Years ago, driving through Oklahoma, I stopped for gas. In those days, attendants pumped your gas, and my attendant was a high school student heading for college. When he learned I was a college professor, he asked if college would be better than high school. I asked what motivated his question and he cited discipline problems and unruly behavior by classmates who hated high school.
My own high school experience was in sharp contrast to his, but, more importantly, I could assure him that I had never had a day as a professor when I felt I was more of a guard than a teacher. I encouraged him to anticipate four years of enthusiastic growth with other highly motivated, hard-working, and interested students.
As we enter the Fall of 2021 at UConn, I am pleased to say that I believe our new and returning students face that same optimistic future that I envisioned for him. Our students are not only interested, but interesting. They come together from different places with different specialties and goals.Continue Reading
UConn Today – Like so many other aspects of life, the COVID pandemic has upended the process of searching for internships and full-time jobs for many current and graduating UConn students.
But there’s good news on the horizon: For the first time in two years, UConn is able to return to in-person career fairs – albeit with many health and safety precautions – while continuing to offer the popular virtual fairs, on-demand resources, and other online programming it expanded during the pandemic.
The recent U.S. Census informed us that population growth was essentially flat in the last decade, and more detailed analysis in the last year suggests that the birth rate has been declining, the death rates have been rising, and immigration has declined.
GDP growth derives largely from population growth and thus projections for GDP growth are minimal in terms of long-term trends, while better in terms of recovery from the negative effects of COVID-19.
As the dean of the School of Business at UConn, I am particularly concerned about the effects of these trends on our School, our University, and our state. All of the national trends affect us, but they are exacerbated by the emigration reality. Within the USA people move, and the long-term pattern has been emigration from the Rust Belt and the Northeast to the South and West. Continue Reading
In the business school we focus on strategic planning to guide future and continuous improvement as we implement our plan. The central theme is excellent education that allows our students to become their best selves. We design and implement a learning process that ensures that they emerge as well-prepared citizens and employees who advance their communities and drive the economics of the state. As academics, we explore important questions, convene important discussions, and enhance the practice and understanding of management.
In assessing progress toward our goals, we look outside for input. I will share three recent examples of external assessments of UConn and the School of Business: the Deshpande Symposium 2021 Award for Excellence in Curriculum Innovation in Entrepreneurship; a scholarly assessment of worldwide real estate programs; and our renewed accreditation by the international Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).Continue Reading
UConn Today – From business to nutritional sciences, engineering to the arts, the Peter J. Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has distinguished itself as a dynamic and multidisciplinary environment where all UConn students can find an opportunity to learn, connect, and innovate alongside their entrepreneurially minded peers and with the help of seasoned educators and mentors.
In a recent newsletter, I announced the launch of a new, Online MBA program at UConn. The program goes live this fall, and we have almost 40 applications under review, and another 53 in process.
Today I am pleased to announce another innovation, the launch of a Master of Science degree in FinTech. Our UConn Board of Trustees approved this program on April 28. This graduate degree will prepare people to participate in the rapidly changing intersection of finance, technology, and analytics. Continue Reading
Professor Christina Kan recently joined the Marketing Department in 2020 and has begun teaching courses as of this semester, Spring 2021. Professor Kan teaches Introduction to Marketing Management (3101). Alongside teaching, Professor Kan focuses her research on consumer financial decision-making and price promotions. Professor Kan shares, “I’ve always been fascinated by the consumer – how we make decisions, why we buy, why we don’t buy, etc. Marketing is about creating value for the consumer and as such, is a great opportunity to learn about consumers.”
Before her career at UConn, Professor Kan worked as an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. Professor Kan received her undergraduate degree in marketing at the University of British Columbia and her Ph.D. in marketing at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is excited to begin a new chapter here at UConn and is impressed by the leadership and organization she’s experienced here so far.
Some advice from Professor Kan:
1. Try to connect the marketing you see in everyday life to your coursework. Whether it be on television, in local businesses, or anywhere else, marketing is all around us. Observing this will give you a deeper understanding of marketing and help you utilize concepts learned in the classroom in real-life applications!
2. In the new era of virtual learning, Professor Kan advises students to make an effort to form connections with professors and fellow students. The everyday conversations we have around campus are easy to lose virtually, but connection is key. Stay organized, create a schedule, and do not hesitate to reach out to others.
Welcome to the Marketing Department, Professor Kan!
Dr. Rachel Chambers is a Postdoctoral Research Associate who focuses her time at UConn on researching corporate accountability mechanisms and teaching Corporate Social Impact and Responsibility (BLAW/BADM/HRTS 3252). Dr. Chambers will join the faculty of the School of Business Marketing Department as an Assistant Professor in Business Law this fall. Dr. Chambers’ role provides her with the opportunity to introduce her research findings into the classroom and allows for lively discussions on corporate sustainability, social responsibility, and accountability. Only a few courses around the country teach undergraduates these topics; this is a special opportunity to uniquely learn and develop your educational toolkit. BLAW 3252 is offered to both Human Rights students and Business students, which creates a lively environment where students can learn from each other’s separate educational experiences and explore the knowledge together.
For marketing students, there is a growing need for individuals focused on social justice and environmentalism within large corporations. The pandemic has shed a light on the repercussions of poor corporate decisions; whether that be supply chain issues impacting the lives of foreign laborers in developing countries or the unethical health risks employees are facing in the U.S. There is substantial ‘sustainability noise,’ Dr. Chambers shares, where companies are sending out messages about their good practices, but there is little tangible action behind the claims made in advertisements or public releases. Marketers with a passion for human and environmental rights can influence an era of change for many large companies who fail to substantiate such claims. For consumers who wish to make purchasing decisions based on the ethical behavior of companies, it can be difficult to find readily understandable information on the actions of companies and effectively make decisions that reflect a consumer’s values. This is one conversation that is explored in Dr. Chambers’ course, as students search for solutions on how to channel the good intentions of companies into actionable results.
Historically, Corporate Social Responsibility Officers may have been located within the Marketing or Communications departments within a company. Now, Dr. Chambers is observing a shift in this role as companies create bespoke sustainability departments and involve other parts of the business in this work including the General Counsel’s office. Marketing is still very much involved, though, in a company’s messaging about sustainability, environmentalism, and social justice. Gaining exposure to these topics and developing this skill will be a great benefit in today’s corporate world and can create new areas of opportunity in careers after graduation. One of Dr. Chambers’ motivators is that by educating students on corporate responsibility, students will gain a toolkit of information to make knowledgeable decisions about how to work ethically, identify the companies they wish to work for, and learn how to be a more informed consumer. If you are interested in learning more or are interested in pursuing career opportunities in this area, consider registering for Dr. Chambers course, Corporate Social Impact and Responsibility, this fall.
Kathleen Walsh ‘21 is a senior marketing student majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Digital Marketing and Analytics and a minor in Management. This past summer, Kathleen interned at Cigna through the Marketing Leadership Development Program (MLDP) on the Competitive Intelligence team. Kathleen will be returning to Cigna full-time this summer as a MLDP Lead Analyst. In this role, Kathleen will complete her rotations on three additional teams before determining her final placement within one of Cigna’s marketing teams. Kathleen shares her excitement to be able to work in a career related to healthcare and support Cigna’s healthcare insurance products, something that benefits every customer they serve.
Cigna’s rotational program allows undergraduate and MBA students to explore various roles within marketing before committing to one specific role and team. This allows participants to gain a greater understanding of multiple distinct marketing opportunities. Kathleen shares that she found the rotations to be attractive and helpful as she continues to learn more and gain a better understanding of where within marketing are her career interests the strongest.
For summer internships at Cigna, the steering committee makes placements dependent upon an intern’s experience and business need. If students return for additional rotations in the full-time role, they receive greater opportunity to choose rotations that align with their aspirations. By the time of the third rotation, members can work in different Cigna office locations and decide which area of marketing they would like to work in. For those interested in a full-time career at Cigna, Kathleen advises to treat your first internship like an interview; “your summer internship is a ten-week interview. During the time you can show of your skills, while meeting with the steering committee to prove you would be a great asset to the program long term.”
Kathleen reflects on her excellent experience at Cigna. She shares that her work was meaningful, and the company creates a strong sense of community within the MLDP. Kathleen shares, “Through mentorship, volunteering, and other group activities, I found a great group of people at Cigna that I look forward to working with again … It is a testament to the company and everyone working there, that even virtually I was able to see a culture of helpfulness filled with individuals who really want young professionals to succeed.”
On campus, Kathleen is an Undergraduate Peer Advisor in the Advising Office. This position allowed Kathleen to improve her problem solving and interpersonal skills. Kathleen also serves as the Vice President of the Women’s Club Volleyball team, which has developed her leadership and communication experience. The summer of her junior year, Kathleen worked part-time at a behavioral healthcare company called Mental Health Strategies & Solutions that specializes in mental health. This prepared Kathleen for interviews at Cigna because it gave her experience in the healthcare industry.
Emily Vasington ‘16 came to UConn confident that she had a passion for marketing. During her undergraduate career, Emily joined the professional marketing and sales fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon (PSE). Through her membership in PSE, Emily gained appreciation for the variety of areas within marketing and specifically enjoyed gaining exposure to consumer marketing and brand management. Emily later served as the president of PSE, which she shares allowed her a unique opportunity to interact and share her passion for marketing with other students while learning how to manage, recruit, and oversee an organization.
Emily accepted a Brand Management internship at Whirlpool during her junior year. After a successful summer interning in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Emily accepted a full-time offer to return to Whirlpool as an Assistant Brand Manager on the Maytag brand. In this role, Emily assisted in the successful launch of new products by establishing a positive brand image with consumers. While working on the launch of new products, it is imperative that brand managers successfully demonstrate the differentiation and value of a product over competitor offerings. A successful launch will help determine the future of the product and increase brand equity.
After two years on the Maytag brand, Emily challenged herself by accepting a new role within Whirlpool on the ‘Internet of Things’ team. Emily worked as an Associate Digital Product Manager on this team for an additional two years. Emily shares that this is her favorite experience thus far because it exposed her to new areas of the business and pushed herself outside of her comfort zone! In this role, Emily served as a liaison between business teams like sales and marketing and the developmental side of the business, such as hardware/software developers. One project Emily worked on during her time on the team was a re-launching of the KitchenAid app. This project was focused on rehauling the app to update the design, look and feel to better fit the brand image. Emily shares that was especially exciting being able to work on brand management products for Whirlpool because Whirlpool is a 100+ year old company. Modernizing the brand to compete with younger competitor companies was a special task for Emily.
To continue advancing her career, Emily has chosen to go back to school and is currently and MBA Candidate at Harvard Business School. Emily explains that she chose to go to Harvard because of their unique approach to the MBA Program. Harvard creates a general management experience rather than focusing on one area of business. This means that Emily is taking classes with all other MBA students, and can draw on the experience of students who have worked in diverse business roles in numerous industries. While specific marketing skills can be learned on the job, understanding how parts of the business work together and how to be a strong leader and imperative skills for any successful employee.
Emily’s vast career experience has revealed to her the importance of trying new things and challenging yourself outside of your comfort zone. Emily advises all aspiring marketers, “Every career move is a bit like building your toolkit … Even if it seems risky, it’s worth it…. When you push, you grow.”