School of Management Newsletter

March 2016

MPA Program Makes the Grade

MPANews came in November that the Marist College Masters in Public Administration program has placed 18th in the fall rankings of online programs conducted by the website

The rankings are based on data compiled by the site over a four-year period. Upwards of 75,000 students across the nation take part in the review process, offering opinions in 15 categories. With an overall ranking of 8.15 out of a possible 10, Marist’s MPA program scored particularly well in the “academic competitiveness,” “education quality,” and “school use of technology” categories.  Marist ranked higher than online MPA offerings from schools like Northeastern, Texas Southern, and Arizona State University.

Future Marketing Pros Run the Gauntlet

GauntletThe “Missing Link Bracelet” was the winning concept in last semester’s Gauntlet Competition, hosted by the BUS 340/Marketing Principles faculty on December 11.

The competition pits the best student team from each of the seven class sections in a Shark Tank–style contest, during which they present an idea for a new product or service to a panel of would-be investors. Intended to appeal to women ages 35-50, the wholly original product must solve an everyday problem and cannot have a price tag of more than $20.

The judging panel featured consultant and marketing Adjunct Professor Mary Winby; Matt Lucas, a former senior vice president of customer development at Samsung; and Joseph A. Valenza ’16, founding president of the Marist chapter of the American Marketing Association.

The winning bracelet, pitched by a team from Prof. Elizabeth Purinton-Johnson’s class, includes a hinged clasp and a spring-loaded interior that allows fashion-forward women to carry pills in a handy but discreet way. “I am particularly proud of this group,” said Prof. Purinton-Johnson. “They had one day to turn a 20-minute marketing plan presentation into a five-minute TV pitch — and they did a wonderful job.”

IN THE PHOTO: Missing Link Bracelet team members Dennis Ellis III ’18, Brianna Lamadore ’17, Taylor Novakowski ’16, Zac Vuono ’17, and Calum Milligan ’18

Faculty Focus

Economics Prof. Ann E. Davis was kept busy at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association, which took place in San Francisco on January 3-5. Davis presented her paper, “Contested Continuity: Competing Explanations of the Evolution of the Corporate Form,” a case study of the electric power and public utility industries, at a panel on “Institutional Change.” She also organized and chaired a panel entitled “Meanings of Money: Considering Marx, Keynes, Sraffa, and Minsky,” and chaired a panel on “Rethinking Macroeconomics.”

Three SoM faculty members were guest speakers at campus workshops last month as part of the Emerging Leaders Program, a noncredit certificate course that helps students hone their leadership skills. Students attended programs entitled “In the Black: Fox Finances to Keep You Out of the Red” with accounting Prof. Phil LaRocco (Feb. 8); “Big Personalities in a Little Room: Managing Meeting Mayhem” with Prof. Helen Rothberg (Feb. 17); and “Ethics and Leadership: Be Your Best from the Inside Out” with Prof. Joanne Gavin (Feb. 29).

On Nov. 4, faculty participants in the School of Management’s Research Seminar Series heard from two colleagues. Management Prof. Melinda Weisburg offered a presentation entitled “Flexible Structure Meets Regulatory Oversight:  A Challenge for Nonprofit Board Recruitment and Retention”; Prof. John Cary’s subject was “Virtual Management: Perspective Differences from Managers, Employees and Independent Contractors and its Effectiveness.”

Battling It Out

Last semester, seniors in Prof. Helen Rothberg’s Management Strategy and Policy capstone classes took part in war games.

BattleA relatively recent development in the commercial arena, these games require corporate executives to simulate strategic business moves — and counter-moves — made by their own company, as well as their competitors in the same industry.

It’s not a methodology that is usually employed with undergraduates, says Prof. Rothberg. “War-gaming is driven by an industry question, which student teams — organized around competitor companies — create strategic plans to address,” she said. Her students researched companies in two industries: digital advertising (DoubleClick, MaxPoint, Thinknear, and Valassis Communications) and customer contact (Avaya, Five9, inContact, and Interactive Intelligence).

Over the course of the semester, the eight teams took part in Q&A sessions with an anonymous sponsoring executive who works for one of the companies in their focus industry. On Dec. 11 and 12, each team presented its strategic plan; responded to questions from alumni, business executives, and their classmates; and then created a retort presentation “that integrates what they have learned and provides an opportunity to re-present their strategic recommendation,” said Prof. Rothberg.  The sponsoring executives — Sue Rothwell, senior vice president of digital sales at Valassis Digital; and inContact’s Director of Competitive Analysis Steve Hasknecht and Competitive Intelligence Analyst Jessica Smith — attended these sessions, at which time they identified their employers and presented certificates to the winning teams.

In digital advertising, the Thinknear team of seniors Brian Gabuzda, Derek Daffara, Michael Priore, and Michael Bueti took home top honors. Classmates Joseph Radin, Meghan Whalen, Thomas Lake, and Michael McDonagh, representing Avaya, won the war in the customer contact industry.

Rothwell summed up the sentiments of all three sponsoring executives: “We will be utilizing some of the competitive information in upcoming trainings and for our competitive insights. It was a great experience, and Valassis received industry reliable information.”

IN THE PHOTO: The team representing Thinknear was the winning group in the digital advertising war game. Front row (from left): Brian Gabuzda ’16, Prof. Helen Rothberg, Valassis executive Sue Rothwell, alumnus Ryan Card. Back row: Alumnus Lucas Chaco, Derek Daffara ’16, Michael Priore ’16, Michael Bueti ’16, alumni Jenna Depue and Colin Rothwell 

Getting to Know – Accounting Professor Byunghoon Jin

JinBorn in Korea, Assistant Professor of Accounting Byunghoon Jin came to the U.S. as an undergraduate student in 2003. He now lives in Fishkill with his wife, Jungeun, and sons Lucas (four) and Jake (18 months). Prof. Jin earned his Ph.D. from Temple University in 2015; he is currently in his second semester of teaching both financial and managerial accounting at the School of Management. When he’s not in the classroom, Prof. Jin admits to being a “huge” sports fan. “Basketball is my favorite,” he said. “I brought Lucas to a Marist game last year, and he was so excited when he got a high-five from Shooter [the Red Foxes’ mascot].”

Q: Where have you studied?

A: In fact, I have been everywhere. I got my undergraduate degree from Indiana University Bloomington (2005), and my accounting master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin (2007). I got my accounting Ph.D. from Temple University in Philadelphia last year.

Q: Would you briefly explain how you came to Marist?

A: When I first entered the job market, I didn’t have a regional preference. I looked for good schools where I could both teach and do research. Marist was one of the top choices on my list. When I visited for a job interview, I was amazed by the beautiful campus. The people were even greater. Dean Singleton is one of the best deans I have ever met, and all the faculty members and staff were so friendly and humorous. As part of the interview, I had to teach a managerial accounting class, and the students were also fantastic – many of them participated actively. Naturally, Marist became my number one choice; I waited for Marist’s decision while holding three other job offers.

Q: What initially attracted you to the study of accounting?

A: I was an engineering major at first. After taking courses for two years, I felt that engineering was not the best major for me. So I started exploring different areas such as natural science, law, economics — and accounting. I quickly discovered that, while many people hate accounting, it was very exciting to me. So I decided to change my major.

Q: At what point did you know that you wanted to teach? Was this something you always planned to do, or was there a specific circumstance that led you into the profession?

A: When I was a senior at Indiana University, I saw many of my friends having a hard time trying to understand what they were learning in the financial accounting class. (That happens at every school. Financial accounting is not an easy topic.) As a peer tutor, I had many chances to help those friends — and I quickly found myself enjoying explaining things and seeing improvement in their performance. It led me to decide to be an accounting professor.

Q: Is Marist your first teaching position, or have you taught elsewhere?

A: When I was at UT, I held office hours and led review sessions as a teaching assistant for an advanced accounting course for master’s students. And I taught both financial accounting and managerial accounting at Temple.

Q: What courses are you currently teaching?

A: Financial Accounting (ACCT 203) and Managerial Accounting (ACCT 204) for undergraduate students. I have wonderful students and am really enjoying the semester. Last semester was a blessing, too. All three Financial Accounting classes I had were fantastic, and I was really glad to see many students again in Managerial Accounting this semester.

Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching here?

A: My colleague professors are great teachers and researchers. The working environment is very friendly here. And the students are also great. They actively participate during the class (well, not always, but most of the time). I also enjoy chitchatting with students outside the classroom; I hope they won’t hesitate to say “hi” when they see me around campus.

Marist is a wonderful place for me to do what I love to do — teach students and conduct research.

Alumni Profile — Paul X. Rinn ’68

The real-life story of Paul Rinn’s career in the U.S. Navy is one you’d expect to see reenacted on the big screen, maybe with a (much younger) Clint Eastwood in the starring role. Rinn’s leadership and heroism have earned him a boatload of commendations and honors, including the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart; he is one of only three people currently alive who has been inducted into the Navy’s Surface Warfare Hall of Fame.

RinnBut let’s start at the beginning. Paul Rinn was born in the Bronx, where he attended — and played football at — Mount Saint Michael Academy. Athletic scholarships to several colleges awaited him upon graduation, “but I got hurt, badly, and my father thought it would get worse if I continued to play,” Rinn said. His teachers suggested Marist as a possible alternative. “So I drove up to the school, and fell in love with the place. It isn’t anything like it is today — just a small school on the Hudson — but it seemed right.” He graduated in 1968, having majored in history and minored in political science; a year later, he married Pamela Paul, a nursing student at Poughkeepsie’s Saint Francis Hospital. Together for 46 years, the couple today makes their home in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

After graduation, Rinn joined the Navy, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Greg, a naval officer.  Paul rose steadily through the ranks, seeing combat action on land during the Vietnam War. In 1986 he was put in command of the USS Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate that — two years later almost to the day — hit an Iranian mine in the Persian Gulf.

“I was racing for a rendezvous with the USS Seattle because we were low on fuel,” the captain remembers. “We didn’t see the mines in front of us — there were 14 altogether, three on the surface — until we were in the middle of them. We started backing away, and that’s when we hit the one that got us.” The explosion blew a 30-foot hole in the ship’s hull, breaking the keel in half; only the main deck held the ship together. With the engine rooms flooded and fires on four decks shooting flames 100 feet in the air, Rinn and his 220-member crew valiantly fought to keep the ship afloat and maneuver it out of danger — a feat they accomplished with no loss of life.

To what does he credit the miraculous outcome of that day? “I think a lot of it goes back to the stuff I learned at Marist,” Rinn said. “You have to be determined, you have to be disciplined, you have to train — you have to know the playbook and be able to execute it. Teamwork was incredibly important; that was very strongly emphasized by the Brothers and the teachers that I had.”

In particular, Rinn credits Prof. Thomas Casey with helping him learn to control his emotions under pressure. “I’ve always had a great faith; you can only deal with things you can control, so we have to do our best. [While serving in Vietnam] it dawned on me that this was the stuff that Tom Casey had taught me in American Pragmatism that — at the time — I’d blown off completely. So I wrote him a letter from the Mekong Delta. ‘Remember how I told you that I’d never use any of the stuff you taught in that class? Well, I was wrong. And I want to thank you for that.’ I handed the letter to a helicopter pilot — with no address, just ‘Marist College’ — and told him it was important.

“About 30 years later, I was on campus and asked Casey if he’d ever gotten the letter. He grabbed my arm and pulled me into his office. Over his desk he had the letter framed. He said that, as a teacher, there was no greater reward for him than that letter.”

After retiring from the Navy in 1998, Rinn worked for Whitney, Bradley, and Brown, an international consulting company, until 2011. Today, he is an author and motivational speaker on leadership topics. Whether you’re in the boardroom or on the battlefield, Rinn believes effective leaders have three traits: “Absolute integrity: If people believe that you’re telling them the truth, they will trust you and follow you. Competency:  You have to know what you’re doing. But the most important thing is communications. You’ve got to talk to people, but you have to be able to listen and hear what they have to say.

“I learned almost all of that at Marist College.”