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MEMO

To: Professor Donhauser From: Ryan Joyce-DiBart Subject: Evaluation of valuable skills needed for todays business. Date: 2/14/13 The article, "Wealth or Waste: Rethinking the Value of a Business Major.", discusses the growing trend of business being a major of choice for many college students. In the past, a business degree almost guaranteed placement in the students field of choice, which is a flawed idea in todays business setting. The undergraduate degrees focus too much on the nuts and bolts of finance and accounting, which doesnt enable students to diversify their education to gain a well-rounded understanding of todays needed dexterities. Furthermore, the article claims that certain skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, are needed to be capable of responding to the tasks that todays business world exhibits. I am Business Management major at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. To be a successful business manager, I am expected to gain knowledge of many aspects of business. From accounting to sales and marketing, I must be able to offer insight to those who look towards me for guidance as well as construct rules and guidelines for those who specialize in these fields. While managing a business, I must be capable of adapting to situations, which may be previously unseen. I must also be able to apply past experience to these new situations to solve the issues that arise in a confident and decisive manner. For example, if a companys server goes down right before a meeting with a client, the manager must be able to identify and fix the problem by either delegating the task to a specialized employee or re-working the meeting to eliminate server dependence. Critical thinking and problem solving tactics are a necessary skill when attempting to combat the uncertainty one faces in a business environment. Although thoroughly understanding finance and accounting will be essential to my management skillset, success in the industry goes far beyond these textbook skills. To further investigate how critical thinking and problem solving skills are essential to the success of today and tomorrows business practices, I interviewed an expert in the business field. Kevin Joyce is a Fund Accounting Director for Cisco Hedge Fund services. He is responsible for the supervision and review of hedge fund administration services and deliverables to a variety of hedge fund clients. Mr. Joyce supervises approximately 50 staff working on 40 fund groups. He must deal with a wide variety of communication throughout his daily schedule. In the normal course of his day, he must communicate internally with staff, peers, and superiors, and externally with client personnel. Often, problems require a larger group because they involve different areas of the business, facilitating these discussions among the appropriate group can be a challenge. He is asked to participate in longer-term projects, which require ongoing communication between team members and project leaders. In his office, business communication is

primarily done through email and conference calls, while certain clients rely heavily on physical meetings to ensure that all participants are knowledgeable and engaged in creating the appropriate solution. I had asked Mr. Joyce to read the Wall Street Journal article and he agrees that the current curriculum doesnt offer some much needed skills in the work force. He concurs that the articles premise, that college business graduates are often ill prepared to join the work force, is accurate. Because he is a vital component in the hiring process, he often finds and hires non-business grads for business roles based on the varied level of experiences of the candidates as well as their attitudes and communication skills during the interview process. Business and finance knowledge is still important in his line of work, because it shows, as Mr. Somers noted, a passion for the field. Mr. Joyce says he would, applaud the change in curriculum to one which produces more well-rounded critical thinkers. Due to his prolonged exposure to the business world, Mr. Joyce is able to dictate the skills that are dynamic to maintaining employment in such a competitive industry. Successful business people are those that have the ability and desire to listen to their clients and focus on what is important for their client to succeed. If a client feels that you are acting like a member of their team and focused on helping them succeed, your business relationship will flourish. The ability to recognize that you are always learning and where appropriate, acknowledge mistakes that you have made can play a large part in a long tenured employment. Those who will strive to give 110%, especially in situations that are less desirable, will stand out to management and be the last to go if a company needs to make cuts. Management and executives remember those that were prepared to do whatever it took to fix a problem, find a solution, and meet a deadline. Due to a recent explosion in globalization, Mr. Joyce states that understanding cultural differences in business centers around the globe are important. The ability to spend a semester abroad, working with companies in your chosen field is invaluable. Mr. Joyces insight on the necessary skills needed in the business world directly relate to the skills outlined in the WSJ article. In the current business environment, while obtaining fundamental business skills demonstrate a passion in the field, the ability to think critically and solve problems shows the real proficiency of a well-rounded and desirable business mind.

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