Over this past weekend, I had the privilege of representing the U of O in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the 2010 Net Impact national conference. Thousands of MBA students and various professionals from across the country (and globe) came to the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business to showcase their passion for changing the landscape of business.
What struck me most was the fact that a mass gathering of business students driven to integrate societal and environmental concerns—and even costs—into traditional business models would have been completely unheard of 20 years ago (Net Impact itself was only founded in the early 90’s). What used to be reserved for small subcultures of cause-driven activists from various disciplines has now become a norm at almost every leading business school across the U.S. This is exactly the type of momentum that is needed.
With an incredibly long and detailed list of panels to choose from, I ended up joining discussions on global corporate sustainability, carbon markets and regulation, energy efficiency finance models, ecosystems services and the future of small-scale solar project development. Having the opportunity to hear how leaders in the field translate what we study in the classroom into working business models was not only helpful but inspiring. And yet, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty present within these fields, with such rapidly evolving business and regulatory landscapes, and training the next generation of business leaders to address such issues is becoming increasingly important.
Stay tuned for next year’s conference up the road in Portland.
–Greg Carlson, MBA 2011, Center for Sustainable Business Practices
Just a couple more papers to write, maybe a project or two to present, and we wrap up the class of 2010’s OMBA experience and get turned loose on corporate America. Or, perhaps, we go out and launch a venture, or at the very least go find quiet corner somewhere and phone the old folks back home to see if Mom really meant it when she said we could always move back in… but really it’s only until the economy picks back up Mom, I swear. Like, 2012 at the very worst.
Looking back, we’ve been through a heck of a lot of experiences in the last six quarters, and with a pace as high as it is here at the Lundquist College of Business it certainly seems at times like we are living in a Dilbert cartoon – speeding through material and getting really good at tossing around the MBA lingo that is part of our everyday lives crunching numbers, strategizing, analyzing, hypothesizing, and making PowerPoint presentations. So much so, in fact, that we made a little MBA-Bingo spreadsheet to play during presentations last year (ssshhh, don’t tell our professors).
Of course, the Oregon MBA is a much richer experience than that. Those are the little things that come up when we catch ourselves using words like “value chain” and “BHAG” in casual dinner conversation – times that we have to stop and laugh at ourselves, and ask “What have we become?!”. Then we draw a little 2×2 matrix or line graph to explain what we really mean – because no matter what the point is, there’s a graph for that. Too much? Too far? Too MBA?
No, the MBA experience has been great. Coming in from all different backgrounds, we’ve sharpened our skills and polished our ways, and now we think, act, and yes even look like a bunch of professionals you might even trust to run tomorrow’s business world. Seriously, we’ve got skills. And we’re eager to use them.
In fact, after all of this time in classrooms and doing one and two term projects with clients on everything from finance to marketing, we are chomping at the bit to get out into the world and get our hands dirty. We’ve been immersed in the business-school experience and culture for long enough now that we actually need the reality-check of the work environment to bring us back down from the heady heights of theory and strategy that we’ve been climbing to. We need the nuances and the subtleties of real business conundrums to put it all back into perspective. I think that the MBA experience is something like a bicycle (my classmates were all waiting for a bicycling reference from me) – you can get the shiniest, prettiest, quickest, lightest, fanciest thing on two wheels, but it only begins to make a difference when you learn how to really ride it. Or, for you hard-ware type of folks: we’ve been given a hammer (or three) and told when and how to swing it and why, now it’s time to go find some nails.
I think that in all this enthusiasm for the business profession and eagerness to put the skills to the test, a lot of MBAs miss the opportunity to explore the meaning of business any deeper than fiduciary duties and returns on investment – always looking for the next nail and not wondering if there should even be any hammering at all. Where Oregon truly shines is in teaching us the all of the skills and abilities common to MBAs everywhere and putting a real-world and human perspective on our work, by giving us exposure to clients in social ventures as well as venture capital, and exploring the triple bottom line alongside Net Income – even going so far as to create a Center for Sustainable Business Practices. One of the last classes we take before going back out into the world is an ethics class – where through a wide variety of angles we discuss business ethics in a wide variety of situations.
What all of this boils down to is that now we are not only MBAs, getting the job done, but well grounded critical thinkers and careful observers of our own professions as well. We are not just ready to be actors in corporate America but leaders too. We understand that as business leaders we have more than our share of power and influence in society and that we need to be responsible with it, accountable for our actions to more than just our shareholders. Yes, we understand that business is a means, not an end, which many corporate leaders seem to have forgotten. The purpose of business is not to be self-perpetuating, but to create something of value – assets, resources, wealth. Value, and values, come before dollars any day. In fact, I think that this next little piece of art sums up the message nicely. NO MATTER WHAT, IN THE EXECUTION OF YOUR MANAGERIAL AND FIDUCIARY DUTIES:
Be good, be true, and don’t be evil. That’s it, boys and girls. Keep it real, and I’ll see you at the reunion. Maybe.
I have to say that I’ve never been more proud to be Canadian. Vancouver did our country a service in hosting the games and representing us so well; there may have been some tragedies and technical glitches along the way, but the games overcame a great deal of adversity to put on a special two weeks of competition. Our athletes performed exceptionally well – breaking the record for gold medals won at a WInter Olympics – and our men’s hockey team won gold.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned after we lost to the US, but I always believed that our boys were capable of winning the tournament – and I have some rather disgruntled roommates to prove it.
JJ Owen and Rishi Mukhi thought they’d take advantage of my stubborn nature by betting, in the aftermath of the US 5 Canada 3 game, that Canada wouldn’t win gold. I took their bet.
Now, both owe me a bottle of rum…because I happen to know a guy by the name of Sidney Crosby. Clearly they, nor Ryan Miller, had ever heard of him. Snack on that golden puck for lunch, boys!
It would seem that the hockey gods were not yet done smiling down upon thee. Just two days after the above mentioned gold medal game, our Warsaw Sports Marketing Center co-ed floor hockey team, The Blades of Steel, was set to face Pucker Up in the UO Intramural Championship Game sponsored by Nike.
You may not know, now, but you will when you get here: it’s kind of a big deal.
We’d played Pucker Up in the round robin of the tournament, which basically guaranteed each team three games, and beat them 6-4. However, we knew that they’d been champions something like two or three years in a row, and we didn’t have the element of surprise working for us in this game. Things didn’t start so well for us, either.
They jumped out to an early lead and held it for much of the first period until we managed to rip two consecutive goals off the cross bar in a matter of seconds to take a 2-1 lead. A see-saw battle ensued where we’d score to take the lead, but it never lasted for more than a few minutes. The game ended up tied, 4-4, at the end of regulation. Sudden death overtime followed and it wasn’t long before we channeled our inner Team Canada to pull out the big W.
What a good looking bunch of hockey players, eh! Beauties.
We’ve all returned from winter break well rested and enthusiastic about the new term.
The first term was a nearly relentless amount of studying across five different courses – none of which we could choose. But we now have the opportunity to take some electives from our respective specialty centers, and I’m relishing the chance to talk sports business in a non-water cooler environment.
More than the course work, however, I simply think everyone is enthusiastic to be back because they are now comfortable in the environment, aware of what to expect, and prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. There’s far less murky water this term than there was last, and that’s comforting.
I can only speak for myself, but I’ve settled into a nice routine: gym, tan, laundry.
…of course, I’m kidding. Tan? In Eugene? You’d stick out like a sore thumb.
My actual schedule looks a lot like this:
Understandably, it’s left me with a lot of time to pursue the other half of my MBA workload: job searching. I’ve been pretty active on the sports front with internship applications at the UFC, Under Armour, NHL, and in the next few days Nike and IMG. The UFC is the one I’m after though. I’m hoping that all the work I’ve done in the sport over the last few years (including my business of MMA website, MMAPayout.com) will pay off.
You’ve likely noted that Monday-Thursday leaves us with a three day weekend, which is great. It’s certainly not an extra day off, but we all work pretty hard during the week and thus going out at night and sleeping in are pretty popular amongst the cohort. Fridays off affords us a nice night out on Thursday, which then allows everyone to concentrate for the rest of the weekend.
I’m about to run, though. Floor hockey tonight and much homework left to do for tomorrow.
I fully realize it’s been over a week since Halloween, but you must understand that I’ve just recovered! I think the picture above – me on the far right – probably explains a great deal, but I’ll elaborate on the night anyway.
The MBAA hosted a two-part Halloween celebration this year on account of the Oregon-USC game taking place on the 31st (Saturday). Many of the students engaged in a pumpkin carving contest on Thursday, and then we all converged upon the home of a second year student for a party on the Friday.
The night actually kicked off pretty early: a few first years started out at the house that my roommates and I have rented for the year (where the picture above was taken). Not long after a few renditions of some of the most popular 80s rock songs known to man (“don’t stop…believing!”), our band made its merry way down the road to the house party.
The walk itself kind of sucked: not only was I wearing tights and walking shirtless, but I’d also pulled my groing playing intramural soccer the week earlier. I’m lucky it was Eugene: a shirtless man in tights, wearing neon pink and blue face paint, and walking with a heavy limp isn’t something that people bat an eye at around here.
The party, however, was a great time: beer kegs, vodka, and drinking games. It might have ended a little early, but that didn’t bother many of us as we just made our way to Rennie’s Landing (convenient local watering hole on the side of campus).
In the end, everyone had a great night and got home safe. More importantly, we all survived to party another day, and we definitely needed that as Oregon would go on to crush USC on Saturday.
By JJ Owen, MBA ’11
So here’s the deal…I’m a Trojan fan. Guilty as charged. Do I root for the Ducks? Absolutely. But when it comes to college football, it’s Cardinal and Gold all the way (I did my undergrad at Southern Cal).
Needless to say, last week was a tough week for me. Not only did I watch my Halos succumb to the evil empire in New York, but I watched the Ducks handout the worst beat down I have ever witnessed the Trojans take. My roommates are just now letting me use actual silverware instead of plastic sporks.
And yet, I’m not really disappointed at all in the result of the game. What it came down to is Oregon is an incredibly talented team, more-so than people gave them credit for. It wasn’t as if USC played poorly, it was just that, for the first time in a long time, they weren’t the most athletic/talented team on the field. While I must admit that it felt like Traveler (the Trojan Horse) kicked me in the gut when the game ended, it didn’t take long for a sense of satisfaction to kick in about what I had just witnessed.
As I sat in the USC section during the second half of the game, I had a great deal of time to take a look at everything around me (because I really couldn’t watch the dismantling of the Trojans on the field anymore). I’ve been to some big games in my life (The Bush Push Game in ’05 at Notre Dame, notably) and I can honestly say that what I saw Saturday night at Autzen was one of the greatest college football experiences I could possibly ask for. Whether it was the student section shrouded in black starting up the “Go Ducks” cheer and pointing across the stadium, or everybody throwing up the Joey Harrington O-sign with their hands as they collectively screamed and pushed a decibel threshold that would make Metallica walk away saying, “It’s too damn loud.” Basically, Saturday night at Autzen was everything college football should be.
The chance to sit back and watch everything happening around me was utterly impressive, but I was even more floored by the interaction with all the fans. Going into the game, I had heard that I would get completely lambasted and ripped to pieces for wearing any cardinal and gold. Well, it was partly true – people were throwing daggers at me from all angles, but that’s just part of being a college football fan – the taunting. What really surprised me though was after the initial scathing comment, they just wanted to talk football…they were real fans.
I can recall on my first visit up to the Warsaw Center how Paul explained to me the phenomenon of BIRGing, which is a marketing acronym for Basking In Reflected Glory. It’s the reason why when your team is on the top of the world, you pull out your old jersey, you refer to your team as “we” instead of “they” – essentially, it’s along the lines that a rising tide lifts all boats. What I witnessed Saturday night was 60,000 fans collectively basking in the reflected glory of the Ducks tremendous accomplishment, and it still gives me goosebumps. This only confirms what I already thought to be true – the U of O is a special place, made up of special people, who create an experience that is truly unique. Go Ducks.
The reality of being an MBA has seemingly caught up with most people in the cohort: the workload and course material are no joke!
We are just now entering mid-term territory with two next week and one the week after. Additionally, we’ve got all of our normal reading and course work to complete for each class (typically 150-200 pages each week, plus 1-2 papers/assignments).
I’m not so sure it’s the work itself that’s so demanding, but rather making the necessary adjustments to all of our schedules. Being an MBA requires a different level of time management skills – especially for the folks with families or part-time jobs.
Fortunately, I’ve managed to adapt pretty well. I’ve maintained a good balance of work and play over the last few weeks, and I’m really enjoying myself out here.
October is the time of year where the leaves are starting to fall and turn colour; some of the prettiest reds, yellows, and oranges you may ever see! The weather is still cooperating and we’ve maintained temps in the mid 60s for the better part of the month. I love the crisp morning air as I fly out the door for school.
I don’t know…perhaps I’m just happy, because I’ve escaped the cold Canadian winter for yet another year!
And while I do miss home to a certain extent, I’ve also had quite a few pleasant “In America” moments over the last couple of weeks that I’m happy to share:
- Kareoke on the curb. I got a kick out of some tall, lanky freshman busting out a rendition of Notorious BIG’s “Juicy” on the sidewalk of a very crowded 13th and Kincaid on the west side of campus.
- Tailgating. Possibly America’s best kept cultural secret…
- Rollerblades aren’t very cool. Why? I can skate like the wind…I think people are jealous.
- Pimp my ride. Ever seen a 2002 Dodge Caravan with 22″ chrome spinners? I have. In Eugene.
- The befuddling legal age of 21. Let me get this straight: the youth of America are entrusted with arguably the most important political responsibility in the world by age 18, yet denied free and legal access to alcohol until age 21?!?!
- No Affliction. I swear its an epidemic in Canada…everyone’s a tough guy with their skulls & bones Affliction t-shirt – but I haven’t seen any here. I’m disappointed that my favourite sport – MMA – isn’t very popular in America. I guess that means I’ve got some work to do.
Speaking of which, time to get back to making some progress on that UFC internship, eh.
On Thursday, May 7, the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center (WSMC) held the 13th Women in Sports Business Symposium (WSBS) at University of Oregon’s White Stag building in downtown Portland. The event was praised as a success and considered by attendees as one of the best WSBS events in recent years.
This year, WSBS and WSMC honored Sue Rodin as the 2009 Sports Business Woman of the Year. Rodin was selected as this year’s award recipient for her contributions and work in building a strong network for women in business and her founding of Women in Sports and Events (WISE). The Symposium also marked the official launch of a WISE chapter in the Portland area, one of eight national chapters nationwide.
This year’s event also featured a panel of five of the sports industry’s top women in business:
- Lauren Anderson – adidas – Senior Partnership Marketing Manager
- Terri Hines – Nike, Inc. – Director of Communications, Jordan Brand
- Christine McDonald – Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Executive Director, Oregon & SW Washington
- Sarah Mensah – Portland Trailblazers – Chief Marketing Officer
- Kelly Wolf – Octagon – Director, Client Management Services, Tennis
Rodin moderated the panel addressing topics such how to manage work/life balance and taking questions from attendees.
Each year, WSMC students plan and coordinate the event to offer women in business and those interested in the field, an opportunity to connect and to discuss current trends in the sports industry. This year’s committee was headed by second year WSMC student, Cadence Sanman.
A special thank you to Nike and Territorial Vineards and Wine Company for their sponsorship and contributions to helping make this year’s WSBS a success.
Over the weekend, OMBA students, Eric Chylinski, Shi-Mu Phil Huang, Miriam Oh, Kyle Rehder and Neil Young, took first place for the win at the Microsoft Advertising Digital Challenge (MADC) in New York.
Team Digital All-Stars (DAS) competed against 137 teams from several schools which included: MIT’s Sloan School of Management, NYU, Florida Atlantic University, Baruch College, Columbia University’s Business School, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Wharton, UC Berkeley, the University of Puerto Rico, Carnegie Mellon, University of Washington, Rochester University and Fordham.
DAS was commended for their excellent presentation skills, comprehensive execution plan, thorough understanding of the product, target market, and Microsoft brand, and team unity.
In the first round, teams had to submit a written proposal and a preliminary Powerpoint presentation detailing an analysis of the online file-sharing market and industry, and an advertising plan to promote the Microsoft Office Live Workspace platform targeted at college-age students.
Seven graduate teams and three undergraduate teams were selected to move on to the semi-finals at the Microsoft offices in New York where they would present to Microsoft Advertising executives and management. Over two days, DAS made it past the semi-final round and went on to win in the finals on the second day of the competition at Baruch College in lower Manhattan.
DAS took home first place and each team member received an Xbox plus a video game and Microsoft Office Suite 2007.
Now, speaking from my own perspective, I could not have been happier to have been a part of such an amazing team. We worked well together and really built off each other’s strengths. And of course, we cannot forget our 6th man, Todd, who without him, there potentially may not have been much of a campaign. You the man, Todd! I mean, Matt…
We had a lot of fun putting together our campaign and there was nothing more rewarding than to see all of the hard work pay off. We proudly represented the OMBA and Warsaw in New York and went in knowing that losing was not an option.
Thank you to all of the faculty, administrators and instructors who helped us fine tune our project and supported us throughout the process. A special thank you to Joan Giese, Andrew Verner, Dean Howard, the business school, Paul Swangard and the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center for the financial support in helping us fund the trip to New York to compete. We could not have done it without you!
I first met Jim Warsaw in October of the fall quarter 2008. It was homecoming weekend and I knew he was going to be in the building. I had an idea of what he looked like from pictures I had seen, but it was hard to recognize him when I first ran into him in the halls of the business building.
He was severely hunched over and appeared to have a very difficult time walking. It was hard to believe that this is the man who founded the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and grew it to become the premier undergraduate and MBA level sports business program in the country. But as I approached him, he looked right at me until he was right in front of me and said a very confident and sincere, “Hello!”
We had a conversation right there in the hall and he was great to talk to. He asked me everything about myself and was genuinely interested in my experience thus far with the Center.
Jim did amazing things for the Center which bears his name. He has always been heavily involved in Center activities and has maintained close contact with its students and faculty. I have watched him with alumni and his friends and it has always impressed me how they treated him. My observations indicated that they respected him not only as a friend but as a mentor and as an example.
Despite the short amount of time that I have known him, I felt like he was my friend. I will miss him.
Jim has been battling Parkinson’s disease for the past 15 years. Recently, he developed an infection after surgery on his back. On Wednesday, he passed away. (http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/updates/12490194-55/story.csp)
It is sad to see him go so soon. In June we will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Warsaw Center and in particular to honor Jim. We were planning on him being there, but instead, it will be a special evening in tribute to the legacy he leaves behind.
In May we will honor him as well with the 3rd Annual Jog 4 Jim 5k. The race has always been organized to raise awareness and funding for Parkinson’s research. To make a donation in honor of Jim, please visit this site:
Jim accomplished so much in his life and was a friend to many. He will be missed.