Commencement is a wonderful time of year--full of reflection and expectation. As thousands of Lundquist College of Business students celebrated becoming Lundquist College alumni June 9-14, our faculty and staff too exalted in this special annual ritual. We take great pride in the accomplishments of our students.
Yet around this occasion I am often asked about job prospects for graduates given the current economy. The advice I give to graduating students is to focus on something they are passionate about, and not be afraid to take a chance. Consider that when I graduated, the expectation was that I’d have something on the order of three to four careers in my lifetime. Today, that statistic is fourteen. Fourteen! These career changes can be jumps that cross not just organizations but industries and areas of competency. One might start in sales, then jump to marketing, ending up in management, and maybe ten years from now do something completely different that just happens to leverage the skills attained at the Lundquist College--many of which are liberal art skills more than vocational skills.
The focus on blending a liberal arts education with business savvy is in fact what sets the UO Lundquist College of Business and its graduates apart. A collaborative expose by The Chronicle of Higher Education and The New York Times in April (http://chronicle.com/article/Business-Educators-Struggle-to/127108/) posited that vocation-based business curricula are ill-preparing students to succeed after graduation. I firmly believe, however, that because of our liberal arts foundation we are bucking this trend.
Students come to the Lundquist College of Business because they seek an education that is grounded in the application of business skills. We don't train people. We teach them how to think: how to analyze a situation, understand what’s happening, make an argument, and present and defend a decision, recommendation, or idea. And teach them how to work in teams, collaborate, and lead.
As we continue to pursue our strategies as a college and university, I believe we are in an ideal position to push the boundaries of business education and graduate students who will continue to go forth to propel industries and society to new levels of success. And, judging by the confident smiles last week, so our do our newly minted alumni.
With best regards and thanks to all who contribute to our vision.
Cornelis A. "Kees" de Kluyver, Dean
Rippey Distinguished Professor