School of Management Newsletter

November 2015

2015 New York City Career Trek 

On October 22, 85 School of Management students took part in the second annual New York City Career Trek.

The juniors and seniors — accompanied by faculty members and SoM student ambassadors — made their way into Manhattan to spend the day visiting 13 well-known organizations: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), AOL, BATS, Bloomberg, Cisco Systems, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Grant Thornton, IBM, J.P. Morgan, Neuberger Berman, Ogilvy & Mather, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. 

Career TrekThe students were divided into four tracks (two in finance, one in accounting, and one interdisciplinary group), and visited specific companies based on their area of emphasis and future career aspirations. Marist alumni and friends employed at each firm met with the students, offering information about their particular company and pointers on how to look for — and secure — a position at that firm. At the end of the day, students and employees all attended a networking reception hosted by the professional services firm Grant Thornton.

“The primary purpose of the Career Trek is to let the students know what internships and employment opportunities are available at these companies — and how to apply for them,” says Prof. Joanne Gavin, assistant dean for undergraduate programs and organizer of the event.

Student Derek Daffara ’16, a business administration major, was part of the interdisciplinary track, which visited AOL, Cisco Systems, and Ogilvy & Mather — and lunched at IBM.  He found the time spent at Ogilvy & Mather especially helpful. “The Ogilvy HR recruiter gave us resume advice,” Daffara says. “She told us how a slight error or lack of attention to detail can turn into an application rejection. Additionally, she offered to critique all of our resumes, which was especially nice of her.” Daffara also felt that networking was “a great aspect of the trip. It is nice to connect with Marist alumni, who can help you land an entry-level job after graduation.”

Junior Sam Greene, who is majoring in both accounting and business administration, found the speakers’ stories of their own careers to be the most informative part of the trek. “Some people followed the traditional paths of internship, associate, senior associate, etc.,” Greene recalls. “Others hopped from company to company. It made me realize that there is no right way to go about my career.” He also discovered “how much of a role luck plays in your future. On the train, a member of our track happened to sit down next to a gentleman who struck up a conversation with him; that gentleman ended up providing him with a train rides’ worth of information about the Big Four.”

In just two years, the number of organizations participating in the Career Trek has grown from nine to 13 — which Dean Lawrence Singleton feels is a positive sign. “Companies are looking for top talent. They realize that a Marist School of Management business education, which is firmly grounded in a strong liberal arts background, fully prepares students for their future careers by helping them to become well-rounded individuals.”

For participants, the daylong outing offers more than just a hands-on learning experience, says Dean Gavin. “Students have the opportunity to meet with top executives of these companies, and to see what a career in the organization would look like. In addition, they have the opportunity to meet with the recruiters for the company, who are often willing to accept the students’ resumes on the spot.”

Click here to view additional photos from Career Trek.

Student artwork adorns SoM offices

Visitors to the School of Management administrative offices have no doubt noticed that the space has recently been remodeled. The finishing touch on this change of décor was completed last month with the installation of artwork created by Grace Henderson and Kelsey Lahey, two Marist seniors studying with the School of Communication and the Arts.

ArtworkThe inclusion of the art students’ work was the brainchild of SoM Dean Lawrence Singleton. “He was interested in highlighting the work of Art and Digital Media students in the School of Management offices,” says Prof. Ed Smith, who teaches art and is the director of the college’s Steel Plant gallery. “He sparked a great interest within the different schools by fostering this exchange. I’m very grateful to the entire School of Management team for allowing the students this unique opportunity.”

Of the “remarkable group of current art students,” Lahey and Henderson’s photo images — taken while the two students were traveling through Europe — were chosen for this initial exhibit. “I thought this would be a perfect chance to show the international flavor of the Marist community,” says Prof. Smith.

The 10 photographs “are prominently displayed throughout the SoM suite — and what a difference it makes,” says Dean Singleton. “Many people have been by to see it, including students and others who made a special trip. All of their comments have been extremely positive. This is a big win-win for interschool cooperation at Marist.”

In the photo: Dean Lawrence Singleton is flanked by student/artists Grace Henderson (left) and Kelsey Lahey

Students lauded for community engagement projects

Three Marist students have been recognized for striving to improve the local community via two service projects.

TarverBreanna Lechase ’16 was one of five recipients of a Rupert and Marie Tarver Summer Internship, presented by the Marist’s Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership. Lechase partnered with Hudson River Housing, a Poughkeepsie-based nonprofit that provides low-cost housing and other services to the homeless. With guidance from economics professor Christy Huebner Caridi — director of the Marist Bureau of Economic Research and her faculty mentor — Lechase evaluated the demand for local labor for HRH’s Employment Assistance Training Station (or EATS); her findings resulted in “a statistical analysis of the data; research in labor economics, homelessness, psychology, and education; and recommendations for the future.” She and four other Tarver interns were honored for their efforts at a luncheon in September.  

The Open Space Institute, a nationwide environmental conservation organization, presented its annual Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards during a ceremony held last month in New York City. The awards consist of monetary grants of up to $6,000, which are given to students to fund projects in the fields of environmental conservation, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism. “The McHenry Awards identify and encourage the next generation of environmental and community leaders, and we are inspired by their collective commitment,” says OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman.

Marist students Julia Czarnecki and Marissa Porter were among this year’s winners. The pair of Environmental Science majors will partner with the college to organize a series of public seminars on leadership in sustainability in hopes of bringing about greater public awareness of climate change. Their goals are to support best practices in environmental matters; educate the public on sustainability issues; and provide information upon which environmentally responsible decisions can be made. Czarnecki and Porter are members of the on-campus club SEED (Students Encouraging Environment Dedication). They are also in Prof. Ann Davis’s Environmental Economics class; she is one of their faculty advisors for the project. “We will make presentations at the Environmental Consortium of Colleges and Universities conference at Vassar College on Nov. 6,” Prof. Davis reports.

Congratulations to all three students for their achievements.

In the photo: Dr. Christy Huebner Caridi and Breanna LeChase attend the Tarver internship luncheon

Data Driven

Located on the first floor of Hancock, the School of Management’s Investment Center is home to the college’s Bloomberg terminals — equipment that students are logging onto with increased frequency.

Installed about five years ago, the terminals access a computer system that offers users various types of business-related information, including real-time financial data. “For a college of our size, we have an unusually large number of terminals; there are a dozen available,” says Brian Haughey, assistant professor of finance and director of the investment center.

“The traditional market for use of the terminal is finance and marketing professionals; initially, the investment center was set up for use by finance students,” he says. “But we want to broaden the reach, and try to increase the cross-disciplinary use of the terminals.” To that end, Prof. Haughey has been offering one-hour seminars to students in SoM capstone classes, who can use the system to research everything from company histories to industry trends. “We are also encouraging accounting folks to use it for financial statements, and economics students to access their data series. Even paralegal students can use it to see the litigation that a company has been involved in.”

The college offers specific coursework — developed by Bloomberg Professional Service — for use with the terminals, says Prof. Haughey. “Bloomberg Essentials is five hours of self-guided instruction,” he says. “If you pass the test, you are ‘Bloomberg certified,’ which indicates that you are facile with the technology.”

This semester, Finance Prof. John Finnigan has introduced Bloomberg Marketing Concepts into his Investment Analysis course. This six-hour e-learning class includes modules in economics, currencies, fixed income, and equities woven together with data and analytics obtain from the Bloomberg system. This is “a step up” from the Bloomberg Essentials course, says Prof. Haughey. “It teaches business and finance as well as the use of the terminal. It’s a good way for students to learn the technology in the right context.”

Faculty Focus

“The Process of Provisioning: The Halter for the Workhorse,”a paper by Prof. Ann Davis, was included in the June 2015 issue of the Journal of Economic Issues. Published quarterly, the journal is sponsored by the Association for Evolutionary Economics.

“The Economics of The Grapes of Wrath” is the title of a presentation given on Nov. 1 by Prof. Christy Huebner Caridi at the Boardman Road branch of the Poughkeepsie Public Library. The talk was part of the 2015 Poughkeepsie Read, a series of events highlighting John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel about the Great Depression.

Getting to Know – Associate Professor of Economics Ann E. Davis

DavisProfessor Ann Davis was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. She received her undergraduate degree in American studies from Barnard; she then went on to complete her master’s in economics at Northeastern, and her Ph.D. at Boston College. She and her husband, Robert McAuley, are the parents of two grown children, Jeff and Sara, and they have two grandchildren. The couple makes their home in Poughkeepsie; in her spare hours, she enjoys walking on the nearby Dutchess Rail Trail and playing soccer with her six-year-old grandson.

Q: Knoxville is a long way from New York. How did you happen to come here?

 A: My parents were from New York City, and my father wanted me to be a “Barnard girl.” I didn’t even know what that meant, but I went, and loved it, and never went back home.

During my college career, I got involved in poverty activism because of my parents. They both grew up poor on the Lower East Side; they got married in the middle of the Depression, and were immigrants, so they experienced discrimination. I wanted to learn more about poverty, so I went to graduate school.

Essentially I came to the Hudson Valley to teach at Vassar, which was my first real job. I met my husband at Vassar — he still teaches there — had a family, then came to Marist.

Q: When and how did you decide to become an economics professor?

A: When I was going off to Barnard, my father said, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” And I said I wanted to be a college teacher. I hadn’t thought about it much — it just kind of popped out— but I liked school. I think college brought to me this mission that doing something to help the world was important. That came from my parents, too.

Q: You are the founding director of the Marist College Bureau of Economic Research. Would you tell us about how that got started

A: When I was a new hire, former Professor Ted Prenting approached me about doing something about the Hudson Valley region. I met with President Murray, who suggested that we create a bureau of the region. I started interacting with the business and labor communities, and then thought it would be useful to study the region as an entity. I began doing a regional report; eventually I was asked to do studies for groups like the Hudson Valley Greenway. By 2005, it seemed to be a good time to switch into doing more academic things, so I did. And Christy Caridi took over the bureau.

Q: You’ve said that you enjoy writing — your book, Evolution of the Property Relation, was published last spring. Do you also like to read?

A: What I read for pleasure is often magazines — the New York Review of Books is one of my favorites, as well as a whole bunch of political magazines. As an undergrad, I didn’t like or understand history, but now that I’m writing about economic institutions and how they change over centuries, I’m loving it.

Q: You recently became the chair of the SoM’s Department of Economics, Accounting, and Finance.  Do you have any specific goals for the department?

A: One of my objectives is to increase the dialogue among the faculty members, and to have meetings that are substantive about what we study.

Being the chair is rewarding and challenging. The challenge is to staff the class sections when we don’t have full-time people. The rewarding part is the relationships with colleagues. That’s why I think college life is fun — I never really wanted to graduate, so I found a way to work here the rest of my life.

Alumni Profile — Timothy P. Keneally ’69

KeneallyTim Keneally says he’s thinking about “winding down my professional career” in the next year or two — which, should it come to pass, would be a loss for Kapstone Container Corporation, the Northbrook, Illinois company of which he is president.

A member of the Dean’s Board of Advisors, Keneally graduated from Marist in 1969 with a degree in history; his business career began in 1971 following a two-year stint in the Army. His first job was in employee relations. “I was responsible for negotiating labor agreements with unions,” he says. “Back then, labor/management relations were a lot different than they are today.  Now, we try to work more closely together so we can do things cost-effectively.”

The Manhasset, Long Island native began working at Kapstone Paper and Packaging (the firm’s parent company) when it was formed in 2007. “We’ve grown from a $250,000 business that was reasonably profitable to a $3.5 billion company that’s on the New York Stock Exchange,” he says with pride. “We are the fifth largest producer of corrugated containers in the U.S.”  Helping to keep the company’s 6,000 employees “engaged” is one of the more challenging duties he faces as president: “You can have the best customers in the world, but if you don’t have employees who are doing things the right way, you can lose that customer.” The firm uses both online and in-house training with all employees, from factory workers through the sales staff.

Keneally has seen significant changes in the business environment during his 44 years of punching the clock. “Service and quality is a must,” he says. “Today, customers are more willing to allow you to understand their operations. Twenty years ago, it was ‘just ship me the box, don’t worry about how we operate our plants.’ Now we have engineers go into our customers’ plants to assist them in packing their products.”

The importance of the work-life balance is another change. “People today are more cognizant that there’s got to be a better life than working 80 hours a week,” he says. “That’s a big shift. My family moved 15 times in the years I’ve been employed; that’s not the norm today.”

Keneally and his wife, Mary Ann, have been married for 46 years; they have five grown children and 10 grandchildren. Ironically, professional and conjugal success have a lot in common, he says. “More than one-third of a working person’s day is spent away from your family,” he says. “This is going to sound silly, but by engaging with your fellow employees — knowing their wants and needs — you will make those 8-10 working hours a more pleasant experience, and you’ll be more productive.

“It’s like a marriage: Not every day is a great day, but you’d better communicate and work hard to get through problems, rather than just giving up and moving on to work for someone else.”