Archive for ‘Current Students’

COBA Students Attend HRSouthwest Conference

by   |  10.23.17  |  Academics, Current Students, Human Resource Management, Uncategorized

Last week, eleven COBA students attended the HRSouthwest Conference (HRSWC) in Fort Worth, TX. The HRSWC is the largest regional educational and networking event for human resource professionals. HRSWC is organized by DallasHR, the Dallas-based SHRM Affiliate Chapter. More than 2,500 HR professionals attended the conference and had the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers Laura Bush and John O’Leary, attend educational sessions, and connect with other professionals as well as experience new ideas and technology in the HRSWC Marketplace.

Dr. Malcom Coco, Dr. Phil Vardiman, and students at the HRSWC.

Society of Human Resource Management Sponsor Dr. Malcom Coco said the conference “was an awesome opportunity for the eleven attending students to meet and network with the conference attendees”. This conference provided an opportunity for the students to learn more about their discipline. It also helped them to determine if they wanted to go into the HR field, what part of the field interested them, and gave them an opportunity to meet hundreds of HR professionals to expand their individual network for possible future jobs.
Tom Harris, a senior management major and full-time manager at The Men’s Wearhouse, was encouraged by Dr. Phil Vardiman to attend the conference so that he could connect with HR professionals. Harris said that his conversation with Linda Swindling was the standout of his conference experience. Swindling is a Certified Speaking Professional, “Recovering Attorney,” the past-president of the National Speaker Association, the current President of Journey On!, her own speaking and consulting company, and the author of more than 20 books. Harris talked with her at length before Swindling’s presentation about her history and experiences and was even called on stage during her presentation to share a few words. Harris said that the most helpful thing he learned at the conference was the importance of being intentional. Their full schedules during the conference required some creativity on his part so that he could connect with people. “If someone I wanted to talk to was in a hurry to get to a speaking session, I would try my best to be in a hurry with them,” he said. “Have your main course at one table, meet everyone that is sitting near you, shake their hands, and go get your dessert and do the same thing at a different table.” Harris believes that it is important to take advantage of every possible networking opportunity and felt that the HRSWC allowed him to do this and to practice his networking skills.

Student Spotlight: Casey McMullin

by   |  09.18.17  |  Academics, COBA Events, Internships, Poverty and Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Student Spotlights, Study Abroad, Uncategorized

Casey McMullin is a senior financial management major from Colorado Springs, Colorado. This summer, Casey traveled around the world interning and studying abroad. He visited countries in Africa and Asia. Casey returned to Abilene with a changed perspective, new skills, and many stories.

Q: Where did you go and what did you do in Africa?

A: I went to Arusha, Tanzania. It was two hours from Mt. Kilimanjaro, which was amazing to see every morning when we woke up. We were based at Neema Village, where they house 40 babies and at-risk or abandoned children. I helped start a microfinance program so that local mothers can start businesses for additional income.

Q: Did working with microfinance in Tanzania change your perspective on business?

A: I think that the most challenging part was the difference between Tanzanian and American business and legal environments. When we were building the microfinance program, we had to do everything in accordance with American not-for-profit laws and Tanzanian laws so that they could get loans. A better understanding of business law would have helped.

The nature of business was very different in Tanzania. It was very simple. I had to go back to the foundations and teach the locals so that they could understand what we were doing. At the same time, I had to maintain the financial complexities I had learned so as to ensure that the program would function properly and long past our departure.

Q: What was the most impactful interaction you had with a local?

A: I think that the coolest thing that happened to me happened at the very end of our time in Africa. We only did one test run of a business since it took a long time to set up. We were working with a woman who started a chicken business. We helped her get funding for a bigger coop, food, and medicine for the chickens. On our last day, we were saying goodbye and hugging her. She gave us eggs and then ran to chop down her whole sugar cane. We told her not to, but she cut it down regardless and gave it to us as a thank you.

Q: Where did you go and what did you do in China?

A: We were based in Shanghai and also traveled to Beijing and Hong Kong on the weekends. I took a crash course in basic principles of entrepreneurship and Chinese principles of entrepreneurship. We examined

Casey sitting on the Great Wall of China.

the different opportunities to and ways of starting a company in China, visited start-ups, and talked with a number of entrepreneurs, both natives, and expatriates.

Q: What was different about studying business in another country?

A: One thing that struck me was the sheer size of China. The massive populations changed the way they did business in ways I didn’t think about. It was also interesting to see similar priorities between us as well as what each country values more. For example, the Chinese emphasize education starting at a young age and it was interesting to see how that affected business and the way people were.

Q: Did you have a big culture shock moment?

A: Oh yeah. After spending 8 weeks in Africa where there are no Chinese people, we were shocked as soon as we stepped off the plane. There were so many people walking around and they all seemed so busy. There was a class of 30 kids running around and yelling at each other in Chinese and the only thing we could think was “we are in China.”

Nicholas Weirzbach, Steven Yang, Dr. Andrew Little, Casey, and Jack Oduro smile in front of the Forbidden City.

Q: Compared to interning, how was study abroad different when it came to cultural immersion?

A: In Africa, I felt like I needed to immerse myself a lot more. I think that this was because I was there to help other people rather than studying for my own benefit. Being there for others drove me to learn the language and immerse myself more since I was not there for myself.

Q: Overall, what was your biggest takeaway from this summer?

A: Take any risk. This summer, I saw just how much people live with nothing. I think that the fear of losing something can hold people back, but that is a mindset that you just can’t live with. You should be doing what you love. Look for an outcome rather than a consequence.

COBA Business and Technology Graduates Launch their Careers

by   |  09.06.17  |  Academics, COBA Staff, Careers In..., Current Students, Internships, MAcc, Outcomes, Placement stories, Uncategorized

Aimee Agee is COBA’s Professional Development Manager for Business and Technology students. She works continuously with students to equip them with the skills and knowledge to successfully launch into the professional world. This includes meeting one-on-one with students to discuss their job and internship opportunities and outcomes, connecting them with employers who fit their skills and needs, and analyzing data on each student graduating while remaining in contact with them in their post-grad life. Aimee also conducts class insertions where she discusses specific careers with employers as well as more general information about interviews, resumes, networking, and more. Agee supplied the coaching and leadership needed to help COBA’s business and technology students improve their outcomes this year. Her hard work and excellence in developing and communicating with students has impacted COBA graduates’ academic and professional careers positively.

Aimee Agee

 

We are pleased to announce that the B.B.A. programs’ overall outcomes have moved beyond our stated goal of 90%. 93% of our May graduating class received either a job offer or an acceptance into a graduate program within ninety days of graduation.  Achieving this rate gives us a past-four-year average of 90.18 %. The average starting salary for our B.B.A. students was $41,497. The School of Information and Technology had a very strong bump in employment, especially from Digital Entertainment Technology graduates. SITC had a 100% outcome rate of students with a job offer or acceptance to a graduate program. This includes their international students and again exceeds the target of 90%. The average starting salary for SITC graduates was $57,600. COBA saw 100% of the students in the Master of Accountancy program employed within ninety days of graduation. The average starting salary for MAcc graduates was $55,000.

Learn more about COBA’s Professional Development Program for current students and alumni at the links listed or by going to www.acu.edu/coba.

COBA Welcomes Rich Tanner

by   |  09.05.17  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, School of Information Technology and Computing, Uncategorized

Rich Tanner

 

COBA would like to welcome Rich Tanner, new Clinical Professor of Digital Entertainment. Rich has taught for the School of Information Technology and Computing part-time for the past several years and will now be working with technology students on a full-time basis. Tanner has an A.A.S. in Computer Graphics and Programming from Missouri State University, a B.S. in Information Technology with a Concentration in Graphics and Game Development from Abilene Christian University, and a M.S. in Human Computer Interaction from Iowa State University. Rich was contracted as an iOS Developer and Consultant for the KAART Group, was contracted to develop a number of mobile applications for ACU, and worked as a Mobile and Senior Software Developer for USAA. Tanner teaches 3D Modeling, Animation, Mobile Application Development, Game Asset Creation and Texturing, and Character Creation in Maya, Photoshop, and Unity. Tanner brings skills and ingenuity to his classes that will instruct and develop technology students in new and exciting ways.

What do you teach at ACU?

The cool stuff!  As a DET faculty, I get to teach 3D Modeling, Animation, and Mobile Application Development (a CS course).

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

I have been assigned as a Developer Mentor for Wildcat Software, our student run software company.

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

It’s what I do!  Even at USAA, I often found myself drawn to roles where I could teach and mentor new employees and interns.  My wife and I also spent 3 years as Youth Ministers while we were in Plano, and I’ve been practicing my teaching on my own children for the past 19+ years.  I love seeing people get excited about new ideas and material, and helping people realize their potential.  Plus, I just generally get excited about the kinds of things that I get to teach!  It’s only natural to share that excitement with a room full of people.

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

Obviously, I enjoy spending time with my family.  My wife and I have been married for almost 21 years, and we have four children. Richelle, who is 19, is a new transfer student to ACU, studying Elementary Education.  Kira is 15 and goes to Abilene High.  Xandra is 12 and is a student at Craig Middle School.  And Connor, who is 7, goes to Bonham Elementary.  Connor is the only boy, and was born here in Abilene right before I graduated from ACU.  We all enjoy watching lots of movies together and playing various games.  I spend my free time (when I have any) working on home renovations, playing video games (usually single player adventures), and doing lots and lots of reading.

Student Spotlight on Brandon Gonzales

by   |  08.02.17  |  Academics, Careers In..., Internships, Student Spotlights, Student Spotlights, Uncategorized

Brandon Gonzales is a senior Accounting major from Rowlett, Texas. He is interning with Concho Resources this summer.

Brandon Gonzales

 

Q: What have you done in your internship so far?

I am currently interning at Concho Resources which is an oil and gas E&P company based in Midland, Texas. As an accounting intern, I was placed in the revenue department where I was assigned a summer project that I worked on throughout the internship. My project was to perform a self-audit of the severance taxes for oil and gas that Concho paid for its New Mexico wells. If you intern at Concho, you will be assigned a major project associated with the department you are placed in at the start of the summer. At the conclusion of the internship, you will lead a presentation over the results of your project to the upper-management of the company. Due to its importance, my first month of the summer was solely dedicated to working closely with my mentor on this project. This is because each project is over an issue that Concho has an interest in and a majority of the work done by the interns are put to use by the company. For example, the workbook that I created for my project can be directly adapted for future use by the revenue department in performing audits for years outside of the scope I was assigned. After the first month, I was rotated for the remainder of the summer among other departments and groups so I could get more exposure to accounting in the company. I moved to another floor and started working alongside the Director of Accounting and a senior accountant where I helped analyze reserve reports that we received over our properties. My main job on that project was to identify and represent key information that they wanted to review in a future meeting. I created a number of pivot tables and other charts compiled from the data in reports. After a few days, I was moved once again and began working in the Joint-Interest Billing department. There I performed another audit, but this time it was over joint operating agreements that we had from previous years. I was tasked with researching each agreement to determine if we were correctly paying what the contract stated by comparing what we had in our records. Currently, I am still in the JIB department, but am now working with another group to review unbilled properties and the accompanying invoices to determine if they are correctly billed in the revenue system we use.

 

Q: What has been your favorite part of the internship?

My favorite part of the internship so far must be how involved Concho is in making sure the intern class is enjoying the summer in Midland. They want to be sure that we come away from this internship with positive memories of not only the company, but the city as well. There were multiple events throughout the summer that Concho orchestrated for the interns to get together and everything was always paid for by the company. From minor league baseball games in the company’s private box suite to golfing at the country club. They even sent us to Midland’s Petroleum Museum for a day of training so the interns could get a better sense of the oil and gas industry. The coolest event being a field trip out to one of the oil rigs where we received a personal tour from one of the supervisors. Concho also provided summer housing for the interns which really helped in bringing everyone together since we all literally lived doors down from each other. Even when there was not a company sponsored event, the interns usually had something planned like a cookout at the apartment pool.

 

Q: How do you see this experience aiding you in the future?

Going into this internship, I knew nothing about the oil and gas industry including how accounting was done for E&P companies. However, I was never given any busy work this summer. All the projects I worked on were assignments that would be given to the regular staff and provided an actual benefit to the company. Being treated as another new-hire was worthwhile and the knowledge that I gained can easily be leveraged in the future if I decide to pursue a career in the industry. Getting to know the people I worked with was one of the biggest benefits that I gained from this internship. I’ve built relationships with multiple people over the summer who gave me guidance not only in my career, but life as well. In particular, one coworker welcomed me into her church and got me connected with the youth group she ran. Even if I never work at Concho or in the oil and gas industry, building relationships with more experienced people in the field was a great experience.

 

Q: What has grown you as an individual the most in this internship?

I’ve always been the type of person who likes to figure out solutions to problems I come across on my own. With this internship, I had to learn to be more proactive in asking for assistance from not only those who I worked directly with, but others within the company. I knew almost nothing whenever I started a new project and at times that was daunting. Repeatedly needing to ask for further explanations was something that I was uncomfortable with because I didn’t want to be a bother. Over time, I came to realize that being given more responsibilities didn’t mean that I had to bear everything alone. Looking around the office, I noticed that it was common to see people collaborating on their work. Although people had separate responsibilities, we were all part of the same team. This environment helped me get used to working as a part of a larger team and not be afraid to ask for further clarification on what I was doing. People welcomed questions because they wanted to make sure I understood not only how something was done, but the why as well.

 

Q: Do you have any tips for others?

Audit or Tax? Big 4 or mid-tier firm? These are common questions that accounting majors come across at some point in undergrad. Some students find their own answer within weeks, while others are unsure up until graduation. However, when it comes to starting their career, I think that many accounting students are too quick to dismiss starting out their career in an industry role. Going into public accounting straight out of college is seen as the traditional route with securing a great job in industry after years of experience as the end goal. I think this is due in large part to the fact that many of the companies that recruit on campus are public firms. There is little exposure to any other option before graduation. This summer, many of the staff that I worked alongside did do not come from public backgrounds and I was curious as to why. I received various answers, but the most common was that the long-term goals they had for themselves were perfectly attainable without going into public accounting. The main takeaway being that both routes have their pros and cons so it is up to the individual to decide which path is best for them. I would encourage younger students to equally give both options their attention as they go through college. Choosing to dismiss one side without the proper due diligence is simply closing off a number of future opportunities.

 

Dr. Phil Vardiman Named Director of COBA’s Online Graduate Business Programs

by   |  08.01.17  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Human Resource Management, MBA, Uncategorized

Dr. Brad Crisp announced last week that Dr. Phil Vardiman, Professor of Management, will begin serving as director of COBA’s online graduate business programs beginning August 1, 2017. Dr. Vardiman will have responsibility for the MBA and MS in Management (MSM) programs offered in collaboration with ACU-Dallas and will interface with other ACU-Dallas programs through their academic and leadership councils.

 Dr. Phil Vardiman

Vardiman earned a Bachelor of Science from ACU in 1976, earned his MBA from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 1992, and holds a Doctor of Philosophy from Texas A&M. Phil has a long history both in education and industry, having served as the Regional Human Resources Director for Cardinal Health from 1997-2000, Human Resources Manager for Avery Dennison Corporation from 1986-1997, and Production Supervisor/Quality Analyst for General Tire & Rubber Company from 1977-1986. He has been heavily involved with human resources and entrepreneurship organizations in both educational and industry settings and has published numerous articles in academic journals as well as presenting papers at 16 academic conferences. Dr. Vardiman also actively consults for businesses, working with them in the areas of human resources, training, quality, safety, and leadership development. Vardiman has taught at ACU since 2002, with special teaching interests in Human Resource Management, Entrepreneurship, Management & Organizational Behavior, Leadership Development, Safety & Health, and Organizational Development. In addition to these teaching interests, he has been active in leading students on COBA Study Abroad trips, traveling to Australia, China, Honduras, and Oxford as well as working with numerous university service activities, advising and club sponsored activities. Known to his students for his “Conceptual Truths” and enthusiasm, to say that Phil Vardiman has a passion for helping others grow and succeed would be an understatement.

When talking about his new appointment, Dr. Vardiman says that he is excited about serving on the COBA and ACU-Dallas Leadership Teams and for the opportunity to understand ACU-Dallas better. While serving as ACU Faculty Senate Chair, one goal of his had been to help ACU faculty become more familiar with ACU-Dallas and to build relationships between the ACU on-campus faculty and the ACU online faculty. When asked what his priorities will be while serving as the Director of the COBA online graduate programs, Vardiman said that he will look at faculty, possible changes or additions to course curriculum, and increasing student enrollment. He anticipates looking at the MBA concentrations to affirm what is working and what can be developed to increase offerings to online graduate students, stating that at this time, there is no intention to add concentrations but there may be additions in the future.

Dr. Vardiman said that he is most excited about the learning opportunity that this new position will require. His desire is to have a rigorous and solid MBA that is well respected and he is excited to play a part in making that happen. Should current undergraduate students fear they won’t have the opportunity to have him as a professor, don’t worry – he will still be teaching his favorite class MGMT 330 in the fall along with International Business while in the spring he will teach his Safety, Health and Security class. Vardiman said that he was adamant that if he accepted this new positon, that he be allowed to continue to keep teaching undergraduates, stating, “If I lost that, it wouldn’t be worth it.” Teaching is his passion and helping ACU grow into the future is the catalyst for deciding to enter into this administrative role.

Dr. Brad Crisp stated his support by saying, “Phil is an excellent teacher and mentor, and he recently completed a term in leadership of ACU’s Faculty Senate. Joey Cope, Stephen Johnson, and I are all excited about what Phil will bring to this role to support the growth and quality of our MBA and MSM program.” Congratulations to Dr. Phil Vardiman on his appointment as Director of COBA’s Online Graduate Business Programs.

 

 

Student Spotlight on McKinley Terry

by   |  07.24.17  |  Academics, Faith Infusion, Internships, Student Spotlights, Uncategorized

McKinley Terry is a senior Management major with minors in English and History from Longview, Texas. He is interning at Alpine Church of Christ in Longview, TX as the youth ministry summer intern.

McKinley Terry

Q: What have you done in your internship so far?

So far, I have helped lead classes for middle schoolers and high schoolers in our youth group, organized mission trips and social events, and helped our students better serve others throughout their community and the state of Texas.

Q:  What has been your favorite part of the internship?

My favorite part was definitely our recent mission trip to Camp of the Hills in Marble Falls, Texas. We served nearly four thousand meals that week to campers brought in by faith and community-oriented groups throughout Texas. I always loved going on this mission trip when I was in the youth group, so it was incredible to get to serve again as a leader and motivate our students to serve others.

Q:  How do you see this experience aiding you in the future?

My goal is to eventually teach at the university level, so working with young adults has helped me to understand the difficulties and opportunities in reaching and mentoring them.

 

Q:  What has grown you as an individual the most in this internship?

I have seen first-hand the difficulties that non-profits such as churches face regarding operations, budgeting, and management. Having to balance the interests and management styles of separate individuals has helped me learn how to navigate what can often be chaotic situations without growing too frustrated and inefficient.

 

Student Spotlight on Leah Montgomery

by   |  07.12.17  |  Academics, Careers In..., Internships, Student Spotlights, Student Spotlights, Uncategorized

Leah Montgomery is a senior Marketing/Management double major from Abilene, Texas. This summer, Leah is interning with PFSweb.

Leah has a marketing internship this summer with PFSweb, a leading global eCommerce solutions provider.

 

Q: What have you done in your internship so far?

A:  The main two tasks I have been working on so far are the planning of a company event and writing a blog. Along with this I help the marketing team with any projects they are working on.

Q:  What has been your favorite part of the internship?

A:  I’ve really enjoyed seeing the process different projects have to go through before completion. Many events and publications seem very simple from the outside but on the creation side the complexity is impressive. By watching how a team can work together to get a job done shows how important every detail is.

Q:  How do you see this experience aiding you in the future?

A:  This internship has shown me how important group projects are. I know, everyone dislikes group projects but that is what we should expect after we graduate: never ending group projects. They are obviously different than in classes but the aspect of working as a team to achieve the same goal is the same.

Q:  What has grown you as an individual the most in this internship?

A:  Writing the blog has been the most challenging. I have never written a blog before, and haven’t needed to write a paper in college for over a year. Trying to make a topic in eCommerce exciting and worth reading was difficult. The original draft looks nothing like what is published, but with the help of a team of great writers I was able to get advice and edits that helped me understand more of what was expected and how I can improve and do better next time.

Q:  Do you have any tips for others?

A:  If Jennifer Golden ever teaches digital marketing ever again TAKE IT. That is the most obvious example of a class that I could pull information from directly and place it into my internship. Even as simple as knowing terms and understanding more about eCommerce so I could join conversations and understand what was being discussed. By knowing the information taught in that class I had more confidence going into my internship and feeling more prepared. Great class.

Check out Leah’s blog post for PFSweb here.

Willkommen from Leipzig!

by   |  06.29.17  |  Academics, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Study Abroad, Uncategorized

COBA students studying abroad in Leipzig, Germany, continued their coursework and site visits this week. Pictured below is the group on a typical Thursday morning sitting in a Financial Management class from 9:00 am – noon in Leipzig.

During breaks, the group has met and had the opportunity to visit with refugees from Syria and Iraq.  The refugees are taking an intensive German class so they can live and work here in Germany.

Wednesday, the group went to Social Impact Leipzig, an early-stage incubator for social entrepreneurship ventures.  Their host was Jennifer Pauli.
She showed the group around the location, which is primarily shared office space for firms that are participating in the incubator program.  Then they heard pitches from some of the firms that are currently in the program.
One of the pitches was given by Mike from Night Bank.  His firm is similar to AirB&B, but with a socially minded twist.  People with unused rooms donate them to Night Bank for a specified number of nights.  Night Bank books tourists and guests in the rooms and charges them a fee.  Night Bank then uses 90% of the fees they collect to support aid projects around the world.  One recent project was a water collection tower in Kenya.  The person who donates their room to rent gets to select the project they would like their fees to support.

We’ll continue to blog about the adventures of our group in Leipzig as their time starts to wind down and another group travels to Asia. Keep checking back and share this blog with your friends!

COBA Study Abroad in Leipzig

by   |  06.27.17  |  Academics, Current Students, Study Abroad, Uncategorized

COBA offers students opportunities every summer to visit the world, earn course credit, and learn about international businesses by touring companies in host countries. This summer, we have students in Leipzig, Germany with Dr. Jonathan Stewart. In addition to coursework, this week students were given a video assignment while visiting Luma Lenscraft, a video production company in Leipzig. COBA’s hosts at Luma Lenscraft gave a short video workshop, taught students about translation services in Europe, and asked the students to create a one minute video about their time in Germany. The assignment was to shoot the entire video on a smart phone in a single shot.

Students also visited SpinLab. SpinLab is a startup incubator based in the old Spinnererei district of Leipzig and at one time, was a hub for cotton markets in Germany in the early and mid-1900’s.

The group first heard from Shawn Segundo, Online Marketing and Event Manager. He explained how SpinLab hosts 12 startups per year. Two of the twelve made their pitches to the COBA group, Shark Tank style.

The first pitch came from Andreas Dunsch of FlyNex, a drone services company that provides start to finish drone services and data analysis. The second pitch was from Sebastian Leppert of OKIKO. OKIKO is an online payment systems providing safe and intuitive payment options for children, ages 7-17. It was an educational and enlightening trip and we want to thank our hosts at Luma Lenscraft and SpinLab for welcoming our students.

Check back with us for updates from Leipzig as students visit Red Bull Arena and Porsche next week.