This summer, COBA will have two groups participating in the study abroad program. Dr. Andy Little and Dr. Jim Litton will be taking a group of 10 students to China during the month of July. The group will be visiting three major cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Each city offers a different look at the Chinese culture, with Hong Kong and Shanghai evolving as the centers of business in Asia and Beijing, the country’s epicenter for cultural, educational and political matters. Students will earn course credit in Global Entrepreneurship and an Honors Colloquium for Business, Ethics, and Law. Dr. Andy Little is excited to expose students to an entirely new culture and learning experience. Dr. Little says, “China is quickly becoming one of the dominant players in the global business world. What better way is there to learn and understand the culture than to go visit and experience it? This learning experience will push students outside of their comfort zones, but in a safe, reflective, and healthy way.” The group will be touring several companies, participating in panel discussions, and going on numerous cultural visits, including the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City in Beijing.
COBA students enjoyed learning about the Chinese culture when they visited several summers ago.
Another group from COBA, led by Assistant Professor Jennifer Golden and Dr. Rick Lytle, will be studying in Oxford, England in June. The classes that will be offered in Oxford include International Business and International Marketing. The group will visit and participate in active research with some of the world’s most renowned companies, including MINI Cooper, ExxonMobil, Johnson and Johnson, Oxford Analytica, Hearst Business Media, and Emerson Electric. They will also have the opportunity to hear lectures by local international scholars. In addition to the research and classroom work, students will be able to explore Europe. Students will have two free travel weekends, visit Normandy, France and see the musical, Les Miserables. Dr. Rick Lytle hopes that this trip will provide “global education which will broaden, challenge, and educate students’ minds and hearts.”
COBA students with Dr. Orneita Burton and Dr. Don Pope during last year’s trip to Oxford.
Check back on our blog during the summer to read student excerpts from their travels around the world!
COBA encourages students to go outside of the classroom and gain real working experience from companies in the business world via internships. In addition to classroom preparation for job and internship searches, the COBA Connections and Career Development team aids students by connecting them with internships to businesses and industries that the individual student is interested in. These internship experiences allow students to learn from experienced mentors and discover what field of work they may have a passion or interest for. Some of the companies COBA students have interned with in the last year include World Vision, Holt Lunsford Commercial, PFSweb, USAA, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Northern Trust.
Cason Ford, a senior marketing major from Burleson, TX, learned a lot about the oil and gas industry through his internship with Dunaway Associates, L.P., an engineering consulting services company. At Dunaway, Cason spent time working with a project manager in the office as well as working on a land surveying crew, learning about project management and the process of business operations. After graduation, Cason will work as a financial professional for AXA Advisors in Austin. With the help of the COBA Connections Career Development office, Cason was able to connect with an ACU alum who is on the AXA team in Austin. In addition to the Connections Office, Cason is also thankful for the experience he gained with Dr. Terry Pope and the STAR (Student Trading and Research) program, enabling him to learn the business terminology and financial knowledge that he will need for his career.
“I feel confident entering this position because of the knowledge and skills I have learned while studying in COBA. I have learned the value of possessing and practicing with an entrepreneurial spirit, which is what I will need in my career,” says Cason.
Connor Osburn, a senior finance major from Southlake, TX, and the current President of Wildcat Ventures, has interned with both Holt Lunsford Commercial and Heil Trailer International. While at Holt Lunsford Commercial, he learned the ins and outs of commercial real estate, discovering how new developments can reflect the strength of a region’s economy and that location is key in any real estate investment. Going forward, Connor would like to pursue a finance role, specifically in analytics to identify young, promising companies. He is also interested in alternative energy/green technology and can see himself working with projects and companies in this industry.
Connor says, “COBA and the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy exposed me to interesting new ideas, creative thinkers, inspiring entrepreneurs and opportunities to learn about all different types of career paths. I owe a lot to the COBA professors who have been more than willing to offer me advice or point me in the right direction.”
Natalie Lemieux, a junior from McKinney, TX, has excelled with her internship experience. Natalie is pursuing a major in information systems with a minor in international studies and information technology. Last summer, she interned with Lennox International as a Commercial Business Systems Intern. Her biggest takeaway from the internship was learning how to deal with project management and the flexibility within handling those projects. This summer, she will be interning with PricewaterhouseCoopers with the Technology Consulting team. Eventually, Natalie wants to pursue her MBA in international business. Natalie is grateful for the Connections Office and COBA professors, like Dr. Brad Crisp, who helped her find these particular internships.
“COBA’s atmosphere really helped to prepare me to be in a professional environment. I know that I have set myself apart from many other applicants that have applied for these positions because of the relevant hands-on experience and projects I have done inside of the classroom,” says Natalie.
Cason, Connor, and Natalie are only a few of many students who have interned while at ACU. Through faculty and the Connections Office, COBA aims to provide students with internship opportunities in the specific career fields that students are interested in pursuing. Internships are the perfect way for students to gain exposure to different companies and industries, allowing them to gain an advantage when looking for jobs after graduation. Congrats to all students who have interned and are planning to intern this next summer.
COBA’s AMA student organization attended the annual AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans on March 19th-21st. The theme for the conference this year was AMAze Yourself, inspiring students to find their passions and discover ways they can use those passions to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Assistant Professor Jennifer Golden and eight current and new student officers, including Cheyenne Rawlings, Allison Phillips, Neely Borger, Carolyn Heard, Bridgett Fuessel, Noah Bastable, and Josh Maday were able to see other AMA organizations that are active in their universities as well as hear from prominent speakers from across the country. Speakers were from leading companies around the world and included Jeff Schmitz and Rachel Lewis from The Hershey Company, Daryl Weber from The Coca-Cola Company, and Ian Dallimore from Lamar Advertising Company. The conference also included multiple breakout sessions each day, hosting discussions on topics such as social media management, resume building, networking opportunities, and suggestions for improving a university’s AMA chapter.
Every year, AMA provides a case study for each AMA university chapter to compete with one another. Groups must provide a full marketing plan with objectives, strategies, implementation ideas, and a budget for the case study. This year, the product for the case study was Coca-Cola’s Vitamin Water. At the conclusion of the conference, the chapters were able to see the winning team present their marketing plan, gaining insight and real experience for how a marketing plan should be implemented.
The AMA conference is a great event opportunity for students to learn, network, and find ways that they can set themselves apart in the marketplace. AMA is excited to be back on campus and working on future ideas to build their own personal brand as well as the brand of COBA.
“After going to the conference and hearing from other AMA organizations, I am really excited to get involved with the organization. I learned how important building my own personal brand really is,” says junior marketing major, Carolyn Heard.
COBA is proud to announce that three of our Accounting students, including David Legler, Amy Morris, and Courtney Richardson, received scholarships from the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA). The Accounting Education Foundation of TSCPA has established a program to provide scholarship assistance to accounting students who plan to become Texas Certified Public Accountants and enter the accounting profession. In order to be considered for these scholarships, students must attend a university which participates in Accounting Education Foundation programs and be nominated by the chairperson of the accounting department, have completed 110 semester credit hours of college-level courses by August 31, have a GPA of 3.6 or higher, and have completed 21 semester credit hours with a B or higher in accounting courses required for accounting majors.
The scholarship recipients are currently in the MAcc program, and each student has accepted job positions with one of the “Big 4” public accounting firms and will start after graduation in May. David Legler is originally from Austin, TX and will start with KPMG in Fort Worth. Amy Morris is from Richmond, TX and will work with PwC in Oklahoma. Courtney Richardson will complete her MAcc degree in May and then will go on to work with EY in Fort Worth, TX. Dr. John Neill is extremely proud of these students, stating that they have consistently practiced excellence inside and out of the classroom. Congratulations to David, Amy, and Courtney on their well-deserved scholarships. COBA wishes you the best with your future career paths!
“COBA has played a major rule in my teaching development. With their supportive environment, I am incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such amazing students and colleagues.”
COBA congratulates Dr. Mark Phillips on his promotion from Associate Professor to full Professor. In the tenure process, teachers apply for promotion to obtain a new title representing a different rank of academic hierarchy. Faculty must meet specific criteria that the university and their department sets forth in order to receive a promotion. Because of his fit to the university and teaching excellence, ACU recognizes him as a senior faculty member.
After graduating from ACU, Dr. Phillips went on to gain his masters from Purdue University, worked for two years in industry, worked in full time church ministry for 10 years, and then spent three years earning his PhD from Oklahoma State University before returning to work for ACU’s College of Business. Phillips has been a COBA faculty member for 11 years.
Dr Phillips has been a key part of COBA’s academic success and progression, positively impacting the lives of students through his teaching, mentoring, and preaching over the last decade. Dr. Phillips was appointed as the new Department Chair of Management Sciences at the beginning of June, 2014. Phillips has done an excellent job managing this position while continuing to pursue his own teaching and research agenda. Dr. Lytle praises Dr. Phillips, saying that “his wit, his keen analytical ability, and his steadfast work ethic has accomplished much towards the mission of COBA”. Congratulations Dr. Phillips on your well-deserved promotion! COBA is blessed to have such a strong role model, professor, and mentor in our department.
Sixteen ACU students had the opportunity to study Social Entrepreneurship at City Square in Dallas during a January short course. The class was taught by COBA professor, Dr. Laura Phillips. In the short one-week time period, the class covered a wide range of topics related to starting and running a social enterprise (nonprofit or for-profit that has a social mission at its core). Speakers who currently run these types of enterprises, as well as those who consult and advise these organizations, came to share with the class about their own unique experiences. In addition, the class included student presentations on various topics and case study discussions. Students were also taken on a tour of City Square, hearing about how the business operates and ways they are trying to expand.
Many of the speakers were ACU alums, including Robyn Wise, Scott Orr, and Don Crisp. Scott Orr, an ACU and COBA grad, has served in many roles for nonprofit organizations as well as for-profit companies. He is currently the Vice President of Public Affairs for Fidelity Investments.
Scott’s Mantra: Using strengths to accomplish greatness.
Jerita’s Mantra: Bloom where you are planted.
Jerita Howard, an Abilene resident, also came to speak to the class. Jerita is the owner of One Smart Cookie, an online gourmet cookie and brownie gift package company. Like Scott, Jerita has also served in various roles throughout her professional career. Both of these entrepreneurs provided valuable insights on business operations and social enterprises.
Dr. Laura Phillips loved the broad mix of majors that were represented in the class this year. She says, “The class succeeds because of the knowledge, experience, and honesty of the 14 guest speakers. While not all of the students who took the class plan to start a social enterprise, I think all of the students benefited from the class.” After taking the class, she hopes students feel equipped to work with social ventures in the way that fits their life and career goals.
Emily Adkins, a sophomore Pre-Physical Therapy major from Irving, TX, enjoyed taking the class at City Square. She feels like she has learned the basics of social enterprises and that she could comfortably work in this type of environment now. “This class really pushed me outside of my comfort zone in a good way! I love social enterprises and I can see myself working for one some day. Listening to these speakers opened my eyes to how these organizations help people in an effective way.”
In November, the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy hosted the first annual Startup Week. The CEO student organization along with the Griggs Center were busy with several activities during the week, including an Alumni Entrepreneurship dinner on November 18, a CEO chapel on the 19th with guest speaker Toby Thomas, and ending with the final Elevator Pitch competition after the chapel. The goal of the Springboard Elevator Pitch competition was to get students to create and present their idea, giving them the opportunity to gain real experience working with entrepreneurs. Three weeks prior to Startup Week, participants presented their Elevator Pitch ideas in front of a group of local entrepreneurs and ACU faculty members and learned how they would be judged as well as the deadlines for the competition. At the dinner on November 18, the 10 finalists were announced. The next day, the pitches were heard and the winner received $1,500 cash for the idea.
The winner of the Elevator Pitch was COBA major, Colby Hatchett, a junior marketing major from Fort Worth. His idea was The Mullet, a restaurant concept where parents could enjoy a nice meal at the front of the restaurant while their children would be fully taken care of in the back of the restaurant. After the pitch, Colby said he was incredibly grateful to meet entrepreneurs working in the marketplace and gain real experience from the competition.
Rudy Garza, President of CEO, was excited that students were able to meet and connect with ACU alums and other entrepreneurs. At the dinner, students were seated at tables with the entrepreneurs and were able to hear their stories and advice for those considering entrepreneurship as well as making valuable connections for potential career opportunities. When asked the effect of COBA with the Elevator Pitch, Rudy said, “Because the classes are smaller and the quality of the faculty is excellent, COBA students always excel in the Springboard Challenge competitions. The presenters are stronger and seem comfortable speaking in front of the crowd. Through the interactions between professors and students, students gain major insight into what entrepreneurship looks like, which is incredibly beneficial for them in this case.”
Overall, the competition was a great success. Some unique ideas were presented during the pitch and it was great to have so many ACU and COBA alumni back on campus. COBA is proud to see such amazing business and Christian leadership in the marketplace. Again, congratulations to COBA student, Colby Hatchett, on winning the competition!
“The Springboard Challenge is a great enhancement to COBA’s culture of ideation, creativity, and innovation. This competition pushes our students and culture in a good way!” says Dr. Rick Lytle, Dean of the College of Business.
“The student professor relationship in COBA is unique and unlike any other university at which I have taught. The faculty and staff are outstanding Christian people that I enjoy working with every single day,” says Accounting professor, Dr. John Neill.
This year marks the 15th year Accounting professor Dr. John Neill has been with COBA. Dr. Neill grew up in Abilene, graduating from Cooper High School before coming to ACU. He graduated from ACU earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree and then went on to the University of Florida, where he earned his Ph.D. Before coming back to ACU to teach, Dr. Neill taught at Florida State University and Chapman in Orange County, California.
Dr. Neill says that one of his favorite memories in COBA is the senior blessing retreat held a couple of years ago. At the blessing, he enjoyed all of the faculty and staff gathering together to send off the seniors. He feels incredibly blessed to be part of such an encouraging community, knowing he has made a difference in students’ lives. Dr. Neill describes COBA as cooperative, student-focused, and professional, seeking to serve God and meet students’ needs above all else. Compared to other state universities, he feels that students feel comfortable in COBA, striving to learn and gain insight from experienced professors.
Dr. Neill’s favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:37-39, which says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Dr. Neill’s life is a clear reflection of how he lives this verse out every day, serving those around him and pushing students to reach their potential and live out their God-given talents. COBA has been extremely blessed to have Dr. Neill in our community. Thank you Dr. Neill for your Christian example and servant leadership over the past 15 years!
COBA Interns at the EY Orlando Conference
COBA encourages and assists students in providing opportunities to pursue internships to gain real-world experience and learn hands-on applications from some of the most prestigious companies in the world. Tim Savage, a student in COBA’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program, interned with EY this past summer. Tim worked in the tax division and prepared multiple Texas franchise tax forms for large asset management companies. A large, global firm like EY offers many possibilities, allowing interns to tailor their career path based on their best interests.
EY also provided an all-expense paid trip to attend a firm conference in Orlando with about 3,000 other interns. At the conference, interns participated in workshops and team-building exercises, listening to executive speakers and learning from the top firm leaders. The interns were also given opportunities to have some fun! They went on excursions in Orlando and were able to spend some time at Disney World.
Throughout the internship, Tim learned how important it is to have a positive outlook and open mindset. By approaching his work with optimism, he believes he was able to build character and work diligently to be successful. After he graduates in May, Tim plans to take his CPA exams and start working full time with EY in July or August. He is thankful for COBA and the mindset it instills into their students, preparing them for Christian leadership and development in the marketplace.
“COBA’s accounting department is top quality. Not only are the professors well-qualified and excellent at teaching, they invest in their students and help them grow them into being top-performers in the workplace. I feel like the specialized knowledge taught by the experienced faculty equipped me well to take on the challenging aspects of my internship,” says Tim Savage, a MAcc student.
The student chapter of ACU’s AMA (American Marketing Association) spent the Fall Break in Seattle, WA visiting some of the most renowned companies in the world. Marketing Professor, Jennifer Golden, Career Development Advisor, Samantha Matta, and Management Sciences Department Chair, Dr. Mark Phillips led the group of 19 students, learning about the behind the scenes operations and unique cultures of these successful companies. The companies the group visited included Starbucks, World Vision, Costco, Microsoft, Amazon, and the Seattle Mariners.
Judith Barajas, a junior Marketing major with a minor in International Studies, enjoyed touring the Starbucks headquarters. Starbucks highly values their employees, calling them “partners” and creating an environment where everyone feels significant and important. When looking for a future employer, Judith learned how important it is to find a company where you can be motivated and excel. She also realized the importance of teamwork in the marketplace and working together to achieve common goals. In the future, Judith is interested in working in product development and customer needs.
“God’s plan for us is what rules the course of our life, and we cannot plan for everything he has in store for us. So many of the people we talked to were doing things now they never planned for when they were our age but because they were able to follow God, they now are doing things they never thought possible,” says Judith Barajas.
Cheyenne Rawlings, a senior Marketing major from Houston, was impressed by the Microsoft corporate office. Because ACU students tend to be more familiar with Apple products, Cheyenne enjoyed learning about Microsoft’s culture and company goals. She says, “It was neat to experience big corporations because I have not had a lot of experience with companies at the corporate level. It is a much different environment!”
All of the companies presented different goals and various ways to run operations, but all companies had one thing in common: building a positive foundational culture for employees to feel motivated and succeed, reaching beyond the standard process to achieve lofty goals. This trip was an excellent opportunity for students to learn firsthand how teamwork and culture are the key ingredients for any company to succeed.