PhD candidate Joe Pitzel shares 35 years of business acumen with students
When Joe Pitzel retired from his 35-year career at Xerox, he decided to evaluate what he could give back to the community. After considering the skills he honed throughout his experience managing various high-level operations – and the skills some of his personnel lacked – he decided to explore teaching.
Mr. Pitzel now teaches the Sales Enablement course for the Sales Management stream of the University of Fredericton’s (UFred) Executive MBA program. But he began teaching in 2016 at his alma matter of more than 30 years, Laurentian University, in Sudbury, Ont. There, he earned his Honours B.Comm. in Sports Administration, a BA in Economics, and an MBA. He is now working on his PhD in Human Studies at Laurentian, researching what skills are required by sales people in a variety of scenarios. Mr. Pitzel expects to complete his doctorate by April 2019.
Part of the reason he decided to teach at UFred is the culture.
“The emphasis on combining academia with input from skilled practitioners from within the business world is of interest to me,” he said, adding that the curriculum reflects topical items like sales that are critical to the success of University graduates.
Mr. Pitzel’s approach to teaching is collaborative, and grounded in a blend of his own academic and corporate experiences. He sometimes rewrites curriculum to include real-world examples, which students have expressed is an effective method of teaching.
“I would hope that UFred students will get a solid mixture of academic and practical real-world knowledge that will help them in future endeavours,” he said.
If there’s any advice Mr. Pitzel can offer to students, it’s to never stop learning. He says he still reads four to five books a week.
“Continue to learn throughout your career. Even is it’s just reading books about business or the industry you are in, it will be valuable. You can’t bring new ideas to the table if you have none!”
Despite having a seemingly full schedule between teaching and working on his PhD, Mr. Pitzel still finds time to stay active through working out and playing volleyball, and is helping his two children renovate their newly acquired homes.