Tag Archives: W.P. Carey School of Business


W. P. Carey’s Online MBA Program Ranks No.2 in Nation

For the first time ever, U.S. News & World Report is issuing complete numeric rankings of the country’s best online graduate business programs. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University comes in an impressive No. 2 on the list.

“We’re extremely happy to see U.S. News confirm we have one of the world’s best online MBA programs,” says Robert Mittelstaedt, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Increasingly, students are looking for the flexibility of an online program, but they don’t want to sacrifice the high quality of a top university. The W. P. Carey School was one of the first highly respected schools to get into the online arena – more than a decade ago — and we offer the same stellar faculty and degree in our online program as we offer in all of our other highly ranked MBA programs.”

In addition to the new online-MBA ranking, U.S. News & World Report already currently ranks the W. P. Carey School’s undergraduate business, full-time MBA and evening MBA programs among the nation’s Top 30 in their respective categories.

As far as online programs, last year, U.S. News & World Report only issued an “Honor Roll” of 14 graduate business choices and some rankings on subcategories, but the publication stopped short of giving a full, overall rankings list of the top programs. The W. P. Carey School did make the “Honor Roll,” but this year’s clear-cut No. 2 is more definitive. The new rankings are based on important criteria: student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, and faculty credentials and training.

“This means U.S. News & World Report looked at our accomplished students, renowned faculty, small class sizes, diverse online-learning technologies, prestigious accreditation, and reputation among peer schools, and they placed us among the two best online MBA programs in the entire United States,” explains Stacey Whitecotton, associate dean for W. P. Carey MBA programs.

Students serving in the military, starting their own businesses and traveling extensively for their jobs are among those who have chosen the W. P. Carey School’s online MBA program. For example, NFL Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff completed the program, even while attending NFL training camp. Lieutenant Colonel Scott Coulson, who was awarded the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Badge for his service and actions while leading combat missions in Iraq, participated in the program while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

This past summer, QS, a Britain-based company that helps students select MBA programs, ranked the W. P. Carey School’s online MBA program among the Top 15 in the world. QS says there are at least 300 online MBA programs right now and that attention has boomed, going from just 4.4 percent of MBA students interested in 2008 to 15.6 percent interested in 2012.

The W. P. Carey School’s popular two-year online MBA program allows students to meet at a face-to-face orientation just once at the ASU campus, then complete the rest of the courses completely online. Students work in small, personalized teams with peers from other industries, focusing on one course at a time. This is also one of the few online MBA programs in which students can earn their degrees with an area of emphasis, such as finance, international business, marketing or supply chain management. Participants have a dedicated financial aid specialist and a career center to help them with job searches. For more information, go to www.wpcarey.asu.edu.

The W. P. Carey School also offers other online graduate business programs: a weekend/online hybrid MBA, a 16-month online Master of Science in Information Management, and a newly announced 21-month Master of Science in Supply Chain Management and Engineering.


Phoenix-area Home Prices continue to Rise

More ordinary buyers are finally getting into the Phoenix-area housing market as home prices continue to rise and investors find fewer bargains to snap up. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which reveals the numbers for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of November:

> The median single-family home price continued to rise, jumping from $157,000 in October to $162,500 in November.
> The tight housing supply grew 31 percent between September and December, but another drop may be coming in the spring.
> All-cash offers are finally on a downward trend, signaling that investor interest may be waning a bit and more ordinary buyers are able to successfully compete for homes.

Phoenix-area home prices reached a low point in September 2011, followed by a sharp rise that’s expected to continue into 2013. The median single-family home price in November was up to $162,500 from just $120,000 last November — a 35.4-percent increase. Realtors will note the average price per square foot rose 27.4 percent year-over-year. The townhouse/condo median price is up almost 43 percent, from $70,000 to $100,000.

However, according to the report’s author, Mike Orr, the market is unbalanced, with not enough homes available for the many buyers, especially at the lower end. The number of homes for sale, but not under contract, was down 7 percent year-over-year at the start of December. Specifically, the amount of bargains or “distressed supply” was down a whopping 43 percent from last year. Things started to improve this fall, with total supply up 31 percent from September to December, but Orr doesn’t see more good news coming.

“We don’t see a strong flow of new listings coming onto the market,” says Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “For example, short-sale listings are down about 70 percent compared to this same time last year. As the market improves, it seems many people may have decided to hang onto their homes in an effort to let values keep going up. I also anticipate another possible drop in supply this spring. Unless new-home builders can start keeping up with rising demand, we may have a chronic supply problem.”

Ordinary buyers, who usually need financing, still face multiple bids and tough competition from investors offering sellers preferred all-cash deals. In fact, almost half (48.4 percent) of the single-family-home sales under $150,000 in November were all-cash purchases. However, the percentage of homes bought by investors declined from 35.5 percent in August to 27.5 percent in November. Orr says investor activity peaked around August and is on a long-term downward trend. With the possible exception of a brief, normal holiday spike in December/January, he expects a continued drop in investor activity.

“As prices go up each month, price-sensitive buyers, such as investors, get a little less enthusiastic,” explains Orr. “Bargain hunters haven’t got much left to pick over, which is allowing more normal buyers to jump into the market before prices rise past what they can afford.”

Foreclosures are down in the market. Completed foreclosures on single-family and condo homes dropped 34 percent from November 2011 to November 2012. Foreclosure starts – homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – went down 48 percent.

Sales activity stayed relatively level, dipping just 1 percent from November to November. The most expensive types of sales, new-home sales and regular resales, are up 32 percent and 84 percent. All types of discount sales, such as short sales and bank-owned-home sales, are down.

Almost every area of the Valley has seen prices explode over the past year, led by Pinal County, including Eloy, Arizona City and Maricopa.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/Full-Report-201212.pdf. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.


ASU Center becomes a resource to teach service

Customer service was once viewed as the cost of doing business.

“Across almost every industry, leaders are focusing on service as a way to compete in today’s competitive marketplace,” says Mary Jo Bitner, academic director for the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

But times have changed. Companies that are in search of new revenue streams are finding that in addition to providing great customer service, offering value-added services to their product lines are helping their bottom lines. And the help them make the most of the opportunities, many are seeking help from the ASU Center, which focuses on research and executive education in managing and marketing services.

“Customer demand and the competitive challenges posed by the commoditization of many products has pushed many goods-based companies to take another look at services as a source of revenue and profit,” says Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Services Leadership, who has spent the past 20 years tracking the growing importance of services as a product. “Many are following market leaders to become goods-and-services companies.”

For example, Boeing has broadened its offerings by adding the lucrative market of services to its aircraft manufacturing. The Hewlett Packard and Compaq merger created a new company whose major product is services. IBM’s impressive financials over the past decade — in shining contrast to its competitors — were largely the result of its service businesses.

“In 2001, we were launching our first fee-based service business,” says Steve Church, president of Avnet Integrated and chief corporate business development and planning officer. “We wanted to offer more services and solutions. We knew a lot, but there was a lot we didn’t know.”

Church says Avnet’s membership in the center — which concentrates on expanding service innovation by combining the latest scientific insights from the academic world with the best of business strategy in the real world — allowed the company to “build a culture of service excellence that focuses on the customer and gives each a great customer experience.”

The Center, which was created in 1985, remains the only one of its kind in the United States, devoted to research and education in the services field.  Its research findings form the foundation of the Center’s executive education program, attended by managers and executives of leading firms.  Member companies include AT&T, Charles Schwab and Co., Ford Motor Company, IBM, Mayo Clinic and others, who sponsor research, fund scholarships, host MBA student teams and participate in executive education.

Many member companies sponsor research that is published in academic journals, and shared at the Center’s executive education forums. Bitner, for example, has been studying the effects of self-service technologies (SST), working with Ford and a major pharmaceutical benefits management company.

“The Center is really a tremendous resource for any company that has a strategy to to improve customer serve or add services to augment its products,” Church says. “We learned that by getting our employees engaged in customer service, we built customer loyalty, it helped us compete, and it enhanced our financial performance.”

Which Common Brands Are Most Sustainable?

As you do your shopping this holiday season, would it help to know exactly which toys, electronics, food and other items are better for the environment? A prominent researcher at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is helping to develop a system that will tell retailers, manufacturers, and eventually consumers, about the sustainability of many of the products we buy every day.

Professor Kevin Dooley is research director of The Sustainability Consortium, an impressive group administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas, featuring big-name-members, such as Unilever, BASF, MillerCoors, Mars and Walmart, with combined revenue of more than $1.5 trillion. The consortium is developing criteria that will allow you to easily identify which products are the most sustainable in their categories, based on factors like emissions, labor practices, water usage and waste creation. The consortium’s efforts were recently named among 10 “world-changing ideas” that are “radical enough to alter our lives” by Scientific American, and this year, the consortium’s work really vaulted forward.

“We have now established the critical issues and best areas in which to improve more than 100 types of the most common products — everything from electronics and toys, to food, drinks and personal care items,” says Dooley. “We’re helping businesses focus on the most important sustainability issues and giving them a way to measure and share their progress in making products better. This year, we were able to make rapid progress, thanks to the intense efforts of our staff and the stakeholders involved.”

In addition to big advances in creating these tools for companies to use, the consortium also finalized a huge partnership this year. The Consumer Goods Forum is a commercial trade organization with more than 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and others as members worldwide. Working with this group will help the consortium to create a single global framework for sharing information between retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and consumers.

The consortium also announced expansion into China, thanks to a $2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. The consortium will build relationships with Chinese manufacturers and retailers, exchanging information about best practices. It will also help implement a training program for Chinese factory managers and owners, utilizing regional knowledge about social and environmental issues. In other global efforts, the consortium hosted visits and events in Chile and Japan this year, and it’s strengthening ties with a university in Europe.

Dooley says making products more sustainable is getting even more important, as the number of middle-class consumers worldwide keeps growing. We’re creating and consuming more goods — using more energy and disposing of more waste in the process.

“It’s vital to show companies that sustainability and profits aren’t mutually exclusive,” says Dooley. “Investing in sustainability can actually help boost a firm’s bottom line. Sustainability efforts involve streamlining processes, using less energy and creating less packaging. All of this can help save both money and the environment.”

Dooley adds that 40 to 50 percent of environmental impacts can be traced to the life cycle of consumer products sold in retail stores. Therefore, making better choices about which products we buy and how those products are manufactured are truly significant. Dooley notes that some criteria developed by The Sustainability Consortium are already influencing major companies.

“For example, Walmart now requires all suppliers of laptop computers to ship those computers with energy-saving settings as the default,” says Dooley. “Other retailers are already using the consortium’s criteria to choose areas in which they can ask their suppliers to improve. Hopefully, we’re helping many companies consider more sustainability aspects when they’re selecting suppliers and drawing up contracts.”

Dooley teaches sustainability in the W. P. Carey School of Business’ supply chain management programs, consistently ranked Top 10 nationwide. He points out the pioneering way The Sustainability Consortium is integrating the efforts of members across academia, government, private companies and non-governmental organizations. The group is conducting practical research that can affect mainstream consumers around the world.

“The current focus of the consortium is to make the existing system of creating and using products as efficient as possible,” says Dooley. “As industry capabilities mature, we and others will also start looking at how we can consume less, reuse more, change products to services, and make items last longer overall.”

In 2013, the consortium will start working on criteria for clothing, footwear, textiles and many different durable goods like bicycles and hardware. To learn more about The Sustainability Consortium’s efforts, visit http://www.sustainabilityconsortium.org/.

Jay Parry Headshot

Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Hires CEO

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee today announced the appointment of Jay L. Parry to head the organization as Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Parry will oversee the Host Committee and will work closely with the NFL to deliver a successful Super Bowl XLIX to the State of Arizona, including driving marketing efforts, developing and implementing NFL and Host Committee programs, spearheading sponsorships, fundraising and community relations, and managing financials.

Super Bowl XLIX will be the third Super Bowl played in Arizona, and the second played at University of Phoenix Stadium. Super Bowl XLII in 2008 had an economic impact of $500 million, according to a study conducted by the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

Parry brings a sports and business acumen uniquely suited to lead the Host Committee’s efforts for Super Bowl XLIX. Most recently, she was senior vice president of Brand and Business Development for the Phoenix Suns. Parry also spent seven seasons as president and chief operating officer of the Phoenix Mercury. During her tenure, the Mercury won two WNBA championships and generated double-digit business growth in corporate partnerships and attendance. Prior to her career in professional sports, Parry was an executive in a variety of roles with Bank of America, most recently as executive vice president in the Central Region. She served on the MVP Host Committee when Arizona hosted Super Bowl XXX in 1996. Currently, Parry serves as a director on the boards of several local organizations, including Arizona Women’s Education and Employment (AWEE,) BMO Harris Bank Arizona Advisory Board and Thunderbirds Charities. See www.AZSuperBowl.com for Parry’s full biography.

Parry was named a Most Admired CEO by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2010 and in 2008, was selected one of the Arizona Woman magazine’s “20 Women Who Will Shape Arizona by 2020.”

Parry will report to David Rousseau, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman and president of Salt River Project.

“Jay’s appointment is an amazing coup for the Host Committee,” said Rousseau. “She is the ideal candidate for this role because of her deep experience in sports marketing, business and her strong ties to the community. Jay’s proven leadership skills make her well-suited to drive all facets of the organization from sponsorship and community activation and engagement, to the complex logistics involved in putting on the Super Bowl.”

“Arizona has so much to offer, and I’m honored and excited to be a part of demonstrating this to the world through the Super Bowl,” said Jay Parry, CEO, Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. “Sports and business are not only my expertise, but my passion. Super Bowl is an exciting opportunity for Arizona that will leave a lasting legacy for our entire community.”

The successful 2015 game bid was prepared by the Host Committee, led by Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals, Mike Kennedy, former chairman of the Host Committee, and Winnie Stolper. Stolper has worked with the Host Committee since 2006 and will take on the role of Chief Administrative Officer reporting to Parry.

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee will bring together influential business leaders, senior government representatives, Convention and Visitors Bureau personnel, and thousands of volunteers to insure Super Bowl XLIX is a success, and results in positive economic impact under a global spotlight that enhances community pride.


Hillman Named Dean of W. P. Carey School of Business

Amy Hillman has been named dean of Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, effective March 1, 2013. The school’s current executive dean, Hillman has served as second-in-command at the school since 2009, playing a key role in its growth and success.

U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the school Top 30 in the nation for undergraduate business, full-time MBA and part-time MBA programs.

Hillman succeeds retiring dean, Robert Mittelstaedt, who helped vault the W. P. Carey School of Business into one of the largest and highest-ranked business schools in the world, with more than 10,000 students. He will remain at ASU as dean emeritus and professor of management.

“Amy Hillman is a devoted teacher, a noted researcher and a gifted administrator,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “She has been an integral part of the W. P. Carey School management team that has had so much success during the past decade. We are fortunate that Amy has agreed to move into the school’s deanship to further enhance the school’s excellence.

“I wish to thank Bob Mittelstaedt for his leadership of the W. P. Carey School, and I am delighted that Bob will continue to serve ASU by doing special projects and advising me and the provost.”

Said Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth D. Phillips, “Amy Hillman is a top scholar in her field, and she is a creative and flexible administrator well-suited to lead the W. P. Carey School in a time of very rapid change in higher education.”

Hillman is a world-renowned management professor and holds the Rusty Lyon Chair in Strategy at the W. P. Carey School. She has won numerous national awards as an outstanding reviewer and researcher. She was editor of Academy of Management Review, the world’s top management journal in terms of citation impact, and her research has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead a terrific group of faculty, staff, students, alumni and our friends in the business community forward,” said Hillman. “The W. P. Carey School of Business is on a steep trajectory toward becoming one of the world’s finest institutions committed to making meaningful contributions to the lives of our stakeholders and also to the future of business practice.”

Students and colleagues consider Hillman to be an exceptional teacher, having honored her with two Outstanding Professor Awards and two Outstanding Teacher Awards. She was also voted one of the most popular professors in Businessweek’s rankings of MBA faculty in 1998.

Before her impressive tenure in academia, Hillman worked as general manager of a small retail and manufacturing business, and she now plays a key role in promoting entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School. For example, she helps to advance the school’s Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year.

Hillman previously taught at the University of Western Ontario, Michigan State University, Johannes Kepler University in Austria, Texas A&M University and Trinity University. She has a Ph.D. from Texas A&M, where she was also named Outstanding Doctoral Alumni.

Mittelstaedt joined the school in 2004 and will semi-retire after spending about 40 years in academia, including various leadership positions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Phoenix’s median home price continues to rise

A new report by real state researchers at Arizona State University says the median home price in metro Phoenix during October increased by 34 percent when compared to the same period a year before.

The report by the university’s W.P. Carey School of Business says the median home price stood at $157,000 in October.

The median home price for October 2011 was $116,000.

The researchers also said the supply of homes and condos in metro Phoenix increased 31 percent over the past three months.


Phoenix-area Home Prices Rising Again

After several months of hovering in the same tight range, Phoenix-area home prices are on the rise again. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals the numbers for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of October:

After staying between $149,000 and $150,000 for four months in a row, the median single-family home price finally bounced up to $157,000 in October.
The short supply of homes available for sale on the market has gone up 31 percent over the last three months, but will likely level off for the winter.
New-home sales are skyrocketing – up 85 percent from the same time last year.

The median single-family home price reached $157,000 in October, up more than 34 percent from the same time last year. That’s when it was at just $116,800. Realtors will note the average price per square foot has also gone up almost 26 percent since last October. Prices have been rising sharply since September 2011, with the exception of one recent pause.

“After four months of limited movement in the median single-family home price, the Phoenix area is again seeing an upward trend,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The summer lull ended, and we had an influx of snowbirds and other buyers. We’re seeing about 5 percent more sales activity this October than last October.”

Some of the increased activity is thanks to more homes becoming available on the market. As prices go up, more existing homeowners are willing to sell. The overall supply of homes and condos available on the Phoenix-area market went up 31 percent over the past three months. However, Orr suspects the supply peaked in November and will start declining again as winter begins. Even now, it’s a relatively tight supply, especially at the lower-priced end of the market.

“The overall number of active single-family home listings without an existing contract as of Nov. 1 was fewer than 12,500 in the greater Phoenix area,” says Orr. “Also, 76 percent of that supply is priced above $150,000, so ordinary buyers in the lower range still face rough competition from multiple bidders, including investors and others making preferred all-cash offers.”

Almost half of the homes bought for less than $150,000 in October were the result of all-cash deals. Though investor presence is declining somewhat in the Phoenix area, investors were still involved in almost 30 percent of the housing-market transactions.

Fewer cheap properties are flooding onto the market as foreclosure rates go down. Foreclosure starts – homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – were down 41 percent this October from last October. Completed foreclosures were down 15 percent.

The market is starting to shift toward a much greater percentage of normal resales and new-home sales. Normal resales are up 100 percent from last October, and new-home sales are up an impressive 85 percent.

“New single-family home sales had a strong month in October, topping 1,000 for the first time since 2010,” says Orr. “As a result, developers are clamoring for new vacant lots on which to build. Because of competition, developers are being forced to pay higher prices than in the recent past, so we conclude new-home prices will rise substantially over the next year. That will also likely pull normal resale prices higher as long as there’s a shortage of housing inventory.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/Full-Report-201211.pdf. More analysis is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.


W. P. Carey School Offers New Scholarship Program

If you’ve ever thought about going back to school to try to advance your career and make more money, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offers some of the best values in education. In particular, its full-time MBA program has consistently been recognized as one of the best in the nation for “return on investment.” Recently, the school announced it’s adding a new scholarship program to make it even easier for some of the best students in the country to get an MBA through that program.

“We recently introduced the Wm. Polk Carey Memorial Scholarship Fund to help successful applicants for the full-time MBA program cover the costs of education,” says Robert Mittelstaedt, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Last year, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked our full-time MBA program among the Top 20 in the world and the Top 10 in the U. S. for ‘return on investment,’ indicating superb value. However, we still wanted to push even further to help more deserving students access a highly ranked MBA program.”

The Bloomberg Businessweek article pointed out that students completing the W. P. Carey School’s full-time MBA program could see an annual pay increase of about $40,000. It also indicated that it would likely take less than five years for a W. P. Carey full-time MBA student to recoup all the costs of getting an MBA, including the salary the student gives up to go back to school full-time.

The school’s full-time MBA program is known for high quality. It is currently ranked among the Top 30 “Best Graduate Schools” for business in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. It was one of the two least expensive programs in the entire Top 30 this year. In addition, it’s recognized for its personalized feel, with small class sizes. Students can specialize in multiple areas of emphasis, including finance and supply chain management, a field in which the W. P. Carey School consistently ranks Top 10 in the nation. This year, 89 percent of the school’s full-time MBA students were employed within 90 days of graduation.

The new scholarship fund is named after the school’s benefactor, real estate investor and acclaimed philanthropist Wm. Polk Carey, who donated $50 million to the school in 2002/2003. Carey passed away in January, but his generosity continues to be felt by students. Now, every applicant to the W. P. Carey School’s full-time MBA program will be considered for the scholarship money, which could completely cover the program’s costs for the very best students. No additional application is required.

For more information on W. P. Carey MBA programs, visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu/mba.


Why Different States Are Getting Out of the Housing Crisis Faster

America’s housing market is finally starting to really recover from the Great Recession, but some areas of the country are fighting back faster than others. New research from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University indicates one reason: Different states have dramatically different mortgage laws, and some make it easier to push through tough times.

“The laws across states use different legal theories as the basis for mortgages, and they balance the rights of creditors and borrowers very differently,” explains Assistant Professor of Real Estate Andra Ghent of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The variations started early in America’s history, and they’re not really based on economic reasons, but they’re still having a major influence on what’s happening now with the housing market.”

Ghent runs through a few main issues playing a role in whether a state has already gotten through the worst of the housing crisis or whether it’s still plodding along:

Some states require judicial involvement in foreclosures, while others don’t.
Some states require a massive amount of paperwork, including the original promissory note, in order for a lender to foreclose.
Some states require a longer “redemption period” of time, during which the borrower can be behind on payments, before a foreclosure can happen.

Ghent says, in general, many of the states that don’t require judicial involvement or tons of paperwork have already run through the bulk of their foreclosures and are finally seeing rising property values. That’s because the flood of cheap, foreclosed properties onto the market has stopped.

Arizona is one of the states in which the damage happened relatively quickly, and there’s no longer a big backlog of foreclosures to go through the process. Phoenix-area home prices have been rising dramatically since last fall.

“The key is quick resolution of the situation,” says Ghent. “For example, if a state requires a longer period before foreclosures can happen, then that generally means the homes deteriorate more as the borrowers realize they’re going to have to leave and stop taking care of the property. This is bad for the neighbors and the property values.”

Ghent adds she doesn’t see much renegotiation during the times leading up to the foreclosures. The rules just allow for drawing out the situation.

“New York and Florida, for example, have very slow foreclosure processes,” Ghent says. “Properties can sit around without any maintenance for two to four years while they work their way through the maze, before they finally get a new owner.”

Ghent also doesn’t think that making more foreclosures go through the judicial process will help prevent problems like robo-signing. That’s where some lenders didn’t properly review all the individual details of the cases or follow all of the required procedures.

“In most of those cases, the borrowers were really behind on their payments and would eventually have lost the homes, anyway,” Ghent says. “Fraud is unacceptable, but it was also a case of sheer volume. If those particular states had required less paperwork, that’s what might actually have helped prevent more robo-signing.”

Ghent emphasizes that getting rid of the patchwork of different state laws would ultimately benefit the housing market as a whole.

“Can you imagine how much money, time and resources we could save, if we didn’t have 50 different sets of laws, paperwork and legal-expertise requirements?” she asks. “Again, there appears to be no real economic reason for the differences. Many of these laws date all the way back to the 1800s, and some were changed just after the Great Depression.”

Overall, Ghent has one big message for those who can influence the process in the future.

“Nobody pays attention to mortgage laws for 50 to 60 years at a time,” she says. “They only examine these laws after a major event, so the time to change is now.”

Ghent’s research on the history of America’s mortgage laws can be found online at


Help to ease Holiday Shopping Customer-Service Worries

As we approach holiday shopping time, many of us start thinking about long lines, frayed nerves and dealing with frazzled customer-service representatives. However, some companies are now taking the time to turn customer-service interactions into a strong point of competitive difference that makes consumers want to come back for more, especially when price and other considerations are basically equal.

A new program from the Center for Services Leadership at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is designed to help make your service experiences better. It’s also meant to help improve relationships between participating companies and the firms they work with, such as suppliers, distributors and retailers.

“We worked with Honeywell to create a groundbreaking, totally online program aimed at making every single customer-service representative and field service representative completely focused on excellent service,” says Associate Professor Nancy Stephens of the W. P. Carey School of Business, faculty director of the program. “Honeywell Aerospace is the first company to decide to send every one of its customer-oriented representatives – 1,400 people — through the program. They want to make a very visible commitment to customer service, and other companies are looking at the program, too.”

“The partnership that’s come together between the W. P. Carey School’s Center for Services Leadership at ASU and Honeywell has really allowed us to put together a fantastic program that develops the customer-service skills for Honeywell Aerospace employees,” says Adrian Paull, Honeywell vice president for customer and product support.

Honeywell’s first class just graduated from the academy in late October, but the program can be customized by other firms. Some units are already being taken online by employees at other big-name companies.

“All companies have business-to-business relationships they want to nurture,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “This new program creates an opportunity for them to really polish their customer-service skills, not only for the general public, but also for those B2B customers.”

The Center for Services Leadership helps well-known firms respond to the challenges faced as services have become a driving force in economies around the world, with less growth happening in products and manufacturing. The center’s member companies include household names like Boeing, FedEx, Honeywell Aerospace, IBM Global Services, Mayo Clinic, PetSmart, Siemens Industries, Southwest Airlines and State Farm Insurance Company.

“The companies looking at this program understand that it offers expertise from the center, including faculty instructors from the Top 30-ranked W. P. Carey School of Business,” says Professor Mary Jo Bitner, executive director of the center. “At the same time, the program is also extremely flexible, since it’s offered online. It allows for standardized training across all of a company’s worldwide locations and the chance for employees anywhere from Dallas to Shanghai to Berlin, to get out of their everyday mindsets and interact with each other and make things better for their customers.”

“Wherever we are in the world, we need to operate within the cultural boundaries of that area and provide customer service that is needed and expected by the people in that area,” says Eileen Barry, a customer support project manager at Honeywell. “The major change that the W. P. Carey School training has provided to me personally and at work each day is to always think of things through the customer’s eyes.”

Some courses in the program include “Listening to the Voice of the Customer,” “Designing Customer-Focused Service Processes,” and “Recovering from Service Failures.” The idea is to make customers happy and to address any customer disappointments with great recovery. Those who complete the program receive a certificate and are eligible for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Arizona State University. These units are widely used as a measure of participation in non-credit, professional development courses.

For more information about the Center for Services Leadership or the new program, go to www.wpcarey.asu.edu/csl or call (480) 965-6201.


2013 Economic Forecasts for U.S. & Arizona

Arizona’s economy improved somewhat this year, but what can we expect in 2013? Top experts on the U.S. and Arizona economies will deliver their forecasts for the state, nation, stock market and housing market at the Valley’s largest and most trusted economic-forecasting event on Dec. 5.

The 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon is co-sponsored by the Department of Economics at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase. About 1,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Phoenix Convention Center.

“Arizona’s economic forecasters are patting themselves on the back, since their projections made a year ago appear to be accurate for 2012; the state seems certain to record about 2-percent job growth, and we are seeing the beginning of a housing comeback,” says Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “However, 2013 is a different story. A huge cloud of uncertainty is caused, not only by questions about what the next Congress will do, but also about how the overall U.S. economy will react to recession in Europe and slower growth in China. Though the national economy always has some impact on Arizona, until housing and population growth really pick up, the state seems destined to closely follow the national business cycle. If the U.S. economy contracts, then Arizona’s economy will, too. That’s the major risk we’re watching.”

Presentations will include forecasts on:

* Arizona and the regional economy from McPheters, who is also editor of the prestigious Arizona and Western Blue Chip Economic Forecast publications.
* The U.S. economy from Beth Ann Bovino, deputy chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, a widely quoted media expert with two decades of financial experience, including a position at the Federal Reserve.
* The financial sector from Anthony Chan, chief economist for private wealth management at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who served as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, appears monthly on CNBC and is a member of the Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones weekly economic indicator panels.
* Real estate and construction from Elliott D. Pollack, chief executive officer of Elliott D. Pollack and Company, a highly regarded Scottsdale-based economic and real estate consulting firm.

The 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon will be held in the Phoenix Convention Center’s West Ballroom on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is $90 per person. Proceeds are used to support student scholarships, faculty research, and other academic and professional activities in the Department of Economics at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

For more information, including registration details, go to www.wpcarey.asu.edu/efl or call (480) 965-3531.

Small Business Leadership Academy

Small Business Leadership Academy: Blueprinting

In the final session of the 2012 Small Business Leadership Academy, attendees took an in-depth look at brainstorming. For a company with a limited number of employees, it’s more important than ever to get the best from each of them. Many small business owners see that they have high-potential individuals who can become leaders, but they don’t bring their ideas out.

“What the cybernetic effect of communication tells us is that if people commit to an idea too soon, they’ll be stuck on that idea,” said Ruth Barratt, clinical assistant professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business. It’s important when you’re facing the prospect of asking your employees how you can innovate, that it be presented in an open way. They should take time to think by themselves in a quiet space. Then once the group re-convenes, write all the ideas down on a board, as quickly as possible.

Then work through the ideas. Don’t allow the extroverts in the group, or the negative people in the group, to interfere with the idea creation process. So while you’re putting all the ideas on paper, there should be no criticism of ideas. This allows for ideas that might seem silly or ill-conceived at first glance to get their proper consideration. It also gives those people who worry about offering the “perfect” idea a safe space to be more open and creative.

Changing the way you share ideas can have a large impact on your business as your high-potential employees feel increasingly comfortable with these aspects of idea-generation and leadership.

Listen to the Podcast

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of smal