Margaret Brennan Bermel, M.B.A. '85
What was your favorite class, professor, or fondest memory of Hofstra?
Dr. Hal Lazarus was my favorite professor. He brought an enthusiasm to his class that made learning an enjoyable experience. Dr. Lazarus was my master’s thesis advisor for “The Golden Handshake: Incentives for Early Retirement”, which led to co-authoring two published articles with Dr. Lazarus: “Golden Handshakes: A win-win way to cut staff” and “America is Retiring Early.”
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job after graduating from Hofstra was as a financial analyst with a company called Patient Technology. The most valuable thing I learned there was the importance of honesty and ethics in business dealings and in standing up for what is right.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I am the chief fiscal officer of a large government organization. As a graduate student at Hofstra, I participated in the internship program and my placement was with a county government. After leaving patient technology, I returned to county government, accepting a position in the County Budget Office, and I worked my way up over the past 25+ years to my present position.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Explore every opportunity. Make your own mistakes, but learn from them. Listen to good advice. Be honest. Treat everyone with respect. Be professional.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
Challenging (I know, one word, but challenging in the sense that Hofstra challenges students to achieve their personal best.).
How has your degree helped you?
I never would have been able to accomplish what I have accomplished without my degree. When I started the M.B.A. program, the professor at orientation told the incoming class that we would learn to think differently. I was skeptical, but it was true. What I learned at Hofstra was how to think differently, objectively, and critically in order to solve complex problems.
Who in your field do you most admire?
A fellow M.B.A., my brother Michael Brennan, spent much of his career working in Kenya, Rwanda, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and other developing countries post-strife. He has a published essay in Michael Fairbanks’ book “In the River They Swim: A Collection of Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty.” He thinks globally and acts globally; I admire his efforts to help countries recover from horrific events and to try to help make the world a better place.
Do you have any future plans to write any more books?
I describe myself as an “accidental author.” I had no plans to write this book, but felt compelled to share what I had learned from my research about healthcare choices for the treatment of cancer. I don’t have any immediate plans to write another book, but one never knows!