Michael Schaeffer (B.B.A. ’92, M.B.A. ’10)
Michael Schaeffer Q & A:
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I was lucky to have several great professors; so I hate to play favorites. One of those was Dr. Papaioannou. I enjoyed his Investment Banking and Corporate Finance Policy seminars. Both were business case based and taught how to deal with real-world problems. I participated in the Association for Corporate Growth Cup – a business case competition. Dr. Papaioannou was the advisor to the Hofstra teams and conducted a boot camp for us.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
During my undergraduate years, I worked part time for National Health Labs (now part of LabCorp). After receiving my degree, I was promoted to financial analyst. It was a great feeling to have responsibility, be respected, and work with people at all levels of the organization and in different locations.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My specialty is corporate financial reporting, planning and analysis. This requires ensuring the quality control and assurance processes over the company’s financial process and compiling the company’s records into a financial statement; communicating the information to management and investors; and developing the organization’s financial plan under the direction of management. I started out in accounting. As I took on more responsibility, I became involved in the reporting, budgeting and analysis functions. I really enjoy this because it enables me to see how all the parts of the organization integrate to achieve the corporate strategy and goals.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
- Get to know your fellow students and professors. Before class, put away your phone or laptop, and talk to the people around you. You never know what you can learn from them or how they can help you in the future. It also feels good to help others.
- Take advantage of everything Hofstra has to offer, and expand your boundaries. Hofstra events are opportunities to meet people and learn about different career paths.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What made you pursue an M.B.A. more than 15 years after your undergraduate degree? How has the M.B.A. helped you?
I always wanted to pursue an M.B.A., but I had irregular hours and was worried that I couldn’t commit the time to succeed in the program. After I joined CA Technologies (CA), the company entered into an agreement with Hofstra to conduct M.B.A. classes on CA’s corporate campus. The company supported the educational efforts of my class. The commute to classes wasn’t bad either – just an elevator ride down to the classrooms on the lower level! In a very tough job market, the M.B.A. opened up opportunities. Obtaining an M.B.A. demonstrated my commitment to professional development and made me look fresh to prospective employers. To make my accomplishments during the M.B.A. program relatable to prospective employers, I spoke about them in terms of overcoming obstacles or managing projects.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I recently started a new position with Bluefin Payment Systems. All my prior positions have been with large, publicly held companies. This company is much smaller and faster growing. I’m excited about the challenges, opportunities, and benefits that will arise.
What is the single most rewarding/exciting experience in your career thus far?
I’m not a very reflective person. I’m usually caught in the moment or looking to the future.
Michael Schaeffer (B.B.A. ’92, M.B.A. ’10) is the go to “consultant” on a number of topics, offering strategic advice on accounting and financial reporting to clients. He is co-chair and treasurer at Talent in Transition, a group of diverse professionals who have come together to develop unique strategies for reaching out directly to the business community in order to promote the skills of its membership. Most recently, he took a position as accounting manager at Blue Fin Payment Systems in October. During his free time, Michael is a devoted volunteer for Americorps.
Michael is passionate about the role of management accountants as business partners in addressing business challenges. He believes “good information and analysis are the foundation of good decisions. The role of management accountants is to measure performance and communicate this information to the relevant stakeholders – operational managers, senior management, and investors.”
Michael’s career spans positions of increasing responsibility in diverse industries such as clinical laboratories; health care staffing; retailing across stores, online, and franchising; credit card processing; and software. He is interested in technology and notes that technology was at the heart of each company.
Michael cites continual education as an essential part of his success. This led to his decision to pursue an M.B.A. at Hofstra. He also attends various seminars on current accounting and finance topics.
Michael is an active member of several business and professional organizations, including the Institute of Management Accountants, Project Management Institute, and the Hauppauge Industrial Association.