Fox Rothschild LLP Offers Business Policy Students Feedback and Real-World Connections

Thursday, February 23, 2017

by Colleen Sabatino '11 (M.A.)

On November 16, 2016 – a month before most students in the Haub School’s upper level, intensive capstone Business Policy course had to deliver their final presentations – students in one section presented their projects to teams of attorneys at the Philadelphia office of one of the nation’s largest law firms – Fox Rothschild LLP.

Over the course of several hours, the teams of seniors took command of a large boardroom and presented their proposed business strategies to Fox Rothschild attorneys – Kevin P. Dermody, Joshua S. Horn, Mark G. McCreary, Nevena Simidjiyska and two-time alumnus and former graduate assistant to the Haub School, Mark J. Fanelli ’10, MBA ’12. 

Fanelli, a first-year litigation associate at Fox Rothschild, says the firm was eager to welcome the SJU students.  The panel of attorneys tested SJU students on the viability of their business policy proposals and provided feedback on their communication skills and presentation style. “For us, anytime we’re able to engage with young, curious, highly intellectual minds like those from SJU, it’s beneficial – to see things through their lens and feel their energy,” says the former SJU varsity student-athlete. “The students’ willingness to learn, their energy and their professionalism were impressive.”

Fanelli organized the event at Fox Rothschild and recruited fellow attorneys, including some senior partners with years of experience in the same competitive markets as the companies selected for the business policy course.

“Thanks to Mark, my class had the opportunity to receive pointed and informed feedback about the strategic issues they identified and the key strategies they crafted to address one of those issues,” says George P. Sillup, Ph.D., chair of the pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing department, and business policy instructor.

“The attorneys at Fox [Rothschild] are subject-matter experts and each provided our team with questions that related to their respective fields,” added senior Nick D’Orazio ‘17, a risk management and insurance and finance double major who examined Coty, Inc., a global cosmetics manufacturer. “The questions they asked not only challenged our team during the presentation, but also provided an outside perspective on our team’s strategies. The feedback we received allowed us to improve specific areas of our presentation.”

The learning process, however, did not end when the business policy students returned to Hawk Hill. Fanelli and his colleagues continued to engage with the teams to answer follow-up questions that arose throughout the remainder of the semester. 

“After the visit, I stayed in contact with Mark,” says senior finance and risk management and insurance major, James Delenner ‘17. “We exchanged numerous emails regarding my plans for after graduation and he was interested in helping me out. Because I will be working for a bank in New York, Mark has already begun to put in me in contact with colleagues in that field. There will be an opportunity for me to network through business leadership forums and angel investor events [at the Union League of Philadelphia], which I can accredit to Mark.”

Given the initial success of the collaboration between the Haub School and Fox Rothschild, the firm has agreed to volunteer its time again to assist business policy students in the spring 2017 semester. “There is a culture of high achievement [at the Haub School] and that is a direct result of the leadership of Dean Joseph DiAngelo. I hope this unique opportunity with Fox Rothschild will distinguish the Haub School from its peers and facilitate its rise in the national rankings,” Fanelli said.

For Fanelli, the drive to further this collaborative effort is rooted in the Jesuit ideal of being a man for others – a philosophy programmed in him by his late mentor, Rev. Bruce M. Bidinger, S.J. (1952-2016). “Father Bidinger taught me to demand greatness from myself,” says Fanelli.  “His picture still hangs in my office and serves as a daily reminder to push myself harder to develop as an attorney and person. Assisting the Haub School with this endeavor is the first major step in honoring his legacy of impacting others.” 


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