Corner Office: Q&A with Scott Koerwer
Scott Koerwer was recently appointed Deputy Dean at the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Until November 1, 2007, Koerwer was Associate Dean at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.
For Scott, life as Dean involves managing a school as well as a business. He understands the challenges of business in today's global workplace, and one of his strategies to empower students with the tools to excel was to place BlackBerry® smartphones in the hands of every full-time MBA student at the Smith School— an initiative he helped launch in 2004.
At the Smith School, Scott was the head of all graduate programs, and managed all international programs, the Center for Career Management, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, executive programs, and Smith Advisory & Collaborative Services.
On the business side, he was Chief Marketing Officer with an annual operating budget of US$67 million. He managed a team of approximately 90 staff, coordinating with over 130 full-time faculty as well as business partners representing many different industries. His work took him to four campus locations across the US, and four continents.
Find out about the opportunities that Scott and his MBA students are uncovered with their BlackBerry smartphones in this Q&A with BlackBerry Connection®, conducted while Scott was still Associate Dean at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.
BlackBerry Connection: Why did you introduce BlackBerry smartphones into your MBA program?
Scott Koerwer: A colleague and I came up with the idea. We needed a way for MBA students to learn to communicate more effectively, to understand protocol, and to do so in a manner that would be experiential, not classroom-based. Students often lack the communication skills that I believe all of us need for today's frenetic, global workplace. We came up with a plan to
put the BlackBerry smartphone in the hands of every full-time MBA student at Smith School [about 250 students]. It really took off and it's been fantastic! Now every full-time MBA student, and every member of our faculty and professional staff has a BlackBerry smartphone.
BC: How are your MBA students using BlackBerry smartphones both in and outside the classroom?
SK: The main features they use are push-to-talk and email for group and teamwork. They're also accessing the web for general information and research. They can connect to the Internet immediately, anywhere. So if they need to look something up on Wikipedia, they just jump on the smartphone and away they go. They even work on their assignments on their smartphones, typing as they go throughout the day.
We've also started to explore applications so that the students can use the device to print documents. We have centralized printers throughout the schools so the students can send documents directly from their BlackBerry smartphones to these printers. That's been a huge hit for the students. They love it.
The students also have easy access to the Survey Monkey tool, which we've put onto the device so that the students can take surveys online.
So they do a variety of things that you would expect, almost along the lines of the replacement of the laptop computer, but also influencing and motivating each other as they go down the path of completing the work that they have as part of the curriculum.
BC: How has BlackBerry influenced your day-to-day life as Associate Dean?
SK: I'm always "on"! I think my teams, (I manage teams in four states and across four continents), feel that they are more connected – not only with me but with each other. So the China team can actually get a response from me at times they wouldn't necessarily think that they would. They can send me a message and I can get back to them right away.
BC: What are some of the tools that you are using on your BlackBerry?
SK: Well, I've got this wonderful new BlackBerry 8830 World Edition. It's sleek and sexy to say the least! I travel quite a bit internationally, so having my email phone, calendar, and contacts with me at all times is essential. I enjoy BlackBerry® Messenger quite a bit as well. And, I'm one of those guys who can get lost on the way home, so I love the GPS
navigation that's on this new model. I haven't had this model for too long, but I love it, and I use it all around the world.
For more information on BlackBerry Solutions for Education, visit our website.
For current offers for education, visit www.blackberry.com/education.