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’ĂȘtre 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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