Economics Major Hones Leadership Skills as Student Government President

School of Business Economics major and Student Government Association (SGA) President, Michael Faikes, discusses leadership, social science, sports and more with the b-school communications team.

School of Business: Hi Michael, thank you for joining us today! Let’s start off with a little background. Tell us about yourself.

Michael Faikes: No problem, thanks for having me. My name is Michael Faikes and I am a senior at the College of Charleston with a double major in economics and computer science. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in Irmo, South Carolina.

I am the acting SGA president for the 2016-2017 academic year and have previously held positions as vice president, treasurer and senator. In addition to being president, I’m also a member of the Honors College, Schottland Scholars and Jewish Student Union.

SB: You mentioned that you’re an economics major. What interests you about the subject?

MF: AP Economics was one of my favorite classes in high school. When I got to the College, Roxane DeLaurell (an associate professor of legal studies and the director of the Honors Program at the School of Business) advised me to major in a subject that I found interesting and make it my own.

Economics is the most exciting business topic because it’s so much more than numbers — it’s also about public opinion, what drives those opinions and how those opinions influence actions. Ultimately, a drive to understand people is what draws me to business and, more specifically, economics.

SB: Why did you choose to add student government to your plate?

MF: Frankly, school just wouldn’t seem like school if I didn’t feel represented. I was on the student council in high school and really enjoyed it. There’s so much more responsibility to take on and impact to be made by participating at the collegiate level.

Prior to running, I spoke with a good friend about the SGA’s untapped potential. Eventually it became obvious that if I wanted to see change, I had to make it myself.

SB: How does being a business student influence the way you operate as president?

MF: The Schottland Scholars revolutionized the way I operate as president. I would recommend any School of Business senior apply for the program. Through Schottland Scholars, I have had the opportunity to tour various companies and meet with their executives.

Getting to see the mindset that successful people have and how they manage their employees is so cool. That experience gave me confidence and encouraged me to approach problem solving in a different way. It also gave me a more globalized view of the business world.

SB: What work is the student government currently undertaking?

MF: We’re working in tandem with our campus diversity liaison to encourage more departments to craft curriculum that would allow the College to expand its selection of general education history courses.

We’re also reevaluating the campus’ sexual assault and academic forgiveness policies and attempting to turn all bathrooms at the College into zero-waste zones.

SB: What would you tell other business students who are considering running for student government?

Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. When you take on any leadership role, understand what you want to accomplish and why, set realistic goals and work hard to make sure those goals are met. There’s nothing worse than committing yourself to something you’re not willing to work hard for or are not passionate about.

SB: What are your post-graduation goals?

MF: I’m determined to become the general manager of a professional sports team one day. I’m a life-long New York Mets fan and general sports enthusiast. I love sports for the obvious reasons — they’re fun to watch and are a great cultural unifier. But I’m even more excited by what goes on behind the scenes. I find sports-related business operations fascinating. Understanding the science behind what makes the people who run the show tick and why they make certain decisions is a total thrill.


This interview has been condensed and edited.


School of Business Professor Receives Fulbright Honor

Professor Rene Mueller, director of the International Business Program at the College of Charleston School of Business, is the recipient of a Fulbright grant to teach marketing and international business at the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), University of Applied Sciences in Innsbruck, Austria.

Mueller was nominated by Fulbright Austria and selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board — a 12-member committee appointed by the president of the United States — to become a visiting professor at MCI.

“The Fulbright Scholar Program seeks to expand international understanding by sharing knowledge and culture among scholars, and this goal is consistent with the School of Business’ global vision,” said Alan Shao, dean of the School of Business. “I am delighted that Dr. Mueller has joined some of her colleagues — Drs. John Crotts, Steve Litvin and Mark Witte — as a global scholar to share her expertise in international business.”

Mueller, who shares Shao’s enthusiasm for the opportunity, credits the Fulbright grant for enabling her to extend her service, teaching and research overseas. “I am honored to be chosen to represent the School of Business as a visiting marketing and international business professor with MCI and look forward to further exploring cross-cultural marketing, global commerce and other business-related topics in the heart of Europe,” she said.

With numerous accomplishments and accolades under her belt — including two publications in the Journal of International Business Studies; five research awards as well as the 2015 Howard F. Rudd Jr. Distinguished Faculty Award for Service Leadership; nine U.S. Department of Education International Education grants; appointments to the District Export Council, the Brookings Institute Metro Export Initiative Steering Committee and the Chamber of Commerce Foreign Direct Investment Steering Committee; and the creation of multiple bi-lateral exchange and dual-degree programs at the School — Mueller is poised to find success and make an impact in the beautiful city of Innsbruck.

Former DuPont President to Speak at School of Business, Debunk Corporate Innovation Myth

Former president of DuPont Performance Polymers Diane Gulyas will visit the College of Charleston School of Business as this semester’s George G. Spaulding Distinguished Executive Speaker.

The event, which will be held Thursday, Mar. 16, 2017 at 8:15 a.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium of the Beatty Center, is an opportunity for Gulyas to meet with students, faculty and members of the Charleston community and discuss the insights she’s gleaned from her 36 years leading one of the world’s largest chemical corporations.

Gulyas plans to highlight the importance of intrapreneurs, or individuals within a company that are willing to take risks to solve problems, and debunk the myth that only start-up companies value both intra- and entrepreneurship. In her experience, big corporations want and need more innovative thinkers.

A firm believer in the power of personal brand, Gulyas will also speak to why job seekers should invest in themselves. “It is important for entrepreneurs to develop their brand identity because employers are investing in the person as much as they are investing in his or her skills and ideas,” she says.

The presentation will conclude with tips for having a fulfilling career. Gulyas’ secret to success: finding joy in her work.

Prior to retiring from DuPont in April 2014, Gulyas was responsible for guiding and expanding the growth and profitability of the global organization by providing customers, particularly in the automotive, packaging, construction and consumer durables markets, with high-performance polymer, resin and film materials. She served various executive and managerial roles within the company prior to her station as president.

Gulyas is now a full-time professional board director.

Students and Alumni Invited to Charleston Hospitality Opportunity Fair

The College of Charleston School of Business’ Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management is joining forces with the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College and the Charleston Area Hospitality Association to host a hospitality job fair on Feb. 6 in the TD Arena.

The Charleston Hospitality Opportunity Fair hopes to bring together the best of the hospitality industry – great employment opportunities and exceptionally talented individuals – in an environment that fosters growth and development for our city.

For opportunity seekers, the event is free and lasts from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Opportunities include part time, full time, contract or seasonal employment; management-in-training and supervisory positions; internships/externships, and volunteer work. Register here for free.

The agenda for employers kicks off at 8 a.m. and concludes at 5:30 p.m. Register your business here.

To learn more, visit

School of Business Partners to Host German-American Business Summit


Editor’s note: The event was rescheduled from its original date on Oct. 6 due to inclement weather. 

The College of Charleston School of Business, School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, Career Center and German department have partnered to host the first-ever German-American Business Summit on Feb. 2. And, the timing could not be better.

According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, German corporations have invested more than $4.1 billion in South Carolina from 2011 to 2015 and are now responsible for 27,000 jobs in the state. With German industry focusing many of its efforts in Charleston, local jobseekers would be wise to start thinking Deutsche — and the German-American Business Summit is the perfect opportunity to do so.

“It’s been a secret for far too long here in the Lowcountry that proficiency in German and knowledge of German culture are extremely lucrative assets for those pursuing careers, and advancement, with industry in the state and globally,” says Morgan Koerner, Ph.D. chair of German studies department.

Made possible with help from the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States, the summit connects executives from Charleston’s leading German corporations with students, alumni and job seekers in the CofC community.

Attendees can look forward to a job and internship expo, where big names such as Mercedes-Benz Vans, BMW, Bosch, IFA Rotorion, KION, Hubner, Continental Tire, Zeltwanger LP and Kuehne + Nagel and Stoebich Fire Protection will be in attendance.

The summit also boasts an impressive lineup of speakers including Antonio Tills, Ph.D., dean of the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs; Alan Shao, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business; Robin Mishra, Ph.D., minister counselor from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; and Sam Moses, Esq., of Parker Poe Attorneys and Counselors at Law.

Moses, whose firm represents many of Charleston’s foreign manufacturing operations, sees a tremendous opportunity for public-private partnerships with German industries in Charleston. “With its exceptional German program, high-ranking globally-oriented School of Business, and strong liberal arts mission, the College of Charleston is the ideal place for a further expansion of those productive relationships,” he says.

The event, which lasts from noon until 5 p.m. in the Stern Center Ballroom, concludes with a panel session on workforce needs in South Carolina, followed by a networking reception for select attendees.

For more information about the event, click here.

School of Business Junior Named CAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week

joe-chealeyOn Monday, Jan. 9, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) named School of Business student and Cougar point guard Joe Chealey the men’s basketball Player of the Week. The honor came after the junior and Business Administration major scored a career-high 31 points versus Hofstra University, a team-best 22 points versus Towson University and 19 points at the University of Delaware. According to the CAA, Chealey has tallied double figures in seven straight games and ranks 5th in the CAA’s overall scoring (15.9 points per game) and 8th in assists (3.1 per game).