GOLD: Graduates of the last decade


My name is Gina D’Agostino and I graduated in May 2013, but I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in the Albertus Five-year MBA program with a concentration in Human Resources.  During my senior year, I applied for an internship through the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) where I would be able to complete an internship in the Albertus Alumni Office.  I was one of four students chosen nationwide to receive the CASE Affiliated Student Advancement Program (ASAP) fellowship.  As part of my internship, I was able to attend the CASE ASAP conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, along with three other Albertus students who are in the Student Alumni Association.  Attending this conference, especially in New Orleans, was an experience of a lifetime.  We learned about what other schools across the country, large and small, are doing to promote alumni relations, philanthropy, and giving back to their alma mater.

Together with Stefanie Seslar, director of alumni relations, and Carolyn Behan Kraus, vice president for development and alumni relations, we decided that my internship would focus on developing a “Graduates of the Last Decade”  or GOLD group.  This group would consist of traditional undergraduate alumni of the College who have graduated in the past ten years, 2003-2013.  We believe that young alumni are looking for different opportunities to stay connected with the College other than what has been traditionally offered.  I began doing some research, sending out a survey to determine exactly what types of events they would like to see hosted.  The majority of the votes suggested that the events that would most likely be attended were happy hour events.  Thanks to alumni feedback, the Young Alumni Group has set up various happy hour events for young alumni to meet up, have fun, and connect with one another socially and for professional networking.

The first event was held, after the College’s annual Fall Fest, at Christopher Martin’s Restaurant and Bar in New Haven.  More than 30 young alumni joined us to continue the Fall Fest festivities.  In December, the College hosted its first annual Christmas Tree Lighting, held outside of Aquinas Hall.  There were several tables featuring different activities. The Student Alumni Association had DIY ornaments for students and children; Residential Life sponsored writing Christmas Cards to the troops overseas, and the Young Alumni Group sponsored an Ugly Sweater Photo booth.  Our very own Santa Claus was also there to take pictures with students, alumni and families!  This month, we will be hosting an “I Hate Valentine’s Day” event, once again at Christopher Martin’s.  The event will be held Thursday, February 13, from 5 to 7 p.m., and include games and trivia complete with great Albertus prizes.

The Young Alumni Group hopes to continue to plan specific events targeted for our young alumni throughout the year.  One event, scheduled to take place in April, is a scavenger hunt in Downtown New Haven.  Please follow our Facebook & Twitter accounts to stay up to date on the latest events and news!  If you would like to help plan events or to get more involved email me at

UntitledGina D’Agostino graduated Albertus Magnus College in May 2013, with a bachelor of science in marketing and is currently enrolled in the Albertus Magnus College Five-year MBA program.  She is researching and implementing events and activities to form a new GOLD (graduates of the last decade) program designed to engage recent alumni through her fellowship opportunity through the CASE Affiliated Student Advancement Programs.

Open Houses, Open Minds The Keys to Success

 bree_056Just a few short weeks ago Albertus Magnus College held one of its most successful Open Houses at its East Hartford Campus, 111 Founders Plaza. This event was open to all prospective students and families, and showcased the different associates, bachelor and master’s programs that we have to offer.

The main difference that sets Albertus Magnus College out from its surroundings is the way we structure our classes. The Division of Professional and Graduate Studies strives to create accessible and affordable programs for working adults that will fit into a busy lifestyle. Our two structures include our Cohort-based classes, and our Modular-based classes.

  1. Cohort-Based:  When you hear Albertus Magnus College students refer to their classes as “Cohort-Based,” what they are really stating is that they are participating in our accelerated degree program that allows students to take one class at a time and receive their degree in as little as two years. This approach provides students with a pre-sequenced set of classes along with one specific day that all of their classes will take place on, for the next two years.

  2. Modular-Based: Our “Modular-Based” classes were created for our students who have a bit more flexibility and are looking to create their own schedule. This format is offered at the New Haven campus, and permits students to take 1-2 classes throughout an eight-week segment. Each student has the opportunity to have his or her own unique class schedule.

These two structures were talked about in-depth during our January Open House, and will continue to be highlighted as a key to success for fitting education into a working adult’s life.

We hope that those who attended the January 29 session took advantage of the opportunities to sit down with our financial aid counselors, academic advisors and professors to voice any concerns that might be standing in their way of pursuing a degree.

It was wonderful to see such a great turn out, and we look forward to our next Open Houses; March 11, 2014, at the New Haven Campus and April 23, 2014, at the East Hartford Campus.  Visit to register for one of these events or for details.


Conflicting Values and Competing Priorities: the Evolving Conundrum

By Michael H. McGivern, Ph. D. and Kathleen D. Spector, Ph. D. IAMB 16th Conference (Nov 2013). George Washington University & CIBER Center for International Business Education and Research, Washington, DC.


“You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”–Abraham Lincoln

With the increased challenges in today’s global business arena, it is getting increasingly difficult for managers and employees to meet everyone’s needs. On one hand, we have the corporate shareholders pushing for increased shareholder value; government regulators and vested interest groups creating more demands. On the other hand, we have customers and employees requesting more value to enlarge their pieces of the pie.

This creates a conundrum for managers and individuals who are caught in the middle trying to please everyone. In a perfect world, they would find a win-win situation and please everyone. However, this is a lot easier said than done. The manager and employee are in the middle of the competing priority syndrome where they need to make decisions that may or may not be popular among all groups.

It is very hard to make short-term decisions to please everyone today while simultaneously meeting the challenging needs for the long-term. One of the major difficulties with competing priorities is making the correct short-term decision that will also support and sustain the long-term growth of the organization while honoring organizational values. This alignment between the short term decisions and long-term decisions grounded in a culture of values-based decision making is necessary for high-performance organization’s to be successful. A few examples of the challenges are as follows:

  • Speed to market vs. quality-driven products and services

  • Cost focused vs. innovative or rationale decision making

  • External stakeholder value vs. employee engagement and satisfaction

  • Dollar-driven vs. value-driven decisions

Managers and employees need an “anchor point” to measure their decisions against (Collins, 2001) and a process to analyze the competing priorities to align the short-term and long-term needs of the organization. The anchor point would be the values that can be utilized to drive the correct cultural behaviors within the organization so that the best or correct decisions can be made under times of compromise or stress.

For this to happen, it would entail two steps:

  1. Managers and employees need to understand the concepts of an organization being an open system based on a value driven culture.
  2. Managers and employees need to understand the competing values framework and how it can assist to make the correct decision during times of competing priorities, potentially jeopardizing a values-driven culture.

Why Value Driven Cultures?

In three research studies of Fortune 500 companies (based on success criteria and indicators of success), one common theme of the successful firms throughout was the core ideology (Collins & Porras, 1994; Collins, 2001; Collins, 2009). The core ideology was defined by Collins and Porras (1994) as the (organization’s) core values plus the organization’s purpose.  This can be broken down further into the firm’s core values defined as: “…the organization’s essential and enduring tenets, not to be compromised for financial gain or short-term expediency (Collins & Porras, 1994, p. 73)” or “…nonnegotiable tenets against which we measure the worthiness of our choices (Pottruck & Pearce, 2000)”.

   Benchmarking research from Collins and Porras (1994) identified degrees of visionary companies; eighteen of  which were identified as “Built to Last” and noted the following financial success:

  • $1 invested in the general market stock fund in 1926 would equal $415 in 1990

  • $1 invested in one of the comparison groups in 1926 would equal $955 in 1990

  • $1 invested in one of the visionary companies in 1926 would equal $6,356 in 1990 (Collins & Porras, 1994, p 4)

Collins’ subsequent (2001) research identified eleven vision-driven organizations identified as “Good-to-Great” organizations; noting the following financial success:

  • $1 invested in the general market stock fund in 1965 would equal $56 in 2000

  • $1 invested in the Good to Great firm’s mutual fund in 1965 would equal $471 in 2000 (Collins, 2001, p 3)

Of the populations studied in the research conducted in 1994 and 2001, only one firm (Philip Morris) remained on the list. Further study by Collins (2009) suggested that no firm can remain a visionary company forever because of the challenges and compromises of today’s fast-paced world. Superior products only last for certain periods of time, and all firms will experience a decline. Collins (2009, p 43) recommended a challenge to the old business paradigm – “the rhetoric of success (“We’re successful because we do these specific things”) replaces understanding and insight (“We’re successful because we understand why we do the specific things and under what conditions they would no longer work”).

The previously mentioned research studies (Collins & Porras, 1994; Collins, 2001; Collins, 2009) did not find a panacea for predicting long-term growth and sustainability for organizations. What they did identify is the importance of values to drive cultural behaviors to build and sustain high-performance organizations.

Collins, J. C. & Porras, J. I.  (1994). Built to last:  Successful habits of  visionary companies.  New York:  Harper Business.
Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great. New York: Harper Business.
Collins, J. (2009). How the might fall and why some companies never win. Harper Collins Publishers Inc.
Pottruck, D. S. & Pearce, T. (2000). Clicks and mortar. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco. 
MHM pic 08-10-2010(1)
Dr Michael McGivern is an Adjunct Instructor of Business and Leadership programs
at Albertus Magnus College. When not teaching classes, Michael is an organizational
change management specialist consulting on Organizational Development/Redesign, Operations Management and Human Resource issues. Michael’s main focus is to work with organizations to develop and implement strategies to measure the effectiveness of change and continuous processes by linking organizational capabilities with bottom-line business objectives. Michael has also presented numerous times at conferences including IAMB, ACBSP, QAIC, Industry Week’s America’s Best Plants, Clemson University Teams, University of North Texas Teams Conference, ASTD, SHRM and the American Society for Quality. He also contributes articles to a variety of professional journals, including Management Decisions, American Management Association International, Journal of High-Performance Teams and Futurics. Conference and presentation topics include leadership, organizational change, teams, lean manufacturing, and measurements for organizational success.