School of Management Newsletter

January 2016

Victory is sweet for Ethics team

The Marist College Ethics teams made an impressive showing at the annual Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl (NERB), which was held on December 6 at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Sixteen northeastern colleges and universities sent a total of 24 teams to this competition, which is sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). The two teams from Marist both advanced to the quarterfinal round of the tournament; when all was said and done, one of the teams was crowned the 2014 regional champion.

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) is a nationwide competition that focuses on teaching practical and professional ethics to undergraduate students. In September, all teams receive a set of 15 cases for ethical analysis. The cases cover a wide range of subjects that incorporate aspects of law, medicine, business, public policy, and personal life. During competition, teams go head-to-head answering questions about a selection of the cases they were asked to study; a panel of judges evaluates their answers. Rating criteria includes intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, and deliberative thoughtfulness.

After three preliminary rounds, eight teams – two from Marist, two from Villanova, and one each from Providence College, Moravian College, Salisbury University, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point – moved on to the quarterfinals. Marist Team 2 lost to Providence, last year’s NERB champion, in the quarterfinals. Marist Team 1 advanced to the final round, defeating Providence to take the 2014 crown. The win was especially significant: Not only did Marist knock out the defending champs, but the winning team was made up of business students who bested a team of philosophy majors. What’s more, the judging panel was comprised of specialists in philosophy and religious studies.

EthicsTeam members Corrine Bruckenthal '15, Benjamin DelGiorno '16, Ryan Ellman '15, Madeline Kachou '15, and Jenna Snyder '15 will travel to Costa Mesa, California to participate in the IEB national finals on February 19-22, 2015, during the APPE’s annual meeting. Also representing Marist in the competition were Matel Anasta '16, Lauren Berry '15, Fredrik Bjerke '17, Aileen Carroll '15, Samantha DeVito '15, Anthony Graci '15, Taber Rueter '15, Sabrina Tahir '15, and Joseph Theall '16. The teams were coached by Dr. Joanne Gavin and Prof. Ken Coletti.

“I could not have been more proud of the students,” said Dr. Gavin, professor of management and assistant dean for undergraduate programs. “They did an amazing job. I know they will do Marist proud at nationals next semester.”


Greystone Equity Fund managers advise Fund of Poughkeepsie investors 

The Fund of Poughkeepsie – a local investment club that counts attorneys, accountants, doctors, businessmen, and both a former and current Marist trustee among its 15 members – held its monthly meeting on November 10 at the college. Club members were joined by the student managers of the college’s Greystone Equity Fund, along with faculty members Prof. Brian Haughey and Prof. John Finnigan.

Club members and students got to know each other over dinner; afterwards, a discussion of the club’s portfolio took place. The students offered presentations on the merits of each potential stock purchase, and gave their opinion of the proposed investment. The club then voted on a buy/sell/hold recommendation.

Pok FundPok Fund 2

“It was very interesting, because the people from the Fund of Poughkeepsie all come from different professions,” said Daniel E. Sheldon, a senior economics major and Greystone Equity Fund president. “My role was to take two stocks they were looking into and give my opinion.” The students had about three weeks to conduct research and prepare their presentations – which were well-received by the club members, said Sheldon, who had high praise for the Greystone program. “The advantage of the Marist investment practicum program is that we get to invest real money – both the equity and fixed income classes have real money to invest,” he said. “We take that knowledge and the Fund of Poughkeepsie comes in and we put that information into action.”

This meeting was the third in what has become an annual event. Club members were impressed by the students’ research and by the tools made available to them in Marist’s Student Investment Center; having the opportunity to make presentations and observe the investment process firsthand was a significant learning experience for the students.

“Our group looks forward to this every year,” said Fund of Poughkeepsie member Lou Lewis, founder of the law firm Lewis & Greer, P.C., and an alumnus and former trustee of Marist College. “Marist subscribes to a number of services that we as individuals don’t have access to; we are able to examine our holdings in greater depth than we are used to doing.”

Taking advantage of additional tools is only one of the perks that fund members get from this partnership, Lewis says. “The students are very sharp and bring a new perspective to the stocks that they are assigned to analyze. We are invariably impressed with their intelligence and enthusiasm.” 


Beverage industry entrepreneur amuses and inspires School of Management students


Two factors – timing and preparation – can play a vital role in executive success. That was the message imparted by entrepreneur Mike Venuti to School of Management students in Dr. David Gavin’s and Prof. Rena Hill’s classes during a presentation on November 13.


During his tenure as senior vice president of finance at Energy Brands, Inc. (best known for the product Vitaminwater), Venuti played a large part in the company’s daily operations and helped to fuel its growth. Perhaps more importantly, he was instrumental in structuring the deal which resulted in Energy Brands being acquired by soft-drink giant Coca-Cola in 2007 for more than $4 billion. In 2012, Venuti – along with former Energy Brands COO Carol Dollard -- established Agua Enervivá, a company that focuses on the production of electrolyte-enhanced energy water -– the next big thing in the popular beverage market.


Venuti“Mr.Venuti is extremely enthusiastic and very energized by the whole water segment,” commented Dr. Gavin. “Energy Brands, Inc. wasn’t looking to sell the company at the time. I think what’s interesting is that he recognizes how much of a factor luck plays in entrepreneurship.”


“His presentation was a great way for students to get a personal view of the life of an entrepreneur,” said Madeline Kachou, a senior majoring in business administration with an emphasis in finance. “It was very interesting to hear how Vitaminwater, a brand we all know and love, has grown through its short life cycle in the business world. Having a personal experience presented by a professional entrepreneur was an inspiring way to apply the skills we have learned.”


Samantha DeVito, a senior business administration major with a concentration in international business, agreed with her classmate. “Mr. Venuti was informative, comical – he can tell a joke or two -- and enlightening. I learned that taking risks and trusting one’s gut is important in business. He took a position at a company with a product that might or might not succeed. He worked hard and took each challenge during the product launch until it was sold with grace, which is something I hope to carry with me into my future career.”


DeVito was also impressed with how this executive used corporate culture to his company’s advantage. “Mr. Venuti and his team took in-office sampling nationwide, using creative elements to create an experience. They essentially took the fun they had on the office basketball court into the field, which I think is a major factor in why the company was so successful.”

Business Plan winners


Marist College graduate and local health-club entrepreneur Mike Arteaga (center) congratulates (from left to right) Kourtney Paul ‘18, Veronica deRito ‘17, Samantha Tilton ‘18, and Alexander Berardi ‘18, all members of the winning team in the BUS 100 Business Plan Finals competition. Students in 12 sections of the Introduction to Business and Management course spent the fall term developing a specific innovation for Mr. Arteaga’s club; members of the top five teams, all of which made it to the finals, are shown above. Daniel Gibbons ‘17 and Gregory Potter ‘18, also members of the winning team, are not pictured.

Getting to know… Jason Zu-Hsu Lee, associate professor of Operations and Management Science

LeeA native of Taipei, Taiwan, Lee has been a member of Marist’s Management department for “a bit more than six years.” During his tenure in Poughkeepsie, he has taught operations management to undergraduate students, and business decision-making and operational excellence classes to graduate candidates. Lee’s own academic resume includes an MBA from Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University; a master’s in science from the University of Pittsburgh; and a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. Newsletter editors recently caught up with Lee to ask him about his favorite class, why Marist is the place for international students – and what valuable lessons can be learned from fortune cookies.

What do you like most about teaching at Marist?

I appreciate the students’ curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. The smaller class setting of the college enhances the interaction between the professor and the students.

Which of the classes that you teach do you enjoy the most?

My favorite class is business decision-making. This class introduces the concepts and applications of quantitative techniques with more in-depth discussions; students develop a better understanding and appreciation of the subject of business analytics.

Do you think that Marist is a good destination for international students?

Marist sits in the historical and picturesque Hudson Valley, however it is well-located by being in proximity to metropolitan areas such as New York City and Albany. The student body, academic activities and campus environment reflect certain American traditions in college life and education. Interaction with surrounding industries like IBM enables academic development to be put into practice. American higher education is world-renowned for encouraging self-development, and Marist can be considered one of the best places where foreign students can satisfy that goal.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

New students need to make certain adjustments (e.g., new friends, lifestyle); this is especially true for international students (e.g., culture, language, teaching style, academic expectations). It takes time. Students need to be patient and ready for the challenges. Once you go through this process and look back, you will find yourself at a different level and realize how the learning experience has enriched your life.

What are the best words of advice you’ve ever been given?

Some good ones come from fortune cookies. Here are a few: “Don’t be afraid to smile, you never know who is falling in love with it.” “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” “Many answers are questionable, and many questions are unanswerable.”