O’Malley School of Business Honors Program Kicks Off

by Shannon Gleba & Lauren SchusterStaff Writer & Social Media Editor

Starting this semester, the O’Malley School of Business at Manhattan College has invited members of the class 2023 from a variety of majors within the school to be a part of the new Honors Program.

Spearheaded by the leaders of the School of Business, including Dean Donald Gibson, Ph.D., Associate Dean Janet Rovenpor, Ph.D., and a number of professors, the program is an effort to reward incoming students who proved themselves to be hard workers during their high school years.

Beginning the fall semester of their freshman year, participants will take the course Principles of Accounting I together. This year, twenty-two participants are enrolled in the class, and throughout the four years of their time at MC, they will take approximately seven courses together.

In addition to taking classes together, program participants are also invited to attend different seminars and opportunities open to them, like a recent trip to the investment banking company Morgan Stanley, as well as to complete a capstone research project during their senior year.

As a professor for the program this semester, Associate Professor Sebahattin Demirkan, Ph.D., explained that he thinks the Honors Program is important for MC to distinguish itself from other universities, and to increase retention rates in the O’Malley School of Business.

But even more importantly, Demirkan, believes the students in the Honors Program will have the unique opportunity to form tight-knit relationships founded on hard work.

“The main reason is to have a different experience for the students, where they will get to know each other well and it will be community for them. After they graduate, they will know they were cohort with these people, and they will probably also help out each other in the future,” said Demirkan.

He continued,  “Of course it will increase the bonding to each other. If they also see their friend is contributing, or giving more than a hundred percent in order to achieve, it will help them work harder.”

Gibson, is also very passionate about the mission of the program and is happy with the way it has been developing this semester, and feels like the school has created a program that cannot be found at many other business schools.

“As a Dean, I want to raise the profile of the O’Malley School of Business, and part of raising a profile is the excellence of students, their performance at the college, and where they end up after the get jobs. So, I would like to create a place where we can attract terrific students, and this seemed like a distinction that would help us recognize a different group,“ said Gibson.

Demirkan also expects that the O’Malley School of Business Honors Program will help Manhattan College grow as a whole, as graduates of the program will have a leg up when they enter the workforce.

“It will help with our school also, because in this competitive business school environment, you need to come up with really interesting and exciting projects, and the honors program is one of those actually. And in the industry, those students are also recognized. If they know you graduated from the O’Malley Business School which has a good reputation already, if you graduated with an honors program, it will better help you because they know that you were selected,” said Demirkan.

In addition to recognizing the high-achieving students, Demirkan also endeavors to promote the core Lasallian beliefs, as well as integrity in his students, and encourages them to use their knowledge and effort to help society as a whole. He teaches his students to find connections within all parts of their business education, and to appreciate art and similar disciplines.

“In order to be successful nowadays, 100% is not enough, you need to put 120%, you need to put all heart into. I observe that in my students, they are really motivated, engaging and it is good to see what we targeted in our students is working out. They like to be challenged and they are pushing all of their potentials even further,” said Demirkan.

Not only will the special students who accept the invitation to the O’Malley School of Business Honors Program be able to benefit from being a part of the program, but also the faculty teaching the students will be able to learn a lot from this group of students

“[The program] gives faculty the opportunity to teach a really special group of students who are really into it,” said Gibson.

Demirkan concurred. He expressed that he feels very privileged to teach such a high-achieving group of students, and that he is able to approach the courses in a different way then he normally does.

“In the Honors classes, [the students] like to be challenged, it is more engaging, experimental, and I try to use more business cases approach, trying to solve cases. Instead of answering the questions, I try to have them answer each other’s questions, one question comes, and I ask another to answer. Basically, it is more challenging, and I try to show them how it will benefit their life,” said Demirkan.

Freshman Zachary DiRenzo is one of the participants in the program, and already feels he has begun to benefit from it.

“So far, I’ve attended many of the recommended events such as the weekly seminars and a career chat, as well as an off-campus excursion,” DeRenzo said. “The program helps me see the variety of paths in business.”

DiRenzo encourages the next group of freshmen to participate in the program and hopes that it will continue to expand and improve for them each year.

“If you’re interested in business, I would recommend it, and I would also recommend taking advantage of every opportunity in NYC, which I think echoes the mission of the program,” DiRenzo said.

DiRenzo has found the program to be so helpful that he hopes MC will eventually expand into having similar programs for students of different majors outside of the school of business.

“In the future, I would like to see even greater variety of career paths presented to students,” DiRenzo said. “New York City is known for being the financial capital of the world, but it is also one of the live music and entertainment capitals of the world. Greater variety of presentations and opportunities would better help students in their search to find a fitting career.”