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Capstone presentations meld research and strategy

Sixteen teams of seniors spent a good part of last semester examining, researching and analyzing six well-known companies — ranging from clothier Ralph Lauren to Campbell Soup — as part of the Business Strategy capstone course. 

Drawing on functional areas of management and related field requirements as well as their core studies, the capstone course engages students in developing plans for strategic management. “The course is designed to give seniors the chance to apply the knowledge they have acquired throughout their education to real-world situations,” says SOM Assistant Professor Pamela Harper, who teaches the course. “External, industry, and internal environmental analysis are employed to craft firm strategy and create sustainable competitive advantages in the hypercompetitive global business community.” 

Photo of Business Capstone Students The teams’ findings and strategic plan recommendations were presented to a panel of executive reviewers on December 2 and 9. Members of the panel included Toby Willard, head of Investor Relations at IBM; Bed, Bath & Beyond VP David Eckert; and Marist College President David Yellen.

IN THE PHOTO: From left: Capstone presenters Emma Jutrowski, Thomas DeMara, Evangelos Savaides, Matthew J.O’Connor and Thomas Cahill enjoy a lighthearted moment with Prof. Pamela Harper. Becton, Dickinson & Co., a medical technology company, was the subject of the students’ presentation

Reaching new heights

Seniors Eddie Campbell and Maura Sullivan, co-vice-presidents of the Marist chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, attended that organization’s annual Global Leadership Summit in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, last November.

We asked Sullivan to give us her take on the four-day event:

“At the Global Leadership Summit, we got to meet people studying all facets of business and build our network of connections. We not only listened to inspiring speakers, but we also worked on case studies that exposed us to new topics we could not have experienced in the classroom. Photo of Beta Gamma Sigma Global Summit

“The focus of the summit was on revolutionary learning; most speakers and workshops concentrated on the idea of enhancing skills in leadership and understanding where you are and where you want to be. In her lecture 'From Here to There,' Dr. Alyssa Preston of Sage LLC encouraged listeners to overcome any adversity that is holding them back and to set goals they want to achieve. I enjoyed the interactive session and got a lot out of what she shared.

 “I think the most rewarding aspect of the summit was working with a group of people I had never met before to present a revolutionary topic to a hypothetical board of directors. The ability to work with others and understand your value on a team was a focus of many of the speakers, and I hope I am able to correlate that into my future career.”

Greystone Fund alums meet and mingle in NYC

Stout NYC in Manhattan was the site of the third annual Greystone Dinner, a social and networking event for alumni of the student-managed Greystone Fund class taught by Prof. Brian Haughey. The November 17 event “was a great night,” says Haughey, who notes that attendance has skyrocketed from 14 SOM alumni in 2015 to 35 this past year.

 Sean Sullivan ’15 organizes the dinner.  “We’re very pleased with the feedback we’ve gotten,” he says. “Most of the attendees are employed either in New York City or the tristate area, but we also have alumni from Connecticut, New Jersey and even Philadelphia make the trip.”

Recent graduates make up the bulk of the participants. “The Greystone program itself gives business students at Marist a huge leg up compared to their business major peers,” says Sullivan. “The point [of the dinner] is to grow the alumni base for [current] students who are trying to break into the financial services industry.”

  Photo of Greystone Fund Alumni Dinner The cost of attendance at the dinner includes a donation to the Greystone Program. “We want to help the program, not just from a networking standpoint, but also financially,” says Sullivan. “In my mind, it’s a way for alumni to give back to the program that allowed them to start successful careers for themselves. And it’s great to see old classmates and meet some new faces.”

Haughey is justifiably proud of the recent accomplishments of his current Greystone students. “In 2017, the student-managed fund returned 24.5 percent, versus the 21.8 percent return of the S&P 500, which is their benchmark,” he says. “This is a great achievement.”

IN THE PHOTO: From left: Rhianna Ross ’17, John Giuffre ’17 , Samantha Leenas ’17, Carolena Realmuto ’17, Prof. Brian Haughey, Joe Guida ’17, Brianna Lamadore ’17 and Jeff Kortina ’16 at Stout NYC

Beta Alpha Psi chapter to cohost regional meeting

The respective campus chapters of Beta Alpha Psi from Marist College and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, will cohost the honor society’s annual Atlantic Coast Regional Meeting in Wilmington, Delaware on March 16-17. beta Photo of Beta Alpha Psi Banner

The upcoming meeting will be the first that the Marist chapter, which achieved BAP’s “superior status” ranking last year, has cohosted. Approximately 350 organization members from colleges and universities throughout the region are expected to attend the two-day event, whose theme is “Embracing the Opportunity.” One highlight will be a best practices competition sponsored by the accounting firm Deloitte; in 2017, members of the Marist chapter participated in this annual competition for the first time. Attendees will also be encouraged to prepare homemade greeting cards for sick and traumatized children through the Cardz for Kidz organization. 

Since September, chapter President Sydney Williams ’19; VP Frankie D’Angelo ’18; Reporter Hope Brenkert ’19; Treasurer betaAntonino Criscuolo ’18; Secretary Meghan Brennan ’18; New Member Coordinator Emily Ecklund ’20; and Community Service Chair Amanda Young ’20 have been busy lining up speakers, identifying best practices topics and otherwise preparing for the meeting. betabetaThe chapter’s faculty advisers are professors Kenneth Coletti, John Finnigan and J. Donald Warren, Jr. Good luck to all!

Faculty Focus

Professor Brian Haughey hosted several special programs for finance students on Friday afternoons last semester. On Sept. 22, Andrew Crowell of D.A. Davidson lunched with students in the Hancock Board Room and spoke about the wealth management business. On Oct. 2, Prof. Haughey offered advice on how to prepare for Wall Street interviews. Marist alumni Greg Garville ’74 of Brookside Equity Partners discussed private equity on Nov. 3, and Kevin Hogan ’02 of Evercore ISI, both also serve as members of the Dean's Board of Advisors, gave a talk on his work in equity research on Nov. 10. (See our profile below of Hogan, this month’s featured alumnus.)

Professor Melinda Weisberg received two pieces of good news recently. “Training for Success: Persuasive Communication,” her curriculum proposal prepared for Enactus, was accepted for implementation by that international student leadership organization. And the campus chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary group announced that Weisberg has been named Marist’s “Faculty Member of the Month.” She was nominated by a current student who noted that she “always starts and ends her classes with a smile.”

Prof. Philip A. LaRocco, CPA retires

Professor Philip A. LaRocco After serving eight years on the SOM faculty, Philip A. LaRocco CPA, senior professional lecturer of accounting, retired in December.

According to School of Management Dean Lawrence Singleton, "Professor LaRocco has made major contributions to Marist, the School of Management, his students, and the professional accounting community.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him, and wish him continued success in the future."

“Professor LaRocco provided leadership in the accounting program during his time at Marist,” said J. Donald Warren Jr., professor of accounting and Schlobach Distinguished Chair in Accounting. “His knowledge is exemplified by the range of courses he taught, which included Financial, Intermediate, Advanced, Managerial and Government/Not-for-Profit Accounting; Auditing; and Tax I.  He also helped develop the college’s highly successful one-credit Financial Literacy course.”

Well-respected by faculty and students alike, LaRocco received the Student Government School of Management Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2010 and 2013; in 2011 and 2013, he was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award presented by the National Society for Leadership and Success. Outside the classroom, LaRocco was a co-advisor for Marist’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter, a service for which he was honored with the Student Government Association’s Faculty Advisor Award in 2015. In addition, he chaired several accounting faculty search committees.

LaRocco received his bachelor’s in business administration (accounting) from Manhattan College and a Master of Science in taxation from William Howard Taft University in Colorado; he is also a certified financial planner and a U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam era.

In his retirement, LaRocco plans to travel with his wife, Linda, and spend more time with his family. We thank him for his valuable service to the college and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

Alumni Profile:  Kevin Hogan '02

Photo of Kevin Hogan A 2002 Marist graduate, and the newest member of the Dean's Board of Advisors, Kevin Hogan earned his bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing. Since 2010, he has worked as a managing director at Evercore ISI, an equity research firm located in Manhattan. Originally from Kenilworth, New Jersey, Hogan returned to his home state about six months ago when he purchased a house in Chatham. He lives there with his wife Katie, son Jack (6) and daughter Clare (3). When he’s not on the clock, Hogan enjoys basketball: He plays in a local league and coaches his son’s team. “Every spare moment I have, I spend with my kids,” he says.

Q: Would you briefly describe your career up to this point?

A: After graduating from Marist, I joined Marsh & McLennan. I worked there for roughly 10 years in insurance brokerage. Around 2010, I joined Evercore ISI. My role is in equity sales. The firm produces investment research to assist clients in their investment decision. Within sales, my job is to articulate our research product on a timely basis to clients.

Q: Since your academic concentration was in marketing, did you find it difficult to transition into sales?

A: Not really. Marist gave me a pretty good education in marketing, and marketing translates on the sales side. More importantly, Marist gave me a well-rounded education that really put an emphasis on working within a group. I learned a lot doing that; it helped with the transition from college into the business world.

Q: Were there any other experiences from your time in Poughkeepsie that you still draw on today?

A: I was the student body president during my senior year, so I was lucky enough to be exposed to the college’s board of trustees and President Dennis Murray. That was invaluable to me: to watch how true professionals, successful men and women, conducted themselves. That was by far the most valuable experience I had.

Q: Last fall, you hosted SOM students in your office during the New York City Career Trek and made a presentation on campus to Prof. Brian Haughey’s students. What were those experiences like?

A: I felt excited to present to the students. It was fun to tell them what my day-to-day work experience is like and describe the highs and lows of a job.

I also found Prof. Haughey’s class incredibly encouraging. The students were clearly prepared and engaged. I presented on a Friday at 3:30 p.m., and we easily went overtime. I was very impressed by them.

It may sound cheesy, but I’m very proud of the fact that I went to Marist.  So I’m happy to do anything I can to help prepare students for their future careers.

Getting to know...Prof. Bonnie Stivers

We think it’s fair to say that Bonnie Stivers, Marist’s new professor of accounting, is something of a globe trotter. Born in Los Angeles, she completed her undergraduate degree at Rice University in Houston. Afterwards, with “one suitcase and one friend,” she traveled the world for six months. After returning to the U.S., Stivers married, moved to Atlanta, and embarked on a teaching career that so far has spanned 25 years — five of which were spent in China. She now makes her home in nearby Stone Ridge, next door to her daughter and grandchildren.

Photo of Professor Bonnie Stivers For most of her life, Stivers lived in Atlanta. “My late husband, Robert Stivers, was Atlanta’s chief medical examiner for 18 years,” she says. Once the couple was settled in the Peachtree State, “I went back to grad school at Georgia State to get my Masters of Professional Accountancy and sit for the CPA exam,” she says, “but it got extended into a PhD.” A career as a professional accountant was her initial goal; while in graduate school, she decided instead to devote herself to teaching. “I looked at my professors at Georgia State and said to myself, ‘I think they’re having fun,’ ” she recalls. “And then a counselor asked me if I had thought about teaching, because I had very high grades. And there aren’t many accounting PhDs.”

Before coming to Marist, Stivers taught at five U.S. colleges, four of which were in Atlanta; her longest stints were at Kennesaw State University (11 years) and Morehouse College (nine years).  The latter is one of the so-called “historically black colleges and universities,” which were established with the express purpose of serving the black community. “I was one of only two white women teaching business at Morehouse. It was quite an experience,” Stivers says. “I knew I was really doing something that made a difference, and the students told me that.”

After her husband’s death, she reluctantly left her position at the college in order to move closer to her children and grandchildren. Last August, she began teaching at Marist. “I teach cost and managerial accounting to undergraduates,” she says. “Managerial accounting is for non-accounting majors, and cost accounting continues the managerial emphasis. It’s accounting information that’s instrumental in business decision-making.”

Her initial impressions of the college are very positive. “It’s very collegial,” she says. “As a brand-newcomer, everybody went the extra step to make me feel welcome.

“I was impressed that students come to class, and they do their homework. I’ve enjoyed my first semester with the students. I just finished grading the cost final, and they’ve done very well.”