Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chris Scanlan at memoryBlue

Chris Scanlan, a 2012 MSBA graduate, has been named an Account Executive at memoryBlue, a Northern Virginia firm specializing in lead generation, inside sales, full sales cycle management, and recruiting.

In his current capacity, Chris works closely with clients to increase business development by providing Lead Generation services. He says, "I provide research into existing marketplaces to discover new business opportunities, reach out to the C-Level executives of target companies to develop and retain relationships, and conduct the initial meeting between the customer and client."

Chris is a graduate of Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida where he majored in Philosophy and played varsity basketball. 

In his words, Chris says; "This program was a great time of my life and it really will be something I'm proud to have done. Thanks to all of the professors, I really can say that I was more prepared to be successful and I can see positive effects of having completed the MSBA program.  I know I am more confident.  I have used the Excel skills that I've learned all the time. I've taught my co-workers a few things as well.  I really would recommend this program to anyone that was interested entering business from a liberal arts school. It was a great experience and something which put me on the path to becoming successful. -Chris Scanlan, MSBA class of 2012

Congratulations Chris!

Stewart McHie
Director, MS in Business Analysis

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Affirmation in the Workplace

By: Samantha Donohue
MSBA Class of 2013

The Nature of Affirmation

Remember back to the time when you first learned how to ride a bike without training wheels. You are holding your dad’s hand as you mount the bike and he guides you through the motions of pedaling and steering. As soon as he lets go of your hand you begin to pedal on your own, and you instinctually look back to see if your dad saw you succeed.

Now fast-forward a few years to your freshmen year of college. You raise your hand to answer a question and the professor picks you. After you present your answer, the professor compliments you in front of the class for your profound insight and personally congratulates you after class. You feel more confident and excited for the year.

Let’s fast-forward once more to your first week of working. Your boss calls you into his office to speak with you regarding the recent analysis you submitted. He praises you for your method and clear presentation and he rewards you by putting you in charge of a special project you expressed interest in. You are pleased with yourself and motivated to accomplish the next task. The key element amongst all of these examples is your fundamental desire for affirmation. Whether you are a child, a student, or an employee, you seek affirmation. No matter your stage in life, up-bringing, culture, or occupation, affirmation plays a role in your life. Affirmation is essential to the fulfillment of the human person.

 My Analysis of Affirmation

Through attending the MSBA program I have not only learned crucial skills for business analysis and marketing, but I have been challenged to evaluate my core values and understand the role they will play in the workplace. We look beyond the different management and marketing structures and functionalities to the core principles of successful manager. In our Management with Integrity class, we examine and reenact case studies of credible companies. Through our analysis we devise possible solutions to the presented situation.

One particular case, the Jensen Shoes Case, we discussed the poor management strategies and the lack communication between a CEO, manager, and employee. I would argue that at the heart of this predicament lies the lack of affirmation Chuck, the CEO, has for Brooks, the employee. Lyndon Brooks was hired to be the Product Promotions Manager for an undecided target market. He was then assigned to the African American and Latino markets without given a choice and he was given an inexperienced team. Brooks raised his concern to Chuck, but Chuck did not take his concerns seriously and simply advised Brooks to do his best. This conversation left Brooks more confused and unfilled. 

After Brooks had spent a significant amount of time on the project, Chuck reassigned him to work as an individual contributor to the Strategic Product Marketing team. Brooks was expected to tell his team the situation, leave the team behind, and work under a manager, Jane. Brooks was very frustrated at this new arrangement and at Chuck’s lack of concern. Brooks’ initial meeting with Jane is cordial and Brooks is hopeful of getting to do a special project he has expressed interest in. By the second meeting, Jane is upset that Brooks is focusing more on his special project than on completing the tasks he has been assigned. Jane is receiving pressure from Chuck and Brooks is not performing. 

A cycle of frustration and misunderstandings continues between Brooks, Jane, and Chuck. Chuck’s continual lack of affirmation for Brooks’ ideas and efforts is the cause of tension and ultimately Brooks lack of fulfillment at Jensen’s shoes.

Affirmation in the Workplace

  Through further investigation on the topic of affirmation in the workplace, I came across the book titled, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White. Gary Chapman is the author of the #1 New York Times best seller, “The 5 Love Languages” and he is director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Dr. Paul White is a psychologist, author, speaker, and consultant who has been involved with businesses, non-profit organizations, families, and leaders for more than 20 years. These two experts have aspired to help business owners, CEOs, supervisors, and coworkers to increase loyalty and decrease turnover of employees and volunteers, reduce cynicism and create a more positive work environment, elevate employee engagement by making staff feel truly valued, and replace ineffective employee recognition with authentic appreciation. According to the book, affirmation is incorporated into appreciation in the workplace specifically as the language, words of affirmation. Words of affirmation is the language that uses words to communicate a positive message to another person. With words of affirmation, you are verbally affirming a positive characteristic about a person. There are many different ways that these words can be communicated. A few ways include praise for accomplishments, affirmation of character, and praise for personality. In order for words of affirmation to be effective, they must be given in the context of a positive relationship. Words of affirmation is one of the most powerful languages because communication is vital to the workplace. The other languages of appreciation in the workplace include quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts, and physical touch. I encourage anyone who wants to be successful in business to invest in this book and speak the 5 languages of appreciation daily.         

Stewart McHie
Director, MS in Business Analysis

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Ethical Dilemma - Bribery in Developing Countries

By:  Adaobi Okafor
MSBA Class of 2012

In the MS in Business Analysis program at CUA we are taught to see ethics as an integral part of practicing business daily and not just the topic you consider when you have a difficult decision to make. In my Management With Integrity class with Prof.Attila Freska we discussed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and how it addresses the need for businesses to practice accounting transparency requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and refrain from bribery of foreign officials. We discussed how it was unethical for companies to bribe officials in order to facilitate their business interests in foreign countries and if it was mandated then they had an ethical responsibility not to succumb.  [Note: It is illegal for US persons and companies to pay bribes to foreign officials] 

However, I found myself thinking about the ethical issues surrounding bribery from the point of view of the local businesses in developing countries, for instance my home country of Nigeria. The US based businesses and their representatives have the luxury of deciding that they would not bribe officials for business because they have other options to generate income and profits. Local businesses in developing countries cannot be as rigid as their foreign US counterparts in their approach to bribery because if they do not play the game they might as well pack up and go home.

It is so commonplace and expected that you have to give something in order to get things done that if the request is not completely outrageous you do not consider it more than the cost of doing business. I have even heard it being compared to the culture of tipping for service that is provided in the United States and there is some truth to that when compared to the waiter whose expected tips are built in when determining the hourly wage. Most government workers do not make enough money compared to the standard of living in these countries so they have to make up that shortfall somehow. The problem with that analogy is that the amount to ‘tip’ is being dictated and required even before the service is provided.

Greasing the hands of the official at the desk to ensure that documents that you have filled and paid the fees as required are processed on time is the only way to ensure that you get things done on time. The bigger established companies can afford to stand on principle and refuse to pay the fees because they have enough cash flow to wait out the bureaucracy of the system. The smaller mom and pop establishments cannot afford to stick to their guns. Each day they dig in their heels is one day they come closer to closing their doors permanently and their families starving. In that case they consider how ‘reasonable’ the demanded fee is and they build it into the cost of operations and continue their business and I cannot say that I condemn them. 

I am in no way suggesting that bribing of officials should be sanctioned as a legal requirement of doing business but the situation has so many shades of grey that seeing it as black and white is not being realistic or fair to the local businesses in that environment. Until the governments of these developing countries at their core decide to commit to being ethical in their business practices, is it really fair to lay the ethical burden of bribery on the smaller businesses who cannot afford the time and money to fight to the bitter end for what is rightfully due to them.

Adaobi Okafor
MSBA Class of 2012
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Becket Adams Fans the Fires at The Blaze

T. Becket Adams
Business Editor at The Blaze
Hailing from South Bend, Ind., Becket Adams is one of 12 children. He graduated from Christendom College with a BA in history in 2008 before enrolling in the Master of Science in Business Analysis program at Catholic university two years later (after waiting tables and selling guitars). He has interned with The National Journalism Center and had the opportunity to serve as chief research assistant to both the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso and The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore. Becket joined The Blaze after graduating from CUA with his Masters in Business Analysis.

"My time in the CUA MSBA program was marked by two things: The curriculum and the learning environment.

Whether it was the faculty (experts in various business fields) or the advisory board (a diverse array of knowledgeable businesspeople tasked with the job of mentoring individual candidates), the program provided me with a well-rounded curriculum that was steeped in both the technical and ethical aspects of business.

But equally important was the learning environment.

Several of my colleagues were schooled in the liberal arts (i.e. philosophy, history, etc.) and, as a result, things such as quarterly financial statements and three-month moving regressions were wholly foreign concepts.

However, thanks to the MSBA's dedicated staff, as well as candidates working as a team, mastering the curriculum was all but assured. (Indeed, I was amazed at both the faculty's personalized instruction as well as the teamwork I saw between my colleagues.)

Whether it's the collaboration between colleagues, the willingness on the part of some to help others through tough projects, or the intensive course structure, the CUA MSBA experience is one that I would recommend to anyone interested in learning more about business and/or furthering their professional career." - Becket Adams, Class of 2011

Stewart McHie
Director, MS in Business Analysis
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