Using Analytical Skills in Business

July 12, 2018 § Leave a comment


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Analytical Skills

University of Pittsburgh graduate Diane Kaern possesses experience in strategic planning, product management, and executive management reporting. On top of her management abilities, Diane Kaern uses her analytical skills to drive business performance.

Analytical skills involve the ability to gather and analyze information, identify and understand problems, make decisions, and work toward a solution. This set of skills is a powerful tool, not only in solving company problems, but also for enhancing performance and productivity.

Specifically, the following situations prove that having analytical skills is vital and critical to the success of a business.

Defining problems. What seems to be a simple technical problem may actually be a result of a deeper concern, such as ineffective management oversight. Approaching the matter analytically demands looking at the root and the extent of the problem.

Developing strategies. What appears to be a competitive advbantage of the company may be a result of overestimating its strengths and misunderstanding its competitors. Using analytical skills to understand the capabilities and opportunities of a company minimizes wrong perceptions and encourages strategy improvement.

Improving process and quality. Analysis is important in making sure that the company’s overall process leads to delivering quality products and services to customers. Through an analytical approach, quality and process failures can be detected quickly and evaluated. This may involve documenting and streamlining the process to save resources.


The Basics of Becoming a Certified Scuba Diver

July 5, 2018 § Leave a comment




With experience in sales operations and financial management, Diane Kaern has worked for multiple global multibillion-dollar corporations over the course of her career. In her leisure time, Diane Kaern has been found underwater, as she is a certified scuba diver.

Certification as a scuba diver means the individual has received formal training and passed a test in scuba diving technique and the use of scuba equipment. A scuba diver can become certified by taking courses and passing a test from an accredited scuba diving certification agency, such as the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or the National Association of Underwater Instructors.

Courses teach divers scuba diving techniques and train them in the proper use of all equipment. Divers learn to fill their own tanks and undergo assessments to determine safe physical fitness for scuba diving. The instructor tests the diver’s ability to swim yards, float, and tread water, although divers may use methods of their own choice.

Training courses typically consist of four parts: book work, written exams, pool training, and open water dives. The book work and written exam portion of the course teaches the basics of scuba diving and many agencies allow you to complete these parts online. Divers put the skills they learn into practice during pool training, which takes place in a pool or pool-like environment. Once they finish pool training, divers need to complete four to five open water dives in order to complete their certification.

Divers may also have to comply with other requirements, depending on the agency they choose. For instance, PADI does not allow divers under the age of 10 to enroll in their courses, they must be at least 15 years old to receive an Open Water Diver certification. Divers between the ages of 10 and 14 can earn a PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification. NAUI increases the minimum age for enrollment to 12 years old.

Encouraging Innovation and Creativity in Financial Teams

June 30, 2018 § Leave a comment


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Innovation and Creativity

As the former finance manager for Siemens Medical Systems, Diane Kaern earned accolades along with her team for outstanding performance and management of company assets. During this time, Diane Kaern functioned as the team coach to compete on a worldwide level and the team won the championship.

Businesses can promote creativity in their finance departments by diversifying their hiring pool, rewarding risk-taking, and encouraging continuous professional development. When hiring for their finance departments, businesses should look beyond credentials and focus more on skills such as innovative problem-solving and the ability to work in a team. By expanding the hiring criteria, finance departments can attract talent from a range of demographics, which will bring in new perspectives.

Also, for traditionally conservative finance departments, increased availability of data to inform decision-making has made taking calculated risks more feasible than ever. Often, failed projects cause little to no setbacks and can provide a trove of valuable information. To spur innovation, companies should empower their finance teams to experiment with new ideas or projects.

Lastly, the rapid advancement of finance technologies means continuous professional development is a must for people working in the sector. Finance teams should have routine access to professional development programs, including courses that educate them on other areas of the company.

Communication Strategies for International Teams

June 12, 2018 § Leave a comment


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As a sales and finance professional, Diane Kaern has an extensive background in multinational business processes and strategic decision-making. In her role as reporting manager for computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard, Diane Kaern implemented and managed reporting procedures that impacted employees worldwide.

When implementing company-wide policies, language and cultural barriers are just a few of the communication challenges faced by multinational corporations. Managers often need to convey complex information to a wide and often globally dispersed team while ensuring all members are on task. There are a few strategies for reducing misunderstandings and improving communication within international companies.

Most US multinationals carry-out their everyday operations in English, but many of the staff are non-native speakers. Native speakers can make written communications more digestible for everyone by avoiding slang or colloquial language and keeping sentences short and direct. Managers and other staff should also encourage two-way communication that empowers international staff to ask for clarification.

Miscommunication can also arise from differences in workplace norms. Project managers working with an international team should communicate expectations, roles, and responsibilities clearly so that all team members know their duties and the best course of action in the case of an issue. For example, American companies may need to emphasize the importance of the chain of command for team members from business cultures with flatter hierarchies.

The Role of SWOT in Strategic Planning

October 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

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Strategic Planning

Diane Kaern is an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her MBA. She has decades of experience spread between two well-known companies: Siemens AG and Hewlett-Packard Company. Within her professional circles, Diane Kaern is known for her strategic planning skills.

Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that aims to help the company set its priorities straight. Different companies employ various analytical methods in strategic planning; one such method is SWOT analysis.

SWOT analysis is regarded a valuable tool in preparing a strategic plan. The acronym SWOT refers to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In this process, these four critical components are identified in order to determine the external and internal factors that can affect the company’s future performance. SWOT analysis can help companies use their resources wisely, improve operations, discover opportunities for growth, and develop contingency plans to address possible risks.

Sometimes, companies also perform SWOT analysis on their competitors. Completing this type of analysis allows for a side-by-side comparison of both companies’ strengths and weaknesses, thereby allowing the company to competitively position itself.

SAP ASAP Methodology

August 29, 2017 § Leave a comment

An MBA holder, Diane Kaern has management experience in business operations and finance at Siemens and Hewlett-Packard. In addition to expertise in sales compensation analytics and business processes, Diane Kaern has experience in SAP enterprise software.

SAP, which stands for Systems, Applications & Products, is a modular software program designed to help manage a company’s business operations. A wide range of modules, such as finance, logistics, and human resources, are available through SAP. The choice of modules largely depends on the needs and specific implementation.

The ASAP methodology is a common choice when implementing SAP. A standardized process, the ASAP methodology is divided into six phases that are implemented one by one in a specific order. The first phase is project preparation, which involves planning and goal-setting work. Once preparation is completed, scope validation occurs to ensure that the implementation will meet the goals of the business. Realization, or the actual implementation of the software, is the third phase, and it is followed by final preparation and training. The go-live support phase ensures a successful rollout of the software, and the operate phase makes any necessary operational changes after going live.

Katz Business School Hosts Women’s Leadership Panel

August 18, 2017 § Leave a comment


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Katz School of Business

Diane Kaern has forged a successful career as a sales compensation and operations professional at many multinational corporations, including Hewlett-Packard. During her time at Hewlett-Packard, she was responsible for global sales compensation analytics and reporting and designed and implemented a streamlined global reporting process. In preparation for her career, Diane Kaern studied for her MBA at the University of Pittsburgh.

Recently, the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School of Business hosted a panel of executive women in leadership discussing the challenges and opportunities for women in today’s business climate. One topic of focus was the importance of going beyond your comfort zone, maintaining what is known as “learning agility.” By learning new skills, embracing new challenges, and being willing to take chances, women in business can keep their careers moving steadily forward.

How women can support each other, whether through mentoring or advocating for more inclusive workplaces, was among other topics discussed by the panel. Audrey Murrell, PhD, moderated the panel, which was comprised of Dr. Angela Hardy Isaac, a professor of finance and economics; Jackie Johnson, the founder and CEO of Corazon, Inc.; and Kelley Skoloda, a partner and the director of global brand marketing practice at Ketchum.

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