Isenberg is the highest ranking public undergraduate business school in the Northeast, according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 Undergraduate Business School Rankings. Climbing three places since the 2014 ranking, Isenberg now ranks 11th among public undergraduate business school programs in the United States. The new rankings clearly illustrate Isenberg’s growing national stature, with the school moving up 45 spots among private and public business schools since 2010.
Automated Controversy Detection, a startup business founded by UMass Amherst computer science 4th-year Ph.D. candidate Shiri Dori-Hacohen earned top honors of $35,000 in seed money on April 7th at the campus’s 2016 Innovation Challenge business plan competition. Coordinated by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, an Isenberg-based initiative that promotes entrepreneurship across the UMass Amherst campus, the multi-stage Challenge, in its culminating event of the year, featured six student teams that vied for $65,000 in awards.
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The third annual Women of Isenberg Conference took place on February 28th in the UMass Amherst Campus Center. Put on by student organization Isenberg Women in Business, the event attracted 310 attendees and offered a full day of speakers, panel discussions, and networking
“People are critical resources for organizations. But compared with other 'assets,' people have opinions and emotions; they can walk out the door and never return. They can also withhold effort, be lazy or excel when they choose to. Yet, all companies need employees.” It is this dance between business and the people who fuel it that makes the field of Human Resource Management so intriguing to Prof. David Lepak, the internationally renowned scholar whom Isenberg has proposed for its Berthiaume Chair in Business Leadership at Isenberg.
The campus-wide Innovation Challenge business plan competition's new seed pitch component is propelling student teams, through mentoring, workshops, and targeted financial seeding. “We introduced the new phase to elevate and accelerate the larger event’s already high level of competition," notes Isenberg professor William Wooldridge, executive director of Isenberg's Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, which coordinates the Challenge.
In a visit to WEBS, "America's Yarn Store," students in Marc Weinberger's class, Managerial Perspectives on Marketing Strategy," talked business strategy with owners Steve and Kathy Elkins. Founded by Steve's parents, Art '57 and Barbara Elkins, WEBS is the nation's largest retailer of knitting supplies and services.
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Coordinated by Isenberg’s Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, the daylong event on November 17th at the Campus Center offered separate panels on global and local entrepreneurship. It featured a third panel that explored financing mechanisms for social entrepreneurs. And it offered a dynamic networking opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors, and academics (including students).
Five alumni set the record straight in a panel discussion about careers in sales. In technology industries, sales have evolved to a partnership with clients that calls for strong listening and problem-solving skills. "They turn to us as a trusted advisor," said one of the panelists.
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An MBA faculty panel on gender challenges in the workplace and the sports industry recounted obstacles in mobility and biases in interpersonal relations. The panel also noted progress, including leveraging gender allies and advocates.
In a guest lecture in the Isenberg course, Real Estate Principles, Tom Nolan '79 described milestones in a career of financial innovation in real estate. A veteran of diverse commercial and residential ventures, Nolan is CEO of Spirit Realty Capital, which includes over 2500 properties, with commercial tenants like Applebee's, Shopko, and car dealerships.
In a visit to Isenberg, Pat Whelan '80, described an innovative career in big-picture real estate, including 25+ years of executive management with investments and operations in large public and private and companies. Whelan's current market involves preowned rental homes. He's also been a top executive with an apartment REIT, a real estate media and technology firm, and a company with extensive recreational, residential, and golf community assets.
Thirty students in the Isenberg course, Ubuntu & Business in South Africa, visited Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, and Soweto during a three-week class trip to South Africa in May. The students explored business and cultural venues and participated in several community service projects during their stay.
Isenberg's Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship has received a gift of $400,000 from Ernst & Young and Isenberg alumni at the firm. In addition, an in-kind gift from EY has given Isenberg Gold Sponsor status in the firm's regional EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
Manhattan-based entrepreneur, realtor, and developer David Gaunt '70 MBA recalled the early years of his real estate career in New York City. The Isenberg graduate explained how he combined creative problem solving and persistence to gain traction in the market.
Online MBA student Mark Weisman, a physician, healthcare administrator, and entrepreneur, is deploying his MBA skills to drive innovation in his healthcare organization and to succeed as an entrepreneur in his family start-up, Define Bottle.
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On May 1, the Isenberg-based Massachusetts Small Business Development Center network and its clients earned nine New England-wide honors at the annual Massachusetts Awards Ceremony associated with National Small Business Week. The network's Berkshire Office received an award for excellence and innovation. Clients received eight honors, including Small Business Person of the Year.
Two days of Isenberg graduation events celebrated the achievements and grit of 1,230 graduating seniors, master’s, and Ph.D. recipients. Addresses by keynote speakers recounted students’ accomplishments at Isenberg and looked ahead to their promising careers and continued engagement with the school.
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Scores of Isenberg students were honored with substantial scholarship assistance at the annual Isenberg Scholarship Celebration, on April 21. The principal speakers—Vinnie Daboul ’87 and Marty Boyle ’15—praised Isenberg as an engine of opportunity and upward mobility. They urged alumni and students to support the school financially and through personal engagement.