At the Bauer College, graduation celebrations mark the month of May —Sales Excellence Institute, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, and MBA and MS graduation celebrations. Each event is marked by a great keynote, and a celebration of student successes. LINN Energy founder Mike Linn spoke at the MBA Graduation celebration at the Houstonian and shared the story of the company with the audience. Houston, we are the place to be, and Mike described it very well — compared to Coloradans who think electric power comes from the “wall,” Houston understands the energy business like no other city does. As our Bauer economist Bill Gilmer explained in the bi-annual symposium hosted by the Bauer College Institute for Regional Forecasting, in Houston, the business of energy “is in the air.” Houston reaps the benefits from creating a “commons” for the energy business. It does not hurt that The Wall Street Journal, in a May 6 article titled “A Tale of Two Oil States,” described the tale of two states, both oil-rich, and with different policies: Texas, where the energy boom has expanded energy production, which could triple by 2020, and California, where production has declined by more than 20% owing to restrictive drilling practices. The unemployment rate in Texas is less than 6.5% while that in California is 9.4%
I was in New York City (NYC) during the first week of May, meeting alumni, stakeholders, and business school deans. Being in NYC is always a delightful experience — the buzz, the crowds, the traffic, the construction, and most of all the people, who seem to be held together by their love for “living,” if that is the right word. Crossing the streets alongside masses of humanity, reminds me of Bombay, the town I grew up in. It reminds me that we are all similar in our core — despite differences in color, race, gender, language and other variables, the humanity in us unites us. From the employees who work at crowded JFK and LaGuardia to cab drivers, doormen, concierge attendants, and of course men and women in the best tailored suits, getting into and out of chauffeured limousines only to stop to get a pita plate from the state vendor, the delicious aromas of foods from all over the world — visiting NYC is a comforting and uniting experience.
Visiting other business schools drives home the point that the Bauer College is large in size. With close to 6,000 students, we are significantly larger in size and significantly smaller in resource base than most business schools in the country. As one of our faculty explained to me, we at Bauer are like the bumble bee — thermodynamically the bumble bee is not supposed to be able to fly, and yet it does. Given our size and with the limited resources we have, we are not technically supposed to be able to exist, but we do, and we thrive thanks to talented faculty, a committed staff, an engaged student body and supportive alumni.
My meeting with Sam DiPiazza, Vice Chairman of the Institutional Clients Group at Citigroup, underscored the value of the Bauer brand — humility without hubris, and aptitude with no attitude. I had dinner with two friends of Bauer at the Lotos Club and was awed by the history behind every piece of art in the club. Overall the trip was about catching up with friends of Bauer, learning from other business schools, and catching up with alumni who speak to the value of the Bauer brand. You can never do too many of these visits.
Thank you all for what you do and congratulations to all you graduates.