Keith Pille – Opus Magnum
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Keith Pille

FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

Full-time UST MBA Profile: Joelle Purvis-Allen Profile

img_purvis-allen-joelleAs an entrepreneur, a seasoned marketing professional and a mother, Joelle Purvis-Allen has her plate full as a first-year Full-time UST MBA student. Participating in the National Black MBA Competition as the lone first-year, she has jumped right in since the beginning of the program. In the thick of final projects, papers and final exam preparations, she took a break over lunch to share her background and aspirations.

Purvis-Allen was a marketing manager for Nolan Company—now part of WinWholesale Company—and helped changed the company’s focus from wholesale to retail, hosting trade shows and other events to increase consumer engagement and sales of higher end, luxury items. Her love of event planning began there, and eventually she started her own business, Allen Events, providing event services for weddings, corporations and group travel. It is through working an event for one of her clients that she learned about the Full-time UST MBA program and its Outreach Scholarships.

“I love events,” Purvis-Allen says with a smile. With leadership lessons learned from her professional mentors Ken King (former VP of marketing at Noland) and Mark Smith (VP and regional manager at Noland), she led a successful business and hopes to continue after she finishes her MBA. “I really want to break into the global events scene and reinvent the event planning business,” she adds, “and I thought getting an MBA at St. Thomas would help me to look at this business from multiple perspectives.”

Though she has a passion for the corporate event marketing and planning world, it is not her ultimate goal. She wants to start a nonprofit event planning organization that takes at-risk youth and teaches them the event planning business. She believes there is a lot that the event planning process can teach them and it can reinforce and incorporate what they learn at school—from simple math skills to problem solving skills to interpersonal skills. The nonprofit would provide the kids with event planning jobs and the profits would go to supporting their education, given they maintain certain academic standing. When asked about the reasons behind this plan, she stated simply—“I just combined my passion for service with my passion for event planning. I want to leave a legacy.”


Events, Newsroom

Opus Distinguished Speakers Matalin and Carville discuss politics with civility

Noted political commentators Mary Matalin and James Carville spoke to an overflow crowd at the Opus College of Business on Wednesday, November 28, as the latest in the college’s distinguished speaker series. Their announced topic was civility, and they broached the subject both directly and through a sort of “leadership by example” as they civilly laid out their drastically opposed views of the American political landscape in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election.

While both are accomplished speakers and operatives in their own rights, Matalin and Carville make an interesting duo as speakers because of their unique shared circumstance: Matalin’s a conservative Republican, Carville’s an outspokenly liberal Democrat, and the two of them have been happily married since the early 1990s. Clearly, they know a thing or two about civility in disagreements.
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EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom

Evening MBA: I Feel Good About Pursuing This MBA

Not sure about what you’ve gotten yourself into with this MBA thing? You’re not alone. KJ Brooke is a veteran of the southern California hospitality business and is in her last year of an MBA program. People she talks to are often skeptical about her pursuit of an MBA, she says in an excellent essay for The Billfold, giving her looks “of bewilderment and awe, with a little bit of pity thrown in.”

But Brooke feels she’s made the right choice, which she defends with intelligence and wit in the article. Sure, she has little time for a social life, is buried with homework and puts up with resentment from her current co-workers; but when she’s done, she says, she’ll have a big bundle of new advantages, including increased self-confidence, comfort with numbers and  better earnings potential. And  if nothing else, she’s confident that she’ll never be caught flat-footed “by any ridiculous question thrown my way from a witty student or cocky boss.”

Read the full essay.

Entrepreneurship, Newsroom, OCB Alumni

UST’s Solome Tibebu Wins Minnesota Cup Student Division with Cognific

Solome Tibebu

Recent UST graduate Solome Tibebu has been declared the winner of the student division of the Minnesota Cup, an annual statewide new venture competition. Tibebu’s entry in the competition consists of her software startup, Cognific, which helps young adults undergoing mental health therapy by creating “homework” in game format to help them with their tratment; the software also provides analytics for the therapist to help assess the progress of their patients.

In a previous conversation with TommieMedia, Tibebu said that the idea that grew into Cognific originated with a frustrating experience with a therapist. Tibebu was working with a therapist to deal with anxiety, and the therapist’s method of giving assignments to continue work outside of formal sessions didn’t sit well with the patient. “They just write on a little Post-It note what your mental health homework was going to be for the week… I was supposed to make sure I didn’t lose this little thing in the car as a teenager. And)if I was lucky enough not to lose it, I was supposed to go home and do exposure therapy by myself all alone with no guidance,” Tibebu said.

Through this frustration, Tubebu saw a niche to be filled and, in classic entrepreneurial fashion, set out to do so. She developed the Cognifics software as an undergraduate at UST, getting some assistance from entrepreneurship department faculty on the development of the business end of the venture.”She has it. Some do. Some get math, some have to learn math. Well, she gets entrepreneurship,” said UST professor Alec Johnson, one of those who helped guide her.

As the winner of the student division, Tibebu will receive $10,000 in seed capital for Cognific, and go on to compete for the Minnesota Cup grand prize. The winner of the grand prize, to be announced September 6, will receive an additional $40,000.

More information about the Minnesota Cup, including lists of entrants, semifinalists and finalists, is available on the contest’s website.

Entrepreneurship, Media, Newsroom

Shark Tank – VCs on TV!

Shark TankLet me set a scene for you: it’s Friday night. It’s been a long, hard week of work. The time has come to unwind, and what better way to do it than to pop up some popcorn, crack a beer, and settle in on the couch to watch some…desperate entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of venture capitalists?

That’s right, my friends. Friday night is Shark Tank night.

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Centers, Health Care MBA, Newsroom

Pomeroy Brings Political Perspective to UST Health Care Conference

pomeroy1As the final speaker at the 2011 UST Executive Conference on the Future of Health Care, former Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) provided a pragmatic, hard-headed assessment of the current state and likely destinations of legislative health care reform. With the Affordable Health Care for America Act working its way through the court system and curtailment or outright repeal looming as possible outcomes of next year’s election cycle, the health care market exists in a climate of uncertainty; Pomeroy’s experience on the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee gives him a unique clarity on where things are and where they’re likely to go. Continue Reading