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May 2023 Newsletter

This past month, Pitt Business held three different commencement ceremonies for nearly 900 students.

  • The Executive MBA graduation ceremony took place on Sunday, April 16, 2023. Click here to read more about the ceremony and to congratulate the graduates.
  • The ceremony honoring Katz graduate and doctoral students took place on Friday, April 28, 2023. Students and their families descended upon the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to celebrate. Click here to read more.
  • On Saturday, April 29, 2023, undergraduate business students were celebrated at a ceremony held at PPG Paints Arena. To read a full recap of the ceremony, click here.
2023 Alumni Award Honorees

On Saturday, April 1, 2023, six alumni and one corporation were recognized for their contributions to the Pitt Business community. The ceremony and reception were held at the University Club in Oakland.

  • Theresa Boras (BSBA ’03) received the CBA Outstanding Alumni Award
  • Christopher V. Dodds (MBA ’83) received the Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • Brigette Koreny (BA ’10, JD/MBA ’13) received the Distinguished Service Award
  • Abhishek S. Mehta (BSBA ’05) received the International Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Geoffrey Muessig (MBA ’08) received the H.J. Zoffer Medal for Meritorious Service Award
  • Debbie Ricci (MBA ’91) received the Distinguished Alumna Award
  • Accenture received the Corporate Appreciation Award. Albrecht T. Powell accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

To learn more about this year’s winners, click here. If you attended the event, please view this gallery of images taken at the event.


1486 Labs

Entrepreneurship can be scary for many reasons. In a small office above a restaurant on Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, these myths and fears are being squashed.

Located within the University of Pittsburgh campus, and the city’s Innovation District, is 1486 Labs. Here Pitt Business undergraduate students are using their classroom learning to be real-life entrepreneurs. 1486’s first project, called DataFlections, centers on the creation of a digital community for professionals who purchase and manage external data.

“You are given real-world problems and are expected to research and discover real-world solutions,” said Kasey Verna (BSBA ’23), a talent management specialist in the company. “It’s very rewarding, and you are surrounded by thought-provoking and educational content all the time.”

Learning by Doing

The creator of 1486 Labs is Andy Hannah, who received his MBA from Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business in 1992 and has been in the entrepreneurial space for nearly 30 years. His companies have spanned a range of industries including analytics, software, consulting, and materials science.

Hannah wears many hats. He also serves as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and analytics at Pitt, an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) with Pitt Business, president of Othot, Inc., and now executive director at 1486.

“As an entrepreneur and educator, I had no choice but to start something new. I wanted to create a new company based on what I know — that the buying and selling of data is a $1 trillion industry full of inefficiencies, and pain,” he said. “I want to solve those problems. In addition, I wanted to create an opportunity for students to learn about entrepreneurship ‘by doing’ – not just through case studies or lectures. It’s like a med student learning medicine by working with a live patient as opposed to an anatomy book.”

Collaborating on Real-World Challenges

Collaboration is at the core of 1486 Labs. The physical space is set up for all perspectives to be shared. Whiteboards cover most of the vibrant walls and each desktop. The front room of the office is well-lit and overlooks Forbes Avenue, just a block away from Sennott Square, home of the College of Business Administration. As 1486 grows, its space will incorporate more lounging, working, and sharing spaces.

Breanna King (BSBA ’25), who serves as a content manager, said, “This environment is unique because it is constantly changing and evolving. Just like in a real-world business environment, there are always new sets of challenges that pop up.”

Bring Ideas to Life

Hailey Hunter (BSBA ’23), who serves as a marketing manager, recommends this opportunity to all business students. Paid positions are posted on 1486’s LinkedIn account.

“It is an incomparable learning ground for students to get hands-on experience in both data analytics and entrepreneurship– a passion I didn’t even know I had until coming here,” she said. “The organization gives you the opportunity to get your hands dirty and bring ideas to life, all while disrupting and empowering an entire industry. If you like to learn and work on projects that have real impact, this is the place for you.”

All three students credited their experiences with 1486 to help them develop and finetune skills that will advance their careers after college.

“Real-life experience in what it takes to create something from nothing,” Hannah said. “It involves fearlessness in entering a market and creating a niche — and the value of teamwork in an entrepreneurial environment.”

Integrated Learning Fall 22

The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business has been helping students put their in-classroom learning into practice for many years. Katz offers multiple programs and opportunities that connect students to the work they will be doing in the real world. New for Fall 2022, the Integrated Learning Academy (ILA) took hands-on learning to C-suite level heights.

In its first semester, the ILA course students assisted Pitt-affiliated biotech start-up heny Inc., a new company working at the intersection of web3, life science, and digital health. The heny app applies blockchain technology to enable individuals to track the use of their biosamples, learn about their contribution to science, and be contacted if necessary.

The ILA course built up to a live case study, where the first half of the semester prepared MBA students to work with the company. Through heny’s app, the user is notified if medical research uncovers a disease diagnosis or suggests new treatments that could improve or save their lives.

Tom Davis, clinical assistant professor of Business Administration, said: “We are excited to have our students learn from heny given its unique and challenging work. Their introduction to blockchain, biobanking, marketplaces, and patient rights through heny has been invaluable.”

Executive Expertise and Insights

The first half of the course brought C-suite-level executives into the classroom to help students build a strong foundation. Davis led the course with the assistance of Executive-in-Residence Barrie Athol. Athol has extensive global experience in developing and executing transformational strategies and driving business performance improvements. Athol has previously worked with a startup accelerator, so he is familiar with the entrepreneurship and innovation required to launch a new business. Davis repeatedly emphasizes the value of learning directly from those who have worked at a senior level in business.

“These executives are invaluable to running the course,” Davis said, adding, “Barrie is able to bring us that real-world perspective.”

Student Arvind Duhan (MBA and MS in Management Information Systems ’23) said the course provided an opportunity “to speak with many executives, industry leaders, and CEOs, enhancing my ability to think horizontally about business problems.”

He added: “Executives in this course have been especially helpful in building industry know-how and evaluating problems in a comprehensive way. Maintaining constant interaction with senior executives and CEOs during this course helped me realize how to communicate effectively and build mutually rewarding relationships at all levels.”

Pittsburgh and the Life Sciences Industry

When planning the course, the Integrated Learning team wanted to prepare students to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate contemporary business issues in a specific industry or sector. The ILA’s decision to work with heny in 2022 provided a focus on the life sciences industry, an industry in which Pittsburgh is ranked among the nation’s top 15 markets. The company’s leadership team has connections to Pitt and UPMC plus the Katz Life Sciences Advisory Council, a group looking to facilitate a robust understanding of the breadth of business knowledge essential for leading a successful venture in this industry.

Pitt Business students find work in various industries, including the life sciences, engineering, technology, and manufacturing. Duhan said, “This course has helped me better understand opportunities and constraints in the life sciences industry. The life sciences industry innovates at a fast pace due to the convergence of technology and lower regulations.”

Fall 2023 Registration and Other Opportunities

Registration for the ILA course is open to second-year MBA and MS students and will fulfill an experience-based elective credit. The course design deliberately trains the “generalist” who understands how core business disciplines such as accounting, finance, information systems, marketing, operations, and strategy interact. Registration for the Fall 2023 course began in late March.

Integrated learning stems from mixing traditional in-classroom learning and out-of-classroom practice. The Center for Integrated Learning at Katz, established in 2022, breaks opportunities into three categories: integrated curriculum, experiential curriculum, and beyond-the-classroom experiences. Other integrated learning opportunities at Katz include:


  • Digital Bridge Project with Catalyst Connection – This government-funded project will connect students with small- and medium-sized organizations looking to adopt new technologies. Students will provide technical, strategic, and market consulting to agriculture, construction, energy, health care, manufacturing, mining, and transportation businesses.
  • Consulting Field Project – This course teaches management consulting as a problem-solving framework, allowing students to apply the analytical tools and concepts they have learned to real-world problems faced by local, national, and global clients.
  • Six Sigma: Theory and Practice – Students in this course are grouped in teams and work under the mentorship of a Six Sigma Black Belt on an industry client field project to apply the Six Sigma approach for process improvement.
  • Global Research Practicum – A research-oriented course with a study abroad component, in which students engage current international business issues affecting the global marketplace.
  • Practicum in Portfolio Management & Security Analysis – Students manage a live investment portfolio, exposing them to real-world valuation estimation and portfolio management.
  • Katz Super Analytics Challenge – An annual competition internal to Pitt in which students harness the power of data analytics to positively address critical social issues.
  • Many more to choose fromClick here to learn more!
Gerald Anderson, MBA ‘16
Client Representative, IBM

Gerald Anderson is a former scholarship athlete from Mercyhurst University. He is also a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business, where he earned a master’s in business administration degree in strategy, finance, and entrepreneurship. He served as the president of the Entrepreneurship club, until graduation. For the past 4 years, Gerald has been working at IBM as a Client Executive servicing NYC Local Government.

Outside of his professional career, Gerald mentors underserved high school students as part of iMentor NYC. And he advises and mentors start-up companies, small businesses, and non-profit organizations.  Harrisburg is Gerald Anderson’s hometown.

Alexis Bovalino, BSBA ‘17
HR Director, Surefire Management Group

Alexis Bovalino is the HR Director for Surefire Management Group, LP (a restaurant group known for creating and operating award-winning brands: Burgatory, Shorty’s Pins X Pints, and Shorty’s Tap X Taco).

As an HR Department of One, Alexis wears many hats with a focus on hiring, retention, crew engagement, policy, compensation, worker’s compensation, benefits administration, legal and compliance. Alexis grew up in the restaurants and believes the key to operating a successful organization is by taking care of people.

Prior to rejoining the Burgatory team, Alexis worked for Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Corporate Headquarters in merchandising. She credits the organization as a great place to work, filled with incredible teachers, mentors and friends.

In her free time, Alexis fills her evenings with music. She rings in her hometown church’s Bell Choir and sings with Belle Voci, a community-based intergenerational women’s choir focused on connecting song and community through civic engagement.

Alexis received her bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration in 2017 with majors in Marketing and Human Resources Management. Accolades at Pitt include the ‘Share the Vision Award,’ ‘Star of Distinction,’ and ‘Pitt Business Commencement Speaker.’

International Representative for Germany

Emil Lampe, MBA ‘21
Corporate Audit Specialist, Covestro Germany

Emil Lampe has worked with Covestro Germany since September 2015.  As a Corporate Audit Specialist of business functions since January 2023, Emil is responsible for the preparation, conduct and follow-up of internal audits within the Covestro Group, as well as taking responsibility as the lead auditor for the audit results and the team‘s success.

Emil received his Masters of Business Administration from Katz in 2021 and a Bachelor of Arts in Management and International Studies from Fachhochschule der Wirtschaft, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany in 2018.

Emil currently resides in Cologne, Germany avidly cheering on his Pitt Panthers at every opportunity possible.

Justin Webb, BSBA ‘05
Senior Executive Vice President / Chief Operating Officer, Mid Penn Bank

A financial services professional with more than 15 years of experience, Justin currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Mid Penn Bank, a $4.5 billion community bank with more than 40 financial centers across Pennsylvania.  In this capacity, Justin provides executive-level support for the Bank’s administrative, credit approval, human resources, marketing, operations and security/facility functions.  Additionally, Justin is responsible for the coordination of the Bank’s acquisition and integration of both bank and non-bank firms.  Prior to joining Mid Penn, Justin provided credit risk management expertise in the areas of commercial real estate construction and development, corporate real estate investment, casino gaming and travel leisure at Bank of America.

Justin currently resides in the Harrisburg, PA area with his wife Julie (BSBA ’05) and two children.  Both Justin and Julie remain committed to supporting the College of Business Administration, its current students and its alumni network by returning to campus regularly for recruiting fairs, speaking engagements and athletic events.

Want to get engaged in the business school? Complete our Alumni Engagement Form.

January 2023 Newsletter

2023 Pitt Day of Giving

Pitt Day of Giving FAQ

It’s that time of year again! This February, the University of Pittsburgh embarks on the seventh annual Pitt Day of Giving. Day of Giving is 24 hours of fundraising for the causes that you care about. If you’re a new alumnus or have donated in the past, we hope to inspire you to contribute to directly impact the future of Pitt Business students from both the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and the College of Business Administration.

Q: What is Pitt Day of Giving?

A: Pitt Day of Giving was created in 2017 in honor of the University’s 230th birthday. It is a 24-hour fundraising event aimed at giving Pitt family and friends an opportunity to make a difference by donating to specific scholarships, organizations, and schools.

Q: Who should donate to Pitt Day of Giving?

A: Anyone! Current students, alumni, family members, and friends of the University can donate online here.

Q: I’m a College of Business Administration alumnus, what funds directly support that program?

A: The CBA Academic Advancement Scholarship supports scholarship funding that will minimize a student’s debt burden. These funds allow the undergraduate program to target and recruit the best of the best students each year.

Q: I’m a Joseph M Katz Graduate School of Business alumnus, what funds directly support the school?

A: There are three, depending on what area you want to support.

  • The Katz Academic Advancement Scholarship supports scholarship funding that will minimize a student’s debt burden.
  • The Katz Doctoral Program supports the PhD program. The Katz PhD program minimizes the amount of debt a student will have to take on through funds raised on Pitt Day of Giving.
  • The Executive MBA Academic Advancement Scholarship supports students pursuing our flagship MBA program.

Q: What other funds support Pitt Business?

A: There are three! Each has a different end goal.

  • The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Fund is designed to promote diversity and inclusion through a business lens. EDI is one of the dean’s top priorities and this fund will help with student, staff, and faculty education.
  • The Competitive Leadership Skills Fund allows us to ensure all students have access to our unique menu of domestic and global experience-based learning opportunities. Pitt Business’ renewed focus on integrated learning allows students to put in to practice the theories learned in the classroom.
  • The Dean’s Excellence Fund is our wildcard! The funds raised can be used at the discretion of the dean. As a donor to this fund, you enable the school to be nimble and responsive throughout the year to maximize opportunities for our students.

Q: What is fund matching?

A: Before Day of Giving begins, a few organizations affiliated with Pitt Business agree to donate a specific amount of money at certain checkpoints. For example, once we reach 200 donors, the Business Alumni Association has agreed to donate $5,000 toward our campaign. Keep an eye on our social media accounts the day-of to see what each checkpoint unlocks.

Q: How much should I give?

A: Whatever amount you are comfortable with! Every dollar will make a difference for current and future Pitt students. A degree from Pitt Business can launch students into fulfilling careers as high-impact business leaders who shape organizations that embrace and impact humanity.


Alumni Stories

Alumni Stories

Homecoming Week

Turn Homecoming Into a Mini-Reunion, Colleen Paulson Did

Homecoming Week is a special time of year for university alumni around the country. No matter if it’s been one, five, or 25 years, it is a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and classmates from near and far.

Colleen Paulson (MBA ’02) still sees many of her Pittsburgh-based classmates from Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. Her career has taken many different pathways and she has been lucky to meet many Pitt alumni along the way. “But, it’s been hard to connect with those who live outside of the area,” she said. Friend and classmate Stephanie Tigue (MBA ’02), from Scranton, contacted Paulson to meet during an upcoming visit to Pittsburgh.

Paulson was inspired to coordinate a mini-reunion for her 2002 MBA classmates at the 2022 Homecoming football game on Oct. 8. She had connected with some on LinkedIn and other social media but knew there were others. “The hardest point, from a planning perspective, was finding everyone’s current information.” Paulson knew she needed her invitation to reach far and wide. She relied on her networking skills to find other alumni, using both Facebook and LinkedIn to spread the word a few months in advance.

Tailgate and Tickets

Amy McCloskey, director of Alumni and Constituent Relations for Pitt Business, recommended Homecoming Weekend for the gathering. The Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement team provided Paulson with an Acrisure Stadium parking pass to create a meeting spot and casual setting for their reunion plus game tickets for the 15 alumni and a guest for each. Some alumni came from eastern Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Washington DC.

For Paulson and her classmates, all the planning came to fruition. Paulson said, “The entire day was wonderful! I literally lost my voice for the following week because I talked and laughed so much. It was great catching up with old friends – even though it had been almost 20 years since I had seen some of my classmates, it really felt like no time had passed.”

Homecoming 2023

Have you been wanting to reconnect with your Pitt Business classmates? Alumni Relations can assist you in locating your classmates and help you create your own mini-class reunion at the Homecoming 2023 football game. They will also provide football tickets (for each alum plus one guest) and one parking pass (to be used to organize the physical meet-up space). For more information, contact Meg Komenda at As always, Hail to Pitt!


Panthers Answer the Call: Pitt Alumni Find Shared Purpose Through Affordable Housing Work

Panthers Answer the Call: Pitt Alumni Find Shared Purpose Through Affordable Housing Work

Sean Kelly (BSBA ’04) knew his affordable housing development needed funding and support to break ground. By fall 2020, he had spent months meeting with local, state, and federal financial backers. When the institutions assembled, Kelly did not anticipate finding three other University of Pittsburgh alumni answering the call. None of them had met before or knew their common background right away.

After a few relationship-building conversations, the four men discovered they were all Pitt graduates. Jordan Laird (BSBA ’12), Jordan Space (BSBA ’06), and Jeff Darwak (A&S ’05) joined Kelly on a mission to bring affordable housing to a Philadelphia suburb.

Kelly is the executive vice president of real estate developer Leon N. Weiner and Associates (LNWA). Since joining LNWA in 2010, he has led development teams producing more than 2,400 apartments in seven states. “Affordable housing has reached crisis level in our country and has become recognized as foundational to increase economic mobility and security,” he said.

Business as a Force for Social Good

One of LNWA’s recent projects was the development of an energy-efficient, centrally located, and affordable apartment community for seniors 55 and older in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. With the goal of adding 50 apartments in Sellersville Borough, Kelly headed up the project with the support of the local community.

The idea of community revitalization was at the core of the project. Sellersville has a rich industrious history. Much like Pittsburgh and many other cities and towns in Pennsylvania, the community needed to adapt after milling, manufacturing, and textile jobs left. The development site was undervalued due to its industrious past and required remediation. For Kelly and his team, rental affordability was just as important as environmental impact.

Kelly likened developing affordable housing to building a multi-layer cake. Many things must come together to create a masterpiece. “Because you’re renting apartments to people who have very modest means, you’re essentially fundraising,” he said, adding: “Funding efforts require creative finance and a dash of local philanthropy.”

Meet the Team

Funds for this project came from local, state, federal, and private sector organizations with support from the Pitt alumni committed to using business for social good:

  • Jeff Darwak is the executive director of the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Bucks; his agency provided financing for the environmental remedial activities associated with the development. Gaining the county’s support for the project was a crucial first step.
  • Jordan Laird, director of finance at Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), said that his agency provided long-term financing to support the project’s financial stability for many years to come.
  • Jordan Space, formerly of S&T Bank and now chief corporate development officer at Mid Penn Bank, worked to provide funding through tailored financing with the commercial real estate team.

Kelly knew having other Pitt people on board would enhance the project. He credits Pitt’s “strengths across finance, public policy, and design” with giving him confidence in his fellow alumni and project partners.

Prepared by Pitt

All four alumni credit the University with equipping them with the skills and core fundamentals they needed to build their careers. Pitt Panthers are forged both inside and outside the classroom.

Space noted the University prepared him to engage with and understand people from different backgrounds and interests.

Darwak — who majored in Urban Studies, Political Science, and Public Administration — said, “I have always been intrigued by the built environment, so a favorite aspect of my Pitt education was the urban campus. I can think of no better setting than Pitt where one can study and immerse oneself in the various aspects of development, redevelopment, or more generally, how and why things are built.”

The 68,000 square foot building opened in April 2022 after a 14-month building period prolonged by the COVID-19 pandemic. All 50 units were leased and filled within 45 days of opening, which Kelly says is representative of the critical need.

As Kelly, Darwak, Laird, and Space move forward toward their next ventures, they can rest easy knowing the positive impact of their collaboration. At the ribbon cutting, Kelly recalls, two new residents told him the affordable apartments finally enabled them to move closer to their grandchildren.

Four Pitt Panthers were brought together by a desire to help low-income families in Pennsylvania. “It was a pleasant surprise,” said Laird about discovering the group’s commonalities. “I’m sure we’ll stay in touch moving forward.”

Network and Stay Connected

Pitt Business alumni live in 50 states and nearly 90 countries. Serendipitous encounters as described here prove that they can come together and use business to create social good. To meet Pitt alumni in your area, discover one of over 40 regional clubs both in the US and abroad. For more information on these clubs, click here.


Alex Firestine

Q&A with Pitt’s First-Ever Mitchell Scholar, Alexander Firestine

Announced on November 20, 2022, Firestine was one of 12 George J. Mitchell Scholars chosen among college students nationwide to pursue graduate education in Ireland. Firestine plans to study climate change, agriculture, and food security at the University of Galway. His goal is to work in data analytics and food systems at an international level.

Firestine talks about his experience in the College of Business Administration and his interest in food insecurity in this Q&A:

Q: What encouraged you to apply for this scholarship?

A: I participated in a Pitt Business study abroad program in Ireland through the Haller Global Honors Fellowship and had an amazing experience that connected me with Ireland. Since then, I’ve been researching sustainable food systems with the Frederick Honors College for nearly four years. This scholarship will enable me to continue my research in food security while traveling to a country I know and love. Ireland also ranks highly on the global food security index, so the country is a good case study for sustainable food systems.

Q: How has your Pitt Business education set you up for success in your next endeavors?

A: My Pitt Business education set me up for success as I learned hard skills like data analytics for my research. The Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics (CPLE) in particular sparked my interest in the intersection of sustainability, ethics, and business, which fueled my desire to explore and research innovative business solutions to current issues within our food system. Also, my extracurricular involvement with the League of Emerging Analytics Professionals (LEAP), Enactus, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, and many other organizations helped me develop key leadership and communication skills.

Q: What sparked your interest in food insecurity?

A: Throughout high school, I spent time volunteering at my local community food bank. Upon arriving at Pitt, I met Dr. Audrey Murrell, and her work with the nonprofit Food21 was the perfect synthesis of my interest in food security and data analytics. This involvement allowed me to leverage my technical background in analytics to catalyst change and bring attention to food security issues in Pittsburgh.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your time in Ireland?

A: I’m most looking forward to learning more about Irish culture and history related to food. Galway, in particular, has a year-round farmers market that has been around for centuries, which I’m excited to explore!

Q: What does it mean to you to win this award?

A: This award is life-changing for me, it provides me with the opportunity to explore my passion for social impact and food security; it opens the door for me to engage in future research in the food security space on an international scale.

Highlights of Accomplishments:

Firestine’s accomplishments extend from the Pitt campus to his hometown of Germantown, Maryland, as he uses his Pitt Business education to create social good around the world. Those include:

  • Designed a University-accredited extracurricular institute that now teaches analytics to 300+ students as a core fundamental class.
  • Led an organization of more than 120 members who teach entry-level workshops for data programs like Python and Tableau.
  • Co-led a project with nonprofit Food21 that developed a digital tool using data to measure regional food insecurity and identify areas where food apartheids may exist in Pittsburgh.
  • Developed a comprehensive outreach model to combat youth gang recruitment in collaboration with the Gang Intervention Division of the Montgomery County Police Department while a high schooler in Maryland.
  • Recognized as a Chancellor’s Scholar at Pitt, the first undergraduate business student since 1995.

June 2022 Newsletter

Arjang Assad

Hail to Dean Assad!

Arjang Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean, has led Pitt Business to unprecedented success since 2015. As he steps down as dean, effective June 30, 2022, and returns to the faculty, here’s a summary and video about his accomplishments.

Gene Anderson

Welcome, Dean Anderson!

In case you missed it, here’s the May 26 announcement of Eugene “Gene” Anderson as the new dean, effective August 1, 2022. He will also join the faculty as a full professor in the Katz School.

Alumni Awards Ceremony and CBA at the Zoo

April 2022 was a busy month for Pitt Business and its alumni. The College of Business Administration’s 25th Anniversary was celebrated April 1 at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium as friends and family came together. On April 2, the newest Business Alumni Association Award winners were honored for their achievements, leadership and service to Pitt and the community at large. Check out these photo albums to see the who’s who from both events:

CBA 25th Anniversary Event
Alumni Association Awards Ceremony

Pitt Business in Europe and Katz PhD Reunion in Pittsburgh

Register now to connect with your business alumni community! View our upcoming events calendar through July.

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Yaleh Asadi and Ashby McGarry

Yaleh Asadi (BSBA ’15)

Yaleh Asadi is an Investment Banking Associate at Bank of America, where she focuses primarily on Mergers & Acquisitions. Prior to joining BofA she served as an Associate Director at SSA & Company, and worked on consulting engagements across Europe, the UK, and her home base of New York City. Prior to SSA, she worked at KeyBanc Capital Markets as an Investment Banking Analyst, covering both Financial Sponsors and Consumer & Retail.

Additionally, Yaleh’s interest in Social Business had led her to engage in pro bono work that supported various start-ups, ranging from hydroponic systems for clean water access to sustainable food development with a focus on helping evacuees transition to living in the U.S. She is currently assessing new opportunities across housing and health care.

Yaleh earned her B.S.B.A. from Pitt in 2015 and was the recipient of the College of Business Administration Alumni Leadership Award. Get to know Yaleh as she looks forward to being engaged once again with her alma mater as a Business Alumni Association board member:

How did Pitt Business influence your career?

As a transfer into Pitt Business, I was captivated by the myriad of perspectives and opportunities offered between the diverse course selection, networking events, and student clubs/resources. I am very thankful for the network that Pitt Business afforded me the opportunity to build! It helped me launch my career in Finance in NYC.

What was your favorite class and why?

Valuation taught by Dr. Kenneth Lehn – this class is the reason I pursued a career in Finance. Dr. Lehn made the most complex concepts seem simple and gave his students the chance to “sit in the driver’s seat” and learn how to truly understand and apply what was being taught.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Remove “failure” from your vocabulary and consider each step back to be a learning experience. What happened is over, what you do next is all that matters.

What is your favorite restaurant in your local city?

Too many to choose from in NYC! But would highly recommend Dante – their pistachio tagliatelle plus any cocktail on the menu warrant a visit.

Ashby McGarry (MBA ’19)

Ashby McGarry is a Portfolio Leader at Philips, overseeing the company’s respiratory portfolio and the global marketing strategy. In this role, Ashby is responsible for the diversification, innovation, and expansion of Philips’ respiratory solutions. Previously, at Prodigo Solutions, a UPMC Enterprise company focused on hospital supply-chain technology, she established a competitive marketing department and was the architect of Prodigo’s foremost sales and retention objectives.

Ashby has specialized, thus far, in the healthcare industry, with an emphasis on population health care, supply chain technology, product and program development, and growth strategies. In parallel with these healthcare-related corporate activities, she also operates as the VP of a family-run real estate investment firm that currently maintains $1MM+ in residential equity. Her primary role is lead manager of all renovation projects and vendor interface with an eye toward business development.

Ashby received a B.A. in Business Administration at Roanoke College with an emphasis on Global Business. She then earned her Executive MBA degree from the Katz Graduate School of Business in 2019. She is heavily involved with the tri-state equestrian rescue and rehabilitation network in the Pittsburgh area, and in her free time, enjoys riding as a lead whip of the Sewickley Hunt. Learn more about Ashby as she becomes a Business Alumni Association member:

How did Pitt Business influence your career?

The Katz Executive MBA Program influenced my career primarily by: (i) expanding my network (both in Pittsburgh and globally due to the stellar international program), (ii) presenting me with ongoing opportunities to get and stay involved with a variety of academic and professional institutions, and (iii) challenging my perspective on solving problems, working with a team and “big picture” project management.

I currently operate in the healthcare industry, focusing on population health care, supply chain technology, product and program development, and overall growth strategies. Pitt Business’ diverse and forward-thinking approach to graduate education has allowed me to innovate and challenge traditional healthcare tradecraft while remaining grounded in business essentials.

What was your favorite class and why?

I loved all of my classes, whether I was learning from a professor or a classmate. But I have a special affinity for professors like Elise Boyas and Frederik Schlingemann, who taught Accounting and Finance, respectively, during my tenure.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Bet on yourself; take risks; learning comes from failure.

What is your favorite restaurant in your local city?

Dianoia’s or Umami (who doesn’t love a sushi bar!) are Pittsburgh classics.


To learn more about the Business Alumni Association and its other members, visit here.

Class of 2022

Congratulations, Class of 2022 Graduates!

The 62nd annual Katz commencement ceremony was held in downtown Pittsburgh with commencement speaker Bibiana Boerio (MBA ’76) and Business Alumni Association President Matthew Stahl (MBA ’11) among the presenters. PNC Financial Services Group CEO Bill Demchak was the undergraduate commencement speaker at PPG Arena while alum Kayla Hadded (BSBA ’21) presented the Alumni Leadership Award to graduate James Boston. Quotes from the speakers plus videos of both events, and a surprise tribute to Dean Assad, are here:

2022 Katz Graduates Celebrate at Commencement

Pitt Business Celebrates 2022 Graduates – plus tribute video

February 2022 Newsletter

Arjang Assad

Arjang Assad

After nearly seven years, Arjang A. Assad has decided to step down from his role as Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration. As he returns to the faculty effective June 30, 2022, his passion for teaching and learning will continue through his coursework along with the new award he has created to reward exemplary faculty members at Pitt Business.

“During my years at Pitt, I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the brightest minds in the field,” says Assad. “Working together, we were gratified to see Pitt Business reach new heights. I am confident that our school will continue to ascend under a new dean with a fresh perspective.”

Dean Assad has led Pitt Business to develop new programs, exceed admissions goals, achieve sky-high rankings, and attract the best and brightest students from across the world. He’s recruited and retained top faculty here at Pitt Business, which includes 35 faculty hires since 2015.

“Arjang doesn’t just care deeply about teaching—he understands at a fundamental level what it takes to energize a dynamic climate where learning is part of the core mission, and teaching innovation and excellence thrive,” says Professor Frits Pil, who has been teaching at Pitt Business for over 25 years.

Over the years, Dean Assad has helped to develop and advance the careers of our world-class faculty. He also has embraced the help of our University partners, including Cynthia Golden and her team at the Center for Teaching and Learning and Clyde Wilson Pickett and his colleagues at the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Together, they provided faculty with crucial training and resources on instructional tools, curriculum ideation, and teaching technologies.

Pil is very supportive of funding the new Arjang A. Assad Teaching Excellence Award and is encouraging recent graduates who have benefitted from the fantastic faculty Dean Assad has worked to recruit, retain, and reward, to make a gift to the fund on Pitt Day of Giving.

“Our recent alumni are critical partners as we write the next chapter in Pitt Business’ journey,” says Pil.

To help Professor Pil support the future of teaching at Pitt Business, please click here.

 Meet our 2022 Pitt Business Alumni Award Recipients

We will celebrate our honorees at a ceremony and reception on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Help Pitt faculty and enter to win dinner for two!

Calling all alumni! Want to help Pitt Business faculty engage in important research? High-quality research is an important part of what our faculty do at Pitt, and they need help from former students like you. Research like this also helps keep Pitt in the business press (and high in the rankings) as a thought leader in business. Navigate to this link to help complete a research task in 10 minutes or less:

Participants who complete the survey will be eligible to enter in a drawing for one of two ($150) gift cards to a restaurant of their choice.

October 2021 Newsletter

Emerging Ethical Leaders

Ray JonesEvery program at the College of Business Administration (CBA) works to support the school’s mission: prepare students to create value through thought leadership and practice. The Emerging Ethical Leaders Program does this by providing meaningful internship experiences for students with corporate partners of the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership.

Sydney Smith (BSBA ’23), Jack Greenwald (BSBA ’22), and Katie LaBold (BSBA ’23) all completed internships through the Emerging Ethical Leaders Program. Greenwald was able to intern with Day Owl, a division of Thread International while Smith and LaBold interned with Birgo Realty.

The Emerging Ethical Leaders Program, started almost 15 years ago, offers students an opportunity to intern with corporate partners of the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership. The goal of the program is to help students understand the different issues that organizations face in the area of ethics, social responsibility, and sustainability and provide them with concrete experiences that help develop their personal leadership skills.

This program is made possible by donations to the Berg Center and from partners who are willing to take on student interns. Internships run from May to August, require a 20-hour-per-week commitment, and students receive a stipend directly from the Berg Center.

Corporate partners Thread International and Birgo Realty came to the Berg Center through their CBA alumni Kelsey Halling (BSBA ‘09) and Andrew Reichert (BSBA ‘07), respectively. Both alums were apart of the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics (CPLE), which is also a part of the David Berg Center and offers a direct streamline for student internships. Now, as alums of the program themselves, they are doing their part in giving back by bringing on their own student interns.

LaBold, who interned with Birgo Realty, was able to find value in her internship. Over the summer, the junior “focused on compliance research and creating company-wide policies to be implemented” as well as reorganizing and updating the employee handbook.

“My time at Birgo has been very rewarding as I have been able to have hands-on experience in an HR department of a small, but growing company,” says LaBold. “I really feel that I am contributing to the greater good of the company, and I have enjoyed my entire time as an intern.”

LaBold was offered an extension of her internship role and will continue working with Birgo throughout the fall semester.

“My work has now changed from big-picture items to more day-to-day tasks,” says LaBold. “I have been able to post multiple positions and recruit for them all while completing various other tasks.”

Early exposure internships have a big impact on students and their future career success. Ray Jones, Clinical Professor of Business Administration and Director of the Berg Center, makes it a priority each year to ensure his students are getting the most out of their time at Pitt Business.

Finding financial support is the most important factor in making sure students can go all-in on their internship and making it the focal point of their summer,” says Jones. “I can never say enough about it.”

Interested in sponsoring an internship for the Emerging Ethical Leaders Program? Learn more here.

Alumni Spotlight: Hollie Vugrinovich

Holly Vugrinovich

 How has your degree from CBA influenced your career? 

I was a first-generation college student so I would say CBA had a big influence on my career. I wanted to go to business school and really wanted to study French. At Pitt, I was able to do both. On the practical side, the opportunities I had at CBA through advisors and faculty transformed my experience. Audrey Murrell, Ray Jones, and Jo Olson’s professional perspectives, the opportunities they afforded, and the time they spent with us as students really helped position me to think critically about entering the workforce and what mattered to me in my career.

Tell us about your job?

After 12 years at a large healthcare company, I transitioned to a Silicon Valley health tech start-up called Notable as the Head of Partnerships. In this role, I manage the sales function and customer success by working with hospitals and health systems to transform their patient experience via intelligence automation. I’ve found that Notable is really challenging the inertia in healthcare by reevaluating legacy systems and processes that create terrible patient experiences and an unsustainable healthcare environment for healthcare technicians and caregivers

What is your favorite memory of being a student at CBA?

Bob Gilbert’s Projects in Marketing class! I worked with the CIA, which at the time was struggling with recruitment. The assumption was that all of their jobs were clandestine and they in fact needed linguists, analysts, and many other skillsets. Bob’s class was my first real-world experience at problem-solving.

What advice would you give to alumni in navigating their careers?

Don’t be afraid of a career in sales. – It is the lifeblood of every company and a significant portion of the business field that touches all aspects of an organization. You cannot survive if you do not grow, form meaningful partnerships, and learn through the complexity of an organization. I started my career on the account management side of the house and after five or six years moved into sales, and I would not have it any other way. Figuring out how to pitch, how to take something to market, how to have a strategic conversation around the needs and outcomes you need to drive… there is nothing more challenging or rewarding. When you get into large complex enterprise sales with massive elements of change management – those are big jobs with big outcomes.

Why do you give back to CBA?

I give back heavily to Pitt Business and Alpha Delta Pi because I would not be where I am without the school. I was fortunate enough to have a good portion of my tuition covered by scholarships. Without that, I would not have been able to get the education I did. I feel very strongly about paying it forward and giving those opportunities and resources to other students.

Tell us something interesting about you!

I was on track to visit 40 countries by 40 before the pandemic. Now my hope is to achieve 45 by 45!

College of Business Administration Career Fair Connects 900 Students, 70 Companies

On September 9-10, the College of Business Administration held its Annual Career Development Conference in a hybrid format, hosting both in-person at The Petersen Events Center and virtually via Handshake.

This conference is the undergraduate program’s most attended event of the year with nearly 70 companies recruiting more than 900 students. The conference brings a phenomenal line-up of companies from numerous industries including Aldi, BKD, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Enterprise, Grant Thornton, Insight Global, Level Agency, and UPMC.

“Overall, students were highly satisfied with this hybrid approach,” says Lawrence Feick, Interim Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration. “100% said they would return for a hybrid fair next year and 96% said they would recommend to a friend. Both are the highest satisfaction ratings ever.”

Want to get involved? We continually hear from students that their professional interactions with our alumni are the most valuable career development tool that we offer. To learn more, check out the career development section of our website at

Happy 25th Anniversary!

LizAdamsIn honor of the College of Business Administration’s 25th Anniversary, we are honoring 25 of our incredible alumni, faculty, staff, and students who have made an enormous impact on the school and in their careers. Watch this Pitt Business web page and social media accounts in the weeks ahead to read about the honorees, their careers, and what CBA means to them personally and professionally. Honoree Liz Adams, who is director of the CBA Academic Advising and a staff member since the start in 1995, said: “I love helping Pitt Business students on their journey through college.”

August 2021 Newsletter

Introducing the Katz Executive Doctor of Business Administration

For any professional with an MBA looking to differentiate themselves from other leaders, the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business has established a new Executive Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree.

Applications are now being accepted for the January 2022 semester, appealing primarily to experienced management professionals looking to advance their analytical and problem-solving skills in corporations, consulting firms, government agencies, and other roles. The program would also be beneficial as a terminal degree for those who wish to pursue a teaching-oriented faculty position.

“Knowledge is power,” says J. Jeffrey Inman, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty at Pitt Business. “This program will help executives to analyze current data sets to solve complex organizational business problems.”

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Katz delivers well-established executive MBA programs that are ranked among the best by Financial Times and Forbes. The school has also been ranked among the nation’s best online MBA programs.

The Katz Executive DBA program follows the “Hyflex” model, which provides face-to-face classes that are also placed online in both synchronous and asynchronous modes simultaneously.

“This model was extremely successful at the University of Pittsburgh and we intend to make it the only Executive DBA program accessible to students world-wide regardless of travel and/or visa restrictions,” says Inman.

Comprised of 72 credits, the program includes practicum research project coursework, enabling time that students spend in the program to contribute to their firm; and an immersive residency, enabling student-to-student and faculty interactions.

“In response to the demand for a rigorous executive doctoral program in business administration targeted to practitioners, Katz has stepped up to ensure our students receive the most cutting-edge education and opportunities,” says Dennis Galletta, Professor of Business Administration and Director of the PhD program. “The establishment of our Executive DBA program echoes Katz’s vision of reinventing itself to keep professionals ahead of the evolving business world.”

A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Pitt ranks in the top cluster of U.S. public research universities. This expertise combined with the program’s flexible scheduling and highly accomplished faculty distinguish Katz from other DBA programs.

“If you compare our program to others, many programs do not focus on research or have the experience in research that our faculty members teaching the program possess,” says Inman.

Every year, Katz faculty earn prestigious awards and recognition for research and leadership of institutes and other organizations in their field of expertise. The Executive DBA program courses include Quantitative Research Methods, Organizational Science, Strategic Research, and Applied Economics.

“I am pleased to add the Executive Doctor of Business Administration degree to our portfolio of executive programs at Katz,” says Arjang A. Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean. “Our faculty members are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, with our students’ needs and future trends at the forefront.”

Professionals with eight years of management experience and currently holding a middle-to-top management position, along with other credentials, can apply today to join the January 2022 cohort.

For more information about the Katz Executive Doctor of Business Administration program, please click here.


Victor and Ana Donaduzzi:  Executive MBAs and a Brazilian Biopark

Prior to the pandemic, Ana and Victor Donaduzzi (EMBA’18) were set to relocate to Tampa, Florida for their roles within Prati-Donaduzzi, a leading generic prescription drug producer in Brazil.

However, a past idea from Victor’s father emerged to the couple. They decided to scratch their plans and build on an idea called “Biopark.”

Biopark is a technological park 100% privately owned in Brazil designed for the education, research and business development of biosciences. Additionally, Biopark Education was created, which is an educational department comprised of 250 students and includes courses in pharmacy administration and data analytics.

Located in Toledo, Parana in Brazil, the small town needed to develop specialized labor force to sustain the bioscience start-ups attracted to Biopark. Just five years ago, the site of Biopark was fields of soybeans and corn.

 How did your Executive MBA from Katz influence your career?

Ana: “Prior to joining the Biopark Education, I was working for Prati-Donaduzzi Pharmaceuticals in the regulatory affairs department responsible for preparing the documentation of the drug manufacturers at their vendor’s sites in China and India.”  Ana has a Bachelor in Pharmacy and a Master in Pharmacology.  The transfer of skills came when she became responsible for building a Higher Education Institution within Biopark offering graduate degrees.  “I used what I learned in the Katz Executive MBA program as my basis.”

Victor: “Katz taught me the soft skills I needed, especially resilience—the cultures of Brazilians and Americans are quite different.”

What is your favorite memory about being a student at Katz?

Ana: “We had really great professors. I remember a specific time that Professor Bob Atkin really went out of his way to help me through his class when he learned I was struggling with the material.”

Victor: “I remember the high caliber and quality of our classmates. Everyone wanted to be at the top—which made it competitive and allowed for our professional growth. There are a lot of memories but the best ones I cannot share!”

What is one piece of advice you would share with your fellow alumni?

Ana: “Experience and enjoy the exchange of other cultures. The diversity of the Executive MBA program made us open our minds to see forward. If I had given up in the beginning because of the difficulty of the program, I don’t know what my professional career would be like now.”

What is something interesting about you that people may not know? 

Victor: “The Executive MBA was just one step towards my ultimate success. Next, I’ll begin to take a course on preparing myself to be a counselor on the board (of Biopark).”

Ana: “I am trying to convince Victor to live abroad next year, perhaps in the United States or Europe, to improve our capacity at the Biopark and to propose new ways to continuing learning and improving.”

Now, more than ever, Executive MBA programs are shaping the world around us and developing the leaders within it. Learn more about the Katz Executive MBA Program and Biopark.

Be sure to keep in touch with your fellow alumni and our alumni office by clicking here.


Congratulations Retired Faculty!

With over 250 combined years of service to Pitt Business, these faculty members have significantly impacted the school through their exemplary leadership, research, teaching, and student engagement. While their presence at Pitt Business will be missed, we’d like to recognize the following retiring faculty members:

  • J. “Jerry” Zoffer, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Business Administration;
  • Kenneth Lehn, Samuel A. McCullough Professor of Finance;
  • Jerrold May, Professor of Business Administration;
  • Robert Atkin, Clinical Professor of Business Administration;
  • Robert Gilbert, Clinical Associate Professor of Business Administration;
  • Richard Patton, Clinical Associate Professor of Business Administration;
  • Diane Denis, Terrence Laughlin Chair in Finance;
  • John “Harry” Evans, Katz Alumni Professor of Accounting; and
  • Laurie Kirsch, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Development, and Diversity and Professor of Business Administration.

Join us in wishing them many happy, healthy, and fulfilling years of retirement.


Pitt Business has gotten me involved in DSP, which has helped me develop professionally. I get to network with peers and industry leaders, which is invaluable to my future career.

Sierra Cloonan

BSBA Marketing '23

I learned so much and had a great time during the Haller Global Honors Scholarship with Pitt Business!

Saloni Sharma

BSBA Global Management '24