Huntsman Alumni Magazine - Winter 2018
The Huntsman Difference
Creating a world-class undergraduate program as we look forward to the next ten years
By Jaime Caliendo & Dave Patel
At our annual awards banquet on November 30, 2017, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the naming of the USU College of Business as the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. The past ten years have brought remarkable change. As Dean Douglas Anderson notes, the strategy ten years ago was, to put it succinctly, “get better fast.” And get better we did, across programs, people, and places, with the creation of 12 new curricular and extracurricular programs, an infusion of faculty talent, and a beautiful new facility.
Ten years ago, Jon Huntsman challenged us to produce students who can compete with the best and brightest anywhere in the world. Our students are doing just that, going on to top graduate schools and globally recognized companies. Just this academic year, our undergraduates have accepted offers from Amazon, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Koch Industries, Workday, and many more, while our graduate students have accepted offers from Deloitte, Ford, Honeywell, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and others. In a more recent message, Huntsman asked how we would “build the HSB undergraduate program so that it enters the top 3 or 4 schools in the country.” This audacious goal guides our vision as we look forward to the next ten years and beyond.
The Huntsman School’s vision of creating a world-class undergraduate education to drive student success, develop leaders of distinction in commerce and public affairs, and enable our students to lead lives of meaning and contribution is predicated on the development of a rich set of curricular and extracurricular opportunities. Research tells us of the positive role that experiential learning plays in the career outcomes of college graduates. Many in the business community are also urging institutions of higher education to transform their curricular offerings to include structured experiential learning.
At the Huntsman School, award-winning student clubs and established co-curricular programs provide students with ample opportunities to supplement outstanding classroom instruction. Two longstanding programs in particular, the Huntsman Scholars Program, the School’s honors program, and the Small Enterprise Education & Development (SEED) Program integrate classroom instruction with outstanding experiential learning opportunities essential to life and career success.
The Huntsman Scholar Program was the result of the initial gift from the Huntsman Foundation in 2007, and over the almost ten years of its existence, approximately 25 students per class, or about 100 per year were selected as Huntsman Scholars. The critical thinking, deep engagement between faculty and students, and resulting student achievements led Jon Huntsman to provide a new gift in 2017, with the challenge to quadruple the size of the program to 100 students per class, so that 400 students can participate in the program each year. This represents almost 20 percent of the Huntsman School’s Logan campus undergraduate student body. Mr. Huntsman noted that he wanted the program to expand in size because he believes there are so many students who, while possessing the capacity and desire to compete with the best anywhere in the world, needed an opportunity to fully realize their potential. He said, “It reminds me a little bit of the great verse that O. Henry talks about when he describes the unborn masterpiece that all of us have within our own selves, the capacity to perform a masterpiece. That may be in music, it may be in agriculture, it may be in industry. All of us have a capacity. But most of us never see that masterpiece because we never take the opportunity to look deep within ourselves and say, what do I know that somebody else doesn’t know? We need this program to quadruple in size because these young people have unborn masterpieces but they don’t know it yet.”
The newly envisioned Huntsman Scholar Program, launched in Fall 2017, focuses on providing the skills and attributes students can use to create and perform their own unique masterpieces. Students participate in a curricular and co-curricular experience across four years, with a program of study focused on academic rigor, critical thinking, and mentoring to provide a solid understanding of markets and the nature of business enterprise. Paul Fjeldsted, a faculty mentor in the program, notes that “The program’s success should be measured by the degree to which the students, faculty, and administration take responsibility to carry out Mr. Huntsman’s vision - to be among the top undergraduate business programs in the country. An important metric of this success is whether our students are able to obtain the best career opportunities available to anyone in their chosen field.”
All program students take 10 courses that represent a core understanding of markets and how a business enterprise functions. They also take developmental “labs” designed to provide an integrative perspective of skills and behaviors central to success in business and in life. For example, the Year One Leadership Lab is designed to provide a leadership development experience through experiential activities and thought-provoking challenges so that students can develop greater self-awareness, begin to discover their leadership identity, and increase their interpersonal and teamwork skills. This past fall, the first offering of the Leadership Lab used design thinking to create a capstone experience comprising a service project on the Navajo reservation in southern Utah. Students created an “opportunity fair” to help elevate the aspirations and discover potential pathways to higher education and career opportunities for three hundred high school students at Whitehorse High School in Blanding, Utah. Scholars also participate in activities that promote service, professional development, and social interaction through a broad portfolio of opportunities that add significant value to their Huntsman experience.
The purpose of the curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular requirements is to prepare students to add immediate value to whatever endeavor they choose. According to Chad Simon, associate professor of Accounting and a faculty mentor in the program, the program “aims to help students become citizens and future leaders who are known for their drive, humility, and ability to understand and work well with others while competing at a high level. It emphasizes practical career preparation and a desire to raise students’ aspirations to realize their full potential.” The Program also serves as an idea incubator for the School to experiment with initiatives that could be offered to the entire student body.
— Melissa Funk ‘17, Economics & History
The Huntsman School also offers six graduate degrees, including nationally-ranked programs in accounting and human resources, as well as programs in economics, financial economics, management information systems, and the MBA. Structured experiential opportunities abound throughout these programs. For example, students from the graduate program in financial economics competed in and won the Zions Bank Bond Portfolio Competition two of the past three years, beating teams from Oxford, Rice University, BYU, and the University of Utah. The Huntsman advantage with our graduate programs is a rigorous course of study within 16 months across all six programs, two-year dual degree options with MBA+MHR and MBA+MMIS, small class sizes, deep engagement with faculty, and placement at globally-recognized companies. For more, please visit huntsman.usu.edu.
Doing well by doing good
Founded in 2007, the SEED Program provides undergraduate students with opportunities to educate and mentor aspiring entrepreneurs in Peru, Ghana, and the Philippines with the goal of helping to alleviate poverty. Students spend a semester working in pairs to identify and prepare potential clients to receive funding, and to train and mentor existing clients in the basics of enterprise creation including accounting, sales, and marketing practices.
Dr. Mike Glauser, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship where the SEED Program is based, has worked closely with his team to create partnerships with DanPer, a large agribusiness in Peru, and with the US-based non-profit Mentors International to fund promising ventures in Peru, Ghana, and the Philippines. They’ve also raised funding for scholarships for the student interns, established infrastructure to supervise students in the field and provide safe housing, and developed a teaching curriculum that the interns customize to fit each client’s needs.
USU students who participate in the SEED program find themselves transformed by the experience. “It provides students with a hands-on educational experience where they’re dealing with real business problems on a daily basis, with a number of clients across industries,” says Dr. Glauser. Orlando Porras developed a greater understanding of how people from different cultures learn from and benefit one another during his semester in Peru. “People think differently, and these differences are beneficial. We learn to complement one another with our different skill sets,” says Porras.
They also return home more confident and focused. Like all SEED interns, Madeleine Waddoups learned as she taught during her semester abroad in Ghana. When not working with clients, she and her SEED partner taught weekly English and Math classes at the school in Abomosu, a city in central Ghana. They also taught workers to use Excel. “That was empowering for me in going forward, to know that I could see something I could help with and actually make a change for the better. I have a different attitude for my future career, knowing I can shape what I want change to be,” says Waddoups.
Potential employers also value the hands-on experience and maturity these students possess. “They’ve applied marketing, finance, and customer service skills in a variety of settings. They’re flexible, they appreciate diversity, and they can live and work well with different people and cultures. Employers feel like they’re job ready,” says Dr. Glauser.
“This past December, I had the opportunity to travel to London with 10 of my fellow students and Paul Fjeldsted and Chad Simon, two of the best professors in the business school, to analyze global markets while getting a firsthand look at what it is like to work and live in London. We spent each day visiting with business professionals, mostly USU alumni, and they talked to us about their industry, what their job entails, and what their experience has been working and living in London. My favorite visit was with Breogan Ouvina at Bloomberg. I loved touring their office and I thought that the work was really interesting. It was great talking to Breogan about markets not only in the US but around the world and I think that visit really helped me gain a much deeper understanding of how global markets work. We also spent one day visiting Oxford University and discussed opportunities to go to school there. I absolutely loved participating in this trip and am very grateful to have been given this opportunity. It was definitely a college-defining experience for me.”
— Jordan Larsen ‘19, Economics & Finance
The internship program for SEED was launched in Spring Semester of 2009 with two interns sent to Trujillo, Peru. What began as a program that sent a few students per year has grown to include almost 50 students per year over the last two years, with a goal of sending 100 students per year on SEED internships.
Key findings of the Gallup-Purdue Index, which assesses alumni perceptions of their undergraduate experiences and how those experiences relate to their well-being and job quality later in life, indicate that supportive and motivating relationships with professors and mentors, including alumni and professionals, are crucial to undergraduates’ college experiences. Additionally, experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, student club and other extracurricular participation, or group projects, greatly increased student satisfaction and career success.
The Huntsman Scholar Program and the SEED Program are two of the many ways by which the Huntsman School provides students with developmental opportunities. These structured experiential learning programs supplement a dynamic curriculum and classroom instruction by outstanding faculty. Programs such as Huntsman Scholars and SEED, and an emphasis on student/faculty engagement at the undergraduate level point the way to ushering in the next generation of Huntsman School programs and our aspiration to meet the audacious challenge from Jon Huntsman to create a truly world-class undergraduate business program.
“Nothing in my academic career has been of greater value. The SEED Program opened my eyes to a completely different and real world that is almost impossible to experience in the classroom alone. The experience tried me mentally, emotionally, and academically. Returning home from the SEED Program, I began my senior year and the hunt for a job after graduation. I applied for my dream job with General Mills and began to advance through the interview process, and I was invited to a final round of interviews at General Mills Headquarters with seven other finalists. Each finalist was unbelievably qualified. The majority were presidents of their student organizations, honors students, and accomplished leaders. During my final interview, I took time to talk about my experience in Peru and the 12-step financial program my partner and I had revised and developed to help our Peruvian clients better understand financial stability. I finished the interview and was told I would be notified in three weeks. The interview took place Friday afternoon. The following Monday morning, General Mills called and offered me a full-time position. When I asked them what set me apart from the other incredible candidates, they explained without hesitation that it was my experience in Peru with the SEED Program.”
— Christian Hobbs ’18 Marketing
Huntsman students made their mark last summer by sending the largest intern class into the retail sales division of General Mills out of any school in the nation. Now, six Aggies have accepted full-time positions as Business Management Associates.
(clockwise from top):
Tess Arnold: Cincinnati, Ohio
Garret Steed: Rogers, Arkansas
Christian Hobbs: Scottsdale, Arizona
Chelsea Yoshikawa: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Derick Morales: Philadelphia, Pennyslvania
Ivan Covarrubias: Rogers, Arkansas