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NIU Business in the News

  • Light Up Africa, a cross-college student team project wins Social Venture Business Plan Competition (December 2011, also see the December 11, 2001 Chicago Tribune story: "NIU Kids Do Good")
    A student team of NIU Business students and an NIU Engineering student won $10,000 in seed money to implement their innovative business solution that addresses the problem of unreliable access to electricity in many parts of the world, including Kenya. The Light Up Africa team members consists of: NIU Business students John Harkness, Mike Sutarik, Jason Schwebke and NIU Engineering student Alan Hurt. For their semester-long project, the Light Up Africa student team members were challenged in the college's management course -- which culminated in its first annual Social Venture Business Plan Competition -- to identify a social "gap" anywhere in the world. The students then were required to perform market research on their idea, develop a fully articulated business plan, and present and defend it to a panel of judges -- including angel investors -- in the final competition, which was held December 8, 2011. Light Up Africa's businesss solution involves utilitzing kinetic energy in an innovative way: by applying this technology in the form of a personal device designed specifically to attach to bicycles, motorbikes, livestock, and boats. Light Up Africa addresses the problem of unreliable access to electricity by providing African residents with the means to supply their own electricity for a small upfront investment, instead of having to wait for a large government investment in energy infrastructure. The college's Social Venture course offered out of its Department of Management saw enrollments from students across the university.

    The college congratulates the winning team Light Up Africa, with honorable mentions of the remaining five teams and their proposed business concepts: Appropriate Technologies, focused on water extraction technology to produce safe drinking water from oxygen; New Horizons, provider of incubator services to help poor Latinos gain the necessary business skills to start or run an income-generating business, in the DeKalb/Aurora area; Revolution, a cosmetology school in Aurora designed to help students with learning disabilities; Open Door, a job training and placement for homeless and other disadvantaged people in Rockford; and, Holistic innovations, provider of sustainable, organic food sources for university dining halls.

  • New York Times discusses research co-conducted by NIU College of Business assistant management professor on the relationship between credit scores and job performance (November 8, 2011)
    The link between low credit scores and bad job performance was studied by a group of business professors, one of whom is NIU College of Business Assistant Professor in Management Shannon Taylor. The other professors are from Louisiana State University and Texas Tech University. The team of professors was drawn to this particular research topic because many companies conduct credit checks on potential employees as a routine part of the interview screening process. The research team's findings see no link between low credit scores and bad job performance. Online self-published newspapers and the New York Times picked up the study. The New York Times discussion is entitled "No Link Seen Between Low Credit Scores and Bad Job Behavior." The research team's study is set to be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. read the article...

  • NIU Fulbrighter and assistant marketing professor interviewed on the economic impact of Super Walmart in Elgin (October 26, 2011)
    With the opening of a Super Walmart in Elgin and average Illinois home values decreased by 30 percent, NIU Fulbright and assistant marketing professor Mark Rosenbaum explores the potential relationship of the current economic downturn with the retail environment's overall performance. He discusses the current industry trend of retailers dividing up into either luxury or value-oriented stores. Rosenbaum shares that under current difficult economic conditions stores that target the middle class do not perform as well, and value-oriented stores like Super Walmarts increasingly are cannabilizing sales from surrounding retailers. Rosenbaum's interview ran in the Courier-News on October 26th and was also picked up by WBBM Radio. read the Courier-News article...

  • NIU College of Business Dean is quoted in Businessweek on the Glass Ceiling (August 8, 2011)
    Denise Schoenbachler, NIU Business Dean and tenured marketing professor, was interviewed in a Businessweek story on the glass ceiling in academia. The story -- "For Female Faculty, a B-School Glass Ceiling" -- discusses theviews shared by a select group of female business deans who describe why tenure and full professorships tend to be elusivefor many female academicians. When Schoenbachler first became dean, only 12% of all AACSB deans across the countrywere women. In an earlier and separate interview, she points to NIU as a great example of seeing women serve in more leadership capacities. In the 2006 college magazine, Schoenbachler says, "Here, women step up to more leadership roles, due in large part to their capabilities but also to NIU's commitment to diversity and to developing diversity." read the Businessweek article...