Eddy Trang, a 2015 Cal Poly graduate with a major in business and minors in history and Asian studies, has a passion for international travel and aspirations of working in international affairs and diplomacy. During his time as a student, Trang had the opportunity to travel to China as a part of the BUS 304 class, where he studied international supply chains in Asia’s biggest financial and manufacturing centers. It was there that Trang discovered his interest global affairs and interdependence, which has only grown stronger since his gradation.
Recently Trang earned a Fulbright Hays fellowship to attend the Consortium for the Teaching of Indonesian Summer Study abroad program in Salatiga, Indonesia. During his time there, Trang’s studies were centered on receiving advanced-level Indonesian language acquisition as well as immersing in the Indonesian culture focusing on history, literature, arts and performance, economics, political and social issues, as well as environment and global issues. Trang travels back to Indonesia this summer to complete this fellowship.
Aside from his successes in the Summer Advanced Indonesian Summer Study, Trang also received the prestigious Freeport McMoRan fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in Southeast Asian studies at Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). This program is one of the top four programs in the country for diplomacy/international affairs and international business and will no doubt help Trang as he prepares to begin a career in that field. Trang will begin the SAIS program in Washington, D.C. in the fall.
Growing up in a family of engineers and attending a tech-savvy school like Cal Poly gave Kim Hibler the step up she needed to achieve her successes in the tech industry. Hibler, a Cal Poly business graduate who studied management and human resources, has worked extensively in this fast-paced technology sector for companies like Dell and Citrix while pioneering the way for women in the industry.
During her time at Cal Poly, Hibler said one of the most valuable parts of her education was getting away from a siloed thinking and experiencing a little bit of what the other colleges had to offer. “I liked the diversity of what it allowed me to be engaged with,” Hibler said. “It’s almost like being a generalist rather than a specialist because I had the opportunity to learn from peers with different disciplines and specialities.” The diversity of her college education ultimately fostered her interest in technology and helped her to begin her career.
Upon graduation, Hibler got a job at a small startup, Voyager Systems, where she created their first ever employee handbook and operating manual. From there, Hibler soon became the director of training where she traveled internationally and taught employees and customers how to use Voyager System’s products.
During her international travels in the early 80’s through the middle east, Hibler experienced firsthand the gender disparities that permeated her industry. “Women didn’t do business like they did in the States,” Hibler said. “I saw very few women working with computers, and I found there were no women’s restrooms, in the places where I was going to work.”
Hibler never let the lack of women in her field discourage her from becoming successful, but rather it drove her to overcome and achieve success in her field while becoming a mentor for other women on the rise. During her career in the industry, Hibler has served as the regional vice president and was the first female general manager at Wyle Electronics. Additionally she served as the vice president of business development at PartMiner, held many positions at Dell including vice president of small and medium business, and currently works as the vice president of global sales at Citrix.
Throughout her career, she has learned that it is essential to ask for help when you need it. “The smartest people are the ones that ask for help,” Hibler said. “It’s hard for a young person to admit that they don’t know…but people want to help you, and asking for that help is sort of a gift.”
Hibler’s passion for technology will no doubt lead to her continued success in the industry, as she Learns by Doing and adapts to the changing business climate. “I don’t think anyone can sustain a career without Learn by Doing,” Hibler says. “If you’re just doing something without learning anything, then why would you want to do it?”
To Hibler, her work has always been rooted in a greater purpose of bringing people together around the world. “I love technology and I always have,” Hibler says. “I still work in technology today because I love what it enables the world to do. My career has really become about helping others succeed, the people who I work with and the customers who use the products we create.
To Hibler, her work has always been rooted in a greater purpose of bringing people together around the world. “I love technology and I always have,” Hibler says. “I still work in technology today because I love what it enables the world to do. My career has really become about leading technology and leading people.”
This year, the Orfalea College of Business welcomes three new management faculty who shape the Learn by Doing environment Cal Poly is known for. Hear about the outstanding accomplishments of these educators:
Bruce Greenbaum has joined the Orfalea College of Business faculty as an assistant professor of management. Before beginning his career in academics, Greenbaum worked as an investment banker for more than 12 years. He also worked as an IT systems consultant for three years, where he worked to develop customer service systems for multinational firms. Greenbaum spends his time researching the varied micro and macro-level effects of a firm’s strategic decisions, with his most recent research focusing on influence of CEO personality on firm innovation activities.
Benjamin Alexander has worked with both multi-national corporations, government institutions and volunteer organizations in Cambodia, Israel, and the United States before joining the Orfalea College of Business an assistant professor of management. Aside from his professional experience, Alexander also has conducted extensive research on social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility, looking more specifically at how for-profit organizations incorporate core social objectives and legal structures designed to accommodate multi-faceted firms. His research also looks at organizational institutionalism, focusing on the broader interface between business, business education and society.
Patricia Dahm graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in mechanical engineering before continuing on to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and her MBA from the University of Illinois. Before entering the world of academia, Dahm worked as an organizational effectiveness consultant, a finance manager and analyst for Sprint-Nextel. Now, she joins the Orfalea College of Business as an assistant professor of management. Her research, which has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and the Academy of Management proceedings, focuses on work-life integration, social roles, gender, and self-regulation of workplace behavior.
Jim Sena, Management Area chair and long-time faculty member, recently announced his retirement after 29 years at Cal Poly and 56 years working in his field.
Sena graduated from Xavier University of Ohio, earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and later his MBA. He also earned his master’s in information science from Dayton before earning his Ph.D. in organization theory and computer science from the University of Kentucky.
Sena spent much of his early working career researching and developing software systems including operating systems and compilers for NCR. Sena served on the ASA X3.4 standards committee for processor languages which defined the COBOL programming language. He also worked at Spindletop Research in Lexington developing water resource management systems before he began teaching business and computer science at the University of Louisville and the University of Houston in Clearlake. Also in Texas Jim worked as a senior scientist for Battelle Memorial Institute developing a variety of software systems including a procurement management system for NASA, a pharmaceutical testing system for major drug companies, and a pipeline inspection system for oil companies.
After teaching for three years at Texas A&M University, Sena began his career at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He has served as the Management Area chair for nine years and the Industrial Technology Area chair for three years. He played an integral role in building the information systems concentration curriculum. During his time on the Central Coast, he also made meaningful connections in industry to obtain equipment and software grants for the Orfalea College of Business, including the Cisco network lab and a Sun workstation lab. Sena also spent a year as a Fullbright Research Scholar at the Norwegian Institute of Technology. Aside from his research he consulted, developed, and managed operations for Executive Systems and worked on the Smart-Base system at the San Diego Naval Station.
In his research Sena has published an average of two to three journal articles a year for the past 32 years. He has focused on areas such as organizational business strategies, Security, Mobile workers, Social Networks, Business Intelligence, organizational analysis of Information Technology, Replication of Collins’ work (e.g. Great by Choice); Strategy Planning and Deployment. His publications over the last four years include articles in Issues in Information Systems, Journal of Information Systems and Applied Research. Journal of Business Management & Change, International Journal of Technology Diffusion, Journal of Enterprise Transformation, Journal of Business Inquiry, Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Change and the California Journal of Operations Management.
In addition to leading the Management Area in 2015 and 2016, he has taught organizational theory and strategy. At the end of spring quarter, Sena will officially retire from full-time teaching, and will begin working part-time as a part of the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP). Sena plans to spend his free time with his wife and dog while entertaining his hobbies of painting, swimming, playing racquetball and walking.
Management and human resources students in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business are currently working on their Learn by Doing senior projects, some of which involve consulting and researching for local businesses. Students leading these projects will be working with three local wineries as well as the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce as they collect and analyze data, develop new programs, and evaluate business strategies in an effort to help each organization achieve their unique goals.
A team of students will be working with the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, which focuses on advocating for healthy, vibrant commerce as well as considering the needs, perspectives and priorities of its community businesses. The students’ project is focused around planning and executing a “Business Walk” where teams of three to four people visit 10-12 businesses an hour to collect data through a four-question survey. The students’ aim to survey 85 percent of the businesses in Morro Bay, conducting more than 300 interviews over the course of the project. The team will also update databases of the websites, create map logistics for a proposed event, identify the media contacts to ultimately discuss the results of the business walk, and create the survey to be used.
Another Cal Poly team will advise Herman Story, a small, successful, winery in Paso Robles that produces nearly 10,000 cases of wine each year. Herman Story’s goal is to create a more refined and mature brand identity that appeals to higher end customers frequenting the region. To achieve this goal, the students will conduct market research on the current client base, a survey on its sales and distribution model, and interviews with current customers to provide analysis on new opportunities for the business.
Desperada, a small winery in Paso Robles that produces about 3,000 cases a year, is partnering with Cal Poly students as it attempts to reach a wider audience and increase profits. The student team will evaluate the current sales model and market strategies at the winery and suggest a plan to reach a wider audience directly. The team will help the business initiate a market shift to focus on “wine geeks,” who are immersed in the complexity and detail of wine and who can sustain the business as loyal customers going forward.
Last but not least, Cal Poly management students will be consulting Baker and Brain, boutique winery on the Central Coast. It was founded in 2009 and produces about 1,400 cases of wine annually. The team will create a plan to help the winery increase their direct sales to the clients. They will start with research on current consumers and create a report of social media and marketing strategy; a simulation of looking at numbers to calculating potential profits and setting goals for the future; a calendar of marketing actions for the upcoming year.
These projects are the ultimate opportunity for management and human resources students to Learn by Doing, with real data and real clients. After making final presentations to each business, Cal Poly’s students can see the effects of their recommendations take hold.
To connect with the Management and Human Resources Area so your business can work with Cal Poly students, contact Jean-Francois Coget at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Management students in BUS 386: Employee Training and Development are challenged to take their education into actual organizational situations, area business and non-profits by designing workforce learning programs that these organizations can actually implement. Thanks to Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing emphasis, students feel empowered to explore employee development needs based on actual business capability gaps and create a learning program that can make an immediate impact.
Management Lecturer Calvin Stevens taught a section of this course last fall with seven student groups who worked directly with Ralph’s Supermarkets, Collaboration Business Consulting, Central Coast Health, Richardson Properties and others. In each case, students took the lead to determine a need for employee and volunteer training and create a corresponding program suited to that business.
One such organization, the American Cancer Society (ACS), used the student-designed program to supplement their national training program for volunteers. After the class concluded, one member of the student team further developed the program for her senior project. She put the content into final form, down to the individual slides that the ASC would used in the training. ACS’ leadership is now determined and equipped to provide improved organizational training developed by Cal Poly management students.