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!

Tippie Graduation

One of our outstanding grads did a “Go Pro” graduation mix. I saw the camera at the time, and I’m so glad he shared it. Congratulations to all grads! We are so proud…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday celebrations. I began my “holiday break” by teaching in Italy, then traveling to Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York. I managed to catch a few shows, some great meals, and the flu.

Illness aside, it was a great collection of experiences. I loved Newsies in Chicago, which has set a record for the largest grossing show in Chicago theater history. A fun show, if you like song and dance.

I also loved the MBA students in Italy. We even posed for a last day picture holding a Euro note that we used as part of a class exercise. Thanks, Kent, for taking and sending the picture, and to everyone for a great class.

cimba group shot


Its been too long since I posted! I’ve been buried in administrative and academic work, leading right up until my flight to Italy. I am here teaching an MBA course in management at our CIMBA program.

This is my second time here, and as before, I have many memorable moments. Meeting the students and learning about their work, living in a small town in the shadow of a beautiful mountain range, working with the charming faculty and staff, and eating incredible food all add up to a great experience.

At a restaurant the other night, I had an appetizer of warm roasted pumpkin with a cracker and parmesan gelato. You read that right — warm and cold, soft and crunchy, sweet and salty all mixed together. The rest of the meal was just as good but I will always remember this as a great example of the care and thought that goes into cooking in many places in Italy.

Okay, one more examplpizza with friese, a little less high-brow. I had a pizza last night with French fries on it. It was unusual but fantastic! Who would have thought it would be that good! [updated with picture attached]

I will be back for graduation and I am ready  to get home to my family and to the college. But I will look forward to returning here to the beautiful people, scenery, and food!

Graduation reception

Its hard to believe that its December already, that finals are less than 2 weeks away, and that nearly 200 Tippie students are graduating in 3 weeks! Where has the time gone?

To the graduating seniors, I would like to add my voice to those of your advisors and instructors in inviting you to a reception in your honor. The reception is Thursday, December 4, from 2:30 to 3:30pm in the Howe Galleria. Please come by for snacks, a gift, and to say hello to some of the people who have helped you along the way.

I would also like to encourage you to think about the advice you would give to our first year students. What would you encourage them to do with their time in Tippie? What do you wish you had done differently? If you’d like to share your advice, email your thoughts to me ( and I will incorporate them in my remarks to future first year students.

Congratulations. I look forward to seeing the graduating seniors at the reception and again at graduation later this month.

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.

San Antonio Riverwalk

[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. 

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.