Unless 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.
Kennedy 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:
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.
Dr. Sheneeta White
To many people, the discipline of “operations” calls to mind the mundane movements of assembly lines, or perhaps the landscape of boxes in a warehouse. But Dr. Sheneeta White sees operations differently, and brings her perspective to her students at both the undergraduate and MBA level.
Dr. White began her education in her home state of Louisiana, earning her B.S. in computer science from Xavier University of Louisiana. From there, she moved to North Carolina to work as an IT specialist at IBM. Though the job was good, White knew she wasn’t done learning. She used the company’s help to get her M.B.A. from North Carolina State, and then kept going to earn her Ph.D. at Virginia Tech.
A recent article in BusinessWeek highlighted the often underappreciated business function of supply chain management, and the growth in opportunities for business students who focus their studies in this critical operations function.
While perhaps not as flashy as finance or marketing, it is an important and increasingly complex area of the value chain, given the global nature of sourcing raw materials and products.
As I tell my young children, those products on the shelves came from somewhere, and talented supply chain managers make sure they do so reliably, with the proper quantities and delivery timing, and at a competitive price.
These factors are essential for Santa (the main concern of my kids’ inquiry), as we head towards the holidays…I wonder how many supply chain MBA’s work on the North Pole?