Academics

MBA Mentorship Program

MBA Mentorship Program

/menˌtôr/
noun
1an experienced and trusted adviser.
verb
2. to advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague).

The opportunity for an MBA student to be given guidance and advice from someone who has achieved success in their desired field is extremely valuable. From connections and networking to writing a strong resume, a mentor can elevate an MBA student's in-class experience and lead them on the right path to a fulfilling career after graduation.

The Monte Ahuja College of Business MBA Mentorship Program pairs full and part-time MBA students with Cleveland-area executives. Our mentors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have made their careers in varying positions and industries.

Program Guidelines
  • The MBA Mentorship Program is semester by semester. Students should register at the end of each semester if they wish to participate into the program again
  • There is a cap of five student mentees per mentor
  • As there are a limited number of spots, students are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis
  • There is no wait list
  • If a student is selected to participate in the program they will be notified via email
  • Students may request a mentor if they have a preference, but it is not guaranteed
  • The program ends upon completion of the semester, if a student graduates or if a student leaves CSU for any reason
If you are interested in participating in the MBA Mentorship Program, please click here to register.
Meet the Mentors

Anthony Bandera - Sales and Marketing
Bruno Biasiotta - Strategy
Peter Buca - Product Development
Don English - Human Resources
Dave Fornari - Management Consulting
Linda Kane - Accounting/Real Estate
Richard Knapp - Management Consulting/Human Resources
Richard Lash - Accounting
Thomas Scharf - Accounting

Anthony Bandera – Sales & Marketing

Anthony (Tony) Bandera graduated from Cleveland State University with a BBA in 1971. He was a first generation college student and completed his degree by attending evening classes.

Mr. Bandera enjoyed a 40+ year career in professional sales and marketing. Most of his years of experience was at a small global manufacturing company ($50mil) in Mentor, Ohio where he ultimately retired as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
As proven in his many years of experience, Mr. Bandera believes that a strong sales program drives growth, and at the foundation of that program are long term relationships with customers. Although sales and marketing methods have changed dramatically over the years with the introduction of new technology, there are some basics like quality products, great service and value that will always apply in the industrial marketplace.

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Bruno Biasiotta – Strategy

Born in Italy and immigrated to the United States, Bruno Biasiotta graduated with a BBA in Marketing from Cleveland State University in 1985, where he also played Division I soccer. With more than 25 years of experience in building efficiency and technology across various industries, Mr. Biasiotta is known as a global executive who is very adept at formulating and executing strategy, driving results and creating high performance leadership teams.

Currently Mr. Biasiotta is Founder and President/CEO of The GNA Group where he is engaged in investing and assisting middle market, start-up, and smaller organizations focused on growth. He is also involved in coaching and mentoring middle market and early stage CEOs and executives in various industries. 

Prior to founding The GNA Group, Mr. Biasiotta was President and CEO of Philips Lighting Americas where he was responsible for driving sustained profitable growth for Philips’ lighting portfolio of businesses in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Mr. Biasiotta began and led Philips’ significant transformation path to leverage the technological shift occurring within the lighting industry and was instrumental in integrating acquired companies and aligning brands, innovation, and manufacturing to create a unified Philips go to market organization.   

Mr. Biasiotta has been honored as a Distinguished Alumni from CSU and he sits on several professional and volunteer boards. 

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Peter Buca – Product Development

A native Clevelander, Peter Buca earned his Bachelors of Industrial Engineering at Cleveland State University in 1988 and Master’s of Business Administration at Baldwin Wallace University. During his 35 years with Parker Hannifin, Mr. Buca has introduced product, process, and service innovations and led teams in the commercialization of these new ideas. He currently serves as Vice President of Technology and Innovation for Parker’s Fluid Connectors Group where he is responsible for engineering and new product development. Parker’s Fluid Connectors Group has over 400 new product programs in their pipeline and have contributed substantially to Parker’s growth and financial performance.

Mr. Buca is recognized for his ability to create growth through innovative product development in any market. His major accomplishments with Parker Hannifin include the development of Parker’s Macrospray technology and its deployment for use in electronics cooling; using designed experiments statistical process control to improve and expand manufacturing operations for Parker’s Aerospace Group; and establishing Parker’s cooperative development effort with Cleveland Clinic Innovations.

Mr. Buca is a member of the Monte Ahuja College of Business Visiting Committee.

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Don English – Human Resources

Don English graduated from Cleveland State University in 1975 with a BBA in Labor and Industrial Relations. He also holds an MS from Franklin University. With decades of experience in leading union and non-union Human Resource initiatives domestically and internationally, Mr. English’s current focus is supporting companies in a variety of industries with strategic planning and developing advanced HR functions to better serve their organizations.

Throughout his career, Mr. English has partnered with corporate leadership in the manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and service industries to identify, articulate, and communicate corporate culture and core competencies to better align the team with strategic initiatives. He developed and implemented proactive associate relations practices, programs and policies to maintain union free status at TRW, Honda, and Garick corporations to allow management to operate without the influence of a third party. While serving as Vice President, Honda was recognized as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for.” He has also developed and facilitated middle- and senior-level leadership development programs with Franklin University and The Ohio State. Since 2002, Mr. English has been providing executive coaching services to Fortune 500 companies as well as mid-size, small and family-owned businesses.

Mr. English believes that relationships at work have a crucial impact on how successful business objectives are achieved. When its people work together in a respectful, proactive, professional and collaborative manner, a company will reach its highest level of success.

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Dave Fornari - Management Consulting

A Cleveland State University alumnus twice over, Dave Fornari earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1976 and his MBA in 1980. He has over 35 years of business experience in management consulting and hands-on corporate management.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Fornari has successfully led and grew profitable businesses and consulting practices by providing high quality and innovative services to strategic clients. After 31 years, Mr. Fornari retired from Deloitte where he specialized in energy and resources consulting. As a Deloitte Eminence Fellow, he was a frequent speaker and author on energy and resources strategy and management.

Mr. Fornari is a dedicated member of the CSU community and currently serves on the Visiting Committee and as Executive in Residence in the Monte Ahuja College of Business, as well as a Fellow for the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

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Linda Kane, CPA - Accounting/Real Estate

Linda Kane earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Cleveland State University in 1979. Over the course of her very successful career, Ms. Kane’s inspirational leadership and innovative approaches propelled her to high-level executive positions. After 25 years, she recently retired as the Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

With over 35 years’ experience in the real estate industry, Ms. Kane propelled Forest City to its position as a premier real estate developer. Her focus blended talent, process and technology to achieve company goals and improve financial operations through best practices. During her tenure at Forest City, Ms. Kane implemented enhancements which resulted in profit improvement and her impact in these areas is an ongoing success story.

Ms. Kane has a very strong commitment to the community and has served over a dozen organizations and non-profits. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for five non-profits and chairs committees for three Boards. In addition, she serves as Executive in Residence for the Monte Ahuja College of Business and is actively involved with the Paul J. Everson Real Estate Center.

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Richard Knapp - Management Consulting/Human Resources

Rick Knapp earned his bachelors degree from the University of Maryland an his masters from The Ohio State University.

Mr. Knapp retired as a partner at Mercer, a global management consulting company. His focus: helping organizations empower their employees to ensure both the organization and its people succeed. His last assignment was as leader of the firm’s Cleveland office; he also had served as national practice leader for communication. Mr. Knapp's clients included multi-national manufacturing companies, regional banks, and hospitals.

Prior to Mercer, Mr. Knapp managed a communication team for AT&T, served as director of communication for a national non-profit, and was a public information officer in the US Air Force, with assignments in the States and Europe.

Mr. Knapp has been honored with multiple awards, including five prestigious Gold Quill Awards from the International Association of Business Communicators. He has been a speaker at numerous professional association meetings and a guest lecturer at several colleges and universities across the country. He has been published in several professional journals. He is currently vice chair of Cleveland Play House and is on the Chair’s Council for ideastream. He also was a charter board member of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

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Richard T. Lash, CPA – Accounting

Richard Lash graduated from Cleveland State University in 1984 with a BBA in Accounting. Mr. Lash is the managing partner of Walthall CPAs, and has been with the firm for 30 years. As part of the firm’s management committee, he is responsible for leading the its strategies and growth in addition to managing and guiding staff and client engagements.

Though Mr. Lash has a diverse client base, he has a strong emphasis in the manufacturing, service, and construction industries. His principal areas of expertise include working with closely held businesses in tax consulting, audits and reviews of financial statements, and financial and strategic planning.

Mr. Lash is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and The Ohio Society of CPAs. He sits on several professional and non-profit boards, including the Monte Ahuja College of Business Department of Accounting Advisory Board. 

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Thomas G. Scharf, CPA/ABV, CVA, CFF, MAFF - Accounting

Tom Scharf earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and economics from Cleveland State University in 1977. He graduated early and started his career at Walthall, where he has served for more than 35 years. Mr. Scharf is currently a partner at Walthall, leads the practice development efforts and is a member of the management committee, which leads the firm’s strategies and growth.

Mr. Scharf focuses much of his time helping closely held clients structure the most successful deals possible on both the buy and sell side of transactions. He also works with his clients to help them achieve their financial goals. As a member of Walthall’s fraud and litigation group, business advisory group and nonprofit groups, Mr. Scharf has a varied client base consisting of private clubs, manufacturers and distributors, auto dealerships and more.

A routine presenter on a variety of topics for trade, professional and civic organizations, Mr. Scharf is also a regular contributor to the Crain’s Cleveland Dealmaker blog and the Walthall blog. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, The Ohio Society of CPAs, and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts.

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