School of Management Newsletter

April 2016

Stars of the Small Screen

Graduate students and alumni featured in Leadership Weekend videos

The School of Management’s inaugural Graduate Student and Alumni Leadership Weekend — which challenged MBA and MPA students and alumni to sharpen their professional skills while negotiating an outdoor obstacle course and taking part in an urban orienteering competition — is the subject of three videos produced by the Marist admissions department. Links to the videos, which were filmed in and around the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, are below.

Our next School of Management Graduate Student and Alumni event will take place on May 14, 2016 at the Empire State Building. To learn more about the event and to register, please click here.

Do the Right Thing

CohenA total of eight events, with titles like “Making It and Making It Right in the Millennial Economy” and “The Ethics of Power and Politics: Election 2016,” were offered during the spring semester’s Ethics Week (March 7-10). Presented by the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society, this semiannual series of programs examines questions of ethics and social responsibility in the context of business, political, and social interactions. On Wednesday, featured speaker Deb Cohen discussed “Ethics in the Workplace: Creating a Culture to Support and Promote Ethics.” Currently a consultant and advisor, Cohen is the former senior vice president of knowledge development for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Along with lectures and discussion, two film screenings — of Arthur Miller’s stage drama All My Sons and the documentary Commanding Heights — were part of the week’s lineup.

IN THE PHOTO: Featured speaker Deb Cohen (center) is welcomed to campus by SoM students (from left)Maura Sullivan ’17, Ben DelGiorno ’16, Amanda Stagnaro ’16, Rachel Pfister ’16, and Joseph Guida ’16

Wall Street Meet-up

Approximately 25 School of Management alumni — all of whom had worked with the Greystone Funds as undergraduates — attended the inaugural Greystone Christmas Dinner at Stout NYC Grand Central on December 29.

Wall StreetThe four-year-old Greystone Funds program gives finance students the opportunity to invest a portion of the college endowment in the stock market. The purpose of the dinner, according Sean Sullivan ’15, “is to create a network that can help foster the success of current and future members of the program. My fellow alumni and I recognize that being a member of this exclusive program is a privilege awarded to some of the most exceptional students at Marist College, and we feel it is our responsibility to give back to the program that allowed us to begin successful careers on Wall Street.” Sullivan and classmate Cody Capps, both of whom now work with Citigroup, organized the event; special guests included College Advancement Vice President Chris DelGiorno and advancement team members Jeanine Thompson and Rebecca Lavallee, as well as finance Prof. Brian Haughey, who oversees the administration of the Greystone Funds.

“We were all amazed at the success of this dinner,” Sullivan said. “We were able to raise a few hundred dollars as a donation to the program and set the foundation of this alumni network. Starting this annual event will foster philanthropy for the program and develop a meaningful track from the Investment Center in Hancock to the doors on Wall Street.”

IN THE PHOTO: Greystone Funds alumni Sam Miller, Nick Iannicelli, Mike Petta, Courtney Dionne, Victoria Pappas, and Alexa Gherlone

Helping Hands

For two weeks in February, SoM members of Enactus — a nonprofit community action organization — and the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society collected donated bottles of shampoo, pairs of warm gloves, spiral notebooks, boxes of pencils and other essential items to help fill the shelves at Poughkeepsie High School’s Teen Closet. Founded last December by three of the school’s teachers, the Teen Closet provides free personal hygiene and other supplies to the 86 percent of the school’s students who live in poverty.

EnactusOrganized in conjunction with the city’s Adriance Memorial Library, the collection — which took place from February 18 through March 1 — amassed enough items to create “a large pile in my basement,” says Prof. Melinda Weisberg, the faculty advisor for Enactus and interim advisor for BGS. Students transported the donations to the high school on March 31.

"It was wonderful to see the collaborative efforts of two School of Management student organizations, who combined their energy and passion to support younger, less fortunate adults in the greater Poughkeepsie community, “ says Weisberg. “This is not a one-time event; the Enactus students, many of whom are also members of BGS, will continue to help provide education to the young adults in Poughkeepsie through their training and support project."

IN THE PHOTO: SoM students Amy Majkrzak ’16, Mike Mataras ’17, Morgan Imossi ’17, and Sam Greene ’17 with Teen Closet donations collected by members of Enactus and Beta Gamma Sigma 

Table Service

Seven School of Management students traveled to the Community Kitchen at Eva’s Village in Paterson, New Jersey, on January 21 to serve a hot lunch to 350 underprivileged members of that community.

Table ServiceThe impetus behind the trip came from alumnus Greg Garville ’74, who — along with his wife, alumna Christine Donnelly Garville ’74 — made the meal possible by participating in the Eva’s Kitchen Fund-a-Meal sponsorship program, which solicits donations of both dollars and volunteer hours from businesses and other organizations. “I met [student] Michael Bertelle ’17 during a lecture I gave at the college in the fall, and told him about the fund-a-meal program,” says Garville. “Mike, along with Sam Green ’17, identified a group of students [to volunteer] and arranged for transportation to Paterson. Mike did a superb job of project-managing the event.” “This was an amazing and eye-opening experience,” says Bertelle of the trip.

Garville says he and Christine plan to fund another meal for the underprivileged in September. “This a worthwhile event for the students, Eva’s Village, and the college.” 

 IN THE PHOTO: Greg Garville ’74 and Class of 2017 members Sam Greene, Michael Bertelle, Kristen Chauvin, Amanda Martini, Michael Shea, Courtney McHale, and Michael Mataras at Eva’s Village in Paterson, N.J.

Getting to Know – Professor Carol Friedman

FriedmanProfessional Lecturer in Accounting Carol Friedman readily admits that number crunching “is not known as the most exciting field.” But the Bronx native — who now lives with her husband, Paul, in the town of Newburgh — finds that, by using her extensive business experience, she can help students understand the ins and outs of managerial and financial accounting.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in accounting from SUNY Binghamton and her MBA in finance from Fordham University, Friedman began her career working as a public accountant. “At the time, you needed to have two years in public accounting in order to get your certification,” she says, “so many people did that, and then got out [of public accounting].” Friedman was one of those people, working first for Western Union and then accepting a position with IBM in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. She was with the company for 10 years, working both in the accounting and financial planning departments. “Every year I had a new job, so I got to experience all different parts of the company,” she says. “I was moved to Poughkeepsie because they wanted me to have plant experience.” Somewhat reluctantly, Friedman left the company after the birth of Chelsea, her second child (she is also the mother of Clayton and Brianna). “I loved working for IBM, but it was very time-consuming,” she recalls. “I took a leave for a while, and then got into raising my kids and didn’t want to go back. I stayed home until my son started applying to college —and we found out how much tuition costs.” She restarted her career by working part-time for a small accounting firm in Middletown and keeping the books for the Orange County Land Trust — a client she continues to work with today.

Friedman’s teaching career at Marist began in 2011, when she was hired first as an adjunct; currently she is a full-time lecturer and academic advisor. “It’s a wonderful community here,” she says. “The students are so appreciative. Somebody stopped by today to give me a gift for writing them a recommendation. And they come back if they’ve been abroad, or if they enjoyed a class, or after an interview, and talk to me about it. It just invigorates me, and makes it so worthwhile.”

When asked what she finds difficult about teaching accounting, Friedman thinks for a moment. “If the student is willing to learn, I don’t find it difficult,” she says. “If they don’t get it in the classroom, I try to approach it from a different angle when they come to see me.” Incorporating her actual work experiences into her lessons gives students “a frame of reference,” she says. “For instance, I will talk to them about budgets — and they all write down what I’m saying. Then I show them a budget, and show them a variance, and I tell them how I needed to explain to the board that we missed it, and why we missed it — and all of a sudden, they feel like they’re part of what’s going on in the real world.” 

What does Friedman find most enjoyable about teaching? “Interacting with the students,” she says without hesitation. “When the light bulb goes on, and you realize that you’ve taught them something and they know how to apply it, and they get excited about accounting — which is a challenge — it’s so rewarding.” Bonus perk: “Now that I’m full-time here, I’ve dropped my accounting position — and it’s so nice not to have a tax season!”

Alumni Profile — Michael H. Pratt ’99, MPA ’00

PrattA criminal justice major, Michael Pratt earned his bachelor’s degree from Marist in 1999, and — as part of a five-year program — was awarded a master of public administration degree the next year.  Today, he is managing director and head of human resources at Voya Investment Management. Pratt grew up in nearby Danbury, Connecticut, but now lives in Massapequa, Long Island with his wife Kristyn (nee Russo, also a graduate of the Class of ’99) and two daughters, Madison, 7, and Emma, 5; the couple’s third child will arrive this summer. In his free hours, Pratt says that “spending time with my family is what I like to do — there’s really no time for anything else.” 

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

A: I came out of grad school and spent three years as a human resources recruiter, finding people jobs in information technology. I then took a job in software sales for a year, which really wasn’t my thing. In 2004, I found a position at Citigroup in their asset management division as a recruiter in HR. The business I worked for was sold to Legg Mason, a firm based in Baltimore. I worked in HR at Legg Mason, not as a recruiter but in more of a generalist role, until October 2008, when I took a job at what was then ING U.S. Investment Management (now Voya) supporting the distribution and sales/marketing groups. I was promoted to head of the HR group in 2012.

When I decided not to pursue a career in law enforcement, I knew I wanted to find something where I would be interacting with people. The first couple of jobs out of school, you figure out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. That’s one of the reasons I took that sales role. I soon realized it wasn’t what I liked doing, but it taught me how to deal with people, both in person and on the phone. It was a great learning experience.

Q: What made you decide on human resources?

A: I like solving problems, and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to find the perfect candidate to fill a position. But I’m a student of the asset management business. We recognize the serious challenge in the U.S. for people who are preparing to retire but don’t have enough savings. I like working for an organization that focuses on that.

Q: What are the duties of an HR generalist?

A: A generalist partners with business leaders to help them with hiring, compensation, identifying training opportunities, organization design and structure, etc. During the annual performance review process, generalists ensure that we’re evaluating and compensating people properly.

Q: As the head of HR, what additional responsibilities do you have?

A: In addition to all of the above, I have a team that works with about 1,000 people across four locations, both nationally and in London and Hong Kong. My role is more strategic: looking at programs, policies, procedures, our culture, how we hire and help people develop in their careers  — all at a much more strategic level.

Q: Voya has been lauded for being a “most ethical” company, and as one of the “best places to work in money management.” How does your team make that happen?

A: We’ve won a tremendous number of accolades, and we’re very proud of them. You become a best place to work by serving your employees and testing your benefits programs. It’s not just HR, we spend a lot of time and energy as a company trying to make this a very good place to work, making sure that our internal clients  — the people that the HR team supports — are focused on our external clients. 

Q: What qualities make a successful HR employee?

A: At our firm, and in HR, a successful employee has a high sense of urgency, is a hard worker focused on improving things, and is constantly learning. Just like your studies, what you get out of your career is what you put into it.

Q: How would you advise Marist students to prepare for a job interview?

A: Do your homework, come prepared, understand who you’re meeting with, know what the stock price is. The other side of that is to have confidence in your story. The only person who knows your background is you; it’s okay to show failure, but you need to explain why you made certain decisions.

Q: What did you learn while at Marist that you use in your job every day?

A: College — and grad school too — teaches you how to think critically and solve problems. I took that away from Marist, along with my core set of values. I try to make sure that I give back to the community by donating time and money, both to Marist and to other charities and initiatives that Kristyn and I feel strongly about.