Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » Offering something unique and different


Global Economics, Corporate Finance, Global Decision Making, Global Leadership, International Study Tour, International Finance, is a mixture of classes I took or classes offered in OLLU MBA and MSOL programs. Given an MBA is generally more well known than leadership studies, I will concentrate on the MBA for this discussion.

It is no secret on my affinity for creating a niche. When a company offers a niche, it is often considered the expert in that specific field. Consider this difference. Go to Wal-Mart and try on clothes. Ask for help regarding fitting and sizing and more than likely the person will be very limited on that specific knowledge. That is because Wal-Mart’s audience is very wide and its specialty is offering “Save money. Live better.” It is the low cost provider.

Compare this to Melvin’s. Melvin’s is a men’s boutique shop in town that has a specific niche of offering great customer service in men’s clothing. It can be measuring specific sizes, helping dress for professional occasions, and also happens to be the only or at least most well known place to buy Boy Scouts’ uniforms. Ask a troop leader, “Where do I buy this?” And the automatic answer is “Melvin’s.” Wow, that is market share!

So what is the relationship with an MBA program? With the chatter of higher education happening around Victoria, I thought I would offer something I thought was a good idea in a program I studied. This can be applied in any field, but I will use what I studied and what I think would be great.

As mentioned in the first sentence, almost every MBA is similar. Sure you have those big ticket schools with international reputations that the big consulting firms use as their pipeline. Those are wonderful offerings. Then there are nearly every university and college with a graduate program that offers an MBA. I will speak generally and say that most are very similar. Most are geared to the macro elements in the business industry. But consider these statistics, small businesses “Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms. Employ just over half of all private sector employees. Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll. Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.” Do you think there may be a market for a unique program geared to offering a specific MBA program for people that are employed or desire to eventually run a small business? Let there be Thunderbird, IESE, UT, Harvard. And let those attract the people that want to rat race in the corporate life. For the most part that is what many general MBAs offer. But if a university offered the best small business MBA, I think it would attract people from many places that want this specific program.

Instead of Global Economics that partly tries to find the best country conducive to business, how about Micro-economics that studies the best localities or regions? Rather than global markets, how about local or regional market analysis via tools available to small business? Instead of corporate public relations, how about small business tactics for communicating information to a local audience. Not a general course on national business law, rather small business law and the effects of local government in your industry. I think you may see where I am going.

I think Victoria is a great market because it is itself a small city with many small businesses so a student could easily incorporate the program into his lived experience. Victoria has the size that would make our local market a living laboratory for the research library of the graduate classroom. In the words of one of my favorite local writer’s lyrics, “Let’s build...we got to lead and follow through...” which are the starting points of providing any unique program that Victoria’s university can be well known for offering!

What are some unique programs that come to mind in your field? Do you think this same line of thought can be applied to your career? To your services or products? Classroom? Newspaper? Everyone is asking “What is the difference?” I think we need to have an answer that yields a “wow” response. People remember a “WOW!!!”