GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
FROM THE DEAN • ALUMNI STORIES • MAKING A DIFFERENCE • FACULTY AND RESEARCH
Staying Global in a New World
business.gmu.edu | 1
Power your career and take the next step. Chris Anderson
MBA ‘20 Systems Engineering Manager
“As a veteran of the U.S. Army, part of our job was mentoring our soldiers. I’ve had numerous discussions with fellow students about how my experiences help to shape where I am today and how those lessons learned can help others as they gain experience in their own lives. Discussions such as these embody the MBA program—it is more than just an educational experience or resume booster. Mason provides students with opportunities to learn, teach, and lead. Learning firsthand from faculty involved in industry, mixed with experiences of my classmates helped me to understand the types of decisions firms have to make, and how they affect everyone involved. “
6 master’s degrees | 8 certificates | 1 PhD program Discover which program is right for you. go.gmu.edu/masonbusgrad
FEATURES THE INFANT MORTALITY GAP __________________________ 4 THE RISK OF CHOOSING NOT TO Alumni Give Back after Hurricane Dorian _______________ 6 George Mason University School of Business
business.gmu.edu Maury Peiperl, Dean Robert Appel, Director, Marketing and Communications Christina Spring, Director, Advancement and Alumni Relations Jennifer Braun Anzaldi, Managing Editor Rachel Chasin, Copyeditor Greg Johnson, Copyeditor Morgan Davis, Designer
For more information, contact Jennifer Braun Anzaldi George Mason University School of Business 703-993-9618 email@example.com On Cover: Becky Anderson, BS Accounting ’10, in Sydney, Australia Cover Photo Credit: Briana Hanafin Photo Above: Michael Gallager, MBA ’94, in Berlin, Germany
GLOBAL RESIDENCY PROGRAM 25 Years Later ___________________________________ 8 MASON KOREA Patriots’ Global Impact in Asia _____________________ 10 A BETTER WORLD IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS ____________ 12 COMPASSION AND RESILIENCE DURING COVID-19 _______ 14 PAVING THE ROAD TO THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS UiPath’s Gift of RPA to Mason ______________________ 16
DEPARTMENTS MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN ___________________________ 2 ALUMNI STORIES __________________________________ 18 A COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT _________________________ 25 FACULTY AND RESEARCH ___________________________ 26 CAREER SERVICES _________________________________ 31 business.gmu.edu business.gmu.edu|| 1
Message from the Dean DEAN MAURY PEIPERL What, in the World? In the span of a year, our world has suffered the overwhelming effects of COVID-19, the brutal murder of George Floyd and its aftermath, and the devastating wildfires in California and Australia. We look back and long for the social interactions we previously took for granted. We look around and know there is still much work to be done to correct the racial injustice that plagues this nation and the world. We look forward and realize that the time to act on climate change is now. But at least we are looking forward again—forward to traveling; forward to change; forward to a newer, more globally inclusive future. The road to recovery is waiting for those who are prepared to lead the transformation. The George Mason University School of Business is in a unique situation to help shape our future leaders, which is why our vision embraces being a place of opportunity where business is a force for good.
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS MISSION STATEMENT
We prepare a diverse student body to succeed in a global business environment. We produce outstanding scholarship in business and work to maximize the impact of our expertise. We endeavor to instill a strong ethical compass, and a lifelong habit of learning, in our students and stakeholders.
We see developing a global mindset among our students and stakeholders as essential to having a positive impact. This becomes abundantly clear when we enumerate the kinds of problems businesses now play a role in trying to address: the food supply, inconsistent access to health care and quality education, fair employment practices, well-being at work, unfettered and efficient travel and trade routes, dependable and secure communications, artificial intelligence that works for the common good, and on the list goes. At some level, each of these is a borderless, global issue, whether or not it may be locally regulated at times. It is essential to develop expertise and foster learning for the global future, and to that end, we begin in the classroom in Virginia (p. 16); Incheon, South Korea (p. 10); and online around the world. Students engage in myriad interdisciplinary research and field work—including courses with global implications (p. 12)—and go on, for example, to solve strategic business challenges for the Peace Corps (p. 25). Our faculty are not only teaching how to solve complex challenges, but also finding innovative ways to bring their research to practice.
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS SENIOR ADMINISTRATION Maury Peiperl, Dean Anne Magro, Senior Associate Dean, Strategy and Impact and Co-Executive Director, Business for a Better World Center
Christine Landoll, Director, Business Engagement Sara Williams, Initiatives Manager Lisa Gring-Pemble, Director, Global Impact and Engagement, and Co-Executive Director Business for a Better World Center
Diane Spence, Executive Director, Finance and Administration Cheryl Druehl, Associate Dean, Faculty
Roderick Maribojoc, Executive Director, Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship Jerry McGinn, Executive Director, Center for Government Contracting
Richard Klimoski, Associate Dean, Research Patrick Soleymani, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs Paige Wolf, Associate Dean, Graduate Programs
David Miller, Executive Director, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Brett Josephson, Associate Dean, Executive Development
Their research findings often highlight systemic issues that require society’s immediate attention, such as disparities in health care (p. 27), and female board representation and corporate social responsibility (p. 28). In short, we are helping move forward the role of business and business education in creating a global future that allows humanity to flourish for generations to come. Ensuring a thriving and sustainable global future is up to each of us, and requires a broad and long-term view. Our goal is to develop interdisciplinary, forward-thinking, global citizens, who will tackle environmental, social, technological, political, and economic challenges of all kinds. School of Business students are equipped with the critical thinking and leadership skills, as well as the analytical and systems capabilities, to solve these and other issues so that future generations, too, many get what they want and deserve. The past year will be measured in many ways, specifically in higher education by academic leaders’ ability to adapt, to call upon years of training, and re-think learning outcomes. The pandemic reminded us that we need to practice what we teach: Agility is the key to survival; communication is a skill; and relationships are the building blocks to success. Business is fundamentally ingrained in everything and everywhere, and we remain steadfast in preparing leaders for its ongoing, global transformation.
Gautham Vadakkepatt, Director, Center for Retail Transformation
Nirup Menon, Associate Dean, Arlington Ventures and Area Chair, Information Systems and Operations Management
JK Aier, Area Chair, Accounting, and Director, Investor Protection and Corporate Fraud Research Center
Jackie Buchy, Senior Assistant Dean, Graduate Enrollment
Jackie Brown, Area Chair, Business Foundations
Meggan Ford, Assistant Dean Undergraduate Academic Services Kerry Willigan, Assistant Dean, Career Services
Claus Langfred, Area Chair Management Saurabh Mishra, Area Chair Marketing Alexander Philipov, Area Chair Finance
Robert Appel, Director, Marketing and Communications Christina Spring, Director, Advancement and Alumni Relations
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS DEAN’S ADVISORY COUNCIL To deepen the business community’s participation in the development of future business leaders, the Dean’s Council provides strategic guidance as the School of Business seeks to align its programs to the needs of the business community. Elaine Marion, ’95, Chair ePlus Inc.
Brian E. Kearney, ’02 Kearney & Company PC
Anne K. Altman, ’82 Retired, IBM Everyone Matters Inc.
Craig B. Kendall Financial Investments, Inc.
Marc E. Andersen, ’90 Ernst & Young LLP Shaza L. Andersen, ’89 Trustar Bank Horace Blackman, ’93 Cognizant Kristina J. Bouweiri Reston Limousine Chris Cage Leidos Nancy Collins, ’80 Everest Care Management Debi Beck Corbatto, ’86, ’03, ’18 George Mason University Athletics Michael Creasy Grant Thornton LLP Paul Cusenza Nodal Exchange and Nodal Clear James C. Fontana Dempsey Fontana PLLC Michael Gallagher, ’94 The Stevie Awards Kaylene H. Green, ’87 Flagship Government Relations R. Jerry Grossman Retired, Houlihan Lokey W. Craig Havenner The Christopher Companies Ginny Heine City National Bank Lillian T. Heizer LCH Consulting Services The Honorable Allen F. Johnson , ’83 Allen F. Johnson & Associates , ’75 Johnson & Strachan Inc.
Gary N. Loveland Jr., ’84 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Deepti Malhotra Vision|Mission|Drive Joe Martore Retired, CALIBRE Systems Inc. Edward J. Newberry, ’84 Squire Patton Boggs Baker Tilly
Jerry T. Pierce, ’92 KPMG LLP Scott Plein Equinox Investments LLC Harold C. Rauner, ’81, ’86 Flatrock Financial LLC and RF Holding II LLC Ola Sage, ’99 Cyber Rx Sumeet Shrivastava, ’94 Array Information Technology Inc. Courtney B. Spaeth growth[period] Bill Strachan Brown & Brown Insurance William L. Walsh Jr., Esq. Hirschler Fleischer KPMG LLP Teresa A. Weipert , ’91, ’98 Sutherland Global Services Inc. Dale “Dusty” Wince, ‘12, Former Chair Aligned2 Raymond L. Winn III, ’82, ’85, ’86, ’90 Deloitte LLP
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Gap BY ANNA STOLLEY PERSKY
4 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
n the United States, Black newborn babies are three times more likely to die than white newborn babies during their initial hospital stays, according to a peer-reviewed study co-written by Brad Greenwood, an associate professor of information systems and operations management sciences in George Mason University’s School of Business. The study, published last fall in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that when Black doctors cared for Black babies, their mortality rate was cut in half. “The disparity is quite striking,” Greenwood said. “So the next question is why. There’s a milieu of possible explanations, so the next step is to, through observations, find out the reasons for such a difference.” Greenwood said that he hopes to see more studies closely examining different medical facilities to learn how to close the gap in care. Greenwood said it would be important to look at the role that structural racism may play in the different outcomes in newborns. Although infant mortality rates have been declining for decades in the United States, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health finds that Black infants have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as white infants. “Babies are dying,” Greenwood said. “That’s not a political statement. That’s what’s happening, and it’s unacceptable.” Greenwood and his coauthors—Rachel Hardeman, associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health; Laura Huang, associate professor at Harvard Business School; and Aaron Sojourner, associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management—wrote that more research was needed to understand why Black physicians outperform their white counterparts. “We hope this study provides a basis for additional work that advances our understanding of inequality, its origins and how practitioners can work toward creating better and more equitable birth outcomes,” the researchers said in their study.
Photo Credit: Brad Greenwood
They examined 1.8 million hospital birth records in Florida between 1992 and 2015, identifying the race of the doctor in each birth. The study found that the race of the doctor caring for white babies did not appear to make a difference in the likelihood of survival. “Strikingly, these effects appear to manifest more strongly in more complicated cases, and when hospitals deliver more Black newborns,” Greenwood and his coauthors wrote. “The findings suggest that Black physicians outperform their white colleagues when caring for Black newborns. In addition, the study found that there was no statistically significant improvement in maternal mortality for Black women being cared for by a Black doctor. Greenwood has previously coauthored studies on medical disparities based on race and gender. In a study published last fall, Greenwood and his coauthors found that physicians should use digitized protocol when making decisions on patient care as a way of overcoming potential racial bias. “It’s important to focus on the issues of disparities in health care to understand what’s going on and try to figure out how to change things for the better,” Greenwood said. Photo Credit on Previous Page: Pexels/Tubarones Photography
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of Choosing Not To BY ADRIENNE BENSON
6 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
isk is a funny thing. It’s more perception than fact; a personality quirk; a kind of fingerprint—there are as many variations and ways of viewing and assessing it as there are people in the world. When Bradley Rosenberg (Accounting ’80 and EMBA ’93) and Kathy Clark (EMBA ’95) talk about risk, they talk about the risk of not doing. It’s a heavier weight, they imply, to not do something. It’s a higher risk. At age 26, Clark had been at her first professional job for eight years already. She’d started as a grade two file clerk and worked her way up to being a senior systems programmer. She looked around her office, she says, and saw people who’d been there for 30 years. When she quit to go full-time with her own start-up company, she was barely over a quarter-century old and had no college degree. Her former boss pulled her aside and asked if she understood the risk she was taking in giving up her job. “I was dumbfounded,” Clark remembers. “The only risk was that the company would fail. If that happened, I’d still have gained experience and would be able to get another job for much more money than I was making. Where was any possibility of a risk? My perspective was that anybody faced with the same choice would have made the choice I did. It took me years to understand that other people perceived me as a risk-taker. I never thought of myself as such.” Rosenberg acknowledges that he’s less risk-averse than most. “I think we’re both risk takers,” he says. “It’s part of what drew us together. I raced sailboats; I was the one who worked the bow, the one who went up the mast in the middle of the night.” Clearly, Rosenberg is an adventurer, but that sense of being lured by what other people think of as dangerous spilled over into his career. “Every time I had a choice between two jobs, I took the one that scared me more. The challenge of the fear motivates me.” Clark and Rosenberg were married in 1999. That in itself wasn’t a unique risk, but they got married at a wedding that included them performing cameo roles in Shear Madness, one of the Kennedy Center’s longest-running and most beloved plays.
In a nod to their shared love of sailing, their wedding registry was not at a department store, but at a sailing supply store. Both worked in the tech industry in the Northern Virginia area for several more years until 2002. That’s the year they retired from full-time work and began their cruising adventures on their boat, appropriately called, “Shear Madness.” But George Mason University School of Business doesn’t just develop businesspeople, and Rosenberg and Clark aren’t typical industry leaders. In 2019, after Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, friends they’d met on the long-range cruising circuit called. They were heading to Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos to help with relief efforts and suggested Rosenberg and Clark come along. “There was no hesitation,” Rosenberg said. Clark adds, “We’d been to Green Turtle Cay before and loved it. The people are remarkable, friendly, and giving. We knew we wanted to help.” Needless to say, both the business acumen and the spirit of adventure inside both Clark and Rosenberg were crucial. “We lived on our friends’ boat, but there was no infrastructure. Everything had to be jerry-rigged at first.” Along with their cruising friends and other volunteers, Rosenberg and Clark organized donations, created liaisons with local government officials, and made and served food to hundreds of families. Rosenberg and Clark embody the notion of giving back, and not simply by writing checks—but instead by diving in; building things from the ground up; doing what has to be done. Risky or not, that’s how good businesses are created—and how good people make their lives speak. Photo Credit (Left and Below): Bradley Rosenberg and Kathy Clark
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25 Years of Global Residencies BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
George Mason University’s School of Business has been engaging students globally since the mid-1990s. Since then, students have participated in more than 100 global residencies around the globe. These residencies offer first-hand experience on how business is conducted outside of the United States, and the importance of acknowledging the cultural differences that exist between countries. Global residencies are typically 10-day travel and business experiences where students are immersed in educational programming including company visits, discussions with industry leaders, meetings with executives, and cultural excursions. Faculty play an integral leadership and mentoring role in the course before, during, and after the residency occurs. For students, these trips are typically their most memorable class of their graduate degree program. 8 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
“Last summer, 25 years later, I returned to Oxford
the world with the global residency program. Past
to visit and reminisce about one of the best experiences of
locations have included Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
my life,” says Chris Carey, MBA ’95, who attended the
Soweto, South Africa; Reykjavik, Iceland; Dublin and Cork,
global residency in the summer of 1994. “My wife and I
Ireland; Helsinki, Finland; Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro,
were in an Oxford shop and I noticed a class picture
Brazil; Beijing and Shanghai, China; Buenos Aires, Argenti-
hanging on the wall. I casually said to my wife that I have a
na; Santiago, Chile; Munich, Germany; Prague, Czech
similar picture of our Mason summer class at home. Then I
Republic; and Istanbul, Turkey, amongst others.
took another look and realized that the photo was actually
Hun Lee, associate professor of strategic manage-
our class. It has been hanging in the shop for 25 years.” The
ment, was one of the first School of Business faculty
trip was so memorable that Carey says he would love to
members to attend a global residency. “I attended my first
reconnect with his classmates from the experience.
global residency in the summer of 1998 with the EMBA
In the early years, Mason’s global requirement was
program and have been on three residencies since,” says
the forefront of education. “In 2002, only 6% of part-time
Lee. “Global residencies provide a valuable learning
MBA students were required to travel abroad as part of
experience for our students, especially in developing their
their MBA program,” says Laurie Meamber, associate
professor of marketing, who attended the MBA global
The global residency program was initially offered
residency to Northern Ireland and Ireland in 2008. “In a
to just the Executive MBA program, but soon many more
survey or our own students in that same year, 69% of MBA
graduate programs were included. Although the global
students had never traveled overseas on work travel.”
residency program has been temporarily suspended due to
Today, these numbers are much higher as many graduate
COVID-19, the graduate programs are looking forward to
programs offer international residency opportunities.
offering it again to students when it is safe to travel.
Mason graduate students have travelled around business.gmu.edu | 9
Patriots’ Global Impact in Asia BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
global mindset continues to be essential to remaining competitive and innovative in business. Many people think a global mindset is about understanding another culture sufficiently that you avoid embarrassing social mistakes, or to create a rapport so you can better influence individuals, groups and organizations in other parts of the world. It’s not that understanding social customs isn’t a good thing, it just falls short of the evolving concept of a global mindset, and an appreciation of different approaches to business. The global mindset is about a genuine openness towards other cultures, other people, and embracing other ways of doing things. Mason Korea, established in 2014 as part of the university’s initiative to expand and establish a global footprint, offers international students an opportunity to gain an undergraduate degree from George Mason University while studying abroad. Students spend three years on the Mason Korea Campus and one year on the Fairfax Campus in order to complete their degree requirements. Mason Korea offers students the same undergraduate degree that is offered in Fairfax, a BS in business with a concentration in accounting, business analytics, finance, financial planning and wealth management, management, management information systems, marketing, or operations and supply chain management. “As an established international branch campus, Mason Korea enhances our global impact by the ability to produce a true George Mason University experience in Asia,” says Patrick Soleymani, associate dean of undergraduate programs at Mason’s School of Business. 10 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
It’s about impact and it’s about making the biggest and most positive difference on the world. -Maury Peiperl
School of Business Dean
It’s also an opportunity for Mason to learn, and to practice the global mindset. Students on the Mason Korea Campus come from nations throughout Asia and from around the world. Students from the Fairfax Campus can take a semester to study abroad at Mason Korea, too. “Being a full-time international student attending George Mason University Korea is a spectacular experience that continues to teach me many things inside and outside the classroom,” says Jacob Davis, management major studying in Korea. The faculty on the Mason Korea Campus are a blend of local faculty from Korea, international faculty, and faculty from the Fairfax Campus that travel to Mason Korea to teach for a semester. Classes are generally small and held on the Mason Korea Campus. Students in South Korea also have the opportunity to take online classes virtually from the Fairfax Campus. Karen Kitching, associate professor of accounting and Accounting Advisory Council faculty fellow, lived in South Korea teaching students on the campus, and also has taught Mason Korea students in Fairfax too. “The Mason Korea campus strengthens our global presence,” says Kitching. “We are well-known in South Korea now. Our Fairfax students have an opportunity to experience a new culture in a safe environment and without needing to master a second language -- yet having the opportunity to learn one. Our South Korean students are able to highlight on their resumes that they attended a large and well-respected U.S. university. They also greatly strengthen their English speaking skills during their years at both campuses -- another huge boost to their international resumes.” For the School of Business, educating our own students in South Korea presents an opportunity to bring Mason’s innovative education to a wider reach of students. “It’s about impact and it’s about making the biggest and most positive difference on the world,” says School of Business Dean Maury Peiperl. “We have to look at how we work together with the business community to increase their capabilities, not only by talent, but also by lifelong learning, by research, by connections between our university and business. Our campus in South Korea helps us make these connections.” “The School of Business was one of the first academic units to jump on the opportunity to offer our degree in Korea,” says Meggan Ford, assistant dean of undergraduate academic affairs. “Business is a popular field of study at any branch campus, and we were happy to start building a program in South Korea.” Although the pandemic has made it difficult for students to commit to studying abroad, the Mason Korea Campus has had no interruption in classes, and students hope to study abroad again soon. “Living fully immersed in South Korea allows for a complete cultural experience that cannot be replicated in the U.S. and will be invaluable upon entering the workforce as international experience is highly appealing in the world of business,” says Davis. business.gmu.edu | 11
Local beekeepers Pilar Muravari and her husband Gabriel Caritimari, with Honey Bee Initiative Master Beekeeper German Perilla, sustainably extract honey from a nest of native stingless Melipona eburnea in Peru.
A Better World is Everyone’s Business
BY KIEL STONE
12 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
t wasn’t until 1972, during a United Nations conference in Stockholm, that the nations of the world formally announced what was already self-evident to most— human activity was detrimentally impacting the environment, and in turn, threatening our future prosperity. Nearly 50 years on, it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Perhaps the earth’s most essential forest, the Amazon is under tremendous threat from international economic and agricultural forces that are exchanging trees for pasture and cropland. Compounding matters are the pressures generated
by residents. Many local and indigenous communities, lacking better options, have turned to unsustainable, and environmentally damaging, income-generating activities such as logging, hunting, and fishing. The combined effect is that the Amazon’s ability to shelter universally significant levels of biodiversity, regulate local and global hydrological cycles, and serve as a critically important sink for carbon dioxide are all imperiled. So too are the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on it for their survival. In this challenge, the Business for a Better World Center (B4BW), through its Honey Bee Initiative (HBI), sees an opportunity to act with people, planet, and prosperity in mind to help change the fate of both an environment and its inhabitants. Led by Germán Perilla, MAIS ’12, HBI is, of course, well known here on campus. Its expansion into the Amazon (Colombia and Perú specifically) highlights the initiative’s and the center’s fundamental ambition: making an impact globally, and at scale. By empowering communities through entrepreneurial beekeeping programs, B4BW has created sustainable economic opportunities for rural and indigenous communities. Importantly, the beehives are more lucrative endeavors than the extractive practices they are seeking to replace. The effort has been well-received, and many program participants share the pride of Exiles Guerra, a local government leader in Perú, who observed that “The program is very important for the community…it is a new opportunity for all.” The work in Colombia has been so successful that it recently was selected as the 15th best overall social and environmental project in Latin America and the Caribbean by the Latinoamérica Verde, the largest social environmental festival in Latin America. Moving forward, HBI seeks to expand its impact by establishing a meliponiculture (study of stingless bees) school in Perú, taking the Colombia project nationwide, and using the HBI model in countries around the globe. The success and global footprint of the Honey Bee Initiative serves as a template B4BW seeks to replicate. With a belief that a better world is everyone’s business, center leadership realize that as educators, we play a role in preparing the next generation to help reorient the business environment.
“Our goals are lofty,” says Lisa Gring-Pemble, co-executive director for B4BW. “We seek to lead a movement that will reshape business education so that it inspires students to act not just in the best interest of shareholders, but for the benefit of all stakeholders.” Here in Virginia, the center sees its Impact Fellows program as one piece of that puzzle. Launched in Fall 2020, this signature two-year, cohort-based undergraduate program responds to the needs of first-generation students, and those from lower-income groups and who are underrepresented in business, by providing an immersive learning environment based on the United Nations Global Goals, with elements such as local and/or global field study and personalized mentoring. Additionally, the center is engaged in an audit of all School of Business courses, focused on what and how students are taught about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We then intend to develop an undergraduate concentration and a minor on the topic of responsible business. In spring 2021, B4BW hosted the Ashoka U Exchange’s international conference bringing thought leaders, students, faculty, and foundation representatives to Mason’s campus for discussions around social innovation and responsible business. The center, its board members, and international partners share a focus on embedding the SDGs throughout business education, and creating educational programs and experiences to help students see, and visualize, how business can act as a force for good in the world.
We seek to lead a movement that will reshape business education so that it inspires students to act not just in the best interest of shareholders, but for the benefit of all stakeholders. - Lisa Gring-Pemble Co-Executive Director of the Business for a Better World Center
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School of Business
Compassion and Resilience During COVID-19 A disturbance to the status quo is a time to find new solutions, change how things work, and figure out how to make them work better. School of Business alumni, students, and faculty all did their part during the quarantine. Here’s a snapshot of some of those who reached out to help others.
Center for Government Contracting Provides Coronavirus-Related Information for Government Agencies and Contractors At the start of the pandemic, the Center for Government Contracting published a coronavirus-related report for government agencies and companies that contract with the government. The report provided detailed information on the Defense Production Act and its implications in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. It helped contractors navigate the issues and opportunities related to the unprecedented challenges they were facing. “We wrote this report to help inform the government contracting community about how they can help during this time,” said Jerry McGinn, executive director of the center. “We wanted to provide key information about where the government was spending money to respond to COVID-19 and what that means for the government contracting community.”
New Business School Emergency Fund With so many students placed in difficult financial situations due to the unexpected quarantine, alumni stepped up as part of the Patriots Helping Patriots campaign. Through gifts totaling $25,000, Anne Altman, BS Marketing ’82, co-founder and CEO of Everyone Matters Inc., a woman-owned social impact enterprise, Stevie Awards Founder, Michael Gallagher, MBA ’94, and the Women in Business Initiative established this new fund to help ease the burden for business students who are struggling financially due to hardships imposed by this global pandemic.
The Drive to Serve Matt and Judy Curry, BS in Business Administration ’90, the co-founding couple of Craftsman Auto Care, utilized their position as leaders in the Northern Virginia community to start the “Feed a Hero” fundraising campaign, which began with a gift of 20 meals self-funded by the Currys. Those meals were sent to an Illinois hospital, and soon another 20 meals were delivered to Fair Oaks Hospital. Iconic local restaurants were enlisted in partnerships to provide more than 3,800 nutritious meals to hospitals, fire houses, police departments, and other local first responders. Approximately 100 meals were delivered daily since March 2020, and on some days, as many as 200.
14 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
Matt and Judy Curry donate meals to Fairfax Country Fire Department during the pandemic.
Students Create Facial Protection for Medical Community
Entrepreneur Professor Offers Free Advice to Small Businesses
In response to COVID-19, a group of Mason students created 3D printed personal protective equipment (PPE), including face shields for health care professionals and their patients. Denys Kuratchenko, a senior information systems and operations management major before graduation, used his personal 3D printer and three others he borrowed from the MIX studio to print face shields 24/7 from his apartment, each frame taking 4 hours to print. After the face shield frames were printed, Kuratchenko sent them to Eric Bubar, associate professor of physics at Marymount University, who matched the 3D-printed parts with laser-cut shields and made the deliveries to health care providers in need. Kuratchenko made more than 65 that were part of a shipment delivered to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York.
Jim Wolfe, entrepreneur-in-residence and associate professor of management at the George Mason University School of Business, offered assistance with the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Relief Loan Assistance Program in his local area of Front Royal-Warren County during the coronavirus crisis. Free of charge, Wolfe advised nearly two dozen businesses and entrepreneurs on how to respond during these difficult times in order to save their businesses. Meeting with business owners virtually or speaking on the phone allowed Wolfe to help with business plans, strategy, and other crucial assistance. He also opened up his office hours, which were previously just for students, to alumni to call in. Wolfe was invited to chair a loan committee for local micro-loans coming from USDA and was appointed to the local Economic Development Authority.
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Living Up to Its Name
Adapting Their Dreams Lisa Gerben, MS Real Estate Development ’19, and Melissa Gerben, had prepared for years to open their first two locations of RAKO Coffee Roasters, a business dedicated to sustainably sourced specialty coffee. But with the sudden impact of COVID-19, they put their entrepreneurial skills into gear, proving they could adapt without changing their dreams or mission. The word “Rako” means challenge, and they’ve faced these challenges head-on. Instead of delaying RAKO’s opening, they launched the store online, offering free local shipping and directions for self-brewing. And they’ve given back, donating a portion of the proceeds from each sale to a local chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance to benefit economically strapped regions. They also contributed to The Power of 10 Initiative, which provides food for first responders and medical workers.
Though its physical doors were closed, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) remained open to assist students and local entrepreneurs virtually during the pandemic. Currently, they offer hybrid options. CIE is an interdisciplinary hub within the School of Business that supports students and alumni from all of Mason’s programs and schools with a variety of courses and experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom. David J. Miller, PhD Public Policy ’15, executive director of CIE and assistant professor of management in the School of Business, said that during this time the team was able to move the Business of Well-Being Collaborative program from a one-day, in-person event to a long term collaboration between CIE, mentors, and industry experts, helping entrepreneurs evolve and grow. Also, student interns in the Student Venture Program continued to collaborate with Mason alumni and regional entrepreneurs to promote and adapt their businesses that were impacted by the pandemic. “This has been an opportunity for students not only to learn new skills in a digital work environment, but also to show them that they can persist through difficult circumstances,” says Rebecca Howick, MEd ’15, CIE associate director. Twenty percent of all of The Student Venture Program sales revenue is driven toward combatting food insecurity on campus.
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Paving the Road to the Future of Business: UiPath’s Gift of RPA to Mason BY GREG JOHNSON
eorge Mason University prides itself on being on the cutting edge, and the School of Business took another gigantic step forward when UiPath contributed an in-kind gift of robotic process automation (RPA) software licenses at a total value of $16.4 million. Robotic process automation allows users to configure computer software to emulate and integrate the actions of a human interacting within digital systems to execute a business process. RPA robots can capture data and manipulate applications, allowing them to trigger responses and communicate with other systems to perform a vast variety of repetitive tasks. There are many individuals responsible for making this partnership come to fruition, but it all started with an alumni relations connection. Bobby Patrick, BS Decision Science and Management Information Systems ’93, has been the chief marketing officer at UiPath for nearly three years. When Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations Christina Spring sat down with Patrick, they
16 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
discussed why Mason was the perfect place to invest. The rapid growth and sudden prominence of RPA is clearly visible just by a glance at the growth of Patrick’s marketing team, going from a dozen Romania-based employees to a team of over 150 worldwide, all within less than three years. UiPath’s exponential growth is astonishing as its revenue leapt from $20 million to $400 million during that same span of time. With a list of power player customers like Amazon, Bank of America, Facebook, UnitedHealth Group, Walmart, Walt Disney, and myriad others, it’s clear how companies are valuing the automation product. And in turn, these companies are valuing individuals with the skillsets and working knowledge of the software. With a staggering number of major agencies in the Washington, D.C., region, one academic institution stands out as the dominant educator of this in-demand workforce—Mason School of Business. Bobby Patrick knew the gift of RPA would be in good hands because he has a clear understanding of what the students
Patrick had noticed that Mason Professor Karen Kitching had already jumped onboard as an early adapter of the software and had joined UiPath’s Academic Alliance prior to the partnership with the business school. “Employers out there want students like my students,” she says. “They’re going to actually know more about this technology than most people in the workforce already.”
Photo Credit: Bobby Patrick
and faculty are all about. It has been 28 years since he graduated from the School of Business, but the Patriot pride and classroom experiences remain instilled in him as if it were yesterday. “The lasting impression I had from Mason was how passionate my professors were, and how much fun they had teaching and I had learning from them,” he says. Patrick credits Min Chen, assistant professor of information systems and operations management (ISOM), as one of the professors who inspired him to pursue his area of study. Furthermore, he has a deep admiration for the students’ work and their potential. “Mason students have always been known for their ambition and hard work,” says Patrick, who as a student would follow up his full course load with a full-time job at the FBI during the nights. As technical as RPA is, it is built for the businessperson. “The ideas for automation came out of finance, and it’s been the non-technical business professionals who have led the way,” says Patrick. “The Mason School of Business for its size, ideal location, and quality of students and faculty, make it the perfect partner.”
“Similar to how Microsoft had set the goal of having a computer in every home, we envision a robot for every person,” says Patrick. The incredible disruption of COVID-19 highlights the importance of RPA software, and demonstrates the larger role it will play in the future. From testing patients in medical centers to processing business applications for funds, RPA is getting the tedious work out of the way, allowing for greater personal interaction. Bobby Patrick recognizes that Mason shares a vital trait with UiPath—they are places where passion and technology converge. Both partners are eager for the students to embrace the tools of innovation and pave the road to the future of business.
Mason students have always been known for their ambition and hard work. - Bobby Patrick Chief Marketing Officer, UiPath
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ALUMNI STORIES From the Alumni Chapter President Dear Young Alumni,
BS Decision Science ’85, School of Business Alumni Chapter President
We find ourselves in an extraordinary time. COVID-19 has changed our world, and it has done so quickly. Each of our lives—and the lives of every Patriot both near and far—has been disrupted in profound ways. I hope that this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. Despite these disruptions, we continue to resolve—professors continue teaching, students continue learning, and staff and administrators continue their service. As an alum, I am so impressed by the extraordinary effort and resourcefulness demonstrated by Mason students, staff, faculty, administrators, parents, and alumni. Wherever you are at this very moment, know that you are not alone—we are with you. There have been so many unanticipated changes in such a short period of time that we have had to find a new “normal.” The amount of stress that this has caused weighs heavily. I was once in your shoes, and I know that stress on top of what you are already feeling, trying to make financial ends meet and discern your career path. I am here to tell you, those feelings are valid.
I want to go back to my very first statement: Wherever you are at this very moment, know that you are not alone. Your fellow Patriots are sharing your experience. More than 35,000 business alumni are rooting for you to press onward. Please take advantage of the support, programs, and services that Mason provides. Schedule a career advising appointment through the School of Business Career Services office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 703-993-2140. Check out Patriots Helping Patriots with the Alumni Association where you can learn more about lifelong learning, virtual networking events, and support small businesses owned by alumni. There are a number of ways to stay engaged and connected. Please use these resources as you navigate your new normal. Patriots like myself are with you along the way. Best,
Scott Hine School of Business Alumni Chapter President S C HO O L OF BUS IN E SS A LU M N I C HAPT E R B OA R D President Scott Hine, BS Decision Science ’85
Chair of the Program & Events Committee Curt White, Executive MBA ’96
Immediate Past President Becky Anderson BS Accounting ’10
Chair of Outreach Committee Ava Nia, BS Marketing ’19
Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Committee Jennifer Rhodes, Executive MBA ’05
Chair of the Fundraising Committee Jason Howell, BS Accounting ’97
Secretary Chris Ellis, MBA ’14 Treasurer Keith Callahan, BS Finance ’86 DIRECTORS-AT-LARGE Chaimaa Fekkak BS Finance & Management ’13
Michael Gallagher, MBA ’94 Clivia Lainez, BS Finance ’04 and MBA ’09 Chuck LaRock, BS Finance ’07 Michael Ly, BS Accounting ’12, MS Accounting ’13 Cassie Schupp, MS Real Estate Development ’15 (and Master of Real Estate Development Industry Group Director)
Stay Bold in the Cold. Supplies are limited!
Visit the George Mason University Bookstore at gmu.bncollege.com for the latest School of Business gear or email email@example.com. PB IMPACT IMPACT | Spring 2020 18 | SPRING 2021
The Ground Floor of a Burger Boom BY GREG JOHNSON For Molly Catalano, MBA ’08, it was the right place at the right time. As the vice president of marketing and communications of Five Guys, she has a plethora of responsibilities including overseeing the company’s internal communications, marketing, branding, social media, public relations, graphic design, signage, and customer service. “When I started, I was a one-person team, but I now have a team of ten in the Lorton, Virginia, office, and we have six employees in the Amsterdam and London offices combined,” she says. Five Guys now boasts more than 1,600 restaurants in nearly 20 countries, an immense increase over the 30 East Coast locations when she first started 14 years ago. A typical day at the office for the Mason business alumna can be broken down into thirds—meetings on projects, putting out fires (figuratively, of course), and taking care of emails and planning. But it’s the culture and relationship building, especially in the franchise business model, that Catalano treasures most. “You have entrepreneurs who have, in our case at least, been very successful in business in a prior life and then sign up to follow the guidelines, rules, and vision of someone else,” she says. “Balancing that relationship and building a communication model that helps foster that relationship is always adjusting and I find it to be really rewarding.” Originally viewing Five Guys as a temporary job while pursuing her MBA at Mason, Catalano soon recognized that she was on the ground floor of a restaurant chain destined to grow exponentially. With locations now across North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, Five Guys certainly has done just that. It is in no small part to its extraordinary culture spearheaded by the owners, the Murrell family. “They continue to be revolutionary in how they run their business, and it continues to be exciting to be a part of that,” she says.
FIVE GUYS: GOING GLOBAL 2010 – The first location in Canada opens in Alberta. 2012 – Five Guys reaches 1,000 locations in North America. 2013 – The first location outside of North America opens in London. 2014 – Milkshakes, the first menu addition since the brand’s early days, launches in test markets.
Photo Credit: Molly Catalano
That excitement has invigorated Catalano to continue leading the growth of Five Guys’ national and international branding. Catalano is energized to wake up every day for a job that delivers delicious and convenient food as well as a fun environment to its millions of worldwide customers. “We never lost focus on who we are and what we are doing,” she says. A prime example of delivering fun in an unconventional method is Five Guys’ emergence in the music industry. Anyone who enters one of the restaurants knows how vital music is to the dining experience. Catalano’s team has been working on having a new featured artist every month. Often an up-and-coming artist, the songs are played in the restaurants and shared across the company’s social media channels. It is just one of the many ways Five Guys blazes their own path instead of following traditional marketing models. Working in a dynamic environment keeps Molly Catalano enthusiastic about learning and growing with the company. “I have no plans of jumping off this ride at Five Guys, but I always want to make sure that I am the right person for the job,” says Catalano. Considering Five Guys’ growth with her at the marketing helm, it will be exciting to see what more she has in store for the ever-expanding burger franchise.
2015 – International expansion speeds up with locations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Ireland. 2016 – Five Guys reaches 1,400 stores, expanding into Kuwait, France, and Spain. 2017 – Expansion continues, stretching to Qatar, Germany, and the Netherlands. 2018 – Oman, Belgium, Bahrain, Italy, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, and Switzerland welcome Five Guys, as the company reaches almost 1,600 locations worldwide. 2018 – United Kingdom’s most popular food chain. (Market Force)
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Photo credit: Sher Khan
Opening Doors Through Education BY GREG JOHNSON
George Mason University School of Business has become an institution defined by its ambitious and hard working student body, who balance many unique leadership roles and responsibilities. Sher Khan embodies what it means to be a School of Business Patriot. Khan works full-time at Airbus, a European aircraft manufacturing firm, and is a recent graduate of the Master of Science in Management (’20) program. But there’s more on his plate than his professional position and rigorous academic workload. Khan is helping those less fortunate achieve their dreams of higher education. Originally from Pakistan, Khan has lived on four continents and has seen the relationship between poverty and lack of education firsthand. He was inspired to found Life Sponsorer to break down cultural barriers and bring forth social change, specifically for funding education in his native region. A significant component of the program is to persuade families to allow women to further their respective educations rather than being rushed into early marriage. Persuading the families becomes far more feasible once the financial obligation is no longer an obstacle to the young woman’s family. The cost of an education for a child in rural Pakistan is so small to someone of means. “One night of staying home instead of going out for me was a year’s education for someone else,” he explains. After seeing that the need was there, and a desire to give back by many higher-income individuals, Khan wanted to bridge the gap. “Those wanting to donate could choose whose education they want to sponsor, and in real time, could track whom their charitable giving was benefitting,” he says. Many of the generous people who participate in giving will visit the schools in-person to see the difference they are making.
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Photo credit: Sher Khan
Others prefer privacy and are content with hearing updates. “For people outside of Pakistan, they donate directly to me, and I provide to them a cloud-based file that is continually updated as the receipts for the supplies and books are received,” says Khan. Seeing their dollars put to work is a gratifying experience that makes them more likely to give again and persuade others as well. As for Khan’s future plans, “I plan to enter management consulting, which will give me a platform for problem solving, and work to build and sharpen a wide range of professional skills,” he says. This is just the beginning of Life Sponsorer, a lifelong project that will continue to grow as his network and skills expand. It is important to Khan that he travels back to Pakistan as often as he is able. The local people have entrusted him to drive social change, and he is up to the task.
Mongolia to Fairfax:
An Alumna’s Resilience BY GREG JOHNSON
The path for Misheel Ganbat, BS Information Systems and Operations Management ’19, has been filled with peaks and valleys amid a range of adventures. But it’s been her resiliency and hope along the way that continue to make the journey more meaningful than any end goal. It started in her homeland of Mongolia, watching her parents build a successful bookstore from the ground up. “This was my first introduction to business and entrepreneurship, seeing them work day and night to get their business up and thriving,” she says. As Ganbat was preparing to begin high school, her parents decided to move to America for a better education for their children. Knowing that they were sacrificing their business and stability for her and her brother, she promised herself she would make it all worthwhile.
Photo Credit: Misheel Ganbat
A few years later, Ganbat was intent on getting involved at Mason. “I joined the business fraternity and many other extracurriculars to meet people and learn the different career routes that my skills and passions could take me,” she says. With parents who didn’t attend college stateside, it was entirely up to her to create her own experiences and find the right resources. Persevering and creating robust networks through genuine connection ultimately led to an internship at Ernst & Young (EY). It was comforting to learn they would have a full-time job waiting for her after graduation. But Ganbat’s parents were still struggling mightily to make out-of-pocket tuition payments, and she feared she wouldn’t graduate in time to accept the offer. Thankfully, her network paid off.
Christine Landoll, one of Ganbat’s professors, connected her with the right student support services handling scholarships and payment plans, all while providing ongoing advice and encouragement.
Now I am thinking more about how to always do the right thing and help others along the way. - Misheel Ganbat
” Following graduation, Ganbat began full-time as a technology advisory consultant at EY. Through the position, she gets to work for various Fortune 500 companies on their biggest technology implementations and digital transformations. “When I first started, I felt the imposter syndrome, not belonging and not feeling good enough. My co-workers were all extremely competent, many graduating from the nation’s premier schools,” she says. “I began looking at my job as an ongoing mission that I get to do and could continually tweak based on my next goals, as consulting gives me the opportunity to try different projects.” It took time, but she is learning to stand up and voice her opinion more, reminding herself there’s a reason she was selected for the job. As a young alumna, Misheel Ganbat has fulfilled many of her immigrant family’s hopes. Through the highs and lows, she never folded. Her resilience and growth have led to evolving ambitions. “When I was in school, my only focus was on landing the most prestigious job possible,” she says. “Now I am thinking more about how to always do the right thing and help others along the way.” New and unique challenges will undoubtedly appear in Ganbat’s future, each serving as an invaluable lesson on her continuing journey.
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At the Doorstep of a Pandemic BY GREG JOHNSON
It’s been a whirlwind of a ride for Lacey Morison, BS Management ’09. Her husband’s job in the Foreign Service took the couple and their young daughter all the way to Shanghai. As chief of budget and finance for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Morison had to adjust to new challenges of supervising subordinates and handling sensitive information while living in a different time zone. Little did the Morison family know when they arrived to China in fall of 2019, that they would be on the doorstep of a global pandemic. Morison was acclimating to life and work in Shanghai. Due to the nature of her job, she completed her responsibilities in a designated space at the consulate during regular office hours. The 13-hour time difference from the rest of her co-workers meant that much of what she did was not during regular work hours. For these late nights, she had a separate State Department office. It was never easy, but she had her system and settled in. And then the pandemic struck. “Shanghai is very cosmopolitan unlike most of China. When availability of items became scarce, that was when we got worried,” says Morison. In January, companies and businesses started shutting down. Immediately following, the State Department authorized departure for families. The authorized departure quickly evolved into a mandatory order for all eligible family members under 21 years of age. Thinking of their three-year-old daughter, Morison decided to book a direct flight for the two of them to New York City, the United Nations’ headquarters. “We were treated multiple times at the airport and had our temperatures checked three separate times before even setting foot on the plane,” she says. Due to the urgency, Morison had brought limited belongings with her to New York. After receiving a new laptop, phone, and getting approval from the doctor, Morison was able to go back into the office for a five-day work week.
However, she would soon find out that she traveled from one COVID-19 hot zone to the new epicenter for it in the United States. The office shut down, presenting yet another predicament of teleworking from home with a young child. “The behavior of a three-year-old is very temperamental, but thankfully my co-workers are understanding,” she says. “I set up tasks and expectations, but so many things are last minute that I’m forced to be flexible.” The work-life balance proves to be even more difficult with Morison’s husband separated from the family in China. “We video chat with him as often as possible. It hasn’t been easy for either of us or our daughter,” she says. Each day brings new lessons about how she can work from home more effectively. Her daughter needs attention and they find it imperative to plan enjoyable activities around job responsibilities. When she first arrived in Shanghai, Lacey Morison had no idea what the next year would bring. But she has become an expert at adapting and continues to roll with the punches.
Photo Credit: Lacey Morison
22 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
Be Sure of Your Directions: Sailing with the Special Olympics BY ADRIENNE BENSON A two-time School of Business alumnus (he received his undergraduate degree from the school in 1979, and his MBA in 1985), Pete Farrell came to sailing in a special way. “When my wife and I got married, we agreed that every five years we’d do something we'd never done before. Skiing was one of those things, whitewater rafting was another, and sailing was one,” he says. Thirty years ago, they bought a boat and a book on sailing and went out on the Potomac. Farrell remembers telling his wife, “Honey, you're going to have to read faster because we’re out here and my heart is in my throat.” Since then, they’ve become expert sailors. They’ve sailed 50-footers in the Caribbean and Pete is a regular sailboat racer. Farrell’s sailing experience came from a marital promise, but his involvement in the Special Olympics began with his nephew, a Special Olympian golfer. Each year Farrell travels to Boston to watch his nephew compete. So, when a fellow sailor approached him 12 years ago about participating in the Special Olympics as a sailing coach, Farrell didn’t hesitate. “It's turned out great. I do it every summer—all the big regional races from the first of June through about the last weekend of July.” Initially, he used a 14-foot boat with one athlete crew member. Boats that size, he explains, “usually get pretty wet.” Because some of the athletes have medical challenges that mean staying dryer is better, eventually Farrell was asked if he’d use his own, bigger and therefore dryer, boat. He agreed, and for the last six or seven years he’s had basically the same athletes as crew. His crew also includes a safety officer—usually a nurse. They practice every Monday and have dubbed their vessel “The Happy Boat.” “My usual crew, Rose and Jen, are just great.” Farrell says. “When they gave the awards out last year, they said, ‘Third place goes to
the happy boat.’ Everybody knew who it was. Rose and Jen are relaxed but excellent sailors.” Mostly in their 20s, the athletes generally don’t have sailing experience when they start. Farrell describes the evolution of the non-sailing Olympians into sailors as a “gentle process.” He notes that besides just teaching them the mechanics of sailing, “You have to teach them how a race course is set up and how races are run.” Racing courses depend on the wind at the time of the race. “They might set up two rounds to go around, but if it’s not a good breeze, it might be only once around. I divide my crew up so that one of them steers and tacks the boat upwind, and the other sails downwind.” Farrell participates in a skippers meeting every Monday night before the Special Olympics practice. He says that most of the boats can go out in rough weather, but that the last thing the commodore says every Monday is, “Skippers, it is entirely up to you if you choose to take your athletes out on the water.” It’s good advice, Farrell says, “because it’s a reminder that it’s my responsibility to get everyone back safely.” He adds, “But you have to have a crew that knows exactly what's going to happen. And to have that kind of crew, you have to be sure of your directions.” Luckily, in the case of Farrell’s crew, he’s there to guide them and step in if something goes wrong. And, at this point, he’s good enough that nobody has to worry about reading faster. -
Photo Credit: Pete Farrell (for all photos)
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SCHOOL OF BUSINESS IMPACT Full Page Dimensions: 51 x 63p3 Safe Area: 43 x 55p3 (4 pica margins) Bleed: 0p9 Please send packaged InDesign files to firstname.lastname@example.org, in case edits are needed.
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A COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT
Giving Back One of the greatest things you can provide to the school is your time and knowledge. ➤
Share Your Expertise Speak in a classroom, sponsor a student internship, mentor a student, provide career advice. . . . The possibilities are endless. Your business experience and knowledge make a business students.
Become Active in the School of Business Alumni Chapter Your School of Business Alumni Chapter provides a wide range of programs and services that benefit students and alumni.
Refer Exceptional Students Refer the best and brightest students to our graduate and undergraduate programs to build both the quantity and quality of our student body.
Recruit Our Graduates Hire School of Business graduates at your company by encouraging recruiting with Mason’s Career Services, participating in the school’s career fairs and networking events, and thinking of the School of Business first when new job and internship opportunities arise in your organization.
Help a Fellow Patriot The Gowns for Grads Lending Program allows students who are unable to purchase their own regalia to borrow a cap and gown for graduation from the university. Our current inventory does not match the needs of our students. We are asking new alumni to donate regalia to give students the chance to walk across the stage and celebrate. Contact Christina Spring, director of advancement and alumni relations, at email@example.com or 703-993-5297.
Photo Credit: Alizabeth Brady
From Peace Corps to an MBA: The Business of Doing Good BY ADRIENNE BENSON
Alizabeth Brady (MBA ’17) was a Peace Corps Rural Health and Sanitation volunteer in a small town in Paraguay. When she joined the Peace Corps, she had her graduate degree and lots of theoretical knowledge of Latin American culture, politics, language, and demographics. However, she “wanted actual experience in person—on the ground there.” Her community in Paraguay had only about 700 residents and didn’t have indoor running water or daily transportation. “There was a road, but transportation only came a couple of times a week—and when it rained a lot, the bus didn’t come.” She loved it though, and her Peace Corps experience turned into a career in international development. Brady, though, took a slight turn. “I was working at an international development contracting firm, and it became clear that a lot of the issues I saw on different projects were business related.” She clarifies by pointing out that, “the issues we see are usually not related to technical area of focus. No one's saying, ‘You didn't dig in the correct type of soil for that well.’ Usually the problems are with finance or accounting or HR. I knew those were things I could learn in business school.” A business education is helpful in every industry, she notes, and to a certain extent, every industry—nonprofits, education, military—is run like businesses. “Before my MBA, I would have focused primarily on development impact but now I see all the pieces and how they fit together. My business mindset gives me a much more holistic view.” Brady notes that her MBA from George Mason University taught her that business is about being good at a lot of things. “We learned so much—operations, supply chain, finance, marketing, accounting—all extremely important.” But, she continues, “I learned it’s best not to focus on being perfect at just one thing. At the end of the day, having an understanding of all the components and how they come together is critical.” And how did Brady’s Peace Corps experience play into her MBA? “Peace Corps volunteers are really good at working with people—the context doesn't matter. In the Peace Corps we figure out how to work with people and get people to work together toward whatever common goal there is. I’ve found that - is a big part of my success. I'm not the best at economics. I'm not the best at finance, but I can get people to do things and come to [a] consensus.” Clearly, this is an invaluable skill in the business world. Brady adds, “Nobody works in a vacuum. Nobody. Even your accountant has to negotiate and work with others.” business.gmu.edu | 25
Mason Business School Professor Awarded Securities and Exchange Commission Fellowship BY ANNA STOLLEY PERSKY
Bret Johnson, assistant professor of accounting in George Mason University’s School of Business, has been awarded a one-year academic fellowship with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC, an independent agency of the U.S. government, is responsible for enforcing federal securities laws and overseeing financial reporting standard setting and regulation of public companies. The SEC academic fellowship program has existed for more than 40 years. Johnson is assisting the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant with its oversight of accounting and auditing issues. Johnson will also help companies implement new accounting standards and assist regulators in keeping up-to-date with the latest academic research on economic and financial reporting regulatory issues. “Almost all of my research has to do with the SEC and how the SEC affects company behavior,” Johnson said. “The research that my colleagues and I do is extremely relevant for this fellowship, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity to contribute directly to the work of the SEC by being a liaison between academia and the regulators.” Johnson is the first Mason accounting professor to receive this honor. The fellowship covers the cost of Johnson’s annual salary and benefits. “SEC fellowships are highly competitive,” said JK Aier, area chair and associate professor of
Collaborating Globally BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
J.P. Auffret, director of research partnerships, is the co-founder and current president of the International Academy of CIO (IAC). The IAC was founded in 2006 in Japan by co-founders from Japan, the United States, Indonesia, Philippines, Switzerland and Thailand. The IAC members, partnerships and alliances now span all regions with economies including China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Macao, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
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accounting in Mason’s School of Business. “In my opinion, Bret’s selection is not only evidence of his impressive research work, but also a recognition of the School’s reputation as one of the largest and most influential accounting programs in the commonwealth and the Greater Washington area.” Johnson received his bachelor of science and master’s degrees in accounting at Brigham Young University and his PhD in accounting at Ohio State University. He has worked as a senior auditor for Ernst & Young and as a staff accountant at the SEC. He joined the accounting faculty at Mason in 2015. “Because I was at the SEC before, I can speak their language,” Johnson said. “I can also speak the academic language, so I can help bridge the two worlds during my fellowship.” Karen Kitching, an associate professor in Mason’s School of Business, said that Mason’s accounting faculty are excited for Johnson’s opportunity to serve as a fellow. “Bret brings to the SEC a wealth of experience from his professional and academic background,” said Kitching, who is also the Accounting Advisory Council faculty fellow. “This prestigious position will not only help Bret develop as a teacher and researcher, but it will contribute to the growing reputation of Mason’s accounting program.”
“We have active participation from more than 50 countries and foster and facilitate CIO and IT leadership education programs, development of CIO institutions including government CIO Councils and associated IT policies, and application of technology to major societal challenges,” says Auffret. Key initiatives are the annual publication of the Waseda – IAC Digital Government Rankings, a book series with IOS Press, a CIO accreditation program for CIO master’s degree programs and an IAC annual conference which has been hosted in twelve different countries. The IAC partners with NGOs and multilateral organizations including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). What began as a meeting between Auffret and Professor Toshio Obi from
This prestigious position will not only help Bret develop as a teacher and researcher, but it will contribute to the growing reputation of Mason’s accounting program. - Karen Kitching Associate Professor, Accounting Advisory Council Faculty Fellow
Waseda University in the spring of 2004 in Arlington, Virginia has blossomed into a collaborative partnership. During the last year, the IAC activities have included hosting a series of “Technology and Country Experiences in COVID-19 Response” webinars highlighting innovations from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and other countries. The 2021 IAC Annual Conference will be virtual and is planned for September 14th and 15th focusing on COVID-19, Digital Resiliency and Economic Recovery.
Using Geospatial Technology to Promote Economic Development of Africa BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
The concept of establishing development state models in Africa is not new, but it has seen great discussion since the 1980s. The idea is to have the government become involved in businesses and production to enhance all its people’s development. “Development state is derived from the Development State Theory whereby a country has all its policies geared to economic development, and the government plays a central role in regulation, planning, and industrial policy,” says Obed Ligate, adjunct faculty member for management. “When the government executes the industrial policy properly, it improves domestic firms’ competitiveness and capabilities and promotes structural transformation that may lead to economic growth.” One of the reasons scholars have discussed this model is due to its success in the East Asian economies of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong in the 1960s. Ligate has renewed the discussion with his recent research surrounding the use of geospatial technology to support development state‘s goal of economic development in Africa. Geospatial technologies refer to all the technology used to acquire, manipulate, and store geographic information and use the data in decision-making in climate change effects and mitigation, education, health care, agriculture productivity, better land use, natural resource management, and even conflict resolution. Implementing geospatial technologies provides African countries the opportunity for better decision-making to manage her ample natural resources
while bridging the technological gap between Africa and the rest of the world, ultimately achieving economic development, the very essence of a development state. In a presentation at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ligate shared his research. “I have used SWOT (Strength Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) and TOWS (Threats Opportunities Weaknesses Strengths) as an analytical framework on how geospatial technology (remote sensing and geospatial information system) can be leveraged to enhance African development,” says Ligate. “Although my research analyzed solutions at a macro level, the same approach may be used at a micro level (individual firms) and increase competitiveness.” For Ligate, this research is personal and anything he can do to encourage it is essential to him. “Africa is my native continent, so I am a stakeholder for African development.”
Researching Solutions to Public Health Care Challenges in India BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
In developing countries, public health care delivery has experienced chronic performance problems in access, availability, and quality. Amit Dutta, information systems and operations management professor, and LeRoy Eakin endowed chair at the School of Business, together with international colleagues Biju Paul Abraham, Rahul Roy, and Priya Seetharaman from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, India, conducted research that identified structural mechanisms underlying these performance
problems and suggested constructive managerial interventions to alleviate them. “Despite sustained government investment, the public health care organization in the state of West Bengal, India, suffers from chronic problems including uneven utilization of capacity across different tiers of care and increased out of pocket expenses for the needy who most depend on it,” says Dutta. “We wanted to find out why these problems persisted despite additional resources being allocated year after year.” “By modeling the public health care organization as a system of interconnected parts, we were able to use systems theory to show that the myopic solution of referrals to private hospitals is actually counter-productive in achieving the long run objectives of ensuring affordable, accessible and good quality public health care services. Referrals to private providers increases patient out-of-pocket expenses and makes care less accessible since most private providers aren’t located in areas where they cannot be profitable, such as the rural hinterland.” Dutta says their research underscores the need for leaders to think systemically when making decisions, particularly strategic decisions. “Humans are very good at reasoning locally in space and time but are downright awful at deducing long term and organizationally distributed consequences of a network of interactions,” says Dutta. “Our research shows how they can use simple concepts like feedback loops and system archetypes to exercise some discipline and rigor to reason through the consequences of intended actions, in order to improve decision making and business performance.”
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Research Explores the Relationship between Female Board Representation and Corporate Social Responsibility BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
If gender diversity has a positive association with corporate social responsibility, is it up to government to create requirements in order to optimize a boardroom? Jenelle K. Conaway, assistant professor of accounting, has conducted research to determine the impact of female directors on boards’ commitment to socially responsible business practices. Together with Ana Albuquerque and Francois Brochet from Boston University, the team studied the effect of corporate board gender quotas on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of European publicly listed companies. “The Norwegian government was the first to establish a 40% female quota in 2003, with compliance by 2006 for state-owned firms and 2008 for publicly traded firms,” says Conaway. “Spain established a 40% female quota in 2007 for compliance by 2015, but only for publicly traded companies with more than 250 employees.” Other European Union countries have also enacted legislation that generally consists of a gender quota and penalties for non-compliance. The penalties vary in terms of severity. In Norway, companies are dissolved if they violate quota. In Spain, violations make board appointments null. “Our research informs the current debate on whether regulation or market forces should determine gender diversity in corporate boardrooms, including in the U.S.,” says Conaway. 28 IMPACT | SPRING 2021
The California state senate passed a bill in 2018 requiring publicly traded firms headquartered in California to have at least one woman on their boards by the end of 2019, and at least 40% of board seats by 2021. Creating shareholder value is no longer considered enough and firms are being held accountable for their CSR efforts. As such, this study does not limit itself to the boardroom. Increasing gender diversity across an organization has also been shown to positively impact CSR. “Gender diversity in the boardroom is expected to influence gender parity within the rest of the organization,” says Conaway, “one of the many factors that determine a firm’s CSR performance.”
Determinants of International Buyout Investments BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
New research by Serdar Aldatmaz, assistant professor of finance, benefits organizations that are seeking to move operations overseas. In an attempt to better understand global capital formation today and in coming years, Aldatmaz, together with Greg W. Brown from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Asli Demirguc-Kunt from the World Bank, researched buyout investments across 61 countries and 19 industries over the period of 1990 – 2017. “We found evidence that macro-economic conditions, development of stock and credit markets, and the regulatory environment in a country are all important drivers of international buyout capital flows,” says Aldatmaz. The team found evidence that countries receive more buyout investment following reductions in unemployment and expansions in stock market activity as well as following
regulatory reforms related to better contract enforcement and investor protection. Aldatmaz has been interested in studying the implications of private equity for the real economy for many years. He says the changing nature of capital markets in the United States and other major economies in recent years, including a trend toward more global private equity investment, motivated the team to study the factors that determine international private equity investments. With this research, the team can provide forecasts on which countries may receive more buyout investment in coming years based on their models. “Given what we know about the positive implications of private equity investments on industry operations and growth, our predictions might be useful for business leaders and organizations that are considering expanding operations overseas,” says Aldatmaz. “Based on our models, we expect countries like China, Argentina, New Zealand, and Austria to receive more buyout investment in coming years, while countries like Poland, Qatar, and Philippines are likely saturated (or even over-allocated) with buyout investment currently.”
Engaging with the United Nations BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
C. Kat Grimsley, director of the MS in Real Estate Development program, has made international engagement a central part of her professional career. She currently serves as an advisory member of the Real Estate Markets (REM) advisory group to the Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In 2019, she was elected by this international body to serve as the group’s 2020 vice chair. The intergovernmental committee is the highest policy-making body of the UNECE in housing, urban development, and land management. Within the committee’s umbrella of operations, REM comprises 27 members from 18 countries. “As an advisory member and vice chair,” says Grimsley, “I manage special projects and contribute subject expert advice in policy areas that support the mission of the committee and provide guidance to UNECE Member States (national governments as well as their local governments).” Grimsley’s recent involvement is not the first time she’s worked with the United Nations. She served as the working group lead to update previous guidance and create new material for the UN related to condominium housing. “In this role I helped to provide current policy and organizational guidance to UNECE Member States for use at national, regional, or local levels, depending on existing legal frameworks,” says Grimsley. Grimsley presented this guidance to international audiences including to foreign ministry leadership of UNECE Member States and to the committee.
Grimsley’s latest project is the drafting of the #Housing2030 report in cooperation with UNECE, UN Habitat, and Housing Europe. She is a member of a six-person team whose goal is to improve the conditions of persons living in poverty by creating a “tool kit” focused on raising awareness of best practices and innovative solutions in affordable housing policy that can be used by governments in Europe and beyond. Grimsley says she first became involved with the UNECE in 2012 while pursuing her doctorate. “I offered to be a research resource to support their needs,” says Grimsley. “That relationship evolved over time into quite a productive collaboration. For younger professionals trying to become involved with a particular group, my advice is to support the organization to the best of your ability and build long-term relationships you never know what future opportunities will come from your efforts.”
Photo Credit: C. Kat Grimsley
Grimsley addresses European Housing Ministers during a panel at the 78th Committee Session.
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Mason Professor Licenses His Business Strategy Game BY ANNA STOLLEY PERSKY
Photo Credit: Lathan Goumas
The idea came to him in the middle of the night during a cruise with family and friends. Despite being on vacation, Mahesh P. Joshi, associate professor of global strategy and entrepreneurship at George Mason University School of Business, recruited his family and friends to test out the card game. In the middle of playing, Raj S. Davé, a family friend and patent lawyer, suddenly said, “We need everyone to sign confidentiality agreements before we continue playing.” And that’s how Joshi knew he had invented something different. In December 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office agreed and granted a patent for BiggieBills, a complex interactive strategy game designed for executive training, company retreats, and business classes. “The idea that I should create a game to help people better understand complex business strategy had been festering in my brain for a while,” said Joshi. “But the details of what that game would be came together at once, and I had to rush to get it down.” Joshi was the founding director of Mason’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and recently served as its director of research and practice. In addition to teaching Mason students and research, Joshi advises and provides consulting to public-sector, private-sector, and not-for-profit organizations about corporate entrepreneurship and strategic and cross-cultural business management. BiggieBills is a “team game that is fast paced, has an explicit goal, and evolves in a dynamic competitive context,” said Roy W. Hinton, former associate dean of executive education at the School of Business, who encouraged Joshi to develop BiggieBills. “It generates great team discussions about appropriate moves, and players quickly see the impact of their decisions.”
BiggieBills can be adapted to include as many as 50 players. Each team takes on the role of an established business trying to gain the top position in a chosen industry. The standard game lasts about three hours, and a crucial point in the learning process occurs when the game facilitator debriefs at the end. The game is focused on business strategy, but can be modified to include other topics, such as entrepreneurship, new product development, and sales management. The two main ways to win are to be the first team to earn a billion dollars or to be the last remaining team standing after all others have declared bankruptcy. Davé, president of the Davé Law Group in Alexandria, Virginia, said that the game is a teaching tool that is fun to play. “Why is it fun? It’s influenced by luck and strategy, just like life. You can win or lose, just like in life,” said Davé, who helped Joshi obtain the patent on his game. Joshi said he created BiggieBills after searching for years for an interactive strategy game to use in his class, but not liking what he found. “There’s no game like this around,” said Joshi. “If there had been, I would have used it in my classes, and wouldn’t have had to invent it.” Due to COVID-19, the game has been redesigned to be played either online or in a hybrid manner. The details of the game can be seen at www.BiggieBills.com.
Photo Credit: Lathan Goumas
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CAREER SERVICES Moving Virtual Career Services in Quarantine:
Supporting Students in Their Job Search Process BY KERRY WILLIGAN
At the beginning of this unprecedented crisis, the School of Business Office of Career Services launched a job search and career development platform online and quickly moved all programs and services to a virtual environment in order to continue to serve the student and alumni populations. The Career Services team is committed to providing the highest level of support for students and alumni to ensure consistent job search programs, services, and extensive availability to job search resources. They have expanded the availability of one-on-one virtual career advising and have experienced a substantial increase in student appointments. Career Services has provided students with online virtual networking events and continued their successful ProfessionalQuest series, now in a virtual environment. In each event, students and panelists are able to interact and ask questions, and some students actually made connections that resulted in internship opportunities.
The Internship for Academic Credit class has maintained consistent enrollment through 2020 into spring 2021. Summer 2021 is on track to reach pre-pandemic enrollment levels. Mason Mentors, the program designed to match students with alumni and professional mentors in a wide variety of career fields and industries, had a successful launch last spring. For more information, visit masonmentors.gmu.edu. All students and alumni can visit business.gmu.edu/career for information on how to make an appointment or to learn more about career related programs and services. Potential employers are encouraged to reach out to Kerry Willigan, assistant dean of career services, to create a strategy to connect with students or alumni.
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Not Your Typical Destination
Students Study Gross National Happiness in Bhutan BY JENNIFER BRAUN ANZALDI
How can you see culture? Books. Movies. Literature. Lectures. Studying a foreign country doesn’t compare to stepping foot on its soil, breathing in its culture. And Bhutan offers a culture like few others. In a world dominated by money, Bhutan weighs the nation’s happiness above their economic growth as a measure of a healthy country. One lucky group of Mason students received a firsthand view of Bhutan (prior to the pandemic), led by now retired Jeff Kulick, instructor of marketing and teaching faculty fellow. At the School of Business, faculty strive to open the eyes of students to new perspectives. Kulick took this idea further, creating this international course through Mason’s Global Education Office (GEO). “Bhutan is a great microcosm for studying change, which is what is fascinating from a marketing perspective,” says Kulick. “Television was only introduced 20 years ago, and you can definitely see the impact it has made.” A small Buddhist country sandwiched between India and China in the eastern Himalayas of South Asia, Bhutan focuses on the idea of gross national happiness (GNH), an index that measures the collective happiness and well-being of the population rather than gross domestic product (GDP), which is the typical economic indicator of a healthy economy. “I would definitely say that this trip changed the way I think about international business,” says Joel Peverall, BS Marketing ’19. “GNH makes the citizens’ happiness the first priority over growing a profitable economy.” While in Bhutan, students visited the Institute of Gross National Happiness, businesses, as well as dzongs (fortresses built to be a combination of administrative center and temple). “There are no malls as we know them, and students had chances to see how commerce goes on in a developing country,” says Kulick. “Shops are very small, and since much of the country outside the main cities is focused on agriculture and self-sustaining, the merchandise is limited.”
“The trip had a huge impact on me,” says Peverall. “From experiencing the unique culture of Bhutan to creating lifelong friendships with fellow classmates on the trip, it has helped change the perspective of how I live my daily life.” In preparation of the trip, the students explored the history of the country, Buddhism, sustainability, and the threats the country faces as it emerges into the 21st century. Students studied novels, feature films, documentaries, and conducted their own research through class assignments. Peverall attended the first trip to Bhutan. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the most recent class had to cancel their in-person trip. Kulick is no stranger to global instruction. He’s taught four global residencies for the MBA program, visiting Chile, South Africa, and Brazil twice, and also taught a semester at Mason Korea. But Bhutan is different. “It’s relatively easy for students to travel to many destinations,” says Kulick. “This was a chance to get off the beaten path and visit a place in the midst of great changes.”
Photo Credit: Joel Peverall
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“This was a chance to get off the beaten path and visit a place in the midst of great changes.” - Jeff Kulick
Professor, Marketing & Teaching Faculty Fellow
Your support fulfills dreams. business.gmu.edu/contribute Photo Credit: Nikki Jerome Ouellette
Mason Mentors School of Business Career Services has launched a new online community, Mason Mentors, where students connect with professionals and Mason alumni from around the Washington, D.C., area. Our community is in need of mentors! This new platform enables you to control the type and frequency of your connections. You set the number of requested meetings or inbound messages and determine the number of mentees you engage with in any given month. What is Mason Mentors? Mason Mentors supports current students and alumni as they collaborate and grow professionally through an array of dynamic connections including avenues of mentorship, industry insight, or professional development. Mason Mentors facilitates connections and enhances the value of networking and mentoring in practical and useful ways. Role of the Mentor: The mentor is a working professional with five or more years of experience in their field. Mentors share skills, knowledge, experiences, and expertise about their industry or professional growth. They can provide expertise in the areas of leadership, organizational or communication skills, management, and critical decision making for a mentee. Mentors help guide student mentees who are less experienced in certain professional development areas. Contact Kerry Willigan, assistant dean of career services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-993-1880.
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The magazine of the George Mason University School of Business.