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School of Business

The impact COVID-19 has had on the economy is undeniable, a fact that can be particularly troublesome to recent college graduates. Because of the unique challenges facing those entering the workforce, the School of Business created a Graduate Virtual Toolkit to address the needs of their newest alums.

The idea for this special offer for graduates came from a conversation in late May with the Business Advisory Council, a group of dedicated industry leaders who advise Dr. Ellen Durnin, Dean of the School of Business, offering their expertise, resources, and ideas to benefit Southern Business students.

BAC members said students needed opportunities to expand and strengthen their networks and connections, and many offered to have one-on-one conversations with graduates themselves. They suggested offering special trainings to make students more marketable and giving graduates the chance to use this unexpected time of transition to add new skills to their resumes.

The Business Success Center at the School of Business took these ideas and offers of support and quickly pulled together a comprehensive toolkit to send to graduates that included professional job search support, one-on-one conversations with BAC members, special courses from faculty members, a two-part training course on personal marketing through virtual calls and video, curated content from various online sources, a free one year membership to PULSE, the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce young professional group, and access to a School of Business class of 2020 LinkedIn group.

In addition to all these offerings, the Business Success Center is still working with students and graduates on resume and cover letter writing, internships and job search support, and mock interviews. Students and graduates have access to Handshake and Big Interview, two online platforms that provide additional resources in these areas.

Durnin says, “In the School of Business, our focus is on preparing the next generation of leaders in the business community.  Our BAC encouraged us to create this virtual toolkit, which will allow students to succeed in the job market.  I thank our BAC for their vision, and I look forward to hearing from our graduates about how the Toolkit helped them and how we can continue to refine it.”

Recent management graduate Jenna Zakala, ’20, says, “The School of Business Virtual Toolkit has truly been a hidden gem for me, opening up many doors and opportunities during these uncertain times.”

If you are a recent School of Business graduate or a rising senior and would like to hear more about the Graduate Virtual Toolkit, please contact Amy Grotzke at grotzkea1@southernct.edu or Patty Conte at contep2@southernct.edu.

 

In a time when many organizations are cancelling summer internships due to COVID-19, Cetera Investors has hired seven School of Business students for their summer internship program: Japheth Allen, Esosa Enagbare, Naseem Foster, Troy Gallipoli, Daniel Noce, Mariam Noorzad, and Eddie Schwartz.

Internships are an important indicator of future success, and Patty Conte, Internship Coordinator for the Business Success Center, continues to be committed to helping students find quality internships and businesses find bright, hard-working interns.

Conte says, “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 proud of the partnership the School of Business has had with Cetera Investors and are excited that these seven students are able to take advantage of this critical experiential learning opportunity. Cetera and Jason Phillips, VP and North Haven Branch Manager, have consistently provided excellent internships for our School of Business students. Jason and his team focus not only on the day-to-day experience of what a financial advisor might do, but they also focus on student self-growth.”

The Cetera Investors Internship program allows students to build practical knowledge of financial services concepts including financial planning strategies, client engagement skills, and presentation skills. It also allows students to experience the culture and mission of Cetera Investors in a very practical manner.

Jason Phillips says, “I am very excited to have a number of students from Southern participate in our Virtual Summer Internship Program! Circumstances dictated a shift from our normal shoulder to shoulder experiential learning program and the students from Southern have adapted quickly! Southern Connecticut State University is an important strategic partner to Cetera Investors for sourcing both entry level candidates for our internship and adviser training program as well as more experienced people from its extensive alumni network.”

Business students who would like support in their job or internship searches or would like resume, cover letter, or mock interview help, contact Patty Conte at contep2@southernct.edu.

 

 

Grant helps Southern prepare tomorrow’s workforce while supporting the community.

The Business Success Center at SCSU
The grant from Wells Fargo supports the School of Business Success Center. Pictured from left are: Patty Conte, internship coordinator; business administration major Kiersten Snyder, '20; business administration major Paulina Lamot, '20; Kevin Burke, Wells Fargo; Ellen Durnin, dean of School of Business; Amy Grotzke, program coordinator; and Sue Rapini, director of external relations

A $40,000 grant from Wells Fargo will significantly enhance initiatives offered through the Business Success Center at Southern Connecticut State University’s School of Business — providing students with the “soft skills” most valued by hiring professionals. Soft skills, which encompass everything from time management to conflict resolution, are in high demand as revealed by a slew of business studies. For example, 91 percent of hiring managers agree that finding candidates with strong soft skills is increasingly important, according to LinkedIn, which also designated soft skills as the top business trend last year.

“The School of Business Success Center (BSC) was established based upon feedback from employers about the skills sets they were looking for in new hires. Employers report that college graduates are generally well-prepared academically, but lack the soft skills that are necessary to succeed,” says Ellen Durnin, dean of the School of Business.

The BSC provides a wide range of professional-development programming and services to students and alumni. These include paid-internship placements, resume and interview preparation, and professional-development workshops and seminars. The latter are offered in a range of topics, including networking basics, managing your social media presence, and business communication.

The Wells Fargo grant will fund expanded services at the BSC, including face-to-face mentoring and mock interviewing. It will also provide software platforms so students can film virtual interviews and receive feedback.

Students in SCSU Accounting class, School of Business
Students attending an accounting class in the School of Business.

The grant was awarded in conjunction with Southern’s Day of Caring, which took place on April 22. The School of Business designated the BSC as a key priority during the Day of Caring campaign. The Wells Fargo grant, along with gifts from alumni, faculty and staff, and friends provided vital funding.

“I am very grateful for this support for our students, which will be directed to offering them paid internships at New Haven-area nonprofits,” says Durnin. Click here to see a video about a business major interning with Marrakech, a New Haven-based nonprofit organization.

The Wells Fargo Foundation cites financial health as a primary philanthropic focus, notes Kevin Burke, a senior vice president and market executive for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking in Connecticut and the New York Capital Region.

Burke is also a member of the School of Business Advisory Council. “In my experience one of the best ways to ensure financial health is through education,” he says. “As the economy has evolved, the importance of a college education has become even more critical. Dean Durnin was passionate about the need for the Business Success Center and we at Wells Fargo are proud to contribute in a small way to the success of Southern’s business students.”

Like many in Connecticut, the Burke family has a personal connection to Southern. Burke’s wife, Margaret, is a Southern alumna from the Class of 2002. She had earned an associate’s degree immediately after high school. After raising two daughters, she returned to college at Southern and earned a bachelor’s degree.

Durnin adds that the center and, indeed, the School of Business in its entirety have a particularly strong partnership with the regional corporate community. “More than 85 percent of our graduates live, work, pay taxes, and serve their communities in the state of Connecticut,” she says.

She also emphasizes the need for the support to Southern students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

“In these challenging times, our students and area nonprofits need our support more than ever as they prepare for their careers and help those in the community who need it most,” says Durnin.

Left to right: Melissa L. Sanchez, Anna Rivera-Alfaro, Ling Liu, Carol Held, Kacie Velasquez, John Perry, Kiersten Snyder, Justin Paolillo, Paulina Lamot, Sameed Iqbal, Dr. Frank Bevvino

Southern Connecticut State University is hosting its annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program every Wednesday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the School of Business Trading Room (SB 005), through April 8, 2020. There will be no program on March 18, due to spring break. The program began on February 26.

The VITA program offers free tax support to people who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited-English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. For qualified individuals, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing.

Here at Southern, many of those certified tax preparers are accounting students, making the program mutually beneficial to both qualified individuals in need of tax assistance and the students who are preparing the tax returns.

Dr. Frank Bevvino, the accounting professor on campus who oversees the Southern VITA program, says “The program is beneficial to the students in two ways; it benefits students in the School of Business, especially the Accounting Program, providing the student with not only ‘hands on’ experience in preparing actual tax returns for individuals, but more importantly the experience of interaction with taxpayers directly.”

He added, “In the classroom, when taking a tax course, the tax returns are prepared with facts provided to students and there is not interaction with a person. Additionally, the VITA Program allows the student the opportunity to prepare tax returns on tax software provided by the Internal Revenue Service.”

All of the volunteers who wish to participate in the program are required to take and pass three different exams through the IRS, and the 10 SCSU students who are involved in the program this year are enrolled in a competitive three-credit Income Tax Administration Practicum (ACC 352).

“The exams are given online at the IRS website and includes areas of ethics in handling personal tax information, procedures in conducting an interview with taxpayers, and an understanding of basic individual income tax law,” said Bevvino.

He points out that these are important life skills for everyone to have.

Paulina Lamot, ’20, is going into her third year as a VITA volunteer, saying “I think it is a phenomenal opportunity for students to get an idea of what it is like to prepare real tax returns and work with actual taxpayers, and to apply what we learned in ACC 350 (Federal Income Taxation) in real-life scenarios. I would highly recommend participating in the VITA program to any student interested in Tax. Dr. Frank Bevvino and [SCSU Accounts Payable Coordinator] Anna Rivera-Alfaro are very supportive and work beside you in case you run into any hiccups.”

Since the program is open to anyone who generally earns less than $56,000 per year, students have the benefit of getting their taxes done for free. In 2019 the SCSU VITA volunteers processed 50 tax returns.

For more information about the program or to make an appointment, contact Debby Amendola at amendolad1@southernct.edu or Dr. Frank Bevvino at bevvinof1@southernct.edu.

Appointments are encouraged, but not required.

Students tour RWA’s Control Room. Jacob Lessne; Eddie Ramirez; Bryan McLean, Operations Team Lead; John Santos; Karl-Marx Delphonse

South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) hosted a tour for Southern Connecticut State University School of Business students on January 17 at its 90 Sargent Drive location.

RWA has partnered with SCSU to create a unique Public Utilities Management Program to address the fact that the nature of public utility operations is rapidly changing in the New England region. The industry faces the common challenges of an aging workforce, looming retirements, aging infrastructure, additional regulations, and heightened financial burdens, and Connecticut’s utility companies are seeking skilled managerial and technical workers.

The Public Utilities Management Program is designed to align with career tracks in water, wastewater, gas and electric utility management. Coursework and internships will enable students to gain theoretical and practical hands-on knowledge important for working in public utilities.

A group of interested students from a variety of Business Administration concentrations, including management, finance, and marketing joined RWA employee Jim Hill, operations special projects manager, and Paul Ruggiero, Regional Water Authority police captain, on a tour that introduced students to the Control Room, which is the heart of the vast RWA operations; the Water Quality Department, where students learned how the RWA ensures our drinking water is consistently safe; and the Finance Department, where students heard about how rates are designated and how financial planning is utilized to fund the vast expense of maintaining the infrastructure of the water treatment and delivery.

Students also visited the largest water treatment facility in the Regional Water Authority’s network, Lake Gaillard in North Branford. This station supplies an average of 32 million gallons of water daily, representing approximately 60 percent of the average number of gallons that RWA pumps daily, and has a total capacity of 80 million gallons per day. Students also got to see Lake Gaillard up close, thanks to the access road that surrounds the lake and is a whopping seven miles long.

“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, president and CEO of the RWA. “It is this challenge that led to our unique partnership creating the Public Utility Management Degree programs at SCSU and Gateway Community College. Their success will allow the RWA and other utilities to continue delivering our life-sustaining products and services for generations to come.”

The SCSU School of Business understands the importance of both bringing members of the business community to campus to talk with students, and exposing students to the day-to-day operations of the local employers. Immersive experiences complement the rigorous classroom curriculum offered at SCSU, and provide students with the well-rounded understanding that makes them some of the most sought-after employees in our region.

There will be an informational session and lunch on the SCSU Public Utilities Management program on February 26, 2020, at 1 pm at the School of Business. To learn more about the program, or to RSVP for the info session, contact Amy Grotzke at grotzkea1@southernct.edu.

Left to right: Nicole Fry, ‘16; Eliza Tobaka, ‘17; School of Business Dean Ellen Durnin; Larry Selnick; Deepta Ramesh, ‘15; Tom Dzierlatka, ‘15; and Brandon Lyn, ‘19

Nearly six years ago Webster bank hired its first Southern Connecticut State University School of Business intern and kicked off an exclusive relationship that has seen 100 percent placement of each of the five interns who have gone through the Corporate Treasury Management Program.

Larry Selnick, CTP, SVP, Director of Treasury and Payment Solutions Sales Webster Bank, and SCSU School of Business Advisory Council member, proposed the paid intern program through SCSU because of its treasury management course work. “The Essentials of Treasury Management course is offered in partnership with the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) to provide the same body of knowledge used by AFP to deliver the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation training and certification testing,” Selnick said at the inception of the internship program.

The program prepares students to sit for the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) examination to earn the Certified Treasury Professional Associate (CTPA) credential. Students with their CTPA credential are eligible to earn the CTP designation after two years of full-time finance-related work experience.

The School of Business partnership with Webster Bank provides students with financial assistance for course materials and the CTP exam, and gives students the unparalleled experience of working in the financial sector as a paid intern.

The strength of the Webster and Southern relationship can be seen in the successes of the interns, all of whom have been offered full-time jobs upon graduation and have continued to be key players in the Webster Bank organization.

Selnick says, “The Webster SCSU Internship program has been very successful for Webster. Webster has hired each intern to-date after a successful rotation in the Treasury and Payment Solutions team program. The selection process was very deliberate, and with great support from the School of Business team. The candidates presented were prepared, not just with updated resumes and practiced interview skills but also a sense of the importance to understand an organization’s Mission and Vision and how Webster supports the communities we serve. These interns have found roles in Finance, Audit, Credit, MIS and, of course, Treasury Management.”

He continues, “This speaks to the capability and preparedness of the students who graduate from the SCSU School of Business, which focuses on developing students within the ‘Change for Good’ mission statement and its emphasis on Impact, Engagement and Innovation. On a personal note, I have the pleasure to relate to each SCSU Webster intern alumni via LinkedIn and at the office. I learn from them every day!”

Dr. Ellen Durnin, dean of the SCSU School of Business, sums up the relationship by saying, “Our mission is to prepare students for the world of work and to meet the employment needs of regional organizations. Our partnership with Webster Bank provides our students with valuable professional experience, and we have been able to deliver high-quality permanent employees to Webster at the end of the internship periods. This continues to be a win-win collaboration.”

To hear more about SCSU School of Business internship opportunities, contact Patty Conte at the Business Success Center at ConteP2@SouthernCT.edu.

 

Ellen Durnin, dean of Southern Connecticut State University School of Business, is pleased to welcome Lindy Lee Gold and Lakisha Jordan 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.”

Lindy Lee Gold has worked for the State of Connecticut since 1998. She is currently a senior specialist in the Department of Economic and Community Development, where she is responsible for business retention, recruitment, and expansion.

Prior to joining the state office, Gold was director of development and community relations for the Connecticut office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her professional background also includes work in the travel and investment industries, as well as devoting efforts to directing and coordinating development and renovation of low-and-middle-income housing.

Gold’s civic accomplishments are expansive and include serving two terms on the New Haven Board of Alderman for the 26th Ward, where she chaired the Legislation Committee and served on the Finance Committee. Her current leadership roles include serving as board chair of the Gateway Community College Foundation since 2009, as a Fellow at Yale’s Pierson College, Vice-President of the Jewish Federation Association of CT, and as a member of the Executive Board of the Shubert Performing Arts center since 1997.

Additionally, she serves on the state board of the Anti-Defamation League; and on the boards of the United Way of Greater New Haven, The Community Action Agency, New Haven Arts Council, Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, Housatonic Community College Foundation, Southern CT State University Foundation, JobLinks Fairfield County, CT Technical High Schools, New Haven Manufacturers Association, and the Women’s Business Development Center.

In the past, Gold has served on the New Haven Board of Education, where her volunteer work included being vice chair of the Intergroup Relations Taskforce; and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, where she was president and chair of community relations. She also was founder and the first female president of Fellowship Inc, and Cornerstone Inc., and is past president of the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven.

Gold is a friend to Southern, where she serves as the chair of the SCSU Development Committee, is a member of the SCSU Governance Committee, and is the generous funder of the SCSU School of Business Women’s Leadership Program.

She resides in New Haven and has one son and one grandson.

LaKisha Jordan serves as the Corporate Responsibility Officer for KeyBank’s Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Hudson Valley markets, where she oversees a broad community engagement strategy, which includes Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) compliance and execution of KeyBank’s $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan. In her role, she works in close partnership with local KeyBank leadership and community organizations on critical community issues impacting the respective markets.

Jordan has more than eighteen years of experience in financial services and banking. She joined KeyBank in 2016 as a relationship officer for the Commercial Banking team. Prior to KeyBank, Jordan spent nine years at Bank of America in various roles in Commercial Banking.

An active community volunteer, Jordan has served as a mentor and currently sits on the board of directors for Phenomenal I Am, a nonprofit in New Haven that provides mentorships and empowerment enrichment workshops to at-risk female teens. She also serves as the assistant program coordinator for KeyBank’s mentoring program, a partnership with the New Haven Public Schools that pairs students starting in their freshman year of high school with a mentor at the Bank. Additionally, she serves on the KeyBank Servicing Company Board of Directors, the Community Economic Development Fund Foundation Board of Directors, and Gateway Community College Foundation Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Corporate Leadership Circle of the State of Connecticut’s Council for Women and Girls, the Hartford Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Advisory Committee, and recently joined Southern Connecticut State University’s Business Advisory Council.

Jordan is a member of several social and professional organizations, volunteering her time to various initiatives including Susan G. Komen Foundation and Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. She was named as one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut” for 2018 by the State Conference of NAACP Branches.

Jordan is a proud Southern alumna, holding a Master’s in Business Administration and a bachelor of science from the university, with concentrations in psychology, sociology, and public health.  Jordan resides in Hamden with her husband and three children.

Economics professors Samuel Andoh (left) and James Thorson

Samuel Andoh, MBA program director and professor of economics, and James Thorson, professor and chair of economics, will be presenting their research titled “Female Entrepreneurs in Africa: Ethiopia, Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Ghana” at the 2019 Association of Global South Studies Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 12 – 15, 2019.

Andoh and Thorson’s research seeks to understand whether women are more or less likely to apply for credit compared to men, and what factors explain the disparity, as well as whether women entrepreneurs use less leverage than men, and finally, whether women entrepreneurs are risk-averse. The answers to these questions could provide insights on how policy makers can work to include women in the rapid economic growth which countries such as Ethiopia and Ghana are currently experiencing.

As director of Southern’s MBA program, Andoh hopes not only to conference with colleagues and share his research in Argentina, but also to meet with anyone curious about the MBA opportunities at SCSU.

To highlight the strength of the SCSU School of Business MBA program, and the high quality of the students in the program, Andoh points to two recent graduates.

Teresa Rivera, a mother of three, enrolled in the MBA program while still nursing a baby. She defied the odds to complete the MBA, took the Treasury Management course, which proved to be her ticket to an executive position at Hartford Healthcare, where she works as a senior treasury analyst.

Eliza Tabaka, a mother of two young children, worked as a translator and as a Graduate Assistant in the School of Business while she pursued an intense Accelerated MBA. After passing the Treasury Management course, Tabaka was one of two students selected to join Webster Bank’s competitive internship program, and was subsequently hired by Webster Bank, where she is currently employed.

If you are interested in joining the ranks of successful Southern MBA grads, or hearing more about either the traditional MBA path or the accelerated MBA format, which allows students to complete their MBA degree in just 18 months with combined Saturday and online courses, please contact Dr. Sam Andoh at AndohS1@SouthernCT.edu. He is available to schedule meetings December 12 to 16 at Hotel UOM Buenos Aires.

The School of Business inducted the nineteen newest members of Delta Mu Delta honor society on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at Amarante’s Sea Cliff.

The students and their families were joined by Professors Jim Aselta and Dr. Wafeek Abdelsayed, who serve as the faculty advisers to Delta Mu Delta and who organized the ceremony, and Dr. Ellen Durnin, dean of the School of Business.

Each year the Southern School of Business Zeta Nu chapter of Delta Mu Delta recognizes an honorary inductee, someone who represents the ideals of Delta Mu Delta and who is a friend to the School of Business. This year’s honoree is Lindy Lee Gold.

Gold has been an active and invaluable asset to every organization and community in which she involves herself. She is known for her enthusiasm, her dedication, and her willingness to step up to help. She participates not only as a donor, but takes time from her busy professional and civic schedule to get personally involved in causes and organizations that are important to her. The SCSU School of Business, and especially the Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Program, are fortunate to be among them.

Gold, well-known in the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development, serves as a senior development specialist, a position she had held since 1998. Lindy is responsible for business retention, recruitment, development and expansion.

Paulina Lamot, Delta Mu Delta President; Kacie Velasquez, Vice President; Lindy Lee Gold, Honorary Inductee; Kiersten Snyder, Secretary; Kyle Tuttle, Treasurer

Prior to joining the state office, Gold was director of development and community relations for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Connecticut State Office. Her professional background also includes work in the travel and investment industries, as well as devoting efforts to directing and coordinating development and renovation of low- and middle-income housing.

Gold’s civic accomplishments are vast, including service on the Gateway Community College Foundation. She also serves on the state board of the Anti-Defamation League; as an associate fellow at Yale’s Pierson College; and on the boards of the Arts Council, the United Way of Greater New Haven and the Jewish Foundation. Additionally, Lindy serves on the Cultural Affairs Commission City of New Haven; Southern Connecticut State University Foundation Board of Directors; the Housatonic Community College Foundation Board of Directors; and Connecticut Health Investigative Team (C-HIT) board.

Congratulations to the 2019 SCSU Delta Mu Delta inductees: Elise Abu-Sitteh, Christianne M. Accurso, Sage Marie Albino, Katia Dutra Astudillo, Alexandra Grace Bucci, Julie Ann Delucia, Esosa Osaro Enagbare, Rudolfo Hernandez-Velaquez, Andrea Gudino, Satchel Christopher Harrell, Justin Paolillo, Alejandro Jaime Quijada, Gabriela Maria Rodriguez, Eldi Shahini, Kari Ann Swanson, Michaela Hart Tiani, Kyle Raymond Tuttle, Katherine Wojcik, and Alexis Marie Young.