We are laying a friend and colleague to rest today. Mike Redlick joined our DeVos Sports Business Management program a few years ago after a distinguished career in sports that included his beloved Browns, 49ers and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He came to help shape the next group of sports business leaders and to give back. He also wanted to give his kids, Jadyn and Sawyer, a stable place to grow up. Life in sports business often demands a lot of moving around.
The DeVos program is an especially close knit group, and Mike relished getting to know the students and helping them transition to a successful career. He was full of great stories, always had a smile on his face and used his many industry contacts to help students realize their professional goals. He had a huge impact: Rich Lapchick told me the other day that he received more than 200 notes and emails from people Mike impacted in positive ways.
One of the greatest things about working at a university is that your impact outlives you. It lives on in the students and colleagues you helped to shape. Sawyer and Jadyn, you should know that your dad made a huge difference. He is and shall always be a UCF Knight. We shall not forget him.
Last week at Welcome to the Majors I could see on the faces of some of our students that they were not yet ready to buy into our main message: Success in the College of Business requires that you engage with others and together show what you can do. I only have a partial window into the minds of those students, but I do know some are struggling to overcome their introverted nature, others believe they can do it alone, and still others think school has to be minimized if it is going to fit into a puzzle that includes many other priorities.
We have two events over the next two weeks designed to help students like these change and expand their mindset. For students early in their time with us, The Ambassadors will be doing their “Street Smarts” program in the Exchange next week. Street Smarts is a peer-to-peer orientation program designed to help new students transition to our unique culture and embrace the actions and strategies that will bring them success in the college. This is a great opportunity for new students to get advice from fellow Knights who are ahead of them and succeeding in the college.
The second event happens this Thursday and is for students who are a little further along in their education and are looking for an alumni mentor who can help them finish college strong and successfully transition to a new career. These students have been here long enough to understand that success isn’t something that you achieve on your own, that there is much to learn from others and that opening your mind to new experiences that challenge you is the reason to come to college in the first place. They are looking to learn from experienced people who can help them grow. If your new to the college, follow their lead.
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.
This is why we do 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” here. Up until this point, you 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. Fortune favors the bold.
Expect to be challenged. If the experience doesn’t get you out of your comfort zone change your mindset and transform you, you refused to engage and wasted your money. You should have just googled it.