Albers School of Business and Economics
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Dean’s Blog

  • Hong Kong

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 11/23/2014 05:51:08 PM

    From November 15th to 22nd I traveled to Hong Kong to visit with SU alumni, along with Jim Hembree from SU's University Advancement office.  We were able to connect with alums who graduated in the early 1960's and as recent as 2012!  CJ Tan and Peter Lee graduated from SU in 1963 and 1964 respectively, and both are long time supporters of SU.  CJ told the story of how he arrived in Tacoma in a freighter with $100 in his pocket to attend SU, and with the help of many Jesuits and faculty was an accomplished student who went on to earn his PhD at Columbia.  Peter went on to earn his PhD in chemistry at Michigan State and then worked for Coca Cola for many years and led the introduction of Coke to the Chinese market. 

    On November 18th and 19th Jim and I traveled to Guangzhou, China to visit with the family of current student, John Su, who is a student in our Master of Professional Accounting Program.  John's father, Zhigang Su, is the founder of the Chimelong Group, which operates a series of theme parks, including a safari park, zoo, amusement park, water park, circus, and crocodile park in Guangzhou, and the world's largest aquarium near Macau.  This complex of parks is truly amazing and I think November 18th was one of the most interesting days of my life!  Consider the following:

    • Took the train from HK to Guangzhou -- first time to Guangzhou
    • Toured safari park -- it features white tigers, snow tigers and LOTS of other animals
    • Got to see the world's first surviving panda bear triplets, which were born just a few weeks ago, including a behind the scenes tour
    • Got to feed a baby tiger and pet a panda bear
    • Went on scary rides at the amusement park (in suit and tie)
    • Went to the circus (for the first time in a long time!)
    • Had dinner with the Su family

    If you are ever in Guangzhou, you need to visit these parks, and based on how things are done in Guangzhou, I am sure the aquarium is worth a visit on your next trip to Macau!

    On November 21st we had lunch with Derek Yu (Albers, 2003) and Jai Li, CEO of the Handpicked Group. Jay and Albers alum Kevin Dong (2004) founded the Handpicked Group in 2004 with a mission to import Australian wines to China.  Today the company owns four vineyards in Australia, imports wines from Italy, Spain, France, Chile, and Argentina, and has diversified into financial services.  It has also established a company foundation, the Love Foundation, whose mission is to provide needed heart surgeries to low income children in China.  In fact, Kevin was not available for the lunch because he was out of town on Love Foundation business!  Handpicked Group is strongly committed to the triple bottom line, and it is great to see alumni setting a good example for others and living the mission of the Albers School.

    Other alumni that we met with included Drago Chan (Albers, 1995), Patrick White (Albers, 1986), and Derek Ho (Albers, 2005).  Altogether, we met with 15 SU alumni and 10 others during our trip.  The purpose of the trip was to connect with our alumni in Hong Kong and China as part of the university's initiative to strengthen the global experience of our students.  Measured against that goal, this was certainly a successful trip!  And Jim did all the organizing, so I just went along for the ride.  Thanks, Jim! :}

    Installation Ceremony

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 11/23/2014 04:58:01 PM

    On November 14th, we installed two new endowed chairholders in the Albers School -- Bridget Hiedemann as the fifteenth holder of the Robert O'Brien Endowed Chair in Business and Suzanne de Jannaez as the eleventh holder of the Thomas Gleed Endowed Chair in Business Administration.

    The O'Brien Chair is named after a former PACCAR executive who was a strong supporter of Seattle University in the 1960's and 1970's.  It rotates among our current faculty and is held for a two year term.  The chair is awarded to support faculty scholarship and activities that enrich the intellectual life of the campus and raise the reputation of the Albers School.  Bridget received the chair because of her strong record in teaching, scholarship, and service, in addition to her proposal to organize a family policy seminar series that will bring to campus scholars working on issues related to gender, family, and sexual orientation.  Bridget teaches courses in statistics, econometrics, and the economics of gender and family.  Her scholarship focuses on labor and demographic economics, and she has published in such journals as The International Economic Review and the American Journal of Public Health.  She previously served as the Patricia Wismer Professor of Gender and Diversity Studies at SU.

    The Gleed Chair is named after Seattle banker Thomas Gleed, and the chair is a two year visiting position designed to attract an imminent scholar from another institution who will work with Albers faculty members on scholarly projects as well as organize activities that will enhance the reputation of the Albers School.  Suzanne was previously on the faculty of the Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.  She teaches in the areas of leadership, negotiation, and organizational development.  Her scholarship has appeared in the HarvardBusiness Review, Academy of Management Executive, and Journal of Organizational Behavior, and she has published two textbooks.  Her activities will include an initiative to support victims of female trafficking and research on mentoring received by CEOs.

    Bonnie Buchanan was installed as the fourth holder of the George Albers Professorship in Business.  The professorships rotate among our current faculty and are held for three year terms.  The Albers Professorships honor the Albers family, which supported Seattle University for many years and in 2001 left a generous endowment to support the activities of the Albers School.  The family fortune was made in the food processing business, and the Albers brand is now held by Continental Mills, which uses it for its cornmeal and grits products.  Bonnie received the professorship for her strong work in teaching, research, and service.  She teaches in the areas of financial markets and institutions, international finance, and history of finance.  Her research interests include securitization, law and finance, and shareholder activism.  She has published in such journals as the American Business Law Journal, Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, and International Review of Financial Analysis, and she is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Risk Finance.

    Endowed chairs and professorships are important tools for attracting and retaining outstanding faculty.  In the Albers School, we are fortunate to have five endowed chairs and five professorships that support our faculty.  We are also fortunate to have Bridget, Suzanne, and Bonnie as the three new chairholders!  Congratulations to Bonnie, Suzanne, and Bridget!

    Leadership Panel

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 11/14/2014 01:00:47 PM

    On November 13th the Albers Executive Speaker Series hosted a panel discussion on, "Leadership: Building Agile and Adaptive Teams in a Complex Environment."  The panel included Melanie Dressel, President and CEO of Columbia Bank, Harvey Kanter, Chairman, CEO, and President of Blue Nile, and Lieutenant General Stephen Lanza, Commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis McCord.  These three bring an impressive amount of successful leadership experience from three very different sectors.  The panel was moderated by Dr. Marilyn Gist, our Associate Dean for Graduate Business Programs and Director of the Center for Leadership Formation.



     

    Our three panelists illustrated three different leadership styles, all of which have been successful in their sector or industry - General Lanza in the military, Harvey Kanter in retail, and Melanie Dressel in financial services.  At the same time, it was noteworthy how they continually mentioned common themes in building successful organizations.  Competence among employees is expected but not sufficient.  They emphasized the importance of  trust, both in them gaining trust from their colleagues but them also trusting colleagues to make the right decisions and learn from experience.  They also noted the importance of finding people of  character  who would embrace the values of the organization.  They each noted the importance of establishing a culture of  teamwork, who understand it is about the mission of the organization and what the team can accomplish.  It is not about what is in it for the individual employee.  Finally, each panelist emphasized the importance of leading by example.  All of their colleagues watch what they do, and they must always remember to be consistent and faithful to the values and culture of the organization in their own actions.



     

    The panel discussion was a great opportunity for our students and it was great to see how the panelists reinforced values and lessons that the Albers School conveys to students!  Thank you panelists!

    Stein Kruse

    Posted by Liz Wick on 10/22/2014 04:13:11 PM

    On October 21st, Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group (HAG), kicked off the Albers Executive Speaker Series for 2014-15. As CEO of HAG he heads up Princess, Holland America Line, Seabourn, MANCO, and P&O Cruises Australia. Altogether, Kruse oversees 41 ships and more than 36,000 employees who provide 25 million passenger cruise days annually.

    Kruse has a career in the cruise industry that stretches back to the early 1980’s. At that time the industry served one million passengers. Today, it serves 21 million passengers, so it is an industry that has seen very strong growth. Kruse believes there is now tremendous potential in the Asian market, especially in China where he predicts the number of passengers will grow over the next five years from 200,000 to five million!

    In his remarks, Kruse stressed that there are certain core values that are important to HAG and him as its leader – safety for passengers, environmental stewardship, and acting with honesty and integrity. He also passed on the eight essentials he sees as needed for effective leadership:

    1. Maintain your integrity at all times.
    2. Be well informed about what is happening in the organization.
    3. Declare the vision for the organization.
    4. Show uncommon commitment to the mission and lead by example.
    5. Expect positive results.
    6. Look after your people.
    7. Remember that the organization is bigger than any one person and do not let your ego get in the way.
    8. Stand front and center and be ready to stand on the stage to communicate with all stakeholders.

    Kruse also spoke about the difference between management and leadership. Management is task oriented; leadership is guiding.

    In the Q&A, he talked about the complexity of serving customers from different countries and cultural backgrounds. There are many changes that have to be made on a boat as you move from one group of customers to another. HAG has much experience doing that, and he was confident they would be successful with a new group of guests from new markets such as China.

    Kruse also spoke to the rise of Big Data in the industry. They collect a tremendous amount of information on passengers, and the industry is becoming better and better at using it.

    When asked if leaders are born that way or can they learn it, he thought it was mostly the latter and it is hard work. There may be a few people who are born leaders, and there may be some of us who will never be effective leaders, but most of us are capable of learning how to lead, and you have to make an effort at it if you are to be successful.

    Dean Karlan

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 10/19/2014 09:51:02 AM

    The Second Annual Howard Bosanko Lecture on October 14th featured Professor Dean Karlan, Professor of Economics at Yale University and President of Innovations for Poverty Action.  The title of his talk was, "Pragmatic Optimism in the Fight Against Poverty: Lessons from Behavioral Economics."

    The Bosanko Lecture was organized by Professor Meena Rishi, who is the holder of the Bosanko Professorship in International Economics and Finance.

    Karlan's talked about the use of controlled experiments to develop remedies to market failures in developing nations that often impede economic development.  One example he gave was a situation where farmers refused to use fertilizer in crop production.  The two impediments to fertilizer use are the expense (do farmers have the capital to buy the fertilizer?) and the risk (other factors such as weather undercut fertilizer effectiveness and earnings).  Karlan's team ran an experiment to provide the capital as well as to provide weather insurance.  As a result of the experiment, they found that weather insurance had a much more significant impact on fertilizer use.

    Karlan's point was that there are many small interventions that can be made to improve the lives of people in emerging nations.  Of course, that does not mean there are not more macro impediments to development, it simply means that small changes can have an impact.  These small changes are easier to pull off because they are less of a threat to the status quo.  Making more macro changes such as improved education, macroeconomic stability, or trade liberalization typically threaten vested interests and are resisted. 

    Years ago development economics was one of my areas for research and teaching.  The field was dominated by economists who focused on the market mechanism and who did not really want to acknowledge or deal with market imperfections.  Only people on the fringes did that and they did not get much attention from the mainstream.  Today, those focusing on market imperfections are dominating the field.  Behavioral economics and randomized trials are carrying the day.  Just this year, all SU freshmen were asked to read Poor Economics, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, which also focused on randomized trials and fighting global poverty.  It is interesting to see how the dominant view in a field can change in a relatively short period of time.

    In any event, the Bosanko Lecture was a wonderful opportunity for students and faculty to hear about cutting edge work in the global development field.  Congratulations to Professor Rishi for creating the opportunity!

     

     

    Mentor Program 25th Anniversary

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 10/6/2014 10:27:02 PM

    The 2014-15 Albers Mentor Fair took place on October 2nd.  This is the 25th year of our Mentor Program, and during that time over 4500 students have benefitted from the wisdom and guidance of over 1000 mentors.

    The event started in the PACCAR Atrium, with some 300 students, mentors, faculty, and staff in attendance.  The atrium was full of energy as students and mentors networked, in anticipation of the "speed dating" meetings between mentors and students in Pigott Building classrooms.  The high energy level illustrates the high level of engagement of our students, faculty, staff, and mentors.

    This year we expect over 150 mentors and over 300 students to participate in the program.  Our thanks go out to mentors past and present for their support of our students.  We especially thank Jesse Tam, who has been a mentor for all 25 years of the program, and Willie Aikens, who has been a mentor for 24 years.

    We also want to thank our program sponsor, PACCAR, and the staff of the Albers Placement Center, who oversee the program.  Thank you Mary Lou, Hannah, Bethany, Megan, and Paula!

    Here is to another great year for the Albers Mentor Program!

     

    Chauncey Burke

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 6/23/2014 11:11:50 AM

    Professor Chauncey Burke is retiring from SU after 37 years of service.  While most of us know Chauncey as a marketing professor, he actually started at SU as a staff member, serving as MBA Program Director for four years beginning in 1977.  He went on to earn his Ph.D at the University of Washington and then joined our marketing faculty.  Chauncey has taught many SU students over the years, and a number of them have told me how influential he was in their SU education and professional careers.

    Among the many highlights in Chauncey's time at SU is his involvement with the Pacioli Society and the famous study tour to Sansepolcro, Italy that took place annually for more than two decades.  Along with Bill Weis and Dave Tinius and others, Chauncey produced the much acclaimed film, Luca Pacioli: Unsung Hero of the Renaissance.  These three colleagues used the film to promote to the world the important role of Pacioli in developing modern day accounting!  Chauncey was a CPA and thus imminently qualified for this endeavor!

    In the 1990's, Chauncey was important in representing Albers to the external community, serving on the local boards of the American Marketing Association and the Seattle Advertising Federation.  Later in his career, he developed an interest in sustainability and how firms could use it for competitive advantage.

    Congratulations to Chauncey on his 37 years of service to SU and the guidance he has provided to his students over nearly four decades!