Fordham Business Fall 2023

Fordham University Business Fall 2023

Technology Driving the Future of Business
Fall 2023
from the office
of the dean
Lerzan Aksoy posing for a picture

Leveraging Technology to Drive Innovation and the Future of Business

The rapid evolution of technology and its profound and seamless integration into our daily lives is both astounding and transformative. We are witnessing the ascent of artificial intelligence, not just as a beacon of innovation, but also as a topic of critical societal deliberation. From groundbreaking tools in education to fintech innovations shaping the next wave of entrepreneurship, we stand at the precipice of a technological renaissance that promises to redefine the business landscape.

At the forefront of this transformation is the Gabelli School of Business. As a trailblazer in the tech realm, we are deeply immersed in a spectrum of initiatives, positioning us not only as observers of this exciting age but also as its architects, sculpting the future.

This edition of Fordham Business offers a glimpse into our journey. Dive into a collaborative faculty research project with Sony that has unearthed the unique listening habits of Gen Z. Learn about a student-led venture using AI to refine job interview techniques. Discover the cutting-edge advancements and reimagine the academic experience at Fordham University’s new LITE facility. With each page, you’ll find our commitment to leveraging technology not just as a tool, but as a catalyst for innovation, education, and the evolution of business.

Explore and discover the future with us.

Lerzan Aksoy signature
Lerzan Aksoy, Ph.D.
Dean and George N. Jean Ph.D. Chair
Gabelli School of Business
Fordham University
Fordham Business / Volume 25 / Fall 2023



digital illustration of artificial intelligence concept
The Artificial Intelligence Dilemma
Artificial intelligence is making a dramatic impact on our day-to-day lives and across every facet of business. It’s also raising complex questions about its promise and potential risks. Gabelli School of Business faculty weigh in on the impact of digital technologies, their ethical implications, and what the future may hold.
Inside of office building
Learn how Gabelli School of Business faculty and students are tapping the very latest emerging technologies to collaborate, problem solve, and innovate at Fordham’s new LITE center.

in every issue

Calling All Fordham Alumni Entrepreneurs!
Do you have an idea you want to make a reality?

Need help taking your business to the next level? Interested in giving back through mentorship opportunities? The Fordham Foundry has got you covered!

Ready to Launch or Grow?

The Fordham Foundry’s mission is simple: to advance entrepreneurship and innovation in the University community.

Ready to Volunteer?

Want to give back with your knowledge and experience? We welcome volunteers from diverse backgrounds, industries, and experience levels to serve as mentors, guest speakers, and judges.

Want to Learn More?

Scan or click the QR code below and follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

fordhamfoundry logo


“AI forces us to reconsider what it means to be a human.”
— Miguel Alzola, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Law and Ethics
“[People] will eat three brownies, but they are not going from cheesecake to brownies to something else. This [knowledge] can help companies cater their offerings based upon what appeals to health-conscious customers.
—Hoori Rafieian, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marketing, on the findings of her research recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research
$10 billion
The amount invested in the AI industry in the last two years nationwide
Digital financial illustration with robots holding coins
Percentage of MBA students who used VR headsets from Fordham’s LITE center for the course Consumer Adoption of New Media who had no previous experience with the technology
8 in 10
MBA students surveyed who “strongly agreed” that having access to emerging technology is beneficial to business education
Digital illustration of online learning

Gabelli School of Business serves as Host for 2023 Edition of the UN PRME Global Forum

Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business served as the host of the UN PRME Global Forum, during which a dynamic program of content and purpose-driven speakers focused on the critical topic of how business education can help advance the sustainable development agenda. The UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) is a United Nations Global Compact- supported initiative with the mission to inspire and champion responsible management education, research, and thought leadership globally. It convened business school leaders, faculty members, students, businesses, and sustainable development organizations for a Responsible Management Education Week, which was held on June 12–16, 2023, in New York City. The goal was to advance responsible management education and its impact worldwide. The 11th Edition of the PRME Global Forum was part of this week and took place on June 13–14 at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. Key themes included connecting for pedagogical impact, climate impact, digital impact, and leadership impact.

Center for Digital Transformation 10th Annual Deloitte March Data Crunch Madness Competition

THIS PAST SPRING, THE GABELLI SCHOOL OF BUSINESS Center for Digital Transformation (CDT) held the 10th Annual March Data Crunch Madness Competition. Designed to build upon the excitement of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments, the CDT competition challenges student teams to employ their analytics skills to predict the outcome of the NCAA Basketball tournament using publicly available data. The competition is open to all Fordham University students, although most participants are enrolled in the Gabelli School of Business’s M.S. in Business Analytics and M.S. in Information Technology programs.

Save the Dates

6th Annual American Innovation Conference
November 14, 2023
11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

On-site at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus
Hosted by the Gabelli School of Business Responsible Business Center, the 6th Annual American Innovation Conference is dedicated to sharing, collaborating, and celebrating customer-focused innovation and its impact on company success. Join us to hear success stories and lessons learned from the most innovative companies in America, as well as insights from the authors of the American Innovation Index. There will be an opportunity to talk to innovation leaders in all sectors at the reception following an awards presentation. Register today at

Financial Issues Forum presents Daron Acemoglu on “Power and Progress”
December 1, 2023
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

A thousand years of history and contemporary evidence make one thing clear: progress depends upon the choices we make about technology. New ways of organizing production and communication can either serve the narrow interests of the elite or become the foundation for widespread prosperity. Author Daron Acemoglu discusses his recently released book, and the ways in which cutting-edge technological advances can become empowering and democratizing tools, if major decisions are not left solely in the hands of a few hubristic tech leaders.

The first 100 guests will receive a FREE electronic copy of the book, courtesy of the Fordham Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis. Register Today at

Gabelli School of Business Hosts FinTech Innovation Lab New York Demo Day 2023

The FinTech Innovation Lab is a highly competitive 12-week program, which helps early- to growth-stage companies that are redefining the fintech industry, to grow their businesses with support from the world’s top financial service firms and venture capital executives. It was cofounded by the Partnership Fund for New York City, the $180 million investment arm of the Partnership for New York City, and Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud, and security.

Each year, the FinTech Innovation Lab hosts Demo Day, during which 10 emerging enterprise tech companies— out of 200 applicants globally—present their technologies to top executives within the financial services, venture capital, and technology industries. This year, on June 22, the 13th annual New York Demo Day was hosted at the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business and provided a fascinating look at the businesses of the future and the individuals whose ideas will inspire them.

Nyasha Gutsa talking to audience
Nyasha Gutsa, CEO and founder of billy, one of the 10 fintech startups seeking to scale their businesses, delivered his pitch to an audience of top executives within the financial services, venture capital, and technology industries.

Responsible Business Center Explores Material Gains of Seeking Measurable Social, Climate, and Economic Returns with Top Industry Thought Leaders

Peter Lupoff, Karen Johns, and Nuveen speaking at podium
Moderated by Peter Lupoff (right), Gabelli fellow at the Responsible Business Center, an executive in residence at the Gabelli School of Business, and principal at Lupoff/Stevens Family Office, the “Nuveen and the Sustainable Cities Challenge,” panel featured insights from Roberta Lobo, director of ESG strategies, Nuveen Investments (left) and Karen Johns, CEO, Net Impact (center).
The Gabelli School of Business Responsible Business Center believes that there is Good Business that Comes from Good Business, regardless of the fact that much of the recent public discussion around ESG and corporate sustainability misses the longer-term, logical, and attainable objectives of businesses operating for a just and sustainable planet, as well as for profit. This past April, the Responsible Business Center hosted an event by the same name that convened some of the top experts in the areas of corporate responsibility, climate change, and sustainability to discuss how businesses are increasingly considering all stakeholders—consumers, employees, communities where they operate, and investors—while maintaining or improving their bottom line.

Gabelli School of Business Faculty Researchers Collaborate with Sony to Gain Student Insights for Innovative Music Lifestyle Driven by LinkBuds Series

The preferences, behavior patterns and purchases of members of Gen Z, many of whom are currently students on college campuses, are top of mind for companies that are producing and bringing new products to market. This is because the group is nearly 69 million strong in the U.S., with a purchasing power that topped over $360 billion annually in 2021.

Interested in making an emotional connection with this powerful segment, Sony Corporation (“Sony”) collaborated with faculty researchers at the Gabelli School of Business to test its innovative LinkBuds series of truly wireless earbuds that enable users to “stay connected to and aware of people and places in everyday life, without ever having to pause their personal soundtrack.” LinkBuds—which come in a unique open ring design (LinkBuds) or a traditional, sealed noise-canceling design (LinkBuds S)—allow users to personalize a listening experience in which music, phone calls, games, and other digital content merge with, and seamlessly transition between, ambient sounds that occur in everyday life.


Salute to the Full-Time MBA Class of 2020

Gabelli School of Business graduates go on to have successful and fulfilling careers. They are leaders in their fields whose impact can be felt in the U.S. and around the world. To highlight their accomplishments, each issue of Fordham Business will feature profiles on alumni from a specific degree and year of graduation. Here are six alumni from the full-time M.B.A. class of 2020, whose hard work and deep commitment are making a difference in the financial services industry.
  • headshot
    Andrew Clark
    Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
    After earning his M.B.A. in Finance, Andrew Clark secured a position at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management as a financial advisor with the 712 Investment Group. He has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry as a member with Axiom Markets and as a trader with Pioneer Futures. Clark’s clients include families, foundations, executives, and business owners. By advising on portfolio construction, trust and estate solutions, and retirement planning, Clark helps guide them through all aspects of their financial lives. “A successful wealth management practice encompasses far more than just a knowledge of finance. Skills in marketing, operations, and communication are crucial to building a business and better serving clients. The tools and the network that I gained at the Gabelli School have been pivotal to my success as an advisor.”
  • Gui Zaniol headshot
    Gui Zaniol
    Solutions Consultant, Resulticks
    After completing a full-time M.B.A. with a STEM focus, Gui Zaniol joined Alvarez and Marsal as a consultant in the CFO services practice, focusing on performance improvement, improved reporting, and interim support for the office of the CFO. In 2022, Zaniol secured a position as a solutions consultant with Resulticks, a SaaS omnichannel customer engagement platform, where he supports strategy and delivery of internal projects, training and onboarding of new colleagues, project management, and customer onboarding and success. Zaniol is a data-driven problem-solver who applies entrepreneurship, business development, leadership, and project management skills to drive results across different industries and companies. “The skills I developed and the connections I made while studying for my M.B.A. helped shape the direction of my career and prepared me for my current role at Resulticks.”

Elizabeth “Libby” Vernon, BS ’22

Portrait photograph headshot of Elizabeth "Libby" Vernon, BS' 22 smiling in a red blouse top that has white small custom flower shape patterns all over as she holds a National Football League shaped game-day ball (foreground) while in the background behind her is a zoomed in wall picture perspective of the Arizona Cardinals stadium field area
Photo by Caitlyn Epes

Faith, Family, and Football

For the 115 million viewers of the 2023 Super Bowl, it was a day to kick back with friends, grab some snacks, and watch the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. For Elizabeth “Libby” Vernon, BS ’22, it was one of the busiest and most memorable days of her career.

State Farm Stadium, which hosted the event, is home to the Arizona Cardinals and also is Vernon’s workplace, where she serves as the team’s premium services coordinator. In this role, she ensures that Stadium Club members enjoy game day, dining, and shopping opportunities through the season, and take advantage of off-season events, such as attending training camp.

On the day of the 2023 Super Bowl, Vernon assisted several high-profile guests, including NFL team owners, politicians, and celebrities, as well as two special guests of her own—her father and brother, who traveled 2,000 miles to share this exciting moment in her career and in the sport that has bonded their family as far back as she can remember.

“It was full circle because my dad instilled my love of the game,” she said, adding that he and her brother both played football in high school. “It was a memory that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

Vernon, who earned a B.S. in Management from the Gabelli School, credits her education for honing the skills that are essential to managing events, projects, and people—which all played out during this sports mega event.

EMBA ’23

Robert Griffith, EMBA '23 smiling
Photo by Jack McCoy
Throughout his career, Minnesota Vikings safety Robert Griffith, EMBA ’23, was recognized by the NFL for his finesse on the field. In addition to his success as a professional athlete, Griffith is a savvy business consultant, manager of a minority-owned global project fund, and founder of a nonprofit organization that awards college scholarships to underprivileged high school students.

Now retired from the NFL, Griffith recently completed the Executive MBA program at the Gabelli School to further advance his business career and deliver more scholarships through the Robert Griffith Foundation. His story is so inspiring that when he graduated in May, Griffith was interviewed by CBS News New York about his latest achievement.

“I’ve been a team captain for over a decade, and managing people in that setting was a lot different than being able to do that in a corporate setting,” he said in the interview. “I wanted to develop those skills to be able to articulate them in the workplace.”

Education has always been important to Griffith. His mother was a primary school teacher in San Diego, California, where he played college football and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at San Diego State University.

Fordham London

Gabelli School of Business

Student Voices: A Typical Summer Day Studying at Fordham London

Summer is a special time for hundreds of students who take classes at Fordham London. Here we share a Gabelli School of Business student’s reflections on the transformational experience she had this summer, as well as her hopes to someday return to a city she has found both welcoming and intriguing.

Eden Kavanagh is a junior who is majoring in Information Systems with concentrations in Global Business and Process & Quality Analytics. She currently serves on the executive board of the Gabelli School’s Dean’s Council, has just finished her fellowship through Stanford University’s University Innovation Fellows, and is a member of the Digital Business Society.

Eden Kavanagh
Fordham University London campus building

London Speaker Series Features a Lineup of Thought Leaders from Across Industry Sectors

This fall, the Gabelli School of Business hosted a dynamic array of speakers at Fordham London. The group shared their insights with students, faculty members, and administrators, providing an insider’s view of the topics that matter most.
September 27, 2023
Nikki Davidson
Sports Social Media Manager, GIMO Global Interactive Marketing Online Ltd.
The Lesser-Known Side of Marketing: Sports Marketing
Fordham University London campus building

The Artificial Intelligence Dilemma

The Artificial Intelligence Dilemma typographic title
The classical concept of Artificial Intelligence has been around since the 1950s. But newly emerging innovations have put AI’s capabilities in the hands of everyday users, opening new possibilities—and new risks.
The classical concept of Artificial Intelligence has been around since the 1950s. But newly emerging innovations have put AI’s capabilities in the hands of everyday users, opening new possibilities—and new risks.
By Robert Lerose
Throughout history, numerous technological breakthroughs have transformed our society. From landline telephones, radio, and television to personal computers, the Internet, and smartphones—each has marked a turning point in the way we live, work, socialize, become informed, and relate to one another.

There is little doubt that generative AI, or artificial intelligence, will join that roster, making a dramatic impact on our lives—and in every facet of business—while also raising complex questions about its promise and ethical implications. One thing is clear: AI has caught the attention of Wall Street. According to Pitchbook, in 2022, venture capitalists poured $483.6 million into generative AI companies in New York alone—a 1,096.6% surge from $41.1 million in 2018. Almost $10 billion has been invested in the AI industry in the last two years across the nation.

Bringing Learning to Life at LITE, Fordham’s Learning and Innovation Technology Environment

Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse was projected to be a show-stopping virtual reality experience, promising consumers anything they desired, from interactive games and customizable avatars and environments to connecting with friends, family, and like-minded strangers. Although VR headsets were pushed into the mainstream and were being sold at big box stores like Costco, they met mixed reviews from consumers. Why?
Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse was projected to be a show-stopping virtual reality experience, promising consumers anything they desired, from interactive games and customizable avatars and environments to connecting with friends, family, and like-minded strangers. Although VR headsets were pushed into the mainstream and were being sold at big box stores like Costco, they met mixed reviews from consumers.


Bringing Learning to Life at LITE, Fordham’s Learning and Innovation Technology Environment

Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse was projected to be a show-stopping virtual reality experience, promising consumers anything they desired, from interactive games and customizable avatars and environments to connecting with friends, family, and like-minded strangers. Although VR headsets were pushed into the mainstream and were being sold at big box stores like Costco, they met mixed reviews from consumers.



abelli School of Business M.B.A. students investigate that question in the course Consumer Adoption of New Media taught by Assistant Clinical Professor Janet Gallent, Ed.D. With the support of Fordham University’s Learning and Innovation Technology Environment (LITE) center based on the Rose Hill Campus, Gallent was able to offer her students an engaging, hands-on learning opportunity so they could answer the question for themselves.

“Students are instructed to act like a consumer and think like a consultant,” she said, as they immerse themselves in VR experiences using Meta Oculus Quest 2 headsets made available to them through LITE. “Their virtual reality experiences start with Meta’s First Steps, an introduction to VR technology,” she explained. “Then, they are ready to engage in Meta’s Rec Room, which is a VR social space that enables them to play games and chat with users from all around the world.”

According to a poll conducted by Gallent last semester, only 30% of the participants had previous experience with VR headsets, while all of the others were trying the technology for the first time. In the end, 82% of the students reported that the VR experience “informed their perspective on why VR hasn’t taken off yet.” The barriers they identified included the comfort of the headset itself, the hand-eye coordination necessary for navigation, and the life of the battery, which could impact the overall experience.


Faculty Research
Abstract vector image of person inserting a credit card into a phone and receiving money

Jiaying Deng, Ph.D.,

Assistant Professor of Information, Technology, and Operations
Popular social trading platforms like eToro and Zulutrade borrow many of the same features found on traditional social media networks–investors of all levels can like, comment, and reply to the public posts of investment leaders.

These platforms, however, have become an important emerging market within the sharing economy because of the way they go further, offering investors transparent access to leaders’ trading activities and financial performance, and the ability to automatically allocate their funds to mirror the strategies of the leaders they choose to follow.

The networks rely on leaders exchanging their expertise for payment that is based on size of their following, but unlike regular social media platforms where accounts can remain connected for years, relationships on social trading platforms are volatile and often short lived.

Faculty Research

Andrey Ermolov, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics
Abstract vector of man and woman next to large lightbulb labeled Yield to Maturity
Portfolio managers and investors who were used to U.S. and international bond yields moving in the same direction in the early 2000s should take another look at their diversification strategies.

Research by Andrey Ermolov, Ph.D., associate professor of finance and business economics, shows that since the Great Recession, yields of five-year bonds issued by the U.S. government often moved in a different direction from those of bonds issued by governments in the U.K. and France.

“Most models would predict that prices of government bonds of developed countries would have moved closer together, but that wasn’t the case in the Great Recession,” said Ermolov, who holds the Felix E. Larkin Distinguished Professorship in Management. “Somehow this dependence broke down after the Great Recession.”


Business Anthropology 101

In his sixth book, Business Anthropology: The Basics (Routledge 2023), Timothy de Waal Malefyt, Ph.D., author and clinical professor of marketing at the Gabelli School, explores anthropological theory and its real-life applications. He shared his thoughts with Fordham Business on the value anthropology brings to the industry, government, and nonprofit sectors and how business anthropologists can engage the public and make a lasting difference in addressing today’s most pressing societal issues.
Front book cover of Business Anthropology: The Basics (Routledge 2023) by Timothy de Waal Malefyt, Ph.D.

Q: Why is studying business anthropology essential to our understanding of business?

A: As businesses have increasingly become integrated on a global scale and have extended their reach across humanity around the world, it has become critical for anthropologists to be actively engaged in influencing them.

The first premise of this book is to inform anthropology students, beginning practitioners, and curious non anthropologists about the ways in which anthropology provides an intellectual and practical framework for seeing and dealing with the larger ‘why’ questions of human behavior in business and society. It shows ways of addressing issues holistically, identifying with people empathetically, acting reflexively, and understanding situations from an insider’s point of view.

Q: How does business anthropology differ from traditional anthropology?

A: While it stems from mainstream academic anthropology, it promises exciting new directions for students and practitioners seeking a career in one or more of the fields of technology, finance and banking, healthcare services and medicine, user experience, design and product development, data science, marketing and advertising, corporate business, workplace culture and organizational change, law, or engineering, among other fields. Most importantly, it uses anthropological theories and methods to identify and solve real business and social challenges, such as environmental degradation, social inequality, and the rise of misinformation.


Hoori Raefien posing for a photo
Photo courtesy of Hoori Rafieian

Hoori Rafieian, PH.D.
Assistant Professor of Marketing

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution, perhaps to start a diet or exercise plan, only to fall off track the very first week? Hoori Rafieian, Ph.D., studies the ritual of setting goals and what keeps us motivated in achieving them.

Rafieian seeks to help companies—including health, budgeting,and productivity apps—to better understand their customers. In “The Effect of Pursuing Self-Regulatory Goals on Variety Seeking in Vice Consumption,” a paper she coauthored, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Research this year, she studied consumers’ attitudes toward unhealthy foods after they set health goals. The findings showed that people tend to seek variety in healthy foods, but restrict themselves to only one type of unhealthy snack.


Fordham Business Fall 2023
Lerzan Aksoy, Ph.D.
Dean, Gabelli School of Business

Executive Editor
Paola Curcio-Kleinman

Managing Editor
Claire Curry

Creative Director
Ruth Feldman

Contributing Writers/Reporters
Michael Benigno
Paola Curcio-Kleinman
Claire Curry
Jane Larson
Robert Lerose
Michelle Miller
Gabrielle Simonson

Fordham University President
Tania Tetlow

Dennis C. Jacobs, PhD

This publication is published by the Office of the Dean of the Gabelli School of Business, with offices at 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458 and 140 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Email

Does Fordham have your correct contact information? If not, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 800-314-ALUM or Or update your profile at

If you would prefer to receive this magazine digitally, please email

Opinions expressed in this publication may not necessarily reflect those of the Fordham University faculty or administration. © 2023, Fordham University Gabelli School of Business

Fordham Business Logo
Thanks for reading our Fall 2023 issue!