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Keeping Up with Altmans: A Summer on Capitol Hill

Rising Altman Junior Danny Finley was busy on Capitol Hill before heading off for his Year Abroad in Brazil and Spain! Just after landing in Rio, Danny sent this dispatch about his summer as a Legislative Intern for Congressman Cedric Richmond. What an exciting time to be working in Washington, D.C., during one of the most newsworthy presidential election seasons in recent memory! Take it away, Danny!

           Danny Finley in DC

"This summer I was a Legislative Intern in the Washington DC Office of Congressman Cedric L. Richmond. While I applied to the job without any connections, I did research Representative Richmond to ensure that we shared many of the same political beliefs! During a typical day in his office, I organized constituent communications, attended briefings, wrote memos for staffers, and answered calls. A large part of my work as an intern was organizing this communication and writing letters to thank the constituents for their civic engagement, explaining the Congressman's position on the particular topic, and describing what action is being taken by Congress. In addition to organizing responses, I responded to calls ranging from constituents to interest groups hoping to schedule a meeting with a staffer or the Congressman.  I also attended many briefings, organized by government institutions, committees, or third party groups typically regarding new legislation in order to summarize them for staffers to ensure that the staff was up to date on all new policies.  The fast pace nature of the Altman program prepared me for this internship, as I often balanced multiple tasks at once regarding many different subjects.  My economic knowledge assisted greatly as I often attended briefings by the Department of Labor regarding the economic impact of certain policies. I enjoyed briefings as they served as an opportunity to hear experts in fields debate the most contentious issues facing our country at the moment.

"Working in DC is an incredible opportunity for anyone interested in public service or the future of our country, especially during an election year.  Presidential candidates often visited the Hill, especially as the DC primary approached in June.  The fact that it was an election year was pertinent as bipartisanship was not as common a trend this summer as in others.  Constituents often called from both sides of the aisle frustrated with candidates from presidential tickets down to local elections. 

"The most interesting aspect for me of my internship was seeing the interaction between the work of Congressional offices, the politicians they represent, and media outlets.  As the main interview location for CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC was down the hall from the office, I often witnessed interviews with our country's top leaders.  Seeing the events that were happening around my office translate into headlines was fascinating.  For example, following the Orlando massacre, House Democrats staged a sit-in on the House floor to force a vote on two gun control measures.  Congressman Richmond participated in the sit-in.  Seeing my boss talk on TV in the office, discussing names of victims of gun violence the interns and I provided for him, showed the translation of how the small tasks in the office can convert into what the average American would see on their nightly news.

"For future scholars interested in politics, I would first suggest researching where you believe you stand on political issues.  I say believe because issues are often posed as binary, rather than multifaceted, which is what they truly are.  Using a base knowledge of your beliefs and interests, you can then search for politicians or governmental organizations that unite the two.  Look at both federal and state level, political offices, and non-partisan ones.  By first casting a wide net of officials for whom you feel comfortable working or organizations that further a cause about which you are passionate, you can gain political experience to learn if this career path is the right one for you!" 

Now that Danny has moved from DC to Rio de Janeiro, we can't wait to hear how his understanding of the political events taking place in Brazil compare to his experience on the Hill! 


Keeping up with Altmans: Rising Senior Grant Lewis's Accelerated Summer

   Grant and Team at Kinnick Stadium

Altman senior Grant Lewis, and his Accelerator Teammates   
    at Kinnick Stadium on the University of Iowa campus

Rising Altman senior Grant Lewis spent his entire junior year abroad, first in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the IFSA-Butler Argentine Universities Program, and then in Madrid, Spain at Tulane's partner, ICADE (which you can read about on our blog). Immediately following his time abroad, he joined a team of college entrepreneurs to apply for the Student Accelerator Program at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa. Grant explained that, as part of the application process, he and his team submitted "an original start up idea to a panel of mentors and instructors who decided who got to participate in the program." Their team decided to develop a GPS-based digital screen advertiser for vehicles. Once accepted to the program, they began working with a group of mentors and instructors to turn the idea into a viable business.

We asked Grant to describe a typical day in the Accelerator program. He told us there was never a dull moment! "Monday, Thursday, and Friday we have lecture-based classes covering various vital aspects to starting a business (such as revenue models, partnerships, value chain, etc). Tuesdays are specifically allocated to meet with mentors and instructors. Our various mentors have expertise in skills such as software development, social media, digital marketing, website development, entrepreneurship, etc. Wednesdays we go to a pitch event called One Million Cups (1MC) where we listen to entrepreneurs in the area pitch their own business ideas, and in addition, we got to pitch our idea last week!" Through this weekly exposure to pitches, Grant and his team were able to hone their pitch skills for their business venture.

Through various events on-campus, our speakers series and a career development course, the Altman Program tries to help Scholars gain the skills they will need when they are out in the business world. Grant explained that these events helped him build his networking skills, which proved to be highly valuable in the Accelerator. He said, "We are constantly reaching out to new people for informational and discovery interviews that help us progress our idea." From a curricular standpoint, he says that many of his business classes, include finance, marketing, accounting and Management Communication, have been hugely important to starting a business.Grant and his team made their final pitch on July 21st and we are happy to announce that they won $1600 in seed money to build their business idea and expanding it out of Iowa following the conclusion of the Accelerator Program.

The Altman Program is looking forward to welcoming Grant back to campus this fall so that he can complete his senior year and share his experiences with his cohort and Altman underclassmen! Congratulations, Grant! 

     Grant Best Pivot Award

             Grant and his team after winning the Best Pivot Award!

The Altman Program Graduates its Inaugural Class

    Altman Seniors

     Altman Class of 2016, l to r: Nathan Benjamin, Kaila Lopez, Kasey Smith, Daniel Goldbaum, Harley Jackson, Michael Hammer,
     Meghan McAllister, Michael Swanson, Edward Sapp, Kelly Straky, Ellie Bremer, Ethan Levy and Rebecca Cutler. 

Two months ago, we said goodbye to our inaugural group of Altman Scholars, 13 students who exceeded our expectations not only with their intelligence and hard work but with their humor, curiosity and optimism. In addition to being extremely proud of their myriad accomplishments over the past four years, the Altman team will miss their enthusiasm and just how downright fun they were! Each of them is a true joy to be around, and we wish them the best of luck - and are a bit jealous of their new colleagues. In this post, we've listed just a few of the accomplishments of these great individuals, but for everything they've achieved, we have so many memories that won't fit in the space below.

Congratulations, Altman Class of 2016!

Nathan Benjamin: BA in Political Economy, BSM in Management, Minor in Spanish, Spanish target language, president of Tulane Model UN, studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, recipient of Fulbright-Garcia Robles award in the Binational Business Program and will work at Evercore, an investment banking advisory firm in Mexico City, Mexico.

Kaila Lopez: BA in Political Economy, BSM in Management, Portuguese target language, spent two semesters studying abroad in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Completed internships with General Assembly and Goldman Sachs and served on the Executive Board of the Greenbull Investment Club at Tulane, working at Deutsche Bank as a Global Markets Analyst.

Kasey Smith: BA in Political Economy, BSM in Marketing, Spanish target language, studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Madrid, Spain completed marketing internships with IHOP and Trumpet Advertising, among others, served as a Green Wave ambassador, working as an Internet Marketing Consultant at Rise Interactive in Chicago.

Daniel Goldbaum: BA in Political Science – International Relations, BSM in Finance, Energy Specialization, Spanish target language, founder of BragOn mobile application, studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Madrid, Spain, founder of Tulane DECA chapter, working for Accenture in Houston, TX in Energy Trading & Risk Consulting.

Harley Jackson: BA in Economics, BSM in Finance, French target language, studied abroad in Paris and Nice, France, interned for BP, Brown Forman and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, member of Tulane Swim & Dive Team, working for Accenture in Houston, TX in Energy Trading & Risk Consulting.

Michael Hammer: BA in Latin American Studies, BSM in Finance, Spanish target language, studied abroad in Bogota, Colombia, interned with AMIGOS de las Americas, Everywhere Wireless and Zurich North America, was the photo editor for the Tulane Hullabaloo, working as a Higher Education Consultant with Huron Consulting Group in Chicago.

Meghan McAllister: BA in Economics, BSM in Management, Minor in Latin American Studies, Spanish target language, studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, interned with The Novo Group, Simmons & White, and The Idea Village, will be preparing for the GRE before extended traveling through South America, beginning in Uruguay.

Michael Swanson: BA in History, BSM in Finance, French target language, studied abroad in Paris and Nice, France, Active Member of the Tulane Sailing Club, Distressed Debt Intern at Gavin/Solmonese, working as the Marketing Coordinator for the Southern United States Trade Association in New Orleans, LA.

Ed Sapp: BA in Spanish and Portuguese, BSM in Finance, Spanish and Portuguese target language, studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, interned in China, interned at Credit Suisse, served on the Executive Board of Tulane's Greenbull Investment Club, working as a Real Estate Investment Analyst at Credit Suisse in New York City.

Kelly Straky: BA in French, BSM in Legal Studies, French target language, studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, interned at C&S Sales, Fox Sports and Alliance Francaise, working as an English teacher in the Nice Department of France. 

Ellie Bremer: BA in Political Science, BSM in Management, Minor in Spanish, Spanish target language, studied abroad in Granada and Madrid, Spain, interned with the Jackson County Office of Communications, the City Council Office of Latoya Cantrell and with the Paul Habans Charter School, worked on campus as a mentor with the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Ethan Levy: BA in Political Economy, BSM in Management, Minor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, Spanish target language, studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, interned at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, Founder of FailUp, summer fellowship at Sultan Ventures, further developing FailUp while participating in the Alternative Social Entrepreneurship Education Accelerator Program at Watson University in Boulder, Colorado

Rebecca Cutler: BA in Economics, BSM in Marketing, Minor in Legal Studies, Italian target language, studied abroad in Bologna, Italy, interned at, CultHealth, Trumpet, Manning Architects and Search Influence, Dean's List at Tulane, working as a Junior Account Associate at Search Influence in New Orleans, LA.

Keeping up with Altmans: Senior Nate Benjamin awarded a Fulbright

Nathan "Nate" Benjamin just graduated from Tulane as a member of the inaugural class of Altman Scholars who were admitted back in 2012. While on campus, he majored in Political Economy (B.A.) and Management (B.S.M.), became President of the Model U.N. club and studied abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He also found time to apply for to the Binational Business Program through a Fulbright Award. In late April, he learned that he had won the award and will be headed off to Mexico City, Mexico next year to work in a business. 

We sat down to talk with Nate before he left campus in May about how he found out about Fulbright and what he hopes to learn while in Mexico. Read our interview below. 

Altman: What is the official name of your award?

Nate Benjamin (NB): Fulbright-Garcia Robles Award in the Binational Business Program.

Altman: Why did you pick Mexico? And what do you hope to learn while you're there?

NB: First and foremost, I wanted to apply for a Fulbright in Latin America to improve my Spanish. I chose Mexico because I was interested in the Business aspects of the program and wanted to gain that deeper knowledge of business practices in the country. Mexico is an important economic partner for the US this experience will help me understand international trade from a different country's perspective. 

Altman: What will you be doing in Mexico?

NB: I will be working in a company that is either based in or has an office in Mexico City, working on individual projects and learning about the company by assisting in its daily functions. 

Altman: How do you think a year on this Fulbright program in Mexico will enrich you or make you a better job candidate?

NB: My Fulbright year will enhance my skills and my job candidacy in a number of ways. Having a strong grasp of Spanish will open opportunities to me all over over the world. Beyond that, time spent working in a company outside of the US will broaden my experiences in a working atmosphere, enhancing my mental flexibility and my attractiveness as a job candidate. 

Altman: What skills and knowledge do you have to contribute to your host company and country?

NB: I have an incredible enthusiasm for doing good work, strong communication skills and the flexibility necessary to tackle any problem. I am also a very empathetic person, so, coupled with my Spanish language skills, I hope to participate in a great deal of cultural exchange.

Altman: Where did you even get the idea to apply for a Fulbright!?

NB: Well, my mom was a Fulbright Scholar, which first planted the seed in my head. It's a legacy thing, I suppose. Then I went to an information session facilitated by the Honors Program here on campus and started looking into the different options within Fulbright. Then, the staff in the Honors office helped me really form my essays and prepare me for the application process.

The Altman Program is so proud of Nate's achievement and will be following his work in Mexico so stay tuned! Congratulations, Nate!


Congratulations to Amanda Verdi, Altman's First Boren Scholar

 Amanda AKPsi Pic

Amanda Verdi, rising Altman junior and recipient of Boren Scholarship

Congratulations are in order as the Altman Program celebrates rising junior, Amanda Verdi, who is the recipient of the Altman Program's first-ever David L. Boren Scholarship for study abroad. The Boren Scholarship Program, which is an initiative of the US Government's National Security Education Program (NSEP), provides funding for students who wish to pursue language and cultural immersion in a region that is critical to US interests. These areas are generally "off the beaten path," locations in which American study abroad students are underrepresented. Amanda, who will be awarded $10,000, won the scholarship in order to study in Dakar, Senegal on the CIEE Development Studies Program during the fall of her junior year abroad! Prior to studying in Senegal, Amanda will spend this summer in Gainesville, Florida at the fully-funded African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) Domestic Intensive Summer Program, hosted by the Center for African Studies and the Department of Languages, Literatures, & Culture, University of Florida. During this eight-week summer program, she will study Wolof, the lingua franca of Senegal and mother tongue of 40% of the population of Senegal. 

Amanda's journey to Senegal began during her freshman year at Tulane. She initially entered the Altman Program with Italian as her target language, but she quickly realized that fluency in French would be beneficial for a future career the field of International Development. She spent the summer between her freshman and sophomore year doing an intensive French language program – after the Altman rising sophomore study abroad program! – in order to test into upper-level French courses in order to prepare for her junior year abroad. In addition to her Business and Liberal Arts degrees, Amanda added a coordinate major in International Development here at Tulane. She decided to study in Senegal for one semester in order to understand the hands-on "implications of economic and development policy and government in the country," before heading to France to study these topics at the prestigious Sciences-Po.  

In order to apply for the Boren, Amanda wrote about the importance of Senegal's stability to help advance the peace and security of the entire West African region. You can read the introduction to her essay below:            

The United States relies on Senegal as an essential West African ally in what is otherwise an unstable region. This powerful relationship is contingent upon Senegal's ability to maintain its economic well-being. Senegal has emerged as an influential trading partner and is a proponent of many fundamental United States values, which contributes to its importance to United States national security. Senegal's major foreign policy promotes peace and political stability, advocates for human rights, and aids in African economic development and regional integration. As such, Senegal often serves as a regional peacekeeper and as a key participant in the economic advancement of the West African region. The maintenance of Senegal's stability is essential to U.S. national security so that the country can continue to assist in the United States' goals of democracy-building in the region, while also offering invaluable economic and political opportunities to Americans and Senegalese alike. 

Congratulations, Amanda! And Ba ci kanam!

Read more about Amanda and her plans in the New Wave article about her!

Altman Scholar Molly Noonan to intern on Conan

Molly Studing at MM Looking Up
Molly Noonan, rising Altman junior, working hard on her jokes for Conan...

While finishing up her sophomore year in the Altman Program at Tulane University, Communication and Management major Molly Noonan stopped by the Altman office with some great news - she'd secured an internship writing for Conan in Los Angeles! Given that she'll be doing comedy writing all summer, we thought we'd throw down the challenge and ask her to write a bit about what she imagines her summer will be like!

Take it away, Molly...

"My name is Molly Noonan and I am a rising junior in the Altman Program. My SLA major is Communication and my Business major is Management. I want to go into comedy writing, so when it came time to do my internship search, I looked specifically for late night comedy shows and found out about summer internships with Conan!  Thanks, Google!

"When it came to narrowing down what I looked for in my internship experience, I knew that I wanted to learn more about the writing process (and the production process as a whole) involved in creating a late-night show like Conan, so I pretended to keep my cool as I applied for internships that I thought I would only get in a fever-induced dream where I'm somehow lucky enough to follow in the footsteps of some of my favorite writers.  Either I'm incredibly fortunate, or I'm still asleep, in which case I am much further behind in some of my classes than I previously thought.

"Applying for the internship was basically like applying for any job. I submitted a resume and cover letter via email and was then selected for a phone interview.  I was asked mainly why I wanted to be a Conan intern and what I hoped to gain from the experience as a whole, during which time I did my best not to break down into a fit of excitement and terror.  I think they believed that excuse about a bad connection making it sound like I was crying, because I'm headed to LA in a little over a month! 

"I guess the B-school professors at Tulane are telling the truth, because networking was very helpful for me during the process of earning this internship  My dad met Jimmy Pardo, who "warms up the crowd" before each show, when they were both on the road doing stand up, long before I was born.  Jimmy became a close family friend, and because he believes in me and also wants to avoid awkwardness at future get-togethers, he asked that someone "keep an eye out" for my application.  

"I wondered a lot about what my day-to-day life would be like if I managed to become an intern on Conan. I asked about this during my interview, and I learned that there's probably not going to be any such thing as an "average day".  I'm expecting to interact with people involved in all aspects of the show's production and help with whatever they need, filling any spare time by sneakily trying to find a hiding place in which I can lodge myself when the internship is over until I annoy people enough to offer me a job in return for me no longer sleeping in the studio.

"This internship is an amazing opportunity to learn what working on a late-night comedy show is really like, as well as to create connections with people who have found the secret to having a job in what my dad likes to call "the biz". I hope to create positive relationships with everyone I work with in order to continue making progress in the industry that I hope to one day call my own!"

After Molly interns in Los Angeles this summer, she will be traveling to Madrid, Spain for her Junior Year Abroad. It's definitely an exciting time! 

For more information on Molly, check out her Biobook page from her freshman year!

Thanks for sharing, Molly, and congratulations!

Molly Studing at MM Looking Down


Altman Interdisciplinary Lectures Series - Jo Cavanagh, OAM, CEO of Family Life

The Altman Program is excited to co-sponsor, along with the Tulane School of Social Work, a lecture by Jo Cavanagh, "Social Enterprise & Frugal Innovation: Strategies for Social Change, Impact & Wellbeing from a Community-Owned Nonprofit Model in Australia." The purpose of the Altman Program's Interdisciplinary Lectures Series is to highlight the ways in which business knowledge can be applied in diverse communities and workplaces, and across academic disciplines.

Ms. Cavanagh is the CEO of Family Life, a non-profit in Australia that "assists families, children and young people, as well as making our society a better place for everyone including the most disadvantaged and vulnerable. At the heart of our enterprise is the authentic, grass-root relationships with our people, the people we help and the people of the community. Family Life is a center of research, knowledge and innovation delivering measurable social change and impact." The organization offers a number of services, including: counseling, mediation, mental health services, support and community educational services, outreach to homes, case coordination and advocacy.

Ms. Cavanagh has been at the helm of Family Life since 1996. 

Jo Cavanagh Flyer 41816


Altman Scholars in the World: Altman Seniors visit Cuba

Three seniors in the Altman Program received an Altman Scholarly Engagement Grant to fund a research excursion to Havana, Cuba. Harley Jackson, Kaila Lopez, and Michael Swanson (all Altman Class of 2016) spent a week in the capital city studying the inner workings of the political, economic, and social environment of the Communist country.

The students utilized knowledge of their fields (with majors in Economics, Political Economy, Finance, Management, and History) to frame their study of the economic and cultural implications of burgeoning ties between the United States and Cuba. The group conducted research through interviews with Cuban academics, political players, and ordinary Cuban citizens. The majority of the trip was focused on examining the history of the informal economy and looking forward to expectations for the future.

Their findings on such topics will be presented to the Tulane academic community in April.

Cuba Collage

Altman Scholars in the World: Altman Senior Ethan Levy Meets President Bill Clinton

Ethan - Clinton

Altman Senior, Ethan Levy, class of 2016, has been innovating since he started his tenure at Tulane almost four years, and all of his entrepreneurship has most recently culminated in the online sharing site, FailUp, a website where students can post their ideas for various ventures and allow them to be tweaked and improved by a community of like-minded individuals. This innovation let Ethan to successfully apply to the Clinton Global Initiative University in Berkeley, California. At CGIU, he had the opportunity to hear President Bill Clinton talk about his experiences with failure, and even meet the President to discuss his speech.

Ethan had this to say about his meeting with the former President: 

I was out in Berkeley to attend the CGIU (Clinton Global Initiative University) conference, where I would work on and share my "commitment to action," called FailUp. A big theme throughout the conference was failure and the importance of not being afraid of failure. Bill Clinton spoke of this, and during the "day of service," 1200+ students got to volunteer alongside the former President himself. My friend Jared and I strategically positioned ourselves to catch his attention. We spoke with him about the importance of reflecting and learning from failure for a bit, and then thanked him. Before he left, we made sure to capture a quick picture for evidence that we hung out with him. What a guy!


The Altman Program and Tulane's Stone Center hosts Dr. Edward Fischer



FischerT002 (Medium)

Dr. Edward Fischer will be visiting Tulane March 31-April 1 and will give a number of talks around campus. Dr. Fischer is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies (and the Institute for Coffee Studies) at Vanderbilt University. He is also the founder of Maní+, a social enterprise in Guatemala that develops and produces locally sourced complementary foods to fight malnutrition. His recent work focuses on development and well-being across cultures. He has authored or edited nine books, including Broccoli and Desire and, most recently, The Good Life: Aspiration, Dignity, and the Anthropology of Well-being. He received his PhD from Tulane in Anthropology.


Lectures/Events Ted Fischer, March 31-April 1

Thursday, March 31 at 4 pm

100A Jones Hall, Greenleaf Conference Room

Social Enterprise and Malnutrition in Guatemala: The Case of Maní+

Sponsored by:  Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Altman Program in International Studies & Business, Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking

Join us for a talk in which Edward (Ted) Fischer discusses social entrepreneurship and social enterprise and the founding of the Maní+ project in Guatemala. In his talk, he will discuss the challenges and potential for social enterprise in addressing entrenched problems, such as malnutrition in Guatemala, and what it takes for social entrepreneurs to succeed.

Guatemala suffers one of the worst rates of malnutrition in the world, concentrated in the rural indigenous population. Half of all children in Guatemala under 5 are malnourished. Fischer founded Maní+, a social enterprise that has developed and now produces a locally sourced product to combat chronic malnutrition. The projects has won several international awards. Learn more about Maní+ at


Friday, April 1 at Noon

Dinwiddie 305, Middle American Research Institute (confirm w/ MARI)

German Eggs, Guatemalan Coffee, and the Anthropology of Wellbeing

Sponsored by:  Middle American Research Institute

In this talk I made a simple proposition: We should understand the ends of economics, as well as politics, to be provisioning the good life as widely as possible for people as they themselves conceive it. This normative assertion, then, raises the empirical question of just what are different people's visions of the good life. And here is the rub: We may all want to live the good life, but we also differ widely on just what that entails, on what the good life might look like and the best means to get there.

Poverty is more than a lack of income, and well-being is about more than being well. In this talk I look at what constitutes well-being in radically different contexts around the world. We find that living the good life requires a certain material standard of living, but far less than one might think. Just as important are strong social relations, a sense of dignity, and commitments to a larger purpose. We may all want to be better off (according to that ever receding relative standard), but we also want to be part of something bigger than ourselves that transcends narrow self-interest.


Friday, April 1


Third Wave Coffee and Maya Farmers in Guatemala

Sponsored by TASA (contact the Dept of Anthropology)

Coffee production in Guatemala has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last twenty years. Changing tastes among northern consumers have driven new demand for high-quality "third wave" coffees that are grown at high altitudes. As a result, many of the large, lower-altitude plantations long synonymous with coffee in Guatemala have abandoned production, moving into rubber, African palm, and other crops. At least 50,000 mostly smallholding farmers in the highlands have begun growing coffee to fi ll this market niche. 

In this talk, I propose a multidimensional approach to development and well-being. I show how smallholding Guatemalan producers' desires for a better future orient their engagement with this new market. Most of these small producers live in very modest circumstances with limited resources and opportunities. Yet, as they describe it, coffee represents an opportunity in a context of few opportunities, an imperfect means to a marginally better life.

Altman Co-Presents: Anatomy of Authoritarianism in the Arab Republics

Please join the Altman Program and the Tulane University Department of Political Science for the following talk by Joseph Sassoon, "Anatomy of Authoritarianism in the Arab Republics." Dr. Sassoon is the Sheikh Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah Chair at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. He received his PhD from St. Antony's College, Oxford. and has written extensively about the Arab World. The courses he's taught at Georgetown span Political Economy of the Arab World; Modern Politics and History of Iraq and Egypt; Politics and Economics of Authoritarianism and Refugees in the Arab World. His last book, Saddam Hussein's Ba'h Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime won the British-Kuwait Prize for the best book on the Middle East in 2013. He was also chosen as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars for the 2014-15 academic year. 

The talk will be held Tuesday, April 19 from 4:00-5:30 in the LBC Room 201.



Congratulations to Sara Scott & Andrew Landsiedel

                   Sara and Scott Win

Altman Sophomores Sara Scott & Andrew Landsiedel, along with their teammates from the A.B. Freeman School of Business, were mightily disappointed when the PriceWaterhouseCooper Case Challenge was cancelled last month due to Snowzilla, the incredible blizzard that stopped business in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region for almost a week. But, when the opportunity arose to submit their performance via YouTube, the team jumped at the chance. And good thing they did, because they won the competition! They were recently featured on the A.B. Freeman blog due to their performance!

You can watch the video of their case and the "Awards Presentation" here.

Congratulations, Scott and Andrew!


Altman Co-Presents: Europe, Neoliberalism and the Refugee Crisis: Notes from Germany

The Altman Program is happy to co-present a talk by German Councilman Florian Kubsch from the state of Augsburg on Monday, February 1 at 4 PM in the Qatar Ballroom. This talk, "Europe, Neoliberalism and the Refugee Crisis: Notes from Germany," co-presented by the Tulane Department of Political Science, will explore the causes and outcomes of the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. A more detailed description follows:

The refugee crisis in Europe is leading to a Renaissance of both public spirit and racism across the continent. Pro- and anti-immigrant protestors are hitting the streets; and people are founding both integration and vigilance committees. Meanwhile, politicians vacillate between "welcoming refugees" and "closing the borders". This talk will center on why this divide has emerged and where it came from. The story starts in the 1980s, when Europe turned toward neoliberalism, causing widening inequality within its societies and among its states. Especially in Germany, Europe's biggest economy and the country with the most inhabitants, neoliberal politics changed the idea of a unified Europe in the post-war period. Decades in the making, cutbacks in social budgets left many Europeans disillusioned. In this setting, millions of refugees came and public institutions, weakened by neoliberal policies, were overstrained. The purpose of this talk is to explain that Europeans are indeed suffering, but not because of refugees. They are victims of neoliberalism. In our meeting we will talk about what information about the refugee crisis is real and what is made up. We will also discuss what is necessary to overcome neoliberal inequality, to strengthen European public spirit, and re-focus Europe on its project of post-war unity.

Date: Monday, February 1, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM
Building: Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC) in Room 212 (Qatar Ballroom) 


Altman Co-Presents: "Digital Humanitarianism and the Corrosion of the Compassion Protocol"

On Friday, January 15, Dr. Jonathan Ong visited Tulane to give a talk entitled, "Digital Humanitarianism and the Corrosion of the Compassion Protocol: Obstacles to Voice, Listening and Healing in Post-Disaster Philippines." Dr. Ong is Lecturer of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester and author of The Poverty of Television: The Mediation of Suffering in Class-Divided Philippines, out in 2015 from Anthem Press. Dr. Ong uses ethnography to engage with contemporary debates about media ethics and humanitarianism, disasters and development. The abstract for his talk is below:

Digital technologies have been invested with great optimism for enabling "people-centered humanitarian action" and creating new ways for disaster-affected communities "to organize and respond to their own problems" (World Disasters Report 2013). This technological vision was put to the test in the Typhoon Haiyan response, where humanitarian agencies invested more into being "accountable to affected people" than in any other emergency and set up a suite of feedback mechanisms for people to communicate their appeals. Despite lofty promises of "humanitarian technologies" however, this talk suggests that actual achievements have been modest, as there was little evidence of substantive corrections to interventions and new programs strategically developed based on community feedback. Drawing from two ethnographic research projects funded by UK's DFID ("Obliged to Be Grateful") and the ESRC ("Humanitarian Technologies Project"), this paper critically reflects on how digital technologies have transformed the compassion protocol of humanitarian practice. In this context, technological feedback mechanisms elicit responses that are decontextualized and de-emotionalized, creating new "voice-denying rationalities" (Couldry 2010) that inhibit disaster-affected people's cunning, ruse, and high-emotion appeals for aid. I argue that this technologization of humanitarian intervention results in new efficiencies that often lead to individualistic and utilitarian responses to listening and healing in the disaster zone. Nevertheless, the talk recognizes the creative uses of technologies for coping and healing by disaster-affected people. Using examples of disaster memes on Facebook and disaster dating on Grindr, I demonstrate the significance of media in reaffirming relationships after rupture.

Dr. Ong's visit was co-sponsored by the Altman Program, the Department of Communication and Forum Tulane. 

Jonathan Ong Talk Poster



Altman Innovation: Daniel Goldbaum and BragOn

Walking around Tulane University, one would be hard-pressed to find a student who doesn't have a smartphone with more than a few mobile applications, better known simply as "apps," that they consider to be vital! Altman Senior Daniel Goldbaum is working hard to add one more to the cache of apps that students can't get by without. During his sophomore year at Tulane, a friend of his, who grew up bargain hunting at estate sales, came to Daniel with an idea for an app that helps people learn about sales and specials through word of mouth. Over the course of the next two years, while tackling school work and studying abroad, Daniel and his team worked to bring their idea, which would come to be called BragOn, to life.

Daniel and his team have experienced some ups and downs over the past two years as they have worked diligently to develop BragOn. After raising capital in order to hire a developer group in India to build the app's interface, they have had some challenging times communicating with their team overseas. One of the main hardships is simply the time difference. In order to communicate with the developers in India, Daniel and the team have to stay up pretty late in order to Skype when it's the beginning of the workday on the other side of the world. Other times, work schedules get interrupted when there are holidays, power outages or even protests.

But, Daniel knows how to go with the flow. Having worked on the project for two years now, he knows the importance of taking his time to make sure everything is right before launch. In the meantime, the BragOn team is taking advantage of another useful app – Slack – that allows them to share documents and messages with different groups from their phone, computer or tablet. Ultimately, Tulane and the Altman Program have been great incubators for the BragOn Team as they prepare to launch this January. Check back with Altman for updates on how to share Mardi Gras specials once BragOn is available this spring!



Altman in the News: Altmans are Finalists in Price Waterhouse Cooper's Case Competition

Congratulations are in order to two Altman's, Sara Scott and Andrew Landsiedel, whose team is advancing to the National Competition in Price Waterhouse Cooper's 2015 Challenge Case Competition! According to PWC, the purpose of the challenge is "to increase students' exposure to professional services and the world of public accounting." Advancing to the finals allows these students to work with members of the PWC workforce, gaining hands-on experience and valuable insight into the PWC world!

Along with three other teammates from Tulane, Sara and Andrew will travel to Washington, D.C. this January to compete against the three other teams that won out of over 750 entrants in the Accounting Category! Their accounting professor, Christine Smith, says it best: "Given the level of competition, this was a tremendous accomplishment for our young team who demonstrated an enormous amount of dedication, commitment and hard work! I could not be more proud of each and every one of them!" Congrats, Sara & Andrew!


                                                      Scott and Land

The students were featured in Tulane's New Wave last week!


Altman in the News: FailUp

Taking advice from Thomas A. Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, Altman senior Ethan Levy is finding promise in failure. As Edison said, "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Levy, a member of the Altman inaugural cohort who is graduating in May with a BA in Political Economy and a BSM in Management, started working on FailUp during his freshman year on campus. Like most entrepreneurs and inventors, Levy recognized the importance of creating a positive space where students can collaboratively brainstorm ideas that may not be quite ready for execution. FailUp allows these ideas to be tweaked and improved by a community of like-minded individuals in order to successfully jump start student ventures!

FailUp officially launched on September 17, 2015. Users can sign up on the FailUp website and get started pitching new ideas or giving feedback on active ideas on the site. Check out the New Wave article on Ethan to get a closer look at how he came to launch this awesome idea!

Altman Career Development

The Altman Program hosted Tulane's Career Specialists Ed Pittman, Byron Kantrow and Julie Hauber, on the Uptown Campus on Wednesday, October 21st as part of Altman's Career Development Series for Altman Scholars. One of the major goals of the Altman program is to prepare our scholars for careers in today's interconnected global workforce. In order to get a head start, we brought in experts to teach students how to leverage various social media tools, even as freshmen, to begin developing a meaningful network. Given that over half of LinkedIn users are outside of the United States, the website is a great tool for Altman Scholars who are interested in an international career. 

Linked In Meeting

Ed Pittman, a Career Advisor in Tulane's Career Center, focused on LinkedIn as a great tool for networking. But, he cautioned, LinkedIn is not about the quantity of connections, but about the quality. He urged students to remember that, LinkedIn is not about amassing a lot of connections, it's about building and maintaining authentic mutually beneficial relationships." Additionally, he advised us that research suggests that 80% of all jobs obtained by college graduates today were obtained through networking.

This session was available to all Altman cohorts that were on campus. Altman freshmen and sophomores focused on building their online presence and network, by making meaningful connections in person and on the web. With this network, our underclassmen can make more precise internship matches as they progress through their college career while also developing relationships with likeminded colleagues and classmates. Altman seniors were privy to a session geared towards their ongoing job searches as they work towards graduation in May. Everyone received helpful guidance on how to make their LinkedIn profiles stand out and truly reflect their skill sets and interests.


Altman Engages

Each year, Altman Scholars attend various events on campus and reflect, drawing connections between these scholarly presentations and the Altman curriculum. Altman Senior, Nate Benjamin, recently attended Dr. Ilan Tojerow's talk, "Reading, Writing, Arithmetic...and Religions?" This event was co-sponsored by the Altman Program and the Tulane Department of Jewish Studies. 

Dr. Tojerow presented his fascinating study on the correlation between religion and level of education. Dr. Tojerow pointed out at the beginning of his talk that education has been clearly shown to correlate with economic development around the globe, and therefore he wanted to see the effect of religion on education and, indirectly, economic development. 

Analyzed en masse, it seemed clear that certain religions had a positive or negative relation to education; Judaism, Protestantism, and no religious affiliation all had positive correlations, whereas Islam had a negative correlation. But Dr. Tojerow then broke the data down by religion and country. This breakdown showed that for each religion, 50-60% of the countries showed no significant relationship. In each country, religion ultimately affected the populace differently. Therefore, Dr. Tojerow's results study revealed that each religion has cases of positive, negative, and no correlation.

Lastly, Dr. Tojerow showed a number of factors that change how religion affects education. Of these, being a minority was the most impactful; if a religious group also coincided with being a minority, this blocked the usual effect of religion on education.

Overall, Dr. Tojerow's talk was fascinating to me. While religions are global phenomena, they have differing effects and traditions throughout the world. The data from his study demonstrated the nuanced and complex differences between societies. 

Altman students strive to understand the connections between cultural traditions and the global economy. Dr. Tojerow's talk provided a great example of the ways in which culture can effect a nation's economy!


Summer Scholars: John McGuire

Sophomore Scholar John McGuire '18 also went from the Altman study abroad program in Costa Rica this summer an internship at City Eventions and City Outdoor, advertising companies in New York City. Read below to learn about John's awesome experiences:

This summer, I worked at City Outdoor and City Eventions, two sister companies under City USA The Media Group. City Outdoor specializes in outdoor advertising, such as billboards, wildpostings, and other outdoor advertising platforms. City Outdoor was looking to expand their reach to new markets across the country, rather than just the major metropolitan areas that they already serve. Working with the City Outdoor sales team, I helped strategize ways to reach out to potential clients who already spend money in outdoor advertising in order to build up City Outdoor's domestic clientele. On top of this, I attended weekly sales meetings, and handled the many administrative aspects behind many sales. City Eventions is an experiential marketing agency that organizes events and promotions in public places (public parks, stadiums, arenas, venues, etc.) across America. At City Eventions, I created PowerPoint presentations with past and potential event locations through which clients could browse while choosing a location for their event.

 City Eventions John McGuire

Altman Co-Presents: "Reading, Writing, Arithmetic...and Religions?

Tulane University Jewish Studies Speaker's Series and the Altman Program in International Business will co-sponsor a talk given by Dr. Ilan D. Tojerow, Assistant Professor at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM) at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Dr. Tojerow's talk, "Reading, Writing, Arithmetic...and Religions?: Measuring the country-specific aspect of religions on education" will take place on Wednesday, October 14 at 11 AM in the Jewish Studies Conference Room at 7031 Freret on the Uptown campus. 


Summer Scholars: Caroline Blatt 

Sophomore Scholar Caroline Blatt '18 went from the Altman study abroad program in Costa Rica this summer straight to a ten-week internship at Dodge & Cox, an investment management firm in San Francisco. She tells us about her amazing experience below:

This past summer I was very fortunate to intern at Dodge & Cox, a highly-regarded value investment manager. As part of my 10-week Operations internship, I was placed in the Treasury Department. I had the opportunity to support critical fund accounting initiatives. My main project was the publication of Semi-Annual Reports for the six Dodge & Cox U.S. mutual funds, whose assets total $200 billion. This work included the calculation and compilation of constituent data, interfacing with Dodge & Cox’s Treasury, Communications, and Legal departments, and external financial printers for document drafting through to printing and SEC filing. I was also involved in the preparation and analysis of second quarter ordinary income dividend distributions from the U.S. Funds as well as the filing of all 2014 federal, state, and foreign tax returns for the Funds, which included preparing review comments for the public accounting firm. I proofed Semi-Annual Reports for Dodge & Cox’s non-U.S. UCITS funds, and performed special income allocations for senior management and Dodge & Cox Inc.’s seed investments in those Funds. Finally, I was responsible for completion of Errors and Omissions/Directors and Officers (E&O/D&O) and Fidelity Bond insurance applications, including over 120 exhibits, pitch books for underwriters, and U.S. Funds’ Board of Trustee’s materials. Outside of my regular projects, I participated, along with the 12 other interns, in a six-week valuation course taught by the Director of Research at Dodge & Cox. We also had the opportunity to attend Bloomberg Intern Training Seminars and sit in on various research and policy committee meetings. It was an amazing experience to not only participate in real-world financial and accounting projects, but also to work with a fascinating and driven group of interns and Dodge & Cox employees. 


Caroline at Dodge & Cox, Summer 2015

Caroline, on the left, working hard with her fellow interns in their office overlooking San Francisco Bay.

The Altman Experience: Rising Sophomore Study Abroad

As rising Altman freshmen were preparing to begin their Tulane and Altman careers, rising juniors were busily preparing for study abroad, and our first cohort of seniors was preparing to return to New Orleans for their final year on campus, our rising sophomores left New Orleans after exams and went to the CIAPA campus in San José, Costa Rica. On this intensive study abroad program, students completed two courses and the first tier of their public service. The students completed interviews with local experts on Globalization, Human Rights and other topics in order to produce podcasts for Enlaces Américas, a podcast series hosted by Tulane's Stone Center for Latin American Studies. The Altman podcasts are now available on Tulane's Enlaces Soundcloud page.


The whole gang in the wilderness!


The Foundation of the Tulane University Altman Program in Business and International Studies 

Jeffrey Altman in Visit to Tulane Campus

"Spend your time wisely and use your youth to learn and experience as much as possible," said Jeffrey Altman during the gathering with Altman Scholars in Spring 2014. This and other pieces of advice came Altman, benefactor of Altman Program. He also listened to what the Scholars had to say about their place and progress in the program. Read about the visit in this article from Tulane Magazine.

Altman's Best Investment


New Program Aims to Produce Global Scholars

This fall, Tulane University launched a new interdisciplinary program aimed at preparing students to take on the challenges of an increasingly interconnected world. It combines business savvy with global thinking say professors of practice Myke Yest and Casey Love, who co-direct the program. Read more >>>


The Altman Program: $8.3 Million Gift Funds New Dual Degree

The Jeffrey A. Altman Foundation has pledged $8.3 million to Tulane University to establish a new dual-degree program in business and international studies. Similar programs are available at only a handful of select universities nationwide. Read more >>>


Read news from previous years in our Altman News Archive!

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000