Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

learn about the latest and greatest from the School of Business

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our vision for the new building requires real teamwork

Ken Snyder
When major goals are achieved, you often hear people talk about the teamwork that it took to get to the victory. When it comes to our new building, teamwork is not just an abstract concept. We’ve formed teams and their work is cut out for them.

Here are the teams we are now putting together:

1)      Classroom Advisory Team – This team will be charged with the responsibility to give us recommendations on such things as the type of technology to be installed in each classroom, what the teaching stations should be like and what kind of furniture we should include in each room. This team, made up of faculty members, will also be coming up with recommendations about classroom layout. For example, should the classrooms be flat or tiered?

2)      Department Heads Advisory Team – We’ll be looking to department heads or their representatives to help us nail down the number of courses that will need to be taught and how big the classrooms should be. The group will be asked to estimate how much space we should plan for to accommodate our future faculty and staff needs.

3)      Program Leaders Team – This team will be charged with advising on staffing and space projections needed for our programs. “Programs” in this context refers to things such as the MBA office, the MSHR office, the Advising Center, the Huntsman Scholar office, the proposed Center for Entrepreneurship, the proposed Center for Global Engagement, the Shingo Prize organization, etc. (And yes, I realize that there are several more not included in this list). This team will be made up of both staff and faculty – particularly the faculty members who work in these various programs.

4)      Technology Team – This team will be charged with coming up with recommendations about the technology infrastructure needs we will have in our new the building. Things like our WiFi specifications and electrical supply issues will need to be considered. This team will be made up of of any faculty or staff members interested in contributing.

5)      Student Advisory Team – This team would be charged with figuring out and making recommendations on the important stuff such as should there be a student lounge or a food court? Should vending machines be part of our new building? Where should we put them? We plan to meet with the Business Council and ask them to form a sub-group of volunteers for this team.

6)      National Advisory Board – This will be a team to advise us on major building issues and we will be asking them to help us with the campaign to raise money through the naming opportunities the new building will create. We will meet with the National Advisory Board and ask them to form a sub-group of volunteers for this team.

We are looking to volunteers to serve on all the teams I have just described. We have scheduled a day of programming workshops on Sept. 21 for the teams to meet with the architects. We will have an orientation meeting to define the scope of the work ahead prior to that time so that everyone can prepare for the workshops.

We know that when it is all said and done we won’t be able to meet everyone’s expectations for added space. I have visited several schools who have recently built new buildings, and all of them reported this was their experience. So, once we collect the different requests, we will need to prioritize the programming needs and make decisions about what will be included and what will be left out.

When this new building is done, there will come a time that someone will talk about the teamwork that was involved in creating this new structure. For those who have actually served on the teams and done the work, such statements won’t just be platitudes. The real team players will be there. I hope you are one of them.

Ken Snyder

Monday, August 29, 2011

Rev Up Your Career

The Huntsman School has stated its purpose is "to be a career accelerator for [its] students and an engine of growth for [its] communities, the state, the nation and the world." These aren't just empty words; the Huntsman School has real, tangible programs to help students gain valuable experience and launch their careers.

This week is "Rev Up Your Career" week. A number of activities have been planned to help raise students' awareness of said opportunities at the Huntsman School. Below is a schedule of what's planned ahead. All events will be held in the business building lobby. Drop by, have fun, and learn about the great opportunities Huntsman students have at USU.

- Sterling Morris

Friday, August 26, 2011

You never know who's listening

Paul Siddoway
Usually when I hear someone swear, I'm on the highway, where it is expected. The other day, I heard it in a professional-type environment and it caught me off guard.

Not because I took it personally and was offended. It wasn't even directed at me. Besides, I used to work with teenage drug addicts and have developed a fairly thick skin.

There are just some things I don't expect to hear at work.

Cursing is becoming more and more common, and more commonly accepted. Even in the workplace. This is far from the junior high locker room where I think I first heard real people, that I knew personally, swear.

My mother-in-law is a fan of the original Star Trek, and she remembers that show being edgy for it's time. Now, it would be considered really mild, in terms of swearing.

She doesn't have time to watch much modern TV. I don't either, but the little I do catch has taught me one thing: the latest thing advertisers are doing is adding what used to be "foul language" to commercials. They used to add it to the scripts and then bleep it out, but even that is slowly going the way of the buffalo. Even the radio is letting more and more things slip by.

When they went back to 20th century Earth, Kirk told Spock, "That's simply the way they talk here. Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every other word."

I think that really is becoming the case.

In all of my work experience, it has always been frowned upon to swear at the work place. Especially in front of a customer. I used to be the manager of a bowling alley, and in that fine establishment of American family recreation we weren't even allowed to play music that swore. My boss, who was an avid bowler, said it tarnishes the reputation of bowling alleys everywhere. I see that.

Some would say there is no place for that kind of language ever. I understand the need to get something off your chest and use, as Spock called them, "colorful metaphors." However I would think twice about using them at the office or in advertising, not wanting to mis-represent whatever company I work for.

You never know who's listening.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Life Currencies

Eric Schulz
Often, getting someone to buy your product is as simple as just asking them to do so. The trick is to make the ask in a way that makes it so appealing to them they just can’t say no. This is part of the art of creating a brand positioning – knowing precisely what it is to say about your product that makes it most appealing to the customer.

But before we can develop the brand positioning, we need to understand what it is that the consumer is seeking, and most importantly, we need to understand the criteria the consumer uses when making their purchase decision.

Understanding the concept of life currencies is the best place to begin the process of consumer insight. What, are life currencies? They are the things besides money that affect purchase decisions. In almost every transaction, there is a combination of life currencies in play that affect the selling proposition.

The eleven life currencies we can manipulate in purchase decisions are:

  • Information
  • Time
  • Space
  • Human Energy
  • Expertise
  • Fun
  • Fear
  • Angst
  • Convenience
  • Love
  • Money
The only currency we ever talk about is money, but the reality is that every individual has this combination of currencies that they spend or save when contemplating or making a purchase. The currency in your pocket is often of least concern.

Here are some examples of how life currencies work. Have you every purchased a good or service because having that would save you a lot of time? Time therefore is one currency that you value and use as a consideration when making the purchase decision, along with money.

Have you ever walked away from buying something because you were frustrated standing in line or waiting on the phone, or the website was just too slow? Angst or lack of convenience is the primary currency that makes that purchase (or non-purchase) decision.

Have you ever wanted a giant TV, but haven’t bought it because you don’t have a place in your home to put it? Space (or lack of space), is the primary currency that sways the (non) purchase decision.

Step back for a moment and think about the purchases you’ve made in the past several days, I’ll bet that one of the other life currencies was the determining factor in the majority of these, though you were likely unaware of its influence.

When business schools teach marketing, they focus on the 4-P’s: Product, Placement, Promotion, and Price. When they talk about price, they only talk about money. That’s wrong. Smart marketers know that for most products, money is only one factor in the purchase decision, and it’s often a minor one at that.

About the Author

Eric D Schulz is Sr. Lecturer and Co-Director of Strategic Marketing & Brand Management at the Jon M Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. He is a brand marketing expert and the author of “The Marketing Game, How The World’s Best Companies Play to Win”, with sales of over 250,000 copies worldwide. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Take charge of your life - now

“Taking charge of your life is really about taking responsibility for your life.”
 ~Stephen R. Covey

These last few weeks have been somewhat of a roller coaster.  As I approach my last semester before graduating, I have reflected much on both the principles I learned during my time as a student in the Great Work Great Career program, and as a current intern for the program. Lately I have become slightly overwhelmed with the common stresses of balancing summer classes with a part-time job, an internship, family vacations, preparations for the fall semester of work and school, applying for “grown-up jobs”, and how can I forget—Thursday night city league softball.  I have realized that I am in charge of my situation and in charge of what I accomplish.  

Throughout our lives we will be presented with many different obstacles and opportunities.  As college students, we are so busy finding the medium between not working so much that our schooling suffers and working enough so we can pay the bills.  Not to mention the time we must spend looking for the extra opportunities that will add to our education and future careers such as internships, volunteer work, study abroad and other summer business exploration trips. 

In one of the online videos entitled Take Charge that we discuss in the Great Work Great Career Learning Group, Dr. Covey states, “Every moment, every situation provides a new choice.  This gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently now—to produce more positive results now.”  As the summer ends and we get ready to start a new semester, all of us have the opportunity to make new choices, do things differently and produce more positive results for ourselves and those around us.  Students have the choice to either make it another mediocre semester of only coming to class when absolutely necessary and putting in just the minimal amount of effort to pass the class, or, to be actively engaged in the material they are learning and the experiences they are having, knowing that that choices now can have a lasting impact on their lives forever. 

I don’t yet know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know that my opportunities will be multiplied as I proactively engage myself in making positive decisions as situations present themselves.  In the Great Work Great Career Learning Group, created by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, students have the potential to identify and develop their unique skill sets, learn how to take charge of their lives, get the work they want and make a lasting contribution to whatever and whomever they associate themselves. 

School starts in less than a week.  No matter what stage of school you are in you have many decisions ahead of you.  Be proactive in your decision-making.  As Dr. covey said, “Proactive people are responsible.”  Take charge of your life—now.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It will be our home; let's make it our castle

If a rich uncle decided to give you a fixed amount of money to construct a new home on the condition that it be your primary residence for the next 50 years, would you make it bigger or better? If it was a job that one might expect to take six months under ideal conditions, would you rush the contractor to finish in three months?

Ken Snyder
As we begin work on the programing for this new business building, I think it’s important to talk a little philosophy. We are not interested in rushing the job. We are not interested in maximizing the size of the building while sacrificing quality. We are not interested in a building that looks like the latest fad in building design but looks out of date 10 years from now. I want to be able to come back to this building 30 years from now and show it to my grandkids, and seeing a building that still looks great. We want a business school that will not only be serving the needs of our students today but their children tomorrow.

That means we won’t be pushing to shave a couple months off the schedule to win short-term brownie points. What good will a few months buy us if it means that we will be stuck for years with mistakes created during a rush job?

We will, however, be smart and responsible; building in the quality up front that will bring excellence to this project. It might mean that we invest more money in things like classroom technology and less in total square footage. Our purpose will remained fixed as we make sure this building helps us be a career accelerator for our students.

I believe we have some impressive, bright, creative people who can help us create a facility that will continue to serve our students long after we are gone. We intend to tap that expertise in this undertaking. That’s why we are drafting people from many areas to help us plan this facility. While we don’t have a rich uncle testing us out, we have friends, alumni and members of the USU community who are expecting great things from us. Without them, this would not be possible. There are students not yet born that will reap rewards from careful decisions made now. Could there be a better time to be a part of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business?

Ken Snyder

Monday, August 22, 2011

Expanding my definition of "synergy"

To be honest, I don’t often go around having conversations based on Steven Covey’s “7 Habits”. It’s just not a subject that comes up all that often. However, I did find myself in such a situation last Wednesday.

I have a group of friends that gets together to play music. Sometimes we call it “band practice”, but usually it’s just an excuse to get together and play around. Usually one of us will show up with a new artist or song we’ve discovered and we’ll all spend a little time trying to figure out how it goes.

Paul Lewis Siddoway
I don’t think you have to be musically inclined to realize that five guys all doing their own thing all at once can be … overwhelming, to put it nicely. However, we’ve been doing this long enough that it doesn’t take long for us to start putting the pieces together and have it come out sounding pretty good.

I always thought that was synergy. I always defined synergy as when two or more things come together and something happens that the individual parts couldn’t make happen on their own.

Like when you listen to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album while watching “The Wizard of Oz”.

But I found myself last Wednesday expanding my definition of synergy.

My boss explained it to me using this purely hypothetical conversation:

Me: I want a raise.

My boss: I don’t have the money to give you a raise.

At this point, I (in the real conversation) jokingly suggested that the next step is usually some sort of compromise where I do more work, he gets the credit, and I get to take a soda out of his mini-fridge.

Little did I know I had used a dirty word.

It’s like that time Malfoy called Hermione a “Mud-Blood” and Harry had no idea what was going on. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there are these books by this British lady about a teenage wizard you should read.

Apparently in the land of the “7 Habits” the word “compromise” is a no-no. When you  “compromise” you are settling for less than what you want, which is what Mr. Covey calls a lose-lose situation.

According to the natural properties of synergy, the correct solution is for both my boss and I to earn the same amount of money as we already do, get the same amount of credit as we already do and do the same amount of work that we already do. It’s just that now, we get to do it in Maui.

That way, we both get something even better that we didn’t realize we wanted in the first place. Like discovering my “band” can play at restaurants and get free dinner.

Maybe I’m still way off, but I like the idea of what synergy can do for me.

Paul Lewis Siddoway

Friday, August 19, 2011

Did everyone get the August edition of the Huntsman Post?

Three months ago, Steve Eaton wrote that students who read the Huntsman Post are 22 percent less likely to engage in pointless discussions or to be irritated when they drop their keys repeatedly.Well, at the beginning of August, a new edition of the Huntsman Post was sent out, and the benefits of reading our online newsletter have only gotten better. For example, a recent unpublished study shows that students who read the August edition of the Post are 3 times more likely to not get stuck in rush hour traffic with no air conditioning on a 90 degree day.

The August edition is filled with valuable information and stories for anyone with connections to the Huntsman School of Business. You can learn more about three major additions to the Huntsman School's faculty: Jim Davis, the new head of the department of management; Michael Glauser, the new director of entrepreneurial programs; and William Shughart II, the J. Fish Smith professor in Public Choice. 

Find out what brought governors, presidents and senators to Utah and to USU. Check out how close the Huntsman School is to its goal of awarding $1 million in scholarships. Read more about what Huntsman students did to help a charity work more efficiently at feeding the hungry. All these things and more can be found in the August edition of the Huntsman Post.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A center for centers?

A group of us recently visited the University of Minnesota to tour the Carlson School of Management (  We make visits like these to learn things that might help us with the design of our new building.

One of the questions we’ve been wrestling with when it comes to deciding how to design and layout our building is how can we best integrate programs and centers into the physical structure of a building. We plan several programs and centers that serve all students no matter which department or major the student is in. For example, we plan a Stephen R. Covey Center for Ethical Leadership, a Center for Entrepreneurship and a Center for Global Engagement.
Ken Snyder

We saw a really great solution to the space for centers and programs at the Carlson School. They locate all of their centers in a specific location so that it can share resources. They’ve created sort of a center for centers. The set-up makes it more likely that school leaders will communicate with each other about ongoing and shared initiatives. The programs share a receptionist, the same conference room and the facility features a suite of offices that can be assigned out according to need. If the staffing and faculty support needs for one center are greater than for another area, for example, space can be allocated based on those needs. They placed this center of centers in a high-traffic area of the building in what they identify as “beachfront real estate” where it is easily accessible by students.

I am grateful that the Carlson School opened its doors and shared with us the things it has learned. Carolyn Chase, the assistant dean of operations, was very gracious as she showed us around and let us see the results of all their planning and work.

These are the kind of ideas we will be challenging and considering in the next few months as we create our new space. 

Ken Snyder