Failure Competition 2020 is Here!

Everyone fails. It is part of life. Rather than pretend it won’t happen, you should count on it and know what you will do to recover from it. Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk–taker and successful leader. That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college. So, we’re inviting UCF Students to enter our Failure Competition for a chance to win $500 and a letter of recommendation from the Dean.

Entering is simple:

  • Write an account of a failure you have experienced in the past. Your failure story has to focus on a time you stepped out of your comfort zone to experience something new: the farther the better. Tell us why this was such a stretch for you, the failure that resulted and what you learned from the experience that would be of interest to others. It needs to be genuine, people can spot a fish story a mile way.
  • Post your submission by 5 p.m., Monday, April 13, in response to Dean Jarley’s blog here:
  • Include your class standing ( e.g., freshman, senior, graduate student) and your field of study. Current Capstone students should also include their section number and name of the instructor.
  • The Failure Competition is open to any UCF student. The only requirement is that you currently be enrolled at UCF.
  • Need inspiration or guidance to tell your story? Search the Dean’s Blog for previous submissions and winners:

A panel of college staff will choose no more than three finalists, who will be announced April 15.

Finalists will be asked to submit a short video based on their essays. Videos must be submitted by 5 p.m., Monday, April 20.

Starting Tuesday, April 21, Dean Jarley will feature one video each day on his blog and readers will vote Friday, April 24.

The winner will receive a $500 prize along with a letter of recommendation from the Dean. Second place will get $300 and third place $200. These monies are awarded through our financial aid office.

Good Luck!

People Don’t Know What They Want

A few days ago, my son Tyler sent me a link to a Noel Gallagher interview. We are both big Oasis fans and appreciate both Noel and Liam’s solo careers. (You can see the interview by clicking here, but be warned that it’s a little salty.) I particularly like Noel because he knows how to turn a phrase that will stick in your head. As I’ve written before, I appreciate that ability and have tried to cultivate that same quality in my own work.

About two-thirds of the way through the interview, Noel gets asked a question about how fans want to influence content. Noel pauses and then says, “Well, I guess my fans would want me to write stuff that sounds like Oasis. … But people don’t really know what they want until you give it to them… people didn’t know they wanted Oasis until we gave it to them…I don’t think at all about what fans want when I create my music. If I did, I would just have stayed in Oasis and made lots of money.”

Noel is rich. He doesn’t have to care what people think. That said, he’s right, people don’t know what they want until you give it to them. It’s a wonderful insight into the mind of a creative type. I think this type of mindset and creative ability is going to be of huge value in the next year or so. My guess is people are going to be more open to new things, especially if it helps them adapt to uncertain environments. It’s a big bet on yourself, but the rewards could be huge.

For me, it’s also a good example of how having broad interests can pay off. Who would have thought that a business school dean could learn something from a rock and roll star. Then again, lessons often come from unexpected sources. Now, if someone could just tell me what a wonderwall is…

What I Hope You Are Learning

To say we are facing an unusual situation is an understatement. A quarter of the world’s population is under lockdown. Almost every part of our lives are impacted. That said, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. The second most important question right now is: “What can I learn from this?” (The most important question is: how do I keep everybody safe during this outbreak?) Lessons in these situations depend on personal experiences, but here’s what I hope my students are learning right now:

  1. Bad things are going to happen that are out of your control. What’s important is how you respond to them. I am a stoic. You should read some Marcus Aurelius (he was the bomb) or for a modern day version Ryan Holiday. Key point: You didn’t create this situation. It is impacting you big time. All you control is how you respond to it. How you respond to it will tell you a lot about yourself.
  2. Those who adapt win. This will require you to change your mindset, the definition of what constitutes “a win,” and the actions you will need to take to achieve your goals. Wishing things were different won’t help, taking the right actions to make the best of your situation will. You are with us to get an education and go on to a successful career and life. What changes do you need to make to achieve that goal?
  3. Learning is social, use your network in new ways. One of the main reasons that I work to create a culture of engagement in the college is that learning is social. It is best done as a collective effort. Two heads really are better than one, etc. Thanks to our electronically connected world, physical isolation doesn’t mean intellectual isolation. Use your network to help you adapt and learn. It’s way better time spent than reading and responding to the crazies on social media.
  4. Those professional development activities we ask you to engage in, can really pay off in situations like this. If you are a graduating senior who built connections to potential employers by going to The EXCHANGE, participated in company days in the college, got a mentor, established a relationship with one of our career coaches, went to The Invitational, etc., you are in a much better position to land a job (or internship) than those who didn’t do these things. It’s tough to start relationships through online activity, but it’s pretty easy to maintain them. Invest in those relationships now by reaching out and keeping meaningful conversations going.
  5. Everybody is stressed. Your reputation will live beyond this crisis. It’s a great time to make a good impression. Your GPA this semester isn’t going to matter as much to your long-term success as how you treat people during this crisis. People remember both boorish behavior and kindness. It’s up to you to make sure they remember you for the right reasons.

We will get through this. Every generation faces a challenge or two, this may be one of yours. The world probably won’t be exactly the same when we get to the other side of this. What you can do now to learn, adapt and nurture key relationships is likely to pay off big in the years ahead. Charge On.

Who is in?

I got this email from Harper last week:

“I’m scrolling through Instagram and reading all of the emotional posts from my fellow Knight community regarding missing senior year and, of much greater impact, graduation. I feel heartbreak. This is moment that they and their families will miss. I know that UCF has given me every fantastic opportunity in my life. I do not hesitate to say this. Not walking across the stage would be devastating.

So, after careful thought, I would like to pitch a project: Lead the Charge to Charge on. With the assistance primarily of social media and secondarily of email, I would like to ask professionals to give a quick few seconds to record themselves sharing a message with our graduating Knights. **Please note that this ideally would be for every Knight, not just for those within the College of Business*
Those who share a few words may not be Knight alum, but people in our community who support UCF and what we do here. We do things differently and we thrive on that. “Lead the Charge to Charge On” would be an adapted commencement speech that could be saved to their phones, forever.”

Who is in? Send us your video as an attachment to this post and we will edit it into something we can share with our graduates

THE Challenge Facing the Next UCF President

As the search committee and Board of Trustees begin to engage with our three candidates for UCF President, it is important that they understand the primary challenges facing our institution.

IF UCF is to regain its momentum, become the university of the 21st century and rally people to our cause, we must acknowledge that the primary challenge facing higher education today is not increasing access, but improving the value of the college experience. 

Serious readers of the news see a growing number of articles questioning whether a college degree “is worth it.”  This is largely a statement about value, not price, especially at schools like UCF which have made great strides to remain affordable and become inclusive and accessible.

The sticker price of a four year in-state undergraduate education at UCF is about the same as a modestly equipped Ford Taurus ($25,472). The direct cost to most students is much lower because they have earned Bright Futures funding, attained half of their degree at a lower cost DirectConnect partner, received Pell grants, or some combination of these.  Just half of UCF students graduate with any debt.  For those who do, the average is around $20,000.  Add in the diversity of our student body and it is clear we are making significant headway in conquering our accessibility and inclusiveness challenges.

But, the value of the UCF experience, like that from many other U.S. institutions, is eroding. We continue to substitute cheap labor for tenure-track faculty and graduate students at scale without having enough concern about whether we are preparing people and society for the future.

There is a sense that the U.S. is losing our status as the world leader for cutting edge research and graduate education.  While at the undergraduate level, as the percentage of active labor market participants with a college degree rises, the relative wages of those graduates fall.  This is simple supply and demand.  There is also growing evidence that many graduates end up in jobs that do not require a college degree.  The New York Federal Reserve estimates that among recent college graduates (those age 22 to 27), as many as 40% are employed in jobs that do not require a college degree.

At the same time, many comment that the skills, mindsets and perspectives we are providing our students are out-of-step with what society needs.  It is little wonder that people are questioning the value of an American college education.  Tackling this problem is the challenge universities of the 21st Century must solve if higher education is to remain relevant. As young institution unconstrained by the legacies that limit more established universities, UCF is  uniquely positioned to tackle this challenge in innovative ways.  It must be at the heart of UCF’s vision for the future.


Didn’t See That Coming

Back in December, I interviewed a number of economists and asked them whether or not they thought a 2020 recession was likely.  You can hear their responses by clicking here.   If you don’t have the 20 minutes or so necessary to do that, the short answer is that none of them thought a recession was going to happen in 2020.

Then came the Coronavirus.  The most recent news about the disease has caused the stock market to tumble, travel to be restricted, and talk of the Summer Olympics being postponed.    What seemed like another year of economic expansion, doesn’t seem so certain now. (This is a great example of what your macroeconomics professor calls “an exogenous shock.”)

Frankly, it is a little early to tell whether or not the virus will have a lasting impact on the economy.  As Peter Eavis notes in a recent New York Times article, some companies are expressing optimism that we will find a way to curb the virus, but if companies see a threat that goes beyond the first quarter of the year, our 11-year run of economic growth could come to an end.

If you’re a typical UCF student, you probably aren’t too worried about your investment account.  You may not even have one.  You’re spending time investing in yourself going to school and that’s a long play, not a short one.  But, if you are a graduating senior, you might want to accelerate that job search — if companies take a “wait and see” attitude, it might take a little longer to find a job this year than you expected.

Thanks to your fellow students, you have an opportunity to jump start your job search today at the Financial Management Association at UCF’s (FMA) Meet The Firms event. It’s in the Live Oak Event Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is open to the entire College of Business and is a great opportunity for you to meet face-to-face with potential firms looking for talent.

Maybe this Coronavirus thing will be all be over before May and the job market will be robust. Maybe not.  Either way, an early start to your job search seems like a really good idea right now.

Also, do the economy and your job search a favor and wash your hands.


Want an Internship with Tesla?

Next Wednesday at 3pm in The Exchange, Jennifer Johnson is going to interview Carson Hunt.  Carson is going to talk about how to land your dream internship.  He landed his dream internship with Tesla.  How that internship opened doors is some kind the story.  He also has big dreams for his company: Upparel, Inc.  I’m guessing this talk will fill up fast.  To register, click here and sign up with your coba pass.






Hall of Fame 2020

If you have ever wondered who those people are on the wall in BA-2, they are our Hall of Fame Inductees.  The College has more than 60,000 alumni.  Less than 100 are in the Hall of Fame.  It is a very exclusive club.  This Thursday, at Rosen Shingle Creek we will induct three more members into the Hall of Fame in front of about 800 guests.  It’s a big deal.

Usually, it is a pretty long journey to get to our Hall of Fame.  The typical inductee has more than 20 years of business experience.  This year two of our inductees are a little different– they beat down the door to get in.  All three of this year’s inductees share a sense of humility and commitment to giving back and are extremely generous with their time.  They are great models for our students and remind all of us who work in the college, how transformative a UCF College of Business education can be.

Woody Walker ’92 ’94MBA is the executive vice president of strategic partnerships at CCG, a U.S.-based data, artificial intelligence and analytics services and solutions firm. Walker has 25 years of management and consulting experience in the information technology industry. Walker’s true passion lies in education with a focus on women in STEM. She is involved with ATHENA International, the Project Management Institute, Leadership Orlando and the UCF Alumni and College of Business Boards. She earned both her BSBA in management and MBA at UCF.

Justin Wetherill ’07 is CEO and co-founder of uBreakiFix, a leading device repair company with more than 550 stores throughout North America, 5.5 million customers and nearly 7 million repairs completed to date. Earning $254 million in revenue in 2018 and joining the Asurion family in 2019, Wetherill started uBreakiFix in 2009, shortly after earning his accounting degree and dropping his iPhone.

Brian Wright ’06 is general manager of the San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team. Joining the Spurs in 2016 as the team’s assistant general manager, Wright was promoted to the GM role earlier this year. As a graduate student in the DeVos Sport Business Management Program, Wright began his NBA career as a summer intern with the Orlando Magic.



Who You Know

You may have noticed that we have some new occupants in the office across the hall from Collaboration 2 (Rm 234).  This is our Employer Relations Team.  The folks occupying those offices are part of the Office of Professional Development.  We moved them to this new location to give them more visibility.  The Employer Relations Team talks with our corporate partners and area coordinators about their employment and internship opportunities and can help connect you to people who can jump-start your career. You’ve heard the old saying, its not just what you know, but who you know that counts.  Getting to know these people counts.

If you have been admitted into a major, have a polished resume and are ready to seek internships or career opportunities, make an appointment to meet with one of the members of the team.  They will help you assess your readiness to compete in the market for jobs or internships, get a sense of your skill sets and interests and tell you about current job openings and opportunities our corporate partners have in the works.  By taking the time to build a relationship with one of the team members, they are better able to target and recommend opportunities to you as they arise.  Landing the job or internship is up to you, but it never hurts to have well connected people in your corner.

You can learn more about the team and make an appointment by clicking here.