At the beginning of Dr. John Sailors’ undergraduate studies, he had no intention of ever being called “Dr.” He began his studies at the University of Michigan in the college of liberal arts and was considering a degree in political science. But he felt that academia would be the inevitable future for him if he pursued that path, and he was not interested. Beginning his junior year, he applied for and was accepted into the business program, and it was then he started to change his mind about academia. His profiessor, Christopher Puto, Ph.D., assisted the young Sailors on his path to attaining a Ph.D. in marketing from Northwestern University.
After seven years of teaching, Dr. Sailors decided to spend some time in industry, having gone straight from his undergraduate to graduate studies. He spent eight years in the research industry with clients such as Ford, Harley Davidson, and Proctor & Gamble. Equipped with outstanding academic credentials now complemented by practical work experience, Dr. Sailors was ready to return to academia and was welcomed to the Opus College of Business by Dean Chris Puto, his first marketing professor.
The last month was very demanding for all full-time MBA students. We were in the last stage of our ABR projects: the quantitative analysis. We had a huge amount of data that to analyze with several statistical techniques that we learned in class.
Still, in the middle of this stress, our VP of Internal Affairs in the Student Association, Karina Korman, had time to plan a trip down the block to see a Twins game at Target Field! The Student Association provided 25 tickets to the game and on April 21 we had a wonderful time watching the Twins beat the Cleveland Indians. It was a great way to “study” for our luncheon with Twins’ president Dave St. Peter too!
Students across the country are wrapping up final projects this month, and UST is no different. Today, in fact first-year UST MBA students begin their presentations in Applied Business Research, presenting the findings of a semester’s worth of work consulting for a local business. They will be using their presentation skills, gained in the Applied Communications Lab.
Presentation skills are essential in any realm of professional life. We use PowerPoint in our admissions information sessions. There are innumerable sales pitches every day. Every conference session seems to have a few dozen slides. In the U.S. Department of Defense “PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession” says the New York Times.
In a restaurant, in a hotel, on the Internet – almost anywhere – we are constantly invited to take surveys. Sometimes we take them, but we think “What is this for?”
In our ABR (Applied Business Research) course, we have learned that an essential part of business research involves collecting data that can be quantified and analyzed using statistical techniques in order to arrive at a description of our target population. This means that if we, for example, wish to know the average level of satisfaction customers feel about our services or products, we need to design a tool to collect that information and transform it into numbers. This tool is a survey, and it is the final piece of our ABR project.
During the past two weeks, each team in the class has designed a survey for its clients. Each survey is, of course, unique and depends on our client’s main objective. In my team’s case, our client (Best Buy) wants to know its customers’ perceptions of a new concept. So our team has combined several techniques that allow us to build a random set of questions for each respondent that weight the importance of different attributes related to this new concept. After several revisions, we finally finished it and will e-mail it to a sample of Best Buy customers in the hope that they will take a few minutes of their time to help us gather the data we need.
So next time you receive a survey, just take a few seconds to think about all the work that is behind that set of questions. Also remember the contribution you will be making to the organization – helping them understand your needs much better. So please complete the survey!
Spring is already here! No more snow and cold weather. But spring means more than that to us, it means that we finished the first half of our second semester. We are only one month and half away to finish our first year in the Full-time UST MBA program.
Midterms this semester were not as stressful as last semester. We only have two midterms compared to four plus our team project in the fall. Of course this semester we also have a major team project in our ABR class and several small assignments in operations that contribute to the workload, but nothing is more stressful than a test. So if you know how to handle your time – and believe you will know after the first semester – you will have time to fulfill the requirements of your projects plus study for your two midterms without losing any sleep.
Now we have a whole week to recharge our batteries to start our second half of this semester. I hope everybody have a great spring break.
I appreciate how the Full-time UST MBA program offers a combination of academics and professional experience. An example of this is the integration of special speakers’ days into the regular class schedule. Faculty members are always looking for the best speakers that can complement the the lectures and in class discussion. This was the case two weeks ago in our Applied Business Research (ABR) class.
This week we finished our two-week J-term fresh with the leadership and communication skills needed to start and succeed in our second semester. On Wednesday we were assigned to our ABR (Applied Business Reserach) clients. The list of clients this year was quite diverse, including Dairy Queen, Hennepin County Medical Center, internal University of St. Thomas clients, Best Buy, General Motors and others.
My team was assigned to
Yesterday we finished our first week of J-term. We have each been assigned to new groups for the Spring Semester. During this week he had some team building activities that allowed us to get to know each other better.
Our most challenging project for the next semester is our ABR (Applied Business Research) project. In this course we have the incredible and unique opportunity to work as consultants for a real client. Usually these clients are firms located in Minnesota that need support doing a particular research for a product or service. In the past other UST MBA students have worked with companies like Cambria, Minnesota Timberwolves and NSHMBA, among others. This is a great opportunity to gain real work experience while being guided by a great professor with years of experience in consulting. At the end of next week we will meet our ABR project clients.
Next week will start with a corporate tour to Nordstrom and a guest speaker: Isaias Zamarripa, former director of talent acquisition and diversity at General Mills. These activities are planned by our great Career Services department, which is always working to improve our networking capabilities.
So, next week I am going to have a lot of news to share with you.