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 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 Seán 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
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

MSBA Alumni Spotlight Story - Anatole Doak

"I came in with a liberal arts background and didn't really know what I wanted, but going into the program exposes you to every single aspect of business"

Hear more of Anatole's story in the MSBA Alumni Spotlight video below. Want to learn more about the MSBA program or interested in applying? Click here to learn more!
Are you an MSBA alumni? Would you like to share your story of how the MSBA program helped you in your career path and be featured in a video? Contact Emily Casey at
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Monday, April 11, 2016

University Hires Dean of School of Business & Economics

Following a nationwide search, President John Garvey announced today that The Catholic University of America has hired Bill Bowman as the new dean of the School of Business and Economics. Bowman will begin on Aug. 20, but will be on campus extensively during the summer. Bowman is currently the President and CEO of Core Values Group LLC in Boston, a consulting firm that works with employees to help them grow in the human virtues most important to their organization’s success.
Bowman brings with him to his new position over 25 years of business leadership experience. Prior to launching Core Values Group, Bowman was president and CEO of US Inspect in Chantilly, Va., the nation’s largest home and commercial inspection company. Before that, he served as president of ChildrenFirst Inc. (now Bright Horizons), the nation’s leading provider of backup child care services to corporations.

Bowman is also an experienced entrepreneur. In 1982, he co-founded Spinnaker Software Corp., one of the nation’s first educational software companies. After selling Spinnaker to the Learning Company, Bowman began operations for Logal Software, Inc., another educational software company. Serving as president, he helped to take the company public in 1996. Prior to both those ventures, Bowman co-founded the Montrose School, an independent day school for girls located in Medfield, Mass. Bowman served as chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees for 10 years and remains active as a trustee.

Bowman is an honors engineering graduate of Northwestern University. He received an M.B.A. with distinction from the Harvard Business School. He is married to Leigh Bowman, with whom he has nine children.

Bowman also worked for the Boston Consulting Group and for the United States Public Health Service, and was appointed by the governor as a trustee of the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts, remaining on the board for six years. He is a co-founder of the Massachusetts Software Council, past chairman of the Software Publishers Association, and a former director of the Massachusetts High Technology Council.

Announcing the appointment, President Garvey said, “Bill Bowman has achieved great success while living out his faith in the business world. We look forward to working with him as he brings his talents, experience, and values into his new role as dean of the School of Business and Economics.”

Bowman noted: “The Catholic Church has a rich set of social doctrine that can help business leaders operate their companies with greater integrity and compassion. I look forward to working with our faculty and students to translate these principles into concrete actions that improve business operations without sacrificing financial return. At a time when so many are losing faith with business, The Catholic University of America can help them gain confidence that there is a better way to operate."

As the dean of the School of Business and Economics, Bowman will report to the provost. He will provide academic and administrative leadership to the school, while representing the school to the University at large and the business community. He will also be responsible for leading the school’s development and promotion efforts.

Original post found here
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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Former VP of US Chamber of Commerce visits MSBA class

Rich Cooper, former Vice President of Emerging Issues at the US Chamber of Commerce was our guest this month in the MSBA Leadership Series. Rich has a wealth of knowledge and information on future trends and directions and kept the class spellbound with his ideas on what their future might look like.

Mr. Cooper contends many of the old definitions are no longer relevant and the status quo is constantly being disrupted. “Think Über and Lyft versus the taxi monopoly,” he urged. “Will regulators be able to keep up with the technology? What about the unintended consequences of these disruptors? Who will decide the limits of the drone? Your airspace, free airspace?”

“Google glasses may be a great convenience, but what if you don’t want your conversation recorded?”, he asked. Lawyers and ethicists will have to deal with these questions in the future.

In fact, Mr. Cooper thinks the current Millennial generation may be the most disruptive generation since the founding fathers; not willing to accept the status quo and possessing the means to disrupt it. For example, smart phones today have more computing power than the technology that landed man on the moon and all of the information contained in the Alexandria library, once considering the greatest in the world, would fit on a thumb drive today.

In closing, Rich counseled vigilance and humility will be needed to ensure progress is for the benefit of all.
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Monday, March 21, 2016

MSBA Alumni Success Story Spotlight Video - Bryan Levine

Check out our newest Alumni Spotlight video featuring Bryan Levine, MSBA class of 2012. Hear about how his experience in the MSBA program helped him in his job field. Let us know what you think by commenting below - we would love to hear from you!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Former Presidential Speechwriter Bill McGurn Guest Lectures in MSBA Class

Bill McGurn, Main Street columnist at the Wall Street Journal, joined the MSBA Spirit of Enterprise class for the first of three visiting lectures. McGurn has had a long career in journalism, serving as the Editor for the Editorial Page for The New York Post, columnist for the The Wall Street Journal, and speechwriter for former President George Bush, Sr.

Last week's case study dealt with the ethical question surrounding the relationship between Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill and Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jack Grubman in 2001. Was the sudden AT&T upgrade from hold to strong buy a result of new strategic information that Grubman encountered? Or was it in fact a quid pro quo for Weill's recommendation and $1M contribution to the 92nd Street Y pre-school which Grubman wanted his childrento attend?

At stake was AT&T's choice of an investment bank, which Weill coveted, knowing a hold recommendation from his subsidiary SSB was likely to hurt Citi's chances. After discussing the case and reading memos between the two, Mr. McGurn and professor Max Torres role-played Jack Grubman and congressional questioners. Guilty or not guilty? We will never know. What we do know is the case led to a spirited debate in our Spirit of Enterprise class and demonstrated the fine line between honorable and selfish intentions.
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

MSBA Alumni Success Story Spotlight

Let us know what you think of our latest MSBA Success Story Spotlight video! Today we feature 2015 graduate Paige Pilarski who currently works at RiskLens. Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Building a Leader: The Importance of Courage, Discipline, Decisiveness and Attention to Detail

This month, Colonel Trey (Lou) Rawls, Air Force Fighter pilot and current program manager in the F-35 joint strike fighter, visited the MSBA class as part of our continuing series on leadership. Colonel Rawls has logged over 2500 hours in more than 40 aircrafts, including a rotation as a test pilot. He saw service in both the A-10 Warthog and the F-15 in Iraq and served in operation Noble Eagle following 9/11.

During his time with the class, Trey emphasized the importance of forming personal relationships in all aspects of your life;both business and personal. He cited examples from his own life in the military of working with both civilians and fellow service people and how important it was to interact with people on a personal level. He noted that because he formed these personal relationships, he often gained more needed and valuable knowledge from informal conversations than structured meetings.

In speaking of the various virtues, Col. Rawls relayed that courage is not the absence of fear but rather what you do when you are faced with it. He explained that physical courage can be much easier than moral courage. He also spoke about the importance of discipline in terms of being a leader, saying if you can't master the art of discipline yourself, you cannot expect to master or lead others. Leaders, he said, always have time for others, time for the gym (to stay healthy), and are the most organized and productive employees.

Col. Rawls went on to cite a Fortune 500 study of CEO's that found the number one trait of a successful CEO is decisiveness. One or two times a year a CEO gets a chance to make a decision that really has a far ranging impact.

Trey's last bit of advice was that details matter. He challenged the MSBA team to be observant and pay attention to the little things that impact decisions.
It was an honor and a pleasure to have one of our country's top warriors share his personal experiences and philosophies with us.
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Why I Chose the MSBA Program and How It Has Helped Me - Alumni Spotlight Video

Caroline Gangware, MSBA class of 2013, shares her reasons behind choosing the Master of Science in Business Analysis program and how it helped her in her career.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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

Welcome back! In today's post, we continue our blogging series, "How My Liberal Arts Degree is Helping Me in Business School". Today we have the pleasure of hearing from Elizabeth Masarik (known to us as Emmy). Emmy received her undergraduate degree in Media Studies here at The Catholic University of America. She is currently a Global Human Resources Operations Intern for Organizational Change Management and Communications at Johnson & Johnson. 

 The Value of a Media Studies Degree in Business

When I mention that I received a BA in Media Studies, I tend to get many heads nods accompanied by questions like, “So you want to film movies, right?” or, “You studied how to tweet and Instagram?” Not quite.
Media is an all-encompassing and powerful driver in most of the major fields of business right now. My concentration in Critical Theory has given me the background to understand and predict important societal trends as we continue to become more consistent consumers of media.
To put it in the words of one of the major academic authorities of media in our time, “The medium is the message.” Marshall McLuhan was the first person to understand that it’s not just what you say but how you say it; a lesson that is as valuable as it is insightful.
Understanding the importance of thoughtful selection when it comes to communication vehicles is vital to business. From daily conversations with co-workers to selecting the format for newsletters and presentation decks; understanding how people process information and how to most effectively use that knowledge is a desirable skill.
So the next time you’re designing something, think about why you’re choosing to use the method that you are. Something as simple as the colors on your slide or image you choose can dictate how a consumer will determine what you’re trying to convey and if it will really impact your customer.
Note: Written as part of The Catholic University of America MSBA program course Marketing with Integrity

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Monday, February 8, 2016

The Spirit of Enterprise

In a recent interview, MSBA professor Max Torres describes what his course 'The Spirit of Enterprise' is all about.

Michael Novak has written that the virtue of enterprise requires two ingrained habits, one intellectual and the other moral. The intellectual habit is the ability to see the possibilities of enterprise, to see what people need and how to provide it to them profitably. The moral habit is the ability to push through obstacles, to surmount and overcome them. Many will recognize these as the cardinal virtues of Prudence and Fortitude, which require the virtues of Justice and Temperance to operate. This course aims to integrate contemporary business practice with classical wisdom. It seeks to broaden the vistas of MSBA students to encompass the full range of human goods at stake in managerial decision-making beyond those of mere utility and pleasure.

While our graduates learn to get things done efficiently, they also learn that there is a right way and wrong way of doing so. Successful enterprise is animated by a generous and rightly-ordered spirit that includes, but is not limited to, effectiveness. One way of expressing this is to say that participation in enterprise requires moral virtues, which are something about which the occidental tradition (not exclusively) has much to say. Indeed, recent intellectual theorists from Peter Drucker to Francis Fukuyama and beyond have confirmed this insight by underscoring the economic necessity of integrity-based trust.

Our methodology will be to utilize headline events in a case-like fashion to learn from other people’s too-public experience. The news is rich with practical lessons that highlight what has been said above. Additionally, through our reading of Catholic social teaching, we will consider some of the big issues such as the conflict between capitalism and socialism, the morality or immorality of profit and private property, and the existence or absence of limits on behavior. We will address questions germane to functional areas of business such as finance, human resource management, marketing and sales, manufacturing, and international business. Finally, we will consider morally-sensitive industries such as Health Care, Pharmaceuticals and Media, as well as some basic moral technology, e.g., how to resolve moral dilemmas.

In order to make the exercise practical, students will apply their knowledge and these “soft” skills in research projects drawn from today’s headlines. For instance, how is the spirit of enterprise rightly, or wrongly, manifest in recent events at Volkswagen, FIFA, Uber and Chipotle, and by what standards? What principles apply, and why? Ultimately, how do business practices contribute to, or detract from the raison d’être of enterprise: human dignity, the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity. Any program dedicated to being a force for good cannot prescind from such inquiries.
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Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Superbowl 50 Commercials - Back to the Future

Do not adjust your set!  Following last year’s failed social experiment where the Superbowl proved to be a bully pulpit for all kinds of social ills and issues, I am pleased to announce fun and frivolity have returned to your living room.  And for good cause.  The superbowl is about escaping from the real world for just a little while.  It is Americas party, we have been prepping for this since summer camp opened.  So why not have a little fun.

This year’s ads have returned to two themes, fun and humor and oh, let’s sell something along the way.  A National Retail Federation survey last year found that 77% of Americans view superbowl ads as entertainment and only 10% say they are influenced to buy.  Those aren’t numbers that support the cost of a 30 second superbowl ad.  The Budweiser puppies are awfully cute but do they really evoke a thirst for beer.  The Clydesdales on the other hand…well, tune in. 
I always judged a successful ad by three criteria: entertainment, engagement and relevance. Certainly entertainment is expected in this venue and humor, animals, children and, I dare say sex, engage us.  Not every product is relevant to every viewer but that’s ok, you still have a huge target audience.  So entertain and engage us and just maybe, we’ll buy what you’re selling. 

Is it worth it?  Let’s look at the numbers.  30 seconds.  5 million dollars. $166,667 dollars per second.  Oh, don’t forget to add in production costs of a measly couple hundred thou up to a couple mil.  And Alec Baldwin and Dan Marino and Helen Mirren?  They don’t work for Doritos.  And one last number-189 million eyeballs.

Yes, it is a huge investment for a brand and many people question the return to shareholders.  One argument is that with so many different advertising outlets from 500 cable channels to huge buildings to bridges, is television still worth the premium.  The simple answer is yes.  

Precisely because we are bombarded with so many channels of advertising, television remains the one place where you can deliver your message to the masses all at once.  And this year, add to the party recipe; 50th anniversary, a favorite son in Peyton Manning who may be riding off into the sunset, the brash new gen QB in Cam Newton, and John Elway’s electric smile.  And that’s before we start totaling up millions of YouTube views that come absolutely free.  There was a time when we had to actually watch the game to see the commercials and we might, or might not, see them again.  Now we will have studied them for a week prior and do a complete postmortem for a week to come.  Yea, it’s worth it.

Have fun America!  And go Peyton!
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Economy of Communion

The MSBA class had the privilege of spending an evening with Nick Sanna, CEO of RiskLens and a School of Business and Economics founding Advisory Board member. Nick acquainted the class with the Economy of Communion, a movement of like-minded business leaders that stress a culture of giving rather than just simply philanthropy. Building upon the well –known Proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, the EoC movement preaches that we as people should strive to fish with the man to build a relationship of communion and treat the poverty-stricken as valuable and contributing members of society, not objects of poverty.

Nick also spoke about the importance of living in communion in terms of business. This means building relationships with clients based on respect for human dignity and asking ourselves how we want to relate to the community around us. He encouraged the class to build a "culture code" and to ask themselves if they live out core Christian values and spread and inspire communion.

"You all have plenty to give", Nick told the cohort. "The more you give, the more you are given. Everyday is a chance for another encounter and a chance to join the economy of communion".

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