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LHBS Hosts First-Ever Hess Connect

The Leon Hess Business School (LHBS) hosted Hess Connect, an event open to all business students on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The goal of the event was to connect business students with their peers, student leaders, and industry professionals that support the LHBS community. All business disciplines were represented, along with different school-sponsored organizations, such as Monmouth Future Business Leaders (FBL), the Economic and Finance Club, ENACTUS, Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) – The International Honor Society, Accounting Society, and Real Estate Club.

Janeth Merkle, DBA, Assistant Dean of the Leon Hess Business School, was at the helm in coordinating Hess Connect. According to Merkle, events like these are foundational to the mission of the LHBS. “Hosting an event like Hess Connect is one way to support the LHBS’s strategic pillar of student excellence.”

She added, “As the School aims to gradually shift towards a culture of networking, collaboration, and collegiality, such an event provides an avenue for this purpose.”

Raj Devasagayam, Ph.D., Dean of the Leon Hess Business School, expanded on the School’s commitment to its students, and how Hess Connect played a role in communicating this to the University community. Devasagayam said, “The Leon Hess Business School faculty are committed to providing personalized education that promotes business as a force for good. The notion of delivering excellence in and around the classroom depends on building academic rapport with our students.”

Devasagayam continued, “Hess Connect allowed our students to meet with their professors, peers, student organization officers, and businesspersons in an informal setting. Such events lead to lifelong mentor-mentee relationships that transcend one’s professional development after Monmouth.”

Merkle also noted the uniqueness of Hess Connect in relation to other School-wide forums. “While LHBS offers various activities targeted for specific concentrations, this event brought the entire LHBS community together. I believe this type of event is necessary to rebuild what we lost during the pandemic.”

Valentina Bertini, freshman management and marketing student, likewise enjoyed the opportunity to connect with individuals from the business community. Bertini said, “The thing I liked the most about this event was being able to talk to some of the staff. It’s nice to meet people that have worked in real business situations, as well as people who could possibly be teaching you next semester.”

Another freshman business student, Viviana Ayuso, mirrored Bertini’s feelings, saying, “I thought Hess Connect was a great way to find out about all the different clubs and activities the business school has to offer.” She exclaimed, “There were so many clubs, and even raffles!”

Nancy McGrath, MBA graduate student and Co-president of BGS, commented on her perspective as an undergraduate alum and student leader. She started, “I wish I had taken advantage of more opportunities and events like this one when I was an undergraduate student here.”

McGrath also mentioned the importance of being exposed to the business community. “Even if some of the students who came out to the event decided they aren’t going to join any of the clubs, they at least know of their presence and have grown their network.”

She continued, “Most of the students who came to the BGS table had never even heard of the honor society before. It was great to tell them all about the numerous events we are planning and inform them of the requirements needed to be inducted.”

However, as an honors society, involvement is not open to all. “The BGS table was unique because students could not sign up to join, they have to be inducted, which made our welcoming experience a little different than the other tables…Our goal was motivation; We hope that by informing first year students of this society and the amazing connections it provides, they will be encouraged to work towards being a member of BGS,” ended McGrath.

Emily Finnegan, a junior and President of FBL, agreed with McGrath, saying, “Students left with a better understanding of the opportunities within the LHBS and what each individual club has to offer.”

Finnegan described another portion of Hess Connect, which was the unveiling of the School’s new credential program, Suitable. “The LHBS introduced Suitable at the event, which provides students with an opportunity to earn points for their engagement on campus.”

She explained, “Suitable has levels of activities that students can earn badges for and build a portfolio. They can showcase these achievements on their resume.”

Bertini also commented on Suitable, saying, “Professor Merkle spoke about how attending business events can lead to you earning badges, which shows future employers that you’ve done more than just sit in a classroom and listen to lectures.”

Haider Husaini, Co-president of BGS and President of the Sports Industry club, remarked at how special Hess Connect was for all members of the LHBS community. “I think the business school is doing an amazing job putting events like this together because it allows for students to feel that sense of community outside of the classroom, crucial to the development of student leadership and faculty rapport.”