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The School of Business welcomed special guest Doug Hughes to their convocation service Monday, Feb. 18, where students heard first-hand what it takes to succeed and the steps to getting there.
Hughes, the chief sales officer at McGraw-Hill, began by introducing himself and Ulrik Chistensen, the CEO for Area9.
“Dr. Christensen has one of the most impactful companies,” Hughes said. “He left the medical field to impact education, and he is dedicated to students to help them achieve.”
Christensen’s company is the adaptive learning engine behind McGraw-Hill’s new range of LearnSmart products, according to the Area9 website.
“Most importantly, we can see that we open up (students’) eyes to the facts of what learning is,” Christensen said. “So ultimately, we see that (students) study more when they use the LearnSmart Module than less. Originally, we thought that they would study less. We actually opened their eyes up to the fact that studying is needed.”
Technology has a dramatic impact on students’ performance, according to Hughes. Using it cuts failure rates in half, which is why Hughes said that he is so passionate about it.
His keys to success are keeping your commitments, differentiation, courageous leadership and belief. According to Hughes, these are four things that helped him get where he is today.
Hughes recalled his days in the U.S. Army, where he was encouraged to never quit something that he starts and to keep pushing forward. He drew from college experience to help him start an online learning center at the university he attended, which then led to an interview that put him where he is now.
“I differentiated myself in college so much that the (Vice President) of Sales for McGraw-Hill and the Southeast asked the university I attended for their top business technology student, and because of all the work that I had done for the university, everything came in my name,” Hughes said.
Hughes reminded students that success is simple, but to not confuse the word simple with easy.
“I took away from it that you always need to believe in yourself, even when it seems like you shouldn’t and when you just want to go back on what you believe in, and that is the true key to success,” senior and business finance major Christine Purdy said.
Hughes ended his message with the same advice that the late Dr. Jerry Falwell would have given if he were here today — never quit.