Business school gets emotional

By Katie Smith, A&E Editor

Students entering the school of business for the next school year will be taking a series of assessments in emotional intelligence to assist them in deciding their career path.  

Dean of the school of business, Brett Andrews, said he has the intention of making Newman the top private business school in Kansas. To make this happen, he is focusing on the emotional intelligence levels of students.  

“What their [employers] are telling me is that yes, we need those technical skills that we all go to college for…. but they also need to see a greater degree of what we call… emotional intelligence, your ability to drive conversation to understand and discern and to make relationships with other people in business,” Andrews said.

Employers have talked with Andrews about what they believe potential employees to be lacking and he said he is determined to fix this.  

“Everybody I have talked to… they are seeing not less, but more need for people to be able to do this, to have conversation in person, in a personal way, that respects the nature of the individual and who they are to be able to monitor your own behavior to carry that conversation and persuasively get to an end.”

“To be able to translate the wonderful technical skill set that you have but be able to talk to somebody who doesn’t have it in such a simplified way that they understand it and can agree with you on a concept,” he said. “That’s all wrapped up in our individual abilities to be able to measure the emotional state of any conversation that we’re in... and to be able to modify our own behavior accordingly to match that and then once I’m there to drive that relationship over a period of time.”

He said he has decided the best way to do this is to require assessments for students entering the school of business.  These assessments will be a series of personality tests that are meant to help business students find careers that best align with their talents, skill sets and desires.  

He said he hopes that by doing this, it will save students time down the road.  

“The problem is that [deciding what major fits you] usually takes three years where the student floats around, different semesters, different classes, different professors, and finally latches on something they think they enjoy,” Andrews said. “I want to crash that down to one year and I want to be able to put new students through a battery of assessments at the very beginning of their business school experience that gives them a detailed breakdown of ‘here’s who you are.’”

Andrews said that once students are able to understand who they are, it will assist them in settling into a career path that is suited to them.  

“We can then connect that with careers and different industries that are going to require those skills because here’s what we want: When you get out of here, we want to connect you with a job that just makes you want to roll out of bed in the morning and makes you joyful to go to work because then it doesn’t really feel like work because there’s a high degree of alignment between your gifts and talents and what the job requires of you that you’re just going to work to help people, and by the way your getting a paycheck as a bonus,” he said.

Andrews said that employers see the difference in the dominance of students that come from Newman.  

“The folks that are hiring our students really enjoy, number one: their level of technical superiority, so what they get hired for they know really well.  The employers come back and say ‘please send me more of those wonderful students,” Andrews said. “There is an ‘IT’ factor that makes Newman students a little different and I believe that comes from the NSP program.”

Andrews said he hopes to integrate these assessments to the curriculum for incoming freshmen next year.

PHOTO: BRETT ANDREWS is looking forward to cutting out student’s time wasted trying to figure out what they want to do.  Courtesy Photo, Wichita Business Journal