[00:00:00] Julie – Host: Welcome back to they don’t teach this in business school where we discuss the behind the scenes realities of being a business owner. I’m Julie B. And I truly appreciate you tuning in. Today’s episode is really special because I’m interviewing somebody who actually does teach in business school. Sergio Castello is the Dean of Wingate university’s Porter, B Byrum school of business.
And I’m so excited to have him on the show today. Sergio, welcome to the show. Thank you for being
[00:00:38] Sergio – Guest: here today. Thank you. Thank you for having me
[00:00:40] Julie – Host: first question Sirio tell me a little bit about what a typical day as the Dean of win get university’s business school looks like
[00:00:48] Sergio – Guest: for. So every day is different, but I’m always thinking about three things.
The students, the faculty and staff, and the community. So on a given day, I [00:01:00] may be dealing with thinking about new programs or new courses or scheduling new class. I will have advising sessions or mentoring sessions with students. I will organize. Extracurricular activities for the students to learn outside of the classroom.
And then twice a week, I’ll go into class and teach. Those are some things relating to the students. When it comes to the faculty and staff, I manage 25 faculty members. There are issues sometimes that have to be resolved. So I try to help ’em solve their problems, or if they have any questions. I support ’em in their faculty development.
And to me, that’s very important it’s to make sure that I support their goals and initiatives mm-hmm and sometimes that takes more time than others. And then something that. It’s probably my least favorite thing to do is evaluation and assessment and feedback. Mm-hmm that is never a fun conversation to have [00:02:00] sometimes, especially if, if there’s some constructive criticism or feedback that has to be given mm-hmm and then when it comes to the community, uh, meeting with possible partners with the university, whether it’s working with a community college or.
Whether it’s reaching out to private sector industry and trying to create new internships for our students. Mm-hmm . And then obviously having our graduates that they know what they want to do, and they have prospects and, and job opportunities. So again, the fun thing about this job is that every day is a different day.
[00:02:36] Julie – Host: It sounds like it. And it sounds like you do a lot of mentoring, coaching, teaching. Guiding. There’s a lot of different titles that go along with Dean of a business school, which is pretty big title in itself. So that’s pretty interesting. So, Sergio, what is your favorite part of teaching our future business
[00:02:55] Sergio – Guest: leaders?
During the summer we do orientation. And so [00:03:00] we, I, I meet with the freshmen that will be coming in August. I don’t get to know all of them, but I get to know some of them. And then I have some of ’em in my classes and it’s really rewarding to meet a freshman and then see their transformation throughout the four years.
And their personal professional growth and also celebrating their accomplishments while here at Wingate we have during the spring and a war ceremony. And that’s really rewarding to see students that you met four years ago and what they’ve been able to accomplish. Mm-hmm during their time here, it’s very remarkable and then very excited to see them go and, and then accomplish things that I’m thinking.
I mean, I wish I could have, or have been able to do that. So I always want my students to do more. Then what we think they should do.
[00:03:59] Julie – Host: And it’s amazing when [00:04:00] you kind of set up that platform and give them that support for what they’re actually capable of doing. I remember when I came down and spoke to win, get last, last fall, I guess it was fall 2021.
At this point, there was a young lady who came up afterwards talking about her book of poetry and she just needed some encouragement to move forward with it. And I. I think I got a little taste of that excitement that you probably feel every day, which is really, it was really exciting to talk to her.
I remember that, and that was very, uh, poignant Mo moment in my own career. And
[00:04:33] Sergio – Guest: it’s funny, you mentioned that because I just ran across the student last week. And the first thing I asked her was, have you published your book yet? And she says, no, no, but I’m working on it. I’m working on it. And, uh, I believe she is a sophomore, maybe going to their junior year mm-hmm and I told her, I said, well, before you graduate, I want to see that book.
And she says, you will see it. That’s so we’ll have to get you a [00:05:00] copy.
[00:05:00] Julie – Host: Yeah, for sure. And it’s, it’s fun too, I think. Having that connection, because it’s so easy when you’re in, in school, in any, any college, really to kind of think that you’re a number, but when the Dean of the business school is asking you about the book that you said you were going to publish, that is definitely something that speaks to the support that you give students.
And also how much you care about ’em and how much you believe in ’em.
[00:05:26] Sergio – Guest: And that, that is the key is, is if you show them that you believe in. The sky’s the limit, but somehow they do not believe that they can accomplish these great things. Mm-hmm so reminding them that yes, you can. And believing in them that creates a momentum that sometimes is unstoppable.
[00:05:47] Julie – Host: Sergio, talk to me a little bit about how a college business school’s curriculum can help future business owners prepare for a career as an
[00:05:58] Sergio – Guest: entre. So there is a [00:06:00] debate, whether an entrepreneur is born or you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur. I am not sure where I fall in that category yet.
Probably I would say both, but I tell students that we are all entrepreneurs. Whether we will start a business or not, we create our own future. We create our own path. So in a way you have to be forward thinking and an entrepreneur yourself. In thinking about what you’re gonna do in the future. And so I think it’s very important that they take management, marketing classes, entrepreneurship classes, but at the same time, they cannot learn everything that they need to know in the classroom.
And I think self-awareness and emotional intelligence and, and creating their own strategic plan. It’s very important. And also. I tell ’em that entrepreneurs, they take risks, but I think they take measured risk. So they’ve [00:07:00] kind of made themselves aware of the opportunities and then they do research and then they decide to do one thing or another, but you know, an entrepreneur does her homework or his homework before they go out and start a business.
Mm. One thing is that I am originally from Spain. And sometimes students don’t realize how lucky they are because they’re in the United States. The United States is the most entrepreneurial country in the world. Mm-hmm when I was growing up. If somebody wanted to do something new, they would say, um, why do you wanna do that?
If it works, somebody would’ve done it. And then somebody tries, they fail and then they tell, ’em see, we told you, so in the US, somebody comes up with a new idea and there’s excitement and people say, go ahead and try it. And then they even tell you and you probably will fail, but that’s okay. Then you get [00:08:00] up and you learn from it and then you try again.
And so it’s that, that entrepreneurial speed spirit. I think it makes the US the most innovative country in the world. And also we need that entrepreneurial spirit to seek social change in this country and around the
[00:08:19] Julie – Host: world. Yeah. I was talking to a business owner a couple of weeks ago and he said to me that he believes that entrepreneurs and small business owners are the key to the changes that we need to see.
And it makes a lot of sense because. We really are pretty, pretty resilient. I would say relentless kind of, and very resourceful group of people most, most are. And I, I had to agree with him on that. I think that it takes business owners coming together. We have a lot of power and collectively we have a lot of power that I think if.
Realize it and, and harness it. We could, we can do a lot of good with it.
[00:08:57] Sergio – Guest: And, you know, statistics say that 80% of the [00:09:00] new jobs created in the United States will be created by entrepreneurs and small business owners. Mm-hmm so really it is the fabric of America. And so we need to continue. Not only teaching, but modeling and talking about what entrepreneurship is and what it can do, not just for one person, but for society at large, you can have
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[00:09:41] Julie – Host: Hey, this is Julie B and you are listening to, they don’t teach this in business school. I’m here today with Sergio Castello, the Dean of one gate universities, Porter B Byrum school of business, and Sergio.
We were just talking about that entrepreneurial spirit and getting excited, knowing [00:10:00] that there’s, you know, Pretty good chance you might fail, but staying excited anyways, but also balancing the risk of, of all of that. And I just wanted to ask you as someone who does teach in business school, how do you help students either get excited or stay excited about the idea of being a business owner, being their own boss while also making sure they understand the realities, the risky part of all of that.
How do you kind of manage that as a teacher in, in business?
[00:10:33] Sergio – Guest: So I tell the students that once professional career is not a linear path and there’s gonna be twists and turns and challenges and opportunities. And, so they need to be vigilant. And just for example, You know, you went to school to be an accountant, but now you don’t do accounting and that’s perfectly fine.
And students think that because they major in [00:11:00] marketing, that they have to get a job in marketing. And I tell ’em, that’s fine. It may be that you do that for a few years, but do not be afraid if your career path changes. And it takes you to something else that you didn’t think that you would do because as a 21 year old, you do not know where you’re gonna be doing when you’re 50.
I can tell you that for sure. I am the perfect example of that. And so being two through oneself, knowing your purpose and what you’re here for being patient, that’s very important. I think these days, there’s a lot of inpatient business people that they wanna see results right away. And sometimes it just takes a little bit longer and, and we don’t teach enough patients and a lot of hard work and sacrifice, uh, being a business owner, it’s not all fine and roses and, and.
Understanding [00:12:00] that the road is tough, but it’s also very rewarding. If you understand who you are and what you want to accomplish.
[00:12:07] Julie – Host: Yeah. There’s definitely, I have yet to meet someone who is an overnight success, even though some people look like they just started their business and the next thing you know, they’re growing like crazy.
It, it is definitely a journey. And I think what I think is really interesting is. What you said about, you know, your professional career. It’s not a linear path. And I know business owners who started in corporate America start, went and started, ran a business for 10 years and then went back to corporate America and then went back and became a business owner again.
So I think it’s more important to. There’s a lot of things that are important there, but it’s really, like you said, it’s really important for people to know who they are, their values and, and their purpose, and to, to really have a path that they can stay true on, no matter what they’re doing as a, for a [00:13:00] living, you know, they really stay true to
[00:13:01] Sergio – Guest: themselves.
Just to give you a follow up and give you an example. My father was a business owner and he said he retired the day that he went to work for a big corporation cuz instead of working 24 hours a day, he was only working eight hours a day mm-hmm . And I think at that time, probably I didn’t understand what he was saying.
but I do now.
[00:13:23] Julie – Host: absolutely. So Sergio, what, what do you find is the biggest challenge in getting college students to see business ownership as a valid career path?
[00:13:34] Sergio – Guest: Again, I think it’s in part is believe some students have never thought about their careers. They come to college and they major in, in whatever, but again, they’re just going through the motions.
Maybe they’re, you know, A students and they do very well. But when you ask them, what’s next, it’s like, oh, I don’t know. Mm-hmm . And so getting to think about who [00:14:00] they want to be, who they want to become, what they want to accomplish by business. I asked that question to freshman students and some of ’em say, well, I wanna make a lot of money.
And I said, well, you’re not gonna be happy because once you get a lot of money, then you’re gonna want something. And I remind business students that if they understand that being in business is to serve, we’re here to serve, to, to serve our customers, to serve our employees, our communities, if they understand that idea of service and they truly believe that, then they’re always gonna be happy, whatever they do.
And it’s not going to matter. If it’s not exactly what they had thought that they would do for a long time. And now when it comes to being a business owner, again, a lot of students, they say, well, I wanna be my own boss, cuz I don’t like anybody telling me what to do. It’s like, well you’re gonna be [00:15:00] tired of working 24 hours a day telling yourself what to do.
Yes. So again, they just kind of have to rethink why they want to be a business owner. Why there is a need for what they’re trying to, to produce or sell mm-hmm and how they’re going to fill that gap that society needs your business. There was in the 20th first century, Joseph Temperature, an economist that talked about the creative destruction, meaning businesses are created.
They have a purpose and then they die because society changes, attitudes change, culture changes, and there’s other needs that need to be filled. Mm-hmm so just because you’re a business owner and you’re successful, it doesn’t mean that you can coast because there will always be new challenges as things change.
[00:15:59] Julie – Host: the longer [00:16:00] you’re in business and the, and the more you grow and the bigger you become, the harder the challenges become. I always. For the longest time. I thought if I could just get to this point in business, or I can just get to this point or have this many employees, then the problems won’t be as hard.
And that was the, it was just not, not what you experienced because the more you grow, the, the, usually it’s not even that you. I’ve found that I’ve, I’ve become more comfortable making hard decisions. It’s the impact that those decisions have. It’s not just you, that those decisions impact, you know, the more employees you have, the more impact that’s going to have.
It impacts your community. It impacts, you know, your business, obviously your personal life, but the bigger your business gets, the bigger your decisions impact, the more they impact other people. And I think that that was something that really was. A hard, it was hard lesson for me to learn for sure.
[00:16:59] Sergio – Guest: I had a [00:17:00] conversation one time with my wife and she reminded me of little children, little problems, big children, big problems.
And I, I see exactly what you’re saying. Small business, small problems. Mm-hmm, big business, big problems that affect a lot of people. And so, um, you have to be very careful. What decisions you make as it affects so many people
[00:17:27] Julie – Host: that all comes back to, I think knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing beyond, I wanna make money or be my own boss.
Yeah. Those are sure. Yeah, those are great. You know, be your own boss. Most of the time is great, but there are times even, I mean, I’m 14 years in business and there are times where I just wish. Somebody would tell me what to do. Like I wish I had a boss sometimes and I, I could go to and say, what do I do here?
Help me make this decision because it’s, you know, a lot of it’s on your shoulders and you make the best decisions you can with the information that you have at the time, but it, it can weigh heavy on a business owner [00:18:00] for sure.
[00:18:01] Sergio – Guest: Yes. And it’s, it’s not a good idea to look back and, and, and think, oh, I should have done this.
I should have done that. Mm-hmm you know, we, we try to make the best decision at the time with the information that we have. Mm-hmm , as time goes on, we have more information, but at the time we didn’t have it. Therefore someone told me don’t look back, just keep looking forward. And hopefully you can learn from your mistakes of the past.
Don’t second. Guess yourself?
[00:18:29] Julie – Host: Yeah, don’t take a guess. Learn what you can, you know, learn, learn the lessons you can learn, but. Don’t beat yourself up over the decisions that you’ve made, cuz you know, there’s no point to that. You can’t change the decisions that you’ve made. So you might as well learn what you can learn and move on from ’em for sure.
Right. So Sergio, I just have one more question for you. And this is a fun question to ask because you do teach in business school. So what is something that you would really like to see added to the [00:19:00] curriculum that you believe would really help future business owners?
[00:19:05] Sergio – Guest: In 2007, 2008, we had a financial crisis and it affected a lot of people, not only in the United States, but throughout the world.
And I looked at myself and I thought, what did we do wrong? Why did all this business people make this wrong decisions that affected so many people mm-hmm . And I came to the conclusion that. If this business people making these decisions, would’ve had a little more empathy and would’ve put themselves in the shoes of others as they were making those decisions.
Perhaps we would’ve had a different outcome, but it seems to me that it was driven all by higher profits. And shifting the risk to someone else. And so [00:20:00] empathy to me is something that I don’t think that we teach in business school, but that’s obviously it’s part of the, the new concept of emotional intelligence, but, but actually teaching it, I think it’s very difficult because you know, how do you teach somebody?
To feel and to put themselves in the shoes of others. Mm-hmm , that has to be a conscious decision that they make. And then social awareness. Again, the United States is the greatest country in the world. It’s the largest economy in the world. We have lots of people that want to come to the United States, myself, an example of it, hard work pays off, but at the same time, There are a lot of things that we could be doing better or because the way the system is, has created some inequities and some problems that people don’t want [00:21:00] to recognize or look at.
And so I think social awareness and understanding that businesses and capitalism and free markets do not always provide the best outcomes for. They do it for some, but not for all. So how do we help those that the system has not helped? And again, uh, business students sometimes are reticent to, to listen to that because it’s like, well, I don’t care.
All I care is about myself and my business and my job on my bank account. I think that’s important. And then the second thing that I would say is being authentic. I don’t know how you teach that, but I remind students that be yourself, be authentic and people will trust you. And so to me, those are things that business schools could do a better job.
It’s [00:22:00] just that we’ve never been trained in those types of issues when we into business school.
[00:22:07] Julie – Host: Well, and I think, I think you bring up a really good point and about, there is an element of maturity that comes. Empathy and emotional intelligence and the being authentic there’s, there’s a level of maturity.
I think that you have to have to be able to be those things. And a lot of those things are learned as you grow up. And what I would say is though, I think if you have the opportunity to teach any of it, there will be a time in those students’ lives where something happens and they’ll say, oh, this is what.
This is what Dean Costello was talking about. This right here is where I get to make this choice. And you just hope that it’s earlier on in their career than maybe it was for you or for I, because that is, I think that’s kind of the nature trying to teach those things is just planting the seed and then, you know, it has to kind of [00:23:00] just sit there for a little while and then it’ll start growing
[00:23:03] Sergio – Guest: right.
[00:23:05] Julie – Host: Well, Sergio, listen, I’ve really enjoyed this. Conversation’s been really great. And I’ve thank you so much for being on a show that talks about what they don’t teach you in business school and, and for being a good, a good player and a guest on here. And I know our listeners are gonna really enjoy this as well.
So thanks again for being here today.
[00:23:22] Sergio – Guest: Thanks for having
[00:23:23] Julie – Host: thank you. And that’s a wrap on this episode, but stay tuned because I’ll be back soon with more or lessons learned on the business owner’s journey. I’m Julie B and they don’t teach this in business school.