A Father and Son’s Global Mindset Leads to MBAs at Scranton

When Sunil Pillai G’83, of Mumbai, India, was finishing up his MBA at Scranton at age 23, he promised himself that if he eventually got married and had a child, that child would go to Scranton for his or her MBA.

“God has been kind,” said Sunil in a recent interview. “I had one son. And his name is Rathin.”

It was pretty clear from early on that Rathin Pillai G’12, who, like his dad, grew up in Mumbai, would follow in his father’s footsteps.

“My dad had his framed final certification on the wall at home. He’d say to me, ‘That’s the degree that has gotten me this far. You can talk back to me all you want, but until you have that degree, I won’t listen,’” remembered Rathin.

Like Father, Like Son

Rathin had a lot to live up to. Sunil had gone from Scranton to Pfizer International in New York to Colgate Palmolive in India, quickly moving up the corporate ladder. He eventually became vice president of marketing and sales at CavinKare, a conglomerate in fast-moving consumer goods, then vice president of marketing at Reliance Communications, Global Operations, and, most recently, COO at Tata Teleservices. He is currently a guest faculty member at IIM Bangalore and founder and director of Strategy Green Consultancy.

“I owe this whole career of mine to Scranton and the education I got there,” said Sunil. “It got me to move from being just a young kid playing around in the streets of Mumbai to be a formative professional in the way I looked at things.”

Rathin, a TV executive who recently took on a strategy and business development role at India’s Network 18 (Viacom in the United States), said it was essential — for both of them — to go abroad for their graduate degrees.

“I think I speak for both of us when I say we needed a global perspective. Had we studied for our MBAs in India, it would’ve been specific to India marketing only,” he said.

Sunil and his son both chose Scranton because it had a good reputation, was a “friendly campus” and was close to major cities. Although the two graduated about 30 years apart, they had a campus friend in common — Murli Rajan, Ph.D. G’84, now interim dean of the Kania School of Management. Rajan was Sunil’s roommate in the ’80s and became a lifelong friend.

Paying it Forward

Sunil paid it forward when Rajan arrived in Scranton from India for his MBA just a year later. Rajan traveled directly from the airport to the Hotel Jermyn on Spruce Street, where the other international students were staying while they looked for more permanent housing.

“Sunil called me as soon as I got there. He found out where I was staying,” said Dr. Rajan. “I don’t even know how he did that. We spoke the same language; we both speak Tamil. I couldn’t believe it. He just made me feel so welcome.”

When Rathin arrived in 2010, he found out that his dad’s friend would be his adviser. Having that personal connection was a comfort to Rathin, but he said he felt on level with almost everyone at Scranton.

“I never felt alone on that campus or in Scranton in general,” said Rathin. “It’s not just the students; it’s the professors as well. They made me feel at home right from the start.”

Sunil said his own acceptance into the University community made it possible for him to focus on his studies and excel in his courses.

“I grew into a professional at Scranton,” said Sunil. “I learned to understand the world better.”

He expanded his global knowledge when he went on to work in India, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and East Africa. And now, as he sits in his house gazing out at the Arabian Sea, he looks back with pride at his experience in Scranton, where it all began.

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Learn more about the MBA program at The University of Scranton here!

This article originally appeared in The Scranton Journal.

Kania School of Management – Meet our new Dean!

University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., announced the appointment of Sam Beldona, Ph.D., as dean of the Kania School of Management effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Beldona has served as dean of the Barowsky School of Business at Dominican University of California, since 2013.

“Dr. Beldona has great respect for the tradition of excellence in the Kania School and brings an innovative vision for its future,” said Father Pilarz in an announcement sent to the University community. “During his more than 20 years of experience as a professor and senior academic administrator, Dr. Beldona has developed a track record of working collaboratively with faculty, administrators, alumni, benefactors and business leaders to develop innovative curriculum and programs with a global emphasis.”

At Dominican University, Dr. Beldona launched a three-day MBA Bootcamp experience and implemented a required Global Consulting Practicum for MBA students. Also, working with faculty and staff, he led an effort that resulted in the appointment of a placement director, significantly increasing the percentage of students who completed internships within the school of business.

At Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, Dr. Beldona served as associate dean and tenured associate professor at the Graduate School of Business from 2011 to 2013, and as chair of the Management Department in the College of Business from 2007 to 2011. At Bryant he helped the faculty to introduce new courses, such as Global Human Resource Management, International Business Practicum and Managing Diversity in a Global Environment. In addition, with faculty support, he introduced highly-interactive modules in each of the required courses for undergraduate students that included service learning, internships and case competitions. At the graduate level, he introduced specializations in global supply chain management, international business and global finance.

Previously, Dr. Beldona served as the Larry Jones Fellow of Corporate Governance at Wichita State University from 2001-2007, where he also served as the entrepreneurship research associate for the Center for Entrepreneurship. Dr. Beldona was an associate professor of international business at the International University of Japan from 2000-2001. He was an assistant professor of international business at Rutgers University from 1994-2000.

In addition, Dr. Beldona has extensive experience with AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation, having been a member of school’s AACSB’s Accreditation Steering Committee, Strategic Management Committee and Faculty Qualifications Committee, among others. The University’s Kania School of Management holds AACSB International accreditation.

Dr. Beldona has lectured, consulted, studied and taught in the Americas, Asia and Europe, and since 2003 has served as a visiting professor of corporate strategy at Temple University Japan, in Tokyo, Japan.

Dr. Beldona earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Karnatak University in Dharwad, India, and his master’s and Ph.D. from Temple University.

American Chemical Society Advancing Toward Sustainable Future

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2019 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) today endorsed the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act introduced by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME). This legislation, which coordinates U.S. research and development efforts, is considered critical to the future of the chemical sciences.

The act was reintroduced today to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and would create a multiagency taskforce to guide investment in sustainable chemistry research, as well as a new public-private partnership program. It would also authorize a broad review of existing chemistry programs to give Congress a better understanding of the government’s role in sustainable chemistry.

“Boosting our economy with transformative, sustainable technology is central to the ACS mission,” notes Glenn S. Ruskin, vice president, ACS External Affairs and Communications. “Supporting sustainable chemistry at the federal level will empower the pursuit of cutting-edge science, ensuring a generation of sustainable products, new jobs and a greener world.”

The importance of this issue is outlined in the ACS public policy statement on sustainability and the chemistry enterprise. According to that statement, ACS “recognizes the importance of environmental sustainability and that modern civilization depends on it. Environmental considerations and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. We believe the chemistry enterprise must continue to provide leadership in forging the science and technology that will provide humanity with a sustainable path into the future.”

The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To read the original press release from the American Chemical Society, click here!

To learn more about the Chemistry program at The University of Scranton, click here!

Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate: Responding to the Growing need for ASD Support

Beginning in the fall 2019 semester, The University of Scranton will offer a post-graduate Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. Applications are currently being accepted for the 18-credit program for professionals working in psychology, education, child care, occupational therapy, speech and language disorders, and counseling. The program will prepare students to meet the requirements needed to take the Behavior Analysis Certification Board examination. The course work is currently under review by the Association of Applied Behavioral Analysis International (ABAI).

According to the CDC, the estimated prevalence of children who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one in fifty-nine. In response to this increased need, a multi-year, multi-million regional initiative, announced by AllOne Foundation in 2018, intends to enhance the service delivery system for individuals with ASD and their families living in 13 counties in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania. The University will serve as the executive hub of five Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence.

The University’s hub will be a family friendly place for information and referral. The hub also has three state-of-the-art assessment labs to aide in education and training of the graduate students, as well as for evaluation purposes.

“The University is committed to working with the AllOne Foundation and community partners in building a community of care for children with ASD and their families by offering family friendly hubs for information and referral, identifying gaps in services, and increasing the number of skilled professionals through the Applied Behavior Analysis certificate program who can offer proven evidence-based interventions,” said Debra A. Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies.

Applicants to the post-graduate program must meet master degree, G.P.A. and other requirements for admittance.

Common Mission Builds Lasting Relationship


The nearly 30-year relationship between The University of Scranton’s Panuska College of Professional Studies’ Health Administration Program and St. Elizabeth University of Health and Social Work and Trnava University, Slovak Republic, has resulted in numerous faculty and student exchanges that have benefited both the education of health care providers and the care of patients across the globe.From left, University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., met with Most Reverend Viliam Judak, Bishop of the Diocese of Nitra, Slovak Republic, and Monsignor Martin Stofko, Diocese of Nitra, Slovak Republic, during a recent visit to Scranton.

 

Castles built in stone will surely last longer than those made of sand. The same can be true of relationships. Those built on a solid foundation, such as a shared mission, would surely be best suited to stand the test of time.

For nearly 30 years, The University of Scranton has enjoyed just such a relationship with St. Elizabeth University of Health and Social Work, a Catholic college in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, and Trnava University, Trnava, Slovak Republic.

A recent visit to Scranton by Most Reverend Viliam Judak, Bishop of the Diocese of Nitra, Slovak Republic, and Monsignor Martin Stofko, Diocese of Nitra, Slovak Republic, highlights the common foundation and strong bonds shared by Scranton and St. Elizabeth University and Catholic church in the former communist state.

“St. Elizabeth University was created as a private Catholic university so that they could serve the poor both in Slovakia and also communities external to Slovakia,” said Daniel J. West Jr., Ph.D., professor and chair of Scranton’s Department of Health Administration and Human Resources.

St. Elizabeth University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level education in numerous health related fields and has more than 40 science-pedagogical facilities in more than 20 countries. The partnership between the Panuska College of Professional Studies’ Health Administration Program and the Catholic institution has brought numerous faculty and student exchanges that have benefited both the education of health care providers and the care of patients across the globe.

In addition to its educational mission, St. Elizabeth University actively serves the sick and poor irrespective of the race, nationality and religious orientation, in the Slovak Republic, as well as through its health, humanitarian, social, charitable and missionary facilities in Ukraine, Cambodia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Nairobi, Haiti and a dozen other countries.

Scranton – with a commitment to provide a transformational educational experience to our students that is engaged, integrated and global – has partnered with St. Elizabeth’s to provide experiences abroad for our Master in Health Administration (MHA) students.

“When I first started at Scranton a few decades ago, less than 1 percent of our students traveled abroad,” said Dr. West. “Now about 25 percent of students do. We need to have the relationships to allow this to happen with partners we trust. It’s the human element that is so important.”

Dr. West said the relationship with St. Elizabeth has developed “block by block” over time, recalling that the University though its numerous efforts in Haiti, introduced St. Elizabeth University to the many needs of the poor of the that nation. Subsequently, St. Elizabeth’s has started two health care projects in Haiti, one in the north and one in the south.

“I went to Haiti to help with the children,” said Monsignor Stofko. “I also went to Kenya and Uganda. This is the way we continued to work with the University and work with the students.”

Dr. West said the University has worked “hand-in-hand” with St. Elizabeth’s and the Church in Slovakia. This relationship extends to publishing, research and international presentations. Faculty from Slovakia contributed to four chapters of Dr. West’s most recent book “The Global Healthcare Manager: Competencies, Concepts and Skills.”

But, Dr. West said it is the students that ultimately benefit the most from the relationship.

“Each time our MHA students visit St. Elizabeth’s in Bratislava, we also visit some area around the city. One area we always visit is Nitra and when we visit, the Bishop invites us to his table, which is really in a very large castle. He allows us to tour a museum that not everyone has the chance to see,” said Dr. West.

This year, two groups of MHA students will travel to St. Elizabeth’s in the spring semester.

Students will see first-hand the lasting strength of castles built of stone – and of partnerships formed on a solid foundation.


Learn more about the MHA program at The University of Scranton.