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Global Business, Health Care MBA, Newsroom, OCB Alumni

The Medical Device Tax: Brakes on an Economic Engine

In this era of complexity and global economic uncertainty, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could invent a whole new industry?  A field where people spend their days working on ways to change the world, adding new jobs in America (and of course the State of Minnesota), become an engine of economic growth and be a net exporter of goods.  If you could find such an industry wouldn’t it be an American treasure?  And wouldn’t you assume it would be an industry where government, whether local, State or Federal, created ways to support, invest in and accelerate its potential?

You don’t need to look any further than “Medical Alley” right here in the Twin Cities to find this industry.  The medical device industry is a Minnesota success story and is home to hundreds of medical device companies, including Boston Scientific, Medtronic and St. Jude Medical.  The patient benefits of medical technology is undeniable, both from a clinical and economic perspective.  Medical devices have saved countless lives with products such as the implantable defibrillator and heart stent.  And have allowed people to live fuller lives through minimally invasive procedures that treat cancer, alleviate pain, avoid amputation, or debilitating stroke. Continue Reading

Global Business, leadership, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Humanities or STEM? What’s best in an MBA program?

This week, staff from the Opus College of Business and more than 100 other business schools from around the world gathered at the GMAC Annual Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada to discuss graduate management education’s rapidly changing landscape.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, in Washington, D.C., lawmakers turned a spotlight on re-focusing the country on maintaining national excellence in the humanities and social sciences—and how failure to do so will have consequences at home and abroad for the future of American education, security, and competitiveness—by releasing a report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences titled, The Heart of the Matter.

How do these two events come together? At the GMAC conference closing keynote, David Bach, the Senior Associate Dean for Executive MBA and Global Programs at Yale School of Business put it this way: we need a change in “T-shaped leadership.” Continue Reading

Career Services, Entrepreneurship, Global Business, leadership, Local business, Newsroom

The Power of Continuous Education



Do you take time to keep yourself sharp? I often hear about strategies to “improve your business, improve your process, improve this, and improve that.” Enough about the process…what about you? What can you do to improve you? Think about how much the business world has changed over the last few years. When I started in business, computers were just emerging, there were no laptops, and cell phones were bigger than your head. Yes, it’s ridiculous to think about, I know. And even if you’re just recently entering the business world, technology marches on. As everything changes around us, if we don’t grown and also change, we’ll be left behind. So, what can you do to keep yourself continually educating? Here are just a few things that I’ve run across throughout my career, and found to be incredibly helpful.

Go back to school. If you can make the time commitment, consider going back to school. I had the benefit of completing my MBA right after my undergrad. While I was excited about this accomplishment, the down side was that I had no real world experience to apply my learning toward. I learned many things, but not to the extent I would have, had I pursued a similar path now. If you are interested in learning more about a particular topic or industry, and you have the time and financial ability, nothing says “continuous education” like going back to school. Continue Reading

Faculty, Global Business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

The Weigh-In: Why Does Cyprus Matter?


The European Union is once again facing a significant financial crisis as Cyprus has pushed Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain from the headlines. How can such a small country – with fewer than one million citizens – have such a large impact on the global economy? The answer is complicated, much like the March 25 bailout agreement between the troika – the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The agreement with the Cypriot government paves way for Cyprus to receive a €10 billion bailout. In return, Cyprus has agreed to downsize its large financial sector and undertake a macroeconomic adjustment program that will require fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and privatizations (among other concessions). In return, the ECB will continue to provide emergency liquidity assistance to Cyprus banks.

Read the rest of this post in the UST Newsroom

Lalith Samarakoon is professor and chair of the Department of Finance in the Opus College of Business. As a financial economist, Samarakoon has two decades of advisory experience in financial sector reforms and development, and public debt management. He teaches Global Finance Issues and Policy: Eurozone Debt Crisis.

Career Services, Entrepreneurship, Global Business, Newsroom

Employment Outlook: U.S. Employers Report Steady Hiring Pace



As of December of 2012, Minnesota’s unemployment rate was at 5.2 percent, more than 2 percent lower than the national average, and that of most countries.  Minnesota’s unemployment rate is nearly half of what it was in 2009.  This is a positive sign the economy is on the mend, but companies are still treading with caution.  Manpower conducted their annual employment outlook survey last month and concluded that employers are still hesitant to increase their hiring quota.  Employers are still seeking a sustainable growth trend in the economy before labor markets follow pursuit.

“In the Americas, employers in all 10 countries surveyed report positive hiring intentions for the coming quarter, with hiring plans strengthening in four but declining in five in a quarter-over-quarter comparison. When compared year-over-year, Net Employment Outlooks improve in four countries and decline in six. The strongest regional outlook is in Brazil, while the weakest are reported in Costa Rica and the U.S,” says Manpower.

While several of the upcoming class of 2013 UST MBA graduates will pursue careers in states other than Minnesota, none are currently planning  to pursue international opportunities.  Although the U.S. may not be leading the pack with an 11 percent employment outlook, Manpower reports, two of the most popular industries at UST will be on the hiring riseL business at 18%, and finance at 11%.

To review the full report click here, in summary: Continue Reading

Ethics, Faculty, Global Business, Newsroom

Is The New Pope the CEO of the Catholic Church?

img_pope_francisUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last month, you know that a new pope was selected. As a business school at a Catholic University, we wondered how Pope Francis’ challenges as head of the Catholic Church relate to the challenges of any new CEO. “One of the things the new pope will have to deal with is a classic business mess — a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that has stumbled and is losing money and relevance,” noted Planet Money. We asked some of our faculty to weigh in and got some surprising answers, and discovered that UST has a direct influence on what the Church says about the “Vocation of the Business Leader.”

Professor Robert G. Kennedy from the Ethics and Business Law Department noted that while people are still trying to figure out the pope’s new priorities, he is not the CEO of the church, and the Vatican is not the headquarters of a global corporation.

“The pope is leader of the college of bishops,” said Kennedy. “And the church is more like a confederation of thousands of local organizations.” There are thousands of bishops around the world who make decisions about their individual dioceses, without running everything through the Vatican.

FinalsoftproofVoclyr1Kennedy noted that UST professor Michael Naughton, Moss Chair in Catholic Social Thought and director of the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought was the principal editor of a document, entitled Vocation of the Business Leader, issued last March by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Several other Opus College of Business faculty were on the drafting committee.

This publication forms the base of the church’s opinion about business. “In this document, the church, drawing from its rich social tradition, all but declared that ‘God loves businesses’ and offered concrete ways to bridge principle and practice,” explained Naughton in America Magazine.

We asked Naughton to share a few thoughts: Continue Reading

Ethics, Global Business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

A Business-view on Choosing the Next Pope: NPR

People fill St. Peter's Square as Pope Benedict XVI delivers a homily on a giant video screen October 10, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Mike Ekern

People fill St. Peter’s Square as Pope Benedict XVI delivers a homily on a giant video screen October 10, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Mike Ekern

From NPR’s Planet Money: “The Catholic Church is not a corporation. It’s a religion, a cultural force, and a global power. Still, one of the things the new Pope will have to deal with is a classic business mess — a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that has stumbled and is losing money and relevance.”

Today, on the verge of the cardinals assembling in Rome for their conclave we bring you this NPR podcast that explores the business side of the Catholic church and some of the challenges the next Pope will face. Enjoy!

Entrepreneurship, Global Business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

How are “Fun” Companies Created: Google

Photo Source:

Photo Source:

Remember when Netscape, Buena Vista and Excite were our options for internet searches and we had to dial up to get to the internet? Then, we were introduced to the Yahoo yodeler and heard from a talking dolphin in the 2002 Superbowl ad touting the fact he learned to talk using Yahoo. Yahoo grew through acquisition but much of that growth was in response to the more rapid growth of a company called Google.

While giving you the history of Google isn’t the focus of this post, I think it is important to know a few facts about the company in order to understand how it grew to be, in my opinion, a fun company. Here are a few historical highlights:

1995: Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin working on a search engine called BackRub which was housed on Stanford servers.

1997: It was decided that the name BackRub didn’t quite fit the vision of Page and Brin. Their brainstorming resulted in the name Google – a play on words using the term googol, a mathematical term used to described the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. (Perhaps googol also stands for the ultimate goal of Page and Brin in terms of identifying the value of their company.)

1998: Google files for incorporation in California  They also receive $100,000 in funding from Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim which they use to set up work space in a garage in Menlo Park. Page and Brin hire their first employee.

1999: Google moves from their garage office to Palo Alto with a total of eight employees. Yoshka, the company dog, regularly came to work with the senior vice president of operations. The first chef was hired – he previously catered for the Grateful Dead. Continue Reading

Global Business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, Study Abroad

Observations from Across the Pond: UST London Business Semester Fall 2012


Undergraduate students in the Opus College of Business have the opportunity to study abroad during the fall semester on a UST sponsored study abroad trip called the London Business Semester. A group of about 50 students travel to London during their junior or senior year accompanied by two OCB faculty members each fall to not only learn a new perspective of business but also to learn a significant amount about themselves, methods of getting around in foreign countries and to quickly convert dollars to Pounds or Euros.

As a ’01 London Business Semester alumna myself, I was interested to hear about the trip this fall. Professor Dave Brennan was one of the faculty leads on the trip and provided some interesting observations of business in London:

  • London dominates England and the U.K. more than New York or any other city in the U.S. It is the largest metro area with a population of approximately 13 million or over 20% of the U.K. It dominates the country’s social, economic, political, athletic, entertainment and media environments. In comparison, the New York metro area has 18 million people, but is less than 6% of the U.S. population and is not the political capitol.
  • Retailing in London is different than the U.S. There are fewer malls and more high streets or fashion shopping streets. There are fewer department stores, but some exceptional ones like Harrod’s. Specialty stores dominate the landscape rather than big box stores. Grocery stores are smaller and often located near tube stations, bus stops or near densely populated areas.
  • American brands are limited in London. Some American companies buy local companies and keep their name while others intentionally name their product differently to sound more British. One standout product is Pringles. It is everywhere from supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations, theatres (plays), etc. They also have a wide variety of sizes and different flavors including some for Christmas with sweets and spices.
  • Food is purchased more frequently here. Why? Refrigerators are smaller, food lacks preservatives, and people prefer fresh. Organic is big – way ahead of the States. Eggs are free range, British and Irish beef touted (non-genetically modified feed or drugs as in the U.S.), and many more vegetarian options are offered in restaurants. Continue Reading
Centers, Ethics, Global Business, Newsroom

Six Characteristics of the Immigrant Perspective on Business

The Opus College of Business’ Diversity Insights Breakfast Series recently welcomed Glenn Llopis, founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership, for a discussion on the values immigrants bring with them that are relevant to business leaders. He spoke to a group of corporate and nonprofit participants about the six characteristics of the immigrant perspective: Continue Reading