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Spring 2018

Alumni in the News
Glen Carbon resident, Kali Patterson received her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Master of Science in Accountancy from SIUE. She currently holds the position of audit manager with Kerber, Eck & Braeckel LLP in St. Louis.

When asked if she ever envisioned herself in this career while attending SIUE, she said, “Not initially. It wasn’t until my senior year that I even thought about taking the CPA exam. Even after graduating and getting a full-time job at a CPA firm, I didn’t expect to stay in public accounting for more than a few years. Now, after 11 years, I can’t envision ever leaving.” 

Kali mentioned Dr. Reed as one of her favorite professors. She admired his teaching style and appreciated his care for the students and their success in understanding the material and reaching their potential. In addition to making great faculty connections, Kali made lifelong friendships while attending SIUE. She mentioned, “I met some lifelong friends in my accounting courses. All of them are doing great and have full-time accounting jobs all over the country.”

As far as her lasting impression of SIUE, Kali believes SIUE is a great place to get an education—especially an accounting degree! She highlighted that the professors are top notch, and that many firms in St. Louis recognize SIUE for their accounting program, which always helps the hiring process.

Focus on Faculty
We welcomed Dr. Xiaoxiao Song to our faculty in the fall of 2017. She earned a PhD and MSA from the University of Texas at Arlington and a BA in English from the China University of Petroleum, Beijing China. She is married with two young children, and her family is currently building a home in the Edwardsville area.

Dr. Song currently teaches the ACCT 312 – Managerial Accounting course. She has worked hard to prepare for teaching her courses, and she has been well-received by the students. Her research interests are in the areas of financial and international accounting. She recently had a paper accepted for presentation at the prestigious conference of the Journal of International Accounting Research in Venice Italy in June. We are fortunate that Dr. Song accepted a position at SIUE, and we welcome her and her family to SIUE.

Spring 2017

Alumni in the News
Graduating from SIUE in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, Derek Barnard is currently a tax partner at Anders CPAs + Advisors. Joining the firm in 1999, he focuses on tax and succession planning. Although accounting was not his intended academic focus, once he found his love for the subject, he hit it head-on. He has worked in public accounting since graduating.

As a commuter to campus, Barnard expressed he enjoyed his time at SIUE while attaining his degree in three years. He was able to meet many new people and worked as a lifeguard during this time. The short commuting experience allowed him to enjoy his time on campus and focus on his studies.

Barnard still has many contacts and friends at SIUE and has recently been more involved with the School. His employer contributes to SIUE by providing a scholarship to the accounting department. Even with a busy schedule and pressing responsibilities, he is still on the Accounting Advisory Board and attends as many events as possible.

When asked about his lasting impression of SIUE, he credits the institution as a place that started his career and still does a great job with the students. With his daughter planning on attending SIUE and then moving on to law school, Barnard stated, “It’s a great university and always has been. It serves the community well.”

Spotlight on Students
Dominique Matlock (anticipated BSA December 2017) continues the success of past SIUE attendees of the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program (MTWW), which was held in Chicago over three days this past January. The Illinois Society of CPAs describes the program as an “award-winning, … all expenses paid program available for … underrepresented … college sophomores, juniors, or seniors.”

As this year’s MTWW attendee, Dominique spent the first two days of the program taking in career/career management advice and networking. Some of Dominique’s strongest impressions came from guest speaker Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor (Chairperson of the AICPA Board) who shared her career journey, a tour of Grant Thornton’s downtown Chicago office, and the networking event attended by the Big Four and about 10 other large firms. After all the career advice, stories and networking, Dominique said she began to see a path to an accounting career as realistically doable—tough, but doable. She describes her overall MTWW experience as amazing and transformational.

On the last day, the MTWW program randomly assigned three firms to interview each attendee. Dominique felt comfortable interviewing, because the first two days of resume building, interviewing advice and networking had not only prepared her well, but also allowed her to meet the people with whom she interviewed. According to Dominique, the firms’ partner and employees had made themselves very approachable over the course of the program. She left the MTWW program with an internship offer from Grant Thornton’s Chicago office that begins January 2018, right after she graduates in December with her BSA and 150 hours from SIUE. Congratulations, Dominique!

Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) officer Amelia Biggs (expected BSA December 2017) won the Project Run with It (PRWI) consulting competition at the 2016 BAP National Conference. BAP is the nation’s premier academic accounting honor society. Being selected as a contestant for the competition is extremely competitive, and winning first place is quite an accomplishment. The PRWI Committee selected Amelia from dozens of applicants based primarily upon her outstanding application essay.

BAP describes the PRWI as a high-intensity competition that gives students the opportunity to respond to an actual request for proposal for consulting services from an actual not-for-profit. The competition hosted four teams with four students each. The short lead-time between getting the case and presenting makes PRWI more intense and realistic. Each team receives the case at 5:00 pm and hands in their material by 4:00 pm the next day, just before presenting. Her team’s case was “Back on My Feet Baltimore,” an actual NFP that integrates running - yes, running - with employment support to combat homelessness. Interestingly, Amelia is an avid long-distance runner.

Amelia says that staying up until 3:00 a.m. working with new teammates from Old Dominion, Utah State and Western Kentucky Universities was an exciting opportunity to test herself in a more real-world setting. She hopes that other BAP students at SIUE will have the same opportunity to compete in PRWI that she has had. As acknowledgement of her success, Amelia received a plaque, and sponsor Moss Adams LLP awarded the SIUE BAP Kappa Lambda Chapter $1,000.

Amelia is currently finishing a tax internship with Anders CPAs + Advisors. After graduating with her BSA in December, Amelia plans on completing her SIUE MSA and pursuing a career in public accounting. Congratulations, Amelia!

Focus on Faculty
Interest in the tax specialization in the MSA has increased significantly over the last four years.  In fall 2016, there were 15 students enrolled in the tax specialization compared to only three in fall 2013. The most important change in that time was that the Department hired Dr. Drew Gross as our primary tax faculty member. Drew now teaches all sections of our required undergraduate tax course (Acct 321) as well as three other tax courses. To understand the increased interest in tax, we asked Drew to summarize his approach to teaching tax and to encouraging student interest in tax careers. Here is his response ...

On the first day of my “Intro to Tax” course, I ask my students how many of them want a career in tax. A few hands might raise, but most students are only there because they are required to take the course to graduate and take the CPA. Not many of the students have ever done a tax return, even their own. While I let them know that a tax career isn’t for everyone, I do warn them that I plan to lure some of them over to the “dark side” of the accounting profession where you can be an advocate for your client and being creative is rewarded. I have had success winning some of them over. 

Our tax specialization within the graduate program has grown since I arrived in 2013. We would like this growth to continue, allowing us to offer an even greater range of course options. Right now, we offer graduate courses in tax research, advanced individual taxation, corporate tax and partnership tax. We plan to offer a seminar in tax course in the future, which will cover other tax topics, such as state and local taxes.

My approach to teaching is very hands on. Starting with the intro to tax course, students are required to prepare tax returns by hand so they really understand the flow of the return. By the end of the tax program, students will have prepared a complicated individual return, a partnership return, a corporate return, a gift tax return and an estate tax return. I also push students to understand the material and apply that knowledge. This might require them to research whether or not donating a kidney would qualify for a charitable deduction or calculate the most beneficial way to structure a corporate merger.  

My background is a mix of public and private accounting. I started out at a medium-sized accounting firm before moving to Coopers and Lybrand (now PWC) for a few years. I left public accounting and worked as a tax manager at Purina Mills until it was purchased by Land O’Lakes.  I then worked as a senior tax manager for Premcor Refining Group, working mainly on special projects and tax incentives. When Premcor merged with Valero, I decided to pursue my PhD at the University of Arkansas. After graduating in 2010, I accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee where I taught tax courses and worked on various research projects. Desiring to return to the St. Louis area, I accepted my current position at SIUE in 2013.

While the main reason I took a position in academics was to impact a future generation of accountants, I still like to contribute to the profession through my research. My dissertation “Does Mandatory Disclosure Affect Recognition of Contingent Liabilities? Evidence from FIN 48” won the dissertation of the year award at the Midwest Regional Conference in 2011. I have published research in several academic journals such as the Journal of the American Tax Association, Advances in Accounting and Advances in Tax. I have also published in several practitioner focused journals including Journal of Accountancy, The CPA Journal, Tax Notes, State Tax Notes and Business Horizons.

Economics and Finance

Spring 2017

Alumni in the News
Ryan Price graduated with a bachelor’s in economics and finance in 2013 and a master’s in economics and finance in 2014. In addition to lecturing at SIUE, he holds a position as a quantitative analyst for Aggio, where he integrates data for clients who are typically in agriculture or animal health. To do so, he utilizes statistical, programmatic and mathematical methods to gather missing values. As a lecturer, he teaches business statistics and finance courses to undergraduate students, and corporate finance (MBA) at the graduate level.

Ryan admitted that he would typically not have been seen at a flag football game, instead choosing to spend the majority of his time focusing on his studies, seeking further academic challenges and working during his school years. Price mentions, “What really made it for me was the faculty. As you really start to bury yourself in your studies, the faculty and what they teach you is what really makes the most of your education. And it definitely did for me.”

His lasting impression of the institution is a positive one. He stated, “SIUE is an excellent choice for higher education. If you are paying for your education yourself, SIUE is a really logical choice.” He then followed with, “The faculty always has knowledge that is outside the scope of the direct course material.” Price believes in getting out of your comfort zone and accepting a challenge to gain as much knowledge as possible.

Focus on Faculty
Dr. Demirer recently gave an interview to the Illinois Business Journal on the stock market performance following the elections. Look for the interview in the April issue. The faculty continue to be highly productive in academic research. More than fifteen publications were produced by the department in the last year. Drs. Demirer and Kutan were highly productive. 

Below is a sample of Economics & Finance faculty publications:

Demirer, R., C. Pierdzioch, H. Zhang (2017). On the Short-Term Predictability of Stock Returns: A Quantile-Boosting Approach, Finance Research Letters, forthcoming.

Balcilar, M., M. Bonato, R. Demirer, R. Gupta (2017). The effect of investor sentiment on gold market return dynamics: Evidence from a nonparametric causality-in-quantiles approach, Resources Policy 51, 77-84.

Akinsomi, K., M. Balcilar, R. Demirer, R. Gupta (2016). The Effect of Gold Market Speculation on REIT Returns in South Africa: A Behavioral Perspective, Journal of Economics and Finance, forthcoming.

Balcilar, M., G. Cerci, and R. Demirer (2016). Is there a role for Islamic bonds in global diversification strategies? An empirical analysis of risk transmissions and dynamic correlations, Managerial Finance 42 (7), 656-679.

Bouri, E., R. Demirer (2016). On the volatility transmission between oil and emerging markets: A comparison of emerging importers and exporters, Economia Politica 33 (1), 63-82.

Balcilar, M., R. Demirer, S. Hammoudeh, and D. K. Nguyen (2016). Risk Spillovers across the Energy and Carbon Markets and Hedging Strategies for Carbon Risk, Energy Economics 54, 159-172.

Belasen, A.R., Kutan, A.M., and Belasen, A.T. (2017), “The Impact of Unsuccessful Pirate Attacks on Financial Markets: A Confirmation of Reputation Building Theory,” Economic Modelling, 60, 344-351.

Belasen, A.T., and Belasen, A.R. (2016), “Value in the Middle: Cultivating Middle Managers in Healthcare Organizations,” Journal of Management Development, 35(9), 1149-1162.

Belasen, A.R. and Peyton, K. (2016), “Do Levels of Human Development Explain Cross-Country Variation in Corruption?” Chapter 7 in A.T. Belasen and R. Toma, ed., Confronting Corruption in Business, Routledge, 166-180.

Financial and real sector returns, IMF-related news, and the Asian crisis, Finance Research Letters, Volume 16, February 2016, Pages 28-37, Ali M. Kutan, Yaz G. Muradoğlu.

Free cash flows and overinvestment: Further evidence from Chinese energy firms, Energy Economics, Volume 58, August 2016, Pages 116-124, Dayong Zhang, Hong Cao, David G. Dickinson, Ali M. Kutan.

Testing the dependency theory on small island economies: The case of Cyprus, Economic Modelling, Volume 61, February 2017, Pages 1-11, Mehmet Balcilar, Ali M. Kutan, Mehmet E. Yaya.

Financial integration in small Islands: The case of Cyprus, International Review of Economics & Finance, Volume 47, January 2017, Pages 201-219, Mehmet Balcilar, Ali M. Kutan, Mehmet E. Yaya.

Do managers of sharia-compliant firms have distinctive financial styles? Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Volume 46, January 2017, Pages 174-187, Iram Naz, Syed Muhammad Amir Shah, Ali M. Kutan.

Private credit spillovers and economic growth: Evidence from BRICS countries, Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Volume 44, September 2016, Pages 56-84, Nahla Samargandi, Ali M. Kutan

Non-performing loans, moral hazard and regulation of the Chinese commercial banking system,  Journal of Banking & Finance, Volume 63, February 2016, Pages 48-60, Dayong Zhang, Jing Cai, David G. Dickinson, Ali M. Kutan.

Computer Management and Information Systems

Spring 2018

Department News

Senior Portfolio Fair
Every semester, our seniors enrolled in CMIS 470-Structured Systems Design, participate in a Senior Portfolio Fair. During the Portfolio Fair, seniors have the chance to showcase what they have learned and what they hope to do with their degree to both faculty and industry partners. This event helps our students put together their resume and focus on what they want to do post-graduation, and it gives our industry partners a chance to get a sneak peek at our soon-to-be graduates. Many industry partners use this event as a recruiting tool for their company.

The fall Senior Portfolio Fair took place September 26, 2017, with 39 seniors participating. The spring Senior Portfolio Fair took place February 21, 2018, with 48 seniors participating.

We appreciate the industry partners who participate in the portfolio fair and assist our seniors as they prepare to enter the job market. Industry partners participating in the 2017-2018 academic year included: Advanced Technology Group, Ameren, Centene, Concero Technology Group, Edward Jones, Electromek Diagnostic Systems, Enterprise Holdings, Falcon Technologies, Monsanto, Permobil, Sumner Group, Potter Electric, Transwestern Property Management, True Manufacturing Corp., US Bank and Xclusive Web Solutions.

If your company is interested in participating in the Senior Portfolio Fair, please contact Department Chair Anne Powell at

New IT Auditing Course / IIA conference
On November 9, 2017, 11 CMIS students participated in an Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) conference in St Louis with Dr. Tim Jacks (CMIS) and Dr. Jamie Hoelscher (ACCT). The keynote speaker, John Gatto, who has over 45 years of audit experience, was very complementary of our SIUE students. All 11 students were taking our new CMIS 495-IT Audit & Control class that was offered for the first time in 2017 as part of our new cybersecurity curriculum. Mr. Gatto asked our students to stand and be recognized as the next generation of IT auditors. Later in the presentation, an audience member asked about the difference between SDLC and Agile methodologies. With some audience encouragement, two of our students, Brandon Gonzalez and Beth Munie, stepped up to the microphone to answer the question. They received a round of applause! Afterward, several companies approached Dr. Jacks to say that they had open positions for IT auditors. CMIS is very proud of our next generation of IT professionals.

Association of Information Technology Student Group
The student organization for CMIS majors, Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), continues to provide valuable industry connections through guest speakers and educational technical workshops. Current AITP president, Lance Athey, has presided over many of the technical workshops this year, including resume building and LinkedIn profile management. This year, AITP has partnered with Brooksource to educate AITP student members on how to identify companies with potential hiring needs and prepare one’s self for the interview process. Additionally, IT professionals from companies such as Edward Jones and Anheuser-Busch have talked with students about internship opportunities and the skills necessary to be successful in the field.

Alumni in the News

Currently an Edwardsville resident, Joseph Smith is familiar with the Edwardsville campus, considering he chose SIUE for his undergraduate and graduate coursework. Joseph graduated with a BS in CMIS in 2005 and an MBA in 2013.

He currently works for Microsoft as a technology strategist with a focus on the financial services industry. In this role, he works with large capital markets, investment banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Essentially, he assists in risk reduction, improving operational efficiency, as well as improving collaboration with the use of technology. 

When asked if his time at SIUE helped him to pursue his current position, he stated, “Yes, 110 percent. I found that being able to speak foundational business lingo and relate it to IT has helped propel my career.” 

Based on Joseph’s interview, you could tell SIUE impacted his life in many positive ways. He described the connections he made as invaluable and learning experiences which have helped his career and future flourish. Along with making long-lasting friendships while attending SIUE, Joseph mentioned professors who made a lifelong impression on him. He discussed the impact each had on shaping his mind in both his undergraduate and graduate studies. 

One piece of advice Joseph had to offer was, “Make meaningful connections while you are at SIUE and make sure to foster them throughout your career. You never know when you may need to leverage those relationships or how you can help others down the line.”

Focus on Faculty

Welcome New Faculty!

Dr. Joe Vithayathil received his PhD from the University of California Irvine. SIUE CMIS was able to “steal” him away from Washington State University (WSU) where he had taught for the past three years. Academia is a second career for Dr. V, and he has over 20 years of industry experience including: founder and CEO of an Enterprise Software Products and Service company, VP of marketing and sales for communications corporations, senior VP of Applied Micro Circuits Corporation, and director at Global Power Technology Group. While at WSU, Dr. V taught undergraduate classes in e-commerce and IT infrastructure/security. He also taught IT for management courses at the graduate level. Dr. V will bring his wealth of industry experience and knowledge to the graduate-level classes he will teach at SIUE, as well as to undergraduate classes.

Dr. Laurie Giddens comes to use from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she completed her PhD in 2017. Dr. Giddens has 10 years experience in the IT industry. She was database administrator for a company in Louisiana for four years. She then took over the role of director of information technology for six years at the same company. She left the company to pursue her doctorate at Baylor, where she taught classes in intro to IS and business intelligence. Her research interests include understanding how individuals use technology to improve their well-being and the well-being of others. More specifically, she has investigated the impact of wearable technology and consumer apps on individual well-being. 

As excited as we are about having Joe and Laurie join us, we did have to say good-bye to two outstanding faculty members.

Recent Retirements

Dr. Jo Ellen Moore joined SIUE CMIS in 1997. Dr. Moore taught predominantly in the graduate program through most of her career. She was the lead faculty member in the popular project management specialization in the graduate program and in our executive education programs. She built a tremendous research record and helped build SIUE’s research reputation in CMIS. Her research has been cited over 2,000 times, and it continues to be referenced by fellow researchers and practitioners. Fortunately for us, Jo Ellen is continuing as our PMP (certified Project Management Professional) guru in our executive education and graduate program.   

Dr. Susan Yager joined SIUE CMIS in 1999 shortly after finishing her PhD. She showed great range in her teaching activities, teaching numerous classes including CMIS108, CMIS270, CMIS342, CMIS450 and CMIS470. She also taught graduate-level database (CMIS564) early in her career. Besides teaching courses at SIUE, she led a travel-study trip to Hungary quite a few times. She also served (and survived) a term as department chair. Along with that, she showed a commitment to University Governance by serving in the Faculty Senate, and ultimately, became the first School of Business faculty member since the mid 1990s to serve as Faculty Senate president. Susan is now indulging her love of animals by working part-time for her sister’s pet sitting business. She is also volunteering as an AARP tax-aide counselor, helping community members file their taxes, and finally, learning how to cook!

Spring 2017

Spotlight on Students
Growing up in Waynesville, Ill., CMIS student Katie Finnigan chose SIUE due to the exceptional integration of both business and technology. Finnigan states, “The program allows me to utilize my business mentality, while being able to pursue my interest in technology, and ultimately gave me freedom to choose a wide range of options in terms of career opportunities.” With acknowledgement to SIUE’s beautiful campus, she enjoys the clean and nature-friendly atmosphere where everyone is incredibly friendly.

Finnigan explains her time thus far at SIUE as, “Busy, stressful and challenging, but definitely worth it.” As a motivated student, she participated in several on-campus activities from her freshman to junior year and currently acts as the president of the SIUE Association of Information Technology Professionals.

Once she graduates, she will transition into a full-time position in web development at Express Scripts. She eventually would like to pivot her career into an analyst or database position, and ultimately into management. With her knowledge and experience as an SIUE student, she was able to offer some advice for future students. “Find a role model and befriend them. Also, be a person who someone would want to have as their role model.” Finnigan credits her role model, Renae Scheeler, a spring 2016 graduate. Katie’s own graduation is quickly approaching, and she is excited to accomplish her next goal.

Alumni in the News
Originally from Jacksonville, Ill., Andrew Allan graduated from SIUE in 2010. As a CMIS major, his passion for technology flourished, as well as his interest in business processes such as management and finance. He stated, “CMIS fulfilled both roles and allowed me to explore how technology and business are interwoven.”

Choosing SIUE for several reasons, Andrew recognized the large curriculum, dedicated faculty and staff, small class size, affordable tuition, and excellent location. He also added, “I feel SIUE stands out from the rest. The university continuously seeks to improve itself for the benefit of its students’ educational experience.”

With a strong interest in technology and his desire to work with computers, Andrew was previously a student worker in SIUE Information Technology Services (ITS). He hoped to find a full-time position at ITS after graduation and feels fortunate to have done so. Currently, he holds the position of IT support associate III in the ITS department on campus. With the combination of his education and experience, he hopes to eventually advance into an IT management position. Although his main interests and career revolve around technology, his interests outside of the technological realm include writing, cooking and, admittedly, being a poor ukulele player.

Focus on Faculty
From Georgia, NC, to a year abroad in Switzerland and, now, Illinois, Dr. Tim Jacks is an assistant professor in the CMIS department. Graduating with a BA from Davidson College, an MBA in 2004 from Lenoir-Rhyne College, and a PhD in 2012 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jacks hadn't considered teaching full-time until he finished his MBA and was invited to teach part-time. That was when he discovered his love for teaching and decided to earn his PhD.

When asked what the best part of his job is, he stated, “I get to share all of my work experiences with students so that they don’t make the same mistakes I did.” Previously working as a network engineer for many years, Jacks expressed enjoyment when teaching business telecommunications. In addition to teaching, Jacks is the faculty advisor for Delta Sigma Pi. He is also the faculty advisor and informal coach for the SIUE Fencing Club. Apart from the academic and career aspects, Jacks enjoys taking the opportunity to read, travel, play the electric guitar, fence, and collect artwork and vinyl records.

For Tim Jacks, the number one reason SIUE stands out from the rest is, “The faculty here really care about their students. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.” He also commended the students’ work ethic, recognizing that many students take on the responsibility of working part-time or full-time jobs. He stated, “That makes me want to help them succeed even more!”

Management and Marketing

Spring 2018

Alumni in the News

“Never Say Never” to the founder of Never Industries, Inc.

In 2014, Alex Burkart, BS ’12, MA ’14, created Never Industries, Inc., a marketing strategy consulting firm. Never Industries, Alex said, “was named to question the impossible, to challenge the status quo and to never give up."

Alex showed his entrepreneurial talents early at SIUE when he started The Red Storm—the student booster group for athletics. He led students, all in Cougar red, in cheers and support for all Cougar athletic events and teams. The Red Storm group still cheers for Cougars today.

While finishing his master’s degree, Alex networked his way to an internship with the founders of one of St. Louis’ hottest advertising and promotion agencies, Zipatoni, which was founded by another SIUE alum, Mitch Meyers. Under their mentorship, Alex gained an incredible foundation in advertising, new business development and creative strategy. He was able to parlay that experience into another agency position at Paradowski, in St. Louis. Alex worked with the agency’s president on client development, market research, branding, strategic planning and consumer insights. In October 2014, Alex decided he wanted to run his own company and founded Never Industries, Inc. Never Industries works with presidents, owners and decision makers of organizations, helping them identify and pursue marketing opportunities to increase their revenue and streamline their operations. Alex works with these firms on developing strategic direction, market and customer research, marketing planning and execution, and the successful implementation of corporate strategies. Never Industries is currently working on a new business initiative Alex calls “Missed Opportunity Consulting’ (trademark pending). He helps firms find opportunity and moves the firms from good to great!

Just ask Alex Burkart about never giving up on advancing his career and his company. He certainly hasn’t, and doesn’t plan to anytime soon.

Focus on Faculty

Compulsive Buyer? Maybe Dr. Richard Flight Can Help!

If you want to know why you continue to buy stuff you don’t need, ask Dr. Richard Flight—as one of his areas of marketing research is ‘impulsive and compulsive buying.’

Dr. Flight joined the Department of Management and Marketing in August 2017. He was previously associate professor (2013-2017) and assistant chair, School of Business, marketing (2012-2017) at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill.  He is currently teaching courses in marketing strategy and marketing research. He has previously designed courses in marketing strategy and management, principles of marketing, new product development, promotions and advertising management, and e-Commerce. While at Eastern Illinois University, Dr. Flight co-led study abroad programs to the Netherlands, Italy and Croatia.

His working research areas include innovation characteristics and cause-related marketing, product diffusion, branding, and compulsive buying behaviors. He has presented his research at numerous international conferences and is published in Journal of Business Research, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Journal of Marketing Channels, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, among others. Dr. Flight also serves as a reviewer for Journal of Product and Brand Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, and Journal of Small Business Management.

Dr. Flight also has been active in developing and delivering entrepreneurship training programs in emerging and developing markets. In 2011, he traveled to Erbil, Iraq, and conducted a week-long business development seminar to NGO leaders on behalf of the U.S. State Department. Additionally, in 2016, he delivered a week-long workshop to entrepreneurs in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“I think SIUE is wonderful,” stated Flight. “SIUE is a dynamic campus, and the proximity to the St. Louis metropolitan area adds more cultural diversity. Edwardsville appears to have a real connection to everything St. Louis brings to this market. One of the big draws for me to SIUE was the MMR program (master’s in market research). This program brings together the students with working professionals and their professional environment. The SIUE senior students I’ve encountered in this program seem very diligent in their studies, and are definitely more goal- and career-oriented than other students I’ve taught.”

Dr. Flight is originally from St. Johnsbury, Vt. He received his PhD in marketing in 2007 from the University of Alabama and holds an MA in economics from the University of Alabama, and an MBA and BS in business administration from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. Prior to joining academia, Flight worked for eight and a half years (1994-2002) in sports marketing and management. Dr. Flight and his wife, Donna, have three children: Maegan, Sarah and Jacob.

Spring 2017

Spotlight on Students
Chase Hutter loves pizza. Any kind of pizza, but a pizza from Italy is his favorite. Is this love of pizza the real reason he decided to study, work and travel in Italy?

Chase is a SIUE School of Business major and a pre-law and history minor who is graduating in December 2017. He spent last summer and fall in Italy. While there studying and working, he traveled to 13 other countries and spent time in some of the most famous foreign cities, including Munich, London, Milan, Venice, Pisa and Brussels, all while living in Rome. Chase feels his love for travel started with his family supporting him, his travel hockey team and the stories of his great grandfather who came to America from Italy.

Chase worked with SIUE’s Office of Study Abroad to arrange his studies in Rome. He compliments the Office for smoothly getting him into the academic setting and his resident accommodations. When he arrived in Rome for the summer, Chase discovered his roommates were from Nepal, India, and Chicago. In fact, for Chase’s spring break this March, he’ll be visiting his former roommate in New Delhi, India.

Chase explained that the class setting and policies in Italy are quite different from SIUE. A class would usually include a research paper, some informal lectures, and a lot of what Chase calls “physical learning”—actually going to locations in Rome and learning about their history and relevance to class. Depending on the professor, class might be taught in Italian or English. Classroom attire also varied depending on the nationality of the student. American students are much more casual, Italian students are very stylish, and Indian students dressed more formal in shirt, tie and jacket.

During the summer of 2016, Chase worked for a study-travel organization named EuroAdventures based in Florence, Italy. Chase’s job involved recruiting other visiting students for EuroAdventures trips around Europe. EuroAdventures books the trips and are the tour guides for these student-centered learning and entertaining trips. Chase also took advantage of being able to travel with EuroAdventrues to regularly visit Italy’s Amalfi Coast and attend Oktoberfest in Munich during the fall.

Chase also had travel plans to Paris, but they were interrupted by the terrorist’s attacks. After those attacks, he said he definitely noticed an increase in security, with police carrying visible weapons in every prominent tourist area. Chase has only good things to say about his experiences overseas. As an American in a foreign country, he tried to blend in and observe the people in each country. He likes to learn about each culture, speak the language, and just notice the pace of people as they go about their daily lives. He scouts small, neighborhood restaurants where he feels you get the best food and really get to know the people—building a relationship that is almost like family.

It’s no wonder Chase is anxious to return to Italy to possibly attend graduate school, and perhaps live and work after school. Next year, Chase’s family is planning a trip to Italy, with Chase as the official tour guide for their trip. His love of pizza and studying in Italy seem like the perfect foundation for Chase to return to his great grandfather’s homeland.

Alumni in the News
With his current title as a commercial banking relationship manager, David Ruby, BS '03, specializes in working with small-to-medium sized businesses—mostly privately held companies and real estate investors.  When asked if his time at SIUE aided in his current success, he responded, “Absolutely.” He then expressed how fortunate he was to obtain such great opportunities while attending SIUE. Landing a position to ignite a banking career at one of the SIUE career fairs, Ruby juggled a full-time education with a nearly full-time career in banking. Ruby stated, “It was during that time I learned how to become extremely organized and effectively manage my time.”

As a dedicated student living in Cougar Village, Ruby was still able to make life-long friends and enjoy his time at SIUE. Now living in Eureka, Mo., he does not get to see his friends on the other side of the Mississippi River as often as before, but still appreciates the lasting friendships he made. Along with the schoolwork and friendships, one of his lasting impressions at SIUE is the campus. Even with his busy schedule, Ruby took advantage of running the trails and exercising at the Vadalabene Fitness Center. To this day, he sticks with the healthy routine that developed on campus and is grateful for all of his SIUE experiences.

Focus on Faculty
It’s okay to cuss in front of Dr. Mike Hair, assistant professor in the Management and Marketing Department at SIUE. Cursing and consumption is just one of the areas of his research—his analysis concerns the impact of profanity on male consumers’ shopping behavior.

Hair joined SIUE in August 2015 from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Sheller College of Business, where he received his PhD in Marketing. Mike lived in Atlanta, Ga., for several years before deciding to make the move to SIUE. He chose SIUE because it offered the right balance of research and teaching he was looking for, and also the maximum amount of time and contact with students.

Hair’s research focuses on the areas of marketing and psychology incorporating topics such as consumer information processing, judgement and decision making, benefit salience and identification, memory formation and retrieval, and personality traits and advertising response. Some of his ’research in progress’ includes papers on “How Perceptions and Financial Constraints Influence Food Choices,” “the Effect of Attribute Valence and Numerosity on Consumer Attitudes,” and “Product Evaluations Following Omissions vs. Addition of Trivial Attributes.” Most recently, Hair has presented his research at an academic conference in Chicago. Previously, he also presented at conferences in San Antonio, Atlanta, Miami and Washington, D.C.

He is very complimentary of his SIUE graduate and undergraduate students in his market research and buyer behavior classes, commenting, “I’m very impressed with the caliber of my SIUE students. They are conscientious, eager to learn, and quick to pick up on new concepts presented in the classroom.” Many of his students have also commented positively on Hair’s commitment to his students and his determination to give them the information they need to be successful in class.

Hair has quickly settled in at SIUE, and the Edwardsville area, where he has found several favorite taco restaurants, running trails and even participates in many local/community activities.

So, don’t be upset if you slip and cuss in front of Dr. Hair. He’ll probably just smile and ask if he can use you for one of his research studies.


Spring 2018

Alumni in the News
Currently an Edwardsville resident, Joseph Smith is familiar with the Edwardsville campus, considering he chose SIUE for his undergraduate and graduate coursework. Joseph graduated with a BS in CMIS in 2005 and an MBA in 2013.

He currently works for Microsoft as a technology strategist with a focus on the financial services industry. In this role, he works with large capital markets, investment banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Essentially, he assists in risk reduction, improving operational efficiency, as well as improving collaboration with the use of technology.

When asked if his time at SIUE helped him to pursue his current position, he stated, “Yes, 110 percent. I found that being able to speak foundational business lingo and relate it to IT has helped propel my career.”

Based on Joseph’s interview, you could tell SIUE impacted his life in many positive ways. He described the connections he made as invaluable and learning experiences which have helped his career and future flourish. Along with making long-lasting friendships while attending SIUE, Joseph mentioned professors who made a lifelong impression on him. He discussed the impact each had on shaping his mind in both his undergraduate and graduate studies.

One piece of advice Joseph had to offer was, “Make meaningful connections while you are at SIUE and make sure to foster them throughout your career. You never know when you may need to leverage those relationships or how you can help others down the line.”

Focus on Faculty
Living in a small town in northwest Indiana at the Southern tip of Lake Michigan, Dr. Swanson graduated high school and later attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. 

With a knack for mathematics, and the encouragement of her father, Dr. Swanson pursued an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering in 1980 after several changes of her academic major. With this shift, she decided to continue her education at Purdue University and obtained her MBA in 1988 and PhD with a concentration in Operations Management in 1995. When Dr. Swanson began her academic journey, she did not intend to pursue a career in academia, but began to take an interest in teaching while working toward her MBA. These accomplishments eventually led to her current position as an Associate Professor. She mentioned, “I really enjoy teaching. It is really exciting to me when a student who has worked hard begins to grasp a difficult topic.” 

When asked about interests, Dr. Swanson expressed her enjoyment for traveling, reading, running, sewing and embroidery. She also mentioned her involvement with Cougar sports—especially when she has a student on the team—but enjoys cheering on the Cougars regardless of the sport. 

When asked why she feels SIUE stands out from the rest, she stated, “I have always really liked SIUE’s student focus. Faculty take their role as instructors very seriously at SIUE and constantly work to improve their teaching.” She also added the university supports this cause by providing grants and workshops that encourage innovation and improvements to teaching. 

Dr. Swanson’s interview beamed with a positive demeanor and sense of gratitude. Her final thoughts were, “I am very thankful for the opportunities that SIUE has given to me and am especially thankful to Dr. David Ault who was the Dean of the School of Business when I was hired. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with some great individuals on the faculty and staff. I have also been able to work with wonderful students who have provided me with lasting memories.” 

Spring 2017

Alumni in the News
As the chief operating officer (COO) for SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Damon Harbison, MBA '04, achieved many academic successes prior to this position. After earning an associates degree in applied science-radiology technology from Kaskaskia College and Bachelor of Science in radiologic science-radiation therapy from the Jewish Hospital College of Nursing and Allied Health at Washington University Medical Center, he continued his education at SIUE and earned an MBA.

In his current position, he has the opportunity to work with the families, medical staff, other staff members and volunteers of Cardinal Glennon. Harbison stated, “I focus a large portion of my time removing barriers for advancement of others, improving access for our families, and ensuring an exceptional experience and high-quality clinical environment.” With a high level of responsibility, he credits his solid foundation of business administration to SIUE. As an experienced alum, Harbison believes SIUE is a wonderful value with an impressive and well thought-out curriculum. 

Damon enjoyed his time at SIUE and further shared that the faculty are rich in knowledge, the student population is engaged and the campus made the experience even more enjoyable. Living in Edwardsville at the start of his MBA, Harbison made new friends while attending SIUE, but also met his beautiful wife, Michelle Harbison—who also happens to be an alum! Their commencement ceremonies fell on the same day and when called out “to remain standing if your spouse is also graduating,” Harbison said, “I remember looking over at her and she looked at me … we had the biggest smiles on our faces as we were completing yet another life milestone together.”

Focus on Faculty
From New Jersey, Connecticut, and now Smithton, Ill., Dr. Robyn Berkley is an associate professor at SIUE. Earning a PhD in business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MBA from Pace University and Bachelor of Science from Marquette University, she realized she had found her passion in business. Although obtaining an MD/PhD was her initial plan, her realization for needing more business acumen in the workforce led her to the business field and successes she has achieved.

When asked why she chose SIUE, Berkley stated, “I chose SIUE because of its primary emphasis on teaching excellence.” Previously recognized at her former institution as teacher of the year from both undergraduate and graduate students, she desired to be part of an institution that also recognized the value of her work in the classroom. With this in mind, she shared, “SIUE embodies everything I value around supporting good teaching and research. Happily, SIUE has been my home since 2006, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else!”

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