Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Pop Icon Justin Bieber Inspires UC B-School

Monday, December 19, 2016 6:25 PM
Larger-than-life model is a symbol of transformation in the Lindner College of Business.

Teen pop star Justin Bieber is at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business—well, sort of.

A larger-than-life cardboard "cut-out" of Bieber surfaced in the college to depict a new approach that defines characteristics faculty aspire to cultivate in undergraduate students before they graduate to the business world.

Under a working acronym, PACE is a pathway embodying attributes of professionalism, academics, character and engagement. These elements are touchpoint opportunities for faculty to instill in students as tools they need to be successful not only in college but beyond.

“PACE mechanically lays down the steps to equip students with what they need to enter the real world,” says Ruth Seiple, associate professor-educator of operations management. Seiple is helping to lead the PACE charge, along with 20 faculty and staff, as part of the Undergraduate Program Team committee. Each letter in the PACE acronym has a subcommittee.

Seiple purchased the cardboard cut-out online as a visual metaphor for one segment of incoming freshmen. After he arrived by mail, she unfolded him, dressed him in a suit jacket and tie and brought him to campus.  

Meanwhile, Bieber has been all the rage at the Lindner College of Business and has been getting to know his surroundings. He’s been spotted on the elevator and muscles his way into meetings and classrooms. He’s posed for pictures and has been known to hide out in various faculty offices, even venturing off campus to a high school recruitment event.

Colleagues in each department added their own flavor—a plastic pocket protector with calculator from accounting, luggage from international programs, a Lindner College of Business T-shirt from the undergraduate office, an iPad from information systems, student-designed shoes from entrepreneurship and other emblems of a business professional such as a cellphone, key chain lanyard and more.

Bieber’s journey is a symbolic transformation of what freshmen will undergo as a result of all experiences and faculty preparation to meet workplace demands, Seiple says.

Aside from Bieber, three additional student profiles have been created to meet varied needs of all UC students. Along with Bieber, the traditional student, there’s Molly Commuter, Greg Returning and Sasha International that also represent the Lindner College of Business diversity.

“Although the end goal may be the same in preparing students to become real-world ready, the timing and activities needed to reach that success may differ among each type of student,” says Jane Sojka, director of UC Sales Center and associate professor-educator of marketing, and PACE committee member.

For all students, the Lindner College of Business offers additional support services to help in this real-world ready transformation. Staff advisors are on hand to help with curriculum requirements, as well as with study abroad, co-op and internship questions. A career services team provides valuable job services such as résumé review, interview coaching and other professional development opportunities to land a dream job.

“The PACE team is trying to have all the elements throughout a student’s years at UC and want to have them embedded into the curriculum,” says Joy Murphy, director of corporate relations in the Lindner College of Business, and member of the “P” for professionalism subcommittee that is at the core of her Career Services team.

Of the four student profiles, no doubt Bieber, a la “the traditional student,” is the most recognizable, but faculty and staff are dedicated to ensuring success for every student at the college. 

“Our wish is to have all business students leave college as seasoned pros,” Seiple says.