School of Business News Fri, 23 Mar 2018 04:34:31 -0400 MYOB en-gb Mason's Part-time MBA Jumps in National Rankings to #47

MBA grad caseFor the second consecutive year, George Mason University's part-time MBA program has surged in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. The program is ranked #47 in the country, jumping six spots from last year and 27 spots the past two years.

“Our focus is to serve the working professionals in this region,” said Paige Wolf, senior assistant dean of graduate programs in the School of Business. “We develop curriculum and delivery modes and locations to serve that community. We’re adapting to the market and needs of the working professional.”

For example, Wolf said the School of Business is moving in the fall to a more flexible class delivery model so graduate students can finish their studies more at their own pace.

Previously, George Mason’s part-time MBA program was ranked #53. Tied at the #47 spot are notable universities including Purdue University-West Lafayette, University of Illinois-Chicago, and University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Advantages to Mason’s part-time MBA programs include a high return on investment with increased salaries upon graduation, convenient course schedules to accommodate working professionals, access to lifetime career services, global experiences with residency trips, specialized areas of study, and high-caliber peers and networking connections.

Learn more about Mason's part-time MBA program.

General Tue, 20 Mar 2018 08:22:22 -0400
Gift from Kearney & Co. Advances School of Business

Brian KearneyA strategic gift from Kearney and Co., a leading financial consulting firm serving federal government clients, will benefit students and programs at George Mason’s School of Business. The firm recently committed $300,000 to support the school’s Government Contracting Initiative.

Impetus for the gift came from Brian Kearney (BA Integrated Studies ’02), the chief operating officer for the Alexandria, Va.-based company. Founded in the 1980s by his father, Ed Kearney, Kearney & Co. has grown impressively, and now has over 800 employees.

Under the pair’s leadership, Kearney & Co. has become closely involved with Mason’s School of Business, initially by supporting an undergraduate student scholarship. The firm regularly recruits at Mason, hiring about 10 graduates in the past year, and Brian Kearney serves on the business school’s advisory council.

Growing up in Annandale, the younger Kearney was already so involved in the family business that when the time came to choose a college, it was important that George Mason was nearby. “One of the biggest reasons that I went to Mason was so that I could work here [at the firm] while I went to school,” Kearney said. The local university was a popular choice: his sister, an accounting major, followed him at Mason a few years later.

Working together as a family presents its own unique challenges, Kearney admits, but is certainly rewarding. “My dad is boss, mentor, and friend. It is great to work for him ... When I was starting out, Dad told me, as long as you work harder than anyone else, you’ll be fine.” (The company seems to be in good hands, considering that one of Kearney’s two daughters, 12-year-old Emily, likes to say that she plans to run the company one day).

Kearney & Co.’s charitable and community endeavors demonstrate the family’s strong ethic of community service. The company regularly receives accolades for how well it treats employees, including recognition as one of the Top 50 Best Places to Work in Washington D.C.

“We feel that when you’re put in a position to help someone, you should,” said Kearney, who now lives just a few miles from campus in Fairfax. “Through this partnership with Mason, we will be helping the next generation of business students to succeed.”

Funds from the company’s six-year commitment will be used to establish a new graduate certificate program, the Government Accounting Certificate in partnership with Kearney & Company, as well as for scholarships. The program will ready Mason students for a variety of management roles in serving and consulting for government agencies. More broadly, the gift advances the leadership profile of the School of Business as a key partner with top companies in the region, and as a national thought leader in the field of government contracting.

“It is great to see that the value of a Mason degree keeps appreciating,” Kearney said. “That shows that the institution is getting stronger. I compare it to buying a new car. From the day you buy a car, every year it’s worth a bit less. But getting a Mason degree is the opposite—from the day you graduate, every year its value gets higher.”

General Mon, 19 Mar 2018 08:42:59 -0400
Managing Change in an Organization: Getting Ahead of the Curve to Sustain Profitability

Victoria GradyImagine if managers could tailor their management style for each individual employee to give them the exact tool they need to accept change with open arms, eliminating any decrease in productivity or profitability during change. With new research, we may just be that much closer to implementing this goal.

Victoria M. Grady, assistant professor of management and director of the MBA and MS in Management graduate programs at George Mason University School of Business, has been studying various aspects of change in organizations for more than 12 years. Her latest research is focused on understanding attachment styles in organizational change.

Attachment styles are broadly defined as an indicator of potential individual reaction to change. Grady says to feel secure at work, people attach to different objects within the work environment including people, daily routines, rituals, office space and more. Grady’s goal: to have employees participate in a screening or questionnaire (assessment tool) to determine which attachment style they relate to.

Grady says, “There’s an anomaly in nature that baffles scientists: Parrot Fish. Parrot fish change shape and size numerous times throughout their lifecycle in response to their environment. Wouldn’t it be great if people were like Parrot Fish? Changing their shape or color to indicate to managers what was going on for them internally? The need for more training? More support? More details for change? Less details?”

Unfortunately people can’t change their shape or color, but managers are looking at new ways to handle change.

“With this new assessment test, we would be able to determine how a manager would deal with people in different ways based on their scores. This would allow us to identify and define the attachment nature of employees to managers. The way people ‘score’ would determine how you managed them before, during and after a change,” says Grady.

But to fully understand how to get ahead of the curve, you first have to understand attachment theory.

Attachment Theory

“Attachment is an instinctual behavior that we are all hard wired for. That is something you can’t get rid of. It’s part of yourmanagement style makeup. Part of your fight/flight response. It’s perfectly natural that we all attach and detach to objects throughout life,” says Grady. “This neurological hard wiring for attachment behavior is a direct contributor to this concept of resistance to change.”

So where does that leave businesses? For step one, a business can support their employees need for attachment.

Transitional Objects

“Just as a parent gives a child a blanket or a binkie, an organization can support their employees with some type of transitional object which will help make a transition to change easier and quicker to embrace,” says Grady.

Grady emphasizes that this transitional object does not have to be a tangible object. It can be a strong mission that employees believe in, or even a strong leader that employees connect to and are willing to follow. And yet sometimes, it is tangible, like a token item (small toy or object) that reminds the employee of their commitment to the success of the organization and their part in it.

“For one organization, employees had a trinket that the leader gave them. The toy became a metaphor of their relationship with their leader. They used it to deal with stress and anxiety, fiddling with it in meetings. It was an unconscious act,” says Grady.

Attachment Styles

So should managers of change run out and purchase toys for their employees? Of course not. This is where attachment styles come in. By taking the time to assess the attachment styles of employees, managers can then tailor their actions to various styles, supporting employees in the best way for them and encouraging productivity, reducing any decrease in profitability that usually comes with change.

For the past two years, Grady has been in a partnership with a team of consultants from the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) to develop this idea in the workforce. Pilot tests of the assessment are in process with the Federal Aviation Administration, Biotechnology firm Genentech, and Council Subsidiaries to the National Healthcare System (NHS) in the UK.

Grady says that often people are not resistant to change, but rather resistant to the discomfort that comes with change. If managers understand that there is a “grieving” process that comes with change, they can better support their employees through the emotional stages of grief.

The biggest takeaway for business leaders is to identify the core mechanisms, those support objects, that will stabilize or make the change easier.

General Mon, 12 Mar 2018 08:35:10 -0400
It’s All About the Balance: Management Professor Speaks to Microsoft Women’s Group

Victoria M. GradyGrady Microsoft, assistant professor of management and director of the MBA and MS in Management graduate programs at George Mason University School of Business, recently presented at the 2018 Annual Microsoft Women's Conference at the Microsoft Headquarters in Reston, Virginia.

This year’s theme was #I'mAllIn, exploring the challenges women face in balancing work, family, professional development, volunteer work, and how to encourage more women in technology. More than 150 attendees participated in the day’s events that included a strong focus on balance.

Grady says, "I am honored to have been invited as the closing presenter for the Microsoft Women's Conference. I was in awe of the vision for women that filled the room."

Grady’s presentation titled, "I'm All In...Now How Do I Follow Through?" focused on the aspects of behavioral change that support balance. In her presentation, Grady discussed the concept of organizational change in general and how to define a custom strategy based on unique employees.

“We should be looking inside the box rather than outside the box,” Grady says, “There is so much focus and people always telling us to look outside the box for solutions and sometimes the solution is ‘right under your nose’ --- inside the box.”

In addition, Grady addressed the role of perception and bias in behavioral change and the difference in managing change and leading change.

“It was a great conference and they did an awesome job of highlighting women in technology,” says Grady. “Being ALL IN to anything is a challenge that requires balance. The foundation has been laid for these women who attended the event. Now we [women] need to embrace the change that comes with putting great ideas into actionable results.”

General Tue, 06 Mar 2018 08:51:36 -0500
School of Business Alumnus Recognized as George Mason University's Employee of the Month

March2018EOM KildayMatt Kilday is a 2014 School of Business graduate and Manassas native who works in Human Resources and Payroll in Merten Hall.

What he does: As a workforce planning analyst in Human Resources and Payroll, Kilday studies university compensation initiatives and salary surveys, and researches employee work profiles and self-evaluations. “Usually it’s supervisors who call and want to know things like how to initiate a personnel transaction, for example, or they want more information on how to do performance evaluations.” The most common request he receives is people who want to review their job descriptions.

How he got there: Kilday was hired after graduating from Mason in 2014 with a BS in management. “I started out after graduation as an unpaid intern in talent acquisition. Then I became an assistant in HR, and then in January 2015 I became a workforce planning analyst.”

Best day on the job: “When I was still a student wage [worker], I was offered a full-time benefitted role—my current role—the day before I graduated. It was probably the best day I’ve had here because I attained a professional goal of getting a full-time job and my personal goal of completing my bachelor’s degree.”

What he likes best about working at Mason: “I like the flexibility the working here as provided me. My supervisor is very flexible when it comes to scheduling and work-life balance, which is something that I value.”

What he likes to do when he’s not working: Kilday is “a huge baseball nerd. I love going to Washington Nationals and Potomac Nationals games. I’m a big Red Sox fan, but I love watching any games I can.”

General Mon, 05 Mar 2018 08:16:42 -0500
MBA Students Immersed in Business, Culture with Global Residency to Dubai

George Mason University MBAMBA Dubai residency students experienced the trip of a lifetime when they traveled to the United Arab Emirates for their global residency program. The week-long trip, taken in January, exposes students to business and government leaders, with the opportunity to visit local and multi-national companies.

Katie Rosenbusch, assistant professor of management, and MBA students visited businesses and industries, such as Carrefour, AstroLabs, Nakheel, and Jebel Ali Free Zone. The students had the opportunity to explore the cultural and business aspects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“The MBA global residencies provide an excellent way for students to think of international business beyond their own borders. They get to experience first-hand the challenges and opportunities that lie outside the United States,” Rosenbusch said. “Through cultural excursions, the students learn about the host country culture and by visiting multinational and local businesses they expand their global mindset.”

Zohur Nabbus, MBA student, said the trip offered students a different perspective on how other countries conduct business. “In the U.S., companies looking to do business meet with other businesses and work out an agreement, sometimes even in the same day, whereas in Dubai, relationships are important. You can’t expect to meet with the CEO today and have a deal written up tomorrow. You must get to know the CEO and create a relationship before you even discuss business,” Nabbus said.

Themes explored on the residency included exploring Dubai’s current state of economic development, physical infrastructure, legal environment, social and cultural norms surrounding business, and how Dubai’s political and religious history have affected its business climate.

Nabbus believes the global residency provided her with unique information and knowledge to advance her career. “By applying what I learned in the classroom to our visits on the global residency, I better understand how real world situations in a global setting work,” she said. “Students get a hands-on experience being in a different country, immersed in a different culture that can never be recreated in a classroom.”

The goal of global residency programs is to build upon the foundation created in the MBA core program, which focuses on understanding global markets, competition, and business prospects.

General Mon, 26 Feb 2018 08:59:23 -0500
Mason Students Come Up with a Honey of a Deal

honeyteapackaging mainThe trick to putting together the plastic boxes that hold Patriot Pollinator Coalition tea is figuring out which flaps construct the top and which construct the bottom.

Guess wrong and things collapse quickly. But when done correctly, “It’s easy,” said junior management major Soulin Reyes. “There are two flaps. You just squeeze them together and slide them in.”

Eventually, the 10 George Mason University students at a table in Enterprise Hall got the hang of it, and in no time nearly 100 boxes were each filled with eight K-cups of tea infused with honey from George Mason’s Honey Bee Initiative.

Profits from the sale of the tea will go back into the initiative, a joint partnership between the School of Business and College of Science.

But this is more than a story about volunteer labor and entrepreneurship. It is a story about Mason’s commitment to experiential learning and how alumni give back to the university that helped launch their careers.

“This is where we differentiate ourselves,” said David J. Miller, director of Mason’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab. “This is where the real learning is done, and it’s why students decide to come here.”

Mason already has the honey thanks to the Honey Bee Initiative’s 50 hives. It also has an alumnus, Chris Savage, BS Electrical Engineering ’10, with the machinery to make the K-cups, through his company True Honey Teas.

Seed money for the venture came from a $25,000 donation to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Honey Bee Initiative from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. All that was left was to find students who wanted to learn about business from the ground up and do everything from understanding unit costs, sales, supply chains, and marketing, and even build the packaging for the product.

“It’s awesome,” said professor Lisa Gring-Pemble, co-founder of the Honey Bee Initiative. “This gets students involved in the project and gets themhoneyteapackaging closeup 2ndary excited about it. They get to put into practice what they’re learning in the classroom and use business to make a positive impact in the world.”

That is something to which Savage can relate.

“I was a member of the Innovation Lab, and when I first started my company I was very involved with [Miller], fleshing out my business model and helping make contacts,” said Savage, who is charging the students a small fee for the use of his machinery. “This is a great experience to showcase to students how this process actually works. Now they have to go out and start selling.”

The question is whether to sell only within a five-mile radius of campus, join Amazon (and take on the extra storage costs) or sell through a product-specific website, all of which will be hashed out in the lab.

On this day, though, just getting the first K-cups into the packaging was enough.

“A big part of startups is being hands-on,” said Clark Gronek, a junior finance major. “You have to be part of the process. You have to deal with every part of it.”

“You can’t just say, ‘I’m the leader. I’m here to do everything,’ ” Reyes said. “You have to learn everything from the bottom to the top.”

General Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:37:51 -0500
Aspiring Entrepreneur Pursues MS in Management for Business Foundation

Jacob GeorgeThe Masters in Management program at George Mason University was designed for students like Jacob George, MSM ’17. George received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with original career aspirations of working in an automotive manufacturing company, but a new product development course in his senior year changed everything.

“At some point I got captivated by the idea of owning my own business. And so after graduation, I found myself reassessing my career goals,” says George.

As part of that reassessment, George realized that he needed a strong business foundation if he was going to become an entrepreneur.

“I was looking at several master’s programs and the program at Mason fit perfectly with my goals,” says George. “It was an accelerated program so I knew I would be done within a year. Also, the location was a huge factor in my decision. I knew the proximity to Washington, D.C. and the opportunities that came with it would be hard to find anywhere else. Finally, I had talked to several MSM alumni and faculty at admission sessions and it really left me with a feeling of being at home at Mason and that the faculty and career services really cared about every individual student’s success.”

For George, Mason lived up to his expectations, and he excelled in the program, earning himself the Outstanding Student Award for the Masters in Management program at graduation.

George says the most rewarding experience for him was the diversity of his classmates, both in culture and education. “Our cohort had students from China, Saudi Arabia, India, and several other countries as well. On top of that, we all had completely different undergraduate degrees.” Although George says he thought the differences would be difficult for group projects, it was the opposite. “We all brought different perspectives and ideas to the class discussions and we learned a lot more than we would have otherwise.”

In addition, George’s experience interning for a startup company offered him the first-hand view of what it is like to start a business. “I worked closely with the founders and learned a lot about some of the challenges and struggles related to establishing their presence as a new company in the marketplace.” George says he witnessed triumphant moments such as when the company won a contract. “All in all, it was the perfect internship for me. I definitely left the internship with a better understanding of the effort as well as the risks and benefits associated with starting a business.”

Currently, George is working as a business analyst at Universal Consulting Services, and says the MSM program prepared him for whatever future he chooses to pursue.

“I think one of the great ways the MSM experience has prepared me for the professional world was through team work and group projects,” says George. “During the MSM program, we were able to hone our team work, communication, and organizational skills.”

General Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:36:35 -0500
School of Business Faculty and Staff Receive Service Awards

George Mason University recognized several faculty and staff members from the School of Business for their service to the Commonwealth. School of Business personnel were recognized for 5-30 years of Virginia state service, which includes state employment prior to coming to George Mason. The recipients will be recognized at the 2018 University Day of Service Award ceremonies:

  • Mason Green Day (honoring 5, 10, and 15 years of service)
    Tuesday, April 10, noon - 1:30 p.m.
    Dewberry Hall

  • Mason Gold Day (honoring 20-45 years of service)
    Wednesday, April 11, 9 - 10:30 a.m.
    Dewberry Hall

The School of Business recipients are:

Five years

  • Ioannis Bellos
  • Min Chen
  • Rebecca Diemer
  • Margaret Dyre
  • Gretchen Hendricks
  • Derek Horstmeyer
  • Jongdoo Lee
  • Francisco Roman
  • Patrick Soleymani
  • Matthew Theeke
  • Shun Ye

10 years

  • Karen Kitching
  • Claus Langfred
  • Anne Magro
  • Alexander Philipov
  • Diane Vermaaten

15 years

  • Edward Douthett
  • Tara Hammond
  • Jim Hsieh
  • Christopher Joiner
  • Maheshkumar Joshi
  • Gnanakumar Visvanathan

20 years

  • Mary Byerley
  • Harvey Singer

25 years

  • Amitava Dutta

30 years

  • Sidhartha Das
General Wed, 07 Feb 2018 10:28:44 -0500
Management Alumnus Evolves Internship into Full-time Position at Norfolk Southern

GibsonBrendan Gibson, BS management ’16, knew George Mason University was the university for him after stepping foot into the school’s social center, the Johnson Center. Gibson, from Yorktown, VA, visited several schools, but felt at home at George Mason.

“As I walked through each campus, it was important to me that I could envision myself fitting in and feeling like I belonged,” he said. The interactive student community and “upbeat creative expression” on display intrigued Gibson to learn more about the opportunities offered at Mason and the School of Business.

Once on-campus, Gibson quickly got involved with student activities and groups, including playing mellophone in the Green Machine pep band, playing ultimate Frisbee, participating in Greek life, and serving as a Mason resident advisor. “I loved every minute of being busy and involved,” he said.

In the School of Business, Gibson was encouraged to expand his professional skills by Career Services with an internship at Norfolk Southern. He was selected from a large pool of candidates to intern with the Paper, Clay, and Forest marketing group at Norfolk Southern.

“I learned about how traffic moves on the railroad and all of the intricate decision making details. There are market managers that control different commodities and I spent time with each of them to understand what helps them determine prices, costs, business opportunities, and an overall comprehensive understanding into what drives their markets,” he said. “It was wonderful learning so much from those intelligent marketing managers because I would eventually be in their shoes.”

Gibson’s dedication and enthusiasm during his internship translated into a full-time position with Norfolk Southern upon graduation. Currently he serves as the assistant marketing manager in the Paper, Clay, and Forest division, managing the commodities of woodchips, clay, scrap paper, and canned goods.

“These markets keep me on my toes and very involved with my customers on a daily basis. I enjoy my position as a marketing manager because I have autonomy to price business as I see fit within the market, it is constantly changing which keeps day-to-day work from being mundane, and I work with ten other bright and helpful team members. There is never a hesitation to lean on each other and therefore no question unsolvable,” he said.

As a School of Business alumnus, it’s important for Gibson to stay involved because he wants to see the school’s growth. He keeps up with alumni news and stays in touch with friends still at the business school.

“I want to watch the business school grow and prosper beyond what I was able to witness firsthand during my time at Mason. The sky is the limit for the School of Business, and I want to watch them get there.”

General Mon, 05 Feb 2018 09:11:06 -0500