The College of Management’s Graduate Program Celebrates an Increase in Women Enrollment

By Anna G. Szczebak

Women are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with a career advantage. Despite challenges presented by the pandemic, more women are pursuing graduate business degrees. A survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) shows that the number of female applicants to graduate business programs has increased from 41% in 2019 to 60% in 2020.

UMass Boston’s College of Management (CM) graduate program is proud to contribute to this trend. Recent increases in women enrollment have reduced the gender gap in the University’s classrooms. During the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, 52% of new CM grad students were women and 48% were men, a 10% increase from prior years.

Overall, considering both new and returning CM students at UMass Boston, the gender split is just about equal, with 49% women and 51% men.

“In this rapidly changing marketplace, we are seeing more women entering and advancing in the workforce, growing in various industries, and looking to enrich their professional and personal lives by pursuing an advanced business degree.  Women see graduate business education as a smart investment in their future, and a high percentage have leveraged their MBA or business degree to make an impact,” says Barbara Benoit, Director of Graduate Enrollment and Strategic Outreach at UMass Boston.

Barbara also attributes this increase to the growing flexibility of CM’s grad programs. Online and hybrid course offerings promote a sustainable work/life and graduate school balance not just for women, but for all.  Further, Barbara states that colleges and universities have increasingly supported women through both on and off-campus initiatives, leading to a surge in women enrollment. For example, UMass Boston’s Women Beacons in Business Program offers career and personal development programs to the University’s diverse student body. The program is dedicated to educating future leaders about equality in the workplace and taking steps to ensure fairness and equal opportunities for everyone.

Students in the MSF Program Participate in the 2020 CFA Institute Research Challenge

By Anna G. Szczebak

The CFA Institute Research Challenge isn’t a competition for the faint of heart. Four UMass Boston students in the Masters of Finance (MSF) program, Valentino Palmieri, Jasmine Shukla, Tu Mai, and Phuong Tran, formed a team and participated in the 2020 round of this competition. They used their analytical, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills to assume the role of research analysts for a real-world company and compete against students from other major, Boston-based universities.

This competition is a global one, focused on financial analysis and professional ethics. Teams first compete in a local level competition. Winning groups move on to sub-regional, regional, national, and international rounds. Valentino, Jasmine, Tu, and Phuong had the opportunity to work with Rapid7, a cybersecurity and compliance solutions company. After a meeting with company executives, the UMass Boston team took matters into their own hands. Under the guidance of Mark Rye and UMass Boston Professor KoEun Park, they performed in-depth research and wrote a twenty-page paper on the A to Z operations of Rapid 7, including a complete financial analysis and recommendations for future action. Their hard work paid off, and the team advanced to the Boston finals, presenting their research to a panel of judges from the CFA society.

Valentino, Jasmine, Tu, and Phuong speak highly of their experience in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. The competition has not only instilled the group with a sense of confidence in their abilities but allowed them to put the concepts they’ve learned in the MSF program to practical use.

“I am extremely grateful for all the professors and mentors that put trust in me and the entire team. I am also grateful for my team members, who were supportive and helpful throughout the competition. A big thank you to Professor Park and Mark Rye for always being available to help and guide us. This competition was such a great learning opportunity and a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Jasmine Shukla.

5 Tips to Improve Your Appearance on Zoom

By Anna G. Szczebak

Since UMass Boston is 100% remote this semester, it’s important to be well versed in using Zoom. Follow this guide to learn how to look your best during remote classes and how to be easily seen and heard by professors and classmates.

  1. Insert a virtual background

Tired of having a plain wall or a cramped home office behind you during Zoom classes? Zoom’s virtual background feature allow your face to be visible, while covering anything behind you with a photo of your choice.

  1. Touch up your appearance

It’s difficult to find the motivation to get ready for virtual classes – so let Zoom get ready for you. When you activate Zoom’s “Touch up my appearance” feature, Zoom applies a filter that smooths your skin and gives you a polished look.

  1. Optimize the lighting in your environment

Don’t let bad lighting make you look like a shadow on the screen. Position yourself near window to improve your video quality with soft, natural light. Overhead light fixtures or lamps, that evenly illuminate your face, are the next best thing. However, if you can’t be picky about your environment, consider purchasing LED light bulbs or a ring light.

  1. Position your camera 2.5 feet away and at eye level

Your classmates want to see a close-up image of your nose even less than you want to show them. Position your camera 2.5 feet away so your whole face is visible from the shoulders up. This allows body language and hand gestures, as well as your facial expressions, to be easily interpreted.

Positioning your camera at eye level will appear the most natural. You can place your computer on a shoebox or on a stack of books for a simple and free way to elevate your camera. You could also invest in a laptop stand that holds your computer securely and allows you to easily adjust the height and angle of your camera.

  1. Adjust your background noise settings

Is your dog barking in the background? No problem. Zoom settings can be adjusted to reduce the level of background noise that can be heard when your mic is on.

Additional resources:


College of Management Alumni Participate in Boston University’s Diversity Forum

By: Anna G. Szczebak

UMass Boston’s College of Management Graduate Program was proud to watch three esteemed alumni represent the college and serve as panelists at Boston University’s Diversity in Business: Boston Area Graduate Admission Forum. Eight universities and various organizations in the Boston area participated in a mix of panels and networking sessions on February 16 and 17.

Neggin Rostamnezhad, a 2019 graduate of UMass Boston’s MBA program and current Human Resources Associate at Boston Properties, discussed how to leverage an MBA to make an impact. She emphasized how valuable it is to be in a classroom with people from different walks of life. Neggin strongly urged MBA students to take these relationships outside of the classroom, to pick people’s brains and ask questions. The most underused characteristic of an MBA, she elaborated, is the connections you make and the relationships you form.

Aderonke Odewale is a Double Beacon who participated in UMass Boston’s 4+1 program, receiving her bachelor’s degree and MSA in five years. She graduated in 2017 and works as Finance Associate at Bain Capital. AderonkeAderonke participates in a panel discussion discussed how to best navigate business spaces as a person of color. She recommends taking a deep dive into the company to assess its diversity before accepting a job offer. This involves more than just looking at diversity statistics published on the company website. Do thorough research and talk to current employees to get a clear, truthful picture of the organization.

Daniel Garcia-Decoteau, another Double Beacon and a 2017 graduate of Danny Participating in a panel with fellow MBA students.UMass Boston’s MBA Program, works as a Systems Administrator at Emerson College. He also discussed how to best navigate business spaces as a person of color. Daniel stressed how important it is to work for a diverse company. Doing so helped him become more successful by improving his confidence and allowing him to make real, genuine connections in the workplace.