School of Business News Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:08:08 -0400 MYOB en-gb Students Make Connection Between Policy and Economy During Turkish Residency

Talking with executives of the world’s leading banks and seeing the interworkings of one of the Middle East’s largest grocers gave 25 George Mason University graduate students a hands-on learning experience during their recent residency abroad.

TurkishResidencyIstanbul, a geographic, economic and political gateway between the East and the West, was the destination for the students’ residency, the final step before graduation from George Mason’s brand-new Master of Science in Management program.

Mason management professor Patrick Soleymani said the residency teaches the students about business management in a global environment. He said he chose Istanbul because he’s done extensive business there and because it is a crossroads of business and culture on two continents.

“You’d be on a bridge and one side will say, ‘Welcome to Asia’ and the other side will say, ‘Welcome to Europe,’” he said. The group lodged in Europe, but their hotel balconies overlooked the Bosphorus River and into Asia.

During the weeklong residency, students met with high-level executives at eight companies, including CitiBank Turkey and Koç Holding, a Fortune-rated investment conglomerate and the largest company in Turkey.

“It has a higher credit rating than the country,” Soleymani said.

The group also visited Migros, the largest supermarket in Turkey.

“My first time in Asia was to go to the grocery store,” Mason graduate student Amanda Denger said. The trip wasn’t just for milk and eggs; the students met with Migros’ top executives.

“[They have] over a thousand locations. They are the Wal-Mart of Turkey,” Soleymani said.

After earning a degree in kinesiology, Denger had one year of track and field eligibility left, so she used that time to get a jump on her goal of entering 11-month management program that brought her to Turkey.

“In terms of business and politics, all I’ve ever known was how we function here in America,” Denger said. “But being so close to the action and learning why Turkish companies are taking certain actions gave us insight on how different economic, social and political forces can shape life outside the U.S.”

The group got a real sense of how Turkey is at a turning point, politically.

“A lot more is tied to politics in Turkey than even here,” Soleymani said. “It was the week before the elections; every speaker had something to say about politics. They were embracing change, but yet were afraid of change.”

This article was written by Jamie Rogers and originally appeared on the Mason News Desk.

General Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:29:59 -0400
Study: Do Website Comments Influence Sales?

Gautham Vadakkepatt has never left a snarky criticism or an expression of praise in the “comments” section of online websites.

“In fact, I have never left any recommendations for anything,” he said.Gautham Vadakkepatt

Still, the George Mason University marketing professor has examined the effectiveness of online comments as a co-writer of the study, A Meta-Analysis of Electronic Word-of-Mouth Elasticity, published in March by the Journal of Marketing.

Do the remarks left on retail and social media sites regarding products and services actually impact sales? The findings are important as companies large and small scale up their social media staffs and commit significant assets to what is largely an untested marketing platform.

“Most companies spend a lot of money on social media and hire people just to manage it,” said Vadakkepatt, who teaches at Mason’s School of Business. “Social media is supposed to drive sales. The assumption is, if someone says something positive on Yelp, for example, people will read it and respond positively.”

Vadakkepatt and his fellow researchers from the College of Charleston and the University of Central Florida brought academic rigor to the question as they tried to determine whether word-of-mouth comments on social media had an impact on sale.

The conclusion?

“Social media does have an impact on sales,” he said. “But the magnitude depends on the product you are selling, it depends on the number of competitors you have in the industry and it depends on the platform on which the word-of-mouth is found.”

“For instance, Facebook word-of-mouth is more effective than word-of-mouth on Amazon. When it’s a ‘real’ person and you have a connection with that person, there is greater impact.”

Known commenters are more influential than anonymous ones, he said.

The results of the study are applicable immediately and to a wide audience, he said.

“Today companies are investing an increasing proportion of their marketing budgets into social media. They are trying to get consumers to talk about products in social media and that’s where all the money is going.

“It’s also where many marketing majors are hired—to create social media buzz and word-of-mouth.”

And why doesn’t Vadakkepatt leave comments behind after visiting a consumer website? Not because he doesn’t have anything to say, but because what he says might not be relevant.

“Many online reviews have a permanency that might not be reflective of the current reality of the company,” he said.

General Thu, 18 Jun 2015 10:26:26 -0400
Study Abroad Expands Horizons for Marketing Student

patrick finney smallThe close of each spring semester brings feelings of accomplishment, excitement, and often a bit of nostalgia. These are only intensified when the end of the spring semester is also the end of a semester abroad—the completion of a life-changing experience in a foreign country, that ironically becomes a new place to call “home.”

These feelings are all too familiar for Patrick Finney, a rising junior and marketing major in George Mason’s School of Business who just completed a semester abroad at the KEDGE Business School in Marseille, France.

Deciding where to study abroad was relatively easy for Finney. With a commitment to mastering French fluently and considering schools that offered courses relevant to his major, KEDGE was a clear choice.

“KEDGE Business School is within the top 10 circle for the Grand Ecole system in France. It is a well-respected college on an international level and has a local reputation of being reserved for the best in the city,” explains Finney. “There is a broad level of international diversity in the streets, businesses, and the KEDGE campus. It’s similar to Mason in a lot of ways, and I feel that the diversity in our school has prepared me for international life like this.”

Additionally, KEDGE is part of Mason’s Direct Exchange programs, which makes the application process and credit transfer seamless. Finney’s courses at KEDGE in organizational behavior, principles of marketing, sustainable development, and management information systems all counted as credits toward his Mason marketing degree.

While Finney has enjoyed these courses, some of his greatest learning experiences have come from outside the classroom. In particular, he recalls a memorable meeting at the Bloomberg Financial Analysis office. While finance is not Finney’s favorite subject, to his surprise he enjoyed the opportunity to work in the Bloomberg Terminal and speak at length with one of the company’s marketing project managers.

Pope Francis Easter“She and I spoke about her daily schedule, opportunities within the company, and then also my potential involvement. In this meeting, I got some well–needed perspective,” says Finney. “I’m on the cusp of some big opportunities, the likes of which I didn’t think would come so soon.”

On top of the immense professional learning opportunities, Finney has grown personally from an array of experiences most only dream about. From touring the South of France and skiing the Alps to mastering French from native speakers and celebrating Easter with Pope Francis at iconic St. Peter’s Square, it seems that he has done almost everything one could on this trip.

The one thing he has not done is regret his choice to study abroad, and Finney advises other students to thoughtfully consider their options before making a final study abroad commitment.

“Before making any serious decision, make sure that the product sits in line with your head and your heart,” advises Finney. “If the three don’t make sense together, you’ll eventually question your decision. Questioning leads to doubt and doubt leads to regret. The last thing you want to do is regret being alone on a flight out of the country for half a year.”

This study abroad experience may be all the more meaningful for Finney as it was made possible in part due to Finney’s receipt of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, making him one of 860 American undergraduate students from 332 colleges across the nation to receive the prestigious scholarship for the Spring 2015 semester. Finney describes the support of the Gilman Scholarship as irreplaceable and attributes it greatly to his success.

finney study abroad“No matter how much we want to be independent and for success to come by ourselves only, we will be able to achieve more, faster when we learn to be interdependent. The ever-prevalent idea that we are the ultimate determinants of our own happiness is nothing without the participation of others.”

In conjunction with this theme of interdependent success, all Gilman Scholars complete a follow-on service project after their time abroad that promotes international education and the Gilman Scholarship Program at the students' home institution or in their home community.

For his service project, Finney will develop a product that he says he wished he had during the application process: a student handbook for studying abroad. This guide will be made available for free in Mason’s Center for Global Education and will include an application schedule, checklists, helpful files, insider’s lingo, and photographs for inspiration.

For more information on study abroad opportunities at Mason, visit the Center for Global Education.

General Thu, 11 Jun 2015 12:04:38 -0400
MS in Management Student Named Field Athlete of the Year

amanda dengerAmanda Denger, a student in the first cohort of the MS in Management, was recently recognized as “Female Field Athlete of the Year” in track and field.

Originally from Nazareth, Pennsylvania Denger came to Mason because she loved the area, the coaching staff, and the track team. She was a kinesiology undergraduate major with a minor in business and decided to pursue a graduate degree at Mason to continue her track career at Mason.

“I initially wanted to get my MBA but after a closer look, I realized the Masters in Management program was a perfect fit for me,” says Denger. “I was able to use my last year of athletic eligibility and finish out the one year program at the same time.”

Richard Klimoski, professor and area chair of management at George Mason’s School of Business, was instrumental in recruiting Denger into the program. Klimoski who met Denger at the Mason Field House, often served as a faculty resource for Denger’s coach, Andrew Gerard. Klimoski spoke to Denger on a few occasions about the new MS in Management program.

“This program seemed well designed for someone like Amanda,” says Klimoski. “It did not require a background in business education nor any set amount of work experience. And unlike a traditional MBA, it is a degree that can be completed in one year, something which is very important to those anxious to make a contribution to the world of work.”

Denger says the program was challenging, especially for her trying to manage both her athletic and academic commitments. As part of the MS in Management program, she is interning with a recent startup company called The Next Game Project, learning the ins and outs of how to get a business off the ground and running.

“It’s something that we talk about in theory in class,” she says “but now I am able to see the practical implications in an area that I am really interested in.”

After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in cooperate wellness as a fitness specialist, combining her strengths as a personal trainer with her knowledge of management.

“The professors pushed us to understand material at an accelerated pace but brought us valuable realworld knowledge in their field,” says Denger. “I feel as though my classmates and I are headed into the work force with a real advantage.”

General Wed, 10 Jun 2015 09:16:12 -0400
Nutter Joins Burke & Herbert Bank Board

nutter-smSarah E. Nutter, dean of George Mason University's School of Business, has been elected to the Burke & Herbert Bank Board of Directors. With the addition of Nutter, the Bank's Board of Directors is comprised of eleven members having a broad range of experience and expertise both within and outside the financial services industry.

"Dr. Nutter is a highly-accomplished and talented educator and leader, and we are delighted to have someone of her caliber join our Board of Directors," said E. Hunt Burke, the Bank's chairman & chief executive officer. "She brings to our team a wealth of knowledge and experience in business, finance, and education, along with a genuine passion for helping local businesses succeed and thrive. I'm excited about the opportunity to work with Sarah and learn from her as we continue our work to ensure ongoing success for Burke & Herbert Bank," he added.

"I too am excited about joining the Board of Directors at Burke & Herbert Bank," said Nutter. "While I am at the very beginning of my work with the Bank, it is clear that Burke & Herbert Bank is a unique, caring, and highly-successful organization with a long, storied history of helping individuals and businesses throughout northern Virginia. I am looking forward to working with Mr. Burke and all the members of the Bank's Board of Directors and to helping the Bank grow and prosper."

Burke & Herbert Bank, established in 1852, is the oldest bank in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the oldest continuously operating bank in the Washington, D.C., area.

General Thu, 28 May 2015 13:38:33 -0400
School of Business Alumni Chapter Elects New Board

The results are in!

Annual elections for the School of Business Alumni Chapter Board saw the largest voter participation to date. It was a global affair with votes submitted by alumni in five countries outside the US (Germany, Qatar, Canada, Turkey, Australia).

The new Alumni Chapter Board includes

  • President Elect: Sumeet Shrivastava, Executive MBA '94
  • Chair of the Program & Events Committee: Kristin Discher, BS Marketing '08 and MBA '13
  • Chair of the Outreach Committee: Brian Dreyer, MBA '13
  • Chair of the Fundraising Committee: Michael Gallagher, MBA '94
  • Secretary: Curt White, Executive MBA '96
  • Treasurer: Becky Andersen, BS Accounting '10

Six alumni were also voted directors at large.

  • John Gustavo Blair, MBA '04
  • Karen Cohen, MS Real Estate Development '12
  • Mike Creasy, BS Accounting and Decision Sciences & Management Information Systems '91
  • Dave Roe, BS Accounting '89 and MBA '96
  • David Gagliano, MS Technology Management '02
  • Jason Howell, BS Accounting '97

The board is tasked with providing a variety of programs and networking opportunities that help advance both the mission and reputation of the business school and out alumni. All School of Business alumni are invited to participate in the alumni chapter and attend events it sponsors. If you would like to get involved or have suggestions for a future event, please contact Nikki Jerome at or 703-993-4833.

Learn more about the School of Business Alumni Chapter and its board members.

General Tue, 26 May 2015 15:52:03 -0400
Mason’s Online MBA Program among Best in Nation for Veterans

Just in time for Memorial Day, when the nation honors those who are serving or have served in the military, U.S. News & World Report released a survey of online programs for veterans at 737 universities and colleges.

George Mason University's online Master of Business Administration program was tied at No. 31 for best online MBA program.

The rankings were determined by examining affordability, accessibility and reputation. Other factors included how much financial assistance is available, which federal aid programs the schools recognize and faculty credentials.

"Mason values the experience and diversity veterans bring to both the campus and online environment," said Jennifer Connors, director of Mason's Office of Military Services. "We are committed to creating a pathway to success for our student veterans."

Mason also has been named a Military Friendly school for the past six years for its demonstrated commitment to supporting student veterans on campus and in their careers, according to the website

Mason, with almost 34,000 students, has more than 3,000 military-related students, including active duty, veterans, reservists, guardsmen and dependents.

This article was written by Buzz McClain and originally appeared on the Mason News Desk

General Tue, 26 May 2015 09:35:28 -0400
School of Business Graduates 1200 Students

George Mason's School of Business graduated 1,200 business students this year to add to its alumni base of more than 28,000 alumni. The most popular major this year was accounting with 24% of business graduates entering the accounting field.

convocation2015-newsThis year's graduates are military veterans, first generation students, dedicated volunteers, aspiring and current executives, and career changers. They come from across the globe and from Mason's backyard of Fairfax, Virginia.

Each year, the School of Business recognizes the top graduate in each undergraduate major and graduate program.

Kristina Stuhler, Outstanding Award recipient for MBA, is a dedicated, lifelong volunteer. As a high school student, she focused on helping the less-fortunate and disabled in her local community. In college, she continued her community service at Virginia Tech, where she served as the treasurer of her service sorority, Chi Delta Alpha. During this time, she orchestrated and participated in volunteering and fundraising activities with the Special Olympics, local animal shelters, and numerous other local charities in Virginia. She also worked closely with and supporting other victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, of which she is a survivor.

Since graduating from her undergrad program, Stuhler has volunteered for the USO by organizing and facilitating events for the families of deployed marines and sailors. She also volunteered with the Family Readiness Team at Camp Lejeune, which helps Marine Corps families with deployment emergencies that ranges from casualty notifications to assistance with relief planning from unexpected family financial events. Currently, Stuhler volunteers as a CFO for a local non-profit, the Art of Driving, which focuses on education surrounding teen driving and safety issues. She also volunteers with Catholic Charities assisting immigrants with the naturalization process.

Jason McDonough is the Outstanding Award recipient for MS in Real Estate Development. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and following graduation joined Cardinal Bank as a management trainee. Nine years later he is now vice president of Real Estate Lending Office managing a $300 million loan portfolio and working with a number of builders, investors, and developers in the local market. McDonough maintained a 4.0 GPA at Mason and participated in both the 2014 & 2015 NAIOP Capital Challenge Competitions—in 2014 as a team member and in 2015 as a Coach of the winning Mason team. McDonough sits on the board of directors of two charitable organizations benefiting the Inova Kellar Center and HomeAid Northern Virginia; these organizations strive to assist at risk youth and the homeless in the Northern Virginia area.

Raymond Brow optRaymond Brow, the Outstanding Award recipient for the MS in Technology Management, has worked in IT for more than 40 years. During his career, Brow, who already has a doctor of science in information assurance from Capitol College, has held leadership positions in most facets of IT including executive positions at two major software vendors. As a technology leader at the Department of State, Brow was a recipient of the 2006 State-of-the-Art Information Technology (IT) Award for introducing server virtualization into the organization's worldwide infrastructure. Recently Brow served as the chief IT architect on a 3 year project designing and building a 30,000 sq. ft. data center that is entirely air cooled, making the data center highly energy efficient, thereby rating a LEED Gold certification. As chief of the Enterprise Server Operations Center at the Department of State, Brow currently has responsibility for domestic data center consolidation and design/build.

Syed Ahmed, Outstanding Major Award for accounting, was born in Dubai and came to America in 2000 at the age of 11. He first attended George Mason as a biology major and planned to go to medical/dental school. After shadowing dentists and volunteering at INOVA hospital, he started to realize medical/dental school wasn't for him. During his senior year as a biology major, his friends introduced him to accounting. He decided to remain at Mason to take the required classes to get his accounting degree and graduated as a double major in both biology and accounting. He will take the CPA exam and will also be starting at Big 4 accounting firm KPMG this September as an auditor in the commercial industry.

Raymond Takor Mason PictureRaymond Takor is the Outstanding Award recipient for the MS in Management of Secure Information Systems. Upon the completion of high school, Takor enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves. After receiving his bachelor's degree in computer science, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He completed a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Takor is currently serving as the operations officer for Delta Company in Communications Training Battalion. He has more than 10 years of IT technical and management experience and is focused on the advancement of cyber security and education in the IT community. Takor was also the recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal.

Additional award recipients include: John Cotton (on-campus Executive MBA), David Mayo (online Executive MBA), Daniel Singer (MS in Management), Sarah Zeb (Finance), Erin Shappell (Information Systems and Operations Management), Brooke Medieros (Management), Weyem Kobrosly (Marketing), Joanna Easton (MS in Accounting), and William Sullivan (Federation of Schools of Accountancy Outstanding Graduate Award).

Of the Outstanding Award recipients, four have jobs waiting for them at Big 4 accounting firms. Easton and Zeb will join Ahmed at KPMG, while Sullivan has plans to go on to Ernst & Young in September.

Congratulations to all 2015 School of Business graduates!

General Mon, 18 May 2015 09:34:26 -0400
Russian Economist Visits Business School to Research Technologies Fostering Growth

A Russian economist will be spending six weeks, beginning May 4, at the School of Business as part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, a Fulbright exchange activity that brings mid-career professionals from designated countries to the United States for study.

Bikbaev ArturArtur Bikbaev will be working with J.P. Auffret, director of the MS in Technology Management and MS in Management of Secure Information Systems program, on a sharing economy project. "I am interested in businesses such as Uber, Lyft, AirBnb, TaskRabbit, Bitcoin, KickStarter and CloudPeeps," said Bikbaev. "These marketplaces bring together distributed networks of connected individuals and communities (versus centralized institutions) to share or exchange otherwise underutilized assets, transforming how we can produce, consume, finance and learn."

Bikbaev and Auffret will try to apply business models of the sharing economy to the economic advancement processes of developing countries. Bikbaev also will be a guest speaker for the masters in technology management and masters in cyber security programs, and he will be meeting with representatives from regional chambers of commerce, economic development offices, and international development organizations such as the World Bank.

Bikbaev's fellowship began in June 2014 with a two-month, pre-academic program at California State University in Sacramento. In August, he moved to Michigan State University, where he began a nine-month academic program.

"In the course of my studies, I have investigated how technologies can foster economic growth and development and international development as well," said Bikbaev. "I have become motivated by how technology can facilitate economic inclusion and increase market efficiency and empowerment."

His stay at George Mason is the culmination of his fellowship. He says he chose Mason for the six-week fellowship work experience because of the business school's premier reputation for educating technology leaders and managers, its background in engaging ICT for development, and its record for translating IT research to practices and products in the workplace.

This summer, Bikbaev will return to Russia and his position as an economic and financial adviser to the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Bashkortostan.

The Humphrey Fellowship Program is administered by the Institute of International Education. Primary support for the program comes from the U. S. Department of State.

General Mon, 18 May 2015 07:18:00 -0400
Career Services Staff Receives State Recognition

ashley-crute-awardAshley Crute, assistant director for the School of Business Office of Career Services, was recently awarded the A. Isabel Gordon Distinguished Service Award at the 2015 Virginia Association of Colleges & Employers (VACE) Annual Conference in Newport News, Virginia. This award is given to VACE members who have provided a continuing and superior level of service and leadership to the association.

VACE is a non-profit organization that seeks to facilitate career development and growth among career services and employer members, and promote the accomplishment of professional goals by providing opportunities for relationship building and professional development activities.

In addition to regular career consulting for students, Crute oversees a number of programs and services that help connect students and employers. Just a few of these programs include:

  • Ask the Professionals: a Q&A and networking series with a panel of employers from specific industry areas
  • JobQuest: the business school's signature networking event held each fall
  • Career Services On-the-Go: drop-in career advice around Enterprise Hall

"Ashley has been a valuable member of the School of Business Career Services team since she joined us in June 2012. In that time she has helped hundreds of our students realize their career goals," said Kerry Willigan, director of Career Services at the School of Business. "This award was richly deserved, we thank VACE for recognizing what the School of Business already knew!"

General Wed, 13 May 2015 07:09:54 -0400