School of Management
School of Management finance professors John Finnigan and Brian Haughey have had a busy semester. Along with their teaching duties, the pair has accompanied their students to competitions, conferences and meetings.
Two groups of SoM seniors competed against teams from about 30 other colleges and universities in the first round of the local CFA Research Challenge, which took place at the CFA Institute in New York on Feb. 15. This worldwide annual contest requires students to assume the role of financial research analysts by employing their analytical, valuation, writing and presentation skills. “The teams are given a corporation — this year it was [IT provider] Cognizant,” Finnigan explains. “They analyze the company and then must explain whether they would buy, sell or hold its stock. They make a presentation to a judging panel and then answer questions.” The team of Thomas Calder, Ryan Carolan, Anthony Castracucco, Jack Dolan and Jacob Pallotti was one of five selected to advance to the second round on March 2. Max Darrington, Nicholas Esposito, Paolo Siracusa, Mary Vange and Sydney Williams comprised the second Marist team.
Although the first team did not go on to the regional round, “the students put in a lot of effort, and I think that’s the main takeaway,” Finnigan says. “They learn research skills and get help from a CFA adviser who gives them feedback. Professor Haughey and I are limited to the amount of time we can work with them — just 10 hours total from December to March — so they have to do all the work.”
IN THE PHOTO: From left: Seniors Ryan Carolan, Anthony Castracucco, Thomas Calder, Jacob Pallotti and Jack Dolan at the CFA Institute
Professors Finnigan and J. Donald Warren, Jr., the faculty advisers for the Marist chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, accompanied a student contingent to the honor society’s regional meeting on March 15-16 in Crystal City, VA. Seniors Hope Brenkert,
Alyssa Lore and Patrick Quinn — along with juniors Emily Ecklund and Amanda Young — offered a presentation on community services best practices. The quintet explained the VITA income-tax preparation program the chapter offers to local senior citizens along with other community-oriented BAP activities.
IN THE PHOTO: From left: Emily Ecklund ’20, Alyssa Lore ’19, Hope Brenkert ’19, Amanda Young ’20 and Patrick Quinn ’19 at the BAP regional meeting
Students Shane Flaherty ’19, William Froetscher ’19, Deven Hadeler ’19 and Reanna Notarantonio ’20 — along with Prof. Haughey — attended Quinnipiac University’s Global Asset Management Education (G.A.M.E.) Forum on March 28-29 in Manhattan. This annual conference “is held for participants in student-managed funds,” says Haughey, who oversees the Greystone Funds program, through which SoM students actively manage a portion of the Marist College endowment. The largest conference of its kind, the G.A.M.E. Forum featured keynote and career panels, workshops, networking opportunities, and a NASDAQ closing bell ceremony. The four attendees, Haughey says, will make a presentation to their classmates about what they learned at the conference.
IN THE PHOTO: From left: William Froetscher ’19, Reanna Notarantonio ’20, Prof. Brian Haughey, Deven Hadeler ’19 and Shane Flaherty ’19 at the G.A.M.E. Forum
As every undergraduate can attest, midterm exam week is a form of academic torture, combining round-the-clock studying with impossibly difficult tests and assignments.
This spring, the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society alleviated some of that stress with its “care package” fundraiser, which delivered boxes of scrumptious brownies to exam-weary students. While treat-filled fundraisers are fairly common on college campuses, this one is different: It was organized with assistance from the Greyston Bakery. Located about 90 minutes south of Marist in the Hudson Valley city of Yonkers, this company has several qualities that make it unique. For one, its brownies (which filled the care packages) are used exclusively to make not one, but two flavors of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Half Baked, in case you’re wondering).
More interesting, though, is the bakery’s adherence to an Open Hiring policy. “Since 1982,” the company website explains, “[we have assembled] a remarkable team of bakers by hiring without interviews, resumes, background checks or applications… Open Hiring fills jobs without judging applicants or asking any questions. It creates opportunities for those who have been kept out of the workforce.” The policy offers employment to people regardless of color, faith, sexual orientation, criminal history or economic circumstances.
Alumnus and Board of Advisors' member Greg Garville ’74 was instrumental in introducing the School of Management to the Greyston team: Last November, a group of students and faculty members toured the bakery, and soon a partnership was born. The result: 855 Greyston Brownies were sold during exam week, netting a profit for BGS of about $2,100 — all of which was donated back to the bakery.
A final footnote: The keynote speaker during this semester’s Ethics Week (April 8-12) was Greyston Bakery Account Manager Sunitha Malieckal. The topic of her address was “Ethical Business Still Makes a Profit.”
IN THE PHOTO: From left: Alison Kenney ’19, Taylor Ziman ’19, SoM Administrative Assistant Melissa Boutot, Colleen Kelly ’19 and SoM Office Assistant Christine Riebe assemble packages of Greyston brownies
Despite an unexpected overnight snowfall, there was a “good turnout” of students and parents at the Accounting Open House on March 2, reports J. Donald Warren, Jr., professor of accounting and Schlobach Distinguished Chair in Accounting. The event offered detailed information on two of SoM’s accounting degree programs: The Master of Science in Professional Accountancy (MS/PAccy) and the Dual Degree program. One of the quickest programs of its kind in the nation, the MS/PAccy provides accounting majors with a graduate degree in accounting as well as the additional credit hours needed to meet the Certified Public Accountant licensing requirement. Thirty SoM undergraduates are currently enrolled in the Dual Degree program, through which they can earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting in the summer after their senior year.
Warren’s Open House presentation stressed the advantages to students who opt for these programs. Salary surveys from both the Institute of Management Accountants and the Robert Half Company indicate that accountants with graduate degrees earn more than their colleagues; promotions to partner, manager, and corporate managerial positions most often go to those with advanced degrees. In most cases, SoM sophomores and juniors seeking to enroll in these programs need not take the GMAT exam. And the accelerated pace gives students an edge over their peers from other colleges with similar programs that take five years to complete. “These programs are a win-win for Marist accounting majors,” Warren says.
IN THE PHOTO: Prof. J. Donald Warren, Jr. (far right) with open house attendees
Assistant Professor of Management Melinda Weisberg received two awards this month. On April 3, the Student Government Association presented her with the School of Management Faculty of the Year Award at its annual luncheon in the Cabaret. One week later, she received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success at a luncheon hosted by the Marist Emerging Leaders Program.
Sponsored by the Department of Education, the 2019 Technology Innovation and Digital Education Awards (aka “Tech IDEAs”) were handed out in a ceremony on April 16. SoM professors Terry Ciccaglione and John Cary received the “Innovative Use of Technology” award for “C&C Personal Finance Podcasts,” a series of on-demand podcasts that review concepts covered in their Financial Literacy class. The “Collaborative Innovation” award went to MPA professors Tony Carrizales and James Melitski for their project entitled “Marist Cyber Foxes: Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge Team.” The pair created on online site that allowed MPA students Michael Lembo, James Morrow-Polio, Patricia Peabody, Greg Lucha, Chris Perchand and Gerald Wen to prepare for the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, a Morgan Stanley-sponsored competition held last November. Through the interactive site, instructors and students prepped for the competition by sharing ideas about cyber crisis and conflict.
“Working as a legislative intern in the personal office of U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer was an exciting and sometimes overwhelming four months.” So begins Gianna Romano’s final assignment for Prof. Tony Carrizale’s MPA Internship class.
We caught up with Romano, who works as a legislative aide for the New York State Assembly, for a debriefing on her internship, which took place from September through December last year. “I most enjoyed the feeling of being part of an organization that is so multifaceted,” she said. “Our federal government is the U.S. Congress; working in government, it doesn’t get better than that. And putting the senator’s name on my resume was a good feeling. It was truly an honor to work for such a prolific legislator.”
As one of about 30 interns in Schumer’s office, Romano’s duties were, she writes, “understandably limited to mostly menial tasks, so keeping yourself available to any opportunity was key.” Romano says she reached out to Schumer’s aides in housing and health care policy, “and probably went to a hearing or briefing at least once a week.” After attending these sessions, she drafted memos that summarized the proceedings.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Romano felt her MPA coursework helped her on the Hill. “In the back of my mind, I had the core pillars of public administration — such as transparency and accountability — that are really important in an office setting. I think I lived up to the expectations of my supervisors by employing those MPA standards.”
Do her future employment plans include moving to D.C.? “Yes. I was excited to come back to Albany, but working at the state level isn’t quite as far as I’d like to go in my career,” she said. “My office is aware I’d like to go back to D.C. after this legislative session. Then I will definitely get my resume out to offices on the Hill.”
The most important lesson learned during her internship, Romano said, is “to be humble. You have to realize that, while your position is important, you’re not above anyone else and shouldn’t act as if you have a higher status. You never know who you’re talking to, it could very well be a member of Congress.”
IN THE PHOTO: Gianna Romano on Sen. Charles Schumer’s Executive Office balcony in Washington, D.C.
Janet Cobb MPA ’18 has spent her career in the healthcare industry.
After graduating from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science degree in therapeutic recreation/recreational management, Cobb worked in long-term care settings in both New York and Virginia, earning her certification as a therapeutic recreation specialist. A native of the Bronx, she served as the director of therapeutic recreation at that borough’s Schervier Nursing Care Center from 2006-12. She enrolled in Marist’s MPA program in 2015 and earned her degree, with a concentration in healthcare administration, in 2018. The ink was barely dry on her diploma when she accepted the position of risk management analyst at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, VA (a suburb of Washington, D.C.).
While it does not offer the hands-on care that was the foundation of her therapeutic work, Cobb is nonetheless very enthusiastic about her new role. “I love this job,” she says. “It’s a developmental position, and I’m being mentored in corporate compliance. It’s so interesting to learn about, and I’m eager to be challenged.”
Are there no downsides? “The only thing I don’t like is that I don’t know as much as I want to know. I wish I was more seasoned in it.”
As part of the risk management team, Cobb describes how she and her colleagues “proactively work to prevent situations that might cause loss or legal liability to the hospital.” Naturally, patient and staff safety is a high priority: “We deal with things as small as a patient losing a pair of glasses — and who’s responsible for that — to issues that are more serious in nature.”
In her career so far, though, Cobb is proudest of her therapeutic work with senior citizens. “I worked in that setting for almost 20 years. And there was an intrinsic reward to seeing the smiles on their faces, to giving them something to look forward to, but at the same time offering them therapy through recreational activities.”
When she’s looking to relax, Cobb enjoys taking long walks with her dog Coal, a schnauzer-Yorkie mix, and driving through scenic areas and exploring new towns. Settling in for some TV time — “I love British shows and period pieces” — is a guilty pleasure.
She credits two of her MPA instructors with helping her boost her career. “[Former SoM] Professor Tia Gaynor set the tone for me. She showed me how to be more focused, and I will be forever grateful.
“Dr. [Anne] Zahradnik was my favorite professor,” Cobb says. “She knows healthcare and the different challenges it presents. I loved her teaching style: She was tough, but fair.”
At the age of 27, Daniella Medina is one of the younger members of the School of Management faculty. But you’d be foolish to underestimate the passion this visiting lecturer in economics brings to her subject.
A native New Yorker — she was born in Staten Island — Medina graduated from SUNY Plattsurgh with bachelor’s degrees in both economics and gender and sexuality studies. From there, she earned her MSc in economic policy and theory at nearby Bard College; econometrics of poverty and equality, macrodynamics, and gender and time poverty were her areas of specialization. After teaching economics part-time at both Bard and SUNY New Paltz, Medina says she got “super lucky” when her application to teach two classes at Marist morphed into a full-time position, which began last fall.
In her off hours, “I print and sketch a little bit, and I’m learning to digitally draw with Apple Pencil,” she says. “There are lots of things I’d like to start doing. I’ve always wanted to play the cello, and I’d like to learn to speak Arabic.”
Q: What courses are you teaching this semester?
A: I teach macroeconomics, environmental economics, and one section of a special topics course in poverty and equality research. This course is a general catchall for recent trends and methods within poverty and equality research. My own research [in this area] takes an intersectional lens, with an interdisciplinary approach to the material from sociology, gender/sexuality studies, critical race theory, Marxist economic theory; we’re trying to make a framework where we can talk about real human differences and the ability to accumulate capital. It’s a quantitative application that’s social and not just financial. It’s been wonderful to see how engaged the students are. Their eyes light up when we talk about political theory and how it affects people.
Q: Why did you go into teaching?
A: I’ve always loved teaching in general; all through my undergraduate career, I tutored. After I got out of grad school, I worked at a think tank called Demos; I thought about continuing to work for think tanks, but I figured it would be a good thing to get my feet wet in teaching, since I’ll be going back for my Ph.D. in the next two years. Long term, I’d like to provide research for an organization that’s also affiliated with a university so I could do research and teach. I would like to have that balance.
Q: You’ve now taught at three local colleges: Bard, SUNY New Paltz, and Marist. Do you notice any similarities or differences between the three?
A: Bard has a very specific teaching philosophy. I was happy to learn in that environment, but teaching there is very different.
There’s a very strong international community at Bard and also here at Marist. I just began acting as faculty adviser for the International Students Association here on campus, which was just chartered this semester. It was an honor that the students sought me out to do this. Their first event was a mini food festival held in the Cabaret, and they are hoping to organize a panel discussion on imperialism and colonization. Lots of my students are involved, and it’s nice to connect with them in that space.
Q: How would you describe your teaching style?
A: I try to take a pluralistic approach in all of my classes, to inspire critical thought, to offer a global and relative perspective on all theories, so we’re not just talking about the U.S. and nowhere else. I try to offer a wide range of ideas on an issue from different schools of thought, and allow the students to pick and choose what to believe. I try to foster as much information symmetry as possible. I want them to not just accept the material they’re given, but to think critically about it.
Q: What are your impressions of Marist so far?
A: I really enjoy teaching here. It’s a decently large school, but I still see my students all over campus. It’s been nice getting to know some of them and to see their progress. I’ve enjoyed the one-on-one conversations I’ve had with the students in my upper-level classes; they’ve really impressed me with their research paper ideas. The staff has been lovely and welcoming. Yeah, it’s been nice.