Lorenzo Bizzi leads study abroad trips with his students from the Business Honors Program and his capstone course to destinations such as Europe and East Asia, and he sees how exposure to the global business world enriches each students’ college experience. Bizzi is the Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College of Business and Economics Business Honors program director, and he considers this role one of his greatest accomplishments.
As an assistant professor of management for the past seven years, he has taught MGMT 449, the capstone course for management undergrads. Bizzi earned his Ph.D. at HEC Montreal and completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in his native Italy. I asked him to share his advice for students:
What do employers say is the most important strengths for a potential candidate?
Technical knowledge is not all that important. When Goldman Sachs came for a meeting with Business Honors, they said they will teach you the skills you need. You need to study finance because it signals the motivation that you will need on the job, but they won’t expect you to explain certain models. Motivation is a bigger factor.
What strength is essential for an exceptional employee?
I know what employers want, which is how I design my courses. Employers want to see you have taken classes that make you think. Concepts are important, but you really will forget them. You have to make students thirsty for knowledge, which Einstein used to say “Education is not about feeding people concepts, it is about making them hungry.”
What are the most important areas first-year students should focus on other than academics?
You should enrich your social bonds as much as possible. It is extremely important, not just because of the social element for emotional support, but because the relationships you build in college last a lifetime. Those people in your class will make a big name for themselves, and if you stay close with them, it will be very beneficial in your future. Lots of folks don’t believe that is true, because some say that friends stay together now, but we’ll all go our separate ways; however, our alumni network is strong because people will always remember their college experience as positive.
It is a unique period of your life that you should cherish, because afterward it is about work, family and a mortgage. College is a pure and beautiful period in which you have to work but also have a glorious time. Even 15 years after college, you may contact someone in class that you haven’t talked to in years; they will go have lunch with you because they want to remember those good days in college. An amazing quote I show before every study abroad trip is when you are in your deathbed, you don’t think about your possessions, you think about experiences over your lifetime.
What are some of the helpful strategies drawn from your college career?
I was able to balance work with having a great time. I have always worked hard and played hard. During the hardest moments of work have been the times I increased my play time as well. Otherwise, folks lack balance and it becomes depressing. My family said as long as you’re the best student at school, you can go have fun as well.
How did you decide what to study when you were a student?
The flexibility, networking and great opportunities within business were very appealing. If you are a doctor, you have to work in the health-care industry all of your life. In business though, you can work in any industry you like. I decided to do more with my Ph.D. because I really loved academia. We can make an impact through our students; they become successful and give jobs to other people, creating a multiplier effect. Professors of business are also still involved in the community, and I still do consulting projects and such to help businesses. It really empowers a variety of talents we have and gives us a range of opportunities to grow.
Since you have taught at multiple universities, what sets Cal State Fullerton students apart from others you’ve taught?
Our students have different backgrounds; many have overcome hardships and difficulties that have all my respect. I have some students that I know who are working three jobs, others that have losses in the family. Students here are more independent, and they have lived through those experiences at a young age, which I really admire.
Interested in Business Honors? Applications are currently open to qualifying freshmen and other undergrads seeking a structured, cohort-based, four-year experience with networking, professional development and academic advancement opportunities.
For more on the Mihaylo College management education programs, visit the department of management. Or read more of our articles about management.