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Message from the Dean
Route to excellence, national recognition: Integrative Thinking

  Dean Mohan Tanniru *
The power of integrative thinking is immense. The ability to think -- and act -- beyond traditional boundaries and models allows successful organizations and their leaders to develop solutions that have the potential to transform their organization.

That's the transformation we hope to create in the SBA at Oakland University, not just by teaching integrative thinking whenever possible, but by engaging in activities within our curriculum, research and outreach.  We value -- and educate students on the value of -- understanding issues across disciplines and across cultures. This helps prepare our students to thrive in a constantly changing business world, and contribute to their organization with an open mind and skill set that supports innovation and flexibility.

In this issue of SBA Insight Online, you'll find the theme of integrative thinking reflected in many of the stories. You'll read about partnerships across campus in support of research in energy management and lean thinking. You will see how various student organizations, using unique forums and networking sessions, are encouraging greater understanding of business challenges and the ways to address them.  You also will see how we are bringing international conferences to the area to address complex financial and IT related challenges through a combination of business and academic thinking.


Through the power of integrative thinking, these activities further support our approach of positioning OU's School of Business Administration in the national arena.

Full story

*Image created by and supplied courtesy of Michael G. Mitchell, owner of Paonia Peddler Gallery, Paonia, CO. Mitchell is former president/CEO of an automotive supplier which sponsored OU SBA students in the ATiB program.

International conference gathers best of industry, academia to focus on information systems

From August 4-7, the Association for Information Systems (AIS) and OU's SBA -- in partnership with regional universities -- Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State, Kettering University and University of Michigan-Dearborn -- is bringing its 17th annual Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS) to Detroit for the first time. 

At this conference, business professionals from this region and academics, representing universities from 40 different countries, will discuss the IS business challenges and research that will impact future innovations in IT, as well as its impact IS curriculum and education of future workforce.


Anyone with a stake in the future of information systems is sure to find the conference engaging, stimulating and useful with more than 800 participants from 40 countries around the world.


Specifically, the conference offers

Other programs during the conference include an MIS Camp at the GM Learning Center and a MIS Doctorial Consortium on OU's campus.

For details and to register, visit 
>>Read more>>

Energized Team
SBA, SECS prepare professionals for advances in energy management

A collaborative effort between two OU schools is equipping area professionals to be proficient in an arena experiencing tremendous growth: energy management.

The SBA and the School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) recently wrapped up their first six-week Energy Management Certificate Program (EMCP), which focuses on engineering and managing a sustainable energy enterprise. The program helps participants understand energy usage options that lead to cost and energy savings; apply sustainability principles that can cut costs and enhance reputation; and acquire the skills to evaluate, analyze and implement the best energy choices for their organizations.

The faculty integrated business and engineering perspectives as they delivered program content in this innovative area. Preparing professionals to take the lead in an expanding field.


The clean energy sector has experienced dramatic growth in recent years. During the last decade, jobs in this sector grew nationally at 9.1 percent while traditional jobs grew only by 3.7 percent. Approximately 4.2 million green jobs are expected to be created by 2038, which could result in as much as 10 percent of new job growth during the next 30 years.


With organizations such as Ford Motor Company supporting the belief that creating a strong business and building a better world are essential ingredients for long-term success, it's easy to see the impetus behind the growth of the energy management sector. 


"When Ford first added sustainability to my job title, our CEO Alan Mulally noted with a company as large and diverse as ours, it made sense to have one person in place to provide global oversight to our business -- through the lens of sustainability and with an eye toward the bottom line. It's a great way to look at our business and our vision for a greener future," says Sue Cischke, SECS '76, group vice president, sustainability, environment and safety engineering, Ford, on her Huffington Post blog.


That's the kind of program the SBA and SECS have begun to build with the Energy Management Certificate program.

>>Read more>>

New entrepreneurship minor develops skills to find, launch new ventures

Long before they start drafting a business plan, budding entrepreneurs at Oakland University soon will be researching, testing and fine-tuning the ideas that one day could result in new businesses.

That systematic approach will be key to Oakland's new entrepreneurship minor, approved in March and scheduled to launch its first classes this fall.


Oakland's School of Business Administration is introducing the interdisciplinary program -- open to all OU undergraduates -- to support new growth and employment opportunities in and for Michigan.


"We really emphasize the development and refinement of ideas through the courses," says Associate Professor of Marketing Mark Simon, who developed the minor in partnership with Professor of Marketing Ravi Parameswaran, chair, Department of Management and Marketing.


"New ventures can have a radical impact on the economy," adds Simon, who has launched a number of ventures himself and has researched entrepreneurship extensively.


The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of the Census estimates that small enterprises – businesses with fewer than 500 employees – in Michigan represent 98.3 percent of the state's employers.

>>Read more>>

MIS program offers unique hands-on experience in complex field


Businesses are often challenged at how to meet today's unprecedented cyber security obstacles. In a field that is experiencing a shortage of experts, a recent IBM-sponsored survey indicates businesses are looking for college graduates to have both the technical expertise and the business skills.

And, that's exactly what the Decision and Information Sciences program at OU's School of Business Administration delivers. A strong program taught by recognized experts in the field, the SBA is enriching the student experience with the new Security Network Instructional Lab that opened in March.


The lab expands classroom learning and business savvy with actual hands-on experience in the complex field of network security by offering students dynamic, real-life opportunities to explore the constant threat of viruses, worms, spy-ware, zero-day attacks and much more, while also developing critical business management skills. Information Systems Security class instructors can create a sand box for students, isolated from the Internet and Oakland University's internal systems. This enables students to experiment with malware and simulated attacks in a realistic environment that is safe.


"You simply cannot put a dollar value on the hands-on experience this lab provides SBA students," says Richard Schneider, SBA '10 (MSITM), service sales manager, Sourcefire.


"All too often graduates know the theory, but not the real-life practice of IT implementation and security," agrees Aaron Kazmierczak, senior systems engineer, Blackhawk Systems. "The new SBA lab fills the gap by looking at industry needs and changing issues and bringing that knowledge right into the curriculum."

>>Read more>>

How lean can you go:
Professor receives support to write book on lean principles

Gene Fliedner

Gene Fliedner is convinced lean business practices amount to considerably more than trimming fat. For companies to truly benefit from lean principles, he says, it is essential that they implement a multi-faceted program that encompasses all aspects of their operations.

"I believe lean practices must have a systematic perspective," says Fliedner, associate professor, operations management, SBA's Decision and Information Science department. According to Fliedner, four primary components contribute to a lean operation: leadership, culture, a team-based approach, and the actual lean practices and tools.


Fliedner began his lean journey about 15 years ago, while teaching courses in project management. "It became apparent to me that if you look at it simply, two things affect a business' bottom line: increasing revenue and eliminating waste."


Fliedner identified a significant need for a practitioner-oriented book on lean principles and started the process of drafting one.


This spring, the Institute provided Fliedner and three other OU professors with resources to further their research on lean principles by awarding each of them a $15,000 Pawley Institute Fellowship, funded by the Pawley Institute Dennis and Carlotta Pawley Endowment for Lean Learning.


Through the fellowships, the recipients will work to develop an academic textbook, expanded curriculum at OU, virtual simulation learning games, and research and partnerships with southeast Michigan businesses.


The textbook in Fliedner's proposal can be used in both undergraduate and graduate lean classes.

>>Read more>>

Professor respected for going the extra mile

David Doane can't remember a time when he didn't incorporate technology into his instruction.

"At Oakland University, I've been able to follow my instincts in using computers to teach statistics," says Doane, professor, quantitative methods, in SBA's department of Decision and Information Sciences. "In the beginning, they were extremely large computers that filled rooms."


Since beginning his career with Oakland in 1969, Doane has consistently gone the extra mile to help others master and use statistics effectively. As a result, he has received accolades from his students and his peers as an educator, researcher, author, software developer and leader in his field.


Most recently, in December 2010, Doane earned professional accreditation from the American Statistical Association. He is among the first 100 statisticians to receive this certification, which calls for a strong record of writing and professional service. "They also look carefully at your record of ongoing professional development," says Doane, an ASA member since 1975 and past president of the Detroit chapter.


"The certification is an honor and a capstone for my career," Doane says.

>>Read more>>

Steering to Success:
Finance alum uses education, experience, interest to make a difference

Robert Manilla

Robert Manilla, SBA (Finance) '85, is at the helm of The Kresge Foundation investment team as its Vice President and Chief Investment Officer. Synonymous for philanthropy, the Kresge Foundation is $3.1 billion private, national foundation that supports nonprofit organizations in arts and culture, community development, education, the environment, health, and human services.

Manilla and his team are responsible for funding 100 percent of the organization's charitable work and operations. The responsibility is immense, but Manilla is up to the task.  In 2010 alone, the Kresge Foundation Board of Trustees paid out $158 million through 481 awards.


As an OU SBA student, Manilla took full advantage of the education, experiences and opportunities available to build a foundation leading to a successful career and his self-described phenomenal job.


Key to this success included participating in a hallmark of the SBA program -- then and now -- gaining valuable, hands-on, real-world experience as co-op student at Chrysler. This early connection to Chrysler led Manilla to a 20-year career there. In his last position at Chrysler, Manilla found his career passion -- managing the pension fund.  Here Manilla discovered an intense interest in investments, which ultimately led to his current position. He joined The Kresge Foundation in 2005 as a Senior Investment Director to help build an in-house investment group and became Chief Investment Officer in 2008.


Having experienced the combined value of an OU business education and the power of its connections, Manilla offers similar support to today's SBA students -- from hiring graduates to mentoring students by speaking at student events.

>>Read more>>

SBA experience, network helps new alumnus launch career


When alumni return to OU's School of Business Administration to recruit employees, it sends two clear messages: they believe in the education they received, and they believe in OU SBA graduates.

Throughout his career (see story above), Robert Manilla, SBA (Finance) '85, vice president and chief investment officer, Kresge Foundation, has been involved in recruiting new talent. Knowing the valuable skills he gained at OU's SBA and the school's success in graduating students with knowledge, skills and ethics that make for good employees, he has returned to campus to search for employees.


On one of these visits, Manilla met and hired triple major Elena Popova, SBA/CAS '11 (Finance, Economics, Math), as an investment analyst to work closely with Kresge's investment team in all phases of the investment process, from sourcing to final close, with a special focus on quantitative data analysis.


Thanks to her credentials and his vote of confidence, Popova joined the professional working world at The Kresge Foundation mere weeks following graduation.


A stellar student, Popova gained valuable experience through her extensive involvement in extracurricular activities. Her extraordinary ability to successfully juggle her academic course load, her leadership positions in various student organizations and her involvement in other community activities added a depth to her professional resume long before graduation.

>>Read more>>

MBA program helps alumnus discover career passion

Tamara Davidson, MBA '84, made the common mistake of many college students -- she chose the wrong major for her undergraduate degree. This became evident to her shortly after she graduated from Albion College with her degree in chemistry.

"I found myself working as a chemist, alone in a laboratory," she says. "That's when I realized my chemistry major didn't fit my personality -- the job simply wasn't a good fit for me.


"Once I started working in the lab and realized it wasn't a good fit, I started thinking about getting an MBA," she says. While continuing to work full time at Enthone, Davidson turned to Oakland University's School of Business Administration for her MBA.


From there, she leveraged her advanced degree and technical experience to forge a successful career in purchasing. She's now Director of Supply Chain Management for MacDermid Inc., a specialty chemical company, where she is responsible for purchasing, quality control, logistics, and distribution.


Earning her MBA made it possible for Davidson to transition from her technical career path at Enthone to its management ranks. A promotion placed her in charge of several product lines. Drawing further on the skills she gained in the SBA's MBA program and her management experience, she transferred into purchasing.


"Without the MBA from OU it would have been very difficult to move into -- and succeed at -- management," she explains.

>>Read more>>

Contributions add up to transform business education

The School of Business Administration at OU is dedicated to creating a dynamic intellectual and social environment for our next generation of business leaders. And every contribution -- large or small -- combines to create an environment that allows the SBA to transform business education to continue creating an outstanding curriculum, recruiting and retaining expert faculty, and supporting students through scholarships and outstanding learning opportunities.


"We'd like to take this time to recognize and thank the donors who have made financial commitments to the SBA, sharing their excitement and belief in the SBA's goals and their passion for educating our students -- future business leaders," says Robin Michel, director development, SBA.


"We're excited to share this list of donors from our 2009-10 fiscal year here," she adds. "The list recognizes their support, but it doesn't convey our appreciation for impact they are making in furthering business education and impacting the lives of students."

>>Read more>>

Summer 2011
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SBA Graduate/Executive Programs

SBA Professional and Community Education

Center for Integrated Business Research and Education

OU Home

June 8
Prospective Graduate Student Open House 

June 16 
Accounting Alumni Gathering
Red Ox, Auburn Hills 

July 18 
OUAA Golf Challenge

July 21 - 23
International conference on Credit Analysis and Risk Management

August 4 - 7
2011 America's Conference on Information Systems

August 5
Ignite IT

August 17
OUAA Night at Comerica Park

September 16
Energy Management Certificate Program begins

October 24 
Grizzly Getaway: Mediterranean Luxury Cruise

November 5
Executive MBA Prospective Student Information Session

October 20 - 21
Woodcock Legacy Seminar Series

Check SBA website for more details as they are confirmed

School of Business Administration
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2200 North Squirrel Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4484
(248) 370-3286
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