Giving Thanks

November 27, 2013

What a wonderful time of year it is – a time to give thanks, to acknowledge and to be grateful.  As we approach the official Thanksgiving break, I continue to be amazed by the people around us – faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community at large, all of whom, working together, make a difference and change lives.   For this I am truly thankful.  By no means exhaustive, and not in any order, I say:

Thank you, Tammy

Many of you I am sure, have seen our Bauer College Security Officer Tamara (Tammy to some of us) Hauser who sits at the concierge desk at the entrance to Melcher Hall.  Waiting for the rain to subside on Tuesday evening, I chatted with Tammy about her family, her three sons, and her husband Raymond.  This Thanksgiving, Tammy and Raymond (who is being treated for cancer at M.D. Anderson) have given generously to support a kids’ celebration at M.D. Anderson for kids with cancer.  Thank you Tammy, and thank you Raymond.

Thank you, Priscilla

Priscilla Harrington is a Supply Chain Management and Marketing major, also in the Program for Excellence in Selling.  Not only is she an active volunteer in the community (she will be helping out at Turkey Trot, the day before Thanksgiving), she gets other students to do the same.  She is a mentor in the Ted Bauer Leadership Certificate Program (TBLCP) and received the Bauer Pride Award and the TBLCP Leadership Award.  Priscilla and her fellow TBLCP students volunteered for the Houston Souper Bowl of Caring, where they sold over 400 bags containing canned goods for the Houston Food Bank.  Thank you, Priscilla.

Thank you, Joyce

Joyce Williams is director of Recruitment and Community Outreach at Bauer.  There is a reason for this.  In my opinion, Joyce’s middle name is “Service” and the litany of service projects she is involved in would be hard to fit into a brief description.  Yesterday, Joyce and her team completed the Stars of Tomorrow Excellence Program’s Food Drive.  Our own Bauer Leadership Council, Bauer Morale and Training Committee, students, faculty and staff all pitched in. Working as a team they collected 1,000 items to feed eight families and start a food pantry for the Edison School community.  Thank you, Joyce.

And the list goes on.

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

New Traditions Begin with Pride

November 5, 2013

dean-whiteboard-webIt started with an idea and a twenty minute conversation with Brandee Chevanintakul and Jonathan Shirley. Brandee is a student in our Accounting program at Bauer and appreciates everything the College has, and is doing, for her. She is not alone. Several students feel the same. Why don’t we celebrate Bauer Pride and start a new tradition? A great idea that can be the impetus for a new annual tradition at Bauer!

So, on October 16, we kicked off Bauer Pride Day. Cookies, goodies and students all around. At 5:30 p.m. I had the privilege of speaking to the group. After sharing moments of pride from the Dean’s office, I asked every student in the audience to share the reasons they were proud to be at Bauer.  The ensuing comments were truly humbling.  Here is a snapshot of what I heard:

  • I am proud to be at Bauer because the faculty and staff are committed to our success.
  • For internships, jobs, and other opportunities, Bauer is the place to be.
  • Student organizations at Bauer support their members and make sure that students are connected, and committed to their academic endeavors.
  • I am proud of the ‘Bauer swagger’!
  • Bauer student organizations go the extra mile and inspire members.
  • It is the entrepreneurial and ‘can-do’ spirit of our students, that sets us apart.
  • I enjoy the environment at RED Labs and the safety net that is created via an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • The diversity of the student community at Bauer sets the tone for the Bauer culture.
  • I am proud to be at Bauer for the problem solving skills I learn inside and outside the classroom.
  • The curriculum at Bauer is challenging and relevant.
  • I enjoy being part of the study groups at Bauer.
  • The new building and our location on campus draw students to Bauer.
  • Students have a strong work ethic and want to work hard and succeed.
  • I am proud to be at Bauer because people really care.

If you participated in Bauer Pride Day, I thank you.

You inspire us, you create the stories that bring a smile and you validate everything we do.

Thank you, Brandee.

Bauer Pride Day 2013

On Oct. 16, the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston held the first Bauer Pride Day, where the Bauer community came together to celebrate their Bauer Pride. Sponsored by Bauer Leadership Initiatives, participants had the opportunity to enjoy cookies, giveaways and strike a pose in the Bauer Photo Booth.

To wrap up the day’s events, Bauer College Dean Latha Ramchand delivered a state of the college address, where she discussed the strides the college is making.

A trip to India and a learning experience

July 29, 2013

I was recently in Coimbatore, India, visiting my parents.  As part of the trip I took the opportunity to talk to university leaders in the area and was invited by the Amrita School of Business of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeeth to give a talk to their faculty and students.  Faculty from the Ramakrishna College of Engineering and the Sasi School of Business also attended the talk, which was well attended with over  75 participants.  The topic of my talk was “New Frontiers in Higher Education: The American Experience,with a focus on business education.

The three key messages which I shared were:

  1. The financial crisis of 2008 prompted business to rethink the notion of capital.  Today “reputational capital” is as important, if not more so, than financial capital.
    Implication for business schools: Teaching participants to think of reputational capital and the creation of the same must become an integral part of business school curriculum. Critical thinking, communications and ethics are important drivers in this process.
  2. The aftermath of the crisis and the jobless recovery means we have to do more with less.  Employees have to think beyond their job descriptions and more in terms of the entire organization.
    Implication for business schools:  Strategic thinking, team building and an ability to conceptualize the business model of the organization as a whole — these are skills that must be woven into the curriculum.
  3. The availability of big data will mean that data can be strategically used to inform decision making.  Research shows that corporations with a data-driven decision making culture are more productive.  Hence, the availability of big data will mean that corporations will have to move away from a culture where decisions are made by “HiPPOs” (highest paid person in the organization) and to one where all employees can leverage data to help make decisions.
    Implications for business schools:  Business schools must build curriculum focused on exploration, analysis and strategic use of big data.

I enjoyed the interaction with the faculty and students who attended the talk.  I learnt about how business schools in India have incorporated the tenets of servant leadership into their curriculum and culture.  Innovating and building curriculum within the context of the local business environment is crucial to graduating successful alumni, and schools like the Amrita School of Business appreciate this and have built this into their culture.  While political uncertainties and corruption continue to retain a grip on the Indian political scene, businesses in India have learnt to do more with less.  They invented the idea of frugal innovation, or Jugaad, and they have mastered the practice of adapting to and functioning within a chaotic and constrained system.   Now, if only we can move the politicians aside and move on.