Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

Voice: Kent E. Bracken

Kent E. Bracken, Senior Manager, Capgemini Ernst and Young, Member of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business National Advisory Board

Kent E. Bracken, ’76 B.S. Finance Huntsman School, ’77 M.M. MIS Northwestern, is a member of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business National Advisory Board and former member of the Huntsman School of Accountancy Advisory Board. Mr. Bracken is a supporter of the NAB Scholarship Fund, the Ernst & Young Professorship and the Alumni Association. He joined the Old Main Society in 2003.

Mr. Bracken is a senior manager at Capgemini (formerly Ernst & Young Consulting). He manages large scale IT projects for Capgemini. He has worked on extended foreign assignments in Singapore, Thailand and India, as well as short-term roles in Switzerland, Canada and Germany.

YOUR CAREER HAS TAKEN YOU ALL OVER THE WORLD. WHAT DOES ‘GLOBAL VISION’ MEAN TO YOU?

Global vision means being able to look at the world and see differences as opportunities and realize that, in spite of those differences, we have much in common. I am the third generation of my family to be born and raised in Cache Valley, so my roots are definitely local. But some of the most rewarding experiences in my life, both personal and professional, have come from my global opportunities.

We each bring unique skills, experiences and perspectives to the table — especially in another country or with another culture. Success comes when you recognize those differences, appreciate them and then work with your counterparts to create something better than either one of you could come up with alone. In business, you have to look for new opportunities and new ways of working. It was a revelation to me to learn how much I have in common with individuals with very different backgrounds and what we could offer each other.

In my profession, you have to be willing to travel, and I have always had the attitude that I would be willing to go anywhere. When I was asked to consider an assignment in India, I saw it as a great opportunity.

YOU LIVE IN CHICAGO AND ARE ON THE ROAD FULL TIME. HOW ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH THE HUNTSMAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS?

Since I’m a member of the National Advisory Board, I get a chance to be back in Utah at least twice a year to meet with students and faculty. I’ve guest-lectured a few times and also participate in the “Dine with Alumni” program, where alumni host a dinner with eight to 10 students. These are great opportunities to not only hear what’s going on but to provide feedback from the “field” on issues and topics. Back in Chicago, I’ve been involved in both university- and Huntsman School-sponsored events. I try to stay in touch with USU alumni wherever I am; and when I was in India, USU asked me to reach out to alumni in that country. I was also able to support the Huntsman Scholar Program by arranging for the group visiting Europe to spend time with some of Capgemini’s European consultants at our headquarters in Paris. Finally, I stay involved through financial support for the Huntsman School. I think my situation is a good analogy of how having a global vision requires that you not be restricted by geographic location. Managing remote project teams or contributing input and support for the Huntsman School from Chicago or India are simply required ways of working.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STUDENTS AND ALUMNI WHO WANT A SUCCESSFUL CAREER TODAY?

I suggest that everyone needs to understand that we are more connected globally than ever before. We need to be global thinkers and appreciate a global perspective, regardless of where we live or work. Global issues impact all of us in both large and small ways, and we will need to be able to understand and interact with people, products and economies from all over the world. Students should take advantage of the Study Abroad program, get involved with clubs and organizations that provide an international exposure and, if possible, learn a foreign language.

WHAT DOES ‘DARE MIGHTY THINGS’ MEAN TO YOU?

It means having the courage to step out of your comfort zone to discover new things, new lands and different cultures. It means being humble enough to learn from others and honestly listen to their ideas about things you don’t already know or understand. Learning how to work in a different culture requires that combination of courage, humility and openness to new experiences and ideas — all of which are necessary to learn and be successful in an international setting. I also believe it means being willing to contribute, in your own unique way, to help out the next generation of leaders. I believe that Huntsman School students who get involved with international opportunities offered through the school will realize their potential as scholars, entrepreneurs and leaders, and will, in turn, themselves, “Dare Mighty Things.”