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School of Management

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May 2020

Message from the Dean

Dear Reader,

It would be a gross understatement to say that life at Marist College has changed since the last issue of our newsletter was sent to you. As COVID-19 began spreading through Europe in early March, our students studying abroad in Florence and elsewhere were called back to the U.S. Our one-week spring break was extended to two, and by the end of the month students were at home, sheltering in place indefinitely. Here in New York, we continue to be "on pause" through at least May 15.

Obviously, the pandemic has caused total disruption to our usual academic way of life. But I’m proud to say that all of us -- students, faculty, and staff -- have pulled together to make the best of this difficult situation.

Allow me to share with you some of the adjustments we’ve made to best serve our students:

Learning goes online: On March 27, undergraduate classes resumed in an all-online format. Faculty diligently revamped their curricula in order to make use of the WebEx and iLearn platforms. In deference to students' unknown schedules and living conditions, instructors were encouraged to create asynchronous class sessions.

Study-abroad students re-assimilated: Marist students studying at the college's LdM Florence campus returned to the U.S. before the virus ravaged Italy. Faculty and staff members worked with each student to transition them into appropriate classes with no loss of credit hours.

Face-to-face advising: Registration for fall classes took place in mid-April. The SoM Advising Center team held virtual meetings with more than 450 undergrads to ensure that their academic plans were up to par.

Virtual career events: Even in the midst of this crisis, we continue to bring employers and students together. The SoM Career Center staff has hosted three web meetings featuring representatives from EY/Ernst & Young and Robert Half as well as entrepreneur Dan Greco '10.

Q&As with prospective students: After Accepted Students Weekend was canceled, SoM students, faculty and staff members engaged in several live webinars, answering questions about specific academic emphases from prospective students and their parents. In addition, finance department faculty, in conjunction with Student Financial Services, conducted a webinar for current students on how to make wise financial decisions during the pandemic.

RSS continues: A regular monthly event for faculty, the Research Seminar Series resumes (virtually) on May 6, when Scott Kominers, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, makes a presentation.

Board of Advisors connects with seniors: The past few months have been especially difficult for our graduating seniors. Nineteen members of the SoM's Board of Advisors are getting in touch with about 70 soon-to-be graduates to discuss post-college life. Board members are providing job search advice, help with resume-writing – even conducting practice interviews. Our thanks to all those participating -- especially board member Greg Garville '74, the driving force behind this endeavor.

This month's newsletter focuses on events that took place prior to the statewide "pause." As always, our June issue will highlight the many student achievements of which we are so very proud.

Please stay safe.

Dean Lawrence G. Singleton

HR/marketing panel draws a crowd 

Business executives from five top-tier firms discussed the world of work during "Advice from the Field," a human resources and marketing panel dialogue held at the Marist Executive Center in Manhattan on Feb. 26. The six panelists (three of whom are Red Fox alumni) shared their insights with 40 SoM students and 10 members of the school's staff and faculty.

Participants included Michael Alicea, chief human resources officer for Nielsen Connect; IBM Product Marketing Manager Michael Conn; Market Offering Manager Ed Linde '78 of IBM; Kelli Paterno '15, manager of client success for Indeed.com; JPMorgan Chase Associate Digital Product Manager Matthew Parmett '17; and Michael Pratt MPA '00, managing director and head of human resources at Voya.

"I gained great insight from alumni working at JPMorgan, Indeed.com, Voya, IBM, and other companies," said attendee Emily Masi '21. "The internship and career advice was very helpful and boosted my confidence for my career search after college."

IN THE PHOTO (from left): Panelists Michael Conn, Ed Linde '78, Michael Pratt MPA'00, Kelli Paterno '15, Michael Alicea and Matthew Parmett '17

Recent grad tackles students' job queries

Matthew Parmett '17, an associate digital product manager for JPMorgan Chase, spent a day at the School of Management on March 6.

Along with making presentations to members of the American Marketing Association and Beta Alpha Psi, Parmett spoke to Prof. Melinda Weisberg's BUS 301 Human Resource Management class. He explained his rationale for the visit: "When I was at Marist, I never got the chance to speak with younger alumni. Now I’ve learned the answers to all the questions I'd like to have had answered. That's why I came back to campus."

Parmett has been with JP Morgan for about four years. He explained that he is part of the firm's rotational program and has worked with four different managers on four different business lines. "You will develop most of your skills on the job," he said. "Rotations allow you to grow into what you're interested in."

His first position involved making cold calls. "Your first job will not be your last," he assured students. "It helps you learn what you like, and just as importantly, what you don't. I learned a lot, even though I didn't want to do that work."

Parmett also chatted about the importance of human resource employees in the workplace. "HR does so many things that you probably don't realize," such as handle compensation, health and disability matters, he said. And he quoted his own BUS 301 professor: "William Brown said that HR wins when an employee gets to the company's door and wants to go inside."

Regarding the job search: "I applied to about 40 internships, and I heard back from five," Parmett admitted. He encouraged the class to make use of LinkedIn: "It's like a living resume and offers a more personalized job search."

Parmett ended his remarks by summing up his career path so far. "When I graduated, I didn't know where I wanted to work. JP Morgan has a pleasant environment with a diversity of talent. Communication is key: The intersection of different minds creates a better product."

Class member Jennifer Condo '21 gave high marks to Parmett's talk. "Hearing a presentation from a younger alumnus was really helpful," she said. "I feel that his experiences are probably pretty similar to what I'm going to go through."

Big-name firms court SoM students

During the first half of the spring semester, the School of Management continued welcoming representatives from a variety of firms to speak with students about internships and career choices.

Representatives from accounting giants KPMG and EY/Ernst & Young made presentations during a Beta Alpha Psi meeting on Feb. 5. KPMG Campus Recruiting Associate Danielle Koch discussed how a well-built personal brand can help students when they apply for internships and jobs. In a similar vein, EY East Region Diversity and Inclusiveness Campus Recruiting Lead Ashley Lee and Campus Recruiting Coordinator Shany Feliz offered career advice and tips.

On March 2, Michele DiLucca, division director of Robert Half – a specialized consulting and staffing services firm -- visited with students between classes at the Dyson Center.

pic of megan

IN THE PHOTO: Megan Konfino '21 was one of many students to chat with Robert Half’s Michele DiLucca in the Dyson Center in February

Young leaders lauded

Six rising stars on the local business scene -- all with ties to Marist College -- were honored when the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce announced its 40 Under 40 Mover & Shaker Awards in March.

Award recipients, all under the age of 40, are chosen based on professional and community achievement and evidence of a strong commitment to the Hudson Valley region. SoM alumni Christina Myers '07, Dylan Murphy '12, MBA '17, and Jessica Hasapis '10, MBA '18 are among the honorees. Myers is the assistant vice president and director of human resources at Rondout Savings Bank; Murphy works for Rhinebeck Bank as vice president of credit administration; Hasapis is the advancement officer, gifts in kind for the Culinary Institute of America. In addition, Marist employees Jamie Bower (director of special events, Advancement Office), Dwayne Douglas (site coordinator, Liberty Partnership Program), and Melinda Martinez (director, Liberty Partnership Program) will also be honored.

The awards ceremony, originally scheduled for April 2, has been postponed until a later date.

Faculty Focus

Last summer, Adjunct Instructor Terry Ciccaglione spent three weeks in Italy researching the relationship between that country’s government and business community. After consultations with business and academic contacts in Florence, Pisa, Bologna and Calenzano, Ciccaglione reports that both unemployment levels and the country’s overall debt remained high. Just after his visit ended, Italy formed a new government, with a cabinet comprised of members of the “more moderate, EU-friendly” Democratic Party and the populist 5 Star Movement. “How they move Italy forward with this reformed coalition would an ideal project for follow-up research,” Ciccaglione says.

IN THE PHOTO (from left): University of Bologna Prof. Riccardo Fini with Marist's Terry Ciccaglione

In recent years, the Hudson Valley region has seen a marked increase in low-wage jobs, according to a special report released by the Marist College Bureau of Economic Research. Entitled "Employment in the Hudson Valley 2018" -- and prepared by the bureau's director and SoM faculty member Christy Huebner Caridi – the report examined Department of Labor statistics from the years 2009-2018. Local newspapers based in Kingston and Middletown reported on the research and quoted Huebner Caridi extensively in their coverage.

Professor Della Lee Sue's unwavering support for the Marist basketball program was the subject of a feature article published on Center Field, the Center for Sports Communication's online magazine/podcast site. Written by communications major (and business minor) David Connelly '21, the piece highlights the assistant professor of economics' 15-year love affair with both the men's and women's teams; she and husband Carl Kass miss "only one or two [home] games a season," she said.

Calling all golfers

The second annual School of Management Board of Advisors Golf Outing will take place on September 3 at the Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Stormville, New York. Proceeds from this event support both the SoM Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to qualified SoM seniors, and the newly established SoM Advisory Board Endowed Scholarship.

Also new this year: The outing will honor Tim Brier '69, cofounder of Priceline.com and a Marist College trustee, for his business success, entrepreneurial leadership, and ongoing support of the college.

Those interested in attending the outing can register online at maristconnect.marist.edu/somgolf2020. For further information, contact SoM Development Officer Stephen Gnojewski (845-575-3447 or Stephen.Gnojewski@marist.edu).

Please note: Due to the public health emergency, format and date are subject to change.

Getting to know… Prof. Jason Lee

The SoM's associate professor of operation and management sciences, Jason Lee is the current chair of the school's Department of Management. Originally from Taiwan, his early education took place in that country: He earned his B.S. degree (in physics) at National Taiwan University and his MBA (in management of technology) from National Chiao Tung University. He came to the U.S. to pursue his studies, completing a master's in physics at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a Ph.D., in industrial engineering and operations research, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Lee began his academic career at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where he taught from 2003 until 2008, when he joined the faculty at Marist. He lives in Newburgh, New York. Bilingual in Mandarin and English, the professor enjoys playing ping pong with friends during his off hours and admits to being "better than average" at the game.

Q: Tell us about your journey from Taiwan to the United States.

A: After I got my MBA, I was thinking, "What should I do next?" The United States is considered a good place for education. I was looking to get the best degree, and America is considered one of the best countries for innovation in science and technology. In Taiwan, the general expectation for many families is that their children will study in the U.S. It is a very popular destination for that purpose.

My family encouraged me to experience a different culture and a different language, and to broaden my horizons academically, intellectually, culturally and to gain a new perspective. I said okay. That's why I came here.

Q: So accepting the position at Marist was a move up the academic ladder?

A: Yes. Also, I had purchased a house in Newburgh while I was working at Montclair. In the beginning, I thought this is not a big deal -- and then a couple of winters went by. So I figured, "Marist is well-known in the region, and it’s closer to where I live." I decided to reach out, and I was lucky to be hired.

Q: You have a very diverse academic background, with degrees in physics and industrial engineering as well as business.

A: Some people focus on one or two areas, but I went further. I like to study different things. Where I went to college, the study of physics was more theoretical. I wanted to try to apply it more, that’s why I went into business and got my MBA in Taiwan. Later, when I was debating what direction I should go in, I chose physics because it is a fundamental science, and it’s easier to get a scholarship in that area. My Ph.D. is in operations research, which relates to operations management. It's a similar field.

Q: At what point did you decide you wanted to be a college professor?

A: As a foreigner, there was a point -- around when I was about to graduate from UC Berkeley -- where I was thinking, "Should I stay and have my career here, or should I go back to Taiwan?" My peers at UC Berkeley encouraged me to stay here. The working culture is different in America than it is in Taiwan, and there are more opportunities here. So I made the decision to stay.

But then I wondered whether I should I remain in academics or enter the business world. I got a lot of encouragement from professors and classmates that I should stay with academics. Money-wise, maybe I make less. But the quality of life, and the flexibility with free time, to me is more important.

Q: I know that you teach Operations Management. Many students say that that is a challenging course. Would you tell me about your teaching style and what you hope students will take away from your class -- other than the concepts -- that will stay with them as they embark on their careers?

A: Who advocated the idea that learning is supposed to be fun? It seems like if you make learning stressful, then you are guilty. But I don’t think so. Sometimes a certain amount of stress can help you push your limits.

Operations Management is supposed to be technical, not just a general business or management course talking about concepts. Students have a hard time using numbers to justify the rationale for doing things a certain way. We can talk about high-level concepts, but in terms of the lower level fundamentals, that's where I'm hoping they can learn a new approach, to use numbers and intellectual skills to justify answers to questions.