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Mount Ida in the News, School of Business

Chris Kubik Takes the Reins at School of Business

For Chris Kubik, D.B.A., the newly-appointed Dean of the School of Business and Graduate Studies at Mount Ida College, it has never been business as usual.

Chris Kubik knew from a young age, that a career in business would open the doors to his future. “I grew up in a small town in Michigan and learned about business at the feet of my self-employed dad.  I enjoyed the concepts of business and I thought it would be fun.”

He had a good head for numbers and an entrepreneurial streak and that drove him to seek out a bachelor’s degree in international business and economics at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.

“International business was intriguing, and at the time, even novel. With the skills and knowledge I would acquire from this degree, I knew I could go to New York or anywhere in the world.”

Getting there would not be easy, but what he’d learn along the way would serve him well.

Growing up in a family of limited means, Kubik financed his education by working in bars and restaurants and graduated in 1990 from Madonna University in Michigan in the middle of a recession.  “If you know anything about Michigan, you know the economy is driven by the auto industry, which was suffering badly, so I sought out jobs in operations and finance.”

He went to work for Pepsico, was given more and more responsibility, and soon would be managing a number of locations where he learned the importance of good decision-making.  “If my decisions were good, I’d get a nice bonus.  But if not…well…..the hours were long and it wasn’t a glamorous industry.”

After some success, Kubik felt it was time to move on. After completing his M.B.A. at the University of Detroit, he began doing economic work in Indiana, which included a stint as a lobbyist at Ice Miller, LLP,  where he focused on local and regional transportation-related issues at the state and national level.   At the same time, he began teaching as an adjunct, one night per week.  What he discovered was his greatest satisfaction came from the classroom interactions.

“I had so much energy and excitement at the end of the day that I decided I needed to teach full-time.”  To do so he knew he would need to earn a doctorate. “Fortunately I had a very supportive boss who allowed me to complete my doctoral studies at Anderson University in Indiana and I found a perfect match for my passion, skills and background at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire.”

Kubik only planned to stay a few years, then head back to the Midwest, but fell in love with the Northeast. He was courted by Colby-Sawyer to head his department and although reluctant at first, his entrepreneurial side kicked in and he accepted the position.

“I’m glad I did.  I had the opportunity to mentor some great faculty members, add new academic programs, develop online offerings and achieve specialized business school accreditation.  I am very proud of the results we accomplished there.”

The longer Kubik taught, the more he saw the value of experiential learning and providing opportunities for students to work with community groups, non-profits and to be involved in competitions and other ways to connect to the larger business community.

“The limitations at Colby-Sawyer were based on its location.” The opportunities in a rural setting just didn’t allow for a wide range of options. “There are only so many semesters you can offer a new student-created business plan to a mom and pop organization.”  Then he saw the position at Mount Ida for the Dean of the School of Business and Graduate Studies.

“It was everything I was looking for.  It had education steeped in developing critical thinkers with entrepreneurial skills.  Mount Ida was small and private and nimble.”

Kubik is looking forward to his new challenges and building the undergraduate and graduate programs.

He brings three basic tenets.  “Professional preparation is crucial.  One might be great with numbers, but if our students can’t present the data and communicate verbally and in writing, then we are not preparing them for success.  Soft skills must be developed alongside the technical aspects of business education.”

Secondly, he plans to bring experiential learning outside of the classroom into every class in the School of Business.  “Our students should be honing and testing their skills in competitions, be out working in the community, learning and making a difference.  Such practice reinforces concepts learned in the classroom and provides students with experiences to share when speaking to potential future employers.”

And to accomplish this, he wants to continue to build a world-class program that supports the academically and professionally qualified faculty at Mount Ida to motivate the diverse student body.  “Classrooms are so much better for learning when multiple perspectives are present, including international perspectives.  All voices should be heard to fully appreciate the nuances of business and its associated culture.  There is a unique world out there for our students.  We will do everything we can to help them succeed.”