Archive for ‘Student Spotlights’

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.

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.

 

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.

Student Spotlight on Kate Hegi

by   |  06.14.17  |  Academics, Internships, Marketing, Student Spotlights, Student Spotlights

Kate Hegi, senior, has had the amazing opportunity to intern in Denver working on the marketing side of the music industry with Denver Arts and Venues.

Kate Hegi is a senior marketing student from Fort Worth, TX. This summer Kate is interning with Denver Arts and Venues, specifically working with Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Q: What have you done in your internship as of yet?

A: I mainly work with the sponsorship aspect of the venue. I help our sponsors activate with the concerts or events each night. So far, I have gotten to work with Coca-Cola, Chipotle, Clifbar, and many more sponsors. I also work on the ticketing process for the venues, sponsorship contracts, social media strategies and contests, and overall marketing plans for the summer.

Q: What has been your favorite part?

A: My favorite part is so hard to pick! Every time I work a concert, I say “okay, tonight is my favorite night.” Red Rocks is such a beautiful place. Being able to be outside and to bask in God’s creation almost every night is not a bad gig, to say the least.

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

A: This experience has helped me in so many different ways. First and foremost, this job has really taught me more about sponsors, marketing, social media, and business contract law. Learning about these has been so beneficial. It has exposed me to different types of people and how to work with those types, whether that is based on age, experience, or personality.

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

A: Personally, the experience that has shaped me the most is simply living in a new state by myself. To be in a new place all by yourself can be intimidating and I would be lying if I said it was not hard at times. But overall it has been such a good way to really find myself and learn how to live in the real world. It’s been great!

Q: Do you have any tips for others?

A: Apply everywhere, no matter if you think it is too ‘far fetched’ or not! I never would have thought in a million years that I would actually get this internship, yet here I am, five weeks into it. Challenge yourself and I promise it will be worth it!