Dean for a Day

Hidalgo as Dean for a day

Monday, November 28, 2016 was a monumental day in SoBA history. In SoBA’s first ever Dean for a Day competition, Dean Chris Shook acceded his deanship for the day to Eduardo Hidalgo, a SoBA Senior majoring in International Business, Marketing and Spanish. In turn, Dean Shook took on Hidalgo’s hectic class schedule and responsibilities as President of his fraternity.

The journey to this dean and student swap began in early November with a school-wide competition in which students applied and submitted videos online for the chance to be Dean for a Day. With the help of top video contest platform, The Audience Awards, students and followers in the community were then invited to vote for their favorite video via SoBA’s Facebook page. When the results came in, Mr. Hidalgo’s video claimed the victory with 376 votes.

While Dean Hidalgo’s day as leader of the business school began with staff introductions and briefings of afternoon meetings, new student Chris Shook struggled to locate his first class, depending on a couple of friendly fellow students to help him find his way.

As Dean Shook noted later, “Going to class was harder than I expected. I was really surprised when I couldn’t find my first class because the location had been moved.”

While Shook attended classes and experienced his first lunch at a campus fraternity, Dean Hidalgo was ushered into meetings and appointments, including a lunch with prominent donors and meetings with UM President Engstrom and Provost Beverly Edmond.

“I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I would be meeting with donors and having meetings with President Engstrom and the Provost,” remarked Hidalgo. “I had met President Engstrom and the donors before so it was a good chance for me to practice making strong second and third impressions.”

Dean Shook and the valuable team of staff behind the Dean for a Day competition have seen the experience having even more positive impact than originally anticipated.

“This was a phenomenal opportunity for the SoBA administrative team to get a student perspective on issues we are trying to solve,” stated Dean Shook. “It was also a great experience for me to understand our student culture better. I was so happy to see how engaged students were in the classes and owning their education.”

Hidalgo had similar things to say, encouraging other students to pursue similar opportunities.

“Honestly, [the experience] was even better than I had anticipated… Next to networking, finding solid resume builders is something I think any student should always be working on. Aside from the benefits it might have after graduation, it allows students the chance to meet and begin building relationships with leaders of the university and business school.”

The Dean for a Day competition is just one of many exciting changes happening in the business school this academic year. After jumping in as SoBA’s new dean this past July, Dean Christopher Shook is making a concerted effort to improve the school’s culture and foster more open relationships with students, alumni and the community. This includes open office hours once a month as well as an increased presence both around the school and on popular social media platforms. Students, alumni and community members can follow Dean Shook (@MontanaBusinessDean) and SoBA (@UMSoBA) on Facebook to stay up-to-date on SoBA news and events.