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Sandy Beach

Administrative, Continuous Improvement

April Ad Launch for Evening MBA

msp campus smallIn April 2014, the college will launch a new marketing campaigned designed to reinvigorate the Evening UST MBA brand. With support from the Board of Governors and with funding provided by a generous grant, Dean Puto has engaged CarmichaelLynchSpong – the 2013 creative agency of the year – to raise awareness of the unique attributes of our part-time MBA program. This new campaign builds upon the college’s extensive research on the Twin Cities MBA marketplace and has been designed to differentiate ourselves from the competition. OCB faculty and staff can expect to be introduced to the campaign in its entirety in early April with a series of tools, tips and techniques we can all use to integrate the campaign into our daily routines, whether that involves teaching, recruiting or simply interacting with an external audience.

At the same time, the college is also well on its way to finalizing all the elements of a lead nurturing initiative for the Evening UST MBA program. This initiative has been designed to convert more of our web visitors, event participants and general inquiries into “sales ready” recruits. The lead nurturing project will “close the gap” we have seen between marketing success (i.e. marketing and advertising driving traffic to our websites) and enrollment growth. It capitalizes on the skills of our recruiters by providing a more systematic approach to nurturing potential recruits from their first visit, whether that visit involves a web page, event attendance, or phone call/email.


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2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement

Debbie Battis: 2020 Team Member

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“One development that I have noticed since the 20/20 Vision project began is a culture shift. Along with the monetary savings that the college has enjoyed, staff and faculty have developed a new mind set toward how they perform their job functions. Many staff members are rethinking what they do, how they do it and why it is being done. They are constantly looking for opportunities for improvement, not just in large projects, but functions that they perform every day.”

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Holiday Wishes!

candles in snow

The 2020 Vision Blog staff is taking a holiday break.  Look for new posts in the new year.

Stay warm! Stay safe! See you in 2014.

The 2020 Communications Team

     Sandy Beach, Editor
     Sarah Knutson
     Jean Gabler

2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement

Susie Eckstein: 2020 Team Member

“One of the things I enjoyed the most as a graduate student was the constant generation of new ideas, often sparked in class, about how to make meaningful changes to the work I was doing. Now that I am done with my MBA, being part of the 2020 Vision project training helped me to keep thinking of things to be improved in my daily work and on a bigger scale with college-wide operations. I have a whole notepad page of ideas that came up just during training, alone. Kennedy quoteIt’s easy to get into the ‘this is how it has always been done’ mindset especially after doing certain things for a while. The 2020 Vision project and the work the team is doing is a reminder to keep thinking about how we can all make UST even better.”

2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement

Pam Phairas: 2020 Team Member

 no print Pam“My department, Graduate Records and Data Management, made the decision some time ago to go paperless.  Not an easy task.  I input data for hundreds of Graduation Applications every year and used to print these and keep them in four large binders at my desk.  Working with IRT, we found a way to perform the very same function online. . . without paper.  Paperless has worked quite well for a year and I don’t anticipate problems in the future.”

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2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement

Cindy Lorah: 2020 Team Member

Lorah 2020 Photo

“The 2020 Vision project kicked-off some much needed process discussions within the Health Care UST MBA team and played a part in supporting our current pilot project introducing Salesforce to the Health Care team within the Opus College of Business.  It has been helpful to take a close look at our current processes and to explore how things can be done better–both more efficiently and resulting in better outcomes.”

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2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma, Uncategorized

20/20 Hindsight

We have embarked on a 20/20 Vision initiative.  Perhaps, a little hindsight might provide a useful perspective.  “Six sigma” is the term applied to the concept of reducing errors by improving processes.  It is the foundation of our 20/20 Vision initiative. 

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You may be familiar with six sigma’s predecessors such as:

  • MBO – Management By Objectives (Drucker 1954)
  • TQM – Total Quality Management (Juran et al.  1980’s)

Operationally, six sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.

Statistically the goal is to have all output within plus or minus six standard deviations on a normal bell curve.  In simple terms that is 3.4 defects per 1 million. The mathematical symbol for a standard deviation is the Greek letter sigma (Ϭ).  This is the origin of the term six sigma.  Ok, that is a bit technical. Just think of it as getting rid of wasted effort, time and material – i.e., no “fat” in the organization.  For this reason you may hear it referred to as “lean six sigma.”

The concept has its roots in post-World War II Japan.  With the United States emerging as the only industrialized nation with an intact manufacturing base, it was hard for progressive management thinkers like Edward Deming to sell the total quality concept of “if it ain’t broke, make it better” to U.S. manufacturers who had a corner on the international market using existing management theories. However, Deming and others found willing converts in Japan whose industrial base had been decimated by the war.  Through the efforts of Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo the Toyota production system emerged.  It was based on:

  • Flexible continuous production of small batches
  • Minimization of all waste
  • “Doing it right the first time”

This resulted in reduced setup times and inventory buffers.  In simple terms – more bang from the manufacturing buck.  One of the worldwide legacies is the use of Japanese terms in 20/20 vision six sigma based projects for some simple concepts.  But don’t let that dissuade you – we all want to do it right the first time with minimum effort and cost.


Thomas Jefferson said “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”  That is what we are doing with 20/20 vision.  As John McCall put it “Our goal was to start slowly, learn the discipline and tools of the continuous improvement process, take on some small projects to build confidence and prepare ourselves to handle any challenge that comes our way.” 

My next post will be on why visualizing (using pictures to support qualitative data) six sigma is a key to progress.

If you would like to discuss six sigma further…let me know.

2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement, Uncategorized

Brittney Wolf: 2020 Team Member


Learning with Legos: hands-on practice using a “pull” system

“What began as a few projects to improve our work environment has now grown into a new way of viewing our current processes: to seek improvement in every aspect of our office. In my department (OCB Faculty Support), I have seen how the projects we first worked on have improved the quality of my work as well as reducing the time and frustrations involved in previously convoluted tasks. While some of the projects we have tackled have come with challenges, seeing the outcome and the impact it has in improving our workflow has made all the work worthwhile.”


–Brittney Wolf
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