Meet the Deans

Michael Behnam

Senior Associate Dean/Dean of Graduate Programs and Academic Affairs
Professor of Strategy and International Business

Phone: 617-573-8088
Office: 120 Tremont Street, Rm. 5315

Professional and Academic Background

Michael Behnam is originally from Germany where he was also educated, earning multiple degrees including his MBA (Diplom-Kaufmann) and PhD at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt as well as his Habilitation (equivalent to second PhD) at the European Business School, Oestrich-Winkel, Germany. Prior to entering academia he led a successful career in investment banking and consulting. He is an accomplished scholar who is widely published in top tier outlets as well as several scholarly books and one textbook on strategy. As an educator he has taught and led strategy and international business curricula and has consulted widely with world-renowned organizations like AXA Insurance, BMW, DG Bank, IBM, and Siemens.

For the past 10 years at Suffolk, he has taught in the MBA and Executive MBA program, oversees the travel seminars, and serves as Dean of Graduate Programs. He is fluent in German and English and has working knowledge of French, Spanish, and Arabic.


  • Book: Currently: “Predictably Irrational” and “Humans of New York” but ask me again in six months and it’ll probably be a different set of books…
  • Movie: Pulp Fiction
  • TV Show: Game of Thrones and Sopranos
  • Place to Visit in Boston: Beacon Hill, it is such a unique neighborhood and it is VERY Boston

Words of Wisdom

Take advantage of everything we have to offer here at the Sawyer Business School. Get engaged and spend your time here being exhilarated by the opportunities your educational experience offers. We offer excellent faculty, excellent programs and an excellent education in the dynamic, world class city of Boston: immerse yourself in this.

I encourage you to make the most of all we have to offer—the breadth and depth of course offerings, travel immersions, internships, networking, the EDGE workshops, and our global alumni network. Graduate programs are very short compared to undergraduate education—start getting involved now.

Heather Hewitt

Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, Sawyer Business School

Phone: 617-305-1979
Office: 120 Tremont Street, Rm. 5310

Professional and Academic Background

Heather is originally from Connecticut but moved throughout New England every few years until she was 10, at which time she moved to Florida and lived there until she attended college. She earned a BSBA from St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vermont, and an MSM from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

She has more than 25 years work experience in higher education helping both undergraduate and graduate students meet their degree and career goals.


  • Book: I love easy summer reads by Maeve Binchy or classics by John Steinbeck
  • Movie: Romantic comedies
  • TV Show: Anything HGTV or FoodNetwork
  • Place to Visit in Boston: Boston is a great city! Nothing's better than taking a walk through the Boston Common, finding food trucks throughout the city, and seeing the city from the water either with a Duck Tour, sailboat or architecture cruise.

Words of Wisdom

Enjoy the experience of being a graduate student at Suffolk! Embrace every learning opportunity inside and outside the classroom. This is one of the few times in your life you will be able to focus on your goals--personally and professionally. Meet as many people as you can-faculty, students, alumni, administrators. It’s not just about the network but the relationships that can evolve while you are student and in the future. 

Remember Suffolk cares about your success and there are incredible resources here to help you.

Tracey Riley

Assistant Dean of Online Graduate Programs
Chair and Associate Professor of Accounting
Director of Graduate Programs in Accounting

Phone: 617-994-4276
Office: 120 Tremont Street, Rm. 5330

Professional and Academic Background

Tracey Riley has lived her entire life in Northbridge, Massachusetts, where her great-grandparents settled from Poland and where she currently has over 50 relatives. She earned a BA (psychology) and MBA from Assumption College, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Accounting from Bryant University, and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Prior to entering academia, her favorite job was managing the graphics department of a company that designs and builds trade show exhibits.  

Tracey enjoys teaching financial accounting and leadership.  Her research interests are in accounting education, linguistics, and the decision making and information processing of auditors and investors.


  • Book: anything by John Irving
  • Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
  • Hobbies: Attempting to complete a half marathon in every U.S. state
  • Place to Visit in Boston: Fenway Park, because my daughter and her husband were married there

Words of Wisdom

My advice for the online graduate student is to fully engage in the virtual classroom and immerse yourself in the Suffolk experience by building connections with your fellow students and professors.  Be an active participant on discussion boards and in chat sessions, take a travel seminar, and attend our professional workshops. Nurture relationships beyond the classroom by connecting on social media, starting a group text, organizing off-line study groups, or meeting a local classmate for coffee.

And remember, there is an entire university of resources here for you.  If you need help of any kind, don’t be afraid to reach out to your student success advisor, your professors, or our Student Services offices. Not only can you get tutoring in your courses and guidance from the writing center, but you can also get your resume reviewed or have a mock interview from the Career Development Center, get research project help from a reference librarian, or have access to speech-to-text software from our Office of Disability Services. We offer countless resources to ensure your success—you just need to take advantage of them.


Emily Pytka

Administrative Assistant, Dean of Graduate Programs

Phone: 617-573-8088
Office: 120 Tremont Street, Rm. Dean's Suite 5th Floor

Professional and Academic Background

Emily Pytka is originally from Lincoln, Rhode Island, but currently resides in Boston’s North End. She received her B.A. in Economics from Dickinson College and her M.Ed in School Counseling from Suffolk University. She is currently the Administrative Assistant to Dean Behnam.


  • Book: I love anything from Tim O’Brien, especially “In the Lake of the Woods” & Edgar Allan Poe, notably “Masque of the Red Death”.
  • Movie: “Gone with the Wind” when I am in a whimsical mood, and the original “Halloween” when I am not. Also, “Death of a Cheerleader” starring the impeccable Tori Spelling.
  • TV Show: 30 Rock & Game of Thrones
  • Place to Visit in Boston: The Science Museum

Words of Wisdom

Take advantage of the networking and professional development opportunities that Suffolk University offers. Also, faculty and staff are here to help, and they are excellent resources. Be kind to them and they will return the favor.