Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The MSBA: Making Business Approachable for Non-Business Majors

 Maria Notarianni
 MSBA candidate

I recently graduated from Catholic University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies. While the degree suggests a concentration in the media, it would be an injustice to the major to say that it encapsulates only the media. The biggest lessons I learned from the Media and Communication Studies Department are:
  • To understand someone, you must understand their ideologies.
  • Syntactic and paradigmatic choices say as much as the thought itself.

The Master of Science and Business Analysis program is so wonderful because they naturally complement your undergraduate degree with practical business skills. The program closely works with students to help us understand our own interests and realize them in our careers. The program also does an exceptional job making business approachable for those with non-business degrees. They firmly believe that everyone has an aptitude to learn the curriculum, and that by helping each other, we will all benefit. The program has taught me a lot, but two of the most important lessons are:
  • Teamwork is the cornerstone to success.
  • Skills can always be learned, but the right attitude is required immediately.

While the curriculum differs, the two programs work together well. My team and I have recently started our field team study project, and I believe that there are a few skills my programs have taught me. The key to our success will be having:
  • Good communication
  •  Empathy 
  • An open mind

What these skills amount to is an understanding of my teammates—both those I am working with and for. By taking the time to understand each other, we will all be able to highlight both our own strengths and each others. Just as important, we will be able to understand precisely what our mission is by understanding our client and her values. The field team study introduces new experiences for my teammates and I, but our backgrounds have given us the skills to confidently work on and create value for our project.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What I've Learned After a Semester

I’m willing to bet that I am one of few cradle Catholics without the typical, classic stories of ‘old Sister Margaret teaching math’ or ‘my school uniform.’ For a variety of good reasons, my parents chose to send me to public school, so I had never stepped foot in a Catholic school until beginning the MSBA program this year at The Catholic University of America. After just one semester in the MSBA program at CUA, I’ve realized how much I love going to a Catholic school. In fact, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned so far is the value of a truly Catholic education. 

From kindergarten to college, I totaled 17 years in public school, followed quickly by serving in the US Army for four years Needless to say, the past 21 years have not always been the most encouraging settings for practicing or developing my Catholic faith. When I arrived at CUA, I knew I was finally at home when I saw that Mass was part of the orientation schedule. As I walked out of Mass with my classmates on the second day of orientation, it was clear I had made the right choice to attend this program. However, the integration of the Catholic faith didn’t end with orientation. As an MSBA cohort we had another special experience later in the semester when one of our professors arranged for Mass to be said prior to our cohort’s participation in a Thanksgiving service project. It was really moving to attend mass with 15 classmates - one classmate serving as lector, and a professor as the Eucharistic Minister. These opportunities have reinforced, for me that the integration of faith into everyday business practice is what makes an MSBA graduate distinguishable from the rest of the “MBA” pack – that we are aiming to serve a higher purpose through our vocation to business. 

When I made the decision to leave the Army I researched a plethora of MBA and master’s programs and I quickly made the realization that I could study business anywhere. Nearly every university, community college, and online school offers some sort of MBA that gives you a “leg up.” What attracted me to CUA was that the Busch School of Business had a different offering.
At CUA, business students learn how to integrate faith and business in all that they do. It’s refreshing to learn from our professors that morality and virtue shouldn’t be checked at the door on the way into the workplace – businesses actually wind up being more successful when virtue has a prominent place in an organization.  In all MSBA classes, business ethics is baked into the discussion and lessons. Whether we’re reviewing marketing plans in light of Catholic Social Teaching or the moral responsibility of companies to shareholders, I can share my faith while studying business.

To give an idea of how faith is incorporated into our business education, I’ll share the most exciting class of the entire semester, in my opinion. In our course, “Managing the Enterprise” we devoted an entire class period to evaluating Pope Francis’ management techniques. The spirited discussion covered the bevy of tough decisions facing Pope Francis from reforming the Vatican Bank and Curia, leadership lessons from the priest abuse scandal, and even how to increase vocations to the Priesthood. Catholic and non-Catholic students alike were highly engaged with well-researched opinions for over two and a half hours.

The MSBA program is full of practical lessons - from understanding balance sheets to interpreting Monte Carlo simulations - but I’m thankful to be learning business at a distinctly Catholic school. The Catholic University of America is America’s only pontifical university, so in essence, I’m studying at the Pope’s Business school in America. This has been an incredibly enlightening and enjoyable experience, and I can finally tell stories of my time as a Catholic school student, just without a plaid uniform.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

CPA Alyson Miller speaks to MSBA cohort

The feel of fall is definitely in the air! While we continue to enjoy these milder temperatures outdoors, this year's cohort continues to work hard.

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting Alyson Miller from Brand USA. Alyson, a Montana native and self-described "unexpected CPA" who has a passion for public policy, has spent the greater part of her career working for non-profit organizations as a CPA, most recently in the Washington, D.C. area. She explained to the MSBA cohort that as students with liberal arts backgrounds, they already have a leg up on communication skills. Business and liberal arts combined will have a huge and positive impact on many businesses, she stated.
Alyson advised the class on different ways to show faith is an integral part of life in an interview as well as in the workplace and how to determine if that workplace is right for them. She gave some specific advice to the women of the MSBA class, urging them to always ask for the things they want and feel that they deserve in their careers. "You can be humble, kind and respectful without devaluing yourselves. Have faith and confidence in your values!", she urged them. She also impressed upon the cohort the importance of taking pride in their appearance. "Dressing well matters," she said. "How you present yourself affects how people perceive you."

Lastly, Alyson relayed that acts of goodwill and helping out coworkers when you can in any area will go a long way in the workplace. She stated by asking, "How can I help the people around me?", one will certainly build good professional relationships and show leadership at work.

Thank you again, Alyson, for spending your evening with us!

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blog Series Part II: How My Liberal Arts Degree is Helping Me in Graduate Business School

We're almost to the end of the week! The cohort is looking forward to tonight's Thirsty Thursday speaker Alyson Miller from Brand USA (check back in a few days for a recap post!).

Today we share part two of out current blog series, "How My Liberal Arts Degree is Helping Me in Graduate Business School" (if you missed part one, you can read it here).

Maddie Fallon shares her experiences as a student majoring in tourism management, and what being a "tourist" in business means to her.

Be a Tourist in Your Own Company

When people ask me what my major was in undergrad, they usually respond the same way after I answer them, “Tourism management? Hmmm, that’s different.” Usually the response is followed by the question, “So what did you learn about?” In the absence of time and patience, I usually compare it to hospitality management and let the conversation pass. But there is more to tourism than one would think, and a degree in that field provides a lot of value to the business world. In my classes, I learned a lot about facts and figures of the industry, different types of tourism, and how to run a tourist location. I also learned how to attract tourists to a location, and even how to be a tourist. Perhaps the most important aspect of my major is this last lesson. Being a tourist is fun, but can be unrewarding if you don’t even know what to appreciate, especially in your own city. There are so many reasons why tourists go to certain locations to have certain experiences; usually to encounter something new. By being a tourist in your own city, you can learn to appreciate what tourists come to look for, and where you come from as well. As I looked into this subject more during undergrad, I came across the 2011 Happiness Challenge created by Gretchen Rubin, a contributor for Forbes.com. Her video highlights how tourism is a state of mind, and suggests a resolution to be a tourist in your hometown to create a new perspective and inspire adventure and curiosity. 
Experiencing your city in a new way encourages you to notice new things where you live and remember why you love your home. I believe this lesson translates directly into business. Being a “tourist” in business to me means to simply learn and experience new ways of doing business that haven’t been experienced before. It also means that being a “tourist” in your own business can renew someone’s passion for their job or company. For example, the CEO of a company might revisit the department they worked up from and be reminded of their perseverance and dedication. The inspiration that might stem from that would be beneficial to the whole company, with a leader strongly reminded of the company’s mission they have worked so hard to achieve. While studying tourism, the most valuable lesson I learned was how to be a tourist. It taught me to appreciate my own home, whether it’s my city or the company I work for, in order to gain a new perspective, and that is very valuable in business.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

How My Liberal Arts Degree is Valuable to Me in Graduate Business School: Blog Series Part I

And we're back! After a nice summer respite here in the office, we welcomed the MSBA class of 2017 at our August orientation. They hit the ground running and showed great potential and leadership skills right off the bat. 

The first two weeks of classes are now under our belt, complete with the first blogging assignment from our fearless leader and Program Director, Professor Stew McHie. 

In this blogging series, we will feature students' LinkedIn blog posts with the topic "How My Liberal Arts Undergraduate Degree is Helping me in Graduate Business School". 

To start us off, we have Regina Torres. Regina graduated from Kendall College with a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management. Take it away, Regina!

Changing Careers? Mine Your Skills

Choosing a new career path can be daunting. Maybe your background doesn’t match the direction you want to go. Good news: they may have more in common than you think.

Chances are you’ve learned valuable transferable skills. For instance, my undergraduate degree and work experience are in Hospitality Management, and I’m currently shifting toward Management Consulting.

While they are different fields, here are three lessons the hospitality industry has taught me that will serve wherever I go:

1. Lead by Example: Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer stated “Example is not the main thing influencing others; it is the only thing.” Some of my best managers started in menial positions and worked their way up. Through their example they’ve become not just managers, but leaders.

2. Listen, Carefully: When I first joined the W, a colleague told me about a blind woman who had once worked in the hotel’s call center. She had consistently received the best guest feedback in her department. How? She was a great listener. Without the distraction of the screens and clutter around her, she focused better on the guests—their tone, their needs. She connected with them.

3. Be Flexible: Clients change their minds, owners cut budgets, coworkers get sick… In the words of national treasure Tim Gunn, “Make it work.”

If you’re thinking of changing directions, assess your transferable skills inventory. You may be surprised at how much you find.
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

MSBA student writes post for FOXNews "The Daily Bret" Blog

The Daily Bret

The Politics of Big Data

Joe Fiocco-College Associate: Special Report
It’s conventional wisdom now for businesses and political campaigns to have a social media presence. And, pressure is mounting for projects to be “data-driven”. This election cycle will witness some of the most highly targeted advertising campaigns in American politics. Candidates are investing vast resources in collecting voter data to accomplish this, and the implications are startling.
Most notably, Ted Cruz exploited his grassroots network to target voters door-to-door in the Iowa caucus. The Cruz campaign’s mobile app learned the political beliefs of its subscribers through Facebook content. With access to subscribers’ political beliefs as well as their demographic data, Cruz staffers pinpointed the Iowans most receptive to the campaign’s messaging. From there, volunteers started knocking on doors. The app added competition to getting out the vote, rewarding staffers with points for sharing content, recruiting volunteers, or soliciting donations. With this enthusiastic ground game, Ted Cruz defied political logic and carried Iowa. This is especially striking, since Cruz opposed ethanol subsidies, Iowa’s golden calf.
The precision of campaign ad targeting is growing sharper.  Academic studies from the University of Toronto and the University of Minnesota found correlations between personality traits and political beliefs. Voters who valued “openness” leaned liberal, while “conscientious” voters leaned conservative. Analytics firms such as Cambridge Analytica claim to predict how voters will swing based on personality traits.
 In 2014, Cambridge Analytica devised five criteria for assessing voter personality, known as OCEAN: Open, Conscientious, Extrovert, Agreeable, and Neurotic. Over a million participants filled out questionnaires to see where they fell. The firm looked for matches in public commercial data between participants and the general population. Matches provided the basis to predict the personality types of potential voters. Cambridge Analytica found they could tailor emotional messages to individual voters. For example, a neurotic voter will likely engage with an ad highlighting a candidate’s strong stance on national security. Or, a conscientious voter might relate to an ad calling for cutting the national debt. Companies like Cambridge Analytica seem poised to overhaul traditional campaigning, for they served 44 different federal and state GOP campaigns in 2014. The firm is one of 13 such companies designing ads for the RNC and individual GOP candidates this year.
The 2016 election so far has surprised pundits and wonks at every turn. The ability to gain insights from Big Data has made an upset possible in Iowa. Concerns abound as to how politicians will use their newfound knowledge. In the future, political campaigns may be more attentive to specific issues voters care about. Yet, it may be unsettling for candidates to know your fears and desires before you do. And, as always, there will be worries about privacy. Either way, the idea that politicians are out of touch is straying further from the truth. 
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Catholic University Receives $47 Million for Business School, Academic Programs

School to be name the Tim and Steph School of Business and Economics

Tim and Steph Busch
The Catholic University of America announced today that it has received six commitments totaling $47 million for the operational needs of the School of Business and Economics and other University academic programs. The lead gift of $15 million from the Busch Family Foundation is the largest financial commitment the University has received to date.

“Today marks a historic day for Catholic University, in which it is propelled forward in its mission to serve both Church and nation through the incredible generosity of several benefactors,” said Cardinal Se├ín O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees.

The gift from the Busch Family Foundation, established by Tim Busch and his wife, Steph, will be allocated to the renovation of Maloney Hall, where the business and economics school will be relocated. Busch is founder and CEO of Pacific Hospitality Group and The Busch Firm, both based in Irvine, Calif., among other companies and charitable organizations. He is also co-founder and chairman of the board of The Napa Institute, which has co-sponsored two conferences with the School of Business and Economics. He serves as the chairman of the school’s Board of Visitors and will conclude his 12-year tenure on the University’s Board of Trustees this year.

The school will be renamed the Tim and Steph Busch School of Business and Economics in recognition of their support for the University’s approach to thought-leading business education informed by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

“We are committed to supporting Catholic University's vision for business education which integrates principled entrepreneurship and Catholic Social Teaching in a distinctive way,” said Tim Busch. “Students at the school of business and economics learn how businesses can be highly profitable and innovative, while also meeting the needs of communities and promoting human flourishing."

“As the University’s largest benefactors to date, Tim and Steph Busch have demonstrated unparalleled support for the unique approach of our business school,” said President John Garvey. “Beyond this, they have attracted other major supporters whose gifts have nourished the school’s success. We are immensely grateful for their partnership and all that they have done to advance the University.”

A small group of leadership donors also made the following financial commitments to the University: $10 million from the Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Charitable Foundation, which includes the establishment of the Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship; $10 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, which supports hundreds of colleges and universities across the country and helps individual students and faculty members pursue scholarship related to societal well-being and free societies; $5 million from Joe Della Ratta (Class of 1953), founder and owner of Della Ratta, Inc. and current benefactor of the Centesimus Annus Della Ratta Family Endowed Professorship; $5 million from an anonymous donor; and $2 million from the Blanford Charitable Gift Fund through the recommendation of Larry Blanford, a member of the school’s board of visitors, and his wife, Lynn.

These gifts will support the Maloney Hall renovation, academic programs in the business and economics school, and the new Institute for Human Ecology, which will take up Pope Francis’s call in Laudato Si’ to systematically study the relationships of human beings to one another and the world around them.

Media Contact: Elise Italiano, executive director of university communications, 202-319-5600 or italiano@cua.edu.
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