A man working in front of the computer

School of Management

Menu Display

October 2019

Four students earn accounting scholarships

Two scholarships – the Bernard Handel Prize in Accounting and the Pecchia Family Scholarship –have been established for Marist students pursuing their Master of Science in Professional Accountancy (MS/PAccy).

Colleen Kelly is this year’s recipient of the Bernard Handel Prize, which is awarded to the top graduating senior enrolled in the SoM’s Dual Degree in Accounting program. Kelly earned her B.S. last May and her MS/PAccy in August. Students in the dual degree program can complete both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in four years and four months while simultaneously earning the 150 credit-hours required to be licensed as a certified public accountant. Kelly also was named Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Accounting by the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

The Handel family are longtime supporters of Marist College. A retired CPA and attorney, Bernard Handel headed the Handel Group of companies for more than 50 years; his wife, Shirley, is a member for the Hudson River Valley Institute’s advisory board. Bernard also was a founder of the American Association of Retired Persons; his volunteer work includes past service as board chairman of Hudson Valley Health Systems Agency, Vassar Brothers Medical Center and the Dutchess Community College Foundation.

Alexa Savage, Brandon O’Sullivan, Tennille Savage and John Pecchia

"Mr. Handel recognizes the importance of accounting in business and its role in society,” Christopher M. DelGiorno, vice president for college advancement, said. “By providing tuition assistance to Marist accounting graduates enrolled in the MS/PAccy, he recognizes Marist’s accounting program as one of the preeminent programs in the Northeast.”

Brandon O'Sullivan, Alexa Savage and Tennille Savage are the recipients of the Pecchia Family Scholarship, established this year by John Pecchia, Marist’s vice president of business affairs and chief financial officer. The scholarship recognizes one or more students enrolled in the MS/PAccy for academic achievement and leadership.

Appointed to his current role in September 2010, John Pecchia, CPA, oversees the college’s business office, purchasing, budget and finance, and bookstore operations. Additional responsibilities include endowment and investment oversight, long-range forecasting, and the preparation and maintenance of the college’s annual operating and capital budgets. A graduate of the New York Institute of Technology, Pecchia received his MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology; he also has an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the American College of Chiropractors.

“Establishing a scholarship to recognize academic excellence is very rewarding to help students as they begin their journey in their chosen career in accounting,” Pecchia said.

IN THE PHOTO (from left): Alexa Savage, Brandon O’Sullivan, Tennille Savage and John Pecchia

Opening doors in Thailand

A pair of SoM marketing professors were among the keynote speakers at the third annual International Conference on Management and Entrepreneurship (i-CoME), which took place in Phuket, Thailand, last July.

Entitled “Best Practices: Synchronizing the Corporate Culture with the Spirit of Innovation, Sustainability and Good Governance,” the conference was hosted by Phuket Rajabhat University. The 70-plus attendees heard keynote speakers from India, Mexico, China, and the U.S.

Elizabeth Purinton-Johnson, SoM associate professor of marketing, offered a presentation on “The Secondhand Clothing Industry in the U.S.” Prof. Elizabeth Purinton-Johnson gives her keynote presentation at the i-CoME Conference in Thailand“Innovative Corporate Culture: What Do We Know?” was the topic addressed by her colleague, Assistant Professor of Marketing Halimin Herjanto. The conference also included “A New Model of Customer Helping Behavior,” a paper coauthored by Herjanto, Erin McGuinness (benefits manager, Marist Office of Human Resources) and Alexandra Chilicki ’19.

The professors’ attendance at the conference has already proved beneficial to the college in several ways. Noting that “our dean believes it’s very important to establish relationships with universities abroad,” Purinton-Johnson found the conference to be “very collegial and dynamic”; she has already agreed to be a keynote speaker at next year’s i-CoME. There is interest among conference coordinators, she says, in hosting a future conference in Poughkeepsie. And Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology campus in Sarawak, Malaysia – the 2020 host -- is an AACSB-accredited institution that would like to explore a partnership with Marist and the SoM.

IN THE PHOTO: Prof. Elizabeth Purinton-Johnson gives her keynote presentation at the i-CoME Conference in Thailand


Alumni and Goldman Sachs employees John DiPalo ’91 and Jacob Pallotti ’19

Guests Galore

Along with settling into another semester of classes, SoM students were kept busy last month meeting with business executives, many of whom are Marist grads.

Alumni and Goldman Sachs employees John DiPalo ’91 and Jacob Pallotti ’19 (pictured right) gave a presentation to approximately 200 members of the college community on September 11. DiPalo (the firm’s vice president of asset management) and Pallotti (an analyst) provided an overview of the multinational investment bank and financial services company, discussed their own career trajectories, and answered students’ questions.

Representatives from 24 firms were on hand for Meet the Firms, which also took place on September 11. About 170 students attended this networking fair for those hoping to pursue a career in finance or accounting; companies included Deloitte, EY, Goldman Sachs, IBM, KPMG, Northwestern Mutual, PepsiCo, and Robert Half.

Students networking at Meet the Firms event

Alan Lemberger MBA ’79, managing director at 3Xi Consulting, visited the Career Management I class on September 13 to talk about dealing with change in the workplace. Formerly with IBM for 38 years, Lemberger emphasized the importance of maintaining your skill “toolbox” in order to stay abreast of company and industry changes.

EY Recruiter Jose-Luis Garcia and his associates – who included Caileen Collins ’10 and Robert Schule ’12 – chatted with students about employment opportunities on September 3 and 17; a third visit is scheduled for October 9. 

Beta Alpha Psi hosted a presentation by Danielle Koch, a member of KMPG’s campus recruiting team, on September 18. She discussed how to best use soft skills when marketing yourself to potential employers.

IBM representatives – led by Finance University Recruiting Coordinator Kim DePasquale ’04 – visited campus on September 25 to discuss the company’s finance co-op initiative.

The above events were variously organized by the SoM Career Center, Beta Alpha Psi, the Student Investment Club and the Business Club.


Alum pushes Congress for federal business reform

Thomas Depace '07Thomas DePace ’07 was one of four panelists to testify before Congress about the difficulties small companies face when doing business with the federal government.

DePace is the COO and senior engineering manager for Advance Sound Company, a systems integration business based on Long Island; the firm installed the AV equipment in Marist’s Hancock Center when it was built in 2011.

On July 16, DePace appeared before the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure as part of a hearing entitled “Helping Small Businesses Compete: Challenges and Opportunities in the Federal Procurement Marketplace.” According to the committee’s website, the hearing’s purpose was to “examine a variety of issues affecting small contractors” and to allow them “to explain how these issues directly impact their daily operations and bring forward… potential solutions.”

DePace gave his five-minute testimony on behalf of the National Electrical Contractors Association. In it, he identified “three key areas ripe for reform”: the lag time in payment of change orders by federal agencies; lowering the federal retainage rate; and the necessity for public-private partnerships to be bonded.

The payment process is especially difficult for small businesses, DePace testified, noting that NECA officials have heard “countless stories of companies unable to bid on projects due to delayed payments and limited liquidity. This means less competition on federal projects and ultimately decreased benefits for the federal government and the American taxpayer….It is facts like this that make contractors wary when entering into business with the federal government.”

The panel’s testimony could affect the fate of the Small Business Payment for Performance Act (H.R. 2344), a bill that is “a common-sense solution requiring the federal government to recognize that their delayed payments have real-world consequences for America’s small businesses,” DePace told the committee.

DePace brought several suits and “about 20 ties” to Washington for his appearance, he told commercialintegrator.com; in 2015, the website named him one of its 40 CI Influencers Under 40. “I wanted to make sure I represented my company, the NECA and my industry well,” he said.

Faculty Focus

SET President Robyn Raschke presents the Outstanding Dissertation Award to Feiqu Huang

Assistant Professor of Accounting  Feiqi (Fred) Huang, Ph.D., is the recipient of the American Accounting Association’s Strategic and Emerging Technology (SET) section’s Outstanding Dissertation Award at that organization’s annual meeting in August. An abstract of Huang’s dissertation, entitled “Three Essays on Emerging Technologies in Accounting,” will be published in the SET newsletter and on its website.  The award recognizes exemplary research in the fields of strategic and emerging technologies in accounting, auditing and taxation; the terms refer to -- including artificial intelligence, communications technologies, data analytics, voice recognition, and interactive multimedia -- likely to affect businesses within the next three and five years, respectively.

Huang earned his Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China, and his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

The Research Seminar Series kicked off on October 2 with a conference-style program featuring talks by three faculty members. Assistant Professor of Business Law Thomas Madden discussed “An Alternative Approach to Mandatory Pre-dispute Arbitration”; Byunghoon Jin, assistant professor of accounting, explored “Upside Cost Stickiness and its Determinants”; Assistant Professor of Marketing Halimin Herjanto’s topic was “The Effect of Thinking Style on Online Shopping Attitude.”

The series continues on November 6 when Michael Willis, assistant director of the Office of Structured Data, Division of Economics and Risk Analysis at the Securities and Exchange Commission, offers a presentation on “The Digital Migration: Implications and Opportunities.”

IN THE PHOTO: SET President Robyn Raschke presents the Outstanding Dissertation Award to Feiqu Huang

Alumni Profile: Madeline Kachou ’15, MBA ’18

Marist College has been part of Madeline Kachou’s life since she was in grade school. “I went to [women’s basketball] Coach Brian Giorgis’s basketball camp just about every summer,” says the Cornwall, New York native and current resident. “I knew about Marist since I was in eighth grade, and I always wanted to go there.”

Kachou earned her undergrad degree in business, with a concentration in finance, in 2015; she began working at Bloomberg L.P., in the product oversight area, that same year. Once she became accustomed to the nine-to-five routine, she returned to Marist and completed her MBA in 2018. Surprisingly, she says juggling work and study was “kind of easy because of my [four-hour-a-day] commute. I gave my attention solely to school at least 20 hours a week.”

Madeline Kachou ’15, MBA ’18Recently, Kachou’s position with the financial, software, data and media company has shifted to the Account Strategy arena. “Working in product oversight, essentially I was in a compliance role,” she explains. “Because of my experience there, I was brought over to our core sales team to run an account strategy role, which puts me in front of clients in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, Canada; I travel about eight working days a month.”

She admits that her new position is difficult to characterize. “I work with clients to make their workflow more efficient from a qualitative product side,” she says. “Bloomberg hosts data from third-party vendors; we don’t own any of this data. It’s our role to make sure that the data is being used as per the contracts that the client has signed with us.”

Kachou points to one particular skill, honed while at Marist, that has proved especially helpful in her career. “The ability to negotiate is key,” she says. “In my world of product, I need to be able to convince people of something, and the audience changes every day: coders, clients, product manager, CEOs. It’s a soft skill that wasn’t part of the curriculum, but was included in every class I took. If you don’t take classes that put you in front of people, it’s hard to be confident in that situation. But once you get comfortable with it, you’ll stand out from others in your industry.”

Basketball camp aside, Kachou says location and size helped convince her to become a Red Fox. “I’m a big family person, so I didn’t want to be too far from home,” she says. “And I didn’t want to be a number: I wanted to know my professors and have a relationship with them, and that continues even now. If I had gone to a larger school, I don’t think those opportunities would have been as easily available.”

Echoing Morgan Carey ’18 (the alumna profiled in our previous issue), Kachou encourages the members of the class of 2020 to “continue to learn. Gone are the days when you can get a B.S. and you’re done. If you understand what’s going on in your industry and in the world in general, you’ll feel less like a deer in the headlights.”

And she urges her fellow alumni to “stay connected with Marist. When I started as a Bloomberg intern, there were two people from Marist here, and they were both over 40. When I looked around, there wasn’t even one [alumnus] in my age group.

“This morning, I met with a Marist intern. It’s important that alumni help their own get ahead.”