Skip to main content Skip to search
.

                                                      Health Alert: COVID-19 - Please refer to our latest updates here.  Classes are being conducted remotely as of March 16th.

""

Sy Syms School of Business

""

About

The Sy Syms School of Business was established through a generous gift by Sy Syms, entrepreneur, philanthropist and businessman, in 1987. From its inception, with Mr. Syms’ vision, the school pledged to offer a unique and comprehensive curriculum in business and a deep grounding in meaningful values.

""

About

The Sy Syms School of Business was established through a generous gift by Sy Syms, entrepreneur, philanthropist and businessman, in 1987. From its inception, with Mr. Syms’ vision, the school pledged to offer a unique and comprehensive curriculum in business and a deep grounding in meaningful values.

""
""

Our Purpose

Sy Syms School of Business is dedicated to creating the business leaders and innovators of tomorrow. It is a vibrant community of students and faculty working in tandem to provide a stellar, comprehensive education in business fundamentals and practice. Sy Syms provides a business education that is distinct from other schools because of its unique mission and values, and its focus on practice.

""
""

Our Focus

The school’s focus is on integrating ethics in every course, incorporating meaningful values while celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship across the curriculum. Syms has built a comprehensive program plan designed to foster an environment that encourages and inspires students to have a positive impact on the business world, intellectually, creatively and ethically. Our programs include the most coveted degrees in business today - accounting, business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, real estate and strategy.

""
""

Our Leadership

Dean Noam Wasserman was an award-winner professor at Harvard Business School (HBS) and the founder of a center at the University of Southern California. He has written two bestselling and award-winning books, The Founder's Dilemmas and Life Is a Startup, and a dozen bestselling HBS case studies.

At Sy Syms, he has focused on strengthening the undergraduate program by growing the tenure-track faculty 25% in his first year, focusing on teaching and research excellence, making significant enhancements to the Honors program, and adding a minor in Real Estate; consolidating and scaling the graduate program, including launching an MS in Real Estate; and founding post-graduation bootcamps for alumni and others. He also leads the university-wide Presidential Task Force on Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Latest News

""

Founder's Bootcamp with Dr. Noam Wasserman

For founders and their startups, early decisions about people...

Learn more...

Founder's Bootcamp with Dr. Noam Wasserman

For founders and their startups, early decisions about people – cofounders, employees, investors, and board members – are vital to the founders' and startups' long-term success. Yet these decisions are often made without the benefit of a roadmap of the most important early decisions, when these decisions should be made, which options to consider, and the likely long-term consequences of those decisions. As a result, preventable people problems are the biggest reason (by far) for the high failure rate of high-potential startups.

Without a solid roadmap, founders are at an increased risk of making poor people decisions and thus increasing the chances that the founding team will splinter, growth will be harmed, or the founder will be replaced as CEO. In contrast, with a solid roadmap, founding teams can increase their stability and achieve better growth.

Founder's Bootcamp provides this roadmap for founders and potential founders.

To bring the lessons to the people who can most benefit from them, OurCrowd will host an intensive bootcamp for the founders of early-stage startups. The bootcamp will feature interactive talks, personalized self-assessment exercises, and appearances by case protagonists via video.

Click through to learn more and apply

""

Faculty Fast Facts: Dr. Maria Blekher, Director of the YU Innovation Lab

Dr. Maria Blekher is a Director of YU Innovation Lab...

Read the full article...

Faculty Fast Facts: Dr. Maria Blekher, Director of the YU Innovation Lab

Dr. Maria Blekher is a Director of YU Innovation Lab and an Academic Program Director for the Master in Marketing. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Digital Strategies, teaching at the Sy Syms School of Business. Upon joining Yeshiva University, Dr. Blekher developed the unique course Business in the Israeli Environment for the Sy Syms School of Business.

Dr. Blekher is also the founder of MadeInIsrael.Info—an online educational platform that connects the American Jewish community to Israel by providing information about Israeli business and brands. Dr. Blekher holds an MBA and a PhD in Marketing from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

1. What profession did you think you would go into when you were a student?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial, a ‘go-getter’. I also was curious about the interaction between people technology and their environment. So, I knew I wanted to work in a field that combines; business or law.

2. What aspect of your job with YU do you most enjoy?

I enjoy the interaction with students, who are bright and creative thinkers. I learn from them a lot, and often students are the best teachers. I enjoy working with Israeli startups, helping them to explore the opportunities in the American market and connecting them to the eco system.  This is a natural fit for me, as a marketing expert and Israeli.

Overall, I enjoy the creative part of my work, creating value. I joined YU about 4 years ago to develop a course about the Israeli Business Environment for SySyms School of Business. Since then I’ve been a key founding partner in three innovative initiatives; MS in Marketing (which I’m still leading) and the AS in Management, who’s first cohort will be graduating this May. The YU Innovation Lab is my newest startups inside YU.

3. What are you most excited for in the new YU Innovation Lab?

Seeing the students exploring, thinking, and creating value for startups. I’m excited about the opportunity the lab creates for YU students to gain hands on experience and developing entrepreneurial skills and about the value Israeli startups gain from working with us. When a CEO of a startup says to me that he/she learned something they didn’t know before after working with us, it’s exciting. When students are able to make an impact, that’s also exciting.

4. What are some of the goals you have for what students take out of your classes?

My goal is for students to develop creative thinking and critical mindset. To question, to ask, to think like there is no box. I also believe that one of the best ways to learn is by doing. Having the opportunity to experience the real world as part of the curriculum develops a unique set of skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.

""

Faculty Fast Facts: Mark Finkel, Director of the Sy Syms Executive MBA Program

Mark Finkel has been deeply...

Read the full article...

Faculty Fast Facts: Mark Finkel, Director of the Sy Syms Executive MBA Program

Mark Finkel has been deeply involved in early stage entrepreneurial enterprises for the past 25 years. Over that time, Mark has worked as an executive or active board member of numerous high-growth technology companies on the East Coast, in Silicon Valley, and in Israel.  Mark has had significant international operational experience, having set up distribution channels and operations in both Europe and Asia.  Mark was also the founder and Chairman of RightAnswers, an enterprise software company, which was sold to Upland Software in 2017.

Many of the companies he has been involved with have had successful exits. He has taken four companies public as Chief Financial Officer and many other companies have had M&A exits. Most recently, Mark served at the Board level for JUMP Bikes, which was bought by Uber in May 2018.

Mark has been involved in numerous social entrepreneurship ventures as well. As Chairman of the Special Kids Fund, he has pioneered the concept of a charity gift card.  He has also been involved in economic development work overseas.

Mark’s academic interests revolve around helping students understand and apply the skills and concepts underlying successful entrepreneurship.  These include understanding the dynamics of nascent markets, as well as those of disruptive entrants into existing markets.  Of particular interest to Mark are the management skills needed to scale the entrepreneurial venture through its growth phases. Also important to Mark is understanding the characteristics of the products or services offered by the early stage enterprise that are more likely to lead to success.

Mark serves on the Board of Directors or Advisory Board of a number of companies and charities. Mark holds a BA (Oberlin College), an MBA (NYU) and a JD (University of California, Davis – Managing Editor of the Law Review).

1. What profession did you think you would hold when you were a student?

I majored in Government as an undergraduate and thought I wanted to go into public service.   I did work in the public sector when I first got out of school but, in the end, switched to the private sector.

2. How has your past work experience prepared you for your current position?

I have spent over twenty-five years in numerous entrepreneurial ventures in Silicon Valley, in Israel and in the NYC area.  I have set up distribution and operations in both Asia and Europe.  Additionally, I have help build a number of social entrepreneurship ventures, so have learned a bit about how entrepreneurship applies in the non-profit sector.  I still sit on board of for-profit and non-profit organizations, which helps me keep up with the ever-changing entrepreneurial world.  Daily, in class, I am able to draw on so much of what I have had the privilege to be exposed to.  (Having said that, I do try to complement that real-world knowledge with academic and empirical information, which is valuable, as well.)

3. What are some of your goals for the Sy Syms School of Business Executive MBA program and what progress have you made?

The Sy Syms Executive MBA Program is an extraordinary program, offering a small learning environment, led by our most senior faculty.   We have been able to attract first-rate students from a diverse business and professional background.  I would hope we can build on this base to grow the number of students over the next few years.  Additionally, we have a strong group of alumni and I would like to grow the programming for that group and be able to draw on the experience of the alumni to help our current students.

4. What aspect of your job with YU do you most enjoy?

The students and my colleagues.  Each day, I feel challenged by the students and enjoy my day-to-day interactions with them.  The faculty at Sy Syms are first-rate.   They are smart, driven, and dedicated, and have been terrifically welcoming of me.

5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

I have tried to grow in my life by challenging myself to get outside my comfort zone.  So, among other activities, I have spent time working on an Indian Reservation in Utah and have spent time doing economic development work in places like Afghanistan.  That might surprise them.  I don’t think it would surprise them that I am a die-hard Yankee fan and season ticket holder, since I talk about the Yankees much of the time.

""

Faculty Fast Facts: Professor Leonard Fuld

Leonard Fuld is Clinical Assistant Professor of Accounting...

Read the full article…

Faculty Fast Facts: Professor Leonard Fuld

Leonard Fuld is Clinical Assistant Professor of Accounting, Tax and Entrepreneurial Business Management at the Sy Syms School of Business of Yeshiva University. He has lectured extensively on U.S. and International tax and business issues throughout the world. Prior to joining Yeshiva University, Professor Fuld was a highly rated adjunct professor for many years in the graduate schools of Baruch and Queens College.

In addition to his academic background, Professor Fuld’s business experience comprises over 38 years of accounting and tax practice, technical tax research, administration, and compliance, including more than seven years in the public accounting arena, in both audit and tax, with PricewaterhouseCoopers. His thirty plus years in industry led to ever increasing senior tax officer responsibilities, within major global businesses, including Schlumberger Ltd, Citigroup, and most recently with Griffon Corp, where he was the Vice President of Taxes of this $1.8 billion New York Stock Exchange multinational. He has been a member of the American Institute of CPAs, New York State Society of CPAs, International Tax Institute, and the Tax Executives Institute. Len has also served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and is the Chairperson of his town’s Ethics Committee.

Len’s hands-on experience includes all types of business transactions, ethics, mergers and acquisitions, government lobbying, individual tax controversies, audit and U.S. tax legislation.

1. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?

I love teaching altogether, but having the opportunity to engage, advise, educate and wish a Good Shabbos to my students, with whom I relate to on such a connected basis, does make YU a special place for me.

2. Tell us a bit about the new MS in Taxation Program that you are running.

The Masters of Science in Taxation reflects the creative programming that Sy Syms is encouraging across the board in all business fields.  We recognized that our students, as well as some of the more experienced working professionals, were interested in furthering their technical knowledge, skills and academic credentials in taxation and we strived to fulfill that need by creating an innovative, very economical Tax Masters that will be taught by extremely experienced, highly qualified professors in a one year program.  The small classes will be taught at Beren, YU’s midtown campus, two evenings a week, so that students will have the ability to work or study for the CPA exam during the day, conveniently achieve the MS Tax in the evenings and still have time to enjoy life as it should be.  Amongst the tax courses offered and taught by CPAs, JD/LLMs, and IRS agents, will be International Tax, Ethical Tax Practice & Procedures, State Tax, Contemporary Tax Issues, Estate Tax, Deferred Compensation, and Reorganization/Liquidations.  It is an exciting program that employers are already interested in partnering with in order to get a first crack at our well educated future graduates.  And there’s still some time left to apply.

3. What profession did you think you would one day hold when you were a child?

Given that my birthday is April 15th, I should have known early on that I’d be a CPA. As a child (which I still am) I was going to be a spy for the Mossad (still would like that),  Chief Rabbi of Israel (definitely not these days), or Professor & Director of the Masters in Tax program at YU, so I worked real hard, brushed my teeth, said my prayers and lo and behold, my dream came true.

4. How do you stay connected with students once they graduate?

Email is the easiest and I continue to send out relevant, and that I think are,  interesting tax articles but most enjoyably is running into them at various events or countries and catching up with what they’re up to, professionally and personally.  I love hearing how they passed the CPA exam or accomplished some major technical hurdle and giving me credit for having made it possible.  True or not, it always feels great.

5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

I was a 9/11 1st responder.

I am a shochet (ritual slaughterer).

I am really a nice, quiet guy who is never critical or cynical- now that would really surprise everyone!

And the rest we’ll keep under wraps.

""

Faculty Fast Facts: Dr. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid

Dr. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid is Sy Syms Professor of Finance...

Read the full article...

Faculty Fast Facts: Dr. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid

Dr. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid is Sy Syms Professor of Finance at the Sy Syms School of Business of Yeshiva University. A Yom Kippur War veteran and war correspondent, Dr. Ravid has spoken on national Israeli and American radio about his experiences.

He has close to 50 refereed publications, in various journals including the Review of Financial Studies and the Journal of Finance as well as book chapters, monographs and other publications. His current research interests include corporate finance (mergers, bankruptcy, and corporate debt), contracting theory and venture capital as well as the entertainment industry. He has received several awards and prizes for his research.

Dr. Ravid has presented at major conferences as well as in Universities including Yale and Wharton, and many others around the world. He has consulted to governments in Israel and the US as well as to private industry.

Dr. Ravid’s work has been covered by the press around the world, including the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, the BBC, Yedioth, IDF radio and many others in the US and around the world.  His most recent interview was April 4, which will be broadcast on NPR later in the month.

Prior to receiving his PhD from Cornell University, Ravid was a full time professional journalist in Israel as well as a documentary film maker.

1. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?

I like and respect my students. I have taught in many universities, from top Ivy League schools such as Yale and Cornell to state schools such as Rutgers and I spent much time teaching at Haifa University in Israel. Syms students make the top of the list for me. They are eager to learn, have a respectful attitude towards the professors and work hard.  The dual curriculum helps much in that respect as I have learned with my own kids. And in real life hard work is the only predictor of success one can control.

I also like my colleagues and because Syms and YU are small, you get to work closely with people in other disciplines. In my roles in university committees and as VP (and incoming president) of the faculty council I also get to interact with colleagues in entirely different disciplines. The Jewish calendar is of course a plus- since you never have to reschedule classes because of Jewish Holidays as was the case when I taught in other universities.

2. What type of careers do your students have upon graduation?

Some of the students end up on Wall Street broadly defined, most often in banks. Others work in real estate and a significant proportion goes on to graduate schools, sometimes the best – this year I have a student who is continuing at Penn Law and Wharton; Former students ended up in Harvard law school and similar high quality universities

3. What profession did you think you would one day hold when you were a child?

I have always been interested in various areas from math and physics to acting public speaking communications and literature, so I have changed my mind often. I worked on documentary movies when I was a teenager, considered going to the Technion for Physics, and ended up as a professional journalist as my first real job after the army. However, I found reporting with a daily deadline not sufficiently fulfilling, and thus decided to try for a PhD at Cornell. And the rest is history.

4. What research are you working on now?

One of the main aspects defining your professional life in a top level university is research. Although I have been an academic for more than three decades, I am still excited about new ideas and about in depth exploration of various topics. For example, we (colleagues from Cornell and the University of Texas) have just published a paper which debunks the myth that internet reviews have replaced professional reviews, in determining which movie consumers will go to see. Another paper provides a new look at firm hedging policies. Another just accepted paper (which is co-authored with colleagues at the University of Chicago NJIT and the University of Texas) looks at intellectual property contracts, a very hot topic these days.

I am now working with my colleague Shu Han at Syms on a project (with some funding from the New York City Mayor’s Office of media and entertainment) which tries to assess whether women have equal opportunities in the movie business; another project looks at the value of human capital in the theater.

We are also working on a project (with Gabriela Coiculescu at Syms and a colleague at Baruch) which looks at the determinants of innovation in firms and finally some work in progress with a colleague at NYU looks at the fundamentals of value creation in firms.

5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

When I was a teenager, I met the US secretary general and appeared on several coast to coast TV shows on CBS. This was when I represented Israel in a youth leadership conference organized by the state department. Later, I tried to find copies of these shows, but CBS does not have them and all I have are low quality shots of the TV screen. However, I cherish the experience and I am grateful for the many interesting people I met during that first enchanted visit to the US. They include for example, Erkki Liikanen, who represented Finland in that conference. We were roommates in an orientation offered to the delegates from over 40 countries, and he went on to become an MP in Finland, then finance minister and now the head of the central bank. We are still in touch, many decades later.

""

Founder's Bootcamp with Dr. Noam Wasserman

For founders and their startups, early decisions about people...

Learn more...

Founder's Bootcamp with Dr. Noam Wasserman

For founders and their startups, early decisions about people – cofounders, employees, investors, and board members – are vital to the founders' and startups' long-term success. Yet these decisions are often made without the benefit of a roadmap of the most important early decisions, when these decisions should be made, which options to consider, and the likely long-term consequences of those decisions. As a result, preventable people problems are the biggest reason (by far) for the high failure rate of high-potential startups.

Without a solid roadmap, founders are at an increased risk of making poor people decisions and thus increasing the chances that the founding team will splinter, growth will be harmed, or the founder will be replaced as CEO. In contrast, with a solid roadmap, founding teams can increase their stability and achieve better growth.

Founder's Bootcamp provides this roadmap for founders and potential founders.

To bring the lessons to the people who can most benefit from them, OurCrowd will host an intensive bootcamp for the founders of early-stage startups. The bootcamp will feature interactive talks, personalized self-assessment exercises, and appearances by case protagonists via video.

Click through to learn more and apply

""

Faculty Fast Facts: Dr. Maria Blekher, Director of the YU Innovation Lab

Dr. Maria Blekher is a Director of YU Innovation Lab...

Read the full article...

Faculty Fast Facts: Dr. Maria Blekher, Director of the YU Innovation Lab

Dr. Maria Blekher is a Director of YU Innovation Lab and an Academic Program Director for the Master in Marketing. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Digital Strategies, teaching at the Sy Syms School of Business. Upon joining Yeshiva University, Dr. Blekher developed the unique course Business in the Israeli Environment for the Sy Syms School of Business.

Dr. Blekher is also the founder of MadeInIsrael.Info—an online educational platform that connects the American Jewish community to Israel by providing information about Israeli business and brands. Dr. Blekher holds an MBA and a PhD in Marketing from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

1. What profession did you think you would go into when you were a student?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial, a ‘go-getter’. I also was curious about the interaction between people technology and their environment. So, I knew I wanted to work in a field that combines; business or law.

2. What aspect of your job with YU do you most enjoy?

I enjoy the interaction with students, who are bright and creative thinkers. I learn from them a lot, and often students are the best teachers. I enjoy working with Israeli startups, helping them to explore the opportunities in the American market and connecting them to the eco system.  This is a natural fit for me, as a marketing expert and Israeli.

Overall, I enjoy the creative part of my work, creating value. I joined YU about 4 years ago to develop a course about the Israeli Business Environment for SySyms School of Business. Since then I’ve been a key founding partner in three innovative initiatives; MS in Marketing (which I’m still leading) and the AS in Management, who’s first cohort will be graduating this May. The YU Innovation Lab is my newest startups inside YU.

3. What are you most excited for in the new YU Innovation Lab?

Seeing the students exploring, thinking, and creating value for startups. I’m excited about the opportunity the lab creates for YU students to gain hands on experience and developing entrepreneurial skills and about the value Israeli startups gain from working with us. When a CEO of a startup says to me that he/she learned something they didn’t know before after working with us, it’s exciting. When students are able to make an impact, that’s also exciting.

4. What are some of the goals you have for what students take out of your classes?

My goal is for students to develop creative thinking and critical mindset. To question, to ask, to think like there is no box. I also believe that one of the best ways to learn is by doing. Having the opportunity to experience the real world as part of the curriculum develops a unique set of skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.

""

Faculty Fast Facts: Mark Finkel, Director of the Sy Syms Executive MBA Program

Mark Finkel has been deeply...

Read the full article...

Faculty Fast Facts: Mark Finkel, Director of the Sy Syms Executive MBA Program

Mark Finkel has been deeply involved in early stage entrepreneurial enterprises for the past 25 years. Over that time, Mark has worked as an executive or active board member of numerous high-growth technology companies on the East Coast, in Silicon Valley, and in Israel.  Mark has had significant international operational experience, having set up distribution channels and operations in both Europe and Asia.  Mark was also the founder and Chairman of RightAnswers, an enterprise software company, which was sold to Upland Software in 2017.

Many of the companies he has been involved with have had successful exits. He has taken four companies public as Chief Financial Officer and many other companies have had M&A exits. Most recently, Mark served at the Board level for JUMP Bikes, which was bought by Uber in May 2018.

Mark has been involved in numerous social entrepreneurship ventures as well. As Chairman of the Special Kids Fund, he has pioneered the concept of a charity gift card.  He has also been involved in economic development work overseas.

Mark’s academic interests revolve around helping students understand and apply the skills and concepts underlying successful entrepreneurship.  These include understanding the dynamics of nascent markets, as well as those of disruptive entrants into existing markets.  Of particular interest to Mark are the management skills needed to scale the entrepreneurial venture through its growth phases. Also important to Mark is understanding the characteristics of the products or services offered by the early stage enterprise that are more likely to lead to success.

Mark serves on the Board of Directors or Advisory Board of a number of companies and charities. Mark holds a BA (Oberlin College), an MBA (NYU) and a JD (University of California, Davis – Managing Editor of the Law Review).

1. What profession did you think you would hold when you were a student?

I majored in Government as an undergraduate and thought I wanted to go into public service.   I did work in the public sector when I first got out of school but, in the end, switched to the private sector.

2. How has your past work experience prepared you for your current position?

I have spent over twenty-five years in numerous entrepreneurial ventures in Silicon Valley, in Israel and in the NYC area.  I have set up distribution and operations in both Asia and Europe.  Additionally, I have help build a number of social entrepreneurship ventures, so have learned a bit about how entrepreneurship applies in the non-profit sector.  I still sit on board of for-profit and non-profit organizations, which helps me keep up with the ever-changing entrepreneurial world.  Daily, in class, I am able to draw on so much of what I have had the privilege to be exposed to.  (Having said that, I do try to complement that real-world knowledge with academic and empirical information, which is valuable, as well.)

3. What are some of your goals for the Sy Syms School of Business Executive MBA program and what progress have you made?

The Sy Syms Executive MBA Program is an extraordinary program, offering a small learning environment, led by our most senior faculty.   We have been able to attract first-rate students from a diverse business and professional background.  I would hope we can build on this base to grow the number of students over the next few years.  Additionally, we have a strong group of alumni and I would like to grow the programming for that group and be able to draw on the experience of the alumni to help our current students.

4. What aspect of your job with YU do you most enjoy?

The students and my colleagues.  Each day, I feel challenged by the students and enjoy my day-to-day interactions with them.  The faculty at Sy Syms are first-rate.   They are smart, driven, and dedicated, and have been terrifically welcoming of me.

5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

I have tried to grow in my life by challenging myself to get outside my comfort zone.  So, among other activities, I have spent time working on an Indian Reservation in Utah and have spent time doing economic development work in places like Afghanistan.  That might surprise them.  I don’t think it would surprise them that I am a die-hard Yankee fan and season ticket holder, since I talk about the Yankees much of the time.

""

Faculty Fast Facts: Professor Leonard Fuld

Leonard Fuld is Clinical Assistant Professor of Accounting...

Read the full article…

Faculty Fast Facts: Professor Leonard Fuld

Leonard Fuld is Clinical Assistant Professor of Accounting, Tax and Entrepreneurial Business Management at the Sy Syms School of Business of Yeshiva University. He has lectured extensively on U.S. and International tax and business issues throughout the world. Prior to joining Yeshiva University, Professor Fuld was a highly rated adjunct professor for many years in the graduate schools of Baruch and Queens College.

In addition to his academic background, Professor Fuld’s business experience comprises over 38 years of accounting and tax practice, technical tax research, administration, and compliance, including more than seven years in the public accounting arena, in both audit and tax, with PricewaterhouseCoopers. His thirty plus years in industry led to ever increasing senior tax officer responsibilities, within major global businesses, including Schlumberger Ltd, Citigroup, and most recently with Griffon Corp, where he was the Vice President of Taxes of this $1.8 billion New York Stock Exchange multinational. He has been a member of the American Institute of CPAs, New York State Society of CPAs, International Tax Institute, and the Tax Executives Institute. Len has also served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and is the Chairperson of his town’s Ethics Committee.

Len’s hands-on experience includes all types of business transactions, ethics, mergers and acquisitions, government lobbying, individual tax controversies, audit and U.S. tax legislation.

1. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?

I love teaching altogether, but having the opportunity to engage, advise, educate and wish a Good Shabbos to my students, with whom I relate to on such a connected basis, does make YU a special place for me.

2. Tell us a bit about the new MS in Taxation Program that you are running.

The Masters of Science in Taxation reflects the creative programming that Sy Syms is encouraging across the board in all business fields.  We recognized that our students, as well as some of the more experienced working professionals, were interested in furthering their technical knowledge, skills and academic credentials in taxation and we strived to fulfill that need by creating an innovative, very economical Tax Masters that will be taught by extremely experienced, highly qualified professors in a one year program.  The small classes will be taught at Beren, YU’s midtown campus, two evenings a week, so that students will have the ability to work or study for the CPA exam during the day, conveniently achieve the MS Tax in the evenings and still have time to enjoy life as it should be.  Amongst the tax courses offered and taught by CPAs, JD/LLMs, and IRS agents, will be International Tax, Ethical Tax Practice & Procedures, State Tax, Contemporary Tax Issues, Estate Tax, Deferred Compensation, and Reorganization/Liquidations.  It is an exciting program that employers are already interested in partnering with in order to get a first crack at our well educated future graduates.  And there’s still some time left to apply.

3. What profession did you think you would one day hold when you were a child?

Given that my birthday is April 15th, I should have known early on that I’d be a CPA. As a child (which I still am) I was going to be a spy for the Mossad (still would like that),  Chief Rabbi of Israel (definitely not these days), or Professor & Director of the Masters in Tax program at YU, so I worked real hard, brushed my teeth, said my prayers and lo and behold, my dream came true.

4. How do you stay connected with students once they graduate?

Email is the easiest and I continue to send out relevant, and that I think are,  interesting tax articles but most enjoyably is running into them at various events or countries and catching up with what they’re up to, professionally and personally.  I love hearing how they passed the CPA exam or accomplished some major technical hurdle and giving me credit for having made it possible.  True or not, it always feels great.

5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

I was a 9/11 1st responder.

I am a shochet (ritual slaughterer).

I am really a nice, quiet guy who is never critical or cynical- now that would really surprise everyone!

And the rest we’ll keep under wraps.

""

Faculty Fast Facts: Dr. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid

Dr. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid is Sy Syms Professor of Finance...

Read the full article...

Faculty Fast Facts: Dr. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid

Dr. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid is Sy Syms Professor of Finance at the Sy Syms School of Business of Yeshiva University. A Yom Kippur War veteran and war correspondent, Dr. Ravid has spoken on national Israeli and American radio about his experiences.

He has close to 50 refereed publications, in various journals including the Review of Financial Studies and the Journal of Finance as well as book chapters, monographs and other publications. His current research interests include corporate finance (mergers, bankruptcy, and corporate debt), contracting theory and venture capital as well as the entertainment industry. He has received several awards and prizes for his research.

Dr. Ravid has presented at major conferences as well as in Universities including Yale and Wharton, and many others around the world. He has consulted to governments in Israel and the US as well as to private industry.

Dr. Ravid’s work has been covered by the press around the world, including the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, the BBC, Yedioth, IDF radio and many others in the US and around the world.  His most recent interview was April 4, which will be broadcast on NPR later in the month.

Prior to receiving his PhD from Cornell University, Ravid was a full time professional journalist in Israel as well as a documentary film maker.

1. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?

I like and respect my students. I have taught in many universities, from top Ivy League schools such as Yale and Cornell to state schools such as Rutgers and I spent much time teaching at Haifa University in Israel. Syms students make the top of the list for me. They are eager to learn, have a respectful attitude towards the professors and work hard.  The dual curriculum helps much in that respect as I have learned with my own kids. And in real life hard work is the only predictor of success one can control.

I also like my colleagues and because Syms and YU are small, you get to work closely with people in other disciplines. In my roles in university committees and as VP (and incoming president) of the faculty council I also get to interact with colleagues in entirely different disciplines. The Jewish calendar is of course a plus- since you never have to reschedule classes because of Jewish Holidays as was the case when I taught in other universities.

2. What type of careers do your students have upon graduation?

Some of the students end up on Wall Street broadly defined, most often in banks. Others work in real estate and a significant proportion goes on to graduate schools, sometimes the best – this year I have a student who is continuing at Penn Law and Wharton; Former students ended up in Harvard law school and similar high quality universities

3. What profession did you think you would one day hold when you were a child?

I have always been interested in various areas from math and physics to acting public speaking communications and literature, so I have changed my mind often. I worked on documentary movies when I was a teenager, considered going to the Technion for Physics, and ended up as a professional journalist as my first real job after the army. However, I found reporting with a daily deadline not sufficiently fulfilling, and thus decided to try for a PhD at Cornell. And the rest is history.

4. What research are you working on now?

One of the main aspects defining your professional life in a top level university is research. Although I have been an academic for more than three decades, I am still excited about new ideas and about in depth exploration of various topics. For example, we (colleagues from Cornell and the University of Texas) have just published a paper which debunks the myth that internet reviews have replaced professional reviews, in determining which movie consumers will go to see. Another paper provides a new look at firm hedging policies. Another just accepted paper (which is co-authored with colleagues at the University of Chicago NJIT and the University of Texas) looks at intellectual property contracts, a very hot topic these days.

I am now working with my colleague Shu Han at Syms on a project (with some funding from the New York City Mayor’s Office of media and entertainment) which tries to assess whether women have equal opportunities in the movie business; another project looks at the value of human capital in the theater.

We are also working on a project (with Gabriela Coiculescu at Syms and a colleague at Baruch) which looks at the determinants of innovation in firms and finally some work in progress with a colleague at NYU looks at the fundamentals of value creation in firms.

5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

When I was a teenager, I met the US secretary general and appeared on several coast to coast TV shows on CBS. This was when I represented Israel in a youth leadership conference organized by the state department. Later, I tried to find copies of these shows, but CBS does not have them and all I have are low quality shots of the TV screen. However, I cherish the experience and I am grateful for the many interesting people I met during that first enchanted visit to the US. They include for example, Erkki Liikanen, who represented Finland in that conference. We were roommates in an orientation offered to the delegates from over 40 countries, and he went on to become an MP in Finland, then finance minister and now the head of the central bank. We are still in touch, many decades later.

Skip past mobile menu to footer