Welcome to the Fall Alumni Newsletter

November 18th, 2013 Comments off

As many of you already know, this summer and fall involved a major transition for Gonzaga’s Graduate School of Business (GSB). Under new leadership, the GSB continues our commitment to students and alumni. Our new Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Dr. Gary Weber, hopes to meet many of you this December at our annual Battle in Seattle event–do you have your tickets yet?

In this newsletter you’ll find great news about Gonzaga’s MBA and MAcc program rankings along with University-wide recognition for some of our wonderful faculty. We also held some great events since the last newsletter, including a successful networking event at Saranac Public House this September, organized with the help of our Alumni Board Networking committee.

Be sure to select the “Upcoming Events” tab above for an updated list of our events!

We had a wonderful celebration last spring for our newest alums who are receiving this newsletter for the first time – Congratulations, graduates! Additionally, be sure to check out our newest feature, What’s New in the Graduate School? We’re featuring Dr. Mirjeta Beqiri’s fantastic service learning opportunity offered to students in her statistics class. And don’t miss our alumni updates; our graduates continue to do great things!

Look for our spring newsletter in March. As always, we look forward to hearing from you. Be sure to contact Adriane Leithauser (leithauser@gonzaga.edu) with story ideas, suggestions for featured alumni, and your personal and professional achievements.


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Upcoming Alumni Events

November 18th, 2013 Comments off

Watch your Gonzaga Bulldogs Saturday, December 14 as they take on the South Alabama Jaguars. Pre-game social begins at 6:00 PM, tip-off at 7:00 PM.

Gonzaga’s Graduate School of Business is offering exclusive MBA & MAcc Alumni Luxury Suite seats for this year’s Battle in Seattle. Each $90 ticket includes admission to the game, pre-game social with door prizes, snacks, and your first beverage.

Tickets are first come, first serve. Family and friends welcome (must be 21 or older). Interested in purchasing tickets? Go to https://commerce.cashnet.com/GBUS.

We hope to see you at the game! Go Zags!

Accolades for our Graduate School of Business programs

November 17th, 2013 Comments off

MAcc and MBA programs experience continuing success!

Gonzaga’s MBA & MAcc programs recently received prestigious rankings from U.S. News & World Report (2014). Additionally, the accounting programs continue to advance in both rankings and CPA examination pass rates.

Gonzaga’s first-time CPA pass rate ranks in the top 15 in the country

  • For 2012, Gonzaga ranks No. 14 in the nation for first-time pass rate among the 255 “large programs” nationally that had 60 or more candidates sitting for the exam.
  • Gonzaga’s first-time pass rate of 75.6% is the highest in the state of Washington among all four-year institutions. Nationally, the first-time pass rate is less than 30%.

Gonzaga’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) ranks #14 nationwide

  • Gonzaga’s accountancy master’s program is the only such program in the Northwest to be ranked in the top 15 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • This is the highest ranking the MAcc program has achieved in U.S. News & World Report since the program’s inception. Gonzaga’s program was ranked 31st in 2010 and 28th in 2011.

Gonzaga’s part-time MBA program is ranked #73
This year marks the fourth year Gonzaga’s part-time MBA programs have earned a top 100 ranking!

  • Gonzaga is the only program in Eastern Washington to be ranked in the top 100.
  • This year’s ranking is up nine spots from last year’s 82 ranking.
  • For specialty programs, entrepreneurship ranks #16 and finance ranks #30


School of Business Faculty Recognized

Each year, Gonzaga University recognizes ten outstanding faculty. The School of Business was, once again, well represented in this university-wide honor.

Drs. Ken Anderson, Management; Ryan Herzog, Economics; and Mirjeta Beqiri, Operations Management, each received the University’s Exemplary Faculty Award.

If you were lucky to have one of these wonderful professors, you know that these honors are very well-deserved.

Congratulations to our great faculty!

New Director of the Graduate School of Business

November 16th, 2013 Comments off


Goodbye Jinny!

After serving as the Director of the Graduate School of Business for over six years and working in the Graduate School of Business for over nine years, Jinny Piskel left the University this past June. She was a valued member of our team. On behalf of the Graduate School of Business’ students, faculty, and alumni, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Jinny.

Jinny is still in Spokane—please connect with her on LinkedIn to stay in touch.

Welcome Dr. Gary Weber to his new role!

This past August, Gonzaga’s Graduate School of Business was pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Gary Weber as the Associate Dean of Graduate Business Programs.  In this role, Dr. Weber serves as the director of the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Accountancy programs, with responsibility for all facets of the programs including academic curricula and enrollment strategies. In addition, he oversees the operations of the Graduate School of Business Office.

Dr. Weber joined the Gonzaga faculty in 1995 after completing his PhD at Arizona State University.  From 2001 to 2004, Dr. Weber served as Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Programs in the School of Business.  He left the School of Business in 2004 to serve as the Associate Academic Vice President, a position that he held until 2007.  Dr. Weber has served as the Coordinator of Accounting Programs and Director of the MAcc program since 2009, and is an accounting faculty member at Gonzaga, specializing in taxation. Many of you probably already know Dr. Weber, but if not, feel free to stop by the Graduate School of Business Office and introduce yourself!

Great Success for GSB Events

November 15th, 2013 Comments off

Aram Lecture


The Graduate School of Business (GSB) co-hosted two incredibly successful events this spring. In February, the GSB along with the School of Business Administration, proudly sponsored the 4th annual Aram Lecture on Business Ethics. In honor of Gonzaga’s 125th Anniversary celebration, Dean Barnes requested the current John L. Aram Chair of Business Ethics, Dr. Brian Steverson, deliver the lecture. Dr. Steverson passionately spoke to a packed room of over 225 faculty, staff, students, and local community members on Business Ethics Education as Transformative: The Jesuit Tradition.

Responding to the most recent financial crisis and contending that business schools were at least partially culpable, Dr. Steverson argued that business education should be “Jesuitized.”

While some schools have added Business Ethics courses in the years following the financial crisis, this often amounts to mere window dressings rather than a substantial change of content. On the other hand, Jesuit universities have a long tradition of thoroughly integrating ethics into their business curriculums (something that should be very familiar to our alums). This shift to a Jesuit model of business education is necessary for all universities if we hope to develop business leaders who understand the true purpose of business is to enhance the common good. Of course, Dr. Steverson acknowledged that it is not a guarantee, but “Jesuitizing” is a step in the right direction.


Social Biz

How can the Graduate School of Business make 2.8 million impressions in a single week?

#SocialBizGU–an interactive discussion and networking event held last April with the help of a panel of local social media experts compiled by our Alumni Executive Board. Over 100 students, faculty, alumni, and local business leaders gathered in Wolff Auditorium as alum Eric Agnew (MBA ’11) moderated this stellar panel.

The panel of experts included:

Dave Sposito: Radio Broadcasting Personality, The Dave-Ken-Molly Show, 92.9
Jen York: Social Media Correspondent & Producer, KREM
Mike Ellis: Social Media Contractor & Marketing Consultant
Doyle Wheeler: New Media Entrepreneur, Kinetek Media
Josh Wade: Owner of Nectar Tasting Room & Nectar Media
Dawn Shrum: Corporate Online Marketing and Public Relations Analyst, Itron Inc.
Paul Warner: Social Media & Communications, Northern Quest Resort & Casino

Normal presentation decorum was thrown out the window. For once, audience members were not required to silence phones, laptops, and tablets. Instead, everyone in attendance (included the panel!) was encouraged to tweet during the panel discussion. The “TweetReach Report” above shows the power of social media outreach. There were so many questions for our experts that the lively conversation extended into the networking event that followed.

#SocialBizGU’s resounding success led to a new course offering for MBA students this fall. Agnew’s 1-credit Social Biz class promises students interaction with local experts while exploring the impact of Social Media on business. Students are loving it so far–follow the class discussion on Twitter at #SocialBizGU (while you’re at it, follow the GSB: @GonzagaMBA)!


Fall 2013 Social Networking Event


On Friday, September 20th, the Graduate School of Business hosted the 2013 fall social networking event at the Saranac Public House. The pleasant fall weather along with the outdoor backdrop of the Saranac set the perfect stage for the event.

“Speed Networking” rounds kicked off the social, as over 30 attendees dispersed to the four tables. Five speakers were stationed at the tables, each with different talking points.

Terri Alvarado— TMA Business Consulting Services, MBA ’07: Networking
Terrence Browne—
Avista, MBA ‘01: Networking
Dr. Becky Bull Schaefer­—Gonzaga University: Public Speaking
Eric Agnew— Itron, MBA ‘11: Social Media
Aaron Mangone— Boeing, MBA ‘13: GAMP

The GSB wanted to extend a special thank you to our five speakers for sharing their time and playing an integral part in the evening’s success.

Although the bell sounded after seven minutes to signal the change of tables, speakers and attendees at each table were still immersed in engaging conversations. After the Speed Networking portion, the students, faculty, and alumni continued to network in a less structured setting before the night’s end.

What’s New in the Graduate School of Business?

October 30th, 2013 Comments off

The Graduate School of Business is “committed to creating leaders who possess solid analytical, critical thinking, communication and team building skills, along with a strong sense of social justice.”

Not only embedded in the GSB mission statement, the sentiment above is observed in Gonzaga’s graduate school curriculum. Dr. Mirjeta Beqiri’s Quantitative and Statistical Analysis course fosters a mutually beneficial experience for both students and non-profit partners in the community. In an innovative service learning environment, students apply class lessons by offering a detailed analysis of company data to find trends and forecast projections. This is a valuable service that many non-profit organizations do not have the time, funds, or expertise to accomplish on their own. Dr. Beqiri’s course helps chart a new vision for how graduate students can study business in a civically engaged way.

The class has had a measurable impact on local organizations. Past projects included work with Lincoln County Economic Development Council (EDC), United Way, Spokanimal, Transistions, the Salvation Army, Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, 2nd Harvest, and many more.

We are always looking to continue to grow our database of local non-profit organizations. If you have a connection to a non-profit company that could benefit from this service, contact Dr. Beqiri at beqiri@jepson.gonzaga.edu.

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Alumni Updates

October 29th, 2013 Comments off

Andrew Sorenson, MBA 2009

New Job: “I am a Business Systems Analyst for Consumer Digital Technology for Nike, Inc., working on the back-end order management and fulfillment systems, which work in conjunction with SAP, for all our Digital Sport and Nike iD Products. I will be working with the business, the consumer, and our developers, along with everyone in between, to understand system or tool issues, pain points and recommended user experience improvements. I will be responsible for identifying the root issues, recommending a solution, and writing the requirements for said solution. The most exciting things about this role are the professional opportunities and opportunities for global travel, as we are working to expand into Europe, Japan and more in the next year. This opportunity is also allowing me to combine my passion for sports and technology into one. (Plus, the perks are pretty good, too! )

It was very hard to leave Gonzaga and my amazing friends and family in Spokane, but this is an incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity that I know I would not have if it weren’t for the education I received at Gonzaga and the connections I made. My undergraduate education helped me learn how to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and make my own decisions. While my MBA challenged me even more to make better arguments, find more concrete facts, and to once again think outside the box. But above all else, Gonzaga provided me with lifelong friendships all along the way. And without those friendships, I would not be at Nike today because many of them turned into professional connections, which helped me get to the interview. I will never be able to say “Thank You” enough to my friends, professors, and the staff at GU.

“How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it.” – Jimmy Valvano

I may be an Oregonian now, but I will always be a Zag and you better believe I will be making a few trips back for some games!”

Reconnect with Andrew at asorenso@zagmail.gonzaga.edu

Damon Pilgrim, MBA 2012

New Job: “My job title with Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Spokane is Public Relations Specialist. My job is to tell stories. Not just any stories, though.  I tell the awesome stories about amazing kids. Kids like a girl who had her leg amputated at 1, hiked Mt. St. Helens on crutches with her 8th grade class, and is the current reigning Miss Spokane. I tell these stories through many different outlets, including a quarterly newsletter called Leaders in Care and three social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress). Most of the responsibilities of marketing, communications, and PR are split evenly between the PR Director and me.

Everyone at Shriners is amazing. I’ve never worked at a place with less drama or more camaraderie. Everyone has been very welcoming and is there for the right reasons.  We all understand that we are in a very special place with a very special mission, and we both enjoy it and take it seriously. I couldn’t have fallen into a better place for my new career after earning my MBA.”

To learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Spokane, including upcoming events, visit www.facebook.com/spokaneshrinershospital.

Reconnect with Damon at dpilgrim@zagmail.gonzaga.edu


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MBA and MAcc Graduation

October 28th, 2013 Comments off

On behalf of the GSB, CONGRATULATIONS to Gonzaga’s MBA and MAcc classes of 2013. We will miss seeing you in the halls and classrooms, but look forward to seeing all you accomplish in your work and personal lives. Feel free to stop by the office next time you are on campus.

A special congratulations to our 2012-2013 Outstanding Students and Faculty of the Year!

MAcc Faculty – Andrew Brajcich
MBA Faculty – Mirjeta Beqiri
MAcc Audit Student – Julie Johnson
MAcc Tax Student- Erik Swanson
MBA/HCM Student – Mary Smith
MBA Student – Damon Pilgrim
MBA Student – Adriane Leithauser