Brief Highlights From the Dean's Desk is a monthly roundup of events, accomplishments, and other announcements relevant to the faculty and staff of the Michael J. Coles College of Business. 

November 2021

Research Symposium Returns, Talks Pandemic

The recent Coles Research Symposium on Homeland Security brought researchers from across the country to campus to talk about a topic that’s never been timelier. COVID-19 loomed large over the event, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic. Researchers from KSU, Purdue University, University of Georgia, College of the Holy Cross, Coca-Cola, RAND Corporation, and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center presented on topics ranging from how the pandemic has snarled supply chains to how economic principles can help explain the motivations of conflict. It was especially exciting to see student researchers at the event. Three KSU doctoral candidates from across campus presented, including Coles College PhD candidate DeJarvis Oliver. As always, the event was a joint effort of the Coles College and the Bagwell Center for the Study of Markets and Economic Opportunity. My gratitude goes out to Jomon Paul, Tim Mathews, and everyone who came together to help the Coles College continue making a name for itself as a home for relevant, thoughtful discourse. Learn more about this year's symposium.

Center for Professional Selling Hosts ‘Women in Sales’ Panel

Six talented sales professionals headlined a “Women in Sales” panel discussion on campus, where they spoke with professional sales students about their career journeys and about the realities of working in sales. Among the panelists were two Coles College alumnae – Ashley Thomas, executive sales representative for Liberty Mutual, and Chelsea Whitten-Gachette, regional vice president for Gartner. Both students spoke about how the mentorship they received at the Center for Professional Selling helped set them on their current paths. The panel covered several issues women face in the workforce, including how many are expected to be the primary caregivers to their children while having a career and how all genders are dissuaded from showing empathy in professional settings. This event, organized by the Center for Professional Selling, was an open and frank discussion about the excitement of working in sales and the challenges of being a woman in the workplace.

Accounting Students Lead in Case Competitions 

Students in the School of Accountancy won big this month in two case competitions, bringing home a combined $11,500 in prize money. On Nov. 5, a team of Kennesaw State accounting students – Sabrina Leung and Amna Glissa – came in second at the Aprio Accounting Case Competition for Underrepresented Minorities. The team earned $7,000 in scholarship money. Then, on Nov. 12, Kennesaw State students Sarah Fandrey, Kaylee Hogan, and Kayla Smith, took first place at the 11th Annual Bill Mulcahy Institute of Internal Auditors Atlanta Auditing and Advisory Case Competition. Eight teams from five Georgia universities competed, with the winning team taking home $1,500 each. Case competitions allow students to apply their classroom skills to real-life accounting problems. Congratulations to our students for their outstanding performances.

High School Students Compete in Information Security Event

For the second year in a row, the Department of Information Systems and Security has helped high school students grow their interest in cybersecurity by inviting them to participate in a Capture the Flag competition. No, the students were not running into each other’s bases trying to make off with a piece of red ribbon. Instead, they were competing in a “Jeopardy!-style” event where they would select information security challenges from a list of categories and then try to solve them before the other contestants. Nearly 30 9th-12th graders from across Georgia and the country (the event was virtual and open to all high school students) participated, with the winner coming from right here in Kennesaw. This competition is a labor of love for assistant professor and chief event organizer Andy Green, whose dedication to getting young people excited about cybersecurity is unquestionable.

October 2021

The Coles College Hall of Fame Welcomes Two New Inductees

Michael Leven and J. Larry Stevens recently became the newest member of the Michael J. Coles College of Business Hall of Fame. Both men have improved the quality of our programs and the lives of our students in countless ways, and I am overjoyed to have had the opportunity to recognize those efforts. Michael’s generous gift in 2015 paved the way for the naming of the Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Hospitality, while Larry has served the Coles College and University for three decades as a member of the School of Accountancy Advisory Board, Kennesaw State Board of Trustees, and our very own MBA program. Both men have accomplished great things in their careers – Michael in hospitality and Larry in accounting and professional services – and continue to make a difference to our students. Read more about this year’s Hall of Fame.

First ColesFest is a Hit

The Center for Student Success held its first-ever ColesFest this month, which saw 200 students come out to the Carmichael Student Center to learn about the many resources and organizations available to them as Coles College Students. Several student leaders, including Student Government Association President and accounting major Amani Johnson, shared their Coles College success stories with the crowd. I was especially happy to see faculty and staff from each of our departments engaging with curious students, and was excited that so many representatives from University-wide organizations like The Writing Center, UITS, and the Division of Global Affairs also attended the event. While some of the students were likely attracted to the event by the promise of snacks and giveaways, I’m confident they all left energized about their Coles College experience.

Coles College Launches ‘Strictly Business’ Blog

This month the Coles College launched a new blog dedicated to showcasing the impressive level of business expertise residing within our walls. Called Strictly Business, the blog will feature a mix of posts from me and from members of our faculty on a wide range of business topics. Our goal with Strictly Business is to leverage our unique perspective as academics and, in many cases, current and former practitioners – to provide the professional community with informative, digestible insights on business concepts and trends. Each month will focus on a different theme, with October being entrepreneurship. Future themes include FinTech, the retail sector, and the power of professionals investing in themselves. Read Strictly Business today!

Mike Whitman Named in NSF Cybersecurity Grant

Information Security and Assurance Professor Mike Whitman is one of three Kennesaw State University faculty members named in a recent National Science Foundation grant to teach students to detect cybersecurity threats. In his work as Executive Director of the Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development, Mike joins information technology professor Hossain Shahriar and computer science professor Dan Lo in this $280,000 NSF grant project. The team will develop 10 modules that will help college students solve cybersecurity problems using machine learning algorithms. This grant will further the work of the ICWD and will enhance the career prospects of graduates from Kennesaw State’s cybersecurity program, which is a collaboration between the Coles College, College of Computing and Software Engineering, and the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

September 2021

Coles College Partners with Historic Black College

Earlier this month, the Coles College and the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center signed a memorandum of understanding with Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest historically Black university, to promote entrepreneurship programs at both institutions. Throughout the academic year, we will cooperate on research and a student-faculty exchange, and will work with WU’s Mark and Shelly Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to encourage entrepreneurial practices. Coles College advisory board member and WU alumnus Mark Wilson was instrumental in facilitating this connection. Mark is an accomplished entrepreneur and is the founder of Chime Solutions, a small business outsourcing services provider. Through this partnership with WU, both of our universities will benefit from the strengths of the other.

Two Coles Faculty Inducted into PhD Project Hall of Fame

The PhD Project, an organization devoted to encouraging minorities to pursue doctoral education and become business professors, has named Coles College of Business faculty Leila Borders and Adriane Randolph to their Hall of Fame, recognizing their contributions to their fields and to the PhD Project’s cause. Leila, who recently retired from Kennesaw State after 13 years as professor of marketing and professional sales, has been highly active with the Atlantic Marketing Association, even spearheading an initiative to invite undergraduate students to their annual conference. Adriane, who is a professor of information systems and executive director of the BrainLab, has conducted exciting research on brain-computer interfaces and is currently a consultant on an NSF grant to bring more women professors into STEM. Congratulations to these superstars on their outstanding honor.

Michael Leven to Host Tetley Talk

Fresh off the success of our first in-person Tetley event in 18 months, we will welcome Michael Leven to campus on Oct. 20th to host the next presentation in our flagship series. Michael is a close friend of the college and is the namesake of the Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality. For those of you who don’t know Michael, he has had a remarkable career in hospitality. He was the head of several hotel businesses including Days Inn of America and Holiday Inn Worldwide, founded AAHOA (the nation’s largest hotel owners’ association), and is the former president and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium. Michael’s Tetley presentation is on how effective leaders commit themselves to others. I encourage all faculty, staff, and students to attend. Click here to RSVP.

Sweta Sneha Named a Women of the Year Finalist

Please join me in congratulating Sweta Sneha for being named one of three finalists in the 2021 Women of the Year in STEAM Awards in the STEAM Education category. The 22nd annual Women of the Year Awards ceremony will be held on Oct. 16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Each year, WIT uses these awards to recognize Georgia women working in science and technology who have used their positions to make a difference in the community. As executive director of Kennesaw State’s Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Informatics program, Sweta helps train the next generation of health care professionals to understand the important role of technology in improving patient outcomes. All of us at the Coles College will be rooting for Sweta in October!  

August 2021

Welcoming Students Back to Burruss

For the first time in nearly 18 months, the Coles College of Business welcomed a full complement of students back to the Burruss Building this week as we kicked off the Fall 2021 semester. And, with enrollment topping 8,000 for the first time ever, the excitement in the building has been palpable. I have been especially proud of the way the faculty and staff have come out to help our students ease back into their old routines or, for many students, into brand new ones. Between working information tables, helping students find their way around the building, or even pointing out the best spots for a bite to eat, the Coles College team has gone above and beyond for our students.

PhD Students Complete Summer Bootcamp

The Department of Marketing and Professional Sales rolled out a new Doctoral Students’ Summer Bootcamp this year that helped motivate 10 PhD students to overcome hurdles to completing – or starting – their dissertations. Plans are in place to expand the program to all PhD students. Marketing professors Mona Sinha and Jennifer Hutchins worked with Darlene Rodriguez in the Department of Social Work to develop the curriculum, which focused on teaching students to develop strong researching and writing practices. All nine marketing PhD students participated in the voluntary program with one information systems student joining in. Based on the program’s success, the PhD program has decided to integrate it into the curriculum for all PhD students, while Mona and Jennifer plan to help other colleges at Kennesaw State roll out their own versions.

A ‘Knack’ for Tutoring

The College is now partnering with a new company called Knack to streamline our tutoring process, and I need your help to identify high-performing students to serve as tutors. Partnering with Knack will allow the College to automate the process of matching students with peer mentors. The platform becomes the place where students enroll to become tutors and where students looking for assistance go to find help. Sessions are all virtual and participants can schedule sessions any time that works for them. If you have any students you think would excel as tutors, and who are interested in earning extra money, please recommend them here.

Hospitality Student Invited to Industry Conference

Hospitality management student Alana Agcaoili will attend a major industry conference next month in Atlanta as the recipient of the John Cahill Student Seat at the upcoming CIO Summit, which is organized by Hospitality Upgrade, a publication covering technology in the hospitality industry. At the event, Alana will network with prominent players in the industry and learn about the latest technology trends, which will help in her current role as a procurement specialist for IHG. The John Cahill Seat is awarded each year to one student nationally in a hospitality program at a four-year institution. Previous recipients include students from Penn State and Boston University.

July 2021

Sonia Toson Named Chief Diversity Officer

After two years of leading the Coles College’s inclusivity efforts as our first director of diversity relations, business law associate professor Sonia Toson will now do the same for the University, as she was selected to be Kennesaw State’s interim chief diversity officer. Since stepping into her director role in 2019, she has spearheaded diversity and inclusion training sessions for faculty and staff, supported efforts to encourage more women and minorities to pursue careers in academia, and has aligned the Coles College’s diversity efforts with those of AACSB International. The University has clearly recognized Sonia’s value in this role, and I have no doubt Kennesaw State will continue to embrace inclusion under her guidance.

MBA Alumnus Becomes Parkers’ Chief People Officer

Master of Business Administration alumnus Katie Kerney has become the chief people officer for Parker’s, a major Southeast regional convenience store chain. Katie will guide the company’s culture and all aspects of employee safety and success. A nearly 30-year veteran human resources professional, Katie previously served as Vice President of Learning for their Americas at Marriott International and as director of human resources for Marriott locations around the country. She has received multiple awards for talent development and leadership. Katie earned her MBA from Kennesaw State in 1996 with a concentration in human resources and labor relations. It is always exciting to see a Coles owl flying so high!

MSHMI Turns 5 Years Old

The Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Informatics program is preparing to celebrate its fifth anniversary next month at an event honoring the graduation of its fourth cohort. Launched in Fall 2016, the MSHMI program continues to grow each year with the most recent cohort – cohort 5 – being the largest yet at 52. This innovative graduate program has helped information technology professionals, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers learn to better understand and leverage the connection between information technology and healthcare outcomes. A major part of this success comes from the program’s partnership with healthcare organizations like Wellstar, Cognizant, and even the CDC, as well as from the dedication of its founder and executive director, Sweta Sneha. The College recently published a feature on some of the program’s exceptional students that I encourage you all to read.

More Coles Faculty Tapped as Subject Matter Experts

One thing I enjoy about this forum is the opportunity to call out faculty quoted in the media as subject matter experts. During the last several weeks, Andy Green, Randy Stuart, Roger Tutterow, and Prachi Gala all appeared in the media as subject matter experts. Andy can be seen in a Local 24 story from Memphis, Tenn. sharing insights on password safety, while Roger was recently featured on ABC 10 Sacramento discussing the impact of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown on gas prices. Randy and Prachi were both quoted in personal finance blogs WalletHub and ValuePenguin, respectively. Stuart offered advice on what consumers should consider before applying for a retailer’s branded credit card, while Prachi discussed how a car insurance provider’s market share can influence customer perceptions. It makes me proud to know that editors and readers from across the country recognize our faculty as experts in their fields.

June 2021

New Academic Year Brings Title Changes Across the College

As we move into July, please don’t forget to congratulate the several members of the Coles College family assuming new responsibilities on July 1. Brian Rutherford, Saurabh Gupta, Jomon Paul, and Brett Katzman will each be helping advance the College’s mission in new and exciting ways when we begin the next academic year. After more than three years of significantly growing the stature of our Ph.D. in Business Administration program, Brian is stepping down as executive director and returning to the classroom. Saurabh Gupta, who has worked in the Ph.D. program for years as the information systems discipline lead, will become the next executive director. Also on July 1, Brett Katzman will assume the new role of associate dean for faculty and research, where he will help set our research priorities and oversee faculty support and development. Finally, Jomon Paul’s title will become director of research and assessment, recognizing his expanded role in assessment related to AACSB accreditation. With these changes, I am confident that great things are in store for the College!

Leven School Welcomes New Director

Another exciting development for July 1 is that the Coles College will welcome Steven Phelan as the new director of the Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Hospitality. Steve comes to Kennesaw State University from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, where he is currently the distinguished professor of entrepreneurship. He previously served there as provost fellow for academic innovation, MBA director, and interim department chair of management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. In addition, he was the executive director of Rowan University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the director of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Center for Entrepreneurship. Possessing what he describes as “a bias for action,” Steven is ready to continue the Leven School’s commitment to improving organizational management across the professional world.

MBA Alumnus to Lead Georgia Symphony Orchestra

Taylor Rambo, who graduated with his Master of Business Administration Degree just two months ago, has been selected to be the Georgia Symphony Orchestra’s new executive director. While he has been a musician and performer for years, Taylor credits his success to the essential business skills learned during his time in the MBA program. Taylor began earning his webMBA in 2019 while working for the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C. When the pandemic hit, he returned home to Marietta, where he finished his degree while volunteering with the GSO. His newfound understanding of accounting, organizational management, and information systems gave him the confidence to pursue the executive director position. Taylor’s story speaks to the immediate value our MBA programs provide to their students. Read more about Taylor’s journey.

Industry Experts, Alumni Join New Digital Media Advisory Group

Last month, the new Advertising and Digital Media Advisory Board held its first meeting to discuss ways to keep the curriculum up-to-date and relevant in the recently launched advertising and digital media minor. The committee includes seven leaders from businesses like Nike and Cox Media, many of them Kennesaw State alumni. Tyra Burton organized this committee to help support the new minor launched in Spring 2021. With trends and practices in advertising and digital media – especially in social media – changing daily, she knew having a group of experts heavily involved in the program could only be a good thing. During their first meeting, they outlined skills that students should have to stand out as job candidates and how to better incorporate those into classes. Going forward, this advisory committee will continue to meet each semester. The fact that five of the seven members are KSU alumni means this committee has a definite interest in seeing our students succeed.

May 2021

Coles EMBA Ranked 8th in the World 

CEO Magazine recently released its 2021 Global Executive MBA rankings, with the Coles College of Business once again having the top EMBA program in Georgia. The rankings, released last week, also list our program as No. 2 in the nation and 8th in the world. CEO Magazine named the EMBA program a Global Tier One program for the seventh year in a row and labeled Coles College a “premier DBA provider” for our Ph.D. in Business Administration program. Continually being ranked among the top programs in the world affirms the commitment of our faculty and staff to providing students with a proven path to success.

New Research Magazine Available Now

The 2021 issue of the Coles Research Magazine is available now and features some outstanding work from our faculty, including four papers published in Financial Times Top 50 Journals along with the winners of the 2021 working paper awards. Our faculty – and our stellar Ph.D. candidates – produce relevant, actionable business research every year. The Coles Research Magazine gives us an opportunity to showcase that work. Among the faculty featured in this year’s issue is Jomon Paul, our research director, who received the Distinguished Journal Publication Award for research that appeared in the European Journal of Operational Research. In addition to a tireless researcher, Jomon is the driving force behind the magazine, which is a labor of love for him. Click here to read the 2021 Coles Research Magazine.

Hospitality Industry Leader Joins Advisory Board

Rachel Humphrey, the latest addition to the Coles College of Business advisory board, brings with her a wealth of knowledge about the hospitality industry gained from an impressive career as an attorney representing the industry and, more recently, as head of its largest association. Rachel is the executive vice president and chief operating officer at AAHOA, the hotel industry’s largest trade association, co-founded by Michael Leven, who endowed our very own School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality. Before joining AAHOA in 2015, Rachel spent 20 years as an attorney representing hotel franchises and other small businesses. Hotel Management has named her one of the most “Influential Women in Hospitality” while Lodging Magazine praised her as one of “18 Women Paving the Way in Hospitality,” and these are only a few of her accolades. Rachel’s expertise makes her a valuable asset to the entire Coles College, and will help us continue to grow our new hospitality management program.

Doug Moodie Wins Professional Service Award

Congratulations to Doug Moodie on being named the 2021 Kennesaw State University Outstanding Professional Service and Community Engagement Award winner. Doug, along with the other 11 award recipients, was honored last week at a reception held at the KSU Center. Anyone who knows the lengths Doug goes to on behalf of the Coles College and Kennesaw State understands why he deserves this award. Despite being an active, dedicated educator, Doug volunteers his time and experience conducting service activities at the USG system office as well as at the University, college, and departmental level. He is also former president of the Faculty Senate and actively works to promote internationalization across campus. Service to others is in Doug’s blood, and it’s rewarding to see him be recognized for it.

April 2021

Apple Executive, Coles Alum on the Power of a KSU Education

Coles College alumnus Aaron Gagnon, who is the chief audit executive for Apple, was on campus last week to meet with current Master of Accounting students and talk about how his Kennesaw State education took him around the globe and, ultimately, to the most valuable company in the world. Aaron, who earned his accounting degree from KSU in 1994, has had quite the career. He spent 20 years at Ernst & Young, where he had the chance to live and work in Germany and Japan, followed by three years at Abercombie & Fitch before becoming Apple’s most senior internal auditor. Speaking to students in Fred Masci and Brad Schafer’s MAcc classes, Aaron described how working with his faculty, serving in student government, and helping found Kennesaw State’s chapter of the Beta Alpha Psi honors society gave him the soft skills necessary to achieve his current success. Alumni like Aaron are a great reminder of exactly what Coles College students are capable of.  

Student Managed Investment Fund Wins Ethics Challenge

Congratulations to the Kennesaw State Student Managed Investment Fund for recently winning the CFA Society Atlanta Ethics Challenge, demonstrating that our students understand that successful investing is not just about earning a profit, but doing so ethically. The virtual event had teams from five Atlanta-area universities reviewing a case study to identify ethical challenges in the scenario. They presented potential solutions to a panel of judges made up of professional chartered financial analysts. Govind Hariharan, the SMIF’s faculty advisor and the team’s coach during the Ethics Challenge, says that the importance of ethical investing is baked into everything the SMIF does. This recent victory shows that our students aren’t just ready to succeed professionally, they’re ready to succeed as people.

Return of Tetley Inspires Students to be their ‘BEST’

After more than a year, the Coles College of Business’s flagship Tetley Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series returned this month. Held virtually, the event’s host was Pat Flood, regional operating manager for Supreme Lending, who inspired students to be better leaders by always focusing on relationships. Pat is a highly energetic speaker whose presentation, called Destination: BEST, highlighted the strategies he uses to motivate his staff as well as to relate better to the people in his life. Considering Supreme’s employees have voted it as one of Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Best Places to Work for four years in a row, Pat’s methods have clearly been successful. I am thrilled that our popular Tetley series has returned, and I look forward to connecting our students to more exciting leaders in the future.

Cyber Defense Competition Evolves with the Industry

The 2021 Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition looked a little different this year, and not only because it was virtual. Two new changes – one to the technology and another to how the competition is scored – helped the event reflect the real-world challenges cybersecurity professionals face. For the first time ever, the servers that students defended from simulated cyber attacks were not on campus, but were entirely in the cloud. In addition, teams lost twice as many points as last year whenever their order fulfillment servers were down, reflecting the importance of information security on a company’s bottom line. Competition manager Andy Green introduced these changes so that the 56 students from seven universities participating in the event could have an experience that is as close to the real thing as possible.

March 2021

KSU Finishes 3rd in National Collegiate Sales Competition

The Kennesaw State Sales Team earned 3rd place in the 23rd annual National Collegiate Sales Competition, with team member Adam Sticker also placing third in the individual competition. Kennesaw State virtually hosted 135 competitors from 68 universities across the United States and Canada. Learning lessons from last year’s event – which went virtual with only 16 days’ notice – the staff and volunteers with the Center for Professional Selling worked with event sponsor Gartner to organize the competition entirely over video conferencing. It took more than 600 unique WebEx invitations to conduct the event, which also included a virtual career fair and a speed selling event for non-competitors. While the second virtual NCSC was a success, we look forward to welcoming sales students from around the country in person again next year!

New FinTech Minor Prepares Students for Booming Industry

Building on the success of our relationship with the Georgia FinTech Academy, Kennesaw State has just launched a new minor program in financial technology. Focusing specifically on digital payments, the new program prepares students of any major to succeed in Georgia’s booming fintech sector. The Coles College is partnering with the College of Computing and Software Engineering to offer four new digital payments courses required to earn the minor alongside other classes offered via the Georgia FinTech Academy. As the program’s coordinator, Humayun Zafar has done tremendous work growing Kennesaw State’s fintech offerings and helping us launch the first minor of its kind in the state. With Georgia fintech firms bringing in more than $100 billion in annual revenue, this is definitely a space we want to prepare our students for.

Columbia Law School Spotlights Coles Research

Coles College faculty members Canan and Sunay Mutlu saw their research recently profiled in the CLS Blue Sky Blog, a business publication of Columbia Law School. The article highlights research the pair published last fall on how serving on outside boards of directors affect’s managerial efficiency. Canan and Sunay collaborated with Steve Sauerwald at the University of Illinois at Chicago on the paper CEO Outside Directorships and Managerial Efficiency: The Role of Host Board Capital, which was published in the August 2020 issue of Corporate Governance: An International Review. They found that serving on outside boards often reduced a CEO’s managerial efficiency, but having diverse CEOs from outside firms on their own board can increase efficiency. It’s all a balancing act! Given that these findings can influence how active – or not – an organization’s CEO is on outside boards, it’s no surprise that Columbia Law School promoted the research. See the full blog post.

Marketing Students Help Launch International Music Program

Since last fall, students in Mona Sinha’s MBA international marketing class have been helping the non-profit Amani Project develop marketing strategies for rolling out a new online music education program in several countries around the world. With the pandemic leaving Amani Project unable to raise money for their primary focus of offering free in-person music education clubs to underprivileged children, the organization created the subscription-based WorldStage product to increase revenue to fund their clubs. The MBA students offered their expertise in studying global markets and identifying trends to help Amani create unique plans for launching WorldStage in Australia, Canada, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. Their efforts have been successful, with Amani Project agreeing to continue the collaboration this semester.

February 2021

Online Programs Ranked 18th by U.S. News and World Report

With the pandemic bringing more attention to online programs than ever before, the Michael J. Coles College of Business continues to stand out, with U.S. News and World Report ranking us 18th in their 2021 list of the Best Online Bachelor of Business Programs. Not only is Kennesaw State ranked in the top 20 overall, but the University is also the highest-ranked Georgia institution on the list. US News ranked each university based on four key metrics: engagement, services and technologies, faculty credentials and training, and expert opinion. Even before the pandemic, the Coles College has been recognized for its online degrees in information security and assurance, marketing, and management, with many organizations praising the quality and the value of our online BBAs.

Recognizing Our RDC Award Winners

The Coles College has announced the winners of the 2021 Research and Development Committee awards, recognizing the exceptional research and grant work of our faculty. Congratulations to Minjiao Zhang and Adriane Randolph on being named this year’s winners. Minjiao received the Outstanding Publication Award for her paper, Supply Location and Transportation Planning for Hurricanes: A Two-Stage Stochastic Programming Framework, co-authored by Jomon Paul, which was published in the A+ ranked European Journal of Operations Research. Adriane received the Competitive Grant award for being a lead consultant on the $1 million National Science Foundation grant project, ImPACT: Increasing the Participation and AdvanCement of Women in Information Technology. Congratulations to Minjiao and Adriane on their accomplishments.

Coles Faculty Weigh In on Personal Finance Topics

Two Coles College faculty – Randy Stuart and Stefano Mazzotta – have recently appeared in consumer finance blogs as part of their expert panels offering insights into questions about customer-bank interactions and choosing a car insurance provider. Last month, Randy was featured on discussing strategies for evaluating different car insurance providers, including advising consumers to not put a lot of faith in social media reviews. Meanwhile, last week Stefano was quoted on reminding consumers that any frustrations they have with their personal banks will only result in change if consumers are willing to take bold steps like closing their accounts. Media appearances like these are important in helping the public and the wider business community understand the breadth of subject matter expertise within our walls.

Coles Connections Tackles Research Support, Student Involvement

Started last semester to help new and existing faculty engage with the College, the Coles College Connections series continues this spring, with sessions on research support and student involvement coming in the next several weeks. The next event is on Feb. 25 and will feature Jomon Paul discussing the resources available in the College to help faculty conduct their research. Later, the series concludes on March 15 when leaders from the Center for Professional Selling, Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center, and the Bagwell Center for the Study of Markets and Economic Opportunity share the different ways students can interact with their centers. They will also help faculty demonstrate to students the value that participating in a center can bring to their academic careers. The links to these upcoming sessions – as well as to recordings of past sessions – can be found at

January 2021

Harry Vardis Funds Scholarship for International Students

Coles College of Business faculty member Harry Vardis knows how exciting – and how challenging – being an international student in the U.S. can be. With that in mind, he has launched a new scholarship dedicated to helping international students earning business degrees at Kennesaw State. Harry made a generous seven-figure gift to the University to establish the Harry and Athena Vardis Scholarships, which will provide needs-based support to KSU students, with special consideration paid to international students pursuing degrees with the Coles College. Harry, who is an adjunct professor in our MBA and BBA programs, traveled to the U.S. from Greece to study at the University of North Dakota during World War II. Harry hopes that this scholarship will allow him to share that life-changing experience with a new generation of students.

Alumni Earn Higher Ed Leadership Positions

Two alumni of the Coles College MBA program started out the new year in leadership roles at Southeastern universities. Scott Rule and Leonard Adams have been named chancellor of Louisiana Delta Community College and interim president of Knoxville College respectively. Scott earned his MBA from the Coles College in 1997 and has held many jobs in higher education, including most recently as the president of West Georgia Technical College. Leonard graduated in 2014 and is the CEO of Quest Community Development Organization. Both men are certain to use the exceptional leadership training received in the Coles College MBA program to make a difference at their institutions.

ISS Panel Shows Students the Jobs are Out There

The ongoing pandemic has made many students concerned about their job prospects as they approach graduation. The Department of Information Systems and Security brought in a panel of recent alumni late last semester to show their students that there are still many opportunities available to them. More than 70 current students attended the virtual event, which featured 10 graduates of the information systems and information security and assurance programs. Many of the panelists graduated within the past year, which allowed them to share their insights on the current job market. They assured the audience that IS and ISA jobs are as in demand as ever and recommended attendees look for ways to stand out, like earning new certifications. The event went a long way towards making students excited about the future again.

Coles Faculty in the News

Among the major stories dominating the national headlines are the coronavirus pandemic and the recent hack of government computer systems by foreign operatives. Two Coles College faculty – Andy Green and Melih Madanoglu – have been tapped by the media to offer expert commentary. When governmental computer networks around the country were compromised by hackers exploiting a vulnerability in the SolarWinds IT management system, Andy, a professor of information security and assurance, appeared on WSBTV for a piece investigating whether Atlanta used the exploited software. Meanwhile, Melih, who is our Michael A. Leven Endowed Chair and a professor of hospitality management, appeared on the consumer information site WalletHub to discuss the ongoing pandemic’s effect on travel credit card rewards programs. The appearance of our faculty on local and national media outlets helps solidify the Coles College as a source for expert information and commentary.

December 2020

KSU Joins NSF Grant Project to Improve Diversity in IS Education

Information Systems professor Adriane Randolph is now a consultant on a new National Science Foundation grant project exploring ways to create more opportunities for women to become professors in IS education. Kennesaw State University is one of five universities collaborating on the $1 million, four-year project. Adriane’s role is as liaison between the grant team and the PhD Project, an organization that encourages people of color to pursue doctoral education. As an alumna of the PhD Project and the current faculty advisor for its IS student group, Adriane’s goal is to make sure that efforts to increase female participation in the male-dominated field do not overlook women of color. This grant puts Kennesaw State and the Coles College of Business on the leading edge of the fight to diversify higher education. 

The Princeton Review Ranks MBA Program in Top 50

The Coles College of Business has been recognized by The Princeton Review as having one of the top 50 online MBA programs in the nation, coming in at No. 29. This is the first inclusion of our MBA program on this high-profile Princeton Review listing, and it is the highest ranked Georgia university featured there. The Princeton Review considered several criteria when rating programs, including faculty and staff skill, student support, career services, cost, student satisfaction, and quality of the academics, just to name a few. Our MBA program’s inclusion in such a visible ranking is an outstanding achievement for the University, the College, and for the excellent faculty and staff in the MBA program.

LeanSwift Brings Enterprise Software to the Classroom

An exciting partnership between the Coles College and technology firm LeanSwift will see the information systems program incorporate INFOR, one of the world’s most widely used enterprise-level software systems, into the classroom. Beginning in Spring, students in Wes Rhea’s undergraduate Business Process Management course will have access to full, professional instances of the INFOR enterprise resource management system – which businesses use to handle their customer order management, purchasing, supply chain planning, inventory management, manufacturing, distribution, and financials. Students will also use training materials developed by LeanSwift and IS faculty. The goal is to teach students to assist businesses with INFOR implementations when they graduate. While business clients typically pay more than $40,000 for this software, LeanSwift is providing it to Coles College at no cost. Partnerships like this help guarantee our students are competitive the moment they enter the job market.

Rick and Julie Bennett Establish New Accounting Scholarship

Thanks to the generosity of Kennesaw State Foundation trustee and MBA faculty member Rick Bennett and his wife Julie, accounting majors who are also students in the KSU Journey Honors College now have access to a new scholarship created to honor the Bennetts’ parents. The Bennetts have committed $100,000 to establish the William N. Bennett and Jule Blair Memorial Scholarship to support honors students pursuing accounting degrees. When combined with matching funds from John and Rosemary Brown and the KSU Foundation, the scholarship’s value is $250,000, which means it will be available to students for years to come. I can’t thank the Bennetts enough for everything they have done and continue to do to support Kennesaw State University students.  

November 2020

New Fund Has Coles ‘Igniting New Companies’

A generous gift of $120,000 from tech entrepreneurs Sid and Sophie Mookerji has allowed the College’s Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center to establish the Mookerji Innovation Fund, which will support the development of student and alumni entrepreneurs. To administer the fund, the Shore Entrepreneurship Center has launched its Igniting New Companies program. In addition to providing access to capital for approved projects, the center will also provide consulting and other help to give each venture a shot at success. If you know any KSU students or recent alumni who would be interested in potentially getting some startup funding, encourage them to register for an information session.

Leila Borders Wins AMA Service Award

Congratulations to Leila Borders, assistant chair of the Department of Marketing and Professional Sales, for receiving the 2020 R. Keith Tudor Service Award from the Atlantic Marketing Association, recognizing her years of hard work for the organization. The award specifically calls out her dedication to the AMA’s annual conference – she previously served as track chair, reviewer, proceedings editor, and conference chair – as well as her time last year as AMA president. Established in 2013 and named for fellow Coles College faculty member Keith Tudor, who was AMA’s executive director from 1998 to 2008, the Keith Tudor Service Award recognizes individuals who have made a profound impact on the organization. The award is a reminder of how much Leila has done to promote marketing education.

Coles Students Win Aprio Case Study Competition

Students from the Coles College of Business took the first and second place spots this month in the Aprio Case Competition, which included contestants from universities across the state. The winning team of accounting students Amanda Soriano and Trenity Williams earned $14,000 in prize money. CPA firm Aprio hosted the virtual competition, which tasked students with creating a pandemic business plan for an events company…not an easy task. Projects were scored based on several criteria including creativity, presentation skills, enthusiasm, and use of technology. The second-place team, consisting of Coles College students Tianna Smith, Marisa Daniel, and Lauren Goodrum, will split a $5,000 prize. I would like to thank Aprio for organizing this competition and engaging with accounting students during the pandemic and helping provide for them financially during a very difficult time.

Keith Perissi Pitches MEBUS Program to State Senate

Keith Perissi, executive director of the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program, spoke to the Georgia State Senate recently during a session on ways to expand the influence of the state’s already thriving music industry. Keith was part of a larger presentation to the Georgia Senate Study Committee on Music Workforce Development by Georgia Music Accord, an organization looking to build a Grammy Museum facility in Atlanta to help train college students for careers in music. Georgia Accord is co-chaired by MEBUS program namesake Joel Katz, and the MEBUS program is affiliated with the Grammy Museum. While speaking to the senators, Keith highlighted the MEBUS program’s success at getting students hired in the entertainment industry and how a GRAMMY Museum facility in town would create even more opportunities. I applaud Keith’s dedication to searching for new avenues to success for our students.

October 2020

The Fastest-Growing Careers for Young People are in Business

While we’ve always known we’re preparing students to succeed in rewarding careers, a recent report from financial information resource smartasset confirms it. Three of the fastest-growing jobs for young professionals in the U.S. – including the top spot – are careers that the Michael J. Coles College of Business offers programs in. Using data from the National Bureau of Labor Statistics to look at job growth among young people between 2019 and 2015, smartassets found that the fastest-growing job is information security analyst. At 46,000 young people working in the field, that represents a 171 percent growth. Meanwhile, market research analyst/specialist and purchasing manager are also in the top ten, with 57 percent and 54 percent growth respectively. It’s rewarding to be reminded that our students graduate from the Coles College with the skills to immediately compete in the marketplace. Check out the full smartasset report of the Fastest Growing Jobs for Young Professionals in the U.S.  

Adriane Randolph Wins Distinguished Achievement Award

The University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science has recognized Adriane Randolph with its Distinguished Engineering Achievement Award in recognition of her groundbreaking work on human-computer interfaces. Among the award’s criteria is that the winner’s accomplishments must have directly benefitted society. Anyone familiar with the research Adriane has conducted as executive director of the Kennesaw State BrainLab – such as looking at how human-computer interfaces improve student learning and how technology can assist disabled people – can understand its impact. Adriane is an asset to the Coles College of Business and we are all proud that her achievements have been recognized by her undergraduate alma mater.

Zippia Shines Spotlight on Hospitality Program

Online career research site Zippia recently asked leaders from several university hospitality programs – including our very own Melih Madanoglu – to speak about the industry’s future. Melih, who serves as the Michael A. Leven Endowed Chair and Professor – spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on hospitality. He shared a series of thoughtful insights, such as acknowledging it may be as much as three years for a full recovery and discussing how cities focusing on outdoor tourism haven’t suffered as much as those catering to business travelers. Melih’s comments appeared alongside representatives from the University of New Orleans, Temple University, and Stockton University, which helps our new program gain a national audience. See the full article Experts Weigh in on Current Job Market Trends.

Cybersecurity Program Featured in USA Today

The Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development and Kennesaw State’s cybersecurity degrees were featured in a USA Today special report on homeland security. An article on the Department of Homeland Security’s need for more cybersecurity professionals profiled several programs around the country, including the undergraduate and graduate offerings from the ICWD, which are collaborations between the Coles College, the College of Computing and Software Engineering, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. ICWD executive director Mike Whitman was interviewed for the piece, discussing how more than half of the applicants to the new master’s degree come from backgrounds other than IT.  You can read the full feature beginning on page 73 of the USA Today Special Edition on Homeland Security.

September 2020

Let’s Make Some Coles College Connections

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the launch of the new Coles College Connections virtual series, designed to help new and existing faculty and staff engage with the College. Part Coles College primer, part forum to discuss classroom innovations, Coles College Connections will meet bi-weekly for the next two months. The first session saw UITS demonstrating effective use Blackboard Ally in your classes. Future meetings will focus on the role of initiatives like the Coles Scholars Program and the Flight Academy, and on best practices for giving exams and ensuring academic integrity in the digital world. The goal of the series is to show faculty and staff how much the Coles College of Business has to offer to them and to our students. See the full schedule at the Coles College Connections Homepage.

Kamal Fatehi Earns 7th Fulbright Scholarship

Congratulations to professor Kamal Fatehi for recently receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to teach management courses in Romania. This is the seventh Fulbright award Kamal has received during his career as an educator, which has included numerous other international experiences and accolades. The scholarship is to teach in Bucharest and ASEBUS, a school which has been a close friend to the Coles College Executive MBA program for years. Unfortunately, while Kamal is eager to participate in this scholarship program, the pandemic has complicated issues, meaning he will likely be unable to travel. Still, earning one Fulbright Scholarship is an outstanding achievement; earning seven is remarkable. Kamal’s extensive international experience includes teaching or conducting research on four continents, consulting with the Russian Privatization Center after the fall of the Soviet Union, and winning the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement in 2017.

Cybersecurity Program Ranked Among Nation’s Best

Kennesaw State University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program has once again been recognized by as one of the top online cybersecurity schools in the country, with the independent organization raking KSU’s cybersecurity program 21st. Kennesaw State is the only Georgia school to appear in the top 25 of the 2020 listing of the Best Online Cybersecurity Bachelor Degrees, which ranks programs based on affordability, appeal, and flexibility. Our cybersecurity program was developed alongside the College of Computing and Software Engineering and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and is managed by the Institute for Cybersecurity and Workforce Development. This is the third year in a row that has ranked Kennesaw State among the top 25.

BlackRock Helps Students Better Understand Investing

Investing is a complex topic that touches several disciplines in addition to business. The Coles College has partnered with three other KSU colleges and global investment manager BlackRock to lead a series of student-focused virtual sessions on interdisciplinary trends in global investing. The next session, which addresses questions on how to start investing now to prepare for the post-COVID world, will be held Wednesday, Sept. 23 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm on Microsoft Teams. Leading the session will be BlackRock’s managing director Shayan Hussain along with professor Govind Hariharan and two student leaders from the Student Managed Investment Fund. The BlackRock series, which is presented by the Coles College, the College of Computing and Software Engineering, and the College of Science and Mathematics, is immensely valuable for your students. See the full semester-long schedule of events at the BlackRock series homepage.

August 2020

Successful First Week of Classes

As we wrap up the first week of in-person classes since March, I want to once again thank all the faculty and staff who pitched in to prepare the college to receive students. From posting signage around the building, making classrooms and common areas conducive to social distancing, and embracing a mix of in-person and online instruction, we are all doing our part to make this semester as successful for our students as possible. Going forward, we must remember that the most important part of that success is keeping our campus community safe. I encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the University’s Coronavirus Information & Resources Page, which provides details on everything from available testing opportunities to how the COVID Response Team will respond to positive cases. As we continue the semester in these uncharted waters, we will strive to provide optimal levels of learning for our students without compromising safety.

Coles Student Makes the Cut, Literally

If you attended the welcome event with President Pamela Whitten Monday on the campus green, you also saw Tariq Bradford, president of the Student Government Association and a Coles College Senior, cutting the ceremonial first-day-of-school cookie cake. Tariq, who is double majoring in management and marketing, shared the stage with President Whitten, SGA vice president Jessica Watkins, and Scrappy the Owl. Beginning his tenure as SGA president this January, Tariq has been involved with the organization since 2017, when he served as the senator for student athletics. He is a dedicated student who plans to pursue a management career in the music industry. It fills me with pride to have a Coles Owl leading the SGA. 

Coles Flight Academy Wins Program and Branding Awards

Just one year after launching the Coles Flight Academy, the online student engagement platform has won two awards from Suitable, developers of the software it’s built on. Suitable presented the Coles Flight Academy with the Outstanding New Program Award and the Best Branding Award at their annual Pathways to Student Development conference in late July. The Coles Flight Academy and the enhancements it has helped us make to the Hughes Leadership and Career Program – specifically using a fun, game-like system to motivate students to focus on professional development activities – have helped the College better focus its career preparation efforts. We expect the platform to become more successful this semester as we open it up to students beyond the Hughes program. Congratulations to everyone in the Office of Undergraduate Programs for making the Coles Flight Academy a success.

EMBA Alumnus Named Among 2020 Women in Biometrics

Not long after graduating this spring with her Executive Master of Business Administration degree, Lauren Reed was named one of five 2020 Women in Biometrics by SIA, the world’s largest security industry trade association. Lauren has worked in forensics and biometrics for 20 years. Among her many roles was serving as the first woman director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory at the Defense Forensic Science Center, where she helped implement facial, fingerprint, and iris recognition software to identify potential national security threats overseas. Lauren currently works as senior program director for biometric forensics at IDEMIA National Security Solutions. In addition to winning the prestigious Women in Biometrics Award, she was also named the EMBA program’s outstanding scholar in Spring 2020. Lauren has already had an astonishing career. I’m eager to see what’s in store for her now that she has joined our alumni family.

July 2020

Nearly 300 Students Graduate in July

The Michael J. Coles College of Business today welcomes nearly 300 new members into the alumni family. In total, 271 undergraduate business students earned their degrees today. And while the ongoing pandemic meant canceling commencement ceremonies, that should not diminish the important accomplishments of our students nor the faculty and staff who helped them succeed. The University has launched a Summer Graduate Experience Page, featuring full lists of graduates broken out by college, an address from President Pamela Whitten, and congratulations from administrators and faculty across campus. I encourage you to share this page with your graduating students to show them that everyone at Kennesaw State is proud of what they have achieved. These students have done something amazing in extremely difficult circumstances.   

IS Department Welcomes New Chair

Several new faces have joined the Coles College this month, including Dr. Khawaja Saeed, who became the new chair of the Department of Information Systems on July 1. Khawaja comes to Kennesaw State after 16 years with the University of Wichita, where he worked as a professor of management information systems and associate dean of graduate studies in business. As he settles into his new role, Khawaja has laid out his three broad goals for the IS Department: preparing students for real jobs in security, providing faculty and staff access to professional development, and creating new interdisciplinary opportunities between colleges. While moving from Kansas to Kennesaw has been a bit of a culture shock, he jokes that he’s excited to learn how to hit a golf ball from a curved surface. Please join me in welcoming Khawaja to the Coles College of Business.

Leonard Jackson Joins KSU to Direct Hospitality Program

With the College’s new hospitality management degree program officially launching this fall, it is exciting to welcome the program’s new director, Dr. Leonard Jackson. Leonard has 20 years of experience in hospitality and tourism, both as an academic and a practitioner. He has graduate degrees in entrepreneurship and hospitality, as well as several related professional certificates. His most recent position was professor of entrepreneurship and innovation with Georgia State University. As director of hospitality management, Leonard is excited to help grow the new program into the region’s premiere provider of career-ready graduates in the hospitality and tourism industry. It was this unique opportunity to help launch a new program – as well as the Coles College’s emphasis on encouraging all students to think like entrepreneurs – that attracted him to Kennesaw State. Great things are definitely in store for our first class of hospitality management students.

Melih Madanoglu Receives Research Award

Congratulations to Melih Madanoglu for having his research on multigenerational family businesses recognized by the International Family Enterprise Research Academy. Melih, who is the endowed chair and professor of hospitality, received the Best Paper Award in Contribution to Conference Theme during a virtual awards ceremony last month at the IFERA Conference originally scheduled to take place in Santander, Spain. Melih’s paper, “Family Portfolio Entrepreneurship and Family Firm Survival: A Rejuvenation Across Generations” addressed issues related to the conference’s theme of Generations to Generations: Bridging Past and Future in Family Business. IFERA presented Melih with the award in a unique way – the ceremony was themed like a Hollywood awards banquet. You should all check out the video of Melih’s award presentation on the Coles College Facebook Page.  

 June 2020

Coles College Staff Returning to Campus

Like the rest of the University, the Coles College is now slowly bringing its staff back to campus, with many people already there now. As we take this first step towards a return to normalcy, it’s important to remember that it will not be business as usual. From encouraging masks in all shared spaces, the closure of all break rooms, and the need to maintain social distance from coworkers, things are not going to feel quite the same as we return. I want to encourage everyone to check out the University’s Return to Campus Guide if you haven’t already, and remember that your supervisors are there if you have any questions about changes as we move forward. This is a strange time for all of us, and it is perfectly acceptable to be a little apprehensive. Just know that the leadership at the College and University levels are doing everything to guarantee a safe return for our valued staff.

Summer Enrollment Up 16%

For the second year in a row, the Coles College has seen an impressive jump in summer enrollment. The number of Coles College students enrolled in summer classes grew by 1,355 seats, representing about a 16 percent increase compared to last summer. Increasing summer enrollment to help students graduate on time has been a goal of President Pamela Whitten’s from the start, and one that the Coles College has been committed to supporting. While this success is the result of hard work across the College, I want to specifically call out the efforts of the Office of Undergraduate Programs for reaching out to students to let them know the benefits of taking summer classes. Their messaging energized our students and the results speak for themselves.

Virtual Hospitality Course a Success

With the Coles College preparing this fall to launch its newest undergraduate degree program – the BBA in Hospitality – we have already seen early success with a new hospitality course. An entirely virtual Maymester course saw 33 students learn directly about the hospitality industry from key Atlanta players. Over the course of eight weeks, students in MGT 4490 attended virtual sessions hosted by speakers like Cecil Staton, president and CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, and Gary Hughes, general manager of the Renaissance Hotel Waverly. While the class was originally intended to feature in-person presentations, credit goes to Michael A. Leven Endowed Chair and Professor of Hospitality Melih Madanoglu and the team in the Leven School for their quick action at restructuring the course.  

EMBA Alumni Named Small Business Rock Stars

High Road Craft Ice Cream, a successful chef-focused ice cream business founded 10 years ago by two Executive MBA students as a class project, was recently honored by the Georgia Economic Developers Association as one of its 2020 Small Business Rock Stars. Trained Chef Keith Schroeder and corporate sales professional Hunter Thornton met in Fall 2008 on the first day of their EMBA program. For their capstone project, they created an ice cream business that caters to high-end restaurants and today generates $21 million in revenue. In addition to Schroeder and Thornton, MBA alumnus Adam Hayes also worked with the company for two years as chief operating officer. Today, Keith remains at High Road serving as chief executive officer and continues to maintain a close relationship with the Coles College and the EMBA program. We are all proud of this honor and of High Road’s continued success. Check out this GEDA video featuring all the Small Business Rock Stars.

May 2020

Honoring Our 2020 Outstanding Students

Even though global events prevented us from holding a formal ceremony, the Coles College of Business has selected 18 students as the winners of the 2019-2020 Outstanding Student Awards. One student from each academic program – and two from the Executive MBA program – have received this distinguished honor. In lieu of the ceremony typically held each spring, we have created a page on our website recognizing the recipients. All faculty and staff should also have received an email announcing the winners. I encourage you all to reach out and offer your congratulations. Most of the winners graduated this semester, and likely have strong feelings about not having a traditional awards ceremony. Words of encouragement from the faculty they admire would definitely mean a lot to them.

With Education Abroad Canceled, Faculty Brings Italy to Students

Although all students on campus have been affected by the switch to online learning, the hundreds of students who planned to study abroad this spring are experiencing a unique disappointment. That is why Mona Sinha, who was originally leading a trip to Italy this month, found unique ways to bring Italy to her students. Earlier this month, 15 students in Mona’s comparative business systems MBA course took part in a live, virtual cooking class with the owner of Bellina Alimentari, an authentic Italian restaurant in Atlanta. I had the opportunity to participate in this experience as well. All the students had a great time learning to make pizza and pasta while learning about Italian history and culture. Other cultural activities Mona worked into her course include bringing in local and international wine experts to present to her class and working with Anthony Rizzuto, chair of the Department of Architecture, and Philip Kiernan, professor of art history, to host presentations – all virtually. Because she couldn’t bring her students to Italy, Mona has been determined to bring Italy to her students.

New Coles Research Magazine Available Online Now

The sixth issue of the Coles College Research Magazine was published earlier this month. Featuring summaries of research conducted or published throughout the academic year, the magazine provides a glimpse into the many ways our faculty contribute to the study of business beyond their work in the classroom. Research included in this year’s magazine touches on several fascinating business questions, like how do auditors react to their clients’ suspect accounting practices, what impact does terrorism have on human capital, and does the gender of an organization’s CEO can affect their corporate philanthropy. While we usually provide all faculty and staff with a copy of the Research Magazine at the end-of-the-year meeting, we have made the current issue available online. Visit the Online Coles Research Magazine to read how Coles College faculty are furthering our understanding of business.

PhD Alumni Recognized by their Home Institutions

Two alumni of the Coles College’s PhD in Business Administration program – Luke Hopkins and Joie Hain – have recently been recognized by their home institutions, with one being named to a prominent leadership position. Luke, who graduated from the program in 2013 with a concentration in marketing, has been named director of the James M. Seneff Honors Program at Florida State University’s College of Business, where he is also a professor of marketing. Like our own Coles Scholars Program, the Seneff Honors Program provides an especially rigorous curriculum for exceptional business students. Meanwhile, Joie, also a marketing graduate, was this month named Business Professor of the Year at Clayton State University, where she teaches digital marketing and professional selling to undergraduate and MBA students. These successes reinforce our doctoral program’s focus on preparing academics to further their careers.

April 2020

Coles College Wins Major Sales and Cyber Defense Competitions

Reimagining the National Collegiate Sales Competition and the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition as virtual events didn’t stop Coles College students from winning first place in both. Join me in congratulating the students on our sales and cyber defense teams for their amazing performances. Their victory in the SECCDC, which saw six regional schools competing to represent the Southeast at next month’s national competition, is the first time Kennesaw State has won the competition in its 15-year history. Meanwhile, the Coles College sales team triumphed over 69 other teams from across the nation, giving Kennesaw State its third first-place NCSC finish in 22 years. These competitions reveal our students’ mastery of their subjects, as well as our faculty’s ingenuity at rapidly adapting the events to changing circumstances.

BSides Atlanta a Global Success

The BSides Atlanta Conference typically attracts information security students and professionals from around the city to share the latest trends in their industry. This year, however, taking the event online saw attendance skyrocket to more than 1,000 people from 16 different countries. Information Security and Assurance lecturer Andy Green, who is one of the event’s chief organizers, reached out to the global BSides community who encouraged their audiences to attend. Since attendance this year was divorced from a person’s physical location, IS professionals from around the world took the opportunity to log in and hear from 40 expert presenters, including our very own Sonia Toson and a panel of Information Security and Assurance graduates. While Andy is eager to return to a traditional in-person event for next year’s BSides, he acknowledged that it was nice to help the Coles College gain some international exposure.

Nearly 100 Marketing Students Present at Research Symposium

Last week’s Symposium of Student Scholars saw nearly 350 undergraduate students take to the virtual stage to showcase their research. Just under one-third of those were Coles College students due to Mona Sinha requiring all 90 of her international marketing students to present. While she has encouraged participation in the symposium in the past, this was the first year that it became mandatory. Mona is a passionate advocate for helping undergraduate students develop their research and presentation skills, and this experience went a long way towards preparing these students for life after college. The 90 students presented case studies outlining challenges that businesses founded in one country faced when moving into another. Although social distancing requirements meant the presentations were held on Microsoft Teams instead of on campus, her students did an excellent job discussing their findings with the judges and other attendees.

Owl Venture Competition Recognizes Student Entrepreneur

Coles College student Morgan Turner’s unique business idea earned him the top spot in February’s Owl Venture Competition hosted by the Robin and Douglas Shore Entrepreneurship Center. He will go on to compete in a statewide entrepreneurship competition organized by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Morgan was one of 10 student entrepreneurs across Kennesaw State to submit their business ideas to the Owl Venture Competition, with the winning business representing Kennesaw State at the Georgia InVenture Competition. His business, called Self-Made Prosthetics, manufactures prosthetics to non-surgically alter the appearance of transgendered people assigned female at birth, allowing their body image to more closely match their gender identity. Morgan, an integrative studies major and an entrepreneurship minor, is working with Mechatronics Engineering Interim Chair Kevin McFall and mechatronics student Justin Swiderski to bring his idea to fruition. The Georgia InVenture Competition has been postponed, but Morgan will compete once it is rescheduled.

KSU SMIF Advances in CFA Research Challenge

Just weeks after winning the CFA Institute Southern Classic, the Coles College Student Managed Investment Fund placed in the top 10 at the CFA Institute Americas Regional Semi-Finals, meaning they will compete in the Americas finals tomorrow. Kennesaw State will have to win against four other teams from North and South America in order to advance to the global competition. The CFA Research Challenge tests students on key skills related to financial analysis and ethics. It helps develop their analytical, valuation, and report-writing skills. This is the fourth year that Kennesaw State’s SMIF has participated in the CFA Research Challenge, and the second time they have won the Southern Classic. Let’s wish our talented SMIF students good luck in tomorrow’s event.


March 2020

Faculty and Staff Prepare for Remote Learning

As current events continue to evolve, I want to thank all the Coles College faculty and staff for your cooperation in taking the necessary steps to ensure continuity for our students. I am appreciative that you all attended one of our two continuity plan meetings last week, where you learned about several technology tools to assist you as the University prepares to move to remote learning. As a reminder, the University has created a series of FAQs specifically for faculty and staff that should answer many questions you may have. You can find those documents – as well as other updates – at While we are navigating uncharted waters, I have nothing but confidence in this team’s ability to guarantee that the Coles College of Business’s students and other stakeholders will continue to receive the excellent level of service they have come to expect.

Student Managed Investment Fund Turns 10

The Student Managed Investment Fund recently celebrated 10 years of active trading with an awards ceremony honoring its exceptional students as well as the faculty and industry partners who have prepared its members for exciting jobs in the financial industry. Held March 5 at The Buckhead Club, the event presented 11 current and former SMIF students with awards recognizing accomplishments like best stock selection, outstanding analyst, and market excellence. Current students also had an excellent opportunity to network with alumni and finance professionals. One of the event’s highlights was a fireside chat with Marc Lasry, co-founder and CEO of Avenue Capital and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, and Dennis Lockhart, former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Formed thanks to a generous $100,000 from Henssler Financial, Kennesaw State’s SMIF has gone on to win multiple national competitions and place students in jobs at high-profile financial organizations.

Marketing Students Win Two Competitions

Kennesaw Marketing Association students have taken the top prize at two separate competitions in recent weeks, including one that could directly lead to new career opportunities for the winners. Lenny Jiminez, Laura Stallings, and Amber Griffin won first place in the Amazon Case Competition at last month’s Morehouse Marketing Conclave. Representatives from the e-commerce giant judged the competition, choosing our students’ marketing plan over plans from students at Morehouse College and North Carolina A&T. The winners received Amazon Alexa devices and were invited to interview for marketing and HR jobs at Amazon. Lenny and Laura were also winners at this month’s Digital Marketing Competition sponsored by Solid Source Realty. Competing against teams from Kennesaw State, Clayton State, and Morehouse College, the two won first place and the award for best strategy. These victories are a testament to the quality of our students and to the value of a Coles College education.

Accounting, EMBA Programs Earn Recognition

The Coles College of Business earned some important international recognition in recent weeks, with CEO Magazine ranking the Executive MBA program No. 1 in Georgia and Brigham Young University listing Kennesaw State University as one of the top institutions in the world for accounting research. CEO Magazine’s rank is based on several criteria, including quality of faculty, class size, and professional development opportunities. Meanwhile, BYU’s annual ranking of university research output in 12 top accounting journals during the last six years ranks Kennesaw State 61st out of more than 800 global institutions. Eight Coles College faculty are also among the top 1,000 most-published accounting researchers in the world. These rankings speak to the College’s diverse strengths and its ability to lead the way on multiple fronts.

February 2020

A Message From the Dean

When I accepted the role of interim dean last February, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I experienced was an exciting year of collaborating with faculty, staff, students, and community partners to advance key initiatives across the College. Now, as I begin my tenure as dean, I will maintain that level of collaboration as we work to launch two new degree programs in the fall and continue our efforts to establish Kennesaw State University as one of the top R2 research institutions in the country. I am honored to have this chance to serve as your dean. I promise to dedicate myself to creating academic opportunities for our students, providing training and support for our faculty and staff, and building beneficial partnerships with the business community.

Hospitality and Cybersecurity Degrees Approved

The Coles College is adding two new degree programs to its already-comprehensive portfolio this fall. Last week, the Board of Regents approved the creation of a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management and a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. The hospitality degree will be aided by a generous contribution from Michael Leven, former chairman and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium and the namesake of the Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Hospitality. Meanwhile, the MS in Cybersecurity is the latest initiative of the Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development, a collaboration between the Coles College, the College of Computing and Software Engineering, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Both degrees will allow the College to meet the employment needs of two fast-growing industries.

Coles College Renews AACSB Accreditation

Following an extensive quality review, the Coles College once again earned accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This honor comes after countless faculty and staff worked tirelessly in the fall to help tell the College’s story to the AACSB. Between compiling the detailed written report and attending meetings with AACSB representatives during their on-campus visit, their efforts demonstrated the College’s dedication to its students and to continuous improvement. The AACSB renewed the Coles College’s accreditation in business and in accounting, meaning we remain one of the 2 percent of business schools worldwide accredited in both. Given the outstanding work of our team during this process, I have no doubt that we will be prepared for success again during the next renewal period in five years.

Emmy-Winning Reporter, Foreign Diplomat Headline Tetley Series

The College is hosting two unique presenters this semester as part of the Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series: Emmy-winning journalist John Stossel and Nadia Theodore, the consul general of Canada for the Southeastern United States. John should be familiar to many of us for his 28-year career as a consumer reporter for 20/20 on ABC. Nadia has been in the Canadian Civil Service since 2000 and, in her role as consul general, works to build business and cultural connections between the U.S. and Canada. While both speakers have very different backgrounds, each offers valuable perspectives on what qualities make a strong leader. Demonstrating the multiple forms leadership can take has been one of the primary goals of the Tetley Distinguished Leader Series since it was established 30 years ago. Please encourage your students to attend John Stossel’s presentation on March 13 and Nadia Theodore’s on April 16. 

January 2020 

Dana Hermanson Earns Outstanding Educator Award

Join me in congratulating longtime accounting professor Dana Hermanson for recently receiving the Outstanding Educator Award from the American Accounting Association’s Auditing Section. The award celebrates Dana’s excellence in the classroom and his prolific body of research. He accepted the award on Friday, Jan. 17, at the AAA Auditing Section’s midyear meeting in Houston, Texas. Dana is one of the most accomplished accounting researchers in the world. He has published more than 100 papers on accounting fraud, corporate governance, and doctoral accounting education, and has been cited more than 11,000 times. In 2018, Brigham Young University named him as the 24th most productive accounting researcher in the world. It is an honor to have an educator and researcher of Dana’s caliber working in our College. This award is well deserved.

KJUR Features Coles Students for First Time Ever

If you check out the latest issue of the Kennesaw Journal of Undergraduate Research, you will see some familiar faces. For the first time in the journal’s nine-year history, students from the Coles College have research appearing in the publication. International marketing students Clay Wilderman, Rachael Amatriain, and Jackson Lott each have papers in volume 6, issue 2 of KJUR, as does information systems student Kyle Sicard. I am proud of our four students – all of whom have graduated since beginning their research – and want to thank Drs. Mona Sinha and Herb Mattord for helping them develop their projects. Publishing research in a peer-reviewed journal is an amazing accomplishment for any researcher. Doing so as an undergraduate is a great way to jump start their careers. You can access the students’ work by reading the current issue of KJUR.

Adriane Randolph Helps Kick off KSU’s MLK Week

The Coles College’s own Dr. Adriane Randolph was a keynote speaker at last week’s Dr. King Legacy Luncheon, which kicked off a week of events honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Adriane, who is a professor of information systems and the executive director of the BrainLab, spoke about the importance of “Identifying the Superhero in You.” She shared stories from her life growing up as a person of color pursuing a career in STEM, and encouraged the faculty, staff, and administrators in attendance to follow their dreams. University President Pamela Whitten personally invited Adriane to speak at the event, which was organized by Kennesaw State’s Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler. Speaking at the Legacy Luncheon gave Adriane the opportunity to do what she does every day in her classes and in the lab: inspire others to achieve their goals. 

Teaching Expert to Lead Workshop

Next month, a celebrated expert in college teaching practices will visit the Coles College for a two-day workshop that is sure to give you excellent ideas for energizing your classroom. Dr. Harvey J. Brightman, Regents Professor Emeritus of Managerial Sciences at Georgia State University, will lead the workshop “Improving Student Outcomes” Feb. 24 and 25 in KSU Center 401. Harvey taught GSU’s doctoral seminar on university-level teaching from 1976 to 2001, and has directed the Master Teacher Program – a workshop series dedicated to enhancing college-level teaching – for more than 30 years. The workshop will cover understanding your students’ learning styles, organizing courses in ways that hook students, and encouraging students to be critical thinkers. This exciting opportunity is the latest in Dr. Justin Cochran’s learning initiatives program, launched to help Coles College faculty continue to grow as educators. Watch your inboxes for additional details on how you can sign up for this valuable workshop.

December 2019

Coles Faculty Named FinTech Director

With Information Systems Professor Solon Nagesh recently named as Kennesaw State’s new FinTech Director, I want to thank all the faculty who have assisted in helping build student interest in the University’s growing library of financial technology courses. Kennesaw State is one of 26 USG institutions that make up the Georgia FinTech Academy, whose goal is to standardize fintech education across the state and ensure Georgia’s students are prepared for careers in the industry. Solomon is now KSU’s liaison to the Academy. Under his leadership, the Coles College and the College of Computing and Software Engineering are not only building interest in existing fintech courses, they are working to create new ones as well. By helping Solomon spread the word about these opportunities, you are helping improve fintech education at Kennesaw State and across Georgia.

PhD Student Presents Research in Munich

PhD Student Jason Williams is in Germany this week representing Kennesaw State University and the Coles College at the International Conference of Information Systems Doctoral Consortium in Munich, which is one of the most exclusive events of its kind. Jason is one of only 40 students in the world – and 12 from the United States – to attend the consortium, where he will meet with other IS doctoral students to share research and help develop each other’s projects. Jason earned his invitation thanks to his impressive research on the “Theory of Workplace IT.” By looking at how people use technology in their jobs, he hopes to demonstrate which professional situations warrant innovative technology solutions, and which do not. Jason’s experience at the consortium will help him improve his research, and will prepare him for his dream job as an information systems professor.

MEBUS Executive in Residence Leads Music Industry Panel

Last week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle “Business of Entertainment” event featured several Coles College connections, including Bryan Calhoun, director of artist marketing and industry relations for Pandora, who is also the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program’s executive in residence. The event brought together major players in the state’s film, tv, music, and videogame industries. Bryan, who has 25 years of experience marketing popular musicians, led a panel discussion on Georgia’s role in the music business that also featured MEBUS artist in residence John Driskell Hopkins, a founding member of the Zac Brown Band. Since August, Bryan has been working with MEBUS students on artist marketing projects. Bryan’s presence in the classroom – as well as at industry events like “Business of Entertainment” – is another reason why the Coles College’s MEBUS program is recognized nationally for its unique student experience.

Hughes Program Rolling Out Changes to More Students

The changes to the Hughes Leadership and Career program we rolled out this semester to students in BUSA 2150 are expanding to the entire program once we return from the holiday break. Thanks to the Flight Academy engagement platform, the Hughes program is successfully evolving to focus less on graded assignments, and more on enriching, career-enhancing experiences. The team in Undergraduate Programs has been hard at work for quite some time developing these changes, which encourage students to attend more engagement activities, meet with people working in their desired fields, and seek out professional development. As we prepare to roll the changes out to BUSA 3150 and 4150 next semester, we are eager to give more students the opportunity to think critically about preparing for success after graduation.

November 2019

Keith Perissi Joins Entertainment Industry Advisory Board

Keith Perissi, director of the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program, was sworn into the Georgia Film, Music, and Digital Entertainment Office Advisory Board by Governor Brian Kemp during a ceremony at the state capitol. As a member of the board, Keith will have the opportunity to work with elected officials to help shape the state’s policies regarding Georgia’s multi-billion-dollar entertainment industry. The advisory board includes 18 individuals working in entertainment-related fields, with Keith representing education. Keith says his main goal on the board will be to ensure Georgia continues to create new and exciting jobs in the entertainment industry for college students and graduates.

Student Managed Investment Takes Top Prize in Poster Competition

Kennesaw State’s Student Managed Investment Fund recently won first place in the Kaplan poster session competition at the SMIF Consortium Conference in Chicago. Twelve teams from across the country presented posters highlighting their funds’ performance, including Indiana State University, University of Alaska, and University of Georgia. Judges were particularly impressed by the Kennesaw State team’s Sharpe Ratio (returns based on risk), which reflects the fund’s low-risk/high-return performance. The first-place finish also recognizes the team’s well-designed poster and their ability to interact with the judges. Congratulations to students Nicholas Busson, Solomon Dodson, Luis Ramirez, and Thomas Young on this victory.

MBA Students Win Global Supply Chain Competition for 5th Straight Year

For the fifth year in a row, students in the Michael J. Coles College of Business Master of Business Administration program have won first place in the LINKS Global Supply Chain competition. The competition, which tasks students with making supply chain decisions for a fictional set-top box company, is broken up into two separate competitions, called industries, with six-to-seven teams each. While Kennesaw State teams have won for the last five years, this was the first year they won both industries. Team one included students Armon Ansari, Troy Bon, Justin Narcisse, and Chris Posey; and team two included Boakai Dorley, James Lewis, and Scott Pace. Our students beat teams from schools like Georgia Tech, Lehigh University, and Florida Atlantic University.

Cybersecurity Competition Tests Students’ Technical and Business Skills

The Coles College’s Offensive Security Research Club placed third in last month’s Southeastern Collegiate Penetration Competition, which reflects not only their skills at network infiltration, but also at business communication. Eleven regional universities participated in the competition, with Kennesaw State finishing higher than any other Georgia school. The team, consisting of students Emily Gilmer, Zack Marotta, Aaron Russell, MacKenzie Erikson, Arash Negahdar, Armaan Esfahani, and Major Taylor, searched for vulnerabilities in a fictional bank’s computer network. In addition, they had to draft reports to stakeholders across the business outlining the issues and associated risks. The focus on business communication is what sets this competition apart from other cybersecurity events, and what makes our team’s third place finish more meaningful.

Coles College Hosts Cybersecurity Conference

The KSU Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development (ICWD) and Coles College professors Drs. Mike Whitman and Herb Mattord hosted the 16th annual Conference on Cybersecurity Education, Research and Practice at KSU Center Oct. 11 -12. Since the conference's inception in 2004, the Center for Information Security Education, and now the ICWD, have hosted more 300 faculty and student academic papers and presentations. The College publishes these presentations in the KSU Digital Commons. This year, the event featured an industry day where cybersecurity professionals presented as part of KSU Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The following day saw 16 papers presented on a variety of topics including pedagogical- and research-focused cybersecurity developments. Hosting the CCERP each year continues to place the Coles College of Business at the forefront of cybersecurity education. 

October 2019

AACSB Site Visit This Week

Please join me today in welcoming the representatives from AACSB as they conduct their on-site visit as part of the College’s accreditation review. This week is the culmination of countless hours of work from our dedicated faculty and staff. From compiling an absolutely stellar accreditation report to helping coordinate this week’s visit, everyone has stepped up to the challenge of preparing for this important occasion. The review team will be on campus conducting interviews throughout the day before wrapping up their visit tomorrow with a meeting in the President’s Office. Our College’s dual AACSB accreditation in business and accounting is a true differentiator and something we wear as a badge of honor. Thank you to everyone for your work in helping us maintain this proud distinction.

Coles Becomes a Diversity Leader

Associate Professor of Business Law Sonia Toson last month became the Coles College’s first-ever director of diversity relations. This new role will allow Sonia to work closely with various stakeholders to promote diversity and inclusion in the College. In 2015, the White House met with leaders from more than 150 AACSB-accredited schools to discuss the challenges of attracting women and minority students. From that meeting, AACSB created a series of best practices surrounding diversity and inclusion. One of Sonia’s first goals is for the Coles College to become a signatory school in this program, which demonstrates the College’s commitment to these best practices. It is exciting to have Sonia guiding our efforts, and I have no doubt that we will make great strides in diversity and inclusion under her leadership.

Real Talk with Hector Padilla

When The Home Depot’s Southern Division President Hector Padilla spoke to our students earlier this month, he offered excellent advice on how they can achieve success in their careers and lives. Hector was the first fall speaker in the College’s long-running Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series. Drawing from his own experience beginning his career as a floor worker earning $6 an hour, Hector attributed his success to intentionality, relationship building, and lifelong learning. While much of his talk emphasized the importance of hard work, he also warned against the perils of working too much, saying that success doesn’t have to mean 60-hour weeks. It is vital that people achieve the right work-life balance.

College Hosts Two Security-Themed Symposiums

The Coles College hosted two separate symposiums last week – one on social engineering and another on homeland security research – that saw some of the brightest minds in their respective fields sharing their insights with our students. On Wednesday, the Department of Information Systems held a Symposium on Social Engineering featuring two cybersecurity experts discussing how criminals take advantage of people to gain access to sensitive data. The following day, the College’s Director of Research Jomon Paul partnered with the Bagwell Center on the second annual Research Symposium on Homeland Security. This event brought world-class researchers from around the country to present their work on better understanding responses to natural disasters and other threats. The success of both events helps further establish the Coles College’s reputation as a home for innovative thoughts and perspectives.

September 2019

Georgia Aquarium President Shares Incredible Career Journey

I greatly appreciate all the faculty, staff, and especially students who attended the recent presentation from our current executive in residence, Georgia Aquarium President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Handy. Joe shared his incredible career journey with a classroom of students, telling the story of how he went from wanting to be an attorney to helping open and lead one of the world’s largest aquariums. His passion for helping others first inspired him to pursue the law, but he quickly found working in museums scratched the same itch. Joe is a Coles Advisory Board member and an alum of the EMBA program, where he continues to mentor students in the executive coaching program. Joe is a true friend of the College.

How Cybercriminals Hack People

If you’ve ever wondered how cybercriminals are able to trick people and businesses into sending them billions of dollars each year, then you want to check out the Department of Information Systems’ upcoming free Symposium on Social Engineering. On Oct. 9, cybersecurity experts Joe Gray and Jenny Radcliffe will speak on campus to future and aspiring information security professionals about social engineering, which are the tricks attackers use to hack people – not computers – and gain access to their money. Learn more about the Symposium on Social Engineering.

Coles College Launches Flight Academy Engagement Platform

I’d like to congratulate the staff in Coles College Undergraduate Programs for the successful launch of the ambitious new Coles Flight Academy program. The platform, which sees students earning points for participating in development activities, has been active since the first day of classes and is already encouraging students to become more engaged in the College’s programs and to think more about their future career opportunities. While we are still experiencing some growing pains as we work to roll the Flight Academy out to all students, I’m excited to have the Flight Academy become a core piece of the Coles College experience.

Marcus Marktanner Represents Coles College in Jakarta

Dr. Marcus Marktanner recently returned from a visit to Indonesia where he spoke at the office of Dr. Anis Baswedan, Jakarta’s governor, who many believe will become Indonesia’s next president. Marcus was there to present at a workshop on social and ecological market economies. Hosted by the Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta; the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, German political foundation and think tank; and Paramadina University, the workshop received attention from Indonesia’s national media. The experience allowed Marcus to act as a global ambassador for the Coles College of Business and Kennesaw State University.

August 2019

Mike Whitman to Lead Cybersecurity Institute

The Coles College’s own Dr. Mike Whitman is now helping guide the trajectory of the University’s nationally recognized cybersecurity degree program. Mike, who is a Professor of Information Security and Assurance, was just named Executive Director of the Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development, which manages the University’s B.S. in Cybersecurity. The degree is an interdisciplinary program housed within the Coles College, the College of Computing and Software Engineering, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The ICWD – and Mike as its executive director – coordinate with each of the participating schools to schedule courses, hire faculty, and represent the program. Mike has taught ISA at the Coles College for 21 years and is also Executive Director of the Center for Information Security Education. 

MEBUS Featured on NPR

All of Metro Atlanta recently learned how amazing the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program is when Atlanta’s NPR station interviewed Program Director Keith Perissi and MEBUS student Dani Klekot on the July 26 episode of Closer Look with Rose Scott. The in-depth interview touched on the program’s history, its close relationships with entertainment industry businesses and insiders, and its two-year stint on Billboard Magazine’s list of the top music business programs. Dani shared how the MEBUS program inspired her to pursue a career in public relations, citing a visit to Sony Music as part of the program’s annual education abroad trip to London with demonstrating to her the power and creativity possible in marketing and PR. I encourage everyone to listen to the interview for a reminder of how the work we do motivates students.

Distinguished Alumnus Comes Home for Tetley

Coles College alumnus Brian Pendley will return to the Burruss Building in November to host the fall semester’s second Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series event. Brian, who is currently a partner at Ernst & Young, graduated summa cum laude in 1994 with an accounting degree. During his time as an undergraduate, Brian was president of the Kennesaw State Accounting Club (now an official chapter of Beta Alpha Psi) and was treasurer of the Golden Key International Honor Society. Brian has been a member of the Coles College Advisory Board for 18 years, and last year received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. His presentation will be the second of two Tetley events this fall, coming a month after Hector Padilla, Home Depot’s Southern Division President, speaks about the value of career planning.

Celebrating Coles College’s Summer Graduates

Congratulations to the nearly 300 Coles College undergraduate students who received their diplomas at the summer Commencement ceremony on July 25, and to the faculty and staff that helped them reach this important milestone in their lives. In all, 287 Coles College students walked during the ceremony. Of the about 1,100 undergraduates from across the University participating in Commencement, more than 25 percent earned Coles College degrees. I am positive that I speak for the entire College when I say that watching each new graduating class reach the end of one journey and the start of another is a true highlight of being a part of the Coles College and of Kennesaw State University.

July 2019

Georgia Aquarium, Home Depot Headline Fall Tetley Series

The Coles College of Business has booked some solid guest speakers for the fall Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series, including Joe Handy, President of the Georgia Aquarium, and Hector Padilla, President of Home Depot’s Southern Division. Both speakers are trustees with the Kennesaw State University Foundation and have deep ties to the University and the Coles College. Joe, who has 20 years of experience working for cultural institutions, including being a part of the Aquarium’s founding team in 2005, will speak on Sept. 12. Hector, who started his career at Home Depot in 1994 as an hourly store associate before working his way up to Southern Division President, will present on Oct. 3. I ask that all faculty encourage their students to take advantage of these opportunities to learn from two incredible local leaders.

MBA Program Earns Global Recognition

Quacquarelli Symonds – one of the most prominent ranking organizations in higher education – last month recognized the Coles College of Business WebMBA program as one of the top online MBAs in the world. The program was ranked 23rd in QS’s 2019 Online MBA Rankings report, which ranked the top 40 programs based on their student profile, employability of graduates, quality of faculty and teaching, and the overall class experience. Kennesaw State University is the only university in Georgia to make the list. This ranking is the most recent of many earned this year by the program, and serves as a reminder of the exceptional quality of the WebMBA’s faculty, staff, and graduates.

Coles College to Receive Hospitality Industry Scholarship

With the Coles College preparing to launch a new undergraduate degree in hospitality management, AAHOA, the trade association representing the owners of half the country’s hotels, has endowed an annual scholarship for exceptional students enrolled in the program. The Michael Leven and Lee Dushoff AAHOA Scholarship for Compassionate Leadership, named for two of AAHOA’s founding members (including the Leven School’s namesake), will provide valuable tuition assistance to recipients, as well as opportunities to visit the organization’s Atlanta headquarters and meet with the board of directors. The University recently started a fundraising campaign to ensure that the scholarship can support hospitality management students for years to come.

Marketing Program Rises in the Ranks

For the second year in a row, featured the Coles College’s BBA in Marketing program in its annual listing of the Best Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Programs. Coming in at number 18, the program moved up two positions year-over-year. BestColleges rates each institution based on their online marketing degree’s academics and learner support, affordability, and online programming. Ensuring that we provide our online learners with a quality education is an important goal for the College as we move forward, and rankings such as this demonstrate that those efforts do not go unnoticed. 

June 2019

Summer Enrollment Jumps 8 Percent

Coles College saw an 8 percent increase this year in students taking summer classes, following a campus-wide push to encourage summer enrollment. These numbers mean our college currently has the second-highest summer enrollment on campus. Increasing summer enrollment this year was an important goal for President Pamela Whitten, who sees it as a way to help ensure Kennesaw State students graduate within the traditional four-year window. I was happy to see all of the marketing materials around the building and on social media emphasizing to students the value of summer classes in helping them graduate on time. Thank you to everyone who dedicated their valuable time to pushing this important university initiative.  

Cybersecurity Program Graduates First Student

Last month, Ruben Mocuta became the first student to graduate from Coles College’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program. An exceptional student with an impressive work ethic, Ruben is the first in what is sure to be a long line of impressive cybersecurity graduates. He chose Kennesaw State specifically for our first-of-its-kind cybersecurity program, and took an impressive course load in order to earn his degree in two years. Last semester, Ruben became an intern with Home Depot’s Security Operations Center. Now that he’s earned his degree, the company hired him full time as a security analyst/systems security engineer. With more than 200 students in the young program, I’m sure we can expect success stories like this to become the norm.

MAD Lab Plays Role in Securing the Shipping Industry

Representatives from shipping organizations around the world will meet at Coles College’s Modular Agile Development Lab next week to discuss developing technology standards to help improve safety on shipping vessels and prevent costly accidents. The International Standards Organization’s TC8 Software Maintenance committee will be in Prillaman Hall June 18-20. Participants include stakeholders from the U.S., Japan, Korea, China, Germany, and Denmark. The Danish guests are from Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company. The committee hopes to establish consistent standards for how devices like voyage data recorders and GPS trackers share data, which would help investigators better determine the causes of shipping accidents. Dr. Dominic Thomas was instrumental in bringing the ISO to Coles College for this important conference.

Coles College Students Around the World

More than 250 Coles College students participated in education abroad experiences this academic year, with our faculty leading programs in Italy, Ireland, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, Greece, Colombia, and China. In addition to providing incredible insights into other cultures, these programs give students opportunities to gain a wider understanding of international business. Students on Dr. Keith Tudor’s program to Ireland last month met with Fáilte Ireland, the country’s national tourism development authority, while those on Keith Perissi’s Music and Entertainment Business program to London discussed digital marketing strategies in a Sony Entertainment executive boardroom. Offering international experiences is an essential part of a comprehensive business education, and I appreciate all the efforts of our faculty and staff to make these programs available to our students.

May 2019

Congratulating Our Coles College Graduates

On Tuesday, 382 Coles College students entered the Convocation Center, and 382 valued alumni walked out. In addition, more than 100 students who did not attend commencement ceremonies also earned degrees. I am so proud of all of our graduates for their hard work and dedication, and of the Coles College faculty and staff who never waiver in their support of student success. Graduation is always a great time to take stock of the work we do as educators and support professionals. Thank you all for helping our students in the Coles College of Business achieve their full potential.

Awards Ceremony Recognizes Student Achievement

The joint Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society induction and Outstanding Students Award ceremony saw some of the college’s most exceptional students celebrating their academic achievements. We had 66 graduates and undergraduates inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the world’s most prestigious business student honor society. Meanwhile, 16 students from each of Coles College’s academic programs received Outstanding Student Awards. Finally, the event allowed us to recognize the fourth graduating cohort of the Coles Scholars program. Tying everything together was our exceptional keynote speaker and BGS honorary inductee Michele Velcheck, whose story of going from a military police officer to one of Atlanta’s most successful entrepreneurs will surely ignite our students’ ambitions.

Sandy Springs Becomes Home to Third MBA Location

I’m excited to share with you that we have officially launched the third location in our nationally ranked and accredited MBA program. In addition to our on-campus and Cobb Galleria offerings, students can now take classes at the state-of-the-art City Springs Complex in Sandy Springs. Plans for the third location started last April. The University has been working closely with the City of Sandy Springs and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools ever since to launch the program. Sandy Springs is home to one of the highest concentrations of working professionals in Metro Atlanta, making it the ideal choice to offer our MBA program. Students will be able to take advantage of the facility beginning this fall.

INC Pitch Competition Ignites Student Entrepreneurs

The Igniting New Companies Pitch Competition – organized by the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center and Ignite HQ – provided six KSU student entrepreneurs with an opportunity to earn funding for their businesses. Each student pitched their idea to a panel of judges made up of area business leaders, vying for the grand prize of $1,500 in funding, plus three months of free services from the Ignite HQ business incubator. Electrical engineering student Caleb Gilbert won for his business Esgro, a payment application designed for workers in the gig economy. Other businesses pitched during the competition include flushable wet wipes and a café were customers cuddle with live rabbits. It is great to see the college partnering with the local business community to encourage young entrepreneurs.  

April 2019

Coles College Shines at NCUR

I am proud of all the Coles College faculty and staff who stepped up last week to make the National Conference on Undergraduate Research a success, and of the many Coles College students who presented some very exciting research projects. Like marketing major Zahra Deinde-Smith, who explored how racial minorities value privacy in relation to genetic testing, or finance major Alyssa Baird, whose research found that college students are becoming more averse to taking financial risks. It was also fulfilling to see so many Coles College students, faculty, and staff volunteering at NCUR. With nearly 5,000 students on campus from across the country, NCUR allowed Kennesaw State and Coles College to show off our beautiful campus, state-of-the-art facilities, and excellent people.

Granite CEO Rob Hale Inspires Students to Take Chances

Rob Hale, co-founder and CEO of Granite Telecommunications and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, recently shared some valuable advice with our students on the importance of always following their passions. Rob was the latest speaker in Coles College’s Tetley Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series. As one of the most respected and philanthropic entrepreneurs in the country, it was a pleasure to have him inspire our students to take risks and to learn from failure. Rob’s own career has seen its fair share of setbacks – he lost over $1 billion in 2002 when his first company collapsed – but each failure taught him a lesson that helped him succeed later. After the presentation, Rob stayed behind for nearly 45 minutes answering questions from our students and even giving some of them details on how they could come work for him.

KSU Finishes in Top 15 at the National Collegiate Sales Competition

More than 150 sales students from 72 universities were at Coles College during Spring Break to compete in the National Collegiate Sales Competition, where Kennesaw State finished in the top 15. Organized each year by the Center for Professional Selling, the NCSC is the oldest and largest collegiate sales competition in the world. In addition to the traditional sales roleplays, this year’s event featured a speed-selling round as a way to involve the hundreds of students who attend, but don’t compete. In the main competition, Kennesaw State earned 13th overall, while KSU Sales Club President Megan Colapinto took 16th in the individual category. Hosting the NCSC each year is an honor for Coles College, as it allows us to highlight the value of sales as a noble profession, as well as Kennesaw State’s prowess in this area.

Coles Students Place in Cybersecurity, Digital Media Competitions

Coles College flexed its cybersecurity and digital media muscles with two strong showings in recent competitions. Our students finished second in the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition and third at the second annual Digital Media Competition. The SECCDC featured eight universities from across the Southeast competing to guard their computer systems from simulated attacks. Coles College has hosted the SECCDC each year since 2006. Meanwhile, on April 13th, seven teams from three universities participated in the Digital Media Competition, where they developed social media marketing strategies for Solid Source Real Estate, the event’s sponsor. While the Kennesaw State team took third place overall, student Jefferson Beard won the award for best strategy. Both the SECCDC and the Digital Media Competition provide our students with unique opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of the highly-specialized skills learned in the classroom.

March 2019

EMBA Student Recognized at 19th Annual Lessons in Leadership

The 19th annual Lessons in Leadership event recognized senior EMBA student Kirsten Miles as the program’s 2019 Outstanding Scholar. A senior vice president at Bank of America, Kirsten has made a name for herself in the program for being an excellent student and leader. One of her most impressive accomplishments was organizing an effort with 20 fellow classmates to provide mentors for Year Up Atlanta, which helps minimum wage workers transition into more rewarding careers. The speaker at this year’s Lessons in Leadership – an event that provides past and present EMBA students with an excellent opportunity to grow their professional networks – was our namesake Michael Coles, who discussed the value of finding great mentors.

Cox Family Enterprise Center Honors Excellence in Family Business

Eight exceptional family-owned firms received Family Business of the Year awards last month at the Cox Family Enterprise Center’s 25th annual honoration event. Held at the beautiful Flourish Atlanta venue in Buckhead, the event was an evening of celebrating the unique place family businesses have in the economy. Seven businesses took home awards in three categories: resilience (RefrigiWear, Dekalb Farmers Market, and DeNyse), sustainability (CKS Packaging, Beaumont Packaging, and J.M. Huber), and legacy (Blanchet & Calhoun). One company, Wellspring Associates, received the first-ever professional advisor honor, recognizing efforts to advance the family enterprise field. In addition to the awards, the event also featured insightful conversations with representatives of major family businesses like Sheraton Hotels, Purdue Chicken, Jack Cooper Holdings, and DeKuyper Royal Distillers.

Michael Coles Advises Students on ‘Taking on Goliath’

Our college’s namesake returned to campus once again in February to share his inspirational life story with students when he hosted a talk in the Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture series. Referencing the classic tale of David and Goliath, Michael motivated students to take risks while they are young, and not to be afraid of failure. Michael, co-founder of the Great American Cookie Company, has been a friend to the Coles College for many years, and it is always a treat when our students have the opportunity to listen to him speak. He fielded some excellent questions from students asking how they could achieve similar success. His answer was that the students already have the ability inside themselves to succeed; a powerful message that resonated with the audience.

Students Prepare for the Future of Work

The latest presentation in the College’s Learning Initiatives program continued the tradition established last semester of helping students think about new technologies that will likely directly impact their lives as they enter the workforce. Last week, Coles College hosted Jim Nasr, vice president of technology at Synchrogenix, who led a discussion about the future of blockchain technology, and how it could improve data security in financial transactions and the healthcare industry. Organized by Dr. Justin Cochran, the Learning Initiatives program is continuing to grow into something special that exposes our students to exciting new ideas and helps prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.    

February 2019

MSHMI Student Receives Exclusive Scholarship

Fortune Onwuzuruike, one of the rising stars in the Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Informatics program, received the exclusive Richard P. Covert Scholarship for Management Systems from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. He was in Orlando this week accepting the award at the HIMSS Global Conference and Exhibition. Onwuzuruike has shown nothing less than intense passion for learning everything he can about healthcare information technology. He says his parents – both immigrants from Nigeria – have encouraged him to pursue the highest level of education available to him. His mother also works as a nurse practitioner, and has instilled in him a profound respect for the healthcare industry. Onwuzuruike is currently a Security Analyst for Piedmont Healthcare and is a Graduate Research Assistant with Dr. Sweta Sneha, director of the MSHMI program. He was one of only four students nationally to receive scholarships this year from the HIMSS Foundation.

EMBA Student Becomes Atlanta Mayor’s Chief of Staff

A current student in the Coles College Executive MBA program, Carmen Chubb, will become Chief of Staff for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Chubb, who is deputy commissioner for housing at the Georgia Department of Public Affairs for the last 25 years, will help guide the day-to-day operations of Atlanta’s mayor’s office when she assumes the role next month. Chubb is a lifelong learner, having earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia and completed professional education programs at institutions like the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Mayor Bottoms described Carmen as having “a strong track record of leadership.” It fills me with intense pride to see one of our students achieve something as impressive as this, and to know that her Coles College education will play an important role in her success and in the City of Atlanta’s success.

Ben Scafidi Goes to Washington

This week Dr. Benjamin Scafidi was in Washington, D.C. speaking to the U.S. Congress in a panel discussion about public school funding. The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor invited Ben to present at their panel “Underpaid Teachers and Crumbling Schools: How Underfunded Public Education Shortchanges America’s Students.” Ben, who directs the Education Economics Center, is a recognized authority on the topic of educational funding. His research has been cited in academic journals more than 1,400 times, he regularly presents research at national and international conferences, and he has worked with two former Georgia governors to help craft education policy. The purpose of the Congressional panel was to examine whether school funding is to blame for issues facing many public schools, such as aging facilities, high faculty turnover, and falling test scores. Ben’s invitation to this event is a clear indication of the Coles College’s growing national reputation as a leader in business and economics expertise.

January 2019

Remembering Rick Mathisen

With the untimely passing of Dr. Richard Mathisen, the Coles College has lost a dedicated educator who spent the last 30 years improving marketing education at Kennesaw State and beyond. Rick joined the University in summer of 1989 as a full professor following seven years of marketing positions at Southern Company. During the last three decades, Rick established himself as an accomplished researcher of business-to-business marketing strategies and of marketing education. As program chair of the Association for Marketing Theory and Practice, he co-developed an annual conference that allowed marketing faculty from around the world to share their insights on teaching. He also promoted marketing scholarship as editor of The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. Everyone within the Department of Marketing and Professional Sales and the Coles College of Business is saddened by this loss.

The Year of Michael Coles Continues

The 2018-2019 ‘Year of Michael Coles’ continues next month when our College’s namesake hosts the Tetley Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series event on Feb. 26. Please encourage your students to attend, as Michael will be offering valuable words of wisdom for all of our aspiring entrepreneurs. The theme of his presentation will be “Taking on Goliath." He will discuss three critical moments in his life where it looked like failure was his only option. By sharing with our students how he overcame those obstacles, Michael will inspire them to achieve success in their own lives. This will be an informative and engaging event that your students will find great value in attending.

Reformed Fraudster to Speak on Business Ethics

Who is the best person to warn students about the dangers of unethical business behavior? How about someone whose own unethical behavior landed him in prison. On Feb. 19, Coles College will host reformed fraudster-turned government informant Richard Strong, who will lead the presentation “Business Ethics: Justifying Decisions and Impacts.” In 2012, Richard served 13 months in federal prison for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by accepting bribes while working in international sales. He received a reduced sentence because of his cooperation with the U.S and U.K. governments in one of the longest white-collar criminal investigations in history. As someone who paid the price for his unethical behavior, Richard is in a unique position to discuss the importance of business ethics.

Students Design Inventory Management System Implemented by Business

Join me in congratulating Coles College students Jonnathan Palacios and Nejra Lilic for designing an inventory management system as a class project that will be implemented by a local business. The two Information Systems students developed the system using the Python programming language in Dr. Dominic Thomas’ application development course. Jonnathan, who works for Reliable Heating and Air as a senior data analyst, took advantage of a class assignment to make his job easier. While the goal was to simply build a functioning application, Jonnathan saw an opportunity to improve his company’s inventory management system. The company loved the work he and Nejra were doing and has now tasked Jonnathan with rolling the system out in the company. It is amazing to see Coles College students achieving such impressive professional accomplishments while still earning their undergraduate degrees.

December 2018

SPANX Gives MBA Students Real-World Experience with Customer Data

Last week a team of four MBA students became the winners of a 15-week-long interdisciplinary project to analyze real customer data from clothing company SPANX. Five teams of Kennesaw State graduate students competed to develop solutions to challenges the company faces, with the winning team receiving a check for $1,500. The teams included graduate students in business, computer science, information technology, and statistics. This opportunity to learn about business and data analysis by using real transaction records was made possible by Dr. Jennifer Priestly with the Analytics and Data Sciences Institute. Based on the success of this first project, Jennifer is currently working with three other Atlanta-area businesses to offer similar projects in the future.

Coles College Recognizes Beta Gamma Sigma Inductees

The Coles College inducted more than 50 exceptional juniors, seniors, and graduate students into the Beta Gamma Sigma honors society this week. Available only to top students attending schools accredited by AACSB International, membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is an exclusive honor that will create networking opportunities and open many doors for these students. Our honorary inductee was Kristi Johnson, a Coles College alumnus, a partner at CPA firm Windham Brannon, and a member of the Coles College advisory board. I appreciate all the faculty who attended the induction ceremony to support the inductees, and am grateful to Kristi for speaking to the group about the value of hard work, dedication, and positive mentorship.

Four-Year Winning Streak in LINKS Competition Continues

For the fourth year in a row, our MBA students took first place in the LINKS Global Supply Chain Competition, a seven-week simulation that puts students in control of all supply chain business decisions for a fictional company. Schools we finished ahead of include Florida Atlantic University, Kansas University, and the University of South Florida. Each year a small number of students in Dr. Michael Maloni’s core business operations class participate in the LINKS Competition, which requires a significant amount of work from the participants. Michael entered two teams into this year’s competition, with one earning first place in its league, and the other winning second. The students had to make decisions ranging from forecasting demand and setting inventory levels to managing procurement and sales and marketing.

Satya Chakravorty Memorial Fund

In honor of Management Professor Dr. Satya Chakravorty’s recent passing, the Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality established a memorial scholarship in his name. All proceeds will fund scholarships for undergraduate management students. Satya dedicated more than 25 years of his life to helping Coles College students succeed. Now is our chance to ensure that he has the ability to continue doing that for years to come. Donations of any amount are acceptable and appreciated. Visit the Memorial Fund Homepage to make a contribution.


November 2018

Debbie Pike Teaches Students the Power of Branding

I would like to thank each of you for extending a warm welcome to Debbie Pike, a close friend of Coles College and Kennesaw State University, who was on campus this week hosting the latest Tetley Distinguished Leader Lecture Series event. I especially want to thank the faculty who encouraged their students to attend this amazing opportunity to learn from a true superstar in the marketing and brand management space. Between her current role as a principal at Meritage Restaurant Group and her previous roles at Arby’s and Proctor and Gamble, Debbie has learned how brands build relationships with their customers. On Wednesday, she showed students how an organization’s brand can influence everything from how it interacts with customers to how it makes hiring decisions. The Tetley series is one of the College’s flagship events. I am grateful to the the faculty and stuff for your continued support of this valuable series.   

DBA Program Becomes a PhD Program

President Pamela Whiten recently helped us achieve our goal of reclassifying the Doctor of Business Administration program as the PhD of Business Administration. The change, which went into effect in October, reflects the way the DBA program has evolved over the years. While originally conceived as an executive program, the faculty have continued to place more emphasis on students conducting scholarly research. In fact, many graduates have published their research in leading academic journals. Now that the change is finalized, all students enrolled in the DBA program will earn a PhD in Business Administration when they graduate. We are so excited to offer the University’s third PhD program.

Coles Students Shine at Atlantic Marketing Association Conference

In late September, the Coles College sent an impressive 20 students to present their research at the 43rd annual Atlantic Marketing Association Conference in New Orleans. This was the first time in the conference’s history where organizers invited students to present. With nine colleges sending 30 students total, the group of 20 from Coles College was by far the largest. In addition to making up the largest contingent, our students also took home several awards. Clay Wilderman received the Outstanding Undergraduate Case Study Award, Christine Billen won the Outstanding Graduate Abstract Award, and Mizzani Walker won the Outstanding Undergraduate Paper Award. Several Coles College faculty were involved in the decision to highlight student research during the conference, including AtMa Conference Chair Leila Borders and assistant professors of marketing Dr. Mona Sinha and Dr. Jennifer Hutchins.

Natural Disasters and Terrorism the Focus of Coles Research Symposium

Some of the leading national security researchers were on campus last month presenting at the Coles College Research Symposium on Homeland Security. Organized by Dr. Jomon Paul, Coles College’s director of research, the symposium attracted researchers from around the country – such as Dr. Vicki Bier from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Richard John with the University of Southern California – who joined with their colleagues from the Coles College to share insights into preventing and responding to natural disasters, terrorism, and cyberattacks. Jomon was inspired to develop the symposium when he noticed a number of Coles College faculty – including himself – were all conducting research in these areas. The symposium didn’t only include faculty research. PhD students from across campus, including a recent graduate of the Doctor of Business Administration Program (now a PhD program), also participated. The success of the event led Jomon to publish a special issue of the Coles Working Paper Series, and to host research symposiums each fall.

October 2018

Executive in Residence Day is Next Week

I hope you are all encouraging your students to attend Wednesday’s Executive in Residence Day for Michael Coles, where our benefactor and namesake will share his remarkable life story and successful strategies for entrepreneurship. Michael’s selection as this year’s executive in residence coincides with the 25th anniversary of the naming of the Coles College of Business. In addition to learning about business success from Michael directly, all students at the event will receive a free copy of his new book, Time to Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee, and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life, co-authored by Catherine Lewis, assistant vice president for Museums, Archives and Rare Books. The event kicks off at 2:45 with a ribbon cutting for the new Michael Coles exhibit in the Burruss Building atrium, where everyone in attendance will get a piece of cookie cake. The Executive in Residence Day is sure to be equal parts educational, entertaining, and inspiring.

Valery Voyles, Shelby Wilkes Inducted into Hall of Fame

Last night I had the honor of inducting two new members into the Michael J. Coles College of Business Hall of Fame: Valery Voyles, chairman and CEO of Voyles Automotive Group, and Dr. Shelby Wilkes, vitreoretinal surgeon with Atlanta Eye Consultants. The Hall of Fame recognizes members of the business community who embody personal integrity, community leadership, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Valery and Shelby both demonstrate these qualities in abundance. Shelby has an MBA from Coles College and continues to serve on the College’s diversity committee. He is also a former advisory board member and currently mentors a student in the EMBA program. Valery has been recognized many times for her business’s success, including receiving the Cox Family Enterprise Center’s Family Business of the Year Award. Meanwhile, she fulfills her passion for giving back through her support of organizations like the Shepherd Center Foundation and the Cobb and Marietta City School Districts. Shelby and Valery are both worthy additions to our Hall of Fame.

Sweta Sneha Named a Finalist for Statewide Award

Dr. Sweta Sneha was recently named a finalist to receive the Woman of the Year award from Women in Technology, an organization that promotes educational opportunities for women and girls in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. The Woman of the Year Award honors women who demonstrate leadership and vision in business. Sweta, who serves as director of the Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Informatics degree program, is one of three finalists in the Medium/Mid-Size Business category, which also includes educational institutions. She is the chief architect of an innovative graduate degree program that trains Georgians to fill a statewide skill gap, which means her nomination comes as little surprise. The award ceremony will be held Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Georgia Aquarium.

Alumni Learn the Secrets of Building a Personal Brand

The Department of Marketing and Professional Sales hosted an alumni-centric event last week that provided opportunities for networking and a chance to learn valuable business skills from several expert presenters. Gene Hammett, a frequent speaker on organizational culture, offered great insights into how “hypergrowth” businesses operate, while LinkedIn expert Gregg Burkhalter offered tips the attendees could use to grow their professional networks and their personal brands. There was also a great panel featuring Nelie Lynch with Georgia Pacific, Tara Moyet with United Way, and Kristin Bitter with Coca-Cola Company discussing how to develop killer marketing strategies. Events like this are important for keeping our alumni base excited about engaging with Coles College as they move through their careers.

September 2018

Owls Football Team Honors Michael Coles

Visitors to this Saturday’s Kennesaw State University football game against Alabama State will get a special treat when the Owls welcomes our benefactor and namesake Michael J. Coles as one of two honorary captains, along with Kennesaw State’s new President Pamela Whitten. In his role as honorary captain, Michael will have the privilege of doing the coin-toss, meaning the fate of the entire game is literally in his hands. Michael will be joined in the end zone by his wife Donna and by Jim Dunn, Interim CEO of the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees. And if you want to learn more about our namesake, his book Time to Get Tough…How Cookies, Coffee, and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life releases in October. As this year’s executive in residence, he will also be on campus on October 17 speaking to students and signing copies of the book.

Learning Initiatives Program Launches Today

I hope all of our Coles College of Business faculty made it out today to the launch of the new Learning Initiatives Program, which is a professional development project designed to help faculty stay up to date on the latest innovations in teaching. The first presentation featured Mike Stefanick, an Executive Director at Ernst & Young who focuses on emerging technologies like robotics, analytics, big data, and digital platforms. His discussion on “How Artificial Intelligence is Disrupting Work and Will Enable Workers to Thrive in the Next Digital Wave” was an eye-opening look at how AI will change the professional and educational landscape in the coming years. The series continues next month when Deloitte researcher Dr. Kelly Monahan will be in Burruss Building, Room 117 at 1 pm to discuss “Humans + Machines: Not Science Fiction Anymore.” She will also host a student-focused discussion at 2:15, so please let your classes know about this amazing opportunity. I want to thank Dr. Justin Cochran for organizing this exciting new Learning Initiatives Program. Visit the Learning Initiatives Program Homepage.

RaceTrac Kicks Off Fall All-Access Series

Last week, two RaceTrac executives and a Kennesaw State alumnus helped the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center kick off the Fall 2018 season of the hugely successful All-Access Business Series. John Rier, Executive Director of Financial Planning; Dayna Reed, Executive Director of Reporting and Insights; and Kennesaw State graduate Judith Bishop, Supply Chain Continuous Improvement Manager, spoke directly to Coles College undergraduate students about the qualities RaceTrac looks for in new hires. The three also shared their unique career stories and provided details about exciting internship opportunities available with RaceTrac. The All-Access Business Series provides our students with the rare experience of interacting one-on-one with important leaders at some of the Atlanta area’s most high-profile companies. Future All-Access events will feature representatives from Chick-Fil-A, Target, Walgreens, and more. See the full All-Access Schedule.

PWA Teaches Members the Power of Meditation

At last night’s meeting of the Professional Women’s Alliance held at the Cherokee Town and Country Club, attendees learned how they can work meditation into their routines to enhance their personal and professional lives. Jennell Evans, Practice Leader for Leadership Minds and Matters, led the presentation titled Mindfulness and Meditation: Essential Arsenal for Winning the War on Stress. During her discussion, she dismissed many of the misconceptions about meditation and shared how meditating once a day can improve focus and concentration. The PWA is a valuable program organized by Erin Wolf and the Coles College Women’s Leadership Center that sees area businesses working together to help women achieve leadership positions in their organizations. Businesses like ADP, AGCO, Holder Construction, PNC Bank, and more sponsored the event.



August 2018

The Year of Michael J. Coles

Next year is the 25th anniversary of Michael Coles’ generous endowment that gave our college its name. In honor of this milestone, the 2018-2019 academic year at Coles College is “The Year of Michael J. Coles,” and features several opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to interact with our renowned benefactor. Michael gained national recognition by co-founding The Great American Cookie Company, serving as CEO of the Caribou Coffee Company, and setting multiple world records in cycling following a near-fatal motorcycle accident. If you want to learn more about Michael’s incredible story, I hope you can attend his Tetley Distinguished Leader series event in the spring. He will also be the sole presenter at next year’s Lessons in Leadership event, and will be on campus throughout the academic year hosting signings for his upcoming autobiography Time to Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee, and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life (all Coles College students will receive a complimentary copy of his book too). Please join me throughout the year in honoring an amazing entrepreneur and a fierce friend to the Coles College of Business.

Remembering Jack Dinos

Late last month Kennesaw State University and the Coles College of Business lost a dear friend with the passing of Jack Dinos. Jack, who first became involved with Kennesaw State in 1979, was instrumental in the founding of the Cox Family Enterprise Center, the oldest family business center in the world. Having served as president of his own family business – Mocha Coffee Company – from 1958 to 1968, Jack understood the challenges family businesses face. He endowed the Dinos Distinguished Chair of Private Enterprise, which laid the groundwork for what would become the Cox Family Enterprise Center. Jack continued to support Coles College for many years, including endowing the Dinos Eminent Scholar Chair of Entrepreneurial Management, a position I am extremely honored to hold. He is also responsible for the establishment of the Tetley Distinguished Leader lecture series, which Jack encouraged Tetley Tea Company to endow when they purchased Southern Tea Company from him and his brother in 1990. All of this is but a fraction of the amazing things Jack did on behalf of the Coles College of Business. He will be missed.

MSHMI Graduates First Cohort

More than 20 students making up the first cohort from the Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Informatics received their diplomas last month, marking an impressive milestone for the young program, which combines information technology, computing, data analytics and healthcare delivery processes with leadership and management principles. The unique program was borne from a 2009 meeting of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce on the explosive growth of Georgia’s Healthcare IT sector. Hoping to fill these new jobs with Georgia residents, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle called on Georgia’s universities to train students for these positions. With the MSHMI program, Kennesaw State was the first to answer the call. It has been amazing watching this program grow during the last two years; it has enhanced our College’s reputation in the growing healthcare IT industry.

Shore Entrepreneurship Center Focusing on Research

The Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center has hired Dr. Birton Cowden to serve as the center’s first-ever research director. Birton joins Kennesaw State from the University of Massachusetts, where he co-founded the award-winning Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship. He brings with him a wealth of research experience, having had studies on corporate entrepreneurship and disruptive business models published in top entrepreneurship journals. In addition to overseeing the Entrepreneurship Center’s research activities, Birton will also be an associate professor in the College’s entrepreneurship degree program. Birton’s talents will aid the Entrepreneurship Center as it expands into powerful, relevant research, and will help strengthen the Coles College of Business’s position as a leader in entrepreneurship education. 

July 2018

Ken Harmon Returning to the Classroom

When we welcome Pamela Whitten as Kennesaw State University’s newest president next week, we will also have the excitement of welcoming Ken Harmon back into the Michael J. Coles College of Business. Beginning July 15, Ken will return to the College as a faculty member in the School of Accountancy. Ken has done an outstanding job leading the University as interim president during the last five months, providing a consistent voice during a period of rapid change. He is a longtime member of the Coles College family, having previously served as dean and, prior to that, as director of the School of Accountancy. Ken is eager to return to the classroom, and will begin teaching an undergraduate accounting course this fall.

Billboard Names MEBUS a Top Music Business Program

Congratulations to the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program for earning Kennesaw State University a spot on Billboard’s list of the Top 15 music business programs. MEBUS is a truly extraordinary program that gives students real world experience working in the entertainment industry, including arranging externships at companies like EUE Screen Gems Studios, Live Nation, and Coca-Cola Studios, and leading an education abroad experience to London, where students meet with Sony Entertainment executives. MEBUS Director Keith Perssi, Associate Director Daniel Howes, and Project Coordinator Haley-Kate Daykin have put together an exceptional program that provides a business-oriented approach to helping students succeed in the entertainment industry. 

Coles Staff Forum Teaches Change Management

With the Coles College of Business and Kennesaw State University experiencing a great deal of change recently, this week’s meeting of the Coles College Staff Forum – entitled Thriving During Change – could not have come at a better time. The morning-long event was organized in partnership with the Center for University Learning and featured activities and discussions about how we react to changes in our personal and professional lives. One of the key takeaways was that people typically react negatively to change, even if the change is ultimately beneficial. If we can understand this about ourselves, hopefully we can better control how we approach handling change. I want to thank Coles Staff Forum Chair Raushanah Butler for putting together this timely opportunity for the Coles College staff to come together and address this relevant topic.

Showing Off Our Generous Donors

As you pass through the Burruss Building atrium, be sure to stop by our new donor wall near the east entrance. The installation highlights the nearly 500 donors that help make the amazing work we do here at the Coles College of Business possible, and speaks to the value of developing meaningful, long-lasting relationships with our community partners. In addition to listing our generous donors, the piece also features the College’s mission statement, and serves as an important reminder of what motivates all of us to aspire to more.

June 2018

Sheb True and Herb Mattord Assume Interim Leadership Roles

With two Coles College of Business academic departments preparing for leadership changes next month, I want to thank Drs. Sheb True and Herb Mattord for stepping up and providing continuity during the transitions. Sheb has agreed to serve as the interim director of our MBA programs after Dr. Amy Henley leaves Kennesaw State University next month to become Dean of University of North Dakota’s College of Business and Public Administration. Meanwhile, Herb will assume the role of interim chair of the Department of Information Systems on July 1 following Dr. Traci Carte’s resignation from the position. Sheb’s previous experience managing the Coles College MBA programs and Herb’s current position as the IS Department’s Assistant Chair mean that I confidently say that both departments are in good hands while the College works to fill those roles permanently.

Elite Event Rental Wins KSU Top 100

I want to congratulate Coles College senior Clint Crowe and his business Elite Event Rental on winning the 2018 KSU Top 100 business accelerator competition. As the winner, Clint received a $5,000 cash prize along with ongoing entrepreneurial support services to help continue to build his already-thriving business. Clint founded Elite Rental six years ago while he was still a first-year student at Kennesaw State University. After volunteering to help set up and breakdown tables at a local barbecue festival, he realized there was a market for organizations needing to rent tents, tables, chairs, stages, and more for their official functions, and started a business to meet that demand. Winning the KSU Top 100 is the culmination of a six-month process that saw Clint work alongside 99 other student entrepreneurs to learn the valuable skill of pitching their business ideas to potential investors. Thanks to the lessons learned during the KSU Top 100, as well as the cash prize, I am positive Clint and Elite Event Rental will continue to thrive.

Enactus Team Earns Top 20 Finish in National Expo

Late last month, the Kennesaw State University Enactus team finished fourth in the semifinal round of the Enactus National Expo in Kansas City, putting them in the top 20 out of 90 competing teams. Our Enactus team, sponsored by Coles College faculty member Dennis Loubiere, presented on three socially responsible businesses operated by Kennesaw State students. These businesses - The Biz Nation, Click-a-Shift, and The Academy – each reflect the Enactus vision that a business can be profitable while improving the lives of real people around the world. Not only did our team perform exceptionally well in the competition, but several members of the team received job offers from sponsors while at the event. It fills me with pride to have the Coles College of Business associated with an organization like Enactus that encourages young people to use business acumen to make the world a better place.

MAcc Students Learn About Public Policy from the Source

Fifty-four Master of Accounting students recently returned from a weeklong experience in Washington, D.C. where they had the opportunity to study the close relationship between public policy and the accounting profession. Each year the MAcc program takes its students to DC for an intensive five-day course on accounting and public policy. The experience is one of the cornerstones of the MAcc degree program, and serves to introduce students to the wider implications of the concepts taught in the classroom. One of the chief highlights of the students’ trip to D.C. was their visit to Capitol Hill, where they met with Georgia Senator David Purdue.

May 2018

Joint Award Ceremony Recognizes Student Excellence

For the second year in a row, the Coles College of Business hosted a joint ceremony for our Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society inductees and our Outstanding Students Awards. The event saw some of the college’s most exceptional students gathered together to celebrate their academic achievements. I hope our faculty and staff will join me in congratulating the 50 undergraduate and graduate students whose stellar academic performance earned them a place in the prestigious Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society, as well as the 15 students honored by their program department heads as outstanding students. The awards ceremony also recognized the 16 students graduating this semester with minors from the exclusive Coles Scholars Program. With so many amazing students in one room, our keynote speaker, Mike Smith, a shareholder with the law firm, Baker, Donalson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, inspired them with his valuable advice to never stop learning new things.

MSHMI Students Awarded Industry Scholarships

Four students in in the Coles College of Business’s MSHMI program received scholarships this month from the Georgia chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Each year, GAHIMSS awards the David Cowan Scholarship to graduate students across the state working towards degrees in health information technology. Of the eight Georgia students each receiving the $3,000 scholarship this year, four of them are in the Coles MSHMI program. Dr. Sweta Sinha, founder and executive director of the MSHMI program, worked especially hard to position her students to receive the scholarship. The fact that half of this year’s recipients come from our program speaks volumes to Coles College’s and Kennesaw State University’s prominence in the growing field of healthcare informatics. GAHIMSS presented the scholarships last week at a gala attended by c-suite executives from organizations across the healthcare industry.

UPAC Makes Student Mental Health a Priority

The staff of the Undergraduate Program Student Advising Center[BROKEN LINK] completed a Mental Health First Aid training course last month that will help them identify possible warning signs of suicide and other mental health issues among students. For Executive Director of Undergraduate Programs Angela Evans, the desire to train her staff in this area is a personal one. A friend of hers lost her son – a KSU student – to suicide last year. By training to know what to look for, and how to guide students to counseling or other resources, Angela hopes the UPAC can help prevent similar tragedies in the future. Behavioral hospital Willowbrooke at Tanner hosted the training session, which was offered free of charge as part of a federal grant program. It is wonderful to see our staff taking this much care to safeguard the lives of our students.

Learn More

Amy Henley Accepts Deanship at University of North Dakota

This fall Dr. Amy Henley, who has done an amazing job leading the Coles College MBA program for the past 18 months, will become the Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at the University of North Dakota. In her time leading the MBA program, she oversaw improvements in the program’s recruitment processes and student support services, helped increased enrollment in our MBA and WebMBA programs, and was instrumental in launching our new Sandy Springs MBA offering. In addition to these accomplishments, she has been an exemplary faculty member in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. While I regret seeing her leave, I am positive she will do great things at UND!



April 2018

Top Ten Finish at National Collegiate Sales Competition

Congratulations to Professional Sales students Megan Colapinto and Stephanie Carvajalino for leading Kennesaw State University to a 9th place finish at the 20th annual National Collegiate Sales Competition. Seventy-one teams of undergraduate sales students competed at the NCSC, which is the world’s largest sales role-play competition for college students. Not only did the KSU team finish in the top ten, but Megan also earned 9th place among the 142 individual contestants. Hosted each year since 2003 by the Coles College Center for Professional Selling, the NCSC is an immensely important event that shines a spotlight on the sales profession and on Kennesaw State’s prominent role in promoting sales education. I want to personally thank the event’s founder, Dr. Terry Loe, as well as the CPS staff, all the volunteers and judges, and the corporate sponsors for helping make this event possible. It is a great opportunity for sales students from around the world to display mastery in their chosen career path.

Enactus Team Takes First in Regional Event

The Kennesaw State University Enactus team took first place in their league this week at the Enactus United States Regional Competition in Chicago. This victory paves the way for the team to travel to the National Expo next month in Kansas City and compete for the top spot in the country. At this week’s Regional Competition, Enactus teams from universities around the country presented multimedia summaries of their entrepreneurial projects. Projects the Kennesaw State team presented include Click-a-Shift, an Uber-style app that pairs businesses with on-demand student labor, The Biz Nation, an online entrepreneurial education platform for students in Latin America, and The Academy, a program to teach special needs students to be entrepreneurs. Our Enactus team competed against six other universities in League 3 to win the competition, thanks to the strength of our students and their coach, Dennis Loubiere. I am sure I speak for all of the Coles College of Business when I wish them the best of luck next month in Kansas City!

EMBA Program Still One of the Best

For the second year in a row, CEO Magazine ranked the Coles College of Business’s Executive MBA program as the best EMBA program in Georgia and one of the top programs in the world, according to the 2018 Global Executive MBA rankings released in March. The magazine ranked KSU’s EMBA program No. 7 globally, two spots higher than its 9th place world ranking last year, and graded the program as Global Tier One. CEO Magazine bases its rankings on multiple factors including the quality of our faculty, international diversity, gender parity, and accreditation, just to name a few. The high marks that the EMBA program consistently earns are a testament to the hard work of people like Dr. Alison Keefe, Executive Director of the EMBA program, Allan Bishop, Director of Recruitment and Business Development, and all of the faculty and staff affiliated with the program. Their dedication allows Coles College to continue offering an excellent, career-expanding graduate experience to dozens of working professionals each year.

Coles College Hosts Cyber Defense Competition

The Coles College of Business hosted teams from eight universities last week as they competed in the 13th annual Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Students played the role of network administrators detecting and fighting off outside cyberattacks, while also working to maintain their organization’s email and web servers and respond to everyday business requests. Held at KSU every year since 2006, the SECCDC is a great opportunity for students to develop real-world experience dealing with the kinds of challenges they could face in their professional lives. Our information security and assurance students held two training workshops for this event – one in fall and one in spring – and organized several rehearsals with the help of BBA-ISA alumni. I want to congratulate the University of Central Florida for their first place finish and wish them the best of luck at the national competition.

March 2018

Local Leaders Share Their 'Lessons in Leadership'

Last week the Executive MBA program hosted its 24th annual Lessons in Leadership event. Featuring an exceptional panel of Atlanta-area business and government leaders, the event provided valuable insights into the skills needed to manage people successfully. The panelists were Ike Reighard, CEO of Must Ministries; Allison Moran, former CEO of RaceTrac; Grant Rivera, superintendent of Marietta City Schools; and Susan Nethero, managing director of Golden Seeds. While each panelist had a unique approach to leadership, it was great to see them all agree on many things, like on the importance of listening to the people you lead. In addition to learning about leadership, the attendees – many of them current and former EMBA students – could network with the who’s who local VIPs that made up the guest list. A highlight of the event was current EMBA student Michael Johnson, Business Development Coordinator with Colonial Pipeline Company, received the Outstanding Scholar award for exceptional work inside and outside the classroom. Finally, I want to thank Alison Keefe, Allan Bishop and all of the Coles College staff who helped organize and manage another successful Lessons in Leadership.

Coles College Third in the State in Accounting Research

Rankings released in February by Brigham Young University place Kennesaw State University third in Georgia based on faculty publications in 12 top accounting journals. In total, 17 KSU faculty have contributed to articles published in top accounting journals since 1990, earning the University an overall ranking of 63rd in the world. And, thanks to our university’s large number of auditing-focused faculty – including three married couples all conducting auditing research – KSU ranks 17th in the world for research into auditing and 19th in the world for research into auditing information systems. KSU is also the highest ranked university in Georgia in both categories. Meanwhile, three School of Accountancy faculty are among the world’s top 1,000 accounting researchers. Dana Hermanson is ranked 22nd for research published since 1990. For research published just in the last six years, Divesh Sharma and Vineeta Sharma are ranked 130th and 351st respectively. The BYU rankings clearly demonstrate the Coles College of Business’s dedication to conducting important, business-relevant research.

New Profile of Michael J. Coles

We recently published a new profile on our website of our college’s namesake, Michael J. Coles. Michael’s inspirational life story is one of amazing success and significant hardship. His experiences illustrate the importance of persistence when it comes to pursuing ones dreams. After 20 years in the clothing industry, his desire to spend more time with his family led to a career change that saw him become the co-founder of the world’s largest chain of cookie restaurants – the Great American Cookie Company. Around that same time, a motorcycle accident nearly robbed him of the ability to walk. Not only did Michael overcome this challenge, he also went on to become a world record-holding bicyclist. With his ability to rise above obstacles and achieve great success, Michael embodies the ideals of the Coles College of Business. Read the full profile of Michael J. Coles.

Internship Numbers Break Records

I want to congratulate the Department of Economics, Finance, and Qualitative Analysis and the School of Accountancy on their exceptional internship participation numbers for Spring 2018. Both departments have internship numbers this semester higher than ever before. The School of Accountancy has 95 students working in internships or co-ops, while EFQA has 55. Considering that 305 students across all of Coles College are participating in internships this semester, more than one-third of them are either accounting or economics/finance majors. The top employer is the regional accounting firm Carr, Rigs & Ingram, which hired seven Coles College students. On the subject of internships, faculty should remind their students about the All-Majors Career Fair on March 21st from 12 to 4 pm in the Student Recreation and Activities Center. I owe a special thanks to Kathy Hallmark and the team in the Department of Career Planning and Development for their dedication for helping our students gain valuable real world experience through internships and co-ops.

February 2018

Coles College a Global Leader in Entrepreneurship Research

Coles College of Business faculty have published a prolific body of research on entrepreneurship, which has helped Kennesaw State University become a global authority on the subject. Thanks to a study printed in the latest issue of the Journal of Small Business Management, we now have the numbers to prove it. The authors ranked the top 100 universities in the world based on the impact of their entrepreneurship research, with Kennesaw State landing at the 37th spot. Researchers measured impact by looking at the number of citations per article published in leading academic journals from 2002 to 2013. Kennesaw State ranked higher than any other university in Georgia. In addition, retired entrepreneurship professor Dr. Joseph Astrachan made the list of the top 25 contributing authors. As the relatively new field of entrepreneurship research continues to mature, I am positive that Kennesaw State University and the Coles College of Business will remain on the leading edge.

IS Department Kicks off Semester with Reception, Recruiters

Last week the Department of Information Systems hosted its Back to School Reception, where nearly 100 students learned about their potential futures with the Information Systems and the Information Systems and Assurance degree programs. The event was especially valuable to first- and second-year students who have not yet chosen a major. They had the opportunity to speak directly with IS faculty about the benefits of an IS or ISA degree. Dr. Angela Evans also attended the reception to talk about the resources available to students in the newly reorganized Undergraduate Programs Advising Center, while RaceTrac, the event’s sponsor, sent recruiters to discuss the company’s internship programs. Dr. Traci Carte and the whole IS Department should be proud of their work organizing such a successful event that reminded our students what a degree from the Coles College of Business can do for them.

Online Marketing Degree Ranked 20th in Affordability

Reflecting the Coles College of Business’s dedication to making quality education available to as many students as possible, College Choice ranked our nationally accredited online bachelor of business administration degree in marketing as 20th in the nation in affordability. This recognition speaks highly to the marketing faculty’s commitment to delivering an online marketing program that matches the rigor and prestige of our traditional offering, while providing greater flexibility and convenience. I also want to thank Justin Cochran for his excellent leadership of the online marketing BBA program, and Robert Swift at the Distance Learning Center for making it possible to deliver it to our students.

One Month Left to Make Nominations for Coles Staff Awards

We are just a few weeks away from the March 16 deadline to make nominations for the 2018 Coles College of Business Staff Awards. I want to encourage everyone to think about the passionate, dedicated staff members you work with every day and to nominate those who deserve extra recognition. The five available categories are:

  • Innovation and impact
  • Service, Dedication and Commitment
  • Spirt of Coles
  • Teamwork and Leadership
  • Overall – Distinguished Staff

Awardees will each receive a $1,000 cash prize, with the recipient of the “Overall – Distinguished Staff” award receiving $1,500. Nominating a staff member helps demonstrate your appreciation for all that they do to support the mission of the Coles College of Business.

Click here to learn more about the award categories and to make nominations.


January 2018

WebMBA Ranked 19th in the Country

U.S. News and World Report has once again recognized Coles College’s WebMBA program as being one of the best in the country. Earlier this week they released their 2018 ranking of the Top 20 Online MBA Programs. Our Master of Business Administration program ranked 19th, placing Kennesaw State University higher than any other university in Georgia. While U.S. News and World Report bases its rankings on several factors, including admission selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials, and student services, the most heavily weighted is student engagement. Highly ranked programs like ours create online environments where students can interact easily with their instructors and classmates. This recognition by U.S. News and World Report is a testament to the dedication and hard work of Amy Henley and all of the talented professionals working on our MBA programs leadership team.

2016-2017 Annual Report Now Available

The 2016-2017 academic year was a stellar one for the Coles College of Business, and you can read all about it in the newly published Coles College Annual Report. Featuring a collection of student success stories, faculty and staff highlights, and a breakdown of some of the many awards and recognitions we received during the year, the annual report does a great job telling the Coles College story. Stop by the Dean’s Suite to pick up a copy today. You can also read a digital version on the Annual Report Website. Please join me in celebrating everything we accomplished last academic year!

Attend a Strategic Planning Listening Session

Don’t miss your chance to help shape the Kennesaw State University Strategic Plan for 2018-2023 by attending one of the upcoming town hall style listening sessions in the Burruss Building. Coles College faculty Dr. Tim Blumentritt is coordinating the planning process and is hosting a series of listening sessions across campus over the next several weeks. The next session for the Coles audience is January 18th from 12:30 pm to 1:45 pm in BB 150. If you can’t make that one, there’s one the following week on January 23rd from 3:30 pm to 4:45 pm in BB 380. The goal of these sessions is to give faculty and staff the chance to learn more about the current direction of the strategic plan and to ask questions. KSU’s strategic plan establishes what the University’s goals and priorities are for the next several years. Attend one of the upcoming listening sessions to make sure you are part of the process.

Let ECC Help with Your Next Project

I want to encourage you all to take advantage of an amazing in-house resource we have at Coles College in the Office of Events and Creative Communications. Their job is to support the marketing and communications needs of our departments, centers and programs. Whether you want to create promotional materials for one of your programs, revamp your department’s website, or share your success stories on social media or the college’s external newsletter, ECC’s team of creative professionals wants to help. One of their most valuable services is comprehensive event management. For your next event, ECC can book the venue, create and send out the invitations, assist with marketing, and develop signage and printed material. I recommend you to check out the ECC’s Project Request Form to find out how they can help you today.


December 2017

Cox Family Enterprise Center Turns 30 in Style

Cox Family Enterprise Center – Kennesaw State’s first-ever endowed center and one of the oldest family business resource centers in the world – celebrated its 30th birthday in style last month at a gala event held at Flourish Atlanta. The guest list included family business owners, advisors, academics, and several high profile supporters of the center like Valery Voyles, Chairman and CEO of Ed Voyles Automotive Group, and Tommy and Chantal Bagwell. Former Coles College Dean Dr. Tim Mescon was unable to attend, but recorded a video message recognizing CFEC’s achievement. Founded in 1987, CFEC is the premiere source for education, support, and training to help family businesses succeed. It is an honor to have such a successful and prestigious center within Coles College, and I wish CFEC another 30 years of continued success.

Kathryn Epps Honored by GSCPA

The Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants named the late Kathryn Epps as the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Educator Award, which recognizes an accounting teacher who has made a significant impact on the lives of his or her students. Kathryn served as director of the School of Accountancy from 2010 until her passing earlier this fall. She received the posthumous award in November at the GSCPA’s annual meeting. Kathryn’s husband, Bagwell College of Education faculty member Adrian Epps, attended the event and offered a moving tribute to Kathryn’s many achievements within the SOA. The GSCPA also put together a fantastic video honoring Kathryn’s life and legacy at Coles College, and has pledged to make a donation to the Kathryn Epps Memorial Fund.

Andy Green Interviewed Twice on Cybersecurity

Andy Green, the coordinator for Coles College’s Information Security and Assurance program, recently appeared twice on local news broadcasts in Atlanta speaking as an expert on cybersecurity. In November, WSB-TV reporter Richard Belcher asked Andy to comment on a leaked document revealing potential lax data security practices at MARTA. In October, Andy sat down with CBS 46 reporter Sally Sears to discuss businesses’ vulnerability to hackers in the wake of the historic Equifax data breach, which exposed personal information of more than 140 million people. Multiple media outlets reaching out to members of our faculty for comment and analysis speaks to the prowess that Coles College now enjoys thanks to the knowledge and expertise of our educators.

Watch the CBS 46 Video Here

Watch the WSB-TV Video Here

Coles Alumna to Speak at Student Professional Development Conference

I hope when the new semester begins in January that you will encourage your students to register for the Department of Career Planning and Development’s Student Professional Development Conference, which will be held January 20th from 9:00 to 4:00 in Prillaman Hall. This valuable event will feature KSU faculty and staff – as well as potential employers – presenting on networking, interviewing, resume building, and a host of other topics that all students should know before graduating and entering the workforce. They keynote speaker is Dethra U. Giles, Chief Bridge Architect at ExecuPrep. Dethra is a Coles alumna, having earned her MBA in Human Resources Management and Organizational Development in 2003. While the cost to attend the conference is $10, which includes conference materials, lunch, and giveaways, the information students will receive to help them plan their futures is priceless.


November 2017

Kathryn Epps Memorial Fund Seeking Donations

As we remember our dear friend Dr. Kathryn Epps, I hope you will consider donating to the memorial scholarship fund established by the School of Accountancy and the Epps family. The goal is to use the money raised to fund several initiatives benefitting SOA students and underrepresented minorities – two groups that Kathryn passionately fought for as SOA Director. By making a donation, you will help the SOA and the Epps family continue the work that Kathryn had only just begun. If you would like to donate, please visit the Dr. Kathryn Epps Memorial Fund Homepage. We also ask that you share the page with anyone you know who may want to contribute. Help us honor Kathryn’s memory while making accounting education accessible to more students.

Coles College to Gain Hospitality Degree Program

Beginning in July 2018, the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship will officially become the Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Hospitality with Dr. Robin Cheramie serving as its director. Hoping to develop a new hospitality degree program that emphasizes the business side of the industry, the University recently decided to end the Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality degree program currently managed by the Leven School at University College. Instead, their goal is to develop a new bachelor of business administration program in hospitality at Coles. University College will continue offering CSH classes through 2021 to guarantee that current students in the program can complete their degrees.

Michael Leven, CEO of the Georgia Aquarium, became affiliated with the Culinary and Hospitality program two years ago when he donated a record $5 million to support it. Michael is excited to begin his new relationship with Coles College, and I am excited to add hospitality to the growing list of degree programs offered by our college.

Director of Coles BrainLab Takes the Stage at Two Conferences

Dr. Adriane Randolph showed the 450 attendees of last month’s FutureXLive conference in Atlanta that the Coles College of Business sits at the leading edge of research into brain-computer interfaces. Adriane, Executive Director of the Coles College BrainLab, was a featured speaker at the conference on new and emerging technologies. Her presentation, “Telepaths Among Us: Advances in Brain-Computer Interfaces,” focused on technology that exists right now that allows people to control machines with their minds. Just a few weeks after FutureXLive, Adriane served as a guest speaker at TEDxCentennialParkWomen, an annual conference that shines a spotlight on remarkable women and their innovative ideas. She took the stage with Dr. Melody Moore Jackson, Director of Georgia Tech’s BrainLab, to discuss the experience of being a woman in the tech industry and the joys and heartbreaks of working to help terminally ill patients use brain-computer interfaces to regain some independence. I am constantly in awe of the remarkable work Adriane does in the BrainLab, and I am proud to have her representing our college at these high profile conferences.

UPAC Newcomer Publishes Paper on Helping Foster Care and Homeless Students Succeed

Please join me in congratulating Gregory Lawrance, a new academic advisor in the Undergraduate Programs Advising Center, for the publication of his article “Engaging Foster Care and Homeless Students through Student Employment” in the National Student Employment Association Summer Journal. The article focuses on KSU’s commitment to helping some of our most disadvantaged students – homeless students and students in the foster care system – thrive in a university setting by offering them employment through the KSU CARE program. Gregory recently joined UPAC after having previously worked in the Office of Student Financial Aid. His desire to help all KSU students succeed makes him a great addition to UPAC and to the Coles College of Business.

October 2017

Hall of Fame Welcomes Newest Members

I am honored to recognize Coles advisory board member Doug Shore and executive in residence Harry Maziar as the two newest inductees into the Coles College of Business Hall of Fame. Doug and Harry have been great friends to Coles College and to Kennesaw State for many years. Formerly the president of Zep Manufacturing Company, Harry has offered his guidance to Coles College for two decades as the school’s first-ever executive in residence. Doug, who made a name for himself as the co-founder and CEO of business-to-business publishing company Shore-Varrone, Inc., is an ardent supporter of scholarships and entrepreneurship programs at Coles College. Last year, he and his wife named the college’s Robin & Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center.

Please be sure to visit the Hall of Fame installation on the second floor of the Burruss Building adjacent to the Dean’s Suite to learn more about our esteemed inductees and the ways in which they have improved Coles College.

Coles College to Host Two Year of India Events

Next month, the Coles College of Business will host a roundtable discussion with Terri Bresenham, President and Chief Executive of Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, an India-based division of GE Healthcare. She will address the benefits and challenges of doing business in India. This event is part of Kennesaw State’s Year of India, a yearlong multidisciplinary study of Indian history and culture. Participating in the Year of India gives us at Coles the opportunity to increase campus awareness of one of the world’s largest and most influential economies. In addition to the roundtable, Coles is also working with WellStar College of Health and Human Services, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement to host two faculty from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. These visitors will spend a week in April 2018 on campus meeting with administration, faculty, staff, students, and community members to discuss the value of social entrepreneurship. We will have more information about this visit in the coming months.

Rich Clune Named Interim Director of School of Accountancy

After serving as acting director of the School of Accountancy since July, Dr. Richard Clune has now assumed the role of interim director. This change comes following the unfortunate passing of SOA director Kathryn Epps in September. Rich has done an incredible job leading the SOA through a difficult time these past few months, and I am positive that he will continue to be an excellent leader as Coles College prepares to conduct a nationwide search for the next SOA director. A former audit partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rich has taught and conducted research about internal auditing since joining Coles College in 2001, and serves as director of Coles College’s Internal Audit CenterDr. Steven Smalt has agreed to assume Rich’s previous role as the SOA’s associate director.

Education Abroad Makes Good Business Sense

They met with enthusiastic students who lined up to learn more about exciting opportunities like the Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business program in London, the Coles Ireland & UK International Advertising program, the Business and Language program in Italy, and the new Business, Technology, and Food in India program. At Coles College we understand that international perspectives help our graduates succeed in today’s global economy. That is why we send more students abroad than almost any other college on campus, second only to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Last academic year alone, 250 students studied abroad on Coles College programs. I hope all Coles faculty encourage their students to participate in one of these transformative international experiences.