School of Management Believers
As part of its UB 2020 strategic plan, the University at Buffalo is projecting growth by as much as 40 percent between now and the year 2020. To promote that growth and the corresponding benefits it provides for the region, UB needs consistent support from individuals and the state of New York. To that end, the university has launched UB Believers, a new, broad-based advocacy group comprised of community members who recognize the positive impact of UB on the Buffalo Niagara region. In just a few short months, thousands of individuals have signed on to lend their support.
A number of prestigious alumni from the School of Management were among the first 100 people to become official UB Believers. When asked why they believed in UB, and how they thought UB's growth would impact School of Management graduates, here's what they had to say.
Larry Zielinski, MBA '77, president of the Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York, says that, for him, becoming a UB Believer and supporting the university's expansion plans was a "no-brainer" on a variety of levels. "Our business depends on a steady stream of new UB professional graduates to keep us competitive in an industry with extreme labor shortages," Zielinski says. "Our relationship with UB interns and new graduates not only gives us a head start on recruiting, but also stimulates us with new ideas and a lot of energy."
The expansion of UB faculty, staff, students and support services creates a new market to draw upon, according to Zielinski. "Everyone needs healthcare," he says. "And there will also be a spin-off market from the new businesses and jobs created by UB's research and incubator activities."
"What is so exciting about UB 2020 is that there is finally one idea, one initiative, that we can get our arms around and embrace."
- Sherry Sutton, CEL '94, President, Sassy Design Group
There's a personal element in it, too, Zielinski acknowledges. "Enhancing the standing of the School of Management and UB as a premier research institution adds value to my degree," he says. "However you choose to look at it, it's a win for me, a win for my company and a win for the Western New York community."
"We all recognize and are grateful for the inherent economic, educational and social benefits that come from having UB as a major employer and leading public university in our region," says Sherry Sutton, CEL '94, president of Sassy Design Group. "But what is so exciting about UB 2020 is that there is finally one idea, one initiative, that we can get our arms around and embrace."
Sutton believes that such an initiative can become a growth catalyst for our bi-national region. "I've been waiting for the right opportunity, and as an alumnus of the School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, I feel I can really be in on the ground floor of something very exciting," she says. As for becoming a UB Believer, she adds, "It took me about 10 seconds to think about what this means for us and sign on."
UB Believer Gerard Mazurkiewicz '69, partner at Dopkins & Company, brings a historical perspective to the university's growth. "When I first started attending UB in 1964, the extent of its reach was Buffalo and New York City," he says. "Now, we have a national and international presence."
Mazurkiewicz believes that the School of Management's favorable rankings have helped attract quality students from around the world. But what's more important, he says, is that many have returned to their home countries to work, making a name for themselves and solidifying the school's reputation all over the globe.
It's not just about the past, though, for Mazurkiewicz. He is optimistic about UB's plans and President John Simpson's vision. "UB as a whole and the School of Management in particular have a tremendous opportunity here," he says. "With entrepreneurship initiatives like the school's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and our proximity to the biomedical corridor, we are well-positioned to distinguish ourselves even more."
Another charter UB Believer is Michael W. Cropp, MD, EMBA '03 and president and CEO of Independent Health. While attending the Executive MBA program at the School of Management, Cropp was impressed with the outstanding caliber of the faculty. In addition, he says there was a culture of sharing, learning and community that was prevalent throughout his time in the EMBA program and then beyond it.
After graduating, he recalls approaching two of his former marketing professors, Arun Jain and Sekar Raju, for help introducing the "Power Eaters" healthy eating program in Buffalo public schools. He was amazed at their willingness to give so much of their own time to the community initiative. "We had these incredibly talented resources lending their expertise to the project," says Cropp. "You just don't see that in every community."
Cropp says that he's a UB Believer because his experience has proven that the relationship is symbiotic. "A stronger UB is better able to attract and retain quality faculty and students," Cropp says. "UB benefits, the School of Management benefits and the community benefits."
Studies show that a strong university can improve a region's economy and quality of life. If these School of Management alumni are correct, the scope of UB's success will go far beyond the region and will positively impact alumni around the world.
To learn more about UB Believers, visit www.buffalo.edu/YourUB.
- Jacqueline Ghosen