Burnham Academic e-Portfolio

January 15, 2009

I get it!

Filed under: MBA Program Objectives — Colleen J Burnham @ 10:28 pm

I have struggled with what to use from my courses to demonstrate that I have accomplished the Thomas MBA program objectives. My best work has focused on evaluations, assessments, project and change planning specific to my own positioning at Thomas College. Because comprehensive evaluations must often include names and particulars, I cannot ethically post those reports and research papers. …an interesting conundrum… I can report in this venue, though, that I have recently had an experience that demonstrates a certain level of accomplishment of the objectives – at least I have the sense that I have come to know what I’m talking about.

As the adult daughter of a career commercial banker, who also fulfilled what he saw as his community duty by being a city and state representative, I have always been privy to conversations focused in and on the economy, fiscal responsibility, and the banking industry in general. Frankly, I listened, but never heard most of the litany… I worked in the banking industry for about six years back in the 70s, and even took a few American Institute of Banking (AIB) courses. But the financial and economic “stuff” never grabbed me the way it so obviously had my father. I liked the people, got a kick out being able to count money really fast, and knew early on that I wouldn’t be able to advance up through the organization without [at that time] a college education.

The primary thing my father and I have in common professionally is that the years we spent in the bank were back “in the old days”, before the industry so dramatically shifted as a result of deregulation, et al. We both are able to “remember when” there was healthy competition between the local banks, a true sense of community in each and all branch offices, and an ethically prudent approach to all lending. We both took the same AIB courses, learning equivalent pecuniary and negotiability strategies specific to the commercial banking industry, while specific to our own companies.

Without reciting the conversation I was able to have with my father that other day, I am pleased to report that I was able to hold my own ground for the first time. While we didn’t talk about specific laws that have impacted the industry, we discussed the predictions we had made in the 70s and again in the early 80s about fiscal responsibility. I was able to contribute intentions outlined by “The Framers” that were meant to prevent the country’s recent financial disaster when we found ourselves pulling apart the old “worry about monopolies”. I impressively pointed out the differences between the breaking up of the “Ma Bell” monopoly and the crossing of state lines [in the banking industry] that has resulted in an essential federal monopoly over lending. We excitedly explored the predictive power(s) of those indicators that we’d known and respected only as “rules of thumb” back in the “old world of banking”. And, finally, we commiserated that it’s a different world, and that we’re both glad we’re out of it.

Interestingly, we finally agree! And for reasoning that I’m not sure I could have articulated had I not participated in the particular course sequence that has occurred for me as a Thomas MBA candidate. The particular conversation began as a discussion about the old fashioned management trainee programs that the banking industry so successfully used to fill its management positions. The process of cultivation that produced loyal, vested, community-centered managers was more necessary to the success of a particular bank than the hiring of personnel who could count money. In the “old days”, a banker wasn’t simply a banker; he represented the organization in which he held a position, and exuded the personality of that organization. The customer and the organizational hierarchy expected and depended on that representation. [In my father’s house, this was a universal truth, extending to our personal representation of our family.]

That our discussion could travel from management trainee programs, logically through to monopolies, predictive indicators, and the agreement of what is going on in the world financially is the demonstrable event that I have “learned something”. Indeed, I remember saying something like, “I’ve listened to you for years. But now I understand!” I think the look on my father’s face when he realized that I wasn’t just talking through my hat, trying to make conversation was the “A+” for the “project”. That he recognized that I understood – well… it’s possible that we are finally colleagues.


December 8, 2008

Thomas College MBA Program Objectives

Filed under: MBA Program Objectives — Tags: , , — Colleen J Burnham @ 11:16 pm

Upon completion of the MBA, students will be able to:

Click on an outcome to view criteria, evidence explanation, and my reflections on the particular outcome. 

  • Outcome list is drawn from the Thomas College MBA Assessment Rubric (Pooler & Largay, 2008).

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