A few days ago, first year UST MBA students who were awarded Outreach scholarships gathered for a potluck dinner and conversation. There, they were joined by a group that had never existed before this year—second-year Outreach Scholars; role models who could reassure them that the intensity of the Full-time UST MBA was nothing they couldn’t handle. Role models who, over the past 14 months, have already established a track record of excellence, taking on leadership roles and graduate assistantships, securing internships with Fortune 500 companies and earning national recognition for themselves and the university with a top three finish in the annual NBMBAA Chrysler Case Competition.
While the Outreach Scholars program is only in its second year, every alumnus of the Full-time UST MBA program (and there are hundreds) has made lifelong connections during his or her time here. Some have the distinction of being one of fewer than 75 graduates of the UST JD/MBA dual degree program; others participated in the Aristotle Fund or the Mayo Innovation Scholars program. These shared experiences made their time in the UST MBA program memorable, but at the end of the day, the strongest bonds are reinforced by, if not built upon, the connection each student makes with classmates who have common career interests, belong to the same clubs, same team, or some other group within the larger UST MBA community.
How do you decide when to stay, and when to go? Make a note in your personal almanac – on Wednesday night last week, the secrets of a successful career were revealed at the corner of 10th St. and Lasalle Ave. Lessons from the C-Suite featured high profile, successful executives with a total of more than 100 years of experience. The conversation, ably facilitated by management consultant Bill Wells, president of W. Wells & Associates and a successful corporate leader in his own right, was lively.
All of the evening’s presenters had deep corporate experience providing foundations for their perspective, but their current roles spanned the range from management consultant (Wells) to non-profit leader (Linda Keane, CEO of Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valley), to business owner and Chief Executive Kim Vappie (Menttium Corporation), to professional association (Jesse Tyson, Interim President and CEO of the National Black MBA Association). The panel was rounded out by Anton Vincent, president of a $2 billion division of General Mills. So, what did they all have to say?
As a school, we have long distinguished ourselves as a leader in business education, and we are in the process of distinguishing ourselves as a leader in our engagement and support of an increasingly diverse professional community, here in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and throughout the Midwest. Therefore it is very timely that we’d see student organizations springing up on our campus in response to the intersection of these two forces. Our student news site, Tommie Media, recently reported that a group of St. Thomas students are planning a business club for minorities and expect to officially launch it this fall:
Sophomore Sarah Ubani came up with the idea of establishing the business club, which specifically caters to minority students.
Saturday March 1 marked the date of the Fourth Annual Learners to Leaders Summit. The annual summit is a unique event hosted by the Opus College of Business but targeted to a wide range of future professionals with connections to area colleges, including current juniors and seniors, as well as recent grads. The mission of L2L? To provide high-potential students and young professionals of color with perspective and resources that will position them for success in graduate school and in their careers.
The theme of this year’s summit was “Leadership. Why me? Why now?” The theme was chosen as a reflection of the reality that while everyone is capable of playing a valuable leadership role, it’s all too common to assume that the responsibility of leadership belongs to someone else, based on title, personality, or amount of past experience.
Did this year’s L2L Summit achieve its objective of providing content relevant and valuable to future graduate students from a broad range of backgrounds and interests? Here’s what some of the participants had to say.
Case analysis is an important learning technique used in graduate business schools and other graduate studies programs. Similar in many ways to law school mock trials, business school cases are drawn from real world scenarios. These cases provide students with an opportunity to apply knowledge from across several different disciplines, often within a single case, and find solutions to real problems faced by corporate executives and organizational leaders.
Each year, St. Thomas participates in a number of MBA case competitions, and has proven to be competitive at the regional (see results of our 2011 Minnesota ACG Cup Competition) and national level (see results of our 2010 NetImpact Case Competition).
This fall marks the start of my fifth year as a part of the St. Thomas community. I can honestly say that of all of the projects and programs I’ve been a part of during my tenure, the Promises Kept Tour has been one of the most fun and engaging. This was made so primarily by our outstanding alumni – the hundreds who attended the events and especially those who hosted our team at the various locations we visited.
The Promises Kept Tour was a celebration of the Opus College of Business’ recent AACSB accreditation, which has put the UST graduate business programs on the global map by joining the 5% of business schools worldwide with this distinction. The tour was also a time for sharing the other developments at the university, including new buildings, a dramatic increase in the number of tenure track faculty and a sharpened focus on earning international recognition for our programs.
Since 2009, the University of St. Thomas has been a proud University partner of the National Black MBA – Twin Cities chapter Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) program. UST supports the NBMBAA mission of creating educational opportunities for African Americans. Bill Woodson, Assistant Dean for MBA Programs, is a lifetime member of NBMBAA and has been an LOT mentor since 2005. Woodson recently traveled to the LOT Annual Conference and has been sharing his thoughts about the experience.
“Speak up, speak out. Get in the way!”
– Congressman John Lewis
Arrested 40 times for non-violently advocating for Black Americans to have the right to vote and use public facilities, Congressman Lewis captivated our young leaders with stories of meeting and being mentored by Martin Luther King as a college student. At the time just 23 years of age, Mr. Lewis was the youngest person to share Dr. King’s podium and address the 200,000 person crowd in the 1963 March on Washington. Now 74, Congressman Lewis encouraged the young audience not to wait – through sacrifice and service they are able to make a difference right now.
Lewis in particular clearly sought to spark these high school students’ pride in their African-American heritage. He spoke with conviction and emotion about the obstacles he overcame and the impact that he and other freedom fighters were able to have, creating opportunities that our young leaders are now positioned to take advantage of. He also reminded the audience that the original thirteen freedom riders included 7 whites as well as 6 blacks, that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, and that “while our ancestors have come to this country on different ships, we are all in the same boat now.”
That was the call and response used to launch our 7:30 a.m. meeting, kicking off Day 1 of an intensive, morning-to-night four day professional development conference for – high school students. High School students? Professional development? That’s right – the National Black MBA Association, better known as the NBMBAA, host of the world’s largest corporate professional career fair and one of corporate America’s largest and best known professional development organizations, has made seeding the talent pipeline starting at the ninth grade level a top priority through its Leaders of Tomorrow program.
This was the 20 year anniversary of the program, and in a fashion suitable for a major milestone, the NBMBAA’s Leaders of Tomorrow has taken its program to another level. Billed as “…Not a Vacation… but a Boot Camp for Success,” the four day youth conference fulfilled its billing, even including a 6 a.m. high intensity professionally-led calisthenics session.
Call and response. The memory of 120 young voices responding in unison to the call "Leaders are...?" with the words "FEARLESS!!"
The Tuesday February 22 Learners to Leaders networking reception, dinner, and sample MBA experience program was well attended and well received. The second annual L2L was held in Schulze Auditorium and Opus Hall, hosted by UST’s Opus College of Business.
After a half hour networking session, Dean Christopher Puto kicked off the evening with a welcoming address to an audience that included 28 minority college juniors, seniors and recent graduates from a dozen area colleges. In his remarks the Dean addressed the commitment that the OCB has made to excellence, and to diversity, the strong representation of African American and Hispanic faculty, and the University’s support for initiatives such as the Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity, which the Opus College of Business has co-sponsored in partnership with NBMBAA for more than 20 years.
You’ve got your foot in the door at a job interivew. Things are actually going well. What a relief. Then, you’re asked, what questions do you have for us?
What do you ask? You should know everything from the website already, right? Now what?
Career Rocketeer, a career search and personal branding blog, helping ambitious career entrepreneurs to “launch” their careers to greater heights has some great ideas on “interviewing your interviewer“:
Most people, when interviewing for a new job, forget the process is supposed to be a 2-way street. It’s as important for you, as a candidate, to determine if the job, the company, the culture, and the work environment is right for you as it is for the company to determine if you’re right for them. You do yourself no favors by accepting an offer for a job that is not a good fit. It will make you miserable, your employer dissatisfied, and likely not end well.
Here’s a few examples of good questions to ask: