‘Story Time with the Professors’ Emphasizes Life Lessons

Story time with the professors

Nov. 16, 2018

Several College of Business faculty members put their customary lecture material aside on Tuesday evening to reflect on another meaningful topic with students: life lessons. The student-organized “Story Time with the Professors” event let faculty share hard-earned wisdom with University of Montana business students just embarking on their careers.

“A lot of our professors have had such successful careers. I am so impressed with them,” said event organizer Emily Brinkmann, who is president of the student organization Montana Information Systems Association, or MISA.

Brinkmann got the idea for the event after participating in KPMG’s International Summer Leadership Program at the company’s European headquarters in Amsterdam last year. While there, she enjoyed a “Campfire with the Partners” session where senior KPMG employees shared lessons learned with students.

“I figured, ‘why wait until we get into internships or the real world when we can pick the brains of all the great people here?’” said Brinkmann, a junior studying accounting and MIS.

Students from MISA, Beta Alpha PSI, the international honor society for financial students, and other business majors attended the event. Brinkmann gave the professors a simple prompt: Talk about a story that has impacted you or share how you ended up at UM.

For his address to the students, MIS Professor Cameron Lawrence drew on past experiences such as earning his doctoral degree at the prestigious London School of Economics and working with technology startups and in consulting and real-estate.

“Remember, freedom is what you’re after. It’s not about money,” Lawrence said. “When you have freedom, you have the ability to pursue what you want in an authentic way.”

Other speakers included Clay Looney, chair and professor of MIS; Jason Triche, associate professor of MIS; Mike Harrington, professor of MIS; Justin Angle, associate professor of marketing; and Jeanmarie Lord, assistant professor of accounting. Their advice touched on everything from day-to-day practices — express gratitude; don’t be a gossip; sit in the front row of class and look engaged — to the more profound — pay homage to your loved ones by striving to reach your full potential.  

“Look at life like a journey, especially your time at the ‘U,” Harrington told attendees. “Explore the heck out of this journey.”

Brinkmann said the event, which included hot chocolate and cookies to emphasize the “story time” theme, went even better than anticipated.

“We learned so much,” Brinkmann said. “I hope we can do it again in the future.”

Photo: MIS professor Jason Triche shares lessons learned at the "Story Time with the Professors" event as junior Emily Brinkmann looks on.