In Brief

Marketing Evolution Gift Funds New Student-Run Business Analytics Agency

This January, the Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business launched a business analytics agency on campus thanks to a to a partnership with Marketing Evolution, Inc. and its founder Rex Briggs.

The student-run agency will give current students the opportunity to deliver innovative, analytics-based solutions to real companies around the world. It will allow for cross-disciplinary cooperation, so students can diversify their knowledge and gain expertise in high-demand subjects including data modeling, automation, artificial intelligence and more.

Marketing Professor Brennan Davis, who has worked with Briggs on analytics projects and scholarship in the past, serves as the agency’s director. He works with 20-25 student fellow running in-depth analytics and studying the results to provide companies with marketing strategies.

But delivering detailed analytic innovations to global companies is just part of the agency’s function. Future plans include creating an open source data lake that will be accessible to students and faculty worldwide for research projects, along with an education program to globally disseminate the latest business analytics knowledge.

Marketing Evolution provides the most powerful marketing measurement and optimization solutions that increase campaign performance, sales, and engagement for leading brands around the world. Briggs, Marketing Evolution’s founder and CEO, is a 1993 Orfalea College of Business alumnus and with his support for the agency, he’ll give current students a chance to help revolutionize the industry with him.


Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Attends Session of U.S. Tax Court

LITC Students at U.S. Tax Court

Student and staff representatives from Cal Poly’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) attended the Trial Calendar Call for the U.S. Tax Court in Fresno this fall, where they provided pro bono services to unrepresented tax petitioners.

Cal Poly’s LITC is one of twelve IRS-supported clinics in California. It is the only LITC within a business college nationwide that is permitted to participate in the U.S. Tax Court’s Calendar Call Program.

Students get to participate in the entire process, from initial advising to court representation, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the tax dispute process. And they continue in their experiences by providing education and outreach services in the local community throughout the year.

Because of their exemplary efforts and recent work, Orfalea’s LITC received the top grant amount possible from the IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service, a total of $100,000. The funds will ensure that the LITC can continue providing exemplary community service and valuable Learn by Doing student opportunities.

Packaging Students Take Home Top Honors in Three National Competitions

Interdisciplinary teams of Packaging and Art students placed among the nation’s best in three different 2018 competitions. All entries were conceived and developed as part of upper-level packaging courses taught by Javier de la Fuente and Irene Carbonell, in collaboration with upper-level Art and Design courses.

PAPERBOARD PACKAGING ALLIANCE STUDENT DESIGN COMPETITION: Four teams received recognition for their projects, which took the form of subscription boxes. “Harvest,” a box for on-the-go snacks, placed second overall. “Terra,” a fitness subscription box, earned a spot as a runner up. “GEM,” a box for cosmetics, and “GoVelo,” one for biking enthusiasts, received honorable mentions.

AMERISTAR STUDENT PACKAGING COMPETITION: Two teams placed top three in the nation. “Monster Bites,” a playful packaging system for children’s candy, took second. “Niu,” a waste-conscious package for coconut oil, earned third.

ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT CORRUGATED CONVERTERS: Student teams took first and second in the competition, which required teams to design a “survival kit” for college students. A picnic basket concept called “Wicker” took first place. Second place went to “More Than Just a Box,” a package that doubles as a board game.

Sales Minor Opens Fall 2019

Students and Lisa Simon at Sales Competition

Beginning this fall, Cal Poly students will have the option to pursue a minor in sales. Marketing faculty Lisa Simon has been teaching sales at Cal Poly since 1998, consistently finding new ways for students to hone their selling skills. In 2005, she began taking students to sales competitions, and in 2008 she started teaching sales as a senior project. She’s been expanding these programs ever since, bringing corporate partners and alumni into the fold to help students further prepare for sales careers.

Now, students interested in this career path have an option for a more comprehensive sales education. The Sales Minor will include coursework in selling skills, sales technology and current market-ing and sales trends. Additionally, it aims to help students develop strong presentation skills, hands-on experience with technology tools and valuable career connec-tions contributing to internships and jobs. Enrolled students will have additional Learn by Doing opportunities like corporate tours, internships, ride-alongs, selling projects and more.

Management Professor Earns Academy of Management Award for Gender Pay Gap Research

Assistant Professor of Management and Human Resources Patty Dahm and two colleagues received a Scholarly Achievement Award from the Academy of Management, Human Resources Division for their paper “Why and when does the gender gap reverse? Diversity goals and the pay premium for high potential women.” The paper studies the premium unique to women in the upper echelons of organizations with regards to their perceived value to organizational diversity.

Dahm’s work adds a new and compelling dimension to the gender pay gap conversation. “Our research points out that there are many inequities in the workforce, some of them unexpected,” Dahm said. “Organizations and managers like to think they are not biased, but we all have unconscious biases that affect our decisions.”

The Academy of Management, a professional association that publishes cutting-edge research in top-tier academic journals, presents one Scholarly Achievement Award within its HR Division each year. It goes to the most significant human resources management article published in recognized journals available to its members.

Patty Dahm

Professors Team up with Artificial Intelligence Pioneer to Publish Innovative Research

David Aksay and Lynn Metcalf

Entrepreneurship Professor Lynn Metcalf and communication studies Professor David Askay spent last summer on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence technology. In collaboration with AI pioneer Unanimous AI, a Silicon Valley-based technology firm that amplifies the intelligence of groups through special AI algorithms, they published research examining the effectiveness of business teams functioning as a “hive mind.”

The study showed that business teams, when connected by AI algorithms and operating as an internet-linked “swarm,” functioned with significantly higher social intelligence than individuals working alone. This innovative Swarm AI technology allowed teams, connected over the internet, to combine their individual insights in real-time to accomplish tasks and make decisions, intelligent systems modeled after swarms in nature, emulating the way birds flock, fish school and bees swarm to amplify their collective intelligence.

Metcalf, Askay and the team see many potential applications of Swarm AI technology among business teams, from making optimized decisions to more accurately forecasting how consumers will react to marketing messaging,

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