PKF Texas Hosts Bauer College for Special Event Focusing on Engagement and Connection
The focus for the C. T. Bauer College of Business can be summed up in one word — Houston. That’s the message that Dean Latha Ramchand emphasized to team members from PKF Texas during a talk at the firm’s office in June.
“Houston is our strategy,” Ramchand said. “The companies in Houston recruit in a global market, and we want to be the best for Houston. It’s all about Houston, and that’s who we serve.”
The special event, titled “Our City, Our College. Houston’s Business Connection” was organized after PKF Texas President Kenneth Guidry (BBA ’77), who is a member of the Bauer College Board, told Ramchand he wanted to strengthen the relationship between the firm and the college.
The PKF Texas-Bauer connection is already strong, Guidry said, noting that over the last 15 years, the two organizations have worked together to build a partnership that includes faculty involvement with the firm and a thriving recruiting program that has resulted in about UH and Bauer alumni making up about 30 percent of the PKF Texas team.
“You’d think with that connectivity, it would be easy to keep up with everything going on at Bauer, but it’s not,” he said.
Ramchand gave an update on the college to the audience, which included several UH and Bauer alumni who work for PKF Texas and its clients. But, perhaps more importantly, she told attendees, the gathering was an opportunity for the college to get input.
“We are all about making sure we serve the community in Houston,” Ramchand said. “We want to keep our ears on the ground so we know when things change for businesses here, and the ground is shifting every day.”
Education is going through a transformational period, she added, and an opportunity to improve processes that will benefit students, alumni and the community.
“When you bring in a new model, it destroys the old, but in the process, you unleash a huge amount of creative energy —a new way of doing things and a better way of doing things,” Ramchand said. “We need to know what the community needs, and that is what the Bauer College Board is doing, helping the college engage with the community.”
In the last three years, the Bauer College Board has expanded its roster by 38 percent. According to Ramchand: “It’s not just that we added five or 10 members, and everything looks good on paper. The board has been so committed to helping the dean connect with the community.”
The college is continuing to align its strategy with business need, she said, summarizing her key points with “hashtag” words.
“It’s really about what’s trending right now at Bauer, what we’re focused on,” Ramchand said.
#Destination of Choice:
“We want to be the place you go to, if you have a business need, you want to get a degree, or you just want to learn. I want everyone in the city of Houston to say, ‘Of course, you go to Bauer.’” We want to be a destination of choice, whether you’re learning, you’re hiring, or you need business expertise.”
“We need to create new best practice. Our faculty are leading knowledge creation — for instance, right now, we have faculty researching everything from the right financing structures for energy and issues related to corporate governance and compensation to how to get consumers to be motivated and what leadership means if you have people working in 12 different time zones.”
“It’s no longer me as the professor telling the student what to learn. Anymore, it’s the person hiring my student telling me, ‘This is what your student needs to know so they have value when I’m hiring, and they become first in line when I recruit.’”
“Diversity is important not just because so-and-so mandated it. It’s great in a learning environment because it translates into you going into a room, and you’re comfortable with people thinking so differently from you. They believe in different things, and yet, you can work together in a meaningful relationship to make things happen. That diversity of thought is hugely valuable to any organization. Because we are in Houston, we bring that inside the classroom.”
“If you come to Bauer College, you will see traditional classrooms, but we also have reading rooms, where students who learn better by watching lectures on video and rewinding a few times can do that. We are customizing what we deliver in a way that you learn best. We’re moving from the ‘sage on the stage’ model of learning to the ‘guide on the side.’ We need to put together a group of people — a faculty member, an advisor, a board member, a mentor — who can walk the student through everything they need while they’re in the program and beyond.”
It’s this strategy, Guidry said, that helps to prepare Bauer students and graduates for careers with PKF Texas, a Houston-based firm of CPAs and professional advisors serves both privately and publicly owned companies with domestic or international interests. PKF Texas has a more than 25-year history of working with inbound and outbound international businesses.
“We find Bauer graduates perfect for the market and community we serve,” Guidry said. “They come in with a base of knowledge that we build upon.”
By Jessica Navarro
Our City, Our College – Bauer College Visits PKF Texas
In June, PKF Texas President Kenneth Guidry (BBA ’77) invited Dean Latha Ramchand to speak to Bauer and UH alumni at the firm. Ramchand shared with the audience recent accolades from the college and discussed how Bauer can engage, innovate and impact business in the city of Houston. See a video of the full event on YouTube.