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Rapaccioli discusses ‘global vision’ of Gabelli School

Graduate | Mar 19, 2015 |

Gabelli School of Business Dean Donna Rapaccioli appears on Squawk Box on Thursday, March 19.

Gabelli School of Business Dean Donna Rapaccioli, who appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday to talk about the business school’s recent unification, discussed Fordham University’s “global vision” and its use of “New York as our platform for education” as vital advantages for students.

Joining the panel discussion on the future of MBA education was Mario Gabelli, a Fordham alumnus whose financial gifts to the university led the school to be named after him. The undergraduate and graduate business schools were combined in late February under the Gabelli banner. Rapaccioli, who had been dean of the undergraduate school and acting dean of the graduate school, was picked to lead the newly unified school.

Rapaccioli and Gabelli both countered the argument that MBA degrees are not as needed in the current business climate as they used to be.

“I think the number of people that are getting an MBA has declined, but the value has not. … What we’re doing at Fordham is marrying the important technical skills but also the soft leadership skills,” Rapaccioli said. “Employers tell me every day that they need people who can solve problems, people that work in teams, people that are really comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, and these are the things we’ve built into the curriculum.”

Rapaccioli added that the value of the advanced degree should not be simply weighed on a cost basis.

“In my view you have to look at the long period, and you can’t only look at your salary,” she said. “You have to look at the quality of life, and if you do that kind of discounting, you’ll see that it really is worth it.”

Gabelli, a vaunted investor and founder of the financial firm GAMCO Investors, agreed with Rapaccioli during an exchange with Squawk Box co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin.

“But it’s not only a payback in terms of numbers, but it’s a payback in terms of psychology and the whole human being … and more importantly … it’s about the free-market system in the United States and meritocracy,” he said.

Here is the video:

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