Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Habits Needed for Success in Business School

Successful students don't come by success without working at it. There are a lot of smart people in college, so just being smart is not much of a distinguishing trait. Successful students have habits that that contribute much to their success. Many of these habits are behaviors that any student can adopt. Here are a few of them.

Successful students go to class. Most college classes do not have an attendance requirement, so many students simply choose to skip class when they don't feel like going.

Successful students read the assigned material before class. Many students have told me they don't read the assigned material until after it has been covered in class. They reason that they will understand it better if they read it after the professor has explained. That may be true, but they would understand the material even better if they read it before class so they could (1) pay particular attention to the parts they didn't understand when they read it and (2) ask the professor questions about the parts they didn't understand. When students read the assigned material before class, they are seeing it for a second time in class.

Successful students do homework even when it is not assigned. Many professors will not assign homework. So, many students will not do homework. When the textbook has problems or questions at the end of chapter, successful students work the problems and answer the questions. Afterward, they seek out the solutions (from a professor or a teaching assistant) for any solution / answer that they are not 100% confident about.

Successful students join student groups. If your major has a student group, join it and become an active member. It's the best way to build a community of students to study with and it is also key to navigating the recruiting process when you are searching for a job in your senior year.

Successful students lead balanced lives. Successful students make time to eat, sleep, study, and play. They eat at least one healthy meal a day. They get an appropriate amount of sleep. They play intramural sports or work out (even if it is a casual routine) at the recreation center. And, they do the other academic things listed above.

Even if you are working to help pay for your college expenses, you can incorporate these success factors into your life. You must do it to maximize your likelihood of success.

If you have a question or a suggestion for a post topic, please email it to bizedthoughts@gmail.com.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Choosing a Major

A common issue that arises is the process of choosing a major. Many business students come to a business school with a major already in mind. In many cases their choice has been determined by some familiarity with a relative who has already succeeded in that field. For example, a student chooses to major in accounting because her father majored in accounting. Or, the choice of major may be influenced by some perception that comes from the popular media. For example, a student chooses to major in finance because he believes finance graduates automatically make a lot of money.

I encourage all business students to shop around.

There are many majors in a business school that a student has never heard of prior to arriving. Depending on the business school, these include majors like business analytics, entrepreneurship, information systems, insurance, logistics, operations management, production management, real estate, risk management, and supply chain management. A student should investigate all of these.

Most majors have a student group that meets regularly. I encourage students to attend a range of student group meetings during the first year on campus so that they can learn something about their options.

There are faculty who will explain job opportunities in fields to students. If a student will go to the department office and ask, she will be directed to a faculty member who will be happy to discuss the industry.

I also encourage students to go to any lecture given by a successful alumnus of the school. These people often provide a perspective of a career path that is not expected.

More than anything, though, the most important thing is for a student to find a major that s/he finds interesting. I believe that people are most productive when they are in a job they enjoy. Productivity leads to success, both personally and professionally.

If you have a question or a suggestion for a post topic, please email it to bizedthoughts@gmail.com.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A New Focus for BizEdThoughts


I'm back and looking forward to reviving this blog. This time the focus of the blog will be a little different, however.

This blog was originally constructed as a way for me to post some of my thoughts about business school education. I felt like I had enough experience in various roles at a couple of large business schools that I might have something worthwhile to share. At that time, my goal was to become a dean in a business school. So, the blog posts were as much a way for me to explore my own thoughts about business education as it was to get some feedback on them.

In a nutshell, I've abandoned the goal of becoming a dean. I've moved to a great institution, the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University, and I'm busy serving as the Harbert Eminent Scholar in Business Analytics and Chair of a department that currently has programs in Aviation Management, Business Analytics, Information Systems Management, Professional Flight Management, and Supply Chain Management.

Now, I'd like to draw on my experiences to help others navigate the business school environment. If you have any connection to a business school, or you are thinking about making a connection to a business school, send me a note at bizedthoughts@gmail.com with a comment or a question that you would like to see addressed.

If you are a student or the parent of a student with a question about admissions, academics, or anything else related to the business school experience, send me a note. I've dealt with admissions, dismissals, grade appeals, and a lot more. I've dealt with families whose student had significant medical, criminal, and family issues.

If you are a doctoral student in business facing an issue you want some guidance on, send me a note. I've been on over 50 dissertation committees.

If you are a faculty member facing a problem and you want another professor's perspective on it, send me a note. I've been in the business for over 30 years. .

If you are an administrator, send me a note. I've been responsible for over two dozen academic programs. I've dealt with accreditation issues. I've been in a unionized environment and a non-unionized environment. I've handled difficult promotion and tenure cases, instances of faculty behaving badly, and students disrupting classrooms.

If you work at a corporation interested in a relationship with a business program, send me a note. I was center director for 4 years. Corporate relationships are critical for business schools.

I look forward to hearing from you!