We sat down with Erik Hollander to learn about his interesting background, the wide arrange of tracks and concentrations Concordia University Wisconsin’s business school has to offer, and what prospective students can expect from Concordia’s unique programs.
EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR ROLE AT CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY WISCONSIN.
I am a Professor of Business at the School of Business but am in a unique position because I have a dual role; I am also the Director of Strategic Growth and Business Development for the School of Business Administration. With my unique background and experiences, I have been tasked with strengthening our Healthcare admin focus, a new program in non-profit management, and working to identify collaborations and partnerships with CUW and our external (and internal) constituents.
WHAT IS YOUR ACADEMIC BACKGROUND?
I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Cardinal Stritch University in 2009. I continued on and obtained my MBA in Healthcare Administration from CUW in 2011. In 2017 I will be enrolled in a doctoral program and will be awaiting word as to which program(s) I may be accepted to.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY WISCONSIN?
In pursuit of my MBA, I attended several info sessions at several higher education institutions and CUW sold me on their programs, competence of instructors, and vision toward continual evolution and innovation. I wanted to be a part of it as a student and am proud to be a faculty. I feel blessed to have both experiences.
WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST SATISFACTION IN YOUR ROLE?
Nothing is more satisfying/rewarding than putting the tools in the hands of students for success, seeing how they apply them, and coming back to share that moment of their own success. Helping students from such diverse backgrounds reach their potential and beyond is the most satisfying thing. I would say second to that is finding opportunities for collaboration both internally and externally and connecting those resources together for something bigger and better. Those are my happy places.
HOW IS FAITH INTEGRATED INTO YOUR ROLE? AND HOW IS IT INTEGRATED INTO THE CONCORDIA CURRICULUM?
Faculty can openly talk about religion, faith, and God. It is a great freedom and one I enjoy. I personally integrate faith into my role and classes in many ways from prayer, songs, videos, and really any way that I can and am able that makes sense. Having this flexibility lets us adapt to our classrooms and those around us and it is integrated into our syllabi and in discussions with our colleagues.
HOW DO YOU SEE CONCORDIA’S MISSION BEING FULFILLED?
Having worked in the corporate setting for over a decade with varying-sized organizations working with leaders from many industries, Concordia is one of the few organizations I have worked for where employees actually live the mission. It isn’t just a saying on a wall or printed on a syllabus; I see our mission being executed from the Chapel on campus to the classroom to students in the hallways to our custodial staff to everyone in/around our campus and it is an amazing feeling to be a part of it on a daily basis.
WHAT MAKES CONCORDIA’S BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIQUE?
We have a unique blend of faculty who have different experiences than a typical business school faculty. For example, our Dean started a bio-medical company and start-ups working in a pharmacy, we have an economics faculty member who also serves as the President of a local village/city, a former CFO of a large camping supplier, and faculty like me as alumni, worked as an adjunct for years, and found myself here now full time. We all believe in our mission, and vision, and feel our purpose was not an accident that God put our talents together for a reason and it is exciting to be a part of that innovative change for the future of the School of Business, Concordia, our current/future students, and those we serve in around our campuses.
WHAT DIFFERENT TRACKS/CONCENTRATIONS CAN STUDENTS TAKE IN THE BUSINESS SCHOOL?
We have a broad range that encompasses everything from the more usual suspects of things like Management, Marketing, and Communications but we offer other programs like Sports and Entertainment Business, Hospitality Entertainment Management, Justice and Public Policy, and many others. We are continually evolving and innovating based on the markets and the feedback from our external Advisory groups to be leading in what is available for students to get the most out of their academic experience and put themselves on a path to success in something that will provide for employment opportunities upon graduation.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE QUALITIES OF STUDENTS WHO ATTEND CONCORDIA?
For Concordia students, some of the key student qualities I see come through (some initially and some develop over time) relate to honesty, self-respect, discipline/work ethic, and curiosity to learn and ask questions. While many students possess these qualities, I would say that many may not come to school with all of them and that is not a bad thing. It is great to see a student over four years to graduation and see ALL of these qualities (and others) come through during their time with us at Concordia. That impression is what makes me confident in these students as our future leaders; knowing they have the tools to make a difference.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS THINKING ABOUT COMING TO CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY WISCONSIN?
I would first encourage any/all prospective students to conduct their own due diligence to find the place that is the best fit for them. Now, if a student wants an institution of higher learning that provides small classroom sizes, exceptionally qualified faculty, innovative programming, and strong connections to some of the best employers out there on a breathtaking backdrop overlooking the bluff to Lake Michigan, then Concordia might just be that place for you. I will say come visit first, take a tour, ask questions, and then decide.