Three months into my tenure as Dean of the UTSA College of Business, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of spending my summer meeting with college faculty and students, UTSA administrators, alumni and community leaders. This has allowed me to learn more about the 40-year history of this institution and gain an appreciation for our areas of distinction.
And, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we’ve come a long way. I commend the faculty and staff who had a vision for UTSA and invested in this institution and the students to create the vibrant campus that we have today.
I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of this new chapter in UTSA’s growth. UTSA has had a great run, but we are not at a resting point, we are at an inflection point.
My mandate from President Romo was to create a Tier One business school. What does this mean? For the College of Business, this translates into increasing the prestige and reach of the college to achieve excellence. We want to create a College of Business where top scholars come to work, where top students come to learn and where businesses come for state-of-the-art knowledge and human capital.
Faculty play a key role in this pursuit of excellence by energetically engaging students in the learning process, by publishing research in leading journals and by engaging with local business leaders to help tackle important economic problems.
This is a solemn stewardship. We are not in this for ourselves, but for our students, our children, our community and for those to come.
This path to excellence will allow us to fundamentally change the lives of our graduates by helping them become career ready, future leaders who are not only competent in their disciplines, but who are equipped to solve complex problems. Graduates will leave campus in high demand with the skills necessary to become corporate-level managers of large enterprises or to pursue entrepreneurial ventures.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with some of our alumni who have gone on to attain leadership positions in top companies, oversee financial operations for large corporations and create successful entrepreneurial ventures. We have a legacy of success among our alumni, and in the future we envision developing an even deeper pool of highly-accomplished alumni. We will be the economic engine for wealth creation in South Texas.
How do we achieve this level of excellence? The first step is to clearly understand the dynamic environment in which we operate. Next we need to develop a strategy that takes us from where we are now to where we want to be. Finally, our strategy must be executable. The value of our strategy will be dependent on our ability to execute it. Or, as Michael Porter (the father of business strategy) once said, “Any strategy … is only as good as its execution.” Currently, I’m working with internal and external stakeholders to engage them in the strategic planning process to chart our course forward.
In defining this roadmap, we will need to focus our efforts in areas that have proven to be successful such as accounting, financial studies and entrepreneurship. We must also be mindful of the shifting business landscape and look for new opportunities that we may be well poised to pursue.
Business is dynamic, and the college needs to position itself to best leverage its unique capabilities with the future needs of business enterprises. For instance, big data, cloud computing and information assurance are current realities, yet they were hardly even in the business vernacular a decade ago. Our graduates need to be equipped with the skills that allow them to add value now and in the future.
I invite you to join me in this endeavor for excellence. Help us take the College of Business to the next level by mentoring our students, engaging with faculty in programs of interest and investing in and hiring our graduates. I look forward to working with you.
Wm. Gerard Sanders
Dean, Bodenstedt Chair and Professor of Management