School of Management Newsletter
Last October, Lawrence Singleton, dean of the Marist School of Management, was elected president of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration (or MAACBA). With more than 160 colleges and universities among its members, the association works to improve business management education — most notably through its annual conference, a colloquium that addresses such topics as curriculum innovation, strategic planning, budgetary challenges, and enrollment trends. "I am proud to represent Marist College on the board of directors of MAACBA," Dean Singleton said. "As president, I will work to increase membership by encouraging all business schools in the region to join and become more engaged. Whether you are a business school with a strictly teaching focus or a Research 1 institution with significant research expectations, we can all learn from each other as we work to continuously improve the quality of management education."
IN THE PHOTO: Dean Singleton with Sarah Fisher Gardial, dean of the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, at the 2016 MAACBA Conference in New York City
In our June 2016 issue, we profiled Marist Splash, a student-run program in which 80 undergraduates taught courses — in subjects ranging from origami to electronic dance music — to approximately 200 middle- and high school students. On November 12, a smaller but more focused event, dubbed MICRO (Marist Investment Center Reach Out) Splash, was held on campus. Limited to 32 high-schoolers, the one-day program took place in the Investment Center, and the curriculum zeroed in on topics related to business and finance. SoM senior Samantha Leenas organized the event as part of her honors project. She was assisted by a group of student volunteers who recruited course teachers, advertised the program, and ensured that it was a success. Finance Prof. Brian Haughey is the Splash faculty advisor; click here to see a video of last spring's event.
Social responsibility was a hot topic on campus in November, as students were busy attending — and participating in — a slew of ethics-related events.
On November 19, the college hosted the Northeast Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Seventeen colleges and universities fielded a total of 23 teams (two of which were from Marist) that went head-to-head in debating ethical considerations in one of 15 scenarios. "The subjects ranged from medical ethics to civil rights to business ethics to governmental rights," said Prof. Lisa Stephens, lecturer of chemistry and a member of the Marist Center for Ethics, the group that organized and hosted the event. "Students spend several months researching all cases and trying to decide on the different ethical questions and considerations that are a part of each case." At the end of the day, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point claimed first place, followed by teams from Tufts, West Chester, and Villanova universities; all four qualified to attend the national competition in Dallas next month.
"I was very impressed by the knowledge and thoughtfulness of the young women and men who prepared for this competition and then competed," Stephens said. "Additionally, the collegiality with which the teams interacted, even when disagreeing, was encouraging."
The SoM's semiannual Ethics Week took place from November 28-December 2. Students were invited to attend seven programs that touched on the subject of ethics as it relates to business. Zachary Halloran, the president and CEO of Twill, was the keynote speaker. Twill is a family-owned business that provides warm blankets to children who are homeless, battling life-threatening illness, or undergoing other types of temporary hardship. Halloran's talk, entitled "Doing Business—Doing Good," was sponsored by the college chapter of Enactus.
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.
Founded in 1939, this asset management firm is 100-percent employee-owned. The company has offices in 29 cities worldwide and manages equity, private equity, fixed income, and hedge-fund strategies for institutions and individual investors. Renowned for its retention rates among senior staff, Neuberger Berman was named the 2016 "Best Place to Work in Money Management" by Pensions & Investments.
Host: Senior Vice President David Skrodanes '83
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Headquartered in San José, California, this technology conglomerate develops, manufactures, and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products. The largest networking company in the world, Cisco was founded in December 1984; by 2000, it was the most valuable company in the world, with a market capitalization of more than $500 billion.
Host: Unified Communications Product Sales Specialist Lou Donlin '96
Last October, we reported that the SoM's chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma had been cited by the international honor society for business and management to receive its highest honors for the 2015-16 academic year. At about the same time, a replica of the organization's key was installed outside the southern entrance to the Dyson Center.
A gift from Lauren and Steven Snyder, the parents of Jenna Snyder — a 2015 SoM graduate currently employed by the financial services firm UBS — and School of Management Professor and Internship Director Ken Coletti helped make the installation possible. "The key was envisioned by [Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs] Joanne Gavin," says Jenna. "Other campuses have the key, and Dr. Gavin wanted to display the key on our campus as well."
The bronze key, which stands more than four feet high and weighs upwards of 100 pounds, "is a symbol of academic excellence," said Prof. Gavin. "It shows everyone on campus how proud we are of our students and our faculty."
"The installation of the key is one way of recognizing how much our students value the quality of the business education they receive here," said Dean Lawrence Singleton. "It is also a testament to our faculty, who work tirelessly to help our students achieve both academically and personally."
"I hope the key will be a constant reminder to every student that they need to fully apply themselves in every class, all four years of college," said Jenna Snyder. "I am so fortunate that my parents recognize that Marist instilled in me the business education that I needed to begin a successful career on Wall Street, and that they were willing to give back to the college in hopes of sharing that recognition with other parents in the future."
BGS Founders Week will be celebrated from February 13-19. During that week, members are encouraged to wear their keys to mark the 104th anniversary of the esteemed society.
IN THE PHOTO: Dean Lawrence Singleton, Prof. Ken Coletti, Jenna Snyder '15, and Prof. Joanne Gavin with the Beta Gamma Sigma key
Founded in 2013, the School of Management Business Club has truly come into its own over the past year. Last spring, the club boasted 150 members; the roster now numbers 241 undergrads, about 75-100 of whom usually show up at its meetings. Why the recent surge in interest? "I believe a lot of people joined because of the size and reputation of the School of Management," says current President Farrell Tamke. "It's assumed by students that any club having to do with the SoM will be well-run and offer them some useful resources. So far we've been delivering on those expectations."
The club's roster now numbers 241 undergrads, about 75-100 of whom usually show up at its meetings. Why the sudden surge in interest? "I believe a lot of people joined because of the size and reputation of the School of Management," says Tamke. "It's assumed by students that any club having to do with the SoM will be well-run and offer them some useful resources. So far we've been delivering on those expectations."
Not affiliated with any national organization, the student-run club works closely with the business school "to expose all of our members to everything that business has to offer, and to provide resources to help them get ahead in the business world," says Tamke. "I tell people that, no matter who you are or what you're majoring in, you're going to be working for a business when you graduate, so you might as well know what you're getting into and have all the tools necessary to succeed."
Upcoming club activities include a LinkedIn workshop and a New York City trip, which Tamke describes as a "less formal" version of the SoM Career Trek. "It will be a great opportunity for everyone in every grade to find out what they want out of their career."
Tamke hopes the club will be a stepping-stone toward fulfilling at least one of his own career objectives. "I hope to gain as complete an understanding as possible of the business world. It's a goal of mine to run a small business, and we've already had several small business owners and investors talk to the club. Getting their insights has been incredibly useful to me."
Professor J. Donald Warren, Jr., likes to tell the students in his auditing classes that a well-rounded career is like a three-legged stool. One leg represents the continuous learning process, the second spotlights participation in professional organizations. The third leg emphasizes giving back to the community.
Dr. Warren helps his students emulate these activities while they are still undergraduates, pointing out that their current course work is an example of the continuous learning process. He encourages them to attend meetings of the college's chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the honor organization for financial information students and professionals. He also suggests a variety of community service activities in which the students can participate. And participate they did: This fall, students donated coats to the Dutchess Outreach Coat Drive and took part in service projects during Marist College Community Service Day. They participated in the Walk for Hunger, donated food during the All Campus Food Collection drive, and contributed to fund-raising efforts benefiting Bread for the World, Dutchess Outreach, and Lazarus House Ministries. They also donated used shoes to the Take Me Home Pet Rescue shoe drive and contributed children's books to the United Way Book Drive.
IN THE PHOTO: Prof. Warren's auditing students display the books they collected for the United Way
A member of the Marist class of 2002, Thomas M. Murray, CFA, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in business administration with a dual focus in finance and marketing. Originally from the Long Island town of Sayville, the 36-year-old Murray is a managing director at Goldman Sachs. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Christine, whom he married in 2014. An avid golfer who "hits the links whenever there isn't snow on the ground," Murray also enjoys skiing, playing guitar, and following New York sports teams.
Q: Would you briefly describe your career path to this point?
A: After graduating from Marist, I joined Morgan Stanley in New York City in the Investment Management division where I had interned during my prior year at college. I joined Bear Stearns in 2004 and spent three years in their Advisory Services group conducting investment manager research.
I joined Goldman Sachs in early 2007. Later that year I became a CFA® charterholder and was promoted to vice president at the end of 2007. I have spent the last decade in the Alternative Investments & Manager Selection (AIMS) group. While I've been predominantly based in our New York City headquarters, I had the opportunity to move to London in 2010, which was an excellent experience that helped me grow both professionally and personally. I was promoted to managing director at the end of 2015. Currently I serve as the co-head of the public equity investment team within the AIMS group.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
A: I know this is a cliché, but there really is no typical day. That's one of the things I enjoy about my role: The variability of my day-to-day activities keeps things fresh. While my primary focus is conducting investment research, it's not just staring at numbers all day. I spend most of my time interacting with other people, whether having discussions with colleagues at GS, meeting with investors around the industry, or interacting with clients. My role also requires a fair bit of travel, which is a refreshing way to learn from other people's perspectives around the world.
Q: You volunteer with New York Cares. Would you discuss what the organization does and why you decided to become involved in their activities?
A: New York Cares is the largest volunteer management organization in New York City. It manages approximately 1,600 volunteer-led projects in the city every month. These projects span a wide range of social needs, including education programs, providing for immediate needs, and revitalizing public spaces. I originally became involved as a volunteer, and today I also serve as co-president of the Rising Leaders Council. Having lived in Manhattan for more than a decade, I can't think of a better way to give back to the city.
Community service was always part of the fabric of society at Marist. Campus Ministry was the largest club on campus during my years there. It goes without saying that it's important for all of us to continue to give back to our communities.
Q: What is your fondest memory about your years at Marist?
A: My fondest memory is the lasting friendships I made while at Marist, which is something I suspect most Marist grads would echo. The college attracts great students from different backgrounds who all come together to create a fun and active campus life. I remain very close to many of my old classmates today.
Q: Is there any one class that stands out to you?
A: My Strategic Management capping class with Dr. Helen Rothberg was the most challenging and rewarding class I took at Marist. It was the most practical application of everything we learned throughout our years in the School of Management. Not only did we learn a great deal about business strategy, but Dr. Rothberg's distinctive teaching style taught us practical skills — including how to become a more articulate public speaker — that are critical for success in the real world.
Assistant Professor of Operations and Management Sciences Kuangnen Cheng joined the School of Management faculty last fall. A native of Taiwan, Dr. Cheng has spent most of the last 30 years in San Francisco. But his rags-to-riches journey from Taipei to Poughkeepsie would surely warrant the attention of any Hollywood producer.
Cheng began his education in Taiwan, earning his B.A. in German from Soochow University. It was there that he acquired his nickname, which is Hans. "My German professor said 'It's so difficult to pronounce your name. How about I write some names on the board, and you choose one for yourself?' " he recalls. "She pointed to her son's name, which was Hans. The Han dynasty is very Chinese, and adding the 's' makes it more Chinese, so I chose that."
After getting a master's in European studies from Tamkang University in Taiwan, Cheng began his Ph.D. studies in Texas. This plan was interrupted when his father was diagnosed with cancer. "In Chinese culture, the son has to take care of his family elders financially," he explains. With no national insurance system, Cheng became a self-described "money-making machine" in order to provide for the family.
After his father passed away, he returned to the U.S. — this time to San Francisco. When he arrived, "I only had $100 in my pocket," he says, "but I believed that, with the knowledge I had, I could survive." When his first employers let him go because they couldn't understand his English, he started his own business helping Chinese and German tourist groups navigate through the Bay Area airports. This occupation grew into a small travel agency and — eventually — into a multimillion-dollar corporate travel management company, which got off the ground while he was studying for his MBA at San Francisco State University.
Although a successful businessman, Cheng still felt he needed to complete his Ph.D. "to continue what I left when caring for my father." He enrolled in the DBA program at Golden Gate University in San Francisco; while writing his thesis, he gave a talk at a college in Taiwan "that stretched into a semester," he says. "I found I enjoyed teaching and helping people learn." In time, he returned to the San Francisco, sold his business, and began teaching full-time at St. Mary's College of California, "a very tiny Catholic school — they call it the miniature Stanford," he says.
After four years at St. Mary's, Cheng accepted the new position at Marist. "In my mind, the Northeastern U.S. is the cultural center of the country," he says. "I decided that if I really wanted to be an academic, I should try this region. And when this door opened, I had to pursue it." Lacking a list of degrees from prestigious universities, Cheng felt his resume was "not so good," but having 2009 Nobel Prize-winning economist Oliver E. Williamson as a reference "gave me some confidence."
This semester, Cheng teaches operations management to more than 100 undergrads and graduate students. "The course is very difficult, all numbers and calculations. When the students turn in their homework, I give them unlimited correction time. They can turn it in 10 times if they need to.
"My teaching philosophy is to give students a second chance. I want you to learn, to lift you up. Where you come from doesn't matter if you work hard."