School of Business

School of Business Dean Ellen Durnin with Mike Haggerty, Haggerty Financial Partners (left), and Richard Dyce, Director of Operations, Amazon (right)

School of Business Dean Ellen Durnin and the Southern Connecticut State University Business Advisory Council hosted the 2nd annual Business Leadership Breakfast on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, at the New Haven Lawn Club. SCSU President Joe Bertolino was in attendance, along with 150 key members of the Greater New Haven business community.

Sponsored by Haggerty Financial Partners, the event featured a keynote address by Richard Dyce, Director of Operations for Amazon’s North Haven Fulfillment Center on the topic “Regional Economic Development: Investing in the Local Community.”

Dyce, who was introduced by North Haven First Selectman Mike Freda, captivated the audience with a discussion on Amazon’s beginnings and its successful customer-focused business model, and detailed how it manages the incredible feat of getting product to our doorsteps in two days or less.

The popular Business Leadership Breakfast is an important component in building the relationships between industry and education to prepare graduates for both current job opportunities as well as jobs of the future. SCSU School of Business is pleased to bring together all parties for the benefit of the region’s economy.

Dr. Jia Yu, assistant professor of economics, and Alexandra Ball, RN, MBA, '19

Alexandra Ball, ‘19, presented her MBA thesis at the Ninth International Conference on Health, Wellness and Society at Berkeley, CA, on September 19th, 2019. Ball’s research seeks to identify which U.S. region renders the highest quality patient care of total knee arthroplasty as measured by impact on patient discharge disposition, hospital length of stay, and adverse outcomes during a three-year span of 2008-2010.

The results of the study found that lowest lengths of stay are noted in the West and Midwest, and that the West had the highest patient outcomes.  Demographic characteristics of age, race, and marital are associated with shorter lengths of stay, however, discharge status is only significantly impacted by age. These findings are utilized to evaluate cost- efficiency of the surgery in the regions of the United States.

Ball’s advisor, Jia Yu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics said that this is a great international conference that brings together many health and medical researchers from different disciplines and countries, giving attendees the opportunity to learn different perspectives on health-related problems from a variety of countries.

She says, “We have also built up some connections with researchers from Hong Kong and Singapore for future collaboration possibilities.” And continues, “It is a wonderful opportunity for Southern students to know the world and let the world know about Southern as well.”

The 2019 Special Focus of the International Conference on Health, Wellness and Society was Inclusive Health and Wellbeing, stating “…the volume of healthcare research and wealth of groundbreaking healthcare technology continues to expand, leading to more advanced health delivery systems and an increased quality of living. Not all people or all groups are benefiting from these advancements equally; significant barriers to accessing these developments still exist across the globe…This conference aims to explore the implications and effects that geographic, socioeconomic, and political barriers pose to health and wellbeing as well as constructing means across these barriers moving forward.”

Ellen Durnin, dean of Southern Connecticut State University School of Business, is pleased to welcome Kevin Burke and Lauren Tagliatela to the Business Advisory Council.

Durnin said about the importance of the BAC, “The Business Advisory Council serves a critical role in connecting the School of Business to the business community. The BAC members provide connections, internships, and employment opportunities for students; they advocate for the School of Business in the community; and they are key partners in fundraising efforts for strategic initiatives.”

Kevin Burke is a senior vice president and Market Executive for the Wells Fargo Commercial Banking in Connecticut and NY Capital Region. He manages commercial banking division that develops and maintains business relationships with companies with annual revenues greater than $5 million. Burke’s team has offices in Albany, N.Y., and Greenwich, Hartford and Shelton, Conn.

Burke started his banking career in 1991 and, before joining Wells Fargo, had a long and impressive career utilizing his talents at Consolidated Asset Recovery Corporation, a subsidiary of Chase Manhattan Bank; Shawmut Bank; and Fleet Bank, a successor to Shawmut.

Burke, a U.S. Army veteran, earned a B.A. from Fordham University in New York; an M.A. in international relations from Boston University in Heidelberg, Germany; and an MBA in finance from the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

Burke is an active member in the community. He is the chairman of the Gateway Community College President’s Council, and immediate past chair and board member of the Shubert Theater in New Haven. In addition, he is a member of the board of overseers of the Bushnell Theater in Hartford.

Burke and his wife have two daughters and reside in Guilford, Conn.

Lauren Tagliatela joined Franklin Construction, a family business founded by her great-grandfather over a century ago, in 2006. She serves as the chief community officer for Canal Crossing at Whitneyville West and Franklin Communities, managing a total of 1,200 apartment homes in the Greater New Haven region. She is responsible for marketing, social media campaigns, online reputation analytics, resident engagement, conflict resolution, budgeting, and creating design concepts for future apartment communities.

Born and raised in Wallingford, Conn., Tagliatela currently resides in North Haven with her wife and twin boys. She graduated from Boston University in 2002 with a B.S. in journalism, a concentration in photography and minor in women’s studies. In 2017, she received her MBA with high honors from Albertus Magnus College, with a concentration in marketing and leadership.

Currently, Tagliatela is serving on the Board of Directors for the Hamden Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Durnin said, “Both Kevin and Lauren bring experience, knowledge, and passion to their roles as new BAC members. I am pleased to welcome them to my advisory council, and I look forward to continuing our progress of building bridges with the business community.”

 

In September, four SCSU Accounting students, led by Accounting Professor Robert Kirsch, traveled to England to participate in an Intensive Study Program at Bournemouth University. The objective of the program, Designing Innovative Pedagogy for Complex Accountancy Topics (DIPCAT), is to address a gap in higher education by creating an internationally-oriented learning platform in accountancy that facilitates current essential hard and soft skill development for early career professionals.

Students Kiersten Snyder, ‘20; Eldi Shahini, ‘20; Basenty Mousa, ‘19; and Alyssa Weisberger, ‘19 — the only students from an American university invited to the conference — spent five days using different methodologies to solve four challenging and intensive case studies.

Eldi Shahini said, “The DIPCAT Conference was by far the most enjoyable and challenging trip I’ve been a part of. I had the pleasure to work with many great individuals through Europe to solve cases, and go beyond our collaborative work and create great friendships. I (learned) more about other European countries and the way they operate than I would have in a classroom experience. I would like to thank everyone who made this experience an enjoyable one, and especially the individuals from Bournemouth University, who did an amazing job organizing this event.”

Alyssa Weisberger said, “(DIPCAT) was an amazing opportunity, and I encourage all future accounting majors to try to take part in this.”

Weisberger continues, “Some topics we learned about during DIPCAT were Classification of Financial Instruments, International Tax and Permanent Establishments, Corporate Social Responsibility and Business effects on stakeholders, and the Rapid Digitization of Audit. Another thing that was amazing about this trip was the people that we worked with during the conference. It was very interesting how everyone there communicated in English. Not only did we learn so much about these complex accounting topics, but we also learned about other European countries’ cultures and laws, etc. We all, also, left with quite a few new friends for life.”

Kiersten Snyder said, “DIPCAT meshed an educational experience with a social experience.” She said it’s a great way to get involved, especially for students looking for more experience with international accounting.

Kirsch, who has participated in 15 of the last 17 conferences, has had 50 students accompany him over the years. He says the friendships the students make during the conferences can last years and that the experience has a lasting impact on them, both personally and professionally.

This year’s topic of discussion led by Kirsch was “Modern History of European Accounting,” with a corresponding book in the works, of which Kirsch is the editor-in-chief. Kirsch points out that it is quite an honor for an American to lead a book on European accounting.

On the importance of facilitating this unique experience for students, Kirsch said, “As an undergraduate at Duquesne University, I had the opportunity to study in Israel for 14 months and I’ve wanted to make possible a similar opportunity for my students here at Southern. That’s why I’ve been instrumental in having 50 of them have the chance to go to various points in Europe to participate in various international conferences.”

Weisberger said, “SCSU has presented me with countless opportunities as an accounting major, and I’m really lucky. We also want to say a huge thank you to Dr. Kirsch for making this trip possible and selecting us to be a part of it.”

To hear more about the group’s DIPCAT experience, you can attend the Accounting Society’s DIPCAT Informational Session on Tuesday, September 24 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Buley 204. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

 

The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce (GNHCC) will award Ellen Durnin, Ph.D., dean of Southern’s School of Business, with the with the Leadership Center Alumnus Award at the Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon on September 26, 2019.

The Alumnus of the Leadership Center Award honors an exemplary leader and graduate of the Leadership Center. The Leadership Center supports the professional growth of business executives through leadership training and community education.

Durnin was appointed dean of the School of Business at SCSU in 2010. She has served in this role since, excluding 18 months when she served as interim provost for 2016 and 2017.

Under Durnin’s leadership, the School of Business has created the nation’s first Public Utilities Management Program; a Women’s Mentoring Program; a Business Success Center for student internships and professional development; and a Business Advisory Council.

Durnin is also leading the School’s committee to design a new School of Business building that will be the first “net zero” space constructed by the State of Connecticut, and she developed the Business School’s first international partnership with ESPEME University in France. Additionally, Durnin leads SCSU’s Transatlantic Alliance with Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, England, providing international research and educational experiences for faculty and students.

Previously, Durnin was the dean of Graduate Studies and External Programs at Western Connecticut State University. While at WestConn, she was a member of the Business Women’s Forum; TBICO, an advocacy organization for women in the workplace; and provided training for corporations such as Boehringer-Ingelheim and Cartus.

Durnin holds a B.A. in sociology from Wagner College, a master’s in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in business from the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her teaching, research, training, and consulting focus on the areas of human resource management, negotiations and conflict resolution, and work/family balance.

Durnin sits on the Board of Directors of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Director’s for Chapel Haven’s Schleifer Center, and the Vista Life Innovations Economic Development Committee. She was named the Business Community Advocate of the Year by the Hamden Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2013.

The Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon will take place at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2019. Tickets can be purchased online at the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce.

Christine Stackhouse, '19

Christine Stackhouse, ’19, didn’t know the career path she wanted for herself when she transferred to Southern in the middle of her freshman year. But less than four years later – and after two trips abroad – she discovered her passion for the business world, specifically in the field of marketing.

And today, Stackhouse is a marketing assistant for the New Haven-based law firm of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey, LLP.

The Terryville resident said she transferred to Southern in the spring of 2016 because Southern was closer to home, and because she was selected for the university’s Honors College. She initially did not declare a major.

“I was a motivated and determined student,” she said. “Neither of my parents went to college, but they were very supportive of me. Things were going okay here. I was doing well and made some friends. I wanted to pursue a people-oriented job and kind of leaned toward marketing.”

Stackhouse was eventually invited to join the School of Business’s Student Ambassador Program, in which she helped conduct workshops for other students on topics such as writing a resume, dressing for success and interviewing for jobs.

“Through that program, we were invited to apply for a business trip during spring break to Japan sponsored by Austin Auger, a Southern alumnus. I was one of three students selected for the trip. It was exciting, but I was also nervous because I had never been out of the country.

“Austin showed us around Tokyo, especially to various businesses. And suddenly, I realized I was on a business trip meeting high-level executives. Who gets to do that? I felt valued and realized I was accomplishing what I wanted to do.”

Stackhouse decided she wanted to try another trip outside the country, and opted to study abroad for a semester (fall 2018) in France at the prestigious EDHEC Business School, located in Nice.

“I didn’t know a word of French, but there were students and professors there from all over the world. The classes were very hard, but I learned a lot. Our education system is quite different, and so are our approaches to developing a marketing plan.

“I came back to the United States having learned so much about myself. But I also started freaking out because I only had one more semester before graduating, and had no idea what I was going to do.”

But she said that the School of Business was instrumental in landing her the job opportunity at Carmody. In particular, she pointed to Patty Conte, School of Business internship coordinator; Sue Rapini, the school’s director of external relations; and Tony Rescigno, former executive director of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce.

Stackhouse said she performs various duties as a marketing assistant with the firm, including social media, coordinating sponsorships and some budgeting. “I also want to be a resource for students and try to connect the company with Southern students,” she said.

“Before I went there, I underestimated Southern because it’s a state university,” Stackhouse said. “But my experience was different from what I originally expected. There are so many opportunities at Southern. You just have to take advantage of them. The school helped me develop both professionally and personally.”

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing. She compiled a 3.84 GPA and earned departmental honors in marketing, as well as award for performance and leadership in marketing.

Stackhouse said she plans to continue in the marketing field for the foreseeable future, and would eventually like to engage in data analysis and campaign planning. “I like turning numbers into results,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left to right: Charlotte McMillan; Justin Paolillo; Patty Conte, Internship Coordinator, SCSU School of Business; Sarah Thompson; Dean Ellen Durnin, SCSU School of Business; Michael Agyeman; Kyle Ballou, Vice President, YNHH; Amber Schultz; Taylor Chisholm; and Kevin Inahuazo (In absentia: intern Alan Duran)

For the first time, Yale New Haven Health has hired eight SCSU School of Business students as summer interns: Charlotte McMillan, Justin Paolillo, Sarah Thompson, Michael Agyeman, Amber Schultz, Taylor Chisholm, Kevin Inahuazo, and Alan Duran.

At Yale New Haven Health, an internship on the business side of the healthcare industry presents opportunities to explore the multifaceted nature of business, finance and information technology in this dynamic field. Interns enjoy exposure to financial reporting, budgeting, systems analysis processes, and billing in one of the leading healthcare systems in the Northeast.

Patty Conte, internship coordinator for the School of Business, says, “We are thrilled that our students have had the opportunity this summer to partner with Yale New Haven Health, a rapidly expanding group of hospitals, specialty groups, and physician networks with a reputation for professionalism and excellence. During their time at YNHHS, our students will be gaining experience in HR, accounting, IT, finance, training and development, and patient experience.

“According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers reported converting an average of 51.7 percent of their eligible interns into full-time hires. Knowing that statistic, we are hopeful that not only will our students have the chance to learn a great deal about the business side of health care through their internships, but they also might be fortunate enough to someday become a full-time employee of YNHH, one of the most sought-out employers in Connecticut.”

 

 

Jacob Santos, ’19, one of 14 in the nation awarded prestigious fellowship

Jacob Santos, ’19, graduated in May with dual degrees — business administration with a concentration in accounting and theatre. Today, his education continues in both subjects thanks a prestigious fellowship from the Newman’s Own Foundation, designed to provide young emerging leaders with experience in the nonprofit sector.

Santos, one of only 14 to receive the award for 2019-20, has been placed at Westport Country Playhouse, where he is a managing director fellow — a post he calls his “dream job.” “My career goal is to become a theater manager with a focus on diversity and inclusion,” says Santos. “I’m excited that my first steps into the industry are with the Playhouse, which shares my creative values and is growing from an already impressive 88-year legacy. I look forward to learning as much as I can from its excellent staff and creative team.”

The Newman’s Own Foundation Fellowship is designed to help future leaders gain critical experience and a better understanding of the importance of philanthropy and giving back. About 150 apply for the fellowship each year, and the foundation annually selects a cohort of no more than 20. Each fellow receives a $38,000 stipend and health benefits from their host organization during the 12-month fellowship. The program also includes five, four-day in-person workshops focused on personal and professional development.

Santos, 24, graduated cum laude from Southern where he was very involved with the campus theater program. He is the founder of the Crescent Players of Color, a coalition of current students and alumni of color dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion. He also was a managing intern/casting associate with the Elm Shakespeare Company — Southern’s theater in residence. As a student, he won several awards, including the 2019 Arts Impact Award at the national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Michael Barker, managing director at the Westport Country Playhouse, notes the fellowship is a win-win: “Jacob brings a new perspective to the Playhouse’s managerial work,” says Barker. “His judgement and knowledge are beyond his years, and as a recent college graduate his fresh perspective has already made us question assumptions and will lead to thoughtful analysis of our current practices.”

The Newman’s Own Foundation, an independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, has been offering the fellowship since 2015.

Public utilities management is a field with an abundance of well-paying jobs and a soon-to-be-crucial deficit of managerial and technological staff. Utilities are major employers in Connecticut and nationwide; they provide approximately 10 percent of all job opportunities in the state, or about 5,000 workers, according to the Department of Labor. Of that percentage, nearly one-third of the workforce are eligible to retire within five years. The departments facing the most pressing hiring needs in the public utility field include field operations, employee relations, information technology, purchasing, customer service, and finance and quality assurance. The average salaries range between $55,600 and $75,833.

Southern is one of just a few colleges in the United States equipped to prepare the next generation of industry leadership. The university has created a pathway for students to receive the education necessary to fill these projected openings: a specialization in public utilities management within the Bachelor of Science degree program in business administration. A substantial amount of scholarship money is available to students who enroll in Southern’s new program: annually renewable scholarships of $4,000 per year will be available for full-time students and $2,000 for part-time students, thanks to support from the Regional Water Authority (RWA) and Avangrid, a leading sustainable energy company. Students may also transfer to Southern’s program after earning a certificate or associate degree in public utilities management at nearby Gateway Community College.

The pathway was developed in close consultation with many of the state’s utilities including the RWA, The Metropolitan District, United Illuminating, and Eversource. A public utility management leadership advisory group comprised of top officials in the field — such as Lori Mathieu from the Connecticut Department of Health, Betsy Gara of Connecticut Water Works Association, and David Benoit from the Connecticut Water Service — has provided the vision, advocacy, and support for the program.

“Public utilities face a potential watershed in the shortage of young people applying to take the place of our aging and retiring workforce,” said Larry Bingaman, the RWA’s president and CEO, who said the new program is a plus for all participants. “The utilities gain a pool of qualified candidates to assume management and technical positions; SCSU has a new curriculum that meets the needs of local utilities; and the students gain new career opportunities.”

The new program at Southern will include 30 credits that focus on management of public utilities, such as water, gas, electric, and wastewater. New courses in asset and infrastructure management, green energy and environmental sustainability, crisis/risk management, and workforce safety and industry regulatory codes will be part of the program.

“I know of no other bachelor’s degree program in the United States that focuses specifically on public utilities management,” said Diane VanDe Hei, executive director of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, an association of the largest publicly-owned drinking water utilities in the United States. “This unique program should fill a void in the development of future water utility leaders.”

The program will also include existing courses – such as business communications, business law, public utility/governmental accounting, and business continuity planning – which will have sections tailored to focus on elements of utilities management.

“The utilities demonstrated a serious need for this type of training because of the demographic trends and anticipated retirements,” said Ellen Durnin, dean of the SCSU School of Business. “At Southern, one of our commitments is to meet the needs of the state workforce – this is exactly the type of program that will accomplish that goal.”

Read more about Southern’s public utilities management program.

For further information, contact the program coordinator:
Dr. Gregory Robbins
Associate Professor of Management
Southern Connecticut State University
School of Business
(203) 392-5865
robbinsg2@southernct.edu

The sky’s the limit for Gabriel Geist, ’17, and Jack Dowe, ’17, co-founders of FlyReal, a full-service drone marketing and consulting company.

The FlyReal team includes [from left] two alumni of Southern’s School of Business — Gabriel Geist,’17, and Jack Dowe, ’17 — and fellow partners Justin Kegley and José Alvarez de Lugo [missing from photo].

You know your college business course is a standout when it inspires you to launch an actual business. So it was for Jack Dowe, ’17, and Gabriel Geist, ’17, who on April 12, 2017, exited Management 450 — Business Policy and Strategy — and headed to a study room in Buley Library to incorporate their new company.

“How’s that for a founders’ story?” asks Dowe of the resulting enterprise — FlyReal, a marketing and consulting company that specializes in drone video and photography. Based in New Haven, the company works primarily with the real estate industry, but has expanded into general marketing. Soon after taking to the skies, the FlyReal team has completed projects in 12 states for clients that include the KeyBank Foundation and commercial real estate leaders Marcus and Millichap, Cushman and Wakefield, Northside Development, and the NNN Pro Group. “The biggest kick for me is that we are helping to define an entire industry,” says Dowe.

A partnership forms
The FlyReal story began in a classroom — a Saturday session of the aforementioned Management 450, taught by Linda Ferraro, assistant professor of management. All business majors are required to complete the capstone course, which challenges teams of students to “run” a simulated business — a sensor company with about $100 million in initial hypothetical sales. Working online and in the classroom, each team draws on everything learned in previous business courses: accounting, economics, management, marketing, and more to operate their “sensor company” as successfully as possible.

The business-strategy simulation — called Capstone™ — is fittingly challenging. It was originally developed by Capsim for corporate management training, used by companies like Microsoft, General Electric, PwC, and Samsung. “It’s used in quite a few MBA programs,” says Ferraro. “It definitely requires students to up their game.”

Dowe and Geist were placed on the same Management 450 team. The senior business majors hadn’t previously met but had a lot in common — specifically a commitment to their studies. Dowe transferred to Southern from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he received a scholarship after graduating summa cum laude from Hamden Hall Country Day School. It had seemed a dream scenario. But the fit wasn’t right, and he made the difficult decision to leave for New Haven.

At Southern, everything fell into place. Dowe was named one of eight School of Business Ambassadors — a leadership-development program — and was invited to Tokyo, Japan, to explore international business through a program led by alumnus Austin Auger, ’78. Dowe ultimately graduated summa cum laude.

Gabriel Geist was a transfer student as well, enrolling at Southern after taking classes at Middlesex Community College. He also studied abroad, spending a semester at the highly regarded EDHEC Business School in Lille, France. As a Southern student, he tutored classmates at the Academic Success Center, completed two tax internships, and served as treasurer of SUMA Marketing (Southern’s chapter of the American Marketing Association) as well as the Accounting Society. He also worked part-time as a ballroom dance instructor —managing his busy schedule and graduating cum laude.

The two dedicated students took Management 450 in their final semester — and they gave it 110 percent. They each worked near the New Haven green, and would sometimes meet for lunch to discuss the project. One day, Geist shared an idea he’d had while studying abroad in France: a drone marketing company.

“The most important thing I learned in Management 450 was to view my learning outside of the context of the classroom,” says Gabriel Geist, ’17, (right) with Jack Dowe, ’17, (center) and Justin Kegley.

Dowe was intrigued and the student teammates soon became real-life business partners. They found an initial investor, purchased the required equipment, and within months FlyReal was open for business.

“The most important thing I learned in Management 450 was to view my learning outside of the context of the classroom,” notes Geist. “I give credit to Linda Ferraro and her discussion-based learning style for our success in developing our business idea.”

Their former professor is thrilled but not surprised to learn about FlyReal. Dowe and Geist did well in the class, ending the business simulation with more than $400 million in hypothetical sales over eight simulated years — a 300 percent increase. “Both are extremely intelligent and exceedingly professional,” she says. “Jack [Dowe] has the ability to unite people around a common purpose. He has great energy and enthusiasm — and a level of curiosity that inspires him to ask questions without fear,” says Ferraro.

Her opinion of Geist is equally telling. “Gabe is extremely thoughtful and analytical. He integrates information so well and is also curious, but in a less extroverted way.” They are, she notes, a good team.

Which leads us to today. Challenges remain — including balancing the demands of holding traditional corporate positions while running their own business. Dowe is a multi-family analyst at M&T Realty Capital Corporation and Geist is an international tax associate with RSM US, where he previously interned.

They are also entrepreneurs. As managing partners at FlyReal, they work alongside partners José Alvarez de Lugo, director of business development, and Justin Kegley, creative director, who pilots the drones.

Dowe and Geist say the opportunity for future success is their ultimate inspiration. They hope to expand FlyReal’s focus and work with hotels, resorts, golf courses, and more. They also would like to segue into industrial applications such as mapping, zoning, and surveying.

“Right now, drones are largely for hobbyists,” says Dowe. “But in 10 years, every industry is going to have an application for a drone.” He pauses, then asks a hypothetical question: “When that time comes, who is going to have a platform of FAA- [Federal Aviation Administration] certified, experienced drone operators — one that is large enough to meet that huge need? There will be very few. And if you can be one of the top 10, you’re all set.”