BSC Business Magazine A Publication for Business Alumni, Students, and Friends Spring 2013 Extending Our Roots: Global Immersion in Business BSC Birmingham-Southern College Fall 2011 1 BSC Business Magazine A Publication for Business Alumni, Students, and Friends Spring 2013 Letter from the Editor It is no secret that 53% of new college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. The old road to career success consisted of studying hard, making good grades, rising through the ranks of a company, and retiring with a gold watch. In our global world, the new model to finding career happiness centers on maintaining mobility, exercising creativity, and maximizing connections through social networking. As a business major, I am thrilled to see how aggressively the Birmingham-Southern Business Department is responding to the ever-changing business environment. “Extending Our Roots: Global Immersion in Business,” written by Austin Fann, introduces you to the exciting collaborative efforts between the business department and the modern foreign languages department, which have resulted in new academic programs and international internship opportunities. Be sure to read Evan Grovenstein’s article on the Stump Scholars Program and Aaron Crowe’s piece on the 2012 Stump Entrepreneurship Lecture delivered by FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith. We also introduce you to several professors, highlight the adventures of BSC students studying abroad, and showcase alumni success. Of special note—especially for companies that will be hiring soon—the Business Student Spotlight section focuses on the outstanding achievements of seniors who will soon enter the workforce. Exciting transformations are indeed happening in the BirminghamSouthern Business Department as the faculty enhances the program’s business/liberal arts experience to give future employers what they are seeking in graduates. The goals are to enhance learning and position students for career success. Jennifer Floren, founder and CEO of Experience, Inc., a top provider of career services for colleges and universities, offers this advice: “Of all the things employers look for when hiring entry-level talent, it’s the so-called ‘soft skills’ that are valued most: communication, teamwork, flexibility and positive attitude are by far the most sought-after skills. Employers understand that everything else can be taught, so they look for the most promising raw material to work with.” Sounds like the Birmingham-Southern business education to me! Forward, Ever! Shannon Thompson Editor-in-Chief, BSC Business Magazine A junior from Nashville, TN Dean of Business Programs Sara Robicheaux ’97 Editor-in-Chief Shannon Thompson ’14 Contributing Writers Aaron Crowe ’14 Austin Fann ’14 Evan Grovenstein ’14 Zach Hesson ’13 Robert Potts ’14 Terria Punturo ’14 Contributing Editors James Randolph ’10 Hannah Wolfson Art Director Tracy Thomas ’92 Photography Wynter Byrd John Consoli Jennifer Hagler Submitted Photos Published once a year by the Department of Business at Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Alabama 35254. Non-profit postage paid at Birmingham, AL Permit No. 2575. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Department of Business, Birmingham-Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Box 549023, Birmingham, AL 35254; telephone 205/226-4828. www.bsc.edu Send news of business alumni accomplishments, research and special projects to Sara Robicheaux at [email protected] or 205/226-4828. ©2013 Birmingham-Southern College Volume II, Number 1 Dean of Business Programs Sara Robicheaux chats with Stump Entrepreneurial Scholars Features Departments 4 Letter from the Dean 2 Program News 3 Alumni News 9 Student News 11 6 Preparing Students for Tomorrow: Stump Update Extending our Roots: Global Immersion in Business On the cover: In Seville, Spain, BSC students Grace Elliott and Will Hannon visit the Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts). Letter from the Dean Greetings to Birmingham-Southern Alumni, Students, and Friends, Collaboration. Workplace experience. Global competency. These dynamics are not only the foundation for career success: they define a business education at Birmingham-Southern College. Over the past year, we have fostered student learning inside and outside the classroom by launching new programs, connecting students with business leaders, and expanding the role of students and alumni in guiding the work of the business department. Dr. Sara Robicheaux The class of 2013 boasts one of the highest number of students ever majoring in business—over seventy—and these students have benefited from a business education in a liberal arts setting. The business faculty is embracing the value of interdisciplinary study by working with Spanish faculty in inaugurating new academic and internship programs to prepare students for careers that will demand Spanish proficiency. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in additional disciplines to broaden opportunities for students. The business department actively seeks the voices of students and alumni in designing programs. To achieve this end, we created a new student advisory board in the fall of 2012 to vocalize student needs. Currently, twenty students are serving on this body that has already achieved a tangible result in revamping the BSC Business Magazine. Join me in congratulating editor Shannon Thompson for creating a professional publication. The twelve members of the new alumni board have also enriched business education by holding successful roundtable discussions with students and assisting the faculty in developing relationships with companies to expand internship opportunities. This year, over fifty students completed a business internship, and more partners are needed. If you or your company are interested in hosting a BSC student intern, please see the box below. Over the past year, the business department has examined the quality of the program and conducted a feasibility analysis regarding the addition of new initiatives. Our goal is to maintain the program’s high quality, differentiate the program from its competitors, and solidify the business department’s national reputation. The faculty and I are very excited about the changes taking place at the college, and the goal of this publication is to keep you updated on these transformations. As an alum, friend, or business leader, you can help define the college experience for a BSC student. Consider hosting an intern, serving as a mentor, or simply having a conversation with a student on your real-world experiences. Together, we can connect students to their future. Sincerely, Sara Robicheaux ’97 Dean of Business Programs, Monaghan Professor of Business Director of BSC Stump Entrepreneurship Program internship partnership opportunity DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS PROGRAMS Internships are three-way partnerships among Birmingham-Southern College, you, and a student. Internships are supervised work experiences involving an intentional experiential learning strategy, an emphasis on professional development, performance assessment, and reflection. 2 Please email your name, company name, and contact information to Marilyn Rawls at [email protected], if you are interested in having a BSC student as an intern. Please put the subject line BSC Business Magazine as “Internships.” Program News Entrepreneurial Pioneer Visits BSC: Frederick W. Smith Delivers 2012 Stump Lecture by Aaron Crowe, a junior from Nashville In April, Birmingham-Southern College welcomed Frederick W. Smith to deliver the second annual Stump Entrepreneurship Lecture. Smith is the founder, president, and CEO of FedEx Corporation and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s foremost entrepreneurial pioneers. The Stump family sponsors the lecture as a way to inspire students’ entrepreneurial spirit by connecting successful entrepreneurs with the campus community. Smith proposed the concept underlying FedEx while he was a student at Yale. In his senior economics thesis, he outlined a hub-and-spoke system for delivering timesensitive items such as computer parts. Smith eventually launched Federal Express, a company based on this system, to handle all aspects of overnight delivery, from pickup and shipping to delivery. FedEx is now the world’s largest cargo airline in freight tons flown and the fourth largest in fleet size. During his visit to campus, Smith shared his insights on the intersection of leadership and entrepreneurship. He cited his service as a ground officer in the Marine Corps as a catalytic force in his leadership development. In fact, Smith stated that his experience as a Marine is his second proudest accomplishment aside from raising a strong family. Following his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in 1968, Smith purchased Arkansas Aviation Sales, a small aircraft maintenance company. Armed with $91 million in venture capital, Smith founded Federal Express in 1971 and developed it into a multi-billion dollar corporation. Smith’s vision, however, would not have been possible without the hundreds of thousands of employees who are part of the FedEx family, and he attributes the company’s success to employees’ devotion and hard work. According to Smith, leaders achieve success by convincing all employees to share their vision and goals. This management technique is one of the reasons FedEx is so successful today. The information Smith shared about FedEx provided valuable insights on how to succeed in the workplace. Just as the culture of Birmingham-Southern College brings out the best in students, the culture of an organization such as FedEx directly correlates with profits and employee satisfaction. With opportunities like the Stump Entrepreneurship Lecture under the umbrella of the Stump Entrepreneurship Program, BirminghamSouthern is encouraging students to look beyond the textbooks, classroom lectures, and exams to pursue entrepreneurial success. Frederick Smith (left, center) with BSC students and Gen. Charles C. Krulak, BSC President (right, center). Spring 2013 3 Program News Preparing Students for Tomorrow: Stump Scholars Program Update by Evan Grovenstein, a junior from Mobile, Alabama This year’s Stump Scholars, from left: David Harris Oates, Scout Turner, William Weller, Evan Grovenstein, and Lucy Sprain. Back Row: Caver Camp, William Patrick Joyce, Kyle Doiran, and Chase Maxson. Since its launch in 2009, the College’s Stump Entrepreneurship Program has encouraged the study of entrepreneurship and promoted a spirit of entrepreneurialism. The Stump Scholars Program is a flagship initiative of the Stump Entrepreneurship Program. Centering on scholarships, mentorships, and internships, the program equips students with the resources and networks to gain both a theoretical understanding of entrepreneurship and practical experience in business management. Beginning during their first year at BSC, Stump Scholars are matched with an academic advisor from the business department as well as 4 BSC Business Magazine an entrepreneurship mentor from the community. Scholars participate in round table discussions with faculty, alumni, and other students to discuss entrepreneurship, and they receive invitations to small group events with guest speakers such as FedEx founder and CEO Frederick Smith and Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor. As an additional opportunity, Stump Scholars are guaranteed a fast-paced internship with a leading entrepreneurial firm in Birmingham. Internship partners include Integrated Media Systems, MyMarketStreet.com, and Bradley Arant Boult Cumming LLP. A new class of Stump Scholars is selected each year. Incoming students apply for a Stump Scholarship in a process that includes detailing how two of their projects or accomplishments showcase their entrepreneurial spirit. Currently, five firstyear students, three sophomores, and four juniors are Stump Scholars. The following first-year students were selected as Stump Scholars: • Caver T. Camp is from Greenwood, Mississippi. Growing up in a family of business leaders, he valued the chance to observe their business ventures and Program News learn the dynamics involved in founding and managing a company. As an entreprenuership scholar, he is particularly looking forward to connecting with business leaders and completing an internship that will give him real-world experience in working with a successful company. scheduling, and oversaw customer relations. Scout gained further business experience by working as a sales associate in stores selling outdoor goods. A member of Phi Alpha Delta pre-law society, Scout plans to earn a law degree and then start her own law practice. • Richard Patrick Joyce III is from Suwanee, Georgia. In high school, Richard held leadership positions in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and participated in statewide FBLA contests with a focus on personal finance. He also helped manage a golf cart cleaning service and worked as a youth lacrosse referee. Richard is debating how best to combine his interests in business and health care. Reflecting on my experience as a Stump Scholar, the opportunity to intern with Integrated Media Systems (IMS) has been a highlight of my college career thus far. IMS is a small business that offers audiovisual technology services to residential and commercial clients and specializes in providing locally monitored security systems. IMS is housed in Innovation Depot, a nationally recognized technology incubator in downtown Birmingham. As an intern in the summer of 2012, I helped with the organization’s marketing efforts, became a member of the sales team, and worked in the field. Thanks to my internship, I learned the importance of flexibility, long hours, and hard work. I also realized that little details are important in managing a small business; for example, I learned to carry multiple business cards because everyone is a potential customer. I also saw that customer satisfaction is a huge part of a small business. If a company does a great job, then the customer is likely to recommend its services or product. Given that companies often have limited funds for advertising, referrals can be an easy way to get free marketing. The most important lesson I learned this summer, however, is that persistence is crucial for success. Challenges will inevitably confront an organization, but managing difficulties and handling the hard times will make eventual success more rewarding and fulfilling. • Chase Maxson is from Atlanta. Named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Georgia’s top 20 under 20 in 2010, Chase started several small business ventures while in high school. He founded Wild Lollies (a custom lollipop company), started a stencil art portrait service, excelled in graphic design, and completed a paid social enterprise internship. He also assumed a leadership role in his school’s efforts to aid victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Chase plans to pursue an entrepreneurial career. • David Harris Oates is from Charlotte, North Carolina. Harris’s entrepreneurship experience began with his founding of Stringing for Service, a nonprofit company that attaches nylon mesh to lacrosse equipment. He donates the company’s proceeds to the Headstrong Foundation in support of brain cancer research. Harris plans to start his own business after graduating from BSC. • Scout Turner is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While in high school, Scout founded a business, Bell Buckle Pottery Place, where customers painted custom pottery. She managed employees, handled On behalf of my fellow Stump Scholars, The BSC Entrepreneurship Program centers on six components: - Scholarships to recruit students with a drive to study entrepreneurship - Courses in business emphasizing for-profit entrepreneurship projects - Internships with companies focused on entrepreneurship - Membership benefits to attend Birmingham Venture Club events - Mentor relationships between students and entrepreneurs - Annual lecture from nationally known entrepreneurs I would like to thank BSC alums Jane and Kevin Stump for endowing the College’s Entrepreneurship Program. This program enables BSC students to benefit from an array of opportunities rarely available at undergraduate liberal arts institutions. One of the Southeast’s foremost entrepreneurs, Kevin Stump is the founder, president, and CEO of Interconn Resources, Inc. An endowed fund created by Joseph S. Bruno also supports the program. Mr. Bruno had tremendous entrepreneurial success, building a multi-billion dollar corporation from his company’s roots as a small store founded in 1932. Both the Stump and Bruno families have set inspiring examples of entrepreneurial success for BSC students. Spring 2013 5 While studying abroad in London, BSC Student Lydia Robinson (second from right) bonds with interns from around the world by cheering for Misty May and Kerri Walsh in an Olympic beach volleyball match. Extending Our Roots: Global Immersion in Business by Austin Fann, a junior from Birmingham Birmingham-Southern College’s roots in Alabama run deep. Today’s business students, however, are entering a globalized marketplace, one that demands international experience and a worldwide mindset. Seeking to internationalize students’ experiences, the business department is collaborating with the modern foreign languages department to inaugurate new academic programs, expand international internship opportunities, and encourage students to study abroad. These initiatives are tangible evidence of the leadership of Dr. Sara Robicheaux, dean of business programs. Under her guidance, the business department is continuing to foster a collaborative learning environment that prepares students for success in a rapidly evolving global business community. As a result of the partnership between the business and modern foreign languages departments, students can earn a degree in business while gaining proficiency in Spanish. Foundations of Business Thought, the popular introductory class for the 6 BSC Business Magazine business major, has recently been modified to allow students to study business with an emphasis on Latin America. This course lets students interact with Latin American business leaders thanks to a Koch Foundation grant that funds guest speakers. Miguel Hilario-Manënima, a Peruvian presidential candidate, recently spoke to the class about the business scene in Peru. Students enrolled in Foundations of Business Thought can also take an intensive Spanish course taught by Dr. Barbara Domcekova, associate professor of Spanish, that meets five days a week and is structured to bolster the Spanish skills of students who studied the language for only one or two years in high school. Students who participate in this program become eligible for an international internship. The creation of the Spanish in the workplace minor is another product of the collaboration between the business and modern foreign languages departments. This minor focuses on preparing students for careers that demand strong Spanish skills. Sections of the introductory class for the minor will be tailored to suit the unique needs of students interested in prehealth, pre-law, and business. In contrast with other Spanish classes that emphasize an exploration of culture, this introductory class centers on career preparation. To explore international opportunities for Birmingham-Southern students, Dr. Robicheaux and Dr. Domcekova traveled to Santiago, Chile, last summer to visit several universities. They met with leaders of the non-profit Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University (IFSA), which can serve as a model for international experiences for BSC students. In this innovative initiative, students have the opportunity to live with a host family in Santiago while taking classes at a local university. IFSA also offers a summer program specifically for business students, Business and Culture in the 21st Century, in which students take business classes, travel extensively throughout Chile, and meet with local business leaders to gain insight into the business world of Latin America. To help launch an international Feature internship program, Dr. Mary Harrison assistant professor of marketing and Dr. Janie Spencer professor of Spanish attended the Global Internship Conference in Berkeley, California. Both Dr. Harrison and Dr. Spencer noted that this conference enabled university faculty and staff to have extensive conversations with employers and foreign government officials on international internships. “Students who complete an international internship distinguish themselves in an applicant pool, a differentiation that is needed to be competitive for graduate school and in the job market,” Dr. Harrison said. “I want our students to have every competitive advantage possible in the marketplace, and international internships are a key way that students can achieve their potential.” A number of BSC students have already taken advantage of opportunities to study and work abroad. Will Hannon, a senior economics major, is currently working in Seville, Spain, for Partido Popular, a Spanish political party. Recently, Will helped coordinate a series of speeches by regional and national party leaders. In addition to gaining valuable work experience, the cultural immersion is strengthening his Spanish skills. “Being in a work environment in Spain has improved my language proficiency immensely,” Will said. Spain is in the middle of an election season, and this fast-paced work environment has really forced me to adapt quickly.” Grace Elliott, a senior business administration major with a minor in Spanish in the workplace, is also studying in Spain in the fall of 2012. While in Spain, Grace took both Spanish and business classes through the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies (CCCS). “Throughout the study abroad process, I have learned what I enjoy doing most, what I am passionate about, and how I handle certain situations best,“ Grace said. “Gaining these insights is helping clarify my career path. I think it is important to broaden our minds and to continually increase our knowledge of other cultures by traveling and constantly meeting people in other parts of the world, and I am now determined to find a career that allows me to do so for the rest of my life.” After graduation, Grace hopes to pursue an international business career. Lydia Robinson is another business student who has enjoyed a recent international adventure. She interned in London last summer in an experience that complemented an internship she had at EBSCO Industries as a finance and sales analyst. While in England, Lydia explored London, attended a Wimbledon match, saw the Olympic beach volleyball competition, and visited Wales. The new international focus of the College’s business department illustrates the faculty’s focus on preparing students for real-world success. In addition to teaching organizational leadership and management skills in a liberal arts setting, the business department is creating a model for other departments to follow in encouraging students to achieve foreign language proficiency and gain work experience that will distinguish them in today’s business environment. With the launch of new academic and internship programs, business students are poised for success in college and beyond. Such collaborative efforts not only advance Dr. Robicheaux’s vision for Birmingham-Southern, but they also strengthen the college’s roots in the global community. Robinson globally immersing herself by studying abroad in el Cajon del Maipo in the Andes (Chile). Elliott at the Real Alcázar (Royal Place) in Seville, Spain. Spring 2013 7 Feature Professor Spotlights by Terria Punturo, a junior from Tuscaloosa,and Robert Potts, a junior from Mountain Brook Dr. Mary Harrison, assistant professor of marketing, joined the Birmingham-Southern College faculty in 2011. She received a B.S. in business administration with a minor in English from Mississippi College, where she actively participated in the Student Government Association, Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society, Mortar Board, and the School of Business Advisory Board. She also studied abroad in London while in college. After college, Dr. Harrison worked as a public relations specialist for an industrial firm with branches throughout the United States and Canada. She then continued her education, earning her M.B.A. with a concentration in marketing and her Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Alabama. Dr. Harrison received the Hess Institute M.B.A. Scholarship Award, which is given to the top M.B.A. student concentrating in marketing, and has presented her research at national conferences as well as conferences in Oslo, Norway, and Reims, France. Dr. Harrison’s primary area of academic interest is marketing, particularly consumer behavior, services marketing, branding, and social media. Dr. Harrison currently teaches three courses, BA 201 Foundations of Business Thought, BA 120 Marketing: Maximizing Social and Economics Opportunities, and BA 475 Advanced and International Marketing. Dr. Carolyn Garrity, assistant professor of marketing, joined the Birmingham-Southern faculty in the fall of 2012. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management. She later received her M.B.A. in marketing and nonprofit management from American University and her Ph.D. in marketing from Louisiana State University. Prior to coming to Birmingham-Southern, Dr. Garrity worked in marketing with several organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, the North Carolina Institute for Minority Economic Development, National Public Radio in Nashville, and Innovation Depot in Birmingham. She already loves Birmingham-Southern College and says that a liberal arts education makes sense in preparing students for the challenges they will face in the real world. Dr. Garrity’s academic interests include marketing strategy, entrepreneurship, and product innovation. She hopes to enhance the entrepreneurial focus of the business department. Dr. Garrity is currently teaching two courses, BA 311 Quantitative Analysis for Business and Economics and BA 350 Principles of Marketing. Dr. Paul Cleveland joined the Birmingham-Southern faculty in 1990 and currently serves as a professor of economics and finance. Previously, Dr. Cleveland taught five years at the State University of New York in Geneseo and two years at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. When asked what distinguishes BSC, he highlighted the institution’s interdisciplinary focus and the relationships that students are able to build with their professors. Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Dr. Cleveland earned his B.A. and M.A. in economics from Auburn University and his Ph.D. in economics from Texas A&M University. He has lectured on economics in China, Taiwan, Chile, Peru, Ukraine, Poland, and Russia, among other countries. When Dr. Cleveland was asked to share something about himself that many students would not know, he replied that he wakes up by 5:00 a.m. without an alarm and is exhausted by 4:00 p.m. Dr. Cleveland currently teaches BA 201 Foundations of Business Thought and BA 474 Advanced and International Financial Management. He will be on sabbatical during the spring 2013 semester while he works on two book projects, Monuments of the Fall and Embracing Dignity and Freedom, which will be his third and fourth books. Dr. Rick Lester, assistant professor of management, joined the Birmingham-Southern faculty in 2012. A native of Huntsville, Alabama, he earned his B.S. in economics and management from the University of North Alabama, his M.A. in manpower from the University of Alabama, and his Ph.D. in employee relations from the University of Mississippi. While working on his doctorate, Dr. Lester taught at the University of West Alabama and the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He has also taught management at the University of North Alabama. Interestingly, Dr. Lester once served as academic dean of a fashion school in New York City and taught at a middle school in Huntsville. In Dr. Lester’s view, the students distinguish Birmingham-Southern. He believes that BSC students, when compared with other undergraduates, are more grounded, better prepared academically, and more capable of thinking creatively. He also enjoys the small size of the school and the emphasis on teaching. When asked to provide a fact about himself that many students would not know, Dr. Lester replied that he has run in two marathons and six half marathons. Dr. Lester currently teaches BA 201 Foundations of Business Thought and BA 320 Management Principles and Organizational Behavior. He is enjoying teaching at Birmingham-Southern and living on campus in the Hilltop Village Apartments. 8 BSC Business Magazine Alumni News Alumni Spotlights By: Zach Hesson, a senior from Marietta, GA Trey Echols ’96 Trey Echols is the Director of Business Development at the Charlotte, North Carolina, office of McColl Partners, LLC, an investment banking firm. His responsibilities include helping manage the firm’s client relationships, business acquisition strategy, industry group development, and marketing. Prior to joining McColl Partners in 2011, Mr. Echols worked for twelve years with Merrill Lynch in a career that took him from Birmingham to Atlanta and then to Chicago in 2008 to become the Divisional Bank Head for the Midwest. This Echols post included managing the firm’s commercial, consumer, and private banking enterprises before Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch. After this merger, he held management roles with significant leadership responsibility, culminating in being named division credit executive for the central US in late 2010. In that role, he managed the structured credit products business for Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group for the midwest and Texas. He currently serves on Birmingham-Southern College’s Norton Board Business Advisory Committee. BSC Business Magazine: “How have your experiences at Birmingham-Southern College benefited you in the workforce?” Echols: “I believe that the College’s liberal arts curriculum develops a student’s critical thinking skills. By combining arts-based and science-based classes, a BSC education requires students to engage in a variety of subjects. I remember taking tough electives while my friends were taking comparatively easy courses at large universities. These courses, however, helped me develop strategic thinking skills that have proved essential for my roles at Merrill Lynch and McColl Partners.” BSC Business Magazine: “How did the College’s business department prepare you for your career?” Echols: “The business department did a great job of deomstrating a parctical perspective on how businesses operate. The focus of my BA 499 class on every aspect of the automotive industry was particularly beneficial. In this class, my peers and I assessed General Motors’ Saturn Plant from managerial, marketing, and finance perspectives. It was a comprehensive, challenging, and very rewarding experience. Taking Phillip Jackson’s real estate class was another memorable experience. Under Dr. Jackson’s guidance, we spent the semester completing a mock real estate transaction from start to finish. I still value this experience – it accelerated my understanding of real estate finance when I was in commercial banking.” BSC Business Magazine: “What advice do you have for business majors?” Echols: “Students should complete an off-campus internship during the academic year. While at BSC, I interned at a wealth management firm during my sophomore, junior, and senior years. Even though not all of my responsibilities were exhilarating, the internship certainly enhanced classroom learning. For example, I learned how to use a financial calculator while calculating bond yields at work. Gaining this skill helped me avoid calculating time value of money by hand in Dr. Cleveland’s finance classes. In my view, a college internship is like driving with a permit – they let you see ‘career life’ in action. Working in an office environment as a student is priceless and is particularly valuable for a business education since such opportunities let students test-drive a career. Interning also goes beyond skill development: they build long-term relationships and can forecast a student’s ability to perform roles. The internship experience made a difference when I interviewed for my first job at SouthTrust Bank. References from the firm were able to vouch for my work ethic and skills.” BSC Business Magazine: “How should business majors maximize their education?” Echols: “Students should take advantage of a variety of experiences to complement their business courses. Students who engage in their community and gain leadership experiences will certainly benefit from this time investment. I see the value of such experiences when interviewing student applicants for my firm’s two-year financial analyst program. Many graduate with honors from prestigious universities, but non-classroom leadership experiences help distinguish candidates in a pool filled with students with equally impressive academic records. Stand-outs demonstrate leadership, self-motivation, courage, and work ethic. Students would be wellserved to seek challenging service opportunities. They might be surprised where the most profound lessons are learned.” Spring 2013 9 Alumni News Stephanie (Boucher) Eckhardt ’07 Stephanie Eckhardt is a senior marketing specialist at Acuity Brands, Inc., a lighting manufacturer headquartered in Atlanta. In her role, Stephanie works across the organization to create and manage national sales Eckhardt promotions and point-ofpurchase displays. She was recently appointed as project manager for the company’s implementation of Salesforce. com, which will be used to manage the company’s sales processes. Stephanie joined Acuity after working for two and a half years with AT&T. At AT&T, she served as president of the company’s business sales leadership program and later as a business account manager in the small business sales organization. In that post, Stephanie was the division’s top salesperson. Stephanie is married to fellow BSC ’07 alum and business major Doug Eckhardt. The couple moved to Evanston, Illinois, in August 2012 so that Doug could pursue a M.B.A. at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Stephanie maintains her role with Acuity Brands and frequently travels back to Atlanta. BSC Business Magazine: “How have your experiences at Birmingham-Southern College benefited you in the workforce?” Eckhardt: “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend BSC. I met so many wonderful people, including my husband and best friends, and I received a great education that prepared me very well for the business world. The one-on-one relationships between students and professors are one of the primary assets of a BSC education. My professors’ constant encouragement and insights gave me a deep foundation of business knowledge and leadership that has proved indispensable. These professors also helped me build confidence and inspired me to realize how a good attitude and a strong work ethic result in career success.” BSC Business Magazine: “How did the College’s business department prepare you for your career?” Eckhardt: “The business department’s focus on building students’ communication skills definitely helped prepare me for my career. Writing comprehensive business thought papers in BA 400 and delivering a merges and acquisition presentation to local executives in BA 499 helped me build both my writing and public speaking skills. In the 10 BSC Business Magazine workforce, I have seen how the ability to convey a message with clarity and confidence is key for success. BSC was instrumental in providing a foundation for success and truly helped me stand out amongst my peers from day one in my business career.” If students work hard and maintain a good attitude, BSC will give them the toolset necessary for success—it’s then up to THEM to use it.” BSC Business Magazine: “What advice do you have for business majors?” Eckhardt: “My advice is three-fold. First, make the most of your college experience! Build a strong network of trusted friends, teachers, coaches, and future colleagues. Getting involved on campus and in the community is essential for maximizing your time on the Hilltop. Get to know your professors – they are a huge resource and truly define the BSC academic experience. Professors want to help you succeed and are great references and touch points once you graduate. Second, be energized! A good attitude and strong work ethic go a long way in business and will distinguish you in your field. Finally, be proactive in finding your niche in the business community through internships. BSC provides a strong foundation, but students must understand the dynamics of various jobs in order to determine their post-BSC plans. Internships help students build networks for future jobs, clarify their career trajectory, and explore their interests. Just remember not to wait until May to look for a summer internship! Notably, internships also help students familiarize themselves with the a sector; interning with a marketing organization, for example, will let students see that marketing careers vary from industry to industry and could center on brand management, social media marketing, product marketing, marketing research, and other options.” BSC Business Magazine: “How should business majors maximize their education?” Eckhardt: “BSC truly delivered a great liberal arts education. It helped me develop into a well-rounded individual with a broad knowledge base. I was pushed to be creative, think critically, and search for answers to difficult problems. Student News Senior Spotlights Alexa Ruiz Campus Involvement What experiences have particularly prepared you for the business world? Student Government Association: Commuter Representative Publications Board: President Phi Alpha Delta: Treasurer Women’s Cross Country: Captain President’s Service Team Business Student Advisory Committee Academic Resource Center Tutor Leadership Studies Program Hilltop News: Contributing Sports Writer Kappa Delta Sorority: Academic Excellence and Ritual Panhellenic Executive Board: Vice President of Administration 2011 Hess Fellow Intern, Mobile Area Education Foundation Up ‘Til Dawn Executive Board: Fundraising The opportunity to serve as a Hess Fellow advocacy intern with the Mobile Area Education Foundation in 2011 was a particularly valuable opportunity since it gave me real-world experience working at a leading nonprofit agency. For those of you not familiar, the Hess Fellows program sponsors summer internships at nonprofit advocacy organizations, and I was fortunate to serve at a leading voice for education reform in Alabama. My Hess Fellowship allowed me to compare the practices of for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, an experience that gave me a deeper appreciation and love for the nonprofit sector as well as a realization of how nonprofits must adopt for-profit practices in order to stay afloat. In addition, serving as a Hess Fellow provided a wealth of workplace experiences that I have incorporated into the classroom, particularly in the areas of marketing, management, and finance. Hobbies Interning at Organic Harvest was another highlight of my college career. Organic Harvest is a locally owned grocery store and cafe that is facing increased competition from EarthFare and Whole Foods. During my internship, I helped Organic Harvest increase their marketing presence by maximizing social media outlets and blogs, a challenge that put my education to the test. Running, sports, reading, puzzles What are your thoughts on the BirminghamSouthern Business Program? I genuinely love the Birmingham-Southern Business Department. Majoring in business has offered me multiple opportunities to grow professionally, educationally, and personally. I have been fortunate to connect with influential business leaders on and off campus, and I am particularly appreciative of the chance to represent the business student body at a variety of events in the community, such as meetings of the Birmingham Venture Club. The challenges posed by the business program have deepened my appreciation for my professors and my college experience in general, and I particularly enjoy how professors incorporate their real world business experiences into the classroom. I also love the personal connections I have built with my professors and business leaders throughout my time at BSC. I am so grateful for my experience, one that I believe I would not have achieved at any other institution. Why did you major in business? Pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector has always appealed to me since the field allows individuals with high energy and drive to make a tangible difference in a community. Given that the business department opens so many doors, earning a business degree seemed the best route to frame my academic career at BSC. I love a good challenge, and I have seen how earning a business degree offers a multitude of opportunities. What are your future plans? I will teach middle school math in Houston, Texas, for two years through Teach for America, and I eventually hope to earn a Ph.D in finance. Ruiz (front row, center) with her Cross Country teammates and coaches shortly after their SCAC conference championship. Spring 2013 11 Student News Campus Involvement BSC men’s soccer team (four years) Business Student Advisory Committee Hobbies reading, playing sports, fishing, and spending time with my family and chocolate lab Kyle Sherrin What are your thoughts on the BirminghamSouthern Business Program? I have loved my experience with BSC’s business program. The professors are incredible – they really care about preparing students for a career in the business world. The curriculum is also engaging and has always made me want to participate actively in every class. I think the business program centers on an engaging learning environment, one that I believe is unique to BSC. What experiences have particularly prepared you for the business world? Why did you major in business? When I arrived at BSC, I planned on majoring in accounting – my father is the managing shareholder of an accounting firm, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. Dr. Chew’s BA 201 class, however, changed my plans. Dr. Chew showed me that business can be conceptualized in many different ways, a philosophy shared by the business faculty. My perspective of the business world – and my plans for my college career and beyond – changed because of Dr. Chew, and I’m very happy that it did. I worked one summer with a money management firm in my hometown. Though I was never in charge of the funds, What are your future plans? Campus Involvement What experiences have particularly prepared you for the business world? Kappa Alpha Order BSC Baseball Team ‘Southern Ambassador Business Student Advisory Board College Republicans Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) This summer, I interned in Washington, DC, for a political consultant who was a senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The internship combined business and politics, and the experience was unbelievable. The office environment was extremely competitive and very much “sink or swim.” Almost all of my assignments were given with very little specific instructions, so I had to determine the best way to complete them. I think this experience has best prepared me for the business world because it forced me to think critically about how to accomplish my goals independently rather than following a roadmap. Hobbies Stephen Denton Following Cincinnati Reds baseball team, reading John Grisham novels, playing golf, and following global economics and politics. What are your thoughts on the BirminghamSouthern Business Program? Majoring in business was the perfect choice for me. My professors have become mentors who take the time to discuss how they can help me achieve my career goals, and they helped me build a network of relationships with business leaders. For me, the benefits the department offers outside the classroom have been just as valuable as those in the classroom. 12 I spent hours each day researching foreign currency markets, reading about oil supply lines, searching technology blogs for news about the next big product, and trying to predict the future price of gold. At first, I was a little overwhelmed, but I quickly adjusted to meet the demands of the job. Before long, I gained a basic understanding of financial markets and how they change. Lyle Minton, the founding partner and CEO of the firm, became a mentor who transformed a summer job into a learning experience. He encouraged me and made me want to learn more about money management. Dr. Chew’s BA 400 course was another highlight of my college career, an experience made even more special since it was the last class Dr. Chew taught. He interweaved so many real world experiences into his teaching, and he genuinely cared about his students’ intellectual and personal growth. Although the course was very challenging, students reaped rewards from their work. I know having to work as hard as I did prepared me for life outside of the classroom. BSC Business Magazine I plan to earn a M.B.A. and eventually hope to start my own business. Why did you major in business? Like many business students at Birmingham-Southern, I was strongly influenced by Dr. Chew and his Foundations of Business Thought class that I took during my first year. The philosophies driving different approaches to commerce has always fascinated me, and Dr. Chew’s ability to merge the theoretical and practical sides of business in one class sold me on the business department. What are your future plans? I am currently applying for and interviewing for positions, primarily in the management consulting industry. My short-term goal is to spend several years with a company before returning to graduate school to pursue an M.B.A. Ultimately, I would like to be in corporate management or own my own company. Campus Involvement SGA President Chi Omega Panhellenic Delegate Orientation Staff ‘Southern Ambassadors Hobbies Brittany Arias Photography (creator and owner of Love Be Photography), volunteering with Trinity United Methodist Church, choreographing for the Vestavia Hills High School Rockettes, reading What are your thoughts on the BirminghamSouthern Business Program? I began college as a dance major on the pre-physical therapy track, but I knew that business was the major for me after I took BA 201 Foundations of Business Thought my sophomore year. My business professors have taught me how to think with a business mind, helped me find rewarding internships, and facilitated networking opportunities such as lunches with leaders in my fields of interest. The business department is continuing to grow, and I have to admit that I am a little jealous of the new opportunities available to incoming business majors. What experiences have particularly prepared you for the business world? My internship with the program services division of the Make-A-Wish Foundation was a great experience. This internship tested and improved my communication skills as I helped plan “wish trips” for terminally ill children and their families. The opportunity to intern with Kelly Cummings of Spindle Photography in Homewood, Alabama, was another highlight of my college career. Breaking into the photography world can be hard, and Kelly helped me develop, create, and expand my photography business. Why did you major in business? My fascination with the thought process driving businesses convinced me to major in business. Simply put, studying business made me excited about learning. What are your future plans? Although I have not decided on an ultimate career path, a position at a nonprofit agency or a communications firm has always appealed to me. I loved my internship with Make-A-Wish, and I have started looking at nonprofit jobs. I am currently interning for Cummings Creative Group to gain valuable work experience in communications. CAPTURE AN AUDIENCE THAT KNOWS HOW TO DO BUSINESS How about sponsoring this publication? A maximum of four corporate sponsorships are available annually to provide exclusive exposure for your enterprise. YOUR AD HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ADVERTISING IN BSC BUSINESS, CONTACT SARA ROBICHEAUX AT [email protected] OR (205) 226-4828. Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 2575 Birmingham, AL 900 Arkadelphia Road Box 549023 Birmingham, Alabama 35254 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED www.bsc.edu BSC BUSINESS PROGRAMS By the Numbers ... 70 50 20 5 12 3 • Over seniors are graduating with a business major. • Over students completed a business internship, with • • • • 3 students interning abroad. students are serving on the new Student Advisory Board. outstanding first-year students were selected as BSC Stump Entrepreneurship Scholars. alumni volunteered to serve on the new Alumni Business Advisory Board. leading entrepreneurs in Birmingham have joined the Stump Entrepreneurship Board. 3 • The business department has welcomed new faculty members who bring fresh energy and expertise in such areas as entrepreneurship, marketing, and management.