Faculty - Sawyer Business School
Nearly one-third of our faculty members are international, bringing unique insights from countries, such as Germany, India, China, Israel, and Brazil, into the classroom.
You’ll learn from experts in your field. Our academically qualified faculty members are published regularly in top-tiered journals. Their research helps them stay on top of the latest developments in business, and they pass that knowledge on to you.
Our faculty members are active participants in business, government, healthcare, and nonprofit communities. Many also serve on corporate or nonprofit boards, consult, or are members of professional associations. They incorporate their real-life experiences into your coursework.
With small classes of 20-25 students, you’ll form lasting relationships with your professors. They offer academic support, career guidance, and access to their professional networks.
Trained in criminology, social psychology, and social policy, Brenda Bond-Fortier is in the “business of policing.” Her research specializes in organizational change and management in community safety, making her the perfect fit for the Sawyer Business School’s Institute for Public Service.
Bond-Fortier, a professor of public administration, has conducted research across the country, published her work in prestigious journals, and been cited in major media outlets, including The Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal. She embarks on all new projects with one goal in mind—to have a positive impact on local communities. “Research is supposed to matter,” she says. “It should be actionable.”
Her book, Organizational Change in an Urban Police Department: Innovating to Reform is the result of an extensive research study of a mid-sized city police agency that underwent a transformation to community policing. The research examines the 20 year transformation in the police agency and in police-community relationships.
Brenda serves as a Subject Matter Expert for the US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance Strategies for Policing Innovation initiative, where she advises police and municipal leaders across the country on change and organizational improvement. She is also a research fellow for the Washington, DC-based National Police Foundation.
She brings this emphasis on communities to her Suffolk MPA classes. “We have professionals here from across the globe,” Bond-Fortier says, “and they are interested in working in the public sector in their home countries. Engaging such a diverse group of public service professionals in conversation is always a fruitful experience.”
Bond-Fortier finds inspiration in her Suffolk students. “I admire their passion and interest in working toward a public good. Whether it be in municipal or state government, community nonprofit organizations, or public safety,” she says, “my students have a true calling to work in a public service context.”
Professor of Public Administration
Office: Sargent Hall, Room 5521
Areas of Expertise
Development, implementation and evaluation of public safety policies and practices
Organizational change in criminal justice
Systematic and collaborative approaches to organizational and community challenges
PhD, MA, Brandeis University
MA, BS, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Shahriar Khaksari, professor of finance in the Sawyer Business School, wants his students to thrive in today’s global business world. That’s why he gives them a truly 360-degree view of it.
“Every course has some sort of global dimension,” he explains. “You cannot teach finance without really talking about the global market. Finance is very international. It’s a discipline that really deals with the flow of funds in investments. Financial markets provide probably the most important links among countries.”
When he’s not leading courses in Suffolk’s, MBA and MSF programs, Khaksari collaborates with a university in Morocco and another in Colombia. He also finds a microcosm in his Suffolk classroom at the start of each semester. “I admire the diversity of our student body,” he says. “I ask the students to talk about themselves, and, all of a sudden, they realize there are students from 20 countries sitting next to each other.”
Although Khaksari’s main area of teaching is investment, he has had a wide-ranging influence on the Business School. Khaksari is the founder of the MSF program.
“That’s one of the unique characteristics of Suffolk,” he notes. “The faculty has the opportunity for both innovation and leadership.”
He also recognizes the power of sharing the most relevant trends and information with his Suffolk students. “I think research is critical to teaching,” he says. “Faculty who research remain current in their field, not only with the technical aspect of their discipline, but with what is going on in the world. And they bring that knowledge into the classroom.”
Khaksari is currently researching behavioral finance, which investigates how and why people make decisions that sometimes defy logic. Even as he shares his findings with his students—and writes case studies with them for publication—he has his eye trained on a loftier goal.
“I don’t think that teaching is just the delivery of a body of knowledge,” he says. “I think it is much more than that. I think it is giving students the skills to succeed in their careers and to inspire them—giving them confidence and instilling critical thinking in them.”
Professor of Finance
Office: Sargent Hall, Room 5618
Areas of Expertise
Fixed income management
PhD, MBA, St Louis University
BA, The Iranian Institute of Advanced Accounting
Accounting has a reputation for being a dry, boring profession. That is not the case. The goal for Ariel Markelevich, associate professor of accounting, is to bust this myth by showing students how accounting impacts their everyday life and their future professional careers.
“There is nothing like the ‘a-ha moment’ in which a student realizes this is actually useful stuff,” Markelevich says. “I have these moments every semester and that is what keeps me going and fills me with energy and desire to keep on teaching.”
“It is amazing and humbling to have such an impact on a student’s life and career projection,” he says.
Born in Chile and raised in Israel, Markelevich teaches several different accounting courses at the graduate level.
One of the areas on which he focuses his research and worldwide collaborations is the use of technology in accounting—Blockchain and XBRL, for example. XBRL is a markup language that is used to structure data used for companies to file financial statements with regulators. Markelevich has held many positions at the IMA, is a member of the XBRL International Certification Board, and he serves on the Communications Steering Committee for XBRL US. He works frequently with accounting firms, regulators, and standard-setters both in the US and around the world.
Dr. Markelevich has published numerous articles, many of which focus on the practical applications of his research to professionals. His paper on fraud in financial statements and fees paid to auditors has was published in Contemporary Accounting Research, a prestigious accounting journal.
Associate Professor of Accounting
Office: 73 Tremont St., Rm. 1053
Areas of Expertise
XBRL and International Financial Reputation Standards
Auditing Specializing in Audit Fees, and Quality of Audits
Motives for Acquisition and Impact on the Transaction
PhD, City University of New York
MS, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
BA, The Open University, Israel
For Jane Zhu, successfully connecting with college students in the classroom is inextricably tied to cutting-edge and relevant research outside the classroom.
Outside the classroom, she studies real-world topics such as how technological innovations like airline check-in portals and mobile applications solve problems for customers and help businesses succeed. In a recent study, she investigated how firms from two emerging countries build trust in collaboration, such as Chinese firms cooperating in African markets. Zhu regularly draws on examples from her own studies to bring to life her marketing lessons to Suffolk students.
“I believe that the value I can bring to my students resides in my research expertise,” she says. “Applying my research into teaching also brings joyful moments to me, because I can go beyond the fundamentals and engage students into more in-depth discussions on the frontiers of the field.”
Like so many of Suffolk’s faculty, Zhu exemplifies the school’s global focus. A native of China, she earned her bachelor’s and MBA from Fudan University in China, the home of the world’s fastest-growing and most rapidly changing economy. She went on to earn her PhD from the University of Illinois. She has published dozens of papes, presented at marketing conferences throughout the world, and leads a popular Suffolk Global Travel Seminar in China.
Since 2012, Zhu has adopted the concept of “building global awareness locally” by launching two experimental courses, Global Marketing Consulting and Global Product Innovation for MBA and honors students. In the courses, students collaborate with students from a Chinese university and do consulting work for cross-national business clients or innovate new product concepts through global virtual teams.
She recalls the early video conferences between students of different cultures as “chaotic.” But very quickly students learn to use meeting agendas and memos to form cohesion during the meetings – the fundamentals, as it turns out. And it becomes a lifelong learning experience. As one of the clients said to Zhu after a presentation, “Your students may forget what they did for me in three years, but they will not forget these great business habits in their careers.”
Professor of Marketing
Office: Stahl Building, Room 7084
Areas of Expertise
New product development
Technology and product strategy
PhD, University of Illinois
MBA, BS, Fudan University, China
Ken Hung, Director of the Master of Science in Business Analytics program at Sawyer Business School, offers some insight into Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods.
Q: Amazon has spent years undermining brick-and-mortar stores. Suddenly it’s going in the opposite direction and building bookstores—including one in Dedham, Massachusetts. And now it wants to buy hundreds of grocery stores. It doesn’t make sense.
KH: In the retail sector, grocery typically has a very low margin. So to acquire Whole Foods would seem to dilute Amazon's profits. But Whole Foods actually has one of the highest margins in the grocery industry, as well as a great following among consumers.
Q: So, in other words, if you’re going to get into groceries, Whole Foods is a good way to do it. But Amazon is an online company. How does having retail locations help them?
KH: I think the acquisition is mostly a way for Amazon to leverage its ability in consumer analytics and logistics operations. Amazon could potentially observe and track the movement of consumers within the Whole Foods retail space and see how they’re picking up produce, buying the produce, or putting it back. It’s just like Netflix observing our watching patterns with streaming videos.
Q: Amazon has already started doing some of that with Amazon Go, a store that has no cashiers. It simply tracks products as you put them in your cart and charges you on the way out of the store.
KH: Yes, the Amazon Go video suggests that Amazon could leverage its analytical ability to track consumer's purchasing behavior as well as the foot traffic in Whole Food's retail space.
Q: So using its big data expertise, Amazon might be the first grocer to make online grocery shopping a truly successful part of its business.
KH: If Amazon could further improve the data analytics so that it can better forecast what needs to be stocked, that could give it the ability to forecast what products will sell and could potentially improve the profit margin even more.
Q: What’s the endgame for Amazon?
KH: Potentially these physical locations could open up different types of business opportunities for Amazon. Remember, the Amazon bookstores, more than just selling books, are also a showcase for Amazon devices like Amazon Echo, Fire TV, and so on. So consumers could go to Whole Foods stores and actually touch and test an Amazon device. Or even pick up something they’ve ordered online from Amazon. In a way, the Amazon bookstore and potentially the future of Whole Foods grocery stores could be looked at as a way to lure customers into Amazon's entire retail ecosystem.