ADP and Montclair are iconic New Jersey institutions with global reach and intertwined trajectories to boost human potential. With far-reaching impact, this multifaceted and growing partnership is creating opportunities that span from student scholarships, alumni engagement and employee recruitment to collaborating on business education, where academia, expertise and innovation meet to prepare the next generation of professionals.
Powerhouse Institutions, Joining Forces
ADP is a comprehensive global provider of cloud-based human capital management and a leader in business outsourcing services, analytics and compliance expertise. In its 70 years, ADP has grown to a publicly traded corporation with more than 1 million clients in 140 countries.
As New Jersey’s second largest institution of higher learning, and one of its most diverse, Montclair is a respected contributor to the state’s workforce pipeline. The Feliciano School of Business (FSBUS), fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), is home to six academic departments offering a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with 10 concentrations, a master’s in Accounting, and an MBA. The Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the Ellyn A. McColgan Center for Student Services, and the 3D printing MIX Lab provide the School’s more than 4,200 students with a state-of-the-art business education experience.
“Montclair is actively engaged in the wider community, and working with partners like ADP ensures that our programs are relevant, that our students are getting hands-on experience and that our graduates are prepared to lead businesses,” says Montclair State University President Jonathan Koppell. “Our work with ADP exemplifies the potential of collaborating in new ways with major corporate players.”
The Growing ADP-Montclair Partnership
Montclair alumni have been a long-time force in building bridges between the University and ADP. Currently, more than 200 Montclair alumni are employed with ADP, a reflection of the company’s confidence in hiring Montclair graduates as well as the job satisfaction alumni experience once employed there.
Over the years, ADP has been an engaged philanthropic partner as well, supporting students, events and programs at Montclair. ADP executives have been generous with their time, offering guest lectures and taking the time to meet and speak with students.
This growing partnership exceeds the expectations of the traditional university-corporate sector relationship.
“ADP has had a long-standing relationship with Montclair,” says Barat Dickman, ADP’s senior vice president of Worldwide Commercial Operations. “I joined the Feliciano School of Business Advisory Board in 2019. My initial vision was to continue the work that was already in motion, but as I began to understand the School’s goals and aspirations, I saw an opportunity for ADP to contribute even more. We will continue expanding our relationship with Montclair by working closely with the School to determine areas where we can contribute the most.”
“We get to give back to our local community by providing resources directly to Montclair students, and we are also introducing students to ADP’s core values and culture,” he continues. “The opportunity to cultivate this partnership is really one of my favorite parts of the job. It’s important for corporations to give back to their local community and it’s great that ADP continues to invest the time and resources to cultivate these relationships.”
In 2022, ADP Change Management lead strategist Crissette Maxwell joined the effort. “We have set up a Montclair alumni chapter here at ADP and we are continuing to grow our strategy by participating in more on-campus events and planning to host students at our Roseland campus on a more regular basis,” she says. “Since ADP is a large global company, this partnership gives students exposure to the many different roles and areas of the business that they could potentially pursue when joining the workforce. It also gives ADP associates the chance to give something back to the students and faculty as well. I believe we’ve just scratched the surface of this long-standing partnership, and I am excited to be at the forefront of helping drive the progress.”
Preparing Students to Excel in Business
The Professional Selling and Sales Management certificate program, developed collaboratively by FSBUS faculty and ADP professionals, is a 12-credit track that builds students’ analytical, leadership, customer service and communication skills. Since it launched in 2019, more than 30 students have earned the certificate. The program’s emphasis on strong relational and personal interaction skills and innovative technology, enhanced by an executive/professional presence in the classroom, prepares students for success on day one.
The success of the sales-oriented certificate program inspired an even bolder view of what this unique partnership could achieve. In fall 2023, Montclair rolled out the Strategic Human Capital Management (HCM) concentration, as part of the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program, with 21 students enrolled in the first semester.
“There is a great need for professionals who have the knowledge and skill to think strategically about human capital management,” notes Dr. Warren Zhou, chair of the Management Department. “Strategic human capital management transforms the HR function from a purely operational one into a strategic partner that contributes significantly to the achievement of business objectives. It helps organizations maximize the value of their human capital, adapt to changing environments, and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.”
This program is the first of its kind in New Jersey and connects Montclair to the emerging field of strategic human capital management. The curriculum, co-developed with ADP’s human resources experts, offers students a deep dive into the discipline through coursework as well as two labs that will teach them to use ADP’s human resource information systems software. Graduates of this program will be in high demand in the workplace.
Amy Leschke-Kahle, vice president of talent insights and innovation at ADP, is also a member of the board advising the new human capital concentration. “Montclair identified the critical role that people, process, and technology play in today’s world of work,” she says. “Their commitment to preparing students to be ready to meet the near-term needs of employers and have the skills necessary to lead their organizations’ HCM practices into the future is priceless. Montclair is leading the way.”
“Our work with ADP is the result of really listening to our business partners, learning what their priorities are in terms of the knowledge and talent they need to move their enterprises forward,” says Kimberly Hollister, dean of the Feliciano School of Business. “It is exciting to know that our students will be at the leading edge of the evolution of business.”
Ensuring Students’ Path to Graduation and Career Success
ADP appreciates the challenges many Montclair students face in the quest to earn a college degree. The company’s support for scholarships, including an Honors Program scholarship and a Student Development and Campus Life (SDCL) scholarship, are removing barriers for students and connecting them to the life-changing benefits of a Montclair degree.
“With the generosity of the ADP Student Development and Campus Life Scholarship, I will be able to finish my degree,” says Donyelle Hayes, a senior majoring in Fashion Design and Merchandising. “I’ve worked hard to be active in the University community through clubs and campus jobs, but this past year has been challenging for me … I genuinely wasn’t sure how I would be able to afford to complete school.”
ADP associates and leaders are invested in student success, offering their time and expertise as mentors to undergraduate and graduate students alike – helping them build an awareness of the varied career opportunities available to them and providing guidance as they travel the path from college student to young professional.
“I decided to become a mentor because I understand the value of these kinds of resources,” says Dina Andrews ’02 ’15 MBA, an ADP service executive and undergraduate mentor. “I think it’s important for students to have a safe space to ask questions and feel heard especially when they are trying to navigate decisions that might shape their future. I have degrees in psychology and business – both from Montclair – and have held a number of front line and leadership roles while being a highly engaged friend, wife and mom. I’ve overcome personal and professional adversities which have shaped me into the person and leader I am today. I can be a trusted ear and tour guide for their journey ahead.”
Likewise, Erjola Cake ’11 is eager to contribute to the growth and development of Montclair students. “Hopefully, sharing my own experience will help guide them on their next steps,” she says. “The greatest impact I can bring to the students I mentor is helping them to refine their critical thinking skills and to develop a growth mindset.”
There are also ADP mentors who help the University’s accelerated MBA students build a career continuum, with advice on how to navigate the corporate ladder and providing opportunities to attend company-sponsored events. In April 2023, more than 30 Montclair students spent an afternoon at ADP’s headquarters where they met and learned from the company’s high-level executives, including Sreeni Kutam, president of Global Product and Innovation at ADP and member of Montclair’s Board of Trustees; Helena Almeida, vice president and Managing Counsel; Linda Mougalian, senior division vice president of Sales Marketing; Sandy Thomas, vice president of Talent Solutions, and Barat Dickman.
“I chose to mentor MBA students at Montclair not only because I am a recent graduate of the Montclair MBA program myself, but I also feel strongly that mentorship has had a significant impact on my own professional development,” says Eloy Arocho ’17 ’23 MBA, manager of client services for ADP Insurance Agency, Inc. “MBA students are more likely to have more specific needs from a mentoring relationship compared to undergraduates who may still be exploring career options. Either way, I believe mentorship is a valuable tool to help provide guidance and encourage growth for their career.”
The Enduring Value of the ADP-Montclair Partnership
“As a leading HR solutions provider focused on helping our clients navigate the evolving world of work, we understand the importance of preparing the next generation of talent for the workplace,” says Kutam. “At ADP, we are dedicated to career development and providing inclusive and accessible experiences for our global associates that support our mission to promote learning and skills development. Our collaboration with Montclair seeks to enhance student learning experiences through hands-on programs that immerse students in real-world scenarios to unlock their potential and transform them into tomorrow’s business leaders.”
“We are excited about our ability to provide students with such a valuable educational experience,” adds President Koppell. “Our mission is to provide transformational opportunities for all of our students and to equip them with the tools they need for social mobility. We want every Montclair student to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their chosen field, and to leave here with greater opportunities than they came in with.”