Lorenzo Bizzi leads study abroad trips with his students from the Business Honors Program and his capstone course to destinations such as Europe and East Asia, and he sees how exposure to the global business world enriches each students’ college experience. Bizzi is the Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College of Business and Economics Business Honors program director, and he considers this role one of his greatest accomplishments.

As an assistant professor of management for the past seven years, he has taught MGMT 449, the capstone course for management undergrads. Bizzi earned his Ph.D. at HEC Montreal and completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in his native Italy. I asked him to share his advice for students:

What do employers say is the most important strengths for a potential candidate?

Technical knowledge is not all that important. When Goldman Sachs came for a meeting with Business Honors, they said they will teach you the skills you need. You need to study finance because it signals the motivation that you will need on the job, but they won’t expect you to explain certain models. Motivation is a bigger factor.

What strength is essential for an exceptional employee?

I know what employers want, which is how I design my courses. Employers want to see you have taken classes that make you think. Concepts are important, but you really will forget them. You have to make students thirsty for knowledge, which Einstein used to say “Education is not about feeding people concepts, it is about making them hungry.”

What are the most important areas first-year students should focus on other than academics?

You should enrich your social bonds as much as possible. It is extremely important, not just because of the social element for emotional support, but because the relationships you build in college last a lifetime. Those people in your class will make a big name for themselves, and if you stay close with them, it will be very beneficial in your future. Lots of folks don’t believe that is true, because some say that friends stay together now, but we’ll all go our separate ways; however, our alumni network is strong because people will always remember their college experience as positive.

It is a unique period of your life that you should cherish, because afterward it is about work, family and a mortgage. College is a pure and beautiful period in which you have to work but also have a glorious time. Even 15 years after college, you may contact someone in class that you haven’t talked to in years; they will go have lunch with you because they want to remember those good days in college. An amazing quote I show before every study abroad trip is when you are in your deathbed, you don’t think about your possessions, you think about experiences over your lifetime.

What are some of the helpful strategies drawn from your college career?

I was able to balance work with having a great time. I have always worked hard and played hard. During the hardest moments of work have been the times I increased my play time as well. Otherwise, folks lack balance and it becomes depressing. My family said as long as you’re the best student at school, you can go have fun as well.

How did you decide what to study when you were a student?

The flexibility, networking and great opportunities within business were very appealing. If you are a doctor, you have to work in the health-care industry all of your life. In business though, you can work in any industry you like. I decided to do more with my Ph.D. because I really loved academia. We can make an impact through our students; they become successful and give jobs to other people, creating a multiplier effect. Professors of business are also still involved in the community, and I still do consulting projects and such to help businesses. It really empowers a variety of talents we have and gives us a range of opportunities to grow.

Since you have taught at multiple universities, what sets Cal State Fullerton students apart from others you’ve taught?

Our students have different backgrounds; many have overcome hardships and difficulties that have all my respect. I have some students that I know who are working three jobs, others that have losses in the family. Students here are more independent, and they have lived through those experiences at a young age, which I really admire.

Interested in Business Honors? Applications are currently open to qualifying freshmen and other undergrads seeking a structured, cohort-based, four-year experience with networking, professional development and academic advancement opportunities.

For more on the Mihaylo College management education programs, visit the department of management. Or read more of our articles about management.

Jilene Melendez'19, a member of the Titan Women Collective and employee of the Hotel Irvine

Jilene Melendez

For Cal State Fullerton’s female juniors, seniors, graduate students and recent alumnae who aspire to start their own businesses, the Titan Women Collective, a mentoring and professional networking program founded by the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Charlesetta Medina ’10, is the pathway to preparing for the challenges of running your own business.

Following its founding, the collective has connected close to a dozen ambitious Titans with mentors from the Orange County community.

Among the recent graduates impacted by the program is Jilene Melendez ’19 (general management). She currently works as an accounting coordinator at the Hotel Irvine, an upscale Orange County icon that hosts numerous Cal State Fullerton events, including the annual economic forecast conference.

“I was taking an entrepreneurship class and my decision to join the Titan Women Collective was quite spontaneous,” Melendez recalls. “A criteria for one of our consulting projects was to meet with Charlesetta to figure out the best way to complete the project for our clients. She told us about the upcoming launch of the new Titan Women Collective and I was immediately intrigued.” Read More

Jesse Ben-Ron, a new member of the Orange County Development Board

Jesse Ben-Ron

The Orange County Development Board, which supports the workforce development activities in California’s third-most populous county in conjunction with the Orange County Board of Supervisors, now includes Cal State Fullerton MBA grad Jesse Ben-Ron ’15.

An undergraduate alumnus of San Diego State University and recent newlywed to fellow Titan Tiffany Richardson ’13 (liberal studies), Ben-Ron has served as director of economic and workforce development at the Orange County Business Council (OCBC) since March 2019 and previously was district coordinator for Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) for nearly three years.

Tasked with maximizing the county’s workforce through labor market information, training services and business assistance, Ben-Ron says a goal of the board is to ensure that Orange County workers have what it takes to thrive in the county’s high-priced economy. Read More

Bryan Ruef of 10-8 Systems pitches to a judge at the 2019 Titan Fast Pitch competition at Cal State FullertonHundreds of Cal State Fullerton and other Orange County students, alumni, donors, supporters, and family members took time during the weekend before Halloween to gather at the Titan Student Union on Oct. 26 for the annual Titan Fast Pitch competition.

The event, presented by the Cal State Fullerton Center for Entrepreneurship and sponsored by MUFG Union Bank, gives university, college, high school and intermediate school students planning to start their own businesses the opportunity to perfect the art of fast pitches of as little as 60 seconds before Orange County business leaders acting as impartial judges.

“We started Titan Fast Pitch to challenge students to effectively communicate ideas in a limited period of time — a critical skill that entrepreneurs must develop,” explains Travis Lindsay, management lecturer and manager of the Center for Entrepreneurship and the CSUF Startup Incubator​. “Students learn how to communicate their ideas to key stakeholders, such as investors, business partners and customers.”

The event involves the aspiring entrepreneurs participating in multiple rounds of pitches before judges, including a bullpen round requiring as many 60-second pitches as possible in an hour, and the lightening round, involving pitches to both the judges and broader audience.

Among the top finishers, who received scholarships of up to $1,500, was CSUF computer science student Bryan Ruef and his brother Kevin for their 10-8 Systems startup, an affordable cloud-based computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system used by emergency response agencies around the world, which netted second place.

A mixed race woman in grayscale is superimposed against a background of numbers, illustrating a high-tech theme

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

From worries about election interference to protecting health-care information and financial data, U.S. organizations and institutions of all kinds are recognizing the strategic importance of cybersecurity, and employment is growing as a result.

According to a national estimate, there are more than 313,000 job openings in the cybersecurity field, with only 715,000 workers already employed in the field. California ranks second in the nation with 37,000 job openings (behind national security-heavy Washington, D.C.). Projections of more than 1 million jobs in the field in the near future appear to be a reality soon.

Virtually all industries are seeing new cybersecurity positions, according to Cal State Fullerton Associate Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) Sinjini Mitra, a biometrics and cybersecurity expert. Perhaps surprisingly, education is a notable growth field. Read More

Laura Romine poses outside of PIMCO headquarters in Newport Beach, California, in November 2019.

Laura Romine stands outside PIMCO’s Newport Beach headquarters. Photo credit Jay Patrick.

For more than two years, Laura Romine, a 2017 finance grad from Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, has served as product strategy associate in the product strategy group for Newport Beach’s PIMCO global investment management firm.

In this role, the young professional supports the credit team, covering corporate credit strategies across the rating spectrum and capital structure. It is rewarding, but challenging.

“I like the opportunity to work on various projects and enjoy the fast-paced environment here. I’ve found I’m happier when I’m busy,” says Romine of her position. “Regarding challenges, one of my day-to-day responsibilities that was difficult at first is writing market commentary. As financial markets tend to be nuanced, analyzing drivers of market moves requires critical thinking skills and a deep understanding of the underlying context. I enjoy putting all the puzzle pieces together, but it can be challenging at times.” Read More

Hafez Karimi, Cal State Fullerton M.A. in economics grad

Hafez Karimi

The study of economics is more than graphs and equations. It is among the majors demanding the highest pay and can make a difference in the lives of the less privileged around the world.

Cal State Fullerton M.A. in economics student Hafez Karimi ’20 is among the Titans who have found meaning in the economics field. The vice president of the CSUF Economics Association is also a speaker for Up to Us, a millennial-focused advocacy and awareness group centered on the U.S. national debt and other economic issues, and provides mentoring for Orange County homeless at H.I.S. House in Placentia.

“Economics is useful in almost any field you go into, from the private sector to public sector,” says Karimi. “The major helps you think critically and mathematically, and helps with writing well. It has aided me in every aspect of my life, from working in homeless shelters teaching market research to helping felons start their own businesses and putting presentations together on fiscal and monetary policy in the United States.” Read More

Joshua Dorsey, assistant professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton

Joshua Dorsey

In the aftermath of 9/11, U.S. officials set up standards for secure identification needed for boarding airplanes or accessing federal facilities such as military bases. After being delayed numerous times over the past two decades, the federally compliant licenses, known as Real ID, will become mandatory to fly in the United States beginning on Oct. 1, 2020.

However, as many as three quarters of Americans, including many in California, have procrastinated, still lacking the necessary identification less than one year from the mandate (you don’t need Real ID if you have a passport or military ID, and you can stick with your regular driver’s license if you’ll only be taking land transportation).

How can these procrastinators be reached with a necessary sense of urgency?

Joshua Dorsey, assistant professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, told the Los Angeles Times that communicating the positives of having Real ID – such as being able to see new places or travel to see family and friends – are better talking points than the more punitive mandatory deadline.

“People do want to travel and want to go places. I can tether the Real ID to something positive that allows me to continue to have a growth experience, I can continue to grow and see other places,” he says.

Dorsey also half-jokingly suggests “sadvertising,” approaches that pull on the heart strings of the audience, such as what philanthropic organizations fighting animal cruelty or world hunger use.

Read more about Dorsey’s suggestions and what you’ll need to have to fly in 2020 and beyond in this CSUF News article. Or read more of our articles about Mihaylo College’s marketing faculty and their research.

Gang Peng, Mihaylo College ISDS Associate Professor

ISDS Associate Professor Gang Peng. Photo from CSUF News

Noting that U.S. health care is both the most expensive in the world and still inefficient and unreliable, Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College Associate Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) Gang Peng recognizes the imperative of finding cost-effective solutions through health care information technology (HIT).

“HIT has the potential to significantly reduce medical errors and streamline clinical processes, thereby containing health care costs, and ultimately improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of American health care,” he says.

Presenting his research methodology and findings to the Titan community at a talk at the Pollak Library on Oct. 28, Peng focused on acute care providers or hospitals as part of a network of other similar institutions and that the interplay between these actors has much to do with technology adoption – or the lack thereof.

“Since the HITECH Act of 2009, passed by the Obama Administration, there have been big incentives for the adoption of HIT, especially electronic medical records,” explained Peng. “However, it might be surprising that more connection with other doctors actually translates to less likely use of e-health systems.”

He consulted the HIMSS database, a commonly consulted analytical source for HIT-related topics.

While there are more than 100 types of HIT, Peng’s investigation focused on clinical data repository (CDR), a real-time database that brings together data from a range of clinical sources to present a unified view of a given patient. CDR is one of eight electronic medical record applications, and it is the foundation of HIT.

“Hospitals are increasingly working together – through integrated health care delivery systems (IHDS). Kaiser Permanente is the extreme example of this, but even formerly individual hospitals are coming together to some extent,” said Peng. “This is why it is important to have a holistic view of these organizational networks and recognize technology adoption as essentially a process of knowledge transfer.”

Peng’s findings also show that larger and more urban hospitals are more likely to adopt new technologies, as compared to their rural counterparts. While improving care for the majority of patients living in urban settings, Peng believes this urban-rural dichotomy is unfortunate, since the greater geographical distances often involved in care in rural settings might make HIT even more impactful in those settings, though a lack of support and financial hindrances are limitations there.

Looking to the future, Peng believes that certain HIT will eventually plateau, but that there is still significant ground to gain in digitizing care, with many layers yet to be adopted by most institutions. The potential for growth is even larger when considering that while Europe and Australia are relatively advanced as compared with the U.S., most of the rest of the world lags far behind.

For More on ISDS

The Mihaylo College ISDS department is ranked 70th globally among similar entities for faculty publications in industry journals, according to AIS Rankings. Faculty members such as Ofir Turel are world leaders in examining the current state and the future of the information systems field and its practical implications.

Seeking a future in information systems? Mihaylo College offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in such in-demand fields as data analytics, decision sciences and information technology. For more information, visit the Mihaylo College ISDS department website.

Read more articles about Information Systems and Decisions Sciences.

Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of finance and real estate expert Jia Xie

Jia Xie, assistant professor of finance

As millennials now make up the largest generational cohort in the United States, their impact on the real estate market could be immense. But according to a recent survey, more than four in five millennials – young adults between 20 and 40 years of age – anticipate greater difficulty in buying compared to their parents and grandparents. Only 48% desire to own a home, and high costs and lack of personal financial acumen are major roadblocks.

With median home listing prices of $289,000 nationally and $798,000 in Orange County according to Zillow, real estate purchases may not be within reach for today’s young people. But according to Jia Xie, assistant professor of finance at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, it doesn’t mean that homeownership isn’t a benefit to millennials.

“They need more education on mortgages and personal finance in general. They need to better understand the benefits and costs of being a homeowner, including the ability to build personal wealth by owning real estate,” said Xie in an Oct. 13 article published in The Dallas Morning News, one of America’s most widely circulated newspapers. Read More