School of Business News Mon, 08 Mar 2021 20:38:51 -0500 MYOB en-gb Jamaican American Alumna Takes Ownership of Culture

Gaby Webster2021a

Texas-born and raised Gabrielle Webster, BA Integrative Studies ’14, MS in Management ’16, first learned about George Mason University through her high school debate team. Now, as a double alumna, Webster is equipped to forge her ascending career in management while also giving back to the School of Business through serving on alumni advisory boards. Though management is still a male-dominated field, she sought out a place of employment where a young woman could have her voice heard and valued. Her last two employers were companies founded and operated by women. Currently at McKenna Management, the majority of her colleagues are women. Gabrielle Webster also brings a unique perspective as a role model, not only for what she has achieved, but as a proud first generation Jamaican American.

Webster is used to being the only Black woman in the room, and in many cases, the only person of color. “In a way, it’s empowering to take ownership of a culture,” she says. “At the same time, maybe it’s because of my age, gender, or how I look, but I feel like I’m tip toeing on a tight rope.” As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, she holds her heritage dear to her heart and often taps into her cultural identity to provide a different perspective.

In a few short years, Gabrielle Webster has been making her mark. Recently, her client, American Physician Scientists Association, was awarded the prestigious 2020 ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) Power of A Silver Award. Webster’s extensive work with associations and boards influenced her to become an involved alumna at Mason, joining the School of Business Alumni Chapter Board, where she is committed to the mission of advancing the school’s reputation and interests.

There is a broad spectrum of tools and experiences Gabrielle Webster has gained from Mason’s Master of Science in Management program that are now trusted best practices in her everyday work. “My preference had always been to work independently,” she says. “But the cohort work forced me to excel in group projects, and that has become very important for me today.” Additionally, she grew a passion for economics that led her to write an article on the payday loan industry for an international magazine. Webster’s education has clearly laid the foundation for wherever she wants to go, with each experience serving as another building block. As Webster continues her trend of excellence, she works diligently for herself and others to surpass even the most ambitious goals.

General Mon, 22 Feb 2021 16:46:56 -0500
Policy Paper: A Landmark Case in the Protection of Intellectual Property That Led to the Creation of an Entire Industry


Forty years ago, a landmark Supreme Court decision upholding patent protection for genetically engineered organisms ushered in the entire biotechnology industry. A policy paper by School of Business Associate Professor of Global Strategy and Entrepreneurship Mahesh Joshi, Ph.D., and colleagues reviewing the importance of the case has been published by George Mason University’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property in the Antonin Scalia Law School.

Forty Years Since Diamond v. Chakrabarty: Legal Underpinnings and its Impact on the Biotechnology Industry and Society—written by Joshi and coauthors Matthew Jordan, a junior at Yale University, Neil Davey, a first-year law student at Harvard Law School, and Raj Davé, founder and president of Davé Law Group, LLC—explores the legal proceedings in securing patent protections after Ananda Chakrabarty—a genetic engineer at General Electric—filed a patent application for genetically modified bacteria capable of breaking down crude oil in 1972.

That patent was initially rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the grounds that living things were not patentable. Ultimately, the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld a lower court’s opinion that “the fact that microorganisms are alive is a distinction without legal significance” for purposes of the patent law.

The authors noted that the immense impact of the decision by the Supreme Court in Chakrabarty v. Diamond is particularly significant in the current effort by the biotech industry to create vaccines for Coronavirus-19.

General Fri, 12 Feb 2021 13:37:10 -0500
The Value of Preparation

ola sage

If there’s one thing that stuck with Ola Sage, MS Technology Management ’99, from her time studying at the School of Business, it is the importance of preparation. Preparation is what her intensive workload came down to—preparation for her career, preparation for each class, preparation for any possible scenario. More than two decades later, she continues to prepare herself, her clients, and the next generation. As a business leader strongly invested in the community, Sage hopes that underrepresented demographics, especially African Americans and women, feel encouraged by seeing her as a role model and that they too prepare to prosper.

Sage wants her clients to be as prepared as she is. Her career has been dedicated to assisting organizations in identifying and avoiding cyber threats and disaster. As CEO of CyberRx, she works with private sector companies in assessing and mitigating their cybersecurity risks. CyberRx is the second company she has founded since graduating from Mason. Almost immediately after receiving her master of science, Sage started and grew a government focused information technology professional services company, for 18 years until she sold it in 2018.

The rewarding experience she had as a student has brought Sage even closer to Mason as an alumna. For more than 15 years, she has served on the panel of judges at Capstones for students pursuing the master in technology management. “I find it incredibly fulfilling to give students constructive feedback to help them reach their potential,” she says. Additionally, she leads by her representation on the Dean’s Council and the Government Contracting Advisory Board. Clearly influenced by her growth as a School of Business student, Sage is inspired to give back to her alma mater in many ways.

Sage is here to help all Patriots, but the impact of being involved as a successful Black businesswoman is not lost on her. “When I was younger, I was inspired whenever I saw women of color really make it in the corporate world,” she says. “Now is my chance to pass encouragement along to others.” Sage, who received the Prominent Patriots award in 2013, knows that the school’s talent is the cream of the crop. In 2016, she hired Ingrid Shipton, MS Management of Secure Information Systems ’13, as the director of cybersecurity for CyberRx. “Ola is an inspiration. She takes her role as a leader and mentor to heart,” says Shipton. “More than anyone else I’ve ever worked with, she is very deliberate and thoughtful about how she mentors and coaches me.”

Staying close to the school has been a way for Ola Sage to give back. But she has also gotten back a lot in return. Besides the feeling of fulfillment, she has built up a remarkable professional network of fellow alumni and industry friends of the school. Surrounding herself with industry leaders gives Sage that extra edge to push even further. “I know I represent many people who don’t feel they have a seat at the table, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly,” she says. “But, most of all, I hope that young Black people can see that business is a world they can thrive in as well.”

General Thu, 11 Feb 2021 15:55:24 -0500
School of Business Reaccredited by AACSB

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the gold standard for business school accreditation worldwide, has extended the School of Business at George Mason University’s accreditation for both business and accounting until 2025. The School of Business has been accredited in business since 1989 and in accounting since 1991.

A school must undergo a continuous improvement review every five years to maintain accreditation, and that continuous improvement review is a rigorous examination of all aspects of the school’s academic programs, student services, external engagement activities, and operations.

AACSB accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Less than five percent of the more than 16,000 schools worldwide granting business degrees have earned AACSB accreditation. Currently, 882 business schools in 57 countries are AACSB-accredited for business, and only 189 of those institutions also hold the specialized AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs.

During the School of Business’ most recent reaccreditation review, the AACSB peer review team noted a number of commendations for the School of Business at Mason, including:

  • High-quality academic advising and career services supporting student success
  • Link between student success offices and Business Foundations faculty
  • Highly engaged Business Foundations faculty who are a great benefit to students
  • Strong Assurance of Learning process with significant faculty engagement
  • Supportive and engaged alumni and advisory boards
  • Strong financial position of the school

The AACSB review team also noted specific commendations for the school’s accounting programs:

  • Accounting students’ level of engagement, as well as placement and starting salaries for graduates of the accounting undergraduate program and the school’s MS in Accounting
  • Extensive collaboration between accounting and the greater business community, most notably with PwC and KPMG
  • Response to the unique market needs of Mason’s location through the creation of the Graduate Certificates in Government Accounting, Accounting Analytics, and Forensic Accounting
  • High-quality accounting faculty mentoring program
  • Engagement of the school’s Accounting Advisory Council

“AACSB accreditation reflects both the relevance and quality of the academic programming and student services at the School of Business,” said Dean Maury Peiperl. “We take great pride in our faculty and staff, and their commitment to the success of our students and to maintaining the highest standards of excellence throughout the School of Business.”

General Thu, 04 Feb 2021 14:41:31 -0500
U.S. News & World Report 2021 - Online MBA and MSA Rise in Rankings

Mason’s online master’s of science in accounting was ranked first in Virginia, 26th among public universities, and 38th overall. The accounting program is focused on developing knowledgeable leaders to overcome the challenges of the future and provide solutions. It offers classes in module format, allowing students to enroll in one or two courses every eight weeks.

“We believe we offer an online experience with a carefully crafted curriculum that gives students advanced analytical, technological, and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in today's accounting profession,” said School of Business Dean Maury Peiperl.

The online MBA program also rose in the rankings, from 123 in 2020 to 111. Mason's online MBA was also ranked #63 for veterans.


Read more about U.S. News & World Report's latest rankings on Mason’s website, “U.S. News & World Report - Best College Rankings, 2021."

General Tue, 26 Jan 2021 11:47:38 -0500
Facilitating a Paradigm Shift: An Acquisition Playbook for the Information Age

January 19, 2021—The Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University today announced the launch of a year-long research project to identify Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition best practices in an effort to improve the way the government and commercial companies work together.

For the past 50 years, there has been a stable consensus about the benefits of competition in the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, infrequent “winner-take-all” programs, for example, favor large incumbents and often lead to de facto monopoly positions. Contracting practices, moreover, can reinforce barriers to entry and discourage innovation.

Acquisition reform efforts have attempted to address challenges in the system for decades. Blue ribbon commissions, legislative changes, and DoD initiatives have attempted to reform how the DoD purchases systems and services from vendors. More recently, attempts to bring in commercial technology from companies in Silicon Valley resulted in efforts that have largely gone around the defense acquisition system. These critical initiatives, however, have led to innovative prototypes and exciting demonstrations that often struggle to transition to programs of record.

The time is ripe for a change in approach rather than a new set of reforms. What is needed now is a change in mindset, a paradigm shift in approaching defense acquisition. “Instead of incremental efforts or end-runs around the system, we should change how we think about defense acquisition,” said Center for Government Contracting Executive Director Jerry McGinn. The center has produced a video that describes how traditional DOD contracting practices, developed for industrial age processes, fall short in today’s information-age environment.

This study has been facilitated by generous donations in support of defense acquisition research from the Common Mission Project and a group of leading companies in defense technology: Anduril, BMNT Inc., Improbable, Scale, Balius Partners, and GoTenna. The Common Mission Project is a nonprofit dedicated to creating a global network of mission-driven entrepreneurs driven to solve the critical challenges of our time—from national security to natural disasters, from energy to the environment.

“CMP is glad to be part of this important effort to demystify the acquisition process. It is our hope that the Acquisition Playbook will help speed the adoption of technological advances that will help keep our country safe,” said Alex Gallo, CMP executive director.

An Acquisition Playbook for the Information Age

The acquisition playbook will mine the best of commercial and defense innovation and deliver a playbook that educates, informs, and provides practical approaches to government acquisition professionals to facilitate true competition throughout the acquisition life cycle.

“We are grateful for the donations from CMP and its partner companies to support acquisition research,” said McGinn. “This study will examine how DoD can more efficiently and fairly tap into the full range of innovation available in the government contracting marketplace.”

For comments or questions, please contact:

The Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University’s School of Business is a nexus for government, industry, and academia to explore issues in government contracting. The Center is the first university-based organization to address business, policy, regulatory and other issues in government contracting through research, collaboration, and education and training.

General Tue, 19 Jan 2021 12:36:10 -0500
Alumni Business Chapter Mentors Alpha Kappa Psi on Financial Planning

Alpha Kappa Psi

The flourishing reputation of the George Mason University School of Business is a tribute to the remarkable accomplishments of its distinguished alumni. The cliché heard around many colleges is that students are being prepared for the “real word.” But what sets Mason apart is that the “real world” is where many of its students are already making their marks. Even though some are not intimidated by the highly competitive region surrounding the main campuses, they are still learning and developing to reach full potential. The faculty at Mason have an abundance of knowledge to impart to their pupils, but a Patriot wants every edge he, she, or they can gain.

The School of Business Alumni Chapter is comprised of individuals who excelled in the classroom, translated that success to the workplace, and now generously choose to give back. Alpha Kappa Psi is a professional co-ed business fraternity focused on developing future business leaders. In November, these two organizations linked up for the first time to advance toward their complementary missions.

During the virtual discussion with approximately 20 members of Mason’s Alpha Kappa Psi Chapter, financial experts Jason Howell, BS Accounting ’97, and Chris Ellis, MBA ’14, outlined pitfalls, tales of triumph, and other pearls of wisdom learned by experience. Moderated by Ava Nia, BS Marketing ’19, the financial planning event was eye-opening to both the alumni and students involved. “It was a really down-to-earth presentation,” says Nia. “There was lots of interaction throughout, and Chris and Jason provided financial advice that would be valuable to anyone.” Howell, an adjunct professor of finance at the School of Business, wasn’t involved with Greek life or the alumni chapter during his undergraduate years, but now sees a huge opportunity in partnering with Alpha Kappa Psi and other student organizations. Ellis is actually an alumnus of the fraternity, dating back to when he was an undergraduate student at James Madison University. “The earlier that people can get a firm handle on financial understanding, the better,” says Ellis.

The students would be hard pressed to find better financial planning mentors with more current insight than Jason Howell and Chris Ellis. As president of the Jason Howell Company, Howell works with families focused on building wealth for future generations. “The most important thing that I wanted to get across to these students was to get a job where they can save, and identify what ‘needs’ mean the most to them,” says Howell. Like Howell, Ellis is also a certified financial planner. Most of his time is spent working with individuals entering retirement and organizations managing retirement plans. “I hope these students left our presentation feeling driven to take control of planning their finances,” says Ellis.

Mohammad Noor-Ul-Mustafa, a senior majoring in information technology, is the fraternity’s vice president of professional development. “We’ve held workshops on resumes and cover letters,” he says. “But in addition to getting your foot in the door, I thought it was important for us to learn how to achieve financial prosperity from our alumni who understand it best.” Noor-Ul-Mustafa worked with the School of Business Alumni Association in setting up the financial planning virtual event, and the event itself couldn’t have gone any better. “We learned so much that it opened up even more questions, once we grasped the basics,” says Noor-Ul Mustafa. His hope is to utilize other alumni areas of expertise such as government contracting and entrepreneurship, and then open up the events for more students outside of the fraternity to join.

The overwhelmingly positive feedback from the financial planning virtual event was a clear indicator to how invigorating it was for both parties, further encouraging them to plan more professional development activities together. As more students join in and learn the keys to success in business, they become more likely to return after graduation to offer counsel of their own, enabling an even more robust culture of mentorship at the School of Business.

General Tue, 15 Dec 2020 07:41:00 -0500
Leveling Up

Karen Crosswhite

The George Mason University School of Business prides itself in being a place for lifelong learning, a place where professionals of all experience levels can continue to grow and rise in their respective fields. It’s a place where already successful businesspeople eagerly come to learn from their peers in the classroom and expert faculty alike. Karen Crosswhite had already served in international corporate tax roles with three of the four leading accounting firms before starting her own. She decided to enroll at Mason to take her career to the next level and be the best possible accountant for her clients.

Since opening her own firm, BAS Certified Public Accountant Firm, Karen Crosswhite has been successfully supporting clients within the United States and abroad. “Our firm primarily works with U.S. based multinational businesses and international businesses with subsidiaries in the United States,” she says. “The firm also assists nonprofit organizations and individuals with tax filings, accounting, financial reporting, and other compliance needs. It’s rewarding to help clients solve their problems and be a valued resource to a broad and diverse community of businesses and individuals.” The experience of running her own firm also opened her eyes to a few areas where she wanted to expand the expertise she could offer to her clients. Therefore, she decided it was time to go back to school, but it had to be somewhere that was also convenient, given her busy career. Thankfully, Mason was just down the road from her firm based in Lansdowne, Virginia.

Encouraged by the opportunity to be taught by true experts in accounting, Crosswhite enrolled in Mason’s master in accounting program and graduate certificate program in forensic accounting. According to Crosswhite, some of her favorite courses were Fraud Examination, Advance Topics in Fraud, and Fraud and the Law. She went on to say, “The courses were instructed by retired FBI instructors, who infused the programs’ curricula with real world experience.” She credits the programs with equipping her with the tools and knowledge to perform fraud consultancy services in a day and age when it’s more in demand than ever before.

The takeaway from the accounting programs was so much more than just what Crosswhite learned in the classroom. “Participating in classes is just the tip of the iceberg,” she says. Her advice to prospective students is to engage with other students and faculty outside of the classroom. In addition to being on campus, she participated in the master’s in accountancy global residency program in Ireland led by Bret Johnson, assistant professor of accounting. The trip led her to authoring a paper on Ireland’s erosion and profit-sharing program. While pursuing knowledge is a lifelong process, it also is done in many avenues, and Crosswhite was eager to seize every opportunity Mason had to offer.

Going back to school for Karen Crosswhite was not about getting a piece of paper so she could be promoted. It was about learning from the best so she could be at the top of her game. Graduation from the MSA program will be not the end of her education either. Whether it be online, in-person, formal or informal, she’s eager to soak up all the knowledge and experience she can get her hands on so that she’s able to stay ahead of the curve in a dynamic world.

General Wed, 02 Dec 2020 06:46:00 -0500
International Alumna Finds Home at Mason

Yingjun Chen

Many individuals speak of their time attending university as being their formative years. Coming from China, Yingjun Chen, MS Management ’18, not only grew as a business graduate student, but she also had to adjust to an entirely new country and culture. While it was undoubtedly an arduous transition, the George Mason University School of Business provided the resources and people to support her growth. Now as an alumna, Chen is there for international prospective students as they prepare to make the same leap.

Starting at the university through INTO Mason, a venture focused on expanding higher education opportunities for students around the world, Chen received guidance on how to adjust to daily life in the United States—her top concern. She received additional support from Kimberly Blue, graduate career manager at the School of Business’s career services, who would prove to be especially pivotal in Chen’s success.

Following her graduation from Mason, Chen began working at the Walnut Bond Company as an alumni representative. She had been referred to the company by a previous supervisor at an internship she secured through a Mason business networking event. Situated on Mason’s Fairfax campus, the Walnut Bond Company specializes in education consulting and providing advisors and resources to incoming students from China, Vietnam, and Japan. In her role, Chen offers guidance to these students and their families who face the same challenges that she did. “Parents want the best for their kids, whether it be classes, extracurriculars, or daily life activities, but they don’t know where to start,” she says. One of the more recent projects Chen helped to put together was a panel of experts in support of the International Day of the Girl. They were inspired to establish the panel after putting on a successful online charity concert a few months earlier. “It was important for us to show girls how they can contribute to society,” she says. “We were fortunate to be able to get the panel of women who have been role models to me.” Through the event, they received donations to charities serving priority areas for young women.

Yingjun Chen

While Chen was able to get tremendous value out of Mason resources as a student, she witnessed how many of her international peers were unaware of those opportunities. “Many of these students don’t realize what’s available to them or how to connect with them,” she says. “I would like to see the cohorts pay closer attention and communicate with each other.” The means are there. Now Chen wants to make sure they are utilized.

Yingjun Chen has a lot to be proud of, knowing that the road for her was never easy. “I worked many different jobs while in school, including three internships simultaneously,” she says. “But the experience was invaluable, and I learned what I was truly passionate about.” As her career is just getting started, she knows that one of those passions is helping others navigate their own ways through the obstacles of higher education in a different country. “I am such a proud alumna, and I am grateful to share my experiences at Mason.” Chen’s excitement to help others will fuel other international students to succeed at the School of Business, a school that finds strength in its diversity.

General Mon, 30 Nov 2020 07:16:00 -0500
MBA Alumnus Celebrates Native American Ancestry

Charles “Chuck” Schue

For Charles “Chuck” Schue, Executive MBA ’05, his Native American heritage plays a significant role in his identity. On his mother’s side of the family, he is descended from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. He has made it a priority to incorporate numerous Cherokee traditions and activities into his family’s lives so that they can continue celebrating the heritage and the achievements of their ancestors. “Most people in the United States are from someplace else,” he says. “We tend to forget our indigenous people have been here for tens of thousands of years, and their cultures deserve as much recognition and respect as all the others that make up this great country.”

As most people know, “Native American” is a name that encompasses hundreds of tribes across the continent. While similarities exist among them, customs and languages vary greatly. Schue’s tribe stayed along the Oconaluftee River in North Carolina following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. “It is an honor to be descended from the Cherokee people, especially considering their history and contributions to our modern life,” he says. “For example, the Cherokee were the only Native Americans to have their own written language. Cherokee veterans were among the first ‘code talkers’ used for relaying highly classified information over the radio during the World Wars.”

One of the ways that Schue stays connected is through attending Native American festivals and Pow Wows. It is also how he instills the Cherokee pride in his children. “We incorporated Native American traditions into my son’s Eagle Scout ceremony, and both my children have Cherokee names besides their given names,” he says. Many of the values and beliefs of the Cherokee way of life are tenets in Schue’s family, among them being personal integrity, family honor, harmony with nature, and belief in a supreme being. A founding donor of the National Museum of the American Indian, he also enjoys celebrating the culture through listening to the music and collecting traditional Cherokee items such as flutes and baskets.

Chuck Schue has risen through the business world to now being president and CEO of Tagence, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. Tagence is just one of several businesses in which Schue is a founder, owner, investor, and/or executive. Tagence serves commercial, government, and nonprofit clients with business efficiency strategies, including hyperautomation tools. Whether in the office or with his family, Schue proudly represents his Cherokee heritage. It is more than a story of where he came from. Schue’s heritage is a major part of who he is, giving him direction in life, reminding him where he came from and where he is going.

General Mon, 23 Nov 2020 06:44:42 -0500