Economic Outlook is Bright for California, Nationwide

California’s economy is raging back strong from the pandemic according to a California Outlook report from Beacon Economics, an independent economic research and consulting firm. The United States is experiencing a similar trend — all signs point to a return to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity by the end of 2021.

San José State University’s Center for Banking and Financial Services hosted its annual Economic Summit this week, including a panel discussion with Christopher Thornberg, a founding Partner of Beacon Economics, and Congressman Ro Khanna, which was moderated by Jay Ross, attorney at Hopkins & Carley.

Khanna represents California’s 17th Congressional District and serves on a number of House committees, including Agriculture, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform, in which he chairs the Environmental Subcommittee.

Khanna spoke on his three areas of focus for economic recovery: clean technology and tackling climate change, equity in a digital economy, and empowerment of “essential” workers — physical laborers and those in in-person, service industries — “who make our economy run.”

Khanna sees collaboration with academic institutions and the private sector as key to each of these areas. He cited SJSU as a “model public university,” including in its “extraordinary partnerships with the private sector and government” and believes the university is a “pillar of the Silicon Valley economy.”

Beacon Economics’ recent economic and social impact report confirms Khanna’s position. The report shows that San José State generates $1.6 billion in labor in California, with nearly half in Santa Clara County alone; $606.9 in tax revenue that benefits local, state and federal governments; and $4.1 billion in economic impact statewide.

In addition, Beacon found SJSU undergraduates typically graduate with less than half the average debt of California college graduates, and are then recruited by some of the world’s biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley.

According to Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Dean Dan Moshavi, “The demand for a San José State and a Cal State education is very high.”

“But what is most critical for today’s students, especially those at SJSU, is developing ‘soft skills,’” Moshavi explained, which relate to how we work.

“One of the things we’re working on in the College of Business is career and professional readiness,” said Moshavi. “Forty-two percent of our students are first-generation students. A lot of them have not had exposure to what professional life looks like, especially in Silicon Valley. Part of what we do is prepare those students in the soft skills, in understanding what it means to walk into a professional environment and engage. That’s a high priority for us.”

This is all great news for current students who are preparing to enter the workforce — and an economy that is still in recovery.

Beacon has long partnered with San José State to provide the economic forecast at the annual summit. As Moshavi introduced Thornberg for his presentation at the event, he praised their work, saying: “Beacon has grown, as many of you have watched at this event over the years, to be one of the most respected economic forecasting firms in the state.”

Key insights for navigating a post-COVID economy

Thornberg provided a comprehensive forecast of the local, state and national economy. The annual analysis is key for Silicon Valley businesses, who can use the relevant information from his report to guide decision-making.

He described four key themes related to economic recovery that can be taken from the pandemic:

  1. Although we’ve experienced a “tragic natural disaster,” history shows that these events do not have lasting impacts on economies — a “quicker-than-normal” recovery from COVID-19 was almost guaranteed.
  2. The United States’ fiscal and monetary policies during the pandemic created a “rocketship recovery,” which means the economy will be overheated for the next couple of years, carrying risks of inflation, higher interest rates and high public debt.
  3. The recovery is “accelerating underlying trends” that were already happening pre-pandemic.
    The housing situation is stable. It’s not about pricing or a “bubble” — yet — it’s about supply of available housing for those who want it.
  4. Thornberg said this is a very different business cycle that what the U.S. experienced in 2008 in regards to the pre-recession economy (subprime lending level during the Great Recession versus a healthy economy in 2020), consumer finances (low vs. high savings rates) and underlying drivers of the recession itself (demand shock vs. supply shock).

“This [time of the COVID-19 pandemic] was the deepest recession in history and also the shortest recession in history,” said Thornberg.

Unfortunately, there is still evidence of distress in the economy because the recovery is unbalanced. For example, services are lagging behind while durable and non-durable goods are way above trend.

San Francisco, he said, is about 35 percent down from where they were pre-pandemic because of their reliance on tourism and business-related travel, while San Jose remained relatively stable.

Goods trade is hot, but supply is slow because of the extraordinary demand we are experiencing at the moment.

Overall, national profits are up, along with corporate profits; tech employment is also up, which is great news for Silicon Valley.

Restaurants, hotels, airlines and entertainment are still struggling to get back; they couldn’t rebound until the vaccine rollout and the virus was under control. Yet, travel is currently picking up, and pent up demand for it is at an all-time high — Thornberg suggested buying tickets and planning your travel for the rest of the year now, as prices are expected to continue to rise.

There is a supply crisis in housing in California. Thornberg explained that middle-income people in the state are tired of being outbid for homes and are migrating to other areas where they can find houses without as much competition. With interest rates low and mortgage rates down, we’re seeing a “panic buying market,” not a “bubble” as with the previous recession.

Commercial real estate is still slow; suburban retail in particular has been impacted because of online shopping.

The labor market is “way behind in recovery,” despite employers adding 850,000 workers in June, the largest gain in 10 months. Thornberg explained the reason is a shortage of labor supply, meaning there are a tremendous amount of jobs available but not enough people to fill them.

This is due to a few factors: Some unemployed workers were temporarily laid off and are waiting for their jobs to come back, some are still using their unemployment benefits, and others have money in the bank and are comfortable with waiting for the “right” jobs, which Thornberg described as ones that will lead to better opportunities down the road.

In addition, a great deal of people retired during the pandemic, many of them seniors, and voluntary quits are at an all-time high.

Overall, Thornberg advised the tight labor market is here to stay, and this shortage of labor supply will continue. The answer: Businesses must consider how to retool in order to compensate for the labor shortage long term.

In short, parts of the economy are still struggling, but the strong growth we are experiencing will provide relief. Thornberg stressed the importance of refraining from referring to everything as a crisis, in favor of looking toward the future — now.

“We need to think about the generations coming behind us, whether we’re talking about climate change, whether we’re talking about housing supply, whether we’re talking about the basic issue of the fiscal deficit. We need to go back to thinking about tomorrow.”

For more economic insights see Christopher Thornberg’s full presentation or register here to view the full webinar.

SJSU Hosts More Than 50 Higher Ed Leaders for Presidential Experience Lab

More than 50 college presidents and chancellors attended the second day of the Presidential Experience Lab at San Jose State University. Photo: Robert Bain

San Jose State University served as the epicenter of higher education Friday, as more than 50 university presidents and chancellors from across the country gathered to discuss how to better prepare students for jobs of the future.

The visit was part of the two-day Presidential Experience Lab, presented by education firm EAB, which included a private tour of LinkedIn headquarters on Thursday.

From left: Ron Rogers, Dan Moshavi and Catherine Voss Plaxton discussed how the innovative partnership between SJSU and LinkedIn is reimagining higher education workforce development. Photo: Robert Bain

During the SJSU campus visit Friday, Dan Moshavi, dean of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, Ron Rogers, associate dean of the College of Social Sciences and Catherine Voss Plaxton, interim associate vice president of Student Services and director of the Career Center, presented on how the innovative partnership between the university and LinkedIn is reimagining higher education workforce development. Topics included how to use customized insight from LinkedIn to inform curriculum development, match students’ skills to jobs, identify skill gaps in the student body and track career outcomes.

“Education—both higher education and pre-college education—must adapt to the new realities of today’s workplace and enable today’s students to master the foundational digital skills needed for success in our 21st century economy,” President Mary A. Papazian said. “For us here at San Jose State, industry partnerships like this one are helping us to achieve these goals. This strategy leverages our competitive advantage—which, for us, is our regional location here in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

On the first day of the event, participants toured LinkedIn’s facility in Sunnyvale, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s professional network and perspectives on the ever-changing workforce and future of work.

EAB’s Higher Education Strategy Forum partners with presidents and chancellors at more than 175 colleges and universities to address the challenges of setting institution-wide strategy in a fast-changing higher education landscape.

“EAB, on behalf of our university president and chancellor partners, has been exploring key questions as to how we must prepare our students for the future workplace and career paths that are non-linear,” said EAB Chief Partner Officer Sally Amoruso. “LinkedIn’s data insights and SJSU’s application of those insights served as a great launchpad for deepening our understanding.”

Insights Speaker Series Features Economists Robert Reich and Ben Stein

Media Contact:
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749,

San Jose, CA – Economists Robert Reich and Ben Stein will participate in a powerful and entertaining conversation on the future of the U.S. economy during San Jose State University’s Insights Speaker Series, “The Way Forward: Perspectives on the U.S. Economy.” Moderated by SJSU President Mary A. Papazian and underwritten by the Valley Foundation, this event is the second in a new university-wide speaker series that exposes the San Jose State community to a variety of perspectives in the areas of economics, business and global affairs.

The Way Forward: Perspectives on the U.S. Economy

Event Details

Tuesday, February 5
7 p.m.
Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, CA 95113


Students: Reserve your free ticket with Tower ID at the Hammer Theatre Box Office
Faculty, staff, alumni and community: $20 tickets available online


Robert Reich, the author of 15 books and now a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, has served under three national administrations, most recently as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton. In 2008, TIME magazine named him one of the 10 most successful cabinet secretaries of the past century.

Ben Stein has an eclectic background. He was a speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford, an actor and game show host, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and the author or co-author of more than 30 books. He is currently a regular commentator on CBS Sunday Morning, Fox News and CNN.

For more information, visit the Hammer Theatre website.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.


MONEY Rankings: SJSU One of Top 10 Colleges for Business Majors

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business students celebrate following commencement in 2017.

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business students celebrate following commencement in 2017.

Media Contacts:
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749,

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University (SJSU) is pleased to announce that the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business has been named as second among public universities and No. 8 overall on MONEY magazine’s list of the top 10 colleges for business majors in the nation. Earlier this year, MONEY listed the university overall as fourth on a list of most transformative colleges based on alumni earning high salaries while incurring little debt.

“MONEY magazine’s ranking of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business as number eight of the top 10 colleges for business majors in the nation is a testament to the world-class programs we offer to our students,” said Dean Dan Moshavi. “It is an honor to have our college recognized for the exceptional preparation we offer our students for careers in Silicon Valley and beyond.”

After analyzing 727 colleges and universities for its list of top universities in August, MONEY magazine decided to dig deeper into the data for majors with the highest number of graduates.

“Business is now the most popular undergraduate degree of all,” MONEY said. “In fact, nearly one in five 2017 graduates studied a subject that falls in the category.”

The top 10 colleges for business majors list was created to help future CEOs and budding entrepreneurs find colleges that stand out for accounting, finance, marketing and management classes. MONEY looked at schools that perform best in terms of affordability, educational quality and alumni success, then looked at how many business degrees are awarded each year as well as earnings reported to within three years of graduation.

The Lucas College and Graduate School of business graduated 1,000 students in spring 2018. MONEY listed average starting salaries for recent graduates as $59,900. SJSU is one of two public universities to make the list that includes elite private institutions and one Ivy League campus.

“Thanks to its Silicon Valley location, business grads from SJSU regularly have a foot in the door at Google, Intel, Oracle and other competitive technology firms,” MONEY said.

“This recognition from MONEY magazine reinforces the top education we provide to all our graduates, especially those from our Lucas College and Graduate School of Business,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian. “These students have tremendous opportunities whether working on a team of international students through our Thompson Global Internship Program, launching a startup through our IDEAS Lab or engaging in global research through our Mineta Transportation Institute that prepares them to be future leaders in business.”

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

Spartan Fund

SJSU Students Rock the Financial World

Spartan Fund

The Spartan Gold Team (courtesy of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business).

Facing tough competition, a four-student team from SJSU walked away with a first-place trophy at the CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge for the Northern California region.

They were up against teams from the Stanford MBA program, the Wharton executive MBA program, Santa Clara University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco.

The win was a major accomplishment,” said Stoyu Ivanov, associate professor of accounting and finance, Nancie Fimbel Investment Fellow, and assistant director of the Center for Banking and Financial Services.

The teams

Two teams from SJSU took part in the competition March 5 in San Francisco’s financial district. Earning the top spot at the competition was the Spartan Gold Team made up of Joel Gonzales, ’15 Finance; Shayan Khales, ’15 Accounting; Valeriya Razdyakonova, ’18 Corporate Accounting and Finance; and Nirav Shah, ’15 MBA.

A second SJSU team, the Spartan Blue Team, consisted of Aaron Foster, Tarriq Hansrajh, Michael Farrell and Mark Smith, all finance majors.

The teams were required to research and analyze Gilead Sciences, a Bay Area biotech company. As part of their pitch, they wrote a paper, gave a presentation, and participated in a question-and-answer session.

We applied a lot from what we learned in the Spartan Fund and our finance classes,” Gonzales said.

Spartan Fund

The Financial Navigator Student Managed Investment Fund, also known as the Spartan Fund, was established with a $100,000 donation from Nancie Fimbel, and her husband C. Edward Van Deman, CEO of Financial Navigator.

Fimbel, who capped a 28-year career at SJSU by serving as acting MBA director and senior director of development for the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, wanted to give back to the university.

I’m very proud of having started this,” Fimbel said. “I had dreamed of this, and it’s really a kick to see the students pitch to each other.”

Students manage the $50,000 Spartan fund using 12 Bloomberg terminals in their classroom. They’ve raised the fund to $52,000 in just six months.

Next up for the Spartan Gold Team is the national competition on April 15 in Atlanta. A win there will send them to the Global Final, where they’ll face teams from the Europe and Asia Pacific regions.


PGA Pro Pops the Question


Mark Hubbard proposes to his girlfriend Meghan McCurley on the 18th green during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR).

Love is in the air for two Spartans at the 2015 Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

PGA pro Mark Hubbard, ’11 Business Management, surprised former swim team standout Meghan McCurley, ’12 Kinesiology, with a marriage proposal on the 18th green Feb. 12.

“I felt like I had to do something different than just take her out to dinner or something,” Hubbard told the San Jose Mercury News.

For McCurley, the first sign came when she was alerted to the video board, which was flashing, “Meghan, Will You Marry Me?” Then Hubbard went down on one knee, and she said yes!

The couple has yet to set a date and venue. A return to Pebble Beach might be worth considering. They’ll find many fellow Spartans working there.

The SJSU/Pebble Beach Special Event Management Team is managing the concessions, chalets and skyboxes at this week’s tournament. And that experience often translates into full-time jobs at Pebble Beach Resorts for SJSU alumni.

Students Compete in Innovation Challenge

Students present their ideas at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge Showcase Nov. 19 in the Student Union (Robert C. Bain photo).

Students present their ideas at the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge Showcase Nov. 19 in the Student Union (Robert C. Bain photo).

Registering for classes at a university as large and complicated as San Jose State can be like solving a complex puzzle.

That’s where the college scheduling application Saryan comes in. What used to take a few hours now takes a few minutes for the app’s 900 unique users.

Created by student entrepreneurs Sargon Jacob, ’15 Business Administration, and Bryan Miller, ’17 Computer Science, the fledgling business won first place in the Best Overall Innovation category of the 2014 Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge.

Organized annually by the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, SVIC promotes creativity and entrepreneurship by generating and showcasing innovative business ideas.

This year, the ideas ranged from the edible (FarmersAreHere tells you where to find farmers’ markets) to the technical (wireless charging for your electric cars).

The Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge is a great event for students from all across the university, plus our international partners, because it gives them the opportunity to develop ‘ideation’ skills in an area of interest,” said Bill Nance, SVIC director and professor of Management Information Systems.

This is exactly how it what happened for Jacob. He came up with the idea for his app based on a personal experience.

“I typically spent, in totality each semester, at least 10 to 14 hours scheduling my classes over a few days,” Jacob said. “I knew this was an issue.”

After conducting research, he learned many other students struggled to find the right classes at the right times. He reached out to Miller for technical assistance, and to his professors for overall support.

Sargon Jacob (center) received first  first place in the Best Overall Innovation category of the 2014 Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge (Robert C. Bain photo).

Sargon Jacob (center) with Dean David M. Steele and SVIC Director and Professor Bill Nance (Robert C. Bain photo).

“I have been extremely fortunate to be able to get access to professors in the MIS department,” Jacob said. “Richard Sessions was extremely influential early on. He introduced me to Bill Nance, who has been very supportive.

“Both professors literally opened their doors to me. Without them, Bryan and I would not have pursued this project with such intensity. At our peak, we each dedicated around 60 hours a week — with me, a full-time student, and Bryan, a part-time student with a day job.”

SVIC recruits more than twenty judges to evaluate all the ideas, provide feedback and select finalists as well as winners, many of whom drew their ideas from college life.

From Bike Commuters to Entrepreneurs

Four electrical engineering majors refined their plan to provide blinkers to bicyclists based on their commutes.

“Most of us bike from campus to our apartments after school, so we implemented things that we thought would be crucial for our safety,” said Vignesh Ramachandran, ’14 Electrical Engineering.

And so Night Square was born, with assistance from Professor of Electrical Engineering Ping Hsu.

Ramachandran and teammates Aaron Romero, Pratiek Pathak and Travis Johnson designed the flexible 15-by-15-inch LED display for bicyclists to wear on their backs, making the bikers more visible at night.

A student demonstrates Night Square during the Elevator Pitch Competition (Robert C. Bain photo).

Vignesh Ramachandran presents Night Square during the Elevator Pitch Competition (Robert C. Bain photo).

“Buttons on the bike’s handle bar will allow the Night Square to display right and left turn arrows and brake signals,” Ramachandran said. “Also, there are buzzers that will be placed conveniently near each ear so that the rider will know which turn signal is on, similar to the ticking from car turn signals.”

The Night Square prototype was an eye-catcher at the SVIC Showcase Nov. 19 in the Student Union Ballroom, and it received second place in the Best Overall Innovation category. The team has big dreams for Night Square.

Our plans for the future are to take this as far as possible,” Ramachandran said. “Our goal is to incorporate and sell this product to our target market.”

His thinking reflects the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge’s goals.

“Students learn how to present their ideas to experienced innovators and entrepreneurs, who provides feedback they can use to enhance or extend their initial ideas,” Nance said.

“It’s fascinating to watch the students grow through the event, as they learn to refine their explanations and pitch their projects.”

Silicon Valley Business Journal: Grad programs Training Tech Leaders

Posted Dec. 9 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

By Jose Fermoso

Due to its presence in Silicon Valley, San Jose State funnels plenty of business and IT students to local companies.

The process is facilitated by the school’s Silicon Valley Center for Business Solutions, which helps “small, medium and large sized companies with their business and technical challenges.” The center serves as a liaison between students and local companies, with faculty members leading the connections.

Read the full story.

From Undergrads to Business Leaders

SJSU's I2P team members in a group photo.

SJSU’s I2P team included Jared Oliva, Tu Nguyen, Maleeha Naqvi, Kyle Tang and their adviser, Professor Guna Selvaduray (CSU Public Affairs photo).

Hurt your elbow? Can’t lift your backpack?

SJSU students have created a forearm support device perfect for this situation and they are well on their way toward realizing their dream of transforming their idea into a business opportunity.

This month, they were finalists in the CSUPERB-I2P® Early-Stage Biotechnology Commercialization Challenge, part of the 21st Annual CSU Biotechnology Forum right here in Silicon Valley.

SJSU student shows visitor a poster for his project.

Duc Pham, ’15 Biochemistry, presents his poster to San Francisco State Professor George Gassner (Daryl Eggers photo).

The forum is a networking and professional development opportunity for students, faculty members and industry professionals. Everyone gathers for workshops, meetings, award presentations and poster sessions.

For example, Professor of Chemistry Daryl Eggers moderated a bioengineering reception to bring more engineers to the forum, which is quite interdisciplinary, including fields like kinesiology and physics.

The Exo-Arm

This includes SJSU’s I2P (Idea to Product) team. Three members are biomedical engineering majors, a fourth is studying business administration and a fifth is majoring in history.

Together, they presented the “Exo-Arm,” a simple, light but effective device designed to help people with limited mobility at the elbow carry objects weighing up to 30 pounds.

This product addresses the gap in the market between robotic exoskeletons and traditional slings,” said Jared Oliva, ’14 History.


An exoskeleton is an external skeleton that supports and protects an animal, like this spider. The Exo-Arm would also strengthen the human arm.

The engineering students built the prototype, while the business and history majors developed the branding and business plan. Their adviser was Professor of Material and Chemical Engineering Guna Selvaduray. Tech Futures Group also provided guidance.

Entrepreneurship Education

The main goal of the I2P competition was entrepreneurship education, which means helping students learn what is needed to transform a life sciences idea into a commercial product.

“Out of the 20 teams in the preliminaries, San Jose State made it to the final round. Juggling final exams, part-time jobs and, for one team member, a newborn baby, we worked hard on our final presentation in front of the I2P judges,” Oliva said.

Although we ultimately did not win, the I2P Competition proved to be an invaluable experience for everyone.”

So valuable that the team is keeping design details under wraps.

“We are working on getting everything set,” Oliva said, “so that we can start putting it out there again.”

Power of Gratitude: The Gift of Confidence

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Klarence OuYang, ’13 Management Information Systems

I had mentors, and you realize later what a big impact they had on you. One day I hope to be able to contribute to the next generation of students.”

When Klarence OuYang, ’13 Management Information Systems, first read the description of the MIS major he thought, “It was like it was written for me.” He packed up his belongings and left San Diego for San Jose—but not without help.

“I wouldn’t have been able to afford school if it weren’t for scholarships and aid,” says OuYang, who has received the Danny Fortune Memorial Business Scholarship, the Friends of Jack Holland Business Scholarship, and the Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. “It has greatly lightened my financial burden, allowing me to concentrate on my coursework and stay active on campus.”

The benefits of receiving scholarships go even deeper for OuYang. “A big part of their impact is in terms of self-confidence. Even the act of writing the application essay is valuable for looking back and reflecting on your accomplishments,” he says. He also recognizes that support comes in more forms than money, and currently works in the Career Center and as a mentor for the Gary J. Sbona Honors Program. “I had mentors, and you realize later what a big impact they had on you. One day, I hope to be able to contribute to the next generation of students.”

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

SJSU admitted over 1,000 transfer applicants for spring 2014. Admissions Communications Counselor Kali Guidry helps collate all those acceptance letters (Enrollment Services image).

1. Alumna Ranae Moneymaker is a stunt double for Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games,” the sequel “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” A nutritional science major from 2005 to 2010, Moneymaker mastered flips, falls and overcoming fear as a member of the San Jose State gymnastics team.

2. San Jose State is congratulating over 1,000 transfer applicants recently admitted for spring 2014. In addition, thousands of students from across the country and around the world are applying now for fall 2014. Our Enrollment Services Facebook page makes it easy to stay on track.

3. SJSU features a top accounting program. The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business ranks seventh among 30 California’s public and private schools in terms of alumni pass rates on the certified public accountant exam. This is according to a Sacramento Business Journal analysis of National Association of State Boards of Accountancy data.

4. ESPN featured Spartan Racing, San Jose State Judo, Animation/Illustration and Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol during the national broadcast of Spartan football’s Sept. 27 game. Check out this behind-the-scenes reel and join us as we look forward to the Homecoming Game Oct. 26.

5. Kirandeep Deol, ’14 biochemistry, was one of 255 students selected from a pool of nearly 4,000 applicants nationwide for the AMGEN Scholars Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has conducted research at MIT and attended a symposium at UCLA to meet other AMGEN scholars and hear from leading biotech scientists.

Student Assistant Amanda Holst contributed to this report.

Wells Fargo Gives $20,000 for Financial Literacy

Money and Marketing Smarts

Through CommUniverCity’s Money Matters and Marketing Smarts programs, SJSU business students have helped three micro-entrepreneurs who own a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare (Bobbi Makani photo).

Wells Fargo has made a $20,000 gift in support of CommUniverCity’s Money Matters and Marketing Smarts programs.

Through these initiatives, more than 300 San Jose State students have conducted financial and tax literacy workshops for 1,300 Central San Jose residents of all ages over the past seven years.

SJSU students teach the curriculum in English and Spanish, the main languages spoken in the community.

Nearly 60 percent of Central San Jose residents speak a language other than English at home, and 68 percent earn less than the $84,000 required in Santa Clara County to meet basic needs.

Money and Marketing Smarts

Youngsters create coin banks as part of CommUniverCity’s Money Matters and Marketing Smarts programs (Viridiana Cisneros photo).

Under the direction of professors Bobbi Makani and Marilyn Easter, SJSU business students have also provided marketing consulting services to three women micro-entrepreneurs who own a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare.

The marketing and decision sciences students gain hands-on experience and the business owners receive research otherwise inaccessible to them due to time constraints and language barriers.

The effort has one more important fringe benefit. Students met with the entrepreneurs in the field and at San Jose State.

“That’s a place I never thought someone like me would ever get a chance to set foot in,” said one of the businesswomen.

CommUniverCity San Jose engages residents and students in service-learning projects focusing on neighborhood-driven goals through a cross-sector partnership with the City of San Jose, the residents of Central San Jose neighborhoods, and SJSU students.

Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Dayana Salazar serves as executive director.

10 Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Spartan Squad Students

Students earn points and prizes for attending home games. Everyone who registers will be entered into a drawing for an all-expenses paid trip to the Oct. 5 football game in Hawaii. (Christina Olivas Photo)

1. Register for Spartan Squad Student Rewards and win a trip to Hawaii!

2. ESPN will broadcast Friday night’s football game. During breaks in the action, see spots on judo, animation, Spartan Racing and Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol.

3. After receiving the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double-Goal Coaching Award, kinesiology alumna Valerie Garcia Quintero said this:

“At a banquet last week, I was given the opportunity to speak and when I did, I made sure to speak about how wonderful and amazing the faculty and my department was at SJSU and how much I learned from them. I’ve been asked how I know how to coach and I tell them that I have had great coaches to learn from but I was extremely lucky to have had professionals in the field to teach me through my major.”

4. Check out this video showing how donors power all majors, including nursing, business, and urban and regional planning.

5. The SJSU chapter of political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha was named the best in the nation for the 2012-13 academic year.

“My department is very proud of these students for achieving this national recognition for the first time in SJSU’s history,” Professor Ken Peter said. “Sol Jobrack, chapter president, is a full-time student and new father and commutes daily from Stockton on the train, on which he works as a transit officer. Bill McCraw, who is marking his 50th year teaching at SJSU, was one of the founding faculty members of SJSU’s chapter.”

6. Three Silicon Valley Startup Cup finalists are from SJSU. Their ideas? A gamer lounge, laboratory supply service and cranium x-ray shield.

10 Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library presents this six-week series focusing on film history and popular music.

7. Where else can you go to the library to check out the shared history of film and pop music from the blues and Broadway to rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop? Live performances included!

8. George Whaley, professor emeritus of human resource management, has received the 2013 Trailblazer Award from The PhD Project, which helps African American, Native American and Hispanic students earn their PhDs and become business professors.

9. SJSU’s renowned occupational therapy program is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Think of all the people living better lives with help from our graduates.

10. Spartans stay connected online. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

Student Assistant Amanda Holst contributed to this report.

Spartans Advance to Silicon Valley StartUp Cup Finals

Three SJSU Teams Advance in Silicon Valley StartUp Cup

The BioReady team is comprised of five biotech grads: Kira Dionis-Petersen, Dien Vo, Gavin McCann, Scott Marzano and Sheri-Michele Bachelor (photo courtesy of Scott Marzano).

“Many laboratories currently perform ordering by paper, pen and phone calls,” said Scott Marzano, ’13 Biotechnology.

This overlooked fact is at the core of a business idea Marzano and friends are poised to turn into a viable venture.

The brainchild of five alumni of the master’s in biotechnology program, BioReady would automate the procurement and inventory management process for labs.

The team placed first at the 2013 Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition organized by the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

And now, the BioReady team is one of three from San Jose State heading for the final round of the Silicon Valley StartUp Cup Business Model Competition.

“My classmate Gavin McCann and I came up with this idea for a project in a marketing management course at SJSU,” Marzano recalled. We were required to develop a marketing plan for a service company and wanted to try and solve an important problem in biotechnology research.”

StartUp Cup is an international initiative sponsored locally by Focus Business Bank, Meriwest Credit Union and West Valley College.

The SJSU teams — BioReady, AFK Gamer Lounge (video game LAN center and gamer bar) and Cranium Shield (x-ray protection for the head) — will make their pitches to judges Oct. 30.

From a pool of seven finalists, judges will name first, second and third place winners Nov. 21.  The contest offers no cash prizes, but that’s beside the point for BioReady.

StartUp Cup and the SJSU business plan competition provide intense feedback and mentoring, resources more valuable than cash alone.

What does the BioReady team do when they are not trying to build their own business?

All five grads are gainfully employed at Agilent Technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Life Technologies and Stanford University.

Don and Sally Lucas

From Modest Beginnings to Major Donor

From Modest Beginnings to Major Donor

SJSU held a reception Sept. 10 to thank Don and Sally Lucas, who have been lifelong supporters of the college.

Don and Sally Lucas spent a lifetime giving to San Jose State. Now San Jose State is giving back. The couple joined Dean David Steele, President Mohammad Qayoumi, many more dignitaries, students, faculty and staff Sept. 10 to celebrate the naming of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

Students streaming in and out of classes in the Business Tower and Boccardo Business Center stopped to listen as speakers thanked Don and Sally Lucas, who graduated in the late 1950s from SJSU with bachelor’s degrees in marketing and primary education, respectively. The Lucases were the first donors to make a major gift to the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, which eventually raised more than $200 million for SJSU.

“To be the first is not easy,” President Qayoumi said, thanking the couple for their “faith in the intangible power of philanthropy.” Dean Steele noted private giving supports programs that distinguish the college, which has maintained its “gold standard” accreditation for nearly a half century.

Displaying a deep sense of modesty reflecting his rise from humble beginnings, Don Lucas said, “giving is a basic human need, like eating and sleeping” and then thanked SJSU for providing the foundation that allowed him to complete his education, experience early success as a car salesman and then build on that to the point when he could give back.

As implied by recent graduate Jasmine Rezai, who spoke at the Lucas event, it’s tough to know when you’re a busy student just how much is going on to ensure support is in place for the programs that make the college exceptional.

This was certainly true at the Jack Holland Student Success Center. As dignitaries prepared to continue the festivities by celebrating the opening of the center — named for a much loved late faculty member and funded in part by donors — students, tutors and academic advisers had already filled every available seat, working away and laying the foundation for the next generation of Spartan supporters.

San Jose Mercury News: Elon Musk Unveils Plans for the Hyperloop, a Futuristic Transportation System

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Aug. 12, 2013.

By Dana Hull

Coming from almost anyone else, a proposal to move people from San Francisco to Los Angeles through a tube in half an hour would have been dismissed as a crackpot idea.

But after tweeting that he “pulled an all-nighter,” Tesla Motors(TSLA) CEO Elon Musk on Monday unveiled much-anticipated details of his proposed Hyperloop, and transit experts were among those intrigued.

While the concept has not been proved, Rod Diridon, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute and a longtime champion of high-speed rail, praised Musk for his vision.

“Elon Musk has great credibility,” Diridon said. “He’s done things that seem impossible, and we need the impossible to get off of petroleum. We all have to pray for his success.”

The futuristic transit system would consist of low-pressure steel tubes with aluminum capsules or pods supported on a cushion of air, and capable of speeds more than 700 miles per hour. The tubes, which would be outfitted with solar panels to power the system, would be built on elevated tracks alongside Interstate 5.

Taking direct aim at the state’s plan for a $69 billion high-speed train, Musk said the Hyperloop would cost merely $6 billion and move people between San Francisco and Los Angeles in about a half-hour rather than three hours.

“How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) — doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars — would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?” he wrote in a 57-page manifesto titled “Hyperloop Alpha.”

“Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome (someone

please do this), the only option for superfast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment.”

Musk, who has a bachelor’s degree in physics, is the CEO of both electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors and SpaceX, which is developing rockets and spacecraft for missions to the International Space Station and other planets. He lives in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles and regularly commutes to Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters by private plane. He has been thinking about the Hyperloop for almost two years, inspired by his dismay at the state’s plans for high-speed rail.

During Tesla’s earnings call last week, Musk said he’d wished he’d never mentioned the Hyperloop, given his demanding responsibilities at SpaceX and Tesla. But on Monday he said he may build a prototype and is willing to invest money and form a company to do it. He also welcomed others to help flesh out his idea and improve it.

“I’m tempted to make a demonstration prototype, but not immediately,” Musk said in a conference call with journalists. “Maybe I could do the beginning bit, then hand it over to someone else.”

Musk, whose net worth is estimated to be roughly $7 billion, said he would invest some of his personal wealth into the project. Roughly a dozen engineers from the aerodynamics teams at Tesla and SpaceX already have worked on the Hyperloop idea, he said.

Musk sees Hyperloop as a fifth and new form of transportation after planes, trains, cars and boats. James E. Moore, director of transportation engineering at the University of Southern California, said Musk’s idea is not far-fetched.

“This isn’t new technology, and from a technology point of view it’s very credible,” Moore said. “We’re talking about taking a vessel, putting it on a fluid (air), and putting it on a closed circuit.”

But Moore cautioned that Musk may be underestimating cost, as well as supply-chain questions and the willingness of capital markets to invest.

“Let’s assume you build it,” he said. “Where do you get parts for the Hyperloop? Who would regulate it? The world is full of good ideas, and most of them will not be realized.”

But Diridon noted that the idea of magnetic levitation in transit has been around for decades. Lockheed Martin studied the idea of high-speed “maglev”corridors in Southern California a decade ago.

“Musk has to develop a conceptual model and then a demonstration system that proves that it will safely operate carrying people, and that will prove how much it costs per mile,” Diridon said. “If we could jump to a new technology, I’d be the first to say ‘Let’s scrap high speed rail.’ But to do that, he’s got to prove it. Right now it’s a concept paper.”

California’s proposed high-speed rail system would connect the Bay Area with Los Angeles in about three hours at speeds of 200 mph. The first track scheduled to be built is a 29-mile section from Merced to Fresno, and nonstop service from the Bay Area to Los Angeles would not begin until 2029 at the earliest. The total cost for the project is estimated at $69 billion, to be funded by state bonds, federal support, cap-and-trade funds and private investments.

“New technology ideas are always worth consideration,” said Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. “The more green options Californians have for safe and speedy travel in the future, the better. If and when Mr. Musk pursues his Hyperloop technology, we’ll be happy to share our experience about what it really takes to build a project in California, across seismic zones, minimizing impacts on farms, businesses and communities and protecting sensitive environmental areas and species.”

Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at

For more information, go to Feedback is welcome

The Hyperloop: Realistic?

How Realistic is the Hyperloop?

Two SJSU experts — a mechanical engineering professor and a transportation expert — comment on Elon Musk’s latest transportation venture (image courtesy of Tesla Motors).

Posted July 19 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

By Preeti Upadhyaya

All week, the buzz around the proposed Hyperloop transport system has been growing steadily as the world tries to figure out just how commuters are supposed to get between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 30 minutes.

In typical Elon Musk build-the-suspense fashion, the Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO will make us wait until Aug. 12 to reveal plans for his ultra-fast transport system. That leaves us plenty of time to speculate about the feasibility of this potentially transformational idea.

So far, most experts theorize that Musk will employ a pneumatic tube system to make the Hyperloop a reality, though he has denied this on Twitter. Think of the plastic cylindrical container you use to transport documents at a drive up bank teller and you’ve got the basic idea.

This isn’t exactly a new concept, said Phil Kesten, a physics professor at Santa Clara University.

“You’d have trains, kind of like bullets, shooting up and down a tube,” said Kesten, who explained that friction would be minimized through a magnetic levitation system keeping the sides of the train from hitting the tube.

After some quick number crunching, Kesten calculated that a Hyperloop train would have to accelerate at a rate of 0.3 Gs for at least 15 minutes to live up to Musk’s promise of a SF to LA commute of 30 minutes. To put that into perspective, when a regular commercial airplane takes off, passengers experience 0.2 G, but for a very short period of time.

“After 15 minutes at 0.3 G, I suspect most of us wouldn’t be very happy,” Kesten said.

Kesten estimated that to make the Hyperloop work, the train would have to move at a peak speed of 5,000 miles an hour. That’s about 10 times the speed of a commercial jet.

While it may be physically uncomfortable, the Hyperloop is not theoretically impossible, said Burford Furman, a professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at San Jose State University.

“There’s nothing here that violates fundamental physics,” said Furman, who is an expert in the area of automated transit networks.

Furman explained that if you use automated transit technology as a model for how the Hyperloop would unfold, the issue of cost will inevitably pose a big roadblock.

“The big costs are in the guideway, the thing that supports and guides the trains. And the larger the structure, the more it costs,” he said.

Until we learn more from Musk himself, it will be difficult to reconcile this issue with his statement that the Hyperloop could be built at one-tenth the cost of California’s proposed high-speed rail system.

The cost would be “at least on the order of what it would take for high-speed rail,” said Furman. “It would probably go beyond that because this technology hasn’t been proven yet. High-speed rail and that technology exists already all over the world.”

High-speed rail in California itself is an embattled project, facing severe scrutiny and criticism for its cost, environmental impact and a host of other factors.

But at least the ball is rolling for that effort, said Rod Dirdon, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute, a San Jose-based research institute focusing on intermodal surface transportation issues.

Diridon said that Musk and his Hyperloop face an uphill battle in terms of securing project clearance.

That would have to come after extensive engineering studies and tests. Diridon said Musk must create a complete concept, build a test track, build a demonstration track to work out the kinks and acquire federal safety certifications as well as environmental clearance.

Only after that is complete can the project move forward with public hearings and obtaining land use rights from cities.

Diridon paints a dizzying picture of the red tape and bureaucracy that has mired the high-speed rail project in California.

The initial efforts to get environmental clearance started in 1996 and took until 2008 to approve only the route, station locations and mode of transport. Even then, the bullet train only has project clearance for the portion of the Central Valley, Diridon said.

Elon Musk would be building his Hyperloop from scratch with no prior models to draw on at the scale he is envisioning. Diridon suggested the time frame for the Hyperloop would be at least that of the high-speed rail project, and that’s being extremely generous.

While the challenges facing Hyperloop may be discouraging, Diridon stressed that he is supporting Musk’s efforts and anyone else who is looking at solutions beyond our current transport system.

“I’d do anything in the world to help this get beyond the institutional barriers in the way,” Diridon said. “But it will take a whole lot of effort to make it to primetime.”

Business Convocation

Congrats, Grads!

Business Convocation

Hundreds of names were announced across all of the different business concentrations, as graduates each had their moment on stage (Stan Olszewski photo).

(In May, SJSU Today’s small but mighty band of writers and photographers took a peek at graduation receptions and convocations campuswide so we could share with you the excitement of the more than 8,000 members of the Class of 2013. We’ve posted more photos on Facebook. In this story, we visit the College of Business convocation.)

The Event Center lights dimmed to almost complete darkness Friday morning. With a guiding spotlight, the College of Business and the Lucas Graduate School of Business faculty and convocation speaker Wanda Ginner, ’68 Business Administration, proceeded down the center aisle to the stage.

Then with much applause and excitement, the class of 2013 made their entrance, filling up rows of chairs.

Dean David Steele passed on three beliefs that he hoped this group of graduates would share: “the power of networking,” “giving back” and “having a passion for success.”

Convocation speaker Ginner, a semi-retired certified public accountant and consultant, later spoke of the fulfillment that she received in giving back to her university and this college, including influencing her husband and friends to get involved, too.

This is Sparta

Student Address speaker Jasmine Rezai, a Gary J. Sbona Honors Program participant, spoke of her transformation from an 18-year-old girl to the 23-year-old woman standing before them and all of the knowledge, experiences and friendships she has gained over the years.

“As life throws you curve balls, I hope you remember your times at San Jose State,” she said.

Rezai recited a poem by Persian poet Hafez that she dedicated to her loved ones: 

All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth
“You owe me.”
What happens
With a love like that.
It lights the

Blowing a kiss their way and with her voice cracking, she said, “Thanks for lighting the whole sky for me. This is for you.”

To end her speech, she quoted a line from her favorite film, “Gladiator,” starring Russell Crowe: “What we do in this life echoes into eternity.”

She added, “This is Sparta. Let us show the world what a Spartan is made of. ”

The Wave

Hundreds of names were announced across all of the different business concentrations, as graduates each had their moment on stage.

In the meantime, with a bit of prompting, half of the seated graduates attempted to perform the wave, the famous audience cheer perfected by No. 1 Spartan Athletics fan Krazy George Henderson. From the front row to the back, they sprang onto their feet and raised their arms freely, stretching toward the sky. They delighted the audience when they succeeded.

Then when the last name was read aloud, there were shouts of joy and celebration among the graduates, culminating in an even larger wave.


In a recent survey, SJSU asked new grads if they would like to send a shout-out to family and friends. Here are some of the responses we received from business majors of various concentrations. More will be shared at Commencement.

Rohini Venkatesh: “The counselors at College of Business are the best. They provide great support to students in selecting their classes and their majors. I appreciate their patience for last minute walk-ins.”

Victor Mantilla: “I would like to acknowledge the EOP program for allowing me to meet similar individuals. And personal shout-outs to my current and previous roommates, for you all know me at my best and at my worst.”

Quacy Superville: “I would like to thank my family for helping make this day a reality. I leave this institution armed with the ability to make change, the desire to be different and the passion to persevere. #T&T #SLB”

Tech Management Experts

Tech Management Experts

Tech Management Experts

David M. Steele, dean of the SJSU College of Business, was a keynote speaker at the 2012 Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology Conference (photo courtesy of PICMET).

Managing a bunch of complex projects at work? Looking for a great overview of innovation and entrepreneurship? Trying to analyze data from your company’s social networks? Then you might want to check out this event.

Leading experts from academic institutions, industrial corporations and government agencies will gather July 28 through Aug. 1 in San Jose for the 2013 Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology Conference.

Yes, this conference is in San Jose, and will be co-sponsored by San Jose State’s College of Business. But the event’s named for that friendly city to the north because the conference originated in 1989 in Portland, Ore.

Open to the public, the short courses will be held July 27-28. Registration fees begin at $395 per course, and get you a discount on conference registration (click on “Short Courses”). Speakers will include SJSU instructors Anu Basu, Chunlei Wang, William Musgrave and Oliver Yu.

PICMET is a non-profit organized to disseminate information on technology management through international conferences.

Economic Summit to Feature State Controller

Economic Summit to Feature State Controller

California State Controller John Chiang

Register now for the third annual San Jose State University Economic Summit presented by Bridge Bank in association with Hopkins & Carley. The event, to be held May 30 in Morris Dailey Auditorium, will focus on the analysis and forecast of economic activity both at the local and national levels. California State Controller John Chiang will provide up to date information on the political and fiscal landscape of our state. Charles Gay, president of Applied Solar and chairman of the Applied Solar Council at Applied Materials, will offer insight into the solar energy industry and how it can impact economic growth at the national and global level. Finally, Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, will round up the panel of notable experts and deliver a lively analysis of the latest economic trends as well as a forecast of economic growth and labor market activity. The event will provide its intended audience, small and mid-size business owners and executives, with relevant information to make educated decisions. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m., followed the presentations and a question and answer session beginning at 8:15 a.m. The event is organized by the Center for Banking and Financial Services within the College of Business. Register now.