Regnier Venture Creation Challenge Finalists Receive Startup Funding

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Four Teams Win Top Awards

Sixteen of more than 50 teams advanced to the semifinal round of the 2016 Regnier Venture Creation Challenge May 6. Out of that, four teams walked away as the top winners.

Students presented new concepts to local investors, business leaders and entrepreneurs while competing for up to $40,000 in total awards and seed funding. After hearing from each semifinalist group, four teams were selected to compete for the top prize.

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Career Center Hosts Events for Career Month

The Bloch Career Center is starting the new year off strong by meeting with employers and hosting events for graduate and undergraduate students.

Career Services will celebrate Career Month with two events in February. On Feb. 12, the Job and Internship Fair will allow all students to network, seek internships, or apply for jobs with employers from various industries. On Feb. 26, the Regnier Career Accelerator, held in partnership with the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will focus on connecting students with innovation-centric organizations.

Later this spring, the Career Center will host on-campus interviews with area organizations including State Street, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, DST Systems and PWC, among others. Employers will be assigned interview spaces within the Career Center, and will have the opportunity to meet with selected Bloch students who have applied for positions through Roo Career Network. Many of the events will be held in the Career Center, located in Bloch Executive Hall, Room 102

“If a company commits to spending half a day here, they’re bound to extend second interviews to students, and hopefully, full-time positions,” Surprenant explained.

In addition to on-campus interviews, the Career Center staff meets with area companies to coordinate on-site visits at their firms as well as information sessions with students. The department has added several new staff members, creating capacity to offer services for all students, no matter the degree track. New hires include Amanda Moore and Maggie Reyland Career Coaches; Erin Christensen, Employer Relations Coordinator; and Vanessa Herring, Corporate Outreach Officer.

The Career Center provides services such as mock interviews, resume reviews and job search strategies, in addition to several career-focused special events Surprenant and her staff plan to look into ways to track Bloch students after graduation.

“Our goal is to have information on where students are employed, what positions they hold and what their salaries are by 90 days post-graduation,” she says. “Ideally, we will receive this information for over 90 percent of our graduating students.”

Registration is required for the Career Accelerator.  Visit Career Services for more information on the Job and Internship Fair.

“Best of Bloch” Celebrates Scholarship Donors and Recipients

Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Student Thanks Donors “For Being A Kind Stranger”

The annual celebration of student scholarship recipients and their donors is a bigger story this year. In a time when students struggle to pay for college, the Bloch School of Management’s donors have made their journey easier.

Due to a generous matching gift opportunity made possible by the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, 55 new scholarships were established and awarded in the last two years. This resulted in more than $1.5 million awarded, quadrupling the total scholarship dollars available to Bloch students.

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Bill Zahner Opens First Wednesdays Featuring Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductees

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“To be successful in business, you need to have passion in what you do.” On Wednesday, September 3, Bill Zahner gave this advice to over 200 UMKC students, alumni and supporters as part of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s First Wednesday series. Zahner embodies this advice, as his passion led him to head one of the foremost metal work companies in the world.

In his presentation “How One Entrepreneur Turned Metal Into Art,” Zahner explained how the organization has stayed relevant and innovative with changing faces of architecture and technology. Further, he described how A. Zahner Company is always working to exceed customer expectations, turning buildings into pieces of art.

Some of A. Zahner Company’s most notable projects include The Art Gallery of Alberta in Alberta, Canada, the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina and the September 11 Museum in New York City, New York.

“We always keep pushing to exceed customer expectations,” Zahner said at Wednesday’s presentation. “Our people want to be proud of what they do. That’s exactly what you want to instill in a company.”

This is the third year of the Regnier Institute’s First Wednesdays programming, where in addition to student updates, a local entrepreneur discusses their entrepreneurial path to give Bloch students a fresh perspective of what it’s like to grow a business from the beginning. With the recent launch of the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, the Regnier Institute saw a natural cohesion and a chance to connect students with high caliber business professionals.

“Allowing students to not only hear from a successful entrepreneur, but to actually interact with them, is an amazing opportunity,” said Ben Williams, Assistant Director of the Regnier Institute.

Zahner’s presentation of the first of three that will come from inaugural members of the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame opened to the public in December 2014, and is designed to inspire students and community by giving them an inside look at the journeys of some of Kansas most well-known entrepreneurs.

Hall of Fame inductees Terry Van Der Tuuk of Graphic Technology, Inc. and Dan Lowe of RED Legacy will helm the events on October 7 and November 4, respectively. Williams foresees growing excitement as these presentations draw nearer.

“So often, students look at successful entrepreneurs as celebrities that are out of their reach,” Williams said.  “When we have people like Bill Zahner, Terry Van Der Tuuk and Dan Lowe show how they became successful through a process that can be followed, that’s when you see students really get excited.”

To register for upcoming First Wednesdays events, visit umkc.edu/firstwednesdays.

Bloch ranking validated

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Independent review upholds No. 1 research ranking

The University of Missouri System Board of Curators today released the findings of an independent review of the academic rankings of the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Board of Curators commissioned the review in response to a request from Gov. Jay Nixon after questions were raised regarding rankings of the Bloch School of Management. The review was conducted by Robert D. Hisrich, Ph.D., who retired as of Jan. 1 as Garvin Professor of Global Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Global Entrepreneurship at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz. Dr. Hisrich was aided by work conducted by the global audit and accounting firm PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Among the conclusions reached by Dr. Hisrich in the report released today:

  • The journal article that led to the Bloch School’s top ranking in innovation management research was consistent with generally acceptable professional practices.
  • The $32 million gift from Henry Bloch for a new building was not motivated by past and future rankings but by enrollment growth.
  • Information provided to the Princeton Review Board for certain years was inaccurate in three subject areas, but he couldn’t conclude that the information made a material difference in UMKC’s rankings.

“I am pleased to have the Bloch School’s No. 1 ranking in innovation management research validated, but I take seriously the report’s conclusions on the three areas of flawed data in the Princeton Review application. We have already implemented changes and will continue to seek ways to improve our data collection,” Morton said.

On the ranking in the Journal of Product Innovation Management, the Hisrich report found that the journal article that yielded the No. l rankings in product innovation management – for UMKC as an institution, and for Prof. Michael Song as an individual – was “consistent with generally acceptable professional practices.”

The review by Hisrich found no basis for the charge that the school sought to artificially inflate rankings in order to persuade philanthropist Henry W. Bloch to donate $32 million for construction of the new Bloch School building that opened in August 2014. According to the review, the decision to donate the funds was made by Mr. Bloch in the spring of 2011, many months before the publication of the JPIM article.

The Hisrich review questioned flawed data reported to the Princeton Review Board including the number of student clubs cited by the Bloch School, the way mentor programs were counted and how certain enrollment numbers were calculated. The Bloch School’s undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship programs have ranked among the top 25 in the nation five different times.

Chancellor Morton said Bloch School Dean David Donnelly has already made changes to the way the data was collected and reported this year. In addition, Morton said the Bloch School has appointed a special faculty committee to oversee the processes involved in any rankings submissions going forward.

Hisrich stated in his report that he could not determine whether the incorrect data would have affected the overall final ranking for UMKC. Information from the Princeton Review stated that “a shift in one data point, even going from 100% to 0%, would not change the overall outcome of the 2014 ranking of UMKC’s program.”

Hisrich noted that the Princeton Review considers 40 separate data points in its rankings, most of which were unquestioned, and further added that “Recent submissions of UMKC using more conservative data has resulted in UMKC remaining in the top 25 universities in the Princeton Review rankings.”

The Bloch School’s benefactor, Henry Bloch, expressed appreciation for the thoroughness of the independent review.

“I am grateful to Gov. Nixon for insisting that an independent expert be brought in to bring the truth to light. Dr. Hisrich’s credentials and credibility are such that this report should put this matter to rest once and for all,” Henry Bloch said in a statement. “It’s time to get back to the important work of building on the successes of the Bloch School and continuing the fine work they’ve been doing to meet the needs of its students and Kansas City’s business community.”

For the Hisrich report in its entirety, please visit: http://umurl.us/RHreport.

For the PwC report in its entirety, please visit: http://umurl.us/PWCreport.

Henry W. Bloch School of Management begins search for new dean

The University of Missouri-Kansas City recently appointed a search committee to fill the position of permanent Dean of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. The new Dean will lead the school as it continues its momentum as one of UMKC’s fastest growing academic units and one of the country’s leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation education.

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Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge

In a kickoff event on Oct. 19, the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management and the Department of Public Affairs launched the Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.

This fun new initiative is designed to develop social entrepreneurship and innovative civic leadership in the Greater Kansas City region as it enables the next generation of civic leaders and social entrepreneurs to serve our community.
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