School of Management Newsletter

April 2017

Closing the Deal

ClosingA team of three SoM juniors — Jonathan Blake, Cory Lang and Matthew O’Connor  — had a stellar showing at the eighth annual YOUniversity Deal Challenge. Hosted by the corporate financial advising firm Duff and Phelps, this collegiate competition requires participants to use technical reasoning and critical thinking as they solve a complex transaction related to business deal-making.

“In October, the team created a valuation presentation for Home Box Office Inc. (HBO),” Blake said. “We analyzed the entertainment industry and HBO’s strategic position, and calculated a fair market value for the company. We also looked at acquisition opportunities for the private television network.” Of the 77 teams that took part in the challenge, just three made it to the finals in February — including the trio from Marist, who traveled to Duff & Phelps’s Manhattan headquarters to present their findings to company executives and nationally recognized professors of finance. Although edged out for the top spot by the University of Wisconsin, the Red Fox team earned a $6,000 scholarship prize.

“This competition was a great way for us to apply skills learned in the classroom and showcase them in a professional setting," Blake said. “And presenting our unique view on the strategic position of the company to executives in the industry, as well as distinguished faculty, was special.

“We’d like to thank the School of Management, as well as our faculty advisor, Dr. Xiaoli Wang, for their assistance in this endeavor,” Blake said.

IN THE PHOTO: Duff and Phelps CEO Noah Gottdiener is flanked by Jonathan Blake (left) and Matthew O’Connor

Building a personal brand

LinkedMost undergraduates know all about Facebook. But LinkedIn, the online social network for working professionals, is probably less familiar to them — but not for long: The site is becoming increasingly important to job seekers, since employers routinely check it for information and profiles of prospective employees.

In an effort to help students get a leg up on creating a profile on the site, the college’s Center for Career Services held a LinkedIn photo booth and a best practices seminar last fall. During the photo booth event, student photographers took professional-style portrait photos of their peers for use in LinkedIn profiles. Each of the 112 participants received a flash drive provided courtesy of Northwestern Mutual, which included the student’s headshot and information about how to create an effective LinkedIn profile.

A joint project of the Center for Career Services and Marist Young Professionals, the best practices seminar featured Erin Cook, the customer success manager at LinkedIn. Cook works directly with recruiters, educating them on how to leverage LinkedIn products to meet their goals. While on campus, she hosted three seminar sessions that examined how individuals can build a personal brand on LinkedIn, utilize methods for online networking, and research job opportunities; approximately 70 students, faculty and staff members attended the event.

IN THE PHOTO: LinkedIn executive Erin Cook (left) advises students on the use of the business social networking site

Career Corner

This monthly feature spotlights a handful of the companies that participated in the 2016 New York City Career Trek and identifies some of the alumni and friends of the college who hosted the event at their place of business.

Ogilvy & Mather

This advertising, marketing and public relations agency resulted from the 1964 merger between a London-based firm founded by Edmund Mather in 1850 and a New York City agency launched in 1948 by David Ogilvy. Part of the WPP Group — one of the largest marketing and communications companies in the world by revenue — the agency has more than 450 offices in 169 cities; it is renowned for its work building American Express, Sears, Ford, IBM, Kodak and other globally recognized brands.

Host: Michael Maloney ’02, group account director, OgilvyOne Worldwide


Headquartered in nearby Armonk, New York, International Business Machines Corporation (or IBM) is an American multinational technology company that manufactures and markets computer hardware, middleware and software; and offers hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. A major research organization (for 24 straight years, the company has held the record for most patents generated by a business),IBM inventions include the automated teller machine, the magnetic stripe card, the relational database, and the UPC barcode.

Host: Ed Linde, senior manager, IBM Marketplace at IBM Digital Business Group and SoM instructor

Sony Music Entertainment

Known as Sony Music, this American music company is owned by Sony, the Tokyo-based multinational electronics and entertainment firm. The company was founded in 1929 as American Record Corporation; it was acquired in 1938 by the Columbia Broadcasting System, reorganized in 1966 as CBS Records, and purchased by Sony Corporation in 1987. With offices in 43 countries, the firm has 21 music labels. In 2016, it was reported that Sony Music had garnered 27.5 percent of the total corporate market share worldwide.

Host: JoJo Conlan, head of human resources, senior business partner/vice president, Sony Music Entertainment

Outfoxing the rest

Teams of students in last semester’s Marketing Principles classes went head-to-head in the “Fox Trap” new product marketing plan competition on Dec. 9. Modeled after the popular TV series “Shark Tank,” the competition requires students to research and create a prototype of a new product, develop of marketing plan for it, and then pitch their idea to a panel of judges (or “trappers”). This semester’s trappers included Frank Castella, president of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce; Gary Berger, a media expert and former ValPak franchise owner; and SoM Prof. John Cary, the owner of an Unishippers franchise.

The winning concept was the “speed wheel,” a two-inch rubber wheel with a bracket that can be attached to any weed whacker. In their presentation, developers Olivia Petrarca '18, Sam Nast '19, Miranda Perez '18 and Mike Vassallo '19 emphasized that the device would appeal to baby boomers looking for an economical way to make lawn care faster and easier: The speed wheel cost just $3.50 to produce and would be sold for under $20.

Besides refining students’ teamwork and presentation skills, the Fox Trap competition helps to “enhance the excitement, level of fun and promotion of the marketing plan development process,” said Prof. Pamela Harper, organizer of the event.

Alumni Profiles: Recent Graduates

In this month’s Alumni Profile, we chat with a trio of new alums about stepping onto the first rung of the corporate ladder:

PaonessaKatherine (Katie) Paonessa ’15 hails from Nutley, NJ. She works as the primary HR representative for Sony Music Entertainment’s Global Digital Business and U.S. sales division; her responsibilities include “owning the entire onboarding process for new employees; organizing company-wide events; and managing promotion, transfer, and termination transactions.”

FerettiLike Paonessa, Daniel Ferretti is a 2015 Marist graduate and a New Jersey native (he lives in Upper Saddle River). Ferretti is an associate sales representative for TRAK Machine Tools (formerly know as Southwestern Industries). “I sell CNC machinery for prototyping, small lot – high mix production,” he says. “Our machines are used for just about any physical goods industry you can think of.”

KerianneClass of 2016 alumna Kerrianne Stewart lives in Franklin Square on Long Island. She is employed as a junior social lab planner at the advertising and marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather. “I work on the IBM account with the Social Lab team,” she says. “We create and launch social media campaigns to reach IBM’s target audience.”

Q: Each of you completed at least two internships while at Marist. How did those experiences help you in your job search and/or in your current job? 

Dan: I grew up in a manufacturing environment. My father owns a precision manufacturing company, which was started by my grandfather in 1952.  The internships really helped open my eyes to how vast the manufacturing world is. I was exposed to different types of manufacturing equipment, technologies, and industries.

Katie: Getting to do hands-on work outside of the classroom and shadow various professionals helped me to really figure out which career path I wanted to go down. After graduation, I secured an HR internship at SL Green Realty Corp. in New York where I learned how to conduct traditional HR functions that directly apply to my current position. 

Kerrianne: My internships gave me the opportunity to network and make contacts that eventually helped me land a job at Ogilvy. I saw on LinkedIn that one of the employees from my internship started working at Ogilvy, and I reached out to him for advice.

Q: How did your Marist education prepare you for the working world?

Katie: Marist was a huge talking point during every internship and job interview I went on. I found that employers were just as interested in my Marist education as they were in my applicable work experience. And without Marist, I would not have half as large a professional network as I do now.

Dan: Helping me understand, very thoroughly, the way businesses work, inside and out. Marist introduced me to all of the aspects of business I didn’t know: accounting, finance, human resources, to name a few. I created my degree emphasis [in entrepreneurship] by choosing the classes I believed would be beneficial to my future.

Kerrianne: The business classes at Marist involved a lot of group projects. These helped prepare me for working with others every day in the “real world.” Additionally, I gained time management and public speaking skills, which are necessary to my career today. 

Q: What do you like best about your job?

Katie: Through recruiting efforts, I get to learn about all functional areas of a business (finance, marketing, sales, information technology, etc.) through the eyes of the employee. My favorite thing is organizing company wide events. We just hosted a hugely successful two-day induction program for all new hires in our Global Digital Business division; I was involved in all planning aspects from the guest list to the after-party and everything in between.

Dan: Hands down, the freedom. I can’t be within the same four walls eight hours a day. I visit customers, and experience new people and new companies that do all sorts of manufacturing. I’ve been from a door hardware fabricator in Soho to a 9,000-person battery manufacturer in the countryside of Pennsylvania.

Kerrianne: I like that I am constantly learning while working on one of the biggest brands. I also love to travel, so I love that I was sent to Brussels, Belgium for training. In addition, Ogilvy has many amenities for its employees including a rooftop bar, gym, bank and a medical center.

Q: What was the most difficult adjustment you had to make from being a student to a career professional?

Kerrianne: The biggest adjustment is working a full workweek and commuting every day from Long Island. At Marist, I didn’t have class every day, so it was a big change.

Katie: The most difficult adjustment with a full time job is not having much time to myself during the day outside of a brief lunch break. I've had to learn to prioritize giving myself a chance to unplug during long workdays.

Dan: Putting my career into full gear after being a student for four years. There is no lesson plan, and — especially in sales — nobody holds my hand. If you want to succeed, you must get your butt out of bed and get that worm before the other 125 million working Americans do.

Q: Where do you hope your career will take you in the future?

Kerrianne: I hope that I will be on the client side in a few years. I would like to be working on a brand that I believe in and can lead its marketing efforts.

Katie: I hope to have an advanced degree in HR management or organizational psychology and be in a manager role. I hope to be traveling the country for work, implementing workplace wellness initiatives, inspiring employees, and driving workplace culture. 

Dan: Ownership. Leadership. That’s all I hope for my future. I didn’t study entrepreneurship to be part of something I didn’t create. At the moment I work for another company, and I love it; I’m gaining crucial experience. But, down the road, I could be working at the family business.

Something I didn’t mention: I have a passion for cutting hair and have done so since I was 16. All of my friends and family are customers, and I work out of my house. In the future I could own a few popular hair salons. I also have entrepreneurial ideas for the hair industry. But I wouldn’t be a smart entrepreneur if I told you. So, shhhh — it’s a secret!

Getting to Know… Caroline Rider

RiderFor nearly 35 years, Caroline Rider has been a member of the Marist College faculty. For upwards of 40 years, she has simultaneously maintained a private law practice; recently, she added the title of MBA program director to her résumé. What does it take to keep abreast of all these weighty responsibilities? “A huge tolerance for a cluttered house,” she laughs, then quickly adds, “It takes being fired up. It requires you to be really interested in each of your jobs.”

A native of the Hudson Valley, Rider grew up in the Dutchess County village of Rhinebeck; she now lives in neighboring Red Hook. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Smith College in Massachusetts, where she majoring in biochemistry and English. Her original career plans involved neither teaching nor law. “I was going to be a biochemist until I discovered there was such rampant gender discrimination in that field,” she says. “So I went to law school instead — and I enjoyed that.”

Rider was working as a litigator and caring for a growing family when a fellow member of the Dutchess County Women’s Bar Association asked her if she was interested in taking over a teaching position at Marist. “So I interviewed with Dr. Jack Kelly, and he said ‘You’ll do.’ And I’ve been here ever since.

“I really like teaching,” she continues, “the back and forth, the ability to help people better understand their environment and make them more powerful within that environment.” In 2007, her dedication to the profession was publicly recognized when she received the Marist Board of Trustee’s Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The first accredited online MBA program in New York State, Marist’s MBA course is frequently cited by major publications for its high quality. “It’s very skills-focused,” says the program’s current director.  “We worry about analytical skills, communication skills — both written and oral, teamwork skills, cross-cultural management skills. Our students come to us from many different occupations, and we give them a firm foundation across the board.”

Rider feels that online education is currently “much more vibrant and holistic” than it has been in the past. She mentions faculty members’ “imaginative” use of streaming audio and video as one way to improve online students’ oral communication skills. Analytics Boot Camp, a new MBA course debuting in the fall, “will take students through three tools: Advanced Excel; Tableau, a new data-visualization program that can handle big data; and at least two Weka data-mining algorithms.” A new accounting course also will employ similar software tools.

As a veteran instructor, Rider has taught students across several generations —from baby boomers to Millennials. Has she noticed many differences among them? “When I started, I taught a lot of people who were the first in their families to go to college. They were really motivated,” she says. “From time to time, I’ve had to introduce students to the idea that they still might have a lot left to learn. Today, they understand that the world changes quickly, and you need to be as prepared as you can be.

“In one main way, though, they remain the same: They are a heck of a nice group of people.”