Torch Bearers: Opening Doors

For Associate Professor Ann Mooney Murphy and business leader Jim Marsh M.S. ’07, an early mentoring relationship has evolved into a fruitful professional relationship.

Ann Mooney Murphy had already begun her career in auditing and consulting at Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) when she realized she wanted a change. She found herself thinking about past activities — like high school tutoring and assisting in corporate training. Teaching and mentoring, Murphy discerned, had always been “what lights me up.”  

Murphy returned to school, earned a doctorate in strategic management at the University of Georgia and joined the Stevens faculty in 2001. Now an associate professor in the School of Business, she teaches undergraduate courses like Senior Design and graduate-level Strategic Management and Leadership. While serving as associate dean from 2010 to 2019, she helped transform the School of Technology Management into the School of Business and led the launch of six new undergraduate majors and seven new minors.  

Along the way, mentoring has always been her priority. Mentoring new faculty is an established practice in the School of Business, and Murphy usually advises three or four faculty mentees, meeting with them several times a year to help chart their path. “I might have suggestions about submitting or revising an article for publication,” she says. “And I’ve always told them that I can be their ‘bad cop’ in fighting to help protect their research time. 

“I want them to do well and make tenure. That’s the goal.”  

Murphy also works closely with students, but her mentorship of Jim Marsh M.S. ’07 is one she characterizes as “non-traditional.”  

Like Murphy, Marsh, based in Readington Township, New Jersey, and currently president/CEO of TÜV SÜD Global Risk Consultants — which partners with clients to assess, quantify and mitigate property-related risks — already had an established career when he returned to school. After accepting a new management position, he felt the need to bolster his skill set, so he enrolled in Stevens’ graduate Management program. Marsh approached Murphy about mentoring him after taking her Strategic Management class. “Earlier in my career, I saw where mentors could help you look around corners, round out areas where you were deficient, and help open doors,” says Marsh.  

Earlier in my career, I saw where mentors could help you look around corners, round out areas where you were deficient, and help open doors.
Jim Marsh M.S. ’07

“Ann is focused, determined, driven. She’s very good at what she does.”  

That initial mentorship has evolved into friendship and what Murphy characterizes professionally as “a collaborative relationship.”  

Murphy has interviewed Marsh for her research, and she put his name forward for the School of Business’ Board of Advisors, where he has since served for 10 years. Marsh, in turn, has been a frequent guest speaker in Murphy’s classes. The two still manage to have lunch occasionally. 

“We help each other out as needed,” she explains. “When I was making strategic decisions about new undergraduate majors, Jim was my go-to person for advice.”  

“Ann has been a great sounding board since I became CEO,” says Marsh. “Her suggestions helped a lot, and I was grateful to have a trusted friend and advisor in that journey.” 

Mary Zajac

Research: ‘A Great Line to Mentoring’ 

How do the most-senior leaders in firms make decisions? What does the interplay between a CEO, a board of directors and a management team look like? And how does a more diverse C-suite affect who is included in decision-making?  

These are the questions that fuel the research of Ann Mooney Murphy, associate professor in the School of Business. “Research on senior corporate leadership is important because they make the strategic decisions that have a long-term impact on the firm,” she says.  

Murphy relies on large empirical datasets, surveys, interviews and case studies to support her findings. She often collaborates with other faculty, as well as her students, who work on data collection and analysis — “the real heavy lifting” of research, Murphy explains.  

“Research presents a great line to mentoring,” says Murphy. “I think working on research is such a valuable experience for undergrads and a terrific way to apply what students are learning in the classroom to a real-world setting, especially with work that I’m doing in diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s been a hot topic, and an important one, and they’ve been able to talk about its application.”