undergraduate – Opus Magnum
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leadership, Newsroom

Students planning club for minorities in business

A statue of Saint Thomas Aquinas

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. Continue Reading

Centers, Ethics, Events, FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

UST Business Teams Take Top Honors at National Business Ethics Case Competition

2013-05-10 10.27.01Graduate and undergraduate teams from the Opus College of Business each took home top honors at the Intercollegiate Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC) in San Diego, California this month.

Each team selected a business ethics topic and described both the problem and a proposed solution before a panel of judges made up of practicing ethics and compliance professionals.

The UST MBA team, including Joseph Grodahl, Jay Rajararatnam, Kasey Grams and Sean Higgins, won first place in its division for the 30-minute full presentation, “Violent Video Games: Ethical Implications of an Acquisition.” The team also took first prize in the 90-second competition and was division runner-up in the 10-minute competition. The undergraduate team won first place in its division for the 90-second competition on the topic “Using Child Labor to Source Cocoa.” Team members were Alex Bearson, Veronica Flamo and Gabe Monson.

“Our two teams continued to demonstrate the powerful capability of our students to identify and solve ethical challenges in the marketplace,” said Christopher P. Puto, Ph.D., Dean and Opus Distinguished Chair of the Opus College of Business.

Read more about the competition in the UST Business Newsroom »

Newsroom, OCB Alumni

2013 Tommie Award Goes to Entrepreneurship and Finance Major

The Tommie Award recognizes a senior selected by students, faculty and staff who has displayed exceptional scholarship, leadership and campus involvement. This year’s recipient is Eyo O. Ekpo ’13, an entrepreneurship and finance major who has participated in a long list of extracurricular and service activities as well as two varsity sports.

Media, Newsroom

UST undergraduate business program jumps 26 places in latest Businessweek rankings

St. Thomas’ undergraduate business program ranks 80th of 145 eligible programs nationally.


The undergraduate program at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business placed 80th of 145 eligible programs nationally in rankings published this week by Bloomberg Businessweek. The school jumped 26 places from its previous rank of 106.

According to Businessweek, it ranks undergraduate business programs that meet requirements for accreditation, SAT and ACT test scores, and other factors. The magazine’s editors use a methodology that includes nine measures of student satisfaction, post-graduation outcomes and academic quality.

“To move this quickly up the rankings is a sign that the efforts of our faculty, staff, students and benefactors are building on our tradition of excellence,” said Dr. Christopher Puto, dean and holder of the Opus Distinguished Chair in Marketing. I could not be more grateful or proud of what they have accomplished. I am pleased that our mission to educate highly principled global business leaders is being recognized.Continue Reading

Entrepreneurship, leadership, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

St. Thomas Class Project Warms Heads and Hearts

If you have a chance, check out Gail Rosenblum’s column in the Star Tribune describing some very thoughtful and enterprising students in our ENTR 200 “Foundations of Entrepreneurship” course.  The student project, Love Your Melon,  fits our mission of using business knowledge and skills to help make our world a better place.  This course, co-developed by Jay Ebben and Alec Johnson is also a finalist in a national entrepreneurship education competition sponsored by USASBE.

In talking to local Children’s hospitals, we heard that individuals and organizations donate hats to their cancer patients. Though appreciated, these hats are mismatched, all different sizes and made of a multitude of materials. With Love Your Melon we set out to give warm, colorful, 100% cotton hats to children going through the treatment process. To be able to give away these hats, we created the “buy one give one program,” selling hats identical to the ones that we are giving away. While sticking to the belief that products should be made in America and out of natural fibers, our colorful hats will brighten people’s days. Love Your Melon knit hats will be sold for $20 and $25 because of their attractive design and high quality. Included in that price, for every hat we sell, we will give one hat away to a child undergoing cancer treatment in one of the Twin Cities Area Hospitals.

With the terrible news about the shooting tragedy in the Connecticut grade school on Friday, our students’ project reminds us that many young people are working hard to make good things happen for children.  Our hearts go out to the families who suffered this unconscionable loss. We pray they will somehow find solace in their faith, but there simply are no words to add.

Christopher P. Puto, Ph.D.
Dean and Opus Distinguished Chair
Opus College of Business
University of St. Thomas

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

Entrepreneurship, Ethics, leadership, Media, Newsroom

UST SIFE team wins regionals, prepares for national competition

The St. Thomas Students in Free Enterprise team won its third consecutive regional championship this week at the SIFE USA Regional Competition in Chicago. The UST SIFE team has qualified for the national competition next month in Kansas City.

From the UST Bulletin:

Every year SIFE teams across the world create and implement a variety of business-related projects that help change the world. At the end of the year they get together to share their accomplishments and compete against one another for the title of regional, national and world champion.

On April 16, SIFE president Madeline Kapler, along with secretary Chantel Taylor, vice president of communications Kelly Boelter, and vice president Travis Atkinson represented the UST SIFE team in competition. After presenting six projects in front of a panel of judges from the business community, the team was awarded the title of regional champion for its league. With this win the team is invited to present again May 22 at the national competition in Kansas City.

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Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

UST’s Integrated Approach to Undergraduate Business Education

By Christopher Puto, Dean of the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas

Dean Christopher PutoThe recent Wall Street Journal article on shortcoming in undergraduate business majors reflects that medium’s bias in favor of so-called “brand name” schools at the expense of the many outstanding colleges and universities that take the role of business leadership far more seriously.  While the Journal touts some schools for “taking the hint” to expand their undergraduate business curricula, it totally ignores schools such as the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, whose undergraduate business majors have long been at the leading edge of this so-called new trend.

Rather than compartmentalize the business curriculum into a series of disciplinary “silos,” the University of St. Thomas takes a fully integrated approach to assure critical thinking, problem-solving, social awareness and principled decision-making skills are acquired along with the expected strong foundations in all the business disciplines.  Every undergraduate St. Thomas business major takes the full liberal arts core—just as do the Philosophy, History and Political Science majors—plus the full spectrum of business courses expected in any AACSB accredited business school program.  This includes English Literature, Social Science, Physical Science, Foreign Language, Philosophy (3 courses) and Theology (3 courses).  Moreover, these are not merely the lower division general education courses some schools require before students get to the “real stuff” of business, but rather these requirements include a full spectrum of upper division courses on the liberal arts right beside the liberal arts majors.  Indeed, the senior level Theology course is team taught by a theology professor and a business professor who together assure that students learn how to integrate both aspects into their professional and personal lives. Continue Reading

Career Services, Newsroom, OCB Alumni, OCB Commentary

Trendspotting: A Business Major Is Not the Easy Way Out

St. Thomas business students work hard, care for others and enter the workforce with a strong, valued liberal arts education
From the Fall 2011 edition of B. Magazine, by Georgia Fisher

In the past six months, news reports have cited that the undergraduate business major is considered a “default” degree – an “easy” degree where students spend less time studying than students in other degrees. Critique also has been given that a business degree is viewed by many as a path to a job, but not to a well-rounded education and enlightenment.

In light of these recent comments in the media, my advising staff and I have used this opportunity to reflect upon our undergraduate business program at the University St. Thomas.

For more than 20 years, an average of 30 percent of the incoming freshman class at St. Thomas has indicated business as its primary intended major, along with 48 percent of the transfer students. There is an increase in the percentage of students indicating interest in business from the freshman to sophomore years. We believe this increase is due to the exploration that our liberal arts curriculum and the business core allow. Students are encouraged to explore broadly before making a commitment, and after that exploration, many more students make an informed choice to select business. They do not enter business by default.

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