Happy Thanksgiving from COBA!

At times this year has been a difficult one for the College of Business. However, in spite of the hardships that students, faculty and staff have battled in their personal lives, there is a lot to be thankful for in this community.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said,

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

As a COBA student, I am constantly provided with unique opportunities. I’ve had the chance to listen to speakers like Dan Austin and April Anthony who have come to campus and interacted with students who are below their level of expertise and below their pay grade. I have also the opportunity to study abroad in Oxford and in the next six months will get to spend a week in Colorado at Leadership Summit as well as two weeks studying abroad in Honduras. All of these opportunities are incredible, wonderful, and potentially life changing, but this year, none of them are at the top of my list of things I’m thankful for.

Emerson points out that “all things have contributed to your advancement,” and he’s right. Every time I look up I find myself face to face with another chance to better myself and to develop skills for life. These prominent opportunities to travel or hear big name speakers are incredible, and I’m more grateful for them than I can say. However, I think that more than any huge trip or business superstar, I am thankful for the relationships COBA has allowed me to have, not just with fellow students, but with faculty.

Any COBA student you ask will tell you that the individuals who teach here, such as Ms. Jozell Brister, teach them more than just business skills. They teach us how to have integrity in the workplace and how to be responsible and plan ahead. They teach us what it means to take time out of our days to serve others and what it means to show hospitality to our neighbors. But more importantly, through all of this, they’ve taught us what it looks like to live a life of faith every single day.

So this year, I’m thankful, not for the fact that I can go somewhere beautiful or listen to someone interesting speak, but rather for the fact that here at COBA I am learning habits that change who I am from day to day, not just who I am in my career.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving. You’ll undoubtedly sit around a table, and you may even tell your friends and family what you’re thankful for. That’s all well and good, but if you leave your thanks at the table, you’ve gained nothing.

Follow Emerson’s suggestion, and cultivate a habit of thankfulness this year.

Happy Thanksgiving from COBA, and THANK YOU to our COBA faculty!

April Anthony Shares Her Company’s Unique Focus

This past Tuesday, The Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy joined in Global Entrepreneurship Week by hosting a luncheon featuring guest speaker April Anthony, CEO of Encompass Home Health and Homecare Homebase.

April, who graduated from ACU in 1989, spent three years as an auditor and CPA with PwC immediately following graduation. However, through an unusual set of circumstances, she ended up owning a small home health care company that she has now grown into a successful company with offices and branch locations in 7 states.

April Anthony sharing a meal with Dr. Schubert and Guests

Throughout this unique journey, April has learned a lot about what it means to be a Christian in all aspects of life. In fact, as she shared in Tuesday’s Q&A-style presentation, she feels that her work is a calling, something that motivates her daily to work hard for what she feels is the central focus of Encompass Home Health.

Like many others, April initially assumed that the focus of her company would be on the patients her company served. However, as she shadowed various employees, she began noticing something even more pressing than the patients.

“I saw employees, who, frankly, had been kind of beat down, who had felt like in the hospital systems and the other health care environments, that they weren’t the most important asset,” explained April. “But pretty quickly, to me, it seemed like they were the only asset. As a matter of fact, they were our product.”

From this launch pad, April began to realign her priorities with a new focus: her employees. In fact, as a CEO, she began to shape her company under the influence of this new perspective. “To me, to say that the patients were first seemed like the wrong answer,” expounded April. “Really, the employees had to be first. They were our product; we had to invest in them, and if we did so, I didn’t really have to talk a lot about patient care. They would just go out and do it.”

April has allowed this principle to completely saturate her company, starting with its mission statement.

April Anthony Talking with Dr. Jim Litton at Tuesday's Luncheon

“In 2006 we embraced the statement, ‘A better way to care,’” explained April. “It’s simple, but…‘a better way to care’ is not some phrase that we put at the bottom of our email…its’ a behavior, it’s an action, it’s the way we act every day…”

April went on to explain that the beauty of this simple, five-word statement is that it’s not an elusive concept; instead it’s a mantra that can be embraced by individuals, rather than just by a corporation. As a result, every member of Encompass Health Care is able to remain focused on a common goal.

April’s focus on employees hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, just this year the company was voted the #3 best employer of its size in Houston, as well as the #4 best place to work in all of Austin, and the #5 best place to work in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

In an article covering the awards, one of Encompass’s employees said, “We have a mission of ‘a better way to care,’ and every day I go out committed to finding the way that I’m going to fulfill my mission, and I know that my company is going to back me up.”

In addition to motivating its employees on a daily basis, Encompass has also been able to play large roles in its employees’ lives. A couple of examples of this are the way the company’s foundation, Encompass Cares, is able to fund employees’ medical mission trips and local service efforts in addition to reaching out to employees who are struggling. In one instance recently, the foundation was able to provide clothing and other resources to an employee whose home was lost in a fire.

Through all of this, April has kept faith at the center of Encompass’s work, not in a pushy way, but in a consistent way that has made it clear to everyone who is a part of it that this company is different.

April believes that it all comes down to her original principle of caring for employees.

“It’s pretty exciting to think about motivating people and the way you can make them feel just by appreciating them, by recognizing them, by giving them a mission that matters,” she confirmed. “Those are the things that make people feel like this is the best company they’ve ever worked for.”

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Darbie Angell, Founder and CEO of CRU Dinnerware

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!

It’s that time of the year, the one where 35,000 events occur in 125 countries, all in the name of entrepreneurship. It’s beautiful, because it’s the chance to acknowledge that it’s hard to generate and implement new ideas, but that it’s also worth the trouble, because innovation is what makes our world go round.

Here at ACU’s College of Business, we try to embrace the spark of innovation as much as possible, which is why we’re celebrating entrepreneurship through several different events:



April Anthony, Founder and CEO of Encompass Home Health

Darbie Angell, Founder and CEO of CRU Dinnerware, will be speaking from 11:00-11:30 at the Hunter Welcome Center (LYNAY room), and April Anthony, Founder and CEO of Encompass Home Health will be speaking from 11:45-1:00, also at the Hunter Welcome Center.

Both of these women exemplify what it means to be successful entrepreneurs. They serve as mentors and examples to our students, especially to our future female entrepreneurs. We are incredibly thankful to have them with us to kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week.


Budding entrepreneurs have learned to pitch a new product, service, or business concept in two minutes or less in a competition to win $1500. The first round of the Elevator Pitch Competition took place last Saturday, November 6. Everyone is invited to watch the final round of the competition this Thursday at 11:00.  Click here to register.


Do you have a great idea? If so, you should participate in our Springboard Ideas Challenge! Each team or individual submits a mini-business plan and then, if chosen as a finalist, is given the opportunity to present its idea to a live panel of judges.  Last year’s student category winner won $10,000 for his idea and the winner from the community category won $20,000! Click here to learn more about the Springboard Ideas Challenge.

Stay tuned for more information on this great opportunity!

A big thanks goes out to the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy for all of their hard work in creating opportunities that foster entrepreneurship within this community.

PayCom Offers COBA Students Job Opportunities and Career Advice

ACU’s College of Business prides itself on the frequency with which it brings distinguished employers to campus in order to speak to and meet with our students. Last week, one such employer, PayCom, sent Kathryn Thompson to talk about professional sales and to interview future COBA graduates for sales jobs with PayCom.

PayCom began providing mid-sized companies with payroll software that they could use over the Internet back in 1998. Since then, PayCom has expanded into a wide range of fields including HR, Benefits, Background Checks, Tax Credits, Applicant Tracking, Document Management, Expense Management, and On-Boarding/Off-Boarding.

In addition to providing customers with a wide array of services, PayCom is unique in its dedication to providing a “one-to-one service model.” This model ensures that customers will only have to work with one point of contact at PayCom. As a result, customers received personalized service and attention.

Because she was on campus interviewing students to go into sales, Kathryn focused her presentation on the topic of personal branding and the fact that people are perpetually branding themselves through their actions and words. The brand individuals create affects their ability to effectively market their skills to potential employers.

In order to develop their ideal personal brand, Kathryn advised students to be three things: personal, intentional, and consistent.

In today’s job market, networking is everything. As a result, being personal is important and allows you to set yourself apart from competition. The reality is that if no one remembers you, no one is going to hire you.

When searching for internships and trying to prepare for their intended career, it is critical for students to be intentional. By moving in a specific direction and seeking out opportunities that fit their skills and desires, students provide themselves with the opportunity to have a personal brand that differentiates them from those who may be competing for the same job.

The last step of Kathryn’s advice, being consistent, can be invaluable when leaving a favorable impression in employers’ minds. Networking, well-developed resumes, following up on interviews and deadlines, and sending thank you notes to people who help you out along the way are all small ways to prove your ability to consistently perform at a high level.

By following Kathryn’s advice, you will find that you are able to create the kind of personal brand that companies want on their team.

To learn more about working for PayCom or about interviewing for one of their entry-level jobs with a starting salary of $50,000, visit www.paycomonline.com or contact Tim Johnston at johnstont@acu.edu.

COBA and SITC Students Travel to Silicon Valley for Fall Break

While some ACU students spent their Fall Break at home with family and some went camping with friends, a few lucky students went on a trip organized by the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy and co-sponsored by the School of IT and Computing. On this trip to California, the group had the unique opportunity to meet with leaders of several major startup companies.

The concept of a “startup” may not impress you, and as a result, you may find yourself thinking, “I’m not really familiar with a lot of startups; I don’t think this trip could have influenced me.” If that’s the case, think again, because these fourteen students got to meet with Google.

The Group at Google

I bet that’s a company you’ve heard of.

The group that participated in this trip was comprised of a variety of classes and majors. Dr. Brad Crisp, who led the trip along with Dr. Jim Litton and Kevin Roberts, ACU’s Chief Planning and Information Officer, appreciated the diversity of their team. “We had a very diverse group of business and technical students on the trip, and it was great to watch them interact with each other and with the companies,” commented Dr. Crisp.

The group headed out of Abilene on Wednesday, October 24 and returned to town on Sunday, October 28.  While Dr. Crisp anticipated a good experience at Google, he said that he was also very pleased with the rest of the trip.

“I knew the students would enjoy Google, and they did,” explained Dr. Crisp.“What was more exciting to me was hearing students say how much they learned from the entrepreneurs we met.”

The five-day journey included stops at:

  • Inigral: an organization that uses social networking to improve enrollment and retention at colleges and universities
  • Circa: a news app that keeps users up-to-date by adding details to pre-existing stories as they unfold
  • Silicon Valley Bank (www.svb.com)
  • Corona Labs: a company that allows individuals to create apps without having to wade through the technical language of coding
  • Lanica: an equally impressive app-creating company

The Group at Silicon Valley Bank

With such a wide variety of successful start-up companies, the group had an incredible opportunity to see entrepreneurship in action and to meet with leaders in each of these prominent companies.

“Everyone we met with was great,” said Dr. Litton. “They shared stories and insight on critical issues they as entrepreneurs and their respective companies have dealt with along the way and are currently facing.”

From Circa, whose app was actually the top featured app in the app store on the day our group met with them, to Google, world super power, creativity and innovation were evident in each of these incredible companies, as well as in their representatives.

The Group Meeting with Company Representatives

As Dr. Litton pointed out, “I thought it was great that students had the opportunity to visit with founders and leaders of companies at all different points along the startup lifecycle – early concept development, launching a product, securing funding, growing a company, and even maintaining an entrepreneurial culture in a company the size of Google.”

Keep your eyes open for more unique COBA and SITC opportunities like this one!

(There was also a free day in San Francisco!)

Faculty Spotlight: Ms. Jozell Brister

Thirty-three years is a long time to work at one organization, but on January 15, 2013, Ms. Jozell Brister will have spent exactly that long teaching at ACU’s College of Business.

Ms. Jozell Brister

Ms. Brister, who teaches Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Money and Banking, taught at Abilene High School before beginning to teach at ACU in 1980. At Abilene High, Ms. Brister taught typing and several different business subjects. However, “I never did teach accounting,” she says.

In addition to teaching, Ms. Brister enjoys reading and spending time outdoors in various capacities. In fact, she and her brother share a bass boat, which they take fishing on Fort Phantom.

“I love to go out in that boat,” says Ms. Brister. “I love to catch fish. I just love to do that.”

Another of Ms. Brister’s hobbies is walking with a group of “really fine ladies” from her neighborhood. The group includes a wide range of ages, and Ms. Brister really enjoys spending time with them. “We all walk and we know each other really well. I feel like we’re really good friends,” she explains. “We keep up with the health of their dogs and the health of their husbands.”

When asked how she spends her vacation time, Ms. Brister—unsurprisingly—spends time outside. “Well, in the summer, for years, my sister-in-law and I and my great-nephew and great-niece would go to Red River New Mexico,” explains Ms. Brister. “We’d usually stay about a week and rent a cabin up there. It was hiking and fishing, which we all like to do. My whole family likes to do that…it’s good family time.”

Ms. Brister, who is well known for her kind and compassionate heart, is famous for giving her students candy on holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day. The only thing better than how much Ms. Brister’s students like her is how much she still enjoys her job, even after thirty-three years.

“Well you know, when I’m in the classroom, that’s the best part,” Ms. Brister explains, a smile beginning to form. “Getting ready is not the best part…but once I’m in there, I like it. I like it a lot.”

Thank you, Ms. Brister, for all you have done and continue to do for COBA!

Brennen McMullin, Auditor for Ernst & Young

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

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

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

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?

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 darryl.jinkerson@coba.acu.edu or Nuria Hall at nuria.hall@acu.edu.