Albers School of Business and Economics
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  • John Stanton

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 1/25/2012 03:41:08 PM

    On January 24th, John Stanton was the speaker in the Albers Executive Speaker Series.  John has a long and distinguished career in the wireless industry and has been part of the industry since its very beginnings.  He focused on the unintended consequences of government regulatory efforts in cellular.

     

    Three decades ago ATT was a monopolist in the telephone industry, and in an effort to create more competition, the federal government created eight successor regional phone companies.  On top of that, the government wanted to create the wireless industry and struggled with how to distribute operating rights. First, it attempted an application process trying to select the most qualified applicants, it then moved to a lottery, and finally an auction.  In each case there were challenges, and an end result was that it took over ten years to distribute the licenses.  This put our wireless sector well behind companies in other countries.

     

    Because the resulting distribution of companies lacked scale in an industry with huge capital needs, a wave of consolidation naturally followed.  This ultimately resulted in our current duopoly, with ATT and Verizon controlling 80% of the market and Sprint and T-Mobile struggling to stay in business.

     

    We have come full circle.  We started out in the US with a monopoly, and now have a duopoly.

     

    When you stop and think about it, the wireless industry is an amazing story.  At one point, John said there were six billion cell phones being used around the world.  Three decades ago the number was zero.  What an incredible expansion story of an industry!

     

    John's story was about how to navigate this unpredictable and volatile environment.  His three recommendations were:

     

    1. Work with a great group of people who are good at what they do and enjoy working with each other.
    2. Be agile in your decision making. You need to be able to react to changing circumstances.
    3. Never run out of cash!  Good advice for any start up business!

     

    John also acknowledged that along the way his businesses had been lucky.  They may have benefitted from the mistake of a competitor or just happened to be in the right place at the right time (such as one of the lotteries for cellular rights!).  Frankly, it was refreshing to hear John acknowledge the role of luck.  Too many successful people are not willing to do that.

     

    I am currently reading the book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.  It is a good book, and one of the topics Kahneman takes up is the role of luck in success.  He notes that too few people are willing to acknowledge the role of luck in their success, so it is interesting to have John as an exception to the rule.  I have long held the view that luck is underappreciated, so I naturally am very receptive to this concept!  By the way, Susan Weihrich gave me this book to read.  Wonder what she intended for me to learn from the book?!

     

    John was asked about the value of mentoring in his career development.  He shared with the audience the most valuable advice he received from one of his mentors:

     

    1. Be slightly underpaid
    2. Be fiercely competent
    3. Be mobile, as in be willing to move to opportunities in new places and organizations.

     

    John's visit was another great opportunity for our students to hear from a very successful business leader.  He was a pioneer in shaping a new industry.  Those people are hard to find, and when you find one, you are really lucky! :}

     

     

     

     

    Academy of Finance

    Posted by Liz Wick on 1/17/2012 09:57:21 AM

    Last week we launched our eighth annual Academy of Finance course. Thirty students from Franklin, Ballard, Chief Sealth, and Ingraham High Schools will be coming to campus for eight weeks and be taking classes on various business subjects, including marketing, economics, and business communications. They also receive information on the college application process and financial aid.

     

    In presenting this program, we partner with the Seattle Public Schools and local chapter of the National Academy Foundation (NAF). NAF was founded in 1982 and works to prepare young people for college and career success by providing industry-focused curriculum to underserved students in four areas - Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, and Engineering. NAF's network has grown to 500 academies and serves more than 50,000 students across 41 states, D.C, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

     

    Students come to campus to take a class once a week. This forces them to navigate the campus (including parking!) and see for themselves what life on a college campus is like.

     

    They take classes from Albers faculty and do a final project that integrates the course work they have taken. This year, the classes are in Business Communications, Operations, Ethics, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and Economics. If students fulfill all requirements for the course, they earn a college credit from Seattle U.

     

    Jessica Young is a student in our Master of Professional Accounting Program (MPAC) who works full-time at Boeing. Jessica is on the local NAF board, and was there to greet the students last week. Jessica noted that she participated in the first Academy of Finance program at SU back in 2005! As a result of the program, she really wanted to attend Albers, but ultimately chose to attend UW because of the cost. After graduating from UW with an accounting degree, she took a job with Boeing and is now a part-time student in our MPAC program. It is great to have Jessica back as a student at SU and to see her involvement with the Academy of Finance!

     

    We are pleased to be able to partner with the Seattle Public Schools and the local NAF organization to work with these students each year. We are very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their learning and inspire them to pursue business studies at the university level!

    2011

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 1/3/2012 10:22:23 AM

    The start of 2012 is a good time to look back and recall the highlights of 2011.  All in all, it was another good year for the Albers School!

     

    First, our AACSB accreditation was extended for another five years.  Given the high expectations of AACSB, reaccreditation is never a routine "ticket punch!"

     

    We continued to do well in the rankings.  Our part-time MBA program was ranked 52nd by Business Week and 59th by US News and World Report.  Our Leadership EMBA was ranked 18th by US News, and our finance program 24th.  For the first time, our MBA program was ranked in the Grey Pinstripes Top 100.  Our undergraduate program was ranked 115th by US News, and our accounting and finance programs were in the US News Top 25.  Business Week ranked our undergraduate program 4th in sustainability and 7th in business ethics.

     

    We developed and launched our Health Leadership EMBA program, getting all the necessary approvals within a six month period and beginning to recruit in May for an August class.  Now that is aggressive!

     

    Our students showed they perform at a high level of accomplishment.  Our SIFE team finished ninth in the nation and our Beta Alpha Psi chapter was one of only seven in the nation to receive the Gold Chapter Award.  Our graduate students won the Pacific Northwest Case Competition and the Seattle Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Investment Research Challenge.  Our Graduate Leadership Formation Specialization students did a stellar job in organizing the second annual Red Winged Leadership Award, presented to Global Visionaries.

     

    Our faculty had an excellent year, as well.  Rex Toh received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and three faculty - Jot Yau, Carl Obermiller, and Greg Magnan - earned "Big Hit" recognition for their publications in top journals in their disciplines.  The scholarship of all our faculty was highlighted with our first Celebration of Scholarship event in February.  Of course, they are also continuing with their excellent work in the classroom!

     

    We launched the Center for Business Ethics in June, which is supported by an endowment created by the donations of a number of generous benefactors.  We also launched the PMI China Initiative, which will include a series of events exploring the economic integration of China and the US.

     

    The Albers Executive Speaker Series had another good year, featuring leaders such as Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Craig Jelinek, CEO of Costco Wholesale, Kimberly Harris, CEO of Puget Sound Energy, and Tun Channareth, Nobel Peace Prize winner.

     

    On a personal level, contrary to popular belief, the launching of Dean Blog was not my top highlight of the year.  That would have to be the April 1st edition of Dean Spam! :}