Faculty Profile: Ed Ivey

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Edit: Since publication, Professor Ivey has joined the consulting firm Add Ons, Inc., as a Functional Consultant in Finance.

Ed Ivey is President at 16C Consulting LLC in Denver, Colorado. Ed earned his MBA from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, and has been involved in ERP consulting for over 15 years. He teaches Corporate Strategy in the Midland MBA program.

Hi, Ed. Tell us a little bit about your professional experience. Where do you currently work today, and what has your career path looked like thus far?

"I’m currently the president of 16C Consulting LLC in Denver, Colorado, an independent consulting company working with the ERP software Ellipse. I have an extensive history with Ellipse—I’ve worked with this software for over 17 years—and that’s been the primary driver of my career thus far.

My work with Ellipse has taken me to several different companies around the industry. I started my career off at Mincom in Denver, and moved through several different companies before starting my own independent consulting company here in Denver. From Alaska, to Quebec, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Scotland, my career with Ellipse has taken me all around the world. I love consulting and find that my position here at my own company gives me the freedom to always put the client first and do what’s right."

What do you teach at Midland? How has your professional experience influenced your approach to teaching in the classroom?

"I teach Corporate Strategy. In working with four different companies on implementing the same software, I’ve seen the different decisions that these companies make, and the different strategies that these companies take in implementing this software. Some of the things they do work, and some don’t, and I like to think that I can bring that experience into the classroom. I also want to bring in the experiences of others, so I invite business owners and other senior managers to speak to the class about their individual experiences, as well as building and running their own companies.

All throughout the course, I do my best to make strategy personal. As I just mentioned, different companies use different strategies, and what works well for one company may not work well for another. The same is true in personal capacities. How many of us will be CEOs? Not many. But how many of us will manage our own careers? All of us.

And that’s what I’m trying to do—teach strategy not just for companies, but also for students’ own careers. We can be our own worst enemy in a business setting, and thinking about personal business strategy helps influence decision-making in a way that encourages big picture thinking. Teaching things from a consulting perspective—one that’s very involved, interactive, and collaborative—helps instill this in my students, and I like to think that we all come out with a better understanding of how strategy works in the real world."

What is your opinion of Midland’s office-to-classroom approach, where all of our professors and students are currently involved in a professional career while also teaching and or being in school part-time?

"I’ll start by saying that I really enjoyed my classes when I was in school, and nearly all of them were with full-time professors at the time. Even so, there are some things that I think full-time professors miss out on by not being involved in the business world, too.

On the first day, I tell all of my students that there are three essential skills in business: the ability to think well, the ability to write well, and the ability to speak well—all of which culminates in good communication skills, and the ability to get along with other people. In my industry, for example, you can be brilliant at knowing the software and what it will do, but if you can’t get along with others and communicate your ideas, you won’t last long.

What a consultant or other full-time professional gets that a full-time professor might not is the ability to see that communication and those other three essential skills in action. It’s one thing to understand the theory of business, and it’s another thing entirely to see how it works in the real world. I impart that in my students by placing a heavy percentage of the grade on collaborative work and participation.

Nearly everything in business—especially on the consulting side—is relationship-oriented no matter where you are in the world, and these office-to-classroom students and professors have the ability to facilitate those relationships both in the classroom and the business world. That’s something that you just won’t get if all of your time is spent in the classroom, and it’s a large part of the reason I stress relationship building so much in my teaching at Midland."

Do you have any advice for students or professionals looking to earn their MBA?

"To me, the difference between an MBA and an undergraduate falls largely on scope. An MBA gives you more depth, that’s true, but you also see the bigger picture—you see more of the outlying, outside touches of the picture that you may not see at lower levels of education. An MBA program helps students to synthesize their thoughts for a bigger audience and a bigger picture, while still going deeper into particular subjects.

To that end, my advice is to be intellectually curious and to realize that learning is a lifelong endeavor. I won’t say that I’ve always put learning on the forefront, but I will say that you shouldn’t just get your MBA and then be done with it. You need to be curious. That will help you in all of your life and your work, and in all group dynamics with anyone you meet. It’s like waking up in a big world every day. To be curious is to enjoy what you see and be amazed, and that makes you more well-rounded, and makes you appreciate and understand things you wouldn’t otherwise see."

Interested in learning more about Midland’s hybrid MBA program? Reach out to us directly in the comments, via LinkedIn, through Twitter @MidlandMBA, or by phone at 402-941-6226—we’d love to answer any questions you may have.

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