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Events, Faculty, FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

UST Team Takes Home ACG Cup in Case Competition

ACG 2013A team of MBA students from the Opus College of Business bested competing teams from the U of M Carlson School and U of Iowa Tippie School in the 2013 ACG Cup case study competition last week. The team that took first place and an award of $4,000 included first-year MBA students Ryan Nelson, Jeff Hawkes, Adam Lawrence and Anthony Anderson (pictured at right with Dean Puto).

The ACG Cup is a designed to give students from leading MBA programs across the country real world experience and invaluable insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory and private equity. Each case study provides students with a unique opportunity to present valuation, capital markets and M&A strategic advice to a panel of seasoned M&A professionals from within the ACG community. The competition is carried out through a series of intra-school and  regional competitions, with regional winners awarded the prestigious ACG Cup title and cash awards. Continue Reading

leadership, Local business, Media, Newsroom, OCB Alumni, Student Life

2013 Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows is UST MBA Alumna

Picture by Christine Wisch

Melissa Hoffbeck ’10 M.B.A. was crowned the 2013 Aurora, Queen of the Snows of the St. Paul Winter Carnival last week. For Hoffbeck, 35, a senior financial analyst at Best Buy, the recognition was the realization of a longtime dream, says Molly Guthrey in the Pioneer Press.

Her dream began in 1996, while she was serving as a South St. Paul festival princess.

“We spent so much time with the St. Paul Winter Carnival royal family,” Hoffbeck said. “I remember thinking, ‘I want to do that someday.’ ” …

She also was steeped in St. Paul culture.

“My stepdad was a St. Paul guy,” she said. “I grew up touring the city.”

And attending the Winter Carnival, of course.

“The ice palace, the ice sculptures, it was all a big deal,” she said. “When I was growing up, you just got out there and did this.”

After finishing the lower grades at Lincoln Center Elementary in South St. Paul, Hoffbeck went on to attend South St. Paul Secondary, graduating in 1996. She is a 2000 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and a 2010 graduate of the University of St Thomas with a master’s of business administration in finance.

Her previous employers include Piper Jaffray, MoneyGram and General Mills, “where I supported Hamburger Helper.”

Now, she’s “supporting the Geek Squad” at Best Buy. She fits in.

“I am a little bit of a geek,” she admitted. “I love building Excel spreadsheets.”

Can a geek also be regal? Apparently, yes.

Read the entire article in the Pioneer Press.


Career Services, FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

Consider Shadowing Someone in Your Career Exploration

shadow_wallMany UST MBA candidates are embarking on engaging experience today.  The Graduate Business Career Services Department organized Shadow Day experiences with 40 professionals from General Mills, Target, UnitedHealth Group and many other local organizations.  The Job Shadow experience provides MBA students an opportunity to interact as well as see the world of a leading professional.

This experience provides ample opportunity to network, gain insight as well as hands on experience in a professional setting.  Although the scheduling and matching has already been completed, much more leg work is still required by the students.  If you are taking part in an experience like this, here are a few suggestions and questions to prepare to fully engage the “Shadower” as well as the “Shadowee.” Continue Reading

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.”

Career Services, FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

Student Profile: Second-year MBA Ryan Cathcart

By Ujin Han, M.B.A. ’12

Family. Sports. Traveling. These are three things that Ryan Cathcart is passionate about – besides marketing and business, of course. He is currently enjoying his second year in the Full-time UST MBA program as the president of the Net Impact Club, which focuses its efforts on “businesses leaving positive social and environmental impact.” Cathcart recently organized a club event for the UST MBA students with Pentair at Target Field, where they discussed corporate responsibility with Todd Gleason, the president of the company’s integration and standardization team.

A Minnesota native, Cathcart returned to the Twin Cities working for the Hartford as a sales representative after attending Trinity University in San Antonio. After three years of working at the Hartford, he was presented with an opportunity to move forward with the company in sales. It was then that Cathcart decided to pursue his MBA and dream of becoming involved in strategic marketing role. Continue Reading

Entrepreneurship, EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

Fowler Business Concept Challenge: Coach app wins first place

This post is by Jeff Pesek / TECHdotMN Co-founder and originally appeared there last Friday.

Video source: Fowler Challenge

The fourth annual Fowler Business Concept Challenge both commenced and consummated [last Friday], with Aaron Engler’s ‘Coach app’ coming in at first place on the graduate level, earning the MBA student a $10k scholarship award.

Described as a “the restaurant managers playbook,” Engler’s idea is to provide chain restaurants with a mobile business intelligence system that aggregates all the pertinent information they need to know to optimize their venue — POS, labor, sales, product spec, service times, etc. Continue Reading

Ethics, Events, FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

The MBA Student Experience: A National Case Competition

For the first time, the Opus College of Business sent a team of 4 Full-time MBA students to the National Black MBA Association/Chrysler Case Competition this year. The event was held September 27 and 28 in Indianapolis. What follows is a recap of the experience from one of the student participants, second-year MBA student Boubakar Jalloh.

The Case Competition team with Dean Puto, Assistant Dean Woodson and Professor Arnold.

As a team, we were honored to represent the University of Saint Thomas at the National Black MBA Association Chrysler Case Competition and are very grateful for the support and sponsorship Ecolab has provided to us in this journey. We were able to utilize the knowledge we have accumulated as MBA students at UST,as well as our experiences and diverse backgrounds, to bring substance and an actionable plan to the case.

In preparing for the case competition our strategy was to allocate responsibilities largely based on our individual strengths and expertise. This approach was most effective because it also provided a learning opportunity for all members, as we observed the thinking process that goes into every decision. Joelle Allen, for example, has a strong background in marketing and advertising, so we looked to her to guide a marketing mix campaign directed toward our target market. Similarly, Lissette Prendes’ strong background in finance means we relied on her great insights into the financial analysis of our case. Continue Reading

Events, Newsroom, OCB Alumni, Student Life

Master’s Pub: Moms Make the World Go ‘Round

Graduate business students and alumni are invited to attend Master’s Pub with presenter Megan Tamte, co-founder and CEO of Hot Mama.
Hot Mama is  a chain of clothing boutiques catering to contemporary, fashion-loving moms.  Tamte co-founded Hot Mama in 2004 with her husband, Mike. Together, they are on a mission to build a national brand that “empowers moms.” Tamte is passionate about motherhood and believes that all moms need to think about their beauty, pursue their passions and remember their dreams in order to be the best moms they can be. Currently, Hot Mama has 30 stores in 11 states, with plans to have 50 stores by 2015.Join fellow graduate business classmates and alumni for business conversations. Free beer, wine, soft drinks and pizza will be available.

Date: Friday, November 2, 2012
Location:  Minneapolis Campus, Opus Hall, Room 201, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m.: Social time
5:15 p.m.: Presentation and Q&A
6:00 p.m.: Social time


RSVP to attend »Attendance is free, but advance registration is required. Please register by October 31.

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.

Faculty, FTMBA, Global Business, Newsroom, Student Life

Joint Class Discussions: Integrated Curriculum in Action

By Ujin Han, M.B.A. ’12

First year Full-time UST MBA students had an interesting joint class discussion this week.  Four professors—Professor Rothausen-Vange (Organizational Behavior), Professor Malshe (Marketing), Professor Combs (Business Economics), and Professor Sanders (Statistics and Operations)–led a cross-class discussion of a case study about Harrah’s gaming.

It was an intense and lively 3 ½ hr discussion about Harrah’s strategy to differentiate themselves from the market from 1998-2005—from four different perspectives.  Starting with situation analysis of the external economic factors and the data-driven consumer insights that prompted the change in strategy to tactical marketing and HR programs implemented, the students explored all the aspects that had to be managed for Harrah’s to be successful. Continue Reading

Entrepreneurship, Events, Newsroom, OCB Alumni, Student Life

The 2012 Fowler Business Concept Challenge: Competition is Underway

Nick Wagner and John Beitelspacher (two in center), winners of the 2011 Fowler Business Concept Challenge Graduate Division, pose with Dean Puto (far left) and Dr. David Deeds (far right). Not pictured: Jesse Sumstad. Photo courtesy of Tom Whisenand, University of St. Thomas.

The Fowler Business Concept Challenge, which awarded $39,000 in scholarships to graduate and undergraduate students at the University of St. Thomas in 2011, is underway.

Launched in 2009, the annual Fowler Business Concept Challenge is named in recognition of Ron Fowler ’66, chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments Inc., whose generous gift to the university has made this and future competitions possible.

The Fowler Business Concept Challenge asks students to develop a business concept that has the potential to become a viable high-growth business. The teams that submit the winning business concept in each of two divisions (undergraduate and graduate) receive $10,000 University of St. Thomas scholarships. Continue Reading