Dr. Richard Brynteson Discusses Your Online CSP Education, Your Way

Posted June 13, 2014 | By csponline

Portrait of Dr. Richard Brynteson

Getting an MBA can have a significant impact on your career and earning power. But for working adults with family and job commitments, the thought of starting a degree program can be daunting. Learn how Concordia University, St. Paul’s customizable, flexible online programs can help. Dr. Richard Brynteson, a professor in CSP’s online MBA program, including teaching about leadership, strategy, decision-making and marketing, discusses how to get the most out of your CSP Online education.

What brought you to Concordia?

This job opened to start a marketing program for adults here (at CSP), and it just fit me to a T because my career had been in marketing and I’d been teaching marketing and et cetera. So, I applied for it and was accepted. I didn’t know all that much about Concordia but the description fit me. And that was, what, 22 years ago now? I’ve enjoyed being here ever since. I’ve had ups and downs like everyone does, but I have great colleagues and I have great students and that trumps anything.

What would you say makes an education at CSP unique or valuable for the student?

Well, (students) get a lot of one-on-one time because our cohorts are only 22 people. And, we’re all dedicated to teaching and not researching per se, so they have access to us. Right now we have a mentorship program where we’re coaching them and we get together with them every couple of months and have coffee, or over the phone, and help with career coaching and life coaching and that kind of thing. I don’t think they get that when they’re in lecture halls.

I think (an advantage is) the one-on-one with people who are practical. If I look around me, just the cubes that are here, one person was vice president of marketing for National Rental Car. Another one owned a department store when he was 19. And I could go on and on. But these are practical street fighters who’ve been out in business. (Students) have very close contact with those kinds of people.

How have you seen students benefit from these courses or from online education in general?

Well, I had lunch with one of my former students who’s now the CEO of Miller Manufacturing, and he says he owes his success to a lot of work he’s done with me, as far as looking at strategy, et cetera. I have contacts with students all the time who’ve been promoted or get new jobs and they attribute it to us here at Concordia. So they benefit from us, from the work they’re doing with us, whether it’s online or blended, because we push them to think. You have to write a lot of papers. You have to think through a lot of issues.

One quote from one student a few years ago was, “I came here for a degree, and I got an education.” I think that’s what happens. A lot of people think, “Oh, I need an MBA because I need to get a job, because I need an MBA to get a job.” And yet by the time they’re done, it’s like, “Wow, I’m thinking differently. I’m thinking more creatively. My decision-making is higher level. I’m thinking more ethically. And, I’ve found new ways of looking at issues, problems, challenges.” And so that’s what I hear a lot.

What tips can you give a student taking your online courses?

Be disciplined and don’t procrastinate. Do a little bit every day; don’t wait till the last minute. Take every piece seriously, whether it’s the discussion boards, whether it’s the WebEx chat stuff or it’s the assignments, the paper assignments. Whatever that is, take it seriously. I always believed about education, whether it’s my own or anyone else’s, the more you put in the more you get out. I know it’s an old adage, but I believed that 20 years ago, 40 years ago—I still believe it. So it’s up to you. We try to set our students up to really understand on a deep level that they need to add value every day to their organization to have a good job. Period.

Are there any specific courses that you teach that you feel are especially beneficial in the field? That you feel that students are actually putting in the most they can and getting the most out?

I think a lot of students think they get a lot out, and they do, of my decision-making course. I actually just published a book in it, in behavioral economics. And I wrote it because I think the field’s so important. And, as I tell them the first five minutes of the course, whether they’re blended or online, the quality of your decisions will make for the quality of your life. That decision-making course particularly opens up their eyes to how they’ve been making poor decisions in many cases.

Do you have any tips for graduating students who are entering or re-entering the workforce?

My tip for anyone—instead of asking, “What kind of job should I get?” or, “Where can I get a job?” ask, “Where can I add most value to an organization?” And that probably links with their passion and purpose, too. And I also say that you can’t unmoor yourself from your purpose and values forever. You can do it for a short period of time, but you can’t do it forever. Ultimately you have to get closer to your purpose.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your courses, students or online learning in general?

Again, whatever you put in, you’ll get out. If I were an online student, I would make contact with teachers between sessions and build a relationship with teachers. I would invite the teacher out for coffee or something like that—if you’re local, of course. What happens in a classroom is that at the end of a class you end up having these conversations with students that lead to very interesting places. You don’t have that online, per se. So, if you’re an online student you have to create it. And, so, it’ll take a little bit more gumption and time to create it, but it’s well worth doing.

With Concordia University, St. Paul’s online programs, your educational and career goals are within your reach. Professor Brynteson and the rest of our faculty at Concordia are committed to helping you gain the knowledge and skills you need for today’s job market. No matter what your course of study is, you’ll experience the flexibility and individualized attention that is so important to us. Whether you choose to study at the library, at home or even on a fishing trip, we’ll meet you there. That’s the subject of our latest commercial featuring Dr. Brynteson. No matter which degree program you choose or where you go to learn, Concordia University, St. Paul meets you there.