Tuesday, December 18, 2012

School prepares students for long-term success

In August, freshmen filled the Summerfield hallways at the University of Kansas for the first time, with efforts of the Business School Experience (BSE), a first-year program designed to prepare students for success in the classroom, the workforce and the professional world.

The BSE was designed by Jason O’Connor, assistant dean of academic programs and director of Student Academic Services, alongside Alicia Green and Shu Tosaka, academic advisors at the School of Business. The program focuses on incoming, high potential freshmen interested in pursuing a business major.

“Students are often looking to jumpstart their majors within the first year,” Green said. “Many other colleges offer that possibility and we see this addition to be an improvement for the students wanting to pursue a business degree, as well as the school itself.”

The BSE is a course offered to students as an introduction to the business school and KU. Each student admitted as a freshman is required to enroll in one business school introductory course for four semesters before enrolling in major-specific courses their junior year. 

“It shows them what it means to be a Jayhawk, and more specifically what it means to be a business school student,” Tosaka said. “It ties students together and they are bound with tradition.”

To guide the freshmen during their first year, each student is assigned a peer mentor. Throughout the semester, the students are required to meet with their mentor at least two times. In addition, each student is required to attend four School of Business events each semester.

“Quite honestly, I would have benefited tremendously from exposure to the School of Business during my freshman and sophomore years,” said Joe Viviano, senior at the School of Business and BSE peer mentor.  “Had I participated in more events during my first two years, I believe I would have emerged from my introverted shell earlier.”

Viviano and the other 10 mentors want to provide as much insight, counseling and advice as possible.
“Our hope is that the BSE students will parlay our mentoring and advice into personal and professional success,” Viviano said.

Green has received feedback from the mentors, who wish they would have been offered the same resources their first two years of college. This program allows students to network early and to explore all the possibilities in business. Green and Tosaka hope that this will benefit the students to make more specific schooling decisions for long-term success.

“Our goal with this program is to help the students become well-rounded individuals, personally and professionally,” Tosaka said.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Faculty: Minyoung Kim

Minyoung Kim, from the University of Illinois, joins the school’s international business faculty as an assistant professor.

Kim received his doctorate degree in Business Administration from U of I in 2012. Before moving to the United States, Kim also received his bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and his master’s in Business Administration from Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea.

In addition to his degrees, Kim is also a two-time black belt graduate.

“I enjoyed martial arts because it teaches discipline. I learned a lot about myself, but more importantly, it taught me the art of strategy,” Kim said.

Although he no longer participates in martial arts, Kim is still fascinated with strategy. His research focus lies at the intersection of international business and strategic management. His interest is primarily how the unique attributes of the international market allow firms to create and sustain competitive advantages in the context of technological innovation.

Currently, his research explores firm internationalization, knowledge transfer, barriers to imitation, value appropriation, innovation strategies and social network analysis. 

His in-depth analysis of international business research is a huge benefit to the students in his class, Intro to Business (IBUS 410).

“I hope my class expands the students’ horizons and helps them develop an interest for business opportunities in other countries,” Kim said.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Alumnus Sir Robert Worcester visits Summerfield

by Dan Dutcher

Noelle Nelson and Robert Worcester
Prof. Nelson and Worcester
Professor Noelle Nelson welcomed Sir Robert Worcester to her introductory consumer behavior class Thursday, Nov. 29. The University of Kansas School of Business alumnus spoke to a packed classroom about his experiences since graduating from KU in 1955. Worcester talked about how he got to where he is today, often crediting KU with giving him the skills to succeed.

Early in his career, he said, “everything was fitting into place because of KU.”

Worcester also shared some advice with the crowd of students and faculty mentioning his fondness for a “grasshopper mind,” a mind that can balance many projects at one time and jump between them when needed. But, when a student raised his hand and asked if there was one specific thing Worcester could tell young business students, his answer was simple.

“Take a risk. If you think something should be done, do it,” Worcester said. “Then if somebody says you weren’t supposed to do it, tell them you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do it. Just take a risk.”

Worcester is the chancellor of the University of Kent and the chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Committee, celebrating the documents 800th anniversary. He is also the founder of Market & Opinion Research International (MORI). Worcester is originally from Kansas City and is a Korean War veteran.

Friday, November 16, 2012

New faculty: Scott Whisenant

A “Boomer Sooner” at heart, Scott Whisenant, joins the accounting area as an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Business. 

For the last 11 years, Whisenant taught at the University of Houston.  He began his teaching career in 1997 at Georgetown (McDonough School) and also was a visiting faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan School).  Whisenant attended Texas A&M for his bachelor degree, and completed his master of accounting and doctorate degrees at the University of Oklahoma.  

Although he is warming up to becoming a Jayhawk sports fan, he is excited to be surrounded by extremely talented faculty members who are also dedicated to research similar to his areas of expertise. 

“From a research perspective, this was one of the best places I could be.  KU has a great reputation around the world for its audit market focus in accounting research,” Whisenant said.   

He teaches Advanced Auditing to graduate students, and tries to bring to the classroom skill sets learned from his past experience as an auditor.  His class focuses on exposing students to the challenges in auditing and financial reporting of accounting for complex business transactions and events.  

“My goal in my class is to enhance each student’s critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities,” Whisenant said. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Business professor presents evidence favoring auditor rotation auditing standards

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) invited audit market professionals and academics to present evidence on the debate on requiring auditor rotation for public companies in the U.S. at a Houston (Texas) Roundtable on October 18.  The PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation established by Congress in 2003, to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, accurate and independent audit reports. The PCAOB also oversees the audits of broker-dealers, including compliance reports filed pursuant to federal securities laws, to promote investor protection.

Dr. Scott Whisenant, associate professor in accounting at the University of Kansas School of Business, was one of those invited to discuss the implications of his research to members of the PCAOB and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  He presented the results from two current research projects that offered empirical evidence to the debate on mandatory auditor rotation.  In one study, he finds (with his coauthors Dr. Michael Willenborg from the University of Connecticut and Dr. Srinivasan Sankaraguruswamy from the National University of Singapore) that new audits (which would be expected to increase under a mandatory auditor rotation rule) are not associated with lowered audit quality.  The evidence is important since this is often argued as the primary reason against a forced rotation policy.  In the other study, Dr. Whisenant and his coauthor (Dr. Kathleen Harris from the University of Houston) find evidence of benefits to audit markets through an enhancement of overall audit quality following the adoption of rotation rules.  This research offered the PCAOB members insights into the experiences of other countries that have adopted forced rotation of audit firms for public companies.

“It was an honor to be invited,” Whisenant said. “Anytime a quasi-governmental agency, especially the PCAOB, calls up and wants your opinion on an issue that affects investors and our capital markets, you appreciate the opportunity to talk about your research.”

The webcast archive of the Houston roundtable is available on the PCAOB website. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Creativity in business success

Steven Koonin, president and CEO of Turner Entertainment, presented “CREATIVITY: Why Good Ideas Matter More Than Ever,” to students at the University of Kansas School of Business, Monday, Oct. 15.

“You used to plop down in front of the T.V. and watch, then came the VCR and recording, and now there is online streaming,” Koonin said.

As one of the smartest people in television, Koonin has led his company to success in an industry that focuses on change. In order to be successful in business, Koonin said there has to be a vision to avoid outcomes like Blockbuster’s. Its inability to adapt led to its defeat by Redbox and various online streaming sites.

“Media is under attack by technology,” Koonin said.

To overcome changing times, to strive for long-term success in work, to avoid tunneling all focus on what is being done, there should be attention to where the company is going, Koonin said.  In his presentation, Koonin revealed some of his most helpful points to provide insights that aim to succeed.

        Take a fresh look. Children view the world with a different set of eyes. Be the one to see opportunities that others do not.

        Use the F-word. The scary word to a business is “focus.” The key to building a brand is by
making choices. TNT is the first and only television network that decided to focus on drama and, by making this decision, to drop WCW, its highest rated program, TNT grew its audience loyalty by shrinking its focus.

        Place your bets.  See opportunities that other don’t. It’s possible to increase audience by eliminating the danglers. For example, 9 out of 10 television shows fail. TBS took on Tyler Perry’s show after extensive research. Turner thought that there was no good reason that this would work, but it did.

        Know your strengths. Know what you are, know what you’re not. Conan O’Brien transformed his identity from a traditional late night host to a multimedia hit because he adjusted to changing platforms and changing times.

        Don’t be afraid to fail. Every company has failures. Ideas are like disposable diapers – when they’re full of crap, throw them away.

        Serious work does not have to be serious. Work should be fun and you should enjoy every day you’re doing something. I use humor as a tool to manage people. Just because someone has a hammer doesn’t mean it should be flaunted. Treat people in the same way that you want to be treated, with kindness, respect and opportunity.

Koonin said, in a technologically advanced world, there have been major advancements in the way people interact and manage their media, and there is no ending in sight. “Creativity is the currency for the future,” Koonin said.