Michael Scharff, Chair and faculty member of the Limestone Department of Business & Economics, has years of business and leadership experience both in the private sector and the Army.
Scharff, who mainly teaches the undergraduate and MBA management and ethics courses says, “the thing I like most about teaching is the thing I liked most about being a manager and an officer in the Army — that is seeing and being a part of the growth of individuals. Now I get to focus on that full time.”
After earning a bachelor of science in business administration, Scharff was commissioned in the Army.
“So many people think of the military as being rigid where people are taught not to make decisions and just follow blindly,” says Scharff.
However, his experience taught him differently. While there are rules, Scharff found “the military to be a place where multiple options were explored and debated and where input was asked for.” He now uses the same approach in working with his faculty to weigh in the positives and negatives before determining a course of action for the business department.
When asked what would a prospective student be surprised to learn about the business department at Limestone, Scharff said, “our professors…not only have the required degree, but also…significant real world experience in what they teach.” On average, Limestone business professors have over 15 years of business experience.
Like many of his fellow faculty, Scharff holds an MBA degree and a Doctorate in Management. His education combined with years of practical experience in the private sector make him well aware of the business challenges graduates face today.
Scharff believes that one of the main challenges business students will face in their careers has to with ethics. “The pressure drives many upper level managers to do whatever it takes or ‘the ends justify the means’ type of attitude,” says Scharff. The other challenge he points to is the pace of change. As businesses need to adapt quicker than ever to changes in the marketplace, individuals are forced to keep pace or be left behind.
While Scharff remains optimistic for Limestone business students, he offers a piece of advice, “Find something you like doing and then go after it with everything you have.”