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updated: 8/20/2014 2:28 PM

Entrepreneurs sharing expertise at North Central College

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By Ted Slowik
North Central College

Entrepreneurs who have founded their own companies, senior leaders with major corporations and North Central College alumni are sharing their expertise to benefit the Naperville college's graduate programs.

A new, 15-member advisory board has formed to advocate for the college's master of business administration and master of international business administration programs.

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"We have an opportunity to develop a niche MBA program that will allow us to produce educated citizens who are valuable employees at local businesses," says Pamela Monaco, the college's dean of graduate and continuing studies.

Identifying additional ways to connect current and future graduate students with internship and job opportunities in the Chicago area is among the advisory board's initial goals.

"As a hiring manager at a large global corporation, I know what skills and experience we need from our business school graduates," says Bob Slaby, advisory board chairman and vice president in technology and operations for Hewlett-Packard. "My goal is to help North Central expand its MBA/MIBA programs so students are prepared to meet those needs."

Monaco notes that in a survey of graduates who have completed their MBA degrees at North Central within the past five years, 78 percent reported they have earned promotions at their workplaces since completing their degrees.

"We have assembled an exceptional group of men and women from accomplished backgrounds in technology, finance and other areas who are going to help us look at the employer base in the region and identify employment opportunities," Monaco says.

While improving networking is one function of the advisory board, another will be to share real-world expertise about skills and experiences. The panel is expected to make recommendations that could lead to curricular changes to strengthen the college's graduate programs.

"The advisory board seeks to bring a strong external- and future-facing perspective to North Central's MBA/MIBA programs to ensure its students continue to have the needed curriculum, skills and employment opportunities to lead in today's changing business environment," says Liz Levy-Navarro, advisory board member and managing partner with Lisle-based Orrington Strategies, which advises leading companies on profitable growth.

Visit the college's website to learn more about North Central College's MBA and MIBA graduate programs.

Members of North Central's MBA/MIBA advisory board are:

• Jeff Allen; co-founder, chief technology and product officer, NextTier Education;

• Kevin Berry, founder and partner, PMAlliance, Inc.;

• Vishwas Bharadwaj, chief of staff, Sears Holdings Corporation;

• Marc Chandler senior vice president, Brown Brothers Harriman;

• Ryan Condon, CEO and co-founder, SATISFYD;

• Shannon Connell, consultant;

• Gary Conte, human capital strategist and executive leadership coach;

• Scott D'Angelo, general counsel-West Division, McDonald's USA;

• JoAnna Ecke, senior director, business intelligence, Catamaran;

• Ron Franczyk, CTO and chairman, Red Foundry, Inc.;

• Laura Grisolano, president, Bridge Mediation and Dispute Resolution Services;

• Michael Gross, director of strategic development, Clutch Global Logistics;

• Liz Levy-Navarro, managing partner, Orrington Strategies;

• J.T. Lundy, author;

• Maria Nakasone, Own Brands director, Kmart Grocery/Household/Drugstore;

• Frank M. Pettaway, vice president, senior relationship manager, Chicago Wealth Management;

• Karen Sanchez, partner, employee benefits services, Sikich;

• and Bob Slaby, vice president in technology and operations, Hewlett-Packard.

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