Q&A with Professor Vaughn Calhoun on Business

Posted by Sandy Lashin-Curewitz | June 21, 2016

If you're like some of Becker's business students, your dream may be to become a trainer for law enforcement K-9s, run your own law practice, or be the co-founder of a game design company. No matter your goals, a business degree from Becker College is the place to start.

In this Q&A with the Director of Becker's business program, Professor Vaughn Calhoun, you'll learn more about earning your business degree at Becker and what it takes to be successful in this high-demand and evolving field.

Q&A with Professor Vaughn Calhoun on BusinessWhat makes the business program at Becker unique?

At Becker, we have our eyes set on the future. Several studies have noted that 65 percent of students will work in jobs that do not yet exist. Our process for embracing this is not putting so much emphasis on the learning of content, but an emphasis on how to learn, how to adapt our thinking, and how to do something that robots and computers can’t doembrace creativity and emotional intelligence. Computers are programmed to do X in order to get Y, while human beings are innately creative. Thus, we are on a mission to revitalize our students' creative juices, and to get them to see the possibilities of the future and how to create value for the world. 

When did you realize you could combine sports with business in your career, and what does that say about the opportunities that exist in this industry?

The interesting thing about sports is that they prepare you in ways that mirror businessmental toughness, working with teams, working independently, coping with failure, managing success, knowing how to prepare, and the list goes on. The interesting thing is that when you are playing sports, at least for me, I was not consciously aware I possessed these skills or that I was in the midst of developing them. It was not until I began to work in business, first in sales, then politics, and then recruiting, that I realized sports prepared me not just for a sports game, but the game of life. This is a testament to the intangible skills that sports provide, and to the skills that are required to be successful in business. Having the tangibles, such as a bachelor’s degree in business, is great, but if a person doesn’t have the grit to keep going when things don’t go as planned, then you’ll find yourself in a pretty tough position. For those who can embrace this form of competition, you’ll find that the opportunities for success are endless.

What’s a common misconception many students have about studying business in college?

Majoring in business is interesting in that it doesn’t naturally lead to a specific career per se, such as a nursing degree, or an accounting degree, or a teaching degree. A business degree is so flexible that it can lead to almost anything you can imagine. With great flexibility and many potential career paths to choose from, students have to actively seek out information from books, articles, people, and internships to assess their personal strengths, likes, and dislikes. Thus, the biggest misconception (or mistake) students make is not doing any of these things. I always tell my students, if you want to pursue a particular career path, you have to become somewhat obsessive about learning about itknow what it is about, know the pathways into the field, know who the leaders in the field are, ask for informational interviews, know where the industry is headed, and know how your skills match up with what the industry needs. This is the level of engagement that is required in this field, because if you aren’t doing it, someone else is.

You’re pretty active on Twitter. What would you tell prospective students about social media?

There is definitely a right way and wrong way to engage on social media, especially for students who are seeking to become professionals. The first interesting thing about social media is that everyone is watchingwhether you know it or not. Once you press "post," it is out there. I tell my students: if it’s questionable, don’t post it. The flip side is that social media is an amazing tool for building your personal brand. If you are passionate about marketing, there is nothing stopping you from sharing your passion with the world through blogging, tweeting, sharing photos, commenting on articles, or connecting with industry professionals. Use it and use it often, but be careful what you post, because your future employer, business partner, or customers could be watching.

To learn from more business-minded professionals like Professor Calhoun, submit your application today. Our rolling admissions policy means you can still apply for Fall 2016 entry.

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Topics: Academics

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