Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Congressman Fortenberry lectures in MSBA Program

Submitted by Jack McCann-MSBA Class of 2014

On Monday, October 28, 2013, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) visited the MSBA program as a guest lecturer for the Spirit of Enterprise class.  He spoke broadly about the
Beautiful Fall day so we
handled introductions in
the Quad...
frustrations many Americans are currently facing and the importance of maintaining social institutions that promote healthy communities and the common good. 

Congressman Fortenberry has a masters in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and a masters in public policy from Georgetown University.  The MSBA students were impressed by his breadth of knowledge and experience.  Among the topics discussed were the application of philosophical principles, natural law, and economics in the practical world. 

He challenged students to use the theoretical foundation and practical knowledge they receive in the MSBA program to strengthen society and promote communities that are ordered to the common good.  He used current MSBA student Julie Larkin’s work of starting an organization dedicated to helping young women understanding their dignity as one of many ways to improve the lives of others through business. 

...before moving into
the classroom
The class concluded with a story from Congressman Fortenberry’s personal experience as a legislator.  He described in detail how he managed to guide a bill concerning adoption through Congress to be signed into law by the President.  The story illustrated not only the importance of knowing the right thing, but also knowing how to do it.  He left the class with three principles that are needed to make an impact: policy, one must have an idea that makes sense and is implementable; process, one must understand procedures necessary to complete the goal; politics, one must have the relationships and the network of people willing to help. 

The MSBA class truly enjoyed Congressman Fortenberry’s visit and is looking forward to welcoming him back to Catholic University soon.
Congressman Fortenberry is a frequent guest lecturer in the MSBA's Spirit of Enterprise class and Leadership and Entrepreneurship as Service class.
Jack McCann
MSBA class of 2014
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Entitlements: Why We Can't Wait

MSBA student Melissa Guay, who is interning at the US Chamber of Commerce, wrote this report for the Chamber summarizing the recent Business Horizon Retreat on this important subject.

Entitlement spending is a growing concern for Americans and our country. Reforming these
Melissa Guay
unsustainable programs–most especially Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid–will help reduce deficit spending and protect these programs for future generations. To address these issues, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosted a Business Horizon Retreat on September 24, 2013, titled “Entitlements: Why We Can’t Wait.” The event featured conversations with leading experts who examined the costs of these programs and their implications for the federal budget, the national demographic shifts  contributing to these costs, and possible common-sense reforms.  

Read the rest of the report here and access the data slides here.

Stewart McHie
Director, Master of Science in Business Analysis

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Finding Room for Faith

From Blog post by MSBA student Laura Caporaletti

Unlike the majority of my peers at Catholic University, I had attended public schools for grades K-12.  All my life, I was accustomed to keeping my faith separate from school; God was something for Sundays only and prayer only took place before bed.  A huge reason that I chose to attend CUA for college was because I wanted my faith to become the cornerstone of everything I did.  I wanted to learn about Catholicism in class, I wanted to walk by crucifixes in the hallways, and I wanted to make friends who shared my passion for Jesus.  CUA proved to offer all of this and more, and over the course of my undergraduate career, my life become centered around my Catholic faith.  I had no idea that this would be a hard lifestyle to maintain while attending CUA as a graduate student.

The name of the game in grad school is stay alive.  Okay...I exaggerate.  However, to describe my life as extremely busy during this nine month Master's program would be accurate.  I am slowly but surely learning how to balance a part-time job and a full-time student work load in a discipline that I am not used to.  I am learning, mostly through trial and error, what I do have time for this year and what I don't.  I have learned that this is going to be a year when my social life takes a hit, my gym card isn't swiped nearly enough, and a full night's sleep is what my naps senior year of college looked like.  But I am okay with all of this, because at the end of it all, I will have earned my Master's degree and will be one step closer to obtaining the career of my dreams.  

What I am not okay with is this becoming a year where my relationship with God is put on the back burner.  Unfortunately, this has been more of a challenge to prevent than I had ever anticipated.  I am no longer taking courses in theology, I am in class or at work during every conceivable mass time, and I fall asleep before I get through one Our Father at bed time. 

Upon realizing this and feeling the difference this lack of God made in my life, I made an appointment to meet with one of my favorite professors here at CUA - Professor Andreas Widmer.  I explained to him that I was struggling to find room for faith in my schedule that seems to become busier everyday.  He told me to begin offering the work that I am doing in this program (the mornings I wake up at five a.m. to finish homework, the late nights working on a group project, the stress and anxiety I feel during midterms) as a prayer.  In offering these moments up to God or as prayers for others, our work life becomes one with our spiritual life.  God would cease to become something that I would need to find room to squeeze into my life, and He would again become the cornerstone of everything that I do.  I was so appreciative for this advice and plan on living it out as best I can for the rest of my time as a grad student at CUA.

Laura Caporaletti
MSBA Class of 2014

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Social media with a purpose

Gary Steel from Carnegie Communications is conducting a workshop on Social Media, SEO, analytics and writing for social media.

Fantastic opportunity for our MSBA class. All students have blog sites to experience real exercises rather than just theoretical. 

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Importance of public speaking

I received this nice memo from Tia Bent, MSBA class of 2013.

I wanted to thank you for accepting me into the program and helping work through my public speaking issues last year. It still bothers me, but I spoke on a panel last week with over 100 people in the audience on mental health and veterans issues with Frank Sesna from CNN as the moderator.

I know without doing the program last  year I would have never put myself out there for an emotional topic, especially for a large group of people being recorded.
Please send a big thanks to the rest of the professors for me.

Stewart McHie
Director, Master of Science in Business Analysis
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Foundations of Entrepreneurship Research - Part 1

By: Frederic Sautet, Visiting Associate Professor of Economics, Catholic University

Dr. Frederic Sautet is an economist who specializes in market process and entrepreneurship research. 

"Entrepreneurship” has become a buzzword in recent decades. It is not only an important field of research but it is also a major instrument in economic policy, and politicians of all stripes see small businesses and entrepreneurship as a cornerstone of American success. 

The hype around entrepreneurship was not always the case. In fact for a long time between the 1920s and the 1980s, hardly anyone in economics and policy would discuss entrepreneurship. While entrepreneurship was a fundamental function of the market system (the system of “free enterprise”) for economists of the 19th century, this notion disappeared completely with the mathematization of the discipline in the following century. As P. Kilby stated, most authors “whether explicitly or simply by virtue of omission, consider[ed] entrepreneurial supply to have played a passive part in the drama whose major themes were invention, changing factor prices, and new market opportunities.” Indeed, instead of considering the entrepreneur as having the central role in a country’s economic performance, post-WWII economics came to consider structural conditions and other macroeconomic factors as key to growth and development.

This has changed. Today there is plethora of research that indicates the overwhelming importance of entrepreneurship in economic performance. Although some of the largely shared views are sometimes not true (e.g. empirical analysis shows that small businesses are not a major source of new jobs), it is still the case that entrepreneurship is the driving force of the market, to paraphrase Israel Kirzner.

In order to understand why entrepreneurship has become so important in economics, policy, and politics, it is important to go back to the root of the discipline and look at its theoretical foundations. One distinction that is important here is the one between entrepreneurship in the behavioral sense (i.e. what entrepreneurs do) and entrepreneurship in the cognitive sense (i.e. what entrepreneurs are, or what the function of entrepreneurship consists of). Grasping this difference is vital because without it, one does not understand why many authors use the same word (“entrepreneurship”) but seem to talk about different things. In my next post, I’ll develop the ideas behind this distinction.

Contributed by Dr. Frederic Sautet
Visiting Associate Professor of Economics
The Catholic University of America, School of Business and Economics 
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What No Textbook Can Teach You

By: Andreas Widmer, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs

Andreas Widmer is Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at The Catholic University of America and President of The Carpenter’s Fund. He is also the author of The Pope and the CEO, chronicling the lessons of a young Swiss guard serving Pope John Paul ll. 

The raison d’ĂȘtre of a business goes far beyond profitability. It’s true that a business needs profit like human beings need oxygen. If you take it away, certain death will be the consequence, yet it’s not our primary reason for living. 

A business lives out of something much deeper than just profit. There’s more to business than what is traceable in a textbook. At the core of a business is something that can’t be easily explained. It’s more of a feeling than a fact. So how does one best convey that to an aspiring business student?

At CUA, our freshmen business students’ first assignment is to each start their own “company.”  Specifically, each student is asked to start a special interest blog. By exploring what they have to offer others in terms of their unique interest or expertise, they create a website that explains and explores this topic and recommends various products along the way.

These blogs are then monetized in part through strategies such as affiliate marketing. As an affiliate of websites like Amazon, the student earns a bonus each time someone buys through one of their links. Thus each student creates their own “small business” during the first semester of their freshman year.

This simple exercise serves better than any lecture I could give or any book I could recommend to have someone experience the true purpose and motivation of business: Business is not selfish but inherently “other directed.” Businesses have to offer a product or service that target customers are willing to buy. Business starts with putting myself in the other person’s shoes to see the world from his or her perspective. That is the substantive difference between selfishness and self-interest.  It’s a point that you can only learn by doing.

And learn they do: Every time I teach the course, I am astonished at the marvelous expertise, experiences and knowledge the students have to offer. Their blogs range from how to raise chickens to where to buy the best makeup, from starting an art collection to finding the ideal community service, and they never cease to amaze me.

Have a look yourself (and spread the word!) And if you like one, please tweet it with the hashtag #CUAstudentblog.

The process of business is simple but profound: You start simply with a thought, an idea in your head. By focusing on it and your action, it slowly becomes a physical reality. You have become a creator. In fact, this act of creation exactly mimics the very first act of creation: God thought of the world and it came into existence.  Think about it: when we work, we actually imitate God! This is why I believe that business is a noble calling, even a spiritual undertaking. It is in the very sense of the word a path to holiness.

Contributed by Andreas Widmer
Director of Entrepreneurship Programs
The Catholic University of America, School of Business and Economics
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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Career Advice from an Expert

Bradley Peacock, President of Peacock Nine, LLC  in Chicago, Ill recently spent an evening with the MSBA class giving them ideas and tips for career and life success.  Bradley, an English major and Oxford graduate is a long time associate of Program Director Stewart McHie.  He has visited with each MSBA class over the past 4 years and is one of our most popular guests.  His advice to students in this tough environment is to keep your weirdness, stay curious, and be ready to pivot.  

Students need something to stand out from the crowd and must be passionate about something that sets them apart from all the other job applicants.  Interviewers won't remember that you claim to be an extremely hard worker (who doesn't), but they will remember you are a kayaker and have a goal of running two class fives a year.  Curiosity is a trait every one needs today, particularly given the fast pace of change.  And be ready to "pivot" or go in a different direction when the opportunity or circumstances dictate.

His 4 keys to success are summed up in an acronym PAWS; passion, association, work, and service.

We always appreciate Bradley's sacrifice of his time to visit with the class and become an important part of their professional network.

Stewart McHie
Director, Master of Science in Business Analysis
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Visit to Chamber of Commerce inspiring

The MSBA class was fortunate to visit The US Chamber of Commerce in downtown DC and spend a couple hours with Ricard Cooper, Vice President of Emerging Issues and Research and Melissa Vruggink, Associate Recruiter in Human Resources.   Rich told the students their generation will be "the one to change the rules."  They will have to deal with issues such as Big Data; how much is too much, the ethics of bio engineering, and small business issues which is where job creation is.  Cooper believes this generation will be more corraborative and that will be essential to working through these critical issues.

His advice to the class is to become a life long learner, be constantly curious and venture out of your comfort zone.  It is important to examine an issue from all sides, not just the lens you are comfortable with, in order to understand, debate and effect change.

Skill sets our next generation of workers need include efficient means of engagement.  The 20 page white paper is extinct, learn to write in a concise and clear manner, one page is hard but essential.  Learn storytelling and how to grab attention in the 6 seconds that research says is our attention span. 

Opportunities will be in the cyberscape which Rich described as the "nerve center of everything".  This will cross over into cyber security, healthcare, protection, infrastructure and privacy issues.  Challenges will be adapting to the speed in which commerce and technology evolve and finding work life balance in a 24/7 world.

In closing Rich advised that success for the life long learner looks like, "I haven't thought of it that way".  It was a tremendous experience and we are grateful to Rich, Melissa and the Chamber for this opportunity.

Stewart McHie
Director, Master of Science in Business Analysis
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