As all of you can imagine, the pandemic has created quite a strange and unique environment for all of us. However, the situation did provide many bright spots and opportunities to showcase the best of what the Merrick School of Business has to offer in terms of business education and engagement.
While we have always been very proficient and ahead of the curve in terms of our online teaching capabilities, we pivoted quickly at the onset of the crisis. Online teaching became front and center for most universities over the last year, but from what I can tell, we had a smoother transition than some schools experienced. Since March 2020, we have been teaching 100 percent of our classes online. In fact, not only that, we have operated everything online, including all of our events. We look forward to opening up more in the fall, but we certainly stand tall with our quick pivot and quality of online teaching that was necessitated by the world closing down.
We celebrated our Spring Commencement, online, and I found this a very moving event. If you have a moment to spare, I think you will like our student speaker, Prithviraj Bhosale, MBA '20, as well as our Assistant Dean Kathea Smith's rendition of the national anthem. We also saluted our most talented students at our annual Academic Achievement Awards and Honor Society Induction Ceremonies, also taking place online. I especially want to recognize Alexander Hosseini, B.S. '20, Dean's Award Recipient. He and all the merit award recipients, made the most of the business education, and I expect they will all have successful careers in the future.
As a way to keep our community engaged, we ran sessions of "Team with the Dean" around the theme of "What will be the nature of business in the post-pandemic world?" These were well-attended sessions and provided opportunities for our students, faculty, alumni, and business community to convene online and discuss real-time business problems, and possible solutions. In that regard, we were honored to have the following alumni come back to our virtual campus and share their perspectives:
- Kimberly Morgan, MBA '06, Chief Operating Officer at LendUp;
- Paul Saval, J.D. '80, Owner of Saval Foods;
- Manuel Sampedro, MBA '99, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Verizon; and
- Dr. Sunil Budhrani, MBA '03, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Medical Officer at Innovation Health.
Additionally, we heard from guest business partners, Jonathan Roberts, founder and partner at Ignition Partners; Carlyle Singer, President of Acumen; Andrew Freedman, Managing Partner at ShiftUp. Most of the events were recorded, so if you are interested in viewing any of them, visit our YouTube "playlist."
Another piece of news we are very proud to announce is that we are lead sponsors, along with Wharton School, University of Michigan and nine other business schools, for the new journal—Management and Business Review—a publicationthat Forbes.com says rivals Harvard Business Review. If you missed the link for the inaugural edition of MBR, you can get free access to the first two issues. The Merrick School will be making future editions available to all our students and alumni on a complimentary basis.
Our faculty continue to do great work inside and outside the classroom. Lisa Stickney, professor of management was awarded the J.B. Arbaugh Outstanding Contribution to Management Education and Development (Academy of Management). Seema Iyer, associate research professor was recognized with the 2020 Board of Regents for Public Service.
Our faculty continue to publish interesting and important research. Notably this year, Professors Ven Sriram, professor of marketing, David Lingelbach, associate professor of entrepreneurship, Tigi Mersha, professor of management, published an excellent textbook on African Entrepreneurship. We launched a webinar with over 40 researchers on entrepreneurship from around the world as well. Professor of Accounting Mikhail Pevzner won our Merrick School Outstanding Article Award for his work on why labor costs do not adjust downward at the same rate as revenue declines. This is certainly going to have key implications as we come out of pandemic, Dr. Pevzner is opening up a new research stream and will be working with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for the next academic year, particularly around the implications of further regulation of broker-dealers in the market.
Finally, we launched a new and exciting networking platform called “Givitas." If you have not already seen this, you soon will. This gives our alumni, business partners and graduate students ways to communicate and develops networks around the notion of helping each other. We want to create the most engaged alumni/business partnerships in the solar system and see this as a part that goal. While Wharton and Harvard Business School launched similar ventures recently, we are the first to include our students and business partners. We sincerely hope you will find it engaging.
New and better days are ahead of us. We hope you'll join us as we continue to make an impact on business and management through our programs, graduates, scholarship, and community collaborations.
Murray M. Dalziel, Ph.D., Dean