Business Cooking 101

Chris Leo is our most daring faculty member on video.  Who can forget his “golden ticket “  introduction to the IB competition.  Click here to relive the moment. Spring 2019 IB Competition – YouTube

Last week he emailed me the following….

OK, so I’ve been trying to think about ways to develop some “fresh” content for my class and I’ve been experimenting with a new series that I’m calling, “Business Cooking 101.” These cooking videos are less than 15 minutes and provide students with (1) a recipe and (2) a business theory/concept. If it blows up, I want to invite “guest” faculty (like Ron Piccolo, Marshall [Schminke], Carolyn Messiah, etc.) to cook with me AND share a short lecture on a popular business topic of their choosing.

What do you think? Is this crazy or am I on to something?

Well readers, what do you think?  Is this crazy or should we get cooking?  Watch the video and vote below…

So You Don’t Want to Return to the Office?

There have been numerous articles over the last month or two about the number of people who say they don’t want to return to the office. They say they would rather work from home. Some estimates put this has high as 40 percent of the workforce. The reasons offered for this are many: lingering fear of the virus, childcare problems, work-family balance, greater productivity at home to name a few.

Not all work is at the office. Some people work “in the field,” and daycare is a problem for many right now. But I think the primary source of the “I would rather work from home movement” is a lack of engagement at work. It’s possible to be physically at work, but mentally checked out. Gallup figures suggest that only about a third of people are fully engaged at work. These are people who are highly involved, enthusiastic and committed to their work.

When an employee tells me they would rather work at home or a student tells me they prefer a Zoom attendance option to showing up for class, I have to admit that the first thing I hear is “I have other priorities. It would be great if you could just fit me in when it’s convenient for me.” I’m also thinking: “We need to find this person something to get excited about.” If I have even 20 percent of my people telling me this, I’m thinking: “We got a culture problem.”

It is said that the Pandemic has exposed a lot of things, an engagement problem is certainly one of them. Some organizations will change their culture in an effort to coax more people back to the office. Many employees will change jobs either through voluntarily turnover or mandatory separation. I suspect we are going to have a couple of years of shakeout. Let’s all work to make sure everyone ends up in a place they can be excited about whether it is with our organization or someplace else.

Meme Queens, NFTs and the Death of Free Comedy

Erika Hodges is our Meme Queen. Technically she is our Director of Communications and Marketing, but her real value is her uncanny ability to find a Meme for every occasion. She is a master at bringing dark humor to someone’s dark day.

Yet when recording our upcoming podcast on NFTs, it struck me that her crown might fall victim to the growing digital economy. Just like the rise of the merchant class posed a threat to the power of the aristocracy as the dark ages came to a close, the rise of NFTs may threaten the free flow of Memes. The queen may need to levy taxes to buy the memes she seeks from digital merchants and I’m not sure the subjects will go for that.

Will NFTs really be a thing? Is the free sharing of memes coming to an end? Or is this all just hype? Tune into our podcast on NFTs that will be released this week. In the mean time, check our last podcast on Meme stocks by clicking here. As far as I know, there are no NFTs for Meme stocks.

Welcome to the Majors Summer 2021

When someone becomes part of something that is different from what they have experienced, it is a good idea to mark this change with an event that signifies their movement into unfamiliar terrain and helps them better understand what will be expected of them going forward.
We welcome 500 students to the college this week with “Welcome to the Majors”.

The College of Business is different than what students have experienced to this point in their education. How different depends a bit on where they are coming from, but one way it is different for every new student is the importance we place on “doing”. Up until this point, most students have probably thought that school was about acquiring knowledge and seeking to “be” something– an accountant, finance major, etc., Success required you to sit and learn– meaning passively consuming lectures and correctly repeating what you were taught on exams.

The basic message of Welcome to the Majors is to let you know that you have entered a different experience where that strategy won’t be enough to succeed. The College of Business is a professional school. We believe the ultimate purpose of business education isn’t knowledge, but action. Don’t misunderstand. Knowledge is important. But if you don’t learn to do things with that knowledge, it’s not very useful. In short, knowledge is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. In our College, you must do.

This starts at Welcome to the Majors where we encourage you to think about what you want to do in your career rather than what you want to be, it continues in our core courses where we ask you to work in teams to solve real world problems and in our professional development courses where you need to invest time in getting out of your comfort zone and do things that will help you develop your professional network. We want you to leave us with a reputation for doing that gets you a great job offer before graduation.

All of this will require a change in your mindset. Welcome to the Majors is just the start of that process. It will introduce you to the many opportunities you have in the college to embrace doing, connect with amazing people and get to where you want to go. But you need to come ready to dive in.

To learn more about how to succeed in the college, just out our guide by clicking here. It will give you a wealth of information about our culture, resources to help you succeed and tips from students who have excelled in our environment.

Admission into the Majors for Spring ‘21

Every semester BSBA students complete the primary core and are admitted into a major where their interests and academic performance overlap. This spring semester 545 students gained entry into a major. The breakdown is shown in the table below….

These results have been pretty stable now for several semesters with IB and Finance holding the top two positions and Economics and Real Estate having the fewest students. Although keep in mind that Economics also has a BS degree that operates under a different set of requirements.

Congratulations to all our new majors. Let’s hope the coming academic year will be less trying for everyone.

Have We Forgotten How to Celebrate?

Graduation Friday was weird.

I was looking forward to pomp and circumstance along with some revelry. Universities are good at pageantry and UCF does so many graduations that this production is a well-oiled machine. UCF delivered the pomp and circumstance. The students, on the other hand, did not deliver the revelry.

Instead, they were subdued. I had been warned about this by the event staff who commented that the prior ceremonies this semester were almost silent. It was so bad, that when I presented the graduates from the College of Business, I departed from my three sentence speech to beg the graduates to make some noise. They hesitantly complied.

The college experience is supposed to be a joyful time when you get to explore who you are, question what you thought you knew and leave celebrating your entry into adulthood knowing you are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Graduation is a final reminder that it takes courage and boldness of action to make the world a better place.

Perhaps we have forgotten how to celebrate in large gatherings. Perhaps we have stressed compliance so much over the last year that we have sucked the joy out of too many things. Perhaps students are focused on what the pandemic took from their college experience or are just too uncertain about the future to be in a celebratory mood. Maybe it’s all these things.

What I do know for certain is that if we want to restore the revelry and the optimism of the college graduate, we need to restore the college experience and that a culture of engagement is the way to get this done. The Fall semester and the return of full blown campus life can’t come soon enough. We need to make sure that return is worth celebrating.

The Hopes and Aspirations of our Students

This week is graduation. It is great to have it in person again, and I know our graduation speaker Laurette Koellner is going to have some great advice for our students who have succeeded under the most unusual of circumstances.

But as we say goodbye to our graduates, it’s worth noting the professional hopes and aspirations of our students as they start their journey with us. Every semester we ask students in our first professional development class about what they expect after graduation. This semester’s survey yielded 451 respondents. Some highlights….

Most important work-related attributes to you? 1.Salary; 2. Job Satisfaction; 3. Work/Life Balance; 4. Advancement Opportunity; 5. Job Security

The Top 10 companies the students would like to work for (in order of preference): Disney, Apple, Amazon, Google, JP Morgan, Netflix, Bank of America, Universal, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin. I’m guessing our students have significant customer experiences with at least seven of these 10 companies.

Given that list, it is not surprising that 59 percent would like to work for a medium- or large-sized company after graduation

The 8 top jobs of interest (in order of preference): Analyst (Financial, Credit, Budget, Pricing, Etc.), Financial Accounting, Corporate Finance, Sports Management, Project Management, Social Media / Email Marketing, Business Consulting, Marketing Analysis.

They expect to work hard: 83 percent of the respondents say they are hard workers. 57 percent expect to work 40 hours a week, and 32 percent expect to work +40. 56 percent expect to work weekends and evenings.

And they expect to get paid: 46 percent expect to earn between $45,000–$60,000 after graduation; 27 percent expect to earn more than $60k!

More than half of our students don’t think they will be working for someone else in 20 years: 40 percent expect to be running a business in 20 years (I blame Cameron for this); 12 percent expect to be retired (I blame social media influencers for this).

And 50 percent want to remain in Florida after graduation.

Hopes and aspirations are important. You can’t achieve if you don’t have motivation, but you also need a plan that you can and will execute while you are with us. Trust me, Disney or Netflix isn’t magically knocking on your door a week before graduation with a $65,000 job offer. They can hire anybody they want. Why should it be you? That is where our professional development courses, corporate partners and culture of engagement come in. They are designed to help you create and execute a well thought out plan to achieve your early career goals. That way, you can celebrate more than just graduation, you can celebrate finding that tangible future you will start creating the very next week.

Traditions Endure

Universities are this odd combination of innovation and tradition. On the one hand, we are seen as places of knowledge creation that advance science, the professions and society in general. On the other hand, we are—because of our longevity—places of tradition with rites of passage: football Saturdays, the Greek system, spirit splash, graduation. Both knowledge creation and tradition give our lives meaning and it is why they have endured during the Pandemic.

Here in the college, one of those rites of passage is the Great Capstone Case Competition. It happens at the end of every semester: Fall, Spring and Summer. It is the last opportunity students get to distinguish themselves in the college by competing in teams to provide a solution to the leadership team of a company that presents them with a problem. We start out with more than 100 teams and finish with just one. Winning is a big achievement. Some teams have even gotten job offers from our corporate sponsor.

This semester’s version of the competition is this week and is sponsored by Verizon. Verizon has partnered with us each spring for a number of years now, thanks in large part to Monty Garrett who is their senior VP of Audit and a member of my Dean’s Advisory Board. Monty loves this event, hires lots of our grads and refuses to let the pandemic deny our students this experience. We even had to pivot to a Wednesday as the first day of Grad Walk unexpectedly bumped us from our time slot.

Monty, thanks for helping to keep this tradition alive. Our students have become pretty adept at virtual presentations (a skill we will probably add to the curriculum), and I’m sure the winning team will give your people the novel solution you’re looking for. As for the winning student team, they not only get bragging rights but will have a great story to tell their children about how to adapt and win even under the most unusual of circumstances. That way when they come to the UCF College of Business some years from now, they will already know what this event is all about.

A Thank You to Our Donors

A few weeks ago, UCF had its day of giving. The College of a Business had a banner day, raising the most by any college with almost $310,000 from 149 donors. Our biggest gift was $250,000 from Jessica and Ken Blume to support first generation scholarships, another $7500 gift came from a first time donor inspired by another recent gift to help meet the technology needs of students during the Pandemic.

Thanks to everyone of you for supporting our students and engagement efforts in the College. We have made great strides in engaging our alums and the community at large over the last several years as we have thrown open the doors of the college and asked you to be a part of the learning environment we have created for our students. While the money raised during our day of giving and throughout the year helps make these efforts possible, it is equally dependent on the army of alums, corporate partners and community leaders who have donated their talents and time to help our students prepare for the professional challenges that lie ahead. Thanks to all of you too. We couldn’t do this without you.

And of course none of this would happen without my amazing team in the Office of Outreach and Engagement. From Susan and Sarah who help people support their passions and leave a legacy, to our tiny marketing team (Erika, Kellie and Josh) who get the word out about the many ways people can contribute to the college and the impact it has on our students and faculty, to Jess who works with our Ambassadors and Alums, to Jennifer (and Lonny) who engage so many people in the Exchange, to Tiffany Hughes who leads the team and engages everyone, every day. It’s an integrated effort that works for our students, faculty, alums, corporate partners and donors. Well done.

If you haven’t yet donated your time, talent or treasure to us, but want to be a part of this, come visit us when things open back up in earnest here in the Fall. The team and I will find you a place where you can make a difference.


One of the joys of working in my business is that you get to see people mature, hone their talents and move on to great opportunities. Usually this involves students, but sometimes it’s a member of your team. Nobody likes losing talent, but people need new challenges to continue to grow and do the things in life that they want to do. So I’ve always encouraged my people to explore what’s out there and hope that when they move on that they will remember their time with us fondly. I also hope they will share a bourbon with me once in a while to let me know what’s going on with them. Happily most do (It’s your turn, Bridget. It’s been ages).

This week Josh Miranda moves on. If you don’t know Josh, it’s because he is the guy behind a lot of what we do in the Office of Outreach & Engagement. He is the guy behind the website. The genius behind many of our videos. The producer of the podcast. The poster of content on our social media sites. The technical expert that runs Zoom events… etc., etc. He has been a very big part of our visibility efforts over the past few years. It was only a matter of time before somebody in the private sector with a big checkbook found him. If Erika panicked, she would be in one now. She doesn’t.

But what I will miss most about Josh is his ability to absorb the many indignities that come with being the youngest member of a team full of mean girls. (I admit that I freely participated in this.). Which brings us to the title of this post. At one of the first college events Josh attended, he was photographed scooping up a second plate of meatballs. Erika referred to him as “Meatball Miranda.” I made sure the label stuck.

Everybody who works for me teaches. The students see what they do, how they perform their work and how we operate as a team. Josh was no exception. He taught a lot of young people, especially our Ambassadors, how to handle the demands placed on a young professional, how to develop your own standards of excellence and how to sell your ideas to a group of over-achieving, fast-moving, type A personalities who are in love with their own ideas.

In so doing, the guy behind so much of what we did made all of us better. Thank you, Josh. Now go do great things you can tell us about over a bourbon someday soon. Well, maybe a Shirley Temple for you.