Park Leadership Fellows Program

Service Leadership Projects

Class of 2013 Projects

We continue to be impressed with the breadth and quality of the projects and their impact. Altogether, the first eleven graduating classes of Fellows have undertaken 203 projects that affect a broad range of stakeholders in the school and the Ithaca community.  The final projects were again presented in a Park Project Fair held in the atrium of Sage Hall. Attendance was again high and gives evidence to a growing School-wide appreciation for the efforts of the Park Fellows. It is also through such efforts that the Fellows learn to set the example as future contributors to the School and their communities. The following is a brief summary of the 14 projects for the Class of 2013.

  1. Boutique Consulting Firm Repository

    Fellows: Konstantin Damm (MBA ’13) and Marcus Welles (MBA ’14)
    Clients: CMC/Consulting Club – Pat Hubbell
    Johnson’s Career Management Center (CMC) works with the school’s consulting club each year to place students in competitive consulting internships or full time positions. The increasing student demand has led to a job imbalance across the well-known consulting firms (BCG, Bain, McKinsey, etc.). This project aims to increase the student body’s awareness of smaller, more niche consulting firms to give more students the opportunity to pursue a consulting career.
    The project expanded upon a new central repository of consulting firms likely to hire MBA students for either internships or full time work. The repository combines important high-level information, e.g. alumni contact information, visa sponsorship, typical work assignments, etc., to enable the student to make an informed decision of which companies should be targeted during the career search. The repository currently exists as a spreadsheet with access granted to consulting club members. The team continues to work with the CMC and Johnson’s IT Services to gather requirements and conduct design sessions for an eventual online tool that will replace the spreadsheet and facilitate the sharing of company research.

  2. Cornell Cinema Marketing Project

    Fellow: Adam Boorstin

    Clients: Cornell Cinema: Mary Fessenden (Cinema Director) and Railey Jane Savage (Cinema Manager)

    This marketing project was intended to boost ticket sales for Cornell Cinema, a University-sponsored movie theater that was looking for ways to expand its clientele base. The fellow partnered with Johnson Creative, an MBA club geared to mentor Cornell undergraduates interested in marketing, and was able to staff undergraduate designers on a series of event-specific marketing campaigns for Cornell Cinema. From 2011-2012, the fellow worked with undergraduate designers and Cornell Cinema’s Promotions Committee to market study breaks, visiting speakers, live musical events and film screening series. The fellow was able to impart marketing lessons to undergraduates while commiserating on various print and digital campaigns for Cornell Cinema. By creating effective marketing messaging, the project contributed to the success of several Cornell Cinema events including a Halloween 2012 screening of Faust in the Sage Chapel and a “live documentary” screening of The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller featuring commentary by Director Sam Green and musical accompaniment by the band Yo La Tengo.

  3. Johnson Diversity Symposium

    Fellow: Renita Chaney

    Faculty: Nsombi Ricketts and Risa Mish

    The Diversity Symposium was started by Park Fellows in 2010 in conjunction with the Black Graduate Business Association (BGBA), the Latino Business Students Association (LBSA) and the undergraduate Minority Business Students Association (MBSA) with the purpose of creating a holistic platform for participants to educate one another and exchange ideas on the latest issues related to diversity and business. While the Symposium has traditionally been the largest diversity focused event at Cornell, it was felt there could be more done to expand the mission and promote the inclusion of more members of the community. With this in mind the Fellow broke with tradition and invited Out 4 Business and the Women’s Management Council to become co-sponsors of the Symposium in addition to the other organizations. Beyond this, she went a step further to fulfill her goal of a more inclusive symposium by putting out a call for applications for the planning committee to the entire Johnson community, creating the most diverse organizing team the event has ever had.

    Over the course of 7 months, she worked closely with her team and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to solicit over $30,000 in sponsorship for the 3rd annual and largest symposium in the events history, themed “Diversify Your Portfolio”. Desiring for attendees, including current students, alumni, undergraduates, corporate sponsors and member of the greater Ithaca community, to have a truly enriching experience at the Symposium, the team created workshops with a wide range of speakers and panelists, including prestigious Cornell alums like the Chief Diversity Officer of Verizon Wireless, to engage attendees on topics such as pursuing entrepreneurial ventures while still employed, impact investing, global networking and managing diverse teams. 

    The inclusion of such a wide range of students sparked discussions about diversity and how to leverage it throughout the community long after the Symposium ended. It also inspired the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to take over the event going forward and officially house it in their office. The chair position and all other positions going forward will follow her model and be selected from the community and not one particular group bringing the community one step closer to an event that is truly inclusive and representative of the community.  In addition, the significant role played by undergraduates in this year’s planning led to higher participation levels from them than we have seen in the past providing not only a level of mentorship but a way to engage them with the Johnson community, thus aiding Johnson’s mission to create a pipeline from the undergraduate community. 

  4. TCAD Incubator Project

    Fellows: Josh Robbins, Emile Chin-Dickey

    Client: Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD)

    Tompkins County Area Development was interested in understanding the characteristics necessary to develop and sustain a community-based entrepreneurial center to aid in the economic growth of Tompkins County. This project focused on understanding the entrepreneurial needs in four areas: (1) community, (2) industry focus, (3) operating model, and (4) programming. Business incubators and accelerators in cities with similar demographics and population sizes from across the country were interviewed and analyzed to determine the most beneficial characteristics from these organizations. Both local and student entrepreneurs were also interviewed and surveyed to understand their specific needs and perceptions of strengths and weaknesses of the entrepreneurial community and resources in Ithaca. The final requirements and recommendations were presented to the Finger Lakes Entrepreneurs Forum (FLEF), TCAD, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. In addition, project findings have been presented to an internal group of Cornell administrators for inclusion in an application for funding from the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) Hot Spot program.

  5. Johnson/Cornell Integration and MMS Program Research

    Fellow: Melissa Cianciolo

    Faculty: Dean Soumitra Dutta, J. Edward Russo

    Over the years Johnson has continuously sought to leverage the strength of the broader Cornell network. The first component of this project began by exploring additional opportunities to continue this ongoing effort.  Through discussions with Dean Soumitra Dutta, we identified three areas of particular interest: Academics, Recruiting and Faculty Research.  Given the constraints of the project timeline and scope, we elected to focus on Academics.  With the cooperation of the Johnson Registrar’s office, I compiled and analyzed three years of course enrollment data.  This analysis, combined with key student insights, highlighted trends in Non-Johnson course enrollment by Johnson students, and vice versa; thereby allowing me to draw recommendations for further successful academic integration with the broader Cornell community.  The second component of this project focused on the exploration of one year Masters in Management Studies program.  To understand existing offerings in the market, the Fellow researched and profiled existing MMS and comparable one year programs at such universities as: Duke, University of Virginia and Wake Forest.

  6. Cornell ROTC Program

    Fellows: Patrick George

    Faculty: Lt Col Craig Wiggers, USMC; CPT Tim Pasto, USA

    Other: Rick McGuire, President of the Association of Veterans

    Clients: Cadets of the Cornell ROTC Program

    For over a decade, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have given a lot of men and women the opportunity to lead Marines, soldiers, and sailors on the front lines. This experience has provided them with invaluable leadership skills, and many service members are taking these skills into the worlds of business and law. But to get there, they first need to acquire the proper acumen. Some of which have found their way to Cornell to achieve this. Meanwhile, there are over 100 undergraduate cadets serving in Cornell’s ROTC program getting ready to enter a world that is very difficult to understand, much less prepare for. This project’s purpose was to help close that gap. Between the business school and law school there are members of all U.S. military branches that are either recently separated, serving in the reserves, or still on active service. These service members possess a wealth of knowledge that could be well served to help guide Cornell’s future officers.

    In coordination with the Association of Veterans at the Johnson school, the Fellow enlisted the support of graduate students at the Business, Law, and CIPA programs to volunteer their time to help advise Cornell’s cadets. Moreover, with the help and support of senior officers serving within the ROTC program, the team was able to initiate the program with branch specific leadership panels. These panels consisted of the all of the cadets within a particular branch and the graduate student veterans who had served in that branch. This was used as an opportunity to introduce both groups of people, provide a forum where veterans shared lessons learned, and to promote the next step of forming mentor and mentee relationships. Currently, leadership panels have been completed for the Army, Navy, and Marines and there are over 20 cadet mentees and 19 veteran mentors.

  7. Student Agencies Inc.

    Fellows: Jamie Hunt and Robert Frisch

    Client: Dan Kathan, Student Agencies

    The two Fellows continued the work of Park alumni in serving as SAI’s Johnson Graduate School of Management Fellows. First, they helped transition the outgoing CEO from a longstanding position leading the organization to serving in a less active role on the SAI Foundation board. Second, they provided strategic guidance to the 16 student managers with particular focus on a struggling campus promotions business unit.  Lastly, they addressed the outgoing CEO’s desire for SAI to be recognized as a premier leadership development opportunity for Cornell undergraduates by facilitating workshops and providing additional leadership curriculum.

  8. Financial Literacy at New Roots Charter School

    Fellows: Tanicka Decembre, Andrew Elliott, Kelli May,

    Clients: New Roots Charter School teachers, Peter McWain & Michael Burns

    Building on the success of last year’s Financial Literacy seminar taught by graduating Fellow, the current Fellow team sought to teach personal finance to Juniors and Seniors in the Economics course at New Roots Charter School. New Roots is a local charter school with a diverse student population from the Ithaca, Cortland and surrounding communities. The concepts covered included: budgeting, mortgages, savings and credit. This year the Fellows introduced the life simulation “game” in which students were given an individual profile, which included his/her profession, education level, annual salary and personal expenses, such as mortgage, spouse, child, student loans. They used the individual profiles throughout the sessions to illustrate the various concepts we covered in class to more clearly demonstrate the effects of personal finance for each student. The goal of this project is to prepare students for matriculation into a 2-year college or 4-year university and/or a career immediately following high school graduation.

  9. TAMID – Cornell’s Israeli Investment and Consulting Group

    Fellow: Parker Bush

    Faculty: Professor BenDaniel

    Others: Johnson Consulting Club, BR Ventures, Cornell Hillel

    TAMID is in its inaugural year at Cornell as a professional group that leads experiential investment and consulting education promoting Israeli-market savvy young professionals. In the spring of 2012, the University of Michigan reached out to Cornell Hillel offering a partnership to bring non-partisan Israeli business education to Cornell’s campus. This relationship was considered by the Fellow to be mandatory given the creation of Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus partnership with Technion University and the value that could be created for both Cornell, and regional and Israeli entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the individual tasked with its proliferation on campus was a temporary employee and was on their way to another educational institution by the end of the year. The Fellow’s goal was to build a team and provide them with a sustainable leadership strategy that would keep TAMID alive on campus once the Fellow reached graduation. Initially, the Fellow selected and established a diverse board and empowered them with vision and purpose. The Fellow led weekly discussions on implementation strategy regarding partnership generation, growth, fundraising, events, member relationships, and community outreach. The outcome had an impact across all walks of the Cornell community. Over 65 diverse members received access to prominent guest speakers from leading venture capitalist and consulting firms, and an interactive “case cracking” series with Johnson MBAs. Having met certain criteria, the current board is now in a position to receive funding from TAMID National to sponsor its first Cornell student fellowship in Israel. Further, the Fellow has committed to the current board help build, and fundraise for, a future TAMID / Tech Campus venture capital fund.

  10. MacCormick Secure Center – Fatherhood Initiative

    Fellows: Gerald Smith, Mike Weaver, Tony Lesmes, John Sharkey 

    Clients: NY State Office of Child and Family Services – MacCormick Secure Center

    A team of four Fellows continued the 4 year partnership with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to provide a positive male influence and expand opportunities for the young men at the MacCormick Youth Detention Center in Brooktondale, NY.  These youth are detainees in a maximum security institution and while some are already fathers, many will be responsible for fathering children at some point after their release.  The program is focused on providing mentorship, support, and educational opportunities through activities focusing on fatherhood, work, and life skills.  The MacCormick Secure Center looks forward to continuing the partnership for many years to come. 

  11. Attracting and Retaining More Women to Johnson

    Fellow: Cara Petonic

    Clients: Johnson Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and Johnson Admissions Office

    Faculty: Nsombi Rickets and Christine Sneva

    In the past three years, Johnson has made great strides in its attempts to attract and retain more women to the 2-year full-time MBA program.  The introduction of the Johnson Women in Business (JWiB) Weekend (a 2010 Park Project) followed in the footsteps of many business schools attempts to attract and retain more women to their programs.  JWiB has continued to grow in application rates and attendance with each subsequent year.  Unfortunately, Johnson’s percentage of women in the 2-year, full-time program still is one of the lowest of school’s ranked in the Top 20 in Bloomberg BusinessWeek rankings.  Additionally, no data on the effectiveness of the JWiB program in terms of applications, admissions, scholarships, competing schools and their women in business programs, and retention have been collected since the inception of the program in 2010. 

    This project’s main viewpoint is to help Johnson ODI learn how effective JWiB has been in the past 3 years how to continue to collect information from these prospective students and recommend specific courses of action for ODI and Admissions on how to utilize resources effectively to attract and retain more women students.  Additionally, the project expands its view to include a comprehensive study on the macro-trends of women applicants to 2-year, full-time MBA programs and its effects on women application trends to Johnson.

  12. Tompkins County Sustainability Center

    Fellows: Mazdak Asgary, Nora Hansanugrum, Jennifer Le

    Clients: Ed Marx, Commissioner of Planning and Public Works, Tompkins County, and Jackie Mou-Grube, Director, Tompkins County Sustainability Center

    The Department of Planning and Public Works of Tompkins County determined that it wished to create a space within the county to bring residents together to discuss and learn about sustainability-related matters, connect community members interested in sustainability-related matters with another, and provide students with a place to learn more information about sustainability-related internships.  This Sustainability Center received a one-time grant from The Park Foundation, and some additional funds were contributed by The Department of Planning and Public Works, but the ability of the Center to remain solvent long-term was uncertain.  Thus, the Park Fellows identified a number of similar sustainability centers found within the United States and conducted research to determine the services offered by these other centers, and how these services were supported.  The Park Fellows then conducted a consumer segmentation analysis to determine how the Tompkins County Sustainability Center could remain solvent in the long-term based upon the local resident makeup, and provided recommendations regarding possible funding models, programming, and an analysis of the costs involved in running such a center.

  13. Johnson – Dual Degree Programs

    Fellows: Matt Crimmin, Bhavin Rokad

    Clients: Risa Mish

    In an effort to increase the academic diversity at Johnson, strengthen the applicant pool, and bridge Johnson and Cornell’s graduate student community, the Park Fellows are working with Professor Risa Mish to evaluate the addition of new dual degree programs at Johnson. The recommendations are based on evidence gathered from interviews and surveys of faculty, staff, students, peer schools, and recruiters. The goal is to ensure recommended dual degree offerings benefit Johnson, Cornell University, and their students by attracting high caliber students with specialized areas of interest. Additionally, the Fellows believe that dual degree options must be marketable to prospective students, provide a unique offering to recruiters in the job market, and develop students with specialized skills capable of making an impact, not only in our Ithaca community, but also in the global community.

    Through this research, the Fellows identified three potential options for new dual degree development, including:

    • Master of Laws (LL.M.)/MBA – Cornell Law School
    • Master in Public Policy (MPP)/MBA – Cornell Institute for Public Affairs
    • Master of Environmental Science (MES)/MBA – Dept. of Natural Resources

    Final recommendations will be delivered in May 2013.

  14. Johnson – Big Red Industry Primers

    Fellows: Jose Gaztambide

    Clients: Student Council

    The Johnson curriculum tends along functional tracks where students develop expertize in Corporate Finance, Marketing, Operations, Investment Banking, or Capital Markets, but rarely provide opportunities for big-picture thinking.  Students from peer schools by comparison often attained understanding of the most critical elements of major industries at the highest level.

    The Fellows is developing BRIP, a new program that would bring in alumni and consultants from large and prominent industries to teach students about those industries.   Rather than focusing in on specific areas like finance, marketing, or operations, the goal is to take a high-level strategic approach and understand the conversations being had in the executive suite.

    This program is expected to benefit Johnson in the following ways:

    • Higher level of thought and strategic thinking reinforced, putting us on par with peer schools.
    • Re-engage successful and prominent alumni who have been away from Johnson for 5+years and may have lost touch
    • Students will be better prepared for recruiting, whether recruiting within these industries specifically or with professional services firms who serve those industries