Taking care of business: Mazzeo joins OU as new business school dean


Mezzeo will be replacing Mohan Tanniru as Dean of the School of Business Administration

Wearing a blue blazer and yellow dress shirt, newly-appointed Dean of the School of Business Administration Michael Mazzeo jokes that he could never be seen in these colors at his former school.

The colors actually represent his alma mater, the University of Buffalo, but good luck explaining that at Michigan State where those colors make you persona non grata.

Settling in at Oakland, Mazzeo can wear whatever he wants, and he’s excited about the school’s potential for growth.

His résumé

Prior to coming to OU in August, Mazzeo served as dean of undergraduate programs and a professor of finance specializing in corporate restructuring at MSU.

Mazzeo talked about things learned at MSU that can be applied at OU.

“The good news is that I have some experience dealing with programs during my time (that are) continuing on,” he said. “The undergraduate program was nationally ranked, and still is, and I understand how rankings occur.”

Provost James Lentini spoke highly of Mazzeo’s credentials in a press release accompanying his hire.

“Dr. Mazzeo brings a strong record of academic experience and accomplishments,” Lentini said. “Additionally, he has successfully worked with the community in strengthening alumni relationships, cultivating business partnerships, developing executive education programs and advancing study abroad and outreach opportunities.”

Mazzeo said his research into corporate structure has led him to work with diverse companies such as Chrysler, Dow Chemical and the Kellogg’s Corporation.

“When you work with these corporations, you have a very different insight,” he said. “What’s right or what works at one firm doesn’t necessarily work at the other. I have the ability, I think, to transcend those kinds of entities.”

Looking at the bottom line

One of the big challenges in schools across OU is student retention and graduation rates. Mazzeo mentioned a couple of advantages that OU has over its bigger competitors.

“I think the advantage of Oakland is the size,” he said. “While it’s not a small university by any stretch of the imagination, I think we will be able in the long run, I’m not sure we can do this today but it’s certainly one of my objectives, is to be able to enhance what we might call ‘high human touch.'”

An example of this more personalized approach is the tutorial program for students in the school of business that might be struggling with a particular course.

He also said that there are certain things professors can do at Oakland that are much more difficult at a university with 300 person lecture halls.

“These are very well-trained people, these are people we would probably be interested in at Michigan State,” Mazzeo said. “The advantage here is we can probably get much better contact with students.”