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(Another) Name Change and Developments in the Sy Syms School of Business

Over the past year, the Sy Syms School of Business (SSSB) has undergone several changes meant to improve the educational opportunities available to students. One of the most apparent changes is the name of the school itself. Last year, during Yeshiva University’s plan to re-imagine its undergraduate education, the Sy Syms School of Business became the Syms School of Business. This was intended to signal the rejuvenation of the undergraduate business program. Shortly thereafter, the proposal for re-imagination was amended, and the plan to combine all the undergraduate programs was rescinded. This change, along with a request from the Syms family, led the University to return to the original and longstanding name for the institution, the Sy Syms School of Business.

While this change may not alter the undergraduate business education, other developments are meant to aid students in Sy Syms. This year, the SSSB introduced its new Honors program, called the Honors and Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, led by Avi Giloni. There are currently twelve men and three women enrolled in the program. For years, both Yeshiva and Stern College have had honors programs, but SSSB did not. This program is intended to level the playing field and enable Sy Syms to improve its academics and provide an advanced learning environment for their students. They hope to increase the size of the program in future years.

Another indication of progress for the SSSB is its upcoming accreditation. The effort towards accreditation began last academic year, but was halted in February due to the plans of re-imagination. When Dean Moses Pava was appointed dean of SSSB in June 2011, he redoubled the effort of the school’s venture for accreditation. The school completed a self-study, in which they held a major investigation into its programming and faculty. This coming November there will be a site visit from the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), the final requirement for accreditation.

SSSB currently has professors who have received their degrees from esteemed business schools, including The Wharton School, The Stern School of Business, and The Columbia Business School. This semester, Sy Syms is also privileged to have President Richard M. Joel teach a course on leadership in the non-profit world. Additionally, according to Dean Pava, there are “more students in [the] incoming core accounting course than ever before.”

The new courses will provide more diverse graduate opportunities to the student body. This year is the first year of the EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) program, which is directed by Dr. Steven Nissenfeld. The first incoming class consists of fifteen students. This program is especially important because it enables Jews who are shomer shabbat to enroll in an EMBA program. Until now, it was very challenging to find an EMBA program which did not hold classes on Saturday. Additionally, there are currently students from outside of Yeshiva enrolling in the Sy Syms graduate programs.

In another development, the final plans are being put into motion for what will be named The Center for Business and Jewish Wisdom. The objective of this center is to provide the students of SSSB with business courses that relate to Jewish and Torah-related issues. In the past there have been courses offered which focus on these matters, but the new center will increase their availability. One of these new courses, titled Ethics at Work, is currently taught by Dean Pava, and deals with Jewish ethical issues in the workplace.

Dean Pava feels that faculty at Yeshiva University need to “educate the whole student,” and provide him or her with a complete secular as well as Jewish education. The changes at the Sy Syms School of Business are meant to reflect this and improve its standing both within and without the Yeshiva community.