Advisory Boards Stay Active and Engaged Virtually

The College of Business Administration is fortunate to have a number of councils and advisory boards in place to support our strategic goals and initiatives. Even in a virtual setting, these dedicated advisory board members have stayed active and engaged in the college, helping faculty enhance curriculum and providing students with valuable industry connections and insights. Here are some highlights from the past year.

Dean’s Executive Council (DEC)

The Dean’s Executive Council is comprised of business leaders who represent a wide range of industry/sector experience. The council has been instrumental this year on advising Dean Dayle Smith on CBA strategic planning, DEI discussions and strategy, and support for new initiatives in the college.


Accounting Advisory Board (AAB)

The Accounting Advisory Board has been an invaluable resource this year. They have served as guest speakers in our virtual classrooms or have identified colleagues to speak in our classrooms. Members also served as panelists in virtual events hosted by the Accounting Society. In addition, our generous board members have provided scholarship funding for accounting majors and MSA students. In fact, an endowed scholarship fund was started thanks to the efforts of board member, Jim Mills (Deloitte partner), to honor the memory of Jackie Fernandez ’79, a recently retired Deloitte partner who passed away.


Center for International Business Education (CIBE) Advisory Council

The CIBE Advisory Council provides guidance and advice concerning the scope of the center’s activities and programs. The board meets twice a year to discuss international business trends of importance to U.S. trade and competitiveness, assess program objectives, and strengthen collaborations to better serve the needs of our students, faculty and U.S. businesses.


Finance Targeted Affinity Council (FTAC)

The Finance Targeted Affinity Council had a very busy year. They organized a successful webinar series for all LMU students to enhance their financial literacy called “LMU FinLit Workshops: Your Path to Financial Success.” Four members of the FTAC (Jon Ekoniak ’89, Bob Parker ’89, Cliff Wang ’07, MBA ’10 and Ralph Birchmeier ’91) recorded 10-min. workshops on various financial literacy topics.

Jon Ekoniak ’89 shared his perspective on the FinLit Workshop Series and why he carved out time in his busy schedule for FTAC.

What was the overall feedback from students?  

The feedback was very positive. It’s interesting because every student seems to have latched on to a different nugget of information. For example, one student was very interested about saving for retirement, one was very concerned about their monthly budget and another wanted more details about financing a car purchase.

It’s not surprising though. Everyone’s financial situation is different. This is why financial literacy so important. We’re not dealing with absolutes. We’re dealing with very fluid, real-life situations. The students (and anyone) need a base foundation of financial understanding.

Through this series of webinars, I feel like we just poured the foundation and there is a lot more to build and to teach. We want to provide the students with enough knowledge and tools that they will be able to address their own unique financial situation, or have the wherewithal to know when they need to ask someone for help.

Why did you decide to join the LMU Finance TAC? 

Dean Dayle Smith and LMU are tackling financial literacy head-on. They understand the importance of developing well-rounded students and the impact that it can have on the well-being of their student’s lives for many, many years to come. I was very impressed with Dean Smith’s vision for her students and her rapid adoption of new technologies to deliver content in a way that is easier, and more fun, to digest. I am honored and proud that I was invited to be a part of this process. I also have to thank technology and the work-from-home culture for enabling me to participate. It is very acceptable to live a plane ride away from LMU yet still play an active role in FTAC. This was not possible in the past.

The FTAC Young Alumni Committee held its inaugural event last fall titled “5 Years Out of LMU, What’s Next?” Jonathan Merhaut ’13, V.P. at Eastdil Secured; Kevin McConahey, MBA ’05, Sr Group Manager FP&A at Yamaha Motor and Ellie Judy, MBA ’05, V.P. Capital Research at Capital Group, discussed their career paths in finance and the decisions they’ve made to grow within their company, pivot in their career and/or pursue a graduate degree. The event was moderated by Ralph Birchmeier ’91.

This spring, the FTAC Young Alumni Committee organized a fireside chat with Peter Casciani ’93, MBA ’97, CFO-North America at Ticketmaster. Peter discussed his career history, how he’s surviving the COVID-19 crisis, and his expectations and plans for the future.


MSBA Advisory Board

The MSBA Advisory Board consists of 10 executive leaders in the business analytics fields from health care (GoodRx), advertising (RPA), social media (Facebook, Snap), consumer goods (Nike, Epson), retail (Qdoba) and data science consulting (RMDS, Systech) industries. Board members have played vital roles in MSBA’s initial development, continuous improvement in curriculum, student advising, capstone project sponsoring and quality control, and job placement for our graduates.


M-School Advisory Board

The M-School Advisory Board (consisting of industry leaders and executives) helped our faculty develop the concepts for several new courses launched in 2020-2021, including Full Funnel Marketing and the Creative Marketing Studio.


Real Estate Advisory Council (REAC)

The Real Estate Advisory Council held its fourth annual Real Estate Career Day this spring featuring Martin Muoto, CEO and managing partner at SoLA Impact. Students participated in roundtable discussions with prominent real estate executives to learn about various real estate career paths and internship opportunities. The REAC also organized an event last fall featuring Christopher Rising J.D. ’96, co-founder and CEO of Rising Realty Partners. Christopher shared his experience as it relates to today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities. We’re grateful to our REAC members for providing $20,000 in scholarships to CBA students interested in real estate careers.