Notes from Ken Brown, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs

Welcome to My Blog!

Ken Brown

Hello, my name is Ken Brown. I am the Associate Dean for the Undergraduate Program in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. This blog will share my thoughts on work and life. Feel free to use the comment feature to send your thoughts, questions, and feedback. Happy reading and go Hawks!

Getting a step ahead

Did you know that future TCOB students will have a graduation requirement to complete a major experiential learning event, such as an internship or study abroad? We are working on details, and it won’t influence YOUR graduation requirements if you are a current student, but this is a heads-up that future Tippie students will all have that advantage. If you haven’t considering doing something “big” to help you advance your career goals, then you should start. If study abroad and internships aren’t for you because you are very focused on “classes,” then you should consider a class that will get you real world experience. Here is one example:

ENTR:4200 Entrepreneurship: Business Consulting

Student consultants in the Spring of 2014 will have an opportunity to learn how to be a project/task manager and consultant. The class is about fieldwork, teamwork, initiative, and building effective business relationships. There are no pre-requisites for TCOB juniors and seniors, and there are on-line, day and evening sections available. All majors are welcome.

This is exactly the type of experience that we are hoping that a new graduation requirement will help provide for all students. Why not take a look at this class and see if it fits your schedule? If you have questions, please contact:

What are you doing this summer?

The best use of any student’s summer is to make progress toward life and career goals. That effort might include taking summer classes, working a part-time job, volunteering in an unpaid internship, traveling, or even planning a wedding! There are so many options, and I’d encourage you to spend time now planning what you will do. Its not too early, and its never too late to make plans that will help you accomplish your goals. If you aren’t certain about what to do, take time over the next couple weeks to meet with an advisor, mentor, family, and friends.

I just met with a former Tippie student, Jon, who converted his summer internship as a College Pro painter into a full-time job. Although he worked other sales jobs, he found this job particularly challenging and rewarding and decided to make it his career. He is currently recruiting for positions in two specific areas (Quad Cities and Rockford, IL). If you aren’t certain what you are going to do, wouldn’t mind a real challenge managing and selling, and will be in one of these areas, read on. If you would like to learn more, send Jon an email at with a resume attached.

College Pro is currently recruiting to Business and Management positions in the Quad Cities and Rockford, IL areas. The position is perfect for students and recent graduates because it provides real-life business experience in a variety of areas including financial management, sales, leadership, marketing, and customer service.

College Pro is a student development company with over 750 Franchise Managers throughout the United States and Canada. We have been in business since 1971 and have been recognized locally and nationally as one of the top programs available today. We are a house-painting company, but we are not looking for painters right now. We are currently recruiting our management team for the spring and summer of 2015.

This program is designed specifically for individuals who want to gain a real edge over their peers and would like to build their resume for a great future. As a College Pro Franchise Manager, you’ll oversee a territory and complete all aspects of the business including marketing, sales, financial management, recruiting/leading a team, and customer service. We have an extensive training program that comes with daily support and guidance. Many of our Managers participate for more than one year and some are promoted to full-time roles within our company.

We are interviewing candidates now and the positions starts in January. Our Franchise Managers work part-time from January to May and full-time during their summer break from school. The hours are flexible and are primarily on the weekends and in the evenings. Our program fits around the typical academic schedule and is catered to students.

Who are we looking for? You do not need business experience to complete our Management program. We select our Franchise Managers based on whether we feel they’ll be successful – not based on a specific major, GPA, or year in school. Specifically, we are looking for individuals that have shown the following characteristics in school, sports, extra-curricular activities or previous jobs.

- You are a dedicated, hard worker.
- You have a preference to be a leader.
- You like to set and hit goals.
- You are open-minded to coaching and development.
- You can make decisions and don’t mind working independently.
- You have a desire to do something different and to gain a serious edge on your peers.

Again, if you would like to learn more, send Jon an email at with a resume attached.

A few great things about San Antonio

I’m here in San Antonio for an AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) event. AACSB is the non-profit association that accredits business schools, and all of their meetings are great gatherings of business school leaders from around the world. This meeting is no exception, and I’m enjoying meeting my colleagues from schools around the US, UK, and Mexico. I have not seen anyone from China, Korea, India, Japan, or elsewhere in Asia, but I am still making my way around to meeting attendees. I will keep looking.

A few great things about the city of San Antonio, where the event is hosted:

1) Its a city with blended culture — Tex-Mex at the best with vibrant colors and outstanding food!

2) Their weather is warm, and the people are friendly.

3) The Riverwalk (see picture) is both scenic and lively, a great place to walk, shop, and eat.

This is my second trip to San Antonio, and I’m willing to come back anytime.

[Photocredit: Gayla Schultz via Pinterest. Apologies for stock photo, but it is better than the one I took!]

Sustainability at Patagonia

Rick Ridgeway, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia, is visiting TCOB this week. Ridgeway will be available in one of Dave Collin’s classes and at the following two events on Wednesday, November 5. Thanks, Dave, for bringing Ridgeway to TCOB. I encourage everyone to attend and learn from an industry legend:

Rick Ridgeway Reception
3:45 PM – 4:45 PM
Location: Howe Galleria, PBB
Tippie welcomes Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s vice president of environmental affairs, to the University of Iowa campus. Rick will speak about sustainability in business following the reception.  More information
Rick Ridgeway: Patagonia and Sustainability
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Location: Macbride Hall
Rick Ridgeway oversees environmental and sustainability initiatives at Patagonia, including Freedom to Roam, Common Threads, and the Footprint Chronicles. He has produced and directed several documentaries, authored six books, and written for National Geographic Magazine and the Harvard Business Review. To celebrate the event, the Tippie College of Business has partnered with Iowa City’s Active Endeavors, who is offering 15% off Patagonia apparel from 12-4 p.m. on November 5 (mention Ridgeway at the register). Students are encouraged to wear their Patagonia gear to the event and watch Twitter (#PatagoniaUI, @ActiveEndeavIC) and Instagram (tippiecollege, activeendeavic) for giveaways throughout the day. 

Nominate a professor this week!

TCOB leadership is inviting nominations for the President & Provost Awards for Teaching Excellence. This award was established by the President and Provost of the university, is distinct from the Tippie Collegiate and Dean’s Teaching Awards, and has a separate nomination process. It is considered to be the highest teaching award here on campus. Prior Tippie winners have included Nancy Hauserman, Todd Houge, Jay Christensen-Szalanski, and me.

Anyone can nominate anyone who teaches regular Tippie classes. The Council on Teaching suggests that nominees possess qualities listed on the Guide located at:

Nominations should be submitted through this web site no later than October 31

Please consider nominating someone!


Great to come home!

I spent half the weekend at the University of Minnesota for a leadership program along with a few other Iowa faculty (Professors Afifi, Bohannan, Thein). They are a brilliant and fun group. Together we learned a lot from other faculty and administrators around the CIC (Big Ten plus the University of Chicago, which together form the largest academic consortium in the world). I was particularly impressed with the University of Minnesota, which has light rail that runs through campus and the tunnels that connect the buildings — great features for their crazy winters. We were back by Saturday night and I spent Sunday around town.

I was glad to be home in Iowa City for at least some of the weekend because, even though we aren’t a big city like Minneapolis, we have an amazing university and an outstanding community.

While I was away, UPO staff helped other University officials host the first annual You@UI event, showcasing this great campus to nearly 3000 visitors. Take a look at some of the Tweets by attendees:

Found the perfect school for me!
Soooo, University of Iowa was pretty rad 
: Had such an amazing time at my  can’t wait to call Iowa City my home!
: Every time I’m on campus, I get a little more excited to be a Hawkeye
: I don’t wanna leave IC I love it to much! SO ready to be up here next year!
Visitors agree that the University is a great place to be. So overall, it was a great weekend in Iowa City. The only thing that would have made it better for me would have been to have been here ALL weekend!

Who are you going to cheer for?

The day it was announced that University of Maryland was joining the Big Ten was the day that four phases of my life began to come together.

First, I grew up in Maryland (where my father still lives) and attended many camps and events on campus while growing up. My childhood memories include many moments on the Maryland campus.

Second, I attended as an undergraduate. My five (yes, five) years there were truly transformative. I did everything I could to get the most from the experience: (1) research with a faculty member, (2) an honors thesis, (3) an internship, (4) study abroad, and (5) student organization leadership experiences. I love that institution for the opportunities it provided me. Part of me will always be a Terp.

Third, I met my wife there, and we were married in the Memorial Chapel on campus, a beautiful building overlooking the famous Fraternity Row.

But for the last 16 years, I’ve built a life here in Iowa City and come to love the University of Iowa. I have learned so much working here and made more lifelong friends than I ever thought possible. And now my kids are building childhood memories here on our beautiful campus. I am now a Hawkeye.

These four phases of my life — childhood, college, early adult, and now “mature-adult” life — all came crashing together this weekend. Iowa played Maryland for their homecoming game, and I flew in to visit family, friends, and past mentors at the University.

The most common question I heard all weekend was, “Who are you going to cheer for?” It’s a fair question. How should I reconcile different parts of my life? As you can tell from my short description of how I spent my time at Maryland, I don’t like to chose one thing over another. I like to do as much as I can.

So my solution was simple — I wore a Hawkeye jacket and a Maryland alumni shirt. I cheered for every good play, no matter whose it was. I was sad to see the Hawkeyes lose but happy to know that Maryland is not completely out of its league in the Big Ten. That is, of course, until February 6, when Iowa wrestles Maryland. Then the Terps will be out-classed, out-hustled, and demoralized.

In the meantime, I was happy to spend this weekend cheering on two great public universities and spending time with friends, old and new!


Feeling old and energized by homecoming

With homecoming weekend, I had the opportunity to catch up with alumni who came by TCOB for a Friday BBQ. At the risk of leaving out someone I talked to, I wanted to highlight a few conversations. First, I had breakfast with Corey Collins, former YAPA Founder and BSAO member (among other activities). He is loving his new job at Insight Global in Chicago and doing really well. Second, I met up with Laura Westercamp (briefly) because she was here for the JPEC Advisory Board. She is loving her job at Accenture, particularly the opportunity to work with a client in Switzerland. I also saw her sister, Jeralyn, who is a Tippie grad but pursuing her MHA still at Iowa, so I don’t count her as an official alumna yet. Both are loving life and say great things about how their undergraduate experiences prepared them for their current work. Finally, I saw Aaron Rogers, who was one of the very first honors students that I supervised. He looks great and is working as a trial lawyer in the Attorney General’s office Des Moines, and is in fact, heading into court this coming Thursday on a big case. It was so great to see him as we talked and walked to the parade together. But I left feeling a bit old because Aaron wasn’t just in town to visit his TCOB family. He was in town for his 10-year law school reunion! So he has been a member of the bar for 10 years now, which I think qualifies him as an experienced professional. He still looks young to me!

What a great weekend. I left the BBQ energized, and was excited to see the Hawks get a football win over Indiana, too. Seems like Hawkeyes are winning all over the place!

Ken Brown has been teaching at the University of Iowa since 1998. Despite being born in Texas and growing up in Maryland, Ken is almost an Iowa native. His parents met here in graduate school back in the 1960's, and married soon thereafter. Without the fantastic programs here at the University to lure people from all over, Ken wouldn't be here today. Or be anywhere for that matter. View Ken's Tippie profile.