Third in a Three-part Series*
This year, NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management (MTSM) marks 30 years of forward-thinking business management education. In its mission to engage, innovate and impact, MTSM continues to build facilities, form partnerships and develop programs that leverage its strengths and resources as a business school within a polytechnic university.
Here, Professor of Management Hindy L. Schachter (HLS) and Associate Professor of Finance Theologos H. Bonitsis (THB) wrap up our discussion about MTSM, commenting on business and STEM, and their hopes for the school’s future.
MTSM has positioned itself as teaching “Business With the Power of STEM.” Why is this important in today’s tech-driven economy?
THB: It’s important because this is where all of society is going. All areas are becoming more and more analytical and quantitative. When I was in my doctoral program in economics, I thought the kind of metrics and statistics I had to do were really high-power stuff! [chuckles] You know, your state-of-the-art back then. Now looking at those techniques, they seem very primitive. The techniques of analysis have changed, as has the way we approach problems. STEM is important because STEM gives us the tools we need. It’s because of advancements in the computer science area, in the analytical and mathematical areas, which dovetail nicely with finance, with economics and so forth, that these areas can move forward.
HLS: And in the School of Management there are various kinds of STEM research trajectories. A whole track of my work has been done in partnership with people in civil engineering, so there are many different ways that management people can partner with engineers and computer scientists. One way is to say, we’re data analytics people, we can help you manage your data. Another is to say, we have theoretical methodologies that we can offer that you might not have even thought of. The School of Management can be a worthwhile partner for the technological components of the university, and we should try to do all of them.
What do you hope for MTSM moving ahead?
HLS: Even better faculty, even better students, everything getting better, and definitely joint research! I feel we have something to offer to a lot of projects. And, interestingly, a lot of agencies are now looking for joint research. The National Science Foundation, for example, has projects that you can only apply for if you have a team of people from different specialties. They’re looking to break down the silos, and we are very well placed to do that. This is the right time for it.
THB: I would agree with what Hindy has said: continue to attract high-quality faculty.
What would you like readers most to know about MTSM?
THB: That we are a very dynamic place. We are growing quite aggressively, and if we continue on this path, I think people will be hearing a lot of good news about us.
HLS: I’ll reiterate that we are uniquely placed to foster interdisciplinary relationships. We haven’t done it enough in the past, but I imagine that if we do, there will be many students and many faculty who will want to come join us in that enterprise.
Do you have a classroom experience or other MTSM moment that is most memorable for you?
HLS: In the very beginning of my career when I was looking for a job, I went around to different interviews including here at NJIT. I had received an offer from another college, but didn’t hear from NJIT until the last possible day that I could have heard and still replied to the other college’s offer. Of course, it was positive. A big reason that I came to NJIT was that I thought that the person who chaired the department would be a good mentor for me and this would be a good place to start my career, and I was correct. Roy Helfgott was an excellent mentor for me. And he hired four women faculty in a row at a time when there were almost no female professors at NJIT — and three out of the four got tenure.
THB: One story that I still find very amusing is I once taught a graduate course in public finance here. One student did not do that well on the exam — it was a written exam with a test book — so I invited him to my office and we reviewed everything. We went over it question by question, and after we read his answers, he said that they were all correct. I said yes, but read the questions, the answers are not relevant. And then he looked at me, very serious, and he said you are a very difficult professor. And I said why? He said because you always want the right answer. He had written facts, but they were not relevant to the questions. [chuckles] But the way he looked at me so serious, I still see his face.
So how did he wind up doing?
THB: Well, he didn’t do that well. Other students did especially well in the course. But he said I was simply too demanding a professor because I always wanted the right answer.
To read Part 1, click here.
To read Part 2, click here.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.