CBE’s MentHER Program Hosts Pitch the Purse Event

Is it possible to make a purse out of scraps? For the creative students in the MentHER group, it is. 

Purses made by Lansdowne High School students using various materials such as boxes, fabric scraps, and egg cartons. 

This semester, MentHER hosted Lansdowne High School at the Sandbox in Hawkins Hall for a “Pitch the Purse” event. Using recycled items such as egg cartons, fabric scraps, and ribbon, students were tasked to construct a purse as well as the contents inside. Students were given an hour to design, construct, and pitch their purse to the group. After the pitch, students received feedback on how to improve their business acumen going forward. 

“MentHER provided us a space at “Pitch the Purse to guide and collaborate with women with a fun project but also observe their impressive business knowledge as high school students,” shared project management & business analysis student Sadie Barrett. 

The Pitch the Purse event aimed to instill teamwork, innovative thinking, collaboration, and confidence in the students through providing unusual materials and minimal directions. By doing so, students had the opportunity to push themselves in a real-world simulation of the creation and pitching process. Pitch the Purse embraces the idea that failing forward can bring the best innovation. 

Students working together to pitch their purse to the rest of the group.

Lansdowne High School students extended these ideas during the event. Students made quick decisions and bartered for better materials, building business confidence, and overcoming stereotypes of women in business being “bossy” in the workplace by expressing themselves. Students also expressed great teamwork, as they not only worked together on the creation of the purses but opted to all pitch take turns while pitching their ideas, building upon their collaboration and public speaking skills. 

MentHER is a “lift as you rise” program that combines networking and mentorship opportunities among women to support the growth, education, and empowerment of College of Business & Economics students and high school students in the Baltimore area. The program works to connect professional businesswomen with 1:1 mentoring relationships with CBE students, who in turn mentor students at Lansdowne High School. 

During this event, CBE MentHER members were on hand to give guidance and support to the Lansdowne High School students. MentHER members offered their leadership to the high school students to help them gain the confidence to take on the task themselves, despite the time constraints and minimal direction. 

“I feel that the event served as a great opportunity to get a feel for “hands off” leadership as it related to teamwork because, while I played a supporting role in the activity, it was really the high school students who made most of the decisions on how they wanted to design their purse and what they wanted their pitch for it to be” explains Jeannie Rowe, a human resource management student in CBE. 

Pitch the Purse aimed to teach innovative thinking, collaboration, and confidence. This bag made by Lansdowne High School students was made with a box and string. 

MentHER empowers women by providing mentoring in financial literacy, career planning, and life and workplace skills. The MentHER program also builds college and career readiness by bringing Lansdowne High School students to the TU campus and gives them access to college facilities. “MentHER openly talks about advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the workplace, so it is important for us to work together, and know that we can support each other,” said Chloe Gladson, a marketing concentration student. 

MentHER continues to impact women within multiple stages of their lives to gain the business skills and confidence they will need to further their careers. MentHER gives women a space that they do not normally receive in the business world and allows them to expand their knowledge and future careers in an area where they are not commonly in power. As described by Rowe, “the program not only allows young adult women to inspire women younger than them, but it also allows for young women to be inspired by and develop professional relationships with women in the business world.”

BATM Junior Becomes First TU Student to Pass the Expert Level Exam in Excel

Jeremy Hotchkiss, a Business Systems & Processes and Investments Major, is set to graduate with both an Associate and Expert level certification in Excel

As a junior Business Systems & Processes major, Jeremy Hotchkiss took the Associate Level Exam in Excel – a requirement for the program. After passing this exam with flying colors, Hotchkiss decided to take his knowledge in Excel a step further and sit for the Expert Level Exam. Hotchkiss aced the exam with a perfect score of 1,000. Hotchkiss’ success not only highlights his tremendous work ethic but earns him the honor of being the first Towson University student to graduate with both an Associate and Expert level certification for the spreadsheet system.

Microsoft Office offers two exams for those looking to get certified in the program: the Associate Level Exam and the Expert Level Exam. While the Associate Level Exam in Excel focuses on measuring competency in creating and managing Excel worksheets, the Expert Level Exam focuses on managing professional spreadsheets to enhance productivity and meet project needs in a workplace setting. As Hotchkiss is expected to graduate in winter 2024 with his degree in business systems & processes and investments, it is crucial to understand how to implement Excel within the workplace.

“By earning an Expert Level certification, Jeremy has demonstrated to all prospective employers that he has a unique set of analytical skills and capabilities,” says professor Lynnwood Cook of the Department of Business Analytics & Technology Management. “His future employer will also be pleased to learn that he scored a perfect score on the exam.”

When asked how these exams have prepared him for his future career, Hotchkiss emphasized having confidence in the tools of the program. “This exam will have provided me the knowledge and know-how to give me a better footing when it comes to database and data analysis,” he said.

Hotchkiss was able to reach this milestone through consistent studying and practice, such as completing practice tests provided by GMetrix, a certification preparation resource. “Once I had covered that, I went back to the concept sheet that laid out the potential concepts that were going to be covered on the exam,” Hotchkiss said.

Prior to Hotchkiss’ success with the Expert Level Exam, he also passed the MOS Certification Exam, exceeding the benchmark of 950 with a score of 962. Due to this achievement, the total cost of Hotchkiss’ participation in the Expert Level exam, including his GMetrix training materials, was funded by Certiport, a certification exam provider dedicated to helping people succeed through certification.

For students who are considering taking the Expert Level Exam in Excel, Hotchkiss emphasizes the importance of having a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the concepts in the Associate Level Exam, along with the new content of the Expert Level Exam.

“About a third of the Expert Exam version I completed contained concepts from the Associate Level exam. Future Excel Exam test takers should study the concepts in depth. The rest of the exam was completely new stuff that the Associate level did not cover,” said Hotchkiss.

Through this endeavor, Hotchkiss expanded his knowledge of Excel and prepared himself for a successful future. “Although Excel isn’t the most exciting subject, taking this exam opened my eyes to many new functions and such that I never knew Excel could complete or run.”

This achievement not only highlights Hotchkiss’ talents, but also opens the door to other students within the College of Business & Economics to consider going beyond the Associate Level Exam and aim for additional certifications that could set them apart from the pack when applying for jobs in their desired fields.

“Excel is a powerful tool for data visualization and data analytics,” said Dr. Chaodong Han, the chair of the Department of Business Analytics & Technology. “Students graduating with Excel proficiency and certification will gain a clear edge in a competitive job market.”

The College of Business & Economics celebrates Hotchkiss’ success and the opportunities these certifications will give Hotchkiss in his future career.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jorge Romero

Dr. Jorge Romero has been with the accounting department at the College of Business and Economics at Towson University since 2008. During this time, he has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes, as well as undertaking some exciting research projects. I had the chance to speak with Dr. Romero and was able to gain some valuable insight into his career, the world of accounting, and what it is like to be a professor at Towson University.

When asked about all the degree programs he has completed, Dr. Romero stated “I enjoyed all my degree programs. Each program was unique and valuable”. Dr. Romero gained his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. He went on get both his MBA and Ph.D. in Management Science with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Texas in Dallas, supervised by Dr. Rajiv D. Banker, who Dr.Romero describes as one of the most influential researchers in business. On top of his impressive academic career, Dr. Romero also has experience working for HSBC Bank in its main headquarters in Chicago. Here he was part of a research team working in data analytics – very crucial for the world of business and accounting!

Having been with Towson University for 14 years, Dr. Romero knows a thing or two about being a professor at the university. “It is a great environment, and I have a chance to interact with a diverse set of students and faculty” is the first thing Dr. Romero says when asked his favorite thing about teaching at here. He goes on to say “I have very positive experiences with my students every semester. They’re excited about accounting, data analytics, and learning in general. They’re fun and energetic, and it’s great being around them. I also like to share with them the link between my research and the topics that we cover in class, I strive to integrate my experience in research and industry to provide real-life applications for students, and I like them to see practical applications of accounting concepts in the real world”.

We went on to discuss his research interests, where Dr. Romero stated that his extensive background in cost accounting, managerial accounting, data analytics, and the use of market measures of firm performance in a broad range of contexts, including research, teaching, and industry has allowed him to contribute some valuable research to the industry. His work has been published in leading accounting journals. When asked more specifically about his previous and current research topics, Dr. Romero said “because of my solid background in mathematics and statistics, my research expertise focuses on empirical accounting work. I work on different research projects with co-authors from different universities all over the world, as well as from Towson University. Currently, I am working with Dr. Rajiv
Banker on several empirical accounting research projects”.

Dr. Romero was also made the Editor of the Advances in Public Interest Journal in January 2022. He explained that “the Journal is abstracted, indexed, and ranked in several international databases, including Scopus, Web of Science, SCImago Journal Rank (SJR), and the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC), among others.”. The Advances in Public Interest Journal has been published regularly since 1986 by the UK-based Emerald Group Publishing, one of the largest publishers of academic material. Dr. Romero described his experience as an editor thus far by saying “being an editor is very rewarding; I get to interact with Editorial Members, Associate Editors, Reviewers, and Authors. It also pushes me to be well-informed about relevant technological advances in publishing and disseminating research. Currently, I am working on expanding the pool of authors to American, Asian, and Australian researchers interested in submitting papers to the Journal through my network of contacts. The target of the Journal is to create awareness of different issues of public interest and reach a higher ranking in the different international rankings and databases”. He added “current strengths of Advances in Public Interest Accounting include a solid reputation for providing original contributions that add to the understanding of public interest that impact businesses, regulators, governments, and government
bodies; a reasonable level of diversity of topics; and its association with Emerald, an established leader
in publishing”.

It is often interesting to look at business, and its related subjects, from the perspective that they can bring good to the world, rather than being very heavily ‘corporate’. In reference to his Editorship of an academic journal about such a topic, I asked Dr. Romero how he thought accounting can promote the public good. He informed me that the Journal focusses on promoting the public good through its social impact on climate action and sustainability. He stated “the central mission of the Journal is to provide essential reading for those who need to stay informed about issues related to public interest around the world. The Journal plays a critical role in providing a forum where innovative and leading research is given open-minded consideration based on scientific merit. Advances in Public Interest Accounting aims to provide a forum for researchers concerned with critically appraising and significantly transforming conventional accounting theory, practice, teaching, and research”.

Finally, we discussed up-and-coming research in the accounting field. There is currently a new trend in empirical accounting where data analytics tools are being used to deepen the research understanding of different accounting issues in the field. Dr. Romero gave the following example: “For instance, currently Python is being used, which is a textual analysis tool that I am using to extract textual sentiments to analyze how companies write their annual reports, focusing on the sentiments and tones included in the text and how that affects the future performance of the company.”

In his spare time, Dr. Romero likes to spend time with his family, enjoy the outdoors and watch movies. He is also an avid swimmer, and says it is a great source for relaxation. With such a busy schedule, it’s no surprise that Dr. Romero needs time to wind down! We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Romero on behalf of Towson University’s College of Business and Economics for his Journal Editorship and thank him for his contributions to the Towson University Accounting Department.


Written by: Elizabeth Higgins

Alumni Spotlight: Raquel Tennant

Raquel Tennant, a 2019 graduate of the College of Business and Economics, always had a knack for finance. Tennant always was making lists for her spendings and math came easy to her. Despite this, Tennant did not like the abstract nature of the subject and wanted something that could be applied to everyday people. When she found financial planning being offered in CBE in the Business Administration major, Tennant says the option “ made it real for me”. 

Tennant, a first generation American, felt as if people were being left out in the overall financial field. An everyday person may not have the funds or understanding to invest their money right away, and Tennant found that financial planning was more inclusive to everyday people and lifestyles. Tennant also loved the comprehensiveness of financial planning, and how a CFP has knowledge on and is able to help their clientele’s entire life. 

With financial planning, Tenant was able to learn a skill that “not only helps other people but helps myself”. 

Tennant also shares that financial planning, with its rigorous requirements and testing procedures, is what she sees as “the gold standard of finance”. Tennant feels distinguished knowing she was able to make it through the qualifications that make her “the real deal” while also having a comprehensive understanding of finance that allows her to speak on many parts of the industry. 

Tennant enthusiastically shared her appreciation for her time at Towson University and how it has benefitted her in her career. One major part of her career that she feels CBE prepared her for was the art of networking. By attending networking events put on as part of her classes, she was able to find internships that matched her career interests. Tennant shares that while she was anxious about where she would go in her career, she would have been even more anxious without the opportunity to network during her time in CBE. Tennant was even able to get her first job after graduation through the College of Business and Economics. 

Tennant remarks that “the jobs we want aren’t on Indeed, they are word of mouth”. 

The financial planning program, as Tennant explains, was also helpful in giving her the needed technical skills for her CFP exam. Her prep course for the exam felt like a review of what she had already learned in her classes beforehand. By having two steps done in one at CBE – her degree and her financial planning courses – Tennant was ahead of her peers who were taking separate courses for financial planning. 

During her time in CBE, Tennant was a part of the creation of the Women in Finance club. This club was created to give a space to women in her primarily male dominated classes. Tennant explains that the idea for the Women in Finance club was sparked by the Finance club, and she wanted a place for women to call their own that would show that they are “by no means timid”. The group was created for women who love what they do and to build a sense of community. Tennant shares that the club shows other women in the field that they are not climbing the uphill battle alone and that they have a community of people there for them. The Women in Finance club is still a strong part of CBE thanks to Tennant’s hard work and perseverance to help in creating a space for women to achieve their goals. 

Being in a field dominated by predominantly older white men, Tennant was concerned about the opportunities she would get in the professional field. Tennant felt that in her past, her talents may have been overlooked for those who meet the more common profile of a financial planner. Despite this, Tennant continued to persevere and reach her professional goals. Instead of backing down, Tennant saw this as a positive challenge to better the industry. Tennant expresses the importance of diversity, as diversity brings a variety of unique lived experiences to a company that is important in making changes. 

For Tennant, it is important that the field is becoming inclusive on both the professional and the client sides. Throughout her career, Tennant places a great emphasis on helping minority groups who may not be fairly represented in the financial planning field. In 2021, only 1.8 percent of CFP professionals were Black, even after growing 10 percent from the previous year; and even at an all time high, only 23.4 percent of CFP professionals are women. As Tennant explains, non-traditionally served groups in the financial planning field are going to want to see themselves reflected in the CFP professionals in the field. When going for financial help as a non-traditionally served group, as Tennant explains, there can be shame in asking for help and not previously knowing anything about financial planning. But with women empowering other women and young people empowering other young people, there is less pressure and shame in the experience. Having more diversity, Tennant says, also allows for culturally sensitive values to take a bigger place in the financial planning process. 

Tennant expresses that we must “be the change we want to see”. 

Currently, Tennant is working with a completely virtual women-led firm. Being a part of a field dominated heavily by men, Tennant wanted to place emphasis on helping her own community and generation. Tennant’s goal is to help people who aren’t normally prioritized in her field, and has created a lower barrier of entry to do so. By talking to her clients and learning their history, Tennant is able to create a plan fit for her clients that is reviewed based on their life changes. A highlight of this, Tennant shares, is being able to work with her young clients through major life milestones such as marriage and children, which isn’t always seen in the average clientele of a financial planner.  

Tennant is also a big advocate for not only helping her clients with her skills, but educating them as well. By not only telling them the answers of their questions, but also explaining why, Tennant is able to share valuable information with clients who may not have been able to access this information before. Tennant shares that it’s very empowering to share her knowledge with demographics who traditionally left out of the field, as it allows for more people to become aware of their own finances. 

“Everyone is just trying to figure it out,” says Tennant. By taking away the shame of not having this knowledge beforehand, Tennant is able to better help her clientele while also giving them important financial information. 

When sharing advice with current students, Tennant would like to share with women considering the financial planning field that  “who you are is your superpower, don’t try so hard to conform to what you think is the status quo. What you’ve gone through is going to make you a great financial advisor”. Tennant states that being who you are will allow for the people you are working with to naturally open up and connect with you. Tennant also wants to share to “know your why, and do your research” when it comes to considering financial planning as a career path. Tennant urges people to look into the field, and by understanding what it takes may intrigue people into joining the field. Knowing why you want to go into the field will also narrow down where you want to work in the industry, she explains. 

“We are a special field and that is really cool,” says Tennant. 

BATM Hosts Data Analytics Competitions Partnered with the Baltimore Ravens

CBE hosted the final round of its 3rd Data Analytics Competition in Stephens Hall on April 22, 2022. The event was sponsored by the Baltimore Ravens and this semester’s competition brought together 135 students across five TU colleges. The competition featured Cody Williams, Director of Business Intelligence at Ravens who developed the case based on a dataset of Ravens merchandise and apparel sales. The students were tasked with deriving insights through data analysis and pitch ideas of how to drive other opportunities for local sales revenue. 

In the initial round, all submissions of data analysis were judged by the Ravens, with the top 10 teams invited to deliver their final presentations in-person. During the final round, the top three winning teams were selected based on the creativity and utility of data visualization, the clarity and quality of analysis and storytelling, and the originality of recommendations.


1st: Astrid Nina (CBE)

2nd: Brittney Workman (CLA)

3rd: Julia O’Connell (COFAC), Leah Sine (CBE), and Haja Sannoh (CBE/CLA) 


CBE was able to award $5,000 in scholarships to these students. 


After the final presentations, competitors, attendees, and judges were able to interact and network to further discuss all things data and analytics. After observing and conversing with the students, Williams says, “I am hugely impressed by the skill level of the students and where they are today compared to this field ten years ago when I was in college. Analytics was not necessarily even a major offered when I was in school. To see college students producing this quality of analysis work, visualization work, presentation skills, I am very impressed. I feel as though they are all going to be ready and prepared to enter the workforce and contribute right away and do a great job” 


First place winner, Astrid Nina, expressed that she became interested in this competition after seeing all of the other competitions CBE has hosted. She felt that her previous courses prepared her to succeed in the task given. 


Nina expressed, “The data in general was really fun to work with. From doing everything to gather insights in order to see and do what they were asking us to do and then actually figuring it out.” 


She also benefited from networking after the event and believes the competition could impact her future. She adds, “Doing analysis, visualization, and storytelling is something that I am really interested in and I asked him about if they have any opportunities at the moment and he said yes. I will definitely apply, it is an internship opportunity and I am a senior looking for an internship. I am excited about that.”


As the field of data analytics continues to grow, Williams believes that it is imperative to have competitions like this to not only help inform students of real world situations but to also to place importance on analytics in business. He says, “Data and analytics is Paramount. It is hard to imagine businesses operating today without using data to make informed decisions. The techniques, technology, tools, it becomes even more powerful and I think that we will only continue to rely on data more and more to move forward and that is why I am excited to see students really invest in their education in data and analytics and some of these other things because it is the future and the present.”

As analytics continues to impact our everyday lives, the College is proud to offer both a business analytics minor, open to all TU students, and a business analytics track under the business administration major. To learn more, visit our website.  

Written by: Millie Klefsaas