A job well done is often its own reward and this year we have some good reasons to celebrate our successes and our moments of impact. Whether it was with the students in our acaadmic programs, or scholarly research or with the outreach to the greater community, we can feel the momemtum of our hard work.
For instance, according to a recent survey of 184 MBA students, the Merrick School of Business has done a good job of providing graduate students with the knowledge they need and the connections they want to make in order to enhance their professional careers. Nearly 90 percent of the survey respondents reported that the MBA curriculum provides knowledge that could be applied to their professional lives, while 80 percent felt adequately prepared to pursue their career goals. Those are, indeed, rewarding outcomes for which we are justifiably proud.
But we don’t idle. The survey also pointed out some areas where we could improve the student experience, especially in the development of soft skills such as leadership and networking, and in increasing course accessibility and options. We are an institution that prepares Baltimore’s leaders; we want our students to have well-rounded and challenging experiences that propel them forward in their careers. To keep doing a great job, excellence must pervade all we do.
One area of undisputed success is the quality of knowledge production by our faculty. We are fortunate to have a deeply diverse group of intellectuals who conduct and publish their research annually. This past semester alone, six faculty members were recognized for research excellence, including Assistant Professor of International Business, Amir Pezeshkan for his co-authored paper titled “Dynamic Capabilities and Organizational Performance.” Professor Pezeshkan earned the school’s “Outstanding Article of the Year award during a recent ceremony.
Faculty research contributes to innovations in the classroom and a broader understanding of the context within which individual courses exist. Research offers theories and evidence, which can spur students to investigate pressing social and economic issues in our communities through the lens of their specific major. Whether it is accounting, economics, finance or entrepreneurship, our faculty find new ways to perceive, present, and educate with their research—and our students find new ways to interpret and apply what they learn. This also is a job well done.
We also count on our partners in the community to help us do the best possible job of relating academics to real business issues. Our Merrick Engages guest speaker series offered the best and brightest innovative thinkers, each of whom has a personal mission to make a positive impact on communities through their business ventures. This year, we heard from Eric Becker, founder of Caretta, and Lane Epperson, president of HiTech Assets, whose partnership resulted in a profitable business focused on the ecologically sound disposition of used electronics. Good for the community; good for business. Amon Anderson from Acumen America focused on efforts to tackle poverty by providing capital to high-impact entrepreneurs working on social issues. And finally, the Merrick School’s Real Estate and Economic Development department featured Lessons from Legends in Real Estate. Donald Manekin and his son Thibault energetically interviewed one another about their experience founding Seawall Development, a Baltimore-based firm focused on redeveloping historic buildings into mixed-use projects.
“Doing good by doing well” is far more than a cliché to these MSB speakers. Our audiences, were excited to hear from these leaders and eager to ask questions following their presentations, offered affirmation that our guests had something meaningful and relevant to say.
Speaking of good jobs, our students and alumni do an excellent job of keeping us on our toes. Their ability to be direct about what they appreciate in the curriculum and what they don’t helps us consistently fine tune our programs. We want to be responsive to their issues while maintaining a high level of quality. I am consistently amazed and touched by our students’ personal stories – how they got here, how they juggle their many commitments, and also why they chose UB as their school. Our students’ lives are complicated, their stories are inspirational, and their triumphs reason to celebrate.
Good job, everyone!
Murray M. Dalziel, Ph.D.