Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reducing Corruption through Ethics Education in Ghana

Dr. Brian Engelland
Dr. Brian Engelland recently traveled to Accra, Ghana to participate in an educational conference at the Catholic Institute of Business and Technology.  Here is his fascinating and inspiring report: 

I know it’s a small world, but my horizons have expanded considerably as a result of my visit to Ghana.

Ghana is a small country with a big problem. Corruption is rampant in government and business – everyone there seems to be on the take – and as a result, the country is growing more and more impoverished as citizens are bled dry and money is funneled out to Swiss bank accounts. Over 60% of the country lives in poverty. How can the corrupt be convinced to stop their cheating?  Where does one start?

Most Reverend Charles Palmer-Buckle, the charismatic archbishop of Accra (the largest city in Ghana), is convinced that education is a major part of the answer. When business and government leaders can be shown that ethical world class companies are highly successful without engaging in unethical conduct, those leaders can be convinced to come around to the ethical side. After all, there is a right way to conduct business, a way that doesn’t involve lying, cheating or stealing.  It’s a way that serves society so that everyone benefits.

The Opening Ceremonies
I had never been to the African continent, but at the Archbishop’s invitation, I found myself on a Delta flight to Accra along with two other Washington, DC – based experts: Rev. Dr. Paul Sullins, professor of sociology at Catholic University, and Steve Hilbert, Africa Policy Advisor for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Our role was to assist professors at the Catholic Institute of Business and Technology (CIBT) in delivering a one-week seminar to 130 Ghanaian Catholic business people and educators on how to conduct business ethically. The Archbishop’s idea was to start with Catholics – they comprise 16% of the population and participate in the highest levels of business and government – reasoning that if Catholics can begin behaving ethically, then a groundswell of ethicality can begin to transform the entire country. 

I came ready to deliver four ethics presentations totaling approximately six hours of lecture and to lead group case analyzes involving ethical situations at such organizations as DeBeers, The World Bank and Wal-Mart. I based much of my remarks on the new Church document released in March by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, entitled “The Vocation of Business Leaders.” That document refers to six critical principles in Catholic social teaching that apply to ethical issues in business. Amazingly, the principal author of that document was none other than Ghana’s own Cardinal Peter Turkson! So here I was, an American coming to explain to the Ghanaian people what was contained in a document written by one of their own religious leaders! God certainly has a sense of humor! 

Brian working with a task group
Our format consisted of three integrated sections each day.  First we conveyed the principles of good ethical conduct, second we looked at specific business and organizational applications, and third, we broke the larger group into small discussion groups and challenged them to apply ethical concepts to local Ghanaian situations.

Dr. Engelland addressing the conference

We had an outstanding week with lots of good effect, blessings and cultural exchange.  God was awesome in all of it.  Our visit and content was a lot more important to our hosts than we realized beforehand.  We were showered with thanks, appreciation and gifts.  The opening and closing ceremonies were broadcast on Ghana national television.  Newspaper coverage featured multiple color pictures taken at the conference.  During the week the archbishop met with us twice and we were invited to meet with the papal nuncio; both of them underscored the importance to the diocese, country and region of what we were doing. 

The number of participants grew throughout the week.  By Thursday they were so into discussing and applying what they were learning that, when we called breaks from discussion, everyone ignored it and kept right on discussing!  It was exciting to be teaching such a vibrant and receptive group, who were just drinking it all in.  Conference evaluations provided evidence that conferees really appreciated our approach, so much so that we were invited back to participate in the next stage of the Archbishop’s plan – a follow-up  program to be scheduled next summer.

When we were at dinner with the charismatic Archbishop, he told us that most people who come to Ghana for one week fall victim to the “Ghanaian disease.”  And what is that disease?  It’s an intense desire to return to Ghana!  Yes, I think I’ve contracted the disease.

Dr. Brian Engelland
Professor of Marketing
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another "Story I Love!"

2012 MSBA Grad Maureen Moran
This great story from Maureen Moran.  Don't you love how networking happens in these small burgs like New York City!

"The office where I had an interview scheduled is located right on Fashion Avenue.  I got to the area really early just to be sure I wasn't late for my interview (note: I taught her that!!!)
I went to a nearby coffee shop and grabbed a coffee and sat outside. I was looking over my resume when this woman approached me and asked "Oh are you on the job-search?" And I said "Yes, I actually have an interview today". And then she said "Send me your resume, I'll pass it along" and she handed me her business card. I didn't even have time to look at it and I gave her one of mine (we supply our MSBA students with business cards by the way) and she was off.  It was around 9:00 am so everyone was rushing off to work. Then I looked at the card and saw that it said Executive Assistant to Ms. [Donna] Karan and I was so excited.

So I emailed her my resume when I got home from my interview and she emailed back right away asking "if you could have your dream job, what would it be?". So I replied, and then she replied with, "I am going to have HR call you in for an interview." So it all happened really fast, I still can't really believe it. So now I think I'm just going to have to go sit at coffee shops in all different districts and see who approaches me!"

Let's hope this turns out to have a fairy tale ending!

Stewart McHie
Director, Master of Science in Business Analysis
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Professors Visit Investor Day at

One of 12 start-ups
Professors Attila Freska and yours truly recently spent a fascinating morning at Investor Day 2012, sponsored by Fortify.vcThe event featured twelve tech start-ups that were the inaugural class from The Accelerator in downtown DC.  

Each of the twelve teams had a booth describing their concept and product and we were able to talk to all of the founders and their teams.  Then each start-up made a 15 minute presentation in the auditorium where they went into detail about the idea, development, progress and next steps.  All of the teams have achieved their initial funding goals and are seeking round two funding to continue their development work to, hopefully, a commercial stage.  What fascinated me most about the experience was talking to the young entrepreneurs and learning of their backgrounds, experience, education and how they came to the world of start-ups and venture capital.  

We met PhD's in Physics from Cornell, Lawyers from Georgetown, former government employees, and experienced entrepreneurs.  All of the start-ups that are invited to occupy The Fort have a tech product they are developing and have demonstrated the commercial viability of their idea.  This is one of the things that sets Fortify apart in my mind.  They only deal with founders that are developing technical products that are potential game changers.  Fortify strategically selects founders and investors to leverage experience and strengths.

This is a fascinating world I have not personally been involved with in the past and I recognize, along with the rest of our faculty in the MSBA program, that we need to expose our students to this universe.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I have taken the plunge and become a series one investor with  We had the opportunity to take our last MSBA class to The Fort last spring where we met Founder and General Partner Jonathon Perrelli and Senior Associate Carla Valdes.  They explained the concept of The Fort as a hands on Incubator and Accelerator for chosen start-ups.  If you want to understand more about this world, I encourage you to sign up for Jonathon Perrelli's blog.

I'm excited about the next event sponsored by Fortify which is an event called Distilled Intelligence 2.0 which will attract start-ups from around the world competing for cash prizes and an opportunity to join The Fort.  This will take place in Washington DC on October 11.  Look for a report on that.

Stewart McHie
Director, MSBA Program 

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Faculty Profile - Professor Bill Kirst

This is the second of our MSBA faculty profiles.  

Professor Bill Kirst
Professor Bill Kirst joined the CUA faculty in August 2010 as an adjunct professor teaching accounting courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.  He was hired as a full time clinical professor in August 2011 based on his outstanding abilities in the classroom.  He has somehow managed to make accounting one of our most popular courses by bringing a real world perspective to the subject based on his many years of experience around the world.

Bill is a former PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partner who spent 20 years of his career with PwC living and working abroad in six countries: Italy, Iran, Poland, Russia, Germany and Switzerland. He was the Managing Partner in three of these locations.

Additionally, for ten years Professor Kirst worked for a former Fortune 500 company, Smith International, Inc., in the global oilfield services sector. He held various roles in senior finance, marketing and operations. His last position was Corporate Vice President of Business Development.

Prior to joining the CUA faculty he served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Diocese of Arlington and Chief Advancement Officer for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. Professor Kirst also served as a US Navy Officer for seven years, including six months in Vietnam, and later as an Intelligence Officer in the Naval Reserves. He currently serves as a Member of the CUA Business and Economics Advisory Board.

Professor Kirst holds a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola University of Los Angeles, and an MBA from the University of Southern California. Professor Kirst earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license in the State of California.

He and his wife, Mary Ellen, have raised 6 children (one a CUA graduate) and reside in Washington DC.  Learn more about Professor Kirst below.

Serving his Country in Vietnam
SM:  What was your first job out of college?
BK:  An officer in the US Navy, serving three years aboard a small ship in the Pacific. Having spent many days, weeks, and even months at sea, I had time to reflect on what I wanted to do in life.

SM:  What did you want to be when you grew up?
BK:  A locomotive engineer – all my life I have been fascinated with trains and railroads. My favorite railroad – the SANTA FE!

SM:  Best locomotive paint scheme in the fleet!

SM: What’s your favorite restaurant in D.C.?
BK:  “Vietnam Georgetown” at M Street and 32nd Street

SM:  What made you realize you wanted to go into business?
BK:  I have always been interested in other languages, cultures, and countries, and wanted to work abroad. I had three choices: The United States Navy (too many separations for the family), the State Department (too bureaucratic for me), or international business which I found to be very entrepreneurial, competitive and financially rewarding.

SM:  What do you do in your free time?
BK:  My hobby is reading modern military history and related biographies.

SM:  What is your favorite sport and why?
BK: College Football – and following my alma mater; the University of Southern California Trojans.

SM:  How's that working out for you these days, Bill?

SM: What was your worst job growing up?
BK: Working at Sears in the Garden and Pet Department and having to clean the cages of the pets for sale.

SM:  It must be this good experience in learning to herd cats that serves you well in the MSBA program!

Always popular with the Ladies!

SM:  Why is the MSBA program important to you?
BK:  As a liberal arts undergrad (Political Science), I was educated broadly but was unprepared for the business world where key analytical, financial, communication, and interpersonal skills are expected The MSBA program provides its students with such skills.

Professor Stewart McHie
Program Director, MSBA
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Sanchez Joins Generation Opportunity

MSBA Grad Adrian Sanchez

Adrian Sanchez,  joined the NGO Generation Opportunity  as a policy analyst and field representative focused on Hispanic outreach.

Generation Opportunity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to educate and organize young Americans on the challenges facing our nation.  Mr. Sanchez will be doing policy research on current events that concern GO's non-partisan mission to educate and organize young people on issues such as unemployment, the national debt, and economic stability.  He will also be a field representative at political events across the country educating and organizing young people to get involved with Generation Opportunity and the upcoming election.Generation Opportunity already has over 3 million fans on Facebook .

 Adrian has extensive experience working in politics, having had five internships during his academic career, most recently with rising star Allen West of the 22nd district of Florida.  Adrian received his BA in American Government from Catholic University and then went on to earn a MA in International Affairs, also at CUA.  His long term goals are to work in policy issues relating to international security and international affairs. 

In Adrian's own words; "I believe the MSBA program helped me by giving me the quantitative business and analytical skills that are needed in any job, and especially in my career field of politics and international affairs.  The MSBA degree gave me the cutting edge I needed to have a complete tool set of practical skills to be successful.  If you have the skills learned in the MSBA program, you will stand out in front of the pack of politics graduates when applying for a job.  In addition to my job offer from GO, I also had an offer to work on a senatorial campaign because of the quantitative skills I acquired in the program.  I recommend the MSBA to all graduates of politics or international affairs."

Professor Stewart McHie
Program Director, MSBA

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Monday, July 2, 2012

I Love this Story about Networking!

Hey Prof. McHie,

"So Friday after meeting with you and handing my transcripts to HR at my government job, I was on the metro going home when a "police emergency" caused Brookland and Fort Totten stations to be closed.

On the bus from Rhode Island Ave to Takoma I sat next to a gentleman who works for the Department of Homeland Security. We chatted a bit; he asked about my educational and professional background, my interest in investments and asset management, and offered to share my resume with some folks in the CFO's office. I just received an email from him notifying me that he will pass it along to their investment team which works to optimize
defense and minimize threats through military investments. This seems
like a great opportunity for me to combine my interest in investment
management with my experience within the government sector.

This reminded me of the importance of networking and being prepared
at all times. I would not have known to strike up a conversation on the
bus if it had not been for the techniques I acquired from the MSBA

I won't publish this students name on the off chance his current employer might see the blog but I can't help but be proud of our program and this student for teaching and practicing these skills.  It reminds me of my personal networking story recounted below.

As a junior at the University of Kentucky, my Econ professor read an announcement to a class of 200 students that Exxon was going to be on campus for job interviews AND, they also wanted to interview ten juniors for three summer internships in their regional marketing office in Memphis, TN.  I had worked in an oil refinery at home in the summers so I really wasn't looking for a summer job.  But I knew I needed the interview experience for my senior year so I went to career services and signed up for one of the ten slots.

I had a good interview with Jerry Adams and soon received a letter (yes, a letter, this is way pre e-mail!) inviting me to fly to Memphis for an interview.  And they would pay for the ticket and hotel. How cool was that! So I went and had a series of interviews and, lo and behold, got another letter offering me one of the internships. (the other two went to a Purdue and a University of Tennessee student)  I accepted the offer and had a wonderful experience as an intern with Exxon. 

At the end of the summer they offered me a job when I graduated which I happily accepted and the rest; a wonderful 34 year career with a great company that took me all over the world, was history.  But that's not the end of the story.

When I reported to Birmingham, AL after graduation for my training assignment, it just so happened that Jerry Adams, my first face at Exxon, had been promoted to a Sales Supervisor position in Birmingham and was my boss.  At a cocktail party one night, someone asked me what path led me to Exxon.  Before I could answer, Jerry piped in and said he recruited me at UK from a list the school gave him of the top ten juniors in the business school!  I laughed out loud (well, I wasn't in the worst 10 either) and told him how I really came to sign up for the interview.  I think he made me promise not to repeat that story but the statute of limitations has surely expired.

I have always valued that story as an example of taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way; just like our lucky graduate at the beginning of the note.

Professor Stewart McHie
Program Director, MSBA

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