Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Friday, April 27, 2012

And now it’s time to start the tweaks

Have you ever decided to try on a pair of shoes only to discover they were too wide and too short? The area of your footprint and the area inside the shoe may be exactly the same, but that doesn’t help your toes that are jammed against the toe of the shoe.

After our architects finished their latest round of designs, we discovered that not everything will fit exactly the way we were thinking. We can make the building a little wider but eventually the lovey green courtyard between the two buildings would be too tight in some places. Or we can extend the arc of Huntsman Hall but then it would extend so close to J. Hanna Moen Hall that the people who live there might feel that a building was invading their personal space.

Ken Snyder
This is not a setback. It’s a normal part of the process. It’s a time to do some tweaking.

The architects have been sharing with us some different ideas and models to still provide the full program we have planned, a beautiful courtyard, and a design that doesn’t encroach on other buildings. These new proposals might change the look of the building a bit. All of the options we are looking at will still be four stories, and all options still wrap around the foot of the George S. Eccles Business Building. All options will still preserve terrific views of the south end of Cache Valley.

However, by adjusting the arc of the building, our architects have shown us we could create more courtyard space and more breathing room between Huntsman Hall and Moen Hall. We haven’t accepted any of the latest plans but we have found elements of them all that we like. Our architects are working on a new proposal that combines some of the best elements of all the plans. It’s all very doable.

- Ken Snyder

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Building Insurance

We are about to hire some “insurance.” The next step of the new building process is to hire what is called a commissioning agent. A commissioning agent is someone who will work with our architects to be sure they are designing a building that will meet our needs. The commissioning agent will also work with the contractors to be sure that the equipment being installed in the building – things like heating and air conditioning, water pipes, lights, etc. – will actually work.
Ken Snyder

It’s a position we must fill to comply with state regulations. When you have great, responsible architects and builders working together, as I believe we do, such a person is not really needed. However, I can see the advantage of having the expertise of a commissioning agent available, and I view it as sort of insurance that things will be done right.

The state has learned by some sad experience that without a commissioning agent, sometimes things don’t work as they are supposed to work. So Utah requires a commissioning agent for all state buildings. Other states and many large corporations have also opted to require such expertise for large construction projects.

It’s nice to know that things like the building’s heating and air conditioning will be tested and fully operational when Huntsman Hall is ready to become part of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

- Ken Snyder

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Former Madison Square Garden CEO speaks at USU seminar

I had the opportunity to listen to sports businessman Dave Checketts as part of the Partners in Business Conference at Utah State University, and I was very impressed.

As the founder of Sports Capital Partners and chairman of Real Salt Lake/Rio Tinto Stadium, Checketts told the story of how Rio Tinto Stadium came into existence without permission.

Dave Checketts
Though the venue had not yet been approved by the mayor, Checketts announced the building of a new stadium at the opening game of Real Salt Lake, a huge risk as Checketts didn’t know whether or not it would actually go through. But as it turns out, the risky move was the right one and the stadium proved to be a huge success.

As a student I can’t say that I’ve taken many risks in my life. In fact, I can’t think of any. But I think that the world of business, as well as life, to a certain degree, requires an amount of risk. Without it, a degree of success lies untapped, awaiting some courageous person to discover the rewards it holds. Dave Checketts, in this instance, was that person, and each of us can follow him.

Checketts has had a very successful career in the sports world. In addition to his current position with Real Salt Lake, he has served as the president and of both the Utah Jazz and the New York Knicks, and he was the CEO of Madison Square Garden from 1994 to 2001. Though he has been very successful in sports, I was especially impressed by his advice to students. He didn’t tell them to get an early start by getting early experience, and he didn’t give them strategic advice for advancing in the business world. Instead, his advice was this: always keep your word and don’t assume things.

Now I’m not a business major and know nothing about strategic business tactics, so maybe my opinion is off. But I think that this is the most valuable advice one could give a student. It’s the formula for success in any facet of life. It is the way to become a successful person. By following this advice, students will not only succeed in business, but as a student studying whatever profession they choose.

- Allie Jeppson

Monday, April 9, 2012

Huntsman Hall Classrooms

We’ve talked about where you might eat, take a break, study and entertain VIP visitors in our new Huntsman Hall but we haven’t talked about where our students will go to class.

While the classrooms on the 2nd floor that were renovated in 2008 are far better than what we had previously, we were not able to build start-of-the-art classrooms at that time. The main reason is that the ceiling heights in the George S. Eccles Business Building are insufficient to build a modern, tiered, business school classroom. The ceiling heights will accommodate modern, flat, flexible classrooms.

Because of the ceiling height issue, we plan to build tiered classrooms in the new Huntsman Hall. We want to have a very open and engaging environment with our tiered classrooms. These classrooms will seat either 80 or 50 students. We have discovered that a good tiered classroom has two aisles that make it easier for teachers to interact with the students. See the attached photo of a modern, state-of-the-art (except for the blackboards!) tiered classroom in Wharton’s Huntsman Hall.

We plan to convert most, if not all, of the classrooms in the Eccles Building to flat classrooms. As discussed in previous blogs, we will take some of the things we have tested in our experimental classroom and make them part of our new classrooms, including movable desks and chairs, and white boards and projection on multiple walls. These classrooms will seat about 40 students.

This new building is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design ideal classrooms. In pursuit of ideal classroom design, we have visited several other business schools, and have engaged our faculty, students and administrators. We are looking forward to the impact these new classrooms will bring to education in the Huntsman School of Business.

- Ken Snyder

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The pros of operating businesses in college towns

Eric Zenger owns nine Great Harvest Bread franchises in Utah and Idaho. I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric, his wife, his former business partner James Clawson (who owns Logan’s Great Harvest), and half a dozen students before his presentation at the Lectures in Entrepreneurship series.

Eric Zenger
It was a more intimate setting than a lecture hall. We got to ask them the questions we wanted and interact with them. We actually had a conversation, which is more than I get from most lectures.

During the course of our conversation, something interesting came up.

Most college students I talk to about their jobs or looking for jobs feel Logan, and other college town, are saturated with other kids looking for jobs, which makes it harder to get a job. And once you have one, you better make sure you keep it, because there are five more starving college kids who would take your place in a heartbeat.

I haven’t ever talked to an employer to see what they think about it, but the subject came up.

Eric and James both said they love opening and operating businesses in college towns because anyone who is going to school full time and is looking for a job is driven and hard working.

They both said they know some students are just looking jobs to get them through school, and that’s fine. They come to work, do their work, do it well, and leave. Someday, they’ll graduate and move on to better things.

But they can also tell when there are employees who come to work and really love their work; they’ve been thinking about it even after they’ve clocked out. Those are the employees that make a difference. They’re invested in the business, even though it’s just a job. Those are the ones they hate to see go.

And those are the ones who will go on to make a difference in whatever business they work for, or likely start, and run.

It was just interesting hearing how much they love running businesses in college towns.

It makes you think about what kind employee you are.

- Paul Lewis Siddoway