John Malindretos, PhD, visiting professor of finance (L) and Charles Snow, PhD, Sy Syms dean (R), present Dr. Papadakis with a plaque recognizing his participation in this year's NBEA conference.

Sep 28, 2004 — Sy Syms School of Business (SSSB) hosted more than 250 scholars, researchers, and academics from across the country at the 31st annual conference of the Northeast Business and Economic Association (NBEA). The event, held Sunday, September 26 and Monday, September 27 on the university’s Beren Campus, signaled the growing importance of Syms as a center for economic and business study.

Although the conference itself was regional, participants hailed from a wide range of universities and companies—from the University of Hong Kong (China) and the University of Melbourne (Australia) to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the US Government Accountability Office. Also participating were scholars from Texas A&M, Boston University, Babson University, and Central Michigan University.

Conferees presented research papers on various business and economic topics, including “CEO Pay Package and Board Reform: The Case of NYSE,” “Forensic Accounting in US Litigation: A Look at Fraudulent Financial Reporting-A Short Case Study,” “Investment Opportunities and Dividend Policy: Deregulation and Diversification in the Utilities Industry,” and “The Impact of Gasoline Prices and Income on the Demand for Gasoline in the US: 1960-1995.”

A highlight of Sunday’s sessions was the keynote address, “What the Role of Academics Should Be in Creating an Ethical Business Environment,” by Dr. Constantin Papadakis, president of Drexel University in Philadelphia. He outlined the role of higher education in teaching ethics.

“Over the past 20 years, the ethics industry has kicked into high gear,” said Dr. Papadakis, noting that the study of ethics has grown in all fields. He described some ethical dilemmas that have emerged in the business world since the 1970s and the measures that have been taken to resolve them.

Dr. Papadakis urged educators to take responsibility in training students to establish ethical businesses. He noted, “As a result of the recent collapse of companies like Enron, WorldCom, and ImClone, MBA programs have been assaulted for not preparing ethical corporate executives.”

He illustrated two guiding principles for universities. “We must teach ethics in a practical fashion, by learning from the past and attempting to project what may be the major ethical dilemmas in the future. Also, universities must practice what they preach by embracing sound safeguards against fraud and demanding management accountability and more rigorous financial disclosures within the institution’s administration.”

On Monday, SSSB students Aaron Safier and Isaac Shaer presented research based on a business they launched with the help of Syms’ Rennert Entrepreneurial Institute. Their company, Kaptive Media, is an indoor advertising company, which specializes in placing ads in elevators in commercial and residential buildings, hotels, and on college campuses.

Kaptive Media is run by students and is guided by a board of directors comprised of Syms’ faculty. Mr. Safier explained that their non-traditional approach offers advertisers inexpensive, efficient, and better-targeted campaigns. Kaptive Media plans to expand its client base from the tri-state area to Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston. “We have entered the new age of advertising,” Mr. Safier said.

NBEA, formerly the New England Business and Economics Association, was founded in 1973. The organization promotes multidisciplinary research in business and economics and seeks to promote the exchange of applied and theoretical research among interested parties.