As a Professor of Marketing and Product Innovation, Narongsak (Tek) Thongpapanl knows that mistakes are simply part of the learning process.
“If someone says they haven’t made mistakes, they’re lying to you,” said Thongpapanl, a Goodman School of Business Professor who delivered the morning Convocation address Thursday, June 13. “No one is immune to making them. We’re all human.”
The difference, said the Goodman Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, is in what people do after a misstep.
“We often focus on success and don’t give enough attention to failures. But if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’re making it more difficult to achieve success,” he said.
Prof. Tek, as he’s known to most of his students, focuses his research on new product development, innovation and technology management, e-commerce, wine marketing and business management, strategic marketing management in high-tech environments, among other topics.
The multiple-award-winning professor told the Goodman graduands to understand the difference between failures and mistakes.
“You can only learn from a failure, but you can’t fix it. When you make a mistake, you can learn from it, fix it, and as a result improve yourself,” he said.
Thongpapanl encouraged the students to take the road less travelled, putting themselves in a position to make errors or blunders that can be considered interesting or insightful.
“If you make a mistake, own it,” he said. “This is a crucial step to learning and improving yourself. People will remember your courage and integrity long after they forget your mistake.”
He added that when a blunder is made, try to understand it, look at it through a lens of self-improvement, and then apply what you’ve learned to prevent it from happening again.
The afternoon Goodman School of Business Convocation address was delivered by Mishka Balsom, President and CEO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, who told the Class of 2019 to have confidence that the skills they’ve acquired during their education are “needed in the business world.”
“You’re following in the footsteps of a long line of accomplished Brock graduates and they will open doors for you,” she said. “Today, your understanding of commerce is likely more intellectual than intuitive, but that is not a disadvantage. Make it your advantage.”
Balsom told the students to bring about change and make a difference by thinking globally, working collaboratively, and by committing to a business that balances purpose and profit.
“Use business as a force for good,” she said.
REPLAY: Goodman School of Business, 10 a.m. Ceremony
REPLAY: Goodman School of Business, 2:30 p.m. Ceremony
Brock’s 105th Convocation wraps up Friday at 10 a.m. with a ceremony for both the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Math and Science.
Convocation ceremonies are free to attend and no tickets are required. Parking is free for guests throughout the week. Free Wi-Fi is also being provided to guests throughout Convocation week. The BrockEvents Wi-fi network can be accessed using the username: BROCKGRAD and password: welcome2brock!