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College of Business and Economics News

National Economics University of Vietnam on Campus for Credit Articulation Agreement Signing

NEU and Boise state officials sign an agreementOn April 25, Dr. Tran Tho Dat, president of National Economics University (NEU) of Vietnam and colleagues visited Boise State University for a signing ceremony for a credit articulation agreement in business administration with Boise State University. The ceremony was hosted by President Bob Kustra, Provost Martin Schmipf and College of Business and Economics Associate Dean Zeynep Hansen. Faculty members  Nancy Napier and Kirk Smith who initiated the Boise State-NEU partnership witnessed the ceremony.

The credit articulation agreement allows students enrolled at NEU, Vietnam’s top-ranking University, to seamlessly transfer courses and credits to Boise State University and complete the requirements to earn a bachelor in business administration from Boise State University. The first cohort of students under this agreement is expected in fall 2020.

NEU delegation on the blueThe relationship between NEU and College of Business and Economics dates back to the mid-1990’s when Professors Nancy Napier, Kirk Smith, Diane Schooley-Pettis, Kent Neupert, Chris Baughn, Rob Anson and others pioneered an MBA program with NEU in Hanoi, Vietnam, with the assistance of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Ho Hoang Lan, Jack Marr, Tran Tho Dat, and Thuc Anh Phan

“This is truly a second generation legacy of partnership,” remarked Dr. Thuc Anh Phan, Vice-Dean of the International School of Management and Economics at NEU and an alumna of the first Hanoi-based MBA cohort (1995). COBE is looking forward to welcoming the first group of NEU undergraduates in 2020 and continuing with a new generation of student and faculty exchange.

COBE Graduate Students Received Awards for Research

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. 

New Program Provides Cultural Perspectives for COBE Accounting Students

COBE professors in China with Beijing Normal University Zhuhai officials

Troy Hyatt, second from left; Zeynep Hansen, middle.

Zeynep Hansen, associate dean for academic programs and scholarship in the Boise State College of Business and Economics, and Troy Hyatt, chair of the Department of Accountancy, visited Beijing Normal University Zhuhai in April.

Hansen and Hyatt were in China to sign an agreement that will make it possible for accounting students at the Beijing university to transfer credits to Boise State and continue their studies, earning degrees from both universities.

While in China, Hansen and Hyatt met with prospective students and university faculty. Hyatt gave a talk on the academic and professional requirements for pursuing a career as a certified public accountant in the United States.

Four Chinese students participating in the new program will come to Boise fall 2018.

“We expect this number will grow quickly as more students enter Beijing Normal University Zhuhai with the intention to transfer to Boise State,” said Gonzalo Bruce, assistant provost for the Center for Global Education.

The agreement eventually could open doors for Boise State students interested in traveling to Beijing for brief periods of study.

“We have expressed interest that in the future we’d like to see COBE students experience China in a short-term program,” said Bruce. “BNUZ is located in Zhuhai, an economically strong region of China next to Shenzhen, the technological hub of China.”

This kind of program is “unique and strategic for Boise State,” said Bruce. A lot of planning and research involving COBE, as well as the university registrar and other academic departments, went into designing the program, including assessing the curriculum at the Chinese university and establishing course equivalencies at Boise State.

“In sum, these programs are a campus-wide effort,” said Bruce.

Campus-wide benefits include expanding Boise State’s global reputation and attracting more international students.

“Idaho students will share the classroom with students coming from one of the strongest global economies. Classroom interaction with international students provides unique opportunities to learn new cultural perspectives and ways of doing business,” said Bruce.

The agreement will be valid for five years and may be renewed at that time.

Strategic Growth Capital Partnership – Year in Review

In the summer of 2017, the College of Business and Economics entered into a partnership with VentureCapital.Org (VCO) called the Strategic Growth Capital Partnership (SGCP) led by executive in residence, John Williamson

presenter at venture conferenceHelping Entrepreneurs

Through this partnership, we deliver a venture accelerator service that gives entrepreneurs access to a strong mentor resource, which enables a higher probability of success in raising the critical investment capital for them to grow their businesses here in Idaho. In the last year, we’ve helped 19 entrepreneurs. Their companies are:

  • As Directed
  • Blast Resolve
  • Farb Guidance systems
  • Freightflow
  • Gather

  • GenZ Technology
  • LedgerBox
  • MarchallGIS
  • Melt Organic
  • Peeka

  • Permanent
  • Predictable Ryde
  • Recovery Help
  • Retrolux
  • SnackTivist Foods

  • SpriteRE
  • TeaDora
  • Uniscen
  • VersaBuilt

Twelve of these companies attended the February 2018 VCO Investor Conference. After the conference, Jeffrey Lee Nelson, CEO of AppliedApps, Inc. (DBA LedgerBox), expressed the value of the VCO and SGCP.

“It is vitally important that the community experience an awakening as to the value of the startup community and invest in opportunities to expose and guide investors, entrepreneurs, innovators and the public sector,” said Nelson. “COBE [SGCP] and VentureCapital.Org are one of the few partnerships that have invested in our community with the vision to make a difference.”

The Student Experience

technology commercialization group meetingAnother success of SGCP is student involvement. It is one of our objectives to provide student interns networking opportunities and hands-on-learning. Seven interns (six from Boise State University) participated in the 2017-2018 VentureCapital.Org cohort of mentored companies. Collectively they assisted with 19 companies through three deal forum events at COBE and the 2018 Investor’s Choice Conference in Salt Lake City, developed relationships with dozens of mentors, and assisted with the development of the Idaho Economic Development Loan Fund. These interns were excellent ambassadors of the program and their respective universities. They demonstrated to our clients, mentors, and community partners the potential of the talent being groomed within higher education in Idaho.

Other SGCP successes:

  • 50+ mentors from Idaho are actively participating.
  • 2018 cohort is indicating some companies are beginning to raise money.
  • The reach of the program is statewide and has resulted in economic development recruitment discussions for companies to relocate to Idaho. (Three out-of-state companies are considering an Idaho office and/or strategic partnerships.)
  • Industry relationship development is resulting in a pipeline of new companies supporting COBE and partnering with university advancement.
  • Idaho Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund (EDRLF) has a high probability of closing in the second quarter of 2018 and begin accepting company applications in Q3.  This fund will serve as an additional source of capital to assist market.
  • A 2018 Idaho Entrepreneurial Challenge winner was advised by VCO interns and COBE executive in residence.
  • COBE is hosting and leading the discussion on the formation of a capital network in partnership with numerous market stakeholders

Helping new entrepreneurs gain traction in the business world, is important work that benefits our COBE students, our community and our economy. Together, our program’s successes are helping these new entrepreneurs to:  Start. Find Money. Change the World.

COBE Students Win Regional Financial Accounting Case Competition

accountancy students winners of the case competition

Jonah Eldfrick, Mark Blaser, Skyla Ward and Michelle Dillman

A team of four accountancy students won first place at the annual KPMG/Seattle University Financial Accounting Case Competition in April. Eight universities competed in this year’s event, and the Boise State team edged out several large schools (including the University of Portland and the University of Oregon) for the win. Team members are Mark Blaser, Michelle Dillman, Jonah Eldfrick, and Skyla Ward.

In its tenth year, this two-day event held on the Seattle University campus brings four-person student teams together from universities all across the northwest region. The teams are given a financial accounting case and then, in three hours, must research how to solve the case, determine a solution, and develop a PowerPoint presentation. The topic of this year’s case was to determine the value of a family-owned company based on EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) and then decide if it would be a good acquisition.

“This group of students was given a very tough case for only being sophomores. They did a great job using their resources, working together to solve the case and presenting as a team,” said faculty advisor JoAnn Wood. “In fact,” adds Wood, “after our team presented its solution to the panel of KPMG judges and won the competition, many students from other universities approached our students and asked them how they solved the case.”

Skyla Ward, one of the team members, commented, “It was such an honor to be invited! Seattle University was fun to visit and very hospitable. The competition itself was exciting, mysterious, challenging, a great learning experience, and a chance to meet and get to know people I may have never met: Boise State University students, competitors from other schools, and recruiters.”


Accountancy and Finance Graduate Selected as Commencement Speaker

Clancy Johnston

Finance and accountancy major Clancy Johnston has been selected as the 2018 Spring Commencement student speaker for the morning service.

Johnston grew up in New Plymouth, Idaho, and came to Boise State as an Alumni Legacy Scholar. He racked up awards throughout his academic career, including being named a finalist in the recent Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, where student teams pitched their business ideas to compete for seed money. Johnston also won the College of Innovation Pitch Competition in 2016, and has been named to the Dean’s List with High Honors twice during his Boise State career.

A business person from an early age, he started CJ’s Mobile DJ in 2014 when he was a junior in high school. The business, he said, paid a lot of his college bills.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” Johnston said. “I was the kid who would sell pencils at recess instead of playing.”

Congratulations, Clancy.

Read the Update story about Clancy Johnson here.

COBE Service-Learning Accomplishments for School Year 2017-18

Service-Learning opportunities are growing at the College of Business and Economics. During the 17-18 school year, nine courses were offered.

Advanced Management Topics

Management students worked on a variety of projects helping organizations like Ronald McDonald House, Idaho Food Bank, Marie Blanchard Friendship Clinic, and the Women’s and Children’s Alliance. In the fall, 10 teams of Brian McNatt’s students logged 700 volunteer hours and raised $3,620.  During the spring semester, 66 students organized into 16 teams identified non-for-profits and developed their own projects contributing approximately 950 hours and generating $13,017 of value in cash and donated items.

boise state student working with elementary students to cllean, label and sort donated books

“These numbers indicate some of the impact that our students had; but of course, much of the impact cannot be quantified,” said McNatt. “Like the impact of the one-on-one service to children and others in need, or the blood donated that will help save 141 lives.”

Funding for Nonprofits / Volunteer Management

Kathleen McDonald, adjunct faculty, is in her 4th year of teaching Funding for Nonprofits. There are typically 20-23 students in the class and they prepare grant proposals for 6-8 nonprofits each semester. In her Volunteer Management class, students volunteer for 10 hours and complete an analysis through the management framework. Plus, they work in teams to complete 15 hours towards resolving an actual problem for about four nonprofits each semester.

“Service-based learning is thoroughly integrated with both of my classes,” said McDonald. “Students would not be in my classes without a passion for nonprofits and their missions.  Nearly all are highly experienced in volunteering and I take that base of experience and extend it to understanding their experience within the context of management, governance and funding.”

Human Resource Management

Fifteen students in Assistant Professor Timothy Dunne’s human resource management class elected to do a Service-Learning component working with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Students worked with the IRC director and refugee women to explore difficulties they face finding employment.  Students also interviewed local business professionals to document their perceptions of the refugee labor force, and particularly women, from an employment perspective.

Marketing Communication

boise state students teaching preschoolersLeslie Koppenhafer, assistant professor, and her students worked with TVEP (Treasure Valley Education Partnership) this semester. Ten teams (47 students) tackled the challenge of designing a campaign that addresses either making parents aware of the importance of kindergarten readiness or teaching parents what skills preschool children need to be considered prepared for kindergarten. Idaho is one of few states that does not have state-funded preschools so children show up to kindergarten with widely varying skills. It can cost the state an extra $10,000 to get a child up to grade level.

Marketing communication students volunteered approximately 700 hours and provided TVEP with good nuggets of ideas to explore.

Principles of Marketing

Students in David Hunt’s Principles of Marketing class worked with Boise State University’s Office of Communications and Marketing to develop marketing plans for a Boise State brand of hot sauce. Six teams presented to Boise State’s marketing team alternative approaches for branding, pricing, promoting, and distributing the product.

By working with marketing professionals, students gained hands-on experience in marketing and explored their interests in a marketing career. The novelty hot sauce product is on track to launch in Spring, 2019. Proceeds from hot sauce sales will be returned to Boise State.

Sustainability and Economic Policy

Michail Fragkias’ (associate professor) students tackled these research topics in the Sustainability and Economic Policy class:

  • Climate Change Effects On The Outdoor Economy of Idaho (Ben Albert, Marissa Warren, Michael Duke, and Hannah Arnold)
  • Environmental Valuation Best Practices (Jon Snell, McKenna Yetter, Hailie Johnson-Waskow)
  • The Idaho Outdoors As A Recruitment Tool (Nate Nelson, Marlee Heistuman, Calvin Gaus)
  • Utilizing Science in Idaho Policy:  Exploring Feasible Environmental Policies for Idaho (Ravyn Farber, Danny Fisher, Amy Hilton)

Students presented their research and interacted with their stakeholders on the projects. Posters were also on display at the Service-Learning Student Exhibition. One of Fragkias’ teams won Best in College for their poster titled “The Idaho Outdoors As A Recruitment Tool.” Team members are Calvin Gaus, Marlee Heistuman and Nate Nelson.

Urban Economics

Samia Islam, associate professor, lead 26 students in Urban Economics (Econ 432/532)  in a research project for community partner Boise Farmer’s Market. The students gathered data and conducted analysis to help the Boise Farmers Market determine a permanent location for the market. Past economics Service-Learning classes have worked on projects for the Idaho Department of Labor, International Rescue Committee and COMPASS.

accounting students helping prepare tax returns

A tax client Jerry Garcia works on his return and students Hannah Edwards and Andy Jozwik help as needed.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

Accountancy students were trained and certified with the IRS to be qualified to assist people with their tax return filings. Kathy Hurley, lecturer in the Department of Accountancy, organized the sessions at the Boise Library and supervised the students as they prepared and filed 379 tax returns for community members.


College of Business and Economics    |    |    (208) 426-1125    |    Micron Business and Economics Building Room 3131