Centers, Institutes and Initiatives
Lindner’s centers, institutes and initiatives offer in-house expertise and focus on modern, interdisciplinary research. They connect students with the Greater Cincinnati business community as well as international partners, providing valuable resources to constituents and supporters through projects, programming and more. Each center, institute and initiative have exciting news to share from the 2021–22 academic year.
In March, the Center’s career fair featured over 20 major insurance companies and brokers seeking to hire interns and full-time job candidates to fill their current openings in a variety of areas: finance, sales, underwriting, human resources, economics, claims, marketing, actuarial/data analytics, information technology, operations management and product development.
The Center’s highly active chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) was recognized for participation in national organization’s Annual International Conference in fall 2021 and was used in GIS’s promotion material for the 2022 conference later this year.
Finally, Annette Hofmann, PhD, was hired as both the Center’s new Academic Director and as the Virgil M. Schwarm Associate Professor of Finance and Investments. Hofmann previously held the Robert F. Corroon Chair in Risk Economics at St. John’s University’s Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance, and Actuarial Science.
The Center for Business Analytics brings business organizations together with a group of world-class, multidisciplinary faculty and students to educate and exchange ideas and best practices on applying analytical methods to enhance business performance.
The Center accomplishes these objectives through leadership forums (member companies discuss analytic trends, talent development and best practices); public events (to promote awareness of analytical methods to the corporate, small business, non-profit and academic communities); professional development training (offering a range of non-credit short courses open to the public on current analytics methods and tools); and student projects (companies engage with graduate students in analytics and faculty on projects that meet the needs of the client organization).
The Center held its biggest public event of the year, the Analytics Summit, in April. The event featured keynote speakers Andrew J. Walter, a retired senior vice president of IT at Procter & Gamble, and Kathy Koontz, principal, analytics platform strategy for Amazon Web Services. The event included 15 analytics-themed sessions and networking opportunities.
Prior to the start of the fall 2021 semester, Kate Harmon was hired as Executive Director and El and Elaine Bourgraf Director of Entrepreneurial Practice. Allen Woods, co-founder and executive director of MORTAR, one of Cincinnati’s premier business accelerators, joined the Center as Entrepreneur-In-Residence. Woods works with students looking to develop a venture and an entrepreneurial mindset through inclusive entrepreneurship.
The Center established two new student organizations: Bearcat Ventures (for students interested in venture investing) and UC Net Impact (which focuses on Cleantech startups, impact investing and corporate sustainability). The Center and the College of Engineering and Applied Science partnered in several classes and initiatives, notably developing a joint co-op that provided undergraduate engineering students the opportunity to learn how to conduct customer discovery research for faculty researchers looking to commercialize their research.
Charles Matthews, PhD, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, department of management, was awarded the George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations. Finally, Ronald Meyers, assistant professor-educator, department of management, created the first venture capital course, and the Center initiated UC’s first Student Venture Fund, an educational instrument that will support UC alumni companies.
The Center for Professional Selling celebrated its 10th anniversary this academic year. Established in 2012, the Center has educated over 5,000 students about the theories and principles of sales, launched a one-of-a-kind Women in Sales class and quadrupled the number of corporate partners investing in the Center.
The partners represent a diverse portfolio of industries from local, regional and national businesses, and often join sales classes and engage with students in a variety of co-curricular activities.
While many talented students are involved with the Center, a point of pride is the Varsity Sales Team (VST), a group of 20-plus students coached by John Cox, product manager – business development for Total Quality Logistics. This past year, the VST participated in five collegiate sales competitions and enjoyed its top placements to date.
Chace Miller, BBA ’24, competed against 35 other universities and placed second in the sophomore/freshman division at the University of Toledo’s Invitational Sales Competition. As a team, Miller and Sophie Padgitt, BBA ’23, were 11th, VST’s best-ever showing. Kendall Kelly, BBA ’24 (semifinalist) and Muskan Arora, BBA ’23 (quarterfinalist) competed at the National Collegiate Sales Competition in Kennesaw, Georgia.
The Institute is working with the newly formed Finance for the Community club to educate young people in the Cincinnati area on financial literacy. The Institute is also collaborating with the Finance Society, another student club, to train student assistants for the Johnson Investment Counsel Investment Lab.
Additionally, the Institute is in the final stages of developing a financial literacy document that will be piloted with the aforementioned student clubs and, if successful, extended to members of the UC community and the Greater Cincinnati area.
Lastly, Steve Slezak, PhD, will become the Institute’s new director starting in the fall 2022 semester. Slezak looks forward to stewarding these new programs, as well as developing new multi-disciplinary collaborative initiatives — e.g., investing in innovation for long-term sustainability and artificial intelligence in “fin-tech” and “insure-tech” — designed to connect the investment community that lives at UC.
In-person events resumed, including Women in Economics’ panel sessions in Lindner Hall’s Kautz Attic centered on networking, interviewing skills and internship preparation for students.
Educational panel discussions were offered for the UC community and the public that centered around the future of the digital economy. Jones moderated both events, “How Will NFTs Disrupt Art?” and “Brand Engagement in the Web3 Economy.”
Significant developments are coming next academic year, namely the kickoff of Kautz-Uible’s Pathways to Success program and the opening of the Kautz-Uible Cryptoeconomics Lab at UC’s new Digital Futures research facility. Finally, the Institute supported more than 30 students through scholarships this year and announced over 40 awards for 2022–23.
The return to in-person programming restored the vibrancy of the Center’s meetings, with enthusiastic (re)connections and experiences shared. The COVID-19 pandemic was the impetus for the redesign of the Center’s Next Generation Institute.
After 20 years of successful application, the enhanced program promises greater effectiveness and relevance to present-day family businesses.
Each September, the Center celebrates its Family and Private Business Awards. In 2021, a digital celebration recognized finalists through social media, online honoree videos and a livestreamed finale. This year, winners will be announced live at the Hard Rock Casino in downtown Cincinnati.
The Center continues to maintain its commitment to help family and private businesses succeed and the Greater Cincinnati community reach higher levels of vibrancy. John Goering’s legacy and goals live on in the Center, as the team continues to adapt and grow “to meet our members where they are.”
A record number of real estate students were placed in co-op and internships throughout the year, and students were awarded in excess of $40,000 in scholarships for the 2022–23 academic year.
Real estate continued to be the fastest growing discipline within Lindner — major, minor and graduate certificate enrollment reached 315 students in the spring 2022 semester.
The monthly Roundtables, a hallmark of the Center, returned to in-person events after a near two-year hiatus, highlighted by the PNC Economic Outlook in February.
In fall 2021, the Real Estate Career Fair hosted a record number of companies and student attendees. Also, 16 students trekked to Chicago to meet with senior leaders — including many UC alumni — from numerous real estate organizations, including JLL, Abell Associates, Starwood Retail, Heitman and PNC Bank. The UC Real Estate Annual Dinner returned as Cincinnati’s premier real estate networking event in June.
The Warren Bennis Leadership Initiative (WBLI) is building the foundation for a leadership institute at UC. In addition to launching its website over the past year, the WBLI administered a leadership inventory to curate leadership opportunities available to UC students.
Inventory results will also identify gaps in student leadership development that the institute may fill through future programming and resources.
The first “Breakfast with Bennis” series launched this spring, bringing together students to share insights on Bennis’ most famous book, “On Becoming a Leader.”
In April, the fifth annual Warren Bennis Leadership Experience showcased event co-founder Jack FitzGerald interviewing Daniel Goleman, PhD, a co-author with Bennis who also wrote the renowned book “Emotional Intelligence.” Participants engaged in group discussions to apply key learnings to their personal leadership development. In the fall, Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD, and WBLI Thornburgh Academic Director Donna Chrobot-Mason, PhD, will co-teach the Bennis Leadership Accelerator, an interdisciplinary honors seminar.