Marist Opens Doors For The Next Generation

Nicole Fortunato ‘19
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June 2, 2021: During the month of May, Dr. Pamela Harper, Associate Professor in the School of Management, and her current Capstone students presented to Marist alumni and executives, receiving real-time feedback and guidance from industry professionals. These presentations showcased semester-long work that highlights strategic recommendations for the students’ chosen company.

Alumni Collaboration
Among the executive reviewers are Brian Wenzel ‘89, Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer of Synchrony Financial; Lisa Blankinship ‘86, Program Management, Office Lead of HP Enterprises; Spencer W. Hogan ‘20 Project Management Consultant of Accenture Plc; Elizabeth Ndungu ‘15, Dual General Manager of Marriott Int’l and CEO of Ndunguz LLC; and Michael A. Craven, Visiting Assistant Professor of Accounting at Marist.

The students worked together in cross-functional teams to form strategic plan recommendations for a specific company. Each team was created to be as diverse as possible so that students with varying academic concentrations, ethnicities, races, and genders were grouped together to allow them to benefit from different perspectives and areas of expertise.

"It is my hope that the capstone course experience of researching, crafting, and pitching a strategic business plan to executives, will motivate students to think creatively and boldly about business solutions so that they can be an agent for positive change in any career they choose to pursue," Harper said. 

Practical Experience
Presenting to industry professionals and previous Red Foxes can be difficult, but these students are determined to end on a high note.

Liam Hollis ’21 believes his presentation on The Bookmark Group will be the perfect way to apply his education and prove his readiness to enter the workforce. “This opportunity means a good deal to me. Although it marks the near end of college, it shows that I am at least ready to enter the workforce and deal with issues and challenges that I have learned about up until now,” Hollis said.

Some students, such as Evan Wicenski ’21 of The Bookmark Group, are taking the opportunity to gain relevant experience in a hands-on collaborative setting. “To me, this project is a personal challenge to see how well I can work in a group to achieve a real business-focused goal. I want to be able to complete this project and be proud of the way we worked together and the results we got,” Wicenski said.

Christian Orr ’21 of The Bookmark Group sees his Capstone project as a culmination of his education as a Red Fox, using every aspect of his coursework to create a successful strategic recommendation presentation. "The Capstone presentation to me is a measure of how much I have grown throughout my four years in college. Utilizing aspects from virtually every class I have taken at Marist, this also helps to show our great professors how well they have shaped us into mature individuals ready to change the world. A successful presentation would help to show that I am indeed ready for future opportunities ahead," Orr said.

Overall, there is a sense of excitement, gratitude, and of course, nerves from Harper’s students. 

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