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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.

Spring 2016

Focus on Faculty
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) hosts academic conferences and sponsors “Research Synthesis Teams” to leverage academic expertise in addressing challenging audit and financial accounting issues. In recent years, Professors Brad Reed and Greg Sierra have served on these PCAOB research teams, which involves taking on PCAOB-assigned topics with other researchers from around the country and consulting with PCAOB staff.

Professor Reed served on one of the first Research Synthesis Teams that was assembled by the PCAOB. He teamed up with three other faculty members, and they were tasked with providing research that would help the PCAOB address issues concerning a new auditing standard regarding related party transactions. The PCAOB had issued a document with approximately 15 questions, and they wanted to know how academic research could inform these questions. The Research Synthesis Team published their response to these questions in the journal Accounting Horizons. The PCAOB subsequently issued a new Auditing Standard that gives auditors guidance on auditing related-party transactions. The new standard uses many of the insights from research that were presented by the Research Synthesis Team. Professor Reed and his research team colleagues subsequently published a series of articles on some mistakes auditors make when they audit related-party transactions and how companies use related-party transactions to engage in fraudulent financial reporting.

Professor Sierra’s PCAOB research team addressed issues surrounding the audit of fair values. His team included members from University of Kentucky, Wake Forest, and the University of South Florida. As part of the PCAOB process, the research team also met with PCAOB staff to go over drafts of the research (who provided their insights from practice) and presented a draft at the PCAOB’s research conference in Washington, D.C. The work resulted in a conceptual framework for creating policy on fair value audit and has been cited in policy related to fair value audit. In addition, the Research Synthesis Team published a related work in Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory and subsequently won the Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory Paper of the Year Award.

Both Reed and Sierra say that serving on this team was a meaningful and rewarding experience because rarely does academic research have such an opportunity to make a direct and immediate impact on public policy and audit practice.

Spring 2015

Department News

Our Beta Alpha Psi Chapter has continued its success. In 2012 and 2013, the Chapter achieved Superior status and in 2014 they achieved Distinguished status.

Francis Bennett, last year’s Beta Alpha Psi president, represented our chapter by participating on the winning team in Project Run With It at the Annual Beta Alpha Psi meeting. Each year, the CPA firm of Moss Adams sponsors the competition which gives teams of students the opportunity to work on a real-world consulting project.

Francis was one of only 72 students out of more than 1,200 meeting attendees who were selected to participate, so just being chosen was an honor. His team won the competition and he brought home a plaque and $1,000 prize!  While our students have been selected to participate in Project Run With It in the past, this is the first time that we’ve had a participant on the winning team.

For the last two years, SIUE accounting majors have been selected by the Illinois CPA Society to participate the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program in Chicago. This is a three-day intensive program in downtown Chicago that aims to prepare up to 25 students for life in the accounting profession. The third day of the program provides the participants with the opportunity to interview for paid internship slots with some of the most prestigious accounting firms and companies in Chicago. In 2013, Angela Jordan was our first-ever nominee and participant. In 2014, Brandi Jackson was selected. You can read more about Brandi’s experience in the Student Spotlight article, below.  

In the last two years, Dr. Linda Lovata has redesigned our Senior Assignment to update the topic and incorporate a presentation judged by our Advisory Board members. You can read more about the new Senior Assignment in the Focus on Faculty, below.

This semester, Susan Murray is offering the first sustainability course in our graduate programs. Experts from Nestle-Purina, AB InBev, Madison County, Midwest Coalition of Sustainable Investment, the St. Louis Rams, and Express Scripts have met with our students to discuss their organizations’ approaches to sustainability.

We have recently received approval to offer a set of online transition courses aimed at getting MSA applicants with non-accounting undergraduate degrees into the MSA program. The courses, based on a grant written by Greg Sierra, will allow applicants to acquire the necessary accounting skills in just three eight-week sessions. If you know someone with a non-accounting undergraduate degree who would like to start the MSA, have them contact Mike Costigan.

Many of you know that our Beta Alpha Psi Chapter sponsors a very successful Meet the Firms event each year prior to on campus interviews. This past year, 21 employers and two CPA review providers attended. Both students and employers report that contacts made at Meet the Firms have led to job offers.

Some of our students participated in the annual School of Business Scholarship and Awards Luncheon on April 21, where the following awards were presented:

  • Denise Suhrenbrock Award - Jessica Winkler
  • Stuart White Award - Jonathan Bettis & Kristen Drainer
  • Rosner Award - Ashley Bass
  • Phoenix Award - Richelle Gonzalez
  • Anders Award - Claire Rogers
  • BKD Award - Connor Zelasko
  • Accounting Alumni Award - Jordan Mendez & Wen Lian
  • Accounting Service Award - Patrick Meyer
  • BAP Scholarship - Patrick Meyer

Beta Alpha Psi continues to sponsor its annual golf outing with the proceeds going to charity. During the past three years, the Chapter has donated more than $5,800 to Relay for Life. This year’s outing was April 24 at Oak Brook in Edwardsville with proceeds once again being donated to Relay for Life. 

Alumni in the News

An SIUE alumna who was able to quickly move to the top of her career field, Kelly Malson has certainly compiled an impressive career in accountancy. Malson, who earned a BSA in 1993, currently serves as auditing chair on Conn's, Inc. board of directors. Prior to joining Conn's, Inc., Malson spent 11 years in public accounting and served as a financial compliance manager. In March 2006, World Acceptance offered her a job as vice president of internal audit before quickly promoting her to chief financial officer, a position she held until December 2013.

A native of Alton, Ill., Malson is now retired from the corporate world and living in Anderson, S.C. "It is an absolute honor to serve on the Board of Directors for Conn Appliances," Malson said. "But because we only meet four or five times a year, I have definitely enjoyed retirement and being able to travel!"  

Malson credits the SIUE School of Business as being the starting step toward achieving all the successes of her career. "The accounting program was ranked one of the highest at the time of my graduation, so accounting firms recruited from SIUE," Malson said. "I received a fantastic education and was able to create friendships with accounting students who still remain my lifelong friends today."

Malson noted that one accounting professor in particular gave her a specific tool she used rather frequently throughout her career. "Dr. Linda Lovata has the ability to explain difficult material and make it easy to understand," she said. "I have used Dr. Lovata’s teaching techniques in my own career when teaching people how to audit, and her methods have been highly successful."

She credits SIUE for providing a great education at a very reasonable price. "It gives a great education for the money," she said. "Even if I would have attended Harvard, I feel like my career would have ended up in the same place, and I spent a lot less money at SIUE."

Spotlight on Students

Brandi Jackson is scheduled to graduate from SIUE with her BSA in fall 2015. It’s been a long trip. Although her Army family is originally from St. Louis, she lived in Texas and Georgia and, most notably, Germany. In fact, she attended and graduated from a Department of Defense Dependent School in Germany before moving onto college. She especially remembers traveling to Switzerland, Amsterdam, and her senior class trip to Disney-Paris.

Why St. Louis? After high school, she visited relatives in St. Louis and later met her husband through a church connection. Her husband is from Florida and from a military family but was residing in Glen Carbon at the time they met. Incredibly, his family and her family know many of the same people in Germany and across the U.S. They live in Granite City with their three children, which is convenient to his St. Louis job and SIUE. Amazingly enough, her father (retired) and mother (early childhood school director) remain in Germany.

Why SIUE accounting? Brandi worked in financial services for a few years, but realized she needed a business degree to find more opportunities. SIUE had a solid reputation and was affordable. So, she entered the SIUE School of Business in fall 2012. She decided on an accounting major after taking Introduction to Financial Accounting with Jim Dixon and speaking with Professor Costigan. As no one in her family is involved in professional accounting, she has learned about the profession through her academics, extra-curricular activities (such as Beta Alpha Psi) and discussions with faculty.

SIUE Experience? “The quality of instruction is very high, but what stands out is the great support from faculty that goes way beyond just the academics,” said Jackson. She said the faculty has been instrumental in her enthusiasm for a public accounting career. For example, the faculty helped direct her to the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program (MTWW), a multi-day program for students interested in accounting careers. MTWW improved her interview skills and gave her the opportunity to network with peers and professionals. Biographical stories from accountants/presenters at MTWW, in particular, solidified her interest in public accounting. The SIUE accounting program experiences and SIUE faculty played into Jackson’s current internship with BKD’s St. Louis office in the tax area.

The Future. After graduating with her BSA in fall 2015, Jackson plans to intern again in the spring of 2016 and begin the SIUE MSA. Her professional goals are to complete the SIUE MSA, pass the CPA exam and have a career in public accounting. In the meantime, she and her husband will continue honing their time-management skills as she completes her degrees, he manages his career and they raise their children.

Focus on Faculty

Many of you will remember Professor Linda Lovata from accounting information systems or cost accounting. For the last two years, she has taken on responsibility for reinvigorating our Senior Assignment.

Every SIUE graduate is required to complete a senior assignment, which provides a culminating experience in the student’s area of study. You may know that SIUE has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of 17 universities with outstanding senior capstone experiences. Others on the list include Yale, Princeton, Harvard and MIT. In the BSA program, the project was a paper prepared in one of the Intermediate Accounting and/or Auditing classes. Over time, the assignment became just like any other class paper, rather than a culminating experience.

Two years ago, Professor Lovata moved from teaching systems and cost to the third intermediate class where the senior assignment is housed.  Over this time period, the assignment has evolved to be a more comprehensive project.

Each semester, a particular accounting topic is chosen. The topic is one that affects various companies and has complex accounting rules. In the past two years, the projects investigated multiple element arrangements, asset retirement obligations, franchise accounting or construction accounting.

Each student is assigned a different SEC-traded company. The student first evaluates the footnote on that semester’s topic in the company’s 10-K. Given that information, the student develops data for a typical transaction. For example, a student researching DirectTV would design a multiple element arrangement for a typical contract including hardware, installation, and programming. After researching the Accounting Standards Codification, the student writes a memo to recommend the proper accounting for the transaction in question.

Professor Lovata reads the memos and provides feedback to the students. Unlike prior senior assignments, that is not the end of the process. The primary innovation with the senior assignment is to bring you, the alumni, on board to help evaluate the students’ projects.  We reserve the new Cougar Business Research Center and have students present their results to teams of alumni and faculty. The setup is that this is the audit firm’s first year with this client, so the student is presenting recommendations to the client and audit partner.

Some comments from students include: 

  • “The ability to present to alumni and faculty was nerve-racking, but extremely useful.”
  •  “The whole process was an advantage. ‘Creating’ and following through to the end helps complete understanding.”
  • “Presenting the project in front of people like we would for an actual business meeting was a great part of the process.”
  •  “I liked it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I feel more comfortable about presenting now.”
  •  “All the pieces finally fit together. The revenue recognition methods and the codification were finally easy to understand.”

Given these comments, the participation of alumni in the presentations contributes immeasurably to our student’s education. It is clear this new senior assignment process is a culminating experience which develops life-long learning skills for our students.

The Department is grateful to Linda for assuming this responsibility and, as always, doing a great job! Linda is in her 25th year on the SIUE accounting faculty, and she thanks all of her former students for making it an enjoyable and rewarding 25 years. If you would like to participate in the presentations or have suggested topics for the senior assignments, contact Linda at

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.

Spring 2016

Alumni in the News

Ronda Sauget has been named executive director of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois and will succeed Ellen Krohne, effective December 1. Krohne, who joined the organization in July 2012, is stepping down to spend more time with her family.

Sauget, president of Validus Business Strategies and former executive director of Archview Economic Development Corp., is a longtime member of the Leadership Council and has served on its executive committee since 2011 and as president since 2013.

“As a member of our executive committee and several of our working committees over the last several years, we have appreciated Ronda’s thoughtful counsel and input on the various issues in which we have been engaged,” said Mike Riley, president of the Leadership Council, in a statement. “She understands our organization, is deeply committed to this region and has a passion for achieving the strategic objectives of the Leadership Council. We are thrilled to welcome her as our new executive director.”

At Validus, Sauget has helped grow diverse clients in the profit and nonprofit sectors, such as East County Enterprises, Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation and Touchette Regional Hospital, Leadership Council officials said. From 1999 to 2012, Sauget served as volunteer executive director for Archview in Centerville, Illinois, where she developed and implemented a strategic plan and communications strategy for economic development in five Metro East communities, officials said.

Sauget implemented an economic development campaign to attract business to the Route 3 corridor, which helped secure more than $200 million in new investment, the release stated.
Sauget, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing and an MBA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in addition to a doctorate of management in strategic management and executive leadership from Webster University, will succeed Krohne, who led a $3.2 million fundraising campaign for the organization— 10 percent above its goal.

Also, Krohne started four strategic initiatives aimed at helping the region grow. Membership at the council, a not-for-profit economic development association that mainly covers St. Clair and Madison counties, has grown 40 percent, to 200 members, during Krohne’s tenure.

originally published in the St. Louis Business Journal on Oct. 29, 2015

Spring 2015

Spotlight on Students

The School of Business student team won the 2014 Case Competition organized by the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) that is comprised of successful corporate leaders and small business owners in the St. Louis area. Under the dedicated supervision of Dr. Shrikant Jategaonkar, the student team (Tyler Miller, Mark Webster and Ryan Price from economics and finance and Rajesh Pudota representing the MBA program) demonstrated their superiority against formidable teams from Washington University, Saint Louis University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

In 2014, Dr. Shrikant Jategaonkar planned and implemented the first ever Mutual Fund Contest organized by the School of Business. Funded by one of our generous MBA alumni, Dr. Charles Alvin Wentz, Jr., more than 40 students participated in the competition. Kevin Doak and Darren Wright from Bank of Edwardsville provided the participating students with a presentation entitled “How to Invest in Mutual Funds?" Each student’s portfolio was tracked for about six months and the top 5 students received cash prizes. 

Dr. Shrikant Jategaonkar served as faculty advisor and worked with our students Forest Knight and Jason Januska on the 2014 annual All-American Student Analyst Competition, a nationwide online competition with more than 1,000 student participants organized by the Institutional Investor. Forest and Jason performed very well and their names, along with SIUE, were published in the Institutional Investor.

Alumni in the News

When discussing SIUE alumni who are heavily involved in their communities, the name Kate (Kramer) Mayfield will not be far from the top of the list. A 2002 BS undergraduate and 2005 MS graduate of the economics and finance program, Mayfield now serves in several professional groups and organizations, including such positions as president of the Risk Management Association Young Professionals Group for St. Louis, member of the Risk Management Association's National Committee for Young Professionals, and cabinet member of the United Way Women's Leadership Society. 

A St. Louis native, Mayfield now works for Regions Bank at a branch in Clayton, Mo., holding the title vice president of government and institutional banking. Her job duties include structuring private placement debt for municipal governments, educational institutions and not for profits. Mayfield has received several accolades for her professional successes, having recently earned the Certified Treasury Professional designation.   

Mayfield explained that many aspects of the education she received at SIUE have transitioned into her career. Whether she is constructing financial models, analyzing financial statements, comparing key ratios, understanding or mitigating risks, Mayfield is reminded almost daily of her educational experiences.  

"I had a great time at SIUE," Mayfield said. "There was a great sense of camaraderie and teamwork among all of the economics and finance students when I was there, which really contributed to my academic success."

She summed up her appreciation for the School by using one simple phrase: SIUE cares about students. "I received a high quality education in a very supportive environment," Mayfield said. "Faculty members were always very accessible, had great senses of humor, told interesting stories from working in industry, and were great at taking complex concepts and breaking them down into understandable pieces. They genuinely cared about the academic and professional achievements of their students." 

Focus on Faculty

Economics and Finance Faculty Research Activities

In 2014, our department’s research output continued to be of high volume and high quality. Here are some of the publication highlights:

  • Public information arrival and investor reaction during a period of institutional change: An episode of early years of a newly independent central bank (J. Brzeszczynski and A. Kutan), Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming.
  • Monetary and fiscal policy interactions: Evidence from emerging European economies (E. I. Cevik, S. Dibooglu and A. Kutan), Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming.
  • Policy uncertainty and the demand for money in the United Kingdom” (with S. Bahmani, M. Bahmani-Oskooee, A. Kones and A. Kutan), Applied Economics, forthcoming.
  • Financial market reaction to Federal Reserve communications: Does the global financial crisis make a difference? (B. Hayo, A. Kutan and M. Neuenkirch), Journal of European Economics, forthcoming.
  • Investor wealth, the IMF and the Asian Crisis (A. Kutan and G. Muradoglu). International Review of Financial Analysis 33: 130-137.
  • Impact of global shocks and volatility on herd behavior in an emerging market: Evidence from Borsa Istanbul (M. Balcilar and R. Demirer), Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, forthcoming.
  • What drives herding in developing stock markets? Relative roles of own volatility and global factors (M. Balcilar, R. Demirer and S. Hammoudeh), North American Journal of Economics and Finance 29: 418-440.
  • The competing values framework for corporate communication: Theoretical and practical implications (T. Belasen and A. Belasen), Journal of Promotion Management, forthcoming.
  • When oceans attack: Assessing the impact of hurricanes on localized taxable sales (A. Belasen and C. Dai), Annals of Regional Science 52: 325-342.
  • Happiness, Economic Freedom and Culture (A. Evrensel), Applied Economic Letters, forthcoming.
  • Insider trading in REITs: Evidence from informed stock option exercise around seasoned equity offerings (Brandon N. Cline, X. Fu, T.M. Springer and T. Tang), Journal of Real Estate Research, forthcoming.

Additionally, the economics and finance faculty continues in their collaboration on research. Examples for collaborative research activities are:

  • Do ADR Investors Herd? Evidence from Advanced and Emerging Markets (R. DemirerA. Kutan and H. Zhang), International Review of Economics and Finance 30: 138-148.
  • Economic Freedom and State Bond Ratings (A. Belasen, R. Hafer and S. Jategaonkar), Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming.
  • How Does Implementation of a Smoking Ban Affect Gambling? (J. Navin, W. Richards and T. Sullivan), Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Gambling (eds. L.V. Williams and D.S. Siegel), 87-107.

The department values faculty-student research collaborations, as well. An example for such collaboration is:

  • Does Inflation Targeting Lower Inflation and Spur Growth? (K. AyresR. Belasen and A. Kutan), Journal of Policy Modeling 36: 373-388.

The economics and finance faculty also received recognition for their published papers. For example:

  • Dr. Jategaonkar’s paper entitled “If it is good for the firm, it’s good for me: Insider trading and repurchases motivated by undervaluation” was recognized as one of the best papers published in the Financial Review.
  • Additionally, Dr. Jategaonkar’s paper entitled “Oil price risk exposure and the cross-section of stock returns: The case of net exporting countries” (with R. Demirer and A. Khalifa) received the Best Paper in Finance Award and recognized in the ERF Newsletter of Spring 2014.

Our faculty also produces impact studies for the University. For example, J. Navin, W. Richards and T. Sullivan prepared an economic impact study for the University (The Economic Impact of SIUE on the St. Louis Metropolitan Area).

Our faculty attended 12 conferences during the 2013-14 academic year. Additionally, some of our faculty members received invitations to conferences as well as awards on their conference papers. For example: 

  • Dr. Kutan received an invitation to give a talk on “The Evolution of the Polish Stock” in a conference entitled “25 Years of Poland’s Transition to a Market Economy” held in Warsaw.
  • Dr. Jategaonkar’s conference paper “The privatized firm payout premium” (with A. Goyal, W. Megginson, and C. Muckley) made it to the semi-final list for the Best Paper Award at the FMA conference. The same paper won the Best Paper Award at the India Finance Conference.

In terms of external grants, Dr. Kutan received the Trilateral Research Partnership Grant from the British Council, which supports research on economic reforms and development finance in developing countries. The partner universities are SIUE, Aston University (U.K.) and Indian Institute of Management (India).

Computer Management and Information Systems

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!”

Spring 2016

Alumni in the News

Isaac Abramowitz graduated in 2009 with a BS in computer management and information systems from the School of Business. Since graduating, he has taken the skills he learned at SIUE and added hard to work to become a business analyst at one of the largest and oldest ad agencies in Chicago: FCB Chicago.

He is originally from Springfield, Ill., and now lives in Chicago. His focus as a business analyst is to work with key stakeholders across the organization to find the requirements for their particular project. Abramowitz also implements tracking such as Google Analytics, for all FCB Chicago digital projects. This year, Isaac was chosen to run a workshop at SXSW Interactive, one of the world’s largest digital conferences, on tracking success with Google Analytics.

Abramowitz’s passion drives him, and the CMIS classes he took at SIUE were crucial to his success. The skills he learned in the classroom are the same skills he uses on a daily basis. A public speaking and acting class taken during his time at SIUE also heavily contributed to his presentation skills. “If you’re going to work your way up the chain, you must have good presentation skills,” he said.

His path started at SIUE when he “bombed” an on-campus interview for an internship. “It was that point when I decided I wasn’t cut out to be a Java developer and took the web development route instead.” Since then, Abramowitz has worked hard to become an expert in his field.

“My professional career does not start at 9, or stop at 5,” he said. Hard work, passion and education helped elevate Abramowitz in the workplace, and it all began at SIUE.

Focus on Faculty

Professor Jo Ellen Moore has been working to formally inject project management into the SIUE School of Business curriculum since 2006. Two things happened in 2006: a task force identified project management as an important skill that all School of Business undergraduates need; and a specialization in project management was developed for MBA and MS CMIS graduate students. Yes, Moore had a hand in both of those.

As an undergraduate alum, you may recognize Moore’s name as the author on the cover of that skinny book, “Techniques for Managing Projects,” you used in MGMT 331. Spawned by the task force recommendation, the MGMT 331 course and the skinny book were developed to provide all School of Business students with fundamental project skills, including how to develop a useful scope statement, how to create a project plan and use it to track and report progress to stakeholders, how to handle problems that commonly occur in project teams, and how to close out a project with a post-project review.

Kathy Miller, an IT manager at COUNTRY Financial, sees these as skills that can set our students apart from graduates of other schools, noting “the most successful projects are those led by a project manager who believes in and follows the project management principles in this book.”

As a graduate program alum, you probably remember working on a project Moore dreamed up like Project Management Family Feud, or remember her expert guidance – and soothing haiku – helping you through the grueling PMP certification prep course (CMIS 535). PMP is the Project Management Professional certification sponsored by the Project Management Institute, and it is no lightweight certification; 4,500 hours of project experience are required just to sit for the exam. Jo Ellen received her PMP certification in 2005 and now dedicates a great deal of time to helping others prepare for the PMP exam.

As an alum, what you may not know is that Moore shares her project management expertise with folks outside the SIUE community, as well. At least two times a year, she teaches a five-day workshop through SIUE School of Business Executive Education that prepares local project managers to sit for the PMP certification exam. Companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area send employees to this workshop, including USTRANSCOM, Ameren, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, PSC Industrial Outsourcing, Sigma-Aldrich, USDA-Rural Development and more. Moore also conducts a PMP-prep workshop at Edward Jones twice a year for their project managers and, when asked and time permits, she provides customized project management training for local companies.

“Interacting with project managers in these workshops is what keeps me learning, keeps me relevant,” Moore said. “And it’s just plain fun. Yes, we have fun with the PMBOK, imagine that!”
Moore explains that PMBOK (pim-bock) is the nickname for the Project Management Body of Knowledge, a book of over 600 pages known for its extreme breadth and extreme depth.

Professor Clay Williams, faculty colleague, says they refer to Moore as their resident PMBOK savant, rushing to add: “This is a compliment! We can go to her with questions of ‘how does this fit with the PMBOK?’ and she is always quick to make the connection and clearly explain it.”

Brittany Zehr recently completed the project management specialization offered in the MBA and MS CMIS programs. She sees how the practices taught transfer directly to the workplace. For example, Brittany was able to help coworkers understand how to leverage Microsoft Project software to assist in managing projects. “I shared the sample project we used in class, showing them how we used the software to define the project plan and track progress. Our team is now better versed in the tool and using it daily.”

If you graduated before Moore got her project management hands on the School of Business curriculum, you may want to check out the School of Business Project Support Center website, which reflects project skills being taught in MGMT 331.

If you are looking for a graduate degree that offers significant coursework in project management and prepares you for the PMP certification, look into the project management specialization in our MS CMIS and MBA programs.

If your job involves working on projects, you will want to keep your eye on the project management workshops and symposia offered through SIUE School of Business Executive Education.

Finally, if you have feedback for Jo Ellen about project skills we advocate in the School of Business – ones you find especially valuable, ones you’d like to see us emphasize – you can contact her at

Spring 2015

Department News

CMIS is taking two very exciting steps to enhance the opportunities for our graduate students:

  • Creating a new specialization in business analytics
  • Establishing project management as a formal specialization

We have heard the message from our corporate partners in the St. Louis metropolitan area about the importance of business analytics and project management in corporate decision-making and strategic implementations. By establishing business analytics and project management as formal specializations, our students will have their efforts in these areas officially recognized on their transcripts and diplomas. This is extremely valuable to our students and a real competitive differentiator!

So what is the business analytics specialization? This is a six-course, 18-credit sequence that takes a decidedly business and managerial view of business analytics – using information to improve decision-making. In the BA specialization courses, students will be challenged to understand what it takes to leverage “big data,” to identify the best data to use to answer specific questions, and to utilize a variety of approaches to analyze that data in order to generate real business insights. And perhaps most importantly, the students in the business analytics specialization will focus on how to effectively communicate the results of their analytical efforts to a senior management audience.

Our concentration in project management has been around for many years. This focus area of study leverages the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) and other core topics in project management to position our students to operate in and lead project teams successfully. It also prepares students to pursue the PMP® certification. Students completing the PM concentration indicated a desire to see this focus of study reflected on their transcripts. We listened! The five-course, 15-credit sequence will soon be classified as a formal specialization further enhancing the value of their degrees in the marketplace.

If you have questions about the business analytics specialization, please contact Clay Williams, PhD, MS CMIS Program Director, at If you have questions about our project management specialization, please contact Jo Ellen Moore, PhD, PMP at

Undergraduate Curriculum News

Industry certifications are an important way our students can demonstrate there IS/IT knowledge and differentiate themselves from other applicants in the job market. While earning a certification is not the main focus of any of these courses, adding content to the courses we offer can help position students who wish to take certification exams for success!

As you may remember, the senior capstone course (CMIS 470) includes an assessment that can lead to the Information Systems Analyst (ISA) certification. The ISA assessment covers the most common skills employers seek from new graduates including information technology skills, organizational and professional skills, and strategic systems development skills. This exam has provided evidence of student learning in the BS in CMIS program for several years.

Advanced topics in project management is a new elective course being offered at SIUE. Students are introduced to PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) that forms the foundation for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification. PMI designed the CAPM certification specifically for undergraduates, and it does not require work experience. The course is designed to prepare students to take the CAPM exam and potentially achieve CAPM certification.

In addition, some of our more technical classes are also adding content to help students prepare for certification exams, if they choose to do so. We will continue to focus on the business aspects of IT and its theoretical foundations, but now we can offer more in-depth technical training as well. The certification material in the below classes includes online virtual labs where students can get hands-on experience with different platforms and technologies.

  • Many large companies are requiring their network administrators to have Network+ certification. Additional content to encourage students to sit for the Network+ certification has been added to our network class. Since those wishing to earn a Network+ certificate are encouraged to have the A+ certificate, new content is also being added to our technology hardware course so that those students wishing to take the A+ certificate will have access to resources to study for (and hopefully pass) the exam.
  • Three electives (information security, end user systems support, and Unix & server systems) have added content to include material for the Security+ certification, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician Certification, and Linux+ certification, respectively.

CMIS students with a degree, an internship and a few certifications on their resume, should make the next generation of CMIS Cougars the most successful ever!

Alumni in the News

Joe Randazzo ('13 BS CMIS) expresses gratitude for the valuable opportunities available to him during his academic career at SIUE. A recent CMIS graduate, Randazzo has since accepted a position as a software developer at Coolfire Solutions; a small company created in 2010 which specializes in mobile, software, and hardware developments for the defense and health industries. In addition to his career, Randazzo is studying part-time in the SIUE School of Engineering. 

When asked about his professional goals, Randazzo confidently expressed how important his education will be as he continues his career. "The CMIS program provided a great foundation for where I am now," he said. "The professors and instructors built the curriculum based upon technologies which are being used in modern industries."

Randazzo was very active as a student, participating in the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), Delta Sigma Pi, and a co-op through Emerson Electric. "I built many friendships and learned about new technologies such as Android, which is the operating system I primarily develop for today," he said.

As he reflected on his academic growth, Randazzo described SIUE in three words: opportunity, community and value. "My time at SIUE has been great," he said. "From the abundance of organizations to participate in to the hands-on work completed in class, the experience has been invaluable." 

Focus on Faculty

Welcome New Faculty

Connie Barber comes to us from the University of North Carolina Greensboro where she completed her PhD in 2014. Her interests include the unintended consequences of social media in society, critical community building in online classes, and IT and cultural competence. Additionally, she is intrigued by the implications of online video games for businesses and managers. Her industry background focused on the design, development and maintenance of databases using a variety of software. As such, she will be teaching undergraduate database courses. 2014-2015 is Dr. Barber’s first year at SIUE.

Tim Jacks also comes to us from the University of North Carolina Greensboro where he completed his PhD in 2012. His interests include IT occupational culture, strategic IT/business alignment, and healthcare informatics. Dr. Jacks began at SIUE in the 2012-2013 school year. He has taken over teaching the telecommunications/networking classes, as well as the information security class.

Recent Retirements

Douglas Bock, after 25 years as a professor at SIUE, retired in May 2012. Dr. Bock served as chair of the CMIS department for 11 years. He served on numerous University, School and departmental committees. His research included 27 journal articles, three books, a half dozen book chapters and numerous conference presentations. Teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, he was a well-liked and favorite professor of many. He served as a mentor to not only students, but to the junior faculty he hired. He demonstrated his commitment to excellence in all that he accomplished. Now he spends his days, you guessed it, golfing! 

Terri Keister, after 19 years as an instructor at SIUE, retired in May 2013. Ms. Keister taught a wide variety of courses at SIUE, from programming classes to senior design classes. She was instrumental in developing the introduction to CMIS class taken by all School of Business majors, adding ERP components to the course. Students and CMIS faculty alike miss her sense of humor.  

Mary Sumner, after 32 years as a professor at SIUE, retired in May 2014. Dr. Sumner was instrumental in developing several executive education programs including Construction Leadership Institute, the Project Management Professional Program, the Project Management Symposium, the Technology and Commerce Roundtable, the Hannover Financial Institute, and the Certificate Program in Health Informatics for BJC Healthcare. Teaching both undergraduate and graduate level courses at SIUE, she consistently used innovative methods to facilitate student learning. With her strong industry ties, she facilitated learning opportunities within corporations for our seniors in the undergraduate capstone course.

Recent Faculty Research

During 2014, faculty members presented their research at several academic IT conferences and published in IT academic journals. Research of CMIS faculty focuses on a variety of subjects, including: impact of new technology on end users and organizations, security issues in IT, IS governance, management of IT professionals, wiki technology, and Big data issues.

Yager, S. E., and Szabo, Zs. (2014) “Using electronic resources to teach computer literacy: students’ perceptions and use,” International Journal of Education and Psychology in the Community.

Powell, A. (2014) “Teaching Systems Analysis and Design to Undergraduates,” panel presentation at the Eleventh AMCIS SIG Systems Analysis and Design symposium.

Abulkhair, A. and Powell, A. (2014) “User resistance to information systems: Literature review,” Proceedings of the Eleventh AMCIS SIG Systems Analysis and Design Symposium.

Bordoloi, B., and Jacks, T. (2014) “An efficient stochastic update propagation method in data warehousing,” Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Americas Conference on Information Systems.

Williams, C.K., Wynn, D., Karahanna, E., Madupalli, R., and Duncan, B. (2014) “Explaining users’ security behaviors with the security belief model,” Journal of Organizational and End User Computing.

Hester, A.J., Moore, J.E., and Yager, S.E. (2014) “The Role of voice in the retention of IT workers: Paving the higher road,” Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Hester, A.J. (2014) “Socio-Technical systems theory as a diagnostic tool for examining underutilization of wiki technology,” The Learning Organization: Special issue on implementing Web 2.0 tools in Organizations.

Jacks, T. (2014) “Qualitative Analysis Workshop,” Proceedings of Fifteenth Annual Global Information Technology Management Association.

Jacks, T. and Palvia, P. (2014) “R.I.P. – Do demographics matter in IT occupational culture?,” Proceedings of Fifteenth Annual Global Information Technology Management Association.

Barber, C. (2014) “Deconstructing the online grooming of youth: Toward improved information systems for detection of online sexual predators,” Proceedings of the Thirty Fifth International Conference on Information Systems. 

Editorial Boards

Professional Journal

Bijoy Bordoloi

Associate Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Information Processing and Management

Tim Jacks

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Global Information Technology Management

Jo Ellen Moore

Editorial Board Member, MIS Quarterly Executive

Senior Editor, The DATABASE for Advances in Information Systems

Anne Powell

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Organizational and End User Computing

Clay Williams

Senior Editor, The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems

Susan Yager

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Information Systems Education

Management and Marketing

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 2016

Spotlight on Students
International Business Case Competition Helps Students Hone Their Case Analysis and Presentation Skills

For the third year, Dr. Yuping Zeng, assistant professor of management, has put together a team of eager students who will compete in the 2016 International Business Case Competition presented by the University of Missouri-International Business Honor Society.

Zeng stated, “We are fortunate to be able to participate in this competition a third time. It’s a tough competition, and our students spend quite a lot of time preparing. John Bortoletto, Jacob Fillingim, Ryan Gallego and Kyle Martin, are up to the challenge and they are all very intelligent, capable students.”

This competition is open to undergraduate schools offering business or related programs. Each team has a faculty advisor, but the teams are restricted from receiving any advisor assistance in researching the case or the presentation of the case. Teams remain anonymous during the competition and must wear business professional attire without any identification of their school. The competition features an original case written by the sponsoring company and will outline an actual problem faced by the firm with regard to a relevant area of international business.

To begin the competition, each team is given the official international business case study and also issued a clean USB drive to use to save their team presentation. Teams have access to the UMSL internet system and library facilities. Each team has approximately 20 hours to prepare the case and submit their presentation. During this time, the team is not allowed to receive help from any third party. Faculty advisors may only assist their team before they receive the official case. Teams will give their 20-minute case presentation to an assigned panel of impartial judges chosen from the local business community, with 10 minutes allowed for Q&A. All teams will present their cases, and four finalist teams will compete in the final round.

Case judging is based on the quality of the analysis, the quality of the recommendations given by the team, the quality of the presentation, and the quality of the teams’ handling of the Q&A. Maximum points is 100. Cash prizes for first, second and third place will be awarded to the participating school.

SIUE students in this competition participate for several reasons. John Bortoletto stated, “Experience is the main reason I signed up. I knew this opportunity would be very special for me.” Ryan Gallego felt this competition would give him exposure to real business problems that companies face every day, and wanted to represent SIUE at this international competition.
Kyle Martin, another SIUE team member, commented, “I expect this competition to take me out of my comfort zone, and I’m looking forward to working with and networking with peers. We plan to win on our strengths.” Jacob Fillingim hopes to learn more about working more effectively with a group on major business problems, and to grow as a person.

The SIUE students participating will use this competition to increase their confidence, analytical talent and communication skills, and will represent SIUE to the best of their abilities.

The 2016 UMSL International Business Case Competition will take place April 8-9 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Alums in the News
Betsy Hall graduated in May 2007 with a bachelor’s of business administration. Since graduating, she has not slowed and is now the director of global public policy for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the Fortune 1 Company of 2015. Hall’s path all began with the decision to make SIUE her home.

Hall grew up in Charleston, Ill., about two hours away from Edwardsville. The opportunity to be close to St. Louis and run cross country and track made SIUE an easy choice. During her time at SIUE, she participated in Business ELITE and served as a student senator. “Having a chance to put my textbook lessons into a practical application in real time within the university environment was a positive affirmation that I was in the correct field of study,” Hall said.

She also took advantage of the Power Breakfast Series to hone her networking skills with former Dean Dr. Gary Giamartino and alumni of the School of Business. With practice and the support and guidance of faculty, she learned networking and interview skills that gave her a competitive edge as a new graduate fresh out of the classroom.

After graduation, Hall worked full time with Senator Dick Durbin, which led to a job in South Carolina working in healthcare and government affairs. She kept her LinkedIn profile up to date and was contacted by Wal-Mart. Now, at age 31 and after only 14 months at Wal-Mart, she is the director of global public policy. She is responsible for all public policy and government affairs on the subject of the company’s health and wellness business. “I am very fortunate and humbled to have achieved a management-level position with such an upstanding company.”

Hall is proud to be able to call SIUE her alma mater and it is no surprise why. “I sit next to people with MBAs from Harvard,” she said. “But I am willing to put my state school education up against any private institution.”

Focus on Faculty: Structure and the Importance of Shared Business Relationships

How organizations combine and share resources—even a resource like information—is of special interest to Sungho Kim, assistant professor of management. His most recent research centers on organizational networks, organizational learning, cooperative strategy, replication of knowledge and innovation.

Kim’s just-published research, “Organizational Governance of Inter-firm Resource Combinations: The Impact of Structural Embeddedness and Vertical Resource Relatedness,” (January 20, 2016, Journal of Management and Organization, with Kyuho Jin), deals with combining, acquiring and consolidating resources both within the firm and outside of the firm’s boundaries through networks of relationships.

Kim stated, “In order to gain and sustain a competitive advantage, firms may leverage their own resources, and also partner with other firms, or do mergers and acquisitions, to combine resources through mergers and acquisitions.”

Kim’s research specifically examines the focal firm’s structure of networks and how they mold the flow of information on the resources, capabilities and behavior of alliance partners. These network structures of focal firms impact what resources and capabilities are brought to and involved in an alliance. Prior studies have concentrated on the horizontal dimension of resource combinations. This study examines the impact of structural embeddedness and vertical relatedness on inter-firm resource combinations. Kim’s research also introduces using a new operationalization of structural embeddedness called "network cluster co-location" and a new dimension of resource configuration referred to as vertical relatedness. This study, rather than concentrating on what type of relationships firms should pursue, focuses on the impact of resource combinations and networks contributing to a firms’ decisions about alliances, mergers and acquisitions.

Kim’s research titled, “Knowledge Complexity and the Performance of Inter-unit Knowledge Transfer Structures” (with Jay Anand), which was published in the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings 2014, covers intra and inter firm transfer of complex information and suggests the best design structure to accomplish this in large firms. Kim’s research looks at, through simulation, information transfer at different levels of knowledge complexity, with respect to information overload, using centralized and decentralized inter-unit structures such as boundary spanners and the collective bridge.

How to design organizations to drive continuous innovation is also an area in which Kim is very interested in pursuing in future research. “Can organizations be designed to produce more creativity—and therefore, more innovation, is a concept every company in the world would like to implement,” he said.

Spring 2015

Spotlight on Students

SIUE’s Management 331, Managing Group Projects, teaches students about group dynamics, communication, motivation and personality differences in group settings using classroom lectures, exercises and team cases. Each semester, every three-person team prepares three Harvard Business Review cases with the third case treated as a case competition with up to 300 students competing to be one of the three team finalists. The winning teams receive extra-credit points for the course. 

Student teams act as consultants and build a case analysis, solutions and action plans for the cases. The case competition is held at the end of the semester in an auditorium setting with 3-4 judges presiding. These judges are SIUE School of Business alums and prominent business people from the area. Each team has 15 minutes to present their case to the judges, students and faculty attending the competition, plus time for questions and answers. Management 331 is taught by Dr. Mary Sue Love, and Instructors Katie Robberson and Jenni Hunt.

Recently, one of the three team finalists presented their case to that particular group of judges which included Brandon Roche, director of cloud computing and storage engineering at AT&T. After the team case presentations, the students are introduced to the judges and have an opportunity to talk with them about their careers and companies. Brandon talked with and was very impressed with student team member Eric Ricchezza. Eric was equally impressed with Roche and spent time networking with him to hear more about his job at AT&T and other opportunities with the company. Brandon made sure Robberson and Hunt gave Eric his contact information. Eric immediately contacted Brandon, who gave Eric his personal employee ID to include with his application for an AT&T internship. With Brandon’s help, AT&T subsequently contacted Eric for an interview. Eric starts his internship June 1, 2015.

“Networking with the judges at this competition is a great opportunity," Eric said. "My team, consisting of myself and two amazing ladies, Hailey Fritcher and Hayley Kelley, really enjoyed the competition. Being able to meet and talk with area professionals is an added bonus. Our team didn’t win the case competition, but I won something very important to me—a chance at a career with AT&T. It was all possible because of management 331 and the case competition.”

Management 331 is a required course for students entering the School of Business.

Alumni in the News

Sean Jordan (BSBA '08 summa cum laude; MMR '09) credits SIUE as being the turning point that established his career path. A native of O'Fallon, Ill., Jordan is currently employed by The Research & Planning Group, a full-service marketing research firm in St. Louis. Serving as the research director, Jordan is involved in each step of the marketing research process, including survey design, focus group interviewing, report development and presentation execution.

A list of his recent accomplishments includes being a featured speaker at a DIY Opinion Research workshop, presenting on qualitative and quantitative research at a 2013 meeting for the American Marketing Association (St. Louis chapter), authoring many marketing research papers, and regularly presenting on research and best practices for the Association of Organ Procurement Organization (AOPO).

When asked about his educational experiences, Jordan is quick to share that his academic journey has been far from perfect. He started his college career in 1998 studying journalism at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Late in his journalism program, Jordan decided that he no longer had the passion to pursue a career as a journalist. He decided to leave school and worked several positions in grocery, clothing retail, video game retail, comic book journalism, marketing and public relations, and fast food. Based upon his experiences in the field of marketing, Jordan decided to return to school in 2007 and selected SIUE based on its proximity to his home, School of Business AACSB accreditation, and the School's reputation for faculty-student collaboration. 

One faculty member in particular, Dr. Madhav Segal, made a lasting impression on Jordan's decision to pursue marketing research as a future career. "After taking his marketing class, I was able to build a relationship with him that was unlike anything I had ever experienced at any other school," Jordan said. "He encouraged me to pursue the MMR program." 

Jordan has found the MMR program to be enormously helpful at providing him with the skills required to manage and facilitate marketing research projects. That knowledge, integrated with practical experiences, provided him with a tremendous head start in the field. "I'm very proud of the time I spent at SIUE, and I am also proud to be a representative of both its undergraduate and graduate programs," explained Jordan. "When my degrees are referenced in an introduction before I speak, SIUE reflects well on me ... and I strive to reflect well on my alma mater."

Focus on Faculty

In today’s world of ever increasing product complexity, marketers often struggle to understand how to best market these functionally complex products. Assistant Professor of Marketing Dr. Timucin Ozcan (PhD '08, University of Rhode Island), may have some answers for these marketers. In research conducted over the past three years, Ozcan and his colleagues have uncovered some interesting insights into how consumers evaluate these complex products.

In a series of articles published in Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Journal of Product and Brand Management, and Marketing Letters, Ozcan finds that expressing “product completeness” and the use of round numbers in brand names can contribute to generating more positive reactions to brands that are otherwise complex, or what he calls “multi-attribute products.”

“Brand names that use round numbers such as 10, 50 or 100 are seen by people as being more complete, and when products are perceived to be complete, then people tend to be less worried that these complex products sacrifice one feature for another,” Ozcan said. “This is especially true when the product has a lot of competition in the market, such as the market for automobiles.” Ozcan hopes that by learning more about how consumers value brands, it could help marketers create better brands and products that consumers want. Ozcan and his colleagues plan to continue this line of research to determine if these phenomena occur across other types of products.


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!”

Spring 2016

Alums in the News
Jorge Garcia, BS Business Administration International Business ’01, MBA ’04

Ultra-marathoner Jorge Garcia likes to tell people, “The hardest part is getting to the starting line.” This philosophy is based on his own personal experience and challenges he has faced.

When Garcia was just eight years old, his mother was killed by his father. After the tragedy, he and his younger brother, Edwin, lived with their aunt and on the streets for a while. He and his fragmented family were constantly on the move; Garcia attended four high schools before graduating from high school in Elizabeth, NJ, where he found his ticket out. “A Marine Corps recruiter visited school and offered travel, hospitality and food,” he said. “I enlisted immediately.”

Garcia did a lot of running as a child, but he had never participated in athletics or organized sports. Part of the Marine physical fitness test was a three-mile run, which he enjoyed. “The Marine Corps was where I discovered my passion for running,” he said. “The Corps opened a lot of doors for me and made me the man I am today.”
Running was a key component of that maturity. “I needed an outlet for the stress I was experiencing,” Garcia said. “Running was my savior.”

When Garcia left the Marines, he took a job in a factory. His best friend from the Corps, who had met and married a woman from Granite City, Ill., had moved to the Midwest. Garcia reached out to his friend and learned about the couple’s plans to attend the local university, SIUE.

With encouragement from his friend, Garcia moved to Granite City and enrolled at SIUE as a 21-year-old freshman. “I lived in the 400-side of the Tower Lake apartments” he said. “My roommate, Chris Nance, was student body president. He took me under his wing and told me I was too old to procrastinate and needed to get to work right away.”

Garcia stresses the impact his professors had on him. He decided to major in business administration with an international business specialization and helped organize a Latin American Awareness student organization.

Running, however, was still his savior. “When I was really stressed out and wanted to cry, yell or just hit something, I would go running,” he said. “I loved the way it made me feel; I ran for the joy of it. I could run and never get tired.”

He had been focused on 5Ks, but thought he might like to try a marathon. When Jorge learned the marathon distance was more than 26 miles, he felt he had run that distance before, but never in an official race. “I made rookie mistakes in my first marathon,” he said. “I went out too fast and tried to run for time instead of running at my regular pace.”

For the next almost two dozen marathons, he went at his own pace. “People would ask me why I was running so slowly,” Garcia said. “I would tell them I was running because I enjoy it.” A slower pace also gave him the chance to talk to people about running and to kids about appreciating the people who had helped them. “I always remind the kids to go home and hug their parents and thank them for everything they do,” Garcia said. “It is a blessing for me to talk to people. I was that kid who needed someone who could point me in the right direction.”

His direction changed when he started pacing marathons, eventually pacing a four-hour marathon. A pace runner runs a steady pace and keeps track of that pace to help other marathon runners achieve their goal of finishing at a particular time. It was in one of these runs that he met Nozomi, a 56-year-old woman from Japan who was hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon. “She inspired me!” Garcia said. “I had been pacing marathons, because I love seeing other people achieve their goals. The most rewarding thing for me is helping people finish their first race, qualify for Boston or set a personal record.”

Garcia ran the 2013 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in three hours, 12 minutes, qualifying him for the Boston Marathon by three minutes. Garcia completed the Boston Marathon and has completed marathons in all 50 states. He is a member of the 50-State Marathon Club, an ultra-marathoner (covering 100 miles in one day), and plans to run marathons on each of the seven continents. He is scheduled to run in the Madrid, Spain, Rock and Roll Marathon in April 2016.

His inspirational story, his love of running and his desire to help others led to him being declared one of the top 10 finalists for the cover of Runner’s World magazine.

“I can only accomplish what I do through the assistance of others,” Garcia said. “There is a lot of
training involved, and runners must have a great support system.” Jen Schaller, owner of the RunWell store in Edwardsville, has taken him under her wing.

Garcia runs with a personal inspiration. In every race, he carries a photo of his mother. He even speaks with her while he runs. Because of running, he is now able to tell his mother’s story, as well as his own. He hopes to inspire others to overcome hardship by continuing to reinforce his message: “The hardest part is getting to the starting line.”

originally published in the Fall 2015 eConnection

Focus on Faculty
Mentorships Foster Success and Increase Career Satisfaction When recent graduates enter the workforce, it is not uncommon for them to experience feelings of uncertainty, anxiety or even fear failure. They are new to the work environment, the culture and the people — and need a little guidance. Frankly, even the most seasoned professionals who transition to new roles or start a new job can feel this way.

It is moments like this when Dr. Janice Joplin, associate dean and professor for the School of Business, encourages students to seek out a mentor; someone who can serve as an experienced and trusted professional advisor.

“A mentor can add value to your career experiences by advocating for you and helping to run interference when you’re in a difficult situation,” Joplin said. “Mentors are also there to provide counsel when you just need someone to talk with.”

Joplin has had the pleasure of serving as a mentor to a number of students over the years,
including Tania Seger, vice president of Commercial Finance-North America for Monsanto. When her mentees step out into the workforce, Joplin counsels them to create new mentorships with those who can help them navigate their new company or career.

“I find the most successful mentoring relationships are those you happen upon rather than those created as part of a formalized program,” Joplin said. “Many times, I encourage students to spend some time getting the lay of the land and understanding how they can contribute to
their work environment, and then seek out individuals who will support those contributions.

“Mentoring relationships don’t just fall from the sky,” Joplin said. “The mentor and mentee both need to have a clear understanding and expectations of the relationship to make it successful.”

In Joplin’s experience, good mentees exhibit an openness to learn and challenge themselves in their role. Mentees also take the time to ask good questions — an area where Seger excelled, Joplin said.

Ideal mentors, on the other hand, take interest in the growth and development of their mentee.
They are confident enough in their own role to put their needs aside and advocate for someone else’s success.

“It is so rewarding to see your mentees move on and experience success in their careers,” Joplin said. “As you go through life, it is important to step back and look at the individuals who have helped and supported your career, and who you have helped and supported. These individuals become part of your lifelong portfolio of supporters and are a tribute to your success.”

originally published in the Fall 2015 Business Magazine

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