Intern Spotlight: Sloan Polvado

Ever since she was a little girl, Sloan Polvado has had an obsession with fashion – specifically, shoes. Sloan has always wanted to work in the fashion industry and this summer has had the opportunity to fulfill that dream.

Sloan, a junior marketing major from Sugar Land, is interning with Steve Madden in New York City in the production department. She aids in preparing the production schedules, helping set up timetables that allocate Steve Madden resources to manufacture and sell their shoes. Sometimes, Sloan will get to try on the new designs and give the design team feedback on them and recommendations for adjustments.

Sloan has loved getting to learn more about the fashion industry. “It has been awesome to see all of the work that goes into creating a shoe – the different materials and styles as well as the numbers and math – and taking it from design to a store,” says Sloan.

The Steve Madden internship program itself has also taught Sloan a lot. “Knowing that I will be contending with talented and driven people like the other interns in this program for a job after graduation has taught me that I have to do everything I can to make myself as competitive as possible,” she noted. Of the thirty summer interns, Sloan is the only one from the south and has found it interesting to compare ACU and her college experience with the other interns. The program has helped Sloan realize how competitive it can be in the professional world and the work that goes into distinguishing yourself when looking for internships and jobs. Outside of gaining practical experience, she has loved connecting with the people around her. She has also had the opportunity to meet Steve Madden himself, who loves getting to know and interacting with his interns. “Steve is a really fun and approachable guy,” according to Sloan. “He will always look at your shoes before making eye contact with you.”

She is excited to return to Abilene with new knowledge and a new motivation to prepare for a job after graduation. “I have learned so much valuable information about the fashion industry, what it is like to work in a major company, and networking connections with those around her – oh, and the free shoes aren’t too bad either.”

COBA Business and Technology Graduates Launch their Careers

Aimee Agee is COBA’s Professional Development Manager for Business and Technology students. She works continuously with students to equip them with the skills and knowledge to successfully launch into the professional world. This includes meeting one-on-one with students to discuss their job and internship opportunities and outcomes, connecting them with employers who fit their skills and needs, and analyzing data on each student graduating while remaining in contact with them in their post-grad life. Aimee also conducts class insertions where she discusses specific careers with employers as well as more general information about interviews, resumes, networking, and more. Agee supplied the coaching and leadership needed to help COBA’s business and technology students improve their outcomes this year. Her hard work and excellence in developing and communicating with students has impacted COBA graduates’ academic and professional careers positively.

Aimee Agee

 

We are pleased to announce that the B.B.A. programs’ overall outcomes have moved beyond our stated goal of 90%. 93% of our May graduating class received either a job offer or an acceptance into a graduate program within ninety days of graduation.  Achieving this rate gives us a past-four-year average of 90.18 %. The average starting salary for our B.B.A. students was $41,497. The School of Information and Technology had a very strong bump in employment, especially from Digital Entertainment Technology graduates. SITC had a 100% outcome rate of students with a job offer or acceptance to a graduate program. This includes their international students and again exceeds the target of 90%. The average starting salary for SITC graduates was $57,600. COBA saw 100% of the students in the Master of Accountancy program employed within ninety days of graduation. The average starting salary for MAcc graduates was $55,000.

Learn more about COBA’s Professional Development Program for current students and alumni at the links listed or by going to www.acu.edu/coba.

Student Spotlight on Brandon Gonzales

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 Leah Montgomery

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.

The Lytle Center hosts Brett Biggs at COBA’s annual Distinguished Speaker Series Luncheon

The Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership Development hosted Brett Biggs, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on October 25th, as the speaker at COBA’s annual Distinguished Speaker Series luncheon.

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Brett Biggs, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Biggs is responsible for accounting and control, corporate strategy and development, business planning and analysis, internal auditing, treasury, tax, global shared services and several other key areas of the company. Before being appointed to his current role, Biggs was executive vice president and chief financial officer for Walmart International, where he was responsible for all global finance activities, including accounting and controls, business planning and analysis, financial services, and support for real estate, M&A and Strategy. Prior to that, Brett served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Walmart U.S., where he was responsible for U.S. finance functions including strategy, merchandising, logistics, financial services, real estate, operations, and financial planning and analysis.

Biggs began his visit to ACU with a Q&A meeting with approximately 30 COBA students. The students had unfettered access to ask Biggs questions about his career path, how Walmart works and his best advice on how to jump start their own careers. After the private gathering with students, he then addressed the luncheon crowd of about 200 guests, talking to them about Walmart’s corporate philosophy as well as his own beliefs on what it means to be a Christian leader in the workplace.

students with Brett Biggs

Mr. Biggs meeting with COBA students

Biggs stated that the “Joy of working at Walmart is that it is a company that stands for things: take care of your people, do your best, and take care of the people that come through your door.” Biggs also said that he believes, “The world needs places that stand for something. I love ACU’s mission. If you can combine your passion and your vocation with your mission, that’s where it’s at. Sometimes being a person of faith is tough. You have to stand your ground when others around you aren’t. Rosa Parks said it well when she said, ‘Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.’ Matt 5:14 says, ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.’ I know that’s what this university is about and I appreciate that.”

COBADistSpkBiggs-036

Biggs also gave a personal anecdote when he told a story about meeting Sam Walton, who he described as a once in a lifetime kind of man and the greatest entrepreneur of all time. Biggs said that he met Walton on a field trip in college. Biggs happened to be carrying around a very big notebook while studying for the CPA exam. Sam Walton asked what the book was for and Biggs explained to him that he was intensely studying for the exam. Walton then told him that, “If you study hard and work hard you never know what you’ll be able to achieve.” Biggs said that today, his office is next door to Sam Walton’s former office. 

Biggs encouraged students to find a company that fits your values, to be intentional about your faith and to stay grounded and focused on your faith. He also exhorted the audience to know who you are before you are faced with big decisions. He stated, “You have to know what you would do and make a choice ahead of time. You have to really know who you are. Students, take advantage of your time here and form that person now. Take advantage of all the spiritual opportunities you have here.”

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Mr. Biggs meeting with COBA Faculty

Biggs wrapped his trip to ACU up with a private meeting with some of COBA’s faculty, where they discussed current markets and opportunities for students. COBA would like to thank Brett Biggs for so graciously giving of his time and energy to our students, faculty, staff and community.

For pictures from the event, please click on this link for COBA’s FaceBook page.

Spotlight on Malcolm Coco

Dr. Malcolm Coco

Dr. Malcolm Coco

 

What is your educational background?

Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Southwestern La.

Personnel Management and Supervision, Central Michigan University

Doctorate of Public Administration, Nova Southeastern University

 

What is your work background?

I was a United States Air Force Pilot for 22 years.

 

What do you teach at ACU?

I teach Human Resource Management courses and am the Director of Internships for COBA.

 

What committees/other duties do you have at ACU aside from teaching?

Too many to list.  I was Associate Dean from 1993-1997.

 

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

When stationed at Dyess AFB in the 70s, I met a number of ACU faculty/staff/and grads.  I determined then based on those relationships that ACU was special and that after my Air Force career I would like to work for ACU.


What’s the best part of working with students?

Working with young people with fresh ideas, passion, and engagement.

 

Have you ever given up any big opportunities to keep working with students?

The offer to be the Director of Human Resources at ACU and several other HR director jobs.

 

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

Anything outdoors: bow hunting, fly fishing, and duck hunting especially.

 

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Enjoying the great outdoors.

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

I’ve always enjoyed inviting local, national and international HR professionals to speak in my class.

 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

Being the Deputy Director of U.S. air force pilots world wide assignments for 40,000 air force pilots as well as being the Associate Dean during some of the most challenging times for the College of Business.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

I volunteer with Rotary International, Big Country Society for Human Resource Management, Military Officers Association, and Herald of Truth.

 

Who is your role model, and why?

Anyone of a few faculty who can fully engage students.

 

Dr. Coco on a field trip with students.

Dr. Coco on a field trip with students.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

Former Department Chair, Lamar Riench.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

To have a better ability to connect people with Jesus.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

That I was a State Champion pole vaulter and sprinter.

 

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

To know how much I really care about our students  and how much I appreciate our student’s parents giving us their children for an education.