Building Your Positive Business Career


Almost thirty years ago as she sat in the Marriott Center at BYU as an undergrad she never dreamed the day would come when she would be invited to be the key speaker to address students in a forum assembly.

Tuesday rather than a seat in the audience, Alison Davis-Blake will be at the podium. Serving as the current dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, BYU welcomes Davis-Blake back to the university honoring her accomplishments in business education.

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Alison Davis-Blake, Dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan will address students at Tuesday’s Devotional

Following receiving her masters of business from BYU in 1982, Davis-Blake continued her education earning a doctorate in organizational behavior from Stanford in 1986. She later made history at the University of Minnesota becoming the first woman to be appointed director of the Carlson school of Management and later once again became the first woman to become dean of the Ross School of Business at Michigan University.

In spite of her success Davis-Blake looks back and recognizes those who have helped her and important defining experiences from her past particularly moments at BYU.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to return to BYU for this forum address,” Davis-Blake said. “My ability to return and give this address is due to the many people who helped and mentored me both when I was a student and throughout my career.  I owe this opportunity to their willingness to invest in my education, my understanding, and my success.”

At Tuesday’s address she will be speaking on the wisdom of hindsight and experience. Davis-Blake has a vested interest in students, and recognizing the unique challenges students face today hopes her remarks will engage students by sharing her own philosophies of leadership as well as the state of business following the crisis of 2008.

On a personal level she continues to strive to connect with students and offered advice to those pursuing undergraduate degrees.

First, Davis Blake advised students to continue to become culturally literate and expand their understanding in a broad variety of subject matter.

“It is important to read broadly and to connect with ideas from a wide range of disciplines,” Davis-Blake said.  “I find that ideas from science, literature, and the arts are not only personally enriching but give me insight into the day to day management problems that I face.”

She also encouraged students to develop the ability to think critically.

“Learn how to think clearly and to craft a logical argument,” she said.  “It is important to pay attention to the professors who help you do that as they are giving you a gift that will be important throughout your life.”

Her third piece of advice highlighted the importance of writing persuasively and with strong prose.

“It is vital to learn how to write well, including how to write effectively for different audiences,” she said.  “Learning to write well can be a bit painful at first, but it is worth the investment of time and attention.”

She reminded students to cherish their time in college reminding them that this opportunity comes only once in their lives.

“This is a unique and important time in your life that will never come again,” Davis-Blake said.  “Unless you go to graduate school, never again will you have long periods to devote to study and learning.  Never again in your life will you have the ability (and, indeed, the encouragement) to study such a broad array of topics and ideas.  Although your life may seem busy now, it will certainly get busier  Although it may not always feel like it, you have more flexible time now than you will have in the future.  Use that time wisely to get the most out of this unique period in your life.”

Davis-Blake will be speaking at the Marriott Center at 11:05 am tomorrow, her remarks will be rebroadcast on and accessible on

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