By Brooke DellaRocco and Anna Segota, Staff Writers
Manhattan College celebrated the opening of the newly renovated third floor of the O’Malley Business School in De La Salle.
Manhattan College announced that these renovations have helped students and teachers alike, with the hope of placing Manhattan College at the forefront of the highly competitive business scene of NYC.
Donald Gibson, Ph.D., dean of the O’Malley School of Business explained the necessity for these upgrades at this point in the semester.
“To compete with top business schools, we need to look like a top business school,” Gibson said. “I also wanted to improve the learning environment for students. We then renovated the third floor over the last two to three years or so. Now, not only new technology and new furniture to the classrooms, but we also added a new student lounge and student work rooms.”
The three different student collaborative spaces consist of the new business analytics/customer information system (CIS) lab, new student lounges with individual study rooms and the Capalbo room.
Within these facilities there are also new technologies such as Bloomberg Terminals for students to get Bloomberg certified, allowing Manhattan College students to stand out when applying for jobs and internships within the industry.
In the midst of the current budget crisis, Gibson initially turned to Thomas O’Malley, namesake of the business school, as one of the major donors to provide the funding for this necessary upkeep. After about four years of reaching out to multiple donors to raise enough money, the school was able to start working on the spaces over the summer.
“Not all donors want to give to buildings, but some do,” Gibson said. “We also have an advisory board for the O’Malley School of Business; a group of business leaders, so they took it on as their goal as well. So a lot of them gave funding to it.”
Gibson also consulted with a student advisory board, to make sure they were serving and meeting the needs of both current and future scholars of the business school.
Kathleen Connelly, a senior, spoke about her experience being a part of the student advisory board and the planning process for O’Malley’s renovations.
“He [Dean Gibson] runs ideas by us about all things across the business school,” Connelly said. “Since I’ve been on the board, the renovations have been a topic of discussion pretty much each meeting. He was really trying to create the best space for us and what we needed and what would be accommodating.”
Dimitri Mihelakos, a sophomore finance major, spoke about the benefits and uses of some of the student spaces.
“It makes me want to go there just because of how comfortable and private [it is]… I’ve never wanted to go into a lounge area and sit but even the student lounge looks professional and clean,” Mihelakos said.
Another potential benefit of these spaces is the appeal to incoming students and applicants.
“For prospective students this is now a place we can show them to expand beyond the second floor,” Gibson said. “Students like to see the spaces that they would like to visualize themselves in. That’s a key element as well.”
Mihelakos reflected on his own experience as an incoming freshman when he toured campus.
“I know when I was going to my orientation, or going through the tours on campus, seeing the new facilities really appealed [to me],” Mihelakos said.
Amir Masoumi, Ph.D., associate professor of management and marketing, spoke on the importance of modern amenities with the overall declining student populations pursuing higher education across the country.
“I think it was absolutely necessary and the timing was perfect,” Masoumi said. “In this country, [there is a] downward trend of the school and college student populations, almost 50% of all high school seniors don’t quite get the value of higher education and getting a degree…I think for that purpose and for enrollment purposes, the shrinking pool of prospective students is becoming more fierce.”
With many changes underway, and potential changes in the future, The O’Malley School of Business is thriving. Masoumi conveyed gratitude and expressed his excitement to keep expanding and growing as a school. “I’d like to thank our generous donors, who have united the School of Business, and Manhattan College,” Masoumi said. “I want to ask them to keep the donations coming, there are a lot of projects that can be done in the School of Business.”