A self-described "explorer of knowledge," this Tabor School of Business professor takes Performance Learning into uncharted waters
Millikin University faculty are well-known for their innovative work with students. Across all areas of study, through the University's hallmark Performance Learning model, Millikin's faculty give students unprecedented access to hands-on, real-world experiences that fuel growth, providing them with a level of conﬁdence and cool expertise that most students don't develop until graduate school.
The groundbreaking Performance Learning work being done by Dr. J. Mark Munoz is no different. As a proliﬁc author, global award-winner and dedicated professor, Munoz has consistently found ways to turn his personal and professional passions into a curriculum that takes Tabor School of Business students into uncharted waters.
"I have learned over time that our students are so talented and always come up with amazing ideas," Munoz said. "Some of these ideas come up at the tail-end of the project, when key research has been done and we desperately need fresh strategies and solutions. I have developed so much respect and admiration for the abilities of our students — when it's time to deliver, they always do."
Case in point: Munoz's International Business Consulting students have worked with governments around the world to develop economic and branding strategies that impact the populations of entire countries. On two occasions Munoz has led teams of Millikin students as consultants for Ecuador. In 2017, Millikin students developed a market strategy for the country as it sought to enter the U.S. handicrafts market.
Haley Hogenkamp, Class of 2017, was one of the 11 students involved with the project. "It was an incredibly formative experience for me as an undergraduate," she said. "At the beginning of our project, we had no idea just how immense the undertaking of the project would be. Additionally, it was high stakes."
Government officials from Ecuador reached out again in 2019, asking Munoz and his students to take on a branding project to boost tourism in the Ecuadorian province of Imbabura, which led to work on a global branding strategy for the entire country. These global opportunities have continued, even during the pandemic:
"As a class, we developed a global branding strategy for Liberia under a fully online format. It was the ﬁrst time this course was taught online. Thankfully … our students can adapt and reinvent themselves and ﬁnd new ways to learn and complete projects."
From one project to the next, Munoz has seen this global work fuel the growth and development of his students in several ways.
"One, students gain a stronger international perspective — they learn to appreciate foreign countries and cultures and the intricacies of doing business overseas. Second, they develop heightened research and analytical skills, discovering how to do comprehensive market research in foreign environments … And third, they experience global citizenship. They realize that they are part of a global community and can leverage their talents and abilities to make a real difference in the world."
Munoz has been modeling that global approach his entire career — a career that includes publishing more than 25 books across a diverse array of disciplines, from AI to entrepreneurship to a recent topic that takes a decidedly personal look at his life's work.
"One of my recent books, 'Creating a Business and Personal Legacy,' was written from the heart. I hope the book helps others think about how they want to be remembered and what contributions they can make to the world. … We all have the potential to make a difference in a profound way. A key part of Millikin University's mission is to prepare students to live a life of meaning and value. I have made it a point to weave in key lessons from the book in all my classes."
Part of Munoz's legacy is the professional recognition he has received throughout his career — and his recognition of how fundamental his time at Millikin has been as a part of that legacy.
"I learned a lot from our community, honed my skills here and received a lot of support. The mentoring I received from Millikin professors early in my career helped me develop my teaching skills. My students have always been my 'compass' and served as a source of inspiration in my work as a teacher, author and researcher."
No doubt his students would say the same.