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Twenty-two years ago, Hafiz Chandiwala was an accounting student at UAB, struggling to balance college studies while supporting his young family. “I was working full time, I had a family, I was young, and I was going to school at night to try to finish my degree in four years,” he recalls. “I received some financial aid, including student loans, to support my way through school, but it was a traditional package with a large component to be repaid following graduation.”
Then, to his surprise, the Collat School of Business Scholarship Committee awarded him the Louis Paul Kassouf Endowed Scholarship for accounting students. “I was very shocked — amazed and grateful — to receive a scholarship, and without it, I am not sure I would have been able to finish my education,” he says. “That scholarship changed everything for me.”
Today, Chandiwala is the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. And in 2005, he created his own scholarship in the Collat School of Business to provide more opportunities to UAB students who, like him, are juggling financial challenges and big dreams. The Hafiz Chandiwala Endowed Scholarship in Accounting is designated for accounting majors who are working full-time while attending college at UAB. “I receive letters from the recipients,” he says. “It’s heartwarming to know that you are able to help others in a manner that you were once helped and pay it forward.”
The Birmingham Business Alliance invited students from Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, and UAB Collat School of Business to participate in their Talent Recruitment Project on October 30th, 2015. This annual event attracts high-caliber talent to Birmingham for an opportunity to connect with local companies. Eleven Collat students, juniors and seniors, participated in the event.
The student participants connected with Birmingham company recruiters from BBVA Compass, Greenway Health, Northwestern Mutual, Robert Half, Southern Company, UAB, Viva Health, and Warren Averitt to explore the various career facets of the corporations. BBVA Compass, Greenway Health, Robert Half and Southern Company recruiters served on a panel to discuss the importance of academic performance, internships, interview preparation, creativity, and professionalism. The conversation continued over lunch at the Region’s Harbert Summit Club overlooking the city of Birmingham.
Hibbett Sports CEO Jeffry Rosenthal and Chief Merchant Jared Briskin met with students in the combined undergraduate capstone and MBA class, “Strategic Leadership Through the Eyes of the C-Suite,” on October 27, 2015, to discuss their company’s strategy.
Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Briskin described several key technology-based initiatives that are underway at the company including further development of digital marketing through social media and other channels, and refinement of a point-of-sale computer system. The POS system would allow sales associates to “convert” a customer who might not find exactly what they need in a store, but would be happy if the sales associate went online in the store and arranged for a product to be sent directly to the customer’s home.
By Matt Windsor
As published in UAB The Mix,Tomorrow land: Engineering lab explores the future of tech, teaching
By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Fitbit, a digital-age pedometer that tracks your steps — and sleep patterns. You may well be wearing one yourself. Corey Shum, Director of UAB’s Enabling Technology Lab, is working with two local entrepreneurs, and the Engineering and Innovative Technology Development (EITD) group, to create a hyperaccurate Fitbit that doesn’t just watch you exercise — it makes sure you’re doing it right. It could also transform the process of rehabilitation after an injury.
Orthopedic surgeon Ken Jaffe, M.D., a 1982 graduate of the UAB School of Medicine and a former UAB faculty member now in private practice, was inspired by the high-tech motion-capture devices in the golf industry. “In the golf world, they have sensors you can put on your club to look at your club head speed and swing path,” Jaffe said. “I had the idea of using this technology for medical rehabilitation.” He also knew where to go for help turning the idea into reality. “I was introduced to some of the talent at UAB when I got my MBA” at the UAB Collat School of Business in 2003, Jaffe said. A former faculty member in the business school, Sanjay Singh, Ph.D., connected Jaffe and his business partner in the startup Management of Motion to Shum and the ETLab.
Regions Financial partnered with Collat Career Services during Collat’s Banking & Government Industry Week to host a visit on October 16th to their corporate headquarters in downtown Birmingham. Collat’s Banking & Government Industry Week also included a graduate school workshop, professional development workshop, and career expo for targeted companies.
For the visit, Regions invited 25 of Collat’s top finance, economics, accounting, marketing, and management students for the inaugural event. The day consisted of over 16 representatives from the Regions Financial Corporation to present on the following topics:
As a pharmaceutical company focused on finding drugs for rare diseases that can be commercially successful, BioCryst Corporation is a risky business, with a failure rate for commercialization of its drug discoveries of over 90%. On October 20, 2015, BioCryst CEO Jon Stonehouse told students in the combined MBA and undergraduate capstone class “Strategic leadership through the eyes of the C-Suite” that his company was living this brutal statistic three years ago when it concluded that further work on a drug it had spent years and millions of dollars on was likely futile.
Stonehouse said that he and his board of directors made the difficult decision in late 2012 to downsize the company by over half and then embark on an “experiment” to see if the remaining 30 employees could re-focus and be successful with one company asset, a rare disease drug to combat a debilitating disease that causes extreme swelling, called Hereditary Angioedema (HAE). CEO Stonehouse noted the experiment has thus far been successful, in no small part due to the fact that employees are motivated by the desire to help the 70,000-350,000 people worldwide who suffer from HAE.
As published in UAB Magazine, Fall 2015
On the popular television show Shark Tank, budding business owners pitch ideas to investors who could make or break their futures. Anxiety runs high. Tough questions must be answered. Dreams could live or die.
Now imagine doing that in college. UAB students are willingly facing—and winning—a Shark Tank-style challenge with a tantalizing prize: the opportunity to launch their own start-ups before they graduate. The competition is part of UAB’s strengthened emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship—providing students with knowledge, experience, and inspiration to develop and operate a new company or commercialize a novel invention.
One of the best analogies for describing business entrepreneurs is the Explorer-Pioneer-Settler archetype:
- Explorers are the first ones in a new territory (think the unknown person who first assembled a desktop computer).
- Pioneers are the ones who clear the land and first try to actually live in the territory (think Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and Apple computers).
- Settlers are the people who move in, plant the crops, and live there long-term (the people in the PC industry today).
Tom Broughton, Chief Executive Officer of ServisFirst Bank, recently told students in the combined MBA and undergraduate capstone class “Strategic leadership through the eyes of the C-Suite” that he wants Pioneers in his company who embrace the idea of growth. Broughton made a return visit to the Collat School of Business on October 13, 2015.
Broughton is himself a two-time Pioneer. At the age of 29, he founded First Commercial Bank. That bank was acquired by Synovus Bank in 1992, and Mr. Broughton remained with that organization in steadily more senior management positions until leaving to create ServisFirst in 2005. In just ten years, ServisFirst expects to have $5 billion in assets by year-end 2015, operating in key metropolitan areas of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina. It is one of the most profitable community banks in the country.