Archive for October, 2012

Brennen McMullin, Auditor for Ernst & Young

by   |  10.31.12  |  Accounting, COBA Alumni

As most COBA students know, studying accounting at ACU is a sure-fire way to get hired by one of the prestigious Big Four accounting firms.

That’s at least the way things went for Brennen McMullin, a 2012 graduate of the program.

Brennen McMullin

Brennen, who is an auditor for Ernst & Young LLP, enjoys his job. “Public accounting is a fast-paced, high-demand environment that forces me to stay at my best and constantly learn,” explains Brennen. “I love that my job allows me to see many different client corporations.”

In addition to enjoying the high speed found in public accounting, Brennen also benefits from the fact that Ernst & Young is a large global firm. As a result of the company’s size and prestige, Ernst & Young is able to provide employees like Brennen with a massive array of resources and learning opportunities.

Like most things in life, landing a great job like Brennen’s is the result of many preceding steps. For Brennen, many of these steps were achieved during his time at ACU. One such experience, an Ernst & Young internship, taught Brennen a lot about working in the real world.

“The internship was great exposure to hands-on experiences that we are prepared for in class,” expounds Brennen. “Any kind of social club or group activity at ACU is a great way to build relationships and develop friends in your support network.”

Many business schools help students acquire internships and go on to get jobs, but not many integrate faith and learning in the way that COBA does. In fact, Brennen believes that this unique integration prepared him differently than the way his co-workers’ schools prepared them. “COBA prepared me differently than my coworkers because I learned from men and women that all succeeded in business while putting their relationships with Christ first.” This example was significant to Brennen and taught him that, “Christian priorities do not necessitate compromise with the world.”

Brennen McMullin with Dr. Rick Lytle, Dean of COBA

So what words of advice does this young professional have for current ACU students?

“Put all your effort into working hard, studying hard, managing your time, having fun, and building relationships with friends and mentors. Most importantly, remember to stay close to God, study his Word, and be grateful to Him for all things.”

It sounds like someone’s figured out what it looks like to put their relationship with Christ first.

He must be a COBA grad.

ACU Homecoming Reminds Alumni of What Really Matters

by   |  10.26.12  |  COBA Alumni, COBA Events, Current Students

Homecoming is an integral part of the college cultural, and in this regard, ACU is no different from other universities. Like other colleges, ACU homecoming includes parades, shows, meals, and football. However, because ACU is a small, tightly knit community, it seems that at ACU, homecoming is different.

I think it’s possible that this difference is a result of our faith; after all, it is only when we gaze through the lens of faith that we discover what “home” truly is.

This past weekend alumni from all over the world traveled to Abilene to celebrate the university that has helped make them into who they are today.  For a couple days, it seemed that everyone in town was either related or a friend of a friend. Sure, there was hype and pep, but underneath all of the excitement was something deeper, something more substantial. The people being reunited weren’t being reunited over a shared love of something flighty or petty. They were being reunited over something visceral, something that defines them as human beings.

Students often hear that friendships made at ACU last a lifetime. Here’s what one ACU College of Business alumnus, Kevin Roberts (’88), has to say about those relationships and what ACU homecoming means to him:

“Homecoming…Coming Home.  It is strange how much it feels like returning to ACU is in fact coming home.  As a freshman in 1984, there would have been no way that you could have convinced me that this place would ever be special, much less “home.”  However, that is what it became.  The memories and relationships forged on this campus have lasted decades.  


Even though I work at ACU now and am here everyday, there is still a flood of nostalgia as I walk across campus.  I remember moments that were funny and moments that were poignant.  I remember lessons learned and ideas awakened. Most of all though, I remember people.  It is these memories that make homecoming so special.  It provides a chance for the ghosts of my memory to come alive.  The people that I love so dearly, that shaped my lives so profoundly, all come back home.  We get to laugh together and pray together.  We get to brag on our kids and tell of our plans.  Most of all though, we get to remember.  We get to remember how special a place ACU is to all of us.  It is special not just because of the education we received.  It is special because of the relationships we formed that give us a glimpse into the community that God intended his people to live in.  I am ready for all our family to come home.”

Whether or not you were able to be a part of ACU’s homecoming festivities this weekend, I hope that you will take time today to reconnect with old friends and to see how they have grown and changed. Find out how God is working in their lives.

After all, it is only in the presence of God that we will ever truly be home.

COBA Alumnus Donnie Clary ('82) celebrates homecoming with his daughter, current COBA student Amanda Clary ('14) and his wife, ACU Alumnus Tami Clary

In memory of Dr. Darryl Jinkerson

by   |  10.17.12  |  COBA Alumni, Current Students

Dr. Darryl Jinkerson

ACU’s College of Business lost a professor, mentor, colleague and friend on Friday, October 12, 2012 when Dr. Darryl Jinkerson, associate professor of management, died suddenly at the age of 54.

A Harding graduate, Darryl joined the ACU faculty in 2002 after being pursued by COBA. Dr. Monty Lynn wrote, “I admired Darryl from a distance during our undergraduate years at Harding University and particularly I was impressed by his effortless mastering of quantitative skills and research methods. I followed Darryl’s stellar career path from a distance – through graduate school at Southern Illinois to Arthur Andersen and through a tour of managing private businesses. Around 2000, we encouraged Darryl to apply for an ACU faculty opening in management, but we were unsuccessful in attracting him and understandably so: Darryl had deep roots in Chicago. He was a director at a highly reputable international accounting firm, had recently served as Vice President of a family business, was actively engaged in a vibrant church, was a generous servant in an Illinois summer youth camp, traveled extensively around the globe for work, was an active and devoted father and husband, and somehow found time to teach courses part-time at two Chicago-area Christian colleges. It was this last point – despite his busy schedule, he chose to share with others in Christian higher education – that convinced us we might have a chance. We approached him a couple of years later when his employer, Arthur Andersen, was crumbling due to indiscretions of a few employees in the Houston office. It was still a long-shot to attract Darryl. He had hundreds of contacts and opportunities thanks to his effective efforts with global clients. But Darryl accepted our offer. Needless to say, we were overjoyed. Darryl brought to ACU evaluation experience and knowledge of the world’s leading accounting firm and for a decade, shared that expertise with ACU students and colleagues. He continued to love his family, was a great friend to colleagues, and was an elder in his church. He consulted widely with Fortune 500 clients in Chicago and New York, and with local firms in Abilene. What a blessing this friend and gifted colleague was to many. We are forever changed by his dynamic leadership and service in the College of Business Administration at ACU.”

Dr. Darryl and Cindy Jinkerson

During his first year of teaching, Darryl was honored as the Teacher of the Year in the Department of Management Sciences, later serving four years as department chair. He enjoyed the classroom and the daily interaction with students, helping them make real life connections to the business world. Current and former students left words of condolence on COBA’s Facebook page, giving this testimony, “Dr. Jinkerson was not only a teacher, but was also a friend. He cared about his students and got to know each and every one of them.” Another wrote, “Heartbreaking. I will never forget the first day of class, him saying ‘If my phone rings it means it is my family, I will take the call, they are that important to me.’ What a great example of a kind heart.”

Dr. Jinkerson and Dr. Ian Shepherd preparing dinner for students

Not only was Darryl a teacher and mentor to his students, but to his colleagues as well. Dr. Andy Little wrote, “From the vantage point of a young faculty member, Darryl was exceptionally generous with his time. There were countless occasions when I would walk next door into his office, plop down in his chair, and ask his advice on some practical question. How should I take attendance effectively? What makes a good test question? What do I do if 75% of the class fails the test? He was always glad to help. He never seemed too busy for my silly questions; he never asked me to come back later or ask someone else; he always wanted to empower me to be a better professor. He was kind and thoughtful, helpful and genuine. We miss him.”

Dr. Jinkerson and Dr. Phil Vardiman

If you saw Darryl somewhere, you most likely saw Dr. Phil Vardiman as well. This dynamic duo worked together to accomplish much, whether it was mentoring students through SIFE, reaching out through study abroad, or perfecting their game on the golf course. The friendship that Phil and Darryl shared was special. Phil said, “I can’t begin to tell you all the things we did together and how much he meant to me. He made me a better person just to know him. When I think of Darryl, he was more than a friend. He was my brother and I will never forget him. He loved his family and he loved working at COBA. He was a great teacher and mentor to so many students. We will never be able to replace the effort and dedication he gave to everything he did.”

Darryl had a passion for engaging students globally through study abroad programs. He was named the Director of Global Initiatives this past summer and was actively engaged in the process of refining existing programs and creating new opportunities. Darryl had taken many groups of students for study abroad trips to Honduras, China, Oxford, and most recently to Australia. He and Dr. Ian Shepherd were planning a trip to Australia during this Christmas break to work with Aboriginal tribes in addition to touring international businesses. Darryl had a passion for helping those in need. He had gone to Honduras several times with Mission Lazarus, SIFE, and Torch Missions. In 2007, he and his daughters traveled to Honduras together, building a house there in memory of his father, who died in 2007.

The Jinkerson Family

Darryl would have been the first person to tell you that all of his professional and philanthropic contributions paled in comparison to his family. When asked about what stood out to her, Karen Viertel said, “He was a great dad to his girls. He loved them so much and talked A LOT about little London, his precious granddaughter. He was proud of the women they have become and the great men they married. Good job, Darryl, showing them what a girl needs to look for in a husband, father, and spiritual leader.” Dr. Orneita Burton shared the same sentiment. She said, “My first words to describe Darryl when I met him were, ‘This is certainly what God intended when He gave girls fathers!’  We have lost a fine example of the embodiment of fatherhood as a reflection of our loving Father in Heaven.”

Countless friends, students, and colleagues have observed many, many times over the years – especially during the last year – his devotion to his family. Whenever Darryl spoke about his wife, Cindy, or his girls, Whitney, Rachel, and Amanda, he would always talk about them with a smile on his lips, a heart full of pride, and love that was both fierce and tender. The role he relished the most was that of husband and father and we were all able to witness his love and devotion firsthand. It has made us better parents and spouses. Thank you, Darryl, for your example.

Dr. Jinkerson and his daughters, Whitney, Rachel and Amanda

At times like this, it is easy to question why Darryl left us so soon. Frankly, there isn’t an answer for that. However, Darryl would be encouraging us to keep at the work of educating and mentoring students, encouraging our colleagues, and making our families our first priority, so we will follow your example and work each day at making the world a better place for someone else. Darryl, we will miss you. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Visitation is Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 6-8 p.m. at Piersall-Benton Funeral Directors (733 Butternut, Abilene, Texas 79602), with a memorial service at 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18, at Abilene’s University Church of Christ. The service will be streamed live at

From Vietnam to Canada: The International Accomplishments of One COBA Grad

by   |  10.09.12  |  COBA Alumni, Social Entrepreneurship, Study Abroad

Many of our students wonder where they’ll be and what they’ll be doing five or six years from now. Some imagine that they’ll be accountants or own their own business, and some imagine that they’ll have spouses and children. No matter what their dreams, most of our graduates imagine that they’ll be doing something incredible six years down the road.

The impressive thing is the ones who actually do.

Take Sarah Easter for example.

Sarah Easter

Sarah graduated from ACU in 2006 with a B.B.A. in Management and Marketing. Since then, she has completed an MBA at Rollins College in Florida, worked as a Marketing Specialist for Correct Craft, Inc., worked as a Marketing and Business Development Advisor for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, and worked as a Senior Strategy Analyst for Correct Craft, Inc.

Whether you could distinguish it or not, hidden behind all the technical lingo of Sarah’s job titles lies an unbelievable resume for someone who completed their undergraduate degree a mere six years ago.

However, this list alone isn’t what makes Sarah’s career path so incredible. In fact, one of the crowning jewels of her young resume is a case study called “Vietnam Handicraft Initiative: Moving Toward Sustainable Operations.

This case documents Sarah’s time in Vietnam, where she completed a one-year assignment as a business developer and marketing advisor to the Vietnam Handicraft Initiative, a vocational training and employment center for disabled individuals in Vietnam. In this role, Sarah worked hard to overcome cultural differences and language barriers in order to increase the organization’s productivity and sustainability.

A photo taken in Hue, Vietnam, where Sarah worked

To top it all off, Sarah’s case study was published by The Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Although most of us Americans may not realize it, this publishing company is actually the leading case publisher in Canada.

Impressed yet?

Dr. Monty Lynn, Associate Dean of ACU’s College of Business, certainly is. Not only does Dr. Lynn believe that the publication of Sarah’s case is an “outstanding accomplishment,” he will also be using the case study this spring as a part of one of his classes, ECON 438: International Poverty and Development.

The thing that Dr. Lynn really appreciates about Sarah’s case is the fact that it is documentation of just one student’s impact on the world. As Dr. Lynn points out,

“A lot of students have gone out and done amazing things.”

At COBA, we are passionate about the fact that our students can change the world. That’s why components of the business school like The Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy and COBA’s Study Abroad programs are so crucial: they prepare COBA students to work in America, but also around the world; in economic bounty, but also in the third world.

Sarah is currently working on a PhD in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria.

Where will you be in six years?

An aerial photo of University of Victoria, where Sarah is pursuing her PhD

Where Will You Study Abroad in 2013?

by   |  10.04.12  |  Current Students, Study Abroad

Photo taken by a student on a COBA Study Abroad trip

It’s that time of year again. There’s a nip in the air, Starbucks has brought back their pumpkin spice lattes, and pledging has begun.

Fall is here, and with it comes Registration.

There are a lot of things to consider in the registration process. Class times and which friends can get into class with you are definitely important, but what’s even more important is taking the right classes.

So which classes are best for you?

The ones offered on different continents!

Enter Study Abroad.

In 2013, COBA will be offering three Study Abroad opportunities on three different continents.  Here they are in a nutshell:


Dates: June 3-July 4, 2013

Faculty: Dr. Monty Lynn and Dr. Jonathan Stewart

Courses:  FIN 310: Financial Management

BUS 419: International Experiences in Business**

Program Fee: $4900

COBA Study Abroad Students Enjoying Oxford's Beautiful Parks

A unique opportunity to study business in beautiful England, this Study Abroad promises to be a transformational component of students’ college careers as it focuses on four primary concentrations:

  1. International experience
  2. Cultural engagement
  3. Business context
  4. Spiritual emphasis

Possible excursions for the group include London, Paris, and Belgium.

** This is a new course to be offered but it will be a substitute for BUS 419: International Business.

COBA Study Abroad Students in London


Dates: July 15-27, 2013 (Summer IV)

Faculty: Dr. Andy Little and Dr. Jim Litton

Courses: Social Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

Global Entrepreneur

Program Fee: $2000 without airfare

$2700 with airfare from DFW

COBA Students in Honduras

This study abroad experience will take place in the stunning mountains of Honduras, where students will have the unparalleled chance to partner with nonprofit Mission Lazarus in a meaningful project that will ideally challenge students while simultaneously benefiting Mission Lazarus and the people it serves.

Possible excursions for the group include a visit to the beaches of Isle de Tigre and a trip to an active volcano in Nicaragua.

COBA Students in Honduras


Dates: Christmas Break 2013

Faculty: Dr. Ian Shepherd and Dr. Darryl Jinkerson

Courses: International Experiences in Business

TBD: Social Entrepreneurship OR Management 335 Leadership

Program Fee: Approximately $5500

COBA Student Studying Abroad in Australia

The trip will begin with students being given the opportunity to spend a couple days on the Gold Coast. Next, the group will have the unparalleled opportunity to live and work in the bush, where they will work with aboriginal people who are learning to use computers and the Internet for the first time. Following this incredible time of service and learning, the group will spend a couple more days in Sydney before returning to the States.

COBA Students in Australia

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  – – –  – – – – – – – – – – – – –  – – – – –

Maybe you’re thinking that Study Abroad sounds intimidating, or maybe you’re looking at the price tag on some of these trips and wondering if you really need an international business experience.

The answer, according to Dr. Darryl Jinkerson, director of COBA Global Initiatives,  is “YES!” In fact, when asked why students should participate in Study Abroad, Dr. Jinkerson hardly had to think.

“That’s very simple,” he explained. “We operate in a global market. If [students] want to be competitive when they graduate, they need to have some type of international experience.”

The great thing about Study Abroad is that block tuition is in place, meaning that you’ve already paid for 36 hours. As a result, your tuition may already be taken care of, leaving you with nothing more than the program fees listed above.

How much better can it get?

For more information about this year’s study abroad options, please attend the interest meeting on Friday, October 12. It’s at 11:00 in COBA Room 201. Pizza and chapel credit will be provided.

Please direct any additional questions to Darryl Jinkerson at or Nuria Hall at



Wolverton Reminds Students to Have Integrity

by   |  10.01.12  |  Careers In..., Current Students

At COBA, we are deeply passionate about the fact that faith and business should intersect, which is why we invite speakers like Mike Wolverton, Executive Vice President of First Financial Banks, to speak to our students. We love hearing what these successful businesspeople have to say about business and the challenges and opportunities that are presented when you are a person of faith.

Mike Wolverton, First Financial Bank

Mike, who began his banking career by taking an entry-level job in consumer finance, is a textbook example of climbing the corporate ladder one step at a time. After his stint as a trainee at Wells Fargo, Mike was promoted to store manager, where he supervised a few employees. Next, he made the jump to regional manager, where he was responsible for forty stores, before being promoted once again. This time, he became a division manager, an incredibly powerful position that allowed him to manage a quarter of the country for Wells Fargo in the consumer lending division.

Mike made sacrifices for his career. One of the challenges for his family was moving nine times in 26 years. In spite of the challenges, it appeared that Mike’s sacrifices were paying off. After all, he was a division manager. However, in 2008, everything changed. Wells Fargo closed Mike’s division, a segment of the company that had been in business for over one hundred years. After twenty-six years of faithful service, Mike found himself out of a job.

During this difficult time, Mike clung to Jeremiah 29:11:

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Wolverton speaks at COBA

After losing his job at Wells Fargo, Mike began working at First Financial, a bank that was ranked #2 in the nation in 2012 and that is headquartered right here in Abilene, TX. First Financial brought Mike in to grow their consumer lending business. Mike really enjoys his new position, and believes that First Financial is an incredible company. “They’ve been doing it right for a long time,” said Mike.

One thing Mike enjoys about his work at First Financial is that because the company has a culture of faith, he is able to pray with his team, something that wasn’t possible at Wells Fargo. Faith as a part of business is crucial to Mike, something that he advised students to incorporate into their lives.

“The work force today is really looking for hard-working, dedicated Christian individuals. Integrity today is more important than ever in business.”

Mike also believes that living out faith in the workplace eventually leads to corporate success. This success may take time, but eventually, being a person of faith will get you places. In his opinion, integrity will always win out in the end.

Stay tuned for more inspiring COBA speakers!