List of Articles


Fall 2011 Commencement for MBA Programs

The UT College of Business Administration celebrated commencement in December. There were 73 full-time MBA graduates and 165 Executive MBA graduates (including Professional MBA, Executive MBA, Physician Executive MBA, and Aerospace & Defense MBA classes). Please join us in congratulating our newest alumni!

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CDPHP® Announces PEMBA Graduate, Dr. Nancy A. Schuster, as Newest Medical Director

Capital District Physicians' Heath Plan, Inc. (CDPHP)® is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Nancy A. Schuster as its newest medical director; Schuster is a 2009 graduate of the Physician Executive MBA program in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration.  Schuster will provide leadership to and serve as a liaison between the physician community and CDPHP, while assisting with the implementation of the medical management, quality improvement, and resource management initiatives. She brings to CDPHP expertise in leading a hospitalist program, which will enhance CDPHP’s abilities to work collaboratively with area hospitals as they jointly pursue quality care for their members.

“I’m thrilled to welcome someone of Dr. Schuster’s caliber, passion and diverse background to our team,” said John D. Bennett, MD, president and CEO, CDPHP. “The addition of Dr. Schuster will help CDPHP provide even more assistance to our provider community, as we work together on initiatives to improve care for our members,” added Dr. Bennett.

Prior to joining CDPHP, Schuster was the medical director of the hospitalist and health resource management programs at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. During this time, she earned the designation of Fellow in Hospital Medicine (FHM) through the Society of Hospital Medicine.  Schuster also served as the medical director for Southwestern Vermont Healthcare VNA and Hospice and is certified by the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Schuster earned her medical degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; an MBA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and chemistry from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care.

About CDPHP®
Established in 1984 as a physician-founded, member-focused, and community-based not-for-profit health plan, CDPHP and its affiliates are uniquely positioned to serve as a model of quality and health value, offering members in 24 counties throughout New York a full array of innovative products.

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College of Business Administration Undergrads Publish in Pursuit

Ryan Sowell (economics, dual concentration international business, 2011) and Daniel Stone (accounting, dual concentration international business, 2011), graduates of the College of Business Administration’s Global Leadership Scholars (GLS) undergraduate honors program, published their research in Pursuit, the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s periodical for profiling original, research-based, undergraduate research. Sowell’s and Stone’s submissions were developed from their GLS senior thesis projects and appeared in the Fall 2011 issue. Pursuit emphasizes excellence in writing and presentation of undergraduate research.

In its third year of publication, Pursuit currently publishes every fall and spring semester. Each issue of Pursuit receives up to 20 submissions from which seven to 10 manuscripts are selected.

Local Government Relations in Knox County Executive Collaboration and its Impact
(visit for PDF of research)
by Ryan Sowell
Faculty advisor:  David Folz, Ph.D; Political Science
Recent events in Knoxville and Knox County governments reflect interest-group-led referendums, corruption, and reform. Over the past 20 years, the greater Knoxville community experienced intergovernmental court battles, a failed unification referendum, a sheriff with unprecedented political clout, and state legislative intervention. Sowell’s research reflects his perspective on contemporary local political history, which is anchored by newspaper articles and guided by anecdotal stories provided in interviews with government officials.

Price Appreciation, Bargaining Power, and the Determinants of Corporate Leasing Policy
(visit for PDF of research)
by Daniel Stone
Faculty advisor: Dr. James A. Chyz, Ph.D;, Department of Accounting and Information Management
Stone’s study uses price appreciation and bargaining power measures to determine whether current accounting standards are effective at classifying the risks of leases by ownership. His results, which are detailed in the research, show cause for further study on the subject.

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UT-led Regional Coalition Seeking Budding Entrepreneurs, Mentors, Investors

A newly formed alliance of organizations from 16 East Tennessee counties hosted a meeting in December for budding entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors interested in creating businesses and jobs in the area. The East Tennessee Regional Accelerator Coalition (ETRAC), led by the University of Tennessee Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, hosted the gathering at Pershing, Yoakley and Associates in Knoxville. The coalition is recruiting entrepreneurs who are looking for connections to start their businesses, mentors who have experience helping entrepreneurs, and investors who are interested in contributing the first dollars in early-stage ventures.

"The biggest complaint we've heard is that people don't know where the resources are to help them be successful," said Lynn Youngs, director of the UT Anderson Center. "We're bolstering those resources and also making them available so people know where they are and how to access them."

The coalition, comprising more than 50 public and private organizations, was formed as a result of Gov. Bill Haslam's initiative to create jobs statewide through entrepreneurship. Haslam announced this fall that nine Regional Business Accelerators will be established throughout the state to assist Tennessee entrepreneurs. The accelerators will provide mentoring, education and training, strategic and technical support, and assistance identifying sources of capital.

A $250,000 grant will be awarded to each of the nine Regional Business Accelerators. The funding is a combination of state and federal dollars and contingent upon each accelerator providing at minimum an additional $250,000 in local matching support. Participating coalition counties include Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union.

For more information about the East Tennessee Regional Accelerator Coalition, visit

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UT Student Buffalo Chicken Dip Business Wins Vol Court Competition

The lack of a favorite comfort food found only in their hometown spurred the launch of a new product idea by two University of Tennessee, Knoxville, sophomores that took top honors at this semester’s Vol Court pitch competition.

Jake Rhuede and Cedric Brown win Vol Court Competition

Jake Rheude and Cedric Brown won first place in the
Vol Court Competition

Jake Rheude and Cedric Brown won $1,000 to invest in SummerSett Foods, a company that is creating and packaging a buffalo chicken dip for distribution nationwide. A $500 second place prize was awarded to Christopher Bowland, a senior majoring in materials science engineering, who is developing a convenient way for students living off-campus to recycle their plastics, metals and paper.

"Our business idea came as a result of our background with food products unique to our hometown in Ohio and our seeing a need for similar products while living in Knoxville," Rheude said.  "Since June, we have been working with several other companies and people within the culinary industry to put a product on shelves. The money raised at the Vol Court competition will be helpful for us to help cover the costs of setting up our business."

Christopher Bowland took second place in the Vol Court Competition

Christopher Bowland won second place in the
Vol Court Competition

Bowland, who took second place, said Vol Court helped him take his business idea to the next step.

"It is one thing to have an idea for a business, but figuring out how to make it a reality is the hard part," he said. "Vol Court’s series of presentations and networking opportunities were invaluable. The program gave me the encouragement and push forward that I needed to finally present my idea.”

Vol Court is a speaker series and pitch competition presented by UT's Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and is sponsored by UT Federal Credit Union. The program's goal is to help people develop new business ideas, and it provides a forum for people with different skill sets to connect and potentially form new businesses.

Speakers include entrepreneurs and investors who address how they overcame entrepreneurial challenges, what they would have done differently, how to identify a customer need, how to make money, and how to pitch the idea to potential investors. 

The next series begins January 31, 2011.  More information will be available at

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UT Full-Time MBA Program Again Nationally Ranked

The full-time MBA program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration has earned prestigious rankings from both Poets & Quants and Eduniversal.

Poets and QuantsThe program has been ranked in the Top 100 U.S. Business Schools by Poets & Quants. The Poets & Quants ranking is a composite of the five major rankings, including Financial Times, The Economist, BusinessWeek, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. It awards MBA programs for consistency across all five rankings. The UT Knoxville full-time MBA program ranked 78th among all public and private universities in the United States and 38th among all public U.S. universities. 

The ranking measures the overall quality and reputation of the flagship full-time MBA program at each institution, rather than the institutions themselves. The ranking takes into account surveys from corporate recruiters, MBA graduates, deans and faculty publication records; median GPA and GMAT scores of entering students; as well as the latest salary and employment statistics of the latest graduating class. Poets & Quants was founded by the former editor-in-chief of The complete rankings are available at: 

"This ranking is one indicator that we are fulfilling the UT MBA vision of attracting, developing, and placing outstanding students who are well- prepared for successful careers in their areas of expertise," said Amy Cathey, executive director of the MBA program. "We are pleased to be included among this elite group of universities.”

The MBA program’s dual-degree offering with engineering earned Eduniversal’s inaugural Top 200 Best Masters in Engineering and ProjectEdUniversal Management Regional Ranking in its 2011 ranking of the world's best masters and MBA programs. Eduniversal has ranked the college as having an excellent undergraduate business school for two consecutive years.

Over the last 18 months, Eduniversal completed its inaugural investigation of 12,000 master's programs in the 1,000 best business schools in nine geographical regions. Based on the 10-year experience of ranking master's programs in French universities, Eduniversal decided to establish a global map of the 4,000 best post-graduate programs in 153 countries and to highlight the expertise of the best 1,000 academic institutions.

The ranking was initiated with the support of the Eduniversal International Scientific Committee and was based on the following three main criteria: program reputation, salary of graduates, and student satisfaction. Eduniversal considered student satisfaction its most important criterion.

The UT Knoxville full-time MBA program is not alone in garnering impressive rankings for the college. The College of Business Administration's executive-level MBA programs, full-time MBA program, undergraduate business curriculum, and supply chain/logistics curriculum also are ranked by organizations and in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times, The Princeton Review, Modern Healthcare, EdUniversal, The Journal of Business Logistics, AMR Research, Supply Chain Management Review and Forbes.

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Student Spotlight: Margaret Ross

College of Business Administration junior Margaret Ross is embracing every opportunity she finds at the University of Tennessee.  The Hendersonville, Tennessee, native and Pope John Paul II High School alumna is majoring in economics with a concentration in international business, maintaining a 3.72 GPA in the process.  In addition to taking the college’s standard curricula, Ross is part of the college’s Global Leadership Scholars (GLS) undergraduate honors program, which includes her taking additional honors courses and seminars. As part of GLS, she studied in London during the spring of 2011 and interned with Harvey Nichols, an international luxury department store. 

During the summer of 2010, Ross interned for retailer Old Navy in the Nashville area. At the completion of her internship, she gave a final presentation to the vice president of the company’s eastern zone and other managers from across the country. Her suggestions have impacted the company’s new employee orientation and new program implementation, and the company’s Customer Experience Survey scores have increased an average of four points since her ideas have been implemented.

With Ross holding the company’s first internship of this kind, her experience is serving as a template for the company’s future internships.

As a member of the university’s prestigious Chancellor’s Honors Program, Ross represents her fellow classmates as a representative on its Honors Council.  She also is a Chancellor’s Honors Program Ambassador, which includes showcasing the Chancellor’s Honors Program to prospective UT students.  She is involved with UT’s Student Government Association (SGA), for which she has served as the director of its Volunteer Services Committee. As director of the committee, she helped the SGA raise $30,000 for United Way through the Campus Chest program and helped organize and lead walks through the UT Knoxville campus and adjacent Fort Sanders neighborhood to critically assess safety issues in those areas.  She is an active member of Phi Mu sorority.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Ross hopes to pursue a graduate degree and a career in international business.

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Alum Spotlight: Brenda Hunter

As the world’s nuclear weapons stockpile ages and the dangers associated with weapons proliferation increase, the agency responsible for the nation’s nuclear security is taking new steps to ensure the best science is applied to its globally important work. Brenda Hunter, a 2006 graduate of UT’s Professional MBA program, is playing a key role in that effort.

Hunter recently was named as the liaison between the United Kingdom’s and the United States’ nuclear weapons plants for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), but it is her former position on the new Defense Programs Science Council that made her uniquely qualified for her current job. Building on experience is a hallmark in Hunter’s career track. NNSA created the council as part of a 2010 reorganization of its Defense Programs office that aimed to expand NNSA’s ability to address nuclear weapons deterrence now and in years to come.

“The new Science Council affirms the Defense Programs focus on promoting the best science and technology across the [NNSA] enterprise, and the leadership team in place across our programs will ensure that NNSA is best positioned to promote and strengthen NNSA’s mission,” said Don Cook, NNSA’s deputy administrator for Defense Programs.

The council is responsible for exploring science issues and opportunities across NNSA. It includes members from each of the national security labs and one person – Brenda Hunter – representing NNSA four production sites, including the Kansas City Plant in Kansas City, Mo.; the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas; the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C.; and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

“I value my time spent on the council because we have done some incredibly important work but there is more ahead for all of us,” Hunter said. “We are at a point when our nation must determine what its nuclear stockpile should look like in five years, in 10 years, and in 25 years. We also need to actively promote nuclear nonproliferation and safeguard the world’s nuclear and radiological material at a time of severe budget cuts.

“In my current position, those same concerns are taken to an international level,” she said. “I am still working with Dr. Cook and the Defense Programs portion of NNSA, but I now can call upon our relationship with the United Kingdom’s Atomic Weapons Establishment to exchange knowledge and insight regarding weapons production.”

When she was tapped to serve on the Science Council, Hunter already was working in Washington, D.C. as Y-12’s liaison to NNSA headquarters. This experience gave her exposure to all four NNSA production facilities. Hunter believes that production knowledge played a role in her selection for the council. “My national lab colleagues on the council understand the importance of the production component. The council members as a whole serve as Dr. Cook’s advisors on production and lab work, and without the plant perspective, we can’t present a complete picture. We have to be able to produce and maintain what we design.”

Hunter said technology also will play a major role in the verification, transparency, and monitoring requirements that go hand-in-hand with the new START treaty. “These are technical challenges on a global scale,” she said. “It will take a lot of bright minds working together to find effective ways to meet the requirements. The Science Council will help create opportunities for discussion between weapons experts at the national labs, NNSA plants, and other nuclear weapons entities. I now hope to help on an international level in my new position.”

As part of her Science Council duties, Hunter also represented the NNSA plants during Joint Working Group, or JOWOG, meetings. JOWOGs are administrative groups that facilitate the exchange of technical nuclear information between the United States and the United Kingdom. Hunter says this experience, in particular, made her the logical choice for her new position.

Hunter’s contributions have reached beyond her roles on the Science Council and as liaison. She and 19 other business leaders recently were part of a U.S. delegation to China, where she acted as a guide and mentor to student leaders from the USC Marshall School of Business. “Everything I’ve ever done has led me to this point,” she said. “I’m happy to be able to give back in such a meaningful way.”

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Faculty Spotlight: Robert W. Mee

Robert W. Mee, the William and Sara Clark Professor in Business, joined the UT College of Business Administration in 1989 after teaching at Southern Methodist University and the University of South Alabama.  Mee earned his undergraduate degree in management science at Georgia Tech before pursuing his graduate degree in statistics at Iowa State University.  He now teaches statistics for the UT College of Business Administration’s Global Leadership Scholars (GLS) and Master’s in Business Analytics programs.

Mee has been honored several times by UT’s College of Business Administration, including earning the Ray and Joan Myatt Research, Service, and Teaching Award in 2009.  In 2002, he was named a fellow of the American Statistical Association. He is widely known for his experimental design research and presented his work at Harvard and at universities in London and Antwerp in the spring of 2011.  He spent a month collaborating with colleagues hosted at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Mee truly enjoys teaching for UT's Global Leadership Scholars program, especially since the program now requires him to live in London for a month.  The GLS sophomores spend their spring semester in London completing two classes and working as interns. “Teaching GLS in England was a great adventure for me,” said Mee, “and a great experience for our students. As part of the statistics class, we took field trips to Lloyds of London to learn about the insurance industry and to dunnhumby, a customer insights firm with whom Kroger formed a joint venture.”

In addition to those field trips, Mee and his wife accompanied many of the students on Saturday trips to Cambridge and Oxford and hosted discussions related to C.S. Lewis.  “Being in London together with two dozen students was a great privilege for me as a professor,” said Mee.

In 2011, the college’s Department of Statistics, Operations, and Management Science (SOMS) began a graduate program in business analytics, and Mee has been a strategic part of this new venture.  He is one of five business analytics scholars, and he teaches both the first-year core class as well as a second-year elective on experiment design. 

The business analytics program has been a great stimulus for learning.  Fall semester 2011 was Mee’s 20th time to teach Statistics 573: Design of Experiments, but it was the first time for two new topics: website experimentation and choice-based conjoint designs, both of which are highly utilized by businesses today. “I love being a professor because I am required to keep learning, and I have the opportunity to help students learn,” said Mee. “UT has provided me such great possibilities to do this. Back in the 1990s, UT allowed me to take a one-year sabbatical to fulfill my desire to serve as a Fulbright professor in Timisoara, Romania. That was the first time I lived outside of the U.S. for an extended period of time.” 

Shortly after returning to the states, Mee served for seven years as head of the SOMS department and oversaw the merging of the statistics and management science faculty. He since has enjoyed the variety of work that goes with being a professor.  He taught in the MBA program for three years and spent three years writing a book on experimental design. “Design of experiments was the field that first attracted me to statistics 34 years ago, and that has been my primary research focus for the last dozen years. I still think experimental design is an area where statistics makes one of its greatest contributions to other quantitative fields, including business.”  

Five years ago, Mee started teaching a freshman seminar titled “The Question of God” based on Armand’s Nicholi’s book by the same title.  Many universities have freshman seminars, but UT is one of only a few schools where faculty are invited to teach in an area of interest outside their primary discipline.  “The Question of God” course contrasts the naturalist worldview of Sigmund Freud with the Christian worldview of C.S. Lewis.  

“As I grew up, my dad emphasized my staying in school because additional degrees open doors.  He also frequently described how God had directed his life and how he made use of every experience to prepare him for what lay ahead.  Now, I can offer the same advice.” 

Statistics departments are most commonly found in colleges of arts and sciences and not in business colleges as it is at UT. “I have spent most of my career in UT’s College of Business Administration so I am particularly glad for the accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing classes that I took at Georgia Tech,” continued Mee. “My major in management science became even more relevant as that faculty joined with the statistics faculty, and even more recently, our department has seen its competitive advantage in turning to business analytics."

His newest challenge, which Mee considers a privilege, is to teach the fall semester leadership class for GLS seniors, a course built around six, executive-in-residence visits.  “I continue to be amazed at the opportunities that come with teaching here in the college,” said Mee. 

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