Faculty Spotlight: Taryn Stanko

Taryn Stanko, assistant professor of management
Specialties: negotiations

What attracted you to Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo?
Too many things to list! I love the friendliness of the community within the Orfalea College of Business and was very struck by the level of collegiality within my own area. I also was very drawn to the Learn by Doing emphasis that permeates Cal Poly’s culture because I feel it aligns with my own teaching style and approach. These factors combined with the natural beauty of San Luis Obispo meant I was sold after my first visit!

What industry positions have you held?
I have worked for two companies at opposite ends of the size spectrum: Paramount Pictures and a startup called Berland Technologies. In both jobs I developed customized business solution software, among other things, and learned a great deal about the differences between working for a large corporation vs. a small startup.

How has your subject changed in the last five years?
Some organizations are moving more toward self-managed teams (see Zappos’ evolution in becoming a “holocracy”) and more entrepreneurial self-starting cultures. This puts greater responsibility on each employee to lead, motivate, and otherwise deeply understand organizational behavior and negotiation to be successful.

What are your favorite parts about teaching at Cal Poly?
My favorite part about teaching at Cal Poly is the emphasis on Learn by Doing and the enthusiasm.

How have you Learned by Doing personally?
I tackled computer programming by learning on the job.

How have you challenged your students?
I do a number of simulations that put students in high-pressure competitive situations to challenge their ability to think on their feet and make decisions in the context of ambiguous information. In doing so, I try to push students outside their comfort zone so that they can better understand what their strengths and limitations are and thus help them grow.

What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?
The biggest challenge I continually face is striving for balance. Life is a balancing act in dividing my time between the different parts of my job: working on research projects, going through the publication process, teaching in the classroom, and working with students on projects outside the classroom. This juggling act amounts to what I refer to as a high-class problem – too many things that I enjoy doing and always wishing there was a little more time available for each!

Who is your go-to for faculty collaboration at Cal Poly?
Over the last few months, I’ve been enjoying working with Professor Jim Sena on new research projects exploring employee attitudes toward information technology use in organizations.

How have your students changed in the last five years?
Students have become more technologically savvy in the last five years and have become increasingly skilled at harnessing online resources as part of their daily life at work and school.

What has been your favorite moment from this last year of teaching?
I’ve had students say that they asked for things in the context of a salary/job offer negotiation that they might not have had the courage or the foresight to ask for before taking the negotiations course. Obviously messages like that are the sort that make my job very meaningful.

What is your hidden talent or hobby?
Over the years I’ve actually taken quite a few classes in an effort to learn Spanish and would like to lead a group of students on a Spanish study abroad and do a sabbatical in Spain in the future.

What’s your favorite thing about San Luis Obispo?
My favorite thing about San Luis Obispo so far is its amazing natural beauty. Every day as I drive to and from work, I admire the breathtaking and dramatic views of the coastline and am reminded just how lucky I am to live here.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
When I was working on my Ph.D. I was told by a senior professor to break down any large task, like a dissertation, into its smallest component. If you take challenges that seem insurmountable one day (or one piece) at a time, you can make it through almost anything.

Business Club to Host “Preparing for the Workforce” Panel Discussion

Cal Poly’s Information Systems Association (ISA), the Orfalea College of Business and Career Services will host “Preparing for the Workforce,” a panel discussion about gender equality in the workforce on Monday, April 27 from 6-8 p.m in the Cal Poly’s Chumash Auditorium. This year’s theme is “Being Your Personal Advocate.”

The event, moderated by Cal Poly Provost Kathleen Enz Finken,  will feature female business leaders from the technology sector, including several Cal Poly alumni, who will share their own experiences and answer questions from Cal Poly students.

Panelists include Gina Roldan (B.S., Business Administration, 1996) of Microsoft, Avital Arora of NetApp, Isabella Guise of Egnyte, Christine Songco Lau (B.S., Business Administration, 1999) of Google, Jo Anne Miller of Golden Seeds , and Marina de la Torre of Mindbody.

The discussion will help attendees to understand personal strengths, recognize different leadership roles in the workplace and the classroom, and help create a strong personal network. The event will conclude with a small small-group session where each panelists will work directly with a group of Cal Poly students.

This is the second year ISA has hosted “Preparing for the Workforce.”the panel discussion. Its mission is to create an open dialog about gender in the workplace, to encourage everyone,  — not just women, — to resolve issues and promote a cohesive, productive work environment.


About the Information Systems Association:

Cal Poly’s Information Systems Association is a professional club for all students interested in the information systems field. Through weekly meetings, recruiting events, professional speakers and social gatherings, ISA aims to guide information systems students in making professional decisions, building a professional network, and finding satisfying careers. For more information, visit http://www.isa.calpoly.edu/.

Cal Poly Information Systems Students Take Second at Ernst & Young Case Competition

EY Beam Abroad 2015A team of information systems students from Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business took second in the regional phase of Ernst & Young’s Beam Abroad Case Competition in Los Angeles. Cal Poly competed against teams from UC Berkley, Brigham Young University, Santa Clara University, USC and the University of Washington, which won the competition.

The team included information systems students Nathan Miner, Alec Toppenberg, Melanie Tsoi and Emily Wong with finance student Kenton Assadi. Competing under the name “Team MAST,” the students presented findings on a case developed by EY professionals in its advisory and risk practices. Teams worked with an EY mentor as they identified the case’s potential risk, provided control recommendations a client could implement, and defended its rationale.

Team MAST won the opportunity to represent Cal Poly after taking first in an on-campus competition in March.

Last year, Cal Poly won EY’s regional Beam Abroad Case Competition and advanced to the national competition in San Francisco.

Cal Poly Launches Professional Certificate in Business Analytics

IMG_7199Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business is accepting applications for its new Business Analytics Certificate Program*, a five-course interdisciplinary degree aimed at business leaders who use data to analyze and solve fundamental business problems.

Cal Poly plans to offering the program in June. The certificate program’s proposed curriculum includes classes related to statistics, data mining, data management, econometrics, and marketing analytics taken over two quarters.

Reflecting Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy, courses would give students hands-on experience with the quantitative tools necessary to analyze data sets of all sizes and types, including Oracle programs, SAS Enterprise Miner for data mining, and R programming language for regression analysis. The program aims to make a direct impact on local business leaders who need to visualize and analyze data before communicating insights to a larger team.

“We’re building this program in response to a demand for business professionals who can make data-driven decisions,” said Sanjiv Jaggia, the Orfalea College of Business’ associate dean for graduate programs. “This would be the perfect complement to an undergraduate degree in business, engineering, science or math, especially for professionals looking to enhance their skills for tomorrow’s economy.”

Jaggia sites industry trends that forecast demand for data analysts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported, “Companies of all sizes are expected to add enough data analysts that, as a group, the job category should grow by 45 percent through 2018, making it among the fastest-growing career choices out there.”

*The program is pending final approval.

For more information, visit https://gradbusiness.calpoly.edu/ms-business-analytics/ .