Business Leadership Awards Dinner is Isenberg Milestone

June 20, 2013

Isenberg Business Leadership Awards at the Colonnade HotelThe Isenberg School of Management's inaugural Business Leadership Awards Dinner on June 17 in Boston celebrated the School's fast-rising reputation and its growing influence in Greater Boston and the nation. The event's honoree and keynote speaker was Ben Cherington '97 M.S., the high-profile general manager of the Boston Red Sox. J.P. Morgan's Alex Ambroz '05 received Isenberg's Young Alumni Award. The gathering's 280 attendees included CEOs, managing partners, and other influential managers-all Isenberg alumni-from a broad cross-section of Greater Boston's business community. The alumni reconnected with former professors and mingled with Isenberg students at the event's elegant venue, the Colonnade Hotel in Back Bay.


Isenberg is on a "remarkable upward swing," UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy told the gathering. "It's the most selective school on campus, while also having over 70% of Isenberg students holding internships prior to graduation." In recognition of those and other Isenberg assets, the Chancellor added, "I'm accelerating the construction timetable for Isenberg's new Business Innovation Wing and I urge you to participate [in the new campaign for Isenberg]."


Dean Mark Fuller offered details about those rising fortunes, notably Isenberg's recent progress in national rankings. This year, in Business Weeks's survey of undergraduate business schools, Isenberg's undergraduate program cracked the nation's top fifty for the first time-at #45 (#20 among publics). Fuller also noted parallel progress by the School's full-time, part-time, and online MBA programs, which rank 51st (25th among publics), 22rd (18th among publics), and 22nd (13th among publics), respectively, in U.S. News & World Report's current rankings. He also noted the School's ranking of 23rd in the nation on BusinessWeek's Employer Survey, which measured recruiter perceptions of which programs turned out the best graduates. We don't expect to compete with Harvard and MIT, he disclaimed. "But the rest of our competitors had better watch out!"


Cherington with Dean FullerWith characteristic modesty, Ben Cherington praised his graduate program-Isenberg's Mark H. McCormack's Department of Sport Management-rather than his own substantial accomplishments. McCormack and its culture, he emphasized, was intellectually challenging, and team oriented. That culture, he added, imparted a sense of shared, supportive group purpose and experience-critical values in organizations like the Red Sox. You were grateful to be in a program that was "bigger than yourself," that was going places, he observed. Courses with McCormack professors Lisa Pike Masteralexis and Todd Crosset were "intellectual, and mind bending," he continued. "Lisa helped me to view things through the prism of risk management. Todd showed me how people relate to each other." That, he added, has proved critical in his current position as GM because "my job today is getting the most out of people."


Following Cherington, young alumni award recipient Alex Ambroz '05 recounted his compelling odyssey, which has included foster homes, the U.S. Army, Isenberg, Duke University, Morgan Creek Capital Management, and J.P. Morgan Endowments & Foundations Group in Los Angeles, where he specializes in endowments, foundations, and private clients. Alex's story, emphasized Dean Fuller, exemplifies Isenberg's brand: "students and alumni who display persistence, resilience, grit, and the ability to overcome obstacles."


For Isenberg alumni, the event was a milestone. "The tremendous turnout is a testament to our graduates' numbers in Greater Boston and, of course, to their affection for the Isenberg School," observed Douglas Berthiaume '71, Chairman and CEO of Waters Corporation. "It's thrilling, even shocking-we've made a statement this evening," added Pam Selby Salkovitz '80, former president of Stride Rite Children's Group. "It's a statement-an opening statement in a new era for the School," remarked David Fubini '76, Director with McKinsey & Company. "We're no longer Amherst-centric; the event demonstrates the size and diversity of our community," noted Beth Gamel '78, Executive Vice President with Pillar Financial Advisors. "It's long overdue; I'm feeling very empowered tonight," added Vince Daboul '87 of the Daboul Group in Longmeadow.  And finally, according to accounting professor/living legend Dick Simpson '58, who has taught Isenberg students since 1967: "This has been the premier event in Isenberg history; trust me, I've been here for a while."