Category Archives: Education

Brooklyn Commons: For Business and Pleasure

Brooklyn Commons is the new name of the Brookfield Properties 16-acre business and cultural campus between Flatbush Avenue and Jay Street. Once named MetroTech Center, Brooklyn Commons has everything: offices for rent, trendy eateries, cultural programming, lush parks, and inviting open spaces. With an investment of $50 million, three Brooklyn Commons buildings are being overhauled and outfitted with new lobbies, terraces, and retail spaces on the entrance level.

Brooklyn Commons
Brooklyn Commons campus map

The renovations also include Brooklyn Commons Park, the 3.5-acre public park at the heart of the campus. With an ice skating rink that is open now, and new seating and lounging areas planned for the future, the space is already a great option for a day out. Brooklyn Commons also offers cultural programming for the public. The Arts Brookfield program at Brooklyn Commons has a robust schedule of educational lectures, art exhibits, film viewings, theater performances, concerts, food festivals, and holiday festivities.

Stevens Student Innovator Showcase

Every year, student entrepreneurs at the University of Southern California, Zachary Dell’s alma mater, have an opportunity to showcase their startup and business ideas. This year, the 14th Annual USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase was held on Zoom due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ten finalist teams competed for over $30,000 in cash prizes and other valuable awards. There were six winning teams and two of them, WaterShield and DYME, were awarded cash prizes of over $10,000.

WaterShield has conceptualized a unique medical device for cancer patients that provides a central venous catheter with a moisture barrier, increasing comfort and decreasing the chance of infection when patients shower. The team, led by second-year biomedical engineering Ph.D. student Farbod Amirghasemi, earned the $10,000 USC Stevens Transformational Innovation Award at the conference held at USC, where Zach Dell attended college. WaterShield also won the in-kind Pillsbury Mentorship Award, valuing at over $15,000, and offering strategic counseling and patent services.

The Best Business Concept Award is a $10,000 prize and was presented to DYME, a startup created by George Pappas, a recent graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business. DYME is a platform where college athletes can monetize their media through experiential media content for paying sports fans. Additional cash prizes and in-kind awards were given to four other teams at the special annual event at University of Southern California, Zachary Dell’s alma mater.

Zachary Dell
Zach Dell

Women Almost Half of MBA Students in Some Business Programs

The number of women as a percentage of students enrolled in MBA programs around the country slowly reached record numbers this year. This record came despite a difficult year of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The business school which ranked among the top 20 according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking that came the closest to parity for women with men was the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. They announced that 49% of the entering class was female, while the Stanford Grad School of Business was not far behind with 47%.

Not all schools were able to achieve such good results. For instance, the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon has a student body of new MBA students made up of only 25% women. A bit better were Cornell’s SC Johnson and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler, each made up of 31% women.

The measurements were done by taking Businessweek’s top 20 schools in 2019-2020 and looking at those same schools over the past five years.

The schools with the highest percentages of women were:

  1. Dartmouth (Tuck)— 49%
  2. Stanford—47%
  3. Duke— 46%
  4. Harvard—45%
  5. Michigan (Ross)— 44%
  6. NYU (Stern)— 44%
Michelle Smith crisis as opportunity

Crisis as Opportunity: Advice from Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Michelle Smith

A recent wealth management podcast interviewed Source Financial CEO, Michelle Smith. Smith’s unique experience as a long-time financial advisor, premier money manager, divorcee, and co-parent of a child with special needs is insightful and informative. Of the many lessons learned from this interview, perhaps the most pertinent are those that relate to our current Covid-19 reality as well.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

According to Smith, any big crisis brings out the best and worst in us and those around us. When her son was born and she received his Down syndrome diagnosis, she channeled all her energy toward doing what needs to get done. Her husband at the time, however, didn’t make that switch. As she helps many separated couples navigate the corona emergency, she sees those who are rallying and figuring out how to co-parent during a lockdown, and others who are fighting more and harping on old grudges. When she was a new mom, Smith says she used her own positive nature to propel herself forward. She also made sure to leave no room for negativity in her life and surrounded herself with those who shared her optimism. She extends this advice now too: the familial and financial realities of this crisis are not easy, but if you remain positive and focus on action, things don’t have to be catastrophic.

Ask for Help

Divorce is not something anyone should do alone. Individuals going through a divorce must surround themselves with capable legal and economic professionals to ensure their best interests are fairly represented. Encouragement and love from family and friends provide guidance and support. Smith has dedicated her career to helping women build a financially stable and sustainable life after their marriage. The same is true for co-parenting a child with special needs: it takes a village. Now, more than ever, we are seeing the value of community. We all need to get comfortable asking for help and letting our virtual, and literal, villages be there for us when we need them. The key, according to Smith, is to be specific with our requests.

Focus on Shared Goals

Even as a marriage crumbles, it is important to focus on the values and objectives that once brought you together. Remember the respect you have for one another and direct that toward the settlement. Your ex-spouse is not someone you will ever be “rid” of, especially if you share children, so keep things cordial and constructive. Now is an opportunity to rethink the tactics of decoupling: nobody wants to prolong the process of divorce or excessively litigate matters. Mediation, with the right professionals and the proper mindset, can yield fair, equitable, and civil outcomes for all involved. As more families (married, divorced, or otherwise) spend increased amounts of time together during this crisis, concentrating on shared goals – like cohesion, health, monetary sense—can be empowering.

University of Illinois Opening Real Estate Department in its Business School

The Stuart Handler Department of Real Estate is the fifth and newest department of the University of Illinois Chicago’s College of Business Administration. The school is considering creating a Bachelor of Science major and minor, and even a master’s degree in the new department.

The department was created with funding from Stuart Handler, the CEO of TLC Management, a Chicago-based leasing and management company. It is not known how much Handler donated, but officials at the university said that his gift made the new department viable.

Handler stated that he hopes to give UIC students “a chance to have a stake in the real estate in their neighborhoods.” It is also his goal to give students more opportunities to find jobs in the real estate industry.

The head of the department will be UIC professor of finance Daniel McMillen, who is also a consultant for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.