School of Management Newsletter
The annual Marist College Faculty of the Year Awards were presented in a ceremony at the student center on April 8. Organized by the Student Government Academic Council, the awards honored 11 faculty members who “we are proud to call our professors, our mentors, and our friends,” said Joseph Pugliese, student government vice-president for academic affairs.
Faculty are chosen for recognition based on a college-wide vote by the students. “In most years, there is only one winner from the School of Management,” said Madeline Kachou ’15, chief financial officer of student government and a Business Administration major. “But the school had an overwhelming response, and there was a tie for the winner.” As a result, Prof. David Gavin and Prof. Helen Rothberg were both honored at the ceremony.
Student voters applauded Prof. Gavin “for his passion for his subject and overall attentiveness,” said Kachou. “Commitment to her students” and “rigorous courses that provide the education needed to succeed in the real world” were cited as Prof. Rothberg’s greatest strengths.
“The faculty awards are a great accomplishment for professors,” Kachou said. “They are being acknowledged by the students they are impacting.”
Above: Faculty of the Year award recipient Prof. David Gavin is congratulated by SoM students Madeline Kachou ’15 and Samantha DeVito ’15 at the April 8 awards ceremony
On March 24, Prof. Jim Melitski (center in photo) took part in a news conference at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria. The chair of the School of Management’s Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration, Prof. Melitski reported on the methodology used to conduct a study called “Your municipality is w@iting for you online.” Administered in collaboration with the Economic Policy Institute and the E-Governance Institute at Rutgers University — and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria — the study examined the governmental websites of 27 Bulgarian towns and cities using an index developed by Prof. Melitski while he was a graduate student at Rutgers. Each website was rated based on specific criteria in five general categories, such as privacy/security, usability, and content. The cities of Burgas and Stara Zagora — as well as Sofia, the capital — were honored for having the top scores.
For the past year, Prof. Melitski has been working with the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank that promotes transparency, accountability, and other good-governance practices. During his trip, he also spoke on e-governance and business development to an international business class at the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, and was interviewed on Bulgarian national radio. “Cities around the world are using information technology to improve the services they provide to residents and to engage their citizens,” says Prof. Melitski. “This was a great opportunity to collaborate with EPI, share our work, and learn from cities in Bulgaria.”
Thirty-three teams representing 10 area colleges converged on the Marist campus for the third annual Mid-Hudson Regional Business Plan Competition on April 10. Teams of from one to six students pitched their ideas for products or services in a variety of business categories ranging from healthcare to nanotechnology. The judging panel included small business owners as well as executives from firms like IBM and Morgan Stanley. The top two teams in each category advanced to the New York State Business Competition, which was held in Albany on April 24. A total of 10 Marist teams, six of which were from Dr. David Gavin’s Entrepreneurship class, competed on the regional level. Three of the 10 advanced to the state competition, where they vied for cash and in-kind prizes totaling more than $500,000.
From left: Marist graduate students Sushain Bambha and Rahul Sakharshete, Pearl Amin ’18, Emilio Pagan-Yourno ’15, and Zain Qayyum ’15 at the Albany competition
The ethical behavior of School of Management students was the focus of a research project conducted by faculty members Prof. Pamela Harper and Prof. William Brown — as well as business student Spencer Strange ’16. A Business Administration major with a concentration in marketing, Strange joined the two professors as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates, a new SoM initiative that offers students the chance to work with faculty members as research assistants.
“Our study was an investigation of the extent to which students' perception of pressure to behave unethically affects ethical decision-making,” Strange explained. “We looked at gender, religious service attendance, and pressure as the primary areas of interest. We found that those who feel more pressure are more likely to behave unethically than those who do not feel pressure; also, that females are more likely to act ethically than males, and that those students who attend religious services once a week or more are more likely to behave ethically than those who do not.”
Strange presented the team’s findings at the college’s 2015 Celebration of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (CURSCA 2015) on April 15. “Being a research assistant was a fantastic experience,” he said. “I was able to learn not only about the research process as a whole, but also about each specific step through hands-on learning and real experience. It was a lot of fun analyzing the results of the survey to see if they supported our hypotheses — and getting to know Prof. Harper and Prof. Brown on a more personal level outside of the classroom.”
Pictured are Prof. Pamela Harper, Prof. William Brown, and Spencer Strange ’16 at CURSCA 2015, where Strange presented the results of their research on ethical decision-making
“The Target Omnichannel Evolution” was the topic of this semester’s Target Case Competition. Five teams of SoM undergraduates — 25 students in all — spent eight weeks preparing a 15-minute presentation on how the national retailer can best streamline its customers’ shopping experience across multiple platforms (whether online, via smartphone, or in a brick-and-mortar establishment). The teams presented their findings to Target executives on April 15.
Winning team members Samantha Leenas (third from left), Madeline Heusted, Joseph Marini ’15, and Kyle Heubner ’17 are congratulated by Target execs (in red shirts) as well as SoM student Lauren Lamadore ’15 (far left), who will begin working for the company after she graduates later this month. Team member Spencer Strange ’16 is not pictured.
Honing interviewing skills and dressing for business success were two of the topics discussed when students from nearby Pine Bush High School visited the School of Management on April 16. The sophomores, juniors and seniors are part of the high school’s Academy of Finance; as such, “they take business courses for college credit,” says Philip LaRocco, professional lecturer of accounting, a member of the academy’s board, and organizer of the program.
Now in its fourth year, the half-day session includes presentations by both SoM faculty and students. “This year, Madeline Kachou ’15 helped Dr. Joanne Gavin discuss ethics cases,” LaRocco said. “And Prof. Vernon Murray talked about common-sense things that you should know when you leave home and go to college. In past years, we’ve had students conduct mock interviews with the participants.” After the presentations, the high schoolers were treated to lunch in the cafeteria.
By all accounts, the day was a hit. “The response was very favorable,” LaRocco said. “The teachers and students both told me they thought it was great. And the students said they especially liked going to the dining hall and eating all they wanted.”
More than 500 teams from colleges and universities in 32 countries took part in the CME Group Trading Challenge, a real-time commodities trading competition. Using a simulated electronic platform, the teams traded futures contracts in gold, oil, and other goods for two weeks in February; the top 50 teams continued on to a second round in early March. When all was said and done, the Marist College Hedge Jumpers ended with a balance just below $450,000 — good enough for seventh place overall.
“What was particularly satisfying about the team’s performance was that it was our first year taking part in this event,” said faculty advisor Prof. Brian Haughey. “The team demonstrated that Marist students can easily hold their own against the best in the world.”
By qualifying to compete in the second round, the students were invited to visit CME Group’s Chicago headquarters and attend a “Day of Market Education,” where they participated in educational sessions, networked with industry professionals and other students, and dined at the John Hancock Center.
All four team members — seniors Cody Capps, Dominick Corradi, David Lin and Sean Sullivan — attended Prof. Haughey’s Greystone Equity Class, in which real dollars are invested and managed by the students. “Speaking with the different teams, we were surprised to see that not many schools offered student-run funds,” said Sullivan. “This is really a credit to Prof. Haughey and the School of Management for all of their hard work and support to provide the best experiences for finance students.”
Pictured are SoM seniors — and Hedge Jumpers teammates — Dominic Corradi '15, Sean Sullivan '15, Cody Capps '15, and David Lin '15 outside the CME Group’s headquarters in Chicago
For the well-traveled School of Management Ethics Team, participating in the International Business Ethics Case Competition — held in New Orleans on April 21-23 — was something of a new experience. This year, the team competed (and placed first) in the Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl in December, which earned them a spot in the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl national competition in California in February. In the Big Easy, however, the team competed for the first time against their true peers — other squads entirely composed of business school students.
The five teammates — Ben DelGiorno ’16, Jenna Snyder ’15, Madeline Kachou ’15, Corinne Bruckenthal ’15, and Anthony Graci ’15 — competed in three rounds, which lasted 25 minutes, 10 minutes, and 90 seconds. They placed second in the 90-second round.
“I’ve participated in numerous business case competitions, and numerous ethics case competitions, but this was the first business ethics case competition I’ve ever participated in,” Snyder said. “It was the first time I was challenged to incorporate both of these skills into one presentation.”
As of press time, close to $1,400 had been donated to help offset costs of the team’s New Orleans trip. Thanks to all those who contributed — and congratulations to the team on a very successful year.
A 1990 graduate who majored in finance, Michael Medley is a new member of the School of Management’s Board of Advisors. He is the national leader of the International Tax Quantitative Services (ITqS) practice and a partner at EY; prior to that, he was a partner at Deloitte Tax LP. Born and bred in New Jersey, he makes his home in the town of Somerville. The proud father of three children — sons Christian (18) and Luke (15), and daughter Alexa (12) — Medley can often be found attending their sporting events — “especially basketball,” he says. “Two years ago I was coaching a couple of their teams.”
Q: In a nutshell, what is an ITqS practice?
A: The international tax service practice serves any multinational corporation which owns both U.S. and foreign businesses. We help those foreign businesses restructure their effective tax rate around the world. My area handles all of the data, we’re the “number-crunching” element.
Q: So, if a firm is interested in opening a new facility in a foreign country, you help advise them on how that would affect their tax position?
A: That’s a good summary. My group would get involved with the people who would advise them on how to set that up properly from a tax standpoint. We would run the numbers regarding cost, benefits, and risks. When the transaction closed, we would do all the reporting to the IRS and, at times, to foreign jurisdictions.
One of the things I’ve been trying to do is make sure that, from a process-delivery standpoint, we’re as efficient as we can be. In the past, we hired people with the same background to do the same job. When you look at what we do now, my group probably does 20 different services for a client. I’ve tried to build a very broad and well-rounded team. Not having everyone with the exact same skill set is valuable.
Q: How did you come to join the Board of Advisors?
A: I was looking for a way to give back to the school. And I got to a position at Deloitte and EY where I needed people for my team. So I figured that there might be a way for me to give back some of the knowledge and skills that I’ve gained and try to give students the same opportunities that I’ve had in the Big Four accounting firms. I hired one person from Marist when I was at Deloitte, and we’ll be hiring a couple of interns for the summer at EY.
Q: What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed at Marist since your years there?
A: There are not as many parking lots, you can walk around and see the river. In the ’80s you couldn’t see the river much, you had to walk down to it. It’s an amazing transformation, I think the campus just looks awesome now.
Q: What do you remember most about your days at the college?
A: The people and friendships you make at school — that’s your first network. I’m still good friends with my roommates today, we’re all connected through social media.
To me, the basic thing you get out of college is a different perspective from all the different courses you take — whether it’s business or theology or the sciences. I probably use some component of all those different classes in what I do today. As a student, you always say “I’ll never use this stuff” — but in a certain way you do, especially when you get into a leadership role.
The outgoing chair of the Department of Economics, Accounting, and Finance, Prof. Della Lee Sue has been teaching at Marist since 1994. “I found my way in kind of slowly,” she says. “I taught part-time when my children [daughters Katrina, now 25, and Tobey, 21] were small. In 2000, one of the full-time economics faculty moved west, and the dean asked if I would be interested in doing a two-year visiting professor position. He said it could turn into a tenure tract, which it did in 2002.”
Ironically, becoming an academic wasn’t her original intention. “My husband [computer consultant Carl Kass] and I were living in the city while I was a grad student at Columbia,” she says. “I had a lot of research jobs for nonprofits, and I thought I would do that career-wise. But then we moved up [to the Hudson Valley], and doing nonprofit research wasn’t very practical.” Currently, she teaches Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Econometrics, and Labor Economics.
One of the main responsibilities of a department chair — a position Prof. Sue has held for six years — “is creating the schedule: figuring out which courses need to be offered each semester, and then staffing them,” she explains. “The college is not that big; each school is allotted only so many classrooms per time slot, and we have three departments here. So the chairs work together ‘horse-trading’ the slots. That piece is administrative.”
Working with the other faculty members of the department is another important part of the job. “The DEAF faculty is a pretty cohesive bunch; for the most part I think we get along and work very well together,” she says. “We talk about serious stuff, but there’s a real give-and-take. They’ve made the job a lot easier than it otherwise could have been.”
Prof. Sue and Mr. Kass live in the Ulster County hamlet of Cragsmoor along with a “nutty” 55-pound German shepherd (“we call her a high maintenance toy,” she says). In her free hours, she enjoys cooking — “especially baking. My favorite thing to bake is chocolate chip cookies — and my students know that. In economics, we talk about production functions, using imputs to produce and sell some sort of output. The example I often use as the output is chocolate chip cookies, because it’s something the students can relate to.”
She offers this sage advice for Prof. Ann Davis, her successor as department chair: “Care about people, be as organized and on top of things as possible — and don’t let things get you down.”