Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wall Street Journal Recognizes new CUA Business School

The Wall Street Journal broke the news last night that Catholic University has launched it's new School of Business and Economics, a major transformation from the Department of Business and Economics.  A long range growth plan is in place and significant donors are being sought for naming rights to the new School. 

It's not often a publication like the journal writes about small business schools but the uniqueness of the approach at CUA is newsworthy. 

Read the entire article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323706704578227870324048476.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet

And here is a video with the author of the WSJ article.  http://live.wsj.com/video/new-b-school-curriculum-faith-and-finance/6236956B-9869-47D9-B835-B3A107C7E7B8.html#!6236956B-9869-47D9-B835-B3A107C7E7B8

Stewart McHie
Director, MS in Business Analysis
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Check the culture before you accept that job

We advise our MSBA graduates to look beyond compensation and benefits at the core of a potential employer.  You can often discern important things about a company from 3rd party and employee blogs and chat rooms.  The internet is full of stories, the good, the bad and the ugly, about companies and their leaders.  Students should ask themselves, is this the kind of company I would be proud to work for.  Case in point:

Deepwater Horizon ablaze
I was saddened recently to see two BP rig supervisors charged with manslaughter in the horrible BP Deepwater Horizon tragedy from 2010.  What a cowardly act on the part of BP in my view to allow this as part of the negotiated settlement with the government.  Did these two veteran oilmen ignore some important red flags and procedures?  Apparently so and they share in the responsibility for the tragedy; but they do not deserve to be the sole scapegoats.

I've written before about the importance of culture in an organization and here is a prime example of the wrong kind of culture.  Had this been an isolated incident, perhaps we could focus blame on rogue employees that took unauthorized shortcuts that led to a disaster.  But there existed then (and hopefully not today) a corporate culture of putting the bottom line ahead of safety and concern for the environment and the community.    

Texas City refinery ablaze
Anyone that follows the oil industry is all too aware of BP's horrible safety and environmental record.  In March 2005 an explosion at BP's Texas City refinery outside of Houston, Tx. claimed the lives of 15 workers and injured 170.  BP was charged with criminal violations and cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for over 300 safety violations.  They paid the then-largest fine ever of $21M. 
Fouling the tundra

In 2006, spills along the Alaska Pipeline were traced to shoddy maintenance practices and shortcuts.  While the pipeline is owned by a consortium of companies, BP is the operator and is responsible for inspecting, maintaining and repairing the line to preserve the pristine environment of the tundra. BP pled guilty to negligence and was fined $20M.  Once again, expense cuts and concern about profitability over safety and integrity surfaced. 

Is this just rotten bad luck or do they simply hire the wrong people to be in charge of multi billion dollar assets, the environment and most importantly, peoples lives?  No, it is traced to the culture of the company and its leaders over a long period of time.  It is said that employees do what is measured and clearly expense savings and profitability are emphasized at BP.  

At ExxonMobil, where I worked for 34 years, every management meeting began with a report and discussion of safety and environmental incidents and company policy violations.  It was only after thoroughly vetting these topics that a discussion on sales and profitability could follow. 

As I have written before, a company's culture starts at the top and the leadership at BP is every bit as much to blame as the workers that were doing their bidding.  But they are not charged with a crime; only the workers that succumbed to a bad culture.

Stewart McHie
Director, MS in Business Analysis
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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why the MSBA is right for me

By:  Tia Bent
MSBA Class of 2013

Deciding to join the MSBA program has been one of the best decisions I have made.  I stumbled across the program looking for graduate assistant-ships and I knew of Catholic University only through my years of running track in college.  I decided to look into the programs Catholic offered and found the MSBA program.  My undergraduate degree is in Exercise Science, and while I have an interest in how the body works, my true calling is working with veterans and homeland security.  I worked for a few years in my degree field, but I was constantly looking for ways to break into government.   My recent move to the DC area proved that it is all about who you know.  With that said, the two most important skills I have learned thus far in the program are networking and teamwork.

Tia and Prof Brach at first
networking event

 Networking is the first activity we engaged in coming to the program.  We had a meet and greet with professors and incoming classmates.  It was uneasy and awkward at first, especially for this introvert.  The small class size was appealing and it was less pressure.  Many of us had not spoken or communicated before this encounter, but we had a common goal, getting through this program with a graduate degree.  This was the first real taste of what I was getting into this upcoming year.

Learning to trust your teammates
is essential to a successful business
The program has many guest speakers intertwined through the classes.  This gives us the opportunity to talk with industry workers in relevant fields we are learning.  Business cards are given to us and we are constantly revamping our resume and cover letter in our Career Development class so we are ready to hand them out upon meeting these industry professionals.  Also, our Career Development class teaches us networking essentials and how to sell ourselves to prepare for unexpected encounters with professionals in prospective fields of interest.

Finally, the mentor program is the icing on the cake for networking.  We are strategically assigned to mentors that have similar backgrounds in fields we are interested.   Our first encounter with our mentors was at another meet and greet.  Again, it was awkward, stressful, and a lot of pressure to make a good impression of ourselves and the program.  I am the biggest introvert in the class it seems and I adapted quickly. This leads me to believe that anyone can and should participate in networking events or take advantage of meeting new people.  You never know who you will meet and what doors might open for you or the person you are talking to just with a simple conversation.

Tia and team at work on a case study
Teamwork is the other skill that is woven into each class we have in the MSBA program. I was skeptical at first, thinking of prior group work in my undergraduate program.  My fear of having to rely on others for my success is something I was not prepared to face.  We started off our teamwork and bonding at a ropes course in Maryland prior to the start of class (the day after our initial meet and greet).  This experience pushed me so far outside of my comfort zone, but it was okay, because everyone else was struggling with opening up to strangers.  More importantly, a few of our professors engaged in the activities with us, the experience was life changing.

Tia awaits her first turn in front
of an audience
(she did fine!)
Little did we know that was just the first of many teamwork activities.  Each class involves team projects, team assignments, and group presentations.   Even our Quantitative Analysis and Financial Accounting classes have group projects.   Again, coming from an introvert that dreads public speaking and has anxiety about relying on others, I am overcoming these insecurities.  I cannot think of any better skill to focus on to prepare for the business world.

I can go on about how I have benefited from the MSBA program thus far, but focusing on these two skills I am developing is the most important to me.   The content of the classes are relevant, practical, and apply to each class we are taking.  I learn so much in each class on business; it is fascinating to see it all come together.  I am strong in academics, but lack on the social necessities.  These two things alone are developing me into a professional that I can see differences in already; I will be forever grateful for this experience and opportunity.   

Stewart McHie
Director, MS in Business Analysis
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The MSBA and the New Evangelization

By:  Andrew Browne 
MSBA Class of 2013

The Catholic University of America’s new MSBA program is one of the most underutilized tools in the “New Evangelization.”

 According to the USCCB website :

             “The New Evangelization calls each of us to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the Gospel. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all Catholics to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize. In a special way, the New Evangelization is focused on ‘re-proposing’ the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith.  Pope Benedict XVI called for the re-proposing of the Gospel ‘to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization.’ The New Evangelization invites each Catholic to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.”

Dr. Andrew Abela
This program fits the description perfectly.  Dr. Andrew Abela recently pointed out that one of the goals of the program is to encourage the professors to dedicate a portion of their day to the study of the faith.  He then encourages them to incorporate that knowledge into the classes that they teach.  This is especially evident when the professors discuss Catholic Social Teaching explaining the importance of making management decisions based on human dignity, solidarity, and subsidiarity.

The other benefit of this program is that the students will hopefully and eventually become leaders in various corporations.  When this occurs they will have the ability to make right and just business decisions based on the education and experience they received from The Catholic University of America.

John Abbate
Heaven knows the business world needs evangelization.  A recent speaker, JohnAbbate, pointed out that we cannot run from the corporate world but rather we must engage in the corporate world in order to effect positive change.  And what better way is there?  This program equips talented students who have a deep faith in God with business skills necessary to attain a job and begin a great career.

Finally, this program gives an affordable solution for those who want to use their talents and business knowledge to serve the greater good of society by working for and with non-profit organizations at the local, national, and international level.  It is a great opportunity to learn what makes a company efficient and financially viable in order to better assist those great charities.

I guess my question is why would you not consider higher education when it comes to the “New Evangelization”?

Stewart McHie
Director, MS in Business Analysis
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