More than 250 students were hooded in the Graduate Business Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 25. Randall J. Hogan, chairman and CEO of Pentair, delivered the commencement address and told the graduates “You’re starting the next phase of your lives” and the two things you need to be successful are to “create your own future, and control your own destiny. Make sure you have a goal in mind, when opportunities present themselves, you will be bold enough to take them.”
How does one successfully navigate the process of moving from an individual contributor or team member to a first-time manager and leader? Which leadership characteristics and competencies promote positive and authentic leadership and which practices or attitudes can detract from an individual’s leadership potential? Moreover, how does one learn or develop leadership capabilities?
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the first National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA) event hosted on the University of St. Thomas Minneapolis campus in the Opus College of Business Schulze Auditorium. The event focused on topic that resonated with all attendees, is consistently on the minds of business professionals, and is interwoven throughout the UST MBA program (and many other MBA programs’) curriculum: leadership.
To spark the discussion, NAAMBA-Twin Cities invited Robert C. Barnett, adjunct faculty member in UST’s Organizational Learning and Development department and principal and senior fellow in management consulting at Robert Barnett Consulting, LLC and MDA Leadership Consulting, to share his extensive research and findings about leadership.
Let me set the scene… You just completed your MBA admissions interview, the end to a very long day that has also included a class visit and lunch with a student ambassador. You know you rocked the interview because a) you were well prepared, b) you had the right responses to the questions asked, c) you knew all about the entire MBA program and d) you prepared a good list of follow-up questions. Your admissions application had no grammatical errors and you did not make the mistake of calling this school by another business school name to which you are also applying. One month later, you receive your anticipated package from the business school. You hurry with excitement to open it, only to find out that the school has denied you admission into their fall cohort class.
While there are many factors that contribute to students not gaining acceptance into the business school of their choice, I thought I would outline a few items that often get overlooked by many prospective students. While the information presented here might seem logical, I have witnessed the occurrence of at least one of these items more than once during my time here in the UST MBA Admissions office. Realize that while you might have a formal interview on campus at a specified time, the interview process begins once you first connect with the school of your choice.
As a native Minnesotan, I have watched local news my entire life and have always been dedicated to KARE 11. I happen to be also very easily star-struck, and since news anchors are like local celebrities to me, they make me slightly nervous and excited. So when Rick Kupchella, a 20-year veteran of investigative broadcasting on KARE 11 news, spoke at Master’s Pub last Friday night, I thought to myself, be cool, Alex. He is a businessman with interesting things to say. But I quickly became very distracted and wrote notes such as, “quite handsome,” “surprisingly tall,” and over and over, “very charming.” I will get to what exactly Rick talked about in a second, but I think it needs to be said that Rick Kupchella is an extremely charming, approachable, and down to earth speaker. Now that I have that out there, I can move on to what he actually came to discuss.
Applying to business school can be a time consuming process. Many prospective students wonder about the “black box” of the admissions evaluation process, which often not only includes taking the GMAT, writing essays, and completing various application requirements, but an interview with admissions team members as well. Interviews can be nerve-wracking for prospective students, but as one of the Assistant Directors of Admissions in the Full Time MBA program here at the Opus College of Business, interviews are one of my favorite parts of the job. Why? Meeting applicants in person is an important part of getting to know candidates on a personal level and assessing fit with our MBA program, which overall, is the goal of most admissions interviews. Admissions directors want students to be successful, and meeting applicants in person to learn about what they will uniquely contribute to their MBA program is an important part of the evaluation process.
That said, interviews do not have to be the anxiety-producing event that some applicants believe they are! From an admissions insider’s view, here are some tips to prepare for – and ace – your MBA admissions interview (p.s. These tips can also apply to interviews for MBA-level internships or full time positions):
In a new article entitled “Why I had to Adapt or Die”, BringMeTheNews founder and CEO Rick Kupchella writes that, “In the end – when you think about it – there’s really no rational argument for the 5 o’clock news anymore, short of wanting to tune in to see your favorite local personalities. If there’s something you really want to know – you can find it pretty easily on your phone.”
That’s part of the reason the veteran TV news journalist decided to leave a successful career in broadcasting and launch a new company in 2009. Today, BringMeTheNews continues to grow, as staff journalists comb through thousands of headlines a day in order to deliver the most relevant news to the people of Minnesota.
Rick Kupchella, founder of BringMeTheNews, will discuss the company’s first three years, and his transition from Emmy Award-winning TV news anchor to entrepreneur at next week’s Master’s Pub. The event will be held Friday, April 19, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Current Opus College of Business graduate students and alumni attending the event are encouraged to bring colleagues or friends considering a graduate business degree to experience the unique St. Thomas atmosphere and community. The event if free but please register in advance.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal on Thursday announced its 2013 40 under Forty honorees, a list that includes young business and community leaders from throughout the Twin Cities. The Opus College of Business has made its mark on the list:
Last week many fans of the popular TV series Shark Tank saw the presentation of a not-so-new concept by a woman named Jessica. She created a company called Jeska Shoes that specialized in the development and design of women’s shoes with interchangeable heels and other accessories. She didn’t manufacture anything at that point but her plan was to sell her shoes at around $200 a pair and then heels and accessory would average $20-30 per unit. She offered a 30% stake for $70,000 equity in her company but she ended up giving away 70% of the company for that same amount to Daymond John.
The main reason why Daymond took 70% of the company was the fact that he already saw flaws in Jessica’s thought process and therefore the business model and he needed a full control of the company to make any decisions he wants. While all the sharks unanimously agreed that the price of the shoes was too high (which is absolutely true), there was one major mistake that wasn’t voiced but which Daymond most likely thought about when he decided to invest in Jessica’s company. It was a wrong value proposition.
Last month the Opus College of Business hosted Medora Danz, vice president of Blu Dot brand at the Master’s Pub. Danz shared some interesting insights on Blu Dot’s history and mission. The company’s goal is “to bring good design to as many people as possible.” To them, that means “creating products that are useful, affordable, and desirable.”
The modern design of Blu Dot in some ways combines the efficiency and economy of Ikea with the style and look of much more expensive brands. “B
lu Dot has created a brand that is humble, inclusive, democratic and humorous,” said Danz, noting that the company is trying to go after the middle.
One particular story Danz told was of a marketing campaign in New York City, timed with the first anniversary of the opening of their first retail location there. Fast Company detailed the story in 2009:
Mono, an advertising firm based in Minneapolis, dropped off 25 Real Good Chairs, a $129 item designed and manufactured by Blu Dot. Whoever found the chairs was free to take them. The chairs were left outside the Apollo Theater on 125 Street (below), at the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and atop the Highline, elevated park on the West Side, among other New York locations.
The recipients did not know that [a] video crew documented their snatch and get-away, sometimes trailing them for blocks.
Watch the video of the “Real Good Experiment”
It is no surprise that Minneapolis has been named one of the best cities for women entrepreneurs, according to a study conducted by NerdWallet, a financial literacy website. Here’s just a small sample of women entrepreneurs who’ve come out of the Opus College of Business and launched successful businesses.