Students, alumni, and friends: These are the fundamentals that make up the Merrick School of Business Periodic Table. Without these “elements”—our school’s oxygen, iron, hydrogen, and other necessities—Merrick would be adrift in a sea of atomized ideas about business, innovation and values. We would not be able to define what it is that makes a difference in the careers of so many successful people. Chaos would rule the universe.
Fortunately, with your help, we’ve been able to identify some of these fundamentals. Beginning with the June 2011 issue of The Merrick Exchange, we gained insights by profiling the school’s legacy alumni—those graduates with deep family roots in Merrick. Like most business people, we are always looking at trends, and we started to notice one common theme: For our graduates, the more things have changed at the Merrick School of Business, the more our student-focused message has stayed the same. Our tremendous growth hasn’t made a sacrifice of this core value; our proud alumni are the best evidence of that.
In this issue, we offer a brief portrait of Lucy Motsay Rutishauser, M.B.A. ’87 and vice president of corporate finance and treasurer at Sinclair Broadcast Group. As she noted recently, “Even though UB has evolved and grown, when I go back there, I still feel the same sense of personalized attention.”
Rutishauser said she selected the UB M.B.A. for a few reasons, one of which was her family’s ties to the University.
“I am second generation UB alum,” she said, “and when I was considering M.B.A. programs, I was already familiar with UB’s quality education, affordability, and ability of its graduates to get placed in the workforce. But the size of the school was important to me too. Having earned my undergraduate degree from Towson, I was looking for a smaller school where I could have more individualized contact with the professors.”
That plan certainly paid off. Her first professional job was attained through contacts of Barry Brownstein, professor of economics. But it wasn’t just connections that made the job a good fit—it was the fact that Rutishauser had applied herself to her studies in remarkable ways: During her time at the University, she worked at the Schaefer Center for Public Policy and also held an internship at a local bank.
“Both were valuable in helping me to build my resume and get hands-on experience,” she said.
Even though Rutishauser’s family ties were just one component for her choosing UB, she also had a robust network to consult with as she considered UB. Her father, Richard Motsay, J.D. ’52, a retired District Court of Maryland judge, was just one.
“When I was in the M.B.A. program, I also had a brother and sister attending the law school. My father and two other siblings also graduated from UB,” Rutishauser recalled.
In addition to her siblings’ UB connections, she also married an alumnus, Markus Rutishauser, M.B.A. ’95. Recently, she had a nephew graduate from the University with a degree in history.
In case you’re not keeping count, that’s eight family members who have passed through the halls of the University of Baltimore. That’s three generations, going back to the early 1950s. No wonder we talk about it like the elements.
But just because parents and children, sons and daughters and aunts and uncles go to UB doesn’t mean the School of Business is caught up in a time warp. Rutishauser is quick to point out how much the institution has evolved.
“Many things have changed,” she said. “It now has a four-year undergraduate program, online classes, the campus is larger and UB now has campus housing, it's not just for commuters anymore.”
Rutishauser describes herself as working on the business side of the broadcasting industry, with oversight for capital raising, investor relations, financial planning and analysis, cash management, bank relations, credit and collections, and press communications. She encourages business students who are interested in this kind of work to “load up” on as many basic accounting classes as possible.
“What I’ve learned is that no matter what discipline of business you concentrate in, it always seems to come back to accounting,” she said.
She also recommends finance, investment, and business strategies classes. And she said there is extra value in those accounting classes that focus on reading financial statements and understanding journal entries.
“I would also encourage every business student to become proficient in Excel. In the business world, we live and die by spreadsheet computing,” she said.
Rutishauser shares one other universal truth: Hunting for a job is still a hunt. Business students need to educate themselves on which local businesses are making acquisitions, expanding product lines or relocating to the area.
“Chances are they will need to hire additional staff, and if you can get your resume to them before they go to a recruiter, they may be more willing to make the early hire because of the amount of money they can save on the job search/recruiting process,” she said. “That’s actually how I got my job at Sinclair.”
There you have it—good advice from a Merrick family member: Like any good element in a Periodic Table, you must keep moving, keep attracting others, and make yourself essential. For our students, alumni and friends, that’s the Merrick Way to be a success.