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The Colonial Ledger SCHOOL



The School of Business made substantial progress over the past year. We developed our new strategic plan, added new faculty and staff, improved our assurance of learning and assessment processes, made a variety of administrative changes and set up a new Dean’s Suite. We have devoted a substantial amount of time developing our AACSB – International Fifth Year Maintenance of Accreditation Report in preparation for our February 2014 Review Team visit. I am pleased with our progress to date and excited about our future. J O H N M . B E E H L E R , P H . D . , C PA DEAN, SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

> AACSB International The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is a global, nonprofit membership organization of educational institutions, businesses, and other entities devoted to the advancement of management education. AACSB’s mission is to advance quality management education worldwide through accreditation, thought leadership, and value-added services. RMU School of Business is proud of its prestigious accreditation by AACSB International, placing us in the top 5% of business schools in the world.


The School of Business welcomed Lois D. Bryan, D.Sc., C.P.A, to the newly created position of Senior Associate Dean for Academic Excellence in September 2013.


During my first year as Dean, I have learned a lot about RMU – its heritage, culture, people, programs, past successes and future aspirations. I am proud to have the opportunity to serve in a leadership role at a university with such a positive trajectory on its path to success. The School of Business represents a key element in both RMU’s past and future success. I look forward to working with all of you in the future as together we bring the School of Business to even greater levels of excellence as an integral part of the continued development of the University.


> New Senior Associate Dean

> Message from the Dean Welcome to the inaugural RMU School of Business Newsletter – The Colonial Ledger. It is designed to satisfy the need for regular communication with all our constituents. As we strive to continually improve the School of Business, it is critically important that you are aware of our initiatives and the progress we are making and have the opportunity to be actively engaged with us as a stakeholder. Our AACSB International – accredited School of Business cannot continue to be successful without your support and participation.


During her 31 years with RMU, Dr. Bryan has held several administrative positions with the School of Business including Department Head and Associate Dean. She is a University Professor in the Department of Accounting and Taxation. Dr. Bryan is originally from Brownsville, Pennsylvania and earned her Master of Accountancy from the University of Denver in 1978, followed by a Master of Science in Taxation from RMU in 2000, and her Doctor of Science in Information Systems and Communications in 2006.

> Connect with SBUS Visit the School of Business website at The School of Business blog is a great place to keep up-to-date with us. Here you can find news stories written by students, links to department specific blogs and the SBUS presence on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. The blog can be accessed at Your support is crucial to the high quality, professionally focused education that the School of Business provides to our students. To show your commitment, please make your gift today at

> Beta Gamma Sigma: The AACSB International Honor Society

The mission of Beta Gamma Sigma is to encourage and honor academic achievement in the study of business, to foster personal and professional excellence, to advance the values of the Society, and to serve its lifelong members. Beta Gamma Sigma Objectives Include: 1) Encourage and honor high academic achievement by students of business and management through chapters in business programs accredited by AACSB International. 2) Foster in Beta Gamma Sigma members an enduring commitment to the founding principles and values of the Society: honor, wisdom, and earnestness. 3) Support the advancement of business thought and practice to encourage lifelong learning. 4) Enhance the value of Beta Gamma Sigma for students and alumni members in their professional lives. 5) Advance the visibility and reputation for Beta Gamma Sigma. Student officers of the RMU Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma are Zachary Dalton, President, Ashley Platt and Alexa Sarsfield, Vice Presidents. For more information about Beta Gamma Sigma, contact faculty advisor, Professor Mike Yahr at or Dr. Jodi Potter, faculty advisor and chapter Secretary at

> American Marketing Association Honored The RMU American Marketing Association Case Competition Team received Honorable Mention at the 2013-2014 Collegiate Case Competition sponsored by the Hershey Company, at which 86 teams competed. Team members were Geena Badolato, Charlie Branovan, Nicole Crossman, Alexis Jones, Stephanie McCarl, and Alexa Sarsfield. Teams were invited to develop a comprehensive relaunch campaign for Hershey’s Take 5 brand. They were asked to address consumer segmentation, product positioning, product distribution, and marketing promotion.

• The School of Business recently received a $400,000 unrestricted grant from the PNC Foundation.


Beta Gamma Sigma, founded in 1913, is an international honor society that provides the highest recognition for business students worldwide in baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate (graduate) programs at business schools accredited by AACSB International. Undergraduate students in the top 10 percent of their class and graduate students in the top 20 percent of their class are eligible for joining this prestigious honor society. A major benefit of RMU School of Business’ accreditation by AACSB International, which places us in the top 5% of business schools in the world, is the availability of membership in Beta Gamma Sigma to our top students.

> SBUS Fast Facts

• The RMU School of Business was named a Top 10 Business School in the nation for return on investment by PayScale, an organization that provides salary data to individuals and companies. • The School of Business Master of Taxation program was named one of the Top 10 in the country based on a survey by Tax Talent Network of corporate tax departments and alumni of MST programs. • Dean John Beehler is a member of the AACSB International Initial Accreditation Committee and is on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of MAACBA (Middle Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration).

> Inaugural Business Week Events The School of Business will be hosting its inaugural Business Week, February 24-27, 2014. This week is designed to help students prepare for their future careers in business. It will have many events and activities for students including panel discussions and presentations by members of the business community. The theme for Business Week is “Setting Sail: Charting Your Own Course”, with programming focused on topics such as careers in various business disciplines, dress for success, professional image, diversity, women in business, becoming a CPA and personal finance.

> Alumni Profile: Josh Blum Meet Josh Blum. Josh is a recent graduate of the School of Business, receiving a BSBA with a double concentration in Accounting and Finance in May 2013 and he recently received an Integrated Master’s Degree in Information Security and Assurance in December 2013. He is also a Certified Nonprofit Professional. While at RMU, Josh participated in several student organizations including The Association for Future Accountants where he served as Vice President of Membership and the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society where he was President. Additionally, Josh founded RMU’s Swing Dance Club, all while

maintaining a 4.0 GPA, making the Dean’s List each semester. For his outstanding academic achievements, Josh received several selective School and University awards including the Outstanding Finance Student Award, the Professional Focus Award, the Signature Leadership Award and the Renaissance Award. Josh balanced his academic studies with starting his career through intern positions at Data Warehouse Consultants, American Middle East Institute, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. At the end of January, he started a full-time job with PNC Bank. Beyond academics and professional experience, Josh has found time to give back to the local and international

communities by serving as an after school tutor through the Mooncrest After School Program, as a financial literacy instructor in Belize, and as a participant on a mission trip to Mexico where he taught a music workshop and English. The support Josh received from the School of Business and RMU has made an impact on him. He states, “My experience at RMU was incredible because of the people here. You can go to a huge school with large classes and get to know a teacher or two, but at RMU, I built relationships with almost all of my professors. I count many of them as good friends and they’ve provided me with sound advice, wise counsel, and connections to launch me into my professional career after school. I would not be where I am today without my faith or my mentors.”

> Faculty Profile: Dr. Vickie Fratto The Robert Morris University School of Business has long enjoyed a reputation for accounting education. That tradition continues with Vickie Fratto, Ph.D., a University Teaching Award recipient in 2011-12. Dr. Fratto began her career with RMU in Fall 1985 at the downtown Pittsburgh Center. She spent her first six years there before moving to the growing Moon Township campus. Initially she primarily taught Introductory Financial Accounting – a course required of all RMU BSBA students. Since those early years she has branched out into Intermediate Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Cost Accounting. When asked to identify her favorite class, Dr. Fratto immediately says, “Intermediate Financial Accounting. The course is only accounting concentration

students so you can push them harder and instruct at a different level.” She further notes the differences between today’s student and the students she initially encountered at the Pittsburgh Center. “Back in the 1980’s the Pittsburgh Center attracted a very different type of student. These were not traditional students. They were all working and coming in to take classes during their lunch breaks. Those were very serious students. When I moved to the Moon campus we had more working, part-time students. As the university has grown into a full-fledged institution I’ve seen the more traditional student coming to RMU. They are coming for the full university experience – not just to take a class to advance their career. But there is a difference from 1985 to today.” When asked what makes a good instructor today, Dr. Fratto points to connecting and accessibility. “Teaching is an art. I connect with the students. They can tell that from the first day of class. I look them in the eye and tell them what I expect. When I’m teaching I can

see if it’s not working. If so, I try different explanations. And I try to be very accessible. You also have to recognize the differences in classes. I teach a required course for all business students quite differently from a required accounting course. But I tell them all from “day one” that they can do it, they can be successful in the class.” Outside of her RMU commitments, Dr. Fratto enjoys music and the arts – not that surprising for someone who trained as a classical pianist. She makes it a point to visit New York City every year to take in Broadway productions. She also loves to travel and visit different countries – especially indulging in all of the different kinds of food. And if she had never become a professor? “Oh, I’d be managing a business. Before coming to RMU I had a position with one hundred fifty employees under me. I was basically a CFO and I loved it. So I think I’d be busy in a business.” Corporate America’s loss; RMU’s gain!

> News Updates from SBUS Departments > Accounting and Taxation

> Economics and Legal Studies

• RMU continues its heritage as a destination institution for accounting education by welcoming over 400 new or returning students to the undergraduate accounting program, as well as four new faculty: Ira Abdullah, Steve Hodaszy, Greg Krivacek and Carol MacPhail.

• Dr. Zhou Yang, Assistant Professor of Economics, received major funding for some of her research through a David C. Lincoln Fellowship in Land Value Taxation for 2013-14. It is the second consecutive fellowship for Dr. Yang from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

• Our students’ success was recently recognized by the PICPA with $17,500 in scholarship awards, the largest amount awarded to any institution in Pennsylvania; while over 70 students have undertaken professional accounting internships in the Pittsburgh business community.

• The 25th Annual Teaching Economics: Instruction and Classroom Based Research Conference will be held February 13 – 15, 2014, at the Charles L. Sewall Center. The conference includes over 20 sessions with presentations by economists from around the country. The conference is co-sponsored by RMU and McGraw-Hill/Irwin Publishing Company.

> Management

> Marketing

• The Management Department hired Associate Professor of Operations Management Dr. Albena Ivanova. She has since started a chapter of APICS to support the development of RMU students in the area of operations management.

• An “Advanced Marketing Research” class is being offered for the first time during the Spring 2014 semester. The class is designed to offer students greater exposure to SPSS statistical analysis and an in-depth marketing research project. The class is currently designated as an “experimental” course. If the class is as successful as anticipated the Department envisions it becoming part of a marketing research elective series.

• The Department has developed new courses in Project Management, Supply Chain Management, Quality Assurance, and Lean Manufacturing to prepare our students for their future careers. • Dr. Alan Smith was the Program Chair for the Atlantic Marketing Association’s annual meeting; one of the premier conferences in the discipline. • Searches are being conducted for three faculty positions in the Management Department since the Department continues to grow and meet increasing demand by students.

• The Department of Marketing is growing! A search has just begun to add an additional faculty member specializing in advertising, sales promotion and/or consumer behavior. The start date for our newest colleague will be August 2014. • Dr. Yun Chu is on sabbatical for the Spring 2014 semester. She is conducting research and teaching in China.

> Finance • Fall semester saw the first Finance Technology class being offered. This class concentrates on Excel and Bloomberg and will replace the AIS class in the major. • Dr. Flanegin and Professor Dennick Ream presented a paper at the ASBBS conference last Spring that won the Best Paper award for the Finance Education Track. • Dr.’s Ma and Emeker both presented papers at international conferences over the summer. • The Finance Department is attempting to determine the interest for a class that would cover the use and acquisition of land for the oil and gas industry. If anyone is interested please email Dr. Flanegin.

> Sport Management • This past fall, the 10th Annual RMU Student Sport Management Career Conference sold out with 150 students representing 11 universities and colleges along with 55 industry speakers and 15 visiting faculty. Mr. Murray Cohn, Vice President of Team Ticket Sales and Mr. Abraham Madkour, Executive Editor of the SportsBusiness Journal were the keynote speakers. • The 2013 RMU Sport Management Hall of Fame Class was recognized and inducted at the conference. This year’s inductees were: Daniel Cardone, Retired Athletic Director North Hills High School (1992-2013) Bill Miller (BSBA 1984), Vice President, Events, National Hockey League Dr. Jon Shank, Founding Dean, RMU Sport Management Program

Contact Us: Students: Need information about a certain Business major or class? Alumni: Looking to share your expertise with the School of Business? Accounting and Taxation:

Economics and Legal Studies

Ms. Carol MacPhail 412-397-6242

Dr. Patrick Litzinger 412-397-6383




Sport Management

Dr. Frank Flanegin 412-397-6361

Dr. Marcel Minutolo 412-397-5451

Dr. Steve Clinton 412-397-6360

Dr. Dave Synowka 412-397-6388 1170-73-14

School of Business Spring 2014 Newsletter  

The inaugural edition of the School of Business newsletter with profiles of faculty and students and the latest news from each department.

School of Business Spring 2014 Newsletter  

The inaugural edition of the School of Business newsletter with profiles of faculty and students and the latest news from each department.