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Black School of Business NEW S  |  2017

LEARNING FROM ALUMNI Justin Bloyd ’05 named school’s first Executive in Residence

Business Blitz offers high ROI_______________________ 2 Oracle users group hosts forum_____________________ 5 Students put finance tools to work___________________ 6 Alumnus makes jump to Germany___________________ 8 Programs connect students and alumni_____________ 10 1


In Brief

“ The future looks bright for the Black School of Business.”

Professional development, engagement, and outreach are the overarching themes of a packed agenda for the Black School of Business this fall. From continued growth of our mentoring program to Business Blitz; from expansion of Corporate Days to hosting conferences and executives from across the country; from celebrating successes of our alumni to international recognition of our faculty, we are blazing new trails as we continue to build on our great brand. In this issue, you’ll read about the launch of our new Executive in Residence program, the introduction of a minor in entrepreneurship, new learning opportunities for students in a number of our academic programs, and the great work of our Economic Research Institute of Erie, the foremost authority on the Erie area economy. Since my appointment as director in April, I have met with all of the school’s faculty and with members of our Business Advisory Board to solicit feedback on perceived strengths, to identify strategic opportunities going forward, and to determine areas of passion from each in realizing such opportunities. With this input, we have relaunched our strategic planning process to look beyond our current Strategy 2020 plan, which continues to guide our school forward. The future looks bright for the Black School of Business with our growing programs; our engaged faculty, staff, and students; our loyal and proud alumni, and the outstanding support of our advisory board and the Penn State community.

Business Blitz offers high ROI


his fall, Black School of Business students practiced their interviewing and networking skills with business professionals and alumni and then received valuable feedback in a supportive, friendly environment at Business Blitz. The rapid-pace format of the speedinterviewing event maximized the number of networking opportunities for both students and Blitz professionals. Better results in less time? That’s something every business person can appreciate!

Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor added


billion-dollar idea isn’t worth the napkin it’s written on if the inventor doesn’t know what to do next. A new minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) will teach students of all majors how to advance an original idea by solving problems, recognizing opportunities, and learning from failure when launching a start-up or innovating within an existing company. The program’s core courses are delivered through both online and inperson instruction. They are designed to help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset, along with the leadership and communication skills needed to support that style of thinking. Penn State Behrend will offer a specialization in New Ventures— teaching students to develop markets, manage intellectual property, and balance limited resources. The program supports the college’s open-lab initiative, in which business leaders, faculty members, and students engage in research and product development as teams.




The Black School of Business recently hosted a successful alumni gathering at Olive or Twist in Pittsburgh that drew more than seventy-five graduates of the school. Dr. Greg Filbeck, director of the school, attended as did faculty

Students in Dr. Mary Beth Pinto’s MKTG 344 Buyer Behavior class competed to create guerrilla marketing plans for Sprint. The winning team, “We’ve Got You Covered,”— Shelby Lunz, Becker Nezballa, Nicole Krahe, and Britnee Terrill—are pictured with Pinto and Marc Nachman, regional president for Sprint.

Students explore buyer behavior for Sprint


tudents in Dr. Mary Beth Pinto’s MKTG 344 Buyer Behavior class had the opportunity to work on a collaborative research project for Sprint, a leading wireless communications company. The semester-long endeavor was spearheaded by Pinto, professor of marketing, and one of her former students, Marc Nachman, who is now a regional president for Sprint. Students used market analysis, focus groups, and personal interviews to learn the perceptions, attitudes, and cell-phone provider preferences among Sprint’s target demographic in the Erie area.

Students also assessed Sprint promotions and offered recommendations for guerrilla marketing plans to boost Sprint’s profile and users in the region. The top three teams presented their work to Sprint executives in April. The winning team is pictured above with Pinto and Nachman. “This was real market research for an actual client,” Pinto said. “It was an unbelievable opportunity for these students to put some of the things they’ve been learning into practice.”

members, including Dr. Chuck Brown, associate professor of accounting and associate director of the Black School of Business. “We had such a wonderful time,” Brown said. “Our alumni are all so special to us and we are tremendously proud of their success. It was a

great evening, reliving past memories and making new ones!” Students and alumni enjoyed catching up, networking, and learning about the latest news from their alma mater and how they might further engage with the school and current students.



Dr. Jeffrey Pinto

he International Project Management Association (IPMA) selected Dr. Jeffrey Pinto, professor of management, for its annual research award. He is the first American to receive the award, which recognizes career achievement in the field of project management. Pinto is the Andrew Morrow and Elizabeth Lee Black Chair in Management Technology at the Black School of Business. He is the lead faculty member for the college’s Master of Project Management program, which is offered online through Penn State World Campus. In 2009, he was the winner of the Project Management Institute’s Research Achievement Award.

Pinto’s research is in the field of human and organizational behavior in project management, including cross-functional cooperation on project teams and the interoperability of geographic information systems. He also has studied gender bias, manager burnout, and the effectiveness of virtual work teams. His current project involves polycentric architectures, or regional approaches to project planning. One project he is studying is High Speed Two, the 250-mph rail line being developed between London and the West Midlands in the United Kingdom. IPMA will present its research award to Pinto at its annual conference in South Korea.



ho better to introduce students to some of the realities of the business world than a successful industry insider? That’s why the Black School of Business has created an Executive in Residence program, inviting professionals on the cutting edge of industry to share their experience with students and faculty members. The school recently named its first executive, Penn State Behrend alumnus Justin Bloyd ’05. Bloyd is president of RB Sigma, a project management, process improvement, and contract manufacturing company that provides solutions to industry using Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. For a one-year renewable term, Bloyd will bring an enthusiasm and industry perspective to classrooms, research projects, and hands-on learning opportunities. While the Black School routinely hosts a range of business practitioners, Bloyd will maintain a long-term relationship with the school. Activities Bloyd may be involved in include speaking engagements, guest lecturing, leading workshops, serving on advisory boards, judging business competition entries, sponsoring class projects, and mentoring students. “I am very excited about helping the school develop this program,” said Bloyd, who earned a degree in History at Penn State Behrend before entering the corporate world as an account manager at Leggett & Platt. “I’m looking forward to returning to campus and working with current students sharing my successes and failures in business. It’s an honor to be named the first Executive in Residence with the Black School of Business.”


“ I am very excited about helping the school develop this program.” JUSTIN BLOYD ‘05

“We could see that our content was resonating with the students.” JAMES HOBBS



he Black School of Business has long been at the forefront of integrating real-world applications, such as Enterprise Resource Planning, into its curriculum. In fact, Penn State Behrend is one of the only colleges or universities that offers an ERP education and certification for both Oracle and SAP software systems. So when the Oracle Application Users Group (OAUG) wanted to reach out to students, naturally they looked to the Black School of Business to host their inaugural OAUG Collegiate Forum. The forum, held in October, drew students from the college’s Management Information Systems, Computer Science, and Software Engineering programs, among others, to learn from trained Oracle professionals. The OAUG is the world’s largest user group consisting of Oracle customers

worldwide. The group hosts many forums, workshops, and events across the globe, but the October event at Behrend is the first time training has been offered at a university. “The OAUG is an independent association of Oracle users,” said James Hobbs, senior director of Global Programs at OAUG. “Contacts at Oracle introduced us to the Black School of Business as it has the largest installation of the Oracle E-Business Suite to train students at the college level, and we now have a great partnership with the school.” The goal of the free event was to educate students on the resources available to them through OAUG, both now as students, and later as they build careers as Oracle professionals. Presenters addressed topics such as interviewing, being an Oracle consultant, Oracle Cloud applications, transitioning from

college to the corporate work world, and more. A number of the event presentations were suggested by students in the college’s MIS Club. “The OAUG asked the MIS Club members for their input and what topics they wanted to see addressed at the forum,” said Dr. Matthew Swinarski, associate professor of MIS, who helped to coordinate the forum. Hobbs said the OAUG considered the forum a success and hopes to host events again at Behrend. “Behrend is a beautiful campus with an incredible community of faculty members,” Hobbs said. “This was one of the most interesting and rewarding programs we’ve worked on. We have information we know they can use to jump-start their careers, so we are excited about ongoing communication with our student contacts.” 5

NOT-SORISKY BUSINESS Finance students employ software to explain, gauge client’s risk tolerance


tool is only as effective as the person using it. More practice and experience mean better results. That’s true not only for hammers and saws, but for software and spreadsheets as well. That’s why Penn State Behrend business students are encouraged to learn the ins and outs of Riskalyze, a risk-management software tool used at many financial-planning firms.


While the program is commonly used in the finance industry, it’s not often found on college campuses. “We are one of the first universities to have used Riskalyze in our finance classes,” said Eric Robbins, lecturer in finance. “We first engage students with it in FIN 420 Introduction to Investments, where they create and manage two simulated portfolios.”

Aaron Klein, left, creator and CEO of Riskalyze, chats with a student during a visit to the school this fall.

Then, things get real. Students enrolled in FIN 461 Portfolio Management and Analysis put Riskalyze to work calculating and assessing risk levels of various strategies in managing investments for the Intrieri Family Student-Managed Fund. Any profits are reinvested in the fund, which is measured against a customized benchmark that includes the S&P 500. “In FIN 420, our goal is to give students a foundation in Riskalyze that Dr. Tim Krause, assistant professor of finance and director of the student-managed fund, can build on,” Robbins said. Senior Finance major Jason Pettner, the president and chief investment strategist for the fund, said Riskalyze is useful for assessing the riskiness of the equities within the portfolio. “When picking securities, the focus is often on the potential upside, which leaves the possibility for a large downside risk,” Pettner said. “Riskalyze helps us to identify the risk inherent in our positions, so that we can mitigate the downside risk of the portfolio.” Managing client risk is one of the toughest tasks that most advisers face. Riskalyze allows them to help their clients see just how much risk they are taking or need to take to achieve their financial goals. “It helps financial professionals give clients a clear picture of the risk they are taking,” Robbins said. “But, perhaps most importantly, the software can quickly run the numbers and generate reports on different investment scenarios, and the

risk involved in those, with just a few key strokes.” The creator and CEO of Riskalyze, Aaron Klein, recently visited Penn State Behrend to see how the students were using the software in class and how that might be expanded to other colleges and universities. While on campus, Klein met with faculty members, spoke to students in finance classes, and attended a Finance Management Association club event. “It was great to meet with the students and faculty at Penn State Behrend to hear how they have been using the technology in the classroom and the student fund, including their feedback on the program thus far,” said Klein. “We see this as another opportunity to empower fearless investing—providing students with the technology they will use once they graduate, and to be more comfortable addressing risk with clients and adjusting portfolios to help those clients achieve their financial goals while also staying within their risk tolerance.” Robbins said that Riskalyze is a user-friendly visual tool that helps facilitate discussion between financial advisers and clients. “Riskalyze doesn’t replace the financial planner, but allows the adviser and client to look at the data and illustrations on the screen so that they are both on the same page in regards to risk,” Robbins said. “It’s one of the most visual and valuable client-facing technologies that I have used, and I am thrilled to be able to give students this real-world experience.” 7

A Leader Wherever He Lands

“ Penn State Behrend was everything that I was looking for—a strong business school, great campus life, and a lot of opportunities to grow and learn in and out of the classroom.” PAUL LUKASIK ‘15



aul Lukasik ’15 was a standout student at Behrend, where he not only excelled in the classroom but also in leadership and service as well. It’s why the college named a major leadership award the Paul Lukasik Servant Leadership Award in his honor. So it’s no surprise that the Project and Supply Chain Management alumnus is a standout in the corporate world. Following his graduation from Behrend, Lukasik accepted a position in GE Transportation’s Commercial Leadership Program, a two-year rotation that supports the development of commercial operations, management, and sales. For his final rotation this spring, he was given the opportunity to move to Frankfurt, Germany, where he is working as the project manager in the company’s Asset Performance Management team. “My job is to lead the project team and manage the deployment of our products across the UK, France, Poland, and Germany,” Lukasik said. “Ultimately, the main goal of the project is to help our customers prevent locomotive failures by providing predictive analytics on their existing assets.” It was a whirlwind move that landed the young graduate in a completely unfamiliar environment very quickly. “Once I accepted the position, things moved very fast,” he said. “In a matter of weeks, with a lot of help from friends and family, I packed up my apartment, applied for a visa, and was on a plane to Frankfurt.” We caught up with Lukasik, who also earned minors in both Marketing and Sustainability Leadership, to learn more

about his career choice, his new job, and his move to Germany: What do you enjoy about PSCM? Project management is exciting. It requires you to be customer-centric and at the forefront of all activities related to a project, good and bad. Early on, I received some great advice from a coworker who told me, “Keep it real with the team and always ask ‘that question.’” I learned the importance of being authentic and how it can build a bridge for two-way trust. How long will you be in Frankfurt? I’m expecting to be here until March 2018, a full year. My goal is to get the project to a place where it can run itself, then hand it over to the local team. How difficult was it to pack up and move across the globe? It was pretty tricky. I was provided with a five-footby-five-foot box to pack my belongings in. GE then sent me and my box to Frankfurt. Everything else was either put in storage, sold, or donated. Do you speak any German? Nein (that’s “no” in German). I’ve picked up enough phrases to get by. It’s a very difficult language to learn but with Frankfurt being such an international city, it’s unusual to find anyone who doesn’t speak English.

“ Deciding to move to Germany on my own was both a challenge and an incredible learning experience.”

What has been the best thing about living in Germany, so far? I love the city life! Frankfurt is a great multicultural city that has plenty of authentic food, countless festivals, and a great mix of high-rise buildings and green space. What has been the most surprising adjustment? The language. While almost everyone speaks English, all the signs and such are in German. My first couple of trips to the grocery store were a disaster. They had completely different foods, strange ingredients, and unfamiliar brands. It’s turned a generally simple task into something very difficult. Have you had time to sightsee or explore? Yes, I’ve enjoyed a good balance between work and fun. I’ve been able to explore Ireland, Scotland, England, France, the Netherlands, and a handful of cities in Germany. Frankfurt is a fantastic hub for traveling. You were very active in service work in the States. Are you still? It’s been fairly difficult to find service work to get involved with here in Germany. I have taken on a more active role at the church I attend here, though. I volunteer my time on the production team helping with audiovisuals on Sunday mornings. What’s in the future for you? If there’s anything I learned from this job, it’s the need to stay flexible. Project management work is dependent on new business and that often requires relocating at the last minute, so who knows what the future holds? Ideally, I would like to move back to the United States and take on a new project. 9

MAKING CONNECTIONS In business, connections lead to opportunities. That’s also true for students in the Black School of Business, where they are encouraged to meet with and learn from a variety of professional contacts.


tudents have opportunities to help faculty members with research projects, engage with alumni at special events like the Business Blitz (see page 2) and work directly for multinational companies, like Sprint (page 3). At the school’s Corporate Days, they have the chance to network with industry professionals.

BRINGING BUSINESSES TO BEHREND Corporate Days are held four times each semester. On each day, one organization (a business, nonprofit, or civic group) visits the school to meet with and speak to students and faculty members. The organization typically sets up a table in Clark Café at lunchtime to interact

“ Corporate Days are held four times each semester. On each day, one organization (a business, nonprofit, or civic group) visits the school to meet with and speak to students and faculty members.” HBK INVESTMENTS, right, recently visited the school for a Corporate Day.


with students. Other opportunities for specific group activities such as speaking to classes are usually part of the day as well. Corporate Days can—and do—lead to internships for students, collaborative industry research projects for faculty members, and even jobs for soon-tobe graduates. Above all, they allow students who participate to expand their professional connections. “Events like Corporate Days help students learn how to build professional relationships, which is a skill not easily learned in a classroom setting,” said Melanie Deppen, professional development coordinator and lecturer in marketing. “Networking is something they really need to practice to learn how to do effectively.”

FORMING PARTNERSHIPS Mentoring 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 programs to encourage both peerto-peer and alumni-to-student mentoring relationships. Goals for the program include promoting collaboration among peers of varied disciplines, encouraging open dialogue about personal and professional growth, and fostering a sense of ease and continuity among participants. Two years ago, Nicole Overby, a senior Accounting major, mentored first-year School of Business student Alexis Jurzwick.

“We met once a month and I helped her pick her classes, decide on a major, and get involved on campus,” said Overby. Overby said that while she was the mentor, she benefited from the relationship as well. “It helped me improve my communication skills,” she said. “And it expanded my network because Alexis introduced me to her friends and vice versa. I was able to recruit her to join Circle K, a service club at Behrend that I am very passionate about.” This year, Overby is looking forward to being the mentee. She’s signed up to be paired with an alumni mentor.

“ I think it will be very beneficial to have a professional to turn to with all my questions about working in the corporate world. Expanding my network can only be a good thing and I’m eager to learn from someone who is already out there working in my field.” NICOLE OVERBY


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

KEEP IN TOUCH: Now you’re caught up on some of what’s been happening at Behrend. But exciting things happen here every day. Connect with the school on Facebook at and the college at

ERIE explores future of manufacturing


his spring, more than 100 Erie business and community leaders attended the 2017 Economic Research Institute of Erie (ERIE) Conference to discuss the future

of manufacturing in the Erie region. The keynote speaker was Jay Douglass, chief operating officer of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, a $250 million initiative at Carnegie Mellon University. Douglass is pictured with Dr. Ken Louie, far right, director of ERIE and associate professor of economics.

Black School of Business News is published annually and provided free to alumni and friends of Penn State Behrend Black 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 18-171


Business News - 2017  
Business News - 2017  

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