School of Management Newsletter


March 2017


Picture perfect

The walls in the School of Management’s Dyson Center offices have a brand-new look. Artwork by art and digital media department students Raechelle McGowan, Gabriella Martelli and Alena Bergmann is now on display, thanks to Professor of Art Ed Smith, who facilitated the installation.

Picture“The students are very excited to exhibit their work at the School of Management,” Smith said. “Each year, Dean Singleton allows a rotation of work to grace the School of Management, and his sense of inclusion is what brings together these remarkable students.”

The director of the Marist Art Gallery, Smith is also a sculptor whose work is included in the collections of the British Museum and the Yale University Art Gallery, among others. In November, he was inducted into the National Academy. Established in 1825, this honorary association of artists and architects “promotes the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition." Artists ranging from Thomas Cole and Louis Comfort Tiffany to Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., are among the academy’s members.

IN THE PHOTO: From left: Art students Raechelle McGowan, Gabriella Martelli, Alena Bergmann; Dean Lawrence Singleton; and Professor of Art Ed Smith with the students’ artwork

  Principles in practice

In late November, members of Beta Alpha Psi got a firsthand look at how accounting standards are developed and implemented. The group took a field trip to the Norwalk, Conn., offices of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), the organizations that set the accounting principles for publicly held companies and state and local governments, respectively.

PrinciplesDuring their visit, students attended an FASB board meeting, which offered them “a view of the process of how the board approaches and discusses accounting topics,” said Prof. J. Donald Warren, Jr., who accompanied the group. Afterwards, staff members provided an overview of each of the boards, discussed current agenda items, and explained the importance of following due process when standards are issued. A postgraduate technical assistant — or PTA — described his duties in helping board members prepare for meetings.

To conclude the site visit, Lisa Valentini-Ghosh ’95, a staff member of the Financial Accounting Foundation — the governing body of the two boards — offered insights on her career working with information technology. (See our alumni profile of Valentini-Ghosh below.)

IN THE PHOTO: Alumna Lisa Valentini-Ghosh (center) with Beta Alpha Psi students at the FASB/GASB offices

Career Corner

This monthly feature spotlights a handful of the companies that participated in the 2016 New York City Career Trek and identifies some of the alumni and friends of the college who hosted the event at their place of business.

EY

One of the “Big Four” accounting firms, EY (also known as Ernst & Young) is a multinational professional services firm that provides assurance, tax, consulting, and advisory services to companies. Headquartered in London, the firm has offices in 150 countries. Last year, Fortune magazine ranked EY 49th on its list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For; it is the 11th largest privately owned organization in the U.S.

Host: Michael Medley ’90, partner and national leader of the International Tax Quantitative Services practice

American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

The AICPA represents the CPA profession before government, regulatory bodies and other organizations. Founded in 1887, the organization develops standards for audits of private companies; provides educational materials to its members; develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination; and monitors and enforces compliance with the profession’s technical and ethical standards.

Host: Joann David, senior manager of academic initiatives

Battle-tested

Last semester, seniors in Prof. Helen Rothberg’s Management Strategy and Policy capstone classes once again took part in war games. Not often assigned in undergraduate programs, a war game requires corporate executives (or, in this case, students) to simulate strategic business moves — and counter-moves — made by their own company as well as by their competitors.

BattleThe exercise centers on an industry question, which student teams — representing competing companies — create strategic plans to address. Teams researched a total of 10 companies in two industries: defense (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, Harris, and Raytheon) and home entertainment (Bose, Sonos, Google, Samsung, Amazon). Throughout the semester, the teams participated in Q&A sessions with anonymous sponsoring executives who work for a company in their focus industry. On December 9 and 10, the teams presented their strategic plans; responded to questions from business executives, alumni, and classmates; and created a retort presentation illustrating what they had learned from competitors.

Northrop Grumman executives Russell Calo, Richard Caldwell, and Richard Wiggins, and Bose’s Heather Hallenbeck (along with other company execs) attended these sessions and presented certificates to the winning teams.

The Lockheed Martin team of John Giuffre, Joseph Cafaro, Michael Gasiewski, Evan Toucey, Brian Knight and Brandon Tehrani took home winning certificates in the defense industry war game. The Sonos team — Ray Tetreault, Collin Anderson, Harrison Felman, Brian Rooney, Jayne Oberdorf and Connor O'Neil — won the war in the home entertainment industry.

Following the conclusion of the game, the sponsoring executives at Bose and Northrop Grumman invited students from various teams to make a presentation to colleagues at their corporate headquarters. Tyler Crump, Ray Tetreault, Anthony Sarra, Collin Anderson, Dan Goodstein, Michael Arnold, and Brandon Lee traveled to Bose in Framingham, Mass., to offer their vision on what the smart home entertainment industry will look like in 2022. John Giuffre, Mary Kosewski, Frank Pecorelli, Jeff Kortina, James Decker, Mike Mataras, Ramsey Heredia, Nick Stearns, and Brian Knight visited Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in Baltimore to discuss what the Third-Offset strategy will mean for defense contractors in the coming years. The executives expressed surprise when they discovered that the presenters were not graduate students; one Bose executive noted that he would have paid for the presented analysis.

In honor of the relationship created between the students and the executives during the semester, Northrop Grumman presented a plaque to Prof. Rothberg and the students during their visit.

IN THE PHOTO: Prof. Helen Rothberg (center), surrounded by student analysts of the defense industry, holds the plaque presented by Northrop Grumman Mission Systems

Boardroom bound

Experiencing the business environment from an executive’s perspective is the goal of Prof. Pamela Harper’s Management Strategy and Policy capstone class. Last semester, five teams of students researched different real-world companies using a SWOT analysis (the acronym stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats”). After evaluating its strategies, operations, marketing and financial attributes, the future CEO’s identified their firm’s four SWOT characteristics and developed a strategic direction for the future.

BoardroomThe students used tools and techniques similar to those employed by management executives. For example, Bloomberg terminals provided data on the company’s history, financial performance, current strategic direction, and competitive environment; the information was used to develop alternative marketing and financial strategies. Students demonstrated their executive abilities by making a presentation to a panel of judges.  

On December 14, the teams presented their strategic plans for five companies: PBF Energy, Toys ‘R’ Us, Automated Data Processing, health care products distributor Henry Schein Inc., and Merck. The panel featured three management representatives from the companies profiled: Toys ‘R’ Us Marketing Director Danielle Turchioe; Henry Schein VP Scott Sanders; and Don Weinstein, ADP’s chief strategy officer. The panel also included Marist alums Daniel Moran ’03, director of mergers and acquisitions for Covanta; Gilda Bonanno ’93, a high-stakes presentation expert; and financial services exec Robert McAndrew. When Sanders circulated the students’ presentation to members of his staff, they were convinced that the document had been created in a graduate-level course. Congratulations to all the participants.

IN THE PHOTO: Students, faculty, alumni and business executives all took part in the finale of the capstone class taught by Prof. Pamela Harper (standing, fifth from right)

Clothes make the woman

If your New Year's resolutions included de-cluttering your closet while simultaneously helping another human being to improve her situation in life, Beta Gamma Sigma can help you with that.

From March 1 through 9, the Marist chapter of the business honor society will hold a business suit drive to benefit Dress for Success Dutchess County, the local affiliate of an international not-for-profit organization that provides local underprivileged women with the tools necessary to advance both personally and professionally.

The students will be collecting women’s clothing — suits, blazers, dress pants, skirts, dresses, blouses and tops, closed-toed shoes, and other items that would be acceptable attire at a job interview. New or gently used clothing in any size is welcome, although items must be clean and not more than five years old. Monetary donations also will be accepted, and all donations are tax-deductible.

BGS faculty adviser Prof. Elizabeth Purinton-Johnson is the contact person for the drive. “These suits help women to get the jobs they need to support themselves,” she says. “You get to clean out your closet, make good use of items you no longer wear, and get a tax receipt.” For further information about the drive or to make a donation, email her at elizabeth.purinton@marist.edu. For more information about Dress for Success Dutchess County, visit their website at https://www.dressforsuccess.org/about-us/ .

Alumni Profile: Lisa Valentini-Ghosh ’95

GhoshA member of the class of 1995, Lisa Valentini-Ghosh completed her bachelor of science degree with a concentration in computer information systems and marketing; she went on to earn her master’s in computer information at Pace University. She is the director of information research and administration at the Norwalk, Connecticut-based Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF), the parent organization of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Born and raised in Edison, New Jersey, Valentini-Ghosh resides in Newtown, Conn. with her husband Bibek Ghosh and son Perry (14) and daughter Leah (11). She regularly volunteers at her children’s school, St. Rose of Lima in Newtown. “It’s a juggling act,” she says, “but it’s rewarding. It’s important for me to stay active in my community and build relationships.”

Q: Can you briefly describe your career up to this point?

A: I started at Deutsche Bank with the help of Marist. Someone at the college gave my name to a technology recruiting agency called the Registry, which hooked me up with a four-month stint in a consulting role. I started out by analyzing all the technology equipment; then I helped them move to a new building and set up their trading floor environments. It was a really good experience that took me out of my comfort zone.

When the four months ended, I was hired to a permanent job at Deutsche Bank in June ’96. I worked in technology and desktop products implementation — moving library materials to CD-ROM, taking manual processes and automating them, making it easier and faster for researchers to get the data.

My manager then left the company and stole me to work at Bank of America. There were only two of us when we started, and we built a market data operations department from the ground up, eventually managing a more than $240 million dollar market data expense. I was there for 11 and one-half years before being called to do the same thing at Citigroup. I helped them set up a market data organization and evaluate offshore processes from 2011 through 2015.

Eventually I offshored my own responsibilities and started looking for a new job. I tried to avoid going back into New York City, since it’s a two-and-a-half-hour commute. By chance, I reached out to my old Bank of America manager, who said, “I have an opening, can you come in tomorrow?” And that’s how I ended up at the FAF.

Q: What does your current position entail, and what skills do you need to do it?

A: The Financial Accounting Foundation provides operational support for the standards boards. I was asked to digitize the entire information research center —­ over 14,000 sources of hard-copy data  — and help shift the culture from a print to an electronic format.  My other hat is on the administration side, such as managing capital improvements.

For my job, it’s important to be very organized and analytical. While at Bank of America, I earned a Six Sigma Black Belt. This training taught me the “dmaic” process: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. It gave me a good foundation.

Q: For the past two years, you’ve hosted a site visit from SoM students at your workplace. What was your impression of them?

A: One thing that really stood out was that every single one of the students was professionally dressed, well mannered and very appreciative. They asked good questions. I shared with the ladies — and the men listened, too — that they shouldn’t give up because they’re females in a male-dominated field. When I worked on Wall Street, I’d be sitting in a room with 10 men and me. It takes a strong but respectful personality to overcome that environment. The students were so open to what I was saying.

Q: What is your fondest memory of your time at the college?

A: By far the most rewarding time I had at Marist was as the leader of the Giving Tree program. Giving back to the Poughkeepsie community, delivering presents and seeing the children…  they’d grab onto my legs, they were so excited. I look back now and say, “Boy, those four years went by way too fast. I wish I could go back and do it again.”

Getting to Know… Prof. Anne G. Zahradnik

ZahradnikAnne G. Zahradnik, associate professor of health care administration and director of assessment for the School of Management, first considered becoming a college teacher as a Penn State freshman. “I had a professor, Leo Takahashi, who taught history and philosophy of science,” she says. “I was so impressed by his teaching style; he took us on a journey through the topic with him. That always stuck with me, how amazing being a college professor would be.”

Zahradnik eventually made her way into academia, but her route was somewhat circuitous. The western Pennsylvania native started her college career in an engineering program. “I was not particularly good at it, so I switched to English — much to my father’s dismay — which I was really good at.” She earned her bachelor’s in English from the University of Pittsburgh along with “half an engineering degree from Penn State — which was fortuitous,” she says. “I graduated during the Reagan recession years, when half of Pittsburgh was unemployed. But I got a job writing operating manuals for nuclear submarine power plants. It was the English major with a technical background that got me the job.”

Her next career stop was with Alexander Marketing Service, a business-to-business advertising agency in western Michigan. Although she had no training or experience in this area, she quickly discovered that she loved marketing — and was quite successful at it. During her nine years with the company, she completed her master’s degree in communications at Western Michigan University; once that was accomplished, “it was in the back of my mind that I wanted to get my Ph.D.” Several years later, she was asked to be a guest professor at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University. “It was a low-risk way to try out a teaching career,” she says, “and I loved it.” She began simultaneously studying full-time for her doctorate in public health administration and working full-time in the PR department at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan — an exhausting experience she admits was “tough, but you do what you need to do.” When Joe Naughton, her soon-to-be husband, decided to relocate to New York for one year for business, she accompanied him. “And here we are, 13 years later,” she laughs. “We love New York – we love the outdoors, the Catskills Mountains, the massive amounts of public land that’s available here.”

Zahradnik, who now lives in Hurley, arrived at Marist in 2010 after stints at the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey and Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus. She refers to herself as an SoM “pinch hitter”: She teaches in both the MPA and MBA programs and also has an undergraduate marketing research class. Most of her graduate level classes are taught online. “I’m really comfortable with technology,” she says. “Almost all of the students are mid-career professionals; they are really engaged in the program, and they know what they want to get out of it. I get to know them better [than classroom students] because they have to participate more often.”

“Cool and cutting-edge” is how Zahradnik describes the assessment changes underway at the SoM. As one of 60 Teagle Assessment Scholars nationwide, she attends regular trainings in the latest assessment theories, and brings that knowledge back to Marist and other campuses. Beginning in April, the school will begin using student-led student focus groups “to gauge how students perceive what they’re learning,” she says. “We truly believe the students are having an excellent experience here, but we haven’t asked them. We’re one of the first colleges to be doing this.” The recent installation of TracDat — a software program that creates a relational database — makes it easier for faculty and staff to determine how courses and assignments are helping students reach specific academic goals.

No profile of Zahradnik would be complete with mentioning her illustrious career in dressage. An adult amateur rider, she is ranked third in the nation in her division. She received a 2016 grant from the Dressage Foundation; this summer, she will travel to Vienna, Austria to study dressage theory at the famed Spanish Riding School. Home of the famous Lipizzan horses, the school has a “450-year history of promoting and preserving the art of classical dressage,” she says. “I’m very excited to be going there.”

 

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