Students Exprience the Investment World at RISE Conference

On March 27th and 28th, five COBA students along with Dr. Terry Pope attended the RISE Investment Conference at the University of Dayton. The conference was a two day event and included students, faculty, and practitioners from all over the world interested in the various areas of investment. On the first day of the conference, participants attended panels that featured leading investment speakers from around the world, including President Sandra Pianalto from the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, anchor Kelly Evans from CNBC, and Chairman Chief Investment Officer Bill Miller from Legg Mason. On the second day of the conference, participants attended breakout sessions, learning about equity evaluation, wealth management, foreign exchange trading, and technical analysis. Dr. Pope was excited to expose students to influential people with powerful roles on Wall Street. The students were able to hear from the experts about their day-to-day lives working in the investment world. COBA highly supports and encourages students attending business conferences like RISE to learn from experienced professionals practicing in the marketplace.

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Dr. Terry Pope with COBA students Grant Wilson, Collin Graves, Bibb Frasier, Luke Luttrell, and Chloe Meung at the RISE Conference at the University of Dayton.

Student Spotlight: Kimray Inc. Welcomes Emily Conrad


Kimray is one of the fastest growing private companies in the world and is a world-class manufacturer of control equipment used extensively in oil and gas production in North America and around the globe. They are a privately owned family company with more than 800 employees and occupying over 360,000 square feet in their campus facility. This was the third year in a row for Kimray to make the Inc. 500 List, a list of America’s fastest growing companies.  In 2013, they had over $240,000,000 in sales, making their way to the Top of the 100 Manufacturing Companies list. For over 65 years, Kimray has been the leader in upstream oil and gas controls under ANSI standards.  Kimray received the 2013 Hire Power Award, which recognizes private companies that are leading the way in creating America jobs, making Kimray the leading job creator.

Kimray Inc. was founded in 1948 by innovative leader Garman O. Kimmel. The company takes pride in putting the customer first and honoring the Lord in everything they do by creating incomparable value in their relationships with customers and employees. Their vision is to make a difference in the lives they serve, putting their faith in action by trusting God with their future and serving those wholeheartedly in every aspect of the company.

Emily Conrad, a senior Management major, had the opportunity to intern with Kimray this past summer. She worked in various areas of the company, including the distribution of weekly reports, updating PO pricing, delivery date, and supplier information, as well as providing customer service within the supply chain. Emily described her internship as “wonderful and enriching, learning valuable knowledge about supply chain management in a completely Christ-centered culture.” Kimray truly is an exceptional company, prioritizing the family, employees, and customers first and going the extra mile to humbly serve the marketplace. Having experience her own internship, Emily encourages students to seek out internship opportunities through personal relationships, utilizing this connection tool to land an internship and potentially a job. After her internship, Emily committed to a full time position working in the Operations Management department with Kimray after she graduates in May.

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“COBA has taught me the fundamentals of the various aspects of business,
but more importantly to be a Christian in the workplace,” says Emily Conrad, a senior Management major from Oklahoma City.

Dr. Vardiman and Dr. Shepherd Escape to the Islands!

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Over Spring Break, students were not the only ones to escape the West Texas weather! COBA professors Dr. Phil Vardiman and Dr. Ian Shepherd headed to Hawaii to attend a NBES conference(National Business and Economics Society). The NBES is a multidisciplinary academic and professional organization focusing on the promotion of interdisciplinary research of both a theoretical and practical nature. Scholars and practitioners in the fields of Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Management, Information Systems, Operations Research, Economics, Public Administration, Psychology, and other related fields gathered to discuss research in the various fields, encourage the promotion of access in all of these disciplinary areas, and broaden their overall knowledge in business school academics. AACSB requires practitioners in their accredited schools to publish in their areas of expertise.

The two professors were able to attend breakout sessions as well as listen to experienced speakers, including  Dr. Peter Christofferen, an author and award winning professional in the areas of research and economics. Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Vardiman also served as session chairpersons for the breakout sessions involving teaching and management.

Dr. Shepherd states, “A major takeaway from the conference is the revitalization of my interest in many topics surrounding research and teaching in economics.” Dr. Shepherd is currently working on ways to promote the use of technology inside and outside of the classroom. He is aiming to incorporate new ideas for teaching methods for students, including video and other visual elements. Both professors came away from the conference with a nice tan as well as goals to help students expand their knowledge and expertise in the classroom. What better way is there to spend the break?!

Ian Presenting

Dr. Ian Shepherd presents his findings in research and development in a breakout session at the NBES Conference in Hawaii.

COBA Students Participate in Spring Break Missions

COBA’s culture is built upon the foundational principles of faith infusion and using students’ God-given gifts to impact others in the ACU community and throughout the world. This spring break, several of COBA’s students chose to spend the week serving others in the U.S. as well as abroad. Students put their faith in action by humbly submitting to the work God was calling them to do this spring break.

Six of COBA’s students, including Sarah Puckett, Alec Hartman, Eric Koster, Michael Holeman, Hannah Griffith, and Mandy Stratton, traveled to Honduras to work with Jarrod Brown and Mission Lazarus for the week. Mission Lazarus is a ministry that creates a sustainable lifestyle for local Hondurans. The organization includes a leather shop, a coffee plantation, a carpentry shop, several trade schools, a medical clinic, and an orphanage where children can learn the key skills they need to grow and be successful leaders in their society. Mission Lazarus provides work for the Honduran people, enabling them to create ways to provide for their families.


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“Missions are not about bringing God to a foreign country; God is already working there. Mission work is really joining with and helping our brothers and sisters in Christ in order to encourage them, sharing the common bond of love that we have for each other through God,” says Mandy Stratton, a sophomore finance major.

Neely Borger, a senior marketing major, also went to Honduras over the break with a different team. This team consisted of eight members who worked with a dental clinic located in Choluteca. In addition to working with the dental clinic, the team also organized a VBS and a soccer camp for the kids at the local church. In the future, Neely plans on working with nutrition in various medical mission fields. She believes this week was a great opportunity to see and work in a different culture and expand her worldview.

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“I loved being the person that made the kids from the church smile. This experience was incredibly humbling, opening my eyes to see the world from God’s perspective and the need for love and affection in such broken homes.” says Neely Borger.

Landon Long, a senior management and political science major, spent the week in New York City working with Graffiti Ministries in Brooklyn as well as a kids’ after school program in Manhattan. Graffiti Ministries is a church that caters to indigent people in the Brooklyn community. Landon and his group aided the church in several ways, including cleaning and hanging dry wall. The group also ministered to kids by helping them with homework, playing games, and sharing a devotional each day. Landon will be attending law school this fall and plans on going into the oil and gas field. After working with Owen, the lawyer for Graffiti Ministries, Landon says he could see himself working for people who cannot afford good representation.


“Working with Graffiti Missions in NYC showed me how I can use my degree in law to help serve the community, representing indigent people who are not able to afford good lawyers. I am excited to use my passion for law to serve others in need,” says Landon Long.

COBA’s mission is not only to equip students with the essential tools to be successful in the business field but also to use their unique skill sets to serve others in the world. COBA thrives on empowering students to find their callings in life, continually seeking God’s guidance and assurance for whichever path He leads them to.

COBA Officially Announces Their Reaccreditation With AASCB


After the AACSB Business Accreditation Peer Review Team visited ACU’s campus in January, their Board of Directors and Continuous Improvement Review Committee have officially announced the extension of accreditation of the business degree programs offered at ACU’s College of Business Administration.  Accreditation with AACSB is the hallmark of excellence in business education. Accredited business schools must  meet specific standards of excellence, with their deans, faculty, and professional staff committing to ensure and deliver the highest quality of education to students. This accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide, with less than 5% of the world’s 13,000 business programs having earned AACSB Accreditation. Accredited schools produce graduates that are highly skilled and more desirable to employers than other non-accredited schools.

AACSB is a non-profit corporation of business schools, accounting programs, corporations, and other organizations devoted to the promotion and improvement of higher education in business administration and accounting. The organization was founded in 1916 and established its first standards for degree programs in business administration in 1919. To become accredited, a business school must go through a process of self-evaluation and peer review. There are a total of 694 member institutions, with representation in 45 countries. In Texas, there are a total of 36 accredited schools, eight of those being private universities. The private universities include ACU, Baylor, Rice, SMU, St. Mary’s, TCU, Trinity, and the University of Dallas.

The primary purpose of AACSB is to provide exceptional standards, carefully evaluating a business institution’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas of the school. An AACSB accredited school ensures students and parents that the business school is providing an exceptional education, as well as employers that these students are ready to enter the business field and perform well due to the high quality education. For the staff and faculty, an accredited institution attracts high-quality students and supports the promotion of research opportunities and global recognition.

COBA initially became accredited through the AACSB in 2004. Every five years, the Continuous Improvement Review Team from AACSB visits the campus to audit the quality and compliance of the business school, talking with students and faculty in regards to the quality of education and learning. 2014 marked the third visit for the team and the process of re-accrediting the college. Mirroring the previous two visits, the team was thoroughly impressed with the high standards and unique culture of COBA. Throughout the visit, members constantly commended COBA for its commitment to faith implementation and superior learning and engagement opportunities, including STAR, study abroad, Leadership Summit, and global leadership development. Faculty’s participation in training, research, development, and preparation also impressed the board.

The overall culture of excellence and hospitality truly made an impact on the team, clearly magnifying the quality and standards that distinguish ACU’s business school from the rest. The persistent drive for constant innovation, engagement, and impact with students, employees, and the community has made COBA excel in all areas, offering an environment that is determined to provide students and faculty with an experience full of value and excellence. COBA strives for innovation, continuously seeking opportunities to learn and expand student’s knowledge by using optimal sources. COBA’s faculty is committed to engaging with students and supplying them with the tools necessary to become successful in the workplace. For years, ACU’s College of Business has engraved these principles into each student and faculty member, integrating leadership and business skills with a firm foundation in Godly and faith-based principles. Becoming re-accredited with the AASCB is a clear confirmation of God’s work taking place in the College of Business Administration at ACU.


Click here to read ACU’s official press release on COBA’s re-accreditation. You can learn more about AACSB and the importance of choosing an accredited business school by clicking here.

10 COBA Secrets for Success

1. Get to know professors.

COBA’s professors are committed to equipping students to be successful in all aspects of life. By engaging and interacting with students, professors are able to build strong relationships with students that will last a lifetime. Professors are eager to help students at all times with academics, future career plans, and with their spiritual walk.

2. Connections are the key.

Start networking and connecting with ACU and COBA alumni. COBA has representatives all over the world. By making these connections, students are able to gain real insight from experienced professionals who graduated from ACU. By simply engaging with alumni, students have a great opportunity to learn about specific job industries, land internships, and network for job offerings.

3. Get involved.

COBA has many opportunities for students to get involved. They offer organizations including STAR, AMA (American Marketing Association), and Women in Business for students to get plugged into COBA’s community. Events such as Springboard and Distinguished Speakers Series are also great ways for students to make connections and learn from real life applications. Check out the student organizations you can be a part of here.

4. Seek opportunities.

COBA encourages students to constantly seek opportunities to learn and grow, in academics and in their spiritual walk. The COBA culture and community thrives on faith infusion, instilling critical values and principles for students to build their foundation on. Growth is the effect of seeking opportunities and learning in different situations. The path to success is not a sprint but a marathon. COBA encourages students to continually look for opportunities to grow and learn.

5. Finding the balance.

In all aspects of life, finding the right balance is the key to success. COBA strives to help students find the right balance for learning how to lead in your job, home, church and community. When life is well-balanced, the peace of Jesus is upon you. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because He trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

6. What’s the plan?

COBA encourages students to have a plan, a road-map with checkpoints that lead to their hopes for future goals. Tim Johnston and Samantha Matta are continually working with students in the classroom, as well as individually, to create a plan that is uniquely designed for each student. In the classroom, Tim and Samantha prepare students through class insertions that focus on developing students professionally, including career testing, mock interviews, and relevant projects created for students to encounter real life experiences.

7. Be a risk taker.

In the words of Bill Cosby, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” Life is full of opportunities; the question is whether or not we will take advantage of those opportunities. Jesus calls us out onto the water and promises us that through faith, we will not sink. In the business world and in all areas of life, God gives us the chance to take a step of faith and walk into rough waters. With great risk comes great reward.

8. Diversify your worldview.

COBA believes in expanding students’ worldviews, enabling them to see businesses in other cultural contexts. COBA offers several study abroad programs, including Australia, Oxford, and Central America. These programs are a great way for students to experience God working through business in other cultures and to gain global experience in the marketplace. Learn more about COBA’s Study Abroad program here.

9. Confidence. Godfidence.

God has gifted each individual with the ability to create. We encourage our students to step out of their comfort zones and discover all that God has in store for them with confidence. With God, all things are possible.

10. Believe in your purpose.

Each student is on a journey, discovering his/her own gifts and passions that can be used to write their story. We encourage students to find their passions; soon those passions will lead them directly to their purpose. Every student has a story to write, a calling to live out. COBA wants to provide the community and culture that empowers and enables students to discover everything they are called to be in life.