Dean Chronicles: Wrapping up my time in Asia

Hong Kong

A quick note from Dr. Lytle as he prepares to leave Hong Kong and head back to Texas:

Beijing ended well.  Visits with key business professionals from major companies like GE and Vermeer were highly successful.  Also, a visit with a major professor at Beijing University (The Premiere University) and businessman seemed quite profitable in terms of opportunity.  The China Business Conference was well attended and my session was well received.  In fact, I gave out all of my business cards without thinking so I had none for my trips to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Our Singapore visit was most fruitful.  I visited with numerous Christian professionals and spent an entire day touring the city visiting the central business/financial district, local landmarks, and Sanatos Island – an international resort complex recently developed.

Additionally, I taught a half day seminar using material out of my book.  27 Christian business persons were with us all day.  It was extremely encouraging.  Their faith and desire to be who God wants them to be is inspirational.  Several key contacts were made with nationals who have done their education in the states at Harvard, George Washington, and Cornell.  I guess there are at least 4-5 solid opportunities for day-long corporate visits:

1.  Hospitality/Retail – Principal West Paces Hotel Group, Cappella Resort on Sanatos Island (Harvard MBA).

2.  Vice Chairman-Asia of Austria New Zealand Bank.  Had dinner in his home.
3.  CIO Austria New Zealand Bank.
4.  Chancellor – Nanyang Technological University
5.  Chairman and CEO – major environmental company in Singapore and former CEO of major industrial U.S. company.

In Hong Kong we met with a new contact from Walmart who has recently been placed in Hong Kong with his family.  They are from Heber Springs and we discussed a variety of mutual friends from Harding and Walmart.  He has offered office, store, and distribution center visits on the mainland.

Spent a 1/2 day touring the city – visiting the container shipyards at one of the world’s busiest ports.  Also, spent 1/2 day at Hong Kong Baptist University meeting with International personnel exploring opportunities for our students at their university during short summer programs.

Mike Willoughby and I met with Dr. Victor Fung high atop his high rise office building.  He is Harvard educated and runs a multi-billion dollar enterprise including Asian franchises for Toys R Us and 7-11.  He committed to hosting our students for a day within his operations and put us in touch with his Director for the Victor and William Fung Foundation.  He will be a good contact moving forward.

I leave for the airport in a few hours. Overall, it’s been a very successful trip! I’ve been blessed, encouraged and challenged. There are so many incredible opportunities here for our students. With God’s guidance and provision – I look forward to returning in the future with our business students.

Dean Chronicles: Dr. Lytle’s Asian Tour

Dr. Lytle checks in with us from his travels in Asia:

Since May 15 I have been on an Asian tour, meeting Christian business professionals in their home countries. May 15-18 was spent in Beijing, China where I had the opportunity to have dinner with several Christian business people serving in China with major U.S. companies. I was also asked to speak at a conference of around 200 Asian business professionals. My topic was Service Matters: Building Brand Advantage through Service Excellence. Today (May 19), we landed in Singapore. We will be holding a variety of meetings with Christian business professionals here as well. On Saturday, I will speak to the CEO Forum-Asia group on my book, Abandoning the Ordinary. Sunday we leave for Hong Kong to do more of the same. Additionally, I am exploring and crafting opportunities for our business and technology students to study abroad during their time in our programs at ACU. One of the great privileges of this trip is the opportunity to be mentored by Mr. Dick Schulz, former Iowa Basketball coach, former Cornell Athletic Director, former president of the NCAA, and former Secretary General for the U.S. Olympic Committee. He is a man of faith who has had an extraordinary life of service to God and man and family. Asia is an amazing part of the world – certainly the focus of the most dynamic and significant global development over the next 30 years.

God bless,


Dr. Lytle at a speaking engagement in Beijing

Digital Marketing class presents to ROOTS, Inc. VP

The students in our Digital Marketing class have spent the entire semester working on a market research project for Canadian-based retailer, ROOTS. The research was integrated into the curriculum for this unique class that focused on ecommerce and the interactions between a consumer and a retail webstore. The class was a collaboratively taught between Mike Winegeart, Assistant Professor – Marketing and Mike Willoughby, Senior Partner and President of PFSweb, Inc. ROOTS is a client of PFSweb.

In late April, our students had the fantastic opportunity to present their findings to the actual client. James Connell, VP of Marketing for ROOTS, Inc. flew down to Texas to hear what this group of college students discovered in their market research.

ROOTS Account team from PFSweb, including VP from ROOTS

We caught up with junior Marketing major, Kenli Viertel, who was part of the team that presented to the account team from PFSweb as well as Mr. Connell. We asked her just a few brief questions:

1) What was the presentation about exactly?

As a class, we split into groups and each researched different aspects of Roots Canada’s digital marketing efforts.  Some of the groups’ topics were Social Media and Product Merchandising.  We researched the efforts Roots is making and compared them to other similar companies and put together a presentation full of ways they can better reach their online customer.

2) How long have you been working on this presentation?
For the presentation, we used everything we’d learned all semester, but I’d say we were actually working on the project for a month before the actual presentation.

3) How many students presented?
I think there were around 18 students in the class.  Most everyone presented if they were comfortable.

4) What’s one or two things you learned about ROOTS that you didn’t know before?
Roots uses every scrap of leather and waste nothing!  They use scraps for leather bracelets or keychains instead of throwing it away.  They focus a lot of time and effort on being “green”.

5) What’s one or two things you learned about e-commerce that you didn’t know before?
I don’t think I ever realized that there is someone tracking every click of my mouse on their website, learning from what I do.  It’s incredible to me the things we can learn from observing the consumer.  What I love about e-commerce is that it’s turning from a business-to-consumer game into a consumer-to-consumer game, run by the shopper.

6) How has this class set you apart to potential employers?
By taking this class from PFSweb professionals, I believe I’ve gotten an inside view of the career that so many potential employers will expect me to perform.  This class gave me hands-on experience and really gave me a good grasp on what happens behind the website.  Also, doing work for a company like Roots is something that I’ll soon be proud to tell an interviewer.

Students in the Digital Marketing class that presented to ROOTS
PFSweb account team with ACU students
Dr. Lytle, PFSweb President Mike Willoughby, ROOTS VP James Connell and Assistant Professor of Marketing, Mike Winegeart (L-R)

PFSweb Senior Partner and President, Mike Willoughby, is an ACU COBA grad. You can read more about him, here. And if you don’t follow his blog,, you definitely should add it to your bookmarks. And if you are wanting to learn more about ecommerce, digital marketing, or how to increase the bottom line for your on line retail store – absolutely follow this blog (Willoughby is a frequent contributor):

“Hey mom! I gotta job!”

Senior Finance major from Dimmitt, Texas, Kylah Riddle, is finishing up the last of her college final exams this week. She’ll walk in ACU’s Commencement ceremonies this Saturday afternoon. And Kylah already has landed a job with PFSweb, a leader in providing eCommerce solutions for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Soon to be ACU alum, Kylah Riddle has accepted a job with PFSweb

We recently sat down with Kylah to find out how she scored such an awesome job before she has even graduated!

What will you be doing for PFSweb?

The program I’ll be participating in is called the College Recruitment Program.  They chose 12 college graduates from different schools and we will all start this program on June 13th.  Through this program we will spend a week in each department of the business conducting research, doing projects and learning about that specific department and their particular duties.  The program is about six weeks long and after we’ve completed it, our managers will sit down with the recruits and will place us in the department we both feel will be our best fit.  This program is much more beneficial than being a direct hire for just one particular area because we will get to see and learn all aspects of the business as we move throughout the company, and find the best fit for our skill set and where we can make the most impact for PFSweb.

How’d you hear about the job opening?

I first heard about the job opening from Tim Johnston, Assistant Dean – Marketing Operations.  I knew about the company because Mike Willoughby, Senior Partner – President of PFSweb, helped teach a digital marketing class here in COBA.  When we learned there were openings in their college recruitment program, Mr. Johnston and Dr. Lytle (dean of COBA) both encouraged me to pursue the application and interview process.

How did the interview process work?

I posted my resume and a cover letter on the ACU CareerLink post where the job was advertised.  PFSweb chose several students to interview for the first round here on campus in the Hunter Welcome Center.  They came down and interviewed students all day.  A week later, they narrowed down their candidates and invited a smaller number to come back and interview in Plano at their U.S. headquarters. I drove to Plano and went through a whole day of interviews with several different employees and managers.  The following week they sent out offer letters.

What did you do before the interview to help you feel prepared? Mock interviews? Resume review?

Before the interview I had several meetings with Tim Johnston, Assistant Dean – Marketing Operations.  We went over my resume and highlighted what he called the “star” and applicable experiences.  He then conducted a mock interview and drilled me with questions.  I would definitely recommend to students who are searching for jobs to go through this process.  It was extremely helpful and it gave me a chance to really learn how to explain my strengths and the experiences I had while a student at ACU.

What’s one piece of advice you have for the underclassman here in COBA?

Learn and be involved in all you can while you are here. Take advantage of every opportunity to get to know your professors.  That is one thing I have truly cherished these past four years.  These professors mean more to me than just a teacher, I consider them my friends!