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A Snapshot of Austin with Women in Business

This past winter break, 15 students in the Women in Business club embarked on a journey to Texas to conduct site visits at local companies around the Austin area.

I’m going to start out with a confession. Before landing, I had a pretty stereotypical view of what I thought Austin was going to be like. I was expecting ten-gallon hats and ranches everywhere. But after we got the opportunity to explore the first couple of days, it felt like I was home in Portland, with just a few extra y’alls sprinkled in.

One stereotype that ended up being real is the southern hospitality. Everywhere we went, people welcomed us warmly. The day we landed was the same night as the Heisman ceremony and when we went to dinner, different people kept congratulating us on the success of the team and seemed just as excited as we were to hear the announcement. This was a scenario that continued throughout the whole week, everywhere we went, and put into focus that the University of Oregon is not only a school, but a national brand on the rise.

Our site visits started off with IBM, where we got a tour of the design center, a place where recent innovations like the Watson supercomputer have been created. Along with the tour we got to talk with three different women in the company during a “speed mentoring” session. During that session the piece of advice that stuck with me the most was to find three times in your life where you felt on top of the world. Then look at those moments and see what trend appears within these moments. Use these characteristics in your reflection for future career paths.

Later on we headed to Whole Foods, whose headquarters are in Austin. Whole Foods has been on Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for list for 18 consecutive years and once you get there you see exactly why. The company has a strong focus on culture and retaining talent, which they believe overall creates a better work product. Andres, the HR director, told us during his presentation that he moved his family blocks away from the headquarters years before he even worked there because he wanted to be part of the company that much. Another employee told us he studied mechanical engineering but working for Whole Foods ruined every corporate culture he worked for. The company pushes its employees to find the overlap between passion and talent and I left that meeting inspired to look for companies that practice “conscience capitalism.”

The whole week, when we visited other companies like Dell or GSD&M, we realized how important company culture is. In your lifetime, you will spend more time in the workplace than with your actual family, so why waste your time in a place that doesn’t inspire you to be there? Each company showed that, with the combination of initiative and passion, you could be successful in whatever career path you are after.

But really the best part of the trip was going through all of this with my fellow club members. I knew very little of the women before going and by the end of the week I was so inspired in different ways by all of them.

If you’re looking to get involved, Women in Business meet on Tuesdays at 6pm in Lillis 245. No matter what your interests are in the Lundquist College of Business, take the time be active in any of the clubs, you won’t regret it.

Written by spetri@uoregon.edu

Sahar Petri is a sophomore from Portland studying Business Administration and Media Studies. Sahar is currently interning for O Heroes and hopes to work in community relations when she graduates in 2017.

OEMBA Director’s Blog: January 2015

Happy New Year

My New Year’s resolution is to write a monthly blog to update Oregon Executive MBA students, staff, faculty, alumni, and other friends on what’s going on at 200 Market. I’ll keep them short. Please let me know if there are issues you would like to see in this space.

Special Thanks

To all the guest speakers in fall classes, thank you. Class 29 and 30 students learned about agricultural drones, retail design, patent law, strategic communication, financial planning, and lots of other very topical cool stuff. We didn’t always get the stories into “This Week in Class,” but we are all in your debt. I’m afraid to try and list you all lest someone is left out.

Thanks also to alumni Joe Pugh, Jim Pernas, and Nate Nilles, who were so generous with their time in the information sessions for new students. Nothing is as important to prospective students as the real scoop from alumni.

New Developments

One of the most exciting things I’ve seen in the past six months is the reenergized Oregon Executive MBA Alumni Association. They have a great speaker series, a lively newsletter, and they are connecting with the UO Alumni Association. I know we can do great things together.

In other developments, design on the new building and the future home of the Oregon Executive MBA across from White Stag is proceeding apace. I have been working closely with the architecture firm ZGF (who designed our space in 200 Market) and Ellen Devlin (who is spearheading the new Sport Products Management program, which will share the space with us Monday-Thursday). The new building will include a tiered classroom very much like the current one and a larger flat classroom than we have now. The two main benefits over the current facility will be more state-of-the-art technology and (drumroll . . . ) nine breakout rooms. We will also sometimes have access to facilities at White Stag if needed.

Live-streaming between 200 Market and the Bend Academic Extension facility has been mostly a success—in no small part because of the good humor of the Bend contingent. (This fall for the first time five students travelled to 200 Market once a month instead of every week).  We are still working out the challenges of camera placement. It’s the kind of issue that we should be able to improve in the new building.

Recommended Reading

John Eckroth introduced Class 30 financial accounting students to The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations by Jacob Soll. Spoiler alert: double-entry bookkeeping saved the world.  A perfect gift for any accountants you may know.

See you all back here in February.

Dave

Written by David Boush

David Boush has been on the faculty of the Lundquist College of Business since 1987. Before becoming Executive Director of the OEMBA he was a senior associate dean in the LCB and served on several occasions as the Marketing Department Head. His wife Dara is a retired IT manager. They have two grown sons and two grandchildren.

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Honors at Autzen

On Saturday November 22, the Lundquist College’s Undergraduate Business Honors Program hosted more than 80 alumni and current students for a tailgate celebration before the Ducks played the Colorado Buffaloes.

The reunion provided current students with the opportunity to connect with program alumni and gain insight into transitioning into the professional world, as well as network for future internship and job opportunities.

Attendees socialized over a catered barbecue. In addition to meeting alumni, students had the opportunity to socialize with current honors faculty and Lundquist College administration.

“It was great to spend time with alumni, faculty, and my peers outside of the traditional classroom setting, I look forward to coming back as an alumni next year,” said Maury Bardovi, a current senior in the program.

In addition to benefiting current students, the event served as a great opportunity for alumni to give back to the program they graduated from.

The Honors Program has focused on bridging the gap between current students and alumni and the tailgate was another great way of achieving that goal. In addition to the tailgate, the program will host both current students and alumni for dinner and a question and answer panel at its annual networking event in downtown Portland next term.

Please contact program director Deb Bauer (djbauer@uoregon.edu) with any questions regarding the Business Honors Program.

Written by Maury Bardovi

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Embracing Change

Change. It can be exhilarating but painful. All too frequently if you want to achieve anything worthwhile you have to make the change yourself. For some, this means taking stock of where you are, where you want to go and determining what actions you must take to get there. It’s daunting. It’s new. It’s exactly what happens when considering changing something in your personal or professional life, and it might lead you to consider earning your MBA.

All of the current MBA candidates at Oregon decided to make a change, and it led us here. Our program is known for its intimate, small cohort with a unique approach to preparing us for our futures. Everyone made a personal decision by coming here, but we had a lot of information to help us make that choice.

Oregon MBA

Oregon’s MBA program is divided into four Centers of Excellence:

This division allows candidates to gain crucial business acumen while building a specialized skillset in small sub-cohorts. “We know our students more personally than we would be able to if we were a 100 student program,” said Michele Henney, Program Manager, Finance and Securities Analysis Center, Senior Instructor of Accounting. “In that situation (100+ students), there is no way we could provide the same services.” Each Center’s students are a part of the Oregon MBA program, meaning you know and collaborate with individuals working towards specialized skill sets unlike your own. Although different, each center provides valuable opportunities to its own sub-cohort and is continually looking to improve.

“Our green MBA is really strong. We’re in a region where sustainability and our connection to businesses is very strong. Not every region can say that,” said Dr. Laura Strohm, Program Manager, Center for Sustainable Business Practices. Industry expertise differs from center to center, but each emphasizes the need to prepare candidates to be leaders.

“I think the best thing we can do is prepare students to be comfortable taking leadership positions, analyzing the situations that they find themselves in, because usually MBAs will end up in places where someone looks to them for expertise even though they might not have it,” said Nathan Lillegard, Program Manager, Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship, Instructor of Business.

One of the most compelling reasons to select an MBA program is the culture established by current students, faculty and staff. At Oregon, candidates are motivated by factors like entering a new industry, learning skills to use in a different job function and work locations. “A lot of times the people drawn to the University of Oregon are people who want to stay and work in the Pacific Northwest,” Henney said. These motivations, though not always focused on the highest possible salary, are used by faculty and staff to inspire candidates to think about their careers early, and often.

“You really spend your two years here either landing internships or landing jobs,” said John Hull, Executive Director, Business Innovation Institute, Assistant Dean for Centers of Excellence. Hull stresses the importance of hitting the ground running in that pursuit of change, something candidates might be apprehensive about. “’Wait a minute, I thought I was stepping away from my career for 2 years for education?…Well no, I’m actually supposed to be working on my career stuff from day 1.’”

With strong alumni connections and a growing office of individuals devoted to the career paths of OMBA candidates, Oregon is empowering graduates to aim not for jobs, but careers.

“What makes us different is that you can have a meaningful connection within the industry week in and week out if you want it,” said Paul Swangard, Managing Director, Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, Woodard Family Foundation Fellow. “I think we are the only ones who have a standing international travel experience that is imbedded into the framework of the program, and we are trying to differentiate ourselves geographically.”

Swangard’s reference of the yearly Engaging Asia trip taken by second-year MBA candidates is just one of multiple experiential learning trips taken by the Oregon MBA. (Read about the Engaging Asia trip here) Centers travel as far away as Mumbai, India to gain a global perspective. Other domestic trips take MBA candidates to NYC, San Francisco, Seattle and, of course, Portland. These trips bridge the gap between where candidates once were to where they want to be, allowing them to see, taste, and smell what a particular industry is like.

Change can be challenging but also exhilarating, fulfilling and rewarding. If you’re thinking about making a change, consider how you’ll make it happen. The destination is the goal but the journey there can be equally important.

Written by kkostal@uoregon.edu

After a college experience filled with opportunities in journalism, creative advertising and guerrilla marketing Kostal began her career with a cross-country move from the University of Illinois to Las Vegas. There she worked as a producer in an event and media production company. She crafted sizable proposals to secure client projects worth over $100,000 in the pressure-cooker environment of live events. She spent the last five years at a Chicago medical liability insurance company in the risk management division. While there Kate utilized her event planning and marketing skills to promote, plan and execute multiple live events for over 10,000 policyholders and their staff throughout Illinois. During that time she also acted as the Sponsorship Chair for the Chicago Triathlon Club on a volunteer basis and earned her RRCA coaching certification for endurance runners. Another cross-country move followed when she decided to pursue her passion for sports as a career. Kate’s marketing experience, communication skills and drive to succeed will be an asset in any organization. Her passion for sports will lead her to pursue opportunities more closely tied to sports business after graduation, focusing on sponsorship and marketing.

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Defining ‘Sustainable Business': Net Impact Conference 2014

Greenbiz, B-Corp, the three Ps, LEED Certified, CSR, ESG, SRI.  What do all these acronyms and buzz words mean?  And what exactly is a career in sustainable business?  If you’re like me, six weeks into the Sustainable Business Practices MBA at the University of Oregon, that last one is a pretty important question.

The Net Impact Conference, held in Minneapolis Minnesota, came at a perfect time to help me start to understand the broad variety of applications of sustainability in business.

The annual conference brings together thousands of students and business professionals who want to make a positive impact on the world.  It is a weekend for networking, inspirational speeches, exchanging ideas, and pushing boundaries

At this year’s conference, I heard about B-Corps from Andrew Kassoy, the founder of B Lab; discussed the pivotal role women will play in development with Suzanne Fallender (the director of the Global Girls and Women Initiative through Intel) and Faziun Kamal (founder of sourceFK a company that is bringing Bangladesh women out of poverty one silk garment at a time); and was able to ask Jason McBriarty, the Director of Global Community Affairs for Levi Strauss nagging questions surrounding cause marketing and engaging consumers specifically in regards to the Waterless campaign.  I also examined the future of sustainability in business with leaders from Kiva, Microsoft, Best Buy, The National Parks Service, Honest Tea and many like-minded undergraduate and MBA students from across the country.

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Levi’s Water>Less Campaign advertisement started in 2012.

The presentations and conversations provided me with layers of insight into the vague world of sustainable business and by Saturday’s closing ceremony I had come to realize that there might not be one exact answer to my question.  Sustainability takes many forms.  Sometimes it’s providing girls and women in Africa access to the Internet.  Sometimes it’s a certification to help companies measure what matters.  Sometimes it’s a marketing campaign that tells you not to wash your jeans.

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Intel global girls and women initiative. Karibu Centre, Kenya.

What intrigues me about integrating sustainability and business is that it’s open ended.  The Net Impact Conference excited me about the many options and helped me see that no matter what I decide to pursue after business school, I will have the opportunity to impact the world in a positive way.  There are countless ways to alleviate the issues facing our world.  ‘Sustainable business’ just comes down to business that commits to lessen, rather than increase, those issues.  They pledge to use their power and influence as a force for good, inspiring myself and the other attendees of the Net Impact Conference to further these principles.

Written by Natalie

Natalie is a first year MBA student focusing on Sustainable Business Practices. The experience of living abroad in Costa Rica, instilled in Natalie a passion for improving the world. She hopes to bring this passion to the organization she works for after completing her MBA. Natalie received a dual undergraduate degree in development anthropology and Latin American studies from the University of Arizona honors college where she was also on the equestrian team.