August 4, 2008

UC Names Professors Who Will Lead MBA Program

By George Hohmann, Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.

Aug. 4--CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The University of Charleston announced it has recruited two experienced professors to head the Master of Business Administration and Leadership program in its new Graduate School of Business.

Philip Pyburn and Kim Shin are a formidable team and "understand what we're trying to do with our problem-based curriculum," said Dean Charles Ryan, who announced the appointments. "It was our desire at the outset to attract a world-class faculty. We have succeeded beyond my expectations."

Edwin Welch, president of the university, said the appointments are examples of the level of leadership, entrepreneurial skills and international experience that the new graduate school will provide students.

Pyburn earned a doctorate in business strategy and technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Business and a master's in finance and information technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. He also earned a bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Maine.

"Phil has 25-plus years of experience in teaching," Ryan said. "He has been enormously successful as a consultant domestically and internationally."

Pyburn has been president, chairman, chief executive officer or senior partner with five startup organizations. "He understands and is on the cutting edge of the business world today and knows what businesses require of the MBAs they seek," Ryan said. "He has great technical skills."

Pyburn said, "The challenge in management education is the fact that consequential issues and decisions have many dimensions. You have to address them holistically. The problem at most schools is they have an accounting faculty, a marketing faculty, and so on. If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The marketing faculty tends to look at all problems as marketing problems, and so on. But consequential decisions are by nature holistic.

"The second challenge in almost every business program is, students are too young to have context. The way the top 5 or 10 business schools deal with this problem is, they matriculate students who are 28 or 29. They come with context with them."

The University of Charleston's program "really is uniquely designed to provide the context" because students will deal with "real, holistic business problems," Pyburn said.

The program will work closely with the management of Henry Harmon's companies, which means students will be involved in the evaluation of numerous private equity investment opportunities.

"Private equity is important because you invest in the whole business," Pyburn said. "At the end of the program I dare say these graduates will have seen more private equity opportunities than a junior associate in a private equity firm will have seen in five years. Combine this with internships in real businesses with real issues and you begin to sort out qualities of management and leadership in a way that is really unique. To my knowledge there's not another program like this anywhere in the world."

Shin is coming to the graduate program from the University of Charleston's Jones Division of Business, where she was an assistant professor. She has a doctorate in educational research and evaluation and a master's in applied statistics from The Ohio State University. She also earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati and worked on a doctorate in finance at the University of Arizona.

"Kim Shin brings great quantitative skills to the program," Ryan said. "She has been enormously successful in the business division here. She has a wonderful knowledge base of the students in the division. The number of students in this program from the division makes it rather compelling to have an understanding of who they are, how they've performed, what their goals are. She can provide an excellent transition for these students. She is terrific with these students. They love her. She's engaged with them, invested in seeing that they're prepared to succeed."

Shin said, "You get to know students personally -- their weaknesses and strengths. With this program, they'll know what to do in real life. I tried this in other classes, where they have projects. Sometimes they get along. Sometimes they can't get along. We tell them, 'That's real life. You don't pick your partners, your boss -- you have to deal with them.' You have to teach them how to work together on a real-life basis. I'm so excited our students can get this kind of real experience so they will be prepared to work. I'm excited to give our students that chance. The best part is, we personalize education."

Ryan said adjunct professors, visiting professors and visiting consultants from West Virginia and national business and professional programs also will be used in the program.

The university's Graduate School of Business will be on the second floor of the former Boll Furniture Building on Virginia Street East, downtown. The first day of class is Aug. 28.

Contact writer George Hohmann at [email protected]">[email protected] or (304) 348-4836.


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