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Collin Carlier

Collin Carlier

COO | Royse & Brinkmeyer Apartments | Class of 2005

Three cheers for the three Gies College of Business professors who made Collin Carlier’s MBA years invaluable ones.

In no particular order:

Dr. Greg Northcraft taught organizational behavior. This is a course that every executive should be required to take as he did much to insert the human components into how to organize and structure a business so that value can be created efficiently," Carlier says.

“The soft skills were emphasized and Northcraft embodied those skills. I’ll never forget him arriving the first day of class with his bushy mustache and talking about how two things mattered most to him: his dog and playing golf.

"He was/is very skilled at reminding students focused on zeros and ones, profit and loss, etc., that businesses are about people.”

Dr. Avijit Ghosh taught marketing. While clearly brilliant, I found Dr. Ghosh to also be a great communicator. He said one thing during a lecture that I say to myself on a monthly basis: ‘Don’t compete. Win.’

“Marketing is often confused with how to ‘compete’ and carve out a share of the market. He was instrumental in reinforcing in his students that if you can identify a customer need or pain point and directly solve it better than others, then you won’t need to compete. You’ll simply solve the consumer’s needs more efficiently.”

Dr. Joseph Mahoney taught corporate strategy. He too left me with a sound bite during a lecture that has stuck with me and I apply to situations regularly.

“The topic was data and how to draw helpful conclusions from historical points of reference. He told us ‘no amount of sophistication, in any model, can allay the fact that all of its information points regard the past, and all of the decisions you must make regard the future.’

“To me, it’s a reminder not to assume that models can directly inform you and provide you answers since all of the variables of that history cannot be perfectly aligned with the variables of today. Their helpfulness must therefore be framed properly.”

Now the chief operating officer of Urbana-based Royse & Brinkmeyer Apartments, Carlier holds two UI degrees: the MBA he earned in 2009 and the bachelor’s in finance from four years earlier.

It was in pursuit of the latter that he came across his other most impactful Illinois faculty member.

“My senior year, I primarily took ethics courses after my finance requirements were met. Monsignor Swetland taught a course on the ethics of war that helped me shape the world.

“After graduating, I invited him to Murphy’s Pub on a few occasions so we could sit and discuss the ethics of the world. He blew up my thinking and made my world 100 times larger after taking his course, and it meant something that he was willing to meet an undergrad student — not even majoring in philosophy — one-on-one to debate the ethics of humanity.

“What a great listener and overall human being he was.”