My Ten Predictions for 2015

It’s back. Not sure it is by popular demand, but last year’s post on what we could expect for UCF and it’s College of Business in 2014 was one of my most viewed entries. Before I gaze into my crystal ball (and throw down the gauntlet in a few instances), let me take a page from Colin Cowherd and review what I got right and wrong from last year.

What I got Right Last Year: (1). Thanks to Verizon and a recovering economy, it was a banner year for accounting and finance job seekers; (2) The college welcomed ten new faculty; (3) We created a new major for people wanting to work in small and medium-sized business. It will see its first students in Spring 2016; (4) Our Blackstone Launchpad broke the record for student business ideas in a year by any Launchpad. Frankly, it crushed that record by a factor of five; (5) The semester vote in our failure competition exceeded one thousand. In the Spring we hit 1500, in the fall over 2200; (6) Lines at our testing center during final exams melted away this fall; And (7) something I didn’t see coming impacted us in a big way: We got a new Provost and a big increase in our budget thanks to a better economy and Dr. Hitt’s great work.

What I got Wrong Last Year: (1 We didn’t get into the Big 12, despite our Fiesta Bowl win; (2) We didn’t get another Pegasus Professor; (3) Direct Connect has yet to slow down. Although in fairness I stated that might not happen until 2015 or 2016; and (4) Our Big Data program did not launch in Fall 2014, The bureaucracy slowed us down. It will launch this fall.

So, I went 7 out of 11 by my count. Not too bad. Now on to 2015……

1. UCF and Cincinnati will be invited into the Big 12: Yes,I got this wrong last year. The Big 12 didn’t expand and our Bitcoin Bowl performance won’t help our case. But, the Big 12 needs to add two teams. The failure of TCU and Baylor to get one of those coveted playoff slots underscored their need for a conference title game. The Big 12 should want a team in Florida for a variety of reasons and West Virginia would like a regional rival. This all adds up to UCF and Cincinnati in my mind, unless Texas is just too chicken to play us.

2. The Common Areas in BA 1 Get a Facelift: To foster a culture of engagement we need common areas for people to sit and talk one-on-one and in small groups. BA 1 needs to be a place that welcomes risk-takers, collaborators, and people wanting to connect with others who are different from themselves in a space that says: the future is being built right here. With the help of our alums and other private donors we are going to make that happen this year.

3. We will launch a new website in January: This same “future being built here” message needs to be sent through our virtual outlets. So, we are launching a new website January 16. This new site will have a fresh look that features our faculty thought-leaders, our culture of engagement and how we are helping students to “get to the one”. Look for #UCFBusiness.

4. We will add five endowed chairs to the faculty: Thanks to that budget increase I mentioned above, the college will fill five endowed chair positions this year. The new additions to the Dixon School, Finance Department and Management Department will expand our national footprint in key areas and give students access to people who will change their perspectives and enhance their marketability. It doesn’t get better than that.

5. We will be searching for ten new faculty for 2016: Those five new chairs and ten new faculty overall are just the beginning. Monies from performance funding should allow UCF to add another 100 new faculty next year. With business being the cross-roads of campus, I expect us to receive about ten new positions with several being part of university-wide cluster hiring initiatives.

6. I still want and expect a second Pegasus Professor to call the College home: With all the talented faculty already in the College of Business, we have several great candidates for the next Pegasus professor. So let’s nominate a killer candidate or two and make this happen I have one in-mind myself. She is incredibly deserving.

7. This Year’s Hall of Fame will hit 600 attendees: Tiffany will faint when she reads this, but her work last year set a bar for excellence that attracts people. The event has become the place for UCF business alums and community leaders to be seen and network. This year’s strong slate of inductees, honored partners, Hollywood theme and Rosen Shingle Creek location all add up to big numbers.

8. The Evening MBA program will enroll 125 students for Fall 2015: With our two-year professional work experience requirement more sharply defined and the best value for the money program in the region, I expect applications for Fall 2015 to be very strong and 125 is the maximum we can handle without adding more faculty.

9. Another College on Campus will create a Professional Development Center for Undergraduate Students: UCF’s success is intertwined with the post-graduation experiences of our students. We need to do everything we can to help students get to the one: the one that gets the job, makes the sale, starts the company, gives back to their community. The place to do that is in the colleges where realistic assessments of interests, talents, and aspirations can meet practical career advice. The result is students who have developed and executed a career launching strategy BEFORE they leave us. I know of a few other professional colleges on campus who share our view. One will certainly step forward in the next year.

10. Our Professional Sales Program will Double in Size: They won the national sales competition this year and with an average of 4.5 job offers per graduate, students from around campus should flock to this program. We need to implement a plan this year to help them do that.

11. The Cubs will Win the Pennant: Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’m afraid they are at least two years away from serious contention.

Well, it’s almost upon us. 2015 is sure to be our best year yet. Charge On!

An Early Xmas Present

Friday I tweeted that all I want for Xmas is a new, complete, fully-functional #UCFBusiness website delivered on time.

I still want that. Saturday though I got an early present in the form of an email from a recent graduate:

Hello Dean Paul Jarley,

My name is Tu Le and I am a recent graduate of the class of 2014 College of Business with a Bachelors in Finance. Thank you so much for allowing me to part of the College of Business Program. The University of Central Florida has culminated my professional character and has allowed me to create networks that would have been impossible to attain without this school. The professors that I personally would like to thank for my experience are: Vladimir Gatchev, Richard Curcio, Joshua Harris, James Gilkeson, and Gary Nichols.

I will do my best to uphold the reputation of UCF as an alumni.

Every professor teaches to receive notes like this. It is why we do what we do.

As for our new alum, I’m betting Tu Le is going to do great things.

Happy Holidays Everyone. #gratitude

A letter of Recommendation

Two weeks ago, Julian Hidalgo won our failure competition.  I thought you might be interested in seeing the type of letter of recommendation I provide for the winner.  It helps explains why we hold this event each semester.  Congratulations again to Julian and everyone who had the courage to participate in the event…

December 15, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of Julian Hidalgo who recently won the College of Business’ Failure Competition. This contest is a signature event in the college designed to de-stigmatize failure and promote risk-taking by sharing stories of professional setbacks and the lessons learned from such experiences. It is a virtual competition where every participant must get out of their comfort zone by posting their story on-line for all to see.

In Fall 2014, Julian competed with over 800 of his fellow students who were all enrolled in our Capstone Course. He was selected by his instructor as the winner of his section then selected as one of three finalists by me. Finalists were asked to videotape their stories and the winner was ultimately selected by an on-line vote of more than 2200 College of Business students, staff and alumni.

I cannot speak for the voters, but I chose Julian’s entry because it told a compelling story about the importance of persistence from a first generation college student who didn’t let his background or early disappointments prevent him from realizing his dream. We have many first generation college students at UCF. Most of them are not born with silver spoons in their mouths. Many struggle to get here and sometimes have to work multiple jobs just to get the opportunity to attend the University. Julian took on several challenges along the road to get here and used those challenges as motivation to succeed. He has gone on to accomplish many great things at UCF. If you are considering him for a position with your organization, I would encourage you to interview him and let him tell his story to you in his own words.


Dr. Paul Jarley



Relentless Persistence

What do Best Buy, Jesse Wolfe, the Ohio State Buckeyes, Daniel Grewal, the Zombies on The Walking Dead, Julian Hidalgo, Mayim Bialik and First Aid Strategy (with Hailey Royal) all have in common?

They are all winners this year thanks to their relentless persistence. (I’m betting on the Zombies from The Walking Dead. In addition to relentless persistence, they appear to have the numbers.)

Relentless persistence is why we have a failure competition. Relentless persistence is the essence of every entrepreneur. It is how you win with a third string quarterback, how a successful strategy gets implemented, how Amy Farrah Fowler lands Sheldon and how you manage to connect with busy people (right Daniel?).

If I could give one gift to all our Knights graduating Saturday, it would be relentless persistence.

Are you listening Alex?