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Black School of Business NEW S   |   2016

ADVANCING INNOVATION From encouraging collaborative projects between students and industry leaders to offering unique co-curricular activities to supporting cutting-edge faculty research, the Black School of Business is a champion of innovation.

Innovative Majors Meet Today’s Needs________________ 4 Supplemental Activities Enhance Education____________ 6 Industry Partnerships Benefit All Involved______________ 9 Faculty Research Projects Provide Answers____________ 10




The Black School of Business is off to STUDENT’S PROJECT A FINALIST IN INDUSTRY COMPETITION an incredible new This fall, Aruna Venkataraman, a Projacademic year, and ect and Supply Chain Management innovation is a driving senior, attended SAP’s annual TechEd force in that journey. Conference in Las Vegas as part of an We recently formed Applied Research Lab team with four an Executive Council students from Penn State University of our school’s Greg Filbeck Park. The TechEd conference is SAP’s advisory boards largest annual industry conference, to help us advance our strategic which focuses on strategy, product initiatives. We’ve completed two direction, and best practices. videos highlighting our Intrieri Venkataraman’s team participated Family Student-Managed Fund and in the SAP our Innovating through Innojam Collaboration (ITC) competition in projects. By the end of which groups “ Without change, this academic year, we had thirtywill have completed there is no innovaAruna Venkataraman six hours to program reviews for all conceive and tion, creativity, or undergraduate majors, build a real, working solution to a given challenge using which will be instrumenincentive for imSAP technologies. They were challenged to develop an tal in formulating the application supporting sustainability. strategic direction for provement. Those “We created a facility and planning application called each of our programs. who initiate change GEN-E-US that helps users book the right room for apThis issue of Business propriate energy management,” Venkataraman said. “It News highlights ways will have a better would suggest which room to book based on the numbers we’re innovating to deof people attending the event, the technology needed, opportunity to velop students who will and other variables. The ultimate objective was to save stand out among their manage the change energy and space.” peers in the workforce. GEN-E-US was selected as a finalist in the Innojam, You’ll learn how we’re that is inevitable.” advancing the team to the Demojam where they pretapping into niche curWILLIAM POLLARD sented and demonstrated their solution on stage in front ricular opportunities, of industry leaders. refining majors to keep pace with advances in business technologies, and developing dynamic co-curricular activities. You’ll see the critical roles ALUMNUS EXEMPLIFIES AMBITION, ALTRUISM that our faculty members and industry In her senior year, with forty résumes in hand, Linda Walton ’10 walked partners play in innovation advances, into the career fair at Penn State University Park. She had a twenty-secincluding faculty research that builds ond elevator speech prepared, but her three Black School of Business on classroom instruction and facultymajors—International Business, Marketing, and Management Informaindustry projects that help students tion Systems —did all the talking. gain real-world experience. “The first table we stopped at was IBM,” Walton said. “I handed the I hope you enjoying reading these woman my résume and she circled my majors and my SAP certificate and stories about our efforts to position asked me to come back later that day for an interview. I didn’t even get our graduates for success in the busito give her my speech!” ness world today and as it evolves in the future. Continued on page 12

ON THE COVER: Tara Campbell, a senior Project and Supply Chain Management major, is shown with her internship supervisor, Keith Szewczyk, CEO and director of Bliley Technologies in Erie. Story on page 9.


NOCE HONORED BY BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB Dr. Kathleen Noce, senior lecturer in management information systems, was recently honored by the Boys and Girls Club of Erie with the Woman and Youth Award for more than two decades of service to the organization. The award is the highest honor the club bestows on volunteers. Noce has been a board member and volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club for more than twenty years. In addition, she has helped the club with many of its technology needs through Partnership Erie, an outreach center of the Black School of Business, which she founded in 2001 to provide free web design, web marketing, and content management services to nonprofit organizations. The majority of the work is done by students in MIS387 Website Design and Administration who are learning to design and manage websites. It’s a win-win: nonprofits benefit from the web expertise they receive and students benefit from the handson experience working with real clients. Noce, who has been giving back to others since her youth, volunteers at several other organizations in the Erie area, too. But she has a special affinity for the Boys and Girls Club. “Caring and kindness really can make a difference,” she said. “I know that when I see the impact the Boys and Girls Club of Erie has on area youth. If I can help them, my life is richer, and I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose for being here.”

Dr. Kathleen Noce, left, in class.

STUDENTS WIN “INVESTMENT OLYMPICS” A student investment team from the Black School of Business reached the regional finals of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute’s Research Challenge in Chicago earlier this year, topping teams from nearly 1,000 other schools! The team—Drew Barko, Samantha Chiprean, Eric Frei, Ricky Grullon, and Kelsey Schupp—spent more than 130 hours preparing a detailed financial report and oneyear stock valuation for the initial competition, which was held in Pittsburgh in March. They won the regional title. In Chicago, they then won an initial round that cut the number of teams from 106 to just twenty-one. “The performance of our team is a testimony to the high caliber of our students and the instruction they receive from our faculty members,” said Dr. Greg Filbeck, team mentor and interim director of the school.




usinesses that are successful over time are those that innovate, adapt, and change to meet market demands. Business schools are no exception. They, too, must take a wide view of emerging trends to prepare the next generation of business leaders. Penn State Behrend is at the forefront of innovation in business education. Ten years ago, it was one of the first educational institutions in the country to bring its schools of business and engineering together under a single roof to create multidisciplinary learning experiences for students. Today, with visionary administrative leadership and guidance from a board of advisers of accomplished professionals from a variety of business backgrounds, the Black School rigorously evaluates its offerings and adapts to meet the needs of its students and the larger business world. Here are two examples.

MASTER OF PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTING Increasingly complex business methods, growing sophistication of auditing approaches, new tax laws, and demand for highly technical services require an expanded knowledge base for an individual to become an effective, efficient accounting professional. To that end, forty-eight states now require 150 credit hours of education for Certified Public Accountant licensure. Recognizing the need for additional education beyond a bachelor’s degree, the Black School of Business is now offering a Master of Professional Accounting degree. The 30-credit program can be completed in one year of full-time study, so Black School students who graduate with a business degree from Penn State Behrend can continue learning for a year and fulfill the educational requirements for CPA licensure while also obtaining a graduate degree. The M.P.Acc. curriculum takes a more in-depth look at accounting topics covered in undergraduate classes and also delves into new territory such as business law, leadership, ethics, corporate tax planning, and financial management. “The coursework in the program is much more analytical and discussion-based,” said Andrea Kressler, who graduated with an Accounting degree in 2015 and continued enrollment to earn her M.P.Acc. this summer. “The assignments don’t just require you to find the right answer. Instead, you’re challenged to think outside of the box to find your own solutions and explain your reasoning.” A bonus of the M.P.Acc. is that a student can sit for CPA exams while still learning and earning the 150 credit hours required for licensure. “In Pennsylvania, you can sit for your CPA exams with a bachelor’s degree,” Kressler said, “so you can take that extra year to pass the exams and be done before you start


your job. I was able to pass two exams the summer before I started the M.P.Acc. I took the last two while I was still in the program.” Kressler said obtaining the M.P.Acc. immediately after her bachelor’s degree gave her a solid understanding of accounting before she entered the field. “The M.P.Acc. coursework helped me understand topics from several different angles,” she said. “I would definitely recommend the program to others.” Kressler recently joined Ernst & Young in Columbus, Ohio, as a member of the company’s Financial Services Office.

ONLINE FINANCE DEGREE The Internet has changed not only the way the world does business, but also the way it learns. Online education offers students the flexibility to earn a degree without having to quit their daytime job or make accommodations to attend class at specific times. Two years ago, the Black School of Business began offering its accredited B.S. in Finance degree through Penn State World Campus. Faculty from the school teach courses in the 120-credit program, which provides students with a foundation in the principles of business, economics, and accounting. Students who complete the degree may go on to jobs such as financial planners, financial analysts, security analysts, portfolio managers, bankers, and risk managers as well as jobs in corporate tracks that lead as high as the chief financial officer. It’s a degree likely to offer a high return on investment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial-sector jobs will see robust growth through 2022. For instance, jobs in personal financial advising are forecast to increase by 27 percent, and the number of financial analyst jobs is predicted to increase by 16 percent. In addition, learners in the online Finance major can complete the 18-credit Certificate in Financial Planning, which is a registered program with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. It gives students an introduction to the areas of insurance, taxes, investments, retirement planning, and estate planning. Students in the World Campus Finance program say it exceeds their expectations. “I already knew that Penn State was an exceptional institution, but now I know that World Campus is too,” said Andrew Hoverson, an enlisted Marine who lives in Virginia and is also an online Finance major through World Campus. “I’ve been surprised at the effort put forth to really include online students in things that are happening at the school, such as guest speakers, club meetings, and the Intrieri Family Student-Managed Fund.”

“ The coursework in the M.P.Acc. program is much more analytical and discussionbased. The assignments don’t just require you to find the right answer. Instead, you’re challenged to think outside of the box to find your own solutions and explain your reasoning.” ANDREA KRESSLER ’15, ’16 M.P.Acc.


Peer mentor Katharina Becker, left, and her mentee, Nate Jones.



he bar is set high for today’s business graduates. They have to be knowledgeable not only in their area of study, but also demonstrate skills in communication, leadership, networking, and civic and community engagement. That’s why the Black School of Business extends lessons far beyond the classroom. Here are a few of the innovative ways the school supplements curricular offerings.




orget stock market simulations and fictional financial scenarios. Black School of Business students have the opportunity to manage real money through the Intrieri Family Student-Managed Fund. The fund was established in 2011 with a gift of $100,000 from Accounting graduate Vincent Intrieri ’84, a senior managing director of Icahn Capital Management, and his wife, Joanne. The fund currently stands at almost $300,000 and is managed by students from various business majors with oversight from Dr. Tim Krause, assistant professor of finance. “The fund provides real-world experience, which is extremely valuable because it allows students to apply financial theory to an actual investment fund,” Krause said. “It also enhances the students’ communication skills because they are required to make weekly investment presentations.” Krause said it also gives students a look at the less glamorous “nuts and bolts” of managing real money on a day-to-day basis. The students have managed those nuts and bolts well. The fund is currently up 12.90 percent year-to-date and has consistently outperformed the S&P 500 Index since the fund was established five years ago.

mployers want well-rounded individuals, but it’s hard for students to know how to acquire these skills on their own, which is why the Black School of Business launched a professional development program two years ago. One of the tools in the program is Suitable, an online professional development platform in which students are encouraged to document activities that build their professional profile. Participation is voluntary and free for students. They can pick from a variety of activities at each level, such as joining a professional organization, registering to vote, participating in a class project, attending a cultural performance, or volunteering for a nonprofit organization. As students complete each level, they can earn incentives from the school or from businesses that sponsor the program. “In addition, as students complete more activities, they can improve their ‘rank’ in Suitable,” said Laurel Brown, professional development coordinator. “The top twenty are listed on the leaderboard on the home page.” More than 600 students are currently participating in the program, as are a dozen business partners who are, no doubt, keeping an eye on the leaderboard for dynamic individuals they’ll want to add to their team.



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Black School of Business students have the opportunity to manage real money through the Intrieri Student-Managed Fund.


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entoring programs have been proven to increase student success and engagement by creating an environment of trust, belonging, support, and encouragement. That’s why the Black School of Business has a formal mentoring program to encourage both peer-to-peer and student-to-alumni relationships. Goals for the program include promoting collaboration among peers of varied disciplines, encouraging open dialogue related to personal and professional growth, and fostering a sense of comfort and stability among participants. This year, more than ninety first-year students signed up to be mentored. Mentor Katharina Becker, a junior International Business and Marketing major, knows the value of a peer mentor. She benefitted from one. “I was a mentee and liked the fact that if I had a question at 10:00 p.m., I could text or email my mentor and get a response,” she said. “My mentor was approachable and helpful and became a friendly face for me on campus.” Becker was eager to return the favor and agreed to mentor five first-year students this year. “It’s not very time-consuming and doesn’t include heavy involvement,” she said.

Laurel Brown, who also coordinates the mentoring program, said each mentor/mentee pair decides what level of engagement they have. Some communicate only by text or email. Some have regular meetings. “We ask our mentors to do what they can to make a connection and check in with their mentees,” Brown said. “Then, it’s up to the mentee to ask for advice or guidance.” Brown is hoping to expand the program to include more upper-class student and alumni mentor relationships. “Right now, we have fifteen or twenty alumni who are willing to participate and offer advice to those about to enter the workforce.”



he best way to improve interviewing and networking skills is practice. At the Black School of Business, students can get plenty of practice in just one hour at the Business Blitz. This one-hour speed interviewing event is held each fall and offers students the chance to present their elevator speeches to industry professionals and get immediate feedback on their performance. By design, the students have only a few minutes to make an impression on the professional they are paired with. The professional then tells the student what they did well, where they can

improve, and what area they should work on. Then— ding— the bell rings and the student moves to the next table and the next professional. The Business Blitz is a crash course in interviewing that gives students an invaluable opportunity to not only learn from leaders in the industry, but also to network and make those all-important contacts.



ach year, Penn State Behrend students can hone their leadership skills at an intensive two-day workshop where they learn the softer skills of business—the perfect handshake, dinner-table small talk, goal-setting, networking, and more. Dozens of local alumni and business leaders are invited to participate in roundtable sessions where students have the chance to ask questions, get advice, and learn about different careers from industry insiders. Faculty members are also on hand to talk with students about their major options and the career paths in various business fields. Past participants say that the weekend retreat is a unique and valuable exercise in professional and personal development.

At the Business Leadership Weekend, to be held in spring, students can work on the softer skills of business, such as networking.


Tara Campbell, right, a senior Project and Supply Chain Management major, and her internship supervisor, Keith Szewczyk, CEO and director of Bliley Technologies.

Partners in INNOVATION Businesses and students team up to learn from—and with—one another


“One of the projects that I started working on in May, very business can benefit from a fresh perspective. and am still working on, is managing every quote that is Whether a company needs help solving an age-old sent out,” she said. “I’m also working with a large team of problem or a few innovative minds to explore a new people on revamping Bliley’s distribution process using an idea or product, the Black School of Business can help, ERP system.” using the school’s Innovating Through Collaboration (ITC) Campbell said her time at Bliley has given her an underprogram. standing of what it’s like to work in the real world and has Established two years ago to encourage learning partnerhelped her hone skills she could ships between academia and not have developed in a classroom industry, the ITC program brings alone, including a greater sense of business leaders together with “ Tara brought great insight professionalism, more confidence students and faculty members to in her career direction, and work on company-specific projects. and new ideas to real improved communication skills. Students get experience and “After being part of the inside businesses get help with tasks they challenges that Bliley sales team and working closely may have had on the back burner. Technologies faces daily.” with Keith Szewczyk, CEO and Black School students have director of Bliley Technologies, completed a variety of finance, KEITH SZEWCZYK, CEO AND DIRECTOR OF over the summer, I can see a huge marketing, and general business BLILEY TECHNOLOGIES difference in the way I think in the ITC projects for clients such as classroom this semester,” she said. Advanced Finishing USA, UPMC “Concepts and models are clearer Hamot, and Seaway Manufacturing. to me now that I can apply them to my experiences at Bliley. Tara Campbell, a senior Project and Supply Chain It’s nice to know the material I am studying is actually being Management major, was part of an ITC team working on a used in industry right now.” project for Bliley Technologies last spring. The Erie company Szewczyk said the Black School’s ITC program is beneficial was so happy with Campbell’s work that they asked her to to all involved. “This is a win-win for the company and for continue on as an intern while finishing her final year at Penn the students and the ITC program.” State Behrend.


Dr. Xin (Jessica) Zhao

Dr. Qi (Flora) Dong

Dr. Ryan Vogel

UNDER REVIEW Faculty research projects enhance understanding of financial and management quandaries


aculty members in the Black School of Business do more than impart information to students; they actively create new knowledge and insights through innovative research projects addressing today’s business challenges. After all, who better to dig deep into complex business problems than professional business educators?

ANOTHER TAX HOLIDAY? In 2004, in an effort to stimulate the economy, Congress enacted a repatriation tax holiday, allowing large multinational companies to bring profits back to the United States at a greatly reduced tax rate. Supporters said it would inject much-needed funds into the U.S. economy that would otherwise stay stashed in banks overseas. Detractors thought it would simply line the pockets of investors. Under the law, corporations brought $362 billion into the American economy. “The question is: Did the tax holiday promote domestic investment, or was it just distributed to shareholders?” asked Dr. Xin (Jessica) Zhao, professor of finance, who has been researching the impact of the policy with her colleague, Dr. Qi (Flora) Dong, assistant professor of accounting. “Essentially, we are trying to determine if the tax holiday realized its intended purpose,” Zhao said. “It’s important


to know that because Congress is considering a major tax reform that may change how multinational firms get taxed on their foreign earnings.” Zhao and Dong said they wanted to take a closer look at this issue because prior studies show mixed results regarding the efficacy of the tax holiday policy. The two have written a paper about their research, which is currently under review at an academic journal. “We made some methodological improvements and found results undocumented in prior research,” Zhao said.

MANAGING MISFITS According to Dr. Ryan Vogel, assistant professor of management, most companies have a few misfits, which he defines as employees whose personal values are incongruent with the values of the organization. “These are employees who feel like they don’t belong and find their work unfulfilling, so they are often disengaged,” he said. “They may not even know it or know why, but it affects their work and productivity.” You may think misfits would (or should) just quit, but it’s not always possible or practical for myriad reasons ranging from financial security to a lack of alternatives in the area where they live. “My research partners and I wanted to examine the problem

from the perspective of the misfit employee and learn what that leisure activity makes employees more psychologically might be done to buffer the detriments of not fitting with available to engage in their work, and there’s evidence that company values,” Vogel said. it can serve as a form of recovery—renewing energy and He and two University of Georgia professors conducted enabling employees to invest themselves in their jobs.” a survey study of 200 employees from a wide variety of The takeaway for misfits: “You can make poor job fit a disciplines and companies. more tolerable situation,” Vogel said. And, for managTheir research uncovered two potential proactive strateers: “Offering your employees some autonomy in how gies—job crafting and leisure activities—that enabled misfits they spend their time and who they work with can lead to to maintain levels of engageincreased productivity,” ment and performance Vogel said. “Let them play similar to their colleagues to their strengths. Also, who did fit. encourage and support “ Companies need misfits. “Job crafting refers to their off-the-job pursuits. Without the fresh thinking that an employee’s actions to Research shows that offershape, mold, and redefine ing employees opportunican come along with having a their job in an attempt to ties to do service work and improve their experience other meaningful experifew misfits, organizations cannot at work,” Vogel said. “It ences outside of the office grow or evolve and, so they basically means making benefits the employee and the job suit your needs and the organizations.” tend to fail in the long run.” interests by doing more Vogel’s findings also highDR. RYAN VOGEL of what you enjoy and light the ways organizations find engaging, and findcan take advantage of the ing ways to limit tasks and pluses of having employees social interactions that are with differing values. unpleasant and personally draining.” “Companies need misfits,” he said. “Without the fresh Counterintuitively, the other factor that can improve a thinking that can come along with having a few misfits, misfit’s productivity and job satisfaction is what they do organizations cannot grow or evolve and, so they tend to outside of the office. fail in the long run.” “For misfits, leisure activities may serve as a substitute Vogel’s research findings were published in the October for needs unfulfilled at work,” Vogel said. “It’s possible issue of the Academy of Management Journal.

Dr. Ryan Vogel’s research findings may help office “misfits” improve their job satisfaction and productivity.


Penn State Erie, The Behrend College Black School of Business 281 Burke Center 5101 Jordan Road Erie, PA 16563-1400

Non-Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Erie, PA Permit No. 282

INNOVATORS WANTED: Located on the first floor of Burke Center at Penn State Behrend, Innovation Commons is an ideation and prototyping space open to entrepreneurs and innovators throughout Erie County who are seeking a place to organize, collaborate, compose, and construct their ideas. Need help making your great idea happen? Contact Jake Marsh, industry relations coordinator, at or 814-898-6987.

AMBITION Continued from page 2 Walton was, of course, more than the sum of her majors. Her experiences as a leader, volunteer, and student food service supervisor, spoke volumes about her drive, determination, and dedication to success. Some of that she credits to the work ethic she developed at Penn State Behrend. “I’m glad that my professors were strict and didn’t accept any excuses,” she said. “There are no exceptions in the real world, and Behrend prepared me for that.” IBM was quick to offer Walton a position, which she accepted. Today, she works in Washington, D.C., for IBM Global Services as a Senior Federal Consultant for Enterprise Applications. “I work with the Food and Drug Administration helping set budgetary controls using Oracle software,” she said. Walton enjoys her job and working for IBM, though technology is a field she did not see herself working in before attending Penn State Behrend. “When I started at Behrend, I had the mindset that I wanted to improve the areas I was weak in; that’s how I ended up in MIS,” she said, “so it’s ironic that I work in that field.” Since leaving Behrend, Walton has earned an MBA and is now working on a Master of Arts degree in global security studies with intelligence from Johns Hopkins University. She has traveled the country and is fluent in Japanese and American Sign Language. She said she dreams of using her skills and knowledge to help with humanitarian efforts in Third-World countries.

“ I understand how to make policies and find funding to assist people,” she said. “I’m hoping one day I can stop focusing on myself and use what I’ve learned to help those less fortunate.”  — LINDA WALTON ’10

Black School of Business News is published annually and provided free to alumni and friends of Penn State Behrend School of Business by the Office of Strategic Communications, William V. Gonda,, senior director. Editor: Heather Cass, Designer: Martha Ansley Campbell, This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. U.Ed. EBO 17-170


Business News - 2016  

News from the Black School of Business at Penn State Behrend.

Business News - 2016  

News from the Black School of Business at Penn State Behrend.