MAcc Applied Talk with Joseph A. Alutto

Joseph A. Alutto, Interim President who served as the university’s executive vice president and provost for more than five years and dean of Fisher College of Business for 16 years, shared his experience and advice on leadership with our MAcc students.


“There is more to life than work and a career”

Joseph A. Alutto pointed this out at the very beginning of his speech before he talked about other leadership topics. He advised us to find out  ‘what really means for you’, either at work or in life. He showed different attitudes towards work and life for different time periods by recalling his journey of work. At the early stage of his career, work was always the priority. However, at this point of time, family overrides work. For us, who are going to start a brand-new career path, may not be able to get a good balance between work and life, but what we can do is to figure out what really mean for ourselves, either career achievement or family relationship, and approach it step by step. We should work toward what we are expecting, not what others are hoping.

“Thick skin” 

This is another interesting concept that Alutto mentioned during the speech. I understand this concept in a few aspects: first, we need to develop a thick skin to face failures and learn from them. Second, we need to develop a thick skin to push changes in the organization. Third, we need to develop a thick skin to deal with complaints among team members and “accept the reality that you will often be the only ‘adult’ in the room”.  Alutto mentioned this concept several times through his speech and concluded that “develop a thick skin, know ‘who you  are’ and make it your brand”. I consider this is the key to leadership. How you brand yourself affects how you are going to stand out from the crowd.

Alutto highlighted other key insights, including:

“Skill development and performance have greater career value than title, position or compensation.”

“Always surround yourself with people who complement your skills, interests and perspectives but who duplicate your values.”

“Focus on alternative paths to goals and not just on goals themselves.”

“Do what you believe is best.”

Leadership is a process that one’s reputation is built. There are a lot of things we need to learn before reaching the stage of leadership, and there are also many things we can do to step toward it.  Go Buckeyes!



Have a global mind-set

Ken Bouyer, E&Y Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting, gave our MAcc students a lecture about how to work in a diverse environment with a global mind-set. As a global candidate myself, I cannot agree more on this idea. During my two-years studying in America, I have learned how to be open-minded and embrace the differences.

Most people have certain mind-sets, which are  influenced by the cultures they have been brought up in. It is not easy to change that mind-set in a short time. It is even possible that one can never change his or her mind-set through their whole lives if they do not get exposed to different environments and cultures. Therefore, in my opinion, the most efficient way to open one’s mind is to explore foreign countries, like traveling outside of your home country instead of just sitting in front of TV. Watching TV, reading books and newspapers can help you get a general idea of foreign counties and cultures, but it also can lead to some misconceptions.  The learning you will get from TV and books is really different from the experiences from field trips. If you get the opportunity to going abroad, do not let it go.

MAcc Applied Talk with Aaron Beam

We have our fourth MAcc Applied Talk today during the lunch hour. It talks about business ethics, and Aaron Beam is the speaker, a founder and the first CFO of HealthSouth. Beam was sent to prison in 2003 because of the accounting fraud he made. He told us his life story associated with the accounting fraud, including the how he started HealthSouth, how and why he started the fraud, and how he faced the fraud. The key point of his speech is that people should be taught about business ethics and receive ethics training. One day in your life, you may encounter the same situation as Beam did. How will you choose between financial profit and ethics? Will you compromise to the pressure of management or insist on  integrity? How would you make a decision at some certain point in the future?

I have these questions in my mind after the speech. I realize that it is easy to insist on integrity when you are not facing any problems. One may choose to commit fraud to release himself (herself) from high pressure of management or to meet expectation of his(her) colleagues.  It will work for a short-time period, and one may look successful during that time. However, when the fraud is discovered, one’s life will be totally changed. The money one has earned will be gone, even the part he or she has earned through hard working. Individual’s reputation will be ruined, and never recover as it was. Could you imagine all of these? No one is willing to face this one day. Therefore, we should pay attention to our ethics formation from today and add it to the subconscious mind.

MAcc Applied Talk is my favorite element of my weekly life now. I am looking forward to listening to next speech soon.