Friday, March 28, 2014

Global awareness important in all business

In the increasingly global marketplace, international business is a vital expertise for professionals in almost any industry.

The MBA graduate certificate in International Business Management gives professionals the tools necessary to navigate differing business practices, laws and currencies across borders. Dennis Karney, a professor in international business and the faculty coordinator for the certificate, said he believes international business is the norm and that true domestic business is essentially extinct.

“We live in this world dominated by difference,” Karney said. “Difference is increasing. Borders are disappearing when it comes to trade. There are more and more players involved, countries involved.”

The International Business Management certificate offers MBA students the opportunity to specialize while pursuing an MBA. It also offers professionals that aren't seeking an MBA the opportunity to expand their skills without committing to a full degree. Karney said the certificate tells employers that the student or professional has acquired additional skills in a concentrated area.

“It’s an identified, concentrated body of knowledge that let’s you go beyond the kind of stuff covered in basic courses,” he said.

The certificate includes five classes for a total of ten credit hours. Students study international business strategy, cross-cultural management and business practices in foreign countries, international finance, human resources management and global marketing.

Apply for fall 2014 by July 15. Learn more at

by Allison Kite

Thursday, March 27, 2014

University awards faculty promotions

Jim Guthrie, Associate Dean
for Academic Affairs
Sue Scholz, Associate Dean of
Faculty Development and Research
As the school year winds down, the School of Business is celebrating retiring faculty and congratulating promoted faculty.

Jide Wintoki has been awarded tenure and the promotion to associate professor of finance.

Associate professors Vince Barker and Kissan Joseph have been promoted to professors. Barker will take over as area director for management for Ron Ash, who will step back into a non-administrative faculty role.

After Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Doug Houston retires this summer, two new associate deans will step in next year. Jim Guthrie, William and Judy Docking Professor of Business, will become associate dean for academic affairs, and Professor Sue Scholz will become associate dean of faculty development and research.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Big 12 MBA students to compete in Lawrence

The Big 12 Case Competition gives promising MBA students a platform to showcase their abilities with a real-world business problem from a local business.

A KU MBA student competes in the 2013
Big 12 Case Competition
The School of Business will host the Big 12 Case Competition in Lawrence this weekend for the first time since it began eight years ago.  MBA students from nine conference universities will compete to solve a yet-to-be-revealed local company’s business problem over a 24-hour period. Dee Steinle, KU administrative director of masters programs, cautions the competition is “intense” and said it makes students fire on all cylinders while performing under pressure.

“Case competitions generally are great ways for students to put into practice what they've learned in the classroom,” said Cathy Shenoy, KU director of MBA programs. “The competition lends more urgency and focus to the process of coming up with a solution.”

Paul Epp, a KU MBA student who participated in last year’s competition and will take part in this year’s, experienced firsthand the importance of properly strategizing during the process of finding a solution. Epp says the competition is all about pacing yourself and not rushing to solve the problem. He looks forward to this year’s competition because of the opportunities it offers.

“My favorite part about the competition is getting the opportunity to travel, problem -solving with a good team and seeing how we compare to the competition,” Epp said. “It's always hard to know how well you're doing when always surrounded by the same people.”

Students present their final solutions to the competition judges made up of business leaders and company executives, making it an important networking opportunity. Though networking with executives is a plus, Prasanna Tadimeti, a KU MBA student competing for the first time this year, is focused on the importance of interacting with students from competing schools.

“The competition provides a platform to interact with students from other business schools in the region and helps us in understanding where we stand. We learn about their MBA experiences and thus improve ourselves further,” Tadimeti said.

Epp and Tadimeti will compete with Michael Wade Smith and William McCullough for the KU team.

by Mackenzie Leander

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

HR a part of every manager's job

No matter what position you hold in a company, everyone has to know how to manage people.

Source: NBC Studios
The new Human Resource Management graduate certificate aims to train not only HR professionals, but anyone who needs to know how to staff a business and train employees.

“Anyone would benefit from this whether they’re a specialist in HR or just a manager,” said Professor James Guthrie.

Guthrie said the certificate is a good opportunity to specialize in HR management, even if someone already has a business background.

“A lot of people move sideways into the world of HR once they join a company, and a lot of people haven’t had direct training in it,” he said. “Even if a person has a business degree, there’s usually not a lot of opportunity for specialized training in HR.”

The Human Resource Management graduate certificate comprises five classes and 10 credit hours of work. Students complete management coursework in staffing, performance management, compensation, rewards, training and development, and international HR.

Any credits earned through the certificate can later count toward the Working Professional MBA when a student is ready for the full degree program.

Apply for fall 2014 by July 15. Learn more at

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Networking isn't just about exchanging business cards

Though many students recognize the importance of networking, the concept can be vague, and many students don’t fully grasp how to effectively network.

Though many in the business school have their own networking styles, most agree that successful networking is based on building lasting relationships with other professionals.

Foster Casterline, president of ISAK, said networking goes beyond talking to employers at a career fair.

“It’s relationship building,” Casterline said. “I think a lot of people think that networking is going out and selling yourself like in career-fair-style networking, but that’s not how it really is.”

Casterline also emphasized the importance of humility in networking.

Networking shouldn't be about professional facades,” he said. “As a student, you're there to learn which makes you coachable and genuine. That's who people want to build relationships with.

Networking can and should go beyond an initial conversation. Jennifer Jordan, director of the Business Career Services Center, said she believes professionals and students can each bring something important to the table.

“Networking is a give and take relationship,” Jordan said. “I think a lot of students are very intimidated by networking and feel like it’s kind of opportunistic or self-promoting, but I think it’s a relationship that goes both ways. It can have a professionally-aligned objective, but it can be more broad than that as well.”

Though Jordan emphasizes a two-way street, many students can feel like they have little to offer professionals in return for advice and job opportunities. Cathy Curless, a lecturer in the School of Business, said students can often offer more than they realize. One of Curless’ students once helped her train for and run a marathon.

“That was a pivotal moment for me to realize that there was so much I could gain from somebody younger,” Curless said.

She also said networking allowed her to get ideas for her classes to help her engage students and keep them interested in the topic.

“The more I can understand what motivates twenty-somethings – what engages them, how do you keep their attention in class, what kinds of examples and companies are they interested in hearing about – every time I hear information about that, that helps me a great deal,” she said.

This is the first in a four-part series about networking. Check back for blogs about networking do’s and don’ts, how to follow up after an event and when and where to network.

by Allison Kite

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Retool your knowledge base with a Foundations of Business MBA certificate

Amy Thomas
Amy Thomas is an event planner with more than a decade of experience in weddings and events, but she found herself missing important business acumen in her new position.

“I have an education background,” Thomas said. “And while I've worked in event planning for many years, I need a better understanding of what it means to run a business.”

She enrolled in the KU MBA program’s new Foundations of Business certificate program to grow her knowledge base and move her career forward.

The Foundations of Business graduate certificate comprises five classes and 10 credit hours of work. Students complete management coursework in financial accounting, statistical decision making, financial management, marketing and organizational behavior.

The certificate gives professionals critical tools in business administration and provides a smooth segue to the Working Professional MBA when a student is ready for the full degree program.

Apply for fall 2014 by July 15. Learn more at

Monday, March 10, 2014

Building leaders from the get-go

The School of Business prides itself on the development of leaders inside and outside of the classroom with the help of organizations such as Business Leadership Program (BLP).

Up to 25 high-ability students are admitted into the BLP each fall. Once they are admitted they spend their freshman and sophomore years developing leadership, professional and managerial skills. Frances Lyons, assistant director of recruitment, wants students to get excited about the opportunities that BLP provides from the start of their academic careers.

“The program offers them opportunities that they wouldn't necessarily receive through other outlets,” Lyons said. “They are in small cohorts, so they are immediately surrounded by high-ability, high-achieving students with similar goals and drive. So they are building that network from the get-go.”

See what students have to say about the benefits of being in the BLP:

Kevin Cheng, sophomore 
BLP has helped me by providing networking and career building events with professionals in the community as well as other motivated students with similar interests as me.  This has allowed me to strengthen my career goals and gain the necessary skills needed to succeed in the future.  Students should get involved because it is a great way to meet other students and work on your leadership, networking and interpersonal skills.

Mel Mihelic, sophomore 
The Business Leadership Program helped me find my niche on the KU campus right from the beginning of my freshman year. It gave me a place to be comfortable and social while challenging to reach outside of my comfort zone and work hard to achieve. I truly believe my KU experience wouldn't be the same without BLP!

Annie Lewis, sophomore 
The Business Leadership Program is a great way to get to know other outgoing students in the school of business and learn about all of the opportunities available to you. BLP helps students make important connections with faculty and realize their own potential. Personally, I met many of the people who I now take most all of my classes with through BLP, so it helped me to find similar faces in the mass of Budig 120.

by Mackenzie Leander

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kansas Impact Project molds MBA students into exceptional leaders

Full-Time MBA students won’t graduate without being tested by real-world business dilemmas through the Kansas Impact Project (KIP).

KIP is designed to thrust first-year MBA students into the realities, both rewarding and challenging, of an MBA’s career. Besides the obvious learning application, KIP is intended to develop student’s strategic-thinking skills, problem solving and teamwork. Diane O’Byrne, coordinator of KIP, said this is an opportunity students need to take advantage of.

KIP team with client, Habitat for Humanity ReStore
“It’s the chance for students to take what they’re learning in the classroom and utilize that knowledge to problem solve a very real-world issue for a non-profit,” O’Byrne said.

O’Byrne has advised and worked with her six teams as they’ve acted as consultants to their partner non-profit or service organization, but it’s the students who have stepped up to the plate. This week, six months of performing research, identifying problems and brainstorming solutions are coming to an end, but what they’ve learned will last a lifetime.

Will McCullough, a current KIP student working with the Kansas Rural Center, said the project fosters a challenging environment that has pushed him to the edge, because even though the project is rewarding, it’s also very difficult. He describes how the project faces students with the realities of business:  indecision, bad practices and leaders who are rough around the edges.

“Anyone who is able to thrive and succeed in KIP has proven themselves to be an incredible leader,” McCullough said. “It gives great opportunity to cut our teeth on some tricky stuff.”

As KIP students finalize their presentations to be given this Thursday, they keep in mind that it’s not only the client they’ll be presenting to. Friends, faculty, university administrators, elected officials and the general public will all be present Thursday to hear each team’s final solutions for their organizations.

McCullough is more than ready to see the results of half a year’s work, he said. He has become a strong advocate for the project after his experience and encourages future MBA students to get excited about being part of KIP.

 “It'll make you whine like a little foolish baby, but as you push through and get stuff done, it'll stretch you and strengthen you,” McCullough said.  “And at the end of the program, you'll wake up one day and go, ‘Wow, I can handle a lot more now than I used to.’”

by Mackenzie Leander