Dean’s Annual Report Celebrates Many Accomplishments of Previous Year

November 18, 2022

Today I’d like to introduce you to a few of the outstanding students at the UConn School of Business, the many achievements of our faculty, and the myriad of successes we have celebrated in the past 12 months.

In the pages of this year’s Dean’s Annual Report, you will read about Rashana Weerasinghe, who is completing her ninth (that’s right, ninth!) internship as a UConn student, this time at Amazon Robotics in Boston, where she is helping the company meet its sustainability goals.

You will also meet Linbing Pan, featured on our cover, who had an incredible summer internship at Nordstrom. During an introduction to alumnus Mike Koppel ’78, the former executive vice president and CFO of Nordstrom, Linbing expressed his passion for fashion and his interest in corporate management. Mike was able to advise Linbing on steps he could take to advance his interests.

These are just two of our many outstanding students who are pursuing active business experiences as part of their UConn journey. Our carefully designed and individualized advising program prepares our students for meaningful internships that are stepping stones to successful careers. Our well-connected faculty, successful alumni, and other friends of UConn give them the skills that they need, so when they land a big interview, they are ready to impress. Their stories begin on page 6.

Our business programs continue to produce outstanding results, with 88 percent of our Class of 2022 undergraduates securing jobs, entering graduate programs, or joining the military within three months of commencement. Be sure to see our top employers, rankings, and our placement statistics on pages 16-17.

Our faculty continue to make great strides in research that has real-world impact. In this issue, we feature three of our Operations and Information Management researchers who are tackling issues that impact us all, including how insurance companies can identify safe drivers, how the trucking industry can be more efficient, and how supply-chain management can be enhanced by lessons learned in the pandemic. Their work is featured on pages 26-29.

Our students are keenly focused on the intersection of business and society, seeking opportunities to learn and apply their interest in sustainability, corporate responsibility, and climate action. Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) influences business strategy and investors today more than ever, and we are meeting that need with a variety of programs and experiences. On pages 30-31, you will meet faculty and recent alumni who are making strides to elevate the social conscience of business.

I hope you enjoy reading about the highlights of a busy, exciting, and productive year. As I write this, Thanksgiving season is upon us. We have much to celebrate and many people for whom we are grateful. I wish each of you a holiday season of personal joy, professional satisfaction, and the abundant love of those you hold dear.

 

Back to the Dean’s Corner

Professor Cohen Earns Prestigious Appointment at Federal Reserve

November 10, 2022

Professor Jeffrey Cohen posing at a
Real Estate Banquet, Spring 2022. (Contributed Photo)

Professor Jeffrey Cohen has been named a Research Fellow for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, where he will work on issues involving real estate and economic inequality.

Cohen, who is the Kinnard Scholar in Real Estate at UConn, earned the prestigious appointment after serving as a visiting scholar for the Fed for 20 years. The honor is bestowed on only a handful of academics each year.

“I’m very interested in questions of how real estate wealth accumulated differently over time for Black and Latino homeowners and residents, compared with others, and what can be done to try and remedy any potential inequalities that are found,” Cohen said.

His most recent research studied how proximity to highways affects home values in Connecticut, including how the interstate system, built between 1940 and 1960, destroyed some communities and created value for others. Cohen found a direct correlation between the proximity to Interstate 84 and increased home values, which disproportionately benefitted Caucasian families.

Appointment Is a Researcher’s Dream

In his new role, Cohen will serve with the Institute for Economic Equity, a relatively new arm of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He will conduct research, give presentations, attend seminars, and contribute to the Fed’s ‘brain trust’ on issues of inequality. Cohen said he is familiar with many of his colleagues at the Institute and is excited to collaborate with them.

“They are extremely bright and well-published individuals who share a vision of enhancing equality for underserved populations,” he said. The connection is a researcher’s dream both in terms of colleagues and access to insightful data, he said.

Cohen, who joined the UConn School of Business in 2014, teaches in both the undergraduate and MBA programs and he will continue with those and all his other responsibilities. He was the principal investigator on Phase One of a State of Connecticut Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation grant investigating how a new rail commuter line connecting New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, Mass., would impact real estate value near the stations. He was also the principal investigator evaluating the property value impact of the CTfastrak bus-line project on Phases 1 and 2 of these projects. His work with the State of Connecticut on these transit-oriented development projects date back to 2016.

In addition, he is currently the principal investigator on a multi-year, $500,000 project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Systems for Action, studying how the CTfastrak bus line has impacted the costs and outcomes of treating substance use patients, and how these systems can be aligned.

The St. Louis Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates U.S. monetary policy, regulates state-chartered member banks and bank holding companies, provides payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government, and promotes financial literacy, economic education, and community development.

UConn’s EMBA Program Ranks No. 20 in the Nation

November 7, 2022

Shot of a mature businessman using a laptop in a modern office
(iStockphoto.com)

The UConn Executive MBA program is among the most elite in the nation, ranking among the Top 20 programs of its kind, according to Fortune.

The EMBA program earned its high ranking because of its ability to attract top students, its outstanding reputation among companies, and its alumni representation in senior management of Fortune 1000 companies.

The 2022-23 Best EMBA ranking puts UConn’s program at No. 20 out of the 55 programs that the publication ranked as outstanding.

“Our EMBA program was designed to cater to the unique needs of mid-career executives, who already have high level skills, and are looking to round out their experiences,” said David Souder, Associate Dean of the School of Business and former Academic Director of the program.

“We’ve maintained high admission standards in the program, and it isn’t unusual for our EMBA students to also have advanced degrees in nursing and law or to have already earned a doctorate,” he said. “Furthermore, our program has been thoughtfully designed to enhance collaboration between expert faculty and mature students. Our students learn both from their instructors but also from each other through team projects.”

Professor Stephen Park, who is currently the Academic Director of the EMBA program, said the program has a proud and enthusiastic alumni community that supports its current students.

“We deliberately leverage those close working relationships, and that’s something our students welcome,” Park said. “We don’t have specialized tracks in our program, but rather we offer soup-to-nuts exposure to what top leaders in an organization need to know.”

The UConn EMBA program is now accepting applicants for the Fall 2023 class. For more information, please visit emba.business.uconn.edu

Alumni Spotlight: Alison Zweig

November 1, 2022

Allison Zweig graduated from UConn in Spring 2022 as a Marketing major with a double minor in Communication and Spanish. Allison now serves as a Research Analyst at NielsenIQ (BASES), a global information services company. Allison was introduced to NielsenIQ when Tyler Delano, a UConn alum, came into her Marketing Research class (MKTG 3260). Tyler spoke to the class about the exciting life within BASES and the company culture. “It really inspired me to hear about how fun and rewarding a career in marketing research could be.” Allison recalls; she then applied for an internship at NielsonIQ. “My interview process consisted of two different video calls where they asked me a lot of situational interview questions like ‘Tell me about a time when…’, as well as an online exam.”. Allison was able to secure an internship with NeilsonIQ for Summer 2021, and went on to receive a full-time offer for July 2022.

A typical day for Allison is surrounded by analytical work and meetings. Most of Allison’s work consists of configuring the survey information and consulting with her team on how they want to present it to the client. As an analyst, she takes full control over projects where she interprets survey results and helps formulate them into insights that NielsonIQ delivers to one of their Fortune 500 clients. Allison has worked on a lot of fun projects during her time at NielsenIQ so far, but she claims her favorite thing about this role is the people. “It sounded cheesy to always hear how everyone’s favorite thing about this company was the people, but I have met some of the best people in this role. I’ve had the most supportive managers and mentors, who not only provided career advice to me but have made me feel valued as a person.’ she states.

At UConn, Allison took advantage of all the resources available to her. She was involved in different organizations and took various positions that helped to explore my career goals. Allison also took advantage of the UConn current student and alumni network. As mentioned earlier, she was introduced to her current role from a UConn alum who came to present in one of her courses. “There are so many hidden gems at UConn that you should take advantage of before you enter the working world.”, she advises. One piece of advice Allison would offer is to conduct informational interviews where you can talk to people in roles or career paths you’re interested in. Allison says this was “one of the most beneficial things I did while looking for a role”. Not only does it show interest, but you are able to gain additional perspective and insight into various roles and companies.

Disney’s Jenny Gaffney on Business Success: Follow Your Passion, Use Humor When Appropriate, Be Nearly Indispensable

October 31, 2022

Jenny Gaffney '17 MBA poses at ESPN HQ in Bristol, CT. (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)
Jenny Gaffney ’17 MBA poses at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT. (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)

If you’re a fan of college basketball’s March Madness, professional hockey, or football, you can thank UConn alumna Jenny Gaffney ’17 MBA, and her colleagues at ESPN/Disney for giving you front-row seats to the game, right in your home.

Gaffney was instrumental in the rollout of ESPN+, the subscription service that now has over 22 million customers and streams thousands of live events, as well as sports news, scores, and game highlights.Continue Reading

OPIM Professor Jing Peng Among Most Promising Young Scholars

October 27, 2022

UConn business professor Jing Peng has been honored as one of the most promising young scholars in the information management field. In the photo above, Peng (left) accepts the Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award from ISS President Oliver Sheng.
UConn business professor Jing Peng has been honored as one of the most promising young scholars in the information management field. In the photo above, Peng (left) accepts the Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award from ISS President Oliver Sheng. (contributed photo)

OPIM professor Jing Peng, a prolific researcher and champion of students in the Ph.D. program, has received a prestigious award, recognizing him as a promising young scholar who is likely to make outstanding contributions to his field.Continue Reading

Student Spotlight: Melanie Montalvo ‘22

October 26, 2022

As a Marketing major with a Management minor, Melanie Montalvo plans to graduate from UConn in December of 2022. Aside from her studies, Melanie is currently a Product Marketing Intern at WebMD. Melanie has been in this position since June of 2022. What attracted Melanie to her current position is the great reputation of the company. At the time, Melanie was not familiar with what Product Marketing was. After doing some of her own research, the role piqued her interests. The interview process for this role at WebMD was “fairly simple and straightforward”, in Melanie’s opinion. She had an initial phone conversation with a recruiter and then was asked to do a video interview. The interview was with the Product Marketing Manager and two other team members. The deciding factor in accepting this role was that it was a remote position. Over this past summer, Melanie also took online classes and had a side job. If she had to commute into New York City it would have been a lot more stressful for her, so she was relieved to have the remote option.

There is no typical day as a Product Marketing Intern at WebMD and Melanie is always working on different projects. She is currently overseeing all updates to any product decks which are client facing. WebMD has been modernizing their product offerings and creating new mockups. Melanie is managing this project and something similar has not been done at the company in years. A lot of this work looks like collaborating with other teams, such as project management and creative, and working with an external agency to create new templates. Melanie’s favorite professional experiences so far have been with her team. “I am constantly being supported and my work is always appreciated and acknowledged. I definitely think having such a close team creates an environment where I am comfortable asking questions and for help. It’s great that there has been trust established and my manager gives me meaningful projects to work on. I also enjoy having weekly team meetings where we discuss work but can also be lighthearted.” Melanie recalls.

Some advice Melanie would give to undergraduate students who are currently looking for internships or full-time roles would be to not be discouraged by rejections or not hearing back from positions you have applied for. “There are tens if not hundreds of applicants for each position and the reality is that you won’t hear back from most of them.” Melanie states, “I went through probably around 15-20 interviews and the more comfortable I got with interviewing, the more confident I was which led to offers. It was definitely discouraging at first, but everyone goes through it, and you eventually will land something that is meant for you. It’s okay if the only thing you get from an interview is experience and practice.”.