School of Management Newsletter

September 2015

Women’s Work

Professor Joanne Gavin — the School of Management’s assistant dean for undergraduate programs — was among academic delegates from more than 45 colleges and universities nationwide who gathered at the White House last month to pledge their commitment to expanding educational opportunities for women in business.

White HouseHosted by the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Council of Economic Advisors, the August 5 meeting included corporate executives as well as business school leaders. Attendees discussed the barriers that women face in obtaining leadership roles in the workforce, a situation that often begins with a lack of equal access to top business schools.

To help remedy this problem, the business school representatives adopted a series of “best practices,” a set of concrete strategies focused on aiding and encouraging women to pursue an education — and subsequent career —in business. Along with specifically targeting high school and college-aged women for enrollment, the signers of the document pledged to develop flexible programs that take into account the unique “life-cycle challenges” women face when simultaneously pursuing an advanced degree and starting a family, or reentering the workforce. Other strategies included enhancing career services for female students and graduates, modernizing curriculum to better reflect workforce diversity, offering mentoring and networking opportunities, and involving all college community members in an ongoing conversation on achieving balance between work and family.

“This event focused on the effort that is needed if women are truly to have equal opportunity in the workplace,” Prof. Gavin said. “This project highlights the changes that are needed in the education system as early as high school to help women envision a career in business.”

“The Marist School of Management is pleased to be a signatory to this document, which outlines best practices for schools that want to be leaders in expanding opportunities for women in business,” said Dean Lawrence Singleton. “We are wholly committed to making progress for women in these areas.”

More than just business

During the spring semester, students in Prof. Elizabeth Purinton-Johnson’s Marketing Policies and Problems class analyzed the marketing strategy of Good Reasonstm, a Westchester County-based maker of healthy dog treats. Along with practical business experience, the now-graduated seniors learned some equally valuable life lessons from this small company.

A subsidiary of Community Based Services, a not-for-profit organization, Good Reasons company mission includes providing employment opportunities to adults with autism and other disabilities. As part of their coursework, the students researched the dog-treat industry, and presented marketing plans to company CEO Vicki Sylvester. On their own time, they and Prof. Purinton-Johnson volunteered at the company, helping to fulfill a large order the company had received.

MoreGood Reasons got plenty of good ideas from the class. Dani Seipp ’15 arranged for the company to take part in a local American Cancer Society “Bark for Life” fund-raiser. Rebecca Schneider ’15 persuaded local health foods retailer Mother Earth’s Storehouse to carry the Good Reasons line. But the group calling itself the Silver Linings Corporation had the best marketing suggestion. “They noted the lack of visibility of the organization’s mission, especially in the consumer packaging,” said Prof. Purinton-Johnson. “They suggested adding a sticker highlighting the Good Reasons employee who actually packaged the product.” This clever idea “doesn’t increase the cost of the packaging itself, is easy to add to the current packaging, and increases the visibility of the company’s mission while tying it to the brand,” she notes.

“Throughout the process, students learned as much about not-for-profits, serving the disabled population, and passion in business as they did about marketing strategy,” Prof. Purinton-Johnson said.

From left: Good Reasons CEO Vicki Sylvester and assistant Kelly Apfel; Silver Linings members Jaclyn Sanderson ’15, Christos Pietris ’15, Vincent Galasso ’15, Eric Mui ’15, and Nicholas Pititto ’15

Midwest Meet-up

Two members of the SoM family attended the 2015 annual meeting of Beta Alpha Psi, which was held in Milwaukee on August 5-8. Professor J. Donald Warren, Jr. and student Michael Stewart ’16 represented the Marist chapter of this honor organization for financial information students and professionals.

BAPThe conference featured presentations by guest speakers, networking opportunities, and workshops devoted to helping chapters encourage professional excellence in the business information field. “The BAP annual meeting was excellent — one of the best, given the caliber of the plenary speakers,” Prof. Warren said. Stewart especially enjoyed taking part in the organization’s International Day of Literacy. “More than 1,000 volunteers went to elementary schools across the city to teach young students how important literacy is,” he said. “This was a great way to bond with other chapters while providing a good deed to the local community.”

Back on campus, Stewart is eager to put the information gleaned at the meeting to good use. “I look forward to taking the knowledge gained from this meeting and carrying it forward through new and innovative ideas for our chapter. The meeting was the first step to help bring our chapter to the next level.”

From left: Kevin Stock, President Beta Alpha Psi, Brigham Young University; J. Donald Warren, Jr.; Michael Stewart ’16; Linda Schain, Chapter Advocate, Atlantic Coast Region, Hofstra University

Programs earn high marks

After a rigorous peer review process and on-site visit last spring, the Marist Master of Public Administration (MPA) program has earned accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). With nearly 300 members in the U.S. and 14 foreign countries, NASPAA is the recognized global accrediting organization of master’s degree programs in public service education. Receiving this accreditation “signals that our MPA program meets a field-wide standard of quality and seeks continuous improvement,” said Marist President Dennis J. Murray.

The website recently released its list of the top 50 “Best Bachelor’s in Accounting programs.” Top-tier schools like Penn State, Villanova, and Boston University all made the list — but were ranked below Marist College, which came in 23rd overall.  The rankings were compiled based on competitive graduation rates, reputation, and curriculum standards. “It is particularly gratifying to be ranked so highly by one of the leading career resources in the accounting field,” said Dean Lawrence Singleton, “and it is further evidence that Marist accounting majors are well-prepared for successful careers in this challenging and rewarding profession.”

Last June, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) acknowledged that the Marist Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program fully aligns with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. With more than 275,000 members in 160 countries, SHRM is the world’s largest human resource membership organization. The guidelines are part of the group’s initiative to define HR education standards for business school programs.

New — and familiar — faces

J. Donald Warren, Jr. is professor of accounting and the Schlobach Distinguished Chair in Accounting for the School of Management. He earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, and has taught at the Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford as well as at the Rutgers Business School. His professional career includes 31 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Assistant Professor of Accounting Byunghoon Jin is completing his Ph.D. at the Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he has also been teaching for the past two years. From 2007-2010, Prof. Jin was employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Seoul, South Korea.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Management John C. Cary has been teaching at the School of Management since 2013 — the same year that he earned his doctorate in education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. He is the owner/operator of Unishippers, a reseller of transportation and freight services; he has also worked at Bear Sterns and Mellon Financial Services.

Assistant Professor Melinda Weisberg began teaching at Marist in 2013 after a long career in the nonprofit sector, working for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Astor Services for Children and Families in the Hudson Valley and the Bronx. She completed her doctorate in management at the University of Maryland. Along with her husband Larry, Prof. Weisberg owns a consulting firm that provides human resources services to nonprofit organizations. 

Faculty Focus

New faculty member J. Donald Warren, Jr. was a featured panelist at the “Accounting IS Big Data” conference, which took place on September 3-4 in New York City.  Prof. Warren was invited to participate based on his experience incorporating big data and analytics into his research.

Assistant Professor of Accounting Lillian Li attended the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board - American Accounting Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. last April. “We know that all public companies hire independent auditors to scrutinize their financial records,” Prof. Li says. “The PCAOB has the authority to establish standards dealing with auditing, quality control, ethics, independence and other activities relating to the preparation of auditor reports.”

Advice for the asking

TheobaldWhen it comes to students and their academic plans, Jean Theobald has a mantra: “I don’t want them to choose, I want them to decide.”

Theobald — the director of academic advising and student services for the School of Management — and her team are looking forward to welcoming all 341 SoM freshmen to the Advising Center, a place that soon will become quite familiar to them. “We work one-on-one with every incoming freshman and transfer student majoring in business administration, accounting, or economics,” says Theobald. “We advise them until they are starting their junior year.”

By meeting with each student two or three times a semester, “we help them plan, so they take classes in a building-block approach,” she says. “Our purpose is to get them on track so that they graduate on time — that’s key — and at the same time, help them to get the most from their Marist experience.”

Theobald finds her job both challenging and rewarding. “It’s amazing to see the growth in the students even after just one year,” she says. “I’m getting emails from some of them now. They’re not saying ‘Tell me what to do,’ they’re asking ‘What do you think of this idea?’ That means that we’ve done our job.”

Getting to know…. Associate Professor of Public Administration Jay Bainbridge

BainbridgeA member of the School of Management faculty since 2009, Prof. Bainbridge was promoted to associate professor this past summer. An alumnus of Cornell University, he completed his doctorate in social policy at Columbia in 2002. Before embarking on his teaching career, he worked with the New York City Department of Homeless Services. He and his wife, Karen Meara, have two children, daughter Cory (24) and son Nicky (20).

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I was a Navy and a U.N. brat — my father was a Navy pilot who later worked for the World Health Organization. Born in California, I lived in Switzerland for seven and a half years — I went to Swiss schools, where I spoke French. We had a whole year where we traveled all around the world. It was really great.

Q: Where is home now?

A: I’ve lived in Brooklyn for 24 years, but we’ve just bought a house in Highland, so I’ll be spending more time in the Hudson Valley.

Q: You majored in math as an undergraduate. When did you know that you wanted to go into public administration/social policy?

A: I knew all along that I wanted to do something in the social sciences. As an undergrad, my thought was that math could be used to “crack” some of the other areas — such as economics — in the social sciences. Having been exposed while growing up to so many different countries with their different issues — from Switzerland, where everything ran like clockwork, to India, where there was visible starvation on the streets — I wanted to provide some type of service.

Q: Homelessness is an area of special interest for you. Are we making progress in combating this problem?

A: We’re in a period that’s called “modern” homelessness, which started in the 1980s. Prior to that, the stereotypical homeless person was an aged white man who had some type of mental illness or drinking problem. Now it’s an issue that affects a much broader swath of the population, including children — which is always heart-wrenching — and young people. Some things are working, but there are still some huge challenges. Many places are tackling this issue head-on, and I think there’s hope in that.

Q: For students going into public service work, there seems to be strong emphasis placed on ethics. How do you “teach” that?

A: The notion of public service is ingrained in all of our classes — the ideals of democracy and the fact that we’re serving others is a major thrust of every class.  Often, I teach very quantitative courses like statistics and program evaluation — there are ethical dimensions in these classes, and we highlight them. But even the technical work that we do doesn’t provide clear-cut answers between what is right and what it wrong.  We challenge our students to think about the ethical dimensions of what we’re teaching.

Q: Other than the information in the curriculum, what do you hope your students will learn from you as a teacher?

A: I would hope that they would come away with the notion that they should be open to new opportunities, learn good skills, and work hard. They don’t know where their careers are going to lead them. If they learn good skills, they can apply them to any type of career.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: My wife and children and I enjoy the outdoors — we like to hike and bike and camp. I was a serious soccer player when I was younger; since then I’ve switched over to doing triathlons — which I did for about 10 years, culminating in an Iron Man. I still stay very active.

PHOTO CAPTION: Jay Bainbridge (third from right) with son Nicky, daughter Cory, and wife Ann Meara

Alumni Profile — Thomas D. Cassin ’81

CassinA Bristol, Connecticut native, Tom Cassin is a managing director and co-head of Investment Grade Finance at J.P. Morgan — a company he has been with “my whole career,” he says. “Marist alum Bill Moran ’63 of Chase Manhattan Bank — a predecessor of J.P. Morgan — came up to the campus in 1981 and interviewed a few candidates. I was hired, and I’ve been here ever since.”

As the co-head of Investment Grade Finance — a position he assumed in 2011 —“I’m responsible for the origination of investment grade debt, including loans, bonds, private placements, and requisition financing,” says Cassin, who majored in finance and economics at Marist. “Investment grade refers to higher credit quality issuers.” For more than 20 years, he worked in the company’s Syndicated and Leveraged Finance area.

Earlier this year, Cassin became a member of the Dean’s Board of Advisors. He was instrumental in hosting a highly successful student site visit to J.P. Morgan’s offices during the inaugural SoM New York Career Trek last fall. “There are a lot of Marist alums who work at J.P. Morgan, as well as parents of current students and alumni. We pulled together several employees with a Marist connection to meet with the students. The feedback — both from the J.P. Morgan folks who took part, as well as the students — was very, very positive.”

Cassin feels that taking advantage of internship opportunities can be very helpful for undergraduates. “From the employer’s viewpoint, we can see students interact with their peers, how they handle stressful situations, whether they can work well as part of a team. And the students get a better sense of what the job is about, and whether it may or may not be right for them.”

Cassin spent his junior year studying abroad at the University of Birmingham in England, an experience he characterizes as “a real inflection point for me personally” and one that he recommends for students. “It gave me a sense of independence, responsibility, and accomplishment,” he says.

Today, Cassin makes his home in Summit, NJ with Patricia, his wife of 27 years. He is the father of David (Marist class of 2013), 22-year-old Elizabeth, and 18-year-old Will. “We just dropped Will off at college,” he says a bit wistfully. “We’re a couple of days into being empty-nesters.” 

As a parent of a recent graduate, Cassin has seen Marist grow since his own undergrad days. “The physical presence of the campus, the academic and overall reputation of the college, and the quality of the administration, faculty, and students — all have been enhanced,” he says. “It was great when I was there, and it’s even better now.”