Less Talking, More Doing
Matt Ludwig, a part-time MBA student, can testify to the effectiveness of adjunct professor Chris Hitch’s practice-based approach after taking “Creating Value in Organizations" this summer.
This article was originally posted on August 6, 2020, on Jenkins MBA News.
One of the greatest lessons that Chris Hitch has learned from working in executive development with C-suite leaders from across industries is disarmingly simple: “Less talking, more doing.” As an adjunct professor in the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Poole College of Management, Hitch practices what he preaches.
Hitch invests the majority of his time and effort into helping students make real-world connections. After briefly introducing a specific model for understanding strategy and innovation at the beginning of each class period, he directs students to translate theory into practice by applying that model to a problem they are experiencing in their workplace. Drawing from his own experience in the consulting world, he also uses case studies and computer simulations to illustrate his points. “I emphasize that there is more than one way to attack a problem,” says Hitch. “There is more than one way to generate more revenue, more customers and more efficiency.”
Matt Ludwig, a part-time MBA student who works as a commercial banking relationship manager for PNC Bank in Raleigh, can testify to the effectiveness of Hitch’s practice-based approach. He registered for “Creating Value in Organizations” (MBA 580) with Hitch with the rationale that “adding value should be a top priority wherever your career takes you,” he says.
Ludwig expected to benefit from “Creating Value in Organizations,” but he was surprised by how closely the content of the course aligned with his professional responsibilities. “We began each class with industry analysis, which is central to my role at PNC,” he explains. “My day-to-day work requires a broad knowledge of a variety of industries, so gaining a better framework for understanding how companies fit into a market was invaluable.”
The final project for the course focused on analyzing the industry environment of a company that created a financial literacy app for families, an offering that PNC Bank is also working to develop. In his role, Ludwig has been able to contribute knowledge from his course to the effort. “What I was learning in the classroom and what I was experiencing at work lined up perfectly,” he remembers. “Through courses like these, I have become more skilled at understanding how my clients operate and the opportunities that exist for growth.”
From Ludwig’s perspective, Hitch succeeds at creating a strong personal connection with his students as he conveys knowledge. “He takes the time to film engaging content, answer every question we might have, and provide feedback,” says Ludwig. “Not every professor truly cares about students as people as well as professionals, but Chris does.” Hitch is equally complimentary. “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to relate to students and hear about how they are applying what they have learned,” he says. “Matt is a critical thinker with natural curiosity and a drive to do better. Those are powerful tools for success.”
Whether Ludwig continues to build his career in the banking sector or pivots to another field, he can see how his MBA coursework at Poole has equipped him to identify unmet industry needs and envision possible solutions. “I’m developing the knowledge and capabilities to take my career in any direction I want,” he affirms.