Barry Gershenovitz, accounting lecturer at Cal State Fullerton's Mihaylo College. Following a 32-year career as a tax partner with Ernst & Young (EY), Barry Gershenovitz ’85 (accounting) is leading change for the tax program at his alma mater. He is a professor of taxation and director of external relations for Mihaylo College’s Department of Accounting. He discusses his vision for the tax program and how alumni and professionals can give back, the tax courses he teaches, and how students can get started in the industry.

For Barry Gershenovitz ’85, earning an undergraduate degree in accounting at Cal State Fullerton’s business school established the foundation for a rewarding career and life. As a student, he was president of the Cal State Fullerton chapter of the accounting honor society Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), which laid the groundwork for what would be more than three decades of service to the accounting program at his alma mater. It would be through BAP that he would meet his future wife, Camille, the daughter of an economics professor at CSUF. The couple were married at the Fullerton Arboretum in 1986.

Today, accounting runs deep in the lifelong Orange County resident’s family. His wife and stepmother-in-law hold CPA certifications and his son is studying accounting.

But for the elder Gershenovitz, who had little exposure to accounting during his upbringing, it would be high school aptitude tests that would first spark an interest in the field. “I took a bookkeeping class in high school and it seemed to come easy to me. They didn’t have another accounting class, but I became an assistant for the teacher, so they gave me special tutoring assignments,” he says. “I then declared accounting as my major at CSUF and took my first two accounting classes here, which were easy, so I stayed at it.” Read More

Steven G. Mihaylo, Dean Anil Puri and CSUF President Milton Gordon at the dedication of the Steven G. Mihaylo Hall in October 2008.

Alumnus, donor and namesake Steven G. Mihaylo ’69 (left) is surrounded by then Mihaylo College Dean Anil Puri (center) and Cal State Fullerton’s then President Milton Gordon at the dedication of Steven G. Mihaylo Hall in 2008.

10 years ago this fall, the Steven G. Mihaylo Hall was dedicated, providing a modern and versatile home for Cal State Fullerton’s business college, the largest accredited business school on the West Coast. The college will commemorate the anniversary with a celebration featuring alumni, donors, faculty and staff on Sept. 28.

On Oct. 17, 2008, Cal State Fullerton’s President Milton Gordon and Dean Anil Puri invited elected officials, university leaders, and members of the college and Orange County business communities to the dedication of the 195,000-square-foot Steven G. Mihaylo Hall, named after the telecommunications entrepreneur and alumnus whose generous philanthropy supported the facility upgrade for the largest business college on the West Coast.

The construction of the new home, befitting the more than 10,000 students and hundreds of faculty and staff members who together make up the daily face of the college, had been a multiyear task supported by a $50 million capital campaign, led by the generous support of Emulex Executive Chairman Paul Folino and James Woods ’67, the late chairman emeritus and former CEO of Baker Hughes Inc. Read More

A flyer for the Dunk the Deans event, which will be held on Sept. 20, 2018, at CSUF Mihaylo College. CSUF Mihaylo College senior leadership, the Business Inter-Club Council (BICC) and students of all concentrations will gather in the Mihaylo Courtyard this Thursday, Sept. 20, for Dunk the Deans, a free watery tribute to the lighthearted side of the college community.

Beginning at 11 a.m., students will have the opportunity to ask questions of the deans and other college officials – along with the chance to dunk them in water in a format that is sure to make a splash!

The event is a fundraiser for the college’s clubs, which facilitate engagement and networking for business students in a supportive environment.

Participating panelists include Dean Morteza Rahmatian, Associate Deans Jenny Zhang and Daniel Soper, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Diane Mazzey, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Emeline Yong, and Director of Mihaylo Career Services Kate Guerrero.

In keeping with the theme, there will be coffee and donuts from who else but Dunkin’ Donuts!

For more information on this or other opportunities for students to get engaged, visit the BICC online or at

Gerard Beenen, CSUF Mihaylo College professor of management, has examined the best practices for universities in supporting student engagement.Decades of research and countless personal experiences demonstrate the importance of feeling connected to and getting involved with the campus community as a chief factor in student academic success and long-term personal and professional achievement post-graduation. But with a student body of more than 40,000 and a diverse campus culture unlike anything that most freshmen have experienced in their past, how can incoming students best engage at Mihaylo College?

Gerard Beenen, CSUF Mihaylo College professor of management, believes that the challenge of engagement may be most acute for new students, but it is a broader concern for the entire university community, including upper-division and graduate students, faculty and staff, alumni, and even new generations of students that have never set foot on campus who will benefit from an engaged campus community as future current or prospective students.

“Large universities like Cal State Fullerton are facing challenging goals to help students graduate faster without compromising educational quality. And we need to do this in an era of tighter and tighter state budgets,” says Beenen. “When students feel connected to the campus community, they help us achieve these goals. Students who feel connected are more likely to persist until they graduate. And once they graduate, they’re more likely to give their time and resources to the campus to help future generations of students and graduates.” Read More

CSUF Mihaylo Center for Real Estate Director Bob Osbrink seated in the Mihaylo Hall courtyard next to a statue of college namesake Steven G. Mihaylo '69. With more than five decades of leadership in the Southern California real estate sector, Bob Osbrink, the incoming director of the CSUF Mihaylo Real Estate and Land Use Institute (RELUI), seeks to expand the university’s outreach to the industry and its academic and applied opportunities for students to prepare for careers in the field.

Whether Bob Osbrink is at the shopping mall, in a downtown office park or at a medical appointment, real estate is always on his mind. “I’m in my business all the time. If I’m shopping, I look at who the tenants are and what the traffic count is. If I see some vacant floors in an office building, I wonder why it’s empty. If I’m at a medical center, I look at who owns the building and who the renters are,” he says.

For Osbrink, traveling through Orange County will often bring back memories of his earlier career. The veteran executive was pivotal in the 1980s South County developments, including the Irvine Spectrum, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch and Rancho Santa Margarita.

Previous to his new role as CSUF Mihaylo College RELUI Director, Osbrink held leadership roles at Marcus & Millichap; Grubb & Ellis; The Irvine Company; and Cushman & Wakefield; as well as private consulting through his own company, the Osbrink Group, which he founded in 1985. Today, as he advises clients such as New York-based Newmark Knight Frank, Osbrink looks back at the “path of progress” in the Southern California economy and society, which he sees as largely based on real estate. Read More

Hip hop dance enthusiast Arnel Calvario poses with black sunglasses and a black jacket.For Arnel Calvario, a childhood interest in the 1970s hip-hop dance and music scene sparked a lifelong passion to improve the lives of others, especially at-risk young people, through dance as a participative and community-based cultural activity. Calvario, one of the speakers at the August Leadership Institute of the G3X Conference at CSUF Mihaylo College, discusses his background, passion and mission-driven outlook.

Arnel Calvario sees a strong connection between dance and well-being. “Dance can be a powerful and meaningful vehicle for personal growth individually and in communion with others, a creative expression, good for physical health, and even healing,” he says.

His lifelong connection to the art form began in childhood. He grew up in an inner-city Filipino-American family in which hip-hop was the go-to pastime and an escape for young people, who were exposed to the violent world of gang culture.

Coming of Age – and Staying Focused – Through Hip-Hop

“I am a kid of the 70s and was born the same year that hip-hop was created,” he says. “I was a really shy kid who lacked confidence, but had older cousins who were these really famous hip-hop poppers. I looked up to them and asked if I could be part of their popping crew while I was in elementary school. They told me I wasn’t cool enough so they let me carry the boombox.” Read More

Goli Sadri, professor of management and director of the Women's Leadership Program, stands behind several female students seated at a table. Now in its fourth year, the CSUF Mihaylo College Women’s Leadership Program equips the college’s high-achieving students for their futures with mentoring from successful businesswomen, networking and leadership development. Through Sept. 21, the program is currently accepting applications for 2018-2019. Apply today!

As Mihaylo College female students develop themselves for rewarding and impactful careers, the college’s Women’s Leadership Program seeks to address the challenges and opportunities facing today’s businesswomen through leadership training, speaker events, career-focused roundtables and individualized meetings with female career coaches.

Since its launch in 2015, the program has equipped dozens of Mihaylo College students with skills, connections and support. Alumnae of the program are entering careers in a number of business-related fields in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, a trend that is expected to accelerate as more students go through the program. Graduates of the program currently serve companies and organizations such as Experian and RSM LLP.

The program is limited to 25 high-achieving female students of sophomore standing or higher, chosen on the basis of academic achievement, involvement in extracurricular or community activities, previous leadership roles and a desire to prioritize leadership in their future. There are plans to expand the program’s size and impact. Read More

Apprentice Builds co-founder Branden Wells, at left, puts his arm around fellow co-founder Alan Cerna while standing next to a classic car in an empty parking lot at night.

Branden Wells, age 22, (left) and Alan Cerna, age 23, believe their interest in automotive repair helped to keep them from destructive lifestyles while growing up in crime-ridden neighborhoods of Santa Ana. They hope their startup, Apprentice Builds, will provide similar experiences to other youth. Image Credit: Bryan Vicente, VoyageLA

CSUF Mihaylo entrepreneurship grads Branden Wells ’18 and Alan Cerna ’17 share a passion for restoring antique vehicles and providing positive opportunities for underserved youth in their hometown of Santa Ana. The two nonprofit entrepreneurs have established Apprentice Builds, which sees hot rod restoration as the gateway to a career and better life.

For auto aficionado Alan Cerna ’17, overhearing a discussion about a crate engine while waiting for his business calculus course at Mihaylo College would change his life. The friendship he developed with classmate Branden Wells ’18 was the catalyst for a partnership that led to Apprentice Builds, a nonprofit and fiscal sponsor of the Irvine-based Givsum Foundation, which gives young people from low-income and low-opportunity neighborhoods a viable career path and a sense of purpose through hot-rod restoration.

“One day we were just waiting outside class at 7 a.m. and I heard Branden talk with a classmate about LS motors, and I knew I had to get in the conversation,” recalls Cerna. “We got to know each other and discovered that we were both big auto enthusiasts.”

The two entrepreneurs are both from underprivileged parts of Santa Ana – Wells was raised on the south side, while Cerna calls the north side home. Read More

A chef prepares a meal in a modern kitchen facility.

Quality kitchen facilities, whether home-based, in a commercial kitchen or at a restaurant, are one of the main ingredients for food-based business success. Image from Pixabay

With one of the most diverse populations in the world and an internationally acclaimed foodie scene, Southern California is a prime location for culinary entrepreneurship. From brick-and-mortar establishments to food trucks and farmer’s market sales, restaurant professional and SBDC Consultant Greg Bell examines how to get started in this field.

In his first year as a consultant at Mihaylo College’s office of the Small Business Development Center (Lead SBDC), Greg Bell has reviewed numerous business plans for restaurants, catering, food trucks, commercial kitchens, farmer’s market stands and other food-based concepts. His advice: The sector can be a rewarding entrepreneurial path, but feasibility and a strong business model is essential.

“A business plan needs to be a short, concise description of you and the business you want to start,” said Bell at a recent SBDC workshop at the Cal State Fullerton Irvine Center. “It has numbers and facts that present your business as a success. I like to think about feasibility as literally ‘can I do this?’”

Bell, the former executive chef at The Fish Tale in Long Beach, previously worked for six years in the Irish pub concept Bennigan’s, opened 24 locations with Koo Koo Roo’s Restaurants and was the first operating franchisee of Blaze Pizza. With more than 23 years of experience in catering, Bell recognizes the many niches of the food-based business sector, which encompass a wide range of financial commitments. Read More

Candace Thome, founder of the Swim Brayv nonprofit, stands with her mermaid-costumed volunteers at an event to impart swim safety education to children.

Candace Thome ’16 (left) poses with some of her mermaid-decked volunteers. The Mihaylo College entrepreneurship alumna uses the engaging costume to teach water and swim safety to children.

When Candace Thome ’16 (entrepreneurship) lost her younger brother to a drowning accident in 2011, she committed herself to supporting water and swim safety education. Today, her nonprofit and social enterprise organization, Swim Brayv, has more than 100 volunteers who spread awareness at events and workshops.

On a hot summer day, the cool water of a swimming pool, lake or beach might be inviting. But Mihaylo College Entrepreneurship alumna Candace Thome ’16 recognizes that water can be one of the most dangerous environments – for those unaware and unequipped to prevent drowning.

“People view swimming as a fun pastime activity, but they should really view it primarily as a lifesaving skill, then as a sport and thirdly as a fun activity” she says. “Water is powerful. You wouldn’t walk into the bullet of a gun or in front of a diesel truck going down the road. Water has the same force. Water and swim safety should be learned from a very early age so that you have that respect and know-how as an adult.”

Thome is the founder of Swim Brayv, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and social enterprise committed to imparting water and swim safety education to people of all ages, especially children. Developed due to the death of her young brother, Brayv, in a drowning accident in 2011 and her entrepreneurial education as a Mihaylo College student, the nonprofit startup features costumed mermaid ambassadors who embody water and swim safety at promotional events, such as concerts or outdoor fairs, and promote the cause through workshops at schools, libraries and community centers. Read More