School of Management Newsletter

September 2016


Foreign Exchange

The highlight of many a college student’s academic career is the chance to study in a foreign country. From a scheduling standpoint, SoM students often find it difficult to complete core course requirements, take on a business internship, and spend a semester abroad. Until now.

ASPIREEnter the ASPIRE (Accelerated Summer Program — Italian Residential Experience) Finance session, the inaugural edition of which took place from June 20 to July 29 on the Marist campus in Florence, Italy. Accompanied by finance professors John Finnigan and Brian Haughey, nine students — ranging from sophomores to seniors — spent six weeks immersing themselves in Italian culture; besides seeing the sights in Florence, their agenda included trips to Rome, Pisa, and the Amalfi coast. In between visiting the Vatican and tasting wine in Chianti, the students also spent their time taking three finance courses, earning seven credits in the process. Besides providing the opportunity to live in a foreign country, the program gives participants a leg up on their business studies and frees time in their schedules to take additional electives when back in Poughkeepsie.

“Without the ASPIRE program, I would not have been able to study abroad,” says Owen Polzello ’18. “The program is hugely beneficial to all business students and is a great way to get ahead in credits and possibly make room in your schedule for an extra minor.”

Professors Finnigan and Haughey are pleased with the success of program’s first year, and are looking forward to its growing bigger and better next summer.

All in the Family

EYBoard of Advisors member Michael Medley ’90 — a partner and national leader of the Ernst & Young International Tax Quantitative Services group — reports that he “chuckled to himself” during a June meeting at his New Jersey offices. “I went to see the eight or nine people from my team in our conference room today,” Medley writes in an email. “Four of them are Marist grads or students, five if you include me.” The four employees/interns were hired as a direct result of connections established during visits to EY during the School of Management-sponsored New York City Career Trek.

IN THE PHOTO: The Marist alumni and/or student employees of the Ernst & Young International Tax Quantitative Services (ITqS) group (from left): Brian Tracey ’16 (EY intern summer ’15, full-time January ’17, Career Trek attendee fall ’14); Kristin Chauvin ’17 expected (EY intern summer ’16, Career Trek attendee fall ’15); Mike Medley ’90 (Tax Partner, National ITqS practice leader); Amanda Sanchez ’17 expected (EY intern summer ’16, Career Trek attendee Fall ’15); Kyle Wind ’15 (EY intern summer ’15, full-time July ’16, Career Trek attendee fall ’14)

Faculty Focus

Prof. Pamela Harper directed the 13th annual Community Block Party held Sept. 10 in the Sheridan Hollow neighborhood of Albany, NY.  This event — which has garnered praise from Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — offered free food and fun activities to local residents, as well as resource information on life management, health screenings, employment readiness, fire and crime prevention and other services.

The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) recently announced that Prof. Tia Sheree Gaynor’s “Introduction to Public Administration” course will receive the organization’s Social Justice Curriculum Award at its annual conference in Columbus, OH next month. Known as the global standard in public service education, NASPAA strives to ensure excellence in education and training for public service.

MelitskiOn June 7, the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region held a training program for employees of local nonprofit organizations on the Marist campus. Prof. James Melitski was one of the program’s presenters, giving a talk entitled "Linking Performance Measurement and Mission." Melitski reports that he discussed the “importance of integrating mission, strategic management, operations, and performance measurement” with about 70 nonprofit professionals.

IN THE PHOTO: Prof. James Melitski is flanked by United Way Vice President Kim Kochem (left) and the Dyson Foundation’s Jennifer Killian. Both women are alumnae of Marist’s MPA program.

In July, the Dressage Foundation announced that Prof. Anne Zahradnik, an Adult Amateur rider, had received one of the foundation’s 2016 Heldenberg Training Center Fund grants. Next summer, she’ll spend five days studying dressage theory at the Spanish Riding School’s Training Center in Heldenberg, Austria — home of the famous Lipizzan horses.

Alumni Profile — Amanda Augustine

AugustineA 2004 graduate, Augustine majored in business administration with an emphasis in marketing; she minored in both art history and global studies. Originally from Budd Lake, NJ, she now lives in Bay Shore, Long Island with her husband, Jared Kane; her six-month old son, Joshua; and Marlin, a six-year-old golden retriever. Asked about leisure time activities, Augustine says, “Before I had Josh, I used to race in running events and triathlons. And I did a lot of traveling — but I have a feeling my trips are going to be much more family-oriented from now on.”

Q: Would you give us a short recap of your career?

A: I worked at the Ladders (now for about 12 years; it was my first job out of school. I started in customer service. It was a small start-up, so you end up wearing many hats. By the time I left, I’d held five different roles with 15 different bosses.

Eventually I became their spokesperson and career management expert. I left about 18 months ago and opened my own shop, coaching clients and writing resumes. Then I got an amazing job offer that I couldn’t say no to: I’m the director of marketing communications with Talent, Inc., and I’m the resident career advice expert for their consumer brand, TopResume.

Q: How did you get into the job-search business?

A: At the Ladders, one of the roles I had was developing new programs, one of which happened to be a career-coaching program. I developed the program and trained the coaches, and in the process became a certified professional career coach and resume writer.

Q: What’s involved in being a career coach?

You can break down the job search process into three phases: prep, search, and close. It’s very similar to a sales cycle: You identify your target audience, build your marketing materials, and then there’s the closing process (that’s interviewing and negotiation). I help people through every phase of that process. I help them create a LinkedIn profile, resumes and cover letters; coach them in how to talk about themselves; and prep them for interviews.

Q: Last spring, you made a presentation at the SoM’s Graduate Student and Alumni Networking Event on managing your online brand. How important is it to have a professional presence on the Web?

A: It’s incredibly important. On average, 93% of employers will Google your name before they invite you for an interview. A resume is not enough anymore; employers expect to see your career story in print, online, and face–to-face. Your brand is all about your reputation, and how you are perceived in your industry.

Q: Why has it become so difficult for qualified people to get job interviews?

A: These days, your application is competing against hundreds of others. When you submit your resume online, nine times out of 10 it’s being scanned by applicant tracking system software. The system is looking for keywords and terms, trying to determine if you are a good fit. Even if you have the best skills and experience in the world, if your resume is not formatted in a way that will get it past the electronic gatekeeper, it doesn’t matter. The hiring manager will never see it.

Time is also of the essence. Most resumes don’t get read if they are submitted more than 72 hours after the job has been listed online. And you are 10 times more likely to land a job if your application is accompanied by an employee referral.

Q: How can job seekers network effectively?

A: Stop relying on technology to network. LinkedIn is a fabulous tool, but it doesn’t take the place of face-to-face time. And just because you exchange a business card at an event doesn’t mean you’ve built a great relationship. You have to build rapport.

Two recommendations: Look for an association that’s relevant to your current field, and join the local chapter. And don’t assume that all networking has to be at a professional event. I like a source called You can find people who are interested in the same activities that you are. And you never know whose friend’s cousin’s brother-in-law is going to be the lead to the perfect job.

Q: How did your years at Marist help you professionally?

A: They created my first network. I did internships there that have served me very well in my current career. I was a part of the business club and other organizations, which helped me learn how to put my best foot forward when I started my career. I also interned for Prof. Rothberg; she was my first mentor, and my experience working with her was invaluable.

For help writing an effective resume, Augustine recommends downloading this free worksheet from TopResume.

IN THE PHOTO: Augustine (center) at the SoM networking event in May

Getting to Know… James D. Phillips

PhillipsRight off the bat, you can tell that James D. Phillips has a lawyer’s mind. When asked if there is a story behind how he became the School of Management’s new associate dean, the Richmond, Virginia, native replied, “Yes — and no. Yes, I went through the traditional process: I saw the ad, and came up for an interview last October. I didn’t know anybody here, and I’d never been in the Hudson Valley before. But I was driving along Route 9, and there was the college, and there was the foliage. I said to myself, ‘It’s beautiful here, and there’s no reason in the world why I can’t be offered this position.’ Obviously it worked out, and here I am.

“But to be fair,” he continues, “I was attracted to the college because of the things that are going on here: The fact that they — I should say “we” now — are getting recognition at a national level. I wanted to be a part of that.”

After completing his undergraduate work in government and foreign affairs at Virginia’s Hampden-Sydney College, Phillips earned his law degree at the University of Richmond. He began as a public interest attorney and proceeded to practice law, “in one capacity or another,” for about 17 years. During his first year of practice, his teaching career also began. “A friend, who was managing a paralegal program at the local community college, asked if I would teach a class,” Phillips recalls. “I decided why not, and found I really liked it. So I continued to teach part-time almost throughout my career as a practicing lawyer.”

While maintaining his successful legal career, which included eight years in the Virginia attorney general’s office, Phillips never lost his love for the classroom. Eventually, he decided to pursue his doctorate in public administration and policy at the University of Colorado. “I came out at a time when the market was flooded with newly minted Ph.Ds. So —unemployed and in debt — I was contemplating this one day when I got a call from a lawyer back home who said, ‘I understand that you just got a doctorate and you’re interested in public policy work,’ and offered me a job in his law firm.” At the same time, Phillips was asked by yet another friend, the president of Virginia State University, to take the place of a professor who had unexpectedly passed away mid-semester. He accepted. “Eventually I was offered a full-time tenure slot position, and ultimately left behind the practice of law.”

Before arriving in Poughkeepsie in April, Phillips was an associate dean at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, NJ. “It is primarily an online school,” he says. “I wanted to learn the online part of higher education from a management perspective.”

Phillips and his wife Randye Retkin, a New York attorney, now make their home in Pleasant Valley. They have a 23-year-old daughter, Emma, who is employed in the financial industry in the city. During his off hours, the associate dean enjoys playing golf and running; he completed several marathons “in my prime, which was years ago.”

What specific skills does he bring to his new position at Marist? Phillips answers this question with an anecdote. “I had a client I represented on a case that lasted for about a year. At our last meeting, he said, ‘You know, they could be hanging you by your ankles out of a 15th floor window, and you’d be cool and relaxed. I don’t see how you do it.’

“I’ve thought about that. I think, with my experience, I bring different qualities. I’m deadline driven, I like to keep things moving — that’s the lawyer in me, how do we get from here to there. (In higher education, you may have noticed, that’s not always the case.) I hope I can help to accomplish some of the things we’re trying to do — continuing to improve the quality of the educational experience.”