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The Latté Chronicles: The Economic Impact of Shopping Local

Latte Art, Mickas

Is my Latté from The Pulse in Coeur de Catherine better than the one from the Starbucks in Highland Park? It depends on how you define, “better”–coffee roast, milk source, direct economic impact–there’s a lot to consider.

Am I an ethical consumer?

LFdollarschartI shop local because 68% of each dollar stays in my community vs. only 43% of the money spent at chains. That’s the statistic quoted by the Metro IBA in posters around town. Have you seen one of these posters? Although they are out of print, they are still prevalent in St. Paul business windows.

Relatedly, I’d like to know how much of every dollar spent at Target in the Twin Cities stays here due to its local headquarters.

Economists call this the multiplier effect

By spending money at locally owned businesses, such as the bookstore at St. Catherine University, a higher percentage of money is recirculated in our community. Recirculation explains how the money we spend moves through our economy. Money is circulated via operations (e.g. equipment, utilities, salaries), spending money at other area businesses, and how employees spend their wages in their community. More accurately, we call this direct, indirect and induced economic impact.

Do Buy Local movements affect change?

According to Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, they do. “Independent businesses in communities with an active “buy local first” initiative run by a local business organization reported average revenue growth of 8.6% in 2012, compared to 3.4% for those in areas without such an initiative.” So those signs around town are making a difference.

Learn more about economic impact in these MBA courses from St. Kate’s:

MBA6700 –Innovation, Process and Product Design

MBA7100 — Operational Excellence

MBA6600 – Advanced Analytical Techniques for Decision Making

MBA6900 – Micro and Macro Economics for Managers

Additional Information:

American Independent Business Alliance

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

2013 Independent Business Survey from ISLR

The Multiplier Effect of Local Independent Business Ownership

Locally owned businesses can help communities thrive — and survive climate change from

How to Start a Shop-Local Movement

Why We Buy by Paco Underhill


Introducing Celine Provost

amp-podcastHave you noticed a new voice on our blog?

Celine Provost, an undergraduate sales student at St. Catherine University, joined the social media team for the St. Catherine University MBA in September through the University’s Assistantship Mentoring Program (AMP).

AMP assistants apply their education, work one to one with staff and faculty mentors, and lead and influence our campus today while building the skills necessary to guide our world tomorrow.

Provost studies sales strategy and social media as part of her curriculum with the Center for Sales Innovation. As part of her AMP research grant with Professor Sara Kerr, Provost contributes to Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook in addition to this blog.

About the Assistantship Mentoring Program

The Assistantship Mentoring Program is a scholarly community in which students are paid to work one on one with a faculty or staff mentor as a Teaching Assistant, Research Collaborator, or Program Development Collaborator.


St. Catherine University’s MBA Program: A Unique Learning Experience

st_kates_mba_quote_3-656189There are a seemingly limitless number of institutions where you can pursue an MBA degree, but St. Catherine University (fondly referred to as “St. Kate’s”) brings something more to the table. Getting an education from St. Catherine’s is not just about the time that you spend in the classroom (although that is also incredibly important) but about the experience that you gain in your field of interest.



The MBA Student Experience

St. Catherine’s is unique in that it awards its students with the ability to network widely and effectively. st_kates_mba_quote_4-656191St. Catherine’s is a university that understands the importance of doing work outside the classroom that helps to further your career in the real world. The world is a scary place but St. Catherine’s is there to guide the way. Students that are currently in the MBA program at St. Catherine’s can attest to the strength of the program.

 Learn More

st_kates_mba_quote_5-656267We encourage you to check out our program if you are looking to pursue an MBA because St. Catherine’s is incredibly unique in its ability to deliver an exceptional educational experience laced with social justice. Follow this link to learn more about an MBA in Management, follow this link to learn more about an MBA in healthcare, and follow this link to learn more about an MBA in Integrated Marketing and Communications. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us, attend an open house, and/ or use this link to request more information.

st_kates_mba_quote_6-656770After you do some more research, we are confident that you will be racing to apply for the next academic year! We look forward to meeting prospective students and showing you why a choice to go to St. Kate’s is the best choice.

Attend an Open House

Please join us for a Graduate Open House soon. There is one tonight at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, downtown St. Paul and on campus, December 2nd.

Next steps:


Minnesota Blogger Conference: Speakers and Hashtags and Networking– Oh my!

St. Catherine University’s MBA Program had the pleasure of sponsoring the 5th annual Minnesota Blogger Conference on October 25, 2014. The event was an incredible success. The energy was palitable on campus as seasoned professionals and new bloggers alike poured into the open doors of Couer de Catherine.

Anticipation was high as the audience waited for the first speaker to be introduced– Peter Goddard, representing Red Current. Though he claimed that he was not as qualified to speak at the event as some of his colleagues, he certainly held his own with his insightful session. Goddard reminded us of the importance of storytelling and its significance to the success of customer engagement. After all, without making connections with customers, businesses are destined to be come irrelevant. Goddard also stressed that having sufficient schedule and time communication is crucial to running a successful business. You can learn more about these concepts on the Red Current Blog.

Up next was Christoph Trappe, a professional content marketer that excels in storytelling. His session was incredibly eye-opening because it ran through the 7 ways to get on a blogging schedule. In true form, Trappe impressed the audience with his ability to schedule live-tweets during his own live session. His was a humorous and lively showing that illustrated his blogging expertise. He emphasized the importance of authentic storytelling. Trappe engaged his crowd in such a way that transported all of us into his line of thinking and made us all want to hop behind a computer and get cracking on a blogging schedule.

Trappe’s was a hard act to follow but Katie Konrath was exactly the woman for the job, bringing in an entirely different concept– looking at blogging from the perspective of the human brain and the power of emotion. The audience was intrigued as she encouraged us to utilize the infamous “pros” and “cons” list but instead of using those terms, using  the more positive “for” and “wish for.” Konrath also reminded us all of the power of human emotion and the effects that it has on the minds of your audience. Sometimes, we spend too much time thinking about what we need to do and don’t spend enough time working to empower our audience, which is a shame. Katie Konrath’s enthusiasm for the topic enveloped the room and left the audience thinking about the minds of others.

In between this session and the next, we all got the opportunity to stop for a break and mingle with our fellow conference goers. This was incredibly beneficial because we got to do what we had all been waiting to do– network. There were blogger’s everywhere talking about their livelihoods, discussing the wisdom of the speakers, and all-together discussing their reason for being at the event. The energy was infectious and a community was formed.

The moment we had all been waiting for had finally arrived. The keynote speaker, Dan Morris, was stepping up to the microphone and he looked as professional as ever. Then, the man began to crack jokes that had the crowd in stitches. The way that he gained the complete, unadulterated attention of the crowd was incredible and it was a thing of beauty to watch him connect with people through his storytelling. He was there representing Blogging Concentrated and reminded us to ask specific and unique needs and interests of our audience– something that is forgotten all too often.

Lee Odden spoke about his Top Rank Blog and the methods that he used to promote its success. He brought forth ideas about finding the target audience by realizing that you need to make yourself accessible and realize the differences that each market possesses. Sometimes you just have to start with a question as simple as, “Why am I blogging?”.

Finally, it was Adam Dince’s turn. His was an inspired session about optimizing search engine usage; however, it was about more than that. It was about passion. He stressed that we should, “Write content for people, but structure it for search engines.” The intelligent comments he made on being a “writer” versus the stereotypical “blogger” were thought-provoking and, frankly, he was right. He even gave out a link to further explore his ideas on blogging that I highly recommend.

Overall, Minnesota Blogger Conference was an extraordinary success that wouldn’t have been made possible without the esteemed speakers, generous sponsors, eager attendees, volunteers and, of course, all the hard working staff at St. Catherine University. Remind yourself next year that this event sells out quickly.



Prototyping “I want that t-shirt”

Design thinking and the St. Kate’s MBA

From my perch high in the stands, the queue for merch Saturday night wrapped around the infield at Midway Stadium before Lucero took the stage. It was at least 20 people wide, which demonstrated that Minnesotans can, in deed, do the zipper and merge from 20 lanes to 4. The “line” ebbed and flowed depending on which band was playing and later, on which song The Replacements played.

Design thinking could have saved a lot of time waiting and sold more t-shirts faster.

Let’s map this customer experience.

Experience — that’s a key word.

When we attend a concert and buy a t-shirt we are not “only carrying out a function, but having an experience,” according to Tim Brown in Change by Design (one of my textbooks, by the way). Midway Stadium had one entrance for 14,000 avid ‘Mats fans and 3 merchandise stands — one outside and two in the 3rd base foul zone. The following are my observations and experience of buying:

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  1. After waiting for hours or minutes (see above), buyers couldn’t see all the creative breadth of t-shirts until 1st or 2nd in line — this translates as time spent…
  2. Purusing the options (about 10 unique t-shirts, 1 hat, and 1 poster);
  3. Needing to know just how big a medium shirt was;
  4. Asking to see each t-shirt up close because only one size was displayed, some shirts overlapped, and some had small, difficult-to-read signs stating “ladies” or something like that;
  5. Making a decision;
  6. Yelling, gesturing furiously, and pointing out which t-shirts you want while the bands you paid $50 to hear, see, and experience roar behind you;
  7. Digging out your wallet from your purse or front pocket;
  8. Contemplating your payment method, asking yourself how much will this cost and if you really need it?
  9. Fumbling for cash, debit, or credit (it was pretty dark);
  10. Paying and then…
  11. Waiting for change or for the one card reader to process your transaction;
  12. Receiving your t-shirt and poster;
  13. Asking, “Do you have a poster tube?” while thinking “How will I keep my $30 poster fresh and valuable?”;
  14. Sighing and prototyping a solution by rolling the poster, sliding it through the t-shirt arms, and wrapping the shirt around the poster to protect it.

Drawing, doing, and gluing evoke feedback and solutions.

Can you imagine my prototype? Probably not, words have limited effectiveness in design thinking.

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Anyone could have come up with my solution. Maybe you did, too.

Fourteen steps to buy a t-shirt and a poster is a slow process that doesn’t meet the needs of potential buyers and concert experiencers.

Even as an efficient buyer (I had studied the queue, after all), the purchase process still took about 2 minutes.

Unmet demand equals lost sales

screenshot_745Do the math:

  • 14,000 attendees and maybe 50% couples equals about 10,500 potential buyers
  • Assume that about 20% of them (2,100) wanted to buy something
  • Notice 12 sellers spend an estimated 3 minutes with each buyer which requires almost 9 hours per seller to process the demand for t-shirts
  • Note, unfortunately, the doors were only open from 5:30 – midnight — far less than the  hours each merch tent needed to be open

What’s the loss of sales due to people seeing the line and saying, “I’ll just buy it online, tomorrow.” and then not following through?

I prototyped a solution based on my observation (a key tenet of design thinking). Here’s my 2 minute sketch and long-winded explanation. (I probably should have borrowed a hamster wheel and a doll tent to build a prototype.)

Tell me in the comments how you’d change my idea. Ongoing feedback and redesign are integral to the design thinking process.

T-Shirt buying prototype

IMG_4756Imagine a four sided tent with an elevated, slowly spinning cylinder of t-shirts visible from 10 feet. Each size of t-shirt would be displayed overlapping from biggest to smallest and labeled with a short code (L1S, L1M, L1L, etc.), so buyers could see the relative size and proportion of each shirt. Stored under the t-shirt merry-go-round would be labeled boxes of each t-shirt, perhaps on a rotating lazy susan if there were a lot of choices.

Each side of the tent would have 4 tables with a closed front. Under each table would be boxes containing pre-rolled, wrapped posters and other small merchandise (hats, stickers, etc.). On the table would be a laminated sheet with thumbnail pictures of each item, its price, and code number. Buyers would point to the item they wanted and hold up their fingers (if it were loud) to state the quantity desired.

Attached to the table would be rotatable payment devices — something like an iPad with a Square reader that sellers could enter the purchase total in and buyers could swipe their card on. Of course, a more advanced solution would be a touch-driven selling program that would allow buyers to tap their purchase and pay before getting to the front of the line.

Oh wait, this is starting to sound like the efficiency processes employed by fast food restaurants, Apple stores, and the condiment-spinner in Chinese restaurants. Design thinking pulls in ideas and technologies from other industries and applies them in a new context, kind of like an IKEA hack.

My point.

Business is everywhere. Creativity drives our economy. Design thinking is a people-centered concept that solves problems consumers and organizations didn’t even know they had. The St. Catherine University MBA promotes creativity and innovation in our business programs, notably in MBA 6410 Creative Strategy & Innovation.

Last week my students prototyped the gift-giving experience using a Stanford dschool module. This week we’ll apply design thinking to a societal issue of their choice. While I could use this space to explain design thinking theory and their solutions (a GoPro in the wrapping to capture the receiver’s expression, for example), application on an everyday level is more powerful.

If you’re interested in the intersection of design and business, consider the St. Catherine University MBA and attend an information session.


Welcome Michelle Wieser – Our New MBA Director

Making connections that count

Michelle Wieser, director of the Master of Business Administration program at St. Catherine University.Michelle Wieser joins St. Catherine University as the newly hired Master of Business Administration (MBA) program director. She brings a blend of real world and academic credentials.

“We were looking for someone not just to lead the program, but who would be instrumental in growing the program,” says Joann Bangs, dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies. “Michelle is a dynamic individual. I know that she will be a wonderful representative of the program.”

Her track record of building relationships with businesses and nonprofits and her enthusiasm about being the public face of St. Catherine’s MBA program are key assets. In her latest role as director of the Graduate Business Career Center at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School, Wieser developed highly sought-after partnerships with national companies including PepsiCo, General Motors, Microsoft, McKinsey, Amazon and General Electric. These partnerships resulted in jobs for graduates and netted Carlson a number-one national ranking in Business Week for “Top MBA Placement.”

Her passion for St. Catherine’s program is matched by her commitment to the University mission — critical characteristics for an MBA program director.

“We educate students to perform in business, but we also want to educate them to instill the values of St. Catherine, which is to educate women and men to lead and influence and to be true to the social justice mission of the University,” says Deep Shikha, professor of economics, who headed up the search committee.

Making St. Catherine Home

Wieser feels like she’s coming full circle in joining St. Catherine. She graduated from a Catholic all-women’s high school, St. Joseph’s Academy in St. Louis, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet — the order that founded St. Catherine more than a century ago.

“The Catholic intellectual foundation and the mission-driven purpose is so important to our MBA program,” she says. “St. Kate’s doesn’t just talk about being socially responsible and doing business in a conscientious manner, it’s part of everything we do.”

Coming to Minnesota completed yet another circle for Wieser. Early in her career, she held a marketing internship at General Mills in St. Louis and was smitten by the field and the company when she visited its Minneapolis headquarters. (Her Minneapolis-based manager convinced her to earn her MBA.)

From Corporate to Academic Life

Wieser’s journey into academia began post-MBA after landing a job as a management consultant at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and later following a colleague to an executive recruitment company where she specialized in recruiting executives in brand management and marketing.

Executive recruiting opened up a new avenue for her career. “It’s there that I developed my interest in helping people discover what’s next for them,” she says. Her MBA alma mater, Washington University’s Olin Business School in St. Louis, approached her with an offer to help them develop deeper employer relationships for their students.

She worked her way up from employer relations manager to director of recruiting and employer relations across five academic programs including the MBA program. At the Carlson School, she built on that experience.

Goals for St. Catherine’s MBA Program

Wieser’s looking forward to growing the MBA program, which exceeded its enrollment goal for the first cohort and aims to fill two cohorts of about 20 students in the fall of 2014. “My focus and my perspective of knowing what it takes to achieve success in an MBA program will be helpful as we continue to grow and expand the program,” she says.

She believes one of her biggest challenges will be connecting working adults with experiential business opportunities. Many don’t have the flexibility to do summer internships, but she’s not backing down from the challenge.

“You enroll in an MBA program because you want to advance or you want to make a change. Making sure people are successful is really important to me,” she says.


Look for a job? HECUA is hiring! Marketing and Communications Manager

Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA)
2233 University Ave. W., Suite 210 | Saint Paul, MN 55114

logoPosition: Marketing and Communications Manager
Closing Date: May 19, 2014
Job Type: Full Time
Salary: $45,000 ~ $50,000 depending on experience
Competitive benefits including health and dental insurance, paid time off, 403(b)


HECUA is a nonprofit consortium of seventeen institutions of higher education, operating semester-long off-campus study programs for undergraduates with a focus on social justice. Students remain registered at their home institutions but study full-time with HECUA in the Twin Cities or at sites in Bangladesh, Ecuador, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, and Norway.

Primary Duties:

  • Communications: Develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance HECUA’s mission and brand identity; broaden awareness of its programs and program outcomes; and increase the visibility of its programs across stakeholder groups (member schools, non-member schools, faculty advisers, professional staff in off-campus study offices, prospective students and their families). Develop and implement communications plan for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; engage with emerging new media and create plan for placement of HECUA in those media. Create and lead organizational strategy for generating stories and content from across the staff, program participants, and others. Train and support staff in effectively using social media to achieve communications goals and create visibility for HECUA and its programs.
  • Marketing: Create and lead marketing strategy that supports and enhances the work of the Recruitment Associates, and increases the number of students who enroll in HECUA programs. Train and support all HECUA staff and board members in using the marketing strategy in their varied interactions with students, campus faculty and staff, and colleagues. Write, edit, and produce HECUA print publications.
  • Media Relations: Write content and updates for organization’s website, working with web developer to represent HECUA effectively online, and working with staff to ensure that website contains the tools users need. Cultivate relationships with higher education/social justice reporters and bloggers; develop, pitch, and secure media placements; prepare and distribute student stories to media; maintain content library and media lists.
  • Organizational strategy: Oversee day-to-day activities related to marketing and communications including budgeting, planning, staff development, and the collection and analysis of data (using CRM database, Google Analytics, etc). Work closely with senior management, faculty, and partners to identify potential stories and determine communications strategies to support organizational goals. Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality. Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach.


  • Education: B.A. in journalism, communications, marketing, or related field, or equivalent. Master’s degree a plus.
  • Work Experience: minimum 3~5 years in communications, public relations, marketing, with use of software applications, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook); Adobe software (Acrobat Pro, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator); customer relationship management software (we use SalesForce); analytical programs (Google Analytics, Google AdWords). CMS experience (we use Drupal) a plus.
  • Knowledge and skills: Excellent writing, editing and research skills. Demonstrated effectiveness in communicating an organization’s messages through print, online, and social media. Proven success in media placements. Proven strategic thinking skills and project management skills. Facility in the analysis of data and sharing of that data in reports and presentations. Highly self-driven, organized, and capable of managing multiple priorities on competing timelines. Positive, energetic attitude, and strong professionalism.
  • Preferred: Experience working with reporters and bloggers who cover higher education, international issues, social issues. Experience with photography and video production. Professional experience with study abroad.

Additional Info:
The Marketing and Communications Manager will report to the Executive Director and serve as a member of the executive leadership team (Executive Director, Director of Operations, and Director of Programs). The Marketing and Communications Manager is initially responsible for executing a marketing plan devised for HECUA by a local public relations firm. That plan uses multiple channels to communicate key messages to build growth in enrollment.

How To Apply:
Send cover letter, writing samples, and résumé as PDF attachment(s) by 5:00PM Monday, May 19, 2014 to


MBA 6200 – Assets, Liabilities, Equity and Ratio Analysis

Unlike MBA 6100 which focused on leadership; this course will focus on the understanding, evaluation and critical analysis of the financial statements.  Topics will include assets, liabilities, equity and ratio analysis as well as a critical analysis of ethical and socially responsible decisions.

Prepare yourself to make a world of difference.

Today, business decisions made by companies and nonprofits have a worldwide impact. With concentrations in management, integrated marketing communications and healthcare, our MBA prepares you to take on the critical issues and challenges of our time in an ever-changing global marketplace.

The St. Kate’s MBA is for women and men who believe in business as a force for change — in the office, in the community, or around the world.

Prepare yourself for career leadership:

  • Learn from faculty with a global perspective.
  • Integrate new tools to deliver on the bottom line.
  • Advance your career today, and tomorrow.


If you are interested in an MBA and would like to learn more about the program join us for an information session. Attend an MBA/MAOL open house at the Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater:  7 p.m., Wednesday, May 7.


2014 Kelly Scholar-in-Residence: Q & A with Joan Borysenko

Joan BorysenkoArticle Written By: Sharon Rolenc

St. Catherine University’s 2014 Bonnie Jean and Joan Kelly Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence is Joan Borysenko — a pioneer of integrative medicine and an expert in the mind/body connection.

On campus April 23–25, Borysenko will collaborate with students and faculty from the University’s Henrietta Schmoll School of Health on mindfulness and meditation, interprofessional education and new frontiers in the mind-body-spirit movement.

Borysenko will deliver the address “The Art and Science of Resilience: From Surviving to Thriving” on Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m. in The O’Shaughnessy. The lecture is free and open to the public but tickets are required and can be reserved online.

More about Joan Borysenko

Joan Borysenko is a Harvard-trained medical scientist, a licensed psychologist and a spiritual educator. A pioneer in mind-body medicine and psychoneuroimmunology, she is the founder of Mind/Body Health Sciences, LLC in Boulder, Colorado.

New York Times bestselling author and blogger for The Huffington Post, Borysenko’s work has appeared in newspapers ranging fromThe Washington Post to The Wall Street Journal.

More about the Kelly program

The Bonnie Jean and Joan Kelly Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence is one of three programs endowed by Joan Kelly ’46 in honor of her late older sister, Bonnie Jean Kelly, who died suddenly while she was a student at St. Kate’s.

Joan Kelly was an English major, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate, and credits the liberal arts education she received at St. Kate’s for her success. The Kelly gift also funds annual student and faculty writing awards.

Full article available at:


Multimedia Meets Healthcare

Photo credit: 2009 Research Report, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Photo credit: 2009 Research Report,
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Do you remember your doctor’s advice? What if (s)he recorded it for you?

In MBA 6710 Healthcare Quality Improvement and Innovation students apply innovation to healthcare in our dynamic and complex health care system. If this idea intrigues you then you’ll enjoy this article from David Meerman Scott‘s blog. He tells the story of a doctor’s “aha moment” when she was physical therapy patient.

Healthier patients through video customer service in healthcare

Clinicians assume patients understand the terminology we are using with them about their diagnosis and the plans for treatment and clinicians are assuming their understanding and cognition can occur very rapidly. These are two very incorrect assumptions,” says Kate Burke, M.D., an emergency physician at Milford Regional Medical Center in Massachusetts who also serves as president of Orion Emergency Services, her group practice employing 22 physicians, and as Clinical Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School. “Patients are not in our heads as we are rifling through our differential diagnoses of what’s wrong with this patient, nor do they have the training, background, or vocabulary that we spent a long time learning. Is it not acceptable to think they can remember things as quickly as we frequently speak. This leads to a real communication gap between what the clinician believes they have communicated clearly with the patient and what a patient understands about what the clinician was trying to communicate.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

Learn more about the St. Kate’s MBA

Attend an information session.


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