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School of Management students take first in inaugural UB MBA Case Competition

Cecil Cheriyan of Baruch College Zicklin School of Business was named one of two top individual presenters. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Facing off against students from around the country, a team of four School of Management MBAs successfully defended their home turf and took first place at the inaugural UB MBA Case Competition, hosted by the School of Management and sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet.

Presenting teams were identified only by a number, so judges didn’t know which college or university each team was from until after their evaluations were complete. The winning team was made up of UB MBA students Briar Baker, Patrick Biver, Alex Lesins and Ronald Mendoza.

Ten teams of finalists were selected based on the quality of their written case analysis of a real-world business problem and were invited to present their solution to a panel of executive judges. The UB team received $5,000, Drexel University LeBow College of Business took second and received $3,000, and the University of Illinois Gies College of Business took third place and received $2,000.

In addition, Cecil Cheriyan of Baruch College Zicklin School of Business and Joe Dipre of Drexel each received $250 as the top two individual presenters.

“The competitors in this event were exceptional, and our UB team and the other finalists should be proud of their accomplishments,” said Paul Tesluk, dean of the School of Management. “I was particularly impressed by the innovative solutions proposed by the winning teams.”

Digital guitar tech shreds to victory in UB entrepreneurship competition

Ryan Jaquin and Shane Nolan, winners of the 2018 Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition for their company, Bitcrusher. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi.

A team of electrical engineering and MBA students took first place in UB’s Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC) for a technology that integrates digital sound effects directly into guitars.

Ryan Jaquin and Shane Nolan, both dual electrical engineering and MBA students, and Alex Schwartz, a UB electrical engineering graduate, received $25,000 in startup capital, as well as in-kind services valued at $27,000, for their company, Bitcrusher.

“The feedback process has been so valuable throughout the competition,” said Nolan. “Everyone along the way has helped us to clarify our message, so whether you’re a businessperson or a musician, you’ll ‘get’ Bitcrusher.”

The second-place team, Tim Adowski, PhD student in aerospace engineering at UB, and Thomas Wilkie, a Daemen College graduate, collected $10,000 for their venture, Storillo, a management platform to streamline group work for teachers.

Now in its 18th year, Panasci TEC was created by the UB School of Management and the UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships and is funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A. Panasci Jr. to facilitate and promote the commercialization of UB-generated technologies.

After Panasci, Bitcrusher went on to a slew of other successes, winning the New York Business Plan Competition, taking second in Bright Buffalo Niagara and successfully pitching to the School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council, earning nearly $30,000 more in capital for their startup along the way.

In addition to participating in the Panasci TEC, the Bitcrusher team took advantage of the burgeoning entrepreneurship ecosystem at UB, through such innovative opportunities as the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, a campus-based entrepreneurship program that supports and mentors students, staff and alumni, and the eLab, a hands-on, 3-credit course that helps develop skills needed to launch a new venture. Nolan is a past winner of the Bulls Launch Elevator Pitch Competition, where students have 90 seconds to talk about their idea without props, presentations or notecards for a chance to win up to $1,500.

MBA on the rise

U.S. News and World Report has again ranked the UB School of Management a ‘best business school’ in its annual ranking of MBA programs. The school was ranked No. 70 out of 480 MBA programs surveyed, climbing three places from last year, and a total of 11 places over the past two years.

“Our efforts to recruit high-caliber students and top faculty, create outstanding learning experiences, and provide quality career development are paying off,” said Paul Tesluk, dean of the School of Management. “It’s gratifying to see our success reflected in our forward movement in these rankings and in our global reputation.”

The School of Management is the only business school in the Buffalo Niagara region to be included in the U.S. News business school rankings.

Schwartzkopf brings expertise to finance role

Jay Schwartzkopf.


Last issue, we introduced you to a new role in the School of Management: executives in residence, a cadre of individuals who are leveraging their industry experience to enhance the school’s programs and students’ learning experience.

Jay Schwartzkopf, BS ’97, is contributing to that mission as executive in residence for finance. Currently a silent partner in a private equity fund focused on multifamily real estate in North Carolina, Schwartzkopf brings a wealth of insights and contacts to his role in the school.

He serves as advisor to the Terese Kelly Investment Group, a student-run, real-money investment fund that educates finance students on the practical aspects of global capital markets, while providing real-world learning experiences in investment management.

Working closely with the school’s alumni engagement, career resource and philanthropy teams, he also facilitates collaborative relationships throughout Western New York and New York City to promote opportunities for investment banking and equity-related internship and job opportunities for students and alumni.

Schwartzkopf helps students understand overall portfolio performance and new equity positions, and assists them in bringing in outside speakers each semester to discuss the finance industry.

A former board member of the UB Alumni Association, Schwartzkopf has been recognized multiple times for his service to UB and the School of Management, and is the recipient of the School of Management Alumni Association Service Award, the UB Alumni Association Volunteer Recognition Award, and the Career Resource Center’s Intern Supervisor of the Year Award.

Preparing for high-level management careers in real estate development

A new degree option will help participants gain a competitive advantage and broaden their career options for leadership roles in real estate development, investment and related fields. The School of Management and the School of Architecture and Planning now offer a collaborative MS in Real Estate Development/MBA, equipping students with specialized real estate development skills and a solid foundation in business management.

Those who have a passion in both areas can learn from leading faculty with deep industry connections, giving them opportunities to engage with executives and organizations in both the business and architecture communities.

Students who enroll in the integrated program can obtain their MS and MBA in less time than if they pursued the two degrees separately, enabling them to enter the job market sooner with enhanced credentials. For more information, visit

Recognizing our career development partners

From left, Paul Tesluk, dean; Hero Alimchandani, CRC Alumnus of the Year; Ann Cohen and Alex Ampadu, CRC Faculty Members of the Year; and Gwen Appelbaum, assistant dean and director of the Career Resource Center. Photo: Joe Cascio

This spring, the School of Management’s Career Resource Center (CRC) honored several individuals and organizations for their significant impact on students’ career development during the previous year.

The honorees and the awards they received were:

  • Hero Alimchandani, BS ’04, managing director at Deloitte, as CRC Alumnus of the Year, recognizing his advocacy for the school and our students within his company, as well as his engagement through guest lecturing in classes and serving on the school’s Accounting Advisory Council.
  • Alex Ampadu and Ann Cohen, clinical associate professors of accounting and law, as Faculty Members of the Year for their decades of impact on students’ careers.
  • GEICO, as Recruiting Organization of the Year in recognition of the many ways its leaders interact with the school, including hosting the GEICO Interview Challenge, recruiting on campus and participating in student projects.
  • Eli Lilly leaders Tyler Grassman, BS ’16, global customer-facing capabilities associate consultant, and Wayne Russo, district sales manager, as Recruiting Partners of the Year.
  • NetPlus Alliance, as Outstanding Internship Partner for the credit-bearing internships it has provided in marketing, communications, finance and IT.
  • Blue Cardinal Capital, as New Internship Partner for the four impactful internships it provided last year.

In addition, the CRC recognized three pairs of Interns and Supervisors of the Year:

  • Ashton Armstrong, BS ’19, and Kyle Rhoads, sales and marketing coordinator, UB Athletics Department.
  • Katherine Connors, MBA ’18, and Lisa Wardynski, director of internal communications and community relations, Independent Health.
  • Giang Le Huong Truong, BS ’18, and Suzanne Furlani, founder, Omantec LLC.

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