted by the College of Business and Economics with collaboration from the College of Engineering and the School of Public Service. Students studied history, political economy, business, culture and language at Providence University in Taichung, Taiwan, then fanned out across the island. They served month-long internships at Taiwanese firms specializing in a range of fields, from robotics, to artificial intelligence and research.

“It’s been a great honor and privilege to watch students gain life experience over the course of the program,” said Jack Marr, program founder and a clinical associate professor of international business who directs COBE’s global projects.

“The Eight,” as Marr likes to call the group of students who participated, came from a variety of academic disciplines. They ranged in age from freshmen to MBA students. They spoke a scattering of languages.

“We found strength in diversity,” said Marr.

For many of The Eight, he added, the summer in Asia was transformative.

Amy Bennett, an accountancy student minoring in Chinese language, came to the Biztech program having attended a summer language program in Taiwan in 2017. At first, she saw Biztech as an opportunity to hone her language skills. She plans to live and work in Asia in the future. But she soon realized the value of studying history, culture and business outside the “vacuum of my home culture,” she said.

She spent her internship with Pemay, a biotech manufacturer.

“I am gaining more confidence in talking to Taiwanese professionals, which is different from before when I had only communicated with students and teachers,” said Bennett. “I have a better understanding of Taiwan’s business and governmental world, and now have experience working within that world.”

Marr designed the program with several Asian partners, including the university and the Taiwan Thinktank, which advises senior officials on economics and political issues.

“I had a vision of this based on my past experience establishing New York University’s Business School in Shanghai,” said Marr. “I thought that with Taiwan, everything aligned: academics, government, business and cultural sponsors. Our Taiwanese partners responded to this vision, so we wanted to make it happen quickly. And we did.”

The program earned praise from many in Taiwan.

“We are grateful for you bringing such a group of talented students from Boise State to Taiwan,” wrote Carol Huiling Pan, section chief from the U.S. Academic Cooperation Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “What you are doing with Taiwan Thinktank is a really down-to-earth and helpful program, a key for deepening U.S.-Taiwan relations.”

Marr already is looking forward to next summer when the next group of Boise State Biztech students will travel to Asia. Recruiting for the 2019 program will begin early this fall.

Learn more about Boise State and Asia: Listen to The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs podcast featuring Marr on China’s presence on U.S. campuses.

Career Track MBA Students Win Cash Prizes Competing in the Graduate Student Showcase

During Boise State University’s second annual Research Month, the Graduate College hosted the annual Graduate Student Showcase. More than 50 graduate students were awarded cash prizes. College of Business and Economics MBA students that received awards are:

Eldar, Ali, Zeynep Hansen (COBE assoc. dean) and Jessica

Jessica Carolina

Eldar Sakebaev

Ali Sharifi Shalmani

Sustainable Energy Award (Sponsored by the CAES Energy Efficiency Research Institute)

connor sheldon next to her poster

Connor Sheldon

Global Impact Award (Sponsored by the Center for Global Education) $250

Carsten, Billy and Elena

Billy Bateman

Justin Brown

Carsten Floor

Michael Sanderson

Elena Tomorowitz

College of Business and Economics Award, $150

sierra morris at graduate showcase

Sierra Morris

College of Business and Economics Award, $150

See the complete list of 2018 showcase winners here. 

Career Track MBA Teams Tackle World Energy Issues in Hult Prize Competition

Two Boise State Teams, one including students with TechHelp ties, advanced to the regional finals of The Hult Prize, an international competition that brings together the best and brightest university students to solve world issues. The 2018 Hult Prize challenge was to build a scalable, sustainable social enterprise that harnesses the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025. Former Export Excellence intern, Eldar Sakebaev (L) and current TechHelp Graduate Assistant, Ali Sharifi Shalmani (R),  joined fellow MBA student, Jessica Carolina (C), in developing the “Northstar Energy” project for the competition. Northstar focused on reusing batteries from hybrid vehicles to provide safe, clean, and affordable power to food cart operators in Indonesia.

“Thought I did not get to work with Jessica, I had the pleasure of collaborating with Eldar and Ali on a number of projects over the past couple of years. In addition to being smart and multi-talented, they are hardworking, innovative, responsible, and fun. I envy the fortunate organizations that hire these talented young people.” 
Bill Mullane, TechHelp Marketing Manager & Adjunct Professor of International Management at Boise State. 

Multiple interviews and deep research led the Northstar Team to focus on meeting the power needs of the 22 million food carts that serve Indonesia’s population of 267 million. Each cart owner purchases and burns about three kilos of natural gas per day creating significant cost, safety and pollution issues. The Northstar Team’s battery pack prototype, named “Little Dipper”, offers a safe and efficient energy alternative designed to help cart owners reduce costs and carbon while improving profitability. Northstar’s model includes an innovative selling plan where users would pay based on the number of battery charge cycles. This model makes the batteries less expensive to users and provides revenue to the charging company through carbon trading.

Read More About Northstar’s “Little Dipper”

Career Track MBA Students Qualified for Hult Prize Regionals for Sixth Year in a Row

Two teams represented Boise State University at the 2018 Hult Prize regionals.

Eldar Sakebaev, Jessica Carolina, Ali Sharifi Shalmani

Eldar Sakebaev, Jessica Carolina, Ali Sharifi Shalmani

Northstar Energy team competed in San Francisco, California, in early March. Team members are Jessica Carolina, Eldar Sakebaev and Ali Sharifi Shalmani.

“We do want to change the world by following our dreams and passions in social entrepreneurship,” said Sakebaev. “We are a skillful and diverse team with the goal of delivering innovative, reliable and affordable energy storage solutions and transforming the lives of 10 million people by 2025.”

Advancing to regional competition in Melbourne, Australia, were Lynn Catlin, Danielle Hittle, Rhett Suciu and Stuart Wetzel.

Lynn Catlin, Stuart Wetzel, Rhett Suciu, Danielle Hittle

Lynn Catlin, Stuart Wetzel, Rhett Suciu, Danielle Hittle

“Our team is composed of an engineer, soldier, sociologist and a scientist,” explains Suciu. “We are diverse in our backgrounds, but similar in our pursuit of an MBA as well as our desire to change and help the world. We know that transformational change requires transformational partnerships. We will share our idea in Melbourne in hopes to secure $1M in seed money to change millions of lives.” 

The Hult Prize is an international competition which brings together the best and brightest students in colleges and universities to solve world issues. The 2018 challenge is to build a scalable, sustainable social enterprise that harnesses the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025.

This is the sixth year in a row that Boise State has had a team(s) advance to the Hult Prize regional finals.

Brian Greber will serve on the Idaho Business Review’s 2017 Forum on the Future

Portrait of Brian Greber.

Brian Greber

Brian Greber will serve on the Idaho Business Review’s 2017 Forum on the Future from 8-10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Boise Centre East. The forum will focus on how Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the country and that expansion shows no signs of slowing down. The  Department of Labor claims Idaho’s population will grow at three times the national rate between now and 2025.

The panel of experts will talk about what they expect to see in technology, real estate, construction, agribusiness and healthcare in  2018.

Dr. Greber is currently teaching in the Career Track MBA program. His two Career Track MBA classes are MBA 518 Markets, Prices, Economic Decisions and MBA 521 Economic Policy and Trade.

Individual tickets for the event are $40 and can be purchased online.

MBA Students Immersed in the Process of Commercializing Intellectual Property

MBA program participants

A new program known as Tech2Market, developed for Idaho universities by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), is being piloted at Boise State University this fall with support from the Idaho Technology Council.

As part of the program, teams of students draw from Boise State’s large bank of intellectual property created by students and faculty from the College of Engineering. Four teams were selected for the pilot and are made up of MBA candidates from Boise State’s College of Business and Economics and students who are researching the intellectual property from the College of Engineering.

Paul Cooperrider, technology commercialization program director for the Idaho SBDC, said it’s estimated that the impact from commercialized technology to the U.S. GDP over the past two decades from universities and public research institutions, like Boise State, is close to $600 billion.

“We believe this collaborative and multidisciplinary approach can open the door to a greater student experience while contributing to the state’s tax base and economic vitality,” said Cooperrider.

Sydney Axtell, an MBA candidate in the program, said she’s excited to be a part of it.

“Once you learn the process of starting a business, it’s addictive. I’ll jump on any potential project I can get my hands on just to experience that process in different industries and applications.”

MBA candidate Jessica Streib works with Axtell on a team.

“My experience with Tech2Market is related to customer discovery for a unique hydration sensor being developed by PhD Materials Science candidate, Twinkle Pandhi,” said Steib. “Sydney Axtell and I are working as entrepreneurial leads to uncover the best customer segments and/or industries for the sensor. Each week the results vary but we are moving closer to best use situations, which is very exciting. Our results come from hypothesizing, interviewing, and having Ed Zimmer from the Venture College and Paul Cooperrider from SBDC, guide the process.”

Eldar Sakebaev, MBA candidate, is working with fellow MBA student Sierra Morris (both are entrepreneur leads) and material science graduate student Andreas Savva is a principal investigator for the team.

“My job in the process is to figure out where the technology can be applied, find the customers’ pain points and narrow down the options,” explains Sakebaev. “We are working on improved chemistry of energy storage technology and potential commercialization of batteries. Tesla, Panasonic and other large corporations are pushing the boundaries in this arena and it is exciting to see what is happening in the battery field.”

Another students team is working on possible commercial uses for a smart antenna that allows for faster data rates, more secure connections and reuse of frequency spectrum. Team members are Billy Bateman and Ali Sharifi Shalmani are MBA candidates and entrepreneurial leads for the team; and Ahmed Kausar is an engineering PhD student and a principal investigator for the team.

If the Tech Push program is successful, the overarching Tech2Market program will be implemented at other state universities. The program is hosted and run by the Boise State Venture College through Tech Push.

COBE and Career Track MBA Student Recognized at United Nations-Supported Global Forum

Taylor Reed at U. N. meeting in New York, accepting COBE award for excellent sustainability reporting The College of Business and Economics at Boise State University was recognized Tuesday, July 18, at the 2017 Global Forum for Responsible Management Education, held at the United Nations (U.N.) in New York City by the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).

The college’s first sustainability report was recognized by PRME, an initiative of the U.N. Global Compact, for excellence in implementing their six principles for responsible business education. The College of Business and Economics was one of only three colleges and universities globally to receive an award for an inaugural report during the reception. Boise State received recognition alongside the Stockholm School of Economics and BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo.

The 2015 sustainability report was compiled by a team of 15 undergraduate and graduate students who researched the college’s material economic, social, and environmental risks and opportunities in order to transparently communicate its impacts on key stakeholders, including students, faculty and the business community. Taylor Reed, the founding MBA graduate assistant for the college’s Responsible Business Initiative and a 2016 Career Track MBA graduate, conceptualized the college’s first report and led the student team that produced it. Reed accepted the award on behalf of the College of Business and Economics.

In reporting, the college seeks to role model a leading corporate practice to inspire business and academic peers to follow suit. The college has since launched its second sustainability report in the fall of 2016, and will issue its third report in September. This work is led and funded by the Responsible Business Initiative, a partnership between the College of Business and Economics and Wells Fargo.

Taylor Reed with PRME official

PRME official with Taylor Reed

“We create our annual sustainability report with students at the heart, both because they take the lead in researching, analyzing, and reporting on everything you read, and also because educating and inspiring our future leaders on responsibility and sustainability is why we exist and why the faculty and staff come to work every day,” said Ken Petersen, dean of the College of Business and Economics. “This report is also one way that we hold ourselves accountable for our actions and how we demonstrate our leadership in higher education.”

Launched at the 2007 U.N. Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva and celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the PRME initiative is the largest organized relationship between the U.N. and business schools with the mission to transform management education, research and thought leadership globally by providing a framework, developing learning communities and promoting awareness about the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

See COBE’s participation record here and learn more about PRME.

Sean Luster Named Outstanding Graduate

Outstanding Graduates are selected by the faculty and staff of our departments and degree programs and selection is based on academic achievement and outstanding leadership. The Outstanding Graduate award is the highest honor given to students by the College of Business and Economics.

Sean Luster, Outstanding Graduate, College of Business and Economics at Boise StateSean Luster, Career Track MBA

Pursuing an MBA has been an unforgettable experience, and I am honored to be recognized as an outstanding graduate. Over the past two years, I have been privileged to work with an awesome group of students from around the world and the engaging COBE faculty. I’ll be doing marketing with Toumetis, a Boise-based tech company, as well as continuing my pursuits in music with my brother in our band, Red Light Challenge. I have to thank my family for their loving support, and I cannot wait to see what comes next. As we say back home in Hawaii, ALOHA!

Career Track MBA Students Help Treefort Re-Certify as a B-Corp

image of Treefort Music Fest main stage signTreefort Music Festival, held each March in downtown Boise, brings bands, fans and businesses from across the country to the City of Trees. But the five-day festival also focuses on helping the community as a certified B-Corp.

B-Corps are for-profit companies that seek to “use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” Companies are certified as a B-Corp by an external organization, called B Lab, and must meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

Emily Erickson, manager of the Responsible Business Initiative in the College of Business and Economics, said there are 14 students that volunteer their time to work with companies either certifying for the first time or re-certifying as a B-Corp. Four of those students are working with the Treefort leadership team to re-certify.

“B-Corps have to re-certify every two years,” said Erickson. “And every time it gets tougher and those businesses have to focus even more on their community, accountability and the environment.”

Alex Suggs,

Alex Suggs, graduate assistant for the Responsible Business Initiative

Alex Suggs, Career Track MBA student and graduate assistant working with the students, said they’re learning real-world skills that’ll help immensely after graduation.

“They serve as student consultants, helping real businesses make real plans,” Suggs said.

In summer 2014, the Treefort leadership team decided to form Treefort LLC and began seeking B-Corp certification, which was officially granted in 2015. According to the B Lab website, there are 2064 certified B Corps from 43 countries and over 120 industries, including eight right here in the Gem State.

This year, Treefort Music Fest will consume much of downtown Boise March 22-26.

Career Track MBA Team Presents at HP Before Trip to Shanghai for World-Wide Competition

Alex Allen, Becky Davis, Cody Huckvale and Austin Legg

Alex Allen, Becky Davis, Cody Huckvale and Austin Legg

On Friday, February 10 a Career Track MBA team made up of Alex Allen, Becky Davis, Austin Legg, and Cody Huckvale had the opportunity to present their business proposal for Project Recover to a group of employees within the JetAdvantage Solutions team at HP Inc. Alex is currently an intern for Mark Prinz who helped coordinate the opportunity. They were able to practice their pitch in front of a knowledgeable audience, receiving constructive feedback and suggestions to help finalize their presentation before leaving for Shanghai. “With their wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, it gave us a different perspective that we plan to utilize in the coming weeks before we depart. The team was gracious and helpful and they are rooting for us to win the $1 million in seed money,” explained Alex.

Information about their upcoming trip can be found here:

Career Track MBA student team presenting at HP

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