The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the UB School of Management


Student entrepreneurship gets a major boost

UB is among five universities across New York State taking part in a campus entrepreneurship program, the Blackstone LaunchPad.

A three-year, $4.5 million grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation established a partnership between UB and Cornell University, New York University, Syracuse University and University at Albany to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide more than 180,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system.


"The Blackstone LaunchPad will support a passionate entrepreneurial spirit taking hold at our university and in our city," said President Satish K. Tripathi. "We have a thriving culture of student entrepreneurship at UB, and UB students from many different disciplines are starting their own promising ventures."

Tom Ulbrich, executive director of the school's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, also will serve as executive director of UB's Blackstone LaunchPad, which will be located in the Student Union.

The LaunchPad will connect the university campuses, the business community and local entrepreneurs throughout the state to create an environment that nurtures students and provides them with the skills and network necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs.

B-school rankings-did you know?

Of more than 16,000 business schools worldwide, only about 725 (less than 5 percent) are accredited by the prestigious AACSB International.

Most B-school rankings start with AACSB-accredited schools, yet typically only about 20 percent of those schools make the final rankings.

In September, Forbes magazine ranked the School of Management No. 45 based on the return on investment it provides MBA graduates. And in October, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the school No. 60 in its listing of the nation's best MBA programs.

These rankings place the school solidly in the top 10 percent of this elite group of AACSB-accredited schools.

The School of Management also has been ranked by the Financial Times and U.S. News & World Report.

Accounting students take top honors

Members of Beta Alpha Psi at the organization's annual meeting in Milwaukee.

It's been an exciting academic year so far for the School of Management's accounting students.

In August, the school's chapter of Beta Alpha Psi-an international honor organization for financial information students and professionals-was once again lauded as one of the best in the world at the organization's annual meeting. The chapter received nine accolades, including the day's highest honor, the KPMG Gold Challenge award.

In addition, Kathleen Nesper, clinical assistant professor of accounting and law, was named Outstanding Faculty Advisor for her contributions to the professional growth and development of students.

Among other honors, the chapter also accepted four awards for its successful Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an annual initiative in which IRS-certified accounting students provide free tax preparation services to qualifying individuals and families.

Back on campus, a team of five accounting juniors shared a $1,000 prize as winners of the 12th PwC Challenge in October. Abidul Alam, Kudakwashe Kaseke, Marley O'Donnell, Hnu Thaper and Emily Wheeler made up the winning team.

Sixty School of Management students participated in this year's PwC Challenge. Teams analyzed the business operations of a game development startup and proposed data-driven solutions for increasing revenue and minimizing costs without damaging customer loyalty.

School of Management co-sponsors marketing conference in Thailand


Marketing experts from around the world gathered Jan. 6-8 at the Chulalongkorn Business School in Bangkok, Thailand, for the 2016 Annual Conference of the Emerging Markets Conference Board, co-sponsored by the School of Management.

Arun Jain, Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research in the School of Management, was co-chair of the conference.

Guided by the theme, "Creating Innovations for the Emerging Markets: Toward the New Frontier of Marketing," the conference brought together marketing scholars and practitioners to determine the most effective ways to reach and engage consumers in emerging markets.

"These markets are important because of their growing impact on global consumption," said Jain. "Over the next few decades, household spending from emerging markets could constitute two-thirds of total global household spending, up from the current one-third."

Students win intercollegiate cybersecurity competition

From left: David Murray, Alexandra Mazzei, Joe D'Amato, James Droste, Jesse Freeman, Woody Clark and Aaron Fiebelkorn.

A team of six UB students was victorious in the inaugural Collegiate Pentesting Competition, a cybersecurity challenge held in November at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The team was made up of School of Management students Aaron Fiebelkorn and Alexandra Mazzei, as well as Computer Science and Engineering Department students Woody Clark, Joe D'Amato, James Droste and Jesse Freeman.

David Murray, clinical associate professor of management science and systems, served as the team's faculty coach.

Teams reviewed the networks and server architecture of a fictitious company and outlined the penetration tests they would perform to expose vulnerabilities and leaks in its information technology system. Then they presented their recommendations to a judging panel of industry professionals who have worked in cybersecurity for such companies as Facebook, Uber and Crowe Horwath.

"The competition valued technical and business skills equally, and allowed me to apply what I've learned in my MBA classes to a real-world experience," said Fiebelkorn, an MBA student who served as co-captain with D'Amato. "We all learned something new, such as how to be a security consultant and how specific services work. I am extremely proud of our team."

Other participants in the regional competition were Alfred State, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, RIT, Syracuse University, Tompkins Cortland Community College, the United States Naval Academy and the University of New Hampshire.

The UB team earned the additional distinction of most professional team, for which each team member received a Raspberry Pi, a credit-card-sized computer that plugs into a monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse.

"Our goal was to uncover vulnerabilities and present them in a way that made the 'company' understand the impact of the situation and how to fix it," said Mazzei, who's working toward an MS in management information systems. "Our technical skills were important, but they only got us so far-showing our customers that we were trustworthy and had their best interests at heart was what won us the competition."

Panasci winners take first place in Rise of the Rest competition

From left: Carter and Smyth. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Two of the UB students who won last year's Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition claimed top honors once again as they took first place in the Buffalo stop of the Rise of the Rest 4.0 Pitch Competition.

Kevin Carter, a master's student in biomedical engineering, and Jonathan Smyth, JD '15, won a $100,000 prize for their company, POP Biotechnologies, formerly known as PhotoZyne.

POP Biotechnologies offers an effective and minimally invasive solution to safely deliver cancer treatments directly to solid tumors.

Carter co-invented the technology with Jonathan Lovell, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and brought in Smyth to help bring it to market.

The Rise of the Rest competition was a 500-mile tour that took place last fall to highlight emerging startup economies in Baltimore, Buffalo, Manchester (N.H.), Philadelphia and Portland (Maine). Along the way, AOL Inc. co-founder Steve Case personally invested $100,000 in the top pitch at each stop.

"The Panasci competition provided us an exceptional opportunity to hone our business model and receive invaluable feedback from local entrepreneurs and business leaders," said Smyth.

New website offers impact and ease of use

The School of Management's new website debuted last summer to rave reviews. In addition to looking great, the site is feature-rich, loads faster and is optimized for more mobile devices than ever. The photo will give you a sampling of what the homepage has to offer, but if you haven't visited yet, take a look for yourself and explore the pages throughout the site.

  • Full-screen photos featuring our own students and their stories
  • Easy access to directory and visitor information
  • A new slider highlights top stories and cutting-edge research
  • School news and events at a glance
  • Audience navigation enables users to intuitively search the site
  • Successful alumni are showcased in dynamic profiles with new additions every few weeks
  • An expandable "drawer" gives you details on the school's strategic initiatives
  • Streamlined functional navigation makes it easy to find what you need

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