Of Transitions and Longevity

New B. publisher seeks input on the future of the magazine

Opus College of Business legend has it that, during a hallway conversation more than eight years ago, the dean said to the executive director of external relations, “We should have a magazine.” The executive director of external relations – Joanna Nute – agreed and, lo, B. was born.

If only publishing a magazine was that easy. Joanna spent months reading magazines published by other business schools; polling faculty, staff and students about content, themes and schedules; exploring paper, type and design options; and assembling a team of dedicated experts to help her produce the first issue of B. in the fall of 2003. Her vision was clear: to produce an informative, engaging magazine of exceptional quality. That first issue of B. and eight others won awards of excellence, demonstrating that her original vision had not only clarity but longevity.

To meet each of the criteria Joanna laid out, the magazine had to stand apart from its peers in the industry. So from the beginning, it has featured stories that do more than showcase the accomplishments of alumni. Our highly-credentialed and experienced faculty have been active contributors, providing analysis into topics covering the scope of business. Dr. Dave Brennan (marketing), Dr. John McVea (entrepreneurship), Susan Marsnik, J.D. (business law and ethics), Dr. Sally Power (management) and Dr. Michael Sullivan (finance) have each offered B. readers an insightful look into the forces shaping our nation and our economy.

The reputation of B. also has made it an attractive forum for national figures. Bill Gates, Mary Ann Glendon, Richard Schulze and Charles Handy were interviewed for the Q&A section of the magazine over the years, further bolstering B.’s credibility and relevance.

Perhaps most importantly, students and staff have crafted pieces that highlight the Opus College of Business difference: the belief that a graduate business education is about more than spreadsheets, it’s about contributing to the world in a meaningful way. Features such as “Haiti Waits” (Spring 2009), “A Difficult Journey Home” (Spring 2006) and “The Business of Ethics” (Fall 2007) elicited praise not only for their literary excellence, but also for their coverage of meaningful topics that impact more than our professional lives.

It is this last aspect that makes B., in my opinion, distinctive. But what do you think? In all the years the college has published the magazine, we have yet to directly seek feedback and input from our readership, relying instead on a growing subscription list to encourage us to continue on the path we have chosen. Now, as we begin a new academic year – and as I assume the role of the magazine’s publisher – I hope you will share your opinions and advice as to how we can build upon our success.

This section of the magazine is called “The Bottom Line,” a clever inclusion of recognized business jargon. It was intended to provide a short, personal and clear summation of a topic. In that spirit, I think it only fitting to reveal B.’s bottom line: For the past seven years, B. has been blessed with a staff possessing a motivating combination of intelligence and creativity – Editor Brian Brown, Art Director Sara Klomp and staff writer Kate Norlander. As the founding publisher, Joanna placed her faith in their abilities and knew enough to get out of the way and let them do their jobs. As the newest publisher of B., it seems the height of wisdom to do the same.

Lisa Guyott can be reached at (651) 962-4189 or lkguyott@stthomas.edu

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