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“State of the school” meeting features fall treats and microbrews

Alumni , Event Recaps Stories | Oct 18, 2012 |

by Elizabeth Anderson (FCRH ’13)

Nothing draws a crowd of Fordham students quite like the promise of apple cider, cider donuts and, for the lucky 21-and-over set, autumn beers. The Gabelli School’s Octoberfest, a Town Hall meeting, offered students all these things — plus the chance to hear directly from Dean Rapaccioli about the school’s present and future, and an opportunity to voice their questions or concerns.

About 150 students filled the McGinley Ballroom on Tuesday evening for Dean Rapaccioli’s presentation, titled “A New Era Begins at Fordham.” In addition to celebrating the Gabelli School’s successes, such as the debut of Hughes Hall and the enormous impact that it has had on the school’s attitude, the dean approached more difficult issues, such as the school’s current Bloomberg Businessweek ranking of 49. She said it was an inaccurate representation of the school’s actual quality and feels secure that Gabelli students, particularly the seniors, have a more confident opinion of the school than that number would imply.

Rapaccioli went on to highlight some exciting elements of the Gabelli School’s “New Era,” including the launch of new specializations in value investing, alternative investments and sports business, as well as three new Fair Trade courses — all created to meet student demand and make the most of faculty expertise. Through these programs, students can further distinguish themselves in a highly competitive job market.

After giving her presentation and answering student questions, Dean Rapaccioli welcomed to the floor Chris McGrath (GSB ’07), lead brewer at River Horse Brewing Company.

As the lucky of-age students sampled four River Horse brews, Chris described the experience of graduating from Fordham’s business school in 2007 and jumping into a finance position that he didn’t enjoy very much — only to find himself leaving a few years later to follow a passion, ending up in a job brewing beer and never happier. Though he is now far from Wall Street, he emphasized the incredible advantage that his analytical business skills, developed during his years at Fordham, have given him at River Horse.

Chris reflected that life throws you curveballs, and you may not always land in the career you planned for. But everything the Gabelli School teaches you, he said, from teamwork to accounting, can be applied to make you a great success in any position. He encouraged the students by saying, “With a GSB foundation, students will be prepared to excel in business, or outside of it.”

While Chris never thought he would be invited back to Fordham to talk about making beer, he was thrilled that the administration, faculty and staff are dedicated to showing their students alternative careers and ideas not normally associated with business. He wrapped up the ideals of the Gabelli School and Fordham neatly, stating, “For the students, I only have one thing to say: Nothing is worth doing unless it is done with passion.”

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