ICQ 2003/1

REPORT from Business


New Vision Statement, New Direction

In the last issue of the Ithaca College Quarterly President Williams wrote about her first five years in office and about the Institutional Plan that will guide the College administration for the next decade or more. This fall the deans and faculty of the School of Business adopted the following vision statement to guide the school's efforts in the years to come:

The business school at Ithaca College will become the institution of choice for prospective business and accounting majors. The school will combine elements of the best small and large institutions -- the dedication to developing close working relationships between faculty and students that is associated with small colleges and the breadth of faculty expertise and sophistication of instructional resources that are the hallmarks of larger universities.

In the United States 1,293 colleges and universities offer degrees in accounting and business administration. The top 10 percent of those institutions are considered the royalty among business schools; most of their names are household words. Excellent in every undertaking, they attract gifted students and faculty from around the world and are known for producing each generation's business leaders. High quality ensures high student demand, in good times and bad, which helps make those institutions the strongest, most robust schools in the nation.

We have taken deliberate steps to move Ithaca College's School of Business into that top 10 percent, and in some important respects we have already arrived. This is clearly the case when student achievement is measured. The school uses the ETS Major Field Test in Business to assess how well its baccalaureate students have learned their lessons. The test, which has been published since 1989, has been used in recent years by about a third of the colleges and universities that offer baccalaureate degrees in business. In the past three years Ithaca College seniors have consistently scored in the 90th and 91st percentiles.

Progress on other important fronts, sustained over the past five years, suggests that our ambitious goal is within reach. The following examples of recent accomplishments help make this point.

Sigma Iota Epsilon, the student chapter of the Academy of Management, is one of the newest and most successful student professional organizations on campus. Founded by associate professor Susan Rosenthal in 1998, the IC chapter was awarded National Chapter of the Year honors just one year later. This year the club regained that honor -- becoming one of only five schools in the country to have won the award twice. Chapters that competed for the award were judged on membership growth, academic programs, professional development programs, members' honors and awards, and the club's strategic and program planning. In announcing the award, the president of national Sigma Iota Epsilon, G. James Francis, wrote to the IC organization: "Your accomplishments in service, scholarship, and professional activities are most impressive, as is the involvement of your membership. The Zeta Iota Chapter is the benchmark for others across the nation." In addition, two of the chapter's members, John McGrory '03 and Jenna Wohlwend '03, were awarded Sigma Iota Epsilon national scholarships; only five such scholarships are awarded every year.

Another, more mature organization, the Core Trading Consultants, operates the school's trading room. Last spring Professor Abraham Mulugetta, who supervises the organization, invited students to coauthor with him a paper on banking. Hristo Hadjiniklov, a junior from Bulgaria, took him up on the offer. Together they researched and wrote Transparency of Risk Management in Light of FASB 133 Requirements. Their paper was accepted by the second International Conference on Banking and Finance that was held in August on the island of Crete. Hadjiniklov attended the conference, with the school's support, and presented the paper to an audience of international bankers and finance professors. He was accompanied by Mulugetta and Dana Professor of Business Raquib Zaman.

Zaman, left, with colleagues and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Zaman, who is widely respected in international banking as well (his work on Islamic banking was reported in ICQ 2002/2), has lately received some truly royal treatment. He was invited to the annual Oxford Banking Forum, held this year in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in September. Invitees also included economics professor Robert Mundell of Columbia University, a Nobel laureate in economics who is considered to be the father of the euro; economics professor Rodney James Alexander Wilson of the University of Durham, England, who has authored many books on Islamic economics and finance; Mohamed Ariff, executive director of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research; prominent heads of multilateral banks; and high level-government officials from around the world.

Zaman's paper, Islamic Banking and Finance: Assessing the Need of the Present and the Future, was the only paper to be distributed to all attendees and was introduced by the forum president as the most innovative paper on Islamic banking. Says Zaman, "It was quite an exhilarating as well as a humbling experience to hear that they appreciated my research work."

Forum participants decided to appoint an advisory council to the Islamic Development Bank. Zaman and four other economists were named to the council; after the forum they traveled to Riyadh as guests of Crown Prince Abdullah, the ruler of Saudi Arabia. Following an audience in the royal palace with the crown prince and several ministers, the council returned to Jeddah to dine with the governor of the western region in his palace.

Such royal treatment may not be daily fare, but the School of Business is determined to make a name for itself in the noble company of the top-tier business schools. We are well on the way.


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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 24 April, 2003