Category: PhD

VCU Ph.D.s Shine at Academy of Management

Congrats to VCU School of Business doctoral alumnus, George Banks (Ph.D., 2012), who was awarded the Early Career Award by the Research Methods Division of the Academy of Management at their Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

In addition, a paper with VCU doctoral student Sheila List as lead author was one of five nominees for the Best Paper award in the Research Methods division of at the Academy of Management.  (List, S. K., Kepes, S., & McDaniel, M. A. (2017). Sensitivity analysis on the relation between extrinsic rewards and intrinsic motivation. Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management Annual Meeting).

In receiving the Early Career Award, Banks follows in the footsteps of VCU graduate Ernest O’Boyle, (Ph.D., 2010), who won in 2015. Fresh off returning from Atlanta yesterday, S. Douglas Pugh, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Management, shared the good news. He says, “Clearly, we have established ourselves as a very strong program in this domain, and we are keeping company with faculty from some pretty impressive research schools.”

Early Career Award (sponsored by Sage Publications and CARMA)
Awarded to scholars who have made distinguished contributions to research methods, practice, and education during their early career stage. Candidates for the 2017 award must have received their PhD no earlier than 2010.

YearNameDoctorate FromCurrent Institution
2017George BanksVirginia Commonwealth UniversityUniversity of North Carolina at Charlotte
2016Louis TayUniv of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignPurdue University
2015Ernest O’BoyleVirginia Commonwealth UniversityIndiana University
2014Nathan PodsakoffUniversity of FloridaUniversity of Arizona
2013Zhen ZhangUniversity of MinnesotaArizona State University
2012Mike ZyphurTulane UniversityUniversity of Melbourne
2011Mo WangBowling Green State UniversityUniversity of Florida
2010Daniel NewmanPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

Economics professors conduct research about philanthropy and the “dictator game”

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The dictator games

VCU economists awarded grant to study how “dictator” behavior can affect philanthropy

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014

Suppose that someone trustworthy gave you $20, paired you with an anonymous person, and then said, “You have three choices: You can give all $20 to this other person (who doesn’t know you exist), you can share some of it and keep some for yourself, or you can keep it all for yourself. It’s up to you.”

What do you think most people in this situation would do? More importantly, what do you think motivates their decisions?

Called a “dictator game,” because one player has all the power while the other is merely a passive “recipient,” this abstract and seemingly improbable scenario has long been used by economists to study the behaviors and preferences of decision-makers in a controlled setting.

And because it mirrors the power differential between philanthropists and charities, the dictator game is at the heart of research on philanthropy being conducted by three economists in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.

To test the external validity of this research — that is, whether their lab results are reflected in naturally occurring environments — professors Edward Millner, Ph.D., and Laura Razzolini, Ph.D., and associate professor Oleg Korenok, Ph.D., have received a $17,500 Small Grant from the Science of Philanthropy Initiative, based at the University of Chicago and itself funded by a grant from The John Templeton Foundation.

The best way to understand what Millner, Razzolini and Korenok are doing today is to work your way up to it.

Start with someone else’s research: Years ago, a study compared matched donations, in which you give a dollar and another benefactor matches it, with subsidized donations, in which you give a dollar and another benefactor returns 50 cents to you. The results of that study showed that matched giving was greater than subsidized giving, which got Millner thinking about the dictator game and the question of whether matching and subsidies are equivalent in the dictator’s mind.

In particular, Millner was fascinated by what seemed like an odd result. In testing scenarios when the initial amounts, or “endowments,” held by the dictator and the recipient were equal, 25 percent of dictators behaved in ways that made the distribution unequal — to their apparent disadvantage. This suggested, and was consistent with, something economists call “warm-glow giving,” the positive emotional feeling people get from helping others, which Millner says he always thought was “hooey.”

“So then we conducted an experiment that tested if warm glow organizes the data well, and the answer is yes,” Millner said. “I’m a believer now. Warm glow works; it’s out there.”

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At this point, Millner and Razzolini began thinking about how to design the range of choices so that dictators, i.e., philanthropists, would give more. And it was the academic work of others that helped them do this.

Two similar studies began with a game in which the dictator was given $10 and told she could pass up to $5 to a recipient who had $5 already. The study then widened the dictator’s choices by allowing her to take the recipient’s $5. In the end, the average contribution fell when the option to take was available.

Many consider this result to be unexplainable and to violate the fundamental principles of economics, Millner said.

“We looked at it and said, ‘No, it really doesn’t,’” he recalled. “If warm glow matters … and the dictator views the payoff space not by what he or she can give but by the range of payoff possibilities that exist, then the taking option expands those payoff possibilities and it’s going to shift what the optimal behavior is. And if not taking is viewed as giving, then shifting that payoff space in favor of the dictator should reduce the payoff to the recipient.”

Millner, Razzolini and Korenok then tried to determine for themselves if not taking is the same as giving, thinking that, if it is, warm glow (also known as “impure altruism”) must explain the results. Their research produced a paper titled “Taking, Giving, and Impure Altruism in Dictator Games,” which was published in the September 2014 issue of the journal Experimental Economics.

What they found made things even more interesting: not taking is not the same as giving. Essentially, people take less than they give. In the context of the game, the recipient fared much better when the dictator was taking than when he was giving.

This result compelled Millner and Razzolini to wonder how their research might transfer to, and be useful in, the naturally occurring environments outside of their laboratories. Could a charity frame a donation as though you’ve already given the money and, thereby, put you in the position of having to take rather than give? Could this framing increase donations to a charity?

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With the help of the Small Grant they have received from the Science of Philanthropy Initiative, Millner, Razzolini and Korenok hope to answer these questions by pursuing their research in three ways.

First, they will conduct new laboratory experiments that involve real charities rather than simulated, individual recipients. This testing will verify whether the move from person-to-person to person-to-charity makes any difference in the lab.

Second, they have partnered with PlanG, a Richmond-based company that facilitates and organizes individual philanthropy, to conduct a field experiment, funded in part by the Small Grant. In this experiment, PlanG’s website will, on a random basis, present users with differently framed options. In addition to the usual method of entering a desired donation, the site will show some users a suggested amount from which they must subtract to arrive at a preferred amount.

As Razzolini points out, she and Millner are not the first to introduce a suggested donation; the novelty of their approach is to force the user to decide to take something away. Millner and Razzolini hypothesize that this “taking” mechanism will generate greater contributions to charities than the “giving” one.

Finally, with a second experiment in the lab, Millner and Razzolini will try to answer a subtler question: Given the demonstrated difference between taking and giving, what is the strength of individual aversion to taking? How much will a dictator give up so that he doesn’t have to take?

“Our results are showing that taking aversion is prevalent and strong,” Millner said. “This is important for the philanthropy because, if I have this taking frame and someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to play the game.”

The trick is finding a way to maximize taking aversion without turning people off. It is the sweet spot that the field experiment aims to define.

 “Do more people opt out of the taking frame than the giving frame?” Millner asked. “If they continue, do they in fact contribute more in the taking frame than the giving frame? What’s the net impact?”

The idea for this experiment began with a lucky meeting. Millner wanted a speaker for his MBA class, and that speaker ended up being one of PlanG’s founders, Melina Davis-Martin, a former VCU MBA student. Their conversations led to a collaboration that Millner embraces as a form of community engagement.

“I’m an academic person,” Millner explained, “so just determining whether or not warm glow exists in the lab I find to be an intellectually stimulating exercise. … [But] this is a new dimension. It’s really fun to do something that’s an extension of what I’m already doing and that takes it a step further. And with the university’s big push for community engagement, I’m happy to be able to do that in a way that dovetails with my own intellectual interests.”

Subscribe for free to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at http://newsletter.news.vcu.edu/ and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday. VCU students, faculty and staff automatically receive the newsletter. To learn more about research taking place at VCU, subscribe to its research blog, Across the Spectrum athttp://www.spectrum.vcu.edu/

Assistant professor Allison Gabriel quoted in Entrepreneur magazine

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Allison Gabriel, assistant professor of management, is quoted in the October issue of Entrepreneur magazine, in print and online. According to Gabriel, “When you are constantly draining your resources, you are not being as productive as you can be. If you get depleted, we see performance decline. You’re able to persist less and have trouble solving tasks.” Click here to reach her insights in the trending article, “The Secret to Increased Productivity: Taking Time Off.” 

John Chilton on the Scottish independence outcome

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Professor discusses betting markets vs. polls in predicting Scottish independence outcome

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

After the historic Scottish independence vote on Sept. 18, the United Kingdom remains united, but many issues and questions remain. Before the vote, nationalists in favor of independence were certain they would win, while unionists against it were fearful they could lose. So what happened?

John Chilton, professor of economics in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, has an interesting take. His research interests include voting, pre-election polls and election betting markets. He notes that the betting markets outperformed the Scottish polls perhaps because people do not always respond truthfully to pre-election polls. Also, he says, promises made by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron may have shifted many votes from “Yes” to “No.”

Chilton recently discussed his take on the vote.

Why were the nationalists so confident that they would win? Did that notion have any validity at one point?

I don’t know. I can speculate. It’s common for insiders to a campaign to express more confidence than the evidence they have in hand would suggest. You want to convey the message that you will win if only your supporters turn out to vote. It’s cheap talk, but to not overtly express confidence is to reveal you believe you’re sure to lose.

Can you explain how betting markets work and how they differ from polls?

Pre-election polls provide a snapshot of voters’ intentions, asking, “If the election was today would you vote and how would you vote?” These polls may be an accurate reflection of current intentions, but intentions can change. That’s part of their appeal, giving political races a feel of a horse race. In betting markets, players want to use all information available to forecast the outcome they are betting on. Whenever the current betting odds are out of line with forecasts the smart money moves in and as it does so the odds come into line with the forecast. Polls are information that goes into making a forecast, but not the only piece of information. Bettors may be incorporating future economic conditions that transpire before the election and may affect how people vote. In the Scottish case, the bettors would have had good reason to anticipate Prime Minister Cameron would make concessions if it appeared secession had a chance.

Another example relevant to Scotland are “shy Torys.” The journalist and election forecaster Nate Silver suggested “shy Torys” could be why the polls were so different from the outcome. Scotland is heavily Labour and so Torys may be reluctant to reveal themselves to a pollster. Poll results aren’t adjusted for this possibility, but that correction can and will be reflected in betting markets. The same effect is seen in the U.S. where it appears some white voters are shy to reveal they will not vote for an African-American candidate.

What did the betting markets predict in this specific case?

The economist Justin Wolfers took a look. He reports the market for betting on who would win gave “No” an 80 percent chance of winning. In the market for winning margin, a four-point win for “No” was most likely. Eighty percent isn’t an expression of certainty, but the markets clearly outperformed the polls that were saying it was neck-and-neck and the margin would be very close.

Why do people not respond honestly to anonymous polls?

First, you never know if it is anonymous. The caller may be from a campaign and you may believe what you say will be revealed. Second, people may feel ashamed that their view is looked down upon and that shame is present even when stated anonymously. Third, voters may use polls to decide how to vote — for example, to determine whether the election is close and they should turn out on Election Day. In that case, you may be happy to mislead the pollster, and the public.

Finally, in the Scottish case, voters may have replied to pollsters with their heart and voted with their head. You could say they were of two minds, which is not an act of dishonesty, simply part of the human condition.

You’ve mentioned that Prime Minister Cameron’s last-minute promises to give Scotland greater freedom may have swayed many people to vote “No.” Why do you think the “Yes” voters may have achieved their aims even though the vote for independence failed?

It is a mistake to think the desire for independence was due solely to “Braveheart” or North Sea oil. Scotland is a Labour stronghold. The majority of Scots prefer a more liberal government than the Conservatives in power. It’s underappreciated that the status quo in the UK is that the government is more highly centralized than in other developed countries. As a consequence, if a majority in a region like Scotland holds preferences about the size and role of government at odds with the U.K. majority, that creates a desire for local autonomy. The Scots want to see greater income redistribution and a reversal of decisions made by Conservative governments going back at least as far as Thatcher to shrink the welfare state and privatize state industry. The devolution of powers promised by Cameron would allow Scots to take steps in that direction.

What would you like to add?

A major post-election survey of the Scottish vote for independence reveals the electorate wasn’t convinced either side knew how independence would work out. There was great uncertainty. Many voters appeared to have concluded that taking a risk on “Yes” wasn’t worth it, especially once Cameron made concessions. There’s evidence that in the finance literature that women make better and more cautious investment decisions. A majority of men and women voted “No,” but the women’s “No” vote was stronger. The post-election survey also shows the likely targets of greater taxation voted “No.” And older voters who voted “No” were particularly concerned with how independence would affect the National Health Service and other programs that benefit older voters.

Subscribe for free to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at http://newsletter.news.vcu.edu/ and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday. VCU students, faculty and staff automatically receive the newsletter. 

Economics Chair, Carol Scotese, Ph.D. on Job Recovery Due to ‘Virtuous Circle’

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Economics chair: job recovery due to ‘virtuous circle’

Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

The July jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows continued growth for the sixth consecutive month. While the unemployment rate actually rose a notch, analysts are warily optimistic that the trend will continue.

Carol Scotese, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Economics, discussed what this latest report means.

What are some of the causes of this recovery? Do you think it will continue? What is needed for it to do so? 
The economy has actually been in recovery for the last four years. However, the pace of the recovery, particularly in the early phase, was agonizingly weak. The decline in household wealth — housing prices and equity values — and the depressed availability of credit were two major factors preventing an initial quick recovery. Then we entered a sort of “vicious cycle” where the high job losses themselves feed back to keep spending and hiring depressed. The recovery was further impeded by large cuts in government spending, particularly at the state and local levels. The pace of growth and job recovery has quickened in the last year or so, corresponding with a recovery in the housing market and improved balance sheets in the financial and public sectors. Recoveries tend to build on themselves: more job growth creates more spending, followed by more job growth, creating a “virtuous circle.”

CNN reported that July’s gain marks the sixth month that more than 200,000 jobs have been added. What makes that an important marker? 
While there is no particular “magic” in the six-month marker, the continued pace of healthy job creation is a positive signal that the recovery could be building on itself: more jobs, creating more spending — the “virtuous circle.” In fact, 2014 is on track to be the strongest year for job growth since 1999.

If we’re adding new jobs, how is it that the unemployment rate has risen, albeit minimally? 
There are always new entrants into the workforce, both from young people who haven’t been in the workforce before and from the pool of people who intermittently look for work. The people who intermittently look for work are particularly sensitive to business conditions; they look for jobs more often when the chances of finding a job are better. So, there were enough jobs created to absorb all of the new entrants into the workforce. This is a good thing.

What sectors are seeing the most growth? What sectors are still suffering? 
Job growth has been fairly broad-based; even construction has shown healthy job gains.

What would you like to add? 
As I mentioned, the pace of hiring has been quite good this year. There is still significant improvement to be made in reducing the number of long-term unemployed and in those working part-time who would prefer to be working full time. The growth in wages is just keeping pace with inflation and this is indicative of an unemployment rate that can go lower still.

Today’s jobs report is consistent with the slow but steady improvement in the labor market over the last two years. Employers are hiring just enough to make slow progress in absorbing both new entrants and some of the existing unemployed. The number of discouraged workers — a term used to describe those who want work but have given up looking — has declined by nearly one-quarter million over the last year and the number of long-term unemployed — those without work for at least 27 weeks — has declined by over 1 million. Unfortunately, there still remain 3.2 million long-term unemployed people — nearly one-third of all unemployed workers — and 7.5 million part-time workers who would prefer to be working full time. The average hourly wage has just kept pace with inflation over this past year and, according to its most recent policy statement, Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve believe that the there is still room for improvements in the unemployment rate, which ticked up a bit to 6.2 percent according to today’s numbers. 


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Dr. Carolyn Norman’s study featured in the New York Times

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Chair of the Accounting Department, Dr. Carolyn Norman, conducted the study, “Will Disclosure of Friendship Ties between Directors and C.E.O.s Yield Perverse Effects?” along with Jacob M. Rose and Anna M. Rose of Bentley University and Cheri R. Mazza of Sacred Heart University.

The study focused on the social ties between board members and chief executives.  The experiment found that when social relationships were disclosed as part of director-independence regulations, board members didn’t toughen their oversight of their chief-executive pals but the opposite; they went easier on the C.E.O.

The participants included 56 current directors at companies of all sizes with 30 years of business experience, and served on multiple boards.   They were divided into two groups and were asked to role-play as board members of a hypothetical company.  The groups were divided into having a social relationship with the C.E.O. or no ties at all.

The results lead to two messages. One is for regulators: simply disclosing a conflict or friendship does not eliminate its potential to create problems.

The other is for investors. “Shareholders should take a more active role in finding out what kinds of relationships their boards and C.E.O.s have,” Mr. Rose said, “and recognize the potential traps created by them.”

The study was just featured in the New York Times and will be published in the July-August issue of The Accounting Review.

Read the full article in the New York Times here.

School of Business Says Goodbye To Retiring Faculty

As the the Spring 2014 semester comes to a close with VCU and its new graduates parting ways, the School of Business will also be saying goodbye to eight of its faculty who are retiring this month.

Last week, the business school held a luncheon in the Snead Hall Atrium, where colleagues, friends and associates of those retiring were able to join them for the afternoon and hear a few words from Dean Ed Grier and Department Chairs about their departing peers.

“It’s a lot of service years between all of them,” Grier said. “We’re going to miss the 243 years of experience leaving.”

The eight retirees represent the departments of Accounting, Economics, Management, Supply Chain Management & Analytics and the VA Council for Economic Education (VCEE).

Dr. Jon Ackley, who’s retiring as an Associate Professor, served as department Chair for Management twice during his career and is responsible for organizing the popular “Business of NASCAR” class that was introduced a few years ago.

“Jon did what many of us aspire to,” said Supply Chain Management & Analytics Department Chair Chip Minor. “That is; take a passion and run with it. He truly puts the university and the school first.”

Dr. Randy Barker, a Supply Chain Management & Analytics professor will also be retiring this year. “Randy is one of those exceptional faculty who excelled in both research and in the classroom,” said Rich Redmond, Interim Senior Associate Dean.

Barker, among many other things, is well known for the research he and his wife conducted on the benefits of having dogs in the workplace.

Also retiring is Dr. Randall Sleeth, a professor whose embrace of Service Learning increased university outreach into the city of Richmond and taught students the value of community involvement.

“Randy has been instrumental in getting students involved in community service,” said Department of Management Chair Doug Pugh. “He’s really leaving behind a legacy.”

Bob Wood, a Management professor will also be retiring this year. “Bob may be best known as the person who developed the Strategic Dilemmas projects for teaching in our Fast Track MBA program.  Strategic dilemmas are in-depth consulting projects our MBA students conduct for local organizations.  They’re a fantastic learning opportunity for students and also provide real value for participating organizations,” said Department of Management Chair Doug Pugh.

Dr. John Everett, a retiring accounting professor said that after 30 years of teaching, he’s excited for new experiences. Everett said the make up of the student body has changed tremendously since his arrival. He believes the university is creating many more opportunities than it ever has before, not just for local Richmonders, but for young people throughout the region.

“VCU has changed for the better over the years,” Everett said. “A rising tide lifts all boats and VCU has done just that.”

Everett said one of the things he will miss most is being in a classroom setting and teaching for “teaching’s sake.” In recognition of his accomplishments, President Rao has appointed Evertt as Professor Emeritus.

Also among those retiring is Dr. Ruth Epps. According to Rich Redmond, Interim Senior Associate Dean, “Ruth was a leader in the school, having served as Department Chair and as a full professor in the Department of Accounting. She will be greatly missed.”

Suzanne Gallagher, the Director of theVCU Center for Economic Education will also retire this year.  “As the Director of the VCU Center for Economic Education for the last 24 years, Suzanne’s unwavering commitment to economic education has made a positive impact on countless teachers, students, and colleagues.  Though she has earned national awards and recognition for her work, Suzanne’s enthusiasm and genuine personality will be remembered and cherished most by those with whom she has worked.  I am grateful for her many contributions to the success of the Virginia Council on Economic Education and the VCU Center,” said Daniel R Mortensen, Executive Director of the VCEE. 

Fellow retiree Dr. Robert R. Trumble, a management professor and former dean, spoke for many when he said that he’ll miss the camaraderie found in working and socializing with other professors and students he’s met during his tenure. Bob looks forward to world travel adventures with his wife and family upon his retirement.

Among this year’s retirees are a few faculty members who were here to witness the 1968 merger between the Medical College of Virginia and Richmond Professional Institute establishing Virginia Commonwealth University.

We thank all of those retiring this year for their dedication and service to the students, the School of Business and the University and wish them nothing but the best in their retirement.

-Article by Chris Suarez, student journalist

*Click on images below for the full version.

Remembering Sam Kornblau

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On behalf of 
Dean Ed Grier, the faculty of the Kornblau Real Estate Program and the School of Business, we would like to take a moment  to remember a man who transformed not only the real estate landscape in Richmond, but also real estate education here at VCU. Sam Kornblau, friend and staunch supporter of the VCU School of Business, passed away this morning.

Mr. Kornblau was instrumental in shaping the Kornblau Real Estate Program and left an indelible impact on it with his support. In 2006, he donated a generous gift to establish a real estate institute and in 2013 he renewed his commitment to formally name the program. His consistent and generous investment in future generations of real estate leaders was inspirational and leaves a lasting legacy in the Richmond community.

Our thoughts go out to the Kornblau family during this difficult time.

Professor Ronald Humphrey makes his way across news outlets

Professor Ronald Humphrey recently provided his expert opinion to Associated Press writer, Bree Fowler for a news article focused on data breaches being a new source of concern for CEOs. Dr. Humphrey’s commentary on the issue has now shown up in 200 news outlets including huffingtonpost.com and usnews.com. Click here to read the full AP article.

Shaka Smart Talks Leadership at Investors Circle Event

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Despite the recent resurgence of rumors saying Shaka Smart is leaving VCU for another high-caliber college basketball program, the beloved coach is here to stay.

Last week, The VCU School of Business Foundation hosted a dinner for the school’s Investors Circle at the Jefferson Hotel. Invited to Tuesday night’s dinner was Coach Shaka Smart, who participated in a Q-and-A session with moderator Dr. Jean B. Gasen, Executive Director of the School of Business Center for Corporate Education.

The theme for Tuesday night’s discussion, “Instilling Leadership On and Off The Court,” had Dr. Gasen ask Smart questions regarding the basketball team, Smart’s impression of the student athletes he’s mentored, his coaching philosophies and core values on and off the court.

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Having graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon University and earned his master’s in Social Science from California University of Pennsylvania, Smart developed a love for quotes from historical figures. Playing off his well-known admiration of poetry, history and motivational speaking, many of Dr. Gasen’s questions were preluded with quotes from writers and historians such as Sun Tzu and Robert Frost.

Dinner guests had an opportunity to see and hear Smart in a much more intimate setting with the coach answering questions with personal vignettes, recalling stories about being an assistant-coach at Florida University and Clemson and learning to become a leader and mentor for his student-athletes.

Smart also talked about his own family and being a father to his two-year old daughter Zora as well as being heavily influenced by his mother who raised him and his five siblings as a single parent.

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When asked by a dinner guest what the greatest feeling Smart has felt as Head Coach, Smart replied that it hasn’t been winning and earning accolades, but instead seeing the student-athletes he watched grow and develop make something of themselves.

“Last week when we were recruiting in California, me and the team were watching Troy Daniels with the Houston Rockets on TV in the playoffs,” Smart said. “I don’t think I had ever been more proud watching him play.”

During Game 3 of the Houston Rockets playoff series with the Portland Blazers, VCU alumnus and A-10 record holder for the most three point field goals in a game, Troy Daniels hit a game winning three-pointer with 11.0 seconds left on the clock.

“I know Troy is going to succeed – in basketball or whatever he does – because he’s a hard worker and knows how to follow directions,” Smart said. “I know it sounds simple, but it makes a world of difference.”

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After the dinner and discussion period, guests and members of the Investors Circle were invited to meet and take pictures with Smart.

For members of the Investors Circle, events and dinners such as these provide social and recreational outings for the network comprised of local businesses, charities and VCU alumni.

“It was fantastic. I completely enjoyed it,” said Davenport & Co. Senior Vice President and Head of Business Development Clay Hilbert. “We were founded in 1863 here in Richmond. We’ve been here a long time and we’re happy to be a part of the growth here in Richmond. I think VCU has done a phenomenal job in helping improve the city. We’re big supporters of the School of Business.”

While some members of the Investors Circle are individual donors, many local companies and businesses, such as Davenport & Co. donate to the school and offer invitations to Investor Circle events throughout the year to their employees.

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Brandon Hey, a VCU alumnus from 2011 and current underwriter for Markel Insurance, said he was invited to Tuesday night’s dinner through his employer.

“It was a great event and so well put together. I really enjoyed it,” Hey said. “He [Shaka] was a very good speaker. I liked how he applied his coaching staff, the outside work force and the students into his answers.”

Individual memberships costs for the Investors Circle begin at $1,000 and Corporate at
$2,500. For more information, please visit go.vcu.edu/InvestorsCircle or contact Katy Beishem at 804.827.0075 or kbeisheim@vcu.edu  

To read the event coverage from the Richmond Times Dispatch, click here.

-Article by Chris Suarez, student journalist

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