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School of Business

a young woman working on a laptop receives advice from a male mentor in a workplace

Last spring the School of Business kicked off IMPACT Greater New Haven, an innovative new internship program that pairs business students with local nonprofit organizations. This paid, for-credit internship program provides training and opportunities for students to develop professional skills and an appreciation for the importance of community engagement.

The Greater New Haven region is rich in culture and has a strong nonprofit base that works tirelessly to enrich the lives of its residents. Southern students have a strong commitment to giving back and are hungry for experiences to learn from local organizations.

Nonprofits rarely have the resources to offer paid internships and since Southern students work an average of 27 hours per week, they are often unable to fit unpaid internships into their schedules. IMPACT Greater New Haven program provides payment to these interns through the generosity of donors, which allows our students to learn in a real-world setting while giving back to the community at no cost to the nonprofit organization.

Students are placed in a 150-hour internship at a local nonprofit organization. This affords the students real-world business experience as they develop an appreciation for the important work done by nonprofits.

Current economics senior Maxwell Gaulin says about his current internship with the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce (GNHCC), “This internship has been a great opportunity to supplement my education at SCSU with real-world experience. I have gotten to see the economy that I have always been a part of from a different angle, which is invaluable. Through hands-on mentorship, I have been able to reach out to businesses in the area and see the challenges they are facing and help them overcome them.”

Maxwell Gaulin
Maxwell Gaulin

Anne Benowitz, Director of Economic Development at GNHCC says, “The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce and our Economic Development Initiative has had a fantastic experience with our SCSU Interns. The program is a huge benefit to the business community and a great way for students to get real life experience. SCSU’s Business School has provided two fantastic interns this semester and they have been engaging our business community, helping to understand each organization’s needs and bringing resources to support growth in the Region. Maxwell brings a great deal of knowledge, speed and professionalism to our efforts and has been a pleasure to have aboard. We love having SCSU students learn about economic development and how it intersects with so many different types of businesses.”

Diana Alcazar, a junior marketing student, says “Through the SCSU Business Success Center I have been given the opportunity to intern at Cornell Scott Hill Health Center. This has helped me apply the tools and skills learned in class to a ‘real world’ scenario. Working with Mrs. Esdaile-Bragg in the CSHHC Marketing Department has shown me how intricately the department is run. Her team is full of wonderful women who truly excel at what they do. I am so grateful to have chosen such a great school that has provided me with amazing opportunities!”

Diana Alcazar
Diana Alcazar

And Carlah Esdaile-Bragg, ‘81, director of marketing and community relations at Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, says, “Working with Diana has been an amazing experience for us. I am so very impressed with her and my staff feel the same way. We have given her assignments each week of increasing significance and skill. She has written and recorded a radio commercial and successfully updated a complex advertisement schedule among other duties. She has done exceptionally well. As a result, I have recommended her for an employment opportunity upon graduation.”

Business students or local nonprofit organizations interested in hearing more about the IMPACT Greater New Haven internship program can contact Patty Conte at contep2@southernct.edu.

Dr. Samuel Andoh

Dr. Samuel Andoh, professor of economics, has been appointed as the next AP Macroeconomics Chief Reader for the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program. The position, known colloquially known as the Chief Reader, is responsible for overseeing the scoring of over 145,000 AP Macroeconomics exams at the annual AP Reading. Chief Readers are college faculty and considered experts in their field. Andoh has been involved with the AP Reading for 14 years and has served in Reading leadership positions for 8 years.

James Thorson, chair of the Economics Department, said “Dr. Samuel Andoh has served for years in the AP economics program. His promotion to Chief Reader is the result of his tireless devotion to improving the learning experience of our students. It is a real honor that the AP program has recognized his outstanding work in this area. His appointment brings great honor to the department, school and university.”

Andoh began his term as Chief Reader in July and he will serve in this vital role through June 2024.
The AP Program enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies – with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both – while still in high school. In 2020, over 2.6 million students took more than 4.7 million AP exams.

Held each June, the AP Reading brings together AP teachers and college faculty members from around the world to evaluate and score the free-response sections of the AP Exams. It is a unique forum in which an academic dialogue between educators is both fostered and encouraged. Andoh is one of just 32 Chief Readers, who are responsible for directing scoring activities for over 18,000 AP Readers across 38 different subjects.

During the Reading, Andoh will oversee more than 170 readers as they score student responses from the AP Macroeconomics exam, ensuring students receive fair and valid scores. Students’ scores on this exam help to determine credit and placement into college courses in economics on close to 2,300 college campuses each fall. Additionally, as Chief Reader, Andoh will serve in a leadership capacity on his subject’s Development Committee, where new tasks and questions are developed for future exams.

The AP Program has expressed its gratitude for the immeasurable ways Andoh, and Southern Connecticut State University, have positively impacted the lives of so many students, teachers, and college faculty over his years of service with AP.

James Thorson

As School of Business Dean Ellen Durnin has recently announced her impending retirement, Dr. James Thorson, chairman of the Department of Economics, has accepted the position as interim dean for the School of Business.

Thorson, who has been at Southern since 1992, knows the institution well and brings an excellent mix of skills and experience to the role.

In addition to serving as chair of the Department of Economics (his second round in this role, his first from 2009-2015), Thorson served as interim director of the MBA program, and has been chair and vice chair of the Graduate Council.

He has an array of publications and presentations ranging from works on overpaid baseball players to lawyers’ salaries to hedge fund returns.

Thorson will start his role as interim dean on January 1, 2021, concomitant with Dean Durnin’s official (semi)retirement. Durnin will continue to work with the School of Business through the spring 2021 semester in focused roles on accreditation and fund raising.

Durnin said, “I am pleased that Dr. James Thorson has accepted the position as the Interim Dean of the School of Business. Jim is a long-time colleague who will ensure that the School is successful while the university searches for a permanent dean. He has the respect of his colleagues, and has served as a department chair and an interim MBA director.  He will do a fine job in this role.”

School of Business Dean Ellen Durnin

After 10 years at the helm of the SCSU School of Business, Dean Ellen Durnin has announced that she will retire effective January 1, 2021.  Over the past decade, Durnin has led the School’s move into a fully renovated and vastly improved building, and the School now awaits the groundbreaking for a new net-zero facility.

During her tenure, Durnin has been responsible for recruiting 65 percent of the current faculty and has brought the school to the verge of AACSB accreditation, with a mock visit scheduled for fall 2021. She gathered corporate leaders to form the School’s Business Advisory Council, has been pivotal in ensuring a strong and modern curriculum, and was the stimulus in developing the Women’s Leadership Program.

Durnin’s work with the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, strong ties with the business community, external fund raising success, and creation of the Business Success Center are a few of the many efforts that have strengthened the standing and competitive stature of the School of Business. Both as dean and during her stint as Interim Provost, Durnin has brought her business savvy approach to the fore, along with a student-centered passion for ensuring high quality programs that provide excellent career opportunities for business graduates.

Provost Robert Prezant said, “I thank Dean Durnin for her remarkable work ethic, insight, and dedication.  Personally, I thank her for sharing her time and guidance upon my arrival at Southern. During her tenure, she has clearly had a transformational effect on our institution and has built a wonderful legacy.”

Details about School leadership for the spring semester and a search for a full-time replacement for Durnin will be forthcoming.

Durnin said, “I am proud to have served as Dean of the School of Business for the past decade. With the support of the university, my colleagues in the School and I have been able to grow programs and enrollments, hire new faculty and staff, move toward the final steps of initial AACSB accreditation, build strong relationships with the business community and engage in significant fundraising. The future of the School of Business is indeed bright, and I wish my colleagues the best.”

The Southern Connecticut State University School of Business is pleased to announce a partnership with Get Virtual, a program that gives local businesses affected by COVID-19 the tools to adapt to the virtual landscape and extend their businesses online. As the east coast anchor of Get Virtual, the School of Business will pair local businesses seeking help with college students seeking experience.

Organizations have been facing a changing business landscape for several years, and the current global pandemic has intensified these changes. Disruptions in the workplace, technological changes, global effects, and social unrest have businesses and consumers interacting differently, and traditional business models no longer fit the landscape.

Founded by SCSU School of Business alum and former Tesla president, Toby Corey, ‘83, Get Virtual is a curriculum program that is free to businesses and provides course credits and internships to participating students. Get Virtual inspires entrepreneurship through web development, ecommerce, and online marketing to support local businesses in the critical transition to the online marketplace.

The connections students and businesses make by participating in Get Virtual go beyond the scope of the curriculum. Students have the opportunity to hear about and learn from business professionals while giving back to their local community and gaining practical, real-world experience. Businesses have the opportunity to provide high-quality internships, which are a powerful recruiting tool. Southern students make great interns. They are known for their drive, working an average of 27 hours a week in addition to their school and personal commitments, and are a great investment, as 85 percent of Southern students stay in Connecticut after graduation.

On October 6, Corey joined School of Business Dean, Dr. Ellen Durnin, and Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garrett Sheehan for a panel discussion titled, “The Power to Pivot – Harnessing the Virtual Landscape to Maximize Business Success.” The panelists talked about how businesses can adjust and reinvent their organizations given this new landscape and discussed critical tools and resources available to help pivot and rebound to protect organizations and employees, and attendees had the opportunity to learn how they can partner with the School of Business and Get Virtual to adapt to the virtual landscape and extend their businesses online.

Corey says, “Businesses need to be where their customers are, and customers are online.” Adding, the goal is to “teach businesses to fish,” by providing inexpensive, easy-to-use tools that will provide quick results to businesses who know they need to pivot, but aren’t sure where to start.

Durnin says, “We are proud to partner with SCSU School of Business alum Toby Corey, and believe that Get Virtual can help entrepreneurs pivot from a bricks-and-mortar setting to providing virtual experiences for their customers. This ability is essential in our new economy.”

Local Connecticut businesses interested learning more about Get Virtual can go to getvirtual.org, and to find out how your organization can participate in this exciting program, contact Amy Grotzke at GrotzkeA1@Southernct.edu.

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.