Title: “Adapting Business Education To The Current State of Covid”
Guest: Greg Stoller – BU School of Business
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jeffrey (1s):
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs. Again, my name is Jeffrey Davis. I’m the host of Radio Entrepreneurs, also a chairman of the board and CEO of Mage LLC, a management consulting firm in new England. And you know, during these times of chaos, we love to discuss entrepreneurship and business and how people are adapting to the economy. I can’t think of anyone who is better at understanding this economy and how to adapt what’s going on in the world. Then our guest, and an original reporter for Radio Entrepreneurs, Greg Stoller, senior lecture at BU school of business, and also the person who wrote the introduction to my book at the 24 hour turnaround.

Jeffrey (42s):
So we have a lot of history with Greg Stoller, all good. As far as I’m concerned. Well,

Greg (47s):
Thank you, Jeffrey. It’s it’s nice to be back. I really appreciate the invitation.

Jeffrey (51s):
Oh, it’s great to have you. So I know there’s always a lot going on in Greg world, BU real estate entrepreneurship students. Tell me what’s going on at TV show. What’s going on.

Greg (1m 4s):
I think that honestly, and this probably sounds trite to say, but, but it’s true. I think that we’ve all come to appreciate health and certainly the ability to do things in person. Finally, things are reverting to some semblance of normalcy on campus, whatever that means in the sense that we’re back in person, albeit with masks, be you just issued a press release that for all intents and purposes, faculty, staff, and selected student populations are able to avoid regular testing unless people are symptomatic or potentially are sick.

Greg (1m 45s):
So I think that at least for the second half of the spring semester, all, all arrows are pointing green and up until the right. And I think that people are, I can only speak for myself, but I think I could probably speak for other faculty, staff and students. It’s really nice to be back in the classroom and not have to be worried that we need to test on a regular basis because that means hopefully this is going to be in the reverse.

Jeffrey (2m 11s):
I don’t know. I ran a class on national conference last week and we had 18 speakers. I was the host and I actually thought it was kind of great that I did it by zoom. And I didn’t have to fly out to some locale to do it.

Greg (2m 24s):
I will tell you that. I have certainly learned that in certain sectors, in certain aspects of business, zoom is pretty darn convenient. I will tell you for office hours for mentoring, for my work, with case competition teams, the customer school of business with BU it is absolutely wonderful. I could do more of them. I can do them more quickly in terms of scheduling, but there is absolutely no substitute for in-person education. I did a mini elevator pitch competition and one of my classes and I had four judges last week and three of them were in person.

Greg (3m 5s):
One of them was via zoom and the person is zoom, you know, told me as much as she was thrilled to be there. She was catching every third word.

Jeffrey (3m 16s):
Now you do a lot of international stuff with students used to go off to China every year. I assume that’s off the agenda right now. How are you adapting to that?

Greg (3m 26s):
Well, you know, I think that again, in an effort to avoid being hacked, the need, you know, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And I think that something I’ve learned from COVID in terms of societal interactions, is that, and by the way, this is true of the.com crash of 2000 and then the, the original recession from oh 8 0 9 and 2010, you really got to see people’s true character. When the chips were down, I would say 99% of those people were fine. It was that elusive 1% that took advantage of the situation to try and get something as a concession or whatnot.

Greg (4m 8s):
I think the same is true of COVID. We have almost two decade relationship with a boutique strategy consulting partner located at Beijing, China, whose client lists boasts of almost exclusively, publicly traded and privately held Chinese firms. They didn’t blink an eyelash and they said, let’s continue the problem around. We’ll do what we’re about. Like, we love working with your students. We love working with you. We will support you. And yet it won’t be as glorious and glamorous as getting on a plane and flying over to Beijing and doing it in person. But you know, something I’d like to think that the students are still learning a ton. The same for my March trip with my undergrads, the, the China consulting project international consulting project is for graduate students for the undergraduate trip that we should be on this week for spring break, which hasn’t happened.

Greg (4m 56s):
It gave us an opportunity to go through 20 years of company visits. I selected what I called the best of the best. You might get a kick out of this Jeffery, but it ended up being 10 visits across seven countries. There’s no way that, you know, even with a blank check or around the world, airplane ticket, we could go to seven countries within a two week period. So again, you know, the, the knife cuts in both directions. It stinks that we’re not able to go to Asia live and in person to meet these company executives and our cluster school of business alumni. But it’s also given us an opportunity to look at 10 different businesses across seven different countries.

Jeffrey (5m 36s):
I know maybe I’m crossing a boundary here, but you know, I would assume your family likes it, that you’re not traveling as much right now.

Greg (5m 43s):
I would say that again. It’s nice to be home. I mean, granted, some of our kids are in college, but it was tough, you know, three or four years ago in the thick of everything that I’m believing, you’re not crossing the boundary. We talk about it all the time. I never want to be the person who lives in the house where kids come up to you and say, I’ve seen you around here before. I just can’t quite place the name. Who are you again? You know, and obviously I’m exaggerating, but it’s been really nice to spend some quality time with our kids. And as much as I love traveling and, you know, Jeffery that I do, you know, as I said, health family relationships have ultimately proven to be the most important.

Jeffrey (6m 24s):
Oh, that’s really good. It seems like you have your priorities in order. And I assume you’re, you’re still running your television a podcast show.

Greg (6m 32s):
Yes. I will tell you again, in the same theme of, you know, you get lemons and you know, what do you do? You make lemonade. We are in the third season of this version of the show. That’s being subsidized by the Boston university school of business. Actually, we had our first live shoots in a couple of years in February. It was so nice to be. And I’m sure this will resonate with you. Having met you for so many years, you know, varying studios for Radio Entrepreneurs. It’s wonderful to be there in person. It was so amazing to interview these guests to be sitting three feet apart from them. I think we actually made a five beats to make sure people weren’t going to get sick, but we were there in person and we could see, you know, literally people’s body language.

Greg (7m 17s):
It’s great. We just broadcast our first episode in season. Number three, having to deal with family business. Our second one is in the can and it’s going to be released soon. It’s a wonderful project to your point. We’ve expanded from the video cast to the podcast and we have been generating hits like crazy on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, my blog, all of the very various locations that our podcast is there. It’s just been going really, really well. Fortunately, and, and people love talking about entrepreneurship. Again, you’ve been doing this for years, Jeffrey. The difference is we get to add a video element to it as well.

Jeffrey (7m 57s):
Well, I mean, I knew this from the first time I interviewed you. It must’ve been over seven years ago that you have found a way with your show to combine art and science. Not only are you teaching people about business, but whenever I watch your segments, I end up with a smile on my face. Cause I find you so entertaining.

Greg (8m 15s):
Thank you. Thank you. It’s it’s funny you say that I’m planning our third and fourth episode and somebody I’ll use to be a producer for PBH WGBH. I should say said to me, you’re fantastic. And your show is great. And I, and I thought to myself, oh my that’s really quite a compliment from someone who spent so much time being a producer for, you know, a professional television show. And it just goes to show that, you know, everybody can be mentored. Everyone needs a mentor and we’ve come a long way. Believe it or not. We’ve been doing the show now for over a decade.

Jeffrey (8m 51s):
Well, I’m going to date myself. No, one’s going to understand what I’m saying, but to me, you’re the soupy of entrepreneurship.

Greg (8m 57s):
I get that reference.

Jeffrey (9m 0s):
And that’s a compliment for those who don’t know who soupy sales was. So it’s quite a compliment. So what’s, you know, before we go, what’s on the horizon for the next year. I mean, I know things are changing. We have a, a world of war and you seem to be crossing those boundaries.

Greg (9m 17s):
I think it would be really great if we could take our students somewhere. I don’t know whether we’ll be able to do two countries, two cities that we normally do. I don’t know whether we’ll be able to arrive in Beijing and do live consulting, but it would be great to do something in person granted though, you know, it’s not about the bling-bling in the sense the trip was awesome. The field study component is terrific, but it’s all about the learning for us. We I’d like to believe we, you know, it’s nothing is perfect and certainly doing it over zoom is, is not a direct one for one comparison or one-to-one substitute, I should say, but it would be wonderful.

Greg (10m 0s):
Wonderful. If we could get somewhere out of the country safely and get everybody home, I will also tell you that we’ve started to do more and more of our case competitions, the ones that we’re hosting, the ones that we’re competing in in person, I’m hoping that that continues. And maybe just, maybe at some point during 2022, we could actually teach classes without masks that our students wouldn’t have to be masked. So, you know, start small and think big.

Jeffrey (10m 29s):
Well, Greg, always so much that you have to say, if somebody is looking for you, students, adults, entrepreneurs, how would they find you?

Greg (10m 39s):
Probably the fastest way is my B email address, please. It’s G staller@bu.edu. That’s G like Greg S like Sam, T O L L E r@bu.edu and Jeffrey as always up to you and your team. Thank you again for the opportunity to come back.

Jeffrey (10m 56s):
Well, again, you are a pioneer reporter for Radio Entrepreneurs, so we never want to forget you. I actually think that this was a Chris Gerald’s idea, one of our producers to get you back on. I know he was getting bored with me and he wanted a little dose of,

Greg (11m 12s):
Well, hopefully we can do it more frequently. Thanks again. As I said, for the chance to come on the broadcast again

Jeffrey (11m 17s):
And remind everybody, this is Radio Entrepreneurs.

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