September 21, 2011 Leave a comment
I received my first Daniels College of Business Alumni email newsletter. It included a list of famous alumni. Maybe one day I will be on this list…
We never fail when we try to do our duty, we always fail when we neglect to do it.
September 21, 2011 Leave a comment
I received my first Daniels College of Business Alumni email newsletter. It included a list of famous alumni. Maybe one day I will be on this list…
June 13, 2011 Leave a comment
It has been quite some time since I’ve written a regular blog post on here. May and the beginning of June just flew by! The end of college came and went – way too quickly! I am hoping to start doing a better job of blogging again now. In the meantime, I figured I would give some updates on what I have been up to during the past month and half or so (In no particular order). I don’t know if anyone will read this, but just in case…
That’s a lot. And there is a lot more. Hopefully, I will have time to post updates on life, what I am thinking, and interesting things I come across online.
June 10, 2011 Leave a comment
I graduated from the University of Denver one week ago today! Wow! I can’t believe it has already been one week! It is amazing to me how quickly time flies. I am incredibly behind on my blogging (which I hope to fix soon) so I missed blogging about commencement. Instead, I want to share a few reflections:
I graduated with a MBA on Friday, June 3, 2011. A Master of Business Administration degree. Weird. My dad tells me that I am the first person in our immediate family to get any degree beyond a bachelor’s degree. That’s kind of cool.
A lot of people told me that a master’s degree was a big deal in the month or so leading up to graduation. I didn’t really think of it that way. After all, I just graduated with a bachelor’s degree a year ago. This was just another year for me to continue learning, keep growing, and have the opportunity to meet some amazing people. I guess it was all of those things, but actually so much more. The MBA seems to already be setting me up and setting me apart for the future.
I was originally a management major before changing to international studies. I then decided to move back to business for the master’s degree. I made the right choice leaving business to expand my horizons and skill set. I also made the right choice coming back to business. 🙂
I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people at the University of Denver. I have been friends with many of them for four-five years. Some I knew for several years, but really only become close friends with this past year. I have also met some amazing people in my MBA program. They might have had great experience and/or insight. They might have been from another country. I have tried to get to know a good number of the international students at Daniels. I remember what it was like studying in a different country and I know that each of us has something great to offer. However I met people and from wherever they are from, I am very happy to have had the opportunity to get to know each of the amazing people and friends this past year and the four previous years.
The hooding ceremony was interesting and a good close to my business education. I’m glad the business students actually get to keep their hoods. Who knows if there may be another degree in my future? Commencement was a good end to my University of Denver education – an acknowledgement and a way of saying thank you. I was happy to have many good friends close by and to be able to see both the Chancellor and the Provost at the end of my DU experience. Both this year and last the Provost gave me a hug as I crossed the stage. I appreciate that. He has actually been one of the most influential people in my University of Denver career, providing academic and career counseling as well as being a key person for the work I have done on campus.
I was able to celebrate the end of my time at the University of Denver with some of my best friends from the past five years, as well as with many of the other MBA graduates over the course of my last week in Denver.
March 23, 2011 Leave a comment
It is Spring Quarter and there seems to be excitement in the air. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there is certainly something different, something exciting about this quarter. People are generally in a good mood and seem to smile more. I like that.
My classes this quarter will be a lot of work and each of them involves at least one group project. I am taking the following classes: Creating Sustainable Enterprises, Strategic Human Resource Management, Competitive Marketing Strategies, and Enterprise Solutions. I like my professors so far and the content seems like it will be interesting and relevant to me post-graduation. Enterprise Solutions is a capstone class that is meant to bring together concepts from the entire MBA program and function more as a consulting engagement. My group will be working with Denver Health.
Working at the Center for Multicultural Excellence this quarter will focus mostly on the 10th Annual Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence. We should have a great program and I am extremely excited about the potential the Summit has. I will also be doing some wrap-up and evaluation of the Diversity & Unity Retreat and Voices of Discovery, while beginning planning for next year’s Diversity & Unity Retreat. Of course, there will be our quarterly Dinner and a Movie and work with Joint Council. Importantly, we will need to be developing some sort of transition/succession plan for after I leave CME.
I am participating in the Daniels College of Business’s Inclusive Excellence Case Competition this quarter with a great team. We will be working with MolsonCoors to solve a real diversity/inclusion program that their enterprise needs to address.
A big part of the next 10ish weeks will be my job search. I am constantly looking up companies and jobs and applying for opportunities. I hope to have something lined up soon. My goal is to have a job well before the end of the quarter, while making sure that it is a great fit for me and the company. I am hoping for something that provides continued growth and long-term opportunity.
Then there are the other groups of which I am a part and to which I will continue to contribute.
In the midst of all of this, I hope to make the most of the end of my college experience. It has been an amazing five years, better than anything I could have ever imagined. I want to cherish each moment, each experience, every person, all of my friends and make the most of the short time I have remaining.
Here’s to the end of college and setting ourselves up for a successful future!
January 9, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ve now completed my first week of Winter Quarter and am getting ready for the second week. This quarter may be my most difficult yet. There will certainly be a lot of reading/work. Work at CME is also keeping me busy. This quarter, we have the Diversity & Unity Retreat and Voices of Discovery, two programs I am planning with Thomas. I am also doing a lot of work for the Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence (big expansion this year, held in May) with Johanna.
I am taking four classes this quarter. Here they are with some initial thoughts:
Strategic Cost Management
This class has an interesting topic that I’ve never really though about before. I’m hoping to get a more integrative understanding of managerial accounting. My professor is a nice old guy who clearly knows the material. However, I’ve already been lost in class and there is a ton of work for this class, most of which has to be done with a partner. Luckily, I have a good one.
Ethics for the 21st Century Professional
This class is very interesting and multidisciplinary. It covers leadership, management, law, public policy, etc. I like my professor a lot. It has a good amount of work and effectively utilizes Blackboard by dividing up readings, discussion boards, and quizzes into “learning modules”. I know a lot of the people in this class so that makes it a lot of fun as well.
My Professor is extremely knowledgeable and has great experience. We will be covering a lot of material and fast. It will be a lot of work, but I think I will really enjoy it. We have several team case analyses and I have a good group with people I know.
Law and Public Policy
I’ve always been interested in this topic and now I get to take a class that also relates it to business. A good fit. We have a lot of reading for this one too and several longer papers/presentations on different cases. My professor seems to be a nice guy.
October 23, 2010 Leave a comment
As is evident by the lateness of this post, I have been extremely behind on my blogging lately. Midterms, class, work – everything has been extremely busy lately. Nevertheless, I want to share a few thoughts on the Leading at the Edge weekend experience that I had with my business class October 8-10.
The weekend is held at The Nature Place. It has an amazing location with fantastic facilities and amazing facilitators. I highly recommend it.
We were told that our weekend would be great, amazing, etc, etc. With so much build up, I became a little skeptical. With all of the business master’s students forced to attend (or you fail your required class), how much fun could teamwork and critical thinking exercises be?
I ended up having an amazing time. I truly got lucky with the team I ended up a part of. There were twelve of us. Five were from China, three were married, several had longer work experience, one was a newly minted lawyer, and ages ranged from 21-31. It was a diverse and exciting group. We bonded well and now spend time together in Denver outside of class.
We were in the mountains (about an hour West of Colorado Springs) at a beautiful time of year, with the Aspens changing colors. We did high ropes course activities, low ropes course activities, orienteering (map and compass), climbing, repelling, leadership, ethics, and critical thinking challenges, and much more.
It was an amazing weekend that I would like to have the opportunity to do again. I pushed myself and reflected in new ways about leadership as well as had the opportunity to help my teammates push themselves.
Below is a video slideshow of some of one of my teammate’s (Steven’s) pictures. He is quite the photographer.
September 20, 2010 Leave a comment
Christine Riordan, Dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, recently wrote an article for Forbes. A version of this was presented during our MBA orientation to business students. It is an interesting perspective and, I think, very relevant.
The business world just keeps getting more complex. Indeed, a recent study by IBM of 1,500 global chief executives (Capitalizing on Complexity) indicated that they felt the greatest issue facing them was the escalation of complexity.
Complexity and turbulence in the business environment may be here to stay, but they present opportunities as well as challenges for leaders. As a business school dean, I run a more than $80 million business in an increasingly competitive marketplace. With over 33,000 stakeholders, I know the pressure isn’t going away, and so do other leaders in my organization. More likely, it will intensify. Still, I say, “Bring it on!”
Let me explain.
My son plays soccer in a competitive league. He practices three days a week and trains in specific skills with his coach. Also, he and I train together. Not only do we run sprints and engage in long bike rides to build speed, endurance and strength, we also work on the mental game associated with playing competitive sports.
Research and common sense tell us that top competitive athletes succeed because of their physical talents and their dedication to training. However, they also succeed because of their dexterity in dealing with the psychological pressures of a sport. In short, mental toughness and resilience are tremendously important for any athlete aiming to be the best in a sport.
As a result, many athletes engage in training their psychological readiness. At the root of mental training in sports is this question: Are you mentally tough enough to compete?
It is not simply a matter of my son’s knowledge, ability and skill in soccer. It is also his psychological preparedness for the game, including skill in dealing with the stress of strong competition, recovering from mistakes and failure quickly, determining strategies to tackle tough situations, adjusting with each circumstance and game, collaborating with a team, celebrating successes but not becoming overconfident and keeping positive before, during and after the game.
Using research and literature from sports psychology, such as James Loehr’s The New Toughness Training for Sports, my son and I actively work each week on his mental game. When we do so, I recognize dramatic similarities to conversations that I have with business executives.
Many have shared with me that their companies have taken a brutal pounding for the last two years, and even those who have had some success are citing fatigue in this new complex game of business. But, just as with athletes, they don’t rely only on knowledge, skills, ability or past success to traverse difficult situations. They draw on an attitude, a toughness that allows them to push through hard situations and face adversity with confidence. As businesses look to the future, their top people need to think about whether they have game-ready leaders who not only have technical skills in business but mental toughness as well.
1. Flexibility. Game-ready leaders have the ability to absorb the unexpected and remain supple and non-defensive. They maintain humor even when the situation becomes tough. If something isn’t going well or doesn’t turn out as expected, they remain flexible in their approach and look for new ways to solve the problem. Just like a quarterback faced with a broken play, a leader may have to decide quickly on a different way to get the ball down the field.
Also, leaders must continually be open to re-educating themselves, even in the basics, which they may have taken for granted for too long. They need to exercise caution in defensively falling back on ideas they know and are comfortable with rather than looking for new ways of doing business.
2. Responsiveness. Game-ready leaders are able to remain engaged, alive and connected with a situation when under pressure. They are constantly identifying the opportunities, challenges, and threats in the environment. They understand that they need to think differently about how their environment and business operate.
The problems we encounter now are messier and more complicated than ever before. They often can’t be solved in the ways others were. Game-ready leaders look for new ways to think about these problems and, more important, look for fresh ways out of these problems. They have a sense of urgency about responding to the changing face of business.
Just as a coach may change strategies at halftime in response to the way a game is going based on the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, game-ready leaders in business must respond to changes in the environment and the players.
We must pay close attention to and understand global, national, regional and local economic trends, market trends, consumer trends, industry trends and competitor responses. Relying on old assumptions about how business operates and assuming that last year’s trends still hold today is dangerous. Leaders make decisions and act based on up-to-the-minute and in-depth knowledge of what is really going on in business now.
3. Strength. Game-ready leaders are able to exert and resist great force when under pressure and to keep going against insurmountable odds. They find the strength to dig deep and garner the resolve to keep going, even when in a seemingly losing game. They focus on giving their best and fighting hard until the end, with persistent intensity throughout the game.
The story of Team Hoyt, Dick and Rick, is an inspirational example of drawing on both inner and physical strength. Rick was born in 1962 to Dick and Judy Hoyt and was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. His parents were advised to institutionalize him because”there was no chance of him recovering, and little hope for Rick to live a ‘normal’ life. This was just the beginning of Dick and Judy’s quest for Rick’s inclusion in community, sports, education, and one day, the workplace. In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair, and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, ‘Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.’ At that moment, they formed Team Hoyt and have run many races together with now impressive times. The 2009 Boston Marathon was officially Team Hoyt’s 1,000th race.” (Adapted from theTeam Hoyt website.)
4. Courage and ethics. Game-ready leaders do the right thing for the organization and the team. They suppress the temptation to cut corners or to undermine others so they come out on top. They have the courage to make the hard but right decisions for the organization.
A famous story I share with my son as an example of courage and ethics in sports is that of the tennis player Andy Roddick. In 2008 Roddick was the No. 1 seed at the Rome Masters. He was at match point and about to win. The umpire called his opponent for a double-fault serve. Walking to shake his opponent’s hand, Roddick noticed a ball mark on the clay–in bounds. Roddick got the umpire’s attention and pointed out that the ball had nicked the line but was in fact in bounds. The match continued. Roddick went on to lose the match, and his beyond-the-call-of-duty honesty made him famous as an upstanding person, an opponent who would do the right thing. Game-ready leaders in business do the same. PepsiCo provides a great business example of this. A disgruntled Coca-Cola employee and two other individuals attempted to sell proprietary information to Pepsi. Pepsi received a package containing a sample of a new Coke product and other information. Pepsi immediately informed Coke, which contacted the FBI. Game-ready business leaders ultimately win by making the right and courageous decisions.
5. Resiliency. Game-ready leaders rebound from disappointments, mistakes and missed opportunities and get right back in the game. They have a hardiness for enduring the downs of a situation. They remain optimistic in the face of adversity and quickly change when necessary.They resolve to make things better and are experts at figuring out ways to do more with fewer resources. How about the resiliency of Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, who was just one out away from pitching a perfect game when Jim Joyce, the first-base umpire, called a runner safe who was indeed out? Joyce had made an error. Galarraga was certainly deeply disappointed, but he continued to pitch and get the next batter out. Afterward, Joyce admitted the error and apologized. Galarraga shrugged it off, saying, “Everyone makes mistakes.”
6. Sportsmanship. Game-ready leaders exhibit sportsmanship. They don’t let the opponent know when he or she has gotten them down. “Chin up,” I say to my son. Clearly we all experience disappointment, attacks from others, an occasional blow to the stomach. However, the behavior exhibited by game-ready leaders after losing or being attacked by others or the situation sets the tone for the rest of an organization. Additionally, top athletes support their teammates and their roles. If teammates start competing with and attacking one another, it is definitely difficult to win.
Living in Denver, I follow the Denver Broncos. Kyle Orton has done an outstanding job of displaying sportsmanship while under public scrutiny. Brought to the Broncos last year, he has been the subject of constant press speculation about possibly being replaced. The drafting of Tim Tebow brought on another press outcry, that Kyle was out and Tim was in. Kyle handled it with grace and dignity. Putting his mind to the game and the team, he got on the field and simply practiced hard, welcoming his new teammate. In the face of even internal competition, Kyle Orton exhibits the mentality of “Bring it on!”
We all need these same markers of toughness to succeed and lead in today’s business environment. We cannot succeed on technical skill alone. Companies have tough questions and situations to address. Game-ready leaders go into today’s business environment with their best mental game and with the attitude of “Bring it on!” After all, who doesn’t love the challenge and fun of a demanding, complex game?
Christine M. Riordan is the dean and a professor of management at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver.
September 8, 2010 Leave a comment
I began MBA orientation last night and it was immediately clear that we are there for one purpose: to get jobs. Obviously, the education is the means to the end but the sessions focused primarily, almost exclusively on the end result.
We were introduced to the leadership of the Daniels College of Business – a group that clearly is in tune with current events and seems to understand the movement in the business world. I am pretty excited to learn from them/work with them over the next year. I like the Dean a lot.
Most of the sessions though were geared toward teamwork (important, of course) in the context of practice for future jobs and career center offerings as well as an introduction to resume and cover letter writing. I am excited for all that the University has to offer, I just thought it interesting that this was the way chosen to begin the business school experience.
While it seems as though learning for the sake of learning is not the idea of the business school, I am excited to learn as much as possible and explore all possible future opportunities. I was also pleased to meet and have conversations with a wonderful group of students from China last night. I think we could become friends and learn a lot from each other.