Honoring an Original

Tomorrow night is our 20th College of Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  We will induct three alums: Clint Bullock (General Manager and CEO of OUC), Jessica Blume (retired Vice Chairman and board member at Deloitte) and Rick Cardenas (CFO of Darden).  They join a very exclusive club:  The college has more than 60,000 alums and fewer than 80 are in the HOF.  We will also honor some of our young entrepreneurs, honorable and notable Knights and corporate partners who help make us who we are today.  We expect 850 guests.

Every so often though, there is someone whose contributions go way beyond the achievements of those we typically honor at the event.  This brings me to Bob Case.  Bob was a member of FTU’s charter class of 1970.  He graduated with a degree in management and marketing and went on to leadership roles in a number of organizations, including Sears, Roebuck and Company  in its heyday.  That was more than enough to land him in the College’s Hall of Fame in 2002. 

Bob sucks at retirement, so now he is President of Demetree Global. In his spare time, he is on my Dean’s Advisory Board, sits on the Hall of Fame Induction Committee and judges our Great Capstone Case Competition. He ran our Executive Development Center for a few years and helped create the Integrated Business Program. If there is an important task in the College that needs to be done, he is always willing to be part of the solution.  Good thing, because Bob is one of the most insightful and sensible people I know.  After all, he married Jan.

The Hall of Fame is meant to be a celebration of where we come from, who we are and what we aspire to be.  I can think of no one who represents all three of those things better than Bob Case.  In a very real way, his achievements have been our achievements. So, we are honoring him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, not because he’s done, but because both he and the College have barely gotten started….

How to be Like Tom Brady

Full disclosure– I am a two-time Michigan alum. I try to make it to Ann Arbor every year to see a game and catch the Detroit Tigers the next day. But not even the most ardent wolverine fan who watched Tom Brady play in college would have guessed that he’d turn into Tom Brady– He is quarterbacking his ninth Super Bowl as I write this post. If he wins, it will be win No. 6. (Bradshaw and Staubach each went 4-0. ) A win today makes it hard to argue that he’s not the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time).

It’s not just the appearances and wins. It’s that he has been doing this for 19 years. Maybe it’s his crazy diet. Maybe it’s because he is one of the most competitive people on the planet. Maybe it’s his humble leadership style ( e.g. he walks up and introduces himself to every new person in the locker room by saying: “Hi, I’m Tom Brady.” Message– everybody here puts their pants on the same way, me included.). Or, his willingness to take less in salary so he can surround himself with better talent (besides his wife makes more anyway).

But more than anything else, Tom Brady is adaptable. He leads a team willing to change what they do to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses. It doesn’t have to be about him, it’s about winning. And as he has gotten older, Brady has changed the way he plays to compensate for his declining athleticism. To be the G.O.A.T., you have got to change with the circumstances and times. That’s true whether you are a QB, student, faculty member or business leader.

Michael Redlick

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.

Success Isn’t Achieved Alone

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.

Why We Do Welcome to the Majors

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.

Five Predictions for 2019

Because I just didn’t have the time to come up with 10 predictions this year…

1. UCF plays Alabama on Jan. 19: After UCF beats LSU and Bama downs Clemson, there is just too much money left on the table not to have the last two unbeaten CFB teams square off. No, it won’t happen, but UCF will beat LSU, and the cries for an expanded playoff will get louder. Much louder.

2. Integrated Business will have the best placement rate of any major in the college: Thanks in part to a very strong group of dedicated advisory board members and faculty who believe in this program, it’s already No. 2 behind Accounting in employability. Honestly, I don’t think it will surpass Accounting, but I do think we have shown that the concept works, that employers want students with these skill sets and that the Master’s version of this program, which starts Fall 2019, will draw a lot of undergraduate non-business students wanting to invest in their career readiness.

3. Blockchain develops a killer app that takes it mainstream: I stole this prediction from somewhere and frankly I’m not sure exactly what it means, but everybody knows you’re product sells more with the right branded app. Dr. Eric Boyd told us so at our last Dean’s Speaker Series this fall. Sean Snaith will give you his take on the economy for 2019 at the next Dean’s Speaker Series on Friday, Jan. 25. Click here to register.

4. Our Professional Sales Program will win another national championship: We already have two rings. This year’s group of students had a very strong fall. They just seem poised to win that third title. Besides, Dr. Bill Steiger is the Nick Saban of sales coaches. Frankly, every student in the college should have a sales course even the accountants, because as Bill says, “Everybody is in sales.”

5. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” will get a remake this year: Our 2019 College of Business Hall of Fame will be so successful that Hollywood will decide to do a remake — Lily Collins stars. OK, that prediction is a little bold, but my Tiffany works best with big goals and she usually exceeds her target. You can help her out by joining us Feb. 12 at Rosen Shingle Creek. Register by clicking here. (I told you everyone is in sales, even me.)

Happy New Year. Go Knights. Charge On!

How many students got into their major for Spring

A total of 585 BSBA students matriculated into their major of choice for Spring 2019.

    Integrated Business 160
    Finance 155
    Accounting 96
    Marketing 72
    Management 53
    Economics. 32
    Real Estate. 17

These numbers don’t reflect about 100 students who, over the next few weeks, will gain admittance into a different major than they had hoped. These 585 students were designated pre-majors at the beginning of the Fall semester. The pattern has become pretty standard over the past few years with Integrated Business and Finance having the most students and Real Estate and Economics the fewest.

Congratulations to all of these students. Happy Holidays and Charge On into your major in 2019!

Did you ever wonder if something is a thing?

That’s the idea behind our podcast. We explore whether an alleged trend or innovation is really a thing– something people should know about– or is just hype. If you haven’t heard it, you can listen by clicking here.

Last fall, we explored Esports, Bitcoin, Millennials, Ghosting on the Job Market, Triple Entry Accounting, The Stare Down Kid, Lean Start Up, Backyard Chickens, Fake News, Behavioral Ethics and Black Friday. What’s next? We’re not sure. So, we are seeking your help. Take a second and complete our quick poll. You can also recommend a topic, we haven’t thought about. Thanks for participating and if you like the show, give us a rating on iTunes, it helps us build awareness for the show.

<noscript><a href=”https://poll.fm/10192125″>What three topics would most interest you in a future podcast?</a></noscript>

Charge On New Knights

Every semester at UCF we send a group of newly-minted Knights into the world to do battle.   Like our student body as a whole, our Ambassadors arrive here from very different paths.  They have different expectations about what they want from a college experience and different aspirations about where they want to go.  The experience of being an Ambassador changes them and gives them a different perspective as they leave us to embrace their next challenge.  Before they go, Jennifer and I want to share some observations on the five students that are graduating Friday.

Jordan Less –  Both Jennifer and I have seen a great deal of growth with Jordan.  Things didn’t always come easy for him as a student but he persevered and has reached his goal of graduating with an Accounting degree.  Next semester he starts the MSA program.   We have no doubt that he will make a fine CPA. Jordan has a great deal of pride in the Ambassador program and believes in the culture of engagement we have here in the College.  He rose to be chair of the group this semester and has served for two years on the committee charge with recruiting the next group of Ambassadors.  During new ambassadors interviews this semester, he was asked what he likes most about the program and he said, “it’s fun, I honestly enjoy coming to each meeting and it was never a burden to serve.  This group has become my friends”.

Michael Silverman – Most student enjoy the Ambassador program because they want to make an impact. All you really need to know about Micheal, can be summed up in one story Jennifer shared with me:  During The Invitational– an event where students meet potential employers,  Micheal gave up time to network, so that he could personally escort a blind student around to meet employers.  The student received a job and is doing exceptionally well.   Michael is going into real estate and would like to be an entrepreneur…   There may be few houses to flip as he begins his journey.

Valerie Chidester – Jennifer describes Valerie as her strong and steady ambassador.  She stepped outside her comfort zone and rose to every occasion we asked of her.  Valerie is accountable, coach-able,  hard-working and committed. She will be very valuable to any team.  We can’t wait to see where she begins her career, maybe marketing, possibly recruiting.

Jane Tarasionak – Jane took over Ambassador relations and kept the morale up in the group during a challenging semester with lots of different perspectives and points of view.  Accountability is important to her and she stayed on track and remained committed to the program.  Jane brought a lot of new ideas and was always there to offer recommendations or the student perspective.  She is keeping her next move a secret for now, but I’m sure we will know soon.

Geoffrey Amankwah – He made being an international student look easy.  He was our most dapper ambassador, who was always well-dressed for any occasion.  Geoffrey made himself available to mentor students and be a guide to students who are struggling to make their way at the college. Geoffrey,  “Got to the One”  with Verizon, after doing an internships there for the past 7 months, he was offered a full time position.

As these students go their separate ways, it is my hope that each of them carry with them the key lessons of being an ambassador–that diversity of perspective and experience in groups is a strength, that leading requires you to get out of your comfort zone, that the hardest thing to do as a leader is to get people to see the value in a future they have yet to experience, that being engaged always matters and that the friends you make in college are an asset you can draw on for the rest of your life.  Lastly, don’t forget to come back and visit us.  You are, and shall always be, a UCF Knight.  Charge On.