Jan 11 • 5 min read

The Fox Strategic Plan 2025 was designed to set a foundation for our stakeholders through education, research, inclusiveness and community to achieve positive outcomes for all. We regularly use issues of Fox Focus to check in and tell stories about our progress across our four pillars: Inclusive Culture, Educational Innovation, Research Leadership and Community Engagement. 

For the Rebuild Issue, we took a slightly different approach. We found members from across the Fox community who we felt represented our pillars in action.  

Inclusive Culture

Associate Professor Jeffrey Boles, Daniel Holmes, MBA ’21, and the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) worked together to start Out@Fox, a student chapter of Reaching Out MBA at the Fox School. Out@Fox is a professional and social association for LGBTQIA+ graduate business students. 

Since 2017, Fox MBA students have engaged with ROMBA by attending its annual career conference, and in 2021, the Fox School joined the 65 business schools that are official ROMBA club affiliates. This is the first organization of its kind at the Fox School, and the group began forming their constitution and electing members of its board in spring 2021. The group will work to provide a network for LGBTQ+ graduate students by organizing a variety of social, advocacy, and career-oriented events throughout the year.

“It’s very exciting,” says Boles, who acts as faculty advisor for Out@Fox. “It’s way past due that we have an active organization like this at the Fox School, and I’m happy to support the group in any way I can.” 

Out@Fox also receives support from the Center for Student Professional Development.

Educational Innovation 

Engaging in activities such as collaborating in a professional workspace (in-person or via Zoom), live client consulting and real-world problem-solving helps prepare students for the workforce. And if the past year has taught us anything, it is that workforce needs are ever-changing.

With the creation of the Strategic Plan, the school has been even more innovative when it comes to Experiential Learning, which is front and center in the school’s mission and approach to curricula.

“In the world and the economy that we live in, we have so much data being pushed at us at all times,” says Misty Blessley, director of Experiential Learning and associate professor of instruction in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. “Businesses are not just competing with companies down the street—competition is global, data is vast. For a lot of analysts and professionals across industries, their objective has become, ‘How do I take all of this information and sift through it to find something meaningful?’ Then an employee needs to know how to use the meaningful information to make better decisions on behalf of the employer or the economy at large.”

Experiential Learning in the classroom, like virtual immersions or in-class competitions, gives students a lot of practice to do a bit of trial and error in problem-solving. That time to identify how you could change course or try a different approach in the future helps expose students to and readies them for the contemporary business environment.

Research Leadership 

Jodi Detjen, DBA ’21, has made it her mission to “help realize gender equity and inclusion in the workplace as soon as possible” in seemingly all of her professional pursuits. As an associate professor of practice and academic director of the MBA program at Suffolk University, owner and consultant of her own firm Orange Grove consulting and researcher, Detjen is focused on inclusion work—how to bring more diverse voices into businesses in a way that makes the business more successful.

During her time in the DBA program, Detjen was given the Award for Excellence in Research by a DBA Student in November 2020. Her research focused on the barriers to women’s leadership acquisition. “Personally, it felt very gratifying that my research was considered quality and professionally it gave me credibility—it’s like a stamp of approval.”

Beyond gender, Detjen was interested in why there seems to be dominant in and out-groups for leadership positions and promotions.

“Based on what I have found, I think we are underutilizing talent,” says Detjen. “If we were truly leveraging all possible talent, organizations would be better off—they would be more effective. The opportunity ‘pie’ would be bigger. This isn’t a fixed pie argument, this is a bigger pie argument.”

She found that existing organizational culture often blocked change, and she hopes that through her research and consulting work,she illustrates the moral and economic benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion and motivates organizations to implement the change management required to be truly inclusive.

Community Engagement

“If you want to create real change in your community, identify what you care about and then just get started,” says Sarah Bergstein, MBA ’21. “You have no idea what you can create just by putting the wheels in motion.” 

After adopting two cats from the Morris Animal Refuge in 2018 and 2019, Bergstein wanted to offer her support to the rescue. While pursuing her MBA from the Fox School, she learned about the Fox Board Fellows program, which places graduate students on the boards of directors at local nonprofit organizations as non-voting members for an academic year. She decided to use her experience and education to approach volunteering through a business lens. 

Over the course of two semesters, Bergstein worked with the Morris Animal Refuge board and Maureen Cannon, senior associate director of Fox Management Consulting, on executive opportunities for the rescue to execute over the course of five to ten years. Part of that process was sitting down with members of the nonprofit and analyzing what worked and what needed improvement, especially during the pivot to a mostly online presence during the pandemic. 

As a public affairs officer in the U.S. Air Force, part of Bergstein’s role was to connect her base to the surrounding local community by identifying stakeholders and understanding how to work together and thrive. Those skills easily translated to cat rescue.

“The stars aligned—my passion for animal rescue, my ten years of community engagement and strategy experience in the military, what I was learning from my MBA could merge and help create the greatest good in the rescue community,” she says.

Community EngagementEducational InnovationExecutive DBA programFox Board FellowsFox Experiential LearningFox Strategic Plan 2025Inclusive CultureJeffrey BolesMBAMisty BlessleyOut@FoxResearch LeadershipVirtual Immersions