The Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA) officially joined Excelsior | Ever Upward | The Campaign for Fordham on June 9 in a ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange.
David Gautschi, Ph.D., dean of GBA, told attendees that the school will emphasize the potential of business to improve society.
“Business is a human endeavor that should be viewed as noble,” Gautschi said. “It is central to modern society. It deserves to be centrally located in a university.
“It is complicated; it is controversial. Yes, you will see people make bad decisions and ethical transgressions from time to time,” he continued. “But that proves that this is central and significant to what we’re all trying to do as participants on this planet.”
Gautschi presented four areas on which the school will focus. They are:
• establishing relationships in six regions around the world to better understand the connections between business and geopolitics;
• exploring what it means for New York City to be a money center;
• exploring what it means for New York City to be a media center; and
• advancing the societal value of business.
“What is it that we should be doing for people in business to prepare them to be successful, so they can identify opportunities and protect themselves from threats in an otherwise hostile environment?” Gautschi asked. “Skills? Yes. But also a perspective,” he said.
GBA student Mita Menezes and Daniel Socci, a May graduate from the school, spoke about their experiences.
Menezes, who is pursuing a dual M.B.A. and M.S. in information systems and desires a career in digital marketing and social media, noted that she counts as classmates natives of India, China, Venezuela, Denmark, Nigeria and Taiwan.
“What I love about GBA is that we don’t take anything for granted. We are hardworking, intelligent, entrepreneurial and competitive, but collegial,” she said.
She cited the Alumni Student Career Alliance, which will launch in the fall, as one of the school’s new initiatives.
“We will launch an exciting series of recruiting events, industry panels and networking sessions, and we are so delighted that dozens of recent GBA alumni have signed up to donate their time and expertise. This really is a momentous night for Fordham,” Menezes said.
Socci, a former Marine who served in Afghanistan before making the transition to finance, recalled hearing Gen. David Petraeus define luck as the intersection of preparation and opportunity.
At Fordham, Socci said, he gained preparation through rigor, excellence and ethical decision-making in every class. Opportunity was presented via GBA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps veterans pay for tuition.
“While the government has scaled back some benefits, our president doubled down his steadfastness and dedication, and sought no fanfare for it,” he said. “We veterans certainly appreciate it.”
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, mentioned that in the early 20th century, the Society of Jesus in the United States wrestled with the question of whether it should embrace business education.
“This was the question that shook all Jesuit educational enterprises in North America, and shook them quite seriously. There were faculties that were divided over the question,” he said.
“Since in those days, most of the faculties were composed entirely of Jesuits, you had dining rooms that were divided—men who would not sit together at tables.”
Father McShane said that the Jesuits ultimately opted to embrace business education because they believed the world was an arena of grace where the human family was improved and advanced.
“They came to the realization that they were called to business education, because that’s where leaders were going to be tested throughout their lives. That’s where the real world was to be found, and that’s where men and women would be saved and the world would be built up,” he said.
“The Jesuit stamp on business education puts great emphasis on excellence, upon rigor, a rootedness in humanism and an utter insistence on ethical discourse and ethical decision-making. This is what the Graduate School of Business Administration is all about,” he said.
Father McShane predicted that GBA will never truly be what it strives to be, because it will always exist at the cutting edge of business and the crossroads of life, business and ethics.
“To be true to its vision, it must always be on a journey—moving forward, looking beyond what it has. That’s what we want the Graduate School of Business Administration to be—always in motion, engaging the world, seeing the world as a place of grace and a place where ethical leaders will always count on us,” he said.