Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Malcolm Baldrige's legacy lives on at The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business

You might have read our announcement last week that we've renamed our Business School "The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business." That announcement was the culmination of a great deal of effort in identifying someone whose legacy embodies the qualities, goal, and mission of our school. We knew there was no better name to attach to our School of Business than Malcolm Baldrige.

The biggest reason why is a century-long commitment to educating business men and women to live up to the standards set by Malcolm Baldrige. The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business focuses on innovation, entrepreneurship, excellence, integrity, and leadership -- the same qualities that led Baldrige to become one of the most well-regarded business luminaries. That tradition is more alive today at Post University than ever before. Here's how.

Baldrige as a businessman

To understand how Baldrige's legacy lives on at The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business, it's important to first know some of Baldrige's biggest accomplishments over his career and what his name now represents across business.

LEADERSHIP: Ronald Reagan and Malcolm
Baldrige
Baldrige made his first major business impact in Post University's hometown of Waterbury, Conn. He spent his early career here as chairman and CEO of Scovill, Inc. From 1962 to 1981, he led the transformation of the financially troubled brass mill into a highly diversified manufacturer of consumer, housing, and industrial goods.

Baldrige later gained further prominence as Secretary of Commerce under Ronald Reagan for his leadership on trade issues. He spearheaded efforts to pass the Export Trading Company Act of 1982, and chaired a Cabinet-level Trade Strike Force to find and end unfair trading practices. He also led the reform of the country's antitrust laws.

Baldrige's accomplishments led to the creation of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987 (shortly after his death). The act provides a framework for organizational quality, performance excellence, management, and continuous improvement.

Congress then developed the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which is the country's highest honor for recognizing innovation and performance excellence among U.S. organizations. The award committee evaluates organizations based on the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria. This criteria includes leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results.

           COWBOY: Baldrige was a leader, on and off the horse          
As a child, Baldrige worked as ranch hand and honed his roping talents. He was named Professional Rodeo Man of the Year in 1980, and he was inducted in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1984. Unfortunately, the rodeo led to his demise, and he passed away after a tragic rodeo accident in 1987. Baldrige left behind a legacy of being one of the most well-regarded business leaders, and was beloved by many.

Education that follows Baldrige's footsteps

Business has been the cornerstone of our institution since day one. Post University was founded in 1890 as a business school. We've since expanded and focused our business offerings into The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business as we've grown and created other schools under our university umbrella (School of Education, John P. Burke School of Public Service, and Post College).

Throughout our history, we've maintained a long tradition of developing business leaders who are adept at carving a positive career path with passion and skill. The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business curriculum is at the heart of this tradition. Here's a sampling of courses that demonstrate specific emphasis on Baldrige principles:
  • BUS505: Organizational Innovation and Creativity covers how to create and innovate in an organization, and why you should always challenge the status quo.
  • BUS508: Leadership and Management II focuses on understanding your leadership style, ethical leadership, and transformational leadership, with emphasis on continuous improvement, creativity, innovation.
  • BUS300: Total Quality Management addresses strategic business concepts and modern tools for managing quality and leading to create a quality-focused organization.
These outcomes are applied in different ways to our graduate and undergraduate business programs. The learning outcomes for our graduate program (online MBA program) are focused on preparing students to advance their business careers through the practical application of principles following approaches. The learning outcomes for our undergraduate programs at The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business are similar, but oriented more toward helping students achieve success in early-level business positions.

Baldrige's legacy comes full circle

We've featured many of our business students on our blog, who have proved that these learning outcomes can translate to career success. Selena Smith is one example. When we interviewed her, she said her MBA degree from Post University "paid dividends" for her career, because it enabled her to gain her promotion to Chief of Staff to the bank president at Webster Bank in Waterbury.

Selena said she not only acquired the tools and academic background necessary for handling change and innovation in her organization, she also developed the soft skills -- critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication -- needed to be successful in a higher business position.

Our Malcolm Baldrige School of Business learning outcomes help fuel our undergraduate student success as well. Take Mark Risbridger for instance, who will be earning his degree in business administration this December. As part of his studies, Mark interned with Contract Medical Manufacturing LLC in Oxford, Conn., where his focus was on quality improvement.

Mark told us he applied what he learned at Post University about quality and productivity issues and process improvement to help him in his internship. By the time the internship was over, Mark said he had been exposed to the entire manufacturing process and the importance of the quality process. When he returned to his hometown in the U.K. for the summer, he managed a restaurant at Wimbledon.

Looking back, the foundation that helped Selena, Mark, and many other students at The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business succeed, is built with the same qualities championed by Baldrige decades ago -- innovation, entrepreneurship, excellence, integrity, and leadership.

These are the qualities that produce leaders, advocates, pacesetters; people who ignite positive change, lasting excellence, and ongoing advancement. That's why there is no name more fitting for our School of Business than Malcolm Baldrige.

Business world, get ready to meet the new generation of graduates from The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business.