What they don—€™t (usually) teach you

July 2012 » Columns » FROM THE PUBLISHER
Mark C. Zweig

Many CE News readers know that I teach entrepreneurship at The Sam M. Walton College of Business at The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. I—€™ve been doing it for eight years now and have found it to be an extremely rewarding experience (even if not financially rewarding —€” we save the big bucks for our football coaches!)

What most of you don—€™t know, however, is that this spring I also started teaching a class at The Fay Jones School of Architecture (also here at the U of A). This seminar class is for fifth year students and called —€œEverything They Don—€™t (Usually) Teach You in Architectural School.—€

My goals for the class were multifaceted:

  1. Show the students that there actually are architects who make a good living as architects —€” a great living, in fact. I brought in some guest speakers from around the country who make seven-figure incomes.
  2. Show the students that all successful architects aren—€™t egomaniacs —€” see point number one above. My guest speakers, who run very successful firms, were all nice people who know how to treat others with respect.
  3. Teach the students about business. We did this with a variety of lectures on finance and accounting, marketing, project management, human resources management, business planning, organization structure, ownership transition planning, and more. These students will now have a leg up over their peers when they get out into the real world with their first architectural jobs.
  4. I wanted the students to learn that there are successful architects who design buildings that don—€™t shock people and instead actually fit into their context. There—€™s a misconception amongst architectural students that somehow you have failed design-wise if you don—€™t —€œchallenge—€ the public in some way with your building. Hogwash!
  5. I wanted the students to talk to some people in the field who are actually building stuff from architectural plans so they could point out the typical problems they encounter. They heard about problems with rooflines and stairs and a lack of planning around plumbing and HVAC, among others. All good stuff.

This, too, has been a really rewarding experience. The architectural students all shocked me with their interest in and aptitude for business and management. That was a really pleasant surprise because my assumptions about their lack of discipline were completely off-target. If all architectural graduates are as sharp as my 11 students were it bodes well for the future of the profession!

So, civil engineer readers who work for and with architects or who have architects working for you, I—€™m trying to help you out the best I can by training your future clients, collaborators, professional service providers, and employees!

Enjoy our July issue of CE News. And please, pass it around!

Mark C. Zweig
mzweig@zweigwhite.com


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