Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Friday, January 31, 2014

This Summer There Will be Nothing Abstract About the Transformation Underway at the Huntsman School of Business

By Ken Snyder
At the Huntsman School of Business we often use visionary language about how we are building a better future or going through a transformation. This summer, however, the changes underway won’t be in just philosophy and attitude, they’ll be quite visual and noisy. In addition to the construction underway outside on Huntsman Hall; we’ll be pounding, painting, and remodeling the inside of the George S. Eccles Business Building.

Here are just a few of the things that we’ll be doing inside the Eccles Business Building this summer:
·         The two large flat classrooms on the third floor, at the back of the George S. Eccles Business Building, will become part of expanded facilities for our advising center. These are rooms the students and teachers had sometimes called “the caves” because they are large, and the lighting makes them look dark.

·         We are going to put in skylights in that part of the building, driving the darkness and nicknames away forever. You might wonder how we can put skylights in a third-floor classroom that’s located in an eight-story building. The classrooms we plan to convert aren’t under the main part of the building but in the first three floors of the structure that are wider than the rest of the building. Above those classrooms is blue sky, and we plan to make that natural light available to renovated world below.
·         We will be converting room 107 into a setting where behavioral research can be conducted and observed. A marketing class, for example, might use the room to host focus groups.

·         On the second floor we are going to remove the tiers in room 209 and convert it into a flat classroom with movable chairs, tables and white boards like the experimental classroom we set up in room 318 that features multiple projectors. Flat classrooms are helpful when coursework involves a lot of team work and interaction. 

  • We will upgrade the furniture in rooms 116, 320 and 322.
  • We will upgrade the lighting in the auditorium.
  •  Some of our departmental offices will be renovated.
  • We will even be changing our roof material to make it more attractive and LEED-compliant. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, an organization that offers guidance on how to make buildings more environmentally friendly.
  • We’ll renovate the restrooms in the building by adding new floor tiles and making other improvements.
  • We’ll change the linoleum in our main tower stairwell to tiles, and add rubber treads and new paint to our corner stairwell.

That should create enough dust, noise and change this summer to remove any doubts one might have about whether or not the Huntsman School of Business is going through a transformation. They’ll be able to see and hear it happening on the inside and outside of the building. I, for one, am looking forward to a summer ruckus.  

Incidentally, because of all of the work being done in the Eccles building this summer, we will not be holding any classes in the building. All business classes will be held elsewhere on campus.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Top 10 Reasons to Go on a Local Career Exploration Trip

Students Visiting the Utah State Capitol on Economics-focused Trip
By Erin Mann, Alumni Engagement Coordinator

Career Exploration trips are designed to provide students the opportunity to better understand the types of careers available to them. Have you ever wondered why you should attend a local Career Exploration trip? Here are the top 10 reasons:

10. Get free stuff – You’re guaranteed free bottles of water, mints and treats. Plus the odds are in your favor for getting free treats and swag from the companies we visit.

9. Skip class and hang out in Salt Lake City – All of our trips take place on Fridays, so not only do you get to skip class, but you also get to spend the day in the “Salty Apple” where it’s at least five degrees warmer than Cache Valley.

8. It costs less than a date to the movies – Trips only cost $15. That covers the cost of gas, lunch and a guaranteed good time.

7. Look like James Bond – The dress for each trip is business professional. Pull that old suit out of the closet, iron out that pencil skirt, shake off the dust and get ready to make a good impression.

6. Meet the cute girl or boy in your Into to Marketing Class – You’ll learn the names of your fellow classmates and you’ll probably make some new friends.

5. Learn about million dollar companies that you didn’t even know existed – Each of the companies we visit is handpicked because of its success in the industry.

4. Hang out with your professors – Get to know the teachers who decide your grades, write letters of recommendation and have plenty of contacts.

3. Have your choice of major either confirmed or you’ll be making an appointment with your academic advisor – Career Exploration trips are a great way to find the field you really want to work in. Do you see yourself as a public accountant or are you more of a marketer?

2. Meet your future heroes – Whether or not you want to work for one of the companies we visit, you’re sure to meet talented people with impressive backgrounds.

1. Network with professionals in your future industry – One of the professionals on your trip could be your future boss. Practice your handshake, take notes and remember to utilize your new contacts.

To learn more about Career Exploration or to sign up for a trip, visit

Written by Erin Mann, Huntsman Alumni Engagement Coordinator

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Research Finds Correlation Between Political Connections, Federal Reserve Loans

Ben Blau
Professor Ben Blau
By Steve Eaton

Banks that have better political connections and invest money in lobbying are more likely to get emergency loans from the Federal Reserve System, according to research done by a Huntsman professor.

One might expect lobbyists and politically-connected companies to win favor in the nation’s capital, but the Federal Reserve is a non-partisan entity, independent of political considerations. Ben Blau, an associate professor in the Finance and Economics Department, said he was surprised to discover the correlation when he did a study of 677 banks and their dealings with the Federal Reserve during the recent financial crisis.

“In theory there should not be any political incentive for the Federal Reserve to provide emergency relief to banks that are politically active or connected,” he said.

His research found, however, that some 15 percent of the banks that got loans had politically-connected employees, compared to 1.5 percent of those who could boast no such advantage. Blau found those who borrowed from the Fed were five times as likely to spend money on lobbyists and ten times more likely to employ politically-connected individuals than banks that did not borrow from the Fed.

Blau said it’s possible that if a bank is more politically-active, it is also more prone to seeking government help, and that may explain the correlation.

“I think the most compelling explanation for why this happened was politically-connected banks were buying what they perceive as synthetic insurance,” he said, explaining they may have believed they would be able to fall back on emergency Federal loans in hard times.

“If political connections somehow represent perceived insurance to banks and they believe that if times get rough the government will provide them with some bailout, then they might be more open to engaging in financially risky behavior,” he said. “And yet, often, it is that very mindset that leads a bank to getting in trouble and eventually seeking emergency loans.”

Blau said he did a paper a few years ago with Huntsman professors Tyler Brough and Diana Thomas that established an even stronger correlation between banks that had connections and invested in lobbying efforts, and banks that got help from the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP. Blau said he expected, however, when it came to the Federal Reserve there would be no such correlation.

Blau’s working paper is already posted on the website of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The research has sparked the interest of several national publications that have cited it or quoted him, including Bloomberg, American Banker and Politico.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jeff Clark the Risk-taker, Challenger, Motivator

By Klydi Heywood

As I listened intently to a remarkable man who grew his companies into the billions, I inferred three facts: this man believes in himself, his wife and the people around him.

One of the themes Jeff Clark centered around at the Entrepreneurial Lecture Series on Wednesday night was the principle that we all come to a “changing of the guards” moment in our lives that can alter everything.

Eventually, “you’re able look back and start to realize everything you have done to this point is preparing you for that next period,” Mr. Clark said.

Another valuable theme Mr. Clark taught was the importance of treating your employees well.

“If your greatest asset rides an elevator, invest in it heavily,” Mr. Clark said. He wanted to build a positive culture within his company where he could grow his business purely by having his satisfied clients refer their partners and competitors to his firm.

“We won because as we looked around, we had really happy employees,” Mr. Clark said. “Competitors were trying to figure out how we could get so much done, by so few people.”

He invested in his employees concerns and interests and “made them feel like business owners.”

The final lesson Mr. Clark taught was that of confidence. He attributed much of his young confidence to working hard and doing what he knew was right, always.

“One thing I learned while I was not getting what I wanted was that I was still getting experience and I figured out a way to do it better,” he said. “I think that entrepreneurs are actually, more often than not, born out of some degree or some job where they go and have great focus on what they are trying to do and accomplish for their employer, but at the same time have this panoramic vision where they look around and say, ‘Wait a minute. If we do this, that or the other, we could do it better.’”

Jeff Clark presenting in the 2014 ELS

 For more information on upcoming Entrepreneurial Lecture Series speakers visit

By Klydi Heywood