Host – Dr. Amy Taylor Bianco
Director of the Online (MSM)
Guest – Dr. Ana Rosado Feger
Ohio University Chair; Managment
The Leader Lounge: Master Your Niche, Lead the Way!
A podcast series presented by the Ohio University Robert D. Walter Center for Strategic Leadership
Welcome to another captivating episode of The Leader Lounge, where Dr. Amy Taylor Bianco engages in a fascinating discussion with special guest Dr. Ana Rosado Feger. Together, they delve into the realm of interdisciplinary education and individual development. Dr. Feger, a distinguished figure in her field, shares her insights on the value of collaboration across disciplines and the transformative potential of a holistic learning journey.
Join us for an insightful exploration of the unique academic environment at Ohio University’s College of Business, where both faculty and students are empowered to cultivate their passions and shape personalized educational experiences. From innovative certificate programs to fostering meaningful connections, discover how Dr. Feger’s perspectives contribute to Ohio University’s commitment to pioneering education.
Hi, welcome to the leader lounge. We’re here at the Robert D. Walter Center for Strategic Leadership in the College of Business at Ohio University and I’m here with co-host Nick Winnenberg. I am Dr. Amy Taylor Bianco and we are here with Dr. Anna Rosado Feger, who chairs our management department here in the college business.
That’s fantastic. And just to kind of go into your back a little bit what got you here? What was the past experience?
Honestly, I can say I had never heard of Ohio University until I signed up to do an interview, at which point I looked it up. But I will also say that when I stepped on campus, because I was invited here, that it felt like home immediately. It’s
crazy. It’s something about it. I
don’t know what, I don’t know what it is. And it was Martin Luther King Day. So, nobody was here. It was winter. And it was snowing. And I still came here and I was coming from South Carolina. Oh my god, I
grew up in Puerto Rico.
The school was closed because it was Martin Luther King Day, but somebody messed up when they were doing the arrangements. But I said, I like I’ve already had my plane ticket. I have everything all set. And they said well come anyway, and people came in on their day off to do the interview and pull off the campus visit. It was cold oh, wait, the OU inn, had no water.
That cold. We
used to have a lot of instances of boil orders. Because we are an older, small city with lots of infrastructure. That was such a nice way to say yeah. That’s all been fixed. That was a lot of the reinvestment money went into that. But they were in a boil alert and they were just handling it so well. And I was so surprised that they just rolled with it. I would let her find out. That’s because they did it about once every couple of weeks.
I just want to clarify this could be on or off-record, depending on where we started the podcast episode. You came to Ohio University in the middle of winter. No one was here when you got here. No one like you faculty had to come in to speak with you. Yep. And the water wasn’t drinkable. And you’re like, Yeah, I should work.
This is where I need to be. Yeah. Why? Because it’s home. Yeah. Because everybody I spoke to even though they were here on their day off. This was where they wanted to be. Because everybody that I interacted with, it was just that kind of place. I was looking for a place to stay. I was not looking for a place to be for a year or two and move on. I had small children at the time. I wasn’t going to be moving them around. I did not have to leave South Carolina. I had a job offer from a school 20 miles from my house. But this was it. I came here and this was it. Immediately I accepted my husband had never stepped foot in the place.
I thought your husband was like this is this. Oh, that’s a
whole other story.
That’s a different podcast. We’re going to do a different one.
Because we came house hunting in spring, and I had already accepted the job. I wanted him to be here and see it. But we could never make it work because he was working full time. And Christopher was in school. And we came on a weekend, and I have no idea that OU, you have all the special weekends. Parents Weekend. Father’s weekend last week. It was but it was one of them. No, no, there were no hotels. Yeah, we ended up at a hotel just out of town. Not a great area. We saw 27 houses in three days. Oh my gosh. Wow. And the seven-year-old with us. So, the first few days. It was cold. It was raining. We had given it was 2008. The state market was all over the place. We knew we had a house that we had to sell. So, our price range was really broad. And it was crazy. The first night we got here the first night because Christopher was in school so we waited until he was done and drove up. And my husband looked at me like I was insane. Yeah, why? Saturday, we looked at a whole bunch of houses. There was one house that we kind of liked and they were having an open house the next day. And that’s the house we live in right now we put in an offer but Sunday was hilarious because the clouds broke that day the sun was out. We had avalanche pizza and that was it. So when
you were a little girl did you always dream of being an academia,
so I am originally an engineer. Okay, I have an engineering degree, I worked in manufacturing. And one of the things that I wanted to do was move from engineering to plant manager. So that was my original career path trajectory. I had zero business knowledge at the time, I had my engineering degree, but no business knowledge. So I applied to a master’s program and got through that the timing was, the timing was interesting. I graduated right after 911. Literally 911 was September, I graduated in December, okay is not a great time to try to find a job. When you are manufacturing has a lot of uncertainty. I had the chance to do a doctoral seminar with the professor who would eventually become my dissertation chair. And I interviewed a couple of places, we had an infant at the time, there was nothing that was really calling to me, except going back and getting to be in the doctoral program get to that higher level. I come from a family of teachers. My grandmother was a teacher, my mother is still a professor, even though she’s 86.
Oh, my gosh, shout out to your mom.
I keep telling her she needs to retire. And she says she’s going to and then she says after I teach this class. That was 16 classes ago. Yeah, it was a lot of classes ago. But it called me the teaching calls to me. I enjoy teaching, I enjoy interacting with students, I enjoy working with people to get them to what they want to be doing. So, enter my doctoral program had a connection to the state of Ohio. My husband is a graduate of that school. That’s up the road that we don’t talk about, which well, there’s three, so big red and grey one. Yeah, I don’t like that one. So, there was an opportunity to do a conference interview with this place called Ohio University that I had not heard of. But we clicked like, there were three faculty members there. And we clicked it was like talking to your old friends. And I just met them five minutes ago. So, I was very excited to get a campus visit. And was it to know that we could fill up
that entire conversation. So I do want to clarify to because I’m picking up an interesting trend, or at least this could be a coincidence. Were you there? When were you one of the people that she originally talked to? No. Okay, because
the three people that I spoke to have actually retired since okay, it was Faisal. It was Faisal, Ken and Red. Okay. They were the ops group. Okay, gotcha. My
first female faculty in operations and supply chain. That’s,
that’s fantastic. To me. That’s what you do. That’s what you do. Now that right? So what’s your major programming perspective from oh, that’s the worse way to ask that question. Say, let me ask that question again. So what’s your typical? What are you then? What’s your? No, why can’t I ask that question? The Benadryl is kicking in, man. All right. So what’s your typical day to day look like in this program?
So I do a number of things. The Department of Management is really interesting in that we have five different disciplines that are in it. So a lot of what I’m doing is actually operations management for our department. I do scheduling, I do load balancing, I do forecasting of students and how many sections we’re going to need, and manage a department that currently has 42 people. Oh, my gosh, including me. So it’s 41 people’s worth of schedules and chaos. We call it fun and excitement. I work with students. I mostly teach at the MBA level right now, because I do so many other things on the side. So, I teach some undergrads mostly and I teach the operations and supply chain class and work with faculty on curriculum, work with them on the programs work with the University on personnel and projections and students and facilities and any number of things. So, recruitment,
your on the Presidential Research Department, yes,
you do the firing, I was part of our Presidential Search Committee. It was the most well-functioning committee that I’ve been on 16 people who were all on task, and I can’t find that group. It was a sight to see. Yeah, it was a really great experience, we are really happy with our new president, and I’m looking forward to what she does with OU.
So you do a lot is my major takeaway. Yeah. And what I love too, is it really showcases how wide of a breadth or as a management department because of your perspective with the supply chain, the operations and coming in from the people side, and then tying in the different programs are offered to university, there’s so much potential for students that want to get into the management field here was that by design, when that was being developed? Or was that something you kind of fell into when we start picking up the faculty members in your department?
That’s what preceded me, we have grown. And we have grown since we were it was interesting, because it’s not the norm. Usually, we have departments that are single disciplines. But it was actually similar to where I came from. So I, my graduate program in the Department of Management, there are also several disciplines in there. So for me, this was normal, we have distinct, but complementary disciplines in the department. So we have business law, and we have international business. And we have strategy in we have organizational behavior in HR and ops. And we all work off each other. Wow. And so it allows us to create, for example, in HR, it allows us to create a certificate in a program that has the legal aspects. And we have people with decades of experience in the legal field who teach those classes. We also have people who teach the human, you know, the motivation and the organizational behavior, we have people to cover that we come at it with solid expertise from every direction. But we also work very well together.
And I think that’s what makes us so rare is the other collaboration. Because typically you see programs like this, there’s some competition, and there’s tearing each other down to build yourselves up. And I’ve never noticed that at all from working in that department. So that takes a lot of oversight from you, right? Because you’re the one who’s saying that culture has it always been like that?
Since I’ve been here, it’s very collaborative. And I think it is a hallmark of the college itself, that a lot of the things that I like them that drew me here, where you can walk around the halls, and there is no finance Hall, or accounting hall or management Hall, everybody’s all blended in together. We’re all interacting, and we’re all here because we choose to be here. And that’s really important. We choose to be here we choose to be in the institution that we are, we are here, because we like teaching, teaching is a huge part of what we do. And so there’s a lot of collaboration for our teaching because our focus is on students. Sure. So I came from a research university at the grad and undergrad level. And in my undergrad level. We barely saw the faculty, because their focus was heavily on research. And that is what they did. Our focus is on students. And our focus is on the undergrads and the master students. And it’s a different type of engagement on that level. It’s a different type of engagement with curriculum, it’s a different type of engagement. When you’re building programs. It’s a different type of engagement. You’re thinking about not just what are the classes that are in the program, but what is the other? What’s the rest of the experiences? We have it on the outside of our wall experience is required. Yep. It’s really big thing is like, you can’t you can’t miss that thing is 40 feet tall. But that’s who we are. Right? We are about figuring out what you need as a student and what you want to do. I was director of the MBA program for a bit and people would ask me, Well, what companies do our alumni go to? And from what I would say is, we don’t that is not a goal, all of them. Right? Well, we don’t my goal is not to put you on a path to get somewhere. Right. My goal is to talk to you to say, what do you want to do, Nick? And what are the things that are going to help you what experiences what classes what programs, what certificates are going to help you get to where you want to go? So they’re all very individual paths. You get support all along the way, but the goal is not to funnel people into anything the goal rule is, what do you want to do? And how do we help you get there?
And I think from a CIO perspective, that’s what made this so attractive. And I’ve talked about this in past episodes too. But with MSM program, having the ability to have stackable certificates, and kind of tailoring what I want my education be focused on as a theme versus as a functional role, like, I’m going to be an accountant, instead allows you to explore so many different facets of yourself and really follow that passion that drive. So in my mind, I have never found another program like that. That’s, that’s unique, but also says exactly what you’re saying, it’s not about I’m going to help you go work as a CFO at a company, or I’m going to go help you get in the door at P&G, it’s I’m going to develop you as a professional so you can be what you want to be. So when you are designing a framework for this thing, because you obviously you’re involved with the VA, you’re involved in Assam, you’re involved the management side, what was the aha moment for you? Or has that always been a part of the culture here?
So the MSM is a it’s a new beast, it’s not only a new beast, for us, it’s a new beast all the way through the years, we had to explain it at every approval level along the way, because nobody had ever seen so different this type of program. And really, what we were doing is to say there are some people who want a traditional MBA experience, and there are some people who need something different. So I take myself as an example. I had all of the quantitative skills that I really needed or wanted, I have an engineering degree. Right, right. But what I did not get from my engineering experience, or really even a whole heck of a lot from my master’s experience, was the people side. Sure. And the you know, how do you motivate work with people be able to bring out what is it they want? And how do you connect them with it. So I see my role a lot as a manager, as a connector, like I connect people with experiences and opportunities, which means I also need to be a communicator, because I need to know, what is it that you want to do so that then when somebody you know, something floats past my desk, I can say, Oh, I know exactly who can do that. That side is not as easy to get right.
Oh, it’s because of individual attention. It’s not a process, right?
And it’s really a skill that’s going to help people in every walk of life. Sure. And that very
deliberate. Right? You just presented about the DEI. Yeah. Yeah.
So we’re talking about how our program is about you learn skills, you take classes, but it’s also about relationships in how do you build relationships, professional relationships, across disciplines, across programs. So we see, it’s really cool to see that on an online program. You actually build relationships and friendships and a cohort that never sees each other, except virtually once a year or, you know, I think it all comes down to the extra curricular offer the program, the fact that we have fireside with MSM, the fact that you do LDC for both MBAs and MSM, a very well all together into one collaborative space. That’s unique, right. And I think that leveraging that is going to get us to the next step for both those programs.
And I think that we have some fantastic students, because they are students who are looking for that,
right? If you build it, they will come. So I mean, I think it’s it goes full circle, like looking at your experience with the management department, what’s it look like different because you’ve had different experience to both the professional world when you came here? Did you notice those trends that we were just talking about? Oh, absolutely.
I came here kind of, you know, a much like on a from, you know, a great background experience r1 school, which this is now an r1 school, but really wanting to teach, as well as research and that’s not always the case. Places and, and some of my mentors did not necessarily think that was a good idea. But I
came here I had a really cool experience when I was interviewing because somebody heard where I was interviewing and going and they’re very excited because they’re like, oh, Harvard on the Hocking. I’m like, I went to MIT. So first off, right, but yeah, I really enjoy it here. It is a place that the name is recognizable. People know who it is, but it’s not about the name
only. It’s the grit it’s there’s something different about bobcats.
theory really is there really is it is they are so much fun to work with because they’re willing to work hard, right?
We should bottle and sell it to other schools.
No, hang on. And we hand that out on orientation days. Like, here’s your bottle of bobcat. Greg, go ahead, just drink it. It’s green, sorry,
It’s bright green, but it’s fine.
But people who know bobcats, like you say, want to hire bobcats. Like they know. So once they know that brand, it seems, you know, like they really want to want to hire. And I think a lot of it, I mean, look, you know, a Dr. Rosado, you know, circa 2008 has been here since. Same story for me, but 2002. And the thing is, we, you know, like many faculty, we could have gone anywhere, we can be competitive, other places, we travel a lot, we’re trained up in a way that allows us to leave, which I think always makes you feel good that you could go wherever, but we don’t want to, right.
And we have I mean, I highlight the teaching, because it is why a lot of us are here, because that is a big interest and a big passion for us. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have world class researchers. Yeah, it is. A, it’s a place that you can do both as a faculty member, it’s a place that you can do both as a leader, which is also kind of cool. You can lead in the teaching side, you can lead on the research side, we have, again, world class recognized international experts, in our department and in other departments at our university and our college. That just so happen to be amazing teachers that just also happened to be amazing teachers, and that is really rare. Yes.
And what I noticed in the way you talk about teaching, too, is you’re talking about teaching as the whole experience, not just the classroom, you’re talking about the conversations that you have with students about what they want to do the trips, the you know, like your your definition of teaching, I think is a true definition for this place for Ohio University. It’s a broad definition. It’s a relationship. It’s inside and outside the classroom.
It is and it’s very much about what do you want to do? And how do we help you to get there?
she does the same thing for us for her faculty.
I work with a fantastic set of humans.
And I bet your retention strategies, are probably pretty solid to
my channel, I threatened you have you tried to quit? No. Oh, I
like that word. I
have not had to work dreadfully hard at that.
Right? It’s because everything else is your attention.
Nothing’s ever perfect. Everybody has challenges. But I think that people feel so committed to the place and feel committed to facing the challenges and figuring out how we’re going to get over this as opposed to oh, it’s challenging, I don’t want to engage by right. So, what you’ll see is higher seniority in terms of how long people have been here because we come here and we stay, which is invaluable. So it is we have people with decades of experience that configure that know that what comes with experience is figuring out how things get done. And where’s the flex when you need it? Sure. So we have we have rules, we have procedures, but we also have, okay, where can I find flexibility so that a student who wants to do something cool, we can figure out how to have them do that?
And just to speak to that on a personal level, and then we’ll round it out since we’ve been a little long. I went to Swansea for a year that Dr. Luke Pittaway was like, Hey, you’re going to Swansea so we went to study abroad for a year at the same time because they were changing their coursework. It didn’t line up exactly apples to apples, we would have been there for an extra like month for it to fully account over and College of Business when I say they jumped through hoops. I mean, they did so much to help us make sure that credit transferred back and we were there with other students from other universities every other student was having difficulty getting those credits to transfer. The College of Business said you focus on classes, we’ll figure out on our end. That’s unique.
And that’s my job. That is my job, literally to say, okay, we have this student who is doing this. How is this going to map? We kind of prefer that we know ahead of time.
Yeah, I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry that put you through that. But anyway, I’m glad we got to figure it out. But
but we do that we look to see, you know, what are you doing? How does it align? What can we match up? How can we make this something because all of the experiences that you build are going to help build who you are right? And what you’re going to contribute to wherever you go. And so the more that we can figure out how that blends into your degree in your program, the better it is around 100%. So that’s and that’s kind of the hallmark of the MSM. It’s here are these core requirements? And then beyond that it’s you do you, build your own adventure? Yeah, it’s really do the things that you’re interested in that are going to be directly relevant to what you want to do that’s different for each person. And that’s what we’re here for. But we’re going to close
it out. Absolutely. We’re here with Dr. Anna Rosado Feger, Chair of our Management Department, longtime friend, faculty member and leader in the College of Business and at Ohio University. We’re at the leader lounge, the Robert T. Walter Center for Strategic Leadership in the College of Business, wrapping up this episode and getting ready to see you at the next one. Take care!
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