Jason Frand appointed director GSM Computing Services

July 1, 1980

In June 1980, then Associate Dean Bill Broesamle offered  me the position of director of the Graduate School of Management Computing Services (GSMCS).  July 1, 1980, I assume the role and was given the explicit direction to work with Professor Ephriam McClean, then head of the Information Systems academic area, to prepare a proposal to HP for a computer. Broesamle related that he had been at a lunch with Richard Knudtsen, UCLA MBA class 1968, who was now quite high in the HP organizational structure. Knudtsen had told Broesamle that HP hired more UCLA MBAs than from any other school and HP wanted to do something for the school. Broesamle suggested a computer. Knudtsen said, "give us a proposal."   

Two major fortuitous events occurred with my appointment and this directive.  Broesamle suggest that I call a few other business schools to find out about their computing environments as that would help our proposal.  As it happen, within a couple of weeks of weeks I received two different phone calls, one from UC Berkeley and the other from Washington U in Saint Louis, each asking about our computing environment.  I told these callers that if they shared their information with me, Iíd assemble it into a report for all of us.  This report, Software Trends and Issues in Business School Computing, appeared as an Information Systems Working Paper in June 1982.  In spring 1984, I was approached by an IBM executive requesting 50 copies of the report for a deanís IT seminar.  I indicated the report was out-of-date as so much had happen in the intervening two years.  The IBM executive responded that the report was "the best information available," and he asked for a proposal to update the information.  This was the beginning the annual UCLA business school surveys, which ran continuously for the next 16 years. 

The second fortune event was that HP assigned a field manager with responsibility for coordinating HP recruiting at the school, John Mack, to coordinate the UCLA-HP computer efforts.  Mack worked with me to identify and configure the HP system that would be most appropriate for our environment.  Our proposal was submitted to the HP Foundation in September 1980.   However, the request was so large compared to their usual grants of instruments to engineering departments, that the Foundation required two funding cycles to have the resources to fulfill the request.  In spring 1982, a HP 3000 Series 44 systems with an amazing 240 megabytes of storage (2 120 MB drives) was installed.  The Fall 1982 Managerial Computing Mgmt 404 course, was the first session to utilize this new environment, moving the School from "stone-age" card punched programming to real-time, interactive, database assignments .   Mack worked with GSMCS to install and bring the system online.  However, this was the beginning of John Mackís importance.  He immediate saw the valuable use of the system so encourage me to prepare a follow up proposal to the HP Foundation.  He suggested that I write the proposal with a three year horizon:  what we need now and what we will need next year and the year after.  For the next ten years, the UCLA Graduate School of Management submitted and received major equipment grants from the HP Foundation.  The magic formula for each of those proposal was "this is our three year planning horizon."  The incredible power of that planning formula was that a faculty IT committee worked on ideas for the use of technology in the school, and was rewarded with the actual arrival of equipment which could be used to enhance the research and instructional environment. 

But HP was not the only granting opportunity of the 1980s.  IBM and Apple were other hardware contributors while Ashton-Tate, Microsoft, and Novell were major software contributors. 

A core value that I brought to my role of director was that I saw myself, and the Computing Services organization which emerged, as a educational arm of the school.  Training and educational support were the driving force of what we did.  When I assumed the directorship in July 1980, there was one full-time staff person, a key-entry operator, and two part time students programming consultants.   I recall that one of the first changes was to have the consultants conduct training sessions and group help sessions on the programming languages rather than only working only one-on-one.  Training was thus established as part of the offering and continued until the present time.

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jason.frand@anderson.ucla.edu
November 1, 2002