Tomorrow’s Leaders 

How our business schools are impacting the C-suites
by RaeAnne Marsh

Tomorrows Leaders

The health and vitality of a community owes much to the strength of businesses that operate in its environs and to decisions made by those with the responsibility of leading those businesses. This is true in a diversified business community like Phoenix just as for towns whose economy rests on a single, large employer. Business schools recognize that decisions made in the C-suites have an incredibly broad impact, and this factors into their programs as they help prepare the business leaders of tomorrow.

[Editor’s note: Jerry Colangelo shares his views, written from the standpoint of his association with Grand Canyon University, on a philosophy that successful leadership transcends the traditional “bottom line.” Read » ]


Arizona State University – W. P. Carey School of Business

John Wisneski

 

John Wisneski
Director, Full-time MBA
W. P. Carey School of Business
Arizona State University

 

How do you promote and nurture students for leadership and management positions?

We have embraced leadership training at the W. P. Carey School by enabling a robust mentoring program that exists both in our graduate as well as undergraduate programs. Specifically, within the Full-time MBA program, we have a well-established program called Executive Connections, which pairs current students with area business leaders in a direct, one-on-one mentoring relationship. The senior executives who participate in our program assist in the development of leadership competencies by sharing first-hand experiences and offering assistance to our students in their internships and curricular project work. We have well over 70 executives participating in Executive Connections, and we pair our mentors with student mentees based on industry and functional preferences. 

At the undergraduate level, we have recently established our Carey Collaborates platform, which pairs these very same graduate students with a cohort of 20–25 undergraduate students. In this “pay it forward” mentoring model, our graduate students invest in the development of our undergraduate students by helping them integrate into the social and civic learning community here on campus, while also guiding them through the practical steps of industry networking, résumé writing and preparing for interviews. 

What aspects of leadership does your curriculum cover? Is there a philosophy that underlies your leadership courses?

Our philosophical approach to leadership training is focused on providing students with truly interdisciplinary learning opportunities. It is a given that students of the W. P. Carey School will be exposed to the various functions within the enterprise (e.g., finance, marketing and supply chain management). However, what employers have been asking for — and we are committed to deliver — are graduates who possess the skillset to work effectively outside the four walls of the business school to solve real-world challenges in a truly interdisciplinary way. It is our firm belief that the leadership training we provide at W. P. Carey should enable students to not only lead within the corporation, but also provide them the skills to be leaders in the communities in which they live. 

Recent examples of these learning opportunities include partnering with students from the School of Sustainability and School of Mechanical Engineering to deliver a carbon-neutral roadmap for the City of Tempe, partnering with the School of Design and the School of Sustainable Engineering to develop sustainable home designs for the Gila River Indian Community, and partnering with the School of Education to offer alternative funding allocation models for performance-based K-12 incentives. In each of these examples, our W. P. Carey students learned how to partner effectively with students outside the business school to develop real-world solutions that achieved meaningful outcomes and impact here in Arizona.

Entrepreneurship has become a focus in and of itself in recent years. In what ways do you nurture this?

Entrepreneurship + Innovation at the W. P. Carey School of Business provides opportunities for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community at large to explore ideas and collaborate on solutions that can drive change locally and globally.

Our benefactor, Wm. Polk Carey, lived by the motto “doing good while doing well.” Our entrepreneurship initiatives reflect that philosophy, focusing on successful ventures and successful communities. But it all begins with successful entrepreneurs. E+I @ W. P. Carey offers undergraduate majors and certificate programs, graduate education and funding competitions to ignite students’ passion and thinking.

Because of the transdisciplinary nature of Arizona State University, E+I @ W. P. Carey partners and collaborates with other schools across campus and Entrepreneurship + Innovation @ ASU, a central hub for resources and knowledge. Additionally, we work with corporate sponsors and community stakeholders, among other organizations. And we celebrate achievements in entrepreneurship each year with our Spirit of Enterprise Award and the Sun Devil 100, recognizing alumni businesses that are changing the game.

Snapshot Profile

  • Number of students in the school: Fall 2018, more than 1,500 graduate and 13,000 undergraduate business students

Rankings:

  • U.S. News & World Report: No. 29 in the U.S — full-time MBA program
  • U.S. News & World Report: No. 25 in the U.S. — professional flex MBP program
  • U.S. News & World Report: No. 5 in the U.S. — online MBA program
  • The Wall Street Journal: No. 13 in the world — Executive MBA program

Grand Canyon University – Colangelo College of Business

 

Randy Gibb
Dean
Colangelo College of Business
Grand Canyon University

 

How do you promote and nurture students for leadership and management positions?

At Grand Canyon University, we arm students with the skills to become successful in their chosen field of study, but also to become servant leaders. We nurture a spirit of entrepreneurism and innovation, with the highest ethical standards, in everything we do. The majority of our freshmen were leaders in high school and we encourage them to continue their involvement as they make the transition to college. In fact, by their sophomore year, we help get our ground students engaged in club leadership roles and encourage all our students to expand their networks and seek internships locally or in their hometown communities.

What aspects of leadership does your curriculum cover?

Our curriculum addresses the demands of today’s contemporary business environment but with a higher purpose. We believe the higher ethics inspired by our Christian worldview are as integral to the workplace as the proper skillset. Ours is a values-based curriculum centered on Christian principles that encourage our students to make an indelible mark in their industries and a positive impact on society.

Is there a philosophy that underlies your leadership courses?

Our philosophy is rooted in servant leadership. It’s about promoting service before self, knowing that leadership is about serving others and being the steward of the organization. Servant leaders are humble, and the foundation is based on the Bible. A global movement of Conscious Capitalism has seen the rise in a new version of the same concept: truly human leadership and the idea that everybody matters. This is a new narrative of what servant leadership has always been and it serves as the foundation for learning at GCU’s Colangelo College of Business. 

Entrepreneurship has become a focus in and of itself in recent years. In what ways do you nurture this?  

GCU fosters in its growing student body an entrepreneurial spirit that has been the hallmark of the university’s success. We propel students’ vision for their entrepreneurial ventures by creating a platform for them to thrive. Our IDEA — Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurship Association — Club serves as an umbrella for nurturing a startup spirit in our students.  We also have a team innovation experience class in our Lopes Lab (maker space) that combines engineering, technology and business students taught by a business school faculty member about how not only to be innovative and creative, but, more importantly, to solve a problem and create a business plan. Other initiatives are monthly business pitch practice events, monthly marketplace selling opportunities, Lazarus Lab ideation space and Canyon Angels, our own angel investment organization, with GCU students performing the due diligence on actual startup companies. The best example of entrepreneurship is the Canyon Challenge, GCU’s signature business competition. Patterned after ABC’s Shark Tank, the Canyon Challenge is designed to spark creative thinking with entrepreneurial ideas that fill gaps in the marketplace. 

How do students get real-life experience?

GCU’s goal is to instill among its students an entrepreneurial spirit that pervades every corner of our campus. We do this by encouraging students to get engaged in organizations such as our Colangelo College of Business Sports Business Club, which provides high-level volunteer and internship experiences at sporting events nationwide. We also encourage our students to get firsthand experience by affording them and recent graduates management opportunities while bolstering the economy in GCU’s West Phoenix neighborhood through our university-run ventures. This includes Grand Canyon Beverage Company, a coffeehouse with three locations on the university’s West Phoenix campus, Canyon Promotions that produces T-shirts and other merchandise for internal and external clients, GCU Golf Course and its Lope House restaurant, and GCU Hotel with its Canyon 49 Grill, which serve as a laboratory for hospitality management students. GCU students majoring in marketing and advertising also have an opportunity to work for Grand Canyon Education’s entrepreneurial endeavor, Canyon Advertising, to get hands-on learning while offering affordable advertising and marketing options for GCU and other clients.

What makes yours a top school? 

GCU just opened a new 150,000-square-foot Colangelo College of Business, but our point of difference is the people inside who are all about student success. We call it Lopes First. Our team of faculty not only are outstanding teachers, but also successful business owners in their own right. They provide real-life business examples and a vast network in their areas of expertise. GCU’s Colangelo College of Business also has three advisory boards representing 65 companies and organizations in sports, accounting and general business whose members provide feedback on GCU program outcomes and their perspective on the skills needed for students to succeed in a contemporary business environment. 

If you track your graduates, can you speak to how well Arizona does in keeping Arizona-educated leadership talent in Arizona?

With top-notch colleges and universities, a diverse economy, friendly regulatory environment and favorable quality of life, Arizona is a desirable place to do business. About half of GCU’s students come from out of state. And, while we do not track the number who remain in Arizona upon graduation, we constantly hear of students who fall in love with our great state and choose to remain here and contribute to our local economy.

Snapshot Profile

  • Number of students in GCU’s CCOB program: Fall 2018, more than 16,000 traditional and online students 
  • Business program specialties: Accounting, Finance Marketing, Business Management, Business Administration, Business Analytics, Business Information Systems, Hospitality, Sports Management, Finance/Economics, Entrepreneurism 
  • Average age of students in undergraduate program: not available
  • Average age of students in master’s program: not available

Rankings:

  • Largest MBA program in Arizona (via Phoenix Business Journal) but in general GCU does not participate in most rankings because they measure things (how many students are turned away, alumni giving, “reputation” among peer institutions) that are not important to the learning outcomes of students. 

University of Arizona – Eller College of Management

Paulo-Goes

 

Paulo Goes
Dean and Halle Chair in Leadership
Eller College of Management
University of Arizona

 

How do you promote and nurture students for leadership and management positions?

Our curricula emphasize the 4th Industrial Revolution and changing landscape of business, building on core competencies of critical thinking, creativity, complex problem solving, emotional intelligence, service orientation and negotiations. The intense focus we place on teamwork demands leadership skills. At both grad and undergrad levels, global experiences and case competitions also broaden perspectives so students learn to adapt accordingly to new and different scenarios — and to pivot when needed.  

What aspects of leadership does your curriculum cover? Is there a philosophy that underlies your leadership courses?

We are increasingly focused on impact, driving change and future-proofing organizations with an eye toward evolutionary leadership — that is, understanding an individual’s strengths as well as the needs of the organization. With current national conversations, we’re also encouraging exploration of unconscious bias, opening doors for self and others, creating sustainable work cultures and building alliances. 

Even outside our formal leadership courses (“Leadership and Teams,” “Leading Through Negotiations,” etc.), our students engage in extra experiences like participating in our 40 student-run organizations, community engagement (Eller Make a Difference Day), professional consulting and the Global Business Experience. We also disseminate personality assessment tests in some courses so students recognize their situational leadership styles and can flex accordingly — because inherent in our approach is that leadership is dependent on context. 

We also focus on the behaviors that leaders can engage in to set vision, create culture, affect change, empower employees and manage diversity. 

Entrepreneurship has become a focus in and of itself in recent years. In what ways do you nurture this?

For more than 30 years, our McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship has been a pioneer among business schools, focused on instilling entrepreneurial mindsets in students. Our annual New Venture Competition prepares students to launch startups from ideation to commercialization. Combined undergraduate and graduate, 29 percent of students who have gone through the New Venture program have gone on to launch their own startups and, of those, 60 percent are still in business. 

How do students get real-life experience?

We have successfully delivered experiential learning for the last 20 years — it is our hallmark in the full-time MBA and graduate Management Information Systems programs where we offer students opportunities to become real business consultants to real clients. For one semester in their two-year program, students interact directly with company executives and work together to solve their problems. Our portfolio of clients includes companies such as Microsoft, Raytheon, Banner Health, Intel, and many others that have become repeat customers over the years.

In fact, creating custom unique experiences — that is, partnering with industry and intensifying experiential opportunities that equip students with skills that give them a leg up on the job market — will increasingly be a key way we’ll differentiate our programs from general business programs. 

Studies have long shown that experiential learning accelerates learning and creates a safe place for students to make mistakes — ones that would be costly in a real-world environment. Experiential learning also increases engagement — thereby impacting retention — and provides university leadership with measurable outcomes that can be applied to strategic decision making. 

Lastly — and most importantly — it’s what our students want. Eller students are unique but they are alone in preferring immersive environments where they can apply the innovation they’re reading about in the classroom with creative thinking to find valid solutions to real company or organization problems. 

What makes yours a top school? 

We are recognized for the quality of research undertaken by our faculty (in our Management Information Systems department alone, we’ve received more than $40 million in federal funding toward artificial intelligence); our innovative programs and the flexibility with which we pivot when needed to respond to changes in business education and the business world; and our focus on student success through career coaches and our Professional Development Center. Our focus on the students starts day one — for brand-new freshmen, we hold a career-match so they can meet with future employers. For all students, we have more than 100 companies onsite to promote full-time and internship opportunities, and we host career immersion programs — similar to speed-dating events — so students can better understand the breadth of possible careers.

If you track your graduates, can you speak to how well Arizona does in keeping Arizona-educated leadership talent in Arizona?

 The State of Arizona could make strides in creating a vibrant business community. The city of Phoenix is rapidly and dramatically improving. There’s opportunity for Tucson, too, especially as it galvanizes around creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Snapshot Profile

  • Number of students in your program: Approximately 7,000 students across all levels and programs
  • Business program specialties: Management Information Systems and Entrepreneurship 
  • Average age of students in general program: 29 at the graduate level

Rankings:

  • U.S. News & World Report: No. 21 overall — undergraduate program (No. 11 among public institutions)
  • U.S. News & World Report: No. 3 overall — undergraduate MIS program (No. 1 among public institutions)
  • U.S. News & World Report: No. 10 overall — undergraduate Entrepreneurship program (No. 6 among public institutions)
  • U.S. News & World Report: No. 5 overall — MBA MIS program (No. 3 among public institutions)
  • U.S. News & World Report: No. 15 overall — MBA Entrepreneurships program (No. 5 among public institutions)
  • Financial Times: No. 11 overall — Executive Education

University of Phoenix

 

Doris Savron, MBA
Vice Provost, Colleges
University of Phoenix

 

How do you promote and nurture students for leadership and management positions?

University of Phoenix has a 40-year history of serving working adults by providing career-relevant higher education. Engaging with working adults requires a different learning model from working with younger adults, as they are in a different phase of life, frequently with full-time jobs and families. Because we know many of our students are coming to us to advance their career or change careers, our curriculum is designed with career outcomes in mind. Our courses not only include a learning component, they also have practice and application components. Many of our programs are designed to help our students start moving toward their career goals even before they graduate. 

What aspects of leadership does your curriculum cover?

While we offer a variety of programs, one consistent component of each of them includes developing and nurturing leadership skills. Our curriculum includes five learning outcomes that all successful leaders should be adept in. These include professional competence and values, critical thinking and problem solving, communication, information utilization and collaboration. Additionally, there are specific leadership courses included in our business curriculum that cover relevant and current leadership theories.   

Is there a philosophy that underlies your leadership courses?

As a university, we have a philosophical belief that leaders have a direct impact on organizational and employee success.  To build leadership abilities, our courses are designed to expose students to skills that are needed to succeed as a leader.  Leaders not only need knowledge in their field, they need to have core professional competencies that can grow an organization and develop a team.  That is why learning outcomes such as critical thinking and collaboration are built into our programs.   

Entrepreneurship has become a focus in and of itself in recent years. In what ways do you nurture this?

Many of our students come to us after being in the workforce for a while with dreams of owning their own business or developing a big idea in their current company. That is why entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are a big part of our business degree programs. We offer a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Certificate that can equip students to understand the key elements of financial management, planning and strategy for entrepreneurs. Beyond business, we also have programs that include clinical, field experience and practicums that allow for application of learning in a real-world setting. 

What makes yours a top school? 

University of Phoenix’s learning model is designed to integrate academic theory and practice in a manner that can be applied to the student’s work and life experience. This is why the University employs practitioner faculty who continue to practice what they teach through their regular employment. Our faculty are experienced practitioners who average 23 years of work experience. Our educators include chief executive officers, vice presidents of operations, directors of nursing, clinical directors, district attorneys and more. They are able to share their knowledge and offer their first-hand experience to nurture and promote our students into future leaders.

Many of our students tell us that they manage family and professional responsibilities outside the classroom on top of their day jobs. University of Phoenix develops and delivers our programs specifically with working adults in mind while maintaining alignment with industry exams and skills. We offer courses one at a time, five or six weeks each. With this model, our students are not juggling multiple subjects at a time. There is a lot of work in our programs and it requires a major commitment. This approach makes in manageable for students working full time or raising a family, or both. 

What the state and the business community do well?

As a board member for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, my view is that the Greater Phoenix business community does a wonderful job of recognizing the needs that exist and doing what they can to ensure these needs are met in partnership with the state leaders, chamber leaders and state agencies. This includes conducting in-depth research about the various industries that exist in Phoenix and partnering together to ensure that a pipeline of talent exists and is nurtured until they are ready to step into a role. A recent example of this includes original research the University of Phoenix did with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on the local healthcare industry to best understand in-demand jobs, skills and how the industry may evolve over the next decade (phoenixchamber.com/2017/05/12/phoenix-forward-health-care-industry-whitepaper-available-now/). 

Can you speak to how well Arizona does in keeping Arizona-educated leadership talent in Arizona?

Phoenix must continue to invest in resources and create awareness of the employment opportunities that exist in the Valley. This includes understanding what attracts top talent to tier-one cities like Los Angeles and New York, and offering those same sorts of opportunities here. The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce has a number of initiatives dedicated to enhancing awareness about jobs in Phoenix. Through my work there as a board member, we focus on investing in local business and promoting the story of why people should live and work in Phoenix. Arizona is a great place to live, and these initiatives may help increase the number of professionals who choose to work and reside here.  

However, we still need to grow the regional talent pool in Arizona. Without the availability of top talent, Arizona risks losing companies and high-wage jobs.  Education can help by aligning educational preparation to necessary job skills, especially in industries with a growing skills gap.

Snapshot Profile

  • Number of students in your programs: Current total enrollment (University-wide) is  222,647
  • Business program specialties: Business and Information Technology, Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Health Professions and Nursing 
  • Average age of students in general program: More than 93 percent are over 22; 65 percent are over 30
  • University of Phoenix is proud that we have been able to make higher education accessible. Our students come from diverse backgrounds and more than 60 percent are first-generation college students. We have more than a million graduates.

[Editor’s note: Jerry Colangelo shares his views, written from the standpoint of his association with Grand Canyon University, on a philosophy that successful leadership transcends the traditional “bottom line.” Read » ]

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