Author: Scott Slater III

Helping Family-Owned Businesses Excel

As the semester draws to a close there is much to reflect upon. I am grateful every day for the engagement and involvement of UConn School of Business alumni.

As we engage together, I often hear, “I didn’t know you did that!” Here is a recent example of something we do that most don’t know.

Our Family Business Program focuses on the special issues confronted by family businesses. We create a forum for people with shared interests to exchange ideas, explore alternatives, and engage with each other and other business experts.

Family businesses have all the problems of any business. But they also face the inherent family dynamics that arise from family members reporting to each other. How do you confront the difficult conversation when you fire a cousin? How do you ensure that important, non-family professionals feel included and respected? Perhaps this is just another layer of complexity in managing complex organizations. But it is a very important, distinct, and thick layer.

The Family Business Program, under the guidance of our Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, presented a workshop on business transition last month, featuring a distinguished panel of experts who shared their knowledge and experiences.

Let me share a few of the key ideas with you:

  • Family leaders will determine how much to emphasize family, and how much to prioritize business success. Rather than pushing for optimal profitability, they may decide to satisfice on the business side by earning just enough to support the family and involve as many family members as desired. This can be a comfortable equilibrium.
  • In generational transitions, the comfortable satisficing choice often gives way to a profit-maximizing choice. The generation in control sees a future after leaving the company, and wants to maximize their resources when the transition happens. The next generation may want to continue the business but does not want to pay too much, even to mom and dad. Independent outside acquirers are even less willing to overpay.
  • A consensus emerged that “transition” covers a three-to five-year time frame, during which satisficing accommodations need to be replaced with professional business patterns, such as an independent board of directors and accomplished professionals in all key positions.
  • The panel also talked about the four “D”s….. Divorce, Death, Disability and Disagreement. These bring an immediate sense of urgency to the transition decision and deny the 3- to 5-year period to optimize the exit value. They also quoted results that only one in five of the companies that engage investment banks to sponsor an auction have a successful sale. Worse yet, they reported that 75% of owners who exited reported being unhappy a year later.

It is indeed a tangled web we weave and there are many ways for family business transitions to go wrong. Two things stood out to me: the need for open, honest communication within the family, but also within the business to set the stage for the business to evolve. Another take-away was that “you cannot read the label from inside the bottle.” There is certainly a tendency for all of us to think we know what we need to know, but the value of an independent outside assessment cannot be overstated. Transitions are better when supported by some independent confirmations of where the business stands and what its future can look like.

The Family Business Program welcomes new members. To learn more about it, please visit:


Back to the Dean’s Corner

Student Spotlight: Jorge Perdomo

Jorge Perdomo is a senior Marketing Management major with a concentration in Digital Marketing & Analytics planning to graduate from UConn in May 2023. Jorge works as an eCommerce Data Analyst for ShelterLogic and has been in the position since August 2022. Jorge started his journey with ShelterLogic on Handshake. “I had a recruiter reach out to me and suggested that I apply.”, he recalls. After applying, the recruiter scheduled an interview with the hiring manager, supervisor, and the head of HR to further discuss Jorge’s experiences and future responsibilities. The most prominent factor that attracted Jorge to this position was how it integrated both of his interests, Data Analytics and Marketing, into one role. He had found in his search that companies usually prioritize one or the other with their internship offerings. Jorge also enjoyed the hands-on aspects of the role, “I was told that I’d be able to join in and participate in weekly meetings across different departments to discuss growth opportunities and areas that can be improved on, which stood out for some of my other offers”, he states.

At ShelterLogic, Jorge is primarily responsible for reviewing data on listings with well-known retail customers such as Home Depot and Walmart. Jorge searches for any inconsistencies in the data, and then utilizes the customers’ portal to correct any of the noticeable errors. He also must gather data on any new and existing products with Salsify, a customer relationship management software which houses all of ShelterLogic’s information regarding our products, and export it onto the retail portal for customers. With that being said, “One of the greatest things about this position is that no task or day is the same.”, he adds. Jorge’s favorite professional experience so far has been learning all the different portals that customers are using; “As a consumer, it’s so easy to just see a listing on Amazon or Walmart and click add to cart but going behind the scenes and seeing the steps required to create an item from the very beginning and working in all the data until the listing goes live has easily been one of my most favorite and educational tasks.”, he notes.

A piece of advice Jorge offers to students is to not be so hard on yourself throughout your application process. He would like to emphasize the importance of understanding what your soft skills are and how you could apply them into specific positions. “It’s very easy for students to focus on how their technical skills will play into the position, but companies also want to see how you will fit into their culture as well!”, he shares; “There will be companies that do not see you as a fit, and that’s ok! It’s important to always ask for feedback and pointers on what you could improve on. Take the whole interview process as a learning experience and make sure to remind yourself that rejection is just redirection!”.

Dean’s Annual Report Celebrates Many Accomplishments of Previous Year

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

Alumni Spotlight: Alison Zweig

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.

Student Spotlight: Melanie Montalvo ‘22

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.”.

Alumni Spotlight: Anna Mecca ’22

Anna Mecca graduated from UCONN in May of 2022 as a Marketing major with a concentration in Professional Sales Leadership. Shortly after graduation, Anna took a position to work for Smith+Nephew, a global medical technology company, as part of their Commercial Leadership Rotational Program in Advanced Wound Care Management. Anna knew she wanted to be in the med-tech space and was especially interested in a role that offered a leadership development program. Smith+Nephew provides a 2-2.5 year program that consists of completing rotations within both marketing and sales divisions of the company, ultimately setting candidates up for a Sales Associate position. Anna states, “These programs really teach you the in’s and outs of a company, before accelerating to a more complex job role. This program in my eyes really teaches you how to first crawl, then walk, and eventually run!”.

As an undergraduate, Anna was a member of the UCONN Women in Business organization and was also on the UCONN Women’s Swim Team. Anna was among 15 female athletes nationwide to be selected to join the Women in Sports Foundation Mentorship Program. She was nominated by the UCONN Athletic Department, applied for the program, and was ultimately accepted. This enabled her to meet people within the sports world and get invaluable career guidance from professionals within the industry. Anna was very persistent in using the resources UCONN provides to their students. With that being said, UCONN partners with Parker Dewey, a micro internship platform that connects students and recent college graduates to employers. Here, company’s upload small projects onto Parker Dewey and students are able to apply and get compensated for meaningful work. One day while on the platform, Anna happened upon Smith+Nephew; who had posted a project titled, ‘Sales Pitch Presentation’. She noticed the company was in the med-tech space and that if done well, the sales pitch would be used as a job audition for their first Commercial Leadership Development Program. She applied for the project, was selected, and created a sales pitch presentation which she gave to 4 members of the sales/marketing team at Smith+Nephew. After a successful pitch, Anna received a call asking to officially interview. The process was broken into 3, 30 minute interviews each led by a different person in the Sales Department. Once completed, Anna got a call back the following week with a job offer! Her favorite experiences with Smith+Nephew so far have been through ‘OJT’ (On the Job) Field Trainings. Anna fondly recalls attending an OJT in Omaha, NE where she was able to shadow a Field Sales Trainer for a week out in the field. She was able to see surgeries, meet patients with wounds that use our product, talk to podiatrists and surgeons, discuss any questions she had along the way, and gained a better understanding of how Smith+Nephew operates.

Anna’s advice to current students is to use your resources! She declares, “It is CRUCIAL that you take advantage of the resources UCONN provides during your undergraduate career and expand your knowledge. Whether that be taking a resume class, meeting with an advisor in the Career Development Office, or taking a class that might pique your interest. You never know what opportunities can present themselves when you use the resources that you have at your disposal. So while at UCONN, make sure you take the time out of your busy schedule to focus on career development. Set aside a couple hours a week to devote your time to finding what you want to do and seeing if there are any opportunities out there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help too! If you’re in class and an employer comes in to speak about their company, if you’re interested, even in the slightest, go up to them and introduce yourself! Make that first impression and get yourself out of your comfort zone. As long as you are actively trying to ‘build your brand’ at UCONN, you will have much success!”.

BAPM Grad Students Assist Atlas Air With Pilot-Retention Analytics

Atlas Air First Officer David Thompson stands before one of the company’s aircraft. Atlas Air recently partnered with UConn’s BAPM graduate program to analyze data for a pilot-retention program, and a second project on spare-part availability.
Atlas Air First Officer David Thompson stands before one of the company’s aircraft. Atlas Air recently partnered with UConn’s BAPM graduate program to analyze data for a pilot-retention program, and a second project on spare-part availability. (Contributed Photo)

In the highly competitive international air-transportation business, ensuring on-time delivery of passengers and cargo requires elaborate strategic planning, precise scheduling, flexible and timely maintenance, and extraordinary teamwork.Continue Reading

Remote working soars in Connecticut, exceeding the national average. It’s ‘a trend that is going to be with us,’ an expert says.

The number of Connecticut residents primarily working from home nearly quadrupled in 2021 compared with two years earlier, new U.S. Census figures show, some of the most compelling evidence yet about how the pandemic has reshaped the state’s employment landscape.

In 2019, 5.6% of employees in Connecticut, or 1 in 18, worked from home, but that climbed to 19.5%, or 1 in 5 in 2021, as employers adapted to COVID-19 distancing precautions to keep running their organizations, according to an analysis of Census data released by the Connecticut Data Collaborative.

In Hartford County, the percentages were even higher, at 20.5% in 2021 compared with 4.8% in 2019.

The percentage of employees working remotely in Connecticut in 2021, exceeded by nearly two percentage points the 17.9% registered nationally, according to CTData, a public-private partnership that advocates the use of data to drive policy and improve programs and services.

“While we know rates increased during the initial year of the pandemic, what is striking is that well into the pandemic rates of working from home have persisted, at levels three times as high as the pandemic,” Michelle Riordan-Nold, CTData’s executive director, said.

“To me, it’s indicative of a trend that is going to be with us,” Riordan-Nold said.

Connecticut also was in the top tier of states with at-home workforces in 2021, coming in behind Washington (24.2%), Maryland (24%), Colorado (23.7%) and Massachusetts (23.7%), according to CTData.

CTData’s analysis was based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey, which are one-year estimates released by the Census Bureau. The sample size for the ACS survey was 19,518 in 2021, compared with 20,291 in 2019. The survey was not conducted in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The Census survey for 2021 also marked the highest number and percentage of people working from home recorded — both nationally and in Connecticut — since the community survey began in 2005.

Greg Reilly, a professor of management and a department head at the UConn School of Business in Storrs, said it was clear remote working, to some degree, will remain part of the employment culture even after the pandemic wanes. But he cautioned the survey was taken while a broad-cross section employers had not called back most workers back to the office and so the percentages could come back down a bit.

Nevertheless, Reilly said the pandemic demonstrated some jobs are particularly well-suited for remote working. Certain jobs in all pay categories — ranging from information technology to customer service may evolve such that people who choose those jobs will take into major consideration the flexibility of working from home, Reilly said.

There are costs to a workplace with a remote component, and the lost interaction, especially that is by chance, Reilly said.

“It may be less the ‘hard to connect,’” Reilly said. “The more important, powerful negative is the serendipity that is gone when you are not in the office. You do start conversations that you don’t intend and those conversations can lead to a variety of positive, problem-solving outcomes.”

Reilly also noted that trust is built by a string of often chance, in-person conversations.

CTData also found other striking shifts in working patterns in Connecticut.

As would be expected, the percentage of workers commuting to work — by car, truck or van — dropped to 74% in 2021, compared with 84% two years earlier. The percentage taking public transportation was cut in half, to 2.5% from 4.5%.

Kenneth R. Gosselin can be reached at

©2022 Hartford Courant. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Harvard Economist To Speak at UConn on Business Implications of Climate Change Policies

As dean of the Business School, one of my goals is to convene important conversations.

That is why I wish to invite you to join the UConn community for a presentation on climate change policy presented by Professor Robert N. Stavins, the A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

A provocative speaker, Stavins’ topic is: “What Can an Economist Possibly Have to Say about Climate Change Policy?’’ His presentation begins at 4 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Dodd Center for Human Rights. The program will also be livestreamed; you can find a link here the day of the event.

“Attendees will come to understand what an economic perspective on climate change and climate-change policy has to offer,’’ Stavins said. “Business students and corporate executives should be attuned to climate-change policies because those policies will present very significant costs for some firms, and huge financial opportunities for other firms.’’

Stavins is the director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a University Fellow of Resources for the Future, and a former Chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Economics Advisory Board.

He directed Project 88, a national, bipartisan effort to develop innovative approaches to environmental problems. He has been a consultant to government agencies, international organizations, corporations, and advocacy groups.

In March, he will lead a week-long program on climate change, energy and policymaking for the long-term, convening policymakers and corporate leaders from around the world to discover the science, economics, and policy of climate change, as well as related aspects of energy production and use.

The School of Business is one of the many entities on campus that help to fund, publicize, and participate in this program, which is part of the Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series. The series honors the legacy of a prominent American naturalist, photographer, and writer who helped bridge the gap between the conservation and ecological movements of the 20th century. An eclectic thinker, Teale won the Pulitzer for his nature writing. In fact, his book on the pesticide DDT helped inform Rachel Carlson’s “Silent Spring,’’ which was credited for advancing the global environmental movement when it was published in 1962.

We are proud to extend his vision.

UConn is a ‘Green Campus,’ and we work to soften our carbon footprint consistently. UConn is making investments regularly to do that, although many in our community say it is too slow. The Aspen Institute, a collection of scholars, nonpartisan thought leaders, and other experts eager to address some of the world’s most complex problems, has said we are near the top in our efforts. This is a healthy tension. And conversations like this one help inform those on both sides of the debate. But that only happens when people come, listen and engage.

So please join us.

By doing so you foster your personal knowledge and growth and you underscore the importance of these issues to you and to our community.

In the School of Business, we often say that the goal of education is to help each of us reach our potential. We are here to help our students and alumni intentionally work toward that personal goal and to contribute to making the world a better place.

Please join us. You will be glad you did.


Back to the Dean’s Corner

Startup’s New Technology Could Create Faster, Less Expensive, and Better Way to Identify Disease

UConn Today – Imagine waiting 36 hours for a lab report to determine if you have sepsis, a life-threatening infection that causes inflammation throughout the body.

The team of entrepreneurs at RiboDynamics, a UConn-affiliated startup, believe they can cut that wait time to two hours with their new medical technology, which detects pathogens in biological material based on the presence of specific RNA biomarkers.