Joe Sabatini, MBA '81, managing director at JPMorgan Chase & Company, plays an integral role in the Weatherhead School of Management's Visiting Committee. It was evenings spent as a student in Weatherhead's Part-Time MBA program that helped build his strong connection and commitment to the school.
"I was particularly impressed by the faculty," says Sabatini. "They demonstrated dedication and energy and were always willing to spend time with students. That was a real eye-opener." Sabatini did his undergraduate work at the University of Cincinnati, which has a current enrollment of nearly 40,000 students. Comparing a big-school atmosphere with the environment of Weatherhead, Sabatini noted the difference high caliber professors can make within a small class setting. "Their passion was able to shine through," he says.
Sabatini's positive experience as a student at Weatherhead inspired his own passion to give back. Early on in his career at JPMorgan Chase & Company, he became a member of the company's investment banking recruiting team charged with gauging emerging talent. He remembers, "After a short time, I realized that the students I was meeting from Weatherhead were of equal caliber to the students my company was hiring from other prominent business schools."
An area in which Sabatini felt Weatherhead students could improve was the interview process, and this observation led to a phone conversation with Weatherhead’s Career Management Office (CMO). Sabatini became an informal mentor, meeting with students interested in finance as a profession. His work with the CMO produced positive results, and so began a stream of Weatherhead students—dating back to the 1990s—who would make it on Wall Street.
Sabatini has hosted Weatherhead alumni receptions in New York City for many years in addition to his involvement with student career services. But he does not confine himself to helping Weatherhead alone; Sabatini also plays an important role within the greater university community. Selected for an Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2001, followed by a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2005, he is vice chair of Case Western Reserve University's Board of Trustees, servesas chair of its Finance Committee, and is part of its Executive Committee.
"Being involved at the university and at the school level helps both causes," says Sabatini. "As a trustee, I take what I learn from the Weatherhead Visiting Committee at a granular level—strategy, fundraising tactics, and placement of students—and am able to apply that knowledge to the overall goals of the university." Sabatini's ground-up involvement helps him evaluate where he can best deploy his skills and knowledge on behalf of his alma mater.
This is Sabatini's second term on the Weatherhead Visiting Committee; Scott Cowen was dean during his first term. "The Visiting Committee used to be mostly northeast Ohio executives," notes Sabatini, who lives in New York City. "While I think this segment should be the majority, I love bringing a nationally oriented perspective back to Cleveland."
Given the positive transitions ongoing in Weatherhead's degree programs and interdisciplinary themes, Sabatini is more confident than ever that the school is headed in the right direction. "The ability of any school to re-engineer its approach is absolutely essential to success as a higher education institution," he says. "Witnessing their successesmeans to me that the university as a whole, and Weatherhead in particular, are making the right investments. Dean Reddy and his senior team have crafted an MBA program that is competitive, creative, and cutting-edge."