newsId: 07AC8E3C-5056-AF26-BEE8689EC7C1A4A9
Title: A Foundation for Success
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle: Kevin Matthews, MST ’17, shares how Kogod propelled him forward
Abstract: Matthews says the program is the reason why he finally started his own company, Beta Solutions CPA. “It wouldn’t have happened without Kogod’s help,” he says.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 09/19/2017
Content:

Kevin Matthews, MST ‘17, doesn’t have a lot of time these days. He’s running his own company based in Reston, VA. He’s an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College. And he’s finishing a doctorate in human and organizational learning.

What’s his secret? ”I’m passionate about what I do,” he says. “Every day is a different challenge. I love it.”

He wholeheartedly credits Kogod’s MS Taxation program with giving him the skills he needed to excel. The program bolstered his confidence, he says, and motivated him to take the next step in his career. “I finished my MST saying ‘I know I can do this’.”

The MS in Taxation, a 30 credit hour part-time or full-time program, develops students’ competencies in the federal and state tax codes. It’s perfect for business managers and accountants alike, offering an in-depth dive into one of the business world’s key sectors.

“Our graduates work in some of the largest professional service firms in the world, lead the tax function for large corporations and have their own businesses, such as Kevin's. The variety of careers paths is limitless," says Don Williamson, Director of the MS Taxation program.

Matthews says the program is the reason why he finally started his own company, Beta Solutions CPA. His MST classes bridged the gap between what he knew and needed to know, and strengthened his resolve. “It wouldn’t have happened without Kogod’s help,” he says.

Matthews founded Beta Solutions CPA, a consulting firm that does tax preparation, assurance services, compensation counseling and more, in October 2016. His goal was to have 50 clients at the end of his first year. He has 120. “It’s my greatest professional accomplishment,” he says.

He notes the program’s emphasis on problem-solving is what’s helped him the most. His classes were not about crunching numbers, he says. They were about learning to approach problems creatively, and developing the research skills necessary to do so.

“Our Graduate Tax Program fosters clear, concise, critical and creative thinking, while developing the technical skills that employers look for,” Williamson says.

Before starting his business, Matthews served in the US Navy for ten years, where he also completed service members’ taxes on a volunteer basis. He then worked for a number of CPA firms upon leaving the military, where he realized he still had a lot to learn.

This drove him to AU’s Kogod School of Business, who boasts the only MST program of its kind in the area. “After speaking with Don [Williamson], I knew I had to come here,” Matthews says. “He was very passionate and encouraged me to follow my dreams.”

In the future, Matthews hopes to transition to the business management side of business ownership. Though he won’t be working directly with clients on their taxes, he believes his MST has given him “the expert knowledge I need to excel.” That, in combination with his doctorate work and experience in the Navy, provide a solid foundation for success.

“My time at Kogod got me to where I am here today,” says Matthews. “I’d refer anyone to the program in a heartbeat.”

Learn more about Kogod’s MST program today.

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Title: Kogod Welcomes Annie Yu
Author: Kogod School of Business
Subtitle:
Abstract: Meet Annie Yu, one of Kogod's Center for Career Development's undergraduate career advisors!
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 09/15/2017
Content:

This Fall, Kogod’s Center for Career Development hired two new undergraduate career advisors: Annie Yu and Megan Brew (yes, their names rhyme!). We sat down with each of them to welcome them to Kogod, and get a better sense of their background and experience.

Annie comes to us from the University of Virginia, where she earned her Master’s in Higher Education Administration. While at UVA, she worked as a Career Development Counselor and Academic Advisor. She’s worked for KPMG (she has a master’s in accounting, too), and holds a bachelor’s in business administration from the College of William and Mary. She’s also a killer soccer player—she’s got the credentials from William & Mary to prove it!

Learn more about Annie below, and stay tuned next Friday for our interview with Megan.

Kogod School of Business: You’ve got a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. What inspired you to pursue this path?

Annie Yu: Before pursuing my master’s, I was a federal auditor for KPMG. What pushed me to make a career change was when I started speaking with potential students and incoming associates at recruiting events. I wanted to develop a purpose for what I was doing every day, and I fell in love with guiding students toward accounting careers. After many informational interviews, I felt higher education best suit my skills and goals. Getting my master’s was the first step in helping me start this new chapter in my life.

KSB: You also have a bachelor’s degree in business administration. In what ways does this background connect to what you’re doing now?

AY: Getting a BBA in accounting and master’s in accounting has helped me connect with a lot of Kogod students. I understand the stress and the challenges that come with being a business student both academically and professionally. I thoroughly enjoy meeting students where they are the best way that I can, and I think my accounting background allows me to do so.

KSB: Do you have a professional experience or accomplishment that you’re particularly proud of? Why?

AY: I’ll always be proud that I worked for a Big 4 Firm. It was a difficult yet rewarding road to get there. I vividly remember interviewing for multiple externships and internships while balancing school and soccer in college. Although I no longer work for KPMG, I still have fantastic memories and connections that will last a lifetime. It has prepared me to help Kogod students have the chance to experience the same events I did.

KSB: Why did you choose career advising as your career path?

AY: I wanted a role where I felt I could impact a student’s life. I believed and still believe career advising fits that role. I love being able to share my background and experiences to lessen a student’s anxiety and stress regarding the future. I also like to challenge students to critically think, analyze, and ultimately make decisions on their own about their careers, because it is something I wish I had more exposure to when I was a student.

KSB: What are you most looking forward to in your new role as a KCCD career advisor for undergraduate students?

AY: Just getting to know them personally and professionally. I want to be more than just a career advisor. I want to be someone that the students can come and talk to whenever they need help or they just need to talk. I believe every student is unique and has their own story, and I want to get to know who they are so I can help them the best way that I can.

KSB: What attracted to you to Kogod specifically?

AY: The culture, 100%. Everyone knew each other, and it felt like a big family. I also felt at Kogod and at the KCCD I could be myself, and so far, this has held true.

KSB: What do you hope to accomplish working at Kogod?

AY: I want to show up every day and work hard for the school and for the team. I also want to be available to help as many students as I can with their career development, and to provide them with the resources to do so.

KSB: Anything you’d like to add?

AY: I am looking forward to this year! I have a feeling it's going to be a lot of fun.

Interested in Kogod’s Center for Career Development? Learn more here.

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Title: Failing for Success
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle: BSBA alumna Erica Ruzic shares words of wisdom from her time at Kogod
Abstract: Erica Ruzic, BSBA ’12, likes to tell students that failure is a good thing. “It’s how you learn to succeed,” she says.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 09/13/2017
Content:

Erica Ruzic, BSBA '12, likes to tell students that failure is a good thing. "It's how you learn to succeed," she says.

Persevering through disappointment was the most important lesson she learned at Kogod, she says. Making mistakes in class and at internships gave her the resilience she needed in the workforce.

Ruzic spoke on this at August's undergraduate convocation. She hoped to encourage incoming Freshman to embrace their full range of experience -winnings and let-downs included.

Now a manager at Soylent, a health food company in Los Angeles, Ruzic is busy with a successful professional life. She hopes her story will motivate students to harness failure for good. "Attitude is everything," she says. "Learning from a fall can be transformative."

Read more about Erica's speech, work experience and time at Kogod below.

Can you talk about your address at Kogod's undergraduate convocation?

The general theme was learning from failure-that it's okay to fail, and, when you do, you should learn from it. This is something I think of constantly in the workplace. Organizations make mistakes all the time and you have to make sure you're always harvesting that knowledge and feeding it back into your corporate system.

I also think about it a lot in regards to my time at Kogod. I wasn't necessarily a top performer; I'd get D's and F's sometimes, and there were some extemporaneous situations I had to figure out. I learned that the way you approach things is really a necessary skill, and the earlier you can adopt it, the faster you'll be able to progress towards whatever goals you've set for yourself.

Why did you choose to speak on this?

I spent some time reflecting back on my time at Kogod, and I realized I had a bit of a spotty record. I wanted to share how I was able to transition into a responsible, successful professional and examine what enabled me to make that transition. I wanted to find its root in a specific moment, and my time at Kogod -the many moments I had-was the answer I found.

Tell me about what you're doing now.

I currently work at Soylent in Los Angeles, a startup with a mission to make nutrition more accessible. My formal title is Commercialization Program Manager, which means I work with all things commercial-related-whether it's retail expansion, or processing project improvement. As Commercialization Program Manager, I advocate for designing the right products and launching them, then manage and market them once they're on sale.

My day-to-day is meeting with a lot of people to set our strategy, and then cascading this into bigger initiatives. I help break down our larger vision into manageable chunks that tie into a larger goal.

What did you do before you worked at Soylent?

I spent four years at PepsiCo, first in New York City then abroad in Shanghai. I started in finance, then transitioned to global marketing when I moved overseas. For most of my time, my job was about making the company more healthy-helping PepsiCo adapt to a world where people aren't drinking sodas as much. I helped launch products that are healthy and brought value to consumers' lives in a different way. It was very transformation-focused.

Other than similarities in the work, how have these different experiences informed what you are doing today?

In order to make an impact you really need to understand how all of a company's departments function. I wanted to start in finance because you can see the entire business, and it's where a lot of strategic decisions are made. For me that was the best place to start-and I got to build a lot of quality work skills.

I was always talking to people in other departments, and was curious about what they were doing. I really gained an understanding of how a successful organization functioned by having those positions early on at PepsiCo.

What was working abroad like?

I was surprised at first, but it's really not radically different than working at home! I think this has to do with the state of transition international business is in. Today, with globalization and the internet, "international business" has just become "business." There's different cultural interpretations and ways of interacting, yes, but ultimately the goals are the same.

What was your time like at Kogod?

Kogod gave me the opportunity to have a lot of varied experiences. When I started, I immediately got involved with the Undergraduate Business Association. I was Director of Finance my Freshman year, and Chief Operating Officer as a Sophomore. I also worked at the front desk, which gave me the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of different people in the school.

I took tons of different types of classes and got lots of exposure to new things. When I look back, I remember lots of interesting people that went on to do great things, who still share Kogod's common values.

In what ways do these experiences inform what you're doing today?

Kogod provided the foundation I needed to enter the work force. The school helped reinforce having a good attitude in your job: things like servant leadership and humility, putting others first, increasing your team's performance. I think I've been able to succeed largely because of these soft skills I gained at Kogod. I can't stress the importance of striving for excellence and bolstering your team's performance-values that were instilled in me at AU.

What are your future hopes and ambitions?

I honestly have no idea of where the future will take me! Whatever I do, though, I want it to impact people for the better. I want to be a good person, and I want to build something that touches people's lives. I think that as you focus on making each day better than the one before, whatever you do, you'll be totally fine.

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Title: A Transformative Experience
Author: Gian-Manuel Alvarez Rivera
Subtitle: Gian-Manuel Alvarez Rivera, MSA ’16, shares why Kogod was right for him.
Abstract: Kogod prepared me to take on a position as a staff accountant at one of the world’s largest and prestigious firms, and foster connections that will last a lifetime. I’m so glad I made the choice to pursue my professional path at Kogod.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 09/12/2017
Content:

When I reflect upon my time at Kogod, I instantly think about the incredible professors I had; the dream job that became real; and the network I built. This individualized learning experience is why Kogod was right for me-and why I think it could be right for you, too.

The faculty and staff were the first factors that drew me to the school. I had professors that were top accounting executives. I had the opportunity to learn from the best.

My professors also taught me using real world scenarios. They encouraged me to go beyond what the textbooks said and apply theory to practice. They took the time to get to know me, and, in many cases, used their personal connections to help me find jobs. They helped me build the confidence I needed to excel.

I had the opportunity to interview with many of the firms I only thought I could work for in my dreams. I interviewed with Big 4 firms such as Deloitte and Ernst & Young, and smaller and mid-sized firms. I was told that my technical skills were impressive and that my work ethic is something to be admired, all of which I attribute to my education at Kogod.

For me, the MS Accounting program was transformative. My professors stressed the importance of teamwork, which helped me make many incredible friends-people I can reach out to in any circumstance. I was able to network with partners from different firms and even high-ranking government officials, many of which became incredible advocates throughout the job interview process. I walked away with an incredible personal and professional network.

Kogod prepared me to take on a position as a staff accountant at one of the world's largest and prestigious firms, and foster connections that will last a lifetime. I'm so glad I made the choice to pursue my professional path at Kogod.

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Title: CAS Alumnus Develops Music App
Author: Patty Housman
Subtitle: Matt Fagan’s LightSignature app available on the App Store
Abstract: College of Arts and Sciences alumnus Matt Fagan develops new music app, now for sale through Apple.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 09/11/2017
Content:

Have you ever wanted to create and produce your own original music?

Now, thanks to a new mobile app developed by College of Arts and Sciences alumnus Matt Fagan (MA audio technology '17), it's possible to do just this—and you don't need any musical experience or expertise. His app was recently approved by Apple and is now available on the App Store.

Fagan developed the app as his final capstone project at American University last year, using skills he learned throughout his master's program in audio technology, along with several classes in the game design program.

Fagan also turned to AU's new Incubator for assistance. The Incubator is a key component of the Kogod School of Business's Center for Innovation, which provides current AU students and recent graduates with a workspace and access to industry experts to help them bring promising businesses to life. "The Incubator has provided great mentorship, as well as opportunities to connect with other students," Fagan says. "It gave me a group of peers who can provide me with feedback when I need it, and help answer business-related questions."

Fagan says the Incubator also helped him develop as an entrepreneur and gave him valuable practice in pitching his product—a skill he continues to utilize as he grows his company. "Soon, I am planning on pitching to investors and asking for more than $100,000 to develop a market-ready prototype for a hardware piano keyboard version of the app," he explains.

LightSignature

Fagan designed LightSignature to improve the piano playing and music theory skills of beginner musicians, experienced musicians, music producers, and professional musicians. It features a keyboard interface that allows the user to select a key signature and mode, and indicates which musical notes correspond to the selection. By default, a feature is enabled that de-activates the "wrong notes," so the user automatically plays the correct notes on the keyboard.

There is a large selection of instrument sounds for the user to choose from, and the App also has MIDI capabilities, meaning that it can be used as a controller that plays a virtual instrument on a computer.

LightSignature is different from other apps because it allows users to create original music using a piano keyboard that teaches music theory. "Other piano training software teaches the user to play somebody else's previously written music," Fagan says. "I have a patent for this learning system, so no one else will be able to market the software or hardware."

A Musical Shortcut

Fagan offers individual music production lessons through his company, AudioUnity Corporation, and he is in the process of developing an after-school program for middle schools and high schools in Montgomery County, Maryland. He teaches at a different school each day of the week, and brings his own "mobile music production classroom." He incorporates his app into his instruction and finds that it helps provide a shortcut for students who rely on the piano keyboard as their main tool for music production.

Fagan says that he is dedicated to electronic music education, and he will continue to use LightSignature as part of his individual and group music production lessons. But he's also working to grow the marketplace for the app. He is promoting it to music technology magazines, and he will be pushing his marketing efforts this upcoming semester to sell LightSignature internationally. 

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Title: Winning Awards, Giving Back
Author: Jamie McCray
Subtitle: Winter Brooks, one of the three Kogod ELC award winners, shares what she’s most excited about with the award and how Kogod helped her get there.
Abstract: Meet Winter Brooks, BSBA '18. She's driven and on-the-move--and it shows.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 09/07/2017
Content:

Meet Winter Brooks, BSBA '18. She's driven and on-the-move--and it shows.

Last Spring, Brooks won the Executive Leadership Council's (ELC) award for excellence in business commentary--one of only 14 undergraduates to receive the award nationwide. Her classmates Rachel Fogg and Genever Oppong also won, making Kogod one of the most highly ELC awarded schools. "

It's an honor to be acknowledged as a future African-American business leader," she says. "This shows I'm capable of contributing towards making a more diverse corporate America."

Brooks won $8,000, as well as an invitation to a high-profile leadership conference and gala. Her high academic achievement and professors' recommendations were contributing factors, but her essay was what secured the award. She discussed how companies can attract and retain future business leaders-a key topic of concern in the industry today.

She's most excited about attending the conference and gala, which offers professional development courses, company site visits and key networking opportunities. It's what ultimately drove her to apply. "We'll get to meet CEOs of top companies," she says, "and get to talk to them because we're presented as winners at the conference. It's an incredible opportunity."

For Brooks, the award is more than just the financial and networking benefits. It also supports her personal mission: to give back to her community.

Brooks wants to improve other's lives-especially fellow African-American business professionals. The award positions her as a leader in her community, she says, which provides the autonomy needed to affect change. "I'm really interested in combining business with philanthropy. Studying at Kogod showed me business can have a positive social impact," she says.

She's grateful to AU for inspiring her to make a difference. She says her program's courses and guest speakers she heard framed business as a way to do better in the world.

Her Global Corporate Citizen class was especially impactful. The course prepares students to be managers who promote good citizenship in the economy; students examine common societal values and laws and how to integrate them into a business. "The fact that AU has a whole class dedicated to this says a lot," Winter comments.

This attitude translates into how Kogod regards their students. Brooks credits Kogod's staff with providing the resources she needed to win the ELC award. She wouldn't have applied if staff hadn't sent her information, she says, or encouraged her to submit her essay. "It's another testament to how Kogod has made my time here successful," she says.

Brooks has a busy senior year planned. She's Director of Community Engagement for the Undergraduate Business Association-a brand new position she's spearheading. She's community service chair for her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. She also hopes to participate in other service projects, such as the "adopt a school" tutoring initiative that she helped run last year.

She's also busy figuring out next steps after graduation. She hopes to work for Google, where she interned over the summer, consulting minority-owned small businesses. It feeds into her long-term goal of helping business owners advance their enterprises-especially ones without the resources to do so themselves.

Wherever she goes next, it's certain she'll remain connected to AU in spirit and sentiment. She's grateful for the support she's received winning the ELC Award, and in becoming the young professional she is today.

"AU really cares about building the whole person," she says, "The school has such great values, and it's helped me develop into the person I am now."

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Title: Above and Beyond
Author: Blaise Fairfax
Subtitle: Blaise Fairfax, MSA ’16, shares what made Kogod the perfect fit.
Abstract: Blaise Fairfax, MSA ’16, shares what made Kogod the perfect fit.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 09/05/2017
Content:

After I completed my undergraduate degree in accounting, I was looking for a master's program that would prepare me for my career. I wanted a flexible program with understanding professors and engaging courses that were applicable to the real world. Kogod exceeded all of my expectations.


Career-Minded, Student-Focused

Kogod School of Business presents so many opportunities for a student to jumpstart their career. From networking with employers at Accounting & Finance Day to interacting with alumni at the Kogod Network, there was always something going on to enhance my future career. I was able to improve my networking skills and meet new contacts to learn more about my field. Moreover, attending events with familiar faces and friends made branching out and meeting new people easier.

An Open and Flexible Curriculum

The MSA curriculum offered the classes I needed to prepare for my CPA exams, explore different career avenues, and try out electives in other fields. The program's structure promotes endeavors outside the traditional MSA set of courses. As such, I was able to have a part time internship, complete two parts of the CPA exam in my second semester, and take fascinating non-accounting courses like " New Venture Startup: Operational, Financial, and Legal Strategies" and "Financial Statement Analysis."

Strong and Supportive Faculty

Professors were considerate working with my schedule and frequently went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of. Assignments included not only the traditional lectures and exams, but also group work, research papers, and presentations. This offered me a breadth of experiences in class that further equipped me for my current position as an assurance staff at EY.

Overall, my experience in Kogod's MSA program was exactly what I needed. If given the option, I think every student should attend.

Learn more about Kogod's MS Accounting program.

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Title: Kogod Launches Graduate Certificate in Islamic Finance
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle:
Abstract: For Professor Ghiyath Nakshbendi, Kogod's Graduate Certificate in Islamic Finance isn't just a new program. It's a mission.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 09/01/2017
Content:

For Professor Ghiyath Nakshbendi, Kogod's Graduate Certificate in Islamic Finance isn't just a new program. It's a mission.

Nakshbendi created the certificate program as part of his larger vision of advancing Islamic finance: a field for which he is a passionate advocate. The United States is run by a very different kind of financial model, he says, and there aren't many Islamic finance educational opportunities. "I am trying to establish a legacy," he says.

His approach is different from other Islamic finance practitioners. Nakshbendi believes the field is for everyone--not just Muslims. Islam certainly informs its values and structure, but does not define it. It's a profession Buddhists, Christians and Jews alike can practice, he notes.

Kogod's Graduate Islamic Finance Certificate, launched this Fall, 2017, offers students a full-spectrum overview of the field. Class options include business courses like Financial Accounting and International Finance; economics classes such as Economics of the World Regions; and a number of mathematics-focused courses. Its interdisciplinary curriculum draws from SIS and CAS, in addition to the Kogod School.

Kogod’s students and faculty inspired Nakshbendi to launch the Certificate. He held his first Islamic finance conference at Kogod in 2009 and created two classes on the topic, all of which received enormous interest and support. He wanted to capitalize on the school’s excitement.

He also wanted to keep Kogod ahead of their competitors. Nakshbendi heard “through the grapevine” that other area schools were considering starting an Islamic finance program, and he wanted Kogod to be the first. “It will help us keep our curricular edge,” he says.

The program also gives students a professional edge. Islamic finance is a growing field in the marketplace, and receiving training in it—especially when it’s not commonly offered—sets Kogod students apart. Nakshbendi hopes the program will help them win jobs over peers who haven’t studied the profession.

It’s one of the reasons he’s lined up so many stellar speakers. Guest lecturers are a regular part of the curriculum, offering students valuable real-life perspective from the field. This year’s speakers include CEOS, lawyers and high-profile Islamic finance professionals from Kuwait, Doha-Qatar, and Bahrain, among other countries.

Integrating speakers into the curriculum also provides students with key networking opportunities. Nakshbendi intentionally connects students with each speaker, giving them the chance to form valuable professional relationships. “I make a point of inviting guest speakers who can help my students with job prospects,” he admits.

He has another ulterior motive, as well: attracting Islamic finance professionals to Kogod. The certificate program is for novice students and experienced practitioners alike. Nakshbendi hopes that individuals already working in the field will also enroll, bringing their work experience—and job contacts—with them. “This is the ultimate goal,” he says.

Nakshbendi has been busy in the field outside of the classroom, too. This past year, he founded the American Center for Alternative Finance (ACAF), a non-profit that promotes Islamic Finance and other alternative finance methods in the United States. ACAF holds seminars, organizes conferences and provides information on Islamic finance to anyone interested.

ACAF offers students the opportunity to gain experience in the field outside of the classroom. Nakshbendi is excited to get his students involved—as volunteers and potential co-organizers. “It provides great supplemental experience,” he says.

Nakshbendi hopes the Certificate program is a conduit for success. He aims to place his students in top financial institutions, such as Citibank or Goldman Sachs, where they can practice what they’ve learned in the program. Outcomes are his priority, and he wants to ensure students are flourishing after graduation.

Most of all, he hopes to fulfill his mission: advancing the field of Islamic Finance. The field is growing and developing, he says, and he wants Kogod to be a part of it. “This program offers a special opportunity to become an educational leader in the field,” Nakshbendi says. “I’m excited for what lies ahead.”

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Islamic Finance today.

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Title: Invest in a Team, Invest in Success
Author: Jessica De Jesus
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Abstract: The Executive Committee of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) reflects on their team and building a real estate portfolio together.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/27/2017
Content:

Having a conversation with the Executive Committee of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is like having coffee with an old friend. They are a group of exuberant individuals who manage and oversee a portfolio of real estate investment trusts, referred to as REITs. Investing in REITs is similar to investing in stocks, but in the real estate market. This committee, along with a team of analysts, are the first to tackle this new course developed by Finance Professor Dr. Timothy Timura.

Dr. Timura emphasizes that this portfolio is entirely student run, so the students get first-hand experience in this field. “REIT is a very special learning experience because it allows them to apply their knowledge of accounting, economics, real estate and finance,” Timura says. “It challenges the boundaries of their academic work in a way that gives them a tremendous competitive advantage relative to their peers.”

Every week, analysts present a REIT, and the Executive Committee decides whether to buy or sell the trust. The team conducts real-time analysis and they follow the market closely. They look at it from every perspective. Dan Henock, MSF ’17, looks at the market from the numbers side, and develops models with Portfolio Manager Farid Saadeh, MSF ’17, in order to keep the fund correctly positioned.

Their progress so far? “We’ve been successful in our analysis, and we’ve been outperforming the market,” says Maha Alkhayal, MSF ’17.

The Committee emphasized the importance of gaining real-world experience right in the classroom. It’s given them a leg up in their careers. “We can have real conversations with professionals,” says Sara Mulugeta, MSF ’17. “Most people won’t care if we can recite an equation or derive theory. We’re able to bring to the table things that can’t be taught.”

Kogod’s Real Estate Investment Trust would not have been possible without Charles Nulsen, the program’s benefactor. Nuslen gifted $100,000 to start the program—and he anticipates contributing more in the future.

It’s certain that Nulsen believes in the REIT program, and Kogod students’ potential. “As Chair of the Real Estate Advisory Council, I have been involved in AU”S real estate program for many years. We are in an important time of change and growth for the program and I thought perpetuating the Fund would show a sign to our students that we are serious about the growth of the Real Estate program at AU,” he says.

Each member of the Committee offers a diverse set of ideas and interests. Their different perspectives enhance the team overall. They are able to critique each other, and challenge each other to do better. Although they are strong individuals, they are even stronger as team. Mululeta said: “I originally thought finance was a dog-eat-dog world. But that’s not what it takes to achieve success. Tim [Timura] underscored the importance of having a team behind you.”

Investing in a team is the key to success, and Kogod’s REIT proves that outperforming in any market requires trust, and friendship.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Finance Program and REIT fund.

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Title: AU's Center for Innovation Opens New Doors
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle:
Abstract: The AU Center for Innovation is on the rise—and so are its programs.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 08/23/2017
Content:

The AU Center for Innovation (AUCI) is on the rise—and so are its programs.

This fall, the Center will settle into AU’s Don Meyers Technology and Innovation Building, expanding AUCI from 400 to 2,000 square feet. The larger facility is both a physical and curricular upgrade, offering more space for programs, research and offices.

“This will open new doors for our students and our faculty,” says Siri Terjesen, AUCI Director.

The AUCI, which already boasts 400+ students in its classes, can now offer three new courses: an independent study for students researching entrepreneurship; an independent study for start-up companies; and a Fed Tech Commercialization class that teaches students how to commercialize government-funded lab technologies.

The space will house AUCI faculty offices, giving students centralized access to their professors—a luxury not formerly available. The building’s amenities are also an upgrade; students can utilize a brand new lounge and kitchenette, and eventually an entrepreneurship library, providing places for them to rest, re-charge and work. Terjesen’s biggest excitement isn’t the Center’s new facilities, though, or even its classes. It’s their new neighbors.

The Technology and Innovation Building, which opened in Spring 2016, also houses AU’s computer science, physics, math and statistics departments, and the university’s game design and persuasive play program—a collaboration between CAS and SOC.

This interdisciplinary environment breeds the type of innovation the AUCI strives for. Terjesen hopes to diversify the Center’s programming with these different fields, and collaborate among departments. “We have great relationships with faculty across campus, but we’ve never all been in one spot before. I’m excited to see what comes out of this,” she says.

This is especially helpful for the incubator, the AUCI’s space for student start-ups, notes Terjesen. Incubator students are from schools and majors across campus—increasingly the math and sciences. The AUCI’s new, interdisciplinary home offers access to the human resources students need to build successful, innovative businesses.

“The AUCI and the incubator provide a hub for entrepreneurship across the entire campus. Some of our most promising ventures include students from biology, computer science, public health, physics and SIS, in addition to Kogod,” says Bill Bellows, co-director of AUCI’s incubator. By locating our center in the Myers building, we will have Kogod faculty in direct proximity to our colleagues so we can develop more frequent collaboration.”

There’s a lot to look forward to with the new facility. Terjesen is excited to, with the additional space, to welcome new student ventures into the incubator. She’s also happy they can host more visiting researchers, including two PhD students who will join in the coming months. Most of all, she’s looking forward to spending more time with students.

“We didn’t have the same opportunities to work together in the smaller space,” she says. “It really feels like we’re part of the DC entrepreneurship ecosystem now. We have a space where students can create solutions to problems, and really make a difference.”

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newsId: 20E56AF5-5056-AF26-BEA77647713FF6B3
Title: AU Launches Crowdfunding Platform
Author: Joanna Platt
Subtitle:
Abstract: UFUND is a platform the AU community can use to directly fund projects and initiatives.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/15/2016
Content:

American University's Office of Development and Alumni Relations recently launched UFUND, a crowdfunding platform just for the AU community. This is a new way for alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the university to directly fund the projects and initiatives they care about most.

AU faculty, staff, and students are planning ventures to shape the future of the community, nation, and world. By making a gift, donors support the development and success of these projects.

Currently, UFUND features five initiatives – The Eagle Innovation Fund, the DC-Area High School Ethics Bowl, an Alternative Break in Cuba, the Skills for Success Career Seminar, and production of the documentary In The Executioner's Shadow.

Members of the AU community are invited to submit new projects to be featured on UFUND.


 

Tags: Alumni,College of Arts and Sciences,Giving,Kogod School of Business,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
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Title: Chris Kalna, Kogod/BSBA ’08: Kogod leads to Carlyle Group
Author: Patricia Rabb
Subtitle:
Abstract: Chris Kalna is an AU Alumni Board member and associate vice president at The Carlyle Group.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/08/2016
Content:

“I first visited AU in the summer of 2002. That one visit was all the convincing I needed to apply and attend,” says Chris Kalna, Kogod/BSBA ’08, while describing the benefits of graduating from the Kogod School of Business.  

Born in Albany, New York, and raised in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, Chris feels that “AU’s size, location, the diverse background of the Kogod professors, and other like-minded students” were the most important factors in deciding to become an Eagle.

Chris is adamant that his AU degree has been crucial to his career success. “The school’s location to leaders of industry in Washington, its reputation for high academic standards, and the thoughtful guidance of my professors gave me the foundation I needed to graduate and begin my career,” he says.

After graduating in 2008, Chris worked in the IT and business consulting fields for companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton and Deloitte. After traveling in these jobs for several years, he changed careers in 2014 and now works in private equity for The Carlyle Group in Washington, DC. As an associate vice president, he manages the firm’s digital strategy. His work impacts many areas, such as Carlyle’s corporate website, employee intranet, mobile device strategy, cloud technology resources, document management, and social media. He enjoys having a direct impact on the firm’s strategy. “Our company is large enough to produce outstanding returns for our clients, yet small enough that my thoughts and directions can change corporate culture,” he says.  

During his time at AU, Chris recalls spending late nights with other Kogod students working on case studies, class projects, and study guides for exams. “Working together with my peers helped me build lifetime relationships and allowed me to work on the skills I needed to succeed in my career,” he says. Chris was also a part of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and one of the founding members of the AU’s men’s ice hockey team.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys cooking with his wife, Catherine, playing the role of doting dad to their four-year-old English bulldog, Dolly, and reading about personal and professional investment opportunities.
 
Although he’s busy with both work and family, Chris finds time to volunteer as a member of the AU Alumni Board. In this role, he hopes to strengthen the relationship between the university and alumni, lead the effort for alumni surveys and data gathering, and help direct the board to areas where their impact and work will be felt the most. “The AU Alumni Board is giving me a fantastic opportunity to give back to the school that has given me so much,” says Chris.

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Title: Alumnus Nick Kuhn Continues to Find New Ways to Give Back to AU
Author: Melissa Bevins ’02
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Abstract: Alumnus Nick Kuhn, Kogod/MBA ’86 is committed to giving back to AU.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 06/25/2015
Content:

Alumnus Nick Kuhn, Kogod/MBA '86, is one of the lucky few who knew early on what he wanted to do. Nick says that from the age of 22 he wanted to go into the real estate industry. He has worked full-time in real estate since he graduated from Lafayette College with an undergraduate degree in business and economics. But, that's not to say that he didn't explore other avenues. During college, Nick held a summer job with a stock brokerage and did an internship with a government contractor. However, since he took a job as a real estate agent right after graduation, he hasn't looked back.

As an MBA student at AU, Nick loved the hands-on nature of his work. He enjoyed working on case studies, participating in large group projects, and crafting presentations. Now, as an alumnus, he continues to support the current students who are engaging in this work. He has served for many years as a judge for Kogod's annual Case Competition, which he feels is a great opportunity for students to sharpen their communication skills, presentation style, and problem-solving techniques. Nick says he enjoys serving as a judge because of the opportunity to see the students in action. "I like seeing how they problem-solve, innovate, work as a team, think on their feet, utilize what they learn in the classroom to arrive at solutions, and defend their recommendations as if they were in the business world," he says.  

In addition to Kuhn's ongoing commitment to helping Kogod students, he has continued to seek out ways to participate actively in the life of AU. In past years, Kuhn has assisted with Dean searches for Kogod and served as a member of the Real Estate chapter in Kogod while it was still in existence, presenting homebuyer seminars to students and alumni. He has also recently become involved with Bender Library as a donor to its special collections.

Now, Nick is serving his first term on the AU Alumni Board. His term began in January 2014, and he says he is enjoying his service. He has taken the opportunity to get to know AU even better and to spend more time on campus, at meetings, events, and athletic events. His role on the Scholarship and Awards committee of the board allows him to play a direct role in the awarding of scholarships to current students as well as selecting alumni award winners. Nick says that he would like to see AU continue to expand its reach and involvement with international alumni communities.

When asked what advice he has for AU students and recent alumni hoping to follow his footsteps, Nick says, "Participate in internships to learn the nuts and bolts of the career. Real estate is demanding and requires a firm commitment."

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Title: Alumni Admissions Volunteer Chair Shares Passion for AU
Author: Patricia Rabb
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Abstract: Maria Luisa Ortega shares her passion for recruiting prospective students for AU.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/07/2015
Content:

"Growing up in Puerto Rico, and being the daughter of Cuban exiles, I decided to attend AU because it was by far the most international school I had visited," says Maria Luisa Ortega, Kogod/BSBA '85. "Coming from a family where politics and culture were always part of our daily conversation, Washington, DC represented the perfect environment for me." 

After her first visit during her junior year in high school, Maria Luisa knew she wanted to attend college at AU. "I had studied French and Russian growing up, and I was desperate to practice it and mingle with students from different countries," she says.

Maria Luisa enjoys reminiscing about her time at AU in the 1980s. "AU's teachers were the nicest, most helpful and caring. I remember hearing horror stories from friends at other schools, and I felt so proud that my teachers were always there for me," she recalls. With the Reagan administration in office during her time at AU, she has fond memories of that era. "Studying in DC during the Reagan years was absolutely thrilling to me. The United States was at the top of its game, and I was at AU enjoying all that glory," she proclaims.   

During her junior year at AU, Maria Luisa secured an internship at an advertising and marketing firm in Georgetown. That internship turned into a part-time job during her senior year. While completing her degree at the Kogod School of Business, Maria Luisa also studied French, Russian, and Italian. She believes this combination helped her obtain the job she wanted as an account executive in a Miami advertising agency upon graduation. 

With her daughter, Claudia Iturregui, CAS/BA '16, a current student at AU, Maria Luisa is delighted to share a legacy tie. "The pride that I feel having my daughter at AU cannot be measured. To know that Claudia is having experiences very similar to the ones I had is something for which I have no words," she exclaims. Maria Luisa believes her experiences at AU in the 1980s aren't that different from her daughter's experiences today. "It's as international and political as always, and she tells me the teachers are as nice as ever," she says. 

Maria Luisa resides in Coral Gables, Florida with her son, Enrique Iturregui, a high school senior. She owns and manages a franchise called Mr. Pretzels with stores in Florida and Georgia. "I love this kind of business because it deals with everything I studied at Kogod: accounting, finance, advertising, and manufacturing," she says.

As a long-time AU Alumni Admissions Volunteer (AAV) and chair of the AAV network, volunteering her time to AU has been very satisfying for Maria Luisa. The AAV network includes alumni and parents who assist admissions in the recruitment of prospective students. It is the largest group of AU alumni volunteers with more than 600 members in 38 states and 14 countries. "To be able to help AU recruit students who show great intellect, who are passionate, and who want to leave a mark in this world, what is better than that," she exclaims. 

Reflecting on her role as AAV network chair, Maria Luisa says she wants to attract more alumni to share their pride and love for AU with prospective students. "It is time for us to give back to the school that helped us grow, that trained and prepared us for what was to come and that ultimately pushed us out into the world as success stories waiting to happen," she declares.

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Title: Social Innovation with a Global Focus: How Tighe Wall makes an impact
Author: Nina Cooperman, SPA/MPA '15
Subtitle:
Abstract: Tighe Wall, Kogod/MBA ’11 shares his thoughts on his time at AU and how his experience at Kogod helped him find a career with a truly global reach in social and digital strategy.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/05/2014
Content:

As an editor and writer for the Princeton Review, Tighe Wall, Kogod/MBA '11, edited the guidebook to the 191 Best Business schools. When it came time to select a graduate program for himself, American University's Kogod School of Business was at the top of his list. Now, as a managing consultant in the social business global center of competence at IBM global business services in London, Tighe credits AU's global perspective to his success. Coming to AU, he says, gave him the opportunity to "build a small international business base in the U.S. and gain entrepreneurial skills."

During his time at Kogod, Tighe worked as an innovation and entrepreneurship research assistant with Professor Stevan Holmberg and interned with IBM. He says his experience "supplemented what I was learning with real world experience. AU has a real campus and all of the other attributes of living in the city are at your fingertips." 

Tighe continued to excel at Kogod and, as the commencement speaker for the business school's graduate students, urged his classmates to "keep taking chances and embrace new experiences."

His work caught the attention of the social business group, a small global group consisting of experts in the field within IBM who shape the company's point of view on the application of social networking tools and culture to business roles, processes and outcomes. He now works in London and has a portfolio of clients all over Europe.

Though he's moved to London, Tighe stays connected to the university. He is a member of the Alumni Board and serves as an alumni admissions volunteer. He sees these opportunities as ways to give back to the university, and as someone who went to AU for graduate school at Kogod, he brings a unique voice to the group.

According to Tighe, "Going through Kogod changed the way I think of the larger business community and global business. It broadened my perspective and fundamentally changed the way I understand how the business world works –the curriculum and the professors and thinking of business functions as a piece of how a larger organization operates." That global perspective has paid off.

Tags: Admissions,Alumni,Alumni Board,Entrepreneurship,Kogod School of Business
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Title: Luchs Family Scholarship Recipient Molly Fallon Reaps Rewards of Hard Work, Giving Back
Author: Mike Rowan
Subtitle:
Abstract: Her appreciation for debate aside, Molly Fallon can agree with her scholarship donor on one of their core values—the importance of giving back and paying it forward.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/29/2014
Content:

As commencement festivities took over campus and fellow classmates fondly reminisced about the best times of their college years, Molly Fallon, Kogod/BSBA ’14, recalled a different kind of memory—arguing.

Not just any kind of arguing, however. “I’ve really appreciated the disagreement and the debate that some of these classes have spurred from us,” said Fallon. “We’ve begun to disagree with one another in very constructive ways and bring some of our convictions forward.”

A Des Moines, Iowa native concentrating in marketing and finance, Fallon was chosen as the undergraduate speaker for the Kogod School of Business 2014 commencement. “Ironically, my fondest learning moments are not about agreement,” she shared with the Bender Arena crowd of faculty, family, and her fellow graduates. “While we might seek comfort in group settings, what we actually need is discomfort.”

For all her talk of discord and dissent, Fallon proved herself a natural collaborator in her time at AU. As a peer consultant in the Kogod Center for Business Communication, she assisted Kogod students with business writing and presentation skills. She also served as treasurer for the sorority Chi Omega, and worked together with about 30 students to oversee a portfolio of $350,000 in AU’s Student Managed Investment Fund. On top of that, she earned one of the school’s most prestigious group accomplishments—her team took home first place in the 2014 Annual Kogod Case Competition.

Recalling the case competition, she admitted, “That should have been one of the most stressful weeks of my life but it really was one of the most fun, honestly. It was a really great moment to leverage everything I had learned in the past four years here and have fun with it.”

Fallon’s leadership skills and community-oriented spirit were rewarded when she was named a recipient of the Luchs Family Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year. The application process for the scholarship asks students to provide evidence of deep involvement in the Kogod community. Humble, but attuned to the scholarship’s meaning, she reflected, “I think that my history of giving back to fellow students while at Kogod was something that identified me as a strong candidate.”

“I didn’t stand out in terms of numbers,” she shared. “To know that I was recognized for doing hard work, and that hard work wasn’t going unnoticed, [the fact that] it could be rewarded, and I could help myself through college by doing good work was a lot of positive reinforcement for me.”

A couple of days before giving her commencement address, Fallon had the opportunity to meet one of the benefactors of her scholarship, Kenneth J. Luchs, over lunch. The two found that they shared a passion for giving back.

“You can contribute in different ways,” Luchs said. “Money is only one way. Time is another way. Be a mentor to somebody.”

A strong history of civic engagement runs through Kenneth Luchs’ family. From the time his grandfather founded the family’s real estate business, Shannon & Luchs, in 1906, the family has been active in the growth of Washington, taking on leadership roles in various community organizations—a tradition that Luchs himself has carried on. A one-time American University student—taking night classes in real estate while he helped to run the family business by day—Luchs went on to serve on the AU Board of Trustees for 12 years. His afternoon with the recipients of his family’s scholarship marked 50 years—nearly to the day—since his father first introduced him to AU.

“I’d like [the recipients] to know that I’m available to be a mentor, and that I want them to be available as mentors to future students,” said Luchs. “It’s our duty to pay back whatever schools we’ve been educated at.”

Said Fallon after meeting Luchs, “He further instilled in me the belief that we can all do something to give back to those who have profoundly impacted our lives.”

Even as she found inspiration from getting to know her scholarship donor, Fallon had already been taking Luchs’ message to heart. While treasurer of Chi Omega, Fallon brought more scholarships to her sisters, stepping up efforts to identify and publicize existing opportunities, and creating new need-based awards by making minor budgeting adjustments. She has also taken it upon herself to be an advocate, often urging her sisters and students she advises as a peer consultant to apply for certain scholarships. She notes that students don’t realize what great candidates they are, and all they need is to know that the opportunities exist.

“I think that’s something really important—the idea of students helping students find and seek out scholarship opportunities,” said Fallon. “I am glad to have left that legacy.”






 

Tags: Center for Business Communications,Commencement,Giving,Kogod School of Business,Scholarship
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Title: Business & Public Affairs: A Perfect Marriage
Author: Phil Recchio
Subtitle:
Abstract: Ben, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Christina Macfarland, SPA/MPA ’11, entrepreneurially apply their skills in South Florida, while giving back to AU.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 05/15/2014
Content:

Ben, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Christina Macfarland, SPA/MPA ’11, came to AU together, shortly after getting married in their native state of Florida, to pursue their individual academic and professional interests. Christina’s passion for nonprofit work and supporting her community led her to pursue a Master of Public Administration and,a graduate certificate in nonprofit management, whereas Ben built off his undergrad business degree by focusing his MBA studies on real estate and finance. Since graduation, they have returned to their home state to not only put their degrees to work, but also spread word of AU’s excellence while galvanizing the Florida alumni community. 

This past February, Christina and Ben hosted more than 60 AU alumni, parents, and friends in their Palm Beach home, and had the chance to catch up with their old neighbor, Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development, Dr. Thomas J. Minar. Before Dr. Minar delivered updates regarding campus plans and alumni initiatives within the South Florida community, Christina reminisced about her time working in the AU development department for corporate and foundation giving, and Ben remembered hunkering down in their condo during the infamous Snow-maggedon storm of 2010. 

These types of close relationships serve as a beautiful model for how the Office of Alumni Relations and Development seeks to engage AU alumni, and Christina and Ben are no strangers to the world of philanthropy and volunteering. Christina is a board member for the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, where fellow master’s alumna Jillian Vukusich, CAS/MA ’04, serves as vice president for community investment.  

Christina continues her educational pursuits, and is a recent graduate of "Leadership Palm Beach County," which kept her up to date on the latest trends in philanthropic and non profit leadership. This is especially important for those as involved in their communities as she is. She volunteers and has served on numerous committees for The Flagler Museum, March of Dimes, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Presently, Christina performs research and writing for Women Corporate Directors, the only global membership organization of women corporate directors which serves as a catalyst for thought leadership and networking.

In addition to serving on his high school’s alumni board and helping to recruit great students to AU, Ben founded a local publication, Palm Beach Philanthropy, to showcase and educate the public to the diverse causes being supported right in their backyard. While philanthropy has always been a passion and a practice for the Macfarlands, Ben also puts his MBA to work running a boutique asset management firm that focuses on investing family office and institutional capital into self storage, student housing, and other special situations in real estate. The firm, where Ben serves as a partner and chief investment officer, has successfully acquired over two million square feet of real estate in the last two years.

The Macfarlands' collective energy and productivity is even more impressive in light of the fact they’ve accomplished so much all while raising their blossoming family. While their two young girls are a handful at home, Ben and Christina have a long standing history of supporting each other through thick and thin. While on campus, they could be seen attending a kick-off event to help rally support for Christina’s successful run for Editor-in-Chief of the SPA journal The Public Purpose, and nowadays they work to balance their busy schedules of business and board meetings with family meals and outings. 

Thankfully, the Macfarlands have continued their tradition of support as alumni by hosting the recent event for the South Florida AU Eagle community. As for the beautiful marriage of Ben’s business degree and Christina’s nonprofit policy focus, its power can be encapsulated by an Arthur Fried quote: “Private philanthropy is the last frontier of unconstrained freedom for private action in the public good.” AU is lucky to count this entrepreneurial and philanthropically minded young couple among its alumni family.

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Title: Building Upon a Family History
Author: Mike Rowan
Subtitle:
Abstract: After her valuable AU experience—and now her daughter’s—Mary McCarthy Hayford and her family are helping lay the groundwork for the university’s next generation.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/27/2014
Content:

Stroll along the west side of the quad, passing Frisbees floating across the grass and cheerful student organizations camped outside of Mary Graydon, and at either end of campus you will find a building that has been transformed within the last five years. Across the street from the Katzen Arts Center, the Kogod School of Business opened a 20,000-square-foot expansion in 2008. A few hundred yards down, next to Bender Library, stands the newly reopened McKinley building, the state-of-the-art new home of the School of Communication. Though housing separate schools, and situated on opposite ends of campus, there’s a strong thread connecting the two of them—the Hayford family.

Mary McCarthy Hayford, Kogod/MBA ’78, did her graduate work at AU’s business school, but when she attended, it did not yet bear the Kogod name. It was simply called the School of Business Administration. Classes were housed in the Ward Circle Building, and offices were in the cozy quarters of the Hamilton Building (known then as Hamilton Hall).

“I remember picking AU based on my perception that the administrators and faculty were more accessible,” McCarthy Hayford shares as she recalls her AU experience. “I look back not only on the great full-time professors in subjects which appeal to me, but also on several adjunct professors who imparted real world experiences. For me, that exposure to professionals working in industry was essential to seeing how the theoretical was applied in the real world, and to envisioning the type of career I would want to pursue.”

When the Kogod School of Business announced plans for its expansion campaign, Mary and her husband, Warren, signed on to help by making a major contribution to the building. Their generosity is marked by a plaque adorning one of the new classrooms inside, which displays their names.

Then, three years later, when the effort to renovate McKinley began, the Hayfords were there again, eager to give back once more, naming the facility’s new audio editing suite.

Why jump in to support another major project, especially when the family had so significantly dedicated themselves to an effort close to their hearts just a few years earlier? One reason is that their daughter, Margaret, SOC/BA ’13, just finished a very positive undergraduate career in the School of Communication.

“We feel strongly that SOC and AU provided Margaret with the experience she needs to pursue her career goals,” McCarthy Hayford articulates. “AU was one of few schools where she could study film and graphic design while still broadening her education in history, science and social science. She capped off her SOC experience with a semester in the film school in Prague where she worked with a small group to create a professional-quality film.”

In addition to Margaret, the Hayfords are parents to Amanda, a 2006 alumna of Oberlin College, and Warren, who graduated from George Washington University in 2012. Ms. McCarthy Hayford’s husband, Warren John Hayford, is the president and managing director of the software company RatioServices, and is a director of the Warren J. and Marylou Hayford Family Foundation, which his parents founded. The foundation has been instrumental in the Hayfords’ gifts to American University.

Though she has graduated—as have her children—McCarthy Hayford remains an avid learner. While embarking on a path toward starting a new career, she has been steadily auditing courses at the university. “Wherever that takes me, I hope to keep close ties to AU.”

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Title: Legal Eagle Utilizes AU Education to Establish Domestic and International Niche
Author: Milt Jackson
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU alumnus’ expertise in law impacts domestic and international cases.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 03/15/2013
Content:

Philadelphia attorney and Kogod class of ’71 alumnus Theodore “Ted” Simon is having a wonderful career. Among other achievements, he has obtained reversals in the Pennsylvania and United States Supreme Courts. In addition to his longstanding successful representation of individuals and corporations locally, nationally, and internationally in state and federal trial and appellate matters (“white collar,” “blue collar” and “no collar”) he is a recognized authority on the subject of international extradition requests, and he has provided advice and counsel to multiple Americans abroad who have found themselves in challenging legal straits.

Accordingly, while accomplishing these achievements and elevating his law practice into a respected national and international niche – he also has become a “go-to guy” for advice and adept handling of high profile media driven cases - where he credits his AU experiences for assisting him to consistently achieve and maintain success.

After graduating from AU, and later, Temple University Law School, Ted joined the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and began to exercise his passion for litigation and criminal law. His drive, focus, creativity, and comprehensive approach eventually earned him a listing as one of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in Philadelphia;” a selection as a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer,” and an invited membership in the National Trial Lawyers Organization (a group composed of the top 100 trial lawyers from each state).

Additionally in 2012, he was sworn in as first vice president of the NACDL, a position he relishes because it allows him to play a more specific part in ensuring justice and due process and at the same time recognizing the important and noble work of criminal defense lawyers around the country.

Communicating his passion for justice and due process is another of Ted’s many talents. His most recent appearance, as a guest on CNN and Soledad O’Brien’s “Starting Point” is a case in point. On the show, Ted presented an articulate and seasoned perspective on the complex legal considerations surrounding bail for Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius – who is currently accused of murder in South Africa.

He told O'Brien that Pistorius was a good candidate for bail. He is called upon as a legal expert by honing his speaking as a sought-after speaker for legal seminars across the nation and his numerous on-camera appearances on all major networks and shows including NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, Larry King Live, Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC’s 20/20, and NBC’s Dateline.

As a result of his recognized communications skills and legal ability, Ted’s client list has included Michael Fay (Singapore caning), Amanda Knox (college student acquitted of murder in Italy), boxing promoter Don King, Gregory Porter (college student accused but all charges dismissed in 2011 protest in Egypt), Chipper Jones (civil defense), New York real estate heir Robert Durst (favorable resolution of federal firearms offenses in Pennsylvania after acquittal in Texas murder and dismemberment case), NBA forward Dante Cunningham (dismissal of alleged drug and other criminal offenses), Drexel’s starting guard Derrick Thomas (dismissal of assault charges) as well as other clients involved in high-profile legal matters.

Ted credits AU for helping to provide a solid academic foundation for his success. He says, “I was just 16, leaving home for the first-time, and the American University environment, the teachers and classmates, soon to be life-long friends could not be more warm, welcoming and supportive. In hindsight it provided the absolute perfect opportunity to grow, excel academically, and provide a rich and enduring network of beloved friends that began the first day and happily remains so today.”

When asked about how he feels about the practice of law after nearly 40 years, he answered, “I feel the same, but more so - it is a gift to be a lawyer, providing care, assistance, and representation in some of the worst of times, whether a person is criminally facing loss of liberty or civilly and entitled to redress and compensation.”

In response to Ted’s appreciation of American University and for all the university has done for him, Ted recently offered his network, time, and support in assisting with planning of an alumni engagement event in downtown Philadelphia. The event was a resounding success due to the participation of Ted and other alumni.

While the law is clearly his personal and professional passion, Ted's continued relationship with his AU Zeta Beta Tau brothers is primarily a personal passion. He says “primarily” because privilege and privacy protects their confidentiality as even here he has been called upon professionally in “life-altering situations.” Ted couldn’t have been happier “to have their back when they needed it most.”

His relationship with the “ZBT Powerhouse of Excellence” brotherhood began when he attended AU and has only strengthened since then. Ted is everlastingly thankful and appreciative of his classmates who have remained truly supportive of his work, accomplishments, and resulting national and international presence in the law.

So the next time you hear the words, “legal expert” mentioned during a news broadcast, pay close attention. It may be that an AU alumnus, by the name of Ted Simon, is about to hold court.

Tags: Alumni,Kogod School of Business,Law
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Title: Real-Life Experiences of AU Alumnus Hits the Big Screen in Blockbuster Hit Argo
Author: Stephanie Block
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Abstract: American University alumnus Mark Lijek, Kogod/MBA ’76, has lived quite the adventure—one big enough to create Hollywood Oscar buzz.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/12/2012
Content:

American University alumnus Mark Lijek, Kogod/MBA ’76, has lived quite the adventure—one big enough to create Hollywood Oscar buzz. Lijek was one of six employees lucky enough to escape the protests and attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Iran more than 30 years ago. Their story is the premise of the blockbuster movie Argo.

Lijek arrived in Iran in July 1979 and was only there a few short months before he nearly missed becoming a hostage. With his wife, Cora, by his side along with five others, the group became known as the “houseguests” of the Canadian Embassy for about 10 weeks before leaving the country posing as a film crew and making it back to safely to the U.S.

It was not fear as much as boredom that got the best of Lijek. “Boredom was one of the hardest things to face,” Lijek says. The group played scrabble, and he read many books, writing each title down as he completed it to help record the passing of time.

A recent story published on MyNorthWest.com chronicled details regarding the sequence of events leading to Lijek and the other officers escaping the embassy. Interviews with Lijek and other houseguests will be a special feature of the DVD release of Argo next year. However, as with any film, there is only so much time to share the story. “The movie is a slice of the real story which was why I wrote the book The Houseguests: A Memoir of Canadian Courage and CIA Sorcery,” Lijek says.

Lijek completed a Master in Business Administration at AU, attending class part-time in the evenings while he served in the United States Army during the day. “As an administrative officer for the State Department, I used my graduate degree a fair amount. It prepared me quite a bit,” he says.

Lijek moved to Washington, D.C. from Seattle to complete his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University. He retired from the Foreign Service to spend more time with his wife and children. He lives just outside of Seattle and keeps busy by promoting his new book and managing his website, marklijek.com.   

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Relations,Alumni Relations (KSB),Alumni Update,Kogod School of Business
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