UH Bauer Partners with Local Hispanic Chamber, MassMutual Financial Group To Research Latino Community’s Knowledge of Fiscal Fitness

Published on December 5, 2008
Pictured from left are: George Gonzalez, Chairman of Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Latha Ramchand, Associate Dean for Programs and Administration, Bauer College at University of Houston; Mariana Ruiz-Posada, Director of Multicultural Marketing, Strategic Financial Group - a MassMutual general agent; J.K. McAndrews, President of Strategic Financial Group; and Laura Murillo, President and CEO of Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Pictured from left are: George Gonzalez, Chairman of Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Latha Ramchand, Associate Dean for Programs and Administration, Bauer College at University of Houston; Mariana Ruiz-Posada, Director of Multicultural Marketing, Strategic Financial Group – a MassMutual general agent; J.K. McAndrews, President of Strategic Financial Group; and Laura Murillo, President and CEO of Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston is partnering with the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and MassMutual Financial Group to educate the Latino community about fiscal fitness. Amegy Bank hosted the November 20th event at its Main Street corporate office building.

“Roughly about 80 percent of Latino adults have not consulted a financial advisor,” said Latha Ramchand, Associate Dean of Programs and Administration at Bauer College. “This partnership is an initiative from which many communities can benefit.  It demonstrates the depth of Bauer and the educational and research resources we can provide.”

Before more than 100 Hispanic business and community leaders, Ramchand and other representatives from the partnership gathered at the official launch event to explain more about the research and to celebrate the beginning of the project.

The group is obtaining information on the Houston-area Latino community through surveys conducted to assess the fiscal fitness and knowledge of business owners and entrepreneurs in managing financial assets.

Surveys gauging this audience’s awareness of financial planning and how it uses its assets have been developed and will be compiled by a team of MBA students led by Steve Koch, executive professor and director of the Business Consulting Lab at Bauer. The goal of the quantitative research and the partnership among Bauer, MassMutual and the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is ultimately to give back to the community, Ramchand said.

“It’s a way of connecting back to the community, using our expertise and knowledge, and that’s what we do best at Bauer College,” she added.

After obtaining the results of the survey, the information will be used to better inform Latinos on investments and savings for future endeavors, such as retirement or a college fund for students, said Mariana Ruiz-Posada, director of marketing for Strategic Financial Group, an agency of MassMutual.  Ruiz-Posada spoke about one family’s tragic experience to illustrate the critical need for more awareness.

“This family, who I was personally close to early in my career, came from Colombia and was new to the U.S.  The father suddenly left them and then he died.  He did not have life insurance or anything saved to even cover funeral expenses.  A year later his wife dies and the two surviving children are left dealing with another tragedy.”

“From that point forward, it became my mission to educate my clients,” Ruiz-Posada said. “This story doesn’t need to be replayed.  I don’t want to leave anyone out in our community.”

Having Bauer as a research partner to help analyze the data from the survey is instrumental, she added.

Ramchand said that unlike other universities, UH’s ethnic diversity has been central to the learning environment. “Bauer College celebrates diversity,” she added. “We live that everyday. We are so proud of that.  We bring that to important projects like this.”

Evidence of the college’s thriving, diverse student population was apparent at the November celebration, which was attended by members of Bauer’s chapter of the Hispanic Business Student Association. The group was recently named Chapter of the Year at the annual National Hispanic Business Association Leadership Conference, topping chapters from 45 other colleges, including the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

Taking a moment to recognize this recent success, Ramchand said:  “We empower our students. We give them what they need to succeed.”

By Mayra Cruz

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

About the Bauer College of Business

The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.

Posted Under: Bauer Gives Back

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