Bearcats Mean Business podcast

Listen to find out why students from a diversity of backgrounds become business problem solvers at Lindner.


Bearcats Mean Business amplifies the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business’ mission of empowering business problem solvers through interviews with current students, faculty, staff, alumni, college supporters and more.

Topics of conversation include co-op and experiential learning; the student experience; academic programs; faculty and research; and the admissions and application process.

Find Bearcats Mean Business on Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music and Audible.

New episode: A Lindner MBA Student Tells All

Bearcats Mean Business Ep 11_Vidita Kanniks

Ranked second among Ohio public institutions by both Bloomberg Businessweek and Poets&Quants, Lindner’s full-time, one-year MBA program is customized for each student.

But what is it really like to be a student in the full-time MBA cohort? Vidita Kanniks joined Bearcats Mean Business to provide the lowdown on full-time MBA cohort culture, program curriculum, capstone projects, company connections, career leveling-up and more!

Grant Freking: (00:00)
Ranked second among Ohio public institutions by both Bloomberg Businessweek and Poets&Quants, Lindner's full-time, one-year MBA program is customized for each student. A close-knit cohort atmosphere, and real world problem solving engagement with the Cincinnati area business community, are just a few of the traits that define the full-time MBA program, which owns a 98% job placement rate for its graduates. But what's it like to be a student in the full-time MBA cohort? My name is Grant Freking, Manager of College Communications and Marketing at Lindner. On this episode of Bearcats Mean Business, I'm joined by Vidita Kanniks, a student in Lindner's full-time MBA program, to find out the answer to that question and much more. Hi Vidita. Thanks for stopping by the Lindner Podcast Studio.

Vidita Kanniks: (00:44)
Hi Grant, thanks so much for having me today.

Grant Freking: (00:46)
Of course, you're in the last few months of your MBA program at this point. How does it feel?

Vidita Kanniks: (00:51)
It's honestly like the last few weeks at this point and it's, it's exciting to know that the end is just around the corner, right?

Grant Freking: (00:58)
. So how did, walk me through how you decided to take a year off from work to join just any MBA cohort program, not necessarily Lindner at this point.

Vidita Kanniks: (01:07)
Well, the MBA was an interesting and almost like a spontaneous decision. I was wrapping up an internship last summer in social media and marketing in like the nonprofit world. 'cause I have a music background. And I had started kind of branching out into the arts administration world as a result of that. And some of the contacts I made through this internship, some of the experiences I had, made me just kind of hungry to learn more and also challenge myself to sort of embrace bigger career prospects. So, you know, my entire life I had only known the arts world and I felt like I was in sort of an echo chamber for a long time. And it didn't make sense for me, I guess, to do another undergraduate degree. But it also felt like a master's in an entire single subject, like marketing, was a huge and kind of scary commitment. So I landed on the idea of the MBA because it's so holistic and it gives you a glimpse out of working at a high level into all of the areas of managing a business, starting a business, leadership, and also a really great network. I think it's just a fantastic degree and UC was already home for me, so it was a really obvious choice to consider.

Grant Freking: (02:36)
Sure. Aside from location.

Vidita Kanniks: (02:39)

Grant Freking: (02:40)
And with what you just explained in mind, how did you land on Lindner's full-time MBA program as opposed to like the working professional.

Vidita Kanniks: (02:45)
for sure. Yeah.

Grant Freking: (02:46)
Program or even online?

Vidita Kanniks: (02:49)
Well, for me specifically, I don't have a business background and that's actually one of the things that I appreciated about this program is that there was quite a lot of diversity in the backgrounds of the folks coming into this program. And I think the full-time cohort specifically represents that really well. The people who are kind of taking the time to really just focus on academia. Some of them had business backgrounds, but we had a pretty wide range. I mean, there was a previous anthropology major, computer science, I think there was even like somebody who had studied nutrition science. We had a med student. And so there was so much, sort of like diversity of thought and experience. Whereas, you know, I think a part-time program also being largely online, may not have been as rich in terms of getting to connect with all of the different experiences that people bring. You know, considering that I was very new to this world, I wanted to get the most comprehensive experience possible. And I think learning from your peers was actually like one of the key components of what I've gained from the program. So I haven't really looked back. I also have a couple friends who graduated from the full-time cohort and they recommended that sort of collaborative aspect of it really strongly. So, yeah, it was definitely a, a differentiator, you could say .

Grant Freking: (04:27)
Sure. And each subset of the MBA program at Lindner is kind of designed to meet people where they're at, right.

Vidita Kanniks: (04:33)

Grant Freking: (04:33)
And this was the full-time, met you with what your needs and wants were at the time.

Vidita Kanniks: (04:37)

Grant Freking: (04:37)
So let's give listeners a bit of a peek behind the curtain inside the full-time MBA program. What were your thoughts on the program structure and it and its courses?

Vidita Kanniks: (04:46)
So the structure is pretty intense because it is full time. I think a lot of it, even if it's not like the physical hours you're spending in a classroom is expected that you are putting into studying or, reading or even just, you know, teamwork with your peers. The entire sort of system is in half-semesters. So although you can graduate in two to three semesters, depending on your background, it still feels like time is stretched out because of how much material they've packed. It's like, almost like there's two terms of content in one semester.

Grant Freking: (05:25)
I see.

Vidita Kanniks: (05:26)
So it was nice to have each other, you know, pulling each other along.

Grant Freking: (05:30)

Vidita Kanniks: (05:30)
Because of, you know, this rollercoaster kind of a course setup, I think most of us were maxed at like between 18 to 20 credit hours per semester, and a lot of different disciplines that we're exposed to all at once.

Vidita Kanniks: (05:44)
Right. So in one semester we might have an econ class and a marketing class and a finance class, and, gosh, I don't know, organizational leadership. And then in addition to that, whatever electives you might be taking, and then each of those, you know, requires sort of code switching because they're all vastly different in terms of the material. So,

Grant Freking: (06:07)

Vidita Kanniks: (06:07)
Yeah, it was, it was intense, but it was also a lot of fun to kind of just be thrown into the deep end after what felt like this sort of lull , you know, after the pandemic. I think it's a lot of people, I don't, I can't speak for everybody, but I definitely fell into like a bit of a status quo. So this definitely came in and exercised parts of my brain that I hadn't used in a long time.

Grant Freking: (06:32)
Yeah, and I'm sure helped you build comraderie with what you just talked about with maybe a sense of belonging as well as.

Vidita Kanniks: (06:38)

Grant Freking: (06:38)
I don't wanna say a shared sense of suffering because that's not the point of the program, but a shared sense of like, you know, positive struggle almost with like.

Vidita Kanniks: (06:46)
Totally. Yeah.

Grant Freking: (06:46)
The coursework and, you know, everyone's going through similar things. You can bounce ideas off of each other, I'm sure.

Vidita Kanniks: (06:51)
Yeah. And I think having the time to just be able to focus on this. I mean, there were a few people who were still working part-time. I was still able to, you know, commit to a few part-time hours a week for my social media marketing gig. But, for the most part, I think everybody was just really locked in school as their main focus. And, like you said, that that comraderie aspect was nice because we could just all get together to study or, sort of just support each other through the bigger assignments and preparation for exams and things like that.

Grant Freking: (07:25)
Yeah. That's nice to hear.

Vidita Kanniks: (07:26)

Grant Freking: (07:26)
What can you share about the case study and capstone projects that you've worked on with the MBA cohort?

Vidita Kanniks: (07:33)
Well, in terms of case studies, I think, you know, I came into business school honestly having no idea what to expect. And, how case study-driven a lot of the curriculum is was very cool for me. That's an aspect to this world that I wasn't aware of. But I think it is kind of cool to think about in really any aspect of the world. , you know, looking at trying to relate this to the music world. I wonder if, you know, doing case studies on like the way people interact with music and that kind of stuff would be a very cool medium to explore any kind of academic content, but especially here, I think it was a really nice way to tie these different areas of business together because no one case is really about just one thing, right?

Grant Freking: (08:24)
Right, one subset of business study. Right?

Vidita Kanniks: (08:25)
It's impossible. I mean, all of these things are interconnected and the business world is gigantic and overwhelming, but I think taking these bite-sized sort of glimpses into one company or one area, or one individual's experience, really turned it into like a real-world application. So I really liked that that was one of the main points of study across classes. And, you know, we even saw like some of the Fortune 500 companies here in Cincinnati represented. Procter and Gamble came up a lot. I think in our IT class we did a marketing case study.

Grant Freking: (09:07)

Vidita Kanniks: (09:07)
And I clearly remember a, a comment by one of our students being like, at first I was wondering why we're doing a marketing case study in an IT class. But, you know, the subject material ended up being about the use of social media and digital advertising, which is, you know, inherently an IT concept .

Vidita Kanniks: (09:27)

Grant Freking: (09:27)

Vidita Kanniks: (09:27)
You know, like, yeah, all of these things are connected and that is something that was really refreshing to walk away with. And in terms of the capstone, I think, you know, it was a core component of the program that, I'm actually not sure how the non full-time students handle that, because if we weren't full-time, I'm not sure how we would've been able to do it. Right? There was a lot of in-person interaction. We were, assigned into groups and were led by a faculty advisor and also made connections with mentors, alumni.

Grant Freking: (10:01)

Vidita Kanniks: (10:01)
And we worked with real companies here in Cincinnati. And, we were challenged the way that any professional consultants would be. I think it was really valuable to be put in that real world environment, to be asked these again, real world questions and also to have the opportunity to get feedback from them. Because a lot of times I think with faculty, you know, that perspective is very much like, oh, we wanna help you learn. But then.

Grant Freking: (10:34)

Vidita Kanniks: (10:34)
At least in my experience working with a real company, it was like there's a sense of urgency that they have in terms of solving an actual problem. And so their feedback was very frank and very much informed by what the world looks like right now.

Grant Freking: (10:51)

Vidita Kanniks: (10:51)
Whether it's, you know, what does AI look like in terms of jobs or, the future of our industry and, and stuff like that. So, cool experience all around and, definitely something I'll take with me into future job interviews because it's, yeah. Like it was like the culmination of sort of everything that we learned.

Grant Freking: (11:12)
Yeah. Something you can look back on as a story you tell a potential future employer of like how you overcame the obstacle, the question that seemingly asked in most job interviews. Right. What about the, you mentioned the holistic and sort of wide ranging education of the MBA. Did you feel that that prepared by hitting you had you learned many different components of the business, right? Not just focusing on marketing and or accounting or whatever.

Vidita Kanniks: (11:33)

Grant Freking: (11:33)
Did you feel like that assisted you in those capstone and case study projects when you were put on the spot that you had a broad range of things to touch on rather than a specific subset? Not that there's either one, you know, some the specific subset may be good for someone else, but in your position in that moment of time, it seems like the former may have been better.

Vidita Kanniks: (11:52)
Yeah, I mean, I think for our specific, and I mean we've all signed NDAs, so I won't get into the details, right.

Grant Freking: (11:59)
Yeah. I knew, I figured as much

Vidita Kanniks: (12:01)
, but, I would definitely say that like, you know, a combination of the real world experience that we brought into the MBA paired with the knowledge and perspective that we had gained from study, kind of helped to inform the recommendations we made to our company. And that's why I think it's also so important that we come in with at least some experience in the real world. And I think that's something that our program director was really thinking about when admitting students, because there needs to be a level of critical thinking that challenges one another because, you know, if you don't have experience to bring in, then there's really nothing that you can compare what you're learning to, I guess.

Grant Freking: (12:50)

Vidita Kanniks: (12:50)
So yeah, I think that was also really valuable because, I was not only able to take away from like these plausible case scenarios, but also, having my peers weigh in on, you know, well, I had an experience like this with my previous employer and they used so and so and so, and that might work well here. And then using that, to kind of present maybe to a mentor or advisor to be like, what do you think of this? So it was really a whole wealth of ideas that played into how we went about, you know, solving problems. So.

Grant Freking: (13:28)
You touched on the connection to Fortune 500 companies that the program provided to you. How has the program connected you to Cincinnati area businesses and the community at large?

Vidita Kanniks: (13:39)
I think, you know, with how huge a footprint UC has and a pretty strong legacy, it's really natural to interact with these companies. So many huge firms right here in our backyard. It's almost impossible to like not notice or interact with them.

Grant Freking: (13:57)

Vidita Kanniks: (13:58)
even passively, because every day there's some kind of job fair or pop-up, or opportunity to, connect with, you know, either a recruiter or you know, alumni. I think, you know, UC does a nice job of fostering the alumni network. So I know that there have been so many days just sitting around here, I would see like some event happening downstairs or somebody setting up a booth, some company looking to recruit for summer internships or, you know, whatever it might be. And that's all in addition to the gigantic job fairs that we host here annually.

Grant Freking: (14:36)
Right, right.

Vidita Kanniks: (14:37)
And then in addition to that, we're all connected with individual career advisors, which I think is also a valuable component of the program. I know a lot of people really enjoyed working with Weston, who was our MBA career coach. And yeah, it was like mandatory to check in and stuff like that, , but I don't think anybody felt like it was a chore. Right? It was something that we all felt like was an asset to, you know, what we were learning and being able to network and, tailor a resume or really craft your responses to interview questions and things like that are equally, I think, important to, you know, what you get out of a program in addition to the scholarship that you're getting from it. So personally I think that, I mean, that was one of the main things that drew me to the program. 'cause I was, like I said, interested in expanding the scope of my career prospects and I'm really pleased with what I've walked away with. I mean, I think I had maybe three people on my LinkedIn when I started, and I've been able to grow that and meet a lot of interesting people. And I feel comfortable, you know, reaching out and be like, Hey, you went to UC. I went to UC. Do you wanna have a coffee? I mean

Grant Freking: (15:57)
People are typically receptive to that sort thing.

Vidita Kanniks: (15:58)
Yeah, exactly. And I, and I think that this, program especially has kind of leveraged the ability to just kind of bump into somebody's emails, and, you know, be able to bond over some mutual experience through UC. So.

Grant Freking: (16:15)
Yeah, it's nice to hear about the mutual kinship. I know just being around the cohort for a couple of times, notably like some photoshoot arrangements, but it seemed like there was some, some good relationships already being fostered at the beginning.

Vidita Kanniks: (16:28)

Grant Freking: (16:28)
Of the cohort. So that's nice to hear. Along with your fellow MBA program ambassadors, of which I believe there were three.

Vidita Kanniks: (16:34)

Grant Freking: (16:34)
including yourself, you organized, a field trip of sorts to Proctor and Gamble. What was the intent of that visit and what were your takeaways?

Vidita Kanniks: (16:42)
Yeah, so I mean, as I mentioned, Proctor and Gamble is a company that we're all aware of passively because, you know, whether you realize it or not, we have all used their products. They're all household names. And then, you know, in a more active sense, Procter and Gamble has probably come up in every one of our core classes, whether it's examining, you know, their like gross revenue for the quarter or like, looking at their digital marketing moves to expand their scope or whatever it might be. It's a hot topic. And I mean, they're gigantic. They're an international presence here in Cincinnati. And I actually had a little bit of a personal connection with them because many years ago before I even went to music school, I was able to connect with P&G through like a high school level internship.

Vidita Kanniks: (17:48)
And I had a really cool experience there. And, I mean I know that like a lot of people here are likely interested in exploring a career with them just 'cause there are so many different types of opportunities you can have. So we thought, you know, instead of bringing in a guest speaker here, which is something that we get to experience all the time, why not go and have like a hands-on experience? It's like a 10-minute drive away . And there are again, like I said, a ton of awesome alumni who are very helpful, resourceful. So we connected with one of our professors here who is a previous P&G'er. She was really happy to kind of like set this up for us. She connected us to Alex Perez, who's also a UC MBA graduate. And he kind of got the ball rolling for us and they were super generous with their time and their energy.

Vidita Kanniks: (18:47)
We had, a tour of the headquarters, which I think was really exciting for everybody to just actually, like I said, get that hands-on experience. They have a really cool, sort of like a museum in there that kind of tracks the history of all their products and all of their campaigns. And to just witness the kind of global impact they've had, I think was really inspiring for a lot of folks. So I hope that might become like an annual thing, if not at P&G, maybe somewhere else in Cincinnati. But I do, feel like it was a really nice way to kind of wrap up the semester, it was toward the end of our spring semester that we went.

Grant Freking: (19:27)
Right. And another way to get some learning and some some practical experience outside of the classroom, too. Now the full-time, MBA cohort also features a study abroad experience. Tell me about your team's trip to Chile.

Vidita Kanniks: (19:41)
So I actually, and it was super unfortunate, I ended up not being able to go, but I can definitely speak for my peers on the fact that it was like, just really, really cool. I think Chile is a place that a lot of people might not necessarily visit, first of all in a lifetime.

Grant Freking: (19:58)

Vidita Kanniks: (19:58)
So I think the fact that this program offered that, too, opportunity in such a curated way, was, you know, a once in a lifetime thing. I know a lot of the students, benefited from the sort of networking opportunity there. Being able to make connections with international students and mentors. I believe the content, was actually like surrounding, you know, dealing with crisis management, or just general management across cultures. So I think any kind of cross-cultural experience is always eye-opening. Those experiences will be like, kind of burned into your brain forever.

Vidita Kanniks: (20:50)
And it was also a bonding experience for the group as far as I know. I mean, I had like FOMO, ,

Grant Freking: (20:59)
Of course, yeah.

Vidita Kanniks: (20:59)
seeing everybody having fun.

Grant Freking: (21:01)
Yeah, that's the worst.

Vidita Kanniks: (21:01)
They were like kayaking and going to these vineyards. It looked really, really cool. And, I think, yeah, it was definitely like an unforgettable sort of a way to, really bring the program members together.

Grant Freking: (21:52)
Cool. So in sum, how do you feel the program has helped you level up in your career?

Vidita Kanniks: (21:58)
I definitely, feel like the networking aspect was huge. I feel like I can again, like reach out to so many people now who are happy to offer their wisdom, their advice, the people they know, the context they know. And so that was a huge level-up because networking, you know, is the name of the game. In addition to that, I think just being able to acquire the business perspective on the world, I think has forever changed the way that I look at pretty much everything , all of my interactions with, you know, the things that I consume. I feel like I have this like, zoomed outlook on it, which I don't know, it's like, it's like, you know, they say once you see something, you can't unsee it. That's how I feel.

Grant Freking: (22:50)

Vidita Kanniks: (22:50)
Having gone to business school,

Grant Freking: (22:51)
Right? Yeah, I mean.

Vidita Kanniks: (22:52)
Because this, yeah, this entire world runs on like, you know, these relationships between entities and their stakeholders. So , I think that perspective is something I'll take with me forever, not only in my work, but also just in my personal life and how I interact with people. I think it's made me sensitive, empathetic, and I hope that it has shaped me into being a better listener and a better leader, which is something that I hope to take into whatever position that I might explore in the future, whether that's management in the arts or elsewhere. So, yeah, so much growth looking back in a very short time.

Grant Freking: (23:32)
Well, my thanks to Vidita Kanniks for stopping by Lindner's podcast studio today. For more information on Lindner's MBA programs, visit If you enjoyed today's episode, please subscribe, rate and review Bearcats Mean Business, so we can continue to bring you enjoyable content. Bearcats Mean business is also available on Amazon Music, YouTube, and Audible. Thanks for tuning in. Go Bearcats.

Episode archive

Episode 10_Audrey Allen

Rising second-year marketing and business analytics student Audrey Allen joins Bearcats Mean Business to discuss her co-op with Lindner’s undergraduate advising office, her path to Lindner and adjusting to college life before offering dos and don’ts about the college application process and relaying cherished memories from her first year at Lindner/UC.

Grant Freking: (00:00)
Welcome back to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, the official podcast of the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Grant Freking, Manager of College Communications and Marketing at Lindner. On this episode, I'm joined by Audrey Allen, a rising second-year student majoring in marketing and business analytics, who is spending the summer as a co-op in Lindner's undergraduate advising office. Hi Audrey. Thanks for being here.

Audrey Allen: (00:25)
Hi. Thanks for having me.

Grant Freking: (00:27)
Of course. So let's jump right into what I'm sure is a hot topic among students: acquiring a co-op. How did you land your current position and what are your duties?

Audrey Allen: (00:35)
I landed my position as an undergraduate advising kind of assistant, co-op for the front desk because I've always been interested in helping out prospective students and working with Lindner students who are coming in just to spread the word about how much stuff you can get done in Lindner and do, like study abroad to even co-ops and those kind of things. Definitely just wanted to let them know what they're coming for and advocate for Lindner. So I got it because I went to a career fair and I saw Brittany there, who is one of the undergraduate academic advisors.

Grant Freking: (01:09)

Audrey Allen: (01:10)
Who I'm familiar with. So we kind of chatted and she gave a little overview what I'll be doing and yeah, so which the duties are gonna be leading the Bearcat Bound orientation that all the incoming business freshmen will do. And so they, we do a fun activity and kind of show 'em what Lindner's gonna be like and how to be a Lindner business student. And then I just help out with any front desk needs, any of the advisors, any tasks to do. Yeah.

Grant Freking: (01:41)
Cool. So what sort of prompted you to want this particular co-op besides like obviously filling, you know, wanting to do an actual co-op, that it seems like you have a sort of a natural inclination to kind of help people and maybe it stems back to like you did something similar like in this position like a year or so ago when you were an incoming freshman.

Audrey Allen: (01:59)
Yeah, definitely. I just like to give back. I love community service I love working with students and I just like to hear from other people. Just naturally just like to talk to people and just see what their interests are and what can align with them. But definitely I knew about a lot about Lindner, in high school, a lot of older people I knew went to University of Cincinnati, so I'd ask them oh, how's that going? And my older brother went here. So it definitely just something that's been around like, oh yeah, UC, and then just diving into all the things that they have offered.

Grant Freking: (02:34)
Awesome. So what have you kind of, what have you learned so far on your co-op, particularly the Bearcats Bound orientation where I'm sure it involves a lot of preparation and has a little bit of a regimen to it in terms of presenting the material to some eager students and probably some even more eager parents.

Audrey Allen: (02:51)
Yeah, absolutely. So the parents are in different section during mine, so it's just the students.

Grant Freking: (02:55)
Oh, okay.

Audrey Allen: (02:57)
But with the presentation aspect, there's so much that goes behind the scenes with the advising and everything that goes on there. All the preparation that they do for these incoming students definitely was surprising to me because when I was coming in, I just kind of filled the task, showed up, did what they had me do and then leave. But there's so much behind the scenes of them coordinating who's gonna do what, all this like behind the scenes work, I was like, wow, there's so much going on that I had no idea.

Grant Freking: (03:23)

Audrey Allen: (03:23)
But definitely just learning all the systems. Even now I'm learning about new things that there wasn't even offered that I didn't know about. Like for one, for suits I learned that there's like a Bearcat Buddies program where you can like rent out a suit or like clothes and stuff like that, which I had no idea about.

Grant Freking: (03:40)
Yeah, that's right. Yeah.

Audrey Allen: (03:41)
so that was something I just keep learning about other programs that Lindner has to offer.

Grant Freking: (03:45)
Awesome. So we've talked a little bit about your, how you help educate prospective students. And it wasn't too long ago, as I mentioned that you were in their shoes. What do you remember about the experience of applying to college and going through that decision making process and why did you end up selecting Lindner and UC?

Audrey Allen: (04:00)
Yeah, absolutely. So my high school's not that far away from here. It's like 30 minutes. And so a lot of people I knew go to UC, so it kind of wasn't even on my radar. I was like, oh, everyone goes there. I'm not gonna, I mean, I'm not gonna see people I know from high school every day and it's just gonna be like high school again. I wanna get out of the way, don't go to UC or whatever. But then I applied to it just like, oh, I mean, I might as well, I mean see if I can get in or whatever. And I saw like I got in and I was reading more about it and then they would send me like newsletters and those kind of things. I was like, oh wow. Like it's actually like pretty cool look at all the programs. The study abroad really caught my eye 'cause I'm a big fan of doing all those faculty ones. I'm looking at them right now. I'm going to India in the fall.

Grant Freking: (04:45)

Audrey Allen: (04:47)
Thank you. And so definitely just learning more about it that I had no idea. I mean, I knew of UC and because all, like the previous people I knew went to UC, but I just never really thought of it as mine. Like my school, I would go to college. But definitely it stood out to me in their business program since I was going in marketing. Marketing is like their number one major here.

Grant Freking: (05:10)
It is.

Audrey Allen: (05:10)
And I knew that their co-op program caught my eye. I was like, wait, I didn't even know that. Like that's a thing. And everything like that just kind of built up. I was like, okay, I'll go.

Grant Freking: (05:19)
Yeah. Well I'm number one, glad you ended up here too. No. 2, I'm glad our marketing materials are like holding some weight with our target audience too.

Audrey Allen: (05:28)

Grant Freking: (05:29)
Talk a little bit more about the co-op and sort of why that that stuck out to you and maybe the opportunities it can present to students.

Audrey Allen: (05:38)
Yeah, so I mean I was always interested in internships in high school. I did one or two, but they were all like, you know, like the summer, like high school ones, they weren't like a super much.

Grant Freking: (05:46)

Audrey Allen: (05:47)
like time consuming. And so definitely just thinking about like, oh I can work like an actual company in my first or like my years without even getting a degree yet. Just working and experiencing those things and just seeing what other people are being able to do. Like all the P&G and internships that turn into a full-time and all those really cool things. I was like, well that's interesting. But definitely the one I wanted for this one, the advising co-op, it's just nice it was from UC. I was just applying to ones that were all around like, oh, like this one had one. And then I saw that UC had their own co-ops, which works out perfectly.

Audrey Allen: (06:22)
It's like, oh, like this is where, I know everything about it and I feel confident, especially after my first year. I feel like I can't work in a field. I don't know what, I've just taken my intro classes. I don't know what I'm gonna do. And so definitely hearing from like UC and how many, like they still have like so many co-ops available that they offer in the fall and the spring and it just worked out since I was nearby. I can just drive over, commute and then work here. So definitely those kind of things. Yeah.

Grant Freking: (06:50)
Awesome. Let's talk a little bit about that first year now. Prospective students who might be listening will be interested to know the adjustment from high school to college, which is significant. What was it like for you and how did you develop a routine as a new college student?

Audrey Allen: (07:03)
So definitely in high school I didn't have much homework. I had a lot of like study hall periods. So definitely kind of barely had any homework senior year. So I was kind of out of a groove of just like not doing that much work. So definitely coming out of high school I was like, okay, I gotta lock down, I gotta gotta make sure I get all my assignments turned in on time and get a good GPA and everything. So I'm a very like organizational person. I have to make a to-do list, I have to cross things off. It makes me feel accomplished. So getting a planner and just Sunday just writing down every single thing I would have do that week and then like allocate a day to do it. But like keep my loads like pretty light so I can still go to clubs and everything like that definitely helped like saying like what I need to get done and doing it. Yeah

Grant Freking: (07:52)
Sure. So talk about maybe breaking the stigma of sort of any intimidation.

Audrey Allen: (07:57)

Grant Freking: (07:57)
you felt towards asking questions.

Audrey Allen: (07:59)

Grant Freking: (07:59)
To perceived authority figures, whether it's your advisors, career coaches, faculty. Talk about your process for for breaking through that.

Audrey Allen: (08:08)
Yeah, absolutely. I never really talked to my advisor in high school. I mean I really had no need to go to her.

Grant Freking: (08:13)

Audrey Allen: (08:13)
And so definitely it was just I could do it on my own. Like I was like, I got it. Like that's fine. But then I came into the processes where I would just be like, oh what do, how do I get around this? And it's like, who do I talk to? And then reaching out, it's kind of scary 'cause it's like are they gonna judge me? 'cause I didn't know how to answer that question.

Grant Freking: (08:30)
That's exactly what they're here for is to help you.

Audrey Allen: (08:32)
Yeah. And so then just talking to 'em, especially now in my co-op, working with them like every single day, they really, really care about students and they want you to succeed. So there's really no fear reaching out, especially my career coach too. Just like how do I do a job? Like you're already working at a job , you're probably gonna think like, oh just do it the way I did it.

Grant Freking: (08:52)

Audrey Allen: (08:53)
But definitely hearing about the career career coaches and the academic advisors and everyone who's here to support you, like you're not alone at all. And then your other like peers that you're with going through the same process. So connecting with other students and being like, oh like how did you get around this? And those kind of things. Along with the PACE leaders, since they're there your first like learning community.

Grant Freking: (09:14)

Audrey Allen: (09:14)
They offer so much information that you might be intimidated to ask like an advisor or someone like that. So they would definitely give you the support like, oh go out and do this and they'll give you all that information. Yeah.

Grant Freking: (09:27)
Yeah. You mentioned PACE Leader and I was gonna leave that towards the end, but we can bring it up now since you did. You're gonna be PACE leader in the fall. Tell me about again that process.

Audrey Allen: (09:35)

Grant Freking: (09:35)
And I guess you've almost sort of stated your inspiration.

Audrey Allen: (09:38)

Grant Freking: (09:38)
But I guess expand a little bit why that that meant something that was important to you enough to apply and dedicate your own time beyond your studies and and your other things you have going on to embark on.

Audrey Allen: (09:49)
Yeah, so my PACE leader this past year has been incredible. She offers a ton of advice to us and it's just something like, wow, you can really look up to her. And all the ones seemed so incredible and everyone really enjoyed talking to them. And especially with like Lindner Ambassadors program where we work with prospective Lindner students coming in. Just that whole aspect of giving back to students what I had given, or gotten from my PACE leader. So just all that information, it's like I want to help someone else. I want them to feel comfortable coming up to me and asking a question that I also went through. And I wanna give 'em all that advice to get out there, go to clubs and those kind of things that I know I was definitely scared about and kind of meek about just, oh, I'm just a freshman showing up at this big campus. Well what am I gonna do? Definitely navigating all the resources and just even with classwork, just staying on top of it and don't let it fall behind. And I just wanted to give that little, little tidbits back from what I got.

Grant Freking: (10:54)
Right. Yeah. I think students who are going to any college and, but I know from my personal experience here at Lindner will be sort of stunned by how welcoming everyone's going be. Whether it's your fellow classmates, the upperclassmen, just or older students in general, you know, the staff here. Just kind of, and it's hard, it's easier said than done. Easy for me and you to say Right. . But the kind of breakthrough, the initial barrier of like just asking for help and you're like, wow, look at all these resources sort of available.

Audrey Allen: (11:18)

Grant Freking: (11:18)
And you touched on advice. What advice do you have for those perspective students? Maybe some do's and don'ts about anything from the application process to, you mentioned getting involved, kind of whatever comes to mind about the college experience.

Audrey Allen: (11:32)
Yeah, absolutely. So definitely get involved but also manage your academics.

Grant Freking: (11:36)

Audrey Allen: (11:36)
Your GPA is a big thing, but it's okay if it's like you can always bring it back up. But definitely academics. There's so much you're learning in these classes that you're paying so much you're paying money for. So go to them, really learn, ask the professors, get close with the professors. There's a few like for marketing, Ric Sweeney, I know I've had him and amazing professor. Definitely interesting to hear from. So just learning about go to class , don't, don't skip, show up and do your work and participate. Definitely you'll get a lot back. But also just club wise, there's a few clubs I went to that I was just like, oh, I'll just go just to see if I like it and end up loving it and staying there for the whole year. So definitely yeah, just go to clubs, get involved, and just have fun but be safe with it. But yeah.

Grant Freking: (12:30)
Follow your interests And then, and eventually I think some students end up maybe do signing up for too much. Right.

Audrey Allen: (12:35)

Grant Freking: (12:35)
But that's a kind of a natural process of kind of becoming an adult and becoming a more, seasoned college student is figuring out your priorities. Right.

Audrey Allen: (12:42)

Grant Freking: (12:42)
So I'm sure something you're learning as you kind of maybe graduate into more important roles and sort of figure out exactly what you want.

Audrey Allen: (12:48)

Grant Freking: (12:48)
So what are some of the like the lasting memories you take away from your first year experience? 'cause it can be a little bit of a regimented thing, but there's also a lot of freedom I know built into what you can take and what you can do inside and outside the classroom.

Audrey Allen: (13:00)
Yeah, absolutely. So outside the classroom football games and basketball games.

Grant Freking: (13:03)

Audrey Allen: (13:03)
I mean they're always so fun. The environment is always so lively depending on if we're winning or losing.

Audrey Allen: (13:08)
But either way it's definitely just fun to go and be a part and see that the school spirit that they have and the dance team and all the bands and all that stuff. Very fun outside of the classroom activity to get involved in. But inside all the projects that you get to do first year were really impacting, and something I really like to talk about. So for my project strategy where we had to do a SWOT analysis.

Grant Freking: (13:32)

Audrey Allen: (13:32)
I got to work with the Cincinnati Reds.

Grant Freking: (13:34)

Audrey Allen: (13:34)
Which was super fun to work with. So two people from their management team worked with us and we got a tour of the stadium and all like the fancy booths I would never be in.

Grant Freking: (13:45)
Right. Right.

Audrey Allen: (13:45)
All these like elite like, oh here's this room that's for our exclusive club members, , it was fun to be there and just work with them. So definitely those kind of projects where you get to work with an actual company your first semester is definitely something really interesting that I'll always be talking about.

Grant Freking: (14:02)
Sure. And another part of those SWOT projects that you talk about is.

Audrey Allen: (14:04)

Grant Freking: (14:05)
You're forced a little bit to collaborate with other students. Right. So it's, you know, forces you into a little, a little bit of forced teamwork, but I think you kind of developed processes into like how a team works and a little bit of how like you put together maybe a business plan and sort of organize your thoughts there. Is that something you experienced?

Audrey Allen: (14:20)
Yeah, absolutely. And just kind of seeing the different personality types people have, like from like all the cultures that you can interact with too, like the people from different backgrounds. It's so cool. 'cause I'm just stuck in like my, my own like little world, but then seeing that there's so much more that people have come from or what they're doing. So just like that whole collaborative environment which also continues a transition into like a workplace environment. So just knowing how to work with people. It's one of the activities we do for our Bearcat Bound orientation. Just working in a group.

Grant Freking: (14:51)

Audrey Allen: (14:51)
It's very important. Yeah.

Grant Freking: (14:53)
So let's, before we wrap up, let's touch on those orientations again. What are some of like the common questions that are maybe posed to you or posed to the advisors that in, in the sessions you're sitting in from students and parents about Lindner or UC, what are some of like the common things you hear that are brought up? I think our listeners would be interested to hear that.

Audrey Allen: (15:07)
Yeah. So now since the universal co-op is now in place.

Grant Freking: (15:11)

Audrey Allen: (15:11)
Where you have to complete two full-time or four part-time or however you wanna mix and match it. A lot of students are scared about co-ops and if they're gonna get one, I reassure 'em that you have four plus years to get a co-op and people really care about you to go and like help you the career coaches and you'll have a whole class on career advice and strategies. So definitely a question is about co-ops, how to land 'em, when can I get them? And so it's definitely, you have to do the work, you have to reach out, you have to put in effort to apply and everything. I think I applied to like 30 .

Grant Freking: (15:46)
Yeah. And you gotta learn to deal with rejection.

Audrey Allen: (15:48)
Yes. That's a big thing. How to work an interview. So that's one of the big things. A lot of 'em are about like class sizes too, like how many people are in a class size, which is really important when you want that small-knit community. But for the intro classes, since they're so big, and there's so many people taking them, you have your LC that's in those classes too, so it makes it feel like a little bit smaller since you already know some people in it.

Grant Freking: (16:12)
Right. You get the mix of small and large sort of feeling right there.

Audrey Allen: (16:14)
Yeah, absolutely. So I said there's gonna be some small classes, there's gonna be some big classes, but as you work up in the ranks, there'll be like 20 person classes.

Grant Freking: (16:22)
Right. Well, That's all the time we have for today on this episode. My thanks to Audrey Allen for coming by Lindner's podcast studio today. If you enjoyed today's episode, please subscribe, rate and review Bearcats Mean Business on Spotify so we can continue to bring you enjoyable content. Bearcats Mean business is also available on Amazon Music, YouTube, and Audible. Thanks for tuning in. Go Bearcats.

BMB Episode 9 Gregg Fusaro

Gregg Fusaro, partner, CIG Communities, will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award at the UC Real Estate Center’s Annual Dinner on June 12.

In this episode, Fusaro reflects on his unorthodox entry into the real estate field (he had previously worked in chemistry), his longtime involvement with the Real Estate Center, his passion for mentorship, his nonprofit work with The Carnegie/Suits That Rock, and more.

Marianne Lewis: (00:00)
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, the official podcast of the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Marianne Lewis, Dean and Professor of Management at Lindner. On today's episode, I'm pleased to speak with Gregg Fusaro, partner of CIG communities. Gregg has enjoyed a distinguished career in real estate development. He spearheaded mixed-use developments in Ohio, Kentucky, and Florida, among many other achievements, including his work with the UC Real Estate Center and non-profits in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. He's a member of the Real Estate Center's Board of Executive Advisors in Real Estate and the Real Estate Executive Advisory Council. And in recognition of Gregg's professional achievements and charitable contributions, we're thrilled that he will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award at the Real Estate Center's Annual Dinner on June 12th at Cincinnati Music Hall. Congratulations and welcome, Gregg.

Gregg Fusaro: (01:03)
Thank you very much, Dean. I'm thrilled, obviously, and very honored to be receiving this award and excited as can be just to have a little chat this morning.

Marianne Lewis: (01:14)
Well, excellent. We're honored to have you. Gregg, you interest me on so many levels and in particular, one, your introduction to the real estate industry because it's a curious one. You have degrees in pre-med and chemistry, and you actually worked as a chemist before getting into real estate. Tell us a little about your journey.

Gregg Fusaro: (01:33)
I did actually work in chemistry. So my initial thoughts were that I was gonna go to med school at some point. So I did my undergraduate work at Northwestern with a chemistry degree, actually applied to the med school here at UC, was accepted and then decided not to go. it was a weird thing I had. I don't have a really great memory, so I have to read stuff many times to remember it. And as I thought through that and the amount of information it was gonna come at me in med school, I just figured I wouldn't have any other life except that. And so I didn't do it. Unfortunately, that was all I was qualified to do. . So a friend of mine who actually worked in the med school, in the, pharmacology department hired me as a research assistant.

Gregg Fusaro: (02:28)
We were on a grant from what was then the Merrill Drug Company out in Reading, Ohio. And I worked there for five years, and eventually left there and went with a consulting firm that did environmental analysis. During that time, I met a real estate broker here in town, and I ended up buying a 13-unit apartment building in Walnut Hills. And was having lunch with him one day. And I was telling him I was thinking about leaving the company I was with, and I was gonna go into instrument sales. 'cause we had some very sophisticated instrumentation that we were kind of leading edge with. And he said, well, you know, you like real estate, you want to be in sales. Why don't you interview with a company I just joined, Coldwell Banker. And I said, what bank is that?

Gregg Fusaro: (03:24)
He said, it's not a bank. It's a real estate brokerage company, and they do commercial real estate. And I'm like, I don't know, though. I don't know anything about that. And he said, well, just go talk to 'em. So I did. I met with them, the guy who had just opened the office here six months prior. This was Coldwell Banker Commercial.

Marianne Lewis: (03:46)

Gregg Fusaro: (03:46)
In 1981. Went down and interviewed a couple of times and really liked the idea, but didn't like the idea of going from having a salary to basically no income. And I ended up going to my dad and saying, Hey, what should I do? And he said, well, just look at it this way. Can you go back to what you were doing if it doesn't work? And I said, yeah, for sure. He said, then why not do it? So that was how I got into it and I was really excited to get rid of the lab coat and get into my suit , and start on that career. And it was great, 'cause at that time, CB was the only brokerage firm in town that really had a training program. And it was a great program. And, you know, I was a mentee, basically a runner for an experienced salesperson. And we enjoyed great success there and just had a blast.

Marianne Lewis: (04:43)
Oh, that's a wonderful story. And I mean, I always use the word, one of my favorite words is serendipity. Kind of planned luck being in the right place at the right time with your eyes wide open.

Gregg Fusaro: (04:51)

Marianne Lewis: (04:51)
And good mentors.

Gregg Fusaro: (04:52)
Yeah, exactly.

Marianne Lewis: (04:54)
To help encourage and guide.

Gregg Fusaro: (04:54)

Marianne Lewis: (04:55)
Oh, I think that's great. And since then, you've developed properties across three states, if I remember. That must be what, Ohio, Kentucky, and Florida.

Gregg Fusaro: (05:04)
Right, right.

Marianne Lewis: (05:04)
All three?

Gregg Fusaro: (05:06)

Marianne Lewis: (05:06)
I'm curious what principles guide you in developing such projects?

Gregg Fusaro: (05:11)
Yeah, that, that's a great question. One of the things, well, I went from CB — I was there for 12 years — and ended up joining a small development company, here in town that eventually merged with Miller Valentine outta Dayton. I spent 13 years there on the development side of the business. And we did a lot of low income housing tax credit developments. And that was really an effort to provide just more affordability in, you know, rental properties. And, you know, we did about 6,000 units during that period of time, both in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and the Carolinas. And, you know, that was a program that was, you know, geared specifically for a certain type of housing. In my time that, my partner David and his parents had been together at CIG Communities, we've really focused on trying to do, just great iconic types of developments in A-plus locations.

Gregg Fusaro: (06:17)
Our philosophy's always been that if you build in great locations, the real estate will never be bad. And obviously, you know, I learned that a long time ago. Location was the key and we've tried to adhere to that. And we've tried to look at, you know, great locations and expanding marketplaces so that we could weather the storm, when inevitably they would come. And, you know, we're kind of in a little one of those right now, but the projects and the developments we've done, I think will weather those storms very nicely because of their locations.

Marianne Lewis: (06:52)

Gregg Fusaro: (06:52)
And because of the type of product that we choose to build.

Marianne Lewis: (06:56)
And they truly do make a tremendous value to the communities that they're in.

Gregg Fusaro: (07:00)
Well, thank you.

Marianne Lewis: (07:00)
That seems to be such a.

Gregg Fusaro: (07:02)
I never get tired of showing our properties. 'cause we just take a lot of pride in what we do and hopefully all of our stakeholders, our residents, our investors, feel the same way.

Marianne Lewis: (07:13)
Oh, I think it shows every time. So, thank you. You know, and I'm grateful as I know our faculty, our students for your dedication to Lindner's Real Estate Center. But this isn't your alma mater. You went to Northwestern if memory serves. So what's your why for investing your time and resources with the Real Estate Center and with UC?

Gregg Fusaro: (07:34)
Well, I think it's just part of a, you know, commitment to give back, even though, you know, my, university time was at Northwestern in Chicago. I came back to Cincinnati, born and raised here in Cincinnati. And, you know, my dad went to the UC, got a degree in chemical engineering here, was interrupted by the war for a little bit, but finished his degree here. And I grew up watching the Bearcats and Oscar Robertson and, you know, all the great teams at that period of time. So, you know, I've always been, you know, associated with the university. And I really started to get more involved when Norm Miller was, you know, had kind of really started the real estate center and started developing that program. And I've been involved ever since. I love the students. You know, I guess one of the things that has always been, not a regret, but I wished I would have gotten, more involved with people in the industry that could have helped me earlier on. I think I would've done better or done more. And I don't regret it, but I've got an opportunity here to interact with students and, and to really, hopefully in some way, shape or form, you know, help them on their journey.

Marianne Lewis: (08:54)
Oh, and you absolutely are. So, I'm so grateful. You've also been a longtime member of the Real Estate Center's Advisory Council, doing things like helping plan events such as their monthly roundtables. I'm curious why that interests you?

Gregg Fusaro: (09:11)
Well, as I said, I got involved with that when, when Norm was here at the center and have just, you know, always been involved in that group. And we've had a lot of fun, organizing the roundtables, trying to understand what topics would be.

Marianne Lewis: (09:28)

Gregg Fusaro: (09:28)
applicable and what, you know, what people would really enjoy hearing and get something out of. And you know, it's been, it's just been really fun, doing the round tables. Doing the annual dinner has been just really fun for all of us, I think. And, I've been doing it for a long time, and, excuse me, we've seen all kinds of things happen. We've gone through, you know, a couple of significant recessions. We've had dinners where we did roast, we had dinners where we did outside speakers. In 2010 when we were at the height of the recession, somebody in the, on the board said, why don't we have a comedian? And so

Marianne Lewis: (10:11)
Oh, that's great.

Gregg Fusaro: (10:12)
One year we did have a comedian. It probably didn't go as well as we had hoped, but he was funny . And so, I mean, it's just been, you know, a great experience to be with different people and to host those different programs.

Marianne Lewis: (10:30)
It always impresses and in some ways still continues to surprise me when I get to, join one of the real estate events because it's such a tight-knit community. And I mean, people are competing, but also cooperating. I mean, it's hard to even get an event started because the social hour goes so long.

Gregg Fusaro: (10:49)

Marianne Lewis: (10:49)
I mean, you can just feel the energy in the room, and I love that.

Gregg Fusaro: (10:52)

Marianne Lewis: (10:52)
It's really remarkable.

Gregg Fusaro: (10:53)

Marianne Lewis: (10:53)
What sets the annual dinner apart in your mind, and what does it mean to receive the Distinguished Service award?

Gregg Fusaro: (11:00)
Well, I'm totally honored to be receiving this award. You know, it's been, it's been a lot of fun and, you know, I really enjoy being able to participate and contribute to the program. As I said, the students are really, I think, the most important thing. And obviously we recognize them at the dinner, which I think is really cool. And the center's done a great job of engaging students and growing the student population because of the programs that we have and the trips that we take and the roundtables. And again, what's been great for me is the mentoring part of it. You know, I've done some teaching in the past for the apartment association and being able to not teach, but at least advise, students and watch them grow, has been great. And, I've been a mentor, for a few years. And, we actually hired one of my mentees a couple of years ago.

Marianne Lewis: (12:07)
Well, that speaks volumes.

Gregg Fusaro: (12:08)
He's done great. And most recently I've been mentor for Gracie, who's I think gonna get a student award this year.

Marianne Lewis: (12:18)

Gregg Fusaro: (12:18)
And it's been great. She and I met for lunch and she was pretty freaked out 'cause she didn't have a job.

Marianne Lewis: (12:32)

Gregg Fusaro: (12:32)
She was graduating in two months. And so it was, it was a great, interesting conversation. She's sailing high right now and it's great. She's got a job. She's totally excited. But it was, it was really great for me to be able to just say, Hey, look, it's okay.

Marianne Lewis: (12:49)

Gregg Fusaro: (12:49)
You know, you're gonna be fine. You're a good student. You want to do well, you want to succeed, don't worry about it. It's okay. You'll find your place and you know, it'll work. And it has. But, you know, being able to share, you know, some of my experiences and hopefully encourage and, you know, kind of maybe push a little with some of the students, it's just been great. Very rewarding for me.

Marianne Lewis: (13:17)
I'm a little biased, but boy do I love our students. They make me proud every day. They're gritty and hungry.

Gregg Fusaro: (13:22)

Marianne Lewis: (13:22)
And I love the applied thanks to the co-op, but I also know that it, sometimes it takes the right person at the right place to give that push. Right? To hold a high bar.

Gregg Fusaro: (13:31)

Marianne Lewis: (13:31)
Because they will always do better.

Gregg Fusaro: (13:32)

Marianne Lewis: (13:32)
With a higher bar.

Gregg Fusaro: (13:33)
Yeah, no question.

Marianne Lewis: (13:34)
And with some connections.

Gregg Fusaro: (13:35)

Marianne Lewis: (13:35)
So I deeply appreciate what you do from a mentoring standpoint. I hear rumors that you're also a musician. Can you tell us a little bit about your zest for music and how it coalesces with your passion for nonprofit work and suits that rock, which by the way, I went to this year.

Gregg Fusaro: (13:52)

Marianne Lewis: (13:52)
Loved it.

Gregg Fusaro: (13:53)

Marianne Lewis: (13:53)
It was so much fun.

Gregg Fusaro: (13:54)
Great. Well, a musician is kind of stretching it 'cause I'm a drummer, so I really, I don't read music and I'm not kind of certainly in the league with a lot of my associates. But, I really do enjoy music, have since, you know, elementary school. And, until about six years ago, I had a band, played, you know, classic rock and roll for about 17 years. So that was a blast. And actually the guy that played bass in our band, started this Suits That Rock concept, went to the Carnegie and said, Hey, you know, I've got this idea. The Carnegie is basically a nonprofit that, in addition to theater productions, they provide after school and in-school arts and music training for Cincinnati Public, Newport Public and Covington Public.

Marianne Lewis: (14:51)

Gregg Fusaro: (14:51)
It's basically the only training that they get, in the arts and music. And so he had this idea of, Hey, let's do this benefit concert every year to raise money for the Carnegie. It started out the first year, basically our band and about six other musicians. And now we're in, I think our 15th year. We are now over a million dollars.

Marianne Lewis: (15:19)
That's fantastic.

Gregg Fusaro: (15:19)
We raised almost $200,000 last year. and that money goes directly to the students, that the Carnegie, you know, uses to provide that music and arts education. So, it's been great for us. It's a lot of work. But it pays off because we know these kids are getting, you know, exposure to the arts that they otherwise wouldn't get. So it's a labor of love, but it's a great, great thing and we really enjoy doing it.

Marianne Lewis: (15:49)
Oh, and another great example of giving to our community and in myriad different ways. Gregg, before we, I say goodbye, any advice you'd give to a rising professional?

Gregg Fusaro: (16:02)
Oh, that's a good one. Sure. I would say, first of all, don't be afraid to reach out to anyone, at any time. It doesn't matter who you are. If you reach out to somebody who's in the business and who understands that part of their responsibility, I think, is to be able to help, you know, younger people in their business or another business, to help them understand how to better succeed. I didn't really get a lot of that, you know, when I was in high school and college, and maybe that was my own fault. Maybe I was too busy just being in a fraternity. I don't know, . But, I think that's just critically important.

Marianne Lewis: (16:46)

Gregg Fusaro: (16:46)
And so, you know, I would say just go out there and suck, you know, be a sponge and don't be afraid to go to people and say, Hey, look, can you tell me about this? Can you help me with this? 'cause you'll be amazed at how much you'll get out of it.

Marianne Lewis: (17:02)
Absolutely. And people say yes.

Gregg Fusaro: (17:04)
Right, they do.

Marianne Lewis: (17:05)
And lean into it.

Gregg Fusaro: (17:05)
They absolutely will.

Marianne Lewis: (17:06)
To help the next generation. So thank you. My thanks to Gregg Fusaro for joining me today. You can join Gregg and our wonderful real estate community at the Center's Annual Dinner, June 12th at Cincinnati Music Hall. See this episode's description for a registration link, or visit If you enjoyed today's episode, please subscribe, rate, and review so we can continue to bring you enjoyable content on Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, and Audible. Thank you for tuning in.And go Bearcats.

BMB Episode 8_Instructional Design

Lindner’s instructional design team of Becky Williamson (director of learning and instructional design at Lindner), Kelly McCullough (senior instructional designer) and Vicki Buckley (instructional design) begin by reciting how they describe their line of work to acquaintances and strangers alike.

The trio then dives into how instructional design positively impacts the student experience and experiential education at Lindner, dispel online course myths, recite examples of creative teaching they’ve witnessed at Lindner, and more!

Becky Williamson: (00:00)
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, the official podcast of the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Becky Williamson, director of Learning and Instructional Design at Lindner. Today's episode is an instructional design takeover. I'm joined by my two colleagues on Lindner's Learning and Instructional Design team, senior instructional designer Kelly McCullough and instructional designer Vicki Buckley. We're here to talk about how instructional design impacts the student experience, experiential education at Lindner and more. Welcome, Kelly and Vicki, thank you for joining me.

Kelly McCullough: (00:30)

Vicki Buckley: (00:31)
It's good to be here.

Becky Williamson: (00:33)
Awesome. So let's get started. Not a lot of people know what instructional design is or what instructional designers do. I've had people assume that I've said industrial design or interior design, and they ask me about that stuff and I know nothing about either one of those. So I'm wondering how do you describe our work to someone you've just met at a cocktail party or a neighborhood cookout or at the grocery store?

Vicki Buckley: (00:57)
Yeah. So I typically say I'm the person behind the scenes, helping our faculty build their courses. Think about how they teach and really bring like best practices in learning science to the classroom.

Kelly McCullough: (01:12)
Yeah. And, depends on the audience, but if I wanna keep it light and quick, I usually just say I help teachers teach.

Becky Williamson: (01:21)

Kelly McCullough: (01:21)
Or I teach the teachers how to teach, which can get a little meta and confusing if you think about it too much. But overall I like to talk about how, I organize and present information and help people to do that to maximize their learning.

Vicki Buckley: (01:38)
Ooh, I love that.

Becky Williamson: (01:39)
Yeah, I like, too.

Becky Williamson: (01:40)
And I get a lot of responses from people who are like, oh, I didn't know that that was a thing that you could do.

Kelly McCullough: (01:45)

Becky Williamson: (01:45)
Or, oh, I'm so happy that there are people helping instructors think about that.

Vicki Buckley: (01:49)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. So thinking about what is important in instructional design, how can good instructional design impact the student experience and student engagement in class? What do we think about that?

Kelly McCullough: (01:59)
I think the bottom line is that good instructional design increases positive student learning outcomes.

Vicki Buckley: (02:06)

Kelly McCullough: (02:06)
If you have good design. And the other side of that is good teaching, good delivery, students learn better.

Becky Williamson: (02:15)
Yeah. And are more engaged and more wanting to come to class. There's been lots of research on coming to class is a main predictor of success in class. And if your students are engaged and feel like your content is relevant and presented in a way that is meaningful to them, and I think instructional design can help with that. And I think that's gonna help your student retention and help their learning as well.

Vicki Buckley: (02:34)
Mm-Hmm. And I think that's even more prevalent after the pandemic, right? Yeah. Like we've seen some dips in, in student attendance in class.

Becky Williamson: (02:41)

Kelly McCullough: (02:41)
So anything that we can do to support students actually coming and being excited to be there, I think is great.

Becky Williamson: (02:47)
Right. And seeing how what they're learning impacts their day-to-day life.

Vicki Buckley: (02:50)

Becky Williamson: (02:50)
Making those connections for them.

Kelly McCullough: (02:52)
So in addition to face-to-face teaching, we also work a lot with faculty developing courses for Lindner's online programs. What can students expect out of those courses and what are some of the myths about studying online that you'd like to dispel?

Becky Williamson: (03:07)
That's a great question.

Vicki Buckley: (03:08)

Becky Williamson: (03:08)
I think one thing is people think about online learning and they think about, I am a student here with my computer and it's just me and my computer. And our faculty are so involved in courses and spend time interacting with students. You will get to know your faculty member even if they are online and you're not having face-to-face meetings with them. I think you see their personality come through in their videos. You see their personality come through in the announcements that they send. Our faculty have online office hours where you can come ask them questions. I think it's that kind of personalized as much as can be in an online experience that maybe is not what people are thinking about.

Vicki Buckley: (03:44)
Yeah. I think we work really hard to get away from the transactional nature that some online courses can be. we are not MOOCs: massive open online courses. There's a lot of interaction and engagement that happens. And I think that's part of like our special Lindner brand. I also sometimes hear that online courses take less time than, face-to-face. And that is absolutely not true.

Becky Williamson: (04:08)

Vicki Buckley: (04:08)
We just had a conversation yesterday about how we want our faculty and our students to kind of see online and face-to-face as like the same course. They're not, they're different for sure, but

Becky Williamson: (04:22)
They have the same learning objectives.

Vicki Buckley: (04:23)

Becky Williamson: (04:23)
It's the same faculty teaching in both and to try to think about them in the same way.

Vicki Buckley: (04:27)

Becky Williamson: (04:27)
And online course isn't easier.

Vicki Buckley: (04:29)

Becky Williamson: (04:29)
It's not quicker.

Vicki Buckley: (04:30)

Becky Williamson: (04:30)
It's the same course just delivered in a different format.

Vicki Buckley: (04:34)
Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Becky Williamson: (04:36)
Longtime listeners of the podcast know that UC is known for co-ops and that Lindner is focused both on experiential education and bringing cutting-edge research into the classroom. How does instructional design support Lindner's goals in these areas?

Kelly McCullough: (04:49)
Okay. So, I'm going to defer to Vicki on this.

Vicki Buckley: (04:52)

Kelly McCullough: (04:52)
Because I just wanna shout out to her for all the research she has done on experiential education.

Becky Williamson: (04:57)

Vicki Buckley: (04:57)

Kelly McCullough: (04:57)
in the business school environment. And she's currently serving on a working group that's looking into this issue for Lindner.

Vicki Buckley: (05:05)
Thanks Kelly. And it's been really fun to see that the things we are doing align with what's happening around the U.S. and a little bit globally as well in experiential education. We are bringing in simulations, role plays, like negotiations, a bunch of like one-off activities, but anything where students can connect what's happening in the classroom, to the outside world, you know, like step outside Lindner's campus. So we're, we're doing a ton of stuff here. We, I think have a really nice vantage point where we see what other instructors are doing. And then can also share that with our own groups. So, we, each one of us specializes with different departments. So I can talk to Kelly, see what's going on in accounting, and then share that with my faculty and information systems. We love to share resources on what's new and happening outside. And then we kind of get to cheer faculty on. I think one of my favorite things is when, a faculty member is trying something new and then we get to hear about it, help them reflect on it, and then maybe retool or shift something for the next semester.

Becky Williamson: (06:14)
I think the other, I think that's great. And I think the other thing I would add there is that we have lots of instructors who come from industry.

Vicki Buckley: (06:21)

Becky Williamson: (06:21)
And have experience to bring into the classroom and are talking about how they've seen this happen in the classroom or in the real world. The real world.

Vicki Buckley: (06:28)

Becky Williamson: (06:28)
But then also have connections in industry too.

Vicki Buckley: (06:31)

Becky Williamson: (06:31)
And so they're able to bring in guest speakers from the Bengals or guest speakers from P&G or, you know, to really bring that experience into a classroom too. And you don't necessarily get that at a place that's not in the middle of an urban city.

Vicki Buckley: (06:45)
Yeah. And like the company partnerships.

Becky Williamson: (06:47)

Vicki Buckley: (06:47)
For a lot of our first year experience and, mid to late experience courses too. You know, you're working with actual companies and making recommendations and observations that impact their business and that's so unique and really neat.

Becky Williamson: (07:02)
Yeah. I heard yesterday, from a faculty member who had a student hired from the company that they were doing their simulation for in like a capstone type of class.

Vicki Buckley: (07:10)

Becky Williamson: (07:10)
Where they had done a group project for a specific company and that company was so impressed that they hired the student for like a summer job or something.

Kelly McCullough: (07:18)

Becky Williamson: (07:18)
Yeah. It's really cool. I think the opportunities that are there.

Vicki Buckley: (07:21)
Mm-Hmm. For sure.

Kelly McCullough: (07:22)
So, what do y'all think is important for people considering coming to Lindner to know about our work?

Becky Williamson: (07:30)
I think that we're here.

Kelly McCullough: (07:31)

Becky Williamson: (07:31)
And that Vicki said that we work with different departments, but we also work a lot with each other. So, we are sharing ideas amongst faculty and we are sharing ideas about best practices in education and higher education. I think it's important for people to know that those kinds of resources exist.

Vicki Buckley: (07:48)

Becky Williamson: (07:48)
And that faculty here have that support.

Vicki Buckley: (07:52)
Yeah. And I would also echo our network extends outside of Lindner too.

Vicki Buckley: (07:58)
So there are instructional designers all over campus.

Becky Williamson: (08:01)

Vicki Buckley: (08:01)
And you know, think about CCM or nursing, they do things a little bit differently. So we're constantly learning from our colleagues and connected to them. And if, you know, a faculty member has a great idea and we don't know how to pull it off, like we have people that we can go to to also help.

Becky Williamson: (08:17)
And even more broadly than that, Kelly's going to a nationwide teaching and learning conference in a few weeks. So we are extended more broadly even than just UC.

Vicki Buckley: (08:25)

Kelly McCullough: (08:26)
Yeah. I'm going to the teaching professor conference in New Orleans, and I've heard good things about it from other people who have gone to, this particular conference, and I'm excited.

Vicki Buckley: (08:36)
Yeah. So Lindner faculty are a talented and very committed bunch, as we all know. what are some of the really neat things that we've seen our faculty do in classes that students won't necessarily see elsewhere?

Becky Williamson: (08:49)
I have been thinking a lot about this question because it is hard to pick just one.

Vicki Buckley: (08:52)

Becky Williamson: (08:52)
So I'll give a recent example. Craig Froehle, who teaches in OBAIS, had his students do an egg drop challenge.

Vicki Buckley: (09:00)
Oh yeah.

Kelly McCullough: (09:01)
So do you remember this? Yes. We, we went to watch it. Yeah. So the egg drop challenge where you have to drop a raw egg from in case viewer, listeners don't know, drop a raw egg from a height and you try to build, some kind of container around the egg so that it won't break when you drop it.

Vicki Buckley: (09:16)

Becky Williamson: (09:16)
So he, in his class was a grad class and he broke the students into groups and half of the groups had to develop their own kind of engineering, their own structure for the egg. And half the groups used ChatGPT to develop a structure protective padding for the egg.

Becky Williamson: (09:32)
And the caveat there was you had to do exactly what ChatGPT told you to do.

Vicki Buckley: (09:35)

Becky Williamson: (09:35)
So if it went crazy and hallucinated something you had to do that, your group had to do that. And then they, they did it here in the atrium at Lindner. So they started on the second floor and he had coned off a big area on the floor. So like, don't step here. It was plastic everywhere in case the eggs really shattered and they dropped them all. And then whoever made it through the first round went up to the, you know, moved from the second floor up to the third floor. And I don't think anybody made it quite up to the fourth floor, but I thought it was a really fun challenge and a way to show that sometimes human, I think a human engineered team won. Although I should have checked with Craig before we did this , but it's a nice way to see, you know, what are the benefits of both? And if you were doing the research on your own and coming up with instructions because everybody's egg crate looked different.

Vicki Buckley: (10:19)

Becky Williamson: (10:19)
Right? And then if you are trusting AI to come up with these instructions for you, is that actually your best bet? And are you getting what you need from that? So I thought that was really fun. Yeah.

Vicki Buckley: (10:29)
That's awesome.

Kelly McCullough: (10:30)
Yeah. And I think incorporating AI into our teaching and learning is something that's a really big deal. And we have several communities of practice this summer who are exploring that particular subject. What I really appreciate is the fact that, as Vicki was saying, they really managed to bring in a sense of the real world through active learning, through using real data from real companies and semester-long projects and doing role plays where students are troubleshooting authentic business problems. So I really appreciate that. And I also think our faculty are great at the element of human connection.

Vicki Buckley: (11:11)

Kelly McCullough: (11:11)
Following up with students reaching out to them. Forming genuine relationships, and that happens online and face-to-face. So that's what I really appreciate.

Vicki Buckley: (11:18)

Becky Williamson: (11:20)
We've each been at a number of different colleges and universities in a variety of capacities. What's something special at Lindner that keeps you energized here?

Vicki Buckley: (11:29)
I love that we want and desire to be the first college to pilot something. I don't think Lindner has ever seen an opportunity and said, no, we'll just sit back and wait. And I think that gives us such, that gives me energy and I think it gives the college energy because we try things, we implement new things, we collaborate with colleagues to make things work and test and, you know, retool. So I, I love that. I think that gives us a lot of wiggle room too, because we can play, you know, we can try new things in the classroom and see what works for students and what students respond to. Because Lindner isn't afraid to take that first step.

Kelly McCullough: (12:10)
To bring up something we were already talking about today in our summer book club reading, we've been reading a lot about pedagogy, which we do every summer, and we really investigate some of the theory behind what informs our field. So there's this longstanding tension in higher ed between, on one hand job training, versus on the other hand, this sort of lofty ivory tower sense of like critical reflection and critical thinking. I really love how Lindner brings together both values in that sense of business problem solvers. That we have a valuing of critical thinking within some very practical specific job training. So I think it combines both of those things to produce business problem solvers with ethics.

Vicki Buckley: (13:01)

Becky Williamson: (13:01)
Yeah, absolutely. I like that. I would say for me, the thing that is special at Lindner is the people.

Vicki Buckley: (13:05)

Becky Williamson: (13:05)
So one of you had already mentioned how instructors care, I think Kelly it was you.

Kelly McCullough: (13:10)

Becky Williamson: (13:10)
Your instructors will build relationships with you and they care about you. And I would extend that to all of Lindner. I think everybody here is very energized about what they're doing and making the student experience the best that it can be. And I know we certainly are in our role.

Vicki Buckley: (13:25)
Yeah. Yeah. I think I view my, our role as supporting students through faculty, but absolutely we're here to, you know, enhance the student experience.

Becky Williamson: (13:33)
Yeah. So, one thing I'm interested in is your own personal journeys to becoming instructional designers. Tell us how you got here.

Vicki Buckley: (13:42)
It's been a bit of a wavy journey for me. I've kind of done a little bit of everything. So I started in student affairs, so I have a master's in a student affairs administration from Ball State University. And thought I would just work with the student experience the whole way through. So I was a hall director for many, many years. I worked in academic advising here in Lindner and then, transitioned to career services and then decided, I have experience working with courses. I like the backend components, but don't necessarily need to be in front in a classroom all the time. So decided to make a shift here. I do still teach, I have one foot in the classroom. I'm an adjunct instructor over in CECH, teaching future teachers instructional design principles. and that's just enough for me to feel like, I'm dipping my toes in and staying relevant, but doing the work that I love primarily, which is ID.

Kelly McCullough: (14:38)
Yeah. So I'm similar to Vicki in that I've had a wavy career, but still always in higher ed. I got a PhD in English literature and became an English professor at a small liberal arts college down in Tennessee for several years. And then moved up to Ohio and was teaching at Wright State University. And, I had a dean who said, Hey, instructional design classes are a great form of professional development if you wanna improve your teaching skills. So I started taking classes and I loved them. I loved them so much that I kept taking classes. Ended up with another master's degree and then I made the jump into instructional design full-time.

Becky Williamson: (15:23)
Nice. I think it's funny 'cause all of us have kind of weighty journeys. Like none of us started out with this in mind and I didn't either. I started out, working on a PhD in archeology at the University of Washington in Seattle and taught a bunch of intro archeology classes, which is awesome. But I had really struggled with how do I, I had 150 students in the winter in Seattle and how do I bring archeology to them 'cause I can't take them to the field. And then I had an opportunity there to work as a graduate student instructional consultant with other graduate students, and working on their teaching. And that's kind of what got me into instructional design. And then I took some classes at UDub and then got a master's from Harvard and then started working in instructional design at Boston University and was there for a few years and then made the jump here.

Becky Williamson: (16:07)
So it's fun 'cause it's all, and I also still teach.

Vicki Buckley: (16:10)

Becky Williamson: (16:10)
Kelly, you teach as well.

Kelly McCullough: (16:12)
Mm-Hmm. Yeah.

Becky Williamson: (16:13)
So we're all still current teachers, which I think informs a lot of our work as well and gives us some credibility with instructors here at Lindner too. I can talk a lot about what I do in my class. I have invited folks to my class to come see how I teach, I show people my Canvas. I mean, I think it adds a little bit to what we do here.

Vicki Buckley: (16:31)

Becky Williamson: (16:31)
To be involved. Well, that's it for us. I wanna thank both Kelly McCullough and Vicki Buckley for joining me to talk about how instructional design supports student success at Lindner. If you enjoyed today's episode, please subscribe, rate, and review so we can continue to bring our listeners enjoyable content on Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, and Audible.

On the next episode of Bearcats Mean Business, Lindner dean Marianne Lewis chats with Gregg Fusaro, a longtime champion of the UC Real Estate Center, who is being honored at the center's Annual Dinner on June 12th. Thanks for tuning in. Go Bearcats.

Bearcats Mean Business Episode 7

Does research affect everyday college students? What about the average consumer? Two Lindner faculty members answer both questions on this episode of Bearcats Mean Business.

Suzanne Masterson, PhD, senior associate dean of faculty, research and Lindner culture, and professor of management, and Craig Froehle, PhD, professor of operations, business analytics and information systems detail how research at Lindner affects the lives of business professionals and consumers, as well as how students can learn from and work alongside leading researchers.

Grant Freking: (00:00)
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, the official podcast of the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Grant Freking and I work for Lindner's Marketing and Communications team. On today's episode, we will explore how Lindner's engaged experts solve everyday business problems. And I'm joined by a pair of accomplished Lindner faculty members who will explain how research and Lindner affects the lives of business professionals and consumers, as well as how students can learn from, and work alongside, leading researchers. Dr. Suzanne Masterson is the Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Research and Lindner culture, and is also a professor of management. Dr. Craig Froehle is a professor of operations, business analytics, and information systems. Welcome, Suzanne and Craig.

Suzanne Masterson: (00:45)
Thanks, Grant. It's great to be here.

Craig Froehle: (00:46)
Yep. Thanks very much.

Grant Freking: (00:47)
Thanks again for being here, Suzanne. Our audience includes prospective students and their parents or guardians who may not fully grasp why our research is valuable not only to the students taught by Lindner faculty, but also to everyday consumers. Can you shed some light on this?

Suzanne Masterson: (01:01)
Sure. For our students, research is valuable because it's the source of the foundational knowledge they'll take with them into the workplace. The University of Cincinnati is known as the birthplace of cooperative education, which means that our students learn that foundational content in our classrooms, and then they go out and practice it in real world situations. So the research that's conducted across our disciplines from accounting and econ to finance, marketing, operations and information systems, provides a deep understanding of businesses, people, and policies, and they can then go and take that and apply it at work, helping our students to be more successful. For example, I teach organizational behavior and my students leave my class knowing the science underlying employee motivation, hopefully helping them to both self-motivate once they're in the workplace, but as well to manage others beyond our students. The research conducted by our faculty helps have better outcomes for many, such as our consumers, healthcare patients, and entrepreneurs. For example, some of our marketing professors study elements of shopping experiences including queuing, crowding, music. We've got a person who studies earworms, signage, and all of those factors contribute to consumer behavior and the satisfaction that people have with shopping experiences.

Grant Freking: (02:17)
Excellent. Never fail to underestimate how far the tentacles of business learning can extend. Right?

Suzanne Masterson: (02:22)

Grant Freking: (02:22)
Craig, why is it important to both your career and your relationship with your students that you are an active researcher?

Craig Froehle: (02:29)
That's a really good question. So as a research faculty member, I have two primary functions, right? Dissemination and discovery. That first one dissemination is, is largely the teaching I do. It could be speaking to consulting with companies also, or working within our community, or sharing in an academic or professional conference or heck participating in a podcast, right?

Grant Freking: (02:51)

Craig Froehle: (02:51)
That second part, discovery, is really important because it helps ensure that what we're disseminating, what we teach, you know, our students and other organizations is really the best information we have, the most relevant and the most rigorously developed that we can provide them. While some faculty here are at Lindner are primarily engaged in dissemination and teaching what we're really fortunate to have a huge variety of talented faculty who are deeply committed to and really skilled in carrying out the research and discovery too.

Grant Freking: (03:23)
Awesome. Thanks, Suzanne. How can, and how do current Lindner students get involved in the college's vast research ecosystem?

Suzanne Masterson: (03:31)
Well, for many of our undergraduate students, a first opportunity to get involved in research is by taking the marketing research course, which covers a lot of the how-tos of marketing research and can be a gateway to other research opportunities.

Grant Freking: (03:42)
I see.

Suzanne Masterson: (03:43)
Students also interested in research can look for opportunities to get involved with some of our centers and institutes. A big one for our undergraduates is the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute, which uses a lot of their undergraduate students in their research. Some of our capstone courses and different disciplines also offer an opportunity to get involved in field projects, which often involve research. Some of those are in entrepreneurship or in business analytics. And then there's a summer undergraduate research program at the university level in which undergraduate students can get paired with faculty or with doctoral students, to work on ongoing research projects. But the best advice I would give to any student who wants to get involved in research is to reach out, talk to their faculty members, explore what kinds of research they're working on and ask to get involved.

Grant Freking: (04:33)
Yep. Always reach out for help or if you're interested, of course. Let's personalize this a little bit. Craig, I'd like to touch on, , your personal research interests. Where do those lie and can you walk listeners through your research process, please?

Craig Froehle: (04:44)
Sure, sure. My field is operations management, so my research primarily looks at understanding how work gets done. I focus on service businesses and specifically healthcare organizations like hospitals and clinics. So I'm often studying the barriers to delivering safe, consistent, and timely care to patients and how to remove those barriers. Sometimes that means I'm looking at how best to use different resources within a hospital. Other times I might be studying how physicians and nurses do the work they do. Part of my research also examines the role and impact of fairness and ethics in business decision making.

Grant Freking: (05:23)
Okay. These are all great examples of your research helping solve business problems in everyday life. Do you have any other examples that you didn't list there?

Craig Froehle: (05:31)
Sure. I'll give you a couple of specific examples real quick. One of the first problems I ever studied in a hospital setting was with Cincinnati Children's Hospital. patients and their families there were facing some potentially long waits for their X-rays and scans to be read by radiologists. So I worked with some physicians there to develop a new method for automatically prioritizing waiting patients so that those with the most urgent need to know their results were served first. Right. So kind of a queuing problem.

Grant Freking: (06:03)

Craig Froehle: (06:03)
That project produced a lot of benefits for patients as well as the hospital. It resulted in the U.S. Patent and ended up being commercialized and put into practice in quite a few hospitals across North America. So the second example is, is quite a bit more recent. A Lindner doctoral student and I developed a model that helps emergency departments deal with overcrowding and staff shortages. It's based on the idea of capacity flexibility. So for example, you know, you walk into some restaurants and you might see that the tables there can seat four patrons, but they can be separated into two, two person tables.

Grant Freking: (06:39)

Craig Froehle: (06:39)
Right. So, that's that concept of flex of capacity flexibility. So we figured out a way to use that concept in an emergency department so that they can serve more patients with less waiting, all without really having to spend any more on medical staff. And that's being implemented right now at UC's new emergency department.

Grant Freking: (06:57)
I'm sure the stakeholders over there are very thrilled with your research and success. Suzanne, where do your research interests lie and how would you describe your research process?

Suzanne Masterson: (07:06)
Sure. My broad research discipline is organizational behavior or all of the things that occur with people in organizations, and I'm particularly interested in workplace relationships and fairness perceptions. So I research questions such as when do employees feel fairly treated at work? Why might managers choose to engage in behaviors that will be considered unfair? How do people act differently in organizations depending on whether they feel fairly or unfairly treated? And what is the impact on the relationships between supervisors and employees? Some of my more recent research has considered worse workspace issues such as working in a private office cubicle or open space, and how that might affect workplace relationships and employee performance. When developing research questions, I often think about what I've experienced or what I've heard from other people, and then dig into past research to figure out what has already been studied and what remains to be examined. I study these questions using a lot of different methods, but most often through surveys and personal interviews.

Grant Freking: (08:04)
Okay, leaving no stone unturned, I see. And how does your research help solve business problems in everyday life?

Suzanne Masterson: (08:10)
Well, one of my favorite research projects was my dissertation. I proposed that the more fairly an organization treated its employees, the more fairly the employees would treat their customers, ultimately resulting in better outcomes for the organization, what I call the trickle down model of fairness. My study supported this trickle down effect suggesting that organizations perform better when they treat their employees more fairly. And fairness really doesn't cost organizations a lot of money. People feel fairly treated when HR policies are consistent, accurate, and representative, when employees feel like they're treated with dignity and respect.

Grant Freking: (08:44)
Of course.

Suzanne Masterson: (08:44)
And when information is communicated openly and honestly, so not things that cost a lot of money. So my research shows that benefits that managers and organizations can reap just by behaving fairly, and this creates better workplaces for everyone across different studies, my colleagues and I have demonstrated the positive effects of fairness on performance, creativity, satisfaction, commitment, and positive workplace relationships. And so given how much time we all spend working, I'm glad that my research findings identify ways to help make that time spent at work more satisfying and beneficial for everyone.

Grant Freking: (09:17)
Thank ou for sharing and workplace is an evolving topic to this day, as we all know.

Suzanne Masterson: (09:21)

Grant Freking: (09:21)
Cool. Craig, what would your advice be to current high school students thinking about engaging in research while they're studying in college?

Craig Froehle: (09:30)
That's a really good question. I think just generally, as Suzanne hinted at, be proactive, right? If you're really interested in a specific research topic, first talk with your high school counselor or a teacher that you have who may be involved in that space, they may know about some resources that you can tap into or class options you can take that will help you prepare to do research on that topic once you get to college. When you're looking at colleges, right, you're gonna want to look for universities or colleges who have an active research faculty member or a department or a curriculum that is going to allow you to get access to some research opportunities, right? And once you get to college, right, if you know of a topic or area you're passionate about, or you find a class that really tickles your interests, don't wait for those opportunities to come to you. Go make them happen, right? Reach out, initiate conversations with your professors, even in your freshman year. You can also certainly talk to your college advisor about it, too, once you're assigned one. Basically, in short, don't be afraid to try and make things happen, right? A casual conversation is one of the ways that great research careers can start.

Grant Freking: (10:40)
That's right. And I can think I can safely speak for all faculty that you guys are here to help students, right. It's part of the job. You all wouldn't be involved in teaching higher education in the business field if you didn't like your interactions with students. Correct?

Craig Froehle: (10:51)

Suzanne Masterson: (10:51)

Craig Froehle: (10:51)

Grant Freking: (10:51)
Right. Suzanne, before we go, can you let our listeners know about some of our faculty's recent research discoveries and maybe some of their media appearances?

Suzanne Masterson: (10:59)
Sure. We have really interesting and impactful research happening across all of our disciplines. So let me give you just a brief taste of the variety of topics investigated by our faculty.

Grant Freking: (11:08)

Suzanne Masterson: (11:08)
Accounting Professor Linna Shi's research stream focuses on interlocked firms. And what we mean by that is organizations that share members of their board of directors or audit committees and how that affects financial reporting and information transfer. Economics Professor David Brasington studies housing prices, especially as related to fire and police services, school districts and parks and recreation. Something that a lot of people

Grant Freking: (11:33)
Relevant subject, yeah.

Suzanne Masterson: (11:34)
Can relate to. Finance Professor Mehmet Sağlam specializes in understanding high frequency trading and the role of speed in financial markets, and he's really made some impact on understanding how your distance from New York or Chicago really makes a difference in the speed of those traits and those micro differences that can make a big difference. Information Systems Professor Sherae Daniel focuses on virtual project teams, especially in open source software communities, something that's quite relevant as our world has changed to a more virtual place.

Grant Freking: (12:06)
Of course.

Suzanne Masterson: (12:07)
Management Professor Laurens Steed has a research stream that's focused on perfectionism in the workplace, and it's been featured in a recent Harvard Business Review article. And finally, marketing professor Josh Clarkson studies consumer expectations and self-control. And he's been featured in a number of media outlets recently commenting on trends such as the Stanley tumbler craze, which has gotten a lot of attention.

Grant Freking: (12:29)
Yes, Josh has been quite popular lately, and listeners can find out more about our faculty and research on the faculty and research section of So thank you, Suzanne, for that nice overview. And thank you to Suzanne and Craig for joining me today. Be sure to catch future episodes of Bearcats Mean Business on Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon Music. Thanks for listening. Go Bearcats.

EPISODE 6 Nosagie Sherman & Lauren Thomas

Nosagie Sherman, a fourth-year triple major studying accounting, information systems and international business, and Lauren Thomas, an associate director of student advising, discuss how students can benefit academically and professionally from Lindner’s advising resources.

Nosagie explains how Lindner’s advising team him navigate three majors and study abroad in the United Arab Emirates, and offers his advice for current and prospective Lindner students. Lauren shares her approach to building relationships with students and recalls her meetings with Nosagie over the years.

Grant Freking: (00:00)
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, the official podcast of the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Grant Freking Manager of College Communications and Marketing with Lindner's marketing and communications team. Today's topic, how Lindner's advising ecosystem elevates students in their academic and professional journeys. And I'm joined by two guests to help me explore this subject. Nosagie Sherman is a fourth-year triple major studying accounting, information systems and international business. And Lauren Thomas is an associate director of student advising at Lindner. Welcome, Nosagie and Lauren.

Lauren Thomas: (00:33)
Thank you.

Nosagie Sherman: (00:34)
Hi. I'm happy to be here.

Lauren Thomas: (00:35)

Grant Freking: (00:36)
Thanks for being here. Nosagie, by the time this episode airs, you'll be just a few weeks away from graduating from Lindner and UC. How does it make you feel? Are you excited, nervous? How does it make you feel?

Nosagie Sherman: (00:46)
A little bit of both. It's crazy to think that I'm here graduating right now because it feels like yesterday I was a freshman here during COVID and I was at Stratford dorm, so it's really amazing.

Grant Freking: (00:58)
Awesome, awesome. And Lauren, as Nosagie's advisor, how do you help prepare him for a big moment like graduation? The culmination of four years of hard work, especially Nosagie's end, but yours too.

Lauren Thomas: (01:09)
Yeah, I mean, graduation is something that's always the end goal for advisors as well as students. And so we start thinking about that from kind of our very first meeting. And so, especially with Nosagie we had, he is a very ambitious student and has so much potential. So, he had a lot of goals that he wanted to, to complete and I was happy to help him do that. So, it's really about like getting organized. He had a lot of things he wanted to accomplish with the three majors, and I was at first like, are you crazy? . But he handled it with grace and, and it was really kind of great to watch. And so it's really just making sure that we're organized. He's making sure that we're getting all of the kind of milestones that he wanted in and.

Grant Freking: (01:55)

Lauren Thomas: (01:55)
Wanted to make sure that we fit that in within his timeframe. And so it's just about getting organized and planning smartly.

Grant Freking: (02:01)
Of course. Now Nosagie, how has Lauren and the, I guess, the rest of the advising team at Lindner impacted your academic journey and sort of, you know, you have great, these great ambitious goals, which is great. How did you kind of get sort of set on that journey by them?

Nosagie Sherman: (02:14)
I would definitely say that they've done like an amazing job of helping me get to my academic goals. I know for sure, like, especially with studying abroad, I would not have been able to do it without them. Ms. Lauren, Ms. Armstrong and all the rest of the people in the office were amazing. I know for sure, like when I did a semester studying abroad in the UAE, I know one of the big issues I had when I came back was my, transcript. I think it took, I think it was like four or five months. It actually, it was more than that. It was about six months afterwards is when I finally got my transcript back.

Grant Freking: (02:49)

Nosagie Sherman: (02:49)
Just working through me with that. Just even actually the process of even getting the scholarship and getting all like the awards and whatnot that came with it. And even helping with recommendations. Helping me figure out like when I'm going to like, you know, when I can graduate, what classes I need to take, they've been nothing less, but amazing.

Grant Freking: (03:11)
Now let's rewind back to like the start of your freshman year. How did you decide, did you decide right away that you wanted to do three majors? Was it two, was it one? How did you get to three?

Nosagie Sherman: (03:18)
So I, when I first came to UC, I was undecided.

Grant Freking: (03:21)

Nosagie Sherman: (03:21)
I do remember that. And I think after my second semester I declared accounting and information systems. I liked both of the classes I was taking for those, so I was just decided that would, that that sounds like fun. I'll do that. And I think I didn't declare international business until I think my third, was it my second, my second year. So yeah, it was my second year. I declared that. So it was a process. Initially, I think when I first came to UC, I wasn't really sure, but I wanted to do international business and economics if I remember correctly. But, I still wasn't sure. I had a lot of time, so I just kinda waited just to see what I liked and just went with that.

Grant Freking: (04:06)
Sure. Lauren, Nosagie already has two majors. He walks into your office, says he wants a third. What's your initial reaction and then how do you go about using your own institutional knowledge as well as Lindner's resources to help him reach that goal?

Lauren Thomas: (04:17)
Yeah, it's one of those that's like, oh, okay, . Let's see what we can do. I'm always game for what students wanna do and it's, you know, I try and do it in the best of my abilities to make sure that we're doing it within their timeframe. And so it's mostly just like highlighting options, showing different pathways to do it, but really kind of letting him take the lead on how much he wants to take on each semester, what would he would need to do in order to make something happen. But I knew from the get-go I'm like, oh, he can do whatever he wants to do .

Grant Freking: (04:49)
Sure. Yeah. Lauren, how do you go about building a relationship with a student that in a perfect world will last for four years like the one you have with Nosagie?

Lauren Thomas: (04:55)
Yeah. Honestly, meeting and connecting with students is my favorite part of my job. Just kind of figuring out what they want out of being here. I loved my college experience and there's just so much potential for students to grow and take advantage of things. So it's really exciting to be a part of that journey for them. So mostly I think how I build that connection is just figuring out what the student needs from me. And so I definitely think with business students, some are very straight to the point. I wanna be told what to do, win-win. And, others are like, let me hear all the options. Let's talk it out. Or I wanna really discuss, you know, study abroad and multiple things and all my goals and I'm happy to do and be whichever one they want me to be. And so I think building a relationship, it comes pretty naturally and it's just kind of listening to see what that person needs from me.

Grant Freking: (05:48)
Let's take a quick segway real quick. And Lauren, tell us about how like the drop-in hours work for current students and then maybe prospective students who have already maybe committed to Lindner, how the drop-in hours system works and how you guys see students.

Lauren Thomas: (06:00)
Yeah, so every Lindner College of Business student is assigned an academic advisor. And so you would basically set up an appointment with them through my Bearcat network at any time that they have availability that meets with your schedule. It can be virtual or in person. We're really adaptable that way. We do do drop-in hours, which is where there's no appointment needed. You can just come in and ask a quick question. We typically only do those at the beginning of the semesters, just to kind of help with schedule fixes or I need to switch a class really fast. But for the most part, we have availability all the time every semester Monday through Friday, including summers. So whenever a student needs us, we're around.

Grant Freking: (06:42)
Awesome. That's really great to hear. You guys do a great job. Nosagie, do you remember the first time you met Lauren? Like, walk me through your thought process as a first-year student and what you were trying to accomplish. What's going through your mind when you meet a stranger for the first time that's supposed to help shepherd you through your academic journey?

Nosagie Sherman: (06:58)
Yeah, I will say that like the first time we met was over Zoom.

Lauren Thomas: (07:01)
Mm-Hmm, .

Nosagie Sherman: (07:02)
So that was actually like, I don't remember it being like super like eventful, but I think it was because it was during COVID and during that time, but I do remember the second time we met, and I remember this because I was in your class and I think I had like four missing quiz assignments, .

Lauren Thomas: (07:19)

Nosagie Sherman: (07:20)
And I had to like, and I was embarrassed. I remember I had to ask about that. And I also do remember, I think the first time we actually met in person was me asking for that third major. And I remember that conversation, but like, she was super supportive throughout the whole entire time. Both when I messed up and, you know, when I was asking for stuff. 'cause I know when I usually come in, it's usually for something out. Like I usually, I schedule meetings for nearly everything. . So it's you, you never really know. But yeah, like, I do remember like, just fully, she was just fully supportive, , during like every single time I scheduled a meeting. But yeah.

Lauren Thomas: (08:01)
Well, thanks.

Grant Freking: (08:02)
That's great to hear though.

Lauren Thomas: (08:03)
Can I jump in? 'cause I remember Our first meeting. 'cause it was during it was over Zoom. That's correct. And I remember being a little taken aback because you were so personable and especially, via Zoom. It was like, COVID is such a weird time, but you were like, can you just tell me a little bit about yourself? And I was like, nobody's asked me that today. .

Lauren Thomas: (08:23)
So it was just really nice just to, yes, talk about academics and kind of goals and stuff and goal setting, but you were just like wanting to know about me, about what Lindner would be like, about classes. You were just like, genuinely a curious person. And I was like, oh, this is, he's different. This is gonna, he is gonna do some stuff. It was great. .

Grant Freking: (08:43)
And you were right. That's a good segway into how you talk with students like Nosagie, fourth-year students, and also students who were in his shoes four years ago. How do those type of conversations go between first-year students and fourth-year students? Obviously like there's a difference in the academic journey and the distance traveled, but how, how does that play out in your meetings with students?

Lauren Thomas: (09:01)
Yeah, those are very different conversations. I think, especially for first-year students, it's a lot. It's a big change going from high school to college and I think it's definitely can be a scary time. But, the biggest, I feel like conversation pieces that I'm having is giving, showing them the options. Like it's a ton of opportunity that they can take advantage of. And it's up to them. So it's a lot about starting to make decisions for the first time. They're not being told what to do. And that is not what they're used to. So it's what, what should I take? And I'm kind of like, what do you wanna take ? You know, it's really kind of turning it around on them so they can take some ownership and that can be very, it feels very shaky I think for the first time.

Lauren Thomas: (09:43)
So it's just getting them comfortable for that. Third and fourth-year students have a much clearer idea of what they wanna do and the timeline they wanna do it in. So it's much more of helping them problem solve and navigate different limitations or boundaries and figuring out how we can get them through that so that they can reach that ultimate goal.

Grant Freking: (10:01)
Sure. And with the benefit of hindsight, it must be cool for you to see their journey as they grow from, you know, not knowing exactly what they want to, to almost wanting them to, it must be gratifying for you to sort of see them through that, that journey of like maybe being a little unsure what they want early on to being a little bit more self-assured at the end.

Lauren Thomas: (10:19)
Oh yeah. The growth that we see is unreal. I mean, listening to Nosagie earlier, just saying like, I messed up a couple times and then by the end it's just like, it doesn't matter. Like they are so confident in their own abilities. It's just really great to watch.

Grant Freking: (10:35)
Awesome. Nosagie, what would be your recommendation to current and or future Lindner students about, one, taking advantage of whatever Lindner has to offer, and also with the advising ecosystem available to them.

Nosagie Sherman: (10:47)
I see. I think my biggest like advice to, current and like prospective Lindner students would definitely be to take risks. College is a time to take risks, to explore, to kind of see what you want to do, see what you don't want to do. We have plenty of resources here at Lindner that allow, like, you know, allow us to be able to take these risks. And I say take full advantage of it. If I had one. If there's one thing I wish I would've done better here at Lindner is take advantage of the resources we have available. 'cause we have plenty of resources. We have a lot of people here who their entire job is to help students and help prepare students for both life after college, life in college, just helping them in any way they can. So I would say just fully taking advantage of that.

Lauren Thomas: (11:34)
Here. Here. Great one.

Grant Freking: (11:36)
Seconded. Yeah. Shout out to the staff. Nosagie, let's look to the future real quick. Tell us about your, if you have any post-graduation plans, hopes and dreams. And what's the future hold for you I guess beyond April.

Nosagie Sherman: (11:46)
I see. Beyond April, my most immediate plans would most definitely be graduate school. I'm looking to go straight into graduate school.

Nosagie Sherman: (11:54)
Except for going into employment. And I think past that, I would definitely like to work like internationally, possibly in international development. So just looking towards stuff like that. I think throughout like my time traveling, I just really enjoy doing it all. I love to just continue doing that and just kind of following my passion.

Grant Freking: (12:13)
Lauren, let's close up shop with one last plug for your office and all the things that you guys do to help better students.

Lauren Thomas: (12:21)
Yeah. Your academic advisor really is here to kind of help you navigate college policies, and help you figure out the goals that you wanna reach. And so, anytime that you are either confused or unsure or even just kind of wanna get like a grapple on things of what's, what's to come or what's next, definitely schedule an appointment with your advisor. It's, again, our favorite part of the job is meeting with students and helping them figure out what the next step looks like. And so, we're always happy to do that.

Grant Freking: (12:52)
Well, thanks to Nosagie and Lauren for joining me today. Be sure to catch future episodes of Bearcats Mean business on Spotify, YouTube and Amazon Music. Until next time.

Episode 5_Jane Sojka _Phoebe Pappas

Join Jane Sojka, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Marketing, and Phoebe Pappas, BBA ’24, president of Lindner Women in Business, as Lindner celebrates Women’s History Month.

Hear more about the initiatives, courses, programs, events and student groups that help to elevate the overall Lindner experience for future women business leaders.  

Haley Fite: (00:00)
Hello and welcome back to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, the official podcast of the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Haley Fite, digital content specialist with Lindner's Marketing and Communications Team. And here with me today I am joined by Dr. Jane Sojka, distinguished teaching professor of marketing, and Phoebe Pappas, president of Lindner Women in Business, a student organization dedicated to empowering emerging business leaders by providing allies, perspective and resources. Welcome Jane and Phoebe.

Jane Sojka: (00:33)
Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

Phoebe Pappas: (00:35)
Thank you. I'm so excited to be here.

Haley Fite: (00:37)
Yeah. Why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about yourselves, Jane.

Jane Sojka: (00:41)
Sure. So my name is Jane Sojka and my elevator pitch is, that's like soy milk only Sojka. And it makes it easy for everyone to remember. I'm a marketing professor here at UC. I founded the sales center and we are proud to be named a top sales center for the country. Currently serving as a faculty fellow at the Warren Bennis Leadership Institute. And my pride and joy is I teach Women in Sales.

Phoebe Pappas: (01:08)
Yes. My name is Phoebe Pappas. I'm a fourth year marketing and professional sales student here at UC. I'll be graduating in the spring. I'm super excited about it. My involvement includes Lindner Women in Business primarily. Last year I served as the chief marketing officer, and this year I'm the president, which is such an honor and it's so wonderful to be a part of that organization.

Haley Fite: (01:29)
Fantastic. It's wonderful to hear about the both of you. Jane and Phoebe actually join us today as we honor Women's History Month, the annual celebration of women's contributions to society and our collective history that occurs every March. When the both of you think of contributions of women, specifically in the broad field of business, what comes to mind for each of you?

Jane Sojka: (01:51)
Boy, that's a really good question. And you know, it's numbers. It's numbers. When I started out, before both of you were born, I was the only woman in a Fortune 500 company. So I was the only woman at the table. Now, oh my goodness. I mean, we have a woman on Wall Street finally heading up a bank. I counted up in my entire academic career, that's an undergraduate, MBA PhD, I had five women professors.

Phoebe Pappas: (02:19)

Jane Sojka: (02:19)
And I know that's, it takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Phoebe Pappas: (02:24)
Yeah. Seriously.

Jane Sojka: (02:24)
That's not been your experience. And that makes me so happy. When I came to UC, I was the second woman in the department.

Phoebe Pappas: (02:31)

Jane Sojka: (02:31)
It was one woman, all men. Now we are 50%, we might even be 60% women.

Phoebe Pappas: (02:38)

Jane Sojka: (02:38)
And as we all know, we have a woman dean.

Phoebe Pappas: (02:42)

Jane Sojka: (02:42)
So I think the numbers tell the story.

Phoebe Pappas: (02:45)
Totally. On the same kind of train. I think just luckily for me, I know so many powerful, passionate, creative women in my personal life and professional life, whether it's through LWiB or my friends and family. And I like find it hard to think of one single contribution or one single significant moment, that really stands out for me. I just think I've been lucky to see so many successful women embody so many incredible capabilities and so many incredible qualities. So you have, you know, the introverts, but they're really good at the meticulous kind of organizational stuff. But then you have the extroverts that are good at talking and communicating and leading. So for me, there's not really like a single contribution that I can think of. And I think that that is an awesome thing. 'cause it's kind of like a what woman, what what can't they do type of deal, so.

Haley Fite: (03:34)
I love that answer. I think that's a fantastic mindset to approach business and the study of business here at Lindner. Speaking of which, I gave our listeners a brief description, Phoebe, but can you tell us more about Lindner Women in Business and what the organization does?

Phoebe Pappas: (03:51)
For sure. So you nailed that kind of textbook definition, helping prepare and empower female leaders, which is definitely what we do. LWiB is, for the sake of this podcast, instead of saying Lindner Women in Business, I'm gonna say LWiB. It's many things to me. But yeah, in general, an organization dedicated to empowering, uplifting, kind of the next generation of female business leaders. And this is done in a variety of ways. We have professional meetings once a month. We have speakers come in from the Cincinnati area, from a variety of industries, companies, levels, whether it's small business or you know, Fortune 500. And they teach us and they workshop with us about different, either problems that, you know, they might have faced being a woman in the workforce, whether it's imposter syndrome or just kind of balancing those gender roles. And then also resume workshops or how to ace an interview type of deal.

Phoebe Pappas: (04:44)
So those are the more professional centered. And then the other time of month that we meet is kind of a designated social where we kind of learn how about ourselves, learn about each other. And it really cultivates those safe relationships that when we go into these networking situations, we go in these business situations, you can be like, oh, there's an LWiB girl. I had a really good meaningful conversation with her that one time at that one social. So I think having the social and having the professional meetings really give us that great balance and great relationships within LWiB.

Haley Fite: (05:16)
Fantastic. Now on your journey from a member to now president, what has the personal impact of LWiB been on you and your professional trajectory?

Phoebe Pappas: (05:25)
Totally. And I love that question because when I joined as a freshman, I expected to be kind of in the background of things. I'd go to a couple meetings and do what was expected of me. And I'm so honest about that. I talked to the members our first meeting and I was like, the first Delwood meeting that I showed up to, actually, I didn't read, the details. And I show up in overalls and sneakers with a Diet Coke in hand . And I'm like, what are all these cute, like professionally dressed women going to, it was an LWiB meeting and I turned around and I joined online and I was like, mortified. I was like, I cannot go back there. So to hear that story and then now be the president is just such a great, you know, duality of things. And I think what initially got me involved was I was really inspired by the other members and I knew I wanted to do more. I just didn't know how. So getting that chief marketing officer role, that was crazy to me. I was like, me, like, why, why would they choose me? And I totally transformed and rebranded the marketing and that eventually led me to the confidence to, you know, restructure the entire organization and lead 250 women. So it was a fun journey, but very unconventional, I would say.

Haley Fite: (06:42)
That's amazing to see your personal journey and transformation into leadership. Now you mentioned several of the things Lindner Women in Business do sort of on a monthly basis, but one of your signature events is Empowerment Day.

Phoebe Pappas: (06:56)

Haley Fite: (06:56)
That occurs every March. And although we are recording this ahead of this year's event, which is March 2nd, is that correct?

Phoebe Pappas: (07:03)

Haley Fite: (07:03)
What is this day all about and how does it benefit students?

Phoebe Pappas: (07:08)
Totally. So Empowerment Day is amazing. It's the first Saturday of March and it's in March in lieu of, you know, Women's History Month. So that is always super great way to kind of kick off honoring and empowering other women. As textbook definition wise, it's a leadership conference. Anyone's invited, it's open obviously to all the members, but also faculty, family members, high schoolers. So there's a huge community coming in and we do what we do at LWiB meetings, but for the entire day. And it is absolutely incredible. It starts off networking. Then we have a keynote speaker, which everyone hears from. And then there's three sessions throughout the day that consists of three breakouts. And those breakouts are something as specific as women in accounting or something as broad as you know, how to brand yourself. So, this just builds a lot of excitement and confidence among our members.

Phoebe Pappas: (08:02)
And it just continuously inspires me every single year. So many of the ladies on my executive team actually were inspired to apply for exec because they went to Empowerment Day. They're like, how do, how do I get more involved in this? This is awesome. And so it just really, it builds so much momentum for the organization as well. So that's been one of my things as president this year is making every day feel like empowerment day. But obviously this event is just hands down one of those tentpole moments that we love in our organization and I'm super excited for.

Haley Fite: (08:36)
Yeah, I love that. I was lucky enough to attend Empowerment Day last year.

Phoebe Pappas: (08:40)

Haley Fite: (08:40)
And what struck me was really the high school students who are able to attend.

Phoebe Pappas: (08:44)

Haley Fite: (08:44)
And seeing them really begin on this journey.

Phoebe Pappas: (08:47)

Haley Fite: (08:47)
Towards, you know, the leaders you see them becoming some day.

Phoebe Pappas: (08:50)

Haley Fite: (08:50)
And so that really resonated with me as being impactful.

Phoebe Pappas: (08:53)

Haley Fite: (08:53)
Speaking of transformative journeys, Jane, you teach Women in Sales now, this is a course you originated in, in my dealings with students, I have found that this course is wildly popular. When I ask them one of their most transformative experiences, so many will say Women in Sales. So can you tell us more about this course and what gives it such a universal draw? Because it's not just female students who are drawn to this course. It's everyone.

Jane Sojka: (09:22)
Well, thank you for asking. I'm as excited about this course as my students are. I love to teach it. What it came out of was really kind of frustration. I was teaching intro to marketing and I would tell my women, but my background is sales. And I would tell my students, well, why women's students? Why don't you take a sales course? No, no, no. And then even the women who were in the course who were so good, I'd say, well, why don't you consider a sales career? Sales is very lucrative. Well, I don't have enough. So I couldn't get them to consider sales as a career option. Meanwhile, recruiters, 'cause I was in charge of the sales center, wanted a diverse workforce and they wanted women. So I went to P&G. I was fortunate to get a higher education innovation grant to start the course.

Jane Sojka: (10:10)
And we called it Women in Sales. And at the time, all I knew was that women sold differently than men. I, you know, I knew it. I could see it in class. So what started out as a one-time course, I thought I'd teach it one time. 25 students, 25 women, two men. I love my men, love my men.

Haley Fite: (10:28)

Jane Sojka: (10:28)
I now teach 240 students, mostly women, every semester. I've had over 1,400 women and men go through the course. And I think what makes it so popular is what I learned was in order to be successful in sales and I would maintain in life, and now we're carrying it over to leadership. I teach women how to get over their fear of failure. Because you know what? If you're in sales and if you're in life, you are gonna be told no. So we better teach you how to get over it. Resilience, which is the ability to bounce back quickly after failure. So if you do fail, not a problem. You go right on. And the confidence to ask for what you want, it's not gonna drop in your lap. You have to ask for it. What's the worst that can happen? They say, no, what's gonna happen? Nothing. You move on. Yes. You got it. So I think it builds life skills. And Phoebe's the perfect example.

Phoebe Pappas: (11:24)
I loved that course. I think just hands down, and I'm sure you hear this all the time, it's like the most engaging and useful class that I've taken in college. I just, and it was really fun that so many people all across UC were taking it. So there was, in my class specifically, I mean, there was a film major, there was a psych major, there was a health sciences major. And it's really cool to have that variety of skill level and variety of insight coming into this course. It makes really great conversations. And I'd say my favorite part was definitely like the resilience papers. 'cause it really, I'd sit and think like, where did I go wrong and how can I do better next time? And that just sparked a memory I totally forgot about this . So I love that.

Haley Fite: (12:05)
Fantastic. Yeah, I think seeing these quote unquote business skills as life skills is something that Lindner does wonderfully and instills in its students.

Phoebe Pappas: (12:15)

Haley Fite: (12:15)
That really prepares them for whatever direction they take their career in.

Jane Sojka: (12:20)
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Haley Fite: (12:21)
And so, Jane, you, in addition to this Women in Sales course originating the sales center, you are also find time to be a faculty fellow with the Warren Bennis Leadership Institute and lead several other initiatives focused on instilling leadership in students, including the Inspire, Equip Connect group for UC's women athletes, another organization that I've heard nothing but rave reviews about. So how have you seen these types of initiatives as you've introduced them through your time at Lindner and UC? How have you seen these programs transform students and prepare them for their future careers in this professional world that may not be as receptive to them, especially for women?

Jane Sojka: (13:01)
Yeah, I mean, that, that's a really good question. IEC was an outgrowth of Women in Sales. And I had a student athlete and she was in SAC, which is a leadership organization in athletics. And she said, you know, I've got a lot of colleagues or a lot of teammates who don't have time in their schedule, or they can't fit in Women in Sales or the class books up, they can't get in, but they need these skills. Can we develop something to teach them the skills? And so she and I spent a summer developing Inspire, Equip and Connect. And what it basically is, is the sales course minus the sales piece. It's the women's empowerment piece.

Phoebe Pappas: (13:43)

Jane Sojka: (13:43)
So we've been delivering it to student athletes, women, for about four years now. And what I have found, and I've got the data, I just haven't had time to, to analyze it yet, these women who were amazingly confident on the field, on the court, I can't think of any scary things scarier than having the game on the line.

Jane Sojka: (14:04)
And I'm at the free throw line. I would melt, I would absolutely melt. They're, they're confident there.

Phoebe Pappas: (14:08)

Jane Sojka: (14:08)
I would get them into a business situation or a class situation or a sales situation where they need to speak up and the confidence wasn't there. So what we did was take the women's empowerment piece, teach them that, and especially we, Phoebe, Phoebe would be able to tell you this, how do you build confidence? You practice.

Phoebe Pappas: (14:27)

Jane Sojka: (14:27)
Well, that's something they know inside and out.

Phoebe Pappas: (14:30)

Jane Sojka: (14:30)
So within IEC, we give them safe opportunities to practice. And it's a really quick learn. It's a really quick study because they know how to be confident in their sport. Well, same process, different venue. We build their confidence outside and they are amazingly strong and powerful women.

Phoebe Pappas: (14:53)
I love that. I haven't heard about that. That's awesome.

Jane Sojka: (14:56)
Well, it's, we're gonna expand it to other groups.

Phoebe Pappas: (14:58)
Yeah, that's great.

Jane Sojka: (14:58)
Phoebe, so we could have a section, we could have a little group for

Phoebe Pappas: (15:03)
Yeah. Little collaboration there.

Jane Sojka: (15:04)
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Mm-Hmm.

Haley Fite: (15:05)
Now you both have such unique perspectives, Phoebe, as a student leader and a student, and a budding professional. And Jane as a faculty member and educator, how have you seen these confidence-building techniques? How have you seen them play out in your career or in others' careers, especially seeing students.

Jane Sojka: (15:29)
Oh, that's a good question. I tell you what, one of my favorite quotations is you teach that what you need to learn. I teach this not because I was an expert in it. I needed to learn it. There is no one who was afraid of everything than me. And, but I always, I would never make my students do something that I wouldn't do. And so, for example, we had a family tragedy, it fell on my shoulders to negotiate with a Fortune 500 company. And, you know, I was scared to death, you know, I was scared to death. And then I thought, wait a minute, I'm teaching this stuff. I used everything I learned in terms of confidence, in terms of body language, in terms of communication. Uh, my sister and her children will never have to worry about money, but I had to practice what I preach. And that's really, it's fun for me. So a good teacher will always say, oh, I learned more from my students than they learned from me. I, I would say that's true in this case.

Phoebe Pappas: (16:32)
I love that. I think it's completely transformed my experience and my trajectory. I definitely, I would, I came to college like not really knowing what my path was gonna be and if I was gonna be involved, if I was gonna switch my major. and I think it took the Women in Sales class and it took LWiB to really like, make that path for me and, steer me in the right direction in a way. Because I would've never had like the confidence or the skills to write an email correctly or, you know, brand myself correctly or, or have the confidence and be unapologetically confident. And I think that is kind of the biggest thing that I've learned and, you know, helped my leadership team and executive team, comprehend as well and apply to their lives. And I just think it's such an incredible thing to learn and I think everyone should learn it. And so I love it.

Jane Sojka: (17:25)
Absolutely. And building on that, I'm gonna put a plug in for my men too, even though it's women's history. Like I, we love men. Okay. We love men. And what I'm finding is that in many cases, well, number one, they're our strongest allies after they come outta the class.

Phoebe Pappas: (17:38)

Jane Sojka: (17:38)
And I always have a couple of men, you know, taking every class. They, they are our strongest allies. And quite honestly, they need the same skill set too.

Phoebe Pappas: (17:47)

Jane Sojka: (17:47)
I'm sure. I'm not sure they admit it as freely as the women admit it.

Phoebe Pappas: (17:51)

Jane Sojka: (17:51)
But they need it and they're delightful.

Haley Fite: (17:55)
Yes. High tides raise all ships . And we love to see that throughout this conversation, we've sort of hinted around that these attributes, the Women in Sales class, which is one of few in the nation that are offered and LWiB as well. These are such unique attributes to Lindner. Totally. So when it comes to empowering future women business leaders, what sets Lindner apart? What are we doing differently that really prepares these women to be this next generation of fantastic business leaders that not only achieve success in their careers, but turn around and lift others up?

Jane Sojka: (18:33)
Well, I'm gonna jump right in.

Phoebe Pappas: (18:35)
Go for it.

Jane Sojka: (18:36)
Her name is Dean Marianne Lewis.

Phoebe Pappas: (18:38)

Jane Sojka: (18:38)
Okay. And to your point, we are the only school in the country that teaches a Women in Sales class.

Phoebe Pappas: (18:46)

Jane Sojka: (18:46)
Which is really, there's no reason. I mean, I can tell you why the reason is, but there's really no reason it could be replicated. We're the only school that had the courage to do that. And Dean Lewis was the associate dean when I came with her to her with the idea and thinking, are we allowed to do this? Yeah. We're allowed to do this and men are welcome, of course.

Phoebe Pappas: (19:05)

Jane Sojka: (19:05)
And she has been supportive. She's supportive of all the things going on, numerous women's initiatives. We just started a women in finance club. We have a women in entrepreneurship club. There's a class on the economics of women that, that goes into what happens when a woman drops out of the workforce to have children or when she gets divorced, what are, what's the economic impact of that? And I think, that makes us special and unique for women.

Phoebe Pappas: (19:36)
Totally. Yeah. I love, on the fourth floor you see the hall of Deans and then you see Dean Lewis. And it's, it's such an empowering feeling to, and you know, you see a line of men and then at the very end, currently we have a woman. I think that's awesome. I think my answer is pretty cliche. You see Lindner answer, but I truly think the push for co-ops and the push for, actual professional experience creates such a diverse skillset among our students. And a diverse, you know, mindset. When I come together with my LWiB girls or my friends, the how advanced sometimes we talk about like our professions is amazing to think like, oh, we were 19 when we did that and we were 21 when we did that. And we were working alongside like amazing professionals. And I love that. You know, it can be at a startup, it can be out of P&G, it can be, as specific or as broad as you want it to be.

Phoebe Pappas: (20:33)
And when I just see my LWiB girls come together, anyone come together, I just think we have such unique experiences that is what sets us apart. And I love the new initiative. I think like now it's required to have a co-op. I don't know how I found the motivation to apply for one, but, one day I did, and I got one, it took 75 applications later and I got two interviews out of those 75 applications and I got one internship. And once you score that first one, I mean, you're totally set. But yeah, I'd say the co-ops and the internships set us apart.

Haley Fite: (21:07)
I love to hear plug for co-op because

Phoebe Pappas: (21:09)

Haley Fite: (21:09)
that is something

Haley Fite: (21:10)

Haley Fite: (21:10)
That is so unique to us. Once again, not only Lindner, but the University of Cincinnati and now we are revolutionizing the way we do things at Lindner.

Phoebe Pappas: (21:18)

Haley Fite: (21:18)
With our universal co-op program and how you mention that, I'm continuously impressed when I speak with students at how advanced and professional they are at such young ages.

Phoebe Pappas: (21:28)

Haley Fite: (21:28)
These co-op programs are truly transformative for our women in business and our men in business.

Phoebe Pappas: (21:34)

Haley Fite: (21:34)
Everyone benefits from for sure these experiences.

Phoebe Pappas: (21:37)
Yeah. Absolutely.

Haley Fite: (21:39)
Well, thank you Phoebe and Jane for joining me today. It has been a pleasure to speak with the both of you. For our listeners, be sure to catch future episodes of Bearcats Mean Business on Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon Music. And join us next time to hear from a Lindner student and their academic advisor about how taking full advantage of Lindner's robust advising ecosystem can elevate your experience and propel your academic and career goals.


Phil D. Collins.

UC Board of Trustees Chair and Lindner alumnus Phil D. Collins stops by to offer personal and career advice for students, and to emphasize the power of engaging with Lindner and UC.

Collins, the founder and CEO of private equity investment firm Orchard Holdings Group, also details his time working for Carl H. Lindner and his family’s deep UC roots.

Marianne Lewis: (00:00)

Welcome to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, the official podcast of the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Marianne Lewis, Dean and Professor of Management at the Lindner College of Business, and today I'm joined by a very special guest, UC Board of Trustees Chair and Lindner alumnus, Phil D. Collins. Welcome, Phil.

Phil D. Colins: (00:25)

Thanks for having me, Marianne. It's great to be with you here today.

Marianne Lewis: (00:28)

Phil, you have deep UC roots. I'd love you to share a little bit more about your personal background.

Phil D. Colins: (00:34)

Sure. I think I was destined to become a Bearcat. I was born and raised here in Cincinnati. My grandfather and grandmother were both affiliated with UC. My dad was recruited out of high school by the legendary coach, Sid Gillman, to be a quarterback at UC, which is another long story. My mom and only sister attended UC. I met my wife in high school and we attended UC together. And my dad made it really simple for me. He said he would pay for anywhere I wanted to go to college, as long as it was UC. And so that made it pretty easy to decide to come here.

Marianne Lewis: (01:08)

Okay, Phil, that's remarkable and not something we see in a typical bio. Thank you for sharing that. You know, I think one of the other pieces of your story that always gets to me and I think is worth talking a bit more about is that you have a really unique past in that you worked with Carl H. Lindner, both as a student and as an early career professional. Tell us a bit more about that experience and what it meant for your career.

Phil D. Colins: (01:32)

I did. It was an amazing experience. Carl had a program where he would hire students from UC to come work in his office on nights and weekends. And he generally worked around the clock and needed somebody to be available in the off-hours when the office was otherwise closed. And so I would go down there at five o'clock after school, and stay basically until he went to bed, and work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends. And it was remarkable how much of that time he was active in working and all of his inbound and outbound calls from leaders of business and finance, to community leaders to U.S. presidents, all came through the phone on my desk during those hours. And so it, it happened to be during the period where he was at his most active and prolific, during the Drexel, Milken, Predators' Ball days.

Phil D. Colins: (02:23)

And when he acquired Taft Broadcasting and moved Chiquita Brands and Penn Central both to Cincinnati, and all of the characters you can imagine from that era would come through our office. Often, you know, I would actually go pick them up at the airport and bring them to the office. And, it was just an unbelievable experience that, as a kid from Cincinnati who didn't know anything about anything, really opened my eyes to a whole world that I didn't know existed. And I have a life's worth of incredible stories from that time. My favorite is a prank that I orchestrated him playing on Donald Trump, and I'll save that whole story for another day, but it's it's quite entertaining.

Marianne Lewis: (03:02)

Oh, please don't save it too long.

Phil D. Colins: (03:03)

And one of many.

Marianne Lewis: (03:05)

Okay. Before you talk about your professional career, I guess, one thing I'm curious if you don't mind, I mean, one of the, I think great beauties of this gorgeous building that we get to live and work in every day, is the quotes from Carl, from Mr. Lindner, around on so many of our walls. And I wondered if there was something that he would say that is burned in your brain, because I love seeing those lines.

Phil D. Colins: (03:32)

Yeah, well, the funny thing for me about those quotes is that, as you may know, he had a stack of cards that he had printed up that had many of those quotes on it. And one of my jobs was to be the collator of those cards. And so, I spent many an hour, nights and weekends, collating those cards. And you know, one of the things that was, I think generally one of the top cards was, his expression only in America, gee, am I lucky. And he definitely believed that. And I think it's one of the reasons that he gave back so much. And, but he had a bunch of great sayings. People work with me, not for me.

Marianne Lewis: (04:15)


Phil D. Colins: (04:15)

I see them all around the building.

Marianne Lewis: (04:17)

And both of those are on walls that I can, the gee I'm lucky, I can picture downstairs and I love that.

Phil D. Colins: (04:23)

It always brings back great memories for me when I see 'em on the walls around here.

Marianne Lewis: (04:26)

Me too. How about professionally? How did that experience lead into your professional career?

Phil D. Colins: (04:33)

You know, I mean, it opened my eyes to a whole world that I didn't know existed. And, you know, he was very active at that time in, you know, with the evolution and emergence of the leveraged finance markets. And what became, we didn't know what to call it at the time, but what became the private equity industry. And I think that, you know, that really got me exposed to that whole world in a way that I would've never had an opportunity to before. And that evolved, you know, my during school job evolved into, I added after I graduated a daytime financial analyst job to my night and weekend working-for-Carl job. So, at that point, like him, I was working 24 hours a day, but, also got some great exposure and learning from that experience.

Marianne Lewis: (05:24)

That's remarkable. And, and you're right, so much was changing in that pivotal time in our economy and in our world. From where you sit now, Phil, both through your career, but also as chair of the Board of Trustees, I'd be interested in hearing what makes Lindner special to you.

Phil D. Colins: (05:40)

I don't think it's an overstatement to say that my experience here dramatically changed the trajectory of my life, which is the reason I feel so passionately about this place and feel compelled to give back. The experiences I had here, you know, as a student leader, the opportunities that were opened up for me here, really set me on the path of the rest of my career. And I'm just eternally grateful for that, for those opportunities and the impact that this place has had on me.

Marianne Lewis: (06:07)

You've seen probably more and more of other schools just in your role even as a parent, as well as on the Board of Trustees. Do you think there are things that make us distinctive?

Phil D. Colins: (06:18)

Yeah, I mean, I think, one of the great things about a large university in a kind of vibrant urban setting is the ability to interact with the community and business leaders and it just presents, I think, incredible opportunities. A large university provides the opportunity to have a number of things to get involved in on campus, leadership opportunities of all kinds. And that engagement in a large campus community, I think gives you this incredible experience that serves you well throughout your life. And then ultimately, the co-op experience, you know, I think it's unbelievably valuable. It wasn't just invented here. We do it better than anybody else, and I think we'll continue to innovate to keep experiential learning at the core of what UC stands for. And, getting out in the world and getting real experience really helps you figure out where your passion is, and what you're gonna love to do. And, and that's really important. You can't figure that out in the classroom. And it turns out that that's actually the most important thing. And I think it's a unique opportunity that we have here, both because of how important co-operative education is here, but also being in this, kind of vibrant, business community.

Marianne Lewis: (07:34)

Phil, I love those insights in terms of our distinctions, and I think it's so helpful for prospective students and their parents to understand. I'm also curious about your advice for current students, those really living the Lindner experience, the UC way now. What would you tell them?

Phil D. Colins: (07:50)

Yeah. My experience is, the most valuable thing you can do as a student is get involved in some way, whatever way, with no disrespect to the great learning and scholarship that happens here. It's the richness of, you know, being an engaged student that will linger with you in your life, and both the learning experiences and the people that you get from that stay with you. My experience in student government and ultimately my time as student body president was, you know, probably one of the most formative experiences of my life in terms of developing life and professional skills. And it wasn't just a great experience. It opened a bunch of doors for me. And to this day, my best friends are people with whom I had that shared experience. And those are really great and unique, bonds that you value in your life.

Phil D. Colins: (08:39)

And it's amazing to me how much responsibility you can get and how much impact you can have by just taking a little bit of initiative to get involved. I wandered into the student government one day early in my freshman year and, you know, asked about opportunities to get involved. And, you know, the rest, as they say is history. And, I think it's just so vital to getting the most out of the experience here. And, again, it's one of those ways in which having a large community can really give you unique opportunities.

Marianne Lewis: (09:16)

You know, Phil, you make me proud, but also want to push further on the innovations that we're doing at Lindner to weave together the curricular, the co-curricular and the professional, right? What's happening in the classroom, what's happening in our student organizations, student government, and what's happening on co-op. And you've said so much, I think, of value that I hope our students and prospective students are listening to on both the professional side and the co-curricular. Can you share a little bit more about how you made the most of your classes, our faculty?

Phil D. Colins: (09:47)

Yeah. So I'm a big believer that, you know, life unfolds through following your curiosity and you have the opportunity to do that in the academic environment. And, so for me, there was kind of a unique combination of my work experience and my academic experience in that, you know, I worked in this environment where at the time, Carl Lindner was very active in the evolution and invention of the leveraged finance markets and what became the private equity industry at the time. It was, you know, the corporate raider moment. And so I did my senior thesis on, it was called Sharp Repellants in the Market for Corporate Control, about, you know, some of the things that were evolving on the technology of repelling hostile takeovers.

Phil D. Colins: (10:39)

And one of the things I discovered during that process was an behavioral economist named Michael Jensen, who did a lot of seminal work around that, the market for corporate control. And that work evolved into work around this evolving thing that we didn't know what to call it at the time, but ultimately became the private equity market. And I was very intrigued by his work. He was at the University of Rochester at the time, but happened to move to Harvard. And that was part of the impetus for me deciding that, I thought I'd try to go to Harvard, because not only did they not require the GMAT at the time, which I didn't have time to take and probably wasn't smart enough to get into Harvard if I took the GMAT. But also, you know, he had gone there and it gave me an opportunity to actually meet with and study under him. And that was a phenomenal experience that ultimately led to my decision to try to go into the private equity industry. And so, you know, it was, I think the combination of that experience, work experience that I had during school, tying to, you know, kind of pursuing the curiosity on the academic side that ultimately kind of shaped the path of where I went in my career.

Marianne Lewis: (11:49)

Yeah, and really making those pieces fit together so purposefully. Well, and I say purposefully, but I often, when we're talking to students, I think it can look like it was all planned. I know it's not all planned.

Phil D. Colins: (11:59)


Marianne Lewis: (11:59)

Lots of right, bobbing and weaving throughout your career to get to where you are.

Phil D. Colins: (12:05)

Absolutely. And that's, you know, I have so many stories about how things just evolved in a very serendipitous way. One of the things I tell young people that think they've got it all figured out about how their life is gonna unfold is, you know, just, you know, follow your curiosity. Follow your passions and, you know, serendipity will kind of take care of the rest and things will unfold in a mysterious and unexpected way. And if you over-program it and try to over-plan it, actually you maybe miss some of the best opportunities that really create the kind of energy that you need to, you know, to generate sustained success. And that's why I think, you know, pursuing your curiosity and passion is so important.

Marianne Lewis: (12:52)

I just have to say Phil, serendipity is one of my favorite words.

Phil D. Colins: (12:54)

Me too.

Marianne Lewis: (12:55)

I define it as planned luck, but I think your examples are exactly what I always think of.

Phil D. Colins: (12:59)

Yeah. Well, it goes back to one of Carl's other great quotes, which is the harder I work, the luckier I get, which I also see posted around the building here. And that has definitely been my life experience.

Marianne Lewis: (13:12)

Shifting slightly. I'd love to talk about alumni because your engagement, I mean, you certainly made the most of your time here on campus and it continued even when you were on the West Coast, you stayed involved. Share a little bit more about what you think is the power of engaging as an alumni.

Phil D. Colins: (13:30)

Yeah. I stayed engaged to the extent I could when I was out on the West Coast. But for me, when we made my wife and I and our family made the decision to move back here, you know, one of the kind of unexpected gifts that that presented for me was the opportunity to really get engaged. And you know, for me, I owe so much to this place. It's an opportunity for me to give back. I feel a close connection and owe a lot of gratitude. And it's just been incredibly rewarding for me to see the growth and development of this institution since I was a student here. And the opportunities it creates for students, the role and impact that this institution has in our community. It's just so far ahead of where it was when I was a student.

Phil D. Colins: (14:15)

And, as a result, it just creates these incredible opportunities for students. And I kind of look forward to seeing what this generation of students can accomplish. You may have seen a Stanford professor who did this predictive index for producing unicorn startups puts UC at the top and number one of universities for the potential to create unicorn startups. And, I think they're ahead of the curve on figuring out what others will learn about this place. And so, and then the final thing is I just, I care about this community, the Cincinnati community, and I think having a thriving, world-class, research university is essential to creating a vibrant and thriving community. And, UC's elevation has been, and I think will continue to be, a critical part of the elevation of this community. And it's been, you know, fun and rewarding for me to be able to play a tiny role in helping to advance that.

Marianne Lewis: (15:15)

Well, you certainly are. We're very grateful to you, Phil. Before we wrap up, I'd love to give you the opportunity to help us learn more. Is there, parting thoughts from you?

Phil D. Colins: (15:25)

Well, we covered a lot of ground there, Marianne, you're a great podcaster already.

Marianne Lewis: (15:31)


Phil D. Colins: (15:31)

I guess, you know, my parting thoughts would just be, you know, take initiative to get involved, follow your curiosity, pursue your passion, and serendipity, both of our favorite word, will take care of the rest.

Marianne Lewis: (15:44)

Oh, absolutely. My heartfelt thanks to Phil for stopping by today and for all you do for this university, continuing to raise the bar and help us thrive. And a friendly reminder to all, you can listen to Bearcats Mean Business on Spotify, YouTube or Amazon Music. And if you can spare a few minutes, please subscribe, rate and review us on those platforms so we continue to improve and innovate. Be safe, be well, go Bearcats.

Episode 3_Bella Gullia

What is co-op, and how can I get one? What makes co-op at Lindner unique? How can a student expand their network without co-op or job experience?

Lindner Career Services Assistant Director Bella Gullia answers these questions and more, offering support and guidance to current and prospective Lindner students.

Grant Freking: (00:00)

Welcome to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, a new podcast from the University of Cincinnati's, Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Grant Freking, Manager of College Communications and marketing Lindner, speaking to you from the second floor of Lindner Hall. Today I am joined by Bella Gullia, an assistant director in Lindner's Career Services office, to demystify co-op at Lindner. Thanks for joining me, Bella.

Bella Gullia: (00:22)

Hi Grant. Thanks for having me.

Grant Freking: (00:24)

Alright, let's start simple. What is co-op and what makes co-op at Lindner a unique experience for our students?

Bella Gullia: (00:30)

Yes. So co-op stands for cooperative, and in the Lindner College of Business we have a lot of flexible ways a student can obtain a cooperative experience. Ultimately it needs to be a paid professional opportunity that is related to a student's business degree here in Lindner.

Grant Freking: (00:49)

There's also been some changes to the way we do co-op at Lindner, some exciting new developments. Tell us more about universal co-op and what, uh, our first-year students are are partaking in this year.

Bella Gullia: (00:58)

Yes. So as we have been looking to expand and grow as a college and also a university, we've recognized the need for a co-op requirement for our students here in Lindner. And the nice thing about adopting this is that it's already very much in the culture here at Lindner for students to be going on co-op.

Grant Freking: (01:21)

Sure is.

Bella Gullia: (01:21)

So, over the next few years we've already started and we will be continuing to roll out this requirement. Our Honors students have a three co-op requirement in order to graduate that started last year.

Grant Freking: (01:34)


Bella Gullia: (01:34)

And then next year, fall of 2024, we will have a co-op universal requirement for all traditional first-year students to do two experiences, two co-ops before they graduate. In the in-between, this year, we have rolled out a program called the co-op Trailblazer Scholars Program, where we had over 200 students apply to be part of this program. They opted in to say, yes, we want to commit and do two co-ops before we graduate college. And so we've been meeting with this program, these students, in individual meetings as well as specialized events and sessions very tailored to towards them to help them find success in obtaining co-ops quicker, that are quality experiences for them to, to get in order to graduate.

Grant Freking: (02:22)

Sure. And what was the sense you've gotten, what is the sense you've gotten from students as to why they opted in? Like as you mentioned, it's a voluntary opt-in. What are some of the reasons you've heard from some of our first-year Trailblazer Scholars about why they decided to take up this requirement?

Bella Gullia: (02:37)

Yeah. Well a lot of them when we ask, you know, why did you come to UC, why Lindner? A lot of them was they were already saying, you know, I really wanna be part of a co-op program. And so as we've been rolling out this opt-in program for students, we've noticed, you know, they wanna make that commitment 'cause they know it's part of the brand of UC to, to go on co-op to have that professional experience. And so they are committing, they're really excited and interested from the jump to say, yes, I want that to be part of my degree requirement. And again, it's very much in the like culture of our college to do this. And so the fact that they are going a step further and committing that they want it to be part of their academic requirements, I think speaks to that culture. But also their excitement and interest in really diving into it.  

Grant Freking: (03:24)

Sure. It's like almost like a recommitment of like why they decided to come to Lindner in the first place, 'cause they probably wanted to co-op at some point, but now this is kind of offering them an early pathway kind of, sort of.

Bella Gullia: (03:33)

Exactly. And some of the specialized events we've been doing with them has been, you know, helping them expand their network sooner, make more relationships with employers and alumni earlier on than if they would've waited to sophomore or junior year to start exploring an internship opportunity, which could be looked at as a little different.

Grant Freking: (03:53)

Sure. Let's shift a little bit to your office and Lindner Career Services. Uh, explain to our listeners how Lindner Career Services works for students, but also works for our employer partners.

Bella Gullia: (04:04)

Yes. So something really unique about Lindner Career Services at the University of Cincinnati, we are the only career center across the whole university that is dedicated in-house to, in our case the college of business, which is really special because through that we're able to take a major-specific approach. So,

Grant Freking: (04:23)


Bella Gullia: (04:23)

across our office, we have a career coach dedicated to every single major in the Lindner College of Business. This is really special because students are able to make specific and tailored relationships with our office and with their career coach in ways in which that we're then able to see like, okay, here are your interests, here are your skill sets, you're just getting started. Here are some really great opportunities that would be great for you specifically. Or, oh, you've had a few co-ops already. Here are some other great opportunities that is kind of like the next level up. And we have that relationship with these students because of this model.

Grant Freking: (05:01)

That personalized approach has to mean everything to the student too, especially once you get them past the, maybe that first introductory meeting where maybe they're a little anxious or nervous to talk to a stranger working in a career services office. But once you get past that first meeting, I imagine that they kind of open up and they tell you a little bit more about their interest and then you can use your experience and point them in the right direction.

Bella Gullia: (05:20)

Yeah, it's really special and it's, I think the thing I love most about what I do is that I get to build relationships with these students and see them from, you know, first year not really sure what I wanna do all the way through graduation of like, wow, I've, I've pieced everything together of who I am and what I'm interested in. And I've gotten to kind of walk alongside that.

Grant Freking: (05:41)

Bella, how does Lindner Career Services support students who are actually enrolled in the universal co-op program, the Trailblazer Scholars?

Bella Gullia: (05:47)

Yes. So as I mentioned, we meet with students one-on-one, we call them individual coaching appointments. We also, through our office teach a class called Career Success Strategies. It's a first-year class. All of our trailblazers are enrolled in it. And in that setting we're going over a lot of big picture pieces to finding a co-op, creating your resume, interviewing, networking, navigating a career fair. So they're getting that broadly in the classroom, but then also more detailed, more specific.

Grant Freking: (06:19)


Bella Gullia: (06:19)

in our coaching appointments. And then in addition to all of that, we are having specialized events for the trailblazers. So we had two in the fall, our initial meeting where all of the trailblazers got to meet one another. They got to meet our team, Career Services, and we went over kind of, you know, what does it look like to be a trailblazer? What will this experience look like for you this year? What are your commitments? We also had an alumni panel, which was great for the students to, again, expand their network, meet alumni, understand what you can do with various degrees because it's not always a linear path. Right. And then this spring we'll be having a few other specialized events, with the big end-of-year culmination being, a large like networking, kind of speed dating type event, where hopefully again, students are expanding their network meeting employers, making those professional connections that will then lead to co-ops.

Grant Freking: (07:13)

So it sounds like a combination of giving them the big picture, showing them the career outcomes, but also the personalized sort of step-by-step approach that what your office can provide to them.

Bella Gullia: (07:22)

Yeah, and it's, it's nice too, because our office not only is working with students, but we also work directly with employers. And so sometimes, you know, we'll have an employer come to us because we have this very specific model, Hey, I need a finance student for this type of position. Do you know anyone? And because of these relationships that we have with our students, we're able to make those direct connections, which is really special.

Grant Freking: (07:45)

Students go see your career counselors in Lindner Career Services.

Bella Gullia: (07:48)

Yeah. Come see us.

Grant Freking: (07:49)

So what are some common and maybe some unorthodox ways for students to gain co-op experiences, whether they're first-year students, which is a little bit tougher, admittedly for them.

Bella Gullia: (07:56)


Grant Freking: (07:56)

But in their second, third years especially.

Bella Gullia: (08:00)

Yeah. Some common opportunities or ways in which co-op can look like. Of course we have the summer experience between the academic years. I think that's a very, very common way.

Grant Freking: (08:11)

A popular one, yeah.

Bella Gullia: (08:11)

For students to do a co-op. It really should be 10 to 15 weeks. Anything less than 10 weeks, you won't really gain a lot of skills.

Grant Freking: (08:21)


Bella Gullia: (08:21)

or experiences that you can speak to later on. So that would be a common way. We also, again, we offer very flexible options for students. So we see a lot of students who will co-op in the fall or in the spring and offset their classes. Maybe they might take them over the summer so they can do a full-time, spring co-op. So those are the common ways in which we're seeing students get experiences. We also as, especially as we're rolling out this universal co-op requirement, we're going to have an option for students to do something called an experiential exploration project.

Bella Gullia: (08:56)

So that should still be something that is robust in terms of timeline. It shouldn't be like a one to two week project. We're looking at, you know, 10 weeks, at least the length of a semester, project that is hyper-specific to either the area that they're interested in working one day, their major area of study or something that a professor maybe that they're working closely with, has deemed an important, you know, research project in their field. So those, again, very flexible, can look many different ways, but that would be an uncommon way in which we would approve a student of a co-op experience.

Grant Freking: (09:34)

Sure, and your office is making sure that as best as you possibly can through your connections and also working with other entities within Lindner and the university, that there is many co-op opportunities available for students because we're bringing more and more, uh, students into co-op. Correct?

Bella Gullia: (09:48)

Yeah. And that's exciting. A very exciting time for us too. We're starting to expand our employer reach, not just regionally, but nationally. Our team is very committed to finding more and more quality opportunities for our students. And our employer relations team is actually going on a trip to Texas this year, where they'll be meeting with some, some major companies, which is really exciting.

Grant Freking: (10:10)

Always expanding those networks. And speaking of networks, when a student comes and meets with you and, and is maybe a little confused or is feeling anxious and asks, how do I expand my professional network?

Bella Gullia: (10:20)


Grant Freking: (10:20)

Without any co-op or job experience, how do you respond to that?

Bella Gullia: (10:24)

Yes. I think the first thing when it comes to like quote unquote networking, we need to roll it back. It's, it's just making a friend, making a new relationship at the end of the day. And, I tell this to all of my students, people want to help people. We just have to tell them how, and especially people wanna help college students. So when you think about building your network or building relationships, working with your career coach, going to different events like the career fair, tabling events where employers are here in the building in our atrium, tabling, this happens almost weekly. Going to info sessions, really being engaged in attending those things. Talking with the employer one-on-one afterwards, asking the career coach for a personal introduction and then saying, you know, this is what I'm studying, these are what my interests are, what advice do you have for me? Or even get more specific than that, and you know, do you have any opportunities to shadow you or is there anyone else in the company that you would recommend connecting me to or that I should reach out to to learn about their experience at this, at this organization? People I think get in, we get in our own heads of networking and what it can look like and

Grant Freking: (11:37)

A hundred percent, yeah.

Bella Gullia: (11:38)

Ultimately it is just making, making friendships and, and yeah. Really just being interested and interesting in what you're talking about.

Grant Freking: (11:47)

Right. And then it's just, it's like anything else. And like it's the smallest detail or gesture that can lead to something else and you just, you can't visualize that until you actually go and do it and try and meet that new person or meet that new company, et cetera.

Bella Gullia: (11:59)

Yeah. And one thing I would say, younger students, 'cause it can be challenging to find a co-op as a first year.

Grant Freking: (12:05)

For sure.

Bella Gullia: (12:06)

We should think big picture and long term here. So if there is an employer or an alumni or even here in the building, like a professor that you really admire, you're interested in, you want to work with or you wanna work for that organization, start planting those seeds now. Make connections. Introduce yourself, because when it does come time for you to apply or they're now accepting you at junior year, they'll remember you. And that's gonna be, you're gonna be way more likely to get the opportunity quicker or at least get in the process quicker if they know you. So it's okay if we're not landing something immediately. If you're planting those seeds, that is part of this experience.

Grant Freking: (12:45)

Right, it's about building your whole portfolio, so to speak.

Bella Gullia: (12:48)


Grant Freking: (12:48)

Let's end on this one, Bella. So students co-op to help them determine a career field. But co-ops are also useful in another way. They help students find out what they don't want to do.

Bella Gullia: (12:57)


Grant Freking: (12:57)

with their professional lives.

Bella Gullia: (12:58)

Mm-Hmm. Yes, a hundred percent. And there's so much value in learning what you don't wanna do. First of all, it will save you a lot of time in the long run, but also even while you're finding out maybe what you don't wanna do, you're still building a lot of professional skills, you're building a lot of experiences that inevitably will be transferable to wherever you go next. And you're gonna be able to speak to that. I think employers are just as interested in hearing what you've learned, even if it's not what you wanna do and how you wanna pivot into a new area. Then if you said, oh, I had a perfect experience. I learned everything and I did everything that I wanted to do, and it confirmed what, what I wanted, that's also valuable. But I think there is some magic in being able to speak to what you, what you don't wanna do, 'cause you've, you've figured that out. That's that's huge. Yeah.

Grant Freking: (13:46)

And it's, and it's a, it could be just a slice of an industry where you figure out, well I don't really like this particular part of the industry.

Bella Gullia: (13:51)

Oh yeah.

Grant Freking: (13:52)

Or the area of business that I wanna be in, but it's maybe another sector and I can maybe use take another class or try and pursue another co-op that sort of explores that area as well.

Bella Gullia: (14:01)

Yeah. And I mean the world is constantly expanding and growing, which means job opportunities are expanding and growing. So sometimes there is a situation where you find a sliver that you do really like and that company is looking to innovate and expand in that area. And you could be that person that they bring on to do that. And you know, maybe you didn't like all the other pieces, but that small sliver is what lands you a really cool opportunity down the line.

Grant Freking: (14:28)

Absolutely. Well, my thanks to Bella for stopping by to help demystify co-op at Lindner. If you're looking for more information on co-op, visit A friendly reminder, you can listen to Bearcats Mean Business on Spotify, YouTube, or Amazon Music. If you can spare a few minutes, please subscribe, rate and review us. On the next episode of Bearcats Mean Business, Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis will sit down with Phil D. Collins, chairman of the University of Cincinnati's Board of Trustees and a Lindner graduate. Go Bearcats.

Replace this text component with your accordion's content.

Bearcats Mean Business Episode 2

Melissa Baer, Lindner's director of undergraduate enrollment, and Riley Higgins, a second-year Lindner Business Honors student majoring in marketing and international business, break down the admissions and applications process for prospective students and their parents or guardians.

Melissa taps into her institutional knowledge of Lindner and UC to educate listneners, while Riley touches on her recent past to relay her experience of applying to college, what to look for in a college/university, and why Lindner's experiential learning focus resonated with her as a high school student.

Grant Freking: (00:00)

Welcome to another episode of Bearcats Mean Business, a new podcast from the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. My name is Grant Freking, Manager of College Communications and Marketing at Lindner. Today's topic, admissions and applying to Lindner and UC. We're here to address the worries, concerns, and questions that prospective students and their parents or guardians, may have about the college admissions process. Luckily for our listeners, our two guests are eminently qualified to address these topics. One of my guests is Melissa Baer, Lindner's director of undergraduate enrollment. Melissa has 20 years of experience working in college admissions at both public and private universities, and is nearing her 10-year anniversary working at the University of Cincinnati. Welcome, Melissa.

Melissa Baer: (00:44)

Thanks, Grant. I'm excited to be here today.

Grant Freking: (00:46)

We are also joined by Riley Higgins, a second-year Lindner Business Honors student majoring in marketing and international business. Riley is a Cincinnati native, a PACE leader and a Lindner Ambassador who also participates in Lindner women in Business, UC, Pickleball Club, and iCATS. Welcome Riley.

Riley Higgins: (01:02)

Thanks for having me, Grant.

Grant Freking: (01:04)

Melissa, we will begin with you. Can you explain to our listeners the purpose and mission of your job and how you help prospective students navigate the application process?

Melissa Baer: (01:13)

Sure. When, when talking to families and students about admissions and the work that we do, I always like to start with the title of admissions counselor. I think one of the big misunderstandings from families is that my role, my team, our job, is akin to sales. It's not, it's very much more akin to counseling, supporting students, answering questions, helping students and families find the right fit for their student. Um, and fit is a very, very personal thing to each and every student and each and every family. Um, one of the ways that we try to express that authenticity in the Lindner College of Business is by associating our prospective students with our current students. And that means that we're providing those authentic experiences. Yes, I receive a paycheck from the Lindner College of Business. Riley, for example, does not. So when she talks to students and families, we really expect that it is that authentic exchange and students and parents can find those opportunities to engage and find fit. And that's really important to me and my team and the work that we do.

Grant Freking: (02:18)

What's sort of the immediate feedback you get from prospective students and their parents when that exchange with a current student happens?

Melissa Baer: (02:25)

Uh, it's a lot of enthusiasm. , first of all, our students are amazing. I hope that everyone learns that today about Riley and I think she's a perfect picture of a Lindner student. Um, so when parents and students talk to us after the fact, they are in awe of our students and in awe of that, the idea that that is who their student can become, right? So this idea of, okay, in in two years my student's going to have had a cooperative education experience. They're going to have gotten involved in all of these campus activities. There may be going to be a student who's standing up here giving this presentation in a couple of years. I will say that some families will say, whoa, whoa, whoa. My student is, um, not that. And we go, not yet. Right? It is okay to not be that yet.

Melissa Baer: (03:14)

One of the things that we have tried to do in recent years is to really actively bring younger, currently students into our activities. It's very overwhelming to see a fifth-year student who's had four co-op rotations.

Grant Freking: (03:26)


Melissa Baer: (03:26)

Already has their full-time job placement, has graduate classes under their belt. That's very intense for students and families. But when they see a first or a second year student who is finding their way through that process, they can start to connect to them a little bit more. So I think it's really some parents and students automatically see themselves in that scenario. Um, and some of them need the support of No, no, no, you're gonna grow into that. That's just an explanation of the opportunities that you have here.

Grant Freking: (03:57)

Perfect. Riley, what made you want to serve as that, I guess, mentor for prospective students and, you know, prospective students who you've never met before?

Riley Higgins: (04:05)

Yeah. When I first came to campus, I was here for a science-related competition in high school. So I didn't even come near the College of Business. In fact, at the time I don't think our new building had been built yet.

Grant Freking: (04:16)


Riley Higgins: (04:16)

Um, so when I did come back actually interested in business, I went to a college closeup presentation and I had the experience of two fifth-year students who were presenting to me about their experiences and their co-ops and their study abroad, which to me, who loves learning Spanish and has a minor in Spanish, I was like, this is exactly what I wanna do. So I was one of the people in Melissa's case who, um, saw myself in their shoes eventually giving the presentation back. And just from, honestly, semester one being on campus, it's just, you wanna look back at the students who I was with in high school and bring them up and show them everything that Lindner has to offer. So, um, that's how I became involved in Lindner Ambassadors and, um, where I get to present back to students and their parents and families, show them around Lindner, tell them about my experience. And the best part is that the faculty who like help establish Lindner Ambassadors have given us no, like, Hey, don't say that, hey, don't censor that. They just, you know, give us free rein to share our experiences and share, um, everything that we've been able to accomplish in just a year and a half here.

Grant Freking: (05:23)

It's good that they encourage you to be real about the process because I think parents and and prospective students, they can probably see through that, that inauthentic way of presenting Lindner or any other college that may may be doing some sort of similar, similar thing to college close-up.

Riley Higgins: (05:35)

It's pretty immediate. Yeah. I mean, just from the other college tours that had gone on in high school versus the one I got when I specifically came to Lindner, I just immediately recognized the authenticity and passion that the students had.

Grant Freking: (05:47)

Building off that rally, you're only a few years removed from applying to Lindner and UC as well as other universities, I'm sure. What do you remember about applying to college and what was your experience applying to Lindner and UC?

Riley Higgins: (05:58)

Yeah, I definitely remember it like it was yesterday because that is a stressful process that I hope I don't have to go through again if I, you know, choose to go to graduate school. But I was a bit of a unique case. I had looked at all of my options and I was between studying journalism or maybe medical field, maybe business. I wasn't sure, um, you know, what the right path was for me. And uc was actually the only in-state school I applied to.

Grant Freking: (06:23)


Riley Higgins: (06:23)

Which is rare for students in Cincinnati in this area. We typically apply to several in-state schools. Um, but when I had seen what the Lindner program had to offer, I knew that if I was going to stay in state, it was UC all the way. Um, just all the things that they had to offer were undeniably where I wanted to be.

Riley Higgins: (06:44)

So I had also applied to a few, like out-of-state college colleges, you know, my reach schools, all these things. Um, and I actually didn't end up even hearing back from those schools 'cause their, you know, application process is where you'd hear back in April. But I had heard back in January and February from UC and I committed like that week that I had heard back. 'cause I knew this is where I wanted to be, but I just remember being really confused 'cause there's so many options on the table and, you know, you have to write all these essays and you have to figure out why exactly you wanna apply to this college. So for UC's application process, um, specifically, I remember that there was like one essay that was really straightforward. It was, why do you want to study business at UC? And I was like, oh, this is perfect. I can tell you exactly why I wanna do that. So I just really made sure to think about why UC could provide me with the opportunities I needed to get what I wanted out of a college experience.

Grant Freking: (07:40)

Right. And Melissa, an essay question like that is, is broad intentionally correct? It's to, uh, pinpoint, uh, the personal experience of the applicant?

Melissa Baer: (07:50)

Right. So we're a little unique here at uc as a direct-admit institution, which when students are looking at colleges and universities, they'll see a difference between schools that are saying, do you want to enroll at the University of Cincinnati in general, or do you wanna enroll specifically in the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati? So that major-specific question is really trying to target, um, what a student's experiences and backgrounds have been in regards to their academic interests and really allow them to have a space. It's a 250-word personal statement. It's not intense. Um, but it really is an opportunity for students to share their background and their interests.

Grant Freking: (08:26)

And it also forces them to be concise, right? With a, with a perhaps a longer, you know, word count. There's a bit of a propensity perhaps for rambling or, or lack of focus, but you really get to know, and also it helps you churn through the thousands of applications, right?

Melissa Baer: (08:41)

Yeah, so we have both the common app essay, which is 600 words, which is the same essay that you would send to any common app school you would apply to. So in that essay, uh, you don't get to talk about UC in particular, and if you do talk about UC, um, they're gonna send that sentence about UC to all of the other schools that you apply to.

Grant Freking: (08:58)


Melissa Baer: (08:58)

So that personal statement requires that tight timeline, but an opportunity also for a student to elaborate what they know about themselves and the university, um, in that place. That personal statement just comes to us at UC and does allow us to dive a little bit deeper into the application, who the student is and what they're looking for.

Grant Freking: (09:19)

Melissa, let's stay on the topic of prospective students. When you have a chance to talk with potential future students at Lindner as well as their parents or guardians, what are common questions that you hear from them?

Melissa Baer: (09:30)

The common questions really depend on two things. The first is where the student is in their search process and where we are in the application timeline. So if we sort of start at the beginning with the hope that we have a high school junior in the spring of their junior year that's coming to visit us, that student is hopefully talking about how do I become the most competitive candidate? What classes am I taking? A little plug here, we are always going to say that a student should remain on a calculus trajectory, uh, and happy to share more about that. Uh, but students are asking about those pieces of the equation earlier in their process. But as they move through, it starts to become things like, when will I find out about my decision? When will I find out about my financial aid? Um, how do I get a more personalized visit? What opportunities are there for scholarships? So it really is this kind of ebb and flow of the process. We are just a few days away from our 2024 decision release date. Um, so those decisions will be releasing on January 22nd for students to find out whether or not they have been admitted to the university. Um, and that really opens up the what next set of questions for prospective students. So we're excited to go through that transition here in the next couple of days.

Grant Freking: (10:45)

It's exciting, exciting time and a busy time, for you, Melissa. Riley, during your application process, and you touched on this a little bit already, but let's expand upon it. What were the attributes that you were looking for in a future college or university or a business school?

Riley Higgins: (10:57)

Yeah, definitely. I was looking for a place first and foremost that I could call home. I knew that I wanted to be comfortable, but also wanted to have a place that would challenge me to grow. And that was what I found here at Lindner. I just like observed the community when I was here just naturally on a building tour. And it was where the ambassadors who were taking us on the building tour are talking to the faculty in the hallway and people are saying, Hey. And I just realized that the culture here, the community was really strong. And it's something that we actually highlight in our college close-up presentations with the ambassadors is one of our points of distinction is the community that we have. So it really stood out to me. Um, and that's something that I was looking for. And then I also wanted a smaller college campus, you know, experience with Lindner, um, in the College of Business, but on the big university of the University of Cincinnati. So there's so many resources available because we're on such a big campus. Um, in my, in my opinion, it's a big campus, but clearly there's, there's much bigger. Um, but it's, it's, you know, it's navigable and there's things here that I'm able to keep myself entertained. Um, and I also get to come to the same building for my classes and really like hammer down and, um, get my work done.

Grant Freking: (12:16)

Sure. And during these, these visits, we, we hammer home our, our, our mission and our values to students. What were some of those things maybe specifically related to experiential learning and co-op, things like that, that sort of stuck out to you and, and resonated with you, uh, during the application process and maybe helped drive you towards a decision?

Riley Higgins: (12:33)

Yeah, it's, it's something so unique is the experiential learning outlook on education. Um, coming from high school when you're pretty much just reading textbooks and getting PowerPoints, uh, you really have to have a, a frame shift in your mindset of what it means to learn and what that looks like for a business student. And experiential learning goes so well with our curriculum because it's in our classrooms. And then after our classroom educational period, we go to our clubs where we're doing consulting work and we're doing, we're implementing the things that we're learning almost immediately. And so you're not only growing in the classroom, but in your extracurricular work with, um, clubs that you're a part of, and then you get to go to this co-op experience. Um, which for me was after my second semester. So it was the summer after my first year of college, I got to work for a bank doing marketing strategy, which is exactly what I wanted to get experience in.

Riley Higgins: (13:27)

And we always call it test driving your major, right. And . Yeah. So, and it's the perfect way to summarize exactly what you're doing. It's not locking you down into a full-time position where there's a little bit more responsibility and expectation, but, um, you're with a company who often is local and helping you figure out what you wanna do with your career. What you don't like is just as important as what you do like. So that was really attractive to me as far as figuring out, you know, the value of my education when I graduate in four years. I wanna be able to say that it was worth every penny. Um, so I wanted to really figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Grant Freking: (14:05)

No pressure, right?

Riley Higgins: (14:06)

No pressure, but a good support system will make it happen.

Grant Freking: (14:10)

Right? And it's stories like this, Melissa, to help, you know, this is not what we're, you know, you're, you're not a salesperson as you said earlier, but Riley's an exemplar of what we can hold up and say, like, this is what's possible. Right? But you can also go at your own pace. And I think that's important to convey to parents and students who are likely and probably more than likely overwhelmed at the process. As, you know, they're, they're trying to usher in a 17, 18-year-old young adult into a brand new world,

Melissa Baer: (14:36)

Right. So, Riley's an example of a student who like has her foot on the gas pedal and she's like, ready to go and she's goal-driven, and she's like, I'm gonna milk this for everything that I can. Right? That's not every single student that comes into the College of Business.

Grant Freking: (14:49)

Of course.

Melissa Baer: (14:50)

And that's, that's perfectly fine. So I think it's important always from our lens to support stories like Riley's by saying it's the faculty and staff. It's your academic advisor, it's your career advisor. Um, it's the requirements of the college that are going to support a student who's less likely to put their foot on the gas pedal and finding out what's next. So there are those little points in the process, just like, um, in high school or just like in a degree pathway in college where it's sort of like, okay, it's time, little birdie.

Melissa Baer: (15:20)

It's time to go find a co-op and we're gonna support you in doing that, and it's gonna feel uncomfortable. And that's okay, right? This is another opportunity in life for students to have those, uh, I don't wanna say failures, but there is a sense of an opportunity to fail with a safety net, right? Going out to the career fair, um, in the fall of your, your freshman year and realizing that nobody wants to hire you because you're basically still a high school student, right? But you still get that opportunity under your belt of handing out your resume and shaking people's hands. Um, and for some students that comes easy. I'm guessing for Riley it did. Um, and for some students it's really, really painful, but it's a part of that learning process. And that is a-okay.

Riley Higgins: (16:01)

I'll tell you. I mean, it is, you, you really hit the ground running. I will say Lindner's First-Year Experience is top tier because of that, they take you, you know, and you might feel like uncomfortable your first couple of days, but this, the community that surrounds you, the resources that are available to you, you're able to achieve so much more within one month of being here than you ever thought possible. So I mentor 11 first-year students as a PACE leader. And so I got to see it this year now on the other side of, you know, dragging them through their first couple of weeks and being like, okay, time to, you know, learn how to do an interview. welcome to college, essentially. And just seeing their growth throughout the first semester and then seeing them now going into their second semester, they're almost a different person. They have grown so much. And I think that's an amazing thing to be able to accomplish in one semester.

Grant Freking: (16:51)

Right. And I've sat in on a lot of the, those sessions that, that you, you have led and they've been led by company representatives who sit on those FYE sessions even coming in and, you know, three or four months down the road. The growth, the less anxiousness, less nervousness. I mean, of course everyone's still nervous. I get up nervous talking in front of people still.

Riley Higgins: (17:09)


Grant Freking: (17:10)

But it's, it's the comfort level, not only with their classmates in collaboration, but also the subject matter that once they've acquitted themselves, they're like, oh, this isn't too daunting. I can go ahead and do this among my, my path to being, as we say, a business problem solver, right?

Riley Higgins: (17:22)


Grant Freking: (17:22)

Melissa, let's walk listeners through a typical admission cycle for a prospective student. You just mentioned that you are hitting one of your benchmark dates in your office. From the time a student receives marketing collateral to the time they apply. What's that sort of timeframe look like?

Melissa Baer: (17:37)

Yeah, and I, I wanna address this first by saying one of the things that we're seeing from students is a concern about, um, sharing their information or opting into marketing campaigns.

Grant Freking: (17:47)


Melissa Baer: (17:47)

And I absolutely understand that. I know what all four of my email inboxes look like. You know, I have one that was like supposed to be for coupons and stuff and one that was personal. And then I have my work and then I have another one that I started for, for funsies. Um, but I encourage students to embrace that opportunity, start an email address that's just for your college search process. Maybe share access with that to your parents. Um, because sharing your information means we can talk to you about who we are. We can tell you what the opportunities are to, to get to know us. Um, we're seeing a rise in students entering our funnel at the time of application, which means we've had no contact with them, um, until they apply.

Melissa Baer: (18:28)

And I think students who choose that route are, um, less informed when they come to us. So, so really the hope, and to answer your question, is a student could start getting marketing collateral from us in the spring of their junior year of high school. Really kind of that introduction to who we are, um, and what their timeline and process could look like. That's ideal. That is also the point in which most high school students are going to be pursuing resume workshops, essay workshops, getting to know their common application and really building out their application materials so that when the common app does open on August 1st of a student's senior year of high school, right? Generally right before you start your senior year, you're ready to apply. But that means to be the most competitive candidate that you can, you need a shortlist. I've seen that shortlist run anywhere from one school to 20 schools. Neither of those ends are the right answer. Um, but really making sure that students have the information and knowledge to have a list that works well for them so that they can apply before the deadlines of their respective schools. Which for Lindner and the University of Cincinnati is December 1 of your senior year.

Grant Freking: (19:40)

The important, that's an important date for all of us to remember.

Melissa Baer: (19:42)

Very important.

Grant Freking: (19:43)

Riley based on your experiences with what Melissa just talked about, what are some recommendations you would offer a prospective student in navigating the college application process?

Riley Higgins: (19:51)

Yeah, I actually, um, over the holidays was just talking with my cousins about this, 'cause they're juniors in high school. They're going through the process of trying to figure out, first of all what they wanna do and second of all, where they wanna do it. Um, so I was just telling them to find a place that will encourage them to grow and a place that caress about them and can give them the resources that they need to achieve their goals. Um, 'cause I think at the bottom line, that's what's most important. Um, I know when I was looking at colleges, I was thinking about things like, do I like the campus? You know, do I like the dorms? Do I like the food? You know, some of the details when you're comparing, it's just like apples to apples. . I'm like, you know, campuses will all have food and campuses will all have dorms for you to live in and something like that.

Riley Higgins: (20:37)

But, um, I just, you know, you have to look at the resources and the quality of students that were coming out of that college and, um, for what you're specifically trying to study. If you're not sure if you wanna go into business or something else, then you know, find a college that's gonna be able to support you no matter what you choose, and be a place where you can grow, um, and feel comfortable doing that. So that's the biggest advice that I can give is when you're searching for colleges, try not to get lost in the glitz and glamour of everything and instead like really look at the details of what you're getting out of the education that you're buying, um, . So keep, you know, it is important to look at that as well as the financial aspect of, um, what makes most sense in four years time when you go to get a career, do you wanna look back and say, that was totally worth it? Um, that's also really important.

Grant Freking: (21:26)

Right. Hopeful. I'm sure our listeners will find that extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing that. Melissa. Let's tie a bow on this episode with dispelling some of the biggest myths around the college admissions process and then a handful of must-know dates for applicants that relate to Lindner and UC.

Melissa Baer: (21:39)

Yeah, let's start with, with some myths. I will hang my hat on three myths that I think really, um, confuse parents and students about this process. The first one is that admissions is exceptionally, overly competitive. And, um, my student will never get in. Your student, whomever they are, will have plenty of options for higher education, um, and plenty of options to, to move towards their goals. I'll use Lindner as an example. We admit about 72% of our incoming first year students directly to their major, but we enroll almost another, um, equal amount of students in their second year as transition students. So they come to the University of Cincinnati, either not having been admitted directly to business or having started someplace else. Um, they just really kind of have to stay on their path here and take their math classes and then they can come on over to the College of Business.

Melissa Baer: (22:35)

It's really about us and other institutions wanting to be sure that your students are gonna be successful. The second myth that I think is incredibly important for everyone to understand is the price versus cost myth. Um, the sticker price on higher education is very high and it can be daunting for a lot of families, especially first-generation families. I strongly encourage students not to discount an institution on price right out the gate. Um, I was a first-gen college student with what's a zero EFC student, so I came from a low socioeconomic background. Um, my most reasonable institution was a private institution that actually had the highest sticker price of any of the institutions that I applied to. This is not to say that we're negotiating price or like this is a car, a car lot. It's really that the way institutions use their financial aid dollars, either merit-based scholarships or need-based scholarships, is very different. And you kind of have to put your name in the hat and all these different institutions to know what you're going to get. And then the third one isn't really so much a myth that I'll say it's just a mixture of making sure that students are exploring the differences between public and private institutions. There are merits to both sides of the equation. There are a lot of differences and similarities, but I think that it's important for students and families not to write one or the other off in the very beginning of their process.

Grant Freking: (23:53)

Melissa, let's also give our listeners a handful of dates that they should be aware of if they're, if a, they're a student applying for college or if they're a parent, perhaps listening that wants to have their student apply for college.

Melissa Baer: (24:04)

Yeah. The most critical dates in this process are going to be the August 1st of your senior year. The common application opens for the University of Cincinnati and the Lindner College of Business. December 1st is the early action deadline, so greatest consideration for scholarships and admission. Um, late January is our first decision release date, so January 22nd this year. Mid-February, usually around Valentine's Day, we'll release merit-based scholarships. Um, and then May 1st is what's called the national candidate's reply date. It is generally late April to early May when you have to confirm your decision or commit to a college or university.

Grant Freking: (24:41)

Students and parents, be sure to mark down those important dates. My thanks to Melissa and Riley for joining me today. A friendly reminder that Bearcats Mean Business is available on Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube. On the next episode of Bearcats Mean Business, I'll be speaking to a member of Lindner Career Services to demystify co-op at Lindner. Go Bearcats.

Episode 1_Dean Lewis

On the first episode of Bearcats Mean Business, Lindner dean Marianne Lewis, PhD, details Lindner’s distinctive attributes: Among the topics discussed:

  • The uniqueness of co-op at Lindner + why it serves as a career launchpad
  • Our mission of empowering business problem solving
  • Why students from a range of backgrounds and stages in their lives turn to Lindner


Grant Freking: (00:01)


Welcome to the first episode of Bearcats Mean Business, a new podcast from the University of Cincinnati's, Carl H. Lindner College of Business. In the episodes to come, you will hear from Lindner students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, and more about a range of topics, including but not limited to, co-op, advice for prospective students and their parents, impactful faculty research and what a typical day looks like for a Lindner student. We want you to have an intimate understanding of the many exciting pathways that are possible at Lindner. My name is Grant Freking, Manager of College Communications and Marketing at Lindner, and I'm delighted to be your host. My first guest was a no-brainer. Now in her fifth academic year as Lindner's dean, it's Marianne Lewis. Welcome, Marianne. 

Marianne Lewis: (00:45)

Oh, thank you, grant. It's such a pleasure to be here, and as soon as you say in my fifth year, I'm just amazed how time flies when you're having fun. 

Grant Freking: (00:52)

Isn't that true? This is exciting, isn't it? I mean, I'm also glad selfishly that you're here with me for this first episode, Marianne. 'cause you are not only a veteran of public speaking, but of podcasting. 

Marianne Lewis: (01:03)

Well, I, I appreciate being first too. I mean, it's just a lot of fun. I, I like guinea pigging and, uh, experimenting. But I also love where this podcast studio is right in the heart of the business school. So it's great. 

Grant Freking: (01:13)

Well, with this being the inaugural episode, let's introduce people to Lindner, shall we? The Carl H. Lindner College of Business is a leading business school, consistently ranked in the top five nationally for co-op, which is short for cooperative education. For those that may be unfamiliar, co-op entails multiple paid professional work experiences undertaken by students. Through co-op students explore career options and build their skills, resumes and networks. Marianne, why is co-op an essential part of what we do here at Lindner? And what makes co-op at Lindner so unique? 

Marianne Lewis: (01:45)

I think co-op is just so critical, Grant. I mean, because really the more you understand the power of learning, the more I think you understand the power of experience, right? That really building this feedback loop where students learn something in the classroom, go out, try it, see what works for them specifically, and in various opportunities and instances, and then they come back and reflect and it just goes, that's the cycle. It keeps moving. I think the other piece, I, I mean I talk to so many alumni and to a one, they will say the most important thing they did while they were here was co-op. It doesn't mean that the classes don't matter. Right. It's that it was out in the quote-unquote real world. They realized some of the most important things. For example, what they didn't wanna do. 

Grant Freking: (02:34)

That was gonna be one of my points. 

Marianne Lewis: (02:35)

It has to be, you know, what do you take off that list, that infinite list of what do you wanna do when you grow up? Which we ask ourselves our entire lives. You just start to figure out what really excites you, what you're good at, what you don't wanna be good at. And that's perfectly fine, but that experience can become so personal and it really powers learning. 

Grant Freking: (02:56)

And I didn't personally co-op when I was in college, but having talked to current students and now former students, it's what you mentioned earlier, it's determining what they necessarily didn't want to do. Mm-Hmm. . And how that really helped them narrow down their options for their career fields, even if it's just slicing off one or two different areas of business and really helps them focus and kind of concentrates their, their interests that they build throughout being here at Lindner into funneling with what's best for them in their career. 

Marianne Lewis: (03:23)

Yeah, absolutely. Well, uh, you know, and I'd share a another aspect too. I mean, the more students have work experience or business experience, what does it change what you can do in a classroom? So, lemme give you the example. I mean, I'm a management professor. I teach leadership in particularly with a younger and a very inexperienced class. People can read and you can talk about some of these things and they'll say things like, isn't that obvious? And that is my sign that you haven't been out there because unfortunately, great leadership is rare and it's why you need to have some experiences. I mean, the number one reason people leave jobs is their boss. So how do you make more of that? And so, when students have actually had those experiences, suddenly, you know, you're talking and you're teaching in an undergraduate, uh, classroom where it feels like an MBA classroom because they have the experience and you say, okay, let's really talk about, you know, a boss from hell. Let's get serious about what's working and what's not. Mm-Hmm. . And when people can say, well, let me tell you what happened in my last co-op, right? Well, in my internship last summer, I had, you know, and, and now you get it on the table. And that variety matters. And it's really makes it much more powerful, especially in, in my view, some challenging topics like management and leadership. You gotta know the good, the bad, and the ugly. And that takes experience. 

Grant Freking: (04:44)

Well, we at Lindner certainly have experience crafting tomorrow's leaders, in my opinion. And part of our mission, and perhaps the mission, is empowering business problem solvers from the moment they step on campus. When a student thinking about studying business at Lindner hears or reads business problem solving Mm-Hmm. , what should they think about? Mm-Hmm.

Marianne Lewis: (05:05)

Uh, you know, I, I think come becoming focused on our mission of empowering business problem solvers was just like this light bulb for me. And it was a, a process we started the first semester I was here, really kinda getting our arms around what's our higher purpose? Because if you think about business problem solvers, actually, and I'd add the word empower. The first thing goes, what kind of problems do you wanna solve? That's a really personal question. What wakes you up in the morning, gets you fired up? What keeps you awake at night? And what could you, kind of skills problem solving skills could you be good at using? Right? I'm not a mathematical person, I know that about me. I am much more of a communicator, an innovator, but boy, I've met remarkable people who are incredibly analytical, very rigorous in their thinking. Alright, I immediately can start hearing different majors, different minors, the different kind of career paths. That's really powerful. And that's the empowering piece is we have lots of options, right? Right? We do lots of majors, minors, that's tools, experiences, but it's about figuring out what kind of problems do you wanna work on and what kind of tools do you wanna get really good at using and putting those together. And I love that mix. 

Grant Freking: (06:18)

And from our point of view from our faculty, it's about presenting those problems too. Because the students, they're, they're so young, they're so eager to learn, but they may not have, they have their own personal problems, but they may not be thinking about business problems. Yeah, exactly. Coming into the classroom, which is a fascinating thing to wind up, watch them grow up. And we have so many great students. And so, um, I know as you mentioned, as an instructor, that must be a thrilling feeling for you. 

Marianne Lewis: (06:40)

You know, it is Grant. And, but the other piece I would think was as soon as you were saying that about problems, and, and especially when you're coming in, say you're coming in out of high school, right? You might not know what a business problem is versus a personal problem. I think this has been, you know, I've been studying my work for about 25 years. I study tensions and competing demands, and I was always studying very business strategy problems. And the more I got into them, the more I realized the business problems I was working on are human problems. They're life problems. Right? So I'll give you an example. Uh, one of the really challenging things that very senior leaders have to focus on is this tension between short-term long-term, right? What do I do today versus what do I really dream about for tomorrow? 

Grant Freking: (07:23)

Constant balance. 

Marianne Lewis: (07:24)

The balance. But that's a human problem. I mean, you need that. What what am I gonna spend my time doing right today? What am I gonna work on in terms of putting my head down and getting things done to do my classes today versus dreaming and preparing for tomorrow? We will deal with short-term, long-term tensions our entire lives. So I think there are a host of business problems that you don't have to be in a big corporation. You could be in a nonprofit, you could be sitting at home and you would face the same kind of problems. So empowering business problem solvers is really a way to empower people in all walks of their life and in, in our society at large. 

Grant Freking: (08:04)

Well, speaking of future problem solvers, Marianne, you are constantly in front of current students at a wide variety of Lindner engagements. What are some of the common explanations students provide to you as to why they selected Lindner? 

Marianne Lewis: (08:18)

It, it varies. Certainly Grant, I mean, I'm a big believer that choosing your university is a vital and very personal decision, because it's about fit. And I think a big piece of it comes back to our prior discussion around co-op right? They see opportunity. They come here because they say, I want to try it out. I wanna figure out what I wanna do. I think though, it goes beyond that. I mean, when we talk about co-op and, and you know, work study opportunities, we're also talking about just broader experiential learning. You don't come to Lindner if you wanna be in an ivory tower 'cause that's not who we are, right? We're a place where we want roll up your sleeves and try things out. It's why we send so many students overseas for study abroad. We now do domestic travel, which we call study away. 

Marianne Lewis: (09:06)

Um, we do projects in the classrooms. All of these things are about practice, right? And feed that feedback and learning loop of say, have an experience, see what worked, what didn't reflect on it, try it again. Right? And I think a lot of students come to us because they say, I, I don't know what I don't know. And the best way to learn is through experience. I also certainly think they come to us, um, because of the variety of disciplines, majors, minors, areas of interest. I mean, we're incredibly good at, for example, analytics. We're one of the very best in the country. Same with marketing. We've got the fourth largest marketing program in the country. But you know, we're sitting in Procter and Gamble's backyard. That makes great sense. Mm-Hmm, . And I could give you kind of a whole laundry list of options for things you could study in Lindner and across this campus. But that, the beauty is, it's up to the students to start figuring that out. And unlike most business schools, we do two things in addition to co-op that are really unique. One, Grant, is our students start in business day one. And that matters. 

Grant Freking: (10:14)

First Year Experience.

Marianne Lewis: (10:15)

First Year Experience, just hit the ground running, start to build those skills, start to explore it. It doesn't mean for those listening, we don't care about the liberal arts. We absolutely do. I mean, we think you need all sorts of different kinds of insights to build a well-rounded you for the future, but the sooner you start in the business, the more opportunities you have. So you start day one. I think the other piece is, unlike most places, nearly all of our students are double majored. I mean, our students who really get started early, they have two majors, a minor, they've co-op'd and studied abroad. The earlier you start figuring out, Ooh, what do I wanna do? The more you can take advantage of what we have. And I love that it's a launching pad. 

Grant Freking: (10:58)

Perfect. That dovetails perfectly into my next point and question for you: pathways. Flexible pathways to be specific. The cover story of the 2023 issue of Portfolio, Lindner's annual magazine, explored the idea of all roads leading to Lindner. Writing that story, I was particularly intrigued by the notion of how the road less traveled, one marked by twists and turns is absolutely the norm for college students. As you and I both know, Marianne, students from a range of backgrounds, locations, and stages in their lives turn to Lindner. What does that mean for us to be able to accommodate the, that wide mix of students and who come to us from all these different directions? 

Marianne Lewis: (11:36)

I think it's a, it's a few things. And, and maybe before I share kind of those paths, I think one of the aha's, and for those of you who don't know my background, I was here for 18 years. I led our undergraduate program. I then did a Fulbright in London and then became a dean in London for four years. And while I was there, I was served on a number of groups that I've, I basically got had the privilege of studying and visiting business schools around the world, and particularly outside of the U.S. But even sometimes in the U.S. I found how very much most, uh, programs you get locked in early. Mm. And it was one of the many things that drew me back to UC and to Lindner, because I do not think that is in a student's best interest. When I left for London, I remember a stat, and I don't know what it is today, that the average undergraduate student changes majors five times. Wow. Yeah. And then it's like, okay, well let's see if we can't get through four of those your first year. Right? But that means that takes some real work. And if we lock you in and you have to start over, what, what a horrible waste of time, money. 

Grant Freking: (12:41)

Setting up both parties to fail. 

Marianne Lewis: (12:42)

Everything. Right? So I'll, I'll go back to kind of how, how do the, how do the pathways work because I, I love the flexibility of our pathways. It's something we continue to innovate and build on here at Lindner. And it fits into the experiential piece as well. So, you know, you start out that first year experience, you're working on project strategy, which means everyone is in a small team, they're working with a company, they're doing a SWOT analysis, which is a strategy kind of approach. And say you start to think, oh, I really like the marketing side. I like these questions. I'm asking about the customers and the markets. And okay, here I am at UC, P&G''s backyard, giant fabulous marketing program. I'm gonna start in marketing. That's great. You do that first co-op and you come back and say, oh, I like marketing. 

Marianne Lewis: (13:34)

But I don't know that I liked exactly what I was doing. I like, let's, let's, I'm playing with marketing. I mean, marketing is a huge tent. So now maybe I'm figuring out, you know what I'm the analytical, rigorous type. I'm gonna add say a double major in business analytics or economics. And I am really going, gonna go into market research and I'm gonna get into that nitty gritty of the power of big data. Or you come back and you realize, I love the creativity. Well now maybe I'm gonna go to CCM and digital media. Maybe I'm gonna go thinking about DAAP and some of the design. 

Grant Freking: (14:07)

Or dabble in entrepreneurship. 

Marianne Lewis: (14:08)

Dabble in entrepreneurship and, exactly right. You what what I'm doing? Or oh, the mind of the consumer. Now maybe I'm gonna go into anthropology or psychology. I mean that's where the world is your oyster truly, it opens up, but you don't even know where you might explore until you start taking steps forward. And then they start to veer. And now that path less taken is your path because every step is a little bit different because you're trying things out. And you might take a step backwards 'cause something didn't work. Totally fine. This is where you do it, this is where you experiment. Mm-Hmm. . And I love that. 

Grant Freking: (14:44)

And I think prospective students and current students can take comfort in the fact that there is maybe someone who doesn't have the identical journey to them, but someone whose journey is very similar. And I'm talking about transfer students, transition students, international students, students who might be parents, students in the military, any number of areas that they come from, there is a, a group for them, whether it's at Lindner mm-Hmm or someone, or, uh, a UC group that, that can support them. And we're also here to support them as well. So I think it's just having spent the last two and a half years storytelling on behalf of the Lindner College of Business and meeting all these different students as well as staff and faculty, it's just a constant, um, it feeds the engine of storytelling, talking to these different students and it's, it's such a great thing. 

Grant Freking: (15:28)

Speaking of Portfolio, which we touched on just a second ago, Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence Nick Castro,wrote in his annual state of inclusive excellence column that the recent academic year was one of quote explosive engagement by Lindner staff, students, and faculty. Now, there are so many ways in which Lindner supports and drives inclusive excellence, whether it's through student programs like business fellows, single-day events like Lindner women in businesses' empowerment day, to high school programs, notably Withrow Pathway to Lindner or the recently announced RDI Entrepreneurship Program at Saint Ursula Academy. How would you characterize Lindner's philosophy on inclusive excellence and making sure all of our students, staff, and faculty feel welcome here? 

Marianne Lewis: (16:10)

I love what we do in inclusive excellence. I so value Assistant Dean Nick Castro and the whole team and everybody involved. I mean, I think there are a couple of pieces to inclusive excellence, right? I'm gonna talk about kind of maybe the why first and then the how. I think in terms of the why, it's, there's a reason why I've always just deeply valued the label that we've used of inclusive excellence, um, because I do study tensions and, and even paradoxes. And I believe both of those terms are absolutely critical. Let's start with the excellence. Mm-Hmm. . The higher the bar we hold, the higher, the better students will do. I've seen it all my life. I believe in it fervently from tough love to great challenges, excellence matters. We will never lower that bar because it is absolutely what is best for students. 

Marianne Lewis: (16:57)

Then you add the inclusive, you've gotta have a place that you feel safe. You feel like you belong, you feel like you've got the support, because if the bar is that high, you will fail at times. And that's actually kind of part of the process. It's important. It's okay. We wanna build your confidence, your resilience, your skills through this process. So inclusion means you, you know, your people. You've got places and your team around you, from your advisor and your career coach to different student organizations that you just mentioned, mentioned some of, um, so that you have people who are going along the journey with you, but are also supporting you. And that to me is both the why is we need to be inclusive, to have the power of belonging in support. We need the bar high. That is the excellence and the how is through lots of efforts to build smaller places in a great big university where you're, you're known by name, you know, what matters, you know, you're cared about. And I think those two pieces just work really well together. 

Grant Freking: (18:06)

I think that's well said. And something I think about when, when it comes to not, not only, uh, inclusive excellence, but also just in general is listening to our students and hearing about their experiences. Because as we touched on earlier, the different pathways. Everyone comes in here with a different background, a different personal history. And I like to think we do a pretty good job of listening to our students, but there's always room for improvement. And as you, as you mentioned, we strive to keep that, that high bar and, um, work to make sure that all of our students feel welcome. Yeah. 

Marianne Lewis: (18:37)

Well, you know, and as you say that, obviously people like us, our faculty staff, I mean, we're here every day because we're committed to our students and we know that our students will listen as much or probably more to other students than anybody else. So the more we have student ambassadors, student leaders, other people in all of the organizations around inclusive excellence that are there for each other, I think that just takes everybody further. 

Grant Freking: (19:05)

Right. And those students are, happen to be instructed by some tremendous faculty. Lindner faculty are continuously producing research that impacts not only the business world, but our daily lives. They communicate the applications of their work, not only to our students — who often work alongside our faculty — but to industry leaders, academic publications, to media. Can you explain to our audience just how vital it is for Lindner to have engaged faculty experts? 

Marianne Lewis: (19:30)

Oh, it, it is so critical. I mean, and I understand what some people will say. I, does it matter that you're a Research 1, Carnegie Research 1 university? I don't even know what that means. Oh, it means a lot. I mean, the, the value of being a research institution means that your faculty are creating knowledge, not just disseminating it. So it means that we're not just teaching out of a textbook, we're writing the textbook. We're studying what's going on in organizations and in the world and pushing that envelope of what's new. Um, because the world is always changing. I mean, it's, the one constant, is change. And so having people that are the faculty as researchers means that they are always learning so that they can help their students learn. And that loop is really critical. I mean, I've said it before, but it matters to me, whether I'm dean or not, that I'm continuing to research and to teach because I see them working hand in glove. 

Marianne Lewis: (20:30)

The more, when I'm doing my research and I'm studying organizations and I'm learning and working with executives, I bring that right back into the classroom. And I can assure you, when I'm in the classroom, I'm learning what's working and what's not working from the students, and it's changing my research questions. And then it kind of goes back into my research. Um, and as a leader, and this is probably also because I study leadership, I get to practice it, which is phenomenal. And so then I, all these pieces, you know, really do work like a puzzle, but also maybe better like an engine fueling each other. And I love that the, the faculty here. Those that are doing the more traditional academic research are pushing the envelope. But we also have phenomenal educators who I consider professors of practice Mm-Hmm. , who have great industry experience that they bring into the classroom, and then they continue to build by working with executives externally. 

Grant Freking: (21:20)

And they bring that experience from the real world into the classroom by then not only teaching from the textbook or from the, the source text of what the class is about, but also by these projects. That's right. The experiential learning that occurs both, you know, I've walked around Lindner Hall and seen various experiments. Even in the business college, you can, you know, have those, those science-type experiments that, that happen, uh, throughout, throughout the way. Um, and it's, it's so cool to see. 

Marianne Lewis: (21:48)

Well, you're, you're absolutely right. And the other thing I, I always love and the Lindner Hall, the new Lindner Hall that we opened in 2019 is such a game changer. But we have visitors in this building every single day. We do. And it's phenomenal, right? And they're in the classroom, they're sharing what I consider living case studies, right? I kind of grew up, my father was at Harvard and they used case studies and I think I'll take our case studies over theirs any day because you've got someone actually giving you the messy, true story. It's not just a simplified version that's been written down. And I think that's great. 

Grant Freking: (22:20)

Marianne, before we wrap up, are there any other distinctions about Lindner that our listeners should be aware of? 

Marianne Lewis: (22:26)

You know, Grant, one of the things that I've really come to appreciate is Cincinnati. I love being an urban institution. We have a phenomenal business community. They are so engaged. It's what helps us always have visitors in this building. Um, but it, you know, it's also just helped me understand — you wouldn't study oceanography in a cornfield. And I sure think you don't study business there either because it lets you do so much more. 

Grant Freking: (22:52)

Well said. Well, that's all the time that we have. Thank you to dean Marianne Lewis for being our guest today. Remember, you can listen to Bearcats Mean Business on Spotify, YouTube, or Amazon Music. Stay tuned for our next episode, where I'll speak to a member of Lindner's undergraduate admissions office, and a current student, about all things admissions and applying to Lindner. So long for now.

Introducing Bearcats Mean Business and previewing forthcoming episodes.

Grant Freking: How do I gain admission to a top business school? What’s the deal with co-op? And what’s it like to be a Bearcat?

The University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business proudly presents Bearcats Mean Business, a new podcast where we’ll show you what it takes to gain admission to — and continuously achieve at — a leading co-op business school.

In the episodes to come, you will hear from Lindner students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and more about a range of topics, including — but not limited to — co-op, advice for prospective students and their parents, faculty research, and what a typical day looks like for a Lindner student.

We want you to gain a more intimate understanding of the many pathways that are possible at Lindner.

If you think you have what it takes to be a business problem solver, then Bearcats Mean Business is for you.

You can listen to Bearcats Mean Business on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube or wherever you listen to podcasts.