Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Typos do not lay the foundation for great buildings

I suppose there are students out there who bristle at taxing classroom assignments that require them to pay extreme attention to detail if they want to earn top grades. In our fast-paced world of text messaging, some may even wonder about the need to make everything grammatically correct or the “obsession” to spell each word right.

Last week I reviewed 10 proposals for our new building. When I read these documents I wondered if some firms realized that, in this competitive environment, a few little typos had the potential to derail their chances at winning this major project. Unfortunately, I discovered not just little typos but some surprising slip-ups. For example, one firm promised, that if we hired it, we would discover the tremendous benefits that their customized approach would offer to the Salt Lake Community College. That’s nice they could do that, if we wanted them to, but what about meeting the needs of our students?

Ken Snyder
Another firm may have thought that it could impress us with long, complex sentences. When I found myself feeling a need to take a break in the middle of one particularly long sentence, I decided to count the words. The sentence was 48 words long. Other documents included sentences that were so garbled that I wondered if they had tried to finish up their proposal during an earthquake.

Would you trust your building to someone who doesn’t get the details right? I can guarantee that without the foundation of a carefully prepared proposal, these firms will have nothing to build on – at least not at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

Some companies did their research and put together impressive, custom-made, typo-free proposals that may not help them with Salt Lake Community College but will keep them in the running when it comes to the Huntsman School of Business. The proposals that earned the highest marks from me were the ones that submitted concise, understandable copy that made it clear they had done their research and were paying attention to our needs.

Some students learn the hard way that if they want to earn good grades, they had better pay attention to details; and, apparently, there are some architectural firms who are about to learn - the hard way - that they don’t have what it takes to make the grade. And there’s no retaking this class.

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