School of Management Newsletter

May 2016

Cream of the Crop

BloombergBloomberg Businessweek magazine has included the School of Management in its prestigious rankings of the “Best Undergraduate Business Schools” in the United States. 

Released in mid-April, the 2016 rankings list the Marist business program 108th in the nation, and 25th among private colleges in the Northeast. The rankings measure career outcomes, and are based on four factors: feedback from recruiters who hire recent B-school grads; student ratings of their own school; average starting salary; and percentage of students who interned during their undergrad years. This accolade joins several others received by the school in recent months, including making the list of U.S. News & World Report’s  “Best Online Graduate Programs” and’s “Best Bachelor’s Accounting Programs.”

“This external recognition of our undergraduate programs by Bloomberg Businessweek is a great honor and speaks volumes about the high quality of our academic programs, students, and graduates,” says Dean Lawrence Singleton. “It is truly gratifying to see the recognition of our outstanding faculty and staff’s dedication and commitment to producing a continuously improving, top-tier business education.”

Mingling in Midtown

AugustineThe iconic Empire State Building in Manhattan was the site of the Graduate Student and Alumni Networking Event, which was held on May 14. Approximately 60 current MBA/MPA students, alumni, faculty and other guests enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres — along with lively conversation — at the affair, which was hosted by the School of Management and held in the offices of Taylor, a brand counselor and public relations company.

The highlight of the evening was a presentation by Amanda Augustine ’04, a certified professional career coach and resume writer. Entitled “Your Personal Brand: Managing Your Professional Reputation in Today’s Job Market,” Augustine’s remarks stressed the need for all career-minded individuals to tell a consistent story about their work experience and goals not only in person and on paper, but online as well. She noted recent studies have found that more than 90 percent of recruiters will review a job candidate’s online social profile before making a hiring decision.

This was the second SoM event of the academic year exclusively organized for the benefit of master’s students and alumni. “Helping our current and former students to connect with each other and share career information is very important to us,” Dean Lawrence Singleton says. “We are encouraged by the turnout at these events, and look forward to holding more of them in the future.”

Seminar Series hosts Rutgers professor

On May 4, Dr. Miklos Vasarhelyi — the KPMG Distinguished Professor of Accounting Information Systems at Rutgers University — visited the School of Management. The director of the Rutgers Accounting Research Center and Continuous Auditing and Reporting Laboratory, Dr. Vasarhelyi spoke about innovations in technology and the audit process to members of the Beta Alpha Psi honor organization, and presented a paper on the subject at the Research Seminar Series for faculty. Entitled “Imagineering Audit 4.0,” the paper was co-authored by Jun Dai, a Rutgers Ph.D. student.

Seminar“His presentation was absolutely riveting,” Professor Caroline Rider says. “His technique of taking conceptual frameworks from one environment and floating them in other environments is a great way to spark innovation, which I think most people can get behind.” 

Along with Rutgers, Dr. Vasarhelyi has taught at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, the University of Southern California, and Columbia University. The American Accounting Association named him the Outstanding Accounting Educator for 2013.

Known colloquially as “RSS Feeds” (since lunch is often provided), the Research Seminar Series provides the SoM faculty with the opportunity to stay current on topics of interest in accounting, finance, management, and other business-related fields of study.

IN THE PHOTO: Dr. J. Donald Warren, Jr., Dr. Miklos Vasarhelyi, Jun Dai, and Dean Lawrence Singleton

Pie Eyed

PieThe college’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an honor organization for financial information students and professionals, held a “pie-the-professor” fund-raiser on April 13. Students purchased tickets for the honor of depositing a cream pie smack in the kisser of their favorite professor. Several genial profs volunteered to be willing targets; the fun event raised more than $200 for the chapter.


IN THE PHOTO:  Jeff Kortina ’16 socks it to his favorite SoM professor (who, for dignity’s sake, shall remain nameless)


Moving Forward

MovingClose to 70 student members of the Beta Alpha Psi honor organization learned about life after college from a pair of Marist alumni during a talk in February. John DiPalo ’91 and Brian Luciani ’15 returned to their alma mater to speak about their experiences since graduation, and to offer advice on internships and careers. DiPalo focused on career aspirations; he emphasized to the students that their first job will not be their last, and that perseverance is needed to attain your goals. A more-recent graduate, Luciani noted the importance of internships in the process of landing a position. An extended question-and-answer session followed the presentation.

IN THE PHOTO: John DiPalo ’91(second from left) and Brian Luciani ’15 (second from right) chat with BAP student members following their presentation

Faculty Focus

The results of two faculty elections for department chair have been announced. Professor Elizabeth Purinton-Johnson has been elected chair of the Department of Organization and the Environment. Members of the Department of Management elected Professor Jason Lee as chair.

On April 6, the Marist College Student Academic Council handed out their Faculty of the Year Awards. With recipients chosen by student vote, these awards recognize those faculty members who students feel “excel in the world of education.” Professor Melinda Weisberg was honored as this year’s School of Management Faculty Member of the Year.

Getting to Know – Professor William S. Brown

Brown“I went through this whole ‘what do I want to do when I grow up’ thing at age 37,” says Assistant Professor of Management William Brown, who’s been teaching at Marist since 1999. “And I thought, ‘Boy, I’ve always loved being in a classroom’ —and 30 years later, I still do.”

A native of Bergenfield, New Jersey, Brown took a somewhat circuitous route to his academic career. “I started out at 19 as a high school history and English lit teacher,” he says. Laid off after a school budget defeat and unable to find another teaching job, “I started going door-to-door in New York City, saying ‘I need work.’ ” Staff at a sales office for Prudential Insurance asked him to take a test. “I guess I must have done well,” he remembers, “because they caught me at the elevator and asked if I would consider going to the company’s world headquarters for an interview. So off I went, and they offered me a job in human resources.” Brown subsequently worked in HR at the world headquarters of Philip Morris and Mutual of New York, as well as at Barnard College and Fairleigh Dickinson University (the school where he earned both his BA and MBA).

His successful corporate career notwithstanding, the lure of the classroom was too great. “I had always loved teaching, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” he says. “My wife [Marist Prof. Grace Gibbons] suggested I apply to teach at the University of Pittsburgh (where she’s from), and they hired me because I had the executive experience.” After stints at Pitt (where he earned his Ph.D.) and Babson College, he arrived in Poughkeepsie.

Brown enumerates several changes he’s seen in the human resource management field over the years. “When I went to Prudential, everyone there had been with the company for 30 years,” he recalls. “That doesn’t happen anymore. A company will let you go on any Friday if it’s in their interest. Similarly, employees don’t look to stay at one company for their entire lives; they get as many skills as they can, then make the next move.” Technological advances have had a wide-ranging effect on workplace privacy. “Employers can (and do) know much more about their employees than they used to because they can find out so much online,” he says. “And you’re now technologically tethered to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

The father of four grown children — the youngest, Ann, a professional actress and singer, is currently a student in Marist’s online degree completion program — Brown says that interacting with the students keeps teaching fun for him. “It’s rare that I get through a semester without learning something from them,” he says. He also enjoys serving as the faculty mentor of the varsity football team. “I travel with the team, I’m on the sidelines with the players, and I have a lot of them in my classes. It expands the relationship outside the classroom. That’s been very rewarding.”

If nothing else, Brown hopes to impress on his students the importance of being lifelong learners. “That’s critical given the current work environment,” he says. “If you don’t stay cutting-edge, when that Friday comes, it will be hard to hit the ground running. When you graduate in May, that’s not the end of your education. It’s the beginning.” 

Alumni Profile — Gregory J. Garville ’74

GarvilleA native of nearby Westchester County, Greg Garville met his wife, Christine Donnelly Garville ’74, while pursuing his B.A. in American studies, with a minor in business, at Marist; he went on to earn his MBA from Long Island University. The couple, who have four grown children “and a bulldog named Hooper,” now live in Old Tappan, New Jersey. A member of the Dean’s Board of Advisors, Garville is also on the board of Eva’s Kitchen, an anti-poverty program based in Edison, NJ. When time and weather conditions allow, the 63-year-old enjoys playing golf and skiing.

When did you join the Board of Advisors?

I was asked to join three or four months ago. I semi-retired in 2013, and I have a lot of energy, so I reached out to Dennis Murray and asked how I could help. He introduced me to Larry Singleton, and so I got involved in that way.

I work part-time with a private equity group, Brookside Equity Partners, in Connecticut. Plus I do some work with Eva’s Kitchen helping clients with interviewing skills and resume writing, and I travel. And now my wife and I babysit two days a week for my granddaughter.

How would you characterize what you do professionally?

I’m a financial professional with experience in investing and operating lower and middle-market businesses. I’ve leveraged that skill into helping not-for-profits, including Marist and Eva’s Kitchen. In addition, I advise businesses as needed, either when they’re interested in selling or in making structural changes.

Would you tell us a little about your career?

I started at Praxair, which was at the time Union Carbide Industrial Gases, in the accounting department — an essential discipline that I think every person in business should have an appreciation for. Then I got involved in corporate development: I went to the Rank Organisation; then to Mickelberry Communications, a small, NYSE-listed company; then to Union Capital, an affiliate of Mickelberry.

What qualities have helped you to be successful professionally?

When I mentor students, I encourage them to have a proper balance of attitude and ability; you can be the friendliest person, but if you don’t have the ability to run an Excel spreadsheet, you’ll go nowhere. A desire to continue to learn: I like the Lowe’s commercial with the tagline “never stop improving.” And luck: I’ve met many successful people, and the most honest and candid will say that yes, they worked hard and worked smart, but there was also an element of luck. I believe that, with hard work and discipline, you can put yourself in a position to be lucky.

You mention mentoring students. Can you elaborate on that?

In addition to other programs within the School of Management and the Career Services area, I started a mentor program in 2014. It exposes juniors and seniors to alumni who work in business in their area of interest. We require them to prepare a resume and cover letter to send to the mentor. Then there are from one to three online or phone conversations and one meeting between them. These are informational sessions, not job interviews; however, you’re going to create a nexus with an individual. And if you do well, it has — sometimes, but not always — led to a job interview. I’m pleased with the results so far; and it gives the mentors an opportunity to reconnect with the school, and that’s a good thing.

Any advice for the Class of 2016?

Several things, I guess. Make sure your demeanor encompasses that proper balance of attitude and ability. You want to become a lawyer or an investment banker — good, but make sure you have one (or even two or three) backup plans. I would encourage them to continue to develop their marketable skills; complacency is not an option. Lastly, realize that disappointments are going to happen; you just have to overcome them. Adversity will highlight weaknesses, but also create strength.