BSC Business Magazine - Birmingham

BSC Business Magazine
A Publication for Business Alumni, Students, and Friends
Spring 2013
Extending Our
Roots: Global
in Business
Birmingham-Southern College
Fall 2011
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
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
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
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
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
Letter from the Dean
Program News
Alumni News
Student News
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.
Sara Robicheaux ’97
Dean of Business Programs, Monaghan Professor of Business
Director of BSC Stump Entrepreneurship Program
internship partnership opportunity
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.
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
Business Magazine
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
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
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
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 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,, 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
- Scholarships to recruit
students with a drive to study
- Courses in business emphasizing
for-profit entrepreneurship
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
to Atlanta and
then to Chicago
in 2008 to
become the
Divisional Bank
Head for the
Midwest. This
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Student News
Campus Involvement
BSC men’s soccer team (four years)
Business Student Advisory Committee
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.
Stephen Denton Following Cincinnati Reds baseball team,
reading John Grisham novels, playing
golf, and following global economics and
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.
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
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
Campus Involvement
SGA President
Chi Omega Panhellenic Delegate
Orientation Staff
‘Southern Ambassadors
Brittany Arias
Photography (creator and owner of Love
Be Photography), volunteering with Trinity
United Methodist Church, choreographing
for the Vestavia Hills High School Rockettes,
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
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.
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By the Numbers ...
• Over
seniors are graduating with a business major.
• Over
students completed a business internship, with
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.
• The business department has welcomed
new faculty members who bring fresh energy
and expertise in such areas as entrepreneurship, marketing, and management.