Faculty & Staff Spotlight

Martha J. Crawford in Forbes

Martha J. Crawford in Fortune, Forbes & Entrepreneur

AS SEEN IN FORTUNE, FORBES & ENTREPRENEUR
FAIRFIELD/WESTCHESTER | BUSINESS LEADERS
SHAPING TOMORROW’S TECH AND BUSINESS LEADERS

Sacred Heart University’s Jack Welch College of Business & Technology is pioneering the powerful convergence of business and technology education.

Martha J. Crawford
Dean Crawford at Sacred Heart University West Campus, the former GE headquarters.
It’s a recurring theme: By the time other schools are noticing industry trends, Sacred Heart University’s Jack Welch College of Business & Technology (WCBT) has already implemented them into the curriculum. One such trend is the inevitable junction of business and technology — a global movement for which WCBT is leading the charge.
“We’ve merged our faculties of computer science, engineering, and all facer of business into one school so that students can interact on diverse teams and are prepared for the rapid and continuous intersection of these industries,” says Dean Martha Crawford, Ph.D., who joined WCBT in August 2019 after a three-year stint at Harvard Business School and a 20-year career as a chief technology officer for leading technology companies in France.
Housed in the former GE global headquarters, WCBT’s state-of-the-art learning labs, active-learning cohorts, and startup incubators immerse students in real-world environments that foster organic growth. From day one, WCBT students are ingrained with an entrepreneurial mindset, a strategy Crawford says future-proofs students for industry evolutions that will inevitably occur throughout their careers.
“For students to cope and thrive in a rapidly changing wodd, they need to have the entrepreneurial ability to navigate complex challenges and a critical thinking toolkit to face never-before-seen ethical issues,” says Crawford.
With the rise of cyber hacking, fake news, and AI integration, tomorrow’s leaders must be wired with a strong ethical reasoning framework.

“As Catholic university, our mission is values-based. Our diverse faculty shares a common commitment to teaching business as a vector for positive social impact. We teach students to pay attention to not just shareholders, but all stakeholders — the suppliers, distributors, and society at large that will be impacted by business decisions,” says Crawford.
This ethical foundation is a university-wide orientation that was tested — and that prevailed — during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the first hints of the virus began circulating, Sacred Heart University was among the nation’s first institutions, and the first in Connecticut, to transition online in early March 2020.
“We saw the COVID hurricane coming and took immediate action to protect our community. Our senior leadership team unanimously voted to go online, and we started the next day,” says Crawford. To pull that off, the university relied on its own entrepreneurial flexibility to pivot and pioneer the road not yet traveled. “It was difficult for a few weeks, but everybody was on board,” says Crawford.
“By fall semester, our SHUFlex system allowed us to safely bring students back to campus for in-person dasses: she continues. “Thaes what I love about Sacred Heart University. We are entrepreneurial and agile. We go out of our way to meta¬phorically hold the door open for others. We don’t just teach our values; we live them.”

Globally Minded

Since 1991, Sacred Heart University’s Jack Welch College of Business & Technology has operated an MBA campus in Luxembourg. The digital integration of the campus provides all students invaluable international perspectives and networking opportunities. The Luxembourg campus is pioneering the integration of B-Corp and sustainability initiatives into the curriculum and offers unique executive education programs. Sacred Heart University also operates a campus in Dingle, Ireland.

SHULU Private Equity Event

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg – “The 30-Year Bridge: Executive Education & Private Equity”

Wish you knew more about Private Equity? Here’s your opportunity to…

  • Learn about the evolution of the Private Equity market
  • Listen to panelist’s stories about how Private Equity education changed their careers
  • Discover what the industry will look like in the future

With:

  • Aissata COULIBALY, EY Private Equity Associate Partner, SHULU Board of
    Regents Member
  • Jens HOELLERMANN, SHULU Private Equity, Professor & InTabulis
    Managing Partner
  • Christine IMPENS, SHULU MBA Alumna & Finance Manager Three Hills Capital Partners
  • Erica LECLERCQ, SHULU Full Time MBA Program Manager
  • Stephane PESCH, Luxembourg Private Equity & Venture Capital Association LPEA, CEO

Live streamed event on April 28th, 2021 from 6 to 7 pm.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mentors Students with Big Ideas

Ventures are open to everyone, not only business majors

When a student or professor in Sacred Heart University’s community has a brilliant idea for a new product or service but doesn’t know how to turn the thought into a plan, it’s time to see Richard Guha, SHU’s entrepreneur-in-residence. Even while most University business and classes are being conducted online during the pandemic, Guha is still available to mentor inspired Pioneers.

Richard Guha Over the last 28 years of Guha’s distinguished 45-year career, he has engaged with startups as founder, board member, CEO, mentor and investor. Several of the startups in which he has been involved have had multi-million-dollar exits—meaning the business was acquired or, rarely, it issued an initial public stock offering—and one currently has a $1 billion valuation.

“When classes are in session on campus, I walk around and chat with students,” Guha said. “As I develop a rapport with them, they gain the courage to ask questions and talk to me about ideas that have been floating around in their heads.” Without the current ability to chat informally with students, he’s reminding them that they can still reach out to him during this time.

Guha’s mission as SHU’s entrepreneur-in-residence has three components. The first is encouragement of students’ curiosity about new ideas and possibilities. “I want them to come to me even if they are just curious about being an entrepreneur. You can even come talk if you don’t have any ideas but want to find out what’s involved in being an entrepreneur,” Guha said.

The second component is guidance. Guha teaches students how to execute the next steps for pursuing their venture. He guides them through negotiating the legal structure and finding a lawyer who will work with them for free or inexpensively, setting up their books, developing a plan or product road map, marketing their business and hiring the right people when the time comes. “I won’t do the work for them, but I help them do it themselves. If there is something they cannot do, I help them find someone who can work with them.”

Third, Guha helps introduce his clients to those in the industry who may be able to help with investments and business set-up to get them on their way.

Entrepreneurship is not only for business majors. “Whatever your degree is, you can apply it to being entrepreneurial,” said Guha. All experience is relevant. “Don’t think that your life has to be linear. Just because you want to do something different than what you’ve done so far, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the experience to make it work.”

Don’t let a fear of failure get in your way, he advised. “I’ve mentored students who went off and did something entrepreneurial for a year or two after college, and either it failed, or they lost interest. When they joined a large corporation, they went into a higher-level position than they would have straight out of university.” Corporations value the experience gained from being an entrepreneur, even if one fails. “There is nothing wrong with trial and error. As an entrepreneur, you are the CEO, the chief innovator and the chief marketing officer. The things you learn are more relevant than you realize.”

People with entrepreneurial spirit are excellent assets to the innovation within companies—often called intrapreneuring—because they come up with new ideas for new businesses within the corporation. Nonprofit organizations also offer opportunities for entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs.

Wilder Rumpf ’20, who carried a double major in finance and economics at Sacred Heart, consulted with Guha for over a year while forming FinTron, a broker-dealer business currently developing a banking and investing app for people between the ages of 18 and 39. “FinTron has gone on to raise more than a half a million dollars in just under a year,” said Rumpf, noting that he also owes special thanks to Professor Mark Ritter and late Professor John Gerlach.

“Richard is a wonderful mentor with an endless Rolodex of connections. He provided me with industry insight, connections to resources and a friendly face during some tough times I’ve faced as a founder,” said Rumpf, who plans to launch FinTron this summer.

“Richard has given me great advice on what direction to take with my business endeavors and what I can do to proceed,” said Caitlin Golynker ’23, a business management and finance major at Sacred Heart. “He possesses connections in various fields that can help your idea progress and give you the ability to collect more information on your idea.”

Tobi Aminu ’20, who graduated with a degree in finance and plans to continue his education in Sacred Heart’s MBA program, has spent a great amount of time with Guha preparing business plans for his venture. “I feel like a sponge whenever I speak with Mr. Guha,” said Aminu. “His wisdom is endless and I know I will benefit from this opportunity.”

“The Sacred Heart community is lucky to have someone with Richard’s depth of business acumen and experience, who is available to help create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” said Martha Crawford, dean of the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology. “Anyone with an inkling of an idea should spend some time talking to Richard. He’s an invaluable resource to our students and faculty.”

Guha also often serves as a judge and mentor for startup weekends, much like Techstars and Sacred Heart’s virtual startup weekends. Participants often contact Guha after the weekend is over, seeking advice on how to move their business plan forward.

The goal of the entrepreneur-in-residence program is to produce Sacred Heart alumni with an entrepreneurial frame of mind who believe there are no boundaries to what they can accomplish.

Anyone from Sacred Heart can reach out to Guha at Richard@guha.us at any time, even if it’s just to talk about what entrepreneurship entails.

Guy Ertz

Interview of Guy Ertz, Professor of Finance, Portfolio Management Courses

Guy Ertz, Chief Investment Advisor @ BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg, tells us about co-teaching the Portfolio Management Course.

1. Guy, can you please briefly introduce yourself?

I have more than 25 years’ experience teaching topics like international economics and exchange rate dynamics, general equilibrium theory, risk management, etc. During my Ph.D., I had the opportunity to spend one year at the University of Minnesota, thanks to a Fulbright scholarship. That was a fantastic experience. I have been working in the Banking Industry since 1999 in Wealth Management and more precisely in Portfolio Management. I have been a member of the investment committee at group level for BGL BNP Paribas for more than 15 years. Managing through the great financial and Eurozone crisis was a challenging and important experience.

2. You are teaching this Portofolio Class with Mark Ritter, Former Senior Executive @UBS Stamford – Connecticut; why this “co-teaching” initiative?

I had the opportunity to participate in exchange programs at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and at the University of Minnesota. I was fascinated by the complementarity of these teaching approaches with the program at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium where I studied. Having the opportunity to teach with Mark will thus be quite complementary since we will be combining two different approaches, professional expertise (Capital Market Assumption & Initial Public Offering), visions and experiences from two sides of the world (his American one and my European one). This idea became a concrete project thanks to our Digital Campus initiative launched during the pandemic.

3. What are the benefits of such a class for our students?

I have been working on applied finance topics such as the estimation of long term expected returns of asset classes and more recently the risk-return properties of portfolios managed using ESG criteria. I started working on the first topic after I had participated in the 2006 CFA Summer School at Harvard. This topic was discussed in one of the Business cases and generated a lot of exciting debates at the time. We will share this experience in class. The second topic is more recent and is one of the most exciting and promising areas in banking and asset management, especially in Europe. We will discuss whether managing portfolios using ESG criteria improves the risk return trade-off based on a survey of the recent academic literature.

Mark will be using a number of business cases on key topics and will use his experience in investment banking and some of his publications to add a specific topic on IPOs and the recent trend in so-called SPACS (special purpose acquisition company).

4. What advice would you give our students to navigate through all these changes within the banking industry?

The banking industry has gone through challenging times especially since the great financial crisis and the low interest environment. It is key to remain open for new trends and adapt quickly. As mentioned, I think that the most challenging and promising trend is sustainable finance and the use of ESG or similar criteria in asset management.