Shruthi Thirumalai

2013 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

President Mohammad Qayoumi will recognize four top graduates at Commencement, which begins at 9:30 a.m. May 25 in Spartan Stadium. Approximately 8,000 candidates who completed their studies in August 2012, December 2012 and May 2013 will be eligible to participate. Around 25,000 graduates, family and friends are expected to attend the ceremony.

Maimona Afzal and Travis Lopez have been named SJSU’s 2013 Outstanding Graduating Seniors in recognition of their scholarship and contributions to the community. Sarah Swift and Shruthi Thirumalai have received the 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award in recognition of the exceptional quality of their research.

Maimona Afzal

Maimona Afzal, 2013 Outstanding Graduating Senior

Maimona Afzal is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. She says that her college experience has given her opportunities to interact, collaborate, and serve her community in many ways. A Kaucher Mitchell Honorable Mention recipient, Afzal is graduating with a 3.98 GPA. She led 15 volunteer tutors as a coordinator for the Homework Club and managed the Reading to Children program. Off campus, Afzal advocated for orphaned children as a volunteer with the GiveLight Foundation and spent her summers as a counselor and troop leader for a youth camp. Graduating at the age of 18, Afzal hopes that her drive will inspire others to act on their dreams. Afzal has accepted a position at Teach for America, where she will be working with special needs children in East San Jose.

Travis Lopez

Travis Lopez, 2013 Outstanding Graduating Senior

Travis Lopez is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He says he has enjoyed increasing awareness about globalization while at SJSU. He is graduating with a 3.936 GPA. Lopez served as a leader in the Entrepreneurial Society and the Executive Leadership Council, and still found time to pursue entrepreneurship through the Spartups Incubator and the MIS Association. A Salzburg Scholar, Lopez also worked in Hong Kong through the Thompson Global Internship Program and analyzed mobile applications for the city of San Jose and Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, as part of two honors student programs. Lopez has accepted an offer to work at NetApp, a network storage and cloud computing company, and will continue with his most meaningful contribution, Mobedio, a start-up that uses an online public opinion platform to increase civic participation.

Sarah Swift

Sarah Swift, 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award

Sarah Swift is graduating with a master’s degree in communicative disorders and sciences. For her thesis “Low-tech, Eye-Movement-Accessible AAC and Typical Adults,” Swift studied augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some types of AAC make use of eye movements as a means to communicate wants and needs, engage in social relationships and continue with daily life for those who have lost the ability to speak. Swift focused on low-tech eye-gaze methods in typical adults. Before her study there was not much research on the preference of commonly used eye-movement accessible AAC systems by non-neurologically impaired adults. Her study added to the knowledge in the field by providing a baseline for low-tech eye gaze methods. Swift is currently a speech pathologist in Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s rehabilitation unit.

Shruthi Thirumalai

Shruthi Thirumalai, 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award

Shruthi Thirumalai is graduating with a master’s degree in general engineering. She dreams of continuing research that will help people lead healthy lives. For her thesis, “Opto-Acoustic Interrogation and Ultrasound Imaging Of Acoustically Sensitive Microcapsules,” Thirumalai examined the use of ultrasound to locate and modulate the release of cancer-killing drugs from microcapsules when they are implanted in breast tumors. Her biomedical engineering research crossed the fields of ultrasound, microencapsulation and microfluidics, and has resulted in two conference publications, one journal article, one poster presentation and the San Jose State research award for engineering. Thirumalai says that each class at SJSU has given her different ways to challenge herself. She is currently considering biomedical engineering doctoral programs and hopes to give back as a mentor by becoming a professor one day.

 

Students and Small Business: Learning Together

Business Students Help Micro Entrepreneurs Succeed

Of the five micro entrepreneurs who presented their product or service in class, the students chose three: a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare (Jessica Olthuf photo).

This semester, the BUS2 134B Integrated Marketing Communications class within the College of Business will take a new approach to learning by serving as consultants to small businesses in neighborhoods near campus.

“Our students will work with real businesses and real individuals with real issues when it comes to their area of expertise,” said Professor of Marketing and Decision Sciences Marilyn Easter.

The three-unit capstone course focuses on using effective communications marketing solutions to a targeted audience, mainly through promotions.

The businesses are in or near neighborhoods served by CommUniverCity, a collaborative project of the Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace communities east of campus, SJSU and the city of San Jose.

SJSU concentrates service-learning classes in these neighborhoods with the goal of building community and engaging students in civic life.

Business Students Help Micro Entrepreneurs Succeed

Throughout the semester, student consultants will work in teams to apply skills that they are learning in class to create the best marketing promotional plan (Jessica Olthuf photo).

Student consultants

Throughout the semester, student consultants will work in teams to apply skills they are learning in class to create marketing promotional plans.

Of the five micro entrepreneurs who presented their products or services to the class, the students, with guidance from professors and staff, chose three: a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare.

John Dance is one of 18 students in the class who will apply theory to practice.

“I’m learning what it takes to build a solid business plan,” Dance said. “I’m excited to acquire knowledge from the class.”

Building community

According to Easter, the goal of the pilot program is to create an ongoing project that allows micro entrepreneurs to work with SJSU students and to become part of the San Jose State community.

Already, the project has brought together a cross disciplinary team including several SJSU marketing instructors and students, local residents, CommUniverCity leaders and Catholic Charities staff members.

“It’s a fantastic relationship that everyone can benefit from,” Easter said.

 

One Million Children Served

One Million Children Served

The Family Giving Tree recently met a milestone: one million children served with holiday gifts and backpacks, including these at Dorsa Elementary in San Jose (photo courtesy of Family Giving Tree).

At 7:15 p.m. Dec. 17, The Family Giving Tree, the largest gift and backpack donation program in California, served its millionth child.

“We threw some confetti, blew some horns and then went back to work,” said Founder Jennifer Cullenbine.

Cullenbine started The Family Giving Tree as a class project in 1990, while pursuing her master’s in business administration at SJSU.

“The professor gave us a challenge to add value to someone else’s life,” Cullenbine said, and so she did.

Over the past 23 years, The Family Giving Tree has grown to meet the needs of children across 16 counties by partnering with social service agencies to grant wishes through its annual Holiday Wish and Back to School drives.

“Our programs are about providing joy and happiness to the children who need it,” Cullenbine said.

According to Cullenbine, 85 percent of The Family Giving Tree’s clients are children 13 and under, while the remaining 15 percent range from senior seniors and adults with disabilities to older kids and teen moms.

And while the Queen Elf is busy filling the needs of children year around, she still makes time to promote volunteerism.

“I’ve had over 100 students come to me to talk about the program,” Cullenbine said. “I love being able to be a positive influence in young people’s lives.”

Michael Du, ’14 hospitality, recreation and tourism management, volunteered at The Family Giving Tree’s warehouse to fulfill a class requirement, but ended up getting much more from the experience.

“Community service is important because it helps broaden your world view,” Du said. “I used to be in this tight shell, but this has opened me up and made me want to help.”

Corporate Finance Major Interns in London

Corporate Finance Major Interns in London

Corporate Finance Major Interns in London

Thompson Global Internship Program participant Diane Leija, ’12 business administration, at the Parliament building in London (photo courtesy of Diane Leija).

Each morning, Diane Leija, ’12 business administration, walks 15 minutes from the Tower Bridge near London’s financial district to a train station, where she hitches a ride to the London borough of Enfield.

“[In London], everyone walks fast, so don’t be surprised to see people wearing walking shoes with slacks and business attire,” Leija said. “You literally hit the ground running when you get here.”

Leija is one of four students participating this winter in the Thompson Global Internship Program, designed to offer College of Business students the opportunity to live abroad while working on a project for Crown Worldwide Group, founded by alumnus Jim Thompson, ’62 aeronautical engineering.

This winter’s group brings to 43 the total number of students who have participated in this unique program since its inception in late 2009.

As a marketing research intern, Leija is applying her two-semester experience in the College of Business Gary J. Sbona Honors Program to complete research for Thompson Global entitled “Market and Competitive Analysis for the Records Management Industry.”

“I get to access the threats and strengths of competitors and look at the different angles of dissecting a company,” Leija said.

Besides learning to work in the real world with real companies that have real problems, Leija has appreciated working with people from different cultures and seeing how they interact.

“The world is in London. There are people form Africa, Asia and other parts of Europe,” Leija said. “If you think Silicon Valley is diverse, you should see this!”

The 13-day internship concludes next week, but Leija plans to extend her trip to visit Paris and Rome. She is a Hollister native and first-generation college graduate.

A business major with a concentration in corporate financial management, Leija also accepted a position at Ernst & Young and plans to pursue CPA certification this year.

Young Entrepreneurs Showcase Ideas

Students Showcase Biz Ideas

Young Entrepreneurs Showcase Ideas

Business majors Vanissa Hernandez, Sandhya Kodippily and Danny Vongkhamchah won third place in the Elevator Pitch competition (Robert Bain photo).

The Student Union was buzzing with confidence Dec. 6 as students rivaled for top prizes at the 2012 Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge.

Only the cream of the crop made it to the poster and elevator pitch competitions this year because all entrants were pre-screened online.

“Through the use of social media, we were able to build a community of 1,200 members from all over the world,” Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship Director Anu Basu said.

Judges selected forty-seven finalists from more than 250 submissions from all seven SJSU colleges and, for the very first time, West Valley College and Mission College.

Cash Prizes

Cash prizes ranged from $1,500 for Best Innovative Idea to $500 for the top elevator pitch. Partners and sponsors include Bridge Bank, Cisco, TechShop and Signature Building Maintenance.

Many entrants focused on highly technical topics, such as Brandon Schlinker, Stephanie Fung and Phil Cyrthe, who took the top prize with “Smart Bulb,” a lighting system that adapts to your needs.

But among the ideas wowing the poster session’s 400 attendees and judges was third place elevator pitch winner “Froyotini.” You got that right — it’s a combination of frozen yogurt and your favorite mixed drink, plus toppings.

Business majors Vanissa Hernandez, Sandhya Kodippily and Danny Vongkhamchah pitched the idea, which was of course an instant hit with the student crowd.

“We brought a lot of color and glitz and glam and we do appeal to Generation Y through the Las Vegas beauty and glamor,” Hernandez said.

Practical Thinking

To help students outsmart bike thieves, economics major Roy Vera came up with MyCycle, which uses NFC (Near Field Communications).

The bike only works when the owner’s in the saddle, carrying a special device embedded in many cell phones that communicates with a receiver in the bike itself, unlocking the chain and wheels.

So a thief can take the bike, but can’t peddle away without the phone that goes with it. Vera received a “special mention” from judges for his idea.

View a complete list of this year’s Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge winners.

 

Hackathon Offers Hands-On Experience

NFC Hackathon Offers Hands-On Experience

The event is a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience with emerging technology and to interact with industry professionals.

You’ve seen it on TV and maybe even tried it with your own phone. Now NFC is coming to SJSU.

The SJSU NFC Hackathon begins 1 p.m. Nov. 30 in the Student Union. Advance registration is preferred, though teams can enter at the event.

Entrants will be asked to develop NFC applications that could be used at San Jose State. They will also draft business plans.

NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and it’s a way to transfer info over radio waves using a cell phone.

If you tuned in to the World Series, you saw NFC in action during the commercial showing a couple swapping videos by tapping together their cell phones.

But there are many more ways to use NFC, including mobile payments and unlocking doors.

Like a QR code, NFC can even be used to get more info on a product or event from an ad or sign embedded with a special tag.

One key difference is NFC works off tech inside phones, while QR codes run off downloadable apps.

Four Gary J. Sbona Honors Program students are organizing the hackathon, providing them professional marketing experience.

The event is also a great opportunity for contestants to gain first-hand experience with emerging technology, and to interact with industry professionals.

In fact, the grand prize includes guaranteed interviews for paid internships during spring term at a Bay Area startup.

Partners include Motorola, Samsung, Bank of America and the Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship.

The event will be hosted by Kovio, SJSU and the Sbona Honors Program. Learn more by visiting the hackathon website.

San Francisco Chronicle: What Can Business Learn From Bruce Bochy? A Professor Explains

Posted by the San Francisco Chronicle Oct. 29, 2012.

By Kathleen Pender

What can managers in business learn from San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who led two very different teams to World Series championships in three years?

I asked a variety of management professors, consultants and managers themselves that question. Their answers focused on his communication skills, humility, confidence and ability to manage away from a superstar mentality.

Here’s what they had to say:

— Chester Spell, an associate professor of management at San Jose State University, says Bochy epitomizes what management consultant Jim Collins calls a “level-five leader,” someone who can transform a company from good to great through a “paradoxical combination of personal humility plus professional will.”

In a Harvard Business Review article, Collins says a level-five leader demonstrates compelling modesty, shuns public adulation and is never boastful. He acts with quiet, calm determination and relies on inspired standards, not inspiring charisma, to motivate. He looks in the mirror to apportion responsibility for poor results and looks out the window – to other people, external factors and good luck – to apportion credit for the company’s success. He also “demonstrates an unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.”

Spell, who has studied demographic diversity in baseball, says the most successful team managers are also able to “dampen or handle any harmful effects of having a lot of differences between players on a team.” This includes differences in race, national origin and age.

“Diversity is a good thing, but it’s a complicated thing,” Spell says. Bochy’s team this year included five players from Venezuela, three from the Dominican Republic and two from Puerto Rico, and ranged in age from 22 to 39.

When you have such diversity, in baseball or business, “divisions are very apparent. Some call them fault lines,” and they can do more harm than most people realize. “A good manager can actually manage these divisions and focus on what brings them together and help them work as a unit,” Spell says.

Byron Deeter is a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners who is working with a dozen companies. He was also part of four national championship rugby teams at UC Berkeley under renowned coach Jack Clark.

He says managers can learn two lessons from Bochy. One is that “culture matters.” Before games, you would see players jumping up and down in the dugout, just having fun. Instead of telling them to get serious for the big game ahead, “Bochy did the opposite; he allowed the team to be themselves. They really enjoy playing together and play better when they are loose and relaxed.”

In business, “helping establish a culture in whatever way is right for that company is time and money well spent. Team bonding activities may in some cases seem childish, like the pranks going on in the Giants dugout,” but they help when the going gets rough, he adds.

“We see this in our companies. They are investing in the little things – beer bashes, bringing dogs to the office, swag, road trips and hackathons – to build up this team culture and energy so that when those tough times come, it’s just much easier to turn to those around you and say everyone is needed and ‘Coach, how can I help?’ ”

The other lesson is “team first,” he says. “People joke about how baseball is an individual team sport.” Sports, like business, is full of prima donnas. But a good manager, through consistent actions, sends the message, “we are all a unit, no one is above the team.”

Deeter says Bochy’s decisions not to reactivate left fielder Melky Cabrera after his drug suspension to preserve the team dynamic, and to transfer struggling starter Tim Lincecum to relief are good examples. At Cal, coach Clark “would bench all-Americans if they showed acts of selfishness,” he adds.

“Asking an engineer to go on a sales call is the equivalent of Lincecum coming out of the bullpen or a sacrifice bunt,” Deeter says.

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

Join SJSU on Pinterest!

SJSU is now on Pinterest, a visual bookmarking website for bringing together online themes. Users collect and combine their own themes by “repining” items onto their boards, creating their own virtual spaces.

This week, SJSU launched its official presence on Pinterest, a visual bookmarking website for bringing together online themes. Users collect and combine their own themes by “repining” items onto their boards, create their own virtual spaces.

We’ve posted 18 boards including Sammy Spartan, Helping and Caring, and Bright Ideas, side by side with our top hits, South Bay Eats and Dorm Décor. So far we have received great responses, not to mention 48 followers. up from 13 followers since our launch Oct. 8.

We carefully crafted pins that we think represent SJSU and Spartan culture. The use of Pinterest allows us to bring awareness to our campus and show off our community.

We are also supporting our fellow SJSU pinners who have joined the Pinterest community, including our friends at the College of Applied Arts and Sciences, Department of Justice Studies, Department of Kinesiology, Don and Sally Lucas Graduate School of Business, SJSU Special Collections and Archives, SJSU Career Center and King Library,

Michael Brito’s MCOM 139 Social Business class is a good way to see how Pinterest can be used as a medium for the classroom.

Stay tuned for opportunities to add your own flavor to SJSU culture with upcoming community boards.

We hope you’ll visit and repin us.

Visit us at pinterest.com/sjsu/.

 

SJSU Center for Banking and Financial Services Hosts Second Annual Economic Summit

SJSU Center for Banking and Financial Services Hosts Second Annual Economic Summit

Several hundred South Bay professionals gathered at Morris Dailey Auditorium Aug. 14 for the second annual San José State University Economic Summit (Robert Bain photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Has the economy finally turned the corner? To find out, several hundred South Bay professionals gathered at Morris Dailey Auditorium Aug. 14 for the second annual San José State University Economic Summit.

“We’re still number one. We’re going to stay that way. We just have to run a little faster,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, comparing Silicon Valley’s economy to anywhere else in the world, and emphasizing his efforts to push City Hall to “move at the speed of business.”

Craig Cornelius, Hudson Clean Energy Partners managing director, focused on solar power’s future given “your locality and your workforce certainly are going to be the driving force for the industry.” A sharp decline in the cost to produce solar power means the sector is poised for worldwide growth, he said.

Noting California is among the top 10 states for job growth, Beacon Economics Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg shared data suggesting “no recession” and “the private sector is moving forward.” But he conceded “everything is not wine and roses,” given the “biggest risk is the public sector” where “revenue is not keeping up with rising costs.”

The Center for Banking and Financial Services within the College of Business organizes the summit, with title sponsor Bridge Bank, associate sponsor Hopkins & Carley, and affiliate sponsors CBIZ, Filice Insurance, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and Sensiba San Filippo. The media sponsors were AlwaysOn, KLIV, and the Silicon Valley San Jose Business Journal.

SJSU to Host Economic Summit August 14

SJSU Center for Banking and Financial Services to Host Economic Summit August 14

SJSU to Host Economic Summit August 14

Business leaders at the 2011 Economic Summit (Robert Bain photo).

By Marco Pagani, Assistant Professor of Accounting and Finance

The Center for Banking and Financial Services within the College of Business will host the San José State University Economic Summit August 14 in Morris Dailey Auditorium. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by the program at 8:15 a.m.

The gathering will provide an analysis and forecast of economic activity both at the local and national levels. SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi will open the event. College of Business Dean David M. Steele will introduce three speakers, and moderate a question-and-answer session.

San José Mayor Chuck Reed will provide up-to-date information on the political and fiscal landscape of our city. Greg Cornelius, managing director at Hudson Clean Energy Partners, will offer insight into the clean energy industry and how it can impact economic growth at the national and global level. Finally, Chistopher 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 small and mid-size business owners and executives with relevant information to make educated decisions.The title sponsor is Bridge Bank, with associate sponsor Hopkins & Carley, and affiliate sponsors CBIZ, Filice Insurance, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and Sensiba San Filippo. The media sponsors are AlwaysOn, KLIV, and the Silicon Valley San Jose Business Journal.

 

Female student in brown sweater is sitting in front of a PC labtop working and reading notes from a person journal.

Spartans at Work: At Crown Worldwide, I’ve Learned SJSU’s Diversity “Really Prepares You” to Go Anywhere

Female student in brown sweater is sitting in front of a PC labtop working and reading notes from a person journal.

Diane Pham, '12 business management and global studies, is a global alliance intern at Crown Worldwide Group, where she is standardizing the process the company employs to build relationships with business partners (Diane Pham photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with the Class of 2012’s Diane Pham.)

Improving business operations in Hong Kong and auditing in South Africa are just some of the unique opportunities available through the Thompson Global Internship Program. The SJSU program sends students abroad to complete projects for Crown Worldwide Group, founded by Jim Thompson, ’62 aeronautical engineering.

Diane Pham, ’12 business management and global studies, is just wrapping up work as a global alliance intern at Crown Worldwide. This summer, she is in London, standardizing the process the company employs to build relationships with global service partners and to create an accreditation program for future partnerships.

“Up until this point, the service partners have not been very consistent, so we’re building and making proposals for an identity that will create a mutually beneficial relationship,” Pham said.

Located in more than 50 countries and serving 200 locations, Crown Worldwide is the largest group of international moving companies, leading the way in relocation, records management, logistics and storage services. The company is credited with moving the Mona Lisa and two giant pandas.

In addition to learning about culture abroad, Pham says she’s getting a “big view on a global company and what it takes to manage one.”

She also says being a student at SJSU helped prepared her for work in a multinational business.

“I think the diversity that you are exposed to at SJSU just really prepares you to go to any new location and just take advantage of it,” Pham said.

Spartans at Work: At Cisco, “I am Finding There are No Limits to What I Can Achieve”

Spartans at Work: At Cisco, “I am Finding There are No Limits to What I Can Achieve”

Female Cisco student dressed in a black jacket and turquiose shirt is standing with arms opened in front of a giant Cisco sign

Tanya D’Silva, a business major with a concentration in Management Information Systems, works on a team that helps businesses’ IT departments implement Cisco’s Operating Model framework (Peter Caravalho photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with the Class of 2013’s Tanya D’Silva.)

After giving her resume to Cisco at a SJSU job fair and applying for an internship position through Sparta Jobs, Tanya D’Silva, a business major with a concentration in Management Information Systems, wasn’t sure that her five years of restaurant experience was enough to land an internship at the prestigious company. What seemed like a long shot turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime.

“They took a leap of faith in me, trusting that I would do well in this environment,” D’Silva said. “If you are active around campus, and prove that you are well-rounded and are eager to learn, you have as good of a shot as anyone else.”

D’Silva is an IT analyst intern, working in Cisco’s Enterprise Release Management Organization within Connected IT Services.  She works on a team that helps businesses’ IT departments implement Cisco’s Operating Model framework in order to move information from data center to data center.

Getting the Most Out of Her Internship

Cisco, one of the largest employers in Silicon Valley, is a multinational leader in designing, manufacturing and selling networking equipment. The corporation was founded in 1984 in San Francisco but is now based in San Jose.

D’Silva says her two-month internship is teaching her the “ins and outs” of a corporation and helping her figure out her future goals.

“Since I am contemplating management positions or becoming a project manager, the team I am working on is helping me to see how the business operates and the various functions of a company,” D’Silva said.

D’Silva says she wishes she found out earlier that being a 4.0 student isn’t the only way to achieve a good job. According to her, what she’s learning in the classroom and what she takes with her into the work world is what counts.

“I am finding there are no limits to what I can achieve. My internship is what I make of it. If I choose to stay immersed in intern activities and take on more projects then I will get more out of my internship experience,” D’Silva said.

Forbes: Professor Provides Insight into Sales Tax Issues for Online Shopping

Collecting Sales Tax – 20 Years of Waiting

Posted by Peter J. Reilly on his Forbes blog “Passive Activites” June 3, 2012.

Annette Nellen is a professor at San Jose State University. She has an excellent blog on tax policy called 21st Century Taxation. Professor Nellen was selected by the AICPA to tesitfy before Congress on the need for comprehensive tax reform.

By Annette Nellen, CPA, Esq.

In this Internet age, I’m surprised by the number of catalogs that show up in my physical mail box each week. I don’t order from them, but they do sometimes cause me to visit the sender’s website and place an order, in addition to reminding me to shop, I assume these catalogs help delay the financial collapse of the U.S. Post Office, as well.

The catalogs are also a reminder of a decades old tax issue: how can states collect sales tax on purchases their residents make from out-of-state companies?

Despite the world of catalog commerce being greatly expanded by the world of e-commerce, states must still rely on a catalog-era U.S. Supreme Court case that limits their ability to collect sales and use tax.

This year, the case – Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992), reached its 20 year anniversary, still intact. Despite technological advances, the sales tax collection problem Quill addresses remains. In 1992, the Court observed that Congress was where states should go for help. Twenty years later, states still wait for that help.

So, what happened in Quill?

Without stores and employees in the state, sellers also save the cost of collecting sales tax in that state. In the 1980s, North Dakota thought that no longer made sense given how easy it was for companies to do business by just mailing catalogs. So it decided to challenge a 1967 Supreme Court ruling (National Bellas Hess) that stressed the need for physical presence for sales tax collection obligations.

In 1992, the Court held that there was no due process problem with a state imposing sales tax collection obligations on an active seller. However, the Court found a commerce clause problem with non-present sellers being subject to sales tax collection due to the existence of thousands of jurisdictions with non-uniform sales tax rules. Requiring out-of-state businesses to deal with that administrative nightmare would impede interstate commerce. So, the sales tax collection standard that has held since 1992 is that a state may only make a seller collect sales tax if the seller has a physical presence in the state.

With only the commerce clause standing in the way of broader sales tax collection, the court noted: “Congress is now free to decide whether, when, and to what extent the States may burden interstate mail order concerns with a duty to collect use taxes.”

As we all know due to the number of times we are not charged sales tax for items ordered online or via catalogs, Congress has not exercised its authority under the commerce clause to change the Quill result. In theory, states still get the revenue because buyers are to self-assess use tax when sellers are not required to charge sales tax. Of course, in practice, states do not see a lot of that revenue. States would do much better if allowed to collect sales tax from thousands of vendors rather than hope for use tax from millions of consumers. States, as well as many sellers, want Congress to take action.

There are currently three proposals before the 112th Congress to change the holding of Quill:

The Main Street Fairness Act (H.R. 2701 and S. 1452)

The Marketplace Equity Act of 2011 (H.R. 3179)

The Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 1832)

The bills primarily differ in what a state would have to do to be allowed to collect sales tax from out-of-state vendors and the size of the de minimus rule to exempt small vendors from collection.

Congress knows states need the revenue and that “main street” businesses want the improved price competition that should result when their out-of-state competitors have to charge sales tax. We’ve got a few more months to see if 2012 will be the year Congress finally exercises its commerce clause authority that the Supreme Court reminded it of 20 years ago. What is your prediction?

For more information on the sales tax collection issue, see the author’s “affiliate nexus” website and 21st Century Taxation website and blog.

You can follow me on twitter @peterreillycpa.

Onya Baby product strapped onto a mother, holding a baby.

Second Place Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition Winner Gains Industry Support

Onya Baby product strapped onto a mother, holding a baby.

The patent-pending integrated chair harness and support system is what sets Onya Baby apart from the competition (Aleshia Rickard photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

When Aleshia Rickard, second place winner at the 2012 Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition, was asked to partner with her sister-in-law on a baby carrier business three years ago, it was an offer she could not refuse.

“I was able to utilize my background in the sports industry and my contacts to help bring the baby carrier to more of a final, market-ready, sellable product,” said Rickard, ’12 Business Administration with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship.

Onya Baby, which won the $5,000 Larry Boucher Second Prize, makes soft-structured baby carriers designed to help families with young children retain their active, social lifestyles.

According to Rickard, Onya Baby’s patent-pending integrated chair harness and support system is what sets Onya Baby apart from its competition.

“I travel a lot and it’s been really helpful to have family meals together,” said customer Osha Maloney. “I’ve also tried other carriers and the shoulder straps are just not as comfortable.”

The product is gaining momentum in the industry just nine months into launch. Onya Baby has already won two gold awards for new baby gear including a Mom’s Choice Award and a National Parenting Publication Award.

Entering the business plan competition gave Rickard a chance to fine-tune her business plan and take a look at how she’s doing.

“It gave me a lot of confidence that I was doing the proper things at the right time and that I have a good strategy,” Rickard said.

Rickard plans to use the $5,000 prize money toward trade show booths for October’s ABC Kids Expo, the largest industry trade show in the world being held in Louisville, KY.

Spartans@Work: At Ventana Medical Systems, “We Attack an Important Problem in the World”

Spartans at Work: At Ventana Medical Systems, “We Attack an Important Problem in the World”

Student standing in front of his company sign

Alex Kalogrides, '11 MBA, is an online community manager in in the Digital Pathology and Workflow Unit at Ventana Medical Systems (Christina Olivas photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with the Class of 2011′s Alex Kalogrides.)

It’s only been eight months on the job for Alex Kalogrides, ’11 MBA, but he feels his work adds to the impact his company makes on Silicon Valley and beyond.

“We are a very innovative company; in the business unit where I work in, we develop new imaging and software solutions that are improving cancer diagnostics around the world,” Kalogrides said.

Kalogrides works at Ventana Medical Systems in the Digital Pathology and Workflow Unit, which develops instruments to turn glass pathology slides into digital images, software to manage these images, and algorithms to help analyze the images.

Ventana, a member of the Roche Group, focuses on accelerating the discovery and development of new cancer tests that allow pathologists to analyze patient biopsies at the molecular level to help determine the best course of therapy for each individual patient.

As an online community manager, Kalogrides works on web and mobile development and manages a forum-platform website. Kalogrides says his strategic thinking skills, class diversity and project management training from SJSU’s MBA One Program has prepared him for his job today.

“Being in a culturally diverse class setting was an important experience for me as I regularly collaborate with colleagues around the world in my job,” Kalorides said.

What does Kalogrides love the most about his job?

“The fact that everything is so new and talking to customers about new products,” he said.

He also loves that what he does attacks a real problem in the world.

“We are working toward making more accurate, more rapid diagnoses for cancer patients,” he explained. “That’s something you feel good about each day.”

Business Plan Competition Winner Leverages Pinterest's Success

Biz Plan Winner Leverages Pinterest's Success

Business Plan Competition Winner Leverages Pinterest's Success

Judges Larry Boucher, CEO and Founder, Alacritech; Ed Oates, Co-founder, Oracle Corporation; Bill Barton, former Senior Vice President and CFO, Granite Construction, Inc.; Dan Doles, Co-Founder, Connexive, Inc.; and Dave Hadden, Co-founder, Arlo Inc. (photo courtesy of Anu Basu).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

The top-prize winner at the 2012 Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition is capitalizing on the boom in social business to launch a new venture with a novel role.

Pintics, which scored the $10,000 Bill Barton First Prize, would provide the over 500 nationwide brands on Pinterest with tools to analyze and optimize traffic.

According to founder and SJSU alumnus Francisco Guerrero, Pintics is the only site tracking the best performing pins by traffic generated, sales, and viral activity.

Pintics is tracking over half a million images from Pinterest business users, up from 50,000 less than one month ago. Pinterest, an online pinboard, recently raised $100 million from investors, and is estimated to be worth $1.5 billion.

SJSU’s College of Business is exploring the possibility of the university becoming an equity partner with Pintics as it moves forward with incorporation, and continues to grow.

“San Jose State is reinventing the way publicly-funded higher education and entrepreneurs partner to commercialize ideas,” said Professor and Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship Director Anu Basu.

And the winners are…

Here is a complete list of Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition winners:

  • Bill Barton First Prize award: $10,000 to Francisco Guerrero for Pintics
  • Larry Boucher Second Prize Award: $5,000 to Aleshia Rickard for Onya Baby
  • Dan Doles 3rd Prize Award: $2,500 to Amy Cesari for Gluten Free Bakery of Santa Cruz
  • Best Written Business Plan Award (sponsored by Dave Hadden): $500 to Uriel Chavez for Cantaritos

Four more finalists each received a solid state storage drive valued at $100, provided by alumnus and sponsor Matt Ready of Sandforce/LSI.

The competition is open to everyone who has studied or works at San Jose State. For more information, contact Dr. Anu Basu at anu.basu@sjsu.edu.

"Persevere" College Of Business Convocation

“Willing to Do What It Takes” College Of Business Convocation

"Persevere" College Of Business Convocation

Graduates from the college's four departments and range of graduate programs seemed to have no problem locating their supporters in the 5,000-seat tiered venue (Christina Olivas photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

(This week, 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 2012. We’ll post more photos on Facebook.)

Family members and friends proudly crowded SJSU’s Event Center May 25 to honor the College of Business spring 2012 graduates. No matter how big the arena seemed, students from the college’s four departments and range of graduate programs had no problem locating their supporters in the 5,000-seat tiered venue.

Dean David Steele opened the ceremony by congratulating graduates and welcoming family and friends. Before turning the event over to the presentation of student awards and scholarships, Steele told graduates to never underestimate the power of networking, giving back and being passionate about success. “Have confidence in your abilities to succeed in these exciting and tough times,” he advised.

An engaging address followed shortly after by student Annesh Nair, who opened quoting Confucius, who said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.” Nair reflected on his personal lesson in perseverance and determination throughout his years at SJSU.

In his address, Bridge Bank Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Boothe continued the perseverance theme by adding,“If you work hard, do the job well, and act ethically, you will get noticed.” Before the presentation of graduates, Boothe reminded the audience that Spartans have an integral role to play in Silicon Valley. “SJSU students are well rounded, grounded, and willing to do what it takes,” he said.

Diana Pham (left) Tanya D'Silva (right)

Chamber of Commerce Honors Two SJSU Students

Diana Pham (left) and Tanya D'Silva (right)

Diana Pham (left) and Tanya D'Silva (right)

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Two young women who are attending SJSU while working at Silicon Valley companies were honored at the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 10th Annual Women in Leadership Dinner on May 9. Tanya D’Silva, a business major with a concentration in management information systems, and Diana Pham, a business major with a concentration in organization and management, received grants from the chamber’s Community Education Foundation, which supports the region’s schools and their students’ success. The College of Business nominated both women. The Spartans connected with the speakers, especially the keynote address by Blair Christie, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Cisco Systems, where D’Silva serves as an intern. Pham interns with Tectura. Christie spoke about women in leadership positions and the importance of “blending” modern work and life, as opposed to “balancing” the two. She explained that “balancing” work and personal life implies that the two are segregated. However, the more you can seamlessly “blend” the two, the less stressed and more satisfied you will be.

Silicon Valley/SJ Business Journal: Business Dean Focuses on Reputation, Revenue, Research

SJSU heads to Facebook, Google ads to recruit new students

Published by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal April 20, 2012.

By David Goll

Four years into his tenure at San Jose State University’s Lucas Graduate School of Business, David Steele oversees a program that contributes a total of 1,400 graduating students annually into the Silicon Valley work force.

Although it is the oldest public university business school west of the Mississippi River, Steele said San Jose State University dwells “in the shadow of Stanford and Berkeley.” He has instituted what he called his “3 R” strategy to make his program more competitive with those programs — focusing on improving reputation, revenue diversification and research. That has included spending more money advertising and promoting the program, as well as increasing academic requirements and size of the school’s endowment.

Steele said on the more conventional side, he promotes the Lucas Graduate School by selectively buying print advertising in local publications. But technological advances have created some new avenues for student recruitment.

“Our biggest recruiting tool today is Facebook,” Steele said. “We’re also paying Google a lot of money to come up on the first page when people type in Silicon Valley MBA or Bay Area MBA. And on LinkedIn, we have a good track record reaching our target audience of people who earned their undergraduate degrees at least five years ago.”

Steele said he considers the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University his biggest rival for students. But as a way to enhance the Lucas Graduate School’s reputation, Steele said he has raised entrance requirements, increasing the minimum score on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) from 500 to 550 and up to 575 later this year.

“That should help increase the quality of our overall program, but it can come at the expense of market share, so we have to be careful,” Steele said.

On the purely quantitative side, student numbers are down these days, at least on the undergraduate side, due to several consecutive years of reductions in state support. Overall, campus enrollment has had to be cut from 32,000 in 2008 to 28,000 today. Undergraduate business students now number 1,000 fewer than four years ago, though the Lucas Graduate School enrollment has remained steady at 750 students. Annual tuition for grad students is about $30,000, a bargain compared to local private universities like Stanford, where annual tuition can top $50,000.

“Fifteen years ago, our program received 80 percent of its funding from the state,” Steele said. “Today, it’s 45 percent.”

Fortunately, the program has attracted major outside support in recent years, including a $10 million gift from alumni Donald and Sally Lucas in 2006 and $5 million from another graduate, Gary Sbona, the following year.

San Jose State also embarked on its first ever large-scale private fundraising campaign in recent years and has raised $166 million toward a goal of $200 million. The Lucas Graduate School’s portion of that is $50 million, he said.

“Eighty percent of the contributions come from individuals and it’s almost all coming from alumni,” Steele said. “With the drop in public support, private fundraising has become an issue of survival. We’ve got to raise it on the outside.”

As it was in 2008, accounting and management remain the largest specialty fields of study for Lucas Graduate School students. The biggest employers of newly minted San Jose State MBA grads are the giant Silicon Valley tech companies — Apple Inc. , Cisco Systems Inc. , Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp. But retailers like Target Corp. , Kohl’s Corp. and Walgreens Co. are also regular employers of graduates with strong management and technical backgrounds.

Steele said his program is always looking to expand the field of employers. Doug Evans, employment specialist in the university’s career center, leads that effort. A recent employment fair he coordinated attracted more than 120 companies to the campus, up from less than 100 two years ago, according to Steele. Evans also arranges for individual interviews between students and employers to further relationships.

Pinterest Makes its Way to SJSU

Pinterest Makes its Way to SJSU

Lucas School pinboard featuring San Jose.

Check out this Lucas School pinboard showcasing all San Jose has to offer students.

By Ryan Whitchurch, Public Affairs Assistant

Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social media sites in history, has taken campus by storm. For example, a graduate program and journalism class have adopted this new social media tool into their marketing tactics and curricula.

The Donald and Sally Lucas Graduate School of Business and Mass Communications 139 are utilizing this tool to bring more attention from the outside community to what is happening on campus.

“It (Pinterest) allows prospective students, particularly international students, to imagine themselves at San Jose State University, and shows them the faces of the people they will encounter if they become students,” said Catherine Dougherty, Lucas School program coordinator.

In this way, the Lucas School is using this social media tool in an attempt to recruit more students into their program.

Dougherty says that the use of Pinterest allows their department to show the university to potential students by displaying photos.

The various “pinboards” on the Lucas Graduate School of Business Pinterest site draw attention to the beauty of the SJSU campus and showcase the programs that this college provides.

MCOM 139 is a class being offered by Michael Brito in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Brito’s class has also begun using Pinterest to help his students keep hip to current trends occurring within social media.

“It helps keep my students at the forefront of technology,” Brito said. “With new networks emerging daily, it’s important for students to be ahead of the curve.”

Brito challenges his students to regularly post content relevant to social media onto Pinterest in an effort to build their understanding of the site and further develop their personal brand.

The use of Pinterest at San Jose State University is rapidly growing and these two examples are on the front line of bringing this new medium into the classroom.

Check out the Lucas MBA Programs Pinterest account to see what this school has to offer, and the MCOM 139’s Pinterest account to see what Brito’s students are saying about social media.