Business News and Notes

SUNY Schenectady Breakfast Grabs Attention of High School Teachers

by Dr. Michael Roggow, Dean of the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law

Like so many students, Melissa Clifford struggled to find her niche. “I came to Schenectady from Chicago and I worked as a volunteer for the fire department here before I returned to college,” she explained.

Soon after coming to SUNY Schenectady County Community College, Melissa met Professors Gary Perkins and Harry Buffardi, who both teach in the Criminal Justice program. “I was the first in my family to attend college and they helped me every step of the way,” she said. Melissa completed an internship at Rotterdam Town Court and was granted admission to Sage College with a generous scholarship after she completed her associate’s degree at SUNY Schenectady.

Melissa was one of several students and alumni who shared their personal stories at a recent breakfast on campus for local high school guidance counselors and teachers, hosted by the College’s Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law.

Instructional staff from Niskayuna High School, Mohonasen High School, Mechanicville High School and Scotia Glenville High School were among those in attendance at a breakfast last month for high school teachers. SUNY Schenectady’s College in the High School Program, which has grown rapidly in recent years, provides opportunities for students to earn college credit for SUNY Schenectady courses taken at their high school, which they can later apply to degree programs they undertake at SUNY Schenectady.

“Many graduates of these high schools come to SUNY Schenectady and later transfer to four-year colleges,” said Dr. Penny Haynes, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “We are creating clear pathways for high school graduates to move seamlessly from high school to SUNY Schenectady, and then advance toward earning their bachelor’s degrees.”

Malisa Bipat, a student in SUNY Schenectady’s Business Administration and Supply Chain Management degree programs who will graduate later this month with her degree in Business Administration, was recently offered a full-time job as a data analyst by a Canadian oil company. “In addition to offering me a job, this company offered to pay for me to get my bachelor’s degree,” she said.

“Nearly all of our graduates secure full-time jobs after they graduate from the Supply Chain Management degree program,” said Richard Lasek, who teaches for this program. “Students are required to complete cooperative work assignments, and they work for companies like General Electric and Global Foundries.”

“The jobs are there,” added Sheila Foglietta, a professor who oversees SUNY Schenectady’s Paralegal degree program, one of only two in New York state approved by the American Bar Association. “Our student retention and graduation rates are outstanding,” she said.

Recently, the College’s Business, Criminal Justice and Law programs have garnered greater attention for their efforts to establish partnerships with Capital Region businesses and with four-year colleges. More students are securing internships and are later finding seamless paths to four-year colleges after they complete their associate’s degrees. Over the last year, Rochester Institute of Technology, Siena College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Morehouse College have offered SUNY Schenectady graduates transfer admission, often with competitive scholarship packages. The Business Program is currently finalizing a partnership with New York University, which will allow ambitious city-minded graduates of SUNY Schenectady’s Business Administration program admission to NYU with full junior status.

 Pamela McCall, Director of College and High School Partnerships; Christina DeLuca, a teacher at Niskayuna High School; Joanna Reader, teacher at Niskayuna High School; and Richard Lasek, Assistant Professor in the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and LawChristina DeLuca, a teacher at Niskayuna High School, praised this partnership. (She is shown second from left in the photo with left to right: Pamela McCall, Director of College and High School Partnerships; Joanna Reader, teacher at Niskayuna High School; and Richard Lasek, Assistant Professor in the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law.) For students who want to attend NYU, earning an associate’s degree at SUNY Schenectady will make top-tier private college tuition more affordable. “I am very excited to learn how SUNY Schenectady is continuing to build relationships between their business degree programs and four-year colleges,” she said. “The prospect of admittance to NYU after completion of the SUNY Schenectady program has already piqued the interest of our high school students.”

“We strive to be the best we can,” said Matthew Farron, Professor of business. “Our efforts to build community involvement and relationships with four-year colleges are necessary to advance our students and to meet the needs of the workforce.”

“Faculty and community business leaders are now working together almost daily to ensure our students are getting the best academic and practical experiences to be ready for the workforce after they graduate,” said Michael Roggow, Dean of the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law. “Increasingly, graduating students are getting acceptance letters from four-year colleges they previously never thought possible. Selective colleges like Cornell, NYU, Syracuse University and St. Bonaventure University are now showing more interest in our graduates because they are becoming increasingly aware of the quality of our programs,” he added.

Business Leaders Are Wealth of Information for Students

By Dr. Michael Roggow, Dean of the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law

His eyes moved quickly to keep up with the stream of figures as they darted across the plasma screen. 

“What does ‘XON’ stand for?” first year SUNY Schenectady business Student and board memeber looking at a stock ticker.student Terrell Bell asked Ken Countermine, a vice president of TD Bank and SUNY Schenectady Foundation Board member. “Exxon Mobile,” replied Countermine, as the two stood together reading Bloomberg’s Stock Market ticker, the newest addition to SUNY Schenectady’s Business Center, located in Room 240 of Elston Hall. 

A group of students gathered in the Business Center last Tuesday to present their business plans to community business leaders who provided their advice and guidance to students.

"Our students have been working on their plans all semester,” said Professor Matt Farron, who teaches a course in Business Plan Development and mentored the students in partnership with the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce. Farron added that next month, the students will present their plans to a group of Albany area professionals who will critique them in a fashion similar to that of ABC’s Shark Tank.

In the Business Center, another student, Mae Lynn Estrada, shared her plan for jump-starting her cleaning business, while Steve Ram, who will soon graduate from the program, discussed his plan to launch a transportation business while continuing his education at a selective four-year college. 

“I’ve sent applications to Syracuse University, NYU, Cornell, Union, and some Ivy League colleges,” said Ram, who will graduate with academic distinction. He said discovering so many opportunities has made it difficult for him to decide whether to transfer to a four-year school or pursue his business venture immediately after graduation from SUNY Schenectady. 

“SUNY Schenectady’s business students are exposed to a range of experiences that are making them increasingly attractive to local business leaders and the four-year colleges alike,” said Rick D’Errico of Transfinder. 

A critical supporter of the College’s business program, D’Errico has assisted students in honing their business plans and has supported faculty to advance the program. 

“Ken Countermine, Rick D’Errico and so many others in the community have generously given their time and energy to help our students position themselves for competitive advantage in the job market,” said Dr. Michael Roggow, Dean of the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law. “Community leaders play a pivotal role in preparing our students for employment, and I am pleased that so many have recently begun partnering with us as we strive to make the business program more cutting-edge."

“The interaction with the business community helps students better understand the expectations of employers,” said Dr. Penny Haynes, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This creates a more seamless transition into employment, which benefits both our graduates and their employers.”


Secrets of Entrepreneurs - Business Symposium 2017

The Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law, and the School of Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism sponsored the Business Symposium 2017: Secrets of Entrepreneurs - A Conversation on March 21. Entrepreneurs spent the morning with fellow entrepreneurs, community members, students, faculty and administrators, telling their stories and sharing their expertise/advice.

“The entrepreneurs who spoke at the panel discussion shared expert advice that I would expect only students at a top-tier business school to have access to,” said Dr. Michael Roggow, Dean of the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law. “Schenectady’s business program is unique in that CEOs of companies like Beekman 1802, well-renown nationally and cutting-edge in its marketing strategies, are actively involved in educating and advancing our students.” See the video.

A warm thank you to the entrepreneurs who participated: 
Sandro Gerbini, Founder/CEO of Gatherer’s Granola
Adine Viscusi, Co-owner of Casa Visco
AJ Jayapal ’98, Owner of Miss Sydney’s Secret Family Recipe
Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Co-owner of Beekman 1802 and
Warren Zeiser, Business Strategy Consultant of DreamBuilder Consulting


Marketing Experts Discuss Industry with Business Students

By Dr. Michael Roggow, Dean of the Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law

“If you are good at what you do, the money will find you,” Mohawk Honda Variable Operations Director Andy Guelcher told 20 students in the Business Administration program recently during a panel discussion of sales professionals hosted by Professor Matthew Farron, of the SUNY Schenectady Division of Business, Criminal Justice and Law.

Four panelists talked for an hour about how they got started, the latest career trends, and skills that made them successful. They also offered advice for students who want to pursue sales as a career. Pictured below are Meg Emery (Albany Devils), Michael Cicciu (Johnson & Johnson), Kevin Clancy (Clancy Real Estate) and Andy Guelcher (Mohawk Honda).

Panel of business leaders sitting at a table.“I studied communications at SUNY Plattsburgh because I loved public speaking,” said Michael Cicciu, Sales Director at Johnson & Johnson. “Sales was where I started and it was by design.”

Meg Emery, Senior Account Executive for the Albany Devils, also got her start selling, but that was not her intended career path. “I studied sports management while a student at James Madison University,” she said. “I knew sales was where I had to start because that’s how to access this industry. But my love for selling kept me going even longer than I had originally planned.”

While there is no typical day for a salesperson, working with people is a constant, and the ability to listen is critical.

“A typical day for me involves interacting with lots of people,” said Cicciu. “You have to really listen to what your clients want and need, and be prepared to turn it around and give it to them.”

Kevin Clancy, Owner of Clancy Real Estate, added that every client needs to feel important. “Be careful to never simply go through the motions,” he said. “It’s important to remain caring about every client.”

Added Guelcher, “When you take time to listen, you develop confidence in yourself. Listening will become more natural and you will learn how to build relationships.”

“I’m still in touch with my clients from years ago,” Emery said. “Those connections are important.”

Students sitting and listening to a speaker.One student asked about how to serve a client without becoming emotional.

“There’s a fine line between a business transaction and an emotional investment,” Guelcher responded. “I need to have empathy but it’s not serving anyone well by my getting overly invested.”

The key to landing a first job is involves getting experience, by way of internships, the speakers agreed.

“You learn a lot about what you love and hate by doing an internship,” Emery said. “Even if you aren’t quite ready for one, get experience by working on campus or in a customer service job.”

Clancy added, “An internship will help you position yourself very well. It will also give you a better idea about who you want to work for.”

“If you want to help people and you’re honest, sales is a good field,” Clancy said. “I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else.”