Pittsburg State President Steve Scott joined other area business leaders at a symposium Wednesday aimed at providing future professionals a look inside the life of organizational management.
The event, “Challenges of Leadership and Management,” was sponsored by PSU’s MBA Association. It took place inside the Kelce College of Business.
Joining Scott as featured speakers were Ken Brock, president of Names and Numbers; Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce; and Bill Pesch, president of ABLE Manufacturing. Michael Gray, associate general counsel for Watco Companies and a member of the Pittsburg City Commission, served as moderator.
Sonya Bhakta, president of the MBA Association, said the purpose of the event was to give students a chance to talk with and seek advice from business leaders from a variety of sectors.
The nearly two-hour discussion covered topics ranging from economic trends to advice for students preparing to enter the workforce.
Scott said one of the main keys to being successful in business is continuing to learn.
“If you think you’re ever finished learning, you’re in trouble,” Scott said. “It’s imperative that you continue to learn. I look at it like a tool belt. You keep accumulating the tools and the skills you need.”
Brock echoed Scott’s comment, adding that it’s important to “continue being students” in the professional world.
“We need good, high-quality people,” Brock said. “That’s what we’re looking for. It can be a challenge to find those people. The important thing to keep in mind is that we need you to be able to learn how we do business. No matter what job you get, you’re going to have to be molded into what that company needs you to do. If you’re a good student and you can learn quickly, you’ll have no problem at all.”
O’Brian, who shared insight into Joplin’s recovery from the May 2011 tornado, said having passion for one’s work is just as important as being talented.
“Have a desire to do the work,” he said. “Enjoy the work. If you don’t have a passion for it, do something else. Stay committed every day. It’s not always about money. It’s about being fulfilled.”
Pesch spoke one of the most memorable lines of the event.
“You can teach management, but you have to earn leadership,” he said. “Listen and learn from those around you. Participate in the process of whatever organization you’re in. It’s by being a part of the process and learning all about everything that goes on that helps you earn that leadership.”
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