Rider Business Students, Faculty Garner Unprecedented Awards Sweep

Small Business Institute at Rider Takes Three Awards from National Conference
Monday, March 17, 2008

The Small Business Institute (SBI) at Rider University has garnered three impressive awards at the Small Business Institute Directors Association’s (SBIDA) 22nd annual small business consulting conference, held last month in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The accolades include a citation for the best regional student consulting case, a prize for the top faculty paper in its category, and a national showcase award presented to Rider’s SBI for providing innovative or outstanding community service during the previous year.

“Most of the awards presented are to programs which focused their energy in one area,” said Ron Cook, assistant professor of management/human resources and director of Rider’s SBI.  “It’s unusual to see anybody win awards in three areas.  Someone told me that in their 12 years attending the conference, they’ve never seen one institution win more than two awards.”

“To win across three separate areas shows how much we at Rider give equal value and significance to teaching, research, and community outreach.”

The best regional consulting case was presented to College of Continuing Studies seniors Ruby Chan and Donna Conte for their work with Trenton businesswoman Deborah Aguiar-Velez and her Internet and computer training company, Sistemática.  This particular case and its successful results gained regional and national attention after being featured as the cover story for Your Company magazine, and led to dozens of calls to SBIDA from firms around the country inquiring about small business institute programs.

“We’ve always felt that we use the best and brightest students as consultants for community businesses,” said Cook, noting the award qualified the students’ work as one of the 10 best national cases of the year.  “It’s wonderful to see that others agreed with us.”

SBIDA also agreed that Rider’s faculty was top-notch.  Cook, in collaboration with Radha Chaganti, associate professor of business policy/environment, and Cengiz Haksever, professor of management sciences, brought home the best empirical paper award for their submission, “Quality practices of very small and small firms: a study of empowerment, teamwork, and training.”

This marked the third straight year Cook has been honored for a top paper, as the same trio received best applied paper laurels last year after Cook was cited for his solo entry in 1996.

Completing the accolade sweep was the showcase award presented to Rider’s SBI, an overall honor recognizing the exemplary performance and success of a program.  Only two of 215 SBIDA institutions received such an honor for 1997.

To top off Rider’s activity in the conference, Cook assumed the office of vice president for marketing and membership with SBIDA, a two-year position that he was elected to following the enormous public interest in small business institute programs generated by the national publicity gained by Rider’s program.

SBIDA began in 1972 as a cooperative venture between the U.S. Small Business Administration and approximately 20 colleges and universities.  Today, SBIDA is independently operated, and has impacted more than 400,000 students at over 500 institutions nationwide since its operation.  As of this year, Carnegie bank is providing support for SBIDA as a corporate sponsor.

Rider University is an independent, coeducational, nonsectarian institution with a 353-acre main campus in Lawrenceville, New Jersey and a 23 acre campus in Princeton, New Jersey.  The University offers 58 undergraduate programs and 17 graduate programs in the Colleges of Business Administration; Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences; Continuing Studies; and Westminster Choir College.  Ninety-three percent of the faculty holds doctoral or other appropriate advanced degrees.  U.S. News and World Report has again ranked Rider in the top tier of northern universities based on the quality of its programs.